Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Been gone too long!

First beading project for 5 months!!!  It is a peyote stitched bezel around a small oval Labradorite Cabochon.  It feels good and strange but I wanted to dive right in and start creating again!  My job was cut to half time, so I suddenly have a portion of my life back!!

I have been missing from my Etsy shop and from blogging.  I lost my way and got caught up in a new job. Waking up earlier than normal, driving 25 minutes, adjusting to a hectic pace with lots of change and transition took about everything I had for about 6 months.  I am happy to say I am back and have just been updating Etsy shop again and hope to add some new items soon.

I will take a picture of my new project as soon as it looks like something!  Last weekend I started to unpack my enamel studio stuff again and am so excited to get enough time and space to pick up where I left off there!  I don't think I ever enjoyed any thing quite so much as creating pendants and earrings with fire and glass powder!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dusky Owl Eyes

Here is another Etsy Treasury Team Collection with owls, brown, gray, gold, and blue in a calming collage.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Etsy Treasury Team Treasury

I'm a new member of the Etsy Treasury Team.  It's a bit of a commitment but it's fun and I feel like it will help me tune up my titles, tags, photos and descriptions.  I also think it will motivate me to branch out and go in new directions with my craft.  I am always keen to explore what works while discovering new things that I enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Misty Morning Treasury from Etsy

Getting on a roll making treasuries again. I'm a trial Etsy Treasury Team member so I will post a team treasury here soon. There seems to be something missing from it right now.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Celebrating one warm family member! or Rain, Rain, go Away!!!

Green, green, green, verdant, lush, forest, Kelly, chartreuse, lime, sage, new growth red/green of the roses, pine green, moss green, and lichen gray green. It's all here today in dripping soggy splendor. Somewhere in Avignon, our son has been enjoying sunny and warm spring days. He's gone on a two week adventure with the French Travel Club from Anacortes High School. The first week is a family stay, the second, Paris.

I had not driven out past Heart Lake, in a long time until yesterday evening. It is one of many beautiful small bodies of water on our usually rocky island home. The lake level was very high, the swampy areas were so full, and there were many areas that I don't recall being wet before, growing full and lush with Skunk Cabbage. Waterfalls that occasionally appear just seemed to be gushing. We were on our way for a lovely Indian meal with friends. After dinner, we were serenaded by a chorus of tree frogs while enjoying a hot tub soak. No doubt they have been loving our extra precipitation. As you can gather, I am not complaining about the rain necessarily, it adds to the emerald splendor of this place we call home.

Last weekend, my husband Andy, went on a mountain bike ride and said he had never seen so much water and water in new places. Right now it is just a solid monotone gray in the sky and the steady drizzle is collecting along the sidewalk and in puddles in my garden. Beautiful Red Flowering current is blooming out my window and the neighbor has a bright yellow Forsythia and daffodils as promising signs that spring really is here! If it hadn't been for my Wii-hab to warm me up this morning I probably would have started a fire. In fact maybe I will tonight if I can find any dry wood! I have seen smoke coming from at least three chimneys in the neighborhood!

Seems like a hearty stew would be the best meal for tonight. I was told today a story that a local travel agent was getting calls from desperate Northwesterners, saying, "Get me a ticket to anyplace sunny!" For now we'll have to put on some music from a sunny land, start a fire, and dream of a beach with warm blue waters. It's good enough for now to know that my son is in Avignon where the daytime temperatures are in the high 60's. He's enjoying a bit of spring for sure!! I hope he's taking pictures of bridges, old castles, papal enclaves, and rivers! I'd take a ticket to southern France if it was offered!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Source for Delicious and Healthy Recipes!!

Katie's Delicious Bread Recipies this Way!!

The other day I was really excited to discover that my friend Katie had a recipe for Pita Pockets. I first had homemade pocket bread when my friend Menell's mother brought it to a grade school class. Being recent immigrants to my hometown they were sharing a part of their Eqyptian heritage through food. The bread was hot, fresh, and heavenly!! Since that day, I've longed for that delicate yeasty flavor and the magic way they puff up while cooking. My mother did make the recipe once if I remember correctly. Oh, they make the best sandwich holders!!! So, when I asked Katie about the reference to the pita pockets on Facebook, she said, "The recipe is on my Cooking Blog!" Well, I didn't know she had a cooking blog. I hope she doesn't mind if I share it here!

Katie also has delicious dips and spreads and very wonderful bean soups. Katie gets excited about her wonderful creations and sometimes we are lucky enough to share in the delights of wonderful flavors and smells. She generously keeps the Emerald Marine Carpentry workers fueled up on her sweet treats. I know they are greatly appreciated!!

I also like that she made me think of my favorite movie, "Julie and Julia" on discovering her blog!! This is a great way to share the things in life that give you satisfaction! Be sure to check out Bayandem for more delicious recipes!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Enamel on copper, my new adventure!!!

I have an overwhelming amount of inspiration for where I would like to take the enameling medium.  So currently, I am working on paring down that list and getting realistic ! Right now I am working on the basics, learning how to use my kiln and the various ways to use the enamel powders.  It is an art that requires an open mind to variations and unexpected results.   It's just another way to make use of colored glass, which I realize gives many beads their appeal!

I have put the first 3 pairs of earrings together with beads and made some lovely earrings.  There are more finished enamels waiting for their final touches, either in the kiln, or mingling with the beads and chains, waiting to see what is the prefect match.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mishaps, Experiments, and Semi Failures

Last weekend I did not have the kiln set up but I was anxious to play with fire and see how my leaves would turn out.  While getting ready and setting up my torch tripod, I knocked one of my leaves off and it shattered.  So, instead of trying to repair it's delicate form I decided to use the small pieces later, for embellishments.  Nothing goes to waste with silver clay!  The other leaf turned out fine!  I need to repair some cracks and bolster it up with some paste but I think it will do just fine after some tumbling.  I plan to melt down the bits of the broken leaf with a torch on a charcoal block.

The leaf looks pretty good!  It's scented geranium as I mentioned earlier.  It has a lot of detail!  You can see the hairline cracks that I will fix with some slip and refire.  It's a little over a half inch wide.

<--Pieces before sanding and finishing greenware.

Later that week, I decided to boldly go ahead with the kiln firing once it was installed in my studio and  I had 4 hours plus of undivided time to give it.  I monitored the heat with its dial. I didn't have a pyrometer to measure if the heat was accurate.  The results allowed me to conclude that the thermocouple on the borrowed kiln is faulty because the copprclay pieces turned to tiny little molten blobs.  Sure maybe a couple of them were too small, there is 20% shrinkage.  But they were ridiculously small and misshapen.  My reasoning is that the stuff is not too expensive to experiment with.  My bronze clay pieces are awaiting a trip to pouncing rain or a kiln with a digital timer.  I have also bought a package of art clay copper which is less risky but still has it idiosyncrasies.  I will also be using these for accent pieces!

Look at those sad little deformed creatures!!  I cleaned off a piece of the copper and a piece of the bronze.  Well, I'll say one thing, they sintered!!  There isn't any resemblance at all to their unfired selves!

The good news is that in the meantime I invested in a small programable Evenheat kiln.  A Studio Pro STP, I have made 4 pairs of copper disks for earrings.  I'll get those pictures posted in the next few days. I am very excited!!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hey (Wo)man, Loosen up!!!!!

(I found this post in my draft folder.  Why not publish it!!??)

"The elemental universe expands while we waste life contracting into ever tighter spirals. Comb your mind for ways to live an expansive vision that enhances intelligence and exemplifies the practical simplicity of what can be..."

One of my oldest artist friends posted this on Facebook some time ago.  While I am trying to find a typical office job, I am trying to reconcile the pull I have toward making my living being creative and the security of a conventional job.  While in this current job market it is easier to take the high road and put my energy into tthe jewelry because the jobs are so hard to find.  I know the jobs are out there, my search has not waned.  Yet, there are all kinds of contracting ideas floating around in my head as I balance the urge to make things with my hands, heart and soul and the urge to save enough money to have the once every couple of years vacation to a place that is warm in the winter with beaches, and surf, and delicious food.  Contracting ideas like the artist and creative friends who have moved on from the artist lifestyle toward more education and careers. Who makes it as an artist and why?  I am discovering the hard work required and it not longer seems like a selfish pursuit.  
As I look at the near prospect of our daughter nearly graduating from college and a son who will be entering college in less than two years I imagine my future life.  At this cross roads it is time to do the wish-crafting.  The most powerful tool we have had in creating the current life we have is inspired dedication.

My response is:

Fighting the tightening, and unrolling the winding! Trying to not go 'round cinched up so wound! 

Bull Kelp on the Beach, New Year's Day

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thanks DigitalDoodleBug, my Etsy shop banner improved!

The Etsy community is great!  I was happy to see a short banner critique thread in December so I linked to my shop to see if I could get any feedback.  DigitalDoodleBug responded with a visually pleasing fix.  I was having difficulty with the lettering being too small and only a limited area that the words would be visible.  That is fixed.  I would like to give a loud shout to DigitalDoodleBug for the neat tweak! THANKS!!!!!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A valuable Cover Letter exercise!

I have struggled writing cover letters. Finding a sincere expression of the actual strengths and skills that I could offer a potential employer is a challenge when working off a job listing description.  Yesterday, I decided to create my own position and apply for it.  I have proposed to be a Personal Assistant and found it much easier to define my skills and feel confident and positive about them.  Somehow the language flowed a bit more easily as I was able to think more creatively about what I know and how it could apply to helping someone else.  I spend almost 10 years in an office environment where my role changed and evolved frequently.  Some tasks were a fit and others weren't.  Some things I was good at but didn't actually enjoy.  I always welcomed the opportunity to risk learning something new.  When there are so few jobs out there that fit my skills and seem to point out the fact that I lack in other skills, it only makes sense to build something with what you have!

Oh, and I have subscribed to Lynda.com and plan on learning HTML!  Emerald Marine Carpentry needs some assistance with website maintenance!  I want to step up to plate for the family business.  Looking at the job listings everyday is discouraging!  That's not to say I'm giving up on having a full time job with benefits again. I just need to get to work and do something productive now!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Feeding the Tool and Supply Fetish

It is taking much longer than I had hoped to collect enough equipment to embark on my enameling adventure. Fortunately, thanks to our friend Grady, I have a nice kiln to borrow. It is front loading with a smooth action door and a pyrometer, it isn't programable, but I think I can work around that! I am working on getting my nerve up to try it out. PMC silver will probably be first since I am somewhat familiar with it and know that it's more straight forward. It will be my first attempt, just to get my feet wet. I am still needing some kiln furniture and kiln wash. I have so many things to experiment with, bronze clay, copper clay, and enameling! Will I be able to focus long enough to pick just one and go through with it? I'll put up some pictures of my studio space and what happens in it.

The internet has been a great resource and inspiration. Yesterday, further inspiration came from Ryan at Pouncing Rain. She encouraged me to be brave and try out the sometimes problematic copper clay. So many have given up on it, but then again, there have been some beautiful results. I think the cost of admission is worth it and it fits in with my desire to experiment. I am really hoping to have some nice pieces to use with enamel. It's hard being patient, even when I am usually a pretty patient person. I've only been waiting for over 30 years to get my hands on this stuff!!

The results will be posted, successful or not. Maybe my first pmc firing will be ready tomorrow. I need my Lortone working and tumbling shot and pins! Will have to order those from Rio Grande!! In the waiting are two scented geranium leaves that I painted with slip last year. I can't wait to see how they turn out!

'Til Later!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A new creative passion, Beaded Beads!

I have made beaded peyote beads in the past, hallow cylinders for making toggles or decorative beads, but recently I have been creating beads that use a ladder stitch and a netting type stitch to create a hallow bead that feels like a solid bead. The bead color and shape I choose determine the design and style. I am working on giving them a more up-to-date feel, but I really like their vintage and even Art Nouveau look. The original directions for these beads comes from The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells. I bought the book at a great bead store in San Luis Obispo, Naturally Jennifers. They have a great selection of Japanese seed beads in unique colors and finishes. Naturally Jennifers sell their beads in little clear boxes with a flip top for easy pouring and storing. Their online catalogue is great!

So far I have only completed several pairs of earrings and strung a bracelet. The first beads I made in this technique have been waiting for almost a year to find their home in a necklace whose design is kicking around in the back corners of my mind.

There are so many different variations of beaded beads and I have challenged myself to try more techniques. Anacortes Beads and Crafts will be offering a class in April in which I'll share this technique.