Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lucite and Clay Blog Hope Reveal is Saturday!

Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures is hosting a challenge and blog hop using Lucite and polymer clay beads.  Each participant received a packet of either Lucite or polymer goodies to make jewelry pieces of their choice.

Mine is a mix of pinks and flowers.  This was good for me as I almost never choose pink to work with, and am not sure why really.  Maybe I got over my love of pink after selling Mary Kay for a few years, or perhaps it was having two girls that went through seemingly endless pink princess years?  Additionally of all the different types of materials I have used, I don't think I have ever used Lucite.  Lucite does have a really neat opaquey (not a word I'm sure) translucence to it. 
It's not reveal day yet so I can't show you what I have made.  And in honesty, being the procrasinator that I sometimes am, one of the pieces isn't quite finished yet.  But I can give you a sorta sneak peek, shhh don't tell anyone ;).

Pretty aren't they?  LOL, check back Saturday for a ful reveal and to see everyone else's great creations.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

We have a WINNER...

Here is my version of a random generator:

That's my son and there (in my chicken scratch) is the winner.  Congrats Pine Ridge Treasures!  I will email you later today for your address and which pair of earrings you would like.

A huge thanks to all who participated, look for more fun giveaways in the future :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

50th Post Giveaway

I can't believe I'm up to my 50th post!  I know that's not many for some people but it's a milestone for me.  In honor of the occasion I will be giving away one of the pairs of earrings that I made for the AJE Challenge, you can see the close ups of those in that post.  Here is the collage view of them.
You can skip to the bottom of the page to learn how to enter, or keep reading until you get there :).

Here was a quick lampwork headpin experiment I did on Friday.  I'm working on making different types of  headpins and ways to use them in response to the Love My Art Jewelry Challenge.  I was really pleased with how these turned out.

While I was at the torch I made up a batch of ear wires to continue one with the AJE Challenge.
Some with enamel, some with a fun heat patina and some just bright shiny copper.

Ok, here's how you can win!  There are numerous ways to get extra entries, use as many or as few as you like.  Random drawing will take place on Monday January 28th.
1) Leave a comment below for your first entry, and another for each of the ways below that you share.
2) Follow my blog or indicate that you are already a follower.
3) Share the giveaway on your blog.
4) "Like" Northwoods Creative Studio on facebook.
5) Follow Northwoods Creative Studio on Pinterest
Good luck and spread the word, if we have over 50 comments on this 50th post I will give away a second pair to a second winner.  (If there is a second winner the first one will get first choice of earrings.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Importance of FAB Packaging

As a former retail and wholesale sales person I am well aware of the importance of branding.  It's still a work in progress for me here at Northwoods Creative Studio, but as I move FORWARD in 2013 I will continue to work it out.  As I said I was in sales, I know just enough about marketing to be potentially dangerous, lol.

Anyway here are two people I have gotten packages from recently that really have it together.  I should have posted long ago about the first one as I was a winner of a giveaway on her blog  LibbyLeu and Glass too .  Libby Leuchtman is a great glassworker and here is what I received from her.
The pod I won came in a lovely little organza bag.  The pics you are seeing are her postcard that helps protect the piece.  Showcases her work before you ever open the package, great branding, no question who it's from.

THIS is what was in the package, wrapped in bubble wrap for protection then in this great dragonfly tissue was this FAB glass pod.  I've been drooling on it for months and still haven't decided onn a design to do it justice.

The second is my recent purchase from Starry Road Studio.  You may remember Karen Totten's work from the Hoops Challenge.  I ordered some more hoops to use from her Etsy shop and here is what I received.

This is what you are greeted by when you first open the envelope, a lovely thank you card and a nice little thank you gift.  My gift was another hoop (YAY) and a little leaf.  A lovely customer service gesture and it makes you feel truly appreciated by the artist.

When you open the lovely kraft paper gift box this is what you see, more great cohesive branding.  A smaller card and lovely bronzey tissue.

And when you lift the tissue you find your product carefully packaged and unharmed.  I like that they are bagged together so I won't loose one of the pair.  One of these just might be finding their way into one of my pairs of earring for the AJE Challenge.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mondays lampwork

A little later than promised but  here are the pics of the lampwork experimenting I did on Monday.

Top left is the lil bead collection from the torch session.  Got to play with some new colors that came in last week.  Top right is the butterscotch color, with some black dot practice.  Bottom left is Blood Red, loving this color, practiced some hearts for the coming holiday.  Bottom right is a lil mushroom bead in ivory with some pumpkin orange enamel added, looks positively poisonous doesn't it?  Glass from Devardi, enamels from Thompson.

This bead is in Lucious Pink, wish the photo was better because it truly is a lucious color and I'm not a huge fan of pink.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

AJE Challenge First Reveal (and a giveaway coming soon)

It's time for the first reveal date of the AJE Challenge.  The challenge is for each participant to create one pair of earrings per week using artisan jewelry elements.  My first few weeks used only components made by me here at Northwoods Creative Studio  The only exceptions are the seed beads and Swarovski bicones.  I love challenges, they make you stretch your creative muscles!

Here are the earrings I made for the first reveal:

Lampwork headpins twisted into squiggles, mounted on handmade copper ear wires.

Green lampwork beads in wire wrapped copper frames.  Hand-forged copper ear wires with enamel accents.  Crystal bicone drops by Swarovski.

Slightly Southwest
Black and turquoise lampwork beads accented by commercially available seed beads.  Hung from hand-forged copper ear wires.

Tubular Dangles
Enameled copper tubes, hand-forged enameled ear wires.  Wire wrapped copper frames.

My 50th post is coming up very soon.  In honor of the occasion I will be giving away one of these pairs of earrings.  The winner (by random draw) will have their choice of which pair they would like to receive.  To be entered just leave a comment on my 50th post (which will be later this week).  For a second entry follow my blog and leave a second comment stating you did (or already do).

Studio redo almost complete

My studio redo is almost complete.  A few things left in one corner to be moved to as yet unknown new homes.  Now almost all of my work areas are contained in one space that they are sharing with our newly acquired work out equipment.  Somehow the organizing gene that both my sisters seem to have inherited missed my DNA.  I like to work in a clean and organized space I just detest the organizing part of it, I seem to lack the vision they have for where everything should go when it's all said and done.

I even went so far as to reorganize my bead drawers and glass supplies.  Amazing the things you find when you do a total haul out.  I have to say though, that for two days my house looked like a scene from that show "Clean House", except in my case the clutter was taking up two more rooms of my house rather than neatly piled in the front yard.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that between 3 rooms of reorganization I had six bags of garbage to go to the curb and a couple of boxes worth of donations (not quite a scene from "Hoarders" but scary enough).

It is a joy to work in this space now.  The only thing I am lacking is a table small enough to fit in the space but sturdy enough to hammer on.  Perhaps I need to do some bartering with the local bro in law to get him to build me something suitable.  For some of you this may seem a crowded space to work in, but for me I kind of "cocoon" and have tunnel vision when I work so the space doesn't feel at all claustrophobic to me.

The Beading and Assembly Station used to be housed in my living room, but has replaced the torching station at this window.  I like the view out this window and look up far more often from assembly than i do torching so this made sense to me.  All the drawers house beads, wire, stringing, components etc.  I have amassed a much larger stash than I had realized and other than sheet metal should not need to make any purchases for quite some time.  I know the work surface is a little untidy, but I was in the midst of projects when the sun came out enough to get photos.  Oh, and the WiiU sits there too, it belongs to my son but he lets me use it to stream Netflix while I create and workout.  I can also access Youtube from there if I need a video refresher on bead weaves.

The Torching Station is now located at the other window that looks out on our front porch and the street, not a great view but as I mentioned before I don't get to look up much while torching.  I need to make better use of the file drawers beneath it but have found if I put things in there I tend to forget about them.  To the right of this station there is a book shelf that houses some books as well as my growing collection of enamels.  For those of you worried about my safety with that curtain you can see on the right, rest assured it is securely tied well out of the way before the torch is lit.  Soon the curtain will come down all together and be replaced by a safer more out of the way mini blind.  The glass stash on the right is all from Devardi glass, love working with it, great prices and awesome colors.  The best part about Devardi though is how kind and helpful Natasha is, any questions I have are usually answered within the hour.

You may have wondered about these little contraptions on the right hand side of the torching station.  The rod warmer heats rods up to a toasty 850 degrees and so far eliminates any shocking even with picky colors, they go right from the warmer directly to the flame to begin melting.  No more waving the glass in and out of the flame to warm it before working and no more shocking, YAY!  The mini bead annealer is the beginners budget kiln.  The only draw back is it's size, you can't cram too many mandrels in there at a time and there is no place for headpins and such to lay as they will stick to the floor.  It is however very serviceable until I can bump up to a larger kiln and will probably still use it at that time to garage pieces in the works and smaller beads for annealing.  Both of these little lovelies are available at Devardi. (ps follow the link and enter to win  their monthly giveaway of 10lbs of glass, if you win and don't want it I'd be happy to adopt it from you :) ).

Hope you have great plans for a relaxing weekend.  Tomorrow I get to spend quality time with my oldest moving her into her new apartment.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Multitasking the time suck

I mentioned in an earlier post that we recently purchased a treadmill and recumbent bike.  Although exercise is probably a necessity it still feels like a time suck.  Then again so is TV and many other things I do.  My big Sis turned me onto two new (to me) series on Netflix streaming.  Downton Abbey and the lesser known Heartland.

I now know what all the Downton Abbey fuss is about and am hooked.  Heartland is based on a horse ranch in Canada that treats problem and abused horses, the scenery is just as beautiful as Sis promised and the story line is nice.  Nice in a Walton's for the modern time kinda way. (sigh) I miss the Walton's.

For those of you who don't know, a time suck is anything that is a non-productive time waster, like TV.  So now I'm making a big effort to multitask the time suck (rather than actually give it up, lol).  So, while walking on the treadmill or riding the bike I watch one of these two series.  It makes the time go faster, and is a reason to look forward to exercise time.  I still don't love exercise, but I love how I feel for the rest of the day.  I used to scoff at people who said exercise gave you more energy for the day, but I am a believer now.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What's been in the works

This week I have been rearranging my studio space (again).  This time was to accommodate the addition of a treadmill and recumbent stationary bike into the space.  I took advantage of the move to also add my bead table and storage in there and even do some reorganizing.  I will try to get yo some pics of that tomorrow.

Yesterday the temp here soared to an unprecedented 66 degrees with sun!  Yes, sun in western NY in January (it was back down in the 30's today but let's focus on the positive)!  So while the sun was out yesterday I took a few quick pics of some projects and beads I worked on in late Nov and Dec. 

First up is this cool copper cuff.  After cutting it out I textured it in my new Sizzix BigKick that I got a great Black Friday deal on.  Then I added patina with ammonia fuming and sealed it with Protectaclear.  The patina is actually a little more blue than it appears in this pic. Tip of the Day:  If you have been dreaming of a rolling mill but can't afford one the BigKick might be a temporary solution for you.

I also worked in quite a bit of enamel and copper.  The dragonfly is an older piece but I made him a new bail and a neck ring to hang from, the blue flower would also work with this neck ring.

There was some beading done.  The flat spiral bracelet is still in progress and is very similar to the necklace from the Hoops Challenge.

I worked on my lampwork skills.  It's a work in progress, still working on how not to get bubbles in my transparents. I love the paisley, too bad the ivory in the center of the paisley was very picky and burned.

Here are a couple bracelets I made from my very own beads :).  I need to rework the memory wire bracelet,    it holds it's shape well under the weight of the beads but needs more beads and it has a tendency to fling off my wrist when I talk with my hands, lol.

I had a bit of torch time today but the beads are still annealing, so those pics will have to wait too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pain is, well a pain, but...

Pain is indeed just that, a pain.  I often have horrible pain in my neck in shoulders that causes headaches so intense it's actually nauseating.  In a way the pain is my own fault, I know by now that it is often caused by stress, but sometimes I'm not entirely aware that I'm stressed until the pain comes. That coupled with the degenerated discs in my neck can be an ugly combo.  At least I haven't had the associated jaw pain in a couple years, and I give thanks for that regularly because a headache combined with a toothache type pain the length of your jaw can be really debilitating.

The positive side of this is... when the pain subsides life looks even more beautiful than before the pain began.  You are reminded how nice it is to be pain free.  I am reminded that I am lucky pain is not a constant for me as it is for so many people.  I am reminded that as long as I can still feel pain, that I can still feel.  I am reminded that as long as I can feel pain I am still living on the right side of the grass. 

Enough complaining, my pain may have kept me from creating today, but surely not tomorrow too :).  Tomorrow I move FORWARD again. What's the positive in your life today?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Poor Mr. Turtle :(

I made gifts for most everyone in the family for Christmas.  I know some of you are still waiting for your packages to arrive, I will get them mailed soon :).  Many of them I forgot to take pics of, not sure why I keep missing this step, a big DUH moment o my part.

Anyway, one of the gifts was this little lampwork turtle I made for oldest daughter Jacqui's boyfriend.  Younger daughter did the macrame for me and I made the toggle and clasp.    I think he really liked it, though I was worried it might be a lil too cutesy.  He's a big fan of turtles so he didn't mind the cute factor. Poor Mr. Turtle met his demise when he fell from Allen's neck to the terra tile floor at work :(.   My fault as it seems the toggle was a bit too small for the clasp, so i will be working on a new turtle bead and a new clasp for Allen soon.

Also got a quick and blurry shot of the mushroom pendant I made for Jacqui.  She loved it!  I had a ball making it and have a ton of ideas for a whole run of these mushroom pendants and trying my hand at implosion work.  I should have photographed this against a dark background rather than her very fair Irish skin. 


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Forward in 2013

It seems choosing a word for the year is a popular habit amongst bloggers, so I figured I would join in.  My word is FORWARD as in, move forward, pay it forward, look forward to, be forward (when necessary), etc.

The last several days here have brought the WNY winters we used to be known for but haven;t seen in several years.  First was a snowstorm that dumped 12 inches on us and it has snowed at least an inch here everyday since.  It's okay though, we are western New Yorkers, we are getting used to it again.  It has been that pretty Currier & Ives snow, big fluffy flakes floating gently on the crisp air.

Had a lovely holiday season with family.  Looking FORWARD to the year ahead and all the change it may bring.  Wishing you a safe, happy and prosperous 2013.

A few pics of the snow here fro a couple days ago.

Beads and project pics coming soon!  Oh by the way at the end of 2012 I did a couple tutorial posts over at Artisan Whimsy.  Here are the links, post 1, post 2,  and post 3.