Saturday, February 23, 2013

Painting James' room, a sibling project

My kids have been off school all week for "Midwinter Break".  Why?  I don't know, to make parents crazy perhaps?  If that's the case it almost worked, lol.

There has been a lot going on with my middle daughter (16 yrs) for the last three years which I might explain here one day, but today I'm not quite up to it yet.  Because of all that is going on it leaves my youngest (11 yrs) out in the cold so to speak, quite often.  My oldest (22 yrs) being the kind soul that she is wanted to do something just for him. 

James has wanted his room painted purple ever since his sister was allowed to paint hers bright orange with poison green spots over a year ago.  I hear some of you out there gasping at the color choices.  In the often erratic strange life my family lives we have decided to choose our battles carefully.  What color the kids rooms are just isn't  that big a deal to me anymore, not a battle worth fighting.  After all I don't have to spend any amount of time in there, once a day for wake up call and occasionally tucking in if the youngest wants me too.

James inherited his room in a shade of mint green.  It had been this color since his sister had it years ago.  The kids did this project together, unsupervised by me (except a minor skirmish that I had to settle).  Jacqui works for Home Depot, so she was able to pick up Oops paint really cheap.  Oops paint is not the color the customer really wanted, sometimes even though it is the color they chose.  She ended up getting two slightly different colors of purple so in the photo below you will see them mixing those together in a waste paper basket.

Painting prep, removing curtains, moving furniture etc.  That's Jacqui the paint fairy assembling a paint pole and her very helpful sister Jenna lying on the bed :).

Here they are all working!  For the most part they did work well together, other than the small battle mentioned above.  Oh, and James may have put in the least work despite it being his room. 

Future project of the paint fairy is my dining room.  Jacqui is doing that for me for Mother's Day!  The sibs are supposed to help her, we will see how that goes.

In beading news, I have some new components to list in my Etsy shop tomorrow.  My bead soup is cooking along nicely with one piece already completed.  My Challenge of Music piece is almost done as well.  Of course none of the challenge pieces can be shown until their reveal dates, but they will be here before you know it.  Ohhhh and I get to go visit my big Sis next week and go to Berks Bead Bazaar while I am there, YAY!  (Hmm, I should probably call and let her know that it's a go before she reads it here first.)

Hope you are all having a relaxing weekend doing whatever it is that makes you happy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge Reveal 3

I almost forgot to get my earrings done and photographed for the third reveal of the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge.  The challenge is to create at least one pair of earrings per week using art beads. 

My first pair for this reveal is made from hand cut copper discs that I textured in my Sizzix BigKick.  Then I fumed them with ammonia to get the blue patina and sealed them with Protectaclear to keep the patina.  I hung them from some of my hand forged balled copper ear wires.
The second pair I created just this morning and were inspired by Kristy Abner's Drops of Rain earrings posted on the Earrings Everyday blog.  Mine are annealed steel wire frames accented with  enameled copper headpins to hold turquoise lampwork beads.  The ear wires are wire wrapped directly to the frames.  Wore these to a Stanley (did you know the Stanley Co was still around?) party today, they were lighter than I expected.  Now I'm not sure I can list these because I like them so much.
Be sure to visit the AJE Blog to visit other participants in the challenge!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

They're HERE...

My bead soup from April, the Brooklyn Bead Goddess,  arrived yesterday. Be sure to stop by April's blog and check out her work.

When I opened it, I felt like this:

Wanna see?  Her packaging was pretty, and the beads inside were gorgeous!  Ideas began bouncing around my head immediately.  But that will have to wait, I had to get some pictures to share with all of you.

Loved the color combo of her packaging.  I have always enjoyed opening lots of little packages, just like my Christmas stocking when I was a kid.  The little pillow boxes all have love written in different fonts all over them.  Remember my post about fab packaging?  It really does make a difference, it added so much to the excitement of opening my soup mix.

Here is what I found inside those lil packages of beady yumminess...

Isn't the intensity of the yellow, black and turquoise beads amazing?  I seldom work with yellow but these beads are really speaking to me.  April's dot work is well, spot on.  I have always been a fan of hematite but for some reason haven't used it in my jewelry designs, so glad April sent those along.  The hematite cones are really cool, I will be hunting for more of those for sure.

Sorry the purple dot beads are blurry, must be my hands were shaking with the excitement.  The copper filigree bead is on the larger side and beautiful.  Isn't April's lampwork awesome?  I am very inspired.  Can't wait to get started making pieces with her little works of art.  Hope I can do them justice.

April's soup arrived too, she had such nice things to say about my work.  I was honored by her words.  One of the great things about the Bead Soup Blog Hop is getting to know another beader a little better.  Nice to be able to connect with people who like to do the things you like to do. 

Here is a quick shot of the soup I sent April.  We aren't supposed to ask our partners what colors they do or do not like etc, the idea is that they will be challenged.  I might have bent the rules a bit,  I did a little cyber sleuthing and deduced that April likes purple and flowers.    I can't wait to see what she creates with it.  (I did have a moment where I questioned sending the dragonfly because some people are really freaked out by bugs, luckily April is not one of those people.)

Some of the components were made by me; flower, clasp, dragonfly, headpins, earwires and enamel copper tube beads.  I sent some hollow lampwork beads too, not sure how I left those out of this pic. If your interested there will be some similar components listed in my Etsy shop soon.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Copper and enamel tube beads in production

I sat down the other day and cut what seemed like a mountain of copper tubing into short lengths for enameling into tube beads.  I cut around 4 feet on tubing and here was the result.

The whole pile fits in  a little 4 inch bowl.  I flared some of the tubes to play with some additional shapes.  The flared ones look a little like spools don't they?  Then I set to filing all the tube edges so they don't cut through the stringing material. 

I have lots of ideas for these including some Monet inspired beads for spring.  So many ideas and so few tubes.  Guess I better go start cutting some more.

I plan to get them enameled and listed on Etsy this week for those who are interested.

I treated myself to a dark chocolate Dove bar yesterday,  They have little sayings in the wrappers now, sort of like fortune cookies. 

Thanks Dove.  I will try to remember to do that :). 
Hope you are being free, happy and you this weekend too!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Plaiting with wire, an experiment

I think viking knit is absolutely gorgeous and a great fit to go with the metal and glass pieces I make.  However, I have not been able to get a really nice even tension no matter how much I practice and it really hurts my wimpy little hands. 

A friend recently posted some stunning pieces of wire crochet on the Painting with Fire ning and assured my that it is indeed easier than viking knit.  Off I went in search of a crochet hook and some videos on crochet.  Found lots of videos, but didn't turn up a single crochet hook here at home, I know there is at least one here somewhere.  Nearest store to buy one?  28 miles from here, not a trip I'm making for a 2.00 crochet hook.

So, what to do after that?  Improvise of course, I do this a lot, lol.  I remembered seeing 8 and 12 strand plaits on Youtube being done with either fiber or leather.  It stuck me that it just might work with wire so I started to experiment with 8 strand plait.  Normally this would have a "core" of some kind but wire won't need a permanent core to hold it's shape, just one to build it on.  I'm sure I'm not the first person to have done this, but I don't recall seeing it anywhere before.

Pawed through my wire stash and found some 24g aluminum wire to start with, then started plaiting it around one of the knitting needles that I use not to knit but to coil wire around.  Here was that first wobbly result.
Not bad, but this size gets very thin when you tug on the ends.  You can also use a drawing plate like you do for viking knit, but on this light gauge that wasn't necessary.
The first experiment was at least good enough to decide I wanted to make a second attempt with something a little heftier.  So I switched to 18 g, aluminum again because I didn't want to waste my copper or brass on the experiment.  I used the same size knitting needle as a base and came up with this.

This was more like it.  When done and pulled, then drawn through the plate this one ends up being about  1/4 inch in diameter, though I'm certian you could draw it smaller if that was the look you are after. 
Now I need to play with it in copper and brass.  Aluminum is a nice enough look, but I fear it wont hold up to the abuse a bracelet can take, necklace maybe though.  Then the wheels began turning about being able to capture things inside these plaited "tubes", like fiber or beads.  Maybe a place to use up some of the uglies, as they would be seen as much?    Fiber would be cool, espeially the whiskery kinds so some would poke through.  Ohhh the possiblities.   I will let you know the results when I get more done.  Maybe I will even to a tutorial if anyone is interested.  As I mentioned before, I'm sure I'm not the first to do this, but I haven't seen it out there anywhere.
What did you experiment with this week?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Soup's's way (in the morning)

My soup for my BSBP partner, April G., is packed and ready to go in the mail in the morning.  It was ready to go today, but I was sidetracked by having the kids home for a snow day.  Not that the snow day was in anyway necessary, but the school erred on the side of caution, probably because we were slated to have freezing rain that never arrived.  Hope you all weathering Nemo well, we are on the very edge and barely being brushed by his little fin.

Want to see what I'm sending April?  Here it is...

Ohhhh, you wanted to know what is in the box?  OK...
How's that?  Oh, now you want to know what's in those little boxes???
You didn't think I was actually going to ruin the surprise did you?  That's one of the rules, no peeking until the soup mixes arrive.  She only lives one state away so we should be revealing soon.  I'm hoping she likes it.

Final piece from Lucite and Clay Blog Hop

Finally had some sun Wednesday to take pics of my last piece from the Lucite and Clay Blog Hop.  I used up every little Lucite bead that came in my stash :).

Here it is, a 10g copper wire cuff, wrapped with 18g coated wire.  Dangles made from balled copper wire headpins in 20g.  I think this might be my favorite piece that I made from this hop.  Hard and a lil edgy with a feminine side (kinda like me).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hmmmm, what to do with the uglies...

So I have these beads that I made, you know the kind, not awful enough to grid into frit but not nice enough to use as is.  Some were experiments, as much of my work is since I'm still pretty new to the whole lampwork gig.  And I had been wanting to make some etched beads, because I think it's a cool look, more subdued. I thought about Armor Etch (I think that's the name) but really didn't want to take that kind of time and work to etch.  I'm basically a lazy , work smarter not harder kinda gal.

I have a tumbler for my metal and have the grit packs for stones which I hadn't used yet.  So, I tried tumbling, like you do with "faux" sea glass, but nothing happened, still shiny and just as ugly.  Then I ran across a post at For the Love of Beads about tumbling.  That led me to research some more and try again.  Turns out that one of two things were the problem for me.The last time I tried I only let them go about 4 hours with absolutely zero results, not a scratch or nick on a single bead. I checked this batch several times along the way and nothing was happening, but I thought let's just leave em go awhile. I had read on a sea glass tutorial that it can take up to 5 days.   I wish I could tell you exactly which one but since I tried both solutions at once I can't be sure if it was one, the other or both.  I added finer grit in with my coarser grit that I had tried previously and I had to tumble for about 36 hrs before the magic happened. 

Here are the results.  Sorry I forgot to take before photos.

Okay, so that one bead there in the lower right photo is still wonky, no amount of tumbling is going to fix that, lol.  That one did teach me a valuable lesson though, make sure your large beads are cool enough before they go in the annealer or they can sag on you.

The wind is starting to blow out of the East already tonight.  Normally our breezes come from the West, when it comes from the other way it's NEVER good, hurricane force storms or blizzards.  Since it's February, this will be the edge of a blizzard.  A Nor'easter, named Nemo (who names a horrible storm after a cute lil clown fish?)  is due to collide with normal our lake effect front from the north.  We will be spared what the coast is going to get.  My thoughts are with you all that are due to bear the brunt of Nemo.  Be prepared and stay home if you can.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I got my partner!

I got my email today's revealing my partner for the Bead Soup Blog Party.  I have followed the other parties, but this is my first time as a participant and I am thrilled to be a part of it!  If you are not familiar with the BSBP, you can check out all the particulars here.  We are a part of the second reveal date which is April 6th.  Big huge hugs and thanks to Lori Anderson for putting all of this together for more than 500 of us beady people.

My partner is April Grinaway of Brooklyn Bead Goddess.  I spent a little time looking around on April's site and am blown away by her work, so sleek and professional.  If you have read my blog before you will know that I have been working on honing my own lampwork skills.  I can't wait to see what she sends! 

My soup for April  is still simmering, but  should be ready for the mail by Friday.  In the meantime take a look at some of April's work...


Saturday, February 2, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge Second Reveal

Continuing on with the one pair of earrings a week challenge from Art Jewelry Elements.  This time I really only did the one pair a week as I was completing the Lucite and Clay challenge from my previous post.

Here's what I have for you this week.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.  Be sure to go to the AJE site to see the other blogs or the AJE Pinterest board.

This pair is made from a pair of gear hoops by Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio.  Be sure to check her Etsy shop for lots of drool worthy ceramic pieces.  The center hoops are enameled copper by me and the ear wires are hand made by me as well.  Really need to get these listed on Etsy, but I'm having a hard time parting with them.

The second pair for this reveal is all component made by me other than the Swarovski bicones of course.  This week I learned to make hollow lampwork beads and this is one the pairs of them. Pairs of hollow beads are proving to be a little tricky for me in getting the size to match, this pair is pretty close. The nice thing about the hollow beads, besides the look of them, is they are quite a bit lighter so I can use larger beads for earrings.  On my monitor these are appearing almost the size they are in real life.

Lucite and Clay Blog Hop Reveal

Today is the big reveal for the lucite and clay blog hop I mentioned on Thursday's post.  Sponsored by Lisa Liddy of Pine Ridge Treasures.  Thanks to Lisa for putting this all together and mailing us all our little packets of bead awesomeness.

A quick reminder of what I received to play with, lucite in shades of pink.  As mentioned in the previous post both lucite and pink are a creative stretch for me.

I created two pieces and as of tonite one is still in the works.  My procrastination and sore hands kept me from finishing the third.  Hopefully the third will be finished and added to this post tomorrow.  First up in the completed category is a little pair of earrings, the remind of gasplant flowers.  One of the advantages of lucite is how light it is for earrings!  Too bad my budget is currently on a no new beads diet or I would be searching for more of these little petal beads.
Second on the finished list is a necklace, made with that pretty floral focal bead.  I added some of my own lampwork in the way of leafy headpins and hollow beads.  Then I added a 4 strand plaited ribbon "chain".  I have never done 4 strand plait. The plait gave me a bit of trouble as I tend to do everything from cross stitch to braiding horses manes and tails in a very tight tension.  Ribbon does not appreciate being worked tightly, and when you over tighten it buckles and puckers. 
(Sorry this is a lil dark.)
The third and as yet unfinished piece is a bracelet.  The headpins below will dangle from the wire wraps on the cuff. 
While I finish up the bracelet, I hope you will hop along and visit the other participants.  Be sure to stop by A Grateful Artist  - Pine Ridge Treasures and thank Lisa for putting this together :).
Isolina Perez, Isolina Perez
Jennifer Reno, Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Tracy Stillman, Tracy Stillman Designs
Charlene Jacka, Clay Space
Therese Frank, Therese's Treasures
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Ashleigh Kleinhans Becker, Sela Designs Jewelry
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Alice McCarthy, Northwoods Creative Studio - you are here
Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Annia Failde, AnniamAe