Thursday, February 13, 2014

Socks and roses and french fries...


I wish that more people could understand how important moments like this one between my mama and my brother are. Just those times when you put your elbows on the table and talk about french fries, or sit on the couch watching an episode of Golden Girls for the 20th time and talk about the roses in the yard, or spend ten minutes in Target laughing together over all the silly holiday socks on the rack. It's not the big moments that were planned to the nth degree, or how much you bought someone, or what kind of esteem and notice that you can bring yourself by doing something for someone. The moments that mean the world are the simple ones. I would give anything to talk to my mama again about socks and roses and french fries.  I will also be forever grateful that while she was here, we did a lot of just that.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Eggs and pepper


Little known fact... I have never put pepper on my food. I cook with it all the time, but due to a mean prank played on me when I was a little girl which involved unknowingly drinking a large amount of pepper followed by significant amounts of vomiting, I have never added it to my plate. Today I did. You know, I started this out as a silly post about eggs and pepper, but as I typed it, I started to think that even tiny victories in life are still victories. Sometimes it might take 50 years to let something go and move on, but it can be done. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Easy Peasy...




Easy project, right? 
Take the room-sized book case apart in the garage √
Move pieces into the office √
Replace all of the missing and broken pegs √
Reassemble...yeah...
I need a 4 man crew, ropes and pulleys, a floor jack, and a cherry picker...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Deep thoughts...

As I peer into the bag where the remaining tortilla chips are all just pieces and try to decide which broken bit will be the best one to scoop up the last of the salsa, my mind pictures each of them cowering and trying to hide while thinking "Don't pick me!" Then I wonder... is that a creative writer's mind at work, or is it possible that I am just a little demented? Hmmm...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Life moments...

So... there's this commercial that I just find a little creepy. The dad is off dressing up as a weird robot while the little kids 'charge' their glow-in-the-dark pull-up underwear under the lamp. He charges into the room and shines a big flashlight on their underwear (which they are now wearing) and yells "extra charge" or something to that effect. In my sarcastic, facetious way, I say to my husband, "Oh yeah, that's not weird...let me just run into the bedroom and shine a big flashlight on your privates". Now, usually he will either agree or disagree with my rants and we will have a lively discussion. Tonight, however, after several seconds of dead silence on his part, I hear, "OK". 
...I do NOT look at him because I can HEAR the damn grin...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Something Wicked This Way Comes...


I love Autumn. I love plants. I love All Hallows Eve. What better way to ring in the season than to do a little surgical alteration to a skull and then give him plant hair?!
I think my skully friend looks very festive with his green sorta-dreads! Hmmm...maybe I shoulda left the knife in. And added a couple of spiders... Every handsome scary guy needs a little hair decoration, right?! 
Well, until I decide which freaky and frightening things to decorate his lovely head with, he is living happily in the sun room with the sparkly witch signs. ...and the real spiders... ;-)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The dream vs. the reality...

The Dream...


The Reality...

To be fair to myself...I closed the storage (it cost as much as a tank of gas each month!)
 and what doesn't fit in the garage yet is in the house. And I am more or less camping between 2 houses, and things tend to stay where they get dumped when I am sorting what to take and/or bring back! But I am going to take a stab at this particular mess today. I have 4 different projects going on that table. Maybe if I sort a bit, I can actually get some work done!

Things learned...

I have learned certain things over the years...some rather important and/or earthshaking, some not so much. For instance; When I was young, just starting out having my own space, I thought that a coat rack was the coolest piece of furniture. You know, the lovely oak ones that stand by the front door with all of the beautifully curved hooks on which to put your hats, coats, scarves, etc.? Well, after many years of waiting, I could finally fit one into the budget. I was so happy! I brought it home, placed it reverently in the corner, polished it to a gleaming shine, and stood back to admire my long-sought piece of furniture. Then came the hats. Lots of hats. And coats. Bulky coats, light-weight coats. Sweatshirts. Some scarves, a bag or two... One day, I had to face the realization that what I had envisioned and treasured in my mind, my beautiful, elegant piece of entry-way furniture, had in reality, turned into a giant pile of laundry-on-a-stick...in my living room, right by the front door, the first thing people saw when they came into my house. Eventually everything made it's way back into closets and the coat rack was donated to the Goodwill. A story about a bad furniture choice? Absolutely! A subtle life lesson? Possibly...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Project


     This is the project I have decided to work on to ring in the new year. These will be pendants, probably hung on colored ribbon. The ones that say 'Cheap Crystal Ball' will have small clear marbles soldered onto them.
     I think that how we begin each new year is a good indicator of how we will spend it, so I have decided NOT to begin it by wondering what I will do with it, but by making art. Since my goal for 2012 is to be more productive, and to consistently meet my short-term goals in order to achieve my long-term ones, it makes sense to me that I start with a fae project that I plan to sell at the most amazing venue in the world...FaerieWorlds. There is nothing more fun as a vendor than to spend 3 days in beautiful Oregon,  be surrounded by thousands of happy, festive people, eat lots of lovely (mostly organic) faire food, and listen to live music by bands from around the world. Oh yeah, and selling stuff...lots of stuff!
     I hope to be at many smaller events throughout the year as well, and to have a profitable year overall, but FaerieWorlds is my biggest 'fun for me' goal.  So starting 2012 with a magickal project makes sense, at least to my skewed sense of reality! May you all have as productive and profitable year as I plan to have!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pain, Loss, and Hope...


 M'Lady - rescued 5 July 01 (about 5 years old) - passed 29 Dec. 11


RIP M'Lady.
You are leaving a giant, dog-shaped hole in my heart, but only because I love you so much. You have been the best friend and most treasured family to us, and we are happy that you are now at peace. Run free, my love...

*******************************

When I first started my blog, I decided to keep it light and fun...pictures of pretty things and places, descriptions and "how-to's" from the studio, and a bit of humor. Like most everyone, the New Year makes me re-evaluate my accomplishments in the old year, and my goals for the new one. 2011 wasn't a total success for me. There were a lot of goals that I let slip away, a lot of personal deadlines I just basically blew off, and a lot of time spent wasted, rather than being industrious and actively participating in my own life. Not a huge success.
...and I am ending the year with pain and loss.

I think that making the new year better than the last will take a conscious effort. It will involve being more responsible for my actions, making no excuses, wasting no time, and setting and meeting goals that move my life and my business forward.

...and I will forever be inspired by the spirit of my beautiful four-legged girl, and all the hours she spent by my side, both in the studio, and out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Better day...

Well, so far, I'm liking this lid a whole lot better! Amazing what can happen when I take my time, and quit while I'm ahead! ...note to self...narrow tape, silver-backed...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lessons...

Some days you're the windshield...some days you're the bug...
I always say, 'every mistake is a learning experience'. You know those days when you're just fated to learn a lot??? Yeah...
     Lesson 1: Don't take the short-cut...you'll just end up lost and have to back-track and go the long way around after all...
     Lesson 2: Don't try to finish the project when you're tired...your muse is tired too, and is going to be pissed off if you keep her up...

I  know that when I am working with a glass pattern, where pieces are going to be cut to fit together, (see picture) I am supposed to cut each piece individually...


     Drawing the pattern (as it will look when finished) onto the glass and cutting the pieces out that way is always a bad idea...
But what the heck...I can cut really straight, what can go wrong? I'll just take the short-cut! Uh huh...Well, there's always that one tiny bump on the corner of one piece that needs to be ground off. Then one little edge of another piece is a teeny bit too sharp and will probably cut the copper tape when I wrap it, so I'll just bump it against the grinder once...no problem, right? Well now, the other 2 pieces need to adjusted just a smidge to re-align the edges with the first two... see where I'm going with this???
     Well, the copper tape and solder do hide some minor differences, so it's all good, right? On to the taping...


Remember the 3/8" v 1/4" copper tape controversy? Well, since the top is a free-standing flat piece which will get handled a lot, I want it to be sturdy. I like the way the wider tape looks when soldered on the edges of the box, and the tiny bit of extra width it provides will allow for more metal (solder) and provide stability...Yeah...this is where the tired muse got a little pissy and neglected to mention to my tired brain that, while it looks good on a single edge, butting two edges together is going to double the width, and look ridiculously clumpy! She's got a mean streak, that girl... I like the edges on this lid, but the internal lines look like stove pipes! Five lovely pieces of glass, all hooked together by the art studio version of heavy metal! And did Miss Muse stop there at her spitefulness? Oh nooooo....
    
Let me explain about the tape used for stained glass... Solder only sticks to metal, so in order to put solder around the edges of glass, you have to put metal on them. You can either encase them in pre-made strips of lead or zinc, called came, or you can wrap them with copper tape (Tiffany method).  There are different kinds of copper tape...copper-backed, (no other color on the adhesive side), black-backed, (coated with tarry black glue), and silver backed, which looks nice with clear glass, where you will be seeing a little of the back side of the tape through the project. Now...do you think Miss Pissy Muse had the courtesy to say "Hey, wait a minute. You should probably switch over to the pretty silver tape to put that beveled clear piece in"? Nooooo... So let me sum this all up...
     Now I have a lid which is made of mismatched pieces, held together by a thick, clunky road map of (now wasted!) solder, with a beautiful center princess of a gem rudely showing off her dirty underwear!
     ...sigh...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Those who live in glass boxes...

     Well hello, Blog, I remember you! Today I am going to tell you about making glass boxes. You can pass along the info to any humans who may happen along...
     I have a lot of pretty glass that I like to turn into things...boxes, jewelry, wind chimes...


This is some of the glass I use for stained glass projects. I think I was a magpie in my last life, because I can never pass up anything colorful and shiny! Sometimes I buy glass with  a specific project in mind, but more often, I get it just because it sparkled and the color sang to me! Small window panes, card holders, sun catchers, and boxes of every shape and size have been known to spring from this shelf...


Now this stuff...this is cool! It's for fusing. I cut it up, break it, grind it, whatever, and stack/pile it and cook it in my little kiln. I have a small Paragon kiln, with my eye on a bigger, floor model when I become rich and famous! I make mostly jewelry with this, but picture frames, small dishes, and other melted things have been known to appear...

Lately, my muse has me working on boxes. I like to make them, people have been asking for them...it all works out! Pink ones, purple ones, clear ones, square ones, long ones, boxes to hold trinkets, tarot cards, and baby teeth...The possibilities are endless!

This pretty lavender glass is for the sides of a tarot card box. I have decided that I don't like the look of corners that have heavy solder on them, so I am beveling my short edges at 45 degree angles to make the corners tighter. That does give me a slightly wider edge to wrap with the copper tape, though, so I am trying the 3/8" instead of the 1/4". So far, the 1/4" is perfect on the long sides, but short on the bevels, and the 3/8" is perfect on the bevels, but too wide on the long sides...trimming may be in order!



Here are the sides of 3 boxes taped and ready to solder together. The pink is has the 1/4" copper, and the lavender has the 3/8". The difference is noticeable.



Sides are together, all nice and square...time to cut some bottoms. I have learned not to cut the bottoms until I have the sides together...no matter how careful I am, if I just cut to pre-measured sizes, something always changes during construction. I have added a lot of glass to the scrap box that way! Now I put the sides together, then use them for a template...it's working much better!

Got the bottom glass cut, time to smooth the edges and make it fit. I love the sound of grinding glass in the morning!



Bottoms for the 3 boxes ground, taped, and ready to solder. I tin everything first (apply a thin coat of solder), then I solder them into the bottom of the side assemblies.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Got a new project nearly finished today. This is for one of my girls' eighth grade graduation.




I tatted this using Lizbeth 10 in black, adding swarovski crystals, and flowers to match the material of her dress. The dress is black embroidery on saphire.




Saphire velvet ribbon adds the finishing touch! Well...except for the chain and clasp!




I like the asymmetric flower petals (they are that way on the dress) and the way the flowers and the crystals are off-set.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Soldered necklace


Steps…uh…1ish through 4ish of making a piece of soldered glass jewelry. It is to the point where the glass pieces with the collage inside have been wrapped with copper tape. Next is the fun part…heating the up soldering iron and melting things!!!



Now I have soldered the edges, added the jump rings, and antiqued the small ones. Some of the black will come off when I polish them, and they will be a little shiny again. Going for the whole ‘look what I found under the floorboards in that old house’ look, so we’ll see. The small pieces are going to be a bracelet, the large ones are destined to be a necklace. Next comes chains, beads, buttons, crystals, shells, dingly-danglies (that’s a techy term)…whatever I find to stick on them.




Well, no matter how I poked, prodded, and pushed, the bracelet parts would not co-operate. They decided they wanted to be a necklace, and that, as they say, was that! So here they are…they got their way, and became a necklace. I hate it when the inanimate objects win…and they do that a lot!!!      ...sigh...



I love the way this looks...the glass pieces turned out great! Not happy with the way it hangs, though, so I will probably be taking it apart and changing the shape. In the words of my hero, Flo...happens to me all the time!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tatted works in progress

This is a bracelet, tatted with size 10 black crochet  cotton. I like the shape, and the charm, but I don't like the looseness of the stitches. It's soft and rather floppy. I think I will use a smaller diameter needle next time.  I also discovered and fell in love with Lizbeth tatting thread since I made this. Lizbeth has more body, is slightly glossy, and looks really elegant.

Size 10 crochet cotton again, in kelly green. I will block and stiffen them (which should improve both the floppiness and the distortion) and put them on pinbacks.  My grandson wanted 4 leaf clovers for his teacher and room mom, so I designed these for him. I thought they were too swirly at first, but they grew on me! He loves them, so I guess it's all good!

Now we have the Lizbeth size 10 thread in evergreen. It has a little stiffness to it, so the final product lays beautifully, and isn't floppy. It doesn't really show in the photo, but it has a slight gloss to it which is very pretty. This is a filigree piece adapted from a doily pattern. The dime is to show the delicate size of the stitches. I haven't figured out how I'm going to finish it. Sometimes these things have to percolate awhile!

Now for some color! This is a choker, done in a single row of split rings with pearls. I used Lizbeth size 10, leaf green medium. You can see the gloss a little better here. When I get to the other end, I think I will stitch on a cross bar so the closure is a simple toggle and ring. I love the color of these pearls! Oh yeah...this has an almost invisible, shiny Kreinik blending fiber running through it. That's what the pearls are on, since the drill holes are too small for thread. I like the sparkle it adds, and the pearls fit on it!

This is the current design I am working on. It's a finer thread that the other ones, Lizbeth size 20, done on a fine needle. I love tiny, fine stitches! It's hard to see here, but I have worked tiny hexagonal glass beads into the pattern. (After all, I started out as a beader!) I love the way the design is coming together, but am rewriting it with a couple of modifications. I think it will lay more nicely if I change a couple of the join points, and swap out a couple of the beaded picots. Prototypes are always a little awkward, and I always end up making changes in how I first write the pattern.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Things I get to play with...

I was playing in my rock and gem trays the other day, and thought they would make pretty pictures...so here they are!

Amber, Hematite, Ocean Jasper, Ruby Fuschite, Bronzite, Onyx

Labradorite

Lava, Botswana Agate, Unakite, Pietersite, African Green Opal, Hemi Jasper, Aquamarine, Moss Agate, Shell
 
Rose Quartz, Mother of Pearl, Rainbow Moonstone, Black Gold Amazonite, Aqua Calcite, Purple Imperial Jasper,

Cultured Pearls, Stick Pearls, Blister Pearls, Ceramic Moon Jar

Sponge Coral, Branch Coral, African Ruby, Carnelian

Turquoise

Shells

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More studio shots

OK...more studio shots! This is my 'wall of potential'. There are 3 sections, each 6' x 3' x18" metal shelving. (You know, the kind you buy at Walmart in a box and put together with those little slide-on connector thingies). Nearly everything I could ever want, to do any project, is in here... somewhere. Fabric, yarn, trims, gem-stone-bead-metal cases, books (how-to, why-to, someday I'm going to, because I liked the socks on the cover...), resin, acid, polymer clay, wool, spindles, glass, copper...you get the picture!

Here's the close-up of the 'fabric/sewing section' that I promised my friend Jerry. She is a fellow seamstress and artist, and I think she thinks I'm kidding about being on fabric overload! (and this isn't all of it!) I love to sew, and don't make nearly enough time to do it these days. I do the fun old crafty things like making clothes and quilting, but I really love costuming - Victorian, Renaissance, bellydance... I love rich, vibrant silks and satins, heavy brocades, gossamer sheers, lace...I really love lace! (Which leads me to another topic...tatting...but that's a post for another day!)


Some of my glass for stained glass projects, and copper tubing I use in my jewelry work. I like to hammer the tubing to make metal backgrounds for a lot of my jewelry pieces. It gives me the texture and depth I like. Air-conditioner tubing...it's a lot more versatile than you might think! I have glass that is textured, painted, iridescent, opaque, transparent, thick, thin...you name it. That gold one is going to make some really cool faerie wings!


My work apron...I think this says it all...haha

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Getting back to work in the studio




































I found some floor!!! My studio is a fairly small room. In it's past incarnation, it was my den. After a year-plus of real life kept me, for the most part, from working in it, it had devolved into a store-room. I wish I had thought to take a 'before' picture, but when I started cleaning it, I had no idea I was going to blog about it! In my defense, it was semi-organized, and the piles were relatively neat. Stuff for storage here...stuff for Goodwill there...unfinished projects in the wall unit...and dust everywhere! Well, I have decided it is time to take the studio and my artistic life back. It has been a long year, and I have missed my art. This blog fell by the wayside too, and has been long ignored. I am hoping that both my art, and my blog will come to life again, and that I will be able to use each to inspire the other, both to inspire myself, and share with friends along the way.






Having found the floor, it's time to find the flat surfaces. This is my soldering station on the right, and my grinding and glass cutting table on the left. (Ignore the mess under the table...I am!) The window looks out onto the street in front of my house, and keeps me from feeling too closed in while I work. Mostly I just need to organize and dust here...make up a new crockpot of acid, a new bowl of neutralizer, and check the grinder bit. I have designs for soldered glass jewelry to get cut and laid out, a couple of silver and brass pieces to put together, and a peacock stained glass window to design and build. My hands will never catch up with the ideas in my head!









This one needs to be sorted. It's my work/assembly table, but right now it's covered with photo albums, scrapbooks, kidling's school papers, half finished projects, and dust. But you can see the potential! My favorite things? My Ott floor lamp, and my Michael's cabinet filled with ribbons, glass paints, scrapbook paints and stains, dyes, glitter, and everything else small and vital. There is also a bottle of seawater from the Atlantic ocean that we brought home last year from the best vacation ever. Still not sure what I will do with that, but I am thinking about some water-filled glass charms for friends and family who know just what that trip meant to me.



































Two more of my favorite things...my glass kiln (the blue one) and my polymer clay oven. I love to fuse glass. There are some varieties of glass that, when they cook, they completely change color. One is as clear as window glass, but cooks to raspberry, and another one is lime green, and cooks to orange. Very cool! Another fun thing is bubble powder...I sprinkle it on top of one piece of glass, cover it with another piece of glass, and when I cook it, it makes crazy bubbles inside the piece. There's glow-in-the-dark glass, iridescent glass, you name it! My latest thing with the polymer is horns. Fantasy horns. Glittery horns, twisted horns, feathery horns... And faeries. Little sculptures of faeries...bad faeries, street faeries...not your typical faeries. I hope to be at Faerie Worlds next year...a huge event in Oregon, as a vendor. Time to make all this pay!



































Last but not least, one of my long abandoned projects. It is hard to see in this picture, but this is the Faerie King's Crown. Hand-wrapped copper wire, glass, and pearls. I am about 1/2 way around the first round. When it is done it will have about 2000 beads and pearls on it! I will probably wrap the base wire with ribbon or leather, and now I can't wait to get back to work on it.