Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finally Fall

As I have said before, it is hard to tell that fall has arrived in South Georgia.  Unlike Alabama, Walmart still has flip flops for sale and the temps are still rising to the mid-80's during the day.  It has finally stopped reading triple digits on my car thermometer when  I get in after school (just 91F today), and the AC at the house has stopped running 24/7.  But on the ground, signs of fall abound.  I picked up some evidence on my Sunday walk.  I had to shake a lot of sand out of these things, and Monday it started raining and has done so off and on since.  Glad we aren't having the weather of the Carolinas. 
angel's trumpets are taller than the garage

¿wild portulaca?
live oak & water oak acorns and a beauty berry
pecan and dogwood hips
large oblong red berries are from the southern magnolia
far left - fist-sized magnolia dropping
it's a monster & worse than pine cones to run over with the mower
I'll leave you with a more pleasant image...this autumn's super star

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Art Jewelry Blog

Check out the new blog, Love My Art Jewelry, which is a combined enterprise by Kelli Pope, MaryAnn Carroll, Mary Jane Dodd, Barbara Lewis, Sharon LeVart, and Julianna Cannon.  Their motto - creating handmade with handmade - is also their mission.  All the artists are promoting creating pieces using handmade components and beads.  I'm excited to have one more place to go and read about the creative process.  You've also got just a few more days to get in on their inaugural giveaway.
 There are a few more blog entries after the giveaway post so be sure you don't miss those.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Harvest Moon Lily

I just finished this tonight.  The light was disappearing as fast as I could snap pictures.  I'll take more in better light, but I really wanted to post.  There are many things I would do differently - particularly assembly - if I made another similar piece.  This is really the first thing I did without using a pattern of any sort.  I just sat down and decided to try tubular herringbone.  Then I realized I could use a beaded bead and some tiny drop beads when I got to the ends.  Probably any two of the elements would work together better - the three seem a bit over the top.  But what the heck...I survived the harvest moon occurring simultaneously with homecoming week during the hottest fall anyone can remember.  I have super powers and I can be over the top if I want.  Besides, maybe it is the proportions not the number of elements. 
harvest moon lily
Peyote stitch toggle bar; netted toggle ring
slightly wonky beaded bead that had been sitting around for months
You can tell that I love flowers and art nouveau. I love my crazy stylized flower bracelet because: 1) this is my first original piece of bead weaving, 2) I'm wild about the glowing coppery beads on the beaded bead, 3) an idea came to me and I was able to translate it into stitching, 4) it shows many of the things I have learned over the past 10 months of bead weaving.  I can tell you that the loopy lily type folding over of the herringbone in the above pic came from working on a pattern by Smadar Grossman in the 2/2010 Bead&Button, the toggle ring is a modified version of the bling ring in the June/July Beadwork, the triangular opening came from a Beadwork or Bead & Button feature about mastering herringbone stitch (flat herringbone was made with inclusions), and the beaded bead is the technique I worked on last spring.  I worked hard to ask myself, "What if..."  After reading La Bella Joya's blog about finding your own path to creativity and originality I was thinking that I really needed a lot of open space and time to explore the fantastic tips she gave.  I even thought to myself, well, at least next spring I should be able to block out days to just play around.  But I did start thinking about some of Marcie's points: what shapes do I really like?  what colors am I drawn to again and again? These thoughts were in the back of my mind as I was working without a plan.  And then something started to take shape in my mind.  I needed to get a long enough piece of tubular herringbone because - WOW - I had an idea for both ends.  This may be the riding-the-bike-with-no-trainingwheels-for-the-first-time feeling, the piece may be a little wobbly, but what the heck.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Giveaway Alert

Chinook Designs is giving away a $55 gift certificate to CSN storesClick here to sign up at Chinook Designs.  I went over to the main site and discovered that I could buy anything from a new bed to dinnerware to shoes to eco-friendly luggage online and usually with free shipping.  Here are a couple of things on my wish list:
I could get the corgi boys fitted out in a studded blue leather collar

Alessi Orientales set of serving have to see these...
...the sushi set...
...the salt and pepper...
...and of course, here is what I would actually buy if I won...the full spectrum SPT EasyEye Energy Saving Floor Lamp

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saltillo goes Armenian

A few weeks ago I posted that I had started a wide peyote stitch cuff.  My husband actually expressed interest in having it, but when push came to shove, he backed out and I finished it to fit my wrist.
weighing in at 48 mm wide X 190 mm long

three snaps close this baby
you can see the overlap where the snaps are sewn
The pattern is by Pascale Guichaoua-Mikovic and appeared as an on-line project in Bead&Button magazine in 2009.  I altered it only a tiny bit, but have listed at the end of the post some other ideas I might try  if I make another.  Every time I make a wide, high contrast, highly detailed cuff which includes black, white, and some other bright colors, I get people who want to buy it on the spot. Except they want to pay $40. 

My goal was was to get a group of items up for sale by the end of the summer, but this hasn't happened.  One stumbling block is pricing.  I have seen loads of advice on this.  The reality is that I'm a hobbyist and I want to make enough to pay for my hobby.  But I also have feelings about undercutting artists and designers who make a living selling their work.  I have one avenue I need to investigate - an arts center in the town where I work which has an under $100 gallery. Perhaps I'll go and check out the local pricing.

I was wearing this today when I went shopping and a woman asked me if I had done the cross stitching.  I told her I made it but that it was about 4,000 tiny glass beads.  Her jaw hit the floor.  I wish I had a camera to capture the look on her face.  I took it off because she wanted to get a closer look.  Then she called over a friend who was with her.  Both were amazed.  I'm pretty amazed too.  But each time I finish something I start thinking about what I need to do differently (ditch the palest grey, which actually appears white - and use the cream, which is actually the Delica flesh-tone; give the center medallion the same interesting indentations with red dots that the triangle shapes surrounding the medium grey wedges have; use more of the metallic bronze which just reads brown in these pics, but actually really pops). 

The snaps were suggested by Kokopelli.  I was thinking that I would use a long tube bar closure.  Check out the link to Monsterslayer's selection.  They have a 40mm 7-loop clasp!  When I started playing with the piece, I realized that the ends joining formed just as interesting design as the center.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Badlands Butterfly

This is where I started last night. I pulled out the 16 gauge steel wire and the shop hammers. Yes, I have a proper chasing hammer, but I don't like to use it with steel. Besides, the model I was following used a ball peen to beat up and age the wire. Basically this design is about 10 miles from where I started earlier in the evening. The chain between the swan hooks I visualized as 6 mm honey jade, but the only wire I had that would pass through the jade didn't look good with the steel. Then I worked to combine the plain & fancy to see if I could get something going even with the crystal. I sort of like it, but it isn't really a wearable piece - at least not for my lifestyle.  But I had fun making all the charms. 
fully loaded

Then I decided to make another bangle. I realized I really liked the slightly golden hue of the vanilla crystals and would wear the piece without the tchotchkies.
a necklace
drilled hole with an eyelet on front and back
So I've made myself a necklace and two bangles.  I've even got the little coordinating crystal charm on the necklace. The butterfly is from Pork Chop Show and I completely coated it in ModPodge.  Originally I bought them to make a necklace of butterflies, but I still have to get that going.  Now that I figured out that I can insert eyelets to reinforce the hole, it seems. like a good project to tackle.
naked bangles ready to go

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Badlands Sneak Preview

I had loads of ideas for playing along with La Bella Joya's Margie & Me Badlands theme. But I swore I would not make any runs to buy any I had to raid my own stash. Early in the week I made a bead soup and had a rough plan for a necklace. But last night I was looking through a Belle Armoire Jewelry which I bought over the summer and decided to try one of the projects and use the Badlands palatte. I got out my 16 gauge steel wire and started to form. Check me out tomorrow when I can put up better pics than I was able to take tonight with a flash.
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Counting sheep

Since we are the home to two Pembroke Welsh corgis, we love sheep.  Mingus will herd them, but Coltrane, who is interested in the sheep, cannot withstand the lure of sheep droppings.

Perhaps you have seen the video that Welsh shepherds made.  If you can't imagine what sheep, LED lights, and Atari pong have in common, this video is made for you.  My mom sent it to me from The Very Short List, which brings you cultural tidbits from all levels, and you can see it by clicking here : Extreme Sheep.

 This morning I popped open my Google Reader to check out what everyone out there in bloglandia was doing, and discovered that Mitsy of ArtMind in Belgium had been watching sheep - a lot of sheep who had walked very far.  In fact these were real extreme sheep (see, if you watched the first video [sorry I can't import and post video because I'm lacking certain knowledge] you would get the reference).  She got to see 600 sheep on their way from Berlin, Germany, through the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg to Trier, Germany (on the Luxembourg border in the south west).  the grid marks painted on these sheep are intended for an entirely different purpose.  The sheep left on the 745.65 mile (1200 km) journey on June 5th and will be on the road until October 17th.  Run to her site and view her photos.  

Also take a look at more photos on Facebook and see the Moving Sheep site itself.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beauty Berry

Although I  spent a few years trying to chop this out of my garden, once I let it grow and saw the berries, beauty berry has a home.  It grows wild here and I have it where ever it pops up.  I believe that the plant we have growing up and down the street is callicarpa americana  which is indigenous to the southeastern United States.
each berry is about 4-5mm

Lori Anderson, maker of fabulous jewelry and whirlwind of energy behind the Bead Soup Party, commented that she had never seen it before.  Neither had I before I moved to the South (USDA hardiness zone 8b).  You and Lori can locate your growing zones on the USDA Plant Hardiness Map at the US National Arboretum  site.  The map subdivides zones which really helped me to understand my growing zone.  Although we are in Georgia, we are more like central Florida than central Georgia.  In fact, my little corner of town is even warmer and wetter because it is insulated by acres of swamp.

Many people in this area spend time getting rid of it, but its long arching branches and palm-sized leaves shade a grouping of ferns that needed a bit of cover after I pruned a camelia back by a third.  I felt pretty good about allowing them to grow because the birds could eat the berries, but I have read that they will do this only as a last resort when all other food sources are gone.  They will grow in zones 5 to 8, and if you are looking to plant some, there are long discussions about them at iVillage Garden Web and Dave's Garden.  I've also read that it can help keep flies, ticks, and mosquitoes out of the yard.
leaves turn yellow in the fall and berries become brighter

Sunday, September 5, 2010

and so begins fall

You must look hard, but you can find signs of fall here in South Georgia.  Slightly cooler weather, despite temps still rising into the 90's during the afternoon, is a sure harbinger of autumn.  There has been a change in wild flowers, seed pods are drying, mushrooms are popping up everywhere, and the holly and cedar have sprouted green berries.  My favorite is the beauty berry.  Bright purple berries cluster along the branches like beaded beads.
clockwise from upper right: trumpet vine pods, holly, mushroom in the pine straw, magnolia seed pod - fist size, creeping jenny, beauty berry, acorn in the sand, ripe palm fruit - smells like death, center - a mockingbird
roses still going strong

tiny wildflower

trumpet vine seed pods - about 6" long
beauty berry
Mingus picked up some seeds and grass on his walk
a patient, but cautious mockingbird

and so begins fall

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Only a matter of time

I was expecting this, sort of.   My husband has laid claim to one of my seed bead projects.  I'm working on an impossible wide (40mm) cuff in black, reds, and greys.  I left my work next to the computer where I had been catching up on-line on TV programs which are on past my weeknight bedtime.  After dinner, he sat down there and must have been playing with the piece.  He actually called me over to suggest that he could wear it.  Now this is my machote husband.  The one who wears only solid colors, who just this summer wore bermudas in public for the first time, and still will not wear sandals of any type.  He wears a watch and his wedding band, but that is it for jewelry.  This is what caught his eye:
The pattern is by Pascale Guichaoua-Mikovic and appeared as an on-line project in Bead&Button magazine in 2009. From her website, you can click to her all peyote site.  She has lots of pattern grids posted.  Her work is spectacular.  Do not miss her galleries.

This is the piece I'm working with two needles to to avoid the bulk you get when stitching in odd-count peyote.  I've found the added bonus of this approach is that I need to add thread half as often!  Now I have to figure out what sort of closure will be masculine enough for Papi.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sexagenerians in the City

My friend Karen and her hubby Dave have just moved back to Cleveland, Ohio from Carmel, California.  I met Karen about 19 years ago when I first started teaching.  She was the fun teacher in class - the kids always had some cool project they were working on for her class - and out of class - she led the way down the bike trail and to happy hour after work.  Long ago when we still worked in the same school and lived in the same city, and I was a young single teacher, Karen also set me up on some interesting dates.  She knows everybody.  And now that she has moved here and there around the country, she and Dave have finally started blogging.  They are co-authors of Sexagenarians in the City.  If you head over to check it out and happen to have lived in Cleveland, Ohio anytime in the past 40 years, yes, their friend Dan is that Dan, Daffy Dan.

The blog is a slice of life. Granted their life includes living in a loft in downtown Cleveland life, finding people making out on their doorstep, waiting for the water to cool off before taking a shower, navigating city traffic on a bike, and dealing with Eddie Eddie the super.