Thursday, January 29, 2009

Imagine, if you will...

...a table piled with glass rods just waiting to be turned into something new, something organic, something wild and crazy...

That's the picture that I had planned on posting today - my new glass stash. Unfortunately, my hard drive decided that it wasn't going to happen. Nope, not today. No pictures for you, Shirley. Not gonna happen. I'm done. It's over. Sayonara!

Some days I just hate computers. Since my torch is being much friendlier than my non-bootable laptop (I'm borrowing another one to write this little rant), I'm heading out to the bead lab to put that new stash of mine to good use. And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to get pictures of today's creations and show you the real deal. I mean hey, words just can't describe the little nuances that happen in the torch and the kiln.

I'm off to create... Have yourselves a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

As Promised...

It's finished!  Yes, I have another felted vessel finished - and I'll give you a preview picture of it.  I just snapped this picture outdoors in the front of my house.  I'll have a professional picture done later this week for my Etsy shop.

I also managed to get in a few hours at the torch last night, and here's one of the beads that came out of the kiln this morning.  This will also go into my Etsy shop.

I SO want to go out into my wet lab today and whip up another felted item but I have to get dinner ready to put into the oven, then get ready to go to San Jose to teach my lampwork bead making class.  This is the last night of my 4-week class, which is both gratifying and sad.  I love seeing how far the students have progressed but I hate saying "so long".  Maybe they'll come back for my Beadmaking 2 class!

Hope all of you have a great evening!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Some New Works In Progress

In several posts now, I've shown you my latest works in progress.  I keep wondering when someone's going to ask me, "Where the heck are the finished pieces?!".  I promise, in my next post I'll have something finished - in fact, I'm going to finish a piece tonight while I park myself in front of the TV with mom.

But in the mean time, I thought I'd give you a peek at all the vessels waiting for me to embellish.  I've got tons of work to do here, but I just can't seem to stop messing around with wet wool!  I've got several more vessels in mind - I'll need a clone to do all the bead work on them.  Any volunteers?  

And here is the vessel that I made yesterday.  I'm not quite sure how I'm going to embellish this one, but I've got the beads picked out for it.  I just love going through my stash of seed beads, looking for just the right colors and finishes for the vessels.  And sometimes it gives me an excuse to head over to my local bead store so I can add a new color to my ever-growing palette.

I was planning on heading out to the torch today to make some beads.  Instead, I got hung up creating and submitting the artwork for my next batch of postcards as well as hunting up my ad for last year's Stitches West show book so I could change the booth number for this year.  I'm hoping to get to my "bead lab" after dinner, it's been WAY too long since I've been on the torch.  But now I'm headed to the kitchen so I can do the dinner thing.  I think it will be pork chops, whipped yams, sauteed mushrooms, and asparagus.  How does that sound?

Until next time...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Another WOW!

In my last post, I included some comments about and pictures from the inauguration.  The crowd picture made me think, "Wow!".  I received this link in an email, and was so amazed by this that I had to share.

When you click on the link to this picture, use the zoom tool to zoom in on the crowd.  You can pan through the crowd, and you can really get lost in that crowd!

I'm off to the "wet lab" for now.  Enjoy your Friday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Time of Hope, a Bit of Reflection...

I watched the ceremonies today with tears in my eyes, a heart full of hope, and a feeling of wonderment.  I thought back to my childhood when things were very different, and reflected a bit on how much change has occurred since that time.  We are still on a journey to overcome the injustices that happen in our country, but if we work together we can continue to make progress and help make our country and the world a better place.

And regarding this image, all I can say is... WOW!

I found some very old pictures from my childhood - they were taken back in the... dare I say it... 1950's (ouch!).  When we moved into our first house, the first neighborhood kid I met was Nancy.  I didn't understand why her parents never allowed me into their house, but despite that situation we became really good friends.  I have often wondered whatever became of Nancy - we moved to a different town when I was 12 and I lost touch with most of the "old gang".
Here are me and Nancy, sitting at the table in my back yard - and then a subset of us kids in the 'hood.  Many many happy memories from that time in my life...

And now I'm heading to my "wet lab" to sink my fingers into some wool.  May you all have a happy, productive, and creative day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Week of Color Inspiration

In my never-ending pursuit of color inspiration, I bring you my second Etsy sampler based on the Pantone Fashion Color Report for Spring 2009.  This sampler contains the second group of 5 colors that I randomly picked from Pantone's selection of 10.  If you missed my first sampler, you can see my picks for the first 5 colors HERE.  This is the group of 10 colors that Pantone has chosen for Spring 2009.

We'll start with Dark Citron, one of my favorite colors!

First up is a bar of soap by The Pig And The Peacock - delight in the scent of brown sugar and figs!

Next we have a carved porcelain bowl by Shoshona Snow - have your breakfast cereal in style!

On the end is ceramic pendant by Slavko - very elegant with a rim of gold!

Our next color is Lavender, fresh as the fields in Provence.

First we start with this luscious faceted glass bead necklace by Shy Siren - what a statement!

In the middle is a ruffled scarf by Janice Rosema - keep your neck warm with plenty of style!

Lastly, we have the Maya Angelou peace crane by Local Colorist - I have this one in my collection!

The third color we have is Vibrant Green, full of the vitality of nature.

On the left is striking pair of earrings by Pink Owl Jewelry - get lots of attention when you wear these!  Yes, I know... but they CONTRAST beautifully with vibrant green!  :-)

In the center we have a skein of hand-dyed sock yarn by Yarnspider - knit up a pair and stand out in the crowd!

On the right is a lovely little ACEO by Art By LMR - a beautifully vibrant reproduction of the original pencil painting, with some Palace Blue from my the first 5 color samples.

Slate Gray comes next, to soothe your soul.

First we have a stoneware mug by Page Pottery - share a cup with a friend.

Next is a great little wallet and key fob set by Mushy Bug - Amy Butler rocks!

We end with a gorgeous bracelet by Bella Tu Jewelry - for that "beautiful you"!

We'll end with Rose Dust, a neutral with some warm colorful undertones. 

First is a delicate mohair tweed scarflette by Phydeaux designs - perfect for those chilly spring mornings.

In the center is a lovely pair of rose bead earrings by MayIdeas - very romantic!

Finishing up the colection is a beautiful beadwoven bracelet by time2cr8 - jazz up that new spring outfit!

This wraps up my Etsy picks using the color inspiration provided by Pantone for Spring 2009.  With the deep freeze that's been going on in many parts of the country, those of us who create can take pleasure in the promise of spring that these colors bring to us.  

I started working with the spring color palette in my "wet lab" last week, Lucite Green being my starting point.  This is my latest felted vessel, which still hast to be embellished.  I mean, hey - what's a vessel without the appropriate beadwork, right?  I've already picked out the beads, I just have to get to work.  Perhaps tonight's project?

OK folks, now that you have more examples of work representing the colors for the upcoming season, go to your studio and Make Stuff! - as Fred Babb would say.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Wrap-up for 1/16

I don't know where the time goes, but the end of the week is here again - yikes!

I managed to get out to my "hot lab" yesterday and make a few beads.  It felt good to be back on the torch again, and rather than make the beads that I should have made (works in progress waiting for specific beads), I played around with some very expensive glass that does really interesting things when you change the flame atmosphere.  This is one of the beads that came out of the kiln this morning.  I'm going to turn this into a pendant - I have an idea about an unusual way to embellish it, since it's such an unusual shape.  I just need to decide which part of the bead will be the front.

I'll be working in the "wet lab" this afternoon.  I was out there for awhile trying to figure out what I have, what needs to be embellished, and what I'm going to make next.  Here's what my work table looks like at the moment.  The bowls and trays are projects I completed last year.  The vessels are waiting for me to embellish them, the "bullseyes" in the box are components that I made for my next scarf, and I've decided that the flower will go on a bag.  Perhaps I'll dye the silk for the bag today.  I need to make more vessels for my upcoming show and a few more flowers for my bag.  It's going to be a busy day in the wet lab for sure!

All About Treasuries

I have a few  Etsy Treasuries to show you today. I was featured in 1 Treasury this past week and I created 2 of my own.

Blue Between featured my Golden Peacock Felted Vessel in her "Injured by GLASS" Treasury.

Thanks, Pam! Visit her shop for beautiful handmade glass beads, such as this Organic Heart Focal Bead.


Here are the two Treasuries that I created over the last week.
The first is "COLOR POPS", which was in Treasury West.

And on a much lighter note, the second is "Warm OATMEAL on a GRAY Day".

Hope you all enjoyed this round of Etsy Treasuries!

Now I'm off to the wet lab to see what pretties I can cook up today.  Have yourselves a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Today's Shopping Trip, More Thank You's

I wasn't going to let the week go by without adding some goodies to my "wet lab" - I just completed an online order for some Merino wool and Harrisville fleece, and new roving should be on the way tomorrow! Here are the selections from the color chart that I will be adding to my palette. Yum!

If I blend some of these colors with colors that I already have, I can get darned close to what I see in the Pantone Spring 2009 color chart. Ah, but do I want to be so "cookie cutter"? Maybe I'll come up with my own blends. But I can't wait for my new wool, I think I'll go make something later today. Perhaps some new vessels are in order. It's been so long since I've added any vessels to my Etsy shop, and I really need to embellish the guys waiting on my table!

A little over a week ago, I had a wonderful surprise when I went to visit jewelry artist Cheryl VanDyck's blog - Lavender Cottage. Holy cow - a full-post feature, what an honor! Thank you, Cheryl. For those of you who aren't familiar with Cheryl's work, you MUST visit her shops - Lavender Cottage on Etsy and Lavender Cottage on 1000 Markets. Here's one of my favorite pieces.

After I wrote about Pantone's Spring color picks, I found myself mentioned on the blog of one of the "Palace Blue" artists I chose - Day By Day Paintings By Itaya. Thank you, Itaya! You can find Itaya's lovely paintings in her Etsy shop Divinity Gardens. Here's one of my faves - looks like a perfect blend of Lucite Green and Super Lemon! :-)

It's no surprise that these are my favorite picks from Cheryl's and Itaya's shops - you know me and leaves and trees. Hmmm, if you DON'T know me and leaves and trees, go to my Etsy shop and see what kind of beads I make. That's the old New England blood in my veins...

Now I'm off to make up a big pot of beef stew - that'll need to cook for a few hours - and while I'm cooking that, perhaps I can cook up another wool creation.

Have a lovely evening, folks!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Start the Week With Color Inspiration

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for color inspiration. I love color, and sometimes I look to Pantone as a guide for the hot colors of the season. In an earlier post I wrote about Pantone's color of the year for 2009.

Today I'm looking at the Pantone Fashion Color Report for Spring 2009. They've toned down their bright color choices a bit, but color still dominates. Using 5 of their top 10 colors for spring, I've found some items on Etsy that do a wonderful job of showcasing these colors. Here are the 10 spring colors from Pantone. I've randomly picked 5 of them for my first set of samplers.


Starting with Fuchsia Red, here are 3 Etsy items that are real eye-poppers!

First up is a fun little keepsake box by PBDesign - perfect for that girly girl!

Next we have a lively raspberry tutu dress by TuTuCuteBaby - could this possibly be any cuter?!

On the end is an in-your-face dahlia photo by TrueBloom - spectacular!


Our next color is Salmon Rose, evoking a promising sunrise.

First we start with this original painting by Egilpatr - a work of art executed not a moment too soon.

In the middle is a thoughtful looking Dachshund by dogartstudio - who doesn't love a dog?!

Lastly, here is a set of potpourri tarts by WoodcraftsandCandles - add a lovely floral aroma to your home!


The third color in our lineup is Palace Blue, a lighter and brighter version of Navy.

On the left is a gorgeous faceted glass pendant by redgemstudio - I just might put this on my wish list!

In the center we have the Ohio River Coasters by visualingual - a nice pop of color for your decor.

On the right is the Still Waters abstract painting by divinitygardens - sure to be a calming influence in any room.


Lucite Green comes next, mellowing things out a bit.

First we have a happy little art print by boygirlparty - I can just hear that serenade!

Next is a lovely amazonite ring by Beadoodles - this just cries out "Spring!".

We end with a hip retro limited edition print by kerrybeary - there's a touch of Dark Citron and Vibrant Green in here as well - so cool!


And last, but certainly not least is Super Lemon, staying in line with the year of yellow.

We start with a whimsical flower clock by SpareTime - this will certainly brighten up any room!

In the center is the April Orchid print by marleyungaro - not only was a toned-down version of Super Lemon used in this painting - Fuchsia Red and Vibrant Green show up here as well.

Finishing up the colection are the bright and versatile crocheted stars by CardBlanc. These would look great on one of my hand made bags!


Well there you have my first round-up of Etsy items for Spring. How will these colors influence your creations? Next week I'll blog about the remaining 5 colors in Pantone's top 10 collection.

For now, let the first 5 colors roam around in your head and get those creative juices flowing!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Wrap-up

Here we are at the end of another week. I'm happy to say that I'm no longer getting spam comments coming through the blogosphere - yay! I wish it was that easy to fix my email problems without changing hosting services.

Tonight we're having dinner with friends we haven't seen in ages. We're celebrating our friend Walter's birthday - one of those milestone birthdays - at his favorite restaurant here in town. "... in town." - that town is Fremont, CA. The Centerville district of Fremont is known as "little Kabul". On the strip of Fremont Blvd. between Thornton Ave. and Central Ave. there are many Afghan businesses, one of which is the Salang Pass restaurant. That's where we'll be dining tonight and I can't wait to sink my teeth into some wonderful Ashak... or maybe Qaabuli Pallow... and if I'm lucky, they'll have Bolani Kadu, and maybe... and... and... OK, this will have to wait.

All About Treasuries

Lots of Etsy Treasuries to show you today! I was featured in 4 Treasuries this past week, I'm going to catch up on a few more that featured me awhile back, and I managed to create a few of my own.

These are the Treasuries in which my work was featured. A great big thank you to all the curators!

Windermere Designs featured my Meadow Tree Bead in her "Nature Walk!" Treasury.

And Windermere Designs featured my Brushstrokes Cylindrical Bead in her "Warm Toasty All Over!" Treasury.

Thanks, Barrie! Visit her shop for beautiful jewelry, such as this Peacock Green/Blue Dichroic Sterling Silver ring.


Blue Lagoon Beads featured my Napa Oak Felted Vessel in her "Crimson and Clover" Treasury.

Thanks, Angela! Visit her shop for lovely jewelry and lampwork, such as this Copper Ice Bracelet.


Lady Fran's Artistic Outlet featured my Golden Peacock Felted Vessel in her "WINter, SpRiNg, SUMMER, FaLL MIX" Treasury.

Thanks, LadyFran! Visit her shop for wonderful jewelry, such as this Seaspray Mist Button Necklace.


OhMay Designs featured my Dusk Nouveau Felted Vessel in her "A Peek At Purple Peeps" Treasury.

Thanks, Ohmay! Visit her shop for beautiful knitted items and patterns, such as this Yellow Poppy Knitted Brooch/Pin.


Fanciful Art by pmcookie featured my Late Autumn Leaf Bead in her "A Taste of Warm Honey" Treasury.

Thanks, pmcookie! Visit her shop for fun and vibrant art, such as this Orange Tabby Striped Cat Original painting.


VickiDianeDesigns featured my Storm Brewing Tree Bead in her "ARTISTS OF ETSY EXPOSED PART 27" Treasury. So now you can see what I've looked like over the years. :-)

Thanks, Vicki! Visit her shop for bold and unique jewelry and accessories, such as this WHO SAYS ROMANCE IS DEAD brooch.


Here are the two Treasuries that I created over the last week.
The first is "Late Day SUN on TURQUOISE", which was in Treasury West.

And the second, to applaud the upcoming inauguration is "January 20...".

Hope you all enjoyed this round of Etsy Treasuries!

Starting New Projects

In the fiber department, I just created my first felted flower. I plan on beading it, but I don't yet know what I'm going to do with the finished product. I wanted to use it in a brooch, but considering how large it it, I may have to rethink that. Or not - it might look great on a coat lapel! Then again, I could make a felted bag and put this on the front of the bag. Hmmm... now I know what one of my weekend projects will be.

No new finished pieces from me yet. I've been working on my leaf necklace, but I have to make a few lampwork accessory beads in order to complete that project. Perhaps I'll fire up the torch later this weekend if I can tear myself away from the wool.

Speaking of weekend, I'm off to get ready to start mine. I hope all of you enjoy yours!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Spam Nation

My Weekly Rant

It's amazing how quickly spammers and hackers find ways of disrupting one's life. I've only been posting on Twitter for a short time, and now I see that someone's perpetrated a scam out there. Fortunately, that one didn't impact me. But over the past few days someone has started spamming my blog comments with nonsensical garbage that included links to commercial websites. Looks like they were hitting only my posts with a label of "jewelry". I guess my settings weren't tight enough, so hopefully that's fixed. We shall see...

I had a similar but much worse problem with my email account. It's been hijacked more than once, and someone was sending out tons of email spam using my email server. So I got "blacklisted", and now when I send out emails a lot of folks don't get them because their spam filter blocks my server address. I don't know if it was my email server that was turned into a botnet or if it was actually my laptop. What next?

The year 2008 was the 30th anniversary of spam - well, at least the cyber-spam version of spam, i.e., lower case spam. The only spam I've ever enjoyed is the spam that I saw on TV during that wonderful episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus that first aired in 1971. So let's hear it for the world of spam.

Oh, and if you're wondering where I got this picture of the 70th anniversary of Spam (that's upper case spam), I actually own this can of Spam. How could I resist a nostalgic can of this stuff? Spam had its 70th anniversary in 2007. That same year, Tang celebrated its 50th anniversary - so where's my commemorative jar of Tang?! I never saw one of those in the grocery store. Somewhere in my "archives" (perhaps the back of a closet?), I have a poster commemorating the 100th anniversary of Dramamine. Of course! It has a picture of a roller coaster on it, and I'm a hard-core coaster fan. To find out more about lower case spam, check out this article: Origin of the term "spam" to mean net abuse

Finishing Old Projects

OK, on to other things. I'm still working on the necklace in which I've incorporated some of my leaves but I HAVE finished the 2 lariats. Here they are. These pix were done on the scanner - not that great. When I finally get some pix of them hanging on someone's pretty neck, I'll put them into my Etsy shop.

The first is my "Blush" lariat, in colors of blues, greens, peach and coral.

The second is my "Winter" lariat - the colors are predominantly brown, silver, sage, and a pop of aqua. The colors are very metallic, and the leaf is actually sprinkled with dots of fine silver.

And now I'm off to continue with projects. I'm hoping to show you some new woolies soon - gotta get my felting fix! Until then, have a productive creative day!

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Color Inspiration!