Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Final Countdown Week

This week is my last big push before I head out to Milwaukee.  I'm trying to "make stuff" while I get everything organized, and I'm also teaching 2 classes this week.  I sure hope I can get everything done!  I'm also working on putting some new kits together - I plan on having them at the show, but they aren't ready for prime time yet.  That's my biggest project for this week, so wish me luck!

Here's more of what came out of the kiln this morning - I was definitely in an earth tone mood yesterday.  

I'll be on the torch again later this week, and I think I'll focus on some blues and purples as well as some other focal beads.  I don't have many tree beads left, so there should be a few more on the horizon.  I'll also have plenty of jewelry with me at the show - earrings and pendants, bracelets and necklaces, and even some brooches.  And embellished vessels, yes!  How am I going to carry all of this stuff on the plane with me?  Sometimes I wish I had Felix the Cat's Magic Bag of Tricks.  Oops... I'm really dating myself with THAT statement.  :-)

Now it's time to get ready for my class.  Have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More Leaves and More Classics

Today I'm having a break from the torch and thinking about my next wet felted vessel.  But I haven't given in to my elbow tendonitis - my torch has been working overtime, and I'll probably give it another workout tomorrow.  I've been making more of my bead "classics" as well as adding to my inventory of leaves.  Here are some leaves that I've produced over the last few days.  

For whatever reason, the pink leaves really appealed to me, so here's a shiny set of 5.

Another set of 5 leaves, this time in neutral colors.  I made a set of these for myself awhile back, and I'm in the process of turning them into a necklace. I plan on selling the necklace, but I'm liking it an awful lot. Mine or yours? We'll see if I can let go of it...

Here are some 3-leaf sets and some larger leaves.  

I have more leaves, but they're waiting to be etched.  Are you sick and tired of leaves yet?  Well, here are more of my classics - a couple of Bronze Age beads and another Seaside bead.

All of these beads will be available in my Bead & Button Show booth (1221), so come take a look if you're planning on being there!  But hurry - last year, a lovely woman from Japan came by early and just about cleared out my entire stock of leaves!

And now I'm off to recharge with a cappuccino, mom and fur kids in tow.  Have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More Color Play

I always get excited when I get a new batch of fibers, and this time I'm playing around with variegated colors.  How cool is that?!  I also played on the torch with some colors I had never used before, and today I will continue to raid my untouched glass stash.  Such a dilemma - play with glass or play with fibers?  Since I'm not teaching this evening, maybe I'll have time to do both.

Here are more leaf and fiber combos from the last few days.  I'll start off with the cool colors.  Actually, all of the colors I've been playing with are "cool", but here I'm talking about color temperature.  This leaf has a bit of metallic added to the surface.  It's a very shiny silver color, which doesn't show up well in this picture.  Much nicer "up close and personal".

Here's a raindrop leaf, sitting on a bed of a wonderful mixture of blues and greens - with just a hint of other colors for some added interest.

Now we'll warm things up with one of my favorites.  Here's another leaf with a hint of dichroic glass.  And it goes so well with these fibers that I'm tempted to keep it for myself!  But you'll be seeing this in my Bead & Button booth in a few weeks.

Staying on the warm side, here I've added some new gold and green glass that I hadn't used before.  I'll be using more of these today, they really are delicious colors!

I used the same colors in this leaf, but I layered them with different colors.  Sometimes I'm asked to reproduce beads and I can't - I don't always keep track of what colors I layer together.  So when you buy my beads, you really do get one-of-a-kind creations!  Gosh, aren't these fibers wonderful?  I could talk myself into working in the wet lab today instead of the glass lab...

And my last combination for the day is another raindrop leaf.  I get a lot of requests for these, so there will be more coming from the glass lab this week.  My plan for today is to make some raindrop oak leaves.  I don't have any of those left, so that will be my main task in the glass lab.

And now for a bit of lunch, then off to "make stuff".  Have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Playing With Colors

This week I'm focusing on the assortment of beads that I will be bringing to the Bead & Button Show.  Yes, I'm making more leaves as well as some other types of beads.  I have a floral focal bead in the kiln that I'm just dying to see when it's back to room temperature.  And I'm going back to the glass lab in a few minutes to make a couple of small beads for a bracelet that's in progress.

Yesterday and today, I've been messing around with colors that will match up with my wool roving.  I just love combining glass and fiber, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.  So this time I'm letting the fiber lead my color choices in the glass lab.  Here are some samplings of where I'm going with this project.

This leaf is a bit on the small side - today I made a few more of these, one of which has raindrops on it.  The yellow on the leaf is very creamy, and I have the perfect accent fiber to go with this combination.

Creating a leaf to go with my red roving was a bit of a challenge.  This one has a very holiday feel to it, but I have at least 3 more in mind that I'll create over the next few days.  Perhaps they'll all feel like a holiday - red tends to do that.

I'll be creating one in very pale neutrals, one in aqua, and one in a pale purple.  Any other suggestions?

Toning things down a bit, here's a combination that I really love.  This wool looks like cinnamon - I can practically smell it!  And this leaf is one of my favorites.  I tend to gravitate toward greens and earth tones, though I don't think I've ever met a color that I didn't like.  This leaf has just a hint of sparkle in it - a faint touch of dichroic glass that only shows up when you view it from a certain direction.

Staying with the earth tones, this brown is heading toward a purple color, and it's really luscious.  Last year I was layering some very unlikely glass colors, and I fell in love with one of the combinations.  Here's that combination with this dark rosy brown wool.  I'll be doing more of these, some of which will have a touch of dichroic glass in them.

And here's my last pair - a pale icy blue wool with a greenish bluish purplish leaf - another one of my glass layering experiments.  I've had several of my experiments go awry, but this is one of the successful ones.  And yes, more of these leaves are on the way.  Actually, I have a set of 5 of these that I've been thinking about turning into a necklace.  If I don't sell them in Milwaukee, they'll be jewelry-bound for sure!

Now I'm off to the glass lab to make those few beads, shut it all down, and get ready to teach my bead making class tonight.  Have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Last Batch For Now

So here is the last bunch of leaves that will be heading up to Sacramento to be put into Poppy Passion Slider kits.  At least the last batch for this week, that is.  It would be so nice to take a leaf break for awhile but I have to make many more leaf beads for sale in my booth at the Bead & Button Show.  That's OK, though, because now I can focus on other types of leaves before I get back into the 3-leaf sets.

I'll be making some oak leaf beads for sure - they're my favorite!  They're a bit time-consuming to create but they really make me feel good.  Perhaps that's because when I was a kidling we had a big oak tree in the back yard of our first house.  Lots of warm fuzzy memories from that place, including the thunderstorms and the winter blizzards.  And odd sort of "warm fuzzy", those blizzards.

Perhaps I'll try out some ginko leaves before I hit the road.  I haven't done those yet, and it would be nice to have something new on my leaf board this year.

I went a bit crazy yesterday and created some pink leaves.  Pink leaves?  Well, yeah - we decided to do a line of "pastel" kits last year where the poppy and the leaves were the same color.  Since I have a new pink glass this year I just had to throw in a set of pinks.  Maybe Nanette will decide to put these with a fuschia poppy instead of a pink poppy.  She always surprises me, and I won't get to see the finished kits until we're in Milwaukee.

This is the rest of what came out of the kiln this morning, and they're in the box waiting for me to head out to the post office.

Although I've been making leaf beads every day for the last who-knows-how-many days, I do make the occasional non-leaf bead just to keep myself from screaming.  These would make a fine bracelet, but I won't have time to put them into a wearable.  They'll be in my booth for someone else's creative endeavors.  Hubby called them "JRT seeds".  Say what?  He told me that they're so happy and silly and energetic that he was sure if I planted them, I could grow a Jack Russell Terrier.  What a concept!  These beads are all encased in crystal clear glass, which doesn't show up well in the picture.  Too bad, they have so much depth!

And now I'm off to mail out my beads, grab a bite of lunch, and get back to the torch. Have yourselves a wonderful creative day!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Turning Over a New Leaf

Yep, more leaves.  I'll be making leaves every day until it's time for me to head out to Milwaukee.  All of you are probably looking forward to that day so that you can finally see something other than leaves out here.  Well, before I take to the friendly skies I'll be sure to create a surprise or two for you - and for me, just so I can maintain my sanity!  LOL!

But for now, I'll leave you (pun intended) with my latest "crop".

More sets for our collaborative jewelry kits...

... and some larger leaves.

And now it's time for me to cook some food, then head out to cook more glass.  Have yourselves a wonderful creative day!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mom's Day...

... would you like leaves with that?

Today I'm going to spend a bit of time away from the glass lab, the wet lab, the bead lab and the computer (as soon as I'm done here...) and take mom out for a bit of a stroll.  Poor dear gets cabin fever and I have some ideas how to fix that problem on this beautiful sunny day.  She loves flowers (yes, and leaves too...), so we're going to go where there are many of them to look at.

Can you tell I have leaves on the brain?  Not only do I have to make 90 leaves for our jewelry kits for the Bead & Button Show, but we have an order for at least 2 more of those kits right now as well as all the leaves that I need to have in my own booth.  Are you tired of leaves yet?  

        Yes?  Well, at least you can click away from these blog posts.  I still have to make all those leaves!
         No?  Good!  You'll get to see a lot more of what's coming out of the glass lab over the next few weeks.  :-)  

I also have plans for a few more wet felted vessels before it's show time.  At least one of them will have a leaf or two on it.  (Really?  Now there's a news flash!)  The others will hopefully have a few surprises.  Shhhhh.... can't tell you yet.  I have some fun ideas floating around in my head, I just need to get out to the wet lab and get them done.

But today I'm off to go flower-peeping with mom.  For those of you whose moms are still with you, let mom know that you appreciate her.  Now I'll leave you with my latest batch from the glass lab.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Bunches of Leaves

I don't usually make beads during the days on which I teach my evening bead making classes.  But with the Bead & Button Show about to happen, I don't have the luxury of doing other things on those days.  And this month, I'm teaching 2 nights a week.  So yesterday I spent some time in the glass lab making more leaves.  Today I had to make a non-leaf bead to get my mojo working, but I did make a few more leaf sets.  

Why am I making so many leaves?  My part-time collaboration partner Nanette makes jewelry kits for a beadwoven piece that she designed called the Poppy Passion Slider.  Each kit contains one of her lovely poppy beads and 3 of my small leaf beads.  Last week she told me that she needs leaves for 30 kits over the next 2 weeks.  Yikes - that's 90 leaves!  I hope I don't have to let her down.

Here are some examples of the Poppy Passion Slider.  I made the first one and used an extra leaf.  Nanette made the second one with a kit and the third one with two kits put together.  This is our 4th year selling these kits, and they're still in demand - how nice for us!

Here's the rest of what I rescued from the kiln this morning.  Some of them will go into kits, others will be for sale in my booth.  

And tomorrow I'll be hitting the torch nice and early so I can finish up the first half of the 90 required leaves.  On that note, I'd better go get a good night's sleep!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Little Foot Stompin'

No beads or fiber today, but I'm going to share a tidbit of personal info with you... in my "former life" I was a musician of sorts.  Yep, I started playing music by ear when I was 3 years old.  I had one of those little one-octave toy pianos - think Linus - and I could play the melodies of all my little kiddie records.  About 10 years later, my folks gave me a small Hammond organ for Christmas/birthday (they're 3 days apart).  And a few years after starting music lessons and loving it, I got the "almost real deal" Hammond - a model B2.  It was like the B3 without the Leslie speaker.

Some of my fondest memories of that period of my life are of the times when my cousin, Art Ross, would come over and we'd jam.  He was a fourth-generation fiddler and also played guitar a bit.  He couldn't read a note of music, but oh did he have an ear!  When he played his fiddle, I would accompany him on the organ;  when I played lead on the organ, he would accompany me on the guitar.  Here we are way back then - Art was 27, I was 15.

Art and I had different musical backgrounds and experience.  His repertoire consisted mainly of French Canadian fiddle tunes; mine comprised various genres - pop, folk, latin, big band, rock & roll, and on and on.  One of my "show-off" songs was Tico-Tico.  This song wasn't originally meant for the organ, but even way back then it was my kind of music.  This is the way Tico-Tico was originally intended, performed here by Carlos Barbosa-Lima and Berta Rojas.

I decided that I had to teach Art to accompany me on Tico-Tico, since I was the one "showing off" - you know how 15-year-olds can be.  Often times, we'd have friends and family over at the house for impromptu get-togethers or planned parties.  When Art and I played Tico-Tico, we'd bring the house down.  

Soon thereafter Art got married, and over several subsequent years he and his wife had 3 children.  Patrick, Art's middle child, was 8 years old when he asked his dad to teach him how to play a tune.  So began Patrick's foray into the world of music.  He and his dad spent a lot of time playing music together and competing in regional fiddle contests.  Unfortunately, Art met an untimely death when he was in his early 50's,  and I am still very saddened by this.  

So why am I chatting about this today?  Patrick and I are Facebook "friends", and a few days ago I had the pleasure of seeing his FB link to a video that he uploaded to YouTube.  And it gave me goosebumps!  I wanted to bring him to the attention of my fans and followers, so here's Patrick playing his own improvised version of... you guessed it... Tico-Tico.

Not exactly what you'd expect to hear from a fifth-generation French Canadian fiddler - but oh, cousin, YOU ROCK!

And now I'm off to prepare to teach tonight's bead making class. This is the first week of my latest Beadmaking 1 and Beadmaking 2 classes in San Jose and I need to be on my toes, so to speak. 

Have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Monday, May 04, 2009

A New Treasury

Despite the fact that I should be in the Glass Lab making beads, I managed to snag a Treasury on Etsy today. I've been so busy that I haven't been creating as many treasuries as I'd like, but this one was definitely calling to me. It will be active until Thursday morning, so you can check it out for a few days.

Here is Rusty's Got the Blues!

The prior treasury that I created is no longer active, but here it is - Betwixt and Between.

I'm always inspsired by the talented folks I find on Etsy, and I enjoy sharing their work with whomever I can.

And speaking of inspiration, once I get my work done for the Bead & Button Show I'll be adding a new feature to my blog involving inspiration.  Many folks ask me where my inspiration comes from.  I'll be writing about this and sharing my thoughts and processes with you.

But for now, I'm off to finish up my day's work and perhaps muck around with some fiber.  I always finish fulling my vessels in my lap in front of the TV, and tonight I'll be plunked down in front of "Dancing With the Stars".  It sure would be nice if I could put out a vessel to dry by the time voting starts, yes?

Have yourselves a happy creative day! 

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Etched Leaves

So here they are, all nice and etched. Yes, that's right - there are a few more in this picture than in the picture prior to etching. I had a couple of them already masked, just waiting for the bath. I'll be making lots more of these for the upcoming Bead & Button Show. If you're going to the show, come see me in booth 1221!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Mid-Process Beads

I just love word-of-mouth!  One of my bead making students bought a few of my leaf beads, put one of them on a leather cord, and gave it to a friend of hers at the gym.  Another friend at the gym saw it, said that the necklace was "amazing" and that she wanted one.  Thank you Lisa for spreading "bead love"! And Terri, you'll get pix as soon as I etch these babies.

So here are some of my "rain drop" leaf  beads, freshly cleaned prior to the final process.  The final process is masking off all the drops of water, etching the beads, then cleaning off the masking agent.  I'll get these finished today, then get some pix of the final leaves.  These are the most popular leaf beads that I make - next week I'll be making several more for the upcoming Bead & Button Show.

Now I'm off to do some masking, then out for supper, then some etching. Maybe tonight I'll get in a little fiber work too, yeah!

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