Sunday, December 28, 2014

Plenty

2014, the year of MORE.

The year of more responsibility.  More deadlines.  More challenges.  More students.
     
I taught more classes and typed more words on more papers than ever before.  I traveled more, back and forth to school four days a week.  And, a lovely, life-changing trip to Las Vegas (more on that later).  More money in, much more money going out.

I also beaded more.  And felted more.  Lots more.  Jaynee and I supplied five art shows, two private shows, and one major Christmas show.  Lots more jewelry making!


For 2015, I'm focusing on plenty.  Plenty of time to research and write my dissertation.  Plenty of time to enjoy making art, playing with new mediums, refining old ones.  Plenty of beads, plenty of felt, plenty of fabric to play with.  Plenty of time to spend with family and friends, new and old.

Mostly, I wish all of you plenty.  And the happiest of New Year's.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Boho Belts

Okay, ready for my new obsession?


Felted belts.


These are just the bases.  While doing the felting demonstration at Lowell Art Center this weekend, I had time to start the felting process.  The night before, I went through my fabric scrap bins and pulled out color coordinated pieces and different shades and textures of roving.


See, I knew there was a reason for collecting all these years!


Now for the fun part - embroidering the bases with beads and threads and all sorts of trinkets.  Each belt is about 24-28 inches long.  I'll attach some ribbon for the tie.  Long ribbon, I'm thinking, so that each belt is very adjustable.  For smaller waists, the ribbon will just add to the bohemian look.  Then I'll pack the belt with fabric or ultra suede.  Honestly, I haven't thought that far ahead yet.  :)



I'll post more pictures as I get farther along in the process.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Demonstrating

It's off to the Lowell Art Center this morning, to demonstrate needle felting.  And sell art, from artists all over Michigan.

Woot!

I'm supposed to show people how to make brooches, but when no one's looking, I'm going to be working on dance belts.

Like this:
From AllThingsPretty on Etsy
I've wanted to play with something like this for a while now.  I have five belts bagged up.  When putting together my travel kit last night, I actually discovered a new design method: Open up a gallon size baggie, sit down in front of my scrap bin and start throwing bits and pieces in each bag.  A color scheme starts to emerge as you go through the bin.

This is similar to what I do with necklaces, on my bead table.  Often, because I'm  blessed with such an array of (hoarded) goodies, I get overwhelmed with what to choose.  Nothing like a deadline to work through that!

I'll post pictures next week of what I come up with!

In the meantime, check out your local art center to see what artist-made goodies they have!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Coffee

Something I learned during my recent semester of overwork and overstress was the joy of coffee.


I've always loved the smell but didn't enjoy the taste.  Or the buzz.  I was one of those annoying people that when I got out of bed in the morning, I was AWAKE!

Until this semester.  Sleep was at a premium and rarely restful.  I found myself needing a bit more kick in the morning to get myself going.  Or, more accurately - restarted.

And then, I tasted this:


Meijer's brand "Michigan Cherry" coffee.  Yummy.  And smells a bit like heaven.

But doesn't taste so good with this:


The peppermint helps to settle my often queasy morning stomach.

So since I am now a regular coffee drinker, I find myself in need of some cool coffee cups.  I love a good stoneware mug.  I have a "blue moon" mug that I picked up at a festival years ago that I've always stored pens in that I'm now re-appropriating for morning coffee.  But there's also these:

A nice reminder...

 While making time to bead is never in question for me, sometimes I still forget to slow down and enjoy my morning cup of coffee.  

I guess I'll have to practice some more.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Yes!

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

It's Winter Break!

I'll be getting back to regular blogging within the next week.
First, I need to finish grading, post jewelry to Etsy for those last minutes sales, and catch up on some sleep!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Oh, happy day


Happy, happy, happy, happy.

All four of my doctoral exams have been submitted (as of 4:37 this morning).  So relieved.  

About 150 books researched, 120+ pages written, in just 6 weeks.

Yep, I'm exhausted.  I'm taking a nap, then doing some beadwork, until the re-write info comes in.  :)


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Booth Display

It's show season.  Well, planning for show season.

I've been busying collecting props all summer, hitting up estate sales and thrift stores.  Sadly, I have no pictures.  Just piles of projects in the garage.  :)

And ideas.  Lots of ideas.

I started collecting inspiration on a Pinterest board.  Here's some samples.

At a really excellent estate sale this summer, I found a beat up old suitcase, similar to this.  For $3.  I have to fix one of the hinges and knock off some of the dirt from 30 years of sitting around in a barn, but it'll work really well as a prop.  I'll either decoupage it like above, or use it like below:

Lots of potential.  And it depends on what I have ready to sell.  I've been working on some cork necklaces that would hang nicely.  Or maybe I'll fill the suitcase with earring cards.  Or bracelets.

Speaking of bracelets, I found this really cool electric cable roller thingy.  At least that's what I think it is.  It's wooden and got a handle and four bars to wind stuff around.  It'll be perfect for a bracelet display.  Just needs some L brackets to make it more sturdy.  

I'm also planning to add some height to the booth at my big show this year.  Need to find one more mannequin, which will compliment the other mannequin on the other side of the booth.  Problem is, mannequin's are expensive.  I bought my last one at a craft store that I refuse to shop in anymore, as shopping there has other too high costs, for women's reproduction.

So, I might end up using a 4-5 foot Christmas tree as a prop.  Maybe if I add some funky lights, it'll fit the bohemian theme of the booth.

I'm also adding some fun signage to the booth this year.  


Think this will help shoppers spend?

I'd really like to make a sign that says, "Life's too short for boring jewelry," but wonder if that sounds overly snarky.  'Cause I get really really tired of women wearing dainty little gold or silver chains that look just like what everybody else is wearing.  Really?  I want to ask.  That's the best you can do?

Too direct?

At the very least, I'll post this sign, a nice reminder of why art and craft shows are not only necessary but wonderful.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall

My view of Fall has been limited this year to early morning drives to and from school and the view from my front window.

My drive is 50 miles, each way.  Not too bad in the spring, lovely in the summer, and stunning in the Fall.  (We won't discuss winter, as I'm in denial that it's on its way, with its dreaded snow and ice.)

Oh, the colors!

On my drive, I find myself thinking of color combinations.  Nature is really the ultimate artist.

Since absolutely every spare moment is currently being spent to finish my PhD exams (4 20-25 page essays in about 6 weeks, with a combined book list of about 200 books), my primary view of fall is through my front window.  The past week, I've watched the burning bush turn bright red, the maple tree begin to tinge orange, and the birch tree shift to gold.

Sigh.

My reward for finishing exams will be to rake leaves.  Lots and lots of leaves.  Six maples, one birch, and assorted blown into the yard tonage of leaves.

I think I might save a few for jewelry inspiration.

Can't wait.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pillow Talk

I've been looking for fun scraps of material to add to my felted bracelets and necklaces.  Scraps with embroidery and bright colors, lots of texture.

After an Etsy search, I decided on these:

Pillows!

Check out those details.  Lots of patterns and colors and shapes.

While I did find some really wonderful pieces of embroidered ribbon, I didn't want to spend $7.99 + for a yard, for each piece.  Too expensive.

Most of the pieces on these pillows are at least 3-5 inches.  Excellent for smaller projects.

The things is, now I have to tear these beauties apart.

And these pillows are really really well made.  They're lined.  Some even have zippers.

I think I may even use the centerpiece on this pillow as the base of a necklace.  Or maybe as trim on a blouse.

If you're interested, check out the Etsy shop here.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Midnight Visitors

Whose there?

The other evening, a couple stood outside in front of our house, taking pictures.  Oh, no, I thought.  The cats must be doing something horrible.  Or, the people are taking pictures in for having too many cats.  So, I went outside to see what was up.

Apparently, we had visitors.

Twins!
The couple taking photos said they saw these two running across the front yard and climbing into the tree.

My first thought was not "how cute," I'll be honest.  My first thought was, "Please don't let them get in the attic!"

Caught mid-yawn.  Hiding is hard work.

All they wanted was a place to sleep.


By the next morning, they were gone.  The little bandits.



Friday, September 19, 2014

Felting Friday

Here's what's going on in the world of poking sharp needles into felt:


I love the color of this vintage ceramic flower.  The leaves were broken off long ago.  I always intended to do some elaborate beadwork around the flower, but the designs didn't work.  Felting does, don't you think?


The piece of mica on the left is extremely fragile, so I knew it needed a soft home.  Its shape reminded me of a wing.  So, I traced the "wing" onto a piece of felt to make a pair of wings.  The little face in the center looks very satisfied.  So am I.

 
This is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry I've made recently.  Talk about bright and colorful!  And trimmed in black it makes it wearable with so much, in any season.  Plus, the black frames all that color.

Yeah, I think I'm in love with adding felting to jewelry.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Production Mode

J and I are in the thick of production mode for Fall and Holiday shows.

Next weekend is the Fallasberg Festival, in Lowell, MI.  Haven't been to this one before, so don't know what to expect.  I hope to have some pictures of it for next week's blog.

Here's some of what we've been working on:

A lovely MakuStudios cabochon.
A lovely cameo

Isn't this stamping wonderful?  The herons are migrating now.  So cool to watch.

I found this chunk of calcite in AZ.  The other stones are petoskey stones, found in MI.

Turquoise, paired with brown.  A favorite.

More turquoise, this time with lampwork.  Turquoise is a consistent good seller.

Druzy!  Sparkly.

Jaynee's polymer artwork.  Many hours of work.

And, finally, a sweet autumn face that's been in my stash for years.  Notice how she's taking a nap?
Hopefully, these will all be popular at the show!




Saturday, September 13, 2014

I need a nap

I had a thought today at 10:30 a.m., as I was moving around the house, hanging up the phone from talking with a professor, gathering up finished jewelry that needs to be photographed, taking the ingredients for chili out of the fridge, and feeding the critters breakfast:  my epitaph should read - finally, a nap.

Okay, if I were sleeping here, I'd never get up.  (Pinterest photo)
Let me make this clear.  I do not intend to activate that epitaph any time soon.  

Maybe in 50 years or so.

'Cuz, you know, I have too much left to do!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Three Graces

In Greek mythology, the Three Graces are feminine representations of charm, beauty and creativity.

Botticelli's version of the Three Graces
In Norse mythology, the Three Graces take the form of the Norns, who tell a person's fate by reading their past, present and future.


Pagans honor the Triple Goddess, or Maiden Mother Crone, celebrating the different phases of a woman's life and the power that comes with each phase.

I love this plaque (but it's a pain to dust!)
 I've wanted to do a necklace inspired by the Three Graces for quite awhile.  Here's what I came up with:

Felting gave me the base that I wanted to show off these faux bone etched pieces, which I paired with resin faces.  I added charms and trinkets, bits of crystal and magatama drops for accents.  I found the perfect strap beads in my stash, using these etched spiral agate beads.  


I feel like I honored the spirit of the Three Graces.  Agree?