Sunday, July 29, 2007

YOJ: Week 30: Sunrise Fiesta (off topic)

I have a feeling I'll be doing lots of off topic on YOJ this quarter... partly it's that time of year, I"m just trying to tread water on inventory needs for summer shows, and partly because so many ideas are just banging around in my head, and I want to get them all done. I started this set, "Sunrise Fiesta" 3 months ago? I'd made this bracelet using chain and homemade headpins and luscious pearls, done in greens, beige and pinks. I loved it, and wanted to make a necklace just like it... only I didn't have enough pearls to make the matching necklace. I grabbed the pearls and made up a mix I liked even better (purples, royal blue, light blue, aqua, greens, fuchsia, pink) and made a mess of headpins. Went to the chain pail and *GASP* I only had about 7 inches Left of chain. It has to be simple cable, in alternating links to work. I bought some chain only it wasn't the same size, and didn't work as well. I finally had to borrow some chain from a friend to work on it.. then the show season started. I would get it out here and there and work on it, but with lots of interruptions. Well I took it on the trip, and got a bracelet done, and about 10 inches on the necklace, and decided while it looked good on paper, the full 22 inches of it would be a very heavy necklace.

I Stopped working on it for a few days, and while I tried to think Salsa, spicy, all I could think of is ways to finish this project. Finally I re found this clasp I bought at B & B and I knew it had to be in the front... and realized I wanted to make it off center. That's all it took, I finished this I think Thurs? night. Made up matching earrings. To Stared at the necklace some more, and added a few quick wire embellishments to the single strand. Just a few touches, below is a close up of 2 of the elements. I just thought it had to have more visual punch, as the chain side is so busy. Called it "sunrise" because of the colors and "fiesta" cause it is a party! and at least that sort of fits in with salsa / spicy eh? Sorry the photos are alittle dark, I think I need to invest in new light bulbs in my Ott lights.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

South Dakota part III !!!!

Last entry here, don't get me wrong, I've got 500 + pictures, but I don't want to be like Uncle Ernie and the slide machine at Christmas!! Anyway, here is Jesscera feeding the burros in Custer State Park. There are 2 burrow packs in Custer, descendants of the burros used in the 30's and before to haul people and equipment up to Harney peak. They are quite popular with tourists, as they are the only animals in the park that you can legally feed.... mind you, park policy discourages this by advising you are feeding them "at your own risk" but the way the burros swarm cars they know which side of the bread is buttered!!!
Weds morning was spent with Jesscera frolicking in the waterpark, and I went shopping!! I hit all the bead shops I could find, found great bagels ( the place made their own cream cheese, unbelievably yummy!! ) and hit some antique and art galleries. that afternoon was tour 2. We got to ride the 1880 train (which the oldest part seems to be a steam engine built in 1913 but who's counting?) hit a real gold mine (the above picture, which is the only picture of all 3 of us, mental note on next vacation, hand off the camera more!) and panned for gold flakes. We also visited keystone and hill city briefly, and finally ended up at Mt Rushmore again, this time for the lighting ceremony.

Interesting note about Weds... the weather. Hill city had a freak hailstone storm, we luckily missed it but got to see the damage and stones, some of them as large as a golf balls. This was after an hour of melting! We had fog and rain up on Mt. Rushmore, but miraculously it cleared up just in time for the lighting ceremony.
Thurs it was time to leave our lovely hotel and drive to hot springs. On the way we stopped in Hill City again, checked out the very kewl if *tiny* museum there, which had the largest nautilus we have every seen !! Most of them were gemstone quality, this picture shows the opal in this specimen pretty well, but keep in mind the darn thing was almost 2 FEET ACROSS! really kewl little museum. Here is Jesscera looking through her namesake's. We wandered into Custer State park again, and hit Needles highway, the other main twisty scenic narrow road. Roger said ( the tour guy from Tues) that "scenic highway" is a swear word in South Dakota! I think he's right, or should be! LOL!!

Doesn't that look like fun?? Funny we didn't scare the other cars like the bus did!
Here is Jesscera and Jerry on one of the needle's formations. We also hit a couple of rock shops, got some kewl stones for wire wrapping ( wooo hooo!) and Jesscera and Jerry got some geodes. I had a strong desire to buy rose quartz's rough to put in the yard.. nearly every business out there had boulder sized rock of the stuff, and it's really pretty that way!! Jerry refused to let me haul home 150 lbs of it. I believe it's the state stone, if it's not it should be, and it's a darker pink than what I normally see. I wished I'd bought more of it than the few chunks I got.
We stopped by Jewel Cave, but we missed the last tour, so we bought books and got back on the road to Hot Springs. Jerry has already stated if we go to SD again we are to allot 1 full day to the cave. If you go to SD and like caves, I would recommend Jewel Cave as the top pick, judging by the books we bought!
Hot Springs is the home of the Mammoth Site, which is a most excellent paleontology site. It is a active site, they are actually digging up bones in front of you. Kewlest of all They have a Jr. paleo program, and so Fri we went to the site, and Jesscera got to dig up bones.

Now OK, the bones in the kid's dig are fakes, but they are cast directly from real finds at the site, and I'm proud to say Jesscera uncovered a tusk. The program only lasts 1-1/2 hrs, so she so couldn't completely expose it.. it's 2 big, probably would of been taller than she is!.

Fri we drove to Mitchell, and Sat we were going to check out the doll museum, the discovery museum and the corn palace. However they had a parade and rodeo going on, and we made a family decision to just get the heck out of dodge. To be honest, we all had such a good time on the trip, but it was time to go home. So we did!!
I hope you all enjoyed the travelogue, and seriously if your Christmas actives are little light and you want slides, just call Uncle Kat !! LOL

Friday, July 27, 2007

South Dakota Part II !!

Tues We took a tour that hit several local attractions. First up, Reptile Gardens, which the owner touts as the largest collection in north America.. at least in the number of types in the collection. In addition to reptiles, they also had prairie dogs.. they had the kewlest enclosure for them. you could look into their pen above or below... Jesscera is demonstrating the "below" method. Makes you wonder who's studying who, us or them ??? And of Course they had crocodiles there. Jesscera is petting a baby in this picture.

Next is Bear Country USA, which is a drive through animal park. Jesscera confesses this was her favorite part of the trip!! We were able to get quite close to the animals, and the macro on the camera did the rest. Here is a picture of 3 bears in a small pond, and a very good shot of a bison... the bison was maybe 15 feet away. Actually makes for a nervous bus ride, there wasn't a fence between us and the bison!!

The really great thing about the tour is we got "VIP" service. At bear country that translates into feeding the baby bears!! There were 8 of them, and while we couldn't' touch them, we could throw at them a mixture of popcorn, marshmallows some sort of feed... I think they liked the marshmallows the best. In this picture, Jesscera is maybe 2feet away from the baby bear.

This last pic at Bear Country isn't a real bear.. they have a bear statute on top of the gift shop. I thought it was great, the way the bear is "peeking" in!
Next Mt. Rushmore, the biggie of South Dakota tourism. Now I've been before, in fact this is probably the 4th? time I've seen it... Jesscera and Jerry liked it. You can see Me and the BooBoo in front of the mt, and then here is a close up from closer spot, not the normal view for mt. Rushmore!

Then Off to crazy horse. Now in prior trips to the Dakotas, I only saw crazy horse from a distance, and very little was done.. ( this would have been middle 90's I think) So this was more interesting to me than Mt Rushmore. It's actually got much more of an emotional wallop. this is the quintessential picture at the site: the statue lined up with the actual mountain. Very interesting!!! Last on the tour Roger ( the bus driver / tour guild, he was a hoot!) drove the bus on iron man road in Custer State park... let me tell you, he is very skilled, that is a very narrow twisty road and I think we scared the Dejesus out of every other driver on the road with us!! LOL More to follow.....

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We Went to South Dakota This Summer!!! Pt 1

Wow! We had much Fun, even if the first 2 days of the trip was well, not as promising!! First Stop Friday Was Sioux Falls, home of some of my "best friends" ... Fellow beaders Named Cathie & Sue, with friend Matt (he who carries lots o' beads for the girls at shows!) I am ashamed to say I didn't get any pictures of them together or at least any that turned out. Anyway, we hit town around 5;30pm, and got together for Chinese and Good company. I finally got to meet Cathie's Hubby Johnnie. I've known Cathie & Sue for years, but never had a chance to meet Cathie's charming husband before! Then we visited the falls that Sioux Falls are named for. It really is a nice park!!!

Unfortunately Jerry got sick that night (food poisoning??) and stayed nauseous for a few days. Meanwhile Jesscera developed a rash or infection around her eye. By Saturday she was so swollen on her left side of her face she could hardly see!! We took her to a local urgent care clinic and they gave her both antibiotics and allergy cream. They were not sure which it was either. That evening Johnnie made a mess of the best tastin' BBQ and we were back on the road. We stayed in Chamberlain that night, and on Sunday headed for Rapid city with lots of stops.. For example we stopped at the 1880 town for lunch, and decided to check out the rest of the town. Little did I know Cisco, the original horse from Dances With Wolves was still alive!! The sign states he is 31 years old. I am not a horse person, but you can tell Cisco is special. Jerry calls this my "horse moment" Jesscera and I petted and talked to him, and he kept doing little horse bows and tricks. He looked you straight in the eye and it really was a moment. Then it was badlands time, taking scenic by route 240. The picture with Jerry ... he is way way way out on a ledge.. the new camera takes pretty good pictures, I'm a good 50 feet or more away from him. Then here is one with me and Jess, just hangin' out in the 102 degree weather, enjoying the scenery while we melted. Thank goodness for our hats!!

Then Wall Drug (of course!! ) and then to Rapid City, which would be home base for the next 4 nights. The hotel is very kewl has a built in waterpark. Our room was a large one with a divider, and had a microwave and fridge.
Monday we went caving, to Crystal Cave and to the Black Hills Cave, jerry was happy.. he loves caves!! I can't remember which cave this picture is from.. it turned out pretty good considering we were 100's of feet underground!! And then we came back and let Jesscera play in the waterpark for 3 hours, so she was happy. That is Jesscera tipping the water bucket. More in part 2!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pendant Pictures

Well I'm back safe and sound from South Dakota!! I'll try to write about that soon, but I don't have more than 10 minutes and I wanted to show my pictures of pendants made before I left! First up are 2 more "dragon wings" without crystals.. they are made in copper and pearls, these are actually the prototypes that made up the fossil dragon wing necklace.

Next I made this heart up with copper wire. This heart is glass. Not completely happy with this, but it's OK. ( it was very hard to wrap, very slippery, and it kept slipping out of the wrap!! )
Next is another Reuther style wrap. Funny thing is I keep doing these wrong, I keep going left or something when he goes right. Oh well, they look great, but I know I"m not "doing them" right, it's kind of odd. And the Back is ugly... Vintage occupied Japanese glass cab, gold filled wire.

Next is a very simple agate stone with copper, I was trying to go very minimal on this, I think I looks nice!! not as secure as the Reuther style or the border style, but I like the simple approach.
This next one is an arrow head copy, also done very simply and with copper. To continue the "simple" theme I did this donut.. now I"m really happy with the donut... it took like 1 minute to do once I figured it out, and it looks great!! I need to find some more donuts!
Then I tried another Reuther style wrap, it failed miserably, so I cut it apart ... and found that part of it looked cool... so I added a crystal dangle in the middle. I like how this looked, not sure I captured it in the photo very well.
Then I tried again, and this time it came out beautifully!! Couldn't be more pleased, in fact I've claimed it as my own, and wore it on my trip!!! I really should sell it... but I think not for now at least.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

YOJ: Week 23, 28 & 29 wooo hoo I"m caught up!!

Week 23 : Water to drink. This really captured my imagination, and I played with a couple of different ideas.. one I still want to do at some time... but what I ended up was working in my head about how you need water to live... and that juxtaposed with how many people out there just coast in life, without really taking all it can offer... without "drinking" it all in. So I call this "life to drink" It's a pin approx 3 inches high, I'm very happy with out it turned out, if not how long it took!!! As a metaphor I'm quite happy with it.. you never know what you will get in life, but it comes in a pretty container and has a red straw. If you keep that in mine and suck hardy, life can be good! The technical aspects of it I"m very pleased. Its the first pin back I've actually made, all the pins to date I've just wired on a manufactured finding. As you can see in the pictures that wouldn't have worked, I didn't want a pin back to interfere with the openness of the piece. I've never done so much binding in my life, it took hours.. and using 21ga as the base makes it very light and delicate. I've very lightly hammered it for strength, and I"m going to tumble it once I get the chance.

Week 28: with this week I'm caught up. Theme is Phoenix or Dragons. Ok I"m kind of squeaking on this one. I was playing around with pearls and copper wire, and decided to make one in pearls, crystals and sterling... turning the pendant upside down and then sideways, I realized how much it looked like a wing... a very simple pared down one... and I started to think "bone" ... so Fossil Dragonwing was born. I love how the earrings turned out.. the pendant is done in 21 ga sterling, the earrings in 24 gauge. 24 is sooo soft it's hard to make it retain the shape.

Week 29: As I'm out of town next week, I not only had the goal of catching up, but getting 1 week ahead, so I can stay caught up! Themes were Bronze Beauty ( whatever the heck that is!! ) and mercury raising. I don't know about where you are, but the weather the last few weeks has been hotter than hot! It took me very little time to come up with this one, I call it "Too darn hot!! " It's pretty self explanatory. I did a very light texture on the sides of the frame, to give the hint or suggestion of the gauge marks.