Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Weather was perfect!!

for Market Day! this small indie arts market continues to grow this year, and this show was so much fun! Since it was on Halloween, vendors were encouraged to dress. Several did, including us! Jerry did a gentleman from 1880's London, and I was a pirate. Yes, I know I've been a pirate often these last few years. But it's fun, you get to say ARRRR! carry a wooden sword AND wear a hat!! What could be finer??

Pictures would be nice but none of ours turned out very well, so I guess I'll leave it to your imagination. Our neighbour did a great costume, she called it "grandma's couch monster. She took 3-4 afghans and added huge googly eyes on a big foam head.. it was really really kewl! She had all kinds of great stuff - hats, scarfs and footies, all hand made, really cute concepts on them. And she made her visa/MasterCard sign out of felt. Very talented vendor!!

Course all the vendors are very talented! (not just me! LOL) Or have kewl vintage stuff. Or both!

Darby cakes had 6 different themed cupcakes. We bought one of each to sample.. so far the lime/coconut was interesting (read: good but not our cup of tea) and the double chocolate very tasty. I really like the pumpkin caramel version. (which looked like mummy faces, bonus!) Everybody loves red velvet and cream cheese!! Haven't tried the others - yet!

I bought some vintage jewelry at a good price to break down for future projects, love when that happens!

bought little dead guy dolls from Kimb's Creatures . Gave the set to my daughter, kept one of the little guys for me!! She had these awesome spider candy dishes. I regret, greatly, not buying the purple one. If you like truly odd ball stuff, but fun, she's the gal!

You know the most important part of all this fun?? We get to do it again for BLACK FRIDAY! OK, probably not as a pirate this time. (damn)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Random moments in my life...

Life is a series of random moments no? Here is Kya, sitting in one of my studio chairs last week, for once not in constant movement. Look at her beautiful beautiful orange eyes!!!

Here is a big pile of jewelry from a month or so ago.. we had another show that rained on us. So I spread all the jewelry out on paper towels to make sure nothing was damaged. Nothing was, most if it wasn't even wet, but it looks kind of kewl spread all over my studio floor.

This weekend Jerry was sweeping the leaves off the steps and found a friend. Isn't he/she/it cute?? He actually brought it up the studio to show me so I had to take a picture. Don't worry, he released it in the back yard away from where he was working. The cats are still miffed at him.

Now that most of my shows are done for the year, I can take a deep breath and appreciate these random moments more than when I'm going 60 miles an hour getting ready for shows. I even took time to really clean my studio and reorganize somewhat. Here is a pic of my counter top that is directly over the stairwell of my studio. The print is new, a birthday present from my beloved Jerry, and the plaque is a birthday gift from my bestest buddies, Sue and Cathie. Throw in some of my favorite Nightmare Before Christmas toys and my mirror, and it's a happy little display again.
Now that most of my shows are done for the year, I can take a deep breath and appreciate these random moments more than when I'm going 60 miles an hour getting ready for shows. Not that I don't still have a few shows; this weekend is Market Day . We get to wear costumes, woot! So if you are in Des Moines this Saturday (9-2pm) be sure to stop by Market Day and experience a moment or two.. random or not.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Follow your Bliss.......

I’m really trying to get into the swing of things on Artfire. One of the opportunities is joining guilds.. Sellers group together to help each other learn the ropes and network. I joined 3, one of them had the best name: “I followed my bliss… so now what?? “ .

That’s been rolling around in my head, so this weekend I decided to make something in honor of my new Group! I haven’t decided yet if it’s going to be a pendant or a necklace.

I started with a Vintaj brass Blank, and using metal stamps put the words and symbols on.

Then I used a hammer to add more texture, sanded the edges smooth and used a doming block to make it curved.

Now it’s all ready to color….

More pics coming as the piece moves along it’s path to finished jewelry!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Girl's Weekend Part III : Resin class

"explore " This one seems appropriate, as we were exploring a new medium!
"why Mona dreams" I've always thought Mona Lisa looks like she's day dreaming.

I researched different types of resin, and settled on Ice Resin for several reasons. It has a good rating among other artists, it's easy to use ( no UV equipment needed like some of them), lots of info on the web about using it, and since you can buy it in fairly small amounts, it seemed the prefect way to get one's toes wet. I bought a round of bezels for each of us off Etsy, and away we went!

Resin is both easier and harder than I thought. It's easier to mix up and pour, but I can see it will take a few tries to get it just so. I think my pieces have too many air bubbles. The directions suggest letting it set for 5 minutes.. I am thinking maybe letting it set for 10 minutes next time. I can defiantly tell which ones were poured first vs. later. The later ones are much less bubbly. Also the room was colder, and the directions suggest that can cause more bubbles.

It's hard to judge how much to pour into the cup. The cups/findings we used varied by depth.. I actually over poured a few pieces, and they were the deeper ones.
It's very important to keep the pieces level while they dry. We stacked them on shelves in the closet out of the way, and one of the shelves wasn't very level, didn't realize it til later. Those pieces have a definite slant.

My favorite piece I made is my starry night bracelet. Each component is a section of the painting starry night by Vincent van Gogh and the middle one is the whole painting in miniature. I've always loved this painting ( who doesn't??) It was so much fun playing around with this famous painting.

My conclusions about resin? It can be fun, but waiting 72 hours before it's completely dry sucks. I might have to look at the UV versions ( UV light resin can be cured very quickly!) Also, I bagged one of the pendants a week later and noticed it stuck to the bag. so now I have non shinny marks on the surface.. not good. I don't know if this means I didn't mix it quite right or if it got wet in the bag or something or what. Something to research sometime.

I will probably do more resin in the future.. if nothing else I still have 3/4Th's of the ice resin, and that's with pouring 21 cabs and 3 bracelets between the 3 of us!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Girl's Weekend Part II

Random moments during the weekend. Here Sue is LOOKING for something. Only she knows what!
Some of Sue's work from the weekend, she's very into steam punk right now. I really loved how they turned out...
Cathie showing off her Tiara!
Here I am industrially working away!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another sucessful BeadCon, aka Girls Weekend Oct 7-10th, part 1

I so look forward to girls weekend! For long time viewers of my blog ( all 3 of you! LOL) I get together with my bestest buddies from South Dakota 3-4 times a year. When ever we get together we call it a BeadCon. We even have bags, and take turns making favors for our bags each time we meet. You can tell from the line of charms, we have been doing this for awhile!

At least one of those weekends we camp out at a hotel in Omaha ( as it's the biggest city within almost equal distance of each of us) We bring our own tables, and fill a hotel suite with beads, components, findings, food and companionship. We usually try to take a class together, and we are either getting a new challenge for next time or showing off the results from the challenge. No matter what we do we have amazing amounts of fun.

This weekend proved to be no different. We met up at our normal meeting up place: Rockbrook village. It's this great block mall that's conveniently just off the interstate I use to get to Omaha, and the interstate that Cathie & Sue use. It's also got a very nice bead shop, a wine & cheese shop, great restaurants and the best damn sugar cookies I've ever had at Garden Cafe. I always get some with homemade cream cheese frosting. yum! HEAVEN!

After much exchanging of greetings and hugs, the first day together is usually shopping and settling in day. We usually take a tour of local bead shops, the glass shop (mostly for me!) check into the hotel and transform our suite into tableland, with enough combined jewelry making goodness to rival any bead store in town! Then we hunker down and get to beading.

Thursday night was mostly exchanging of presents, checking out the challenge pieces this year, and started our "class" - playing with resin, which I'll cover in another post. This year's challenge was to make something that represented one of us, and we drew names. Sue got my name, and made this most charming muse for me. (Cathie named her Esmeralda) The body is cut copper sheet, in a heart shape, then hammered for textured. The face is a bone cab and the hair is wire cork-screwed into pig tails. I often put my hear up in a pony tail or pig tails when I'm working on stuff-- my hair is thick, long and gets in the way! The legs end in tennis shoe beads, because I'm always wearing tennis shoes, unless I'm in bed. Thanks Sue, it's now decorating my main desk lamp in the studio!

Cathie got Sue's name, and made this wonderful "cha-cha" bracelet mostly in Sue's, Cathie's and I's favorite colors. Sue loves cha-cha's bracelets! They are an incredible amount of work, good job Cathie!

I got Cathie's name. Now I think Cathie is one of best people I know, and she has a big heart and mothers everyone (but in a good way!) I don't think she get's the recognition she deserves for all her hard work on other's behalf. So I played around with this idea for some time, and finally decided she was the queen of good hearts, or at least a princess, and every princess needs a Tiara!! Besides I knew Cathie didn't have one!! If you can tell, the top wire motif is a spiral like heart, and it's a mixture of Austrian crystal and really good Chinese crystal. It fit her almost like it was made for her! LOL !! It's sort of funny this challenge was very open ended but we all used hearts in our projects... we all love each other like sisters of the heart, if not blood.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Artfire part II

I've updated my Artfire blog! See what's on my desk in my studio right this minute!

I've also been trying to list items like a crazy woman. My goal is 30 listings by the end of the week.. I'm at 25 right now, Woot!! My goal is by the end of next week is 60 listings. Most of them right now are component or glass cabs, but I'm hoping to get more jewelry up this weekend. To be honest, it's faster and easier to list findings/beads etc than jewelry. Jewelry requires much more photography work, and better descriptions. I will do this work, but it takes time. Once I build my store up to 60-70 listings, I'll am hoping to list 4-6 new items a week. I think I can handle that many a week and do a good job.

I've also got to update my website to show Artfire as my "store". One of the things I really like about Artfire is if someone wants to buy something, they are not forced to open an account. This makes it perfect to have on my website! While I like Etsy, you have to sign up to buy. While I would recommend people to create accounts on either site, it is a barrier to some. People do not like to be forced, and some folks just don't want to remember 1 more password. I am all about removing barriers from my customers !

There are several things I can do to make my Artfire studio store more successful, and I'm planning on doing them all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

relaunching my Artfire store...

These earrings feature pearls ( Love pearls!!) and PMC leaves I made earlier this year.

I've been playing around on various on line art stores, and after considerable thought I've decided to go with Artfire. I'm making a comment that for the next 6 months I'm going to try to make a consistent effort to keep it stocked, to tweet about it, to blog about and to just really give sweat and effort into the store.

I've got a goal to get at least 30 listings up by Sunday. I'm almost half way there. I've also been playing around with a bunch of features, learning more about the site. Tonight I made a collection, and boy it was easy. you can see it here .

Another feature of Artfire is a on-site blog. That one I'm more torn about, as I really like blogging here. So I'll probably blog back and forth and posts links back and forth. Then after my 6 months, I'll decide what I want to do about the blogs. I like blogging... so I"m not going to stop!!

So lots of changes coming along business wise. I still have a few things on Etsy, but for now I'm focused on Artfire. So check out my shop!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why - Why Not? earrings with style !

I love these earrings! Sterling silver disks are punched out of sterling sheet, then textured, stamped, and domed all by hand. I added patina in the recesses and then polished the raised parts for high contrast. Then red crystals added because that's the color of the attitude these earrings possess!

Sometimes as women, we really have to talk ourselves into doing something fun, maybe alittle bit crazy. These earrings are giving you permission to relax, have fun and do something for yourself that you deserve.. maybe it's to schedule a movie night with the girls.. maybe it's trying that new triple chocolate latte crumb cake that smells so heavenly! Maybe it's taking a few hours off work so you can get your errands done early and be able to spend more time with the family. What ever the treat you are denying yourself for what ever the reason.... ask yourself the question: why? and then answer it: Why not?

These earrings are available in any color you want, please note each earring will be different, no 2 will be the same. I use different combinations of stampings and texturing, so each pair is unique and made for just one person!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

When Mistakes go good...

I really love how this ended up, but boy, was it a pain to get it there! About a month ago I was wrapping this Mexican coin. I bought it with a bunch of other foreign coins jumbled in a jar at a antique shop. It's somewhat worn, but after I cleaned it up I thought it would still work great as a pendant. I really wanted to do a formal border wrap, something really simple because I thought I could make it more unisex than most of my jewelry pieces as a wrapped coin by it's nature can be either way. I was trying to make a nice twisted wire running on the sides and something happened that's never happened to me before -- I broke the wire!!

After I got over the shock, I decided to keep working on the piece and see if I could save it anyway. So I snipped the other side in the same place and came up with these curly prongs. I think it looks great, and I never would have though of it if I hadn't broken one of the wires.

I love it when a mistake turns out to be the best thing possible for your piece!!

It ended up being more of a female piece though, I just had to make all those lovely graceful swoops at the top!!