Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Teal, Pink, Purple and Leather? Why Not!

Pinks, Purples and Teals?

When the Singing Bee was on TV, I had a good time calling the host Joey Fat One. I knew his name was Fatone, but calling him Fat One makes me giddy and laugh like a high schooler. As I near my forties, I am still silly.

While I had fun playing with the compound “ fatone,” I wasn’t sure how to feel about the 2009 Fall Color Report as presented by Pantone or as I like to call them: Pant One. But because I don't design just for myself, I went on a shopping frenzy choosing faceted crystal and resin beads for the Fall months, guided by my Pantone Fall palette. Autumn - it's my favorite season. While I was choosing these new electric hues, I was thinking, "Where are my Earth tones: greens, burnt oranges, dirty yellows?" Mmm, colors that would make me want to roll in dirt and get crunchy leaf bits caught in my hair.

But the 2009 Fall colors are not the earth tones I love. How could this be, oh Pant One? Is it because I pick on your name? Pink. Purple. Teal. Really? These are the colors of Orlando rental cars, not my beloved autumnal hues. These are not my comfort colors, Pant One. Unlike a nice bowl of mashed potatoes, which I know will be delish, I’m not sure if I can fill up on these blues and pinks, so I went hunting for something new, yet familiar– a new something I’ve never worked with before. As if drawn by some magnetic field, I entered the closet. A buttery soft Anne Klein black leather summer flat with a hole in the right shoe. Like a falling pine cone from its tree, this shoe literally fell on my head. I opened the seams, deconstructed the pieces, and was surprised by the amount of usable leather. I fashioned a nice smooth cuff for my new pink, purple, and teal bead clusters. I like it. And I can like these Fall colors. You’re all right, Pantone. In case you are wondering, these gorgeous bead clusters were made from metal "catapillar"(spelling error intended) components from Midwest Beads. A while back it was rumored they were not going to carry them anymore and I shuddered, but they are still in their catalog and they are awesome as ever.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I use a hot head torch for all of my lampworking. Some call it a “beginner’s torch” and when at the Arrow Springs booth at the Milwaukee 2009 Bead and Button Show, two workers said, “You should get rid of that torch,” but I think anyone who says to get rid of something without knowing a person’s skill level or finances is an ignoramus. Sorry Arrow Springs. Right now the hothead serves my needs, and I make very beautiful beads with it. There are many talented artists who belong to the same lampworking forum as me and many are super satisfied with their HH and have no plans to switch to a dual flame set –up. I understand its advantages, but not until I get so successful where I’m able to afford lots of Double Helix, and an oxygen concentrator will I consider switching.

Well, I made no beads today because I am out of gas, and this is driving me nuts! I called the design center last week to order a 20 lb tank which was supposed to be ready for pickup today, but due to a death in the owner’s family, the tank won’t be available until tomorrow. While I’m bummed, I feel bad for her loss which is of course greater. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have goodies to share.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Welcome Rosy

We certainly did not need another one, but our household of 4 has E X P A N D E D. Scott and I are now the proud mama and papa of Rosy, a 6 month old Redbone Coonhound. We adopted her from Hope 4 Paws, which is an organization that travels to area kill shelters and takes dogs out, fosters them, and travels to surrounding areas in hopes of finding them permanent placements. Rosy's shelter found her as a stray living under a shed. How sad. We are pleased to offer our FURever home to Rosy. She is SOO SWEET! I must make her a beaded harness!


Hope 4 Paws Rescue saves as many dogs as we have room for in our foster home program. We specialize in 100% pure bred MUTTS! We are foster based only so that we may socialize each dog, learn the personality of each dog and know EXACTLY what the adopter is getting before they go to their forever home! We hope to find new and better lives for the unwanted dogs out there. There are too many lost souls who deserve a second chance. We will reach as many as we can to give them their chance at a new, FURever home. Save a Life - ADOPT!

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's your poison?

Pick a patina!

Avoid the brown acid.

I did another copper etching, but while clich├ęs are often disappointing, in this case they fit: practice makes perfect, and I spread myself too thin. So I decided to start something else while the copper sat in its lovely lil acid jar, but I got super sidetracked and let it sit acid bathing for three hours (WAY too long… unless you’re trying to dissolve a human being) and my lovely lil copper treasures partially disintegrated! Serves me right.

But I do recommend this: try using cutouts of contact paper as the resist instead of ink; it gives much crisper lines. I printed out a flower template and traced the contact paper over it, then cut out my new flower decal and had some corners not dissolved from my own lack of supervision, there was a lot of promise there.

I learned through trial and error that steel does NOT etch, it flips the bird to liver of sulfur, and IS darkened by Novacan Black Patina. Novacan is serious stuff. It seems more dangerous to handle than the acid etchant. With Novacan (and pcb etchant too) do not forego the mask and gloves. Safety is key. Don’t inhale it either. If you’re clumsy, wear safety glasses. Then again, if you’re clumsy, I recommend not using any chemicals and choosing the store-bought-finished-product route. So the black patina is this light blue thin solution. It darkened the steel, but it was ugly. I used a brass brush on it but then it turned shiny gunmetal, not a fan. Live and learn…

My copper bird find from Metalliferous; I love him. Why didn’t I know about that store when I LIVED IN NEW YORK? Like Oedipus, the gods were against me. But at least I didn’t sleep with my mother. Now THAT would be awkward and logistically complicated. Back to the bird, I used a swirly punch on contact paper and the etching came out quite nice. I used a color wheel to guide my palette, and the wood beads complement the copper and clay tones nicely. I added the cage (from Ornamentea) so he could safely relocate his babies (tumbled rhyolite). Lots of natural elements included, and I love that. I ordered some stone connectors from Etsy studio, Stones Studios Too, and my drilled stones should be arriving this week, and ooh the excitement!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yawn and Move Along

Today is a special day because it is my birthday. I have no plans. Well that's not true; I plan to do nothing, and that is just the way I like it. The housekeepers arrived this morning to clean our home, and I was disappointed...disappointed because they would be disturbing my morning of birthday sleep. Am I that big of an #^@ - (*&^%? Yes, they would be disturbing my plans of nothingness. At least I was hip to my ridiculousness, quickly shrugged off my disappointment, and went downstairs, made a cup a cough, and am doing now some of which I love most: drinking java, writing, and doing not much. Jewelry designing will come later when I'm awake. I tried subscribing to the maxim, "I can sleep when I'm dead," but it didn't last. I like to wallow and loll in fluffy blankets - pug or husband, or nothing by my side, and stare at the ceiling or far off corners and sleepily s t r e t c h .

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Here's my necklace inspired by Alli's drawing and Humble Beads. Yes, that is a peach pit. I ordered a strand of them from Lima Beads.com.The copper scroll is quite pretty. I did an acid etching of leaves on it. The wire "branches" within the hollow scroll is flame annealed copper.

Here's Alli's cat that reminds me so much of the owl.

Be It Ever So Humble

I’ve known Alli since my high school years, and I never get tired of her illustrations. When I’m out shopping, sometimes I see her work in unexpected places, and other times I spot it in the anticipated magazine. Her drawings are honest, forgiving, unfettered, and cheerful. I love the simplicity of her uncluttered designs. She doesn’t draw like she has something to prove, and I imagine her laughing when she eyes her final sketch, drawing, or whatever she uses nowadays to design. Is it all done on computer? I dunno. Maybe I will ask. But that’s not my point really. A year and a half ago, I discovered a polymer clay artist whose work was in one of those Interweave Empire magazines, and I fell in awe. Yes, I fell in awe over a POLYMER CLAY bead. Blasphemy! My fascination with her work didn’t end there. Soon I was being alerted by my email inbox that Ms. Powers’ beads were to be distributed by a growing number of retailers. I am not a clay artist; glass and metal are my preferred media, but Ms. Powers inspires me to re examine color. And I imagine if she was an illustrator, her designs and Alli’s illustrations would share many of the same principles. It is this bead that reminds me of Alli’s drawings. And isn’t Alli’s little creature so similar? Alli’s cat and Humble Bead’s barnyard owl, inspired me to make this necklace this morning. Isn’t it cute?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spent the afternoon dirtying my fingers with dried liver of sulfur residue. At least the stink's gone. If you know what I'm talking about, then you really know what I'm talking about. P U. I think it's worth it though. I made some patinaed copper coils to cover some large jump rings. If I had higher gauge in my wire stash, the task would have been completed a lot more quickly, but I always reorder heavy gauges because they make me feel mighty. "Do I need 10 gauge?"asks the imaginary wire maker. Bring it! I can work 10! Okay, I really can't work 10, well maybe "won't" is a better word choice. After all, I am not a Viking.

And then finished a pendant I had been constructing in my head for weeks now. But I finished it in the material world today and although some will think it's ugly, I know the hours I spent with vinegar and sea salt for that elusive blue patina. So I love the piece. It will be added to my growing Chopard line.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cora Lee

Red coral with Bali silver is pretty.

Home from Vaycay...

I got back from New York yesterday. I'm not sure driving was the best idea, but it was definitely most economical. After 13 hours though, I think Scott and I were going a bit batty. Anyway...besides visiting the fam and friends, what were the memorable moments, or dare I say highlights of the trip? A visit to the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage in the Bronx, the Tenement Museum on the lower east side, my first trip to Metalliferous and some awesome rondelles that I scored from Beads on 5th rank pretty high. On the ride home and envisioning what to create with those rondelles, I knew there'd be Bali silver cast with supporting roles. So this morning, with a memory wire core, gorgeous Bali silver noodles and spacers which I've held onto for over a year, I quite like the bracelet that emerged. There are too many designs I want to create. My first order from Humble Beads arrived while on vacation. Ordinarily, I do not like polymer beads, but these lil lovers are GORGE, and armed with my color wheel, is there such a thing as too many options?