Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Post soup activities

For the past several days, I've been occupied with blog hopping, checking out all the bee-you-tee-ful blogs and pictures from my fellow BSBP third-revealers.  Such gorgeousness...I am reminded that amping up my photography skills must be placed at the top of my "to do" list.  I shouldn't have written that for public consumption, since my "to do" list is a joke among my family and friends.  I always have one, but I usually list the things I intend to accomplish tomorrow, and it's always an overly ambitious list.  And then at the end of the following day, I discard that list without a second thought, and make another list (again, overly ambitious) guessed it..."tomorrow".  I've had some of the same things on my daily "to do" list for years.  (And years.)

It's not that I'm flighty or anything...but I'm easily seduced by something new.  A new project...I'll start a new project any day, rather than work on something already in process.  And by "tomorrow", the new project has become something "already in process" and therefore not as likely to be completed, because I spend way too much time on Pinterest and reading blogs and being inspired by everyone else's completed projects...versions of which then make it onto my "to do" list.  It's a never-ending cycle of dysfunction, and makes me wonder how I manage to complete any projects at all.  I believe this illness has a name...and that name is "startitis".

And something else I've noticed...just a random thing...when I'm busy with my crocheting, what I'm dreaming about is the creation of jewelry designs.  When I'm busy at the bead table, I keep casting my eyes at my artist trading card station, and thinking of all the great techniques I have in mind.  I am very consistent...when I'm making artist trading cards, what I'm really longing to do is bend wire and string beads! 

Today, however, I'm really trying to make sense of the hellacious mess in this craft room.  It's so bad that I had to pick a corner and start working around the room.  I've found so much stuff...stuff I'd forgotten I had!  Last night I completed about one-fourth of the room.  But I started late in the day, so hopefully today I'll finish the job.  I haven't put it on my daily "to do" list (because I can't find the list), so I probably have a good chance of finishing the task. 

Maybe my illness is one reason I enjoy making artist trading cards so much...they're tiny, and there's a definite deadline regarding when they must be sent.  Here are a few of the artist trading cards I've made lately, and sent off to new homes (in a timely manner, too):

 Swap-bot "Add a Ruler" challenge...using an image cut from an old Simplicity pattern.  The pattern is so old that it has a bust measurement of 32 inches...for a size 12.  And the price marked on the envelope is 60 cents.  I think I remember those days, but vaguely.
Swap-bot "Lady with a Big Hat" challenge
Swap-bot "Wax Paper Resist Technique" first time attempting this technique, which makes some very cool looking backgrounds!
Back to work...I have my girls to keep me company (one is sleeping at my feet, and the other is on the windowsill), and unless I find my to-do list I should be in good shape by bedtime!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party 6!

This is the big day for those of us who chose the third (and final) Bead Soup reveal...Saturday, August 25th.  Our fearless leader and organizer of all the Bead Soup details, Lori Anderson, has worked, reworked, and reworked yet again to make absolutely sure that everything is perfect for our reveal.  My hat's off to YOU, are a supremely generous lady, and I strongly suspect that it's at great personal cost.  I hope you can feel the love and appreciation we all feel for you.

My partner, Janeen (Wild Vanilla Designs) sent me a whopping fistful (or two) of truly beautiful beads, including a handmade (by Janeen!) focal and ceramic toggle closure.  I had so much to choose from...a selection of really cool vintage lucite in summer colors, dyed pearls...the list goes on and on.  You know the saying, A picture is worth 1,000 words?  I'll stop talking and just show you!

I played and played...assembled different combinations of beads into likely looking necklaces, bracelets, and earrings...moved beads around to see how they worked together...picked out different types of chain...and then I had a little talk with myself regarding the concept of a challenge.  Here is a golden opportunity to take the pretties sent by Janine, and stretch my limits a little bit. 
So I rummaged through my extremely disorganized stash of jewelry making "stuff", and discovered a baggie full of the most amazing silk ribbons from Marsha Neal.  Wowser, the colors went perfectly with the beads in front of me!  I chose a gorgeous dark pink skinny rolled ribbon, and decided to use it in place of chain for a necklace featuring Janeen's big, bold, beautiful focal.  I picked out tons of beads to use in the necklace, and one by one I set them aside...except for a special few that set off the focal.  I wanted the focal to be...well, to be the focus of the necklace, and didn't want to detract from it.  It's a showstopper of a piece, and deserves to be enhanced rather than diminished with a bunch of other beads.  So here's what I came up with:
I must apologize for the quality of the picture.  I know it's not the camera; and I used the very same techniques I've always used (disclaimer: that's not saying much), but my new home is quite a bit darker than my old home, and I've yet to figure out how and when to take really acceptable pictures (notice that I didn't say "exceptional"...I'm realistic about my weaknesses!).  Try as I might, I simply could not produce a photograph that clearly showed the hand-stitched beadwork in the center of the focal flower and still showed the entire necklace.  Epic fail.  Without a doubt, this is one of the simplest, most streamlined pieces I've ever made...three chunky wire-wrapped lucite beads on each side, separated by copper daisy spacers and attached to the ribbon on one end and to the focal on the other end.  The copper lobster claw closure attaches to the link at the top of one of the bead segments. 
I was so thrilled that I'd used silk ribbon for the first time EVER; it inspired me to have another go at it.  For the second necklace, I chose a melon-colored skinny rolled ribbon, which contrasted beautifully with the chartreuse and turquoise colored ceramic toggle from Janeen.  I rummaged through my bead stash and discovered some very, very cool Czech glass beads that are variegated from chartreuse to dark pink.  On a roll with the "first time EVER" syndrome, I learned to wire wrap beads, with that super-pretty swirl of wire across each bead.  (So happy...)  Here's the result:
The toggle is on the side, and is connected to a short strand of sea glass rondelles in aqua and white, with a couple of Janeen's little orange lucite balls thrown in for fun.  Then I attached asymmetrical strands of wire-wrapped variegated Czech beads on each side, attached to a silver V-shaped floral connector.  Hanging from the connector is a large aqua sea glass pendant, topped with three wire-wrapped variegated beads.  This piece was pure fun to make. 
I couldn't NOT use some of the sweet little aqua lucite flowers sent by Janeen, so I made a fun pair of earrings:

I started with decorative antiqued copper headpins, and strung them with the aqua flowers, topped with a pair of opaque white lucite flowers (from my stash) and then with those little orange beads.  I used eyepins to string the orange lucite squares from Janeen, and attached them to the earring wires on top, and to the flower charms on bottom. 
And I still have tons of beads yet unused, that will be put to good use over the next few months.  Thank you, Janeen, for your generosity and for the gift of these fabulous components.  I love them, and had so much fun expanding my horizons a bit for this Soup.  You're the best!
Please stop by and see what all the other "third reveal" participants created:
Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Agi Kiss, Moonsafari Beads
Alice Peterson, Alice Dreaming
Alison Sachs, Beads by Earthtones
Amanda Dittloff, Passion Smashin'
Andra Marasteanu, Bijoux de Monanage
Angie Szlovak, SweetBeads
Anitra Gordy, Leelu Creations
Ann Sherwood, Ann's Blog
Arlene Dean, A Glass Bash
Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution

Barb Solem, Vivi Magoo Presents
Barbara Blaszczyk, laboratorim Flory
Bianca Odenthal, Zydies Glasperlen
Birgit Klughardt, GitesBeads
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
Bonnie Coursolle, Jasper Gems

Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
Charlene Jacka, Clay Space
Cherrie Fick, En La Lumie're
Cheryl Foiles, Get Your Bead On
Christie Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Christina Miles, Wings n Scales
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Cindy Cima Edwards, Live to Design
CJ Bauschka, 4 His Glory Creations
Claire Smith, Embergrass Jewelry
Cynthia Riggs, Cynth's Blog

Dana Fowler, Trunk Full of Treasure
Dawn Pierro, Turtle Moon Designs
Dee Elgie, Cherry Obsidia
Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous (this is me!)
Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie

Eileen Snyder, Dorset Hill Beads
Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
Eva Kovacs, Ewa gyongyos vilaga!
Evelyn Duberry, Sheba Makeda

Fay Wolfenden, Torch Fairy
Fen Li, Bead Flora Jewels

Gail Zwang, Angel Moose Enterprises
Geneva Collins, Torque Story
Grace Dorsey, Fan of the Flame
Gretchen Nation, Art Food Lodging

Hannah Annear, Squintessential
Hajer Waheed, My Beaded World
Heather Goldsmith, As I Bead It
Heather Otto, The Craft Hopper
Heidi Kingman, My Bead Therapy
Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope

Isolina Perez, Isolina Perez
Jacqueline Keller, CreARTelier

Jane Haag, Did You Make Something Today?
Janeen Sorensen, Wild Vanilla Designs
Jean Peter, Jean P. Designs
Jennifer Judd, Jen Judd Rocks
Jennifer L Justman, Soul's Fire Designs
Joanna Matuszczyk, Bizuteria z filcu
Joanne Brown, Jo's Jewels
Joanne Lockwood, Jo Bunkum
Joyce Becker, Joyce's Joyful Gems
Judy Riley, Three Red Beads

Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
Karen Williams, Baublicious
Karin von Hoeren, Creative Ideen
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Kashmira Patel, Sadafule .. always in bloom!
Kate Richbourg, We Can Make That at Home
Katrin Lembke, AllesPerle
Kathy Combs, Torched in Texas
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Kelley Fogle, My Life, One Bead at at Time
Kelly Hosford Patterson, Traveling Side Show
Klaudette Koon, Only Road

Lara Lutrick, Lampwork Beads by Lara
Laura Guenther, Blue Antiquities
Laurie Lalonde, Simply Mod Jewelry
Lilik Kristiani, Soul of My Embodiment
Linda Younkman, Lindy's Designs
Lisa Chapman, Beach Cat Beads
Lisa Lodge, Pine Ridge Treasures
Loretta Carstensen, Designs by Loretta
Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
Lori Dorrington, Lori's Adventures in Etsy Land
Lupe Meter, Gem's PC Corner
Lynn Davis, LLYYNN

Malin de Koning, Beading by Malin
Mandi Effron, Craft-o-licious
Mandy Williamson, Mimi's Beading
Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter
Maria Rosa Sharrow, Willow Street Shops
Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry
Marina Dobrynina, Savon Feutre
Marjolein Trewavas, Room for Change
Marelene Cupo, Amazing Designs
Marsha Neal, Marsha Neal Studio
Marta Kaczerowska, uhuhu
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Menka Gupta, Menka's Jewelry Blog
Michelle Burnett, Reverie and Revival
Michelle Escano-Caballero, The Cabby Crafter
Miko Wiropati, Uniquely Yunikua
Milla Hope, LB Creative Arts and Crafts
Mimi Gardner, Other Curiosities
Miranda Ackerley, MirandackArts

Natalie McKenna, grubbi
Noemi Baena, fuego, metal, y color

Pam Ferrari, Ferrari Originals
Pam Sears, Crazy Creative Corner
Penny Neville, Copper Penny

Rachel Baron, R. Baron Designs
Rachel Myers, Rockabead Jewelry
Rana Wilson, Definitive Designs by R. Wilson
Rebecca Anderson, Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
Riki Schumacher, Riki Jewelry
Rose Binoya, Ahtee's Blog
Rossana De Gaspari, Rdegas Blog

Sandi James, Do Be Do Bead Do
Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
Sandra Wollberg, City of Brass Stories
Sarah Goode, Pookledo
Sarah Small, blog by salla
Shai Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Shawn Mills, Shawn Marie Designs with Bent Wire
Sheila Davis, Stone Designs by Sheila
Sheryl Stephens, Babble Bead
Shiraz Biggie, Secret Song Designs
Solange Collin, Ahowin Handcrafted Jewelry
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads
Stephanie Dixon, The Dixon Chick
Susan Kennedy, Sue Beads
Susan Sheehan, Strands of Thought
Suzann Sladcik Wilson, Beadphoria
Sweet Freedom, Sweet Freedom Designs

Tabatha Dinger, Modernly Created
Tania Hagen, Pelima Jewellery Design
Tanya Boden, Fusion Muse
Terri Gauthier, Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter, Tapping Flamingo
Tracy Stillman, Tracy Stillman Designs

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bead Soup Challenge

Lori sent a sweet reminder to all Bead Soup participants, asking those of us who haven't blogged and posted photos of our beautiful bead soup to please do the right thing...she said that doing so makes our partner feel loved and appreciated, and also invites other jewelry peeps to see what's going on in our particular corner of the world.

Here's the thing: my partner, Janeen, sent me a fabulous selection of beads, including a hand-made pinky-gold metal flower focal, and a beautiful enameled clasp.  Janeen couldn't have done better by me.  Look:

See what I mean?  Gorgeous.  Vintage lucite, pearls, dyed gemstones; super sweet and generous, that's my partner Janeen.

If only I could fix myself... but I seem to have lost my enthusiasm and "crafting mojo" for lack of a better phrase.  It's not just making jewelry that's gone by the wayside, oh no.  It's everything that I once found exciting, stimulating, and fun to do.  I have been making ATCs (artist trading cards) for almost two years now, and routinely swap with people all over the world.  It's so much fun to be given a theme, and to sit down with various papers, charms, vintage ephemera, paints, and rubber stamps, and to create something evocative of that theme.  It's one of my biggest sources of enjoyment, right up there with beading and bending wire. 

I took a six-week hiatus from everything (except the ever-frustrating granny squares), knowing that I needed to pack my belongings into moving boxes and to move into a sweet new home just a few miles away.  I had no idea what that six weeks would do to my spirit.  And now that I'm technically unpacked, and have a great craft room setup, I'm struggling in ways I never imagined.  I can't find what I need, when I need it.  My embossing folders are...where?  My wire snips...why aren't they with all the other "jewel tools"?  That six-week "break" has turned into a solid two months.

Can't find the special cat comb (essential for my long-haired babes); can't find the tube of prescription feline eye ointment; can't find so many of my basic cleaning supplies.  Yet I swear that every box is unpacked.  And frankly, although it seems that I have much more in the way of available work surface in the craft room, everything is stacked and piled around me in a chaotic mess.  What's going on? 

I even joined a group of blogging beaders who are struggling with these issues, and bought a great book on regaining our creative spirits...but I haven't contributed to the group in any way, and haven't even cracked open the book. 

Previewing this post makes me sad...I sound like a wimpy whiner!  Maybe I just need to step back from the situation and figure out a way to organize this room that will make it more workable for me.  That's the task I'm setting for myself for this afternoon, and hopefully my next post will be full of joy.  I really want that to be the case.