Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween!

It kinda snuck up on me.
Thank goodness I found a black washable marker as the promise of getting her own kitty whiskers convinced her to get dressed and leave the house.  Four houses and home. Then realizing that people were coming to our door, she insisted on new whiskers and back out. One house, then she asked for home - bath and bed.  When I asked if she wanted some of her candy she cried and screamed no.  Ah two year olds, it was a fun night!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Art Bead Scene October challenge reveal

This month’s challenge piece at the Art Bead Scene has a beautiful palette.  I had many an idea but I was still a bit stuck on September.  Here’s Revolving by Kirt Schwitters

I love the colour palette Brandi Hussey created for ABS, above.  [side note, I’m just started her ecourse Editing with Elements and I’m excited!]  Many ideas came to mind and this one ran out of time to really pass the prototype stage, but I’d like to share it with you all the same.  I’ve said it before, but one of the best parts of working with polymer is you are only really done when you add something that can’t handle the oven.  Add things, take them away, again and again, that piece isn’t really done until you say so.

I created a video, my first attempt, to give you the feel of what I was going for – for how it should work.  I could point out all the things I was trying to say, but I think you’ll be able to fill in the gaps.

I did carve and chip away the polymer, exposing the magnets. When I started out with this design, I knew the contact point would be in a more stressed position than a protected one.  I just had to try though and see how it fails. You can learn a lot more by actually going through the process.  It’s hard some times to go through the time and materials, but it’s an investment in future pieces of all kinds I tell myself.

If you are in the storm’s path tonight, please be safe and sound.  I finished two pieces for the upcoming Finally Friday, where the inspiration goes by the name “crashing blues” – that’s a little freaky.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

So close and yet so far

I’ve had several projects getting close to a point to share, but for one reason or another not quite.  So consider today a bit of behind the scenes catch up. Yeah, that works, right?

First up, I finished my piece for the September Art Bead Scene challenge.  See the resemblance?  That’s Flora by Giuseppe Arcimboldo on the right and a ruffle adorned lady I created, in part, on the left.  I say in part since her face is a Gaea pendant which I backed and built into a polymer focal.  The swirl “body” is suspended below and moves freely and independently.
sept ABS

A few more of the details.  I’ve used some sari silk, larger seed beads, gifted budha beads alongside my polymer.  For this inspiration I wanted to see what floral references I could create without specific blooms.  More spirals, ruffles and folds of polymer round out the piece.

A Polymer Penchant September ABS

Next up I was hoping to finish up an entry for the Hooters Challenge over on Artisan Whimsy.  I wanted to complete a necklace and I tried it on too late last night to correct it and photograph it properly in time. Here’s the “checking it out in the powder room” shot.  Left side is how it should look, the tree trunk running north-south, but move around a bit and the heavier wood beads find the centre and uproot my tree sideways.  Damn.  A little pruning and it will hang straight.

a hooter gone sideways

Still with me? I think I will save my very first video to share with you tomorrow.  It’s very basic, and I wish I had collected my thoughts a bit before I hit record, but it gets the point across.

I’ll give you a hint


Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Michael’s trap

It began innocently enough.  I saw Erin Prais-Hintz’s post offering up a challenge involving her stunning “Toast of the Town Necklace” she had created for Michael’s.  I’m borrowing her picture to show you – isn’t it beautiful!

Her latest challenge shows three different colourways, each up for grabs, and my first thought was “hey I have those blue ceramic coins!” See I just had to join in.  You can join in too, if you comment on the post – her post – today.

Then I saw Shannon Chomanczuk’s Finally Friday post featuring a primarily blue palette for reveal also on November 2nd.  It sure felt like a blue version would be the way to go.  This is “crashing blues” from Design Seeds

I set about collecting blues and decided that a quick trip to Michael’s was in order.  It was 50% off beads this week…

blue possibilities

Bear with me on the iphone pics, I just had to share tonight. On the left are some polymer coins I made a few months ago and a couple of glass rings (from Michael’s too) that I’ve had for years and a die formed two-tone polymer shell starting point that I had in mind as a toggle bar. On the right are some of the blues I had on hand, destined to be part of the bracelets I have planned for 7000 bracelets.

So off to Michael’s I went, coupon in my pocket, and polymer coins in hand to pick out some more bits. Here’s what I came home with

green possibilites

Hmm, sorry if there was some natural light you would see that is a whole mass of green beads, not blue at all.  You know what’s better than 50% off beads?  Still great 80% clearance beads, it’s not like they go bad! Now dear American friends, you get a much better price on beads than we do, it depresses me to see the difference. But still, a good deal all the same. On the left we have the mass of pale green shell beads (they say “Aqua” but they lie) and one stand of Pyrite ovals.  In the center I’m auditioning some other glass rings I had.  Lastly, on the right I couldn’t say no to the jade and ceramic rondelles.

This is the point were I decide it’s time to hurry up and leave so I don’t spend more. Which I do.  While making stops at the thrift store and Homesense for show display type items I realize I left Michael’s without what I meant to buy with my coupon!  This is the trap. They always keep me coming back.

That’s my story. Oh wait, no that’s not it, I almost forgot.  When I got home and walked over to the mailbox to pick up the mail I had left Friday since it was raining,  I found this


I tried not to get my heart set on it since I was pretty sure my sweet hubby was not going to be keen on picking this up for me. (I would totally help but someone has to stay with Averleigh).  I showed him the picture, he claims there was a “guilt trip” and it’s now in my garage.  Thanks babe.  I’m also not allowed to ask him to carry anything heavy in such a scenario for the rest of the year.  Fair deal I say.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

4th Do Over Challenge reveal

I’ve had do-overs on the mind.  It’s been a couple of years since I’ve done local craft shows and I’m set to do two, hopefully three, this fall.  I’ve been pulling things out and deciding if I still like it -- if it’s still in keeping with what I want to present.  It seems I’m not alone in this process. 

Jeannie Dukic, jeweler and mixed media artist extraordinaire, hosts a Do Over Challenge.  She’s even got the details for the 5th instalment up on her blog already.  In her words:
“I will send you an old, tried, boring piece of my jewelry for free and you will work your magic and turn it into something beautiful and amazing.”
I put that in quotes, since I would certainly not use those same words to describe what I received in the mail.  Look!

I kept it complete for some time considering it.  Swarovski pearls and fresh water pearls all neatly wire wrapped, a simple toggle and a hefty glass focal.  It moved around to various spots on my worktable.  I removed the focal and decided I would make some clones of it from polymer, maybe create something with three hearts.  Well, that was the plan until all hell broke loose.

You see I had the leaf filigree sitting out since I was making up some more fall leaves (intended as wings here).  I also had a newly created owl mould out thinking it might be a good fit for the Hooters challenge that had just been announced on Artisan Whimsy.  Then ideas of October and breast cancer awareness and pink ribbons all crept their way in. 

do over wise owl

The leaf filigree came about as a wing by twisting the filigree slightly then adding the mica shift polymer which I textured to appear as feathers.  Installing the wings on the heart essentially made the holes I had planned on the heart itself inaccessible.  I drilled holes in the wings and looped ribbon beneath the heart, through the wings and then looped through a shell ring (which I now think sorta looks like a halo too).  The wings are attached with liquid polymer and then reinforced with the polymer “ribbon” overlay.  It feels strong to me, but I can’t help think that people would be tempted to flex those wings weakening the bond…. (may need another do over!)

There’s a lot going on in one focal element so I kept the wire wrapping intact and just wove the rest of the the silk ribbon through it and knotted it.  I gave the toggle ring a little polymer feather suggestion also.  Now there was a pair of earrings too and I hadn’t given them much attention until I went to take pictures.  I looked over at these other beads I was trying out and decided yes, they wanted to part of an earring makeover! Then in my haste to make it happen and still have enough time to take said pictures I broke one of the ear wires. Just snapped it, since I wasn’t holding my pliers right since I was still holding a wad of ribbon in my hand.  I know I have nothing this metal colour in my stash, so what’s a girl to do?  Well I found another pair of earrings in need of a makeover too.

These are crazy long to go along with my crazy huge necklace.  But they're pretty fun.

This really was a fun challenge trying to create something new while holding on to the integrity of the original.  I remember one time, somewhere along the way, Jeannie commenting that she would love to have a playdate. I feel like today’s the day!

Better yet, there’s a whole bunch of us playing along and collaborating with Jeannie.  Thank you so much Jeannie for allowing me to join in this special event.

Crazy owl says hop on! See her waving?


Jeannie K Dukic
Miranda Ackerley
Patti Vanderbloemen
Marlene Cupo
Mary Govaars
Kelli Jacobson
Gerry Nickerson
Charlene Jacka
Birgit Klughardt
Mowse Doyle
Renetha Stanziano
Debbie Beechy
Cilla Watkins
Carolyn Lawson
Micha Sorensen
Emma Todd <—This is me – Thanks so much for coming by!
Donetta Farrington
Tracy Stillman

Monday, 15 October 2012

Colour me shocked!

I was lucky enough to win a spot in Birgitta Lejonklou’s Mother Earth Challenge.  The real shock though is that this lovely arrived today, the 15th, after shipping from Sweden on the 11th! Here I was all prepared to just have a little prep time and now I’m spoiled even more.

Just a cell phone pic to share today but you will see it in all it’s loveliness on reveal day November 10th.  I love the matte finish and she definitely wants to be a bracelet.  I would have been happy to create with any of the five options Birgitta generously sent out, but I’m thrilled with the blues of this piece and I know it will inspire something special.

I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone creates. Thanks so much Birgitta!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Cutting Edge GIVEAWAY ends tonight!

Ok folks, I normally have some blogging time late at night, but today that simply wouldn’t do. You know when they say ACT FAST – well, today you really need to!

Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes of the The Cutting Edge are running a giveaway on their facebook page that ends tonight at midnight. Get on over there to take a look at the tools and enter to win the tool of your choice.

Need some ideas on what to choose? I’ve done a quick little picture here showing some of what I like to use, the long pebble die set, my ShARK, frond die set, peeler (I have both sizes!) and lastly the bud die set (all sets).  I’ll be back later to link them all, but meanwhile you can find them all through the facebook page if you don’t already know them well!

A polymer penchant and the cutting edge copy

Editting to add - I really enjoy using The Cutting Edge tools.  All of the examples above show them used differently than intended. I like that. Don't get me wrong they work just as intended but I enjoy making them bend to my will too. I think that's good design. I think Dan's work is stunning and it was some of the first very high quality Polymer work I came across that renewed my interest in Polymer in 2007.  I had tried to meet Dan and Tracy and take their week long retreat in BC, but alas the retreat had to be cancelled and Tracy let me down so gently (I had gushed, of course, about how excited I was that it was coming up).  But I did get to meet them in the end, another time and place. I'll share that story for another day.

Friday, 12 October 2012

A fresh look at fall

It snowed today. I’m blocking it.

I made these brooches a few years ago while I was doing shows and pre-baby.  They didn’t get much attention at all which surprised me since I was pretty happy with them.  I have two shows coming up in November so I’ve started pulling out and accessing what I have. I still quite like them and I think I will leave them just as they are.

fall finery brooches

These feature unusually shaped fresh water pearls, wired securely into the polymer.  Just a touch of iridescence gives them that great flash.  I made sure the brooch attachment was nice looking too and each one is at an angle so it appears more like a falling leaf when worn.

I’m thinking I’ll get these listed in the shop and see what the wider world thinks.

Do you come across those situations, things you love just not getting the attention you expected? Do share!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Bead Soup still at a rolling boil

Have you been keeping up with the Bead Soup Book Blog Tour? I love how fitting it is. It’s even more fun for me turning to the page in the book and looking at the piece in an new light as people share more.  I already have my copy as it was a generous giveaway gift from Geneva Collins who was so clever to pre-order two copies, one for herself and one for a lucky winner – me! There’s still lots of time to join in

I’m betting that Lori’s Bead Soup Cafe on Facebook is going to be filling up with many more bead lovers as more and more people discover the fun.  It’s a great community full of beady types with lots to share.  Most recently, a Pantone themed swap, just for the love of the beads, no other requirements. 

Speaking of which, I had a note on my door today, I had missed the postwoman.  Which was a bummer since I just knew she had beads all the was from Singapore for me.  A few hours later though I was happily picking them up.  My partner Maybeline Tay received her package from me just a couple of days ago. What a pleasure to chat with Maybeline by email as we made our plans for what to exchange.  I noticed on her blog she mentioned vacationing and the Great Barrier Reef so I immediately thought of the moulds I had recently made of coral. I started there and came up with as many coordinating colours as I could pull out.


Here’s the rest: a few polymer discs (rhapsody and titanium), some polymer charms (rhapsody and french roast), polymer little logs – texture from coral itself – (french roast), freshwater pearls (honey gold), glass crackle beads (pink flambĂ©) and buri nuts (french roast).


Perhaps I should have started with the chart itself from Pantone, in case you aren’t familiar

Here is what I was so very lucky to receive from Maybeline!


She was so kind to send that little charming fox, I had said somewhere along the was how sweet he was.  Maybeline made the fox and those perfect tangerine tango rounds to the left.  She also made the Rhapsody flower and faceted beads on the right-hand side.  Then she turned to her stash to cover as many other colours.  I think she did a fabulous job, so many interesting shapes and colours!

I have to tell you, as Averleigh always loves to open mail with me, when she saw the fox she exclaimed “Fox!” then gave it two kisses, clutched it in both hands to her chest and said “huuuugs” before handing it back to me.  She is so subtle in her claiming of beads. We shall see.

Since I so enjoy the Bead Soup Cafe I asked if anyone else would like me to share their swap since it’s so much fun to see what folks come up with.  Gerry Nickerson shared the photos of the beads she received from partner Fen Li, and the ones she sent off too. So I’ll leave you with more fun beads.

Pantone swap G Nickerson F Li