Sunday, January 31, 2010

Got my second item up on Etsy. Am feeling a bit more comfortable with the process but after a long phone call with Rhoda ( I see I have a lot more to do!
Made more of the crystal on right-hand weave links last night and tried to get a better photograph than the scan by displaying one on a wine glass, but it did not work either! The camera focused on the clasp instead of the crystals. So hard to photograph bling! Will try again this afternoon.
Rhoda also suggested I get one of these photo boxes for jewelry that gives diffused light. Will go look for that.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Got tired of making the daisy chain bracelets (I think there are now 7 of them) so I tried messing around with the beads left on my tray. I do not like the crystals in the middle of the pearls (to the right) but the left one, difficult to see, is an embellished right-hand weave that has real possibilities for me to use up a bunch of cathedral crystals I had ordered for Christmas trees but never used.
Am off to Vicki's to pick up my latest order. And all I really want to do is to stay home and bead. . .

Friday, January 29, 2010

Am still working on photos for the work for Etsy. Have decided to focus on the lizard collection at first. Finally am able to get the camera to see what I want to show. It is so hard to compose a photo in a square. It is against all my ideas and training in composition, but I see how Etsy chops the photos automatically into squares even if it means losing vital information. Now to get the rest of the information right and up on the site. Wish it was as easy and (and not etsy) and as much fun as doing these blogs!

Had to get back to beading in the evening and started doing these bracelets. In March Ling-Yen is having a "Flower Power" show at the old Point Arena Arts Gallery and (I think) all the items have to have something to do with flowers. I have lots of necklaces done in the daisy stitch so thought I would add some bracelets to the mix. Had gotten these toggle clasps at Oriental Trading Co. Other years I had ordered many of them and then recently re-ordered them. To my surprise, and against all tradition, the newer clasps are much more solidly made with far better craftsmanship but I think the price was the same. This really excites me - a person who made the design saw later where it was lacking and redid it. This feels like the way I would work.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yesterday Ling-Yen of Ling-Yen stopped by on her walk between showers. She was good enough to come in to look at the new things I was working on and of all the pearl people earrings, she liked this set the best. So I am putting these aside with the thought of maybe entering them into another contest. I feel, after looking over the winners in the Swarovski contest that winners are picked, not always by the innovative design, but by the number of products used in the piece. At least everything in this work came from FM.

I do not know if it was a reaction to finding out about my win in the Fire Mountain contest or the fact that I was photographing pieces for the Etsy thing, but yesterday was my day to see little examples of bad workmanship. Instead of skimming over them, or just planning to sell them for less, I sat down and redid each one. That is the good thing about beads. A snip of the scissors or wire cuter and you get a second chance at doing something right.

I spent a long time on Etsy, loved watched the newest posted items! trying to figure out the best way to photograph my stuff to make it look interesting. This was yesterday's slightly out of focus attempt. I had the big Sony set on a tripod and when I got frustrated with it, I grabbed up the new point-and-shoot Canon and got the best photo of all. If the sun comes out I now see what I can do to improve this.
I have moments when I wonder if I will every get anything posted on Etsy. Ling-Yen was very encouraging but she gives her work over to a professional photographer!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

After being a finalist so many times in Fire Mountain beading contests, I have finally placed! Silver Medal Prize in the Crystallized - Swarovski Elements 2009 in the Wedding and Holiday category. Just got the notice today! and the check for $75. Now to go off shopping! It is ridiculous - how happy I am! I think I must go bead something to settle down!
Late, around midnight, I was playing around with unused beads left over from other projects and suddenly, these earrings made themselves. I was so surprised, and pleased! Somehow they felt like little people with pearl heads. In real life the hearts hang down and dangle. I loved these huge rose quartz chunks. Am eager to see what I make today with the idea. It seems open to many variations.

With my last order I had gotten some shorter barrettes and was now able to sew these on to them. It took three tries before I got the turquoise idea sewed on in the center. I just do not see 'center' until the thing is firmly in place - and wrong. The lizard is made with Delicas - so often their colors come out so dark! I see that now, again.
Am trying to get up my courage to put something on Etsy. I seem to have threshold angst! Did set up a small studio in the corner with a paper backdrop for photos and today the sun is shining. Maybe I will be so happy with the photos, that in my eagerness to show them, I will manage the process.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Yesterday it got too easy to do the tubes in blues or greens in order to combine them with the recycled African glass balls, so I did a search of all my beads and found these cloth ones I had gotten from Debbe Hull. Also my search turned up gold-plated balls like the silver ones so today I will redo the gold necklaces and put the balls on them.
Am thinking of setting up a studio corner with the backdrop so I can photograph these necklaces on stands instead of scanning them in. Somehow when they hang they look so much better; more powerful.

It is so dark today. It has rained all night and our house has a moat around it as the water pours down the mountain side on its way to the choppy and wind-blown waves of the sea.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Finally found the way I like the tubes used the best! Had made this tube of the spiral stitch that I enjoy doing so much and suddenly this came together. I had bought these recycled glass balls last year from Musa and never could find a place for them in any of the necklaces made by stringing because they are fairly heavy. But here they are perfect!
A couple of years ago I bought a whole spool of the clear rubber tubing, and the spring ends, but just never found the need for that kind of a necklace. Here I love the way the 'string' drops away in importance and all you see is the narrow element. Feel the design also looks like two eyes and a long nose and this makes people look at it trying to construct a face.

I tore apart the necklace I showed you yesterday, with the five green tubes, and took out the hooks and replaced them with the eyeglass holder connectors so I get a little silver ball with a loop and the elastic is easy to sew into the top of the tube. Had a bunch of small wooden beads Heidi had used as ties on her Christmas packages many years ago that work perfectly around the loop as it goes over the rubber tubing. Some months ago I had gotten silver plated balls from Oriental Trading Company. I thought they were too big but here they perfectly pass over the tubing and hold the balls in place. They also make a repeat of the silver ball on top of the tube. Am eager to show these off to someone and here you are!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

With the electricity off so much, blogging beads slipped down my list of things I could do. So here is a catch-up of the necklace I did last week waiting for my Fire Mountain order. I was surprised how good these crystals worked when they were not what I had planned to use. Their colors were much better than the ordered ones of the zirconia drops. It pleases me when I find I have on hand just what I need. I feel taken care of - that all I need is what I have. Also the gentle colors please me. This is one necklace I will be keeping for myself just because of the lesson it gave me.

I had started the lizards, in 15s back in November. I ordered the turquoise donuts and was really excited about them, but the hole is so small. I then ordered the gemstone toggle clasps but those holes were too large. There are moments when I wish I could walk into a store and pick up the stone, see the proper colors, appreciate its size.
But see how the lizard gets lost? I want it to jump off the stone! Back to the drawing board for this one, also. Seeing the photo helps me to figure out what went wrong. Maybe the lizard should be done in bright gold? Hmmmm. . .

Oops, the images loaded in here backwards so you get to see the final piece first. On this tube I decreased the end to a point. Am not sure I am happy with this solution of how to relate the tube to a hook. I like the flat end of a tube and feel a small bead to cover the top would be better.

Since I only had one of the wire necklaces I moved on to one of these macrame ready-made necklaces from Fire Mountain that Debbe gave me. I rarely find a use for these, but here they work. On this one the tube is flat on top but it relates poorly to the shell and I suspect that soon I will cut it off and redo it. This tube was left over from the earliest set of green ones. Glad to find a use for it. I really like the look of showing off the beads in a simple way and the tube has an elegance about it that I want to emphasize.

This was the left over from "Chinese New Year" and I feel that here I got the top of the bead to have the proper relationship to the hook (it has one of the gold ball and elastic thingies used for holding eyeglasses on the chains) and I like the two small wooden pink beads that close up the space between the gold loop and the pink cylinders. I love the feel of this necklace. There is a serenity to it and the 8s really come into their own beauty. The 8s, with the same bead count as the 6s was only about 4 inches long. For a small person this would be about right.

My second attempt at making the tubes ended up with the name "Chinese New Year" because of the colors I had on hand. These I did with 8s and they are all the same length. For a hook I used the gold ball and elastic jobies for glasses and I like the ball but the black elastic shows up darkly through the transparent tubes. By this time I found out that the bead tubes had a tendency to not be straight so I stuck plastic straws up them. Next time I will make the tubes the size of the clear plastic tubing I have so the inner structure is of a better quality material.

At the bead meeting Saturday Vicki told about meeting a woman in the grocery store wearing a necklace made of tubes of felt. I immediately thought of tubes made of beads! The woman's necklace had wires, with small beads on them, between the tubes and this is something I want to explore but so far the tubes have kept me entertained enough. These tubes I made with 6s and they are about 6 inches long. I do not like how they 'hang' on this metal circle and the little tubes made of 11s between the hooks do not drape right. The hooks here are those simple silver plated hooks I use so much. In sewing the flat hook to the tube, the tube got flattened and that looks crappy.
This project was a good one because we were losing electricity each day and the doing the peyote stitch with 6s and 8s was easier to sew in the weak light from storm clouds.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tonight is the opening of the "You Be the Judge" show at Gualala Arts Center and I am nervous as beads on a slick floor. Cannot settle down to any work.
Yesterday Barry called to say they wanted to put a pedestal under the pillar and did I approve? I wanted to get over to see if they had a good idea or not, and lacked the time, so had to call and asked them to remove it. Scott said he would. Werner thinks I should make a "do not touch" sign for the hanging committee! I am still shaking my head that they put a Christmas tree under it last month. It is amazing how many people loved the idea and how many artists were horrified! I was relieved that they only damaged one strand getting the tree out and away from the work. Off to do more nail-biting. . .
It is not the judging that bothers me. That is outside and beyond and not applicable to me or the work. I guess it is completely the idea that strangers, and even worse! friends and neighbors will be looking at something I have made. Ouch!

The work on the new Christmas scene is going well - until yesterday. Was trying to make the title into a banner for the back of the fireplace and was trying to make it look like a child's writing (to match the letter to Santa idea), but today it just looks sloppy. Suspect I may have to make another attempt with the letters all proper just to keep me happy.

The scanner picked up a small gap under 'stockings' that I had not seen before. Something else to fix.

Want to add a cat and a dog to the scene and cannot decide the position for the dog. Spraddled out or curled up? Will try to make the cat like I did last year. Am eager to try!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Finally stopped making the lizards and started on my Fire Mountain beading contest entry for this year. True it does not make much sense at this stage, but you cannot say I am working in secret! I am using square beads and love the colors of the, what looks here to be, brown. It is a transparent frost rainbow dark amber (2622SB) that has glorious golds, blues and amber. Actually had to stop and make another lizard bracelet when I saw them.
Eager to get back to this today, even though it is too sunny and beautiful to stay indoors and bead! I think I am going to run out of the white ones anyhow.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My idea of a holiday is to sit and bead all day. Before I shut down the computer I did want to get a greeting all four of my 'followers' as thanks for checking in. Some days the brush is kinder to me than the beads!
Am back to lizards in 15s and delicas. . .
I hope none of you beaders try to interpret this!
Have a marvelous new year! \o/