Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sunday night, while finishing the fish, I was so unhappy with the colors and how they were turning out (and I had not yet seen how jarring they are in this photo!) that there were moments when I thought I might never do another of these animals. I was bummed by the colors but also by the fact that the square edged beads fit together in the curves so badly. You can see here how I put in golden 15s to fill the gaps. I refused to bead the lips and even left part of the front fins undone in my haste to get this one off my beading tray. I tried all my home remedies for depression: chocolate, singing, Jennifer Cruise books, but my mood stayed dark. I cleaned away the beads from the fish and tossed it up on the table. One of my thoughts had been, if I do another animal there will be no color changes in it; maybe one of the all brown beasts? As I righted the fish, and delightedly found it could stand if balanced on the fins, my hand brushed "Steampunk Pussy" which I had made a month ago and thought was finished. Bu Kitty had been playing with it and I had taken it away from him and carelessly tossed on the table.

I began to sew black beads (well they did fit my mood!) around a leg and was courageous enough to add a white paw. Then yesterday I moved on to the head and I saw how much the beads enhanced the embellishments. As I worked I realized this was the direction I wanted to go with these beanie babies. I want to stop just repeating the designs or patterns in the animal but make major changes as I did here in a moment of inspiration. Suddenly no more gloom! I was blissfully happy beading on Steampunk Pussy all day. Another thing I realized was that all the brass stampings, other than the large dark centerpiece had been given to me by Brenda Sue as thank you gifts in my orders from her.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

You can see here how differently the grass-green beads look when they are sewed to light yellow (on the face which is the same as the tail) and the under orange of the body. Maybe I can blame this phenomena for my inability to find the right colors.
I am continually surprised how many beads these babies take. I ended up with three green beads when I got those areas replaced.
I was still debating whether I "had" to cut out the red fin beads when Werner walked by and almost without looking and without pausing, said, "That red is too dark."
It was good that I removed them as I found a new way of sewing the beads down so the rows look more like the spines in fins.
Today I need to pick a 'tail' color. At the moment I am thinking of either a greenish blue or bright yellow as is on the front fin as trial. Suddenly those completely brown animals are looking more attractive! At least they would be easier to figure out the color combinations since my color sense seems to be in meltdown.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

After unloading and unpacking my stuff from the vacation with B and Dorje, my first job on Tuesday was to check my email. To my utter delight someone had bought and already paid for two suncatchers on Etsy a week ago. Fine. My plan was that when I get off the computer I will dig them out from the boxes of things posted on Etsy. However, in the afternoon when I finally got my tired body out to the boxes there were no suncatchers in them. Panic. This was my worst nightmare! Having someone pay for something I could no longer locate reopened the trauma of having lost a library book in the third grade.
I fussed and stupidly revisited old fears all night. I had begun to suspect that in my eagerness to bring lots of things to the CHAC gallery I broke my own rule and had taken them there. I could only see if this was so, if one or both were still unsold, on Friday when the gallery opened again. In the morning I was determined to confess and offer the lady a complete return of her money.

I actually woke early to get this job off my soul. Surprise! no Internet connection. Even after the cable company said they got their part of the problem fixed I had no connection. Many phone calls with instruction to do this or that did not help. They would have to send out a guy with a new modem on Thursday. I ached with the need to send out an email.
Only good news on this day. It was not my modem (saving $75) but the cable company's problem which they fixed and now my service is up to speed again. I immediately sent an email to the lady and offered to refund her money. I was so ashamed of my flakiness! To my surprise she said she really wanted the suncatchers and would accept substitutes.
Yesterday I could finally call Rose at the gallery and one suncatcher was still there. So I went in, took in the new batch of animals, and got the star-chain suncatcher on the right. I picked up the center one to send as apology and thank-you and then last night, using a photo taken from the Etsy site, duplicated the one on the left. So Linda, here are your suncatchers! I will pack them up over the weekend and Tuesday when we go to town, we will mail these off to you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Seeing the picture I posted yesterday and especially after adding the light green last night, I saw how wrong that color I hoped was a purple actually showed up as a mud reddish brown. In the tubes it looked like just the purple shade that went with the other blues, but now it looks all wrong. It could have been because it was transparent so that orange came through turning the red elements to brown. Now I can see that the red on the fins also looks like brown more than it is red so today I will have to cut those beads off, too. It may be the dark blue will then be too dark with the light green and blues and I will have to remove that too. At one point I thought of just getting out another fish (I have three) and starting all over. But in the end, at 10 o'clock, I picked up the scissors and started cutting and now I am committed to making this one work.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

One day without internet access and I was nuts. Today two guys came and found the trouble was out on the lines and that explained why my access has been getting slower and slower. It also meant that I had no charges and did not need to shell out $75 for a new modem. The other good news was I got a lot of beading done. Both sides of the fish are this far along. I found the original colors too cutesy and now when I see this I am wondering if I have gone too dark - over-reacted. I feel I will only know when I get the piece done. While talking with B. she encouraged me to bead 'totem' animals feeling that they would be important enough for a buyer to pay what all this hand-sewing is worth. My buyers may have some other good news. As I do more of these I am learning new ways and methods and I feel each beaded animal is an improvement over previous ones. That means I can lower the prices on some that I find less successful than others. Also in a call with Sharon she told me of the excitement at The Dolphin when she found the animals on her first shift this week. She said people crowded around and raved about the pelican. Julia Gerlach, editor of Bead and Button decided to use the picture of the rooster instead of my photo on the online project. I find that a much better use of photography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In addition to lots of talking, listening to Janet Evanovitch's novels on audio, and dips in the hot tub, I did get the ladybug done. Used up all my rhinestones so am debating whether to get more or to make the spots some other way. I liked the way I did the feet. I realized how much I have learned doing these.

The order came just on the day I took Werner into the doctor's for his check up so there were enough orange beads to finish this. Sorry his eyes do not flash as they do in reality. Am eager to do this again with a more interesting body patterns. That was just too much orange in one spot!

Here is Dorje making comments, and his own, cabochon arrangements on the Ultrasuede. We
put together both our cabochon collections and had a fishful! By the next day we were embroidering our favorites. We really tried to keep from spilling beads into the carpeting and we picked up all we saw but we still suspect that whoever cleans the house next will find the vacuum cleaner gargling.
Doing some catch up here. Had the last week with B and as you can see we beaded! She was glad to finish off two embroidered focals that I had lost interest in and refused to make the 'around the neck thingie.' As you can see below (almost, it is a bit fuzzy) she found the perfect recycled glass tubes to make it all work.
That is not coffee in the cup but the way I manage the big spools of thread. I put them upside down in a mug with the thread protruding from the edge. This keeps the thread clean and the spool stable while pulling off the length.

It was a delight to see how how her tastes and ideas moved against and with my attempts. I liked how she used the bead caps as flowers! She did two of them but with so much going on, I forgot to photograph the second one. Sent some of my bead stash home with her so I can stop feeling guilty about not making jewelry and enjoy my animals.

Thanks for a marvelous time, B!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The only part not done on the blue day are his feet which are hidden in the angle of this photo. There is a spot on the beak also not done. I wanted to let that wait until I put in the eyes - at the very end. Somehow it bothers me to be stabbing a 4 inch needle through something with eyes. Again attaching beads to one of these animals stabilizes them so they sit up and are fairly stable. Near the end I got impatient with myself for so closely following the original colors and promised myself that the next one will get wilder beading. I can see it so clearly in my mind. . .
When Vicki tried to send in my bead order she found the pound sacks of the orange I needed for the orangutan were on back order. At first I was very relaxed about the setback but the longer I thought about it, the more determined I became to find the few beads I need to finish the project. Then it hit me! Maybe Fire Mountain is out of the pound bags but do they have the little boxes of the color? They did! The order is on its way.
I am at cross roads. Do I start another animal or make jewelry again? I suspect B. will have a large part in the decision. They arrive tomorrow.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Just got an email yesterday from Susan Phelps that this is shown on page 228 of the new big comprehensive Fire Mountain catalog. The necklace was one of the finalists in the 2011 Seed Bead contest. I am eager to see the new catalog to see who of the Fire Mountain employees models my necklace and how it looks on a real person photographed by a professional. Thanks Susan for the great news!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Three days already I have worked on the blue jay before I get a chance to show it to you. Again I so delighted with the original colors and patterns I do not have the urge to change anything. Just adding beads makes the jay such a joy! Also I have had less than my usual calm so it is very comforting to just follow the lead of someone else.

For the record, I started the jay on Wednesday night when I ran out of orange beads for the orangutan. Just got a note from Vicki that it is time for an order.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Did get started on the orangutan. I love his monkey face! While doing the 'support hose' on his legs I sent up prayers for Werner. He is home now and up and about; for which I am very thankful.
I am eager to start on the hands and feet of this animal as I am hoping that using the dark gold of his face will pull the colors together. While sewing down all these bright orange beads reminded me that the Etsy Challenge for this month was anything made with this color. I was just in time to miss it!
However, the Dolphin gift shop in Gualala took 3 of the animals on consignment. I just heard from Barbara that the gallery in Point Arena had an excellent Fourth of July holiday weekend and that most of the sales came from my beaded jewelry. I am feeling very blessed today.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Got the puppy done last night. Before I did his front legs I was happy with the image of him lying flat on his tummy, but now that the feet hold his head off the floor I find this much more charming.
I spent a long time just looking at the many possibilities for the next project. At this point in time it is a toss-up whether I will do the orangutan (want to do him in bright orange) or the blue jay. I think there is also a walrus lying near by on the table but I am not wild about beading in brown now.
Werner is in the hospital with a deep vein thrombosis in his leg and they have him on blood thinner. Hope to get him home on Monday. Thankful for nerve-calming beading!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I tried front and back scans, but as you can see from the snapshot, only a camera could capture the charm of this puppy. When I was planning the colors to use I somehow had a red-brown in mind, but as I held the tubes of beads again him, I realized this was going to be blonde cocker. Working on this has released a lot of memories. As a young girl I wanted a cocker spanial with all my heart and soul. My mother bought herself a Chihuahua and it took me 40 more years to figure out the paths of love in this family.
So, in addition to the beads, I am sewing into this shaped fabric, misplaced love, understanding and forgiveness.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I hated to see the last bead go on this one. I really enjoyed beading Iggy. The sun came out the wind blew and the world was a perfect iguana. I see I have photoshop corrections to make or else I will have to redo his portrait today. The steep slope of the summer sun really cuts into the area of light I need.
It is an interesting process how I pick the next animal. Sometimes I think ahead as I finish one animal and have ideas that need a certain new beast. Yesterday I was thinking of doing the Blue Jay as my eyes were tired of all that green. But as I ran my hands over the packages I was surprised to find myself picking up the cocker spaniel. He has fluffy furry ears and I think I was attracted to the softness. Got most of his head done last night and again I was delighted and amazed how well his head was shaped, cut and sewn. These little McDonalds animals are so much more interesting than the beanie bears.

Today Harmony sent me a link to the bead work of David Chatt and have had my mind exploded into a million beaded pieces. I had been feeling that beading the animals was not 'original' enough - that I should be creating the animal as well as beading it. Then the Universe sent me Harmony and I am happy again!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Well, what a difference a couple days beading make! I am surprised how the stiffening effect of the beads changes the shape of the animal. Here those soft sides and little legs are elongating. This process underlines, I think, the validity of the original design. I almost have the feeling, in looking at this scan, that one can begin to see the difference between the matt beads and the shiny ones on the ruff and under chin. I am eager to get to the underbelly because I see it hangs down and will show up against the legs. At one point I felt the tail was too big and should be more slender, but seeing the head and the tail flat in the scanner, I see the proportion and balance is perfect. Today's big decision: Do I add claws to those toes? If so, with what? Tiny bugles? I think midnight stopped me at the right point last night and gave me time to think. Maybe by the time I do the other side I will have gotten the message from Iggy of what he wants on his paws, feet, pads? What do iguanas walk on?