Friday, August 31, 2012

Finished the bumble bee last night and had enough energy to start the snake. I am eager to use the stone chips on this project. I suppose I should be testing them out to see how they look and what color to use. I think I was so tired by ten o'clock that I just wanted to do something quiet and undemanding to finish off my day. It will be interesting to bead something without legs or wings or ears. That tongue could take a while. I already am thinking of using 15s. Am thinking of reshaping the tongue. . . It could be more correct. Off to look at snake tongues.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I went back to Gualala Arts Center to see which of the bead works won the Beading Excellence Award. It was Joanne Leary's piece pictured here. While I was there, Sus, the Director came out holding the wrong prize ribbon piece. Remember I gave him the one I had made with the blue ribbon and the words 'first place' instead of Bead Excellence as you see below on August 17. He showed me how Phil Graf, in practicing up his hand to write the names of the winners on the back of the other ribbons, had written on the back of the 'wrong' ribbon' - "Sus, First Place, First Class, First in our hearts!" Sus asked me if I could remove the word 'Beads' and put something that would indicate that the ribbon really was for him (you can see the original on August 5). The next day the issue of Sketches, the center's newsletter, went online and I read Sus's letter which he signed "Executive Director." Then I knew his official title - he is so low-keyed I was not sure.
How to redo the card? Executive Director was much bigger than the word 'Beads' so I could not cut off the beads to replace it. I found I was able to pry off the back where Phil had written his poem. Then I cut off the logo and year and the words 'First Place.' They looked funny lying atop the card (actually Lacy's Stiff Stuff) so I got the idea (thanks Universe!) of putting gold on the edges. Using the computer I printed out 'Executive Director' and then using pastels as carbon paper, got the letters on the card stuff and sewed on the beads. I was very glad to have the chance to realign the ribbon. I had positioned it wrong before and this time I got it right. And just now Werner returned home after delivering the ribbon to Sus who was pleased with the results.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To my surprise I started on the bumble bee. A basket of possible beanie babies was at my elbow. I reached out, pulled this one out, and started sewing. I am wondering what journey is meant for me via this bug.
What you cannot see are the 8s I used on the bottom. That size made the bottom especially flat and solid. I want to remember this when I do the lady bug again. Am eager to dip into one of the many new yellow beads I got recently. There were times, in the light last night, that this yellow had a greenish hue and I wondered if I should go for that. I am hoping I can find a good clear yellow to keep to the bee-ness. I used matt finish black beads for the body - hoping to indicate fuzziness - and shiny black on the wings. Because the legs are so small I suspect I will have to use 15s on them. That will slow me down. Am wondering what it would take to make this into a lightning bug. . . Saw an ad for very tiny LED lights in a catalog. . . Hm. . . now the idea of the greenish yellow body makes sense!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Got this puppy done last night just shortly before midnight. I love how the ears turned out! Instead of making the belly the same color as the rest of the beast, there was a tube of a pinkish beads still lying on the table from my stint of filling tubes from the pound bags so I switched colors in the middle of the dog. I accepted the Universe's nudge and was glad with the result. I see this puppy as the miracle dog as I almost failed to finish it. It was only finding the Preciosa beads that showed me I could use 11s and get a good result. Have a big order for these beads ready for Fire Mountain.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Over the weekend I finally got around to making the 'book' - that brownish blob at the bottom - that makes this worm into a bookworm and enables her to sit upright. No more lying on her side looking like roadkill. What you cannot see from this photo are the white pages within the book. I am hoping the real thing 'reads' better than this photo.

I wanted to show you the new boxes but I whisked them off to the gallery before the sun came out for a photo. Here is "Steampunk Pussy" in her box. I didn't take her to the gallery because I am hoping that looking at her will inspire me to do another one. So far no luck. The inner push is just not yet there. The good news is that the boxes are excellent. I was surprised how much shredded paper and Easter grass I had on hand - even these silvery strands. Each animal gets an appropriate 'grounding' and interesting stuff to sprinkle on the carpeting.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I packed things before photographing some, I see, in my eagerness to get to the studio. Barbara was there (as well as some visitors who stopped by on their Studio Discovery tours). She was working on an interesting gourd. Sorry I failed to photograph it. I was too busy putting the acrylic boxes on my animals that were already on display. Barbara helped fold boxes so there was still plenty of time to take one last long look at the marvelous paintings of Kim Robinson.
I got this much done on this puppy while seeing her works again and again in my mind. I phoned Kaye Like in the evening and we had a great talk about Kim's works. When I met her I had no idea of her previous career in netsuke carving.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Last night I finished the dog done in 15s just before stopping for dinner. I was fairly sure that when I got back to the beads I would dip into the basket of unopened beannie babies to pick my next project. Mary, who cleans, had seen the seahorse and at first thought it to be a dragon. What a great idea! I will make the new one I have into a dragon. I even went to the studio to search for the right kind of stone chips to use for dragon scales and came back in with several possibilities.
Yet when I sat down for an evening of beading my hands first strayed to the dog I showed you on August 16th. I began clipping off the beads and pulling out threads. Such mindless work becomes almost meditation. I was very tired and sore from cleaning and this was about all I could do. To my surprise, when I returned to the real world (give or take some of its aspects) I was sewing down these transparent yellow 11s. How much better these fit together than the cylinder like pink brown beads. I suspect that I will now go ahead to do this puppy while I wait for my nerve to gear up to doing the dragon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

While doing the front legs I had the feeling that the nose was so long that the front legs would not touch the floor (as the anteater does) but I see from this that the nose just touches. It feels as if the dog is sniffing the floor (which is a good hound dog pose). There is now the tail AND the belly to do. These 15s do take up the time.
Yesterday a new box of teannie babies came from Ebay (paid $6 for 17 of them) and there were a couple of new ones I am eager to do. Also there was a fish in soft colors on which I am very eager to use the soft colored pearl beads. My question is whether I can go back to finish the dog begun in 11s or if I will tear into those new packages.
Also arriving in the mail were the new larger clear boxes and they are perfect! The size is right and I like how they bump up the impressiveness of the animal. They need a bit of stuffing or shredded paper to 'anchor' them to the clear bottom. Will show you the boxes as soon as I get that figured out. Am feeling that now the animals need a tiny brochure enclosed and it will take some time to get those instructions. Lots to think about as I continue sewing down all those 15s. I see from the photo I missed one under ear.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I got only this much farther with ten hours of beading. Arms and legs do exact their toll! It was good I stopped the back on the right side when I did or I would have had to redo the sides where the leg rises up. One of the overhead ;amps burned out and I really need a new bulb! but otherwise I have no complaints! I like the browness of the metallic beads (on everything but the one ear) and I am pleased how ear and body color relate. This is the first of the beanie babies that I have felt the head was not well designed. It seems too big to me.
As the other puppy, with the 11s, continues to stay in my sight, I am becoming more open to accepting the larger beads with which it was started. That means that instead of cutting off the first attempt I will go on to finish it.
In a call from Vicki she said how much she liked the back of my first crab with the stone chips. I was glad she said that because the crab, being my first altered beanie baby, was fairly close to my original objective. Doing these dogs has pulled me off my path. Still I learn something from each project so nothing is really lost according to the Messages from Michael which I have been reading.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What you can see best from this scan is the part on the rump that I am having to redo. Only after doing the other side by the tail did I see that a spur of the moment decision to put a curve around the butt did not work. I like to tear out, if I must, as the last job of the evening. Then by the next day the pain of losing all that beading is forgotten and I am only enthusiastic about filling in the hole. The delight of seeing how the 15s fit into one another calms my thoughts of "I am getting no where on this piece!"
Have been searching for the beads B used on the bracelet she left for me and only today, thanks to the chat feature at Fire Mountain, did I learn that the Jablonex beads B used are now known as Preciosa and are available at Fire Mountain. In my last order I had gotten several hanks as their yellow and oranges are better than Dynamites. Now to get the fab blues and greens B used.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, as I read in the ICO about Art in the Redwoods, I saw the notice about the special bead prize. Then it dawned on me that by writing "First Place" on the ribbon I had made, I was totally wrong. The name of the prize was Beading Excellence! In a flurry of panic I decided to make a new ribbon even if it meant staying up all night. Thank goodness I had over-stocked up on the Lacy Stiff Stuff so I still had a couple of pristine sheets. All my failures in transferring the graphics on to it paid off so I could rather quickly and easily make the words in photoshop, print out the new ribbon, rub chalk on the back and trace down the lines. I had to make a mistake. I wrote "Bead" instead of "beading." But I do like the looks of the smaller word. I should have made the letters all in caps - they are easier to bead, but I felt I had no time to go back and redo it all.

I was surprised how quickly I was able to embroider the logo and words. That is a sure sign to me that it was a wise decision to redo the ribbon. I knew it would take all night to remake the gold seal and blue ribbons. I could have gone to GAC, gotten to old ribbon, tore it apart and sewed the seal and ribbon on this new one, but the idea of driving over an hour in the dark was more than I thought I could do. Suddenly, like a light appearing in my brain, I thought of a bag of examples, starts and stops of beading that I had saved. Sure enough in the sack were several badge-like round brooch or focal points. As I dug deeper I found this flower and dangles I had made in an idle moment of not knowing what to do. Even Werner agreed it was perfect. All I had to do was sew it down and add the hanging strip. Done! And I had time to go back to beading on the dog to settle my happy nerves.
Now this morning Rhoda, bless her heart, is stopping by to pick up the new ribbon and will take it to GAC so I do not have to make that trip! Good luck with your vendor booth, Rhoda. May you have many sales!

As I beaded on Bones, the dog, I kept going back and forth in my mind about whether to use the 11s or 15s. The 15s take about twice the time to sew on and do they really make that much difference in the final look? Finally my thinking seemed to wear out a path on my bead tray so I decided to make it contest. I stopped using the 11s and opened another dog and began with my favorite iris metallic 15s. Even if I never can make up my mind I will have two new beaded dogs!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I finished the anteater yesterday afternoon while fielding bunch of daisy calls and doing laundry. I was so distracted I could not figure out which animal to make next. I had read that the new challenge on Etsy was beaded works on the theme of the moon. The only animals I could think of would be the mouse that ate the green cheese the moon is made of or the rabbit the Japanese see in the moon. In all my teannie babies there was no mouse or rabbit. I tried making a mouse out of a kola bear by beading a cone as nose but the rest of the face was wrong, as well as the ears were too round. There were some moments when I thought of making a cloth mouse (I make one each year for Bu Kitty's Christmas present and have gotten fairly good at simple mouse shapes) and then beading it. Instead my hand strayed over to the table and picked up "Bones" the hound dog. Only when I got this far did I see that the bead I had picked (love the color - a pinkish brown) was one of the cylinder shaped ones. I had vowed not to use them anymore because they do not ease together as rounded beads do. The question today is whether I cut away three hours of beading to start this one again with different beads or just bead on through to the bitter end. I fear that my ease in tossing the fish before finishing it has lead me down a primrose path of perfidy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Well the colors on that fish were just too much for me. So, breaking all my rules, I tossed the unfinished beast into the basket of cat toys and there it is. To heal my retinas, I picked up the anteater - a symphony in grays that I never thought I would bead because of the color. It was harder getting started than I thought since I have almost no gray beads. When Sherrie was my biggest supplier I had every imaginable shade of gray (she does have excellent tastes in beads!) but I almost never buy a gray bead. I found a tube someone had given me but within minutes found out why. The holes were very small and many choked on the needle. What to do? I picked my grayest white bead and here we are. I did have enough gray vintage charlottes Sera had given me so I used them on the ears. I see now how a whole animal in that shade of gray would have been dreary indeed. This is where I stopped last night. I see the tail needs another line. This little beast has worked up so fast! Either I am getting better, the animals are getting smaller, or someone is helping when I am not looking!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

While delighting in the delicate colors of the sea horse I had forgotten the terrible neon colors in the fish. No wonder I did such a bad job of finding the right colors for the previous one. Only after beginning this did I realize how transparent these pearlized seed beads are! You can see the difference in colors in the two top fins. The larger one is a dark raspberry color and the smaller one is the same terrible pink as the lower one. Another 'mistake' here - on the seahorse I could cover those large areas adding three beads at a time. Here, I saw on the larger fin that I must return to adding only two. You can actually see on the large fin where I discovered this fact and changed my stitch size. I may, if I go on with this, go back to redo part of that fin. I was hoping the light of day would inform me as to whether to continue with the pearls or choose a set of colors in opaque beads. You see the head and tail colors are the same as those used on the sea horse and that was where I went wrong. How often in life can one see that?
Got this done last night. I love how the beads changed the shape of the tail. To my relief, the seahorse does stand alone. I was right, the weight of the beads added to the back perfectly balanced the weight of the beads in the nose. Took this snapshot before the fog rolled back and to my delight found the colors more true than with the shadow of the sun. And for some reason, Blogspot let me place the prose above the photo. Just looking at blessings today so I will not report on the progress with the fish. . . (Where is the Grrr emoticon when I need it?)

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Well that scan is a disappointment. The sea horse looks a lot better in real life. I am very pleased with how the roundness of the pearl seed beads mesh together. The soft colors seem to harmonize (maybe that is why they look so blah here?). Am eager to get the tail done to see if the weight of the beads on the back end can balance the animal. It has a basis (which is not flat-looking enough here) but at this point the weight on the face pulls it over. As I work on this one, I am already delighting in doing another fish in the same colors. Out of all the beanie babies I have gotten there is only one sea horse and I have only two more fish. Somebody was saving lots of the McDonald's animals from 1997 - 1999 but fewer after that.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Finished the squirrel just before the last rays of sun left the photo set-up. Was able to get this quick snapshot before the light moved to its newest spot on the western sea. I have often felt that beads were too hard when a whole thing was made from them. Having this fuzzy tail helped me like the squirrel so much and gives a good balance between hard and soft. Besides I saved about a day and a half of beading by not having to do the tail. Only three days on this one.
It took me a long time to decide on which animal to do next. Finally I began to "see" the sea horse covered with moss green stone chips. When I went out to the studio to get them I realized they were among the cache I gave to B. So I began to consider the anteater. While looking for some good gray beads I pulled out the tray with tubes of pearl seed beads and remembered I had wanted to use them on one of the animals. Then it hit me - almost with the force of an actual object - that putting pearls on a sea horse was a perfect idea. As I began to sew the various colors on the head, I saw how keeping to the original colors and hues worked so well with the pearl beads as well as being the best for the animal. The fish is made from this same mottled fabric and I think this is where I went wrong with that one. My ordinary bead colors were too bright and too intense on the fish. Now I am thinking of doing another fish with these pearlized beads. There is no blue and the palate is very limited but so far I am delighting in the soft look they have and the marvelous way they blend. In real life the pearls make the animal seem like something for a bride. A fish or a sea horse for your marriageable daughter?

Monday, August 6, 2012

As is usual, when I do something startling or 'far out' like "Steampunk Pussy" I then have to draw back, retreat, recover and recuperate before getting up the courage to charge ahead again. Also, I am waiting on a new supply of brass stampings. So after finishing the First Place ribbon, and wishing I had attached the ribbons differently, I pawed through my cache of animals to see which one wanted beads. It was Nuts the squirrel. You can already see what a sweet face he has. What you cannot see is his bushy tail made of some hairy fabric that tangles the thread far too easily - hence the plastic bag. Again, as with the Cocker Spaniel, I saw him done with brown root beer AB beads but when I held up the tubes of color against his tail, I decided for the blond or golden squirrel.
I am thinking I want to do a winged animal - to add wings to an animal that does not have them. A pig would be the logical choice, one of the few animals I do not have is Snout the Pig. I have lots of dogs and cats. If it can rain cats and dogs, can they fly?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My grand idea to make a beaded blue ribbon for the new beads category at Art in the Redwoods is turning out to be quite a journey. I was just too unhappy with the stiffness and clunkiness of the all beaded version (right corner). Then I got the idea of beading on some of that Lacey's stiff stuff. I could get much finer resolution on the words and images if I sewed them on free form instead of following the brickstitch scheme. My idea was to bead the words in colors and then do the background in white. Duh! It took a couple of hours before I realized that the stiff stuff made excellent paper! All I really had to do was bead in the writing and sew on the seal and ribbon. Unfortunately my guidelines on the stiff stuff were not to be hidden by erasure or painting over so I made a second one. It was worth the redo efforts as I could make other refinements like putting 'First Place' in gold. I still need to finish the second leg of the ribbon, but the end is in sight and I am already planning my next animal.

Friday, August 3, 2012

So you can see how I am attempting to make a blue ribbon for the new bead category. What you cannot see is how I ran out of opaque white 11s and had to put a border around the words and then continue with frosted whites. When I stopped to search for the missing beads, I got so frustrated I quit with the label and started on the gold seal instead. Having it done will help me to know how big to make the white area below the words. Am trying to figure out how to make the ribbon without a bunchy layer under the gold seal. Am thinking of doing the ribbon and label together and then let the blue extend below. I think having the seal an added on piece feels right but the bulk of the ribbon would be too thick. Looking at this snapshot I see how I could add a hint of shadow to the ribbon. Hm. . . Eager to try this.
Today at the CHAC gallery is the retrospective for Kim Robinson so I doubt I will get any beading done today.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

TA-DAH! Steampunk Pussy! A beaded cat with attitude that is beyond cattitude. I did not intend it so, but this is, with the missing tooth, a self portrait. I achieved with this one that which I have been aiming for in all time of doing these beanie babies. The addition of the metal parts was the secret, I now know. Then yesterday I discovered I could not find my stash of brass stampings when I began to plan the next animal. Either they are still buried in the pile of stuff left over from the vacation with B. or somehow she got my whole basketful. Never one to let that stop me, I gave Brenda Sue a new order which is now on its way to me. Enjoy the bunch B!
Now on to a project I started long ago and never finished. In the biggest art show on our coast - Art in the Redwood, the third weekend in August- there has never been a category for beaded works. We have had to enter our works as Jewelry and ornamentation - where the gold and silver jewelers were always the winners, or in Sculpture where the bronze monoliths could beat us to bits or as Glass where the big stained glass window out shown us. So this year, Sus said we could have as a trial, a category just for beads. Gualala Arts always gives handmade ribbons and I have an idea for the ribbon to be awarded to the beads winner. Now to see if I can sew what is in my mind. . .