Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. - Oscar Wilde

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goal Accomplished (kinda)

I had made a resolution at the start of last year to write something in my blog at least once a week.  To facilitate that goal, I joined the Flickr Group "52 Earrings in one Year" started by Anke Humpert of Anart Island Studios.  While did not  accomplish the goal of posting every week ... I sorta did it in clumps.... I feel good that I finished all 52 pairs by December 31st.
   I just realized it has been a whole month since my last post ... whoa, really ... what the heck was I doing all that time"  No new beads to speak of ... my shoulders are the latest part of my body to start to go.  Cranking the pasta machine is right out for now, at least till my physical therapy starts to show better results. I did get a change to dig around in my stash and find some beads I made earlier this year that I worked up in the last few weeks
  So, tonight I posted my last earring pairs to the group.  I had a lot of fun doing it and got a ton of inspiration from the others who posted to this Flickr group.  I discovered new artists  (not just polymer)  and blogs to follow.  Started pinning a lot at Pinterest.  I can (and have) spend hours there just jumping from one board to another - talk about inspiration!.
    Here are the last 4 earrings from the Challenge.
    The first pair of beads I made up were made from the Texture Tut I got from Lydia at Diva Designs.  They are named after Bette Davis ... the bumps remind me of her famous line  "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride".
Bette Dee 
 These beads were made by coloring a base white bead with Pan Pastel Chalks. I made a whole set of these to make into a necklace, but haven't got around to that yet.
JW Patches
 Several of the blogs that I visited off the Flickr earring group do asymmetrical challenges. It is hard for my scientific mind to let go and not strive for absolute symmetry.  This is my attempt at it. It really bothers me that they are not the same length.  This is something that I hope to overcome.  I am currently working on an asymmetrical necklace to help this process along.
1 Pod ... 2 Peas
 My last pair for this challenge were made with a short band of scrap clay left over from another project. It was too colorful to wad up and use as bead guts .. there is no such thing as wasted clay
The Golden Band
Next post will hopefully be my further trials with asymmetry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where did the year go??

 As usual, I am running behind posting my projects.  I'll blame it on the holidays this time, and the Artisan show.  After all there is nothing wrong with ME...

It is hard to believe that it is almost December. This year just flew by.  Isn't it strange how time speeds up the older one gets?  I remember as a child, how impatient I was waiting for Christmas.  Seemed like it would never arrive.  Now I just turn around, and it is almost upon us.
   And speaking of remembering my childhood, I found these dragonfly beads at the Blue Iris going out of business sale (heavy sigh).  They remind me swimming in the lake near the home I grew up in. Dragonflies were everywhere.  I would lay on the raft a short distance from the shore and watch them hovering over the water.  I was fascinated even then. The earrings I made from these beads are week 48 of the 52 earrings project.
Lakeside Dream Earrings
   As mentioned several posts ago, I purchased River Valley's wonderful Rocky Path tut.  I have been having a lot of fun trying different color combos.  One important tip I must pass on, if you are considering the tut or already have it ... it really pays to follow the directions.  I thought I would try a different texture than the one recommended.  After all, it looked *almost* the same.  While I don't totally dislike the results, they don't have the depth that can be achieved if the right texture is used, as you can see.
Following instructions 

Going down the wrong path

I have also been spending time reorganizing my studio (gasp!).  I would be a top contender for the messy studio award. I do love the surprises that come with the periodic cleaning.  I find beads that I made a last year or the year before that, that I totally forgot about.  It is like receiving an early birthday gift.  So I made these beads (only two of each so I MUST have been thinking earrings when I made them) into earrings for the 52 earrings project.
Going Green
Week 46 were made with the only pair of green beads I made using the texture tutorial from Lynda at Diva Designs.  I don't remember if I added mica powder to the clay. I kinda looks like I did.  I have started to write stuff in a journal now, so that I can refer back.  Amazing how long it took me to figure out that this was a good idea.
    Week 47 earrings ...  I vaguely remember these. I was experimenting with adding inclusions to clay.  These are spacers attached to the base bead with little balls of clay. I have no idea why I abandoned this line of clay play. I will have to work more with this idea.
Round Peg,  Round Hole


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Artisan Show Finds

As usual, I spent more than I made at our annual Artisan's Show.  This year it was so hard not to buy out the shop... there were so many lovely and unique pieces to be drooled over.

The first pieces I am going to share are ones I found at  my NWPCG mate Nan's booth.  She made some very eclectic pieces that really fit into my wild side. So hard to choose, so I got several pairs.

Feed the wild side as much as possible
Dawn Grey  came to our Clay Camp last May and it was one of her first experiences with this wonderful medium.  She is really blooming, and is very creative. I couldn't resist this piece. She incorporated a real shell into this lovely seaside homage.  Dawn told me the shell was grey until she put the resin on it, and then the colors just popped.
Keep Clam.
Laura of Bauble d'art was also new to our show.  She makes lovely jewelery from glass beads rather than polymer, but we don't hold that against her (LOL).  I fell in love with these beads and just had to have them. She thinks she has a focal at home, so I am hoping that I will get a necklace to match.

It was sooooo hard to decide which work of nature I wanted from Blessings in Nature.  Kyndahl has developed a techique that showcases flora and fona and all that is beautiful in nature. I finally decided that I wanted something really unique, so chose this gorgeous pendant.  Can you guess what the material she used was? If you like this piece, she has just opened an Etsy shop Blessings in Nature.  
Did you guess that I was
Snake Skin?
Julia Wolf Miller of White Dog Studio is a wonderful Glass fusing artist.  She painstaking draws out these beautiful designs with tiny pieces of glass called frit. She says many of her pieces go through 4 to 5 firings.  This delightful fellow is one of her Bird Totem Series.  He makes me smile.
Pardon my fingers. I wanted you
all to see how pretty he is with
the light shinning through

I got this wonderful Mokume Gane pendant from my Guildie Liz at Clay Camp.  At the time, she did not have any earrings to match, so it has been living in my jewelery box, with no where to go.  I was hoping that since it is one of Liz's favority color combos, she would someday use it again and I would be able to complete my set.
 She didn't let me down!  I was able to pick up these babies to match.
And I saved my favorite till last.  Liz has just quit her soul sucking job and is going to try to focus on her jewelery design business.  I am wishing her all the luck in the world, as she is so talented (and a great, fun person to boot).  I fell in love with these earrings at first sight and grabbed them up before anyone else could see them. She designed, etched and punched out the copper circles. I think the only thing she did not personally make on these earrings were the ear wires.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Rocky Path

I finally broke down and bought something off of Etsy.  I have been purposely avoiding it for years.  Not because I don't like it ... heaven forbid.  It is the fear that I will go CRAZY and buy every thing in sight once I discover how easy it is.
    It is taking  lot of restraint to be good ... there are so many interesting items to be had just with a quick click of the mouse.
    I have been able to limit myself so far to a pair of earrings and beads from Lynda at Diva Designs.  I have been following her work for years now.  She was the first follower on my blog when I started it almost two years ago now.  I have purchased several of her very well written tuts in the past, but used a check rather than signing into Esty.  Now that she is a full time designer, it turned out to be better for her monetarily if I went through Esty, so now I have an account. .. so many shiny things.... opps... getting off topic
   This leads me to another Esty purchase I made last week.  One of my flickr contacts is River Valley Designs, and one of the techniques she uses and has written a tut on, is called Rocky Path. I have long admired pieces that she and others have made using Rocky Path and tried to figure it out on my own, with limited success.  So I finally broke down and purchased it. I am in love ... it is a playful technique and I love the serendipity of it - you can't predict exactly what is going to happen.  I love surprises.
   I have made two earring sets so far and would make more today, but I must get ready for the Artisan Show this weekend.
Using Yellows and Orange Inks

Pinks and Yellows

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And the winner is

As promised, tonight is the time I announce who is the winner of my little giveaway.
Listed in order of reply

1.  Backstory Beads
2. Cassi Renee
3. Davinia
4. Fresh Baked Design

And the winner is ....... Drum roll, please ......

True Random Number Generator1

So, Backstory Beads (sorry could not find your aka name on your blog), please contact me with your snail mail and your orange beads (so appropriate for the Holiday) will be heading your way.

   My email is

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Faux Raku for You

There is still one more day to enter into my giveaway as detailed in my last blog entry.  So far, there have been only a few people who commented and hence are eligible.  I know that they are hoping that no one else   comments ... greater chance for them.  I will check immediately when I get home from work Halloween evening and let luck choose the winner.

I had a very productive Saturday.  I got a lot of beads made.  Unfortunately, the productivity was paid for the next day with a flare of the carpel in the right wrist and a new pain in my left shoulder.  Every time I complain to the SO about getting older, his response is "Consider the alternative".  Trite but true.

My newest kick is experimenting with a faux raku technique that Lisa Pavelka showed us on the Clayditarod.
She used foils and inks to create the look.
This is the piece I made in Lisa's class.  There was not much faux raku, so I put little tidbits here and there in the pendant.

Believe it or not, the same color ink was used for both of these.
 The piece on the left is the technique on a flat surface. I love the look and wondered what it would look like if I tried it on a rounder form.  The crackle is good, but the color of the ink seeped under the foil resist and colored the clay. I was hoping that when I sanded (yes, I SANDED), that the color would revert to white again...but no such luck.
   Then I wondered what other, non traditional raku colors would look like.
Using my favorite ink color, Stream

Colored with "Plum"
I love the effect and want to get the time to work with more colors and shapes.  I could do without the sanding though.  I watched a whole episode of "Upstairs, Downstairs" on Netflix while sanding 6 beads. I gotta get faster .... I did get them made up into simple earrings pretty quickly though, so at least in that aspect I am improving.

 I do wish I could figure out how to get
 my pictures to line up next to each other on the page. It would look
so much nicer.  Anything good on the llayout that does happen, happens by accident and I can not figure out how to do it again.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Milestone Reached and a Giveaway

I was excited this morning when I checked out this blog to see that the view tally was at 9,999.  Now I know that is not a big number for a lot of those popular musings in the blogoverse, but it is a huge number for little ol' me.  Thanks so much to all those readers who actually take the time out of their day to puruse my ramblings.

I have decided to celebrate this milestone by having a giveaway of a pair of Artybecca inspired beads. And it is easy ... all you need do is leave a comment as to which pair you would like to win.  That's it.

   Since I am not a mega blog with tons of readers, I am going to give a bit more than the typical week for people to comment. I will pick the winner by random number generator on Halloween in the dead of night  (for those outside the U.S. that is October 31st at midnight PST).
  These are special beads to me in that I actually SANDED them ... yes, me sanding ... I had no fingernails left on my right two fingers afterwards, but it was worth it.  Just wish I could get into the Zen of sanding:  I really like the smooth feel of the finished bead, but it is soooo boring.
Thanks again to Rebecca for the FREE  tut on how to make these.  The
Polymer Community is full of very generous people.  Maybe that is why
I love this medium so much.

   There are two pair of bongo drum beads, blue and lavender, and a pumpkin colored pair to choose from.  I posted pix of earrings made from the other beads made from the same clay blends on my last blog entry, so you can get an idea of their size and how they can look made into something.  Just leave a comment as to which pair you would like to have, and  you may be a winner.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back to my roots - Polymer that is

Finally, some polymer earrings to share with you.
I have been busy making earrings for the upcoming Artisan's Show in Edmonds next month, and slowing working on the massive beaded necklace project.  I am over half done with it, adding a few beads a day.  I remember a friend once told me that shovel by shovel full, she could move a mountain. This is the friend who is gluing seed beads to a door ( I blogged about her in August) so she knows about patience.  Me, I am not so patient ....
   Most of the earrings I have been making are not polymer.  I am trying to use up some of my stash in the hope that I can make more space for working with metal clay.  I have the kiln I won just sitting there, waiting for me, calling to me .... and I have no space to work in.  Mean hubbie won't let me expand outside my studio .... he actually gets upset when he wants to come to bed and finds me in it surrounded by my beads and findings, frantically trying to get get in "just one more pair, dear" before lights out.  Imagine the nerve of him!  Womans' gotta create and I NEED space....lots and lots of space ..... must have more rooooommmm

   Opps, back to earth, girl.
  I wanted to show a few of my latest.
Love Apple

This is my newest favorite pair of earrings, made with some of the tinted translucent from my huge necklace project.  Love the color.

  Remember a while back when Artybecca (Rebecca Watkins in real life) posted a tut on flickr and actually caused me to SAND my beads.... well, I finally got around to making them into Earrings.  When I first posted my beads on Flickr, Rebecca actually commented that they reminded her of bongo drums (hence the names I have given the earrings).


Lucy... I'm home!
And finally, just in time for Halloween....
Pumpkin Spice

Friday, October 5, 2012

What have I got myself into?!?

I saw a necklace in last month's (August 2012) issue of Bead Design Studio that I absolutely fell in love with.  It kinda surprised me, as I am not usually attracted to this type of necklace, but there ya go.  I am not one to argue with inspiration when it strikes ... BUT I am really wondering if I bit off a little more than I can chew.  The original necklace has 90-95 larger glass beads in it.  They are the most yummy colors and I thought to myself, if I don't have glass, I will use Polymer, of course.
  But how to get those colors?  A few experiments later, I found if I mixed small portions of clay  with translucent, I could achieve colors that were similar.  There is still a long way to go, I am working on getting all the beads made.... but here is a peak at what I have been doing.  Will post the finished piece when (if??) I finish.  I esp love the deep sparkly look that is achieved when mixing a pearlized clay into translucent.  Yum!
I LOVE the look of these beads and plan to work more with
Translucent clay when this project is finished.
 Because I am so wrapped up in making these translucent beads, my 52 earring project is suffering.  If only I did not have that darn J.O.B. getting in the way ... but it does pay the bills and allow me to create...
   As I result, I whipped up a month's worth of earings in one afternoon (sorry.... only one using polymer).
Polymer colored with inks and
mica powders, surrounded by
an abalone ring
Kitty Queen.  Earrings made from the
adorable kitty beads I picked up at
the NWBS show last weekend.
The nights are getting chilly...  here
are my "Prelude to Winter" earrings.

I titled these "Disc Believe" in
homage to Terry Prachett's
Disc world Series

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I can be so forgetful at times

Yesterday I went to what I consider the best bead show held in our area each year, the Northwest Bead Society Bead Bazaar.  I just don't say that because in the past my Polymer Clay Guild has had a table there, but because it features local artists.  It is a joy to purchase a OOAK bead from the maker  ... I get a thrill from talking to them, finding common ground, comparing notes, delving into their thought processes and feeding a little off their energy and love for their art (in a good way, like a root beer float on a warm day).
   I work mostly in polymer, but that doesn't mean that I don't like, and to be truthful, some what crave other medias, esp. glass.  I was just starting to learn glasswork beads when I had what the Dr referred to as a venous occlusion in my right eye (in other words, a mini stroke).  That blew my depth perception as now I have a "bumpy" retina and I can no longer focus well enough to see where to add stringers, etc to the glass.  Big Bummer..... as I LOVED working in glass, and so I am reduced to admiring the work of others and bringing it home with me whenever I find anything I can't live without.
   And so it comes to the title of today's blog .... While at the NWBS show I found the table set up by Fire and Rain, a local glass bead group.  There were 17 artists represented and I spent quite some time talking and ohhing at all the pretties.  I bought a few but I totally SPACED on getting names or business cards of any of the artists.  All I have is their initials on the tags attached to the beads.  I went to their website hoping to find names to match the initials, but no luck there. Here is what I brought home, with apologies to the makers for not being able to give them credit
This reminds me of Van Gogh's Starry Night, even if.the
color's aren't the same. Bead by D.P.

The color of this glass is called Krytonite.  Reminds me of
Jade.  Beads by E.H.

These guys are just too cute for words.  By C.M,
But my favorite bead was by F.W.  I fell in love with the color, the texture and flow of the design.  After purchasing it, I had to find coordinating beads as I wanted to string it right away. That was another delightful hour going from table to table (like I really needed an excuse! ya, right).  I found the lovely Vera Wieland of Cave Dweller Beads who helped me pick the colors for the companion beads (this time I got a name ... still don't know why I spaced at Fire and Rain). Vera specializes in making well priced beads to compliment focals and does a great job at it.
I wish I knew who F.W. is.  I love her work.

Temporary stringing job,  just to see how they play out.
Don't Vera's beads go great, like they were made for it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mould Give Away

I just love the Blogosphere.  How else would I have found out about Moulds by Mel?  I read the blog this morning from Davinia (Deez News - see sidebar) and from it followed the link to Mel the Mould Maker.  She is giving away 8 (yes 8!) moulds and the rules are so easy.

So, if you are interested, check it out here. I just love the color she used to make them, don't you?  (if the link doesn't work, go to Deez News and follow her link ... I know it works!!!)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Finding Nino

I have not been playing with clay since the cruise, so I decided to spend Saturday in my studio. But first I had to clean it a bit .... mistake!!!!!  I found some beads that I bought recently and decided that I would string them instead.  Since doing the Bead Soup and hopping all over the blogosphere getting inspired, I have been thinking more about how present beads than feeling the need to make them.
   Of course, my studio is not set up for stringing, so I have to hunt through bins looking for wire, crimps, hooks, etc.  Can find them all except the crimps.  So off to the friendly local bead store ... another MISTAKE.  It is their anniversary and everything in the store is 20% off.  I tried to be good, really I did, but I found these lovely abalone beads in all sorts of shiny colors ..., they are kinda like potato chips to me.
  Got the crimps and was finally able to finish the necklace and earrings to match.  I had found another set of beads that I also made up.  Now, I am no great shakes at design, so these are rather simple, but I am pleased none the less.
Finding Nino
 I know that one is not supposed to take pictures in sunlight where shadows are being cast, etc. Not professional. But I kinda like the shadow play where it makes ripples on the bottom left.  It shows the texture of the beads.

The second set I don't like as much, but it was a learning experience.
Sunrise Sonata
And here are some of the Abalone  beads I was telling you about.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hidden Treasure - Wm Spear Design

While walking down the streets of Juneau, I  happened to see a bunch of pins displayed in the window of a small eatery.  I was very excited as one of the pins was a platypus.  I have liking for weird and unusual  critters (being one myself), so I excitedly went in.  I was told to take the stairs around the corner.

A bit daunting, but the walk up the flight was made more enjoyable by all the positive messages posted along the way.
I got to the top, were a very nice lady greeted me.  I was a bit disappointed to discover that what I thought was a platypus was actually a mole (I must get my eyes checked soon).  But I was NOT disappointed in what I did find!  I had discovered the shop of William Spear, a very talented designer who has produced hundreds of enameled pins.  Each pin is enameled by hand, each glaze having been placed and fired separately on copper which has been electroplated with gold.  I was totally blown away by his creativity and the fact that the prices were SOOOO reasonable.

Those that know me in real life, know that I work in a clinical laboratory, so that can explain why I was so excited to find pins that had been designed with the lab in mind. Of course, I could not decide which I like best, so bought several (did I mention that the prices were good?).
My favorite pin. This is how I feel most days LOL!!

I plan on wearing this one on my lab coat.

Some people might think this kinda gross, but I LOVE it!
Lest you all think that I am totally bonkers about my work, I did buy something "normal". The colors in these earrings are gorgeous.
And I found my penguin!  Every trip that DH and I make, we make a real effort to bring back a penguin for the collection.  Sometimes it is a real challenge, but this time I found a lovely addition

  More of Mr Spears work can be found on line at if you are interested.