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

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A new Year - a New Goal

I can't believe that a whole year has gone by since I started my blog.  Last year I treated myself to the Tuscon bead show for my birthday. A repeat is not in the cards this year, so instead I paid a visit to Shipwreck beads.  The advertisements for this bead store are not an exaggeration - it is HUGE.  The size of a storehouse, and I could have spent hours wandering the aisles.

I tried very hard to not buy any beads and just concentrate on items I needed to make jewelery - chain, head pins, O-rings, clasps, etc.  My resolve, however, did not last when I came across some glass beads with dicro inlays.  I did only buy a few of each for earrings.

And speaking of earrings.  In an effort to give myself a good reason to blog at least once per week, I have just joined the flickr group 52 earrings in a year.  It is the brain child of Anke Humpert.  I read about it on Polymer Clay Daily and thought it was a great idea.  After all, I love earrings and they are something that does not take a huge amount of time to make.  Since I just joined in the 4th week of January I am a bit behind.

Here is my catch up:
Week 1
These beads were made after a demo at our guild meeting by Julia Sober.  I love the pearly color.

Week 2

The addition of a sprocket to the clay was an attempt to do a kinda steampunky bead.  But I chose the wrong color of ink - I still like it though. Stream is my favorite color of ink.

Week 3

I had previous made a pair of these earrings in green stripes. This is the same technique only using a purple base. The principle of the design is from the pivot bead idea, a layered cane made from white, black and grey is thinned out and placed over a colored base. I twisted the ends a little to make them more unique.

Week 4

Trying to be a bit more ambitious.  I made these beads several years ago and they really don't lend themselves too many designs.  Not sure I like them and may rework them later.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Zen of Sanding??

I have read and talked with some clayers that really like to sand.  They say they find a "zone" and it actually is kinda therapeutic.  I would LOVE to feel that way. Instead  I find it wet, tedious and boring.  But I have to admit that I really like the end results. The beads are so smooth and almost sensual to the touch.

  Artybecca had posted on flickr a mini  mokume gane tut on using the threads on a large screw.  I did not have a large screw so improvised with a tracking wheel.  The first time I only went in one direction so ended up with stripes.  When I did the finish with LPC, I really didn't like the feel of the beads.  The veneer bubbled in places. That was when sanding, as much as I hate it, became something I had to consider. I really like the ones on the left but only had enough clay for two beads

The next time, I went both directions with the wheel and ended with squares.  These squares got larger when I ran them through the pasta machine to make the veneer,  I tried a new shape too.

These were the first that I sanded. The long barrels are almost 2 inches long.

Not sure I like the shape

Friday, January 20, 2012

JuLee's Adventures in Snowonderland

For those people who live in Western Washington, the last few days have been an adventure to say the least.  We have had snow, then ice, then  massive power outages with below freezing temps.  Did I say adventure?  More like  Icy Escapades.... in the dark ... with a broken generator.  Thank goodness I have a Partylite rep as a co-worker and a drawer full of candles as a result.

The one good thing that came out of spending the night huddled under layers of blankets, we did get to meet our new neighbors.

Before you think, hey -  that JuLee is kinkier than we thought ....

We had a Mustang (the car, not the horse) get stuck in front of our house.  Right across the driveway... Great, no way to get out even in an emergency.  The driver left for a while then came back with a shovel.  He was unable to get very far.  DH went out to help and soon there were a bunch of people shoveling and pushing and trying to help a complete stranger.  Adversity does bring out the best in people at times ... and even though we were all cold and hungry and tired, I hope we have made new friends.

Luckily the power came back on this morning and I do not have to go into work.  Perfect day to finish up my Artybecca inspired beads.  I am actually going to SAND them!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Back to the Big Beads

For a while there, all I wanted to make were the large textured beads I learned from Lydia at SC Diva.  Then  I got interested in another technique and was off in a different direction.  But I could not forget how much I like this look, so when I was determined to stoke the creative flame, I started again with Lydia's tut.  I was too lazy to drag out the photo light box, hence the shadows.

   In making the first ones, I was looking for different color, so I combined violet and gold which gave me a deep burgundy.   When I added my final coating (made from a mixture of liquid clay and black ink), an interesting affect happened.  Instead of a black finish, it turned a golden color.  I was not too happy with this look - too dark for my liking.

I had a lot of  burgundy clay left, which I then lighted up by adding white and a touch of ecru to soften the color.  This color is one I like better.  Hard to believe it is the same base color.

Off and running.  The next color was a result of mixing scrap clay for bead guts.  I liked the soft blue.
Opps, forgot the bead cap on one. 

But when I added the antiquing, it turned it more grey.  The two on the right are made using a very small portion of a texture plate. It is the only portion of the plate I like. I wonder why I ever bought it - might have come in a pack.

I have found another source of inspiration on line.  Artybecca has posted several mini tuts on flickr. I was experimenting with one earlier today and hope to post the pictures later this week.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm Bad, I'm Bad, ya know it

Warning .... Long introspective post that you don't have to read....

I started off my blog last year on my birthday with a real bang, but lately I have been soooo bad about it.  I could be the weather (I have SAD so winter blahs usually really get me down) but this winter has had a bit more sun that usual, so I really can't use that as a valid excuse.

I could be stress at the job.  With the economy being so bad, health care providers are really seeing a decrease in revenue. My hospital is looking to form a strategic partnership with another and no one knows what that merger will entail.  Will we have jobs?  I am getting on in years (I qualify for the senior discount at restaurants but still too young to retire) and in my field older workers aren't valued for the fonts of wisdom that we are. They would rather hire fresh out of school at less pay.

It could be worry over my MIL. They finally diagnosed her with Stage 4 Lymphoma - luckily it is not in her bone marrow, but has involved other organs.  She started Chem and is not taking it too well.  She is a real tough cookie though and is taking it one day at a time.

It could be because I really have not made anything in the last several months that I want to share.  I have not really been inspired much in polymer.

It could be that I really DO NOT like Chrome....oh, well.

I am several weeks late with my resolutions, I know, but as I sit in bed with a mild case of food poisoning (bad fish at work last night) I am thinking that goals are a good focus to remove my mind from the stresses.  I need to have a focal that I can control rather than be worrying about what I can not.  This is not a radical new idea, one that I know logically but have a hard time accepting in practice.

If only I could be as cool as this fella
So one resolution is to blog more often, at least once a week.  That will force me to create (cross my fingers) and have more interesting stuff that I can share.

Now if I can just stop worrying about the snow storm that is supposed to hit later tonight ......

Monday, January 2, 2012

Best Laid Plans and all that ...

My New Years Resolution to eat better lasted one whole day, but no one could resist ......

Better luck tomorrow with my diet