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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Working together

Sorry about no posts for the past several days, but I brought home more than a lot of memories.  Got a nasty  chest cold.  It was all I could do to drag myself into work over the weekend.  Off work today and spending it in bed. Thank goodness for Dayquil.

One of the highlights I remember from my last Clay Cruise (2009) was a collaboration between Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg and Christi Friesen, when they created the only existing Friesenberg dragon.  There was a lot of good natured battering about what to name the critter and everyone was hoping their name got drawn out of the hat so it could go home with them.

This time out, Lisa Pavelka and Christi decided to get together to create something special for one lucky person. They created a totem pole of one of kind critters and gave themselves a 40 minute time limit to do it in.  I am sorry that my pictures aren't so great - we were cramped in a small room with poor lighting.
Christi and Lisa hard a work.  See how jammed in we all were
Christi's moose. This is one loose moose, totally blinged.
Complete with hoop earring.

Lisa's sweet little honey bear

Dig the teeth on Lisa's beaver critter
They put it all together for closing ceremonies.  I was not able to get close enough to get a really good picture, but believe me, it was adorable.
Taken from a distance before we
were put up for display.
It was exciting to see the creative minds at work and watch as the totem took on a life of its own.

PS  Lisa P read my posting and was kind enough to send me a better picture of the finished totem. Here you can also see the flying squirrel that Christi made to complete the set.

Hello from the Great White North

Friday, August 24, 2012

White Pass and Great Yukon Railroad

I signed us up for several shore excursions when we where in Alaska.  Even though I knew that we would be "seeing" Alaska from the cruise ship, I didn't really think that was really SEEING Alaska. I wanted mountains and forests, not just the ports of call.  Several of the excursions had train rides into the interior. I chose the one what looked like it went the furthest  into the wilderness - a train ride with a real steam engine up into the Yukon..  Here you can see some of the train cars from Spirit's upper deck.
People really do look like ants from up here!

The views were amazing!  And there was a platform that we could go out on to take pictures.  It was very crowed most of the time, so I only got out there twice during our 3.5 hour trip. The only complaint I had about the ride was that the seats were built for the butts of people from the 19th century - they were a lot small than Lord Opuson and me then!
View of where we had been.  That is Skagway between the peaks
with just a hint of the water.

A river runs through it.

Can you see the trail in the rock?  According to our guide, this was part of the footpath used by the Alaskan Gold Rush miners to cross the mountains to get to the gold fields.  She said it was so crowded that if you had to get out of line for any reason, it could take up to half a day to get back in line.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Clayditarod Adventure Classes Day 1

The first day of the Clayditarod was a jam-packed one.  We had been divided into 4 groups, and each group would rotate through the classes.  I was in Group D.  Our first class was with the talented Julie Picarello and, believe it or not, she did not teach Mokume Gane.  We learned how to decorate bezels that have a hole in the middle. (can you believe I was up and in class at 0830? - this cruise played havoc with my sleep schedule)

Julie hard at work. She had sooo many cool findings
Still Drooling.  Funny how PC ladies get all ohh and ahh
over hardware, isn't it?
 Here is my finished product.  The findings are being held in by a plug of clay placed in the hole in the middle. The holey plate changed color in the oven.  I hope to be able to do something to brighten it up.
A bit of bling in the center
After a very hurried lunch on the Lido Deck, Group D trooped off to another room just off the main dinning area (with much better lighting).  I was really excited to to be learning about silver metal clay. I have had very little experience with it as it is so expensive. The instructor is a master in the field - Jackie Truty of Art Clay World.  She had us do what I thought would be impossible:  we carved a design in tile and then used it as a texture plate to impress the silver clay into.  I was so frustrated at first until Jackie showed me the RIGHT way to hold the carving tool.  My piece curled up a bit, due to my not getting a uniform thickness, but since the design was a salmon, it resembles a wave in the water, so I meant to do it that way (my story and I am sticking too it).
Not too bad for my first try.
And now for another moment of Zen
Tracey Arm Fjord. Christi and I were wondering just
what the  formula would be to get the water's green color.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to Reality

What a wonderful week I had.  How to begin to blog about it.  I am sure that I could just go on and on talking about all the sights I have seen, the wonderful people I have meet and the experiences I have had ... not to mention the food that I have eaten (way too much food, I might add).
   I have so much to share that I will have a lot to write about every day, rather than overwhelm with one huge blog to slog through. I wish I could have written about it as I experienced it, but Internet access aboard ship was sooooo expensive. I think Christi told me she paid $99 for 4 hours of access!!!
Seattle from the ship
  So I will start at the beginning.  We left Seattle on Tuesday August 14th aboard the Carnival Cruise ship Spirit  ... a sunny morning in the Emerald City.
   Lord Opuson and I found our way to our stateroom in the bowels of the ship (deck 1 inside cabin - the theory being that we are only in our rooms to sleep, we will save money this way for shore excursions).
Small cabin but it had more closet space
than at my house!
Our first night we all got together for a meet and greet, and I forgot my camera!  So, no pictures.  We got to meet our instructors:  Katie Baum and Jackie Truty from Clay Art World - both master instructors in metal clay art, Julie Picarello - master at Mokume Gane polymer work, Christi Friesen - my fave PC instructor of all time, and our lovely hostess  Lisa Pavelka.  They let us know about all the classes and events we were going to have.
  And we got our swag bags!  WOW, I was totally blown away. The sponsors this year were excessively generous. That will be another blog all by itself.  AND there were daily giveaways with everyone winning something - AND a final big door prize of a KILN.  Jackie  had brought it on board to fire our metal clay pieces from her class and rather than shipping it back,  was giving it way to one lucky person. 
   I was planning to write about the trip in daily order, but I just can't now ... I am too excited to keep it in.
   I WON THE KILN!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am totally blown away about it.  I don't have any pix yet as I am trying to figure out were it is going to go.  My house is tiny and I want to be sure I set it up properly so I don't burn it down (proper distance from walls, heat precautions and all that).  I am going to touch bases with my old glass instructor as to the hows and wheres for proper kiln placement.  Then I will be off and running ... 
   And now for your moment of Zen
Folded towel art 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Latest earrings and the Clayditarod

Yahoooo!  My wrists haven't hurt in almost a week. Just in time for the Clayditarod Clay Cruise. I am almost entirely packed (even have room left for all the goodies I hope to be bringing back.) The boat sails tomorrow afternoon for a week of clay (both metal and PC) and sightseeing in Alaska.  I just checked the weather reports and it looks like I will be right at home - rain most of the days we are in port.  ***sigh***  But weather not withstanding, I am going to have FUN!!!!  I will be sure to take a lot of pictures to share with all my readers.  Hi to all those new people who just joined up during the Bead Soup.  I hope that you enjoy your visits with me.

I have been busy this weekend between all the last minute errands that need running, that it was hard to visit as many BSBP blogs as I wanted to.  Did not make them all - ran out of time.  When I get back,  I will take up where I left off.  I want to say that I am so impressed with all the talented jewelry designers and bead makers out there....I have gotten so much inspiration from looking at their pictures, and reading about their thought processes as they created their pieces.

With my wrists better, I was able to catch up with my earrings for the 52 Earrings Project. Two are similar and maybe both shouldn't count, but I am going to show them anyway. The third is a close up of the one I created for the Bead Soup.
These trumpet bead earrings
will go perfectly with a new
blouse I want to wear to
dinner on the cruise

Can't go wrong with Black and White

Bead Soup
See you all in a week.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal #2

I am so excited to share the pieces that I made for the 6th Bead Soup Party.  The lovely Lori Anderson at Pretty Things paired me with Melissa at the The One-Eared Pig (  I showed you all the other day the gorgeous beads that she sent me. I am ready to show off now.

I was battling carpel tunnel and numbness in both hands when I started working on my projects.  I was forced to keep the design simple.  Melissa's beads have an inner sparkle that cried out to be paired with copper.  I found some chain at the Puget Sound Bead Festival that was a perfect match, and a silk cord that co-ordinated well with the Uranium yellow glass she had used to create the beads.  I wired three of the large flat beads, disassembled the chain for the links, attached copper "S" hooks and used the silk cord for the rest of the necklace.
Melissa's beads glow with an inner fire.

An Art Pose
After I finished this, I had so many beads left (Melissa is soooo generous). I was sad to see them just laying in the tray - wanting me to do more.  Luckily time and patience  (and carpel braces) worked - my numbness diminished. Happy beads.
  The second piece was a bit of a challenge for me.  When I look at the beads, I automatically think they need copper.  Melissa chose to make me work for it... LOL... she had sent me silver findings and clasp.  I really had a hard time coming up with a design but that is what the Bead Soup is about - removing us from our comfort colors and making us think outside the box.   She had also included a few reddish crystals just to make a color "pop".
   The first picture is a close up of the round focal. Look at the inner glowing sparkles.  

I also made a pair of earrings to match one of the design elements in the necklace. Unfortunately you can not see that element in the picture below as it is hiding behind the shoulders of my lovely model.  

 How do the magazines get such fabulous pictures?  I tried and tried to get a good pix of the whole necklace and finally had to give up because my batteries died.  In this you can see the delicate clasp that Melissa had sent.  

Here are all the wonderful people who are participating in this reveal of the BSBP. (If the links don't work, try clinking on the BSBP  logo and it will take you to more info) There is still yet another reveal to come later this month.  Almost 400 people this time.  A big THANK YOU and hugs to Lori Anderson for being the hostess with the mostest.

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Adlinah Kamsir, Dream Struck Designs
Adrienn Lukacs, Raszputyin Designs
Agata Grygiel, Cytherea Bijoux 
Alenka Obid, Pepita Handmade 
Amy Dickerson, Damyjo Designs 
Amy Schmidt, Amy's Treasure 
Amy Severino, Amy Beads 

Andra Weber, Andra's Joyful Journey
Andrea Trank, Heaven Lane Creations
Anke Humpert, Anart Island Studios
Ann Rishell, My Critical Eye
April Grinaway, Brooklyn Bead Goddess 
Ashley Bunting, Miss Ashely Kate 
Astrid Boyce, Astrid Boyce Beads 
B.R. Kuhlman, Mixed Mayhem Studios 
Barb Fernald, Barbara S. Fernald Jewelry 
Barbe Saint John, Saints and Sinners

Beata Benkone Meggyesi, Beahobbi
Brandy McNair, Bella Vita Handmade Jewelry 
 Bryna Lumb, Bryna's Bead Box
Carmen Lau, Little Maketto
Cate van Alphen, Fulgorine
Cathie Carroll, Cathie Carroll's Studio
Cathy Khoury, Touch Jewelry 
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads 

 Collette Collins, Fire Fly Myst Artisan Jewelry
Courtney Breul, Beads by Breul 
Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
Cynthia Abner, Created Treasures
Deana Hager, Just Deez'Art & Life
Debbie Davis, Natural Treasures by Deb
Debbie Phenes, Deb Joy Sing
Dhea Powers, Java Bead

Diana Welte, Lilyweeds
Dita Basu, alankarshilpa
Dorota Zeranska, gdymamczas 
Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Elisabeth Auld, Beads For Busy Gals
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs
Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
Eva Sherman, Eva Sherman Designs
Evie and Beth McCord, EB Bead and Metal Works
Francy Inman, Francy's Studio

Ginger Bishop, lilmummy likes...
Giorgia Rossini, Jo in Wonderland
Ine Vande Cappelle, Jewels by Ine 
Iveth Caruso, Creative Atelier 
JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
Jackie Ryan, Kydo Jewellery
Jeannie Dukic, Jeannie's Blog
Jelveh Jaferian, Jelveh Designs
Jenna Tomalka, Twin Birch Studio
Jenni Connolly, Jenni's Beads

Jennifer Van Horn, Jennifers Jewels and Junk
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Johanna Rhodes-Nash, Fire Phoenix Creations 
 Joyce Blair, Bent Wire West Coast
JuLee Wolfe, The Polymer Penguin
Karen Vincent, Swallow Tail Jewellery
Karin Slaton, Backstory Beads
Kayla Potega, The Eclectic Element 
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Krafty Max, Krafty Max Originals
Kris Lanae Binsfeld, Cherish Designs by Kris Lanae

Kristen Latimer, MJM Jewelry Designs
Kumi Fisher, Malie Kai Designs
Kym Hunter, Kym Hunter Designs
Lennis Carrier, Windbent
Leslie Wayment, AA Beads & More
Linda Murphy, Bonita Bead
Lisa Johnson, Whimsey Wonders
Lisa Lodge, Pine Ridge Treasures

Lisa Sittniewski, Love, Yesterdays
Lois Moon, Que Onda, Q'Town?
Lola Surwillo, Bead Lola Bead
Lorelei Eurto, Lorelei's Blog
Lori Bowring Michaud, Artfully Ornamental
Lori Finney, Using My Beads
Marcia Dunne, The Alternative Foundry
Margareta Saari, Mags-koruja
Maria Horvath, Horimarika Beads
Marian Hertzog, M's Place

 Mary Ellen Parker, BeeTree by m.e.
Mary K McGraw, MK's Creative Musings
MaryLou Holvenstot, time2cre8 
Martha Aleo, Ornamento
 Maybeline Tay, The Jewelry Larder
Megan Collins, Churchy & Her Sailor
Melissa Meman, Art. Life. Love.
Melissa Mesara, One-Eared Pig Beads
Melissa Muir, Kelsi's Closet Jewelbox
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs

Pam Farren, re-maker
Pam Hurst, Pam Hurst Designs
Patricia Handschuh, The Color of Dreams
Patty Miller, CabariBeads
Penney Klapoth, Faerie Acres
Regina Santerre, Regina's Writings
Rhea Freitag, starrgazer creates
Rochelle Brisson, A Creative Chelle

Sabine Dittrich, PerlenDschungel
Sandra McGriff, Creative Chaos
Sandra Neights, Petalo Azul
Sandra Young, It's a Bead Life!
Sara Oehler, SoftFlex Girl
Saturday Sequins, Saturday Sequins
Shanti Johnson, Sunshine Bliss
Shari Replogle, Plays With Paper
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads

Stefanie Teufel, Stefanies Sammelsurium
Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
Tania Spivey, Moobie Grace Designs
Therese Frank, Therese's Treasures
Tina Holden, Polymer Clay Bytes!
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends 

Tracey Nanstad, A Beadiful Mess
Tracy Choy, BumbleBeads Designs
Valerie Norton, Hot Art


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

BSBP reveal #2 is coming

Getting all geared up for the Bead Soup Blog Party reveal this Saturday.  I am happy to report that I finished up my piece this morning.  The carpel braces and finger exercises are doing their job, and I was able to work the wires and beads almost like normal.  I was forced to keep the designs more simple this time, but I think that works well with the lovely beads my talented partner Melissa made for me.

Just wait till Saturday for a pix of what we grew up to be.
There are so many people from all over the world doing the BSBP this time.  Here is a link to the map that shows where all the participates are from.
I was truly amazed at how big it has become.

   And I am busy getting all my charms for the Clayiteron Cruise tagged.  That is actually more a strain on the wrists than wire work.  This time next week I will be at sea heading for Alaska.