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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

He DOES listen!

I got the greatest surprise yesterday.  I discovered that my hubbie really is the sweetest guy.  Sure, he puts on the act of being all bluster and macho, but he really does listen.
   I have been having a lot of minor health issues of late.  Carpel tunnel and shoulder/neck pain have really limited my time in the studio.  He noticed that instead of heading straight there after work, as was my usual "gotta destress from work by making something' habit, I was reading, or watching TV or just going to bed.
  He had heard me mention in the past that there were such things as Pasta machines that came with motors.  He researched and ordered me a Mona-sized Altas (180 even) for a birthday surprise.  I was soooo blown away.  I immediately set it up and went to work for the first time in a month.

I got the Controlled Marbling Tut from Lynda at Diva Designs and have been itching to try it out.  I did not have Pardo translucent or the other color she recommends for her base mixed, so I had to improvise.  Just used some scrape clay I had on my table.  This is my first practice piece and I have to admit I am not that happy with it.  I should not have made my two yellow streaks so close together. Live and learn.  I was able to find one brick of the color she uses all the time at Joannes, so maybe able to do the tut as written (except for the Pardo).
 So, I wondered what a bead made from these colors would look like. I cut the veneer in half and made two beads (one of which I promptly lost somewhere in my studio).  This bead I like, so am going to use the remainder of the veneer to make a few more.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's that time of year again

Hurrah ... I am finally able to get back on line.  We had a bit of power interruption here at the Underfoot house.  Only half the outlets, lights, heaters, etc have been working since last Monday or so.  Took a while to find and get an electrician to the house. When he did get here, it was a 5 minute fix.  Seems a wall heat in the bathroom (that has not worked in years!!) finally decided it was going to cause problems all up and down the circuit.  Once it was disconnected, we had power again.  And I was finally able to get back on line.  I was not completely sans Internet - still had my Nook, but I was not able to blog using one finger at a time.
    It is that time of the year for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Hop Sign up.  This is getting to be such a large event that she is only hosting ONE this year.  There will be 3 reveal dates to make it a bit easier.  The sign up is this weekend... if you are interested, sign up by Sunday night.
   I was a bit leery my first time, as I am primarily a bead maker, not designer.  But I have had so much fun and learned so much by participating, that I couldn't wait to sign up this year.  I encourage anyone who is on the fence to just jump into the pool and splash around.
   Just follow the link on this page and it will take you to the sign up.

And now for your moment of Kitten
Finally getting so I can start to tell them apart.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Asymmetrical Challenges

As mentioned in a previous post, I am a gal who likes symmetry.  Things gotta match.   The trend toward asymmetrical jewelry, while fascinating is also scary to me.  However I find myself  strangely attracted to it,  even though it bothers my inner sense of balance.
  One of my goals for this year is to expand my range into actually making more jewelry pieces, rather than just the beads. I enjoyed the challenge of the 52 earrings/year project, and taking part in Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Hops.  These have forced me to expand beyond my scope and interested me more in jewelry design itself.  I have a bead stash (who doesn't?) that is crying to be used, not to mention making my own beads,  so what is stopping me? Why am I afraid to put some beads on a string??? And when I do attempt stringing, it takes me forever ... I find myself stressing over exactly which beads to use, make and remake the string a dozen times.  This does not lead to a very happy experience in the long run.  I want to enjoy the process, not stress over it.
   Hence the latest experiment (bet you were wondering when  I going to get to the point).  I thought I would try the leave it to chance method.  The first try was with a strand of coordinated beads from a bead show years past. Easy to start with as some one else had picked the beads for me, thus reducing the stress of having to think to hard. Into the bucket they went and I strung them as I pulled them out.  The only bead placement planning I did was with the triangular shaped beads.

That idea worked so well, it lead me to attempt an even more challenging project. This time, I had to go through my bead stash and pick the coordinating beads myself.  I still left the stringing order to chance,  except for the  spacer motif. I must admit that I really like this set.  Now I have the stringing bug, which is good since it is too cold in my studio to do any clay work.  I have to do something to keep my fingers busy this winter.

And here is your moment of cute .
Some one has exploring feet
(taken with cell phone so pardon the focus)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Best Laid Plans and all that

Today was supposed to be the day of the reveal for Lori Anderson's latest blog hop, Memories and Thanks.
I must apologise to any and all who come here expecting to see my homage.  I have no real excuses but that life got in the way and I forgot about the deadline until I saw Lori's reminder go out.  I emailed Lori  to remove my name from her blog list, but looks like I was too late.  
   I had such good plans for it too ...
   Today just happens to be my mother's 93rd birthday, and my piece was going to be a charm bracelet made to honor her.  I had dug out and gone through my childhood photo album. My plan was to photo transfer early pictures of family life together onto charms. Even bought the bezels, the chain, etc. when I joined up last month. I have Sheri Haab's photo transfer paper and medium. All that is lacking is more time and a laser printer (mean ol' Office Depot wouldn't let me put the transfer paper in their printer ... some worry that it might melt or something and gum it up *sigh*.)
   I am excited about this idea and hope to pursue it at a later time, it just wasn't in time for this blog.
   Here is a picture I found of my mother and father, from the 1940's (before I was born).  I am not sure of the exact year. From their youth, I think they might not have even been engaged at this time.  Dad's hair is not the buzz cut that he sported after being drafted into the army during WWII, so I am thinking this is early 40's.  Mom never liked having her picture taken, as you can tell by her crossed arms.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kittens - Day 1

Momma Kat was taking a well deserved potty break so I snuck out and snapped this photo really fast.  I can't wait till they are a little older and I can change the towel.  So far no real problems except a visit from a racoon last night.  Momma let us know it was there (she can really howl and hiss when she has a mind too) and Opus chased it off.
Ennie, Meenie Minie, Moe, Tiger and Toee

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kitten Momma

   We have cats - mainly the Underfoot Clan, indoor and spoiled.
   We also have ferals that show up periodically. They took shelter in the blackberry vines that used to grow in our backyard.  We had the vines cleaned out this past summer and the ferals moved on, except for one.  He became more and more brave, coming up to the back porch.  We could not resist feeding him, and he became our outdoor cat, or O.D. We believe he has been neutered by the catch and release people, as he has a notched ear and does not spray.  He has thus far resisted all attempts to pick up, but will allow a few gentle pets when eating.  After Prince passed on, Opus started taking more of an interest in OD. He got a bed for him on the porch, put a tarp shelter around it when the weather got bad, and got him a water dispenser. And he claims not to like cats ...  doesn't fool me for a second.
   A short time ago, another cat showed up and O.D. took a real liking to her.  They played together and he even shares his bed with her.  I noticed that she was getting a little fat, and at first thought it was because we were feeding her regular meals.  Then it dawned on me that she was expecting ... oh, dear.  She is so shy - we have yet to be able pet her even when feeding.
   I was very worried about her as I know the survival rate for kittens in the winter is not high, and she looks to be barely out of kitten hood herself.  I was afraid that the first time she left her kittens to get food, they would freeze. She apparently knows suckers when she sees them, because .... what greets Opus when he left for PT this morning?  Kittens on our front porch!!!  She was having kittens in the kitty bed she shares with OD.  Oh, dear .... now what?  I can't get near her to move her anywhere warmer ... The most I can do is move a heater out in there (even that freaked her out).
  When I took this pix earlier today, the count was 4 kittens.  I came back from my Dr appointment and there are 2 more.  I hope they survive ( then we will be a "cat house" for sure - 10 cats .... oh myyyy).
  After all this I am definitely getting her to a vet and neutered. Just have to catch her.There might be hope, she at least let me get close enough for this one picture before panic took over.
Nermal and her little ones 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What a wonderful start to the New Year

I woke up this morning, and is my habit, I checked my emails first thing.  There were sure a lot of them. And they were not all spam for once.  I started reading those from my friends and guildies, and OMG! ... could what they are saying be true??? I hoped over to PCD and there they were. I had made earrings using a tut written by Christi at River Valley Designs and they were featured on Cynthia's post today!  She also gave a shout out to all who participated in weekly challenges this past year. And a link to the 52 earrings in a year Flickr group. If you like earrings, check it out.  So many talented people contributed ... it is chalked full of inspiration.

   I am still in a mild state of disbelief.

   It is rather a coincidence that this should happen today as I fell asleep last night reading about Cynthia in the latest PC book to hit the stands, "Polymer Clay Master Class".   Maybe I am still dreaming .... 



You can sense both the relief and the pride in the end-of-year posts from polymer artists who persisted through one of the 52-week challenges. These Rocky Path earrings are from JuLee Wolfe who chronicles her challenge on Pinterest. Here’s more of her work on Flickr.
Hats off to those who completed the difficult task of producing and uploading new artwork each week in 2012. You can see how their skills got better and how concepts were refined and rethought as the work progressed. They are an inspiration to the rest of us as we launch into a new year with high hopes of improving our art.
Here’s the earring group’s page. A new Brooch-A-Day group is forming here. Let me know if you know of other challenges starting up.