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Archive for January, 2008

On Monday I had off from work and had the pleasure of staying home with
Lily. Julian was home too but since he was sick and is currently grounded, we (unfortunately) didn’t see him much. I had a lovely day with Lily – we colored, played with playdoh, watched a bit of Cinderella, read a the Curious Buddies book several times, straightened up her room, and played with her doll stroller and push toy. I love being able to spend time with her, when it’s just us. Of course though when it was her bedtime I loved that too, because by then I was exhausted.

I’m in the process of re-organizing my work area, since I have recently purchased a wonderful craft table that is just perfect for my needs. It is the Sew Essentials Ultimate Craft Table, from Joann’s, and it’s going to allow me to get rid of a lot of clutter and arrange things in a more efficient, pleasing manner. As it is now, I have to dig around for so many things, and I hate having to dig around for stuff. I want it now! So here’s my work area before.

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Pretty much a disaster. This was a not uncommon state of things. It really
wasn’t too bad before I got into the paper arts. But now I’ve got bins
and bags of stuff all over, and I hate clutter. I can’t think straight when things are cluttered.

I’m also working on updating my website with some new stuff, and I’ve started working on my Irina bracelet again. Irina is a bracelet that I am doing in silver and blue Czech fire-polished beads, with hopes of writing it up as a project suitable for magazine submission. I’m still working on the structure of the piece; I’m not sure how I want it to be, but I love the combination of the silver and blue.

I”ve been listening to Joni Mitchell’s The Hissing of Summer Lawns lately, and these songs are so stuck in my head. As soon I get up in the morning they’re already in my head having coffee and tea (I think some may even be having vodka). When Lily wants to play in the backroom I usually put some music on, for my sanity’s sake, so lately it has been this album. It’s one of my favorite Joni albums.

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One goal for this year that I forgot to mention is to start working on the
scrapbook chronicling Lily’s first year of life. I have the scrapbook and the
paper, both by K & Company – love their stuff. Both are from their Hannah collection. I just have to choose the photographs. A nearly impossible feat, since we have so many.

So I tried out the lighting studio that my husband gave me for Christmas. I
pictured myself taking it out of the box, setting it up in a matter of mere
minutes, and immediately taking professional-quality photographs. Will I ever learn?

Here was the reality. Take it out of the box. Need extension cord so I can put it on the dining room table. Take everything out of box and plug in. Have absolutely no idea what I’m doing as far as where to put the lights and the camera. Force husband (who was suffering from terrible back pain) to help me, which he does. Then he says I should use our good digital
camera. Ok, but then he has to show me how to put the memory card in, take it out, and download the pictures to the computer.

It was, and still is, a learning experience. I’m pretty far from being able to take the pictures that I want, but I’m getting there. I’ve tried it a few times, and my skills are improving.

Case in point – here are the rings my Mom gave me for Christmas (made by Tiffini Electra X). I took these pictures with the lighting studio. I tried on two separate occasions, and these were the best. Both rings have a very shiny surface, so it’s not easy for a novice such as myself to take good pictures of them.

This is the Alice in Wonderland ring. On the right side of the ring it says “down the rabbit hole”.

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And this is the Marie Antoinette ring. I have a thing for Marie Antoinette, ever since I read Marie Antoinette – The Journey, by Antonia Fraser.

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I’m working on a freeform peyote stitch tutorial for my website. As with
anything and everything it is taking eight times longer than Ii anticipated. But at least I will have a new bracelet when I’m done. I’m planning on doing this tutorial as a series, because it will take me a few months to
finish the bracelet. The first installment will cover up the first ten rows, and give an idea of how I go about my method of freeform peyote.

That’s it for now.

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I do hate Sundays. Sunday is the day when I am most prone to severe mood swings. Not because the next day is Monday and I have to go back to work, but because of all the chores that are necessary to prepare for the coming week. I do my laundry and Lily’s, I have to iron and put away my clothes, I have to prepare all of Lily’s food for Monday, I have to prepare her bag, etc. etc. And all that along with the usual chores – cleaning up the kitchen, doing some cleaning in the bathroom, giving Lily a bath. It’s too much. Plus Sunday is when I try (emphasize try) to work on the business side of my creative endeavors.

I’ve come to realize that I need to make friends with Sunday, because these things need to be done, and that’s all there is to it. There’s no getting out of it. I’m not sure what I need to do – maybe I’ll invite Sunday to tea. Or maybe we should have margueritas.

Anyway, last night we saw my brother-in-law Darren at Puck in Doylestown. He was performing with his band. It was a very good show. It was only his second performance as a solo artist (he has been a drummer for years working with well-known artists in the Philadelphia region) but his spirit and his passion are evident and you can’t help but get caught up in his songs. Plus his band sounds great. You can hear some songs from his latest cd on his website.

I did work more on the frame on Friday. Oh, and I also watched the candy episode of Project Runway (yes, I’m a week behind). Very good, but I kind of think Jillian should have won. Rami’s dress was really cool, but Jillian was the only one to use the candy. I’m starting to like her more, but I still think there’s something a bit off about her. I was sad to see Elise go – I liked her and her Mother Earth approach to fashion. But I’m glad Sweet Pea is still in, because I like her a lot too.

Here’s the frame – I covered it a bit more with the strips of scrapbooking paper. I think this coming Friday I should be able to finish this part. The corners are very tricky – trying to cut the paper so that it fits smoothly is difficult. I think it’s coming along very well, though. I’m happy with it so far.

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I’m also very happy that I bought a new crafting table, along with the Iris scrapbooking storage cart. It is beyond the time when my work area has needed some improvement. A few months ago I was at Joann’s, and they had this cool crafting table, with a lid that had storage capabilities, two drawers, and a shelving unit underneath. Absolutely just what I needed to re-organize my work area. As it is now – very cluttered, disorganized, too much stuff with no where to put it. I only have a corner of our back room, with two small folding tables and my mom’s old china cabinet and a scrapbook rolling tote bag. And numerous small plastic bins and plastic shopping bags containing the rest of my treasures. I ran out of room about two years ago. So I’m hoping to revamp my work area into something much more organized and pleasurable to work in.

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I started the second side of my green carnelian bag on Saturday. I wasn’t expecting to start so soon, because I had to order more carnelian cabs from Fire Mountain, which I did earlier in the week. I didn’t think I would have them by Saturday. But when I came home from work there was the package. I took this as a sign that I should start work that evening.

Of course most of the evening was spent ironing fabric and interfacing, sewing the interfacing to the fabric, and outlining the design area with thread. Luckily I had enough time to start sewing around the first cab.

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I use size 15 seed beads to sew around the cabs, thereby anchoring them to the fabric.

This cab I bought to serve as a focal point, like a sun. It might have planets, might not. I was also thinking of having a desert area on this side, with brown seed beads and these tiny cabs that I also bought from Fire Mountain. Other than that I have no plans – it will be an adventure!

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This is a picture frame that was intended as a Christmas gift for someone. Due to a lack of foresight and poor time management skills, it was not finished in time. It is still unfinished at this moment.

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It started as a plain frame that I purchased at AC Moore. I then covered it with a layer of gesso. (Gesso is very popular right now. All the artists in Somerset Studio use it, so I thought I should buy some. I’m not entirely sure what exactly one is supposed to do with it, but I feel more sophisticated using it.)

So there’s the layer of gesso, and then I put on two coats of Folk Art Alizarin Crimson. Now I’m covering the entire frame with torn pieces of scrapbook paper. Why did I then bother to paint the frame? I might leave spaces bare here and there, so I wanted to make sure the frame was painted.

I also printed out a bunch of phrases on a piece of vellum, which I would like to incorporate somehow. And of course there are the rhinestones, charms, and ribbon that I would like to add. I don’t want to go crazy, though. A few well-placed embellishments, just to add some interest and texture.

Oh yes, there is a picture too. I am designing this frame to go with a certain picture. I have the picture ready; I played with it a bit in Photoshop and printed it onto white cardstock. I might redo it, though – I think the colors might need a bit more oomph in order to hold their own against the frame. But I will wait until I finish the frame to make that decision.

This is the first time I’ve done anything like this, so I think it looks pretty good so far.

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