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more & more new jewels
I made this necklace to showcase the beautiful Russian pendant I got from Artbeads.

Emerald - russian pendant necklace

Emerald - beautiful pendant necklace

I used one of my favorite types of beads, Czech fire-polished, as well as antiqued-brass chain and findings. Artbeads has a great selection of beads, including lots of beautiful Czech fire-polished.

I’m really pleased with the necklace, and of course I’ll be making a pair of earrings to go with it.

Emerald - necklace

oh aubergine
I decided to make a second aubergine project – a small (approximately 7″x5″) canvas. This will allow me to use the sealing wax and seal, as was my original intention. It will have a photo of a vintage lady on it and be French-themed, and other than that I haven’t decided exactly what I’m doing with it. I’ll just find a photo I like and let that be the inspiration.

still playing with the fairies
I worked some more on my digital art piece:

fairy play

It’s getting there. I want to add some words, maybe something about playing with dragonflies.

a spoonful of sugar
My daughter has been watching Mary Poppins (on repeat!) for the past couple weeks. I had bought it for her maybe when she was one, as part of my effort to build up a nice library of Disney movies for her. I’d never seen the movie myself, and I still haven’t seen the entire thing, but I must say I adore that Miss Poppins.

It’s a wonderful movie, with great songs (which are now lodged permanently in my brain) – it’s fun and uplifting. You cannot possibly be in a bad mood after watching the delightful Mary Poppins.

life’s in the details
Enjoying a bowl of delicious cold cherries. Wandering the aisles of AC Moore. Watching Lily play at daycare before she realizes I’m there.

~looking for a carpet bag of my own~

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i’m shrinking!
I started working with my Polyshrink again. I made a bunch more components to use in jewelry, although most of them are not quite good enough to use in jewelry that I might sell. But I decided to make a bracelet with the best of them:

Polyshrink bracelet

There aren’t enough components (I really need to think of something more descriptive than “component”) to make a full bracelet, so I’m going to add the chain as an extender, and I’ll add pearls to that for some extra oomph.

Here is a comparison between the Polyshrink before shinking and after:

Polyshrink - comparison

Pretty neat, yes? It’s so cool watching the pieces shrink. I think that’s my favorite part!

I’m also planning on submitting a Polyshrink bracelet to Belle Armoire Jewelry to be considered for an article.

grey gardens
About a month ago I watched this HBO movie called Grey Gardens, about a mother and daughter. The mother, Edith, was Jacqueline Kennedy’s aunt, and the daughter, Edie, her cousin. The movie explores the relationship between Edith and Edie and how they started out as wealthy socialites and ended up as hermits living in a decaying, filthy, decrepit house. Edie is played by Drew Barrymore, who is fantastic in this movie. Edie was quite an eccentric, strong personality, but I just fell in love with her. I could have listened to her talk all day, with that strange New York/Boston accent. I loved this movie – I laughed, I cried, I didn’t want it to end. I highly recommend it.

small moments
Getting to have the bed to myself, and taking a few extra minutes in the morning to lie in bed awake, enjoying all the extra space! Listening to the birds twittering in the morning. Eating Herr’s cheese curls.

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every bead gets used, eventually
Here is a necklace I made recently. Once again I have to apologize for the poor scans, but this was the best I could do at 10pm, tired and ready for bed.

Hint of Glint Necklace

The large bead was given to me by my son a couple years ago and I finally decided to do something with it. I love lampworked beads, but I find them challenging to work with as I never know what to do with them.

When I do use them, I like to keep the piece simple so that the focus is on the beads. I remembered I had the other smaller glass beads that have a pattern very similar to the focal bead, and then I thought a simple tiered necklace would be pretty.

Hint of Glint Necklace

I used sterling silver chain to string the beads and a lobster claw clasp to hold it all together and voila! – simple, elegant, with a hint of glint.

magazines neverending
I do love my magazines. Not only did I receive my order of magazines from Stampington but I also picked up the new issue of Somerset Studio.

Somerset Studio, May-June 2009

Lovely, as always.

I came up with an idea for the aubergine theme, which is due August 15th. I was inspired by sealing wax! (hey, I’ll take inspiration from wherever it comes!) And I see in the new issue that Alice in Wonderland is an upcoming theme, due on October 15th. I’d definitely like to make something for that. I have an idea, or rather a vague notion of an idea, so I’ll let it percolate a bit longer.

And I sent my Halloween party favor sack article to Somerset Holidays. I can’t wait to see it, and I hope readers like it.

earth, devoid of humans
I’ve been watching a neat show called Life Without People on The History Channel. It’s about what would happen to the remnants of civilization if every person on the planet suddenly disappeared – how Nature, freed from man, would once again reign, and animals and plants would claim the empty cities as home. It examines how manmade structures would deteriorate, what would happen to domesticated animals, how living things might evolve. It’s really interesting, and there’s something about seeing the cities – decaying, overgrown, desolate – that I find fascinating.

small moments
Black trees against a midnight blue sky, very early in the morning. Listening to Madame Butterfly. The warmth of the sun.

~loving that lady in blue~

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The other night while watching American Idol (a guilty pleasure!) Kara, one of the judges, made a remark that I’ve been thinking about ever since.

One of the contestants, Megan, gave a very good performance despite being ill with the flu. Kara commented (and I’m paraphrasing) how Megan displayed determination and seriousness in her craft by performing while being ill, and that’s good because being an artist is hard work.

It was those last few words – “being an artist is hard work” – that was a revelation to me. Especially since at that moment I was working on my vintage Halloween project and trying to stave off those creeping thoughts of “I’m never going to get this done in time”, “this is going to look stupid”, “I can’t do it”, etc.

Being an artist – a serious artist, one who is passionate about perfecting her craft and determined in getting her work out into the world, one who is focused on developing her artistic vision and pushing her creativity to it’s limit (and beyond!), one who sees the value and importance in sharing one’s work, and indeed sees creativity itself as a gift to be shared – requires a great deal of hard work.

There are deadlines to meet. New techniques to learn. Publications to read. Websites to maintain. Etsy shops to update. Blog entries to write. Photographs to be taken. Online communities to participate in.

Oh yeah, and art to be made.

It’s not all sparkly beads and glitter glue!

I felt, strangely enough, relief when Kara said that. It was a validation. That it’s ok to be an artist and take my creativity seriously.

Which is good, considering how much time I devote to it!

So now I can say, when I pull out my paper and scissors or my thread and beads, I’m not playing. I’m working!

~off to work~

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presentation is everything
I made some embellished boxes for my jewelry. When I sell pieces or give them as gifts I like to present them in an attractive fashion, so I take regular old jewelry boxes, ink them up and add pretty papers, crystals, ribbons, German paper scrap and glitter glue and turn them into something respectable. I started to take some pictures, and then the battery light started flashing, so I’ve got to recharge before I can finish them.

happy vintage halloween – again
I also started working on my vintage Halloween project – vintage-style party favor bags. I bought some Walnut Stain Distress Ink and direct-applied it to the bags (simple kraft paper bags from Michael’s) and then spritzed them heavily with water and voila! Vintage party bags, ready for embellishment.

Vintage-style Halloween party favor bag

I’m very happy with how they look so far – it’s exactly what I had in mind.

scooby snack, anyone?
So my daughter’s current TV infatuation is Scooby Doo (the original, without Scrappy, thank goodness!). I think it’s so funny – this was one of my favorite shows as a child and even into my teens. I never thought I’d be watching it again with my own child. Everything does come around again, and now it’s my turn. My turn to have my favorite shows as a child to be considered “classics” – can I be a “classic” too then? I like the sound of that!

I remember watching Leave It to Beaver when I was a teen – a show that my parents probably watched – and being infatuated with Donna Reed’s character and her level of perfection in propriety. I wanted to wear gloves and a hat, and have perfect manners and have every sort of fork imaginable.

~reviewing my miss manners manual~

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found.
One Polyshrink bracelet. It was under my keyboard at work. I must have taken it off and set it by the side of the keyboard, and then it got pushed underneath and I completely forgot about it. I’m surprised I didn’t think to look there, because it is not unusual for me to put my rings there when I take them off, but I was so sure it was at home somewhere. Anyway, it’s found, so I’m happy.

murphy’s law
But of course I found it the day after I finished assembling its replacement.

Polyshrink bracelet with antiqued brass findings

Although I needed to test some new components anyway, so it all works out in the end. I have one component that I sprayed with the Krylon Workable Fixatif – we’ll see how that holds up. I also put in a couple pieces I sprayed with the regular Krylon Matte Spray.

an ever-expanding existence
One of my most favorite TV shows is The Universe on the History Channel. It is truly a fascinating show, about one of my favorite subjects. The universe is indeed a strange and wondrous place. It’s amazing that we mere humans can ever manage to discover anything about it or explore its vastness. The variety of phenomena it contains is difficult to fathom, but that’s one reason I love it – it pushes my brain to comprehend (or attempt to!) fantastical things.

image is everything
And then there is Peter. Peter Perfect, that is. This show has quickly become one of my favorites. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I just adore Peter. He is so enthusiastic, optimistic, caring – watching his show inevitably leaves me feeling happy and enthusiastic myself. I just love him!

tatting 101
I completed my first piece of tatting the other day. Check it out:

finished tatted medallion

It’s hard to see the details in this picture. It’s also hard to find tatting patterns that appeal to me. I don’t want to make doilies or clothing embellishments. For now I just want small items that are good for practice, and that I could potentially use in my paper art. I’ll just have to keep searching, or better yet learn how to design my own patterns.

and finally…
I know I said I’d open my Etsy shop on the 28th. I say a lot of things, don’t I? Let’s make it the 7th instead. I like odd numbers better anyway.

~ready for sweet dreams~

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So last night (Saturday) I had the pleasure of an empty house. My in-laws took my daughter for the night, my husband was out with his brother, and my son was at his dad’s. It was just me, and me alone. Oh joy! Oh rapture!

I am a most solitary creature at heart.

I worked on a couple Christmas presents, and have them almost finished. During which I watched an episode of The Universe, an episode of Ruby, a bootleg Tori concert, two Doctor Who episodes, and Absolutely Fabulous – White Box (but only part of it). I even steamed an artichoke – just like old times.

The Universe is a show on the History Channel, and I absolutely love it. As I have mentioned before, I am fascinated by the universe, the stars, the solar system, galaxies, anything that has to do with outer space. To examine these things – oh, I wish ever so that I had become an astronomer or a cosmologist. I think that is my dream job. To examine the workings of the universe – it’s like touching the divine. And learning the inner workings of life.

Ruby is one of my new favorite shows. It chronicles the weight loss efforts of an-over-500-pound woman, Ruby. She is so sweet and beautiful, and she has such a lovely personality – I root for her, and want her to lose the weight. I hope she does.

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