Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thinking Orange and Halloween

Thinking Pumpkin here! These are Mac-O-Lanterns from Indestructables.

I wish we had little ones around because I used to love to decorate the house up. It was an all out front porch festival….bales of hay, lights, pumpkins, corn stalks. I just loved it. Now…well, we don’t even have neighbors with kids. Mine are grown. Really, I need to move – this is retirement villa and I’m prepared for adoption. I don’t care if they are the neighbor’s kids….send them here and I will bake cookies. Uh, I can also do carrots if you’re into the vegetarian thing better. And I’m damn crafty and entertaining.

Today an email from Indestructables arrived and reminded me of the whole holiday thing. This reminds me I need to get my “Nightmare” Christmas tree out; but first, about the email. Sometimes they (Indestrucables) just crack me up. I’ve posted a photo from there. They’ve a whole section of Halloween ideas.

I’ve also added a link to one of the best pumpkin carvers I have ever seen. I’d carve one but no one would see it here. Instead I gave money to the local Halloween party given by the Lion’s club. Actually, it’s a huge bash I’ve mentioned before that’s held at the High School.

Enjoy the links…….

Ray Villafane - This is a link to the greatest pumpkin carver of all time! His U-Tube tutorials. This is his site: Villafane Studios

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Post Flu....YES!

Where’s Sharon now that she is feeling better. I’ve listed some new lampwork on my site – holiday items. It’s fun to make snowmen while it’s still Fall weather. I doubt I’ll feel that way about January – about then I’ll be making flowers and wishing for Spring.

It’s still clay time too…kind of like play time? Here is the plate full of goodies to go in the kiln for bisque fire. And a photo of the newly fired stuff that just came out. I’m still considering the options for using it. It’s like having a brand new writing tablet and getting that first line drawn on the paper….sometimes it’s just agony. But, once the doodle begins the pages are fair game!

I’m learning some things about packing the kiln. I ruined four pieces when I strung them on kanthal wire too light to hold the weight. The wire bent and the pieces either touched the bottom of the kiln or each other – POOP. Lesson learned. I’ll need to get out Jennifer’s great book again and look some things up. Since I’m only making a small quantity of things to use it would be great not to lose too many.

This is so much fun. I'm hoping to create some mixed media projects when I have an assortment to choose from in metal, clay, and glass.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Silly

I'm feeling much more like myself again. The cold, aches, and boiling fevers are gone...whew! So now I'm just pondering what to do with my day. I have made some clay beads to add to my lampwork but they haven't even reached the kiln for the first firing. I'll get some photos of the stages they go through later.

I had a good laugh at myself - Jennifer Heynen is such a great teacher and wonderful artist. She posted the new photos of her studio and gallery on line. In the photos you can see the racks of air drying items getting ready for the kiln and all of her luscious hand painting. When I go in my kitchen - - - - I see my paper plate of drying items.....LOL. I'm such a geek.

But, at least, I'm a nerd without the flu!

Monday, October 17, 2011

******FLU******Get Your Shot!

No, didn't fly anywhere. It's the flu. Get your flu shots. I got the flu on Sunday (I have not been sick in over four years). Okay, I'm lucky - I take precautions. Washing hands is no problem. Getting shots - no problem but I hadn't done that yet Unfortunately, Sunday the FLU knocked me right on my ass and has not been letting up.

Last night I felt a little better so I started to work on some wax pieces I want to cast in brass to go with the ceramics. I was able to drag a brush across a few bisque pieces. Okay, I said to myself, "you're a little weak but this is a 24 bug and on its way out the door."

I guess flu didn't get the message and today I had a fever spike to 102. I felt like the princess and the pea. I had plenty of cushions, blankets, and pillows. Still I could feel the awfulness of my aching shivering body.

Tonight the fever has broken.

Can tomorrow be the demise of this miserable stuff? I hope so.

Or, tomorrow some people in white coats could show up at my house and take me away - maybe even my Turkey. If a Flu Virus was a bead - well it would be pretty....but in a body with it's prickly things just working away on you - it's not. I've been watching to much SciFi while on the couch.

Enjoy the photos - This is the enemy! Wash your hands and get a flu shot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A color blast of Ceramics

Fall gets me all colorful - can't help it - we all know my favorite color is orange. So here I am looking out the window and decide with all of this color going on outside I ought to try a little inside. If DH wasn't such a "neutral" kind of guys the walls would be a color riot.

Clay is interesting addition for me. I'm still not over the texture and getting it all over my hands. It's okay to work with. It's not okay as it dries on my hands - ick! I prefer wax work for casting or making lampwork. But, I like the colors you can get with glazes and it a kind of "glass".

I was taught how to do this from Jennifer Heynen (Jangles) at the Bead and Button Show one year. I thought it would be useful to mix with glass beads in necklaces and other things - heavy on the bead work and not a copy of Jennifer's incredible work. More like a variation on a theme and definitely not a wholesale item.

These are fun - colorful. I guess when it's fall and bright you want to capture that last flower and make it last until spring has returned you mimic the colors. I'm going to be doing some riveting - maybe some waxed linen knotting. Truly I'm not quite sure how it's all going to go together but I know I'll never get there if I don't get some components ready. Wish me luck!

Street Art

I've just been enjoying the weather, creating drawings, and getting the leaves raked up. What I miss right now is being in Detroit. I am the city girl at heart. Alley's intrigue me - although since I'm not one of Charlie's Angels I don't wander down to many. Ah, memory lane.....

Part of what I miss are the great sporting events. Wow, the Detroit Tigers against the Texas Rangers. Baseball at it's finest right now - equally matched teams makes for a great sporting event. My Dad took me to games - a lot.

Another thing I miss - street art. People do crazy things with their environment. I even like gang signs and graffiti. Although it would be nice if it weren't done as an act of destruction. But then, if it was less destructive they'd be more like the Rotary or Moose.

I added some great street art photos stuff. You have to love how creative people can be.

Aren't these inflatable sculptures just the greatest? Created with garbage bags and left on subway grates or where there is wind. Love it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trolling Along

Last year while at Faerie Con and talking to Brian Froud he mentioned he was on his way to Abram's (his publisher) after the festival. A new book it seems will hopefully be about Trolls. How exciting a character to be writing about and illustrating. Since Faerie Con is virtually here I've been pondering that conversation and thinking about the Trolls.

This conjures up some great reverence and laughter. Since I live in Michigan - the "Mitten State", as it's referred to, sometimes people forget we have a whole Upper Peninsula that isn't shaped like a mitten at all. Here - below the Mighty Mackinac Bridge we call the people who live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan "Yoopers". Well, actually - they also refer to themselves that way. My DD attended Northern Michigan University and delightfully called herself that too. She even picked up the lingo. For example, "We're having nice weather, eh?" Lot's of people up there of Finnish and Swedish decent.

Okay, so I am on my own merry memory lane here...let's get to the Trolls. If you live below the bridge we are called "Trolls". LOL.

Anyhoo - I decided I ought to attempt a few Trolls in honor of that conversation and my honorary position as "troll in residence." These are fun!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sweet Fall

Laurie Geller shared Brad Mossman's photo on Facebook. It is, of course, pictured above. Aside from the fact that a "need" is without a doubt the mother of invention it reminded me of blog posts I've seen many times by Mallory Hoffman and Angelina Greer Garren about feeling blessed. Though I'm not prone to talking out loud about my feelings - trust me please - I so very many ways thankful. And (leave a pause for breath here)... this particular photo just slapped me in the face with the millions of ways that I am.

I am shocked by the beauty of today. It is in the 70's - warm, sweet, still. There isn't a breeze but it isn't hot....perfect? Absolutely beyond perfect - sublime.

I began post this a few days ago...this weather has held tight. It won't hold for long. Our area is known for changes. It could be 80 degrees and then frost at night. But, for now I'm thankful for the calm before winter comes.

Yesterday DH and I took a trip downstate. We visited the Dow Gardens - I've talked about it before. I love gardens. My Mother was a gardener - she had a large rock garden. When she passed and we sold her house I was concerned...not about who had bought the house. We waited a long time to sell - many years. More it was that it had sat vacant for a long time, unloved maybe. I couldn't understand it and wondered to my bones what would become of it when we did.

Partly it didn't sell because of the economy - and partly it was that I wasn't really ready to let it go and I don't think she was either.

Then someone came along - they happened to be driving in the neighborhood because they were dropping their children off at their school (my school as a child). They saw the sign and decided to give us a call. Serendipity. There are children to play in the yard and a nice young couple.

One of my blessings - my eldest child is an attorney (I refer to him as my frustrated machinist). His hands work as hard as his brain. He wrote up a contact between the couple and I. An iron clad little tome in which the poor owners couldn't' even cut down a shrub without pre-authorization. He loves his mother and loved his grandmother. After it was all signed I explained to them in private that they should do to their yard what they wanted to do to make it their own. As thankful as I am for this child, and his brother and sister, I want for the couple to have many happy years in that home. To do that, they need to leave their mark.

The deal is fair - my mother would have had it no other way. We keep an escrow for them and make sure there is plenty of insurance and the taxes are paid. The payments are low - like rent. It helps us and they are happy.

The surprise for me - they kept the huge Oak - it takes three people to circle it. They cleaned and thinned her overgrown rock garden. She collected those rocks all over the state and had my father drag them back from every trip, it was full of perennials (I brought many here to this house and so did her Grandchildren). They've redone the inside of the house - thank goodness - it sorely needed updating. And they invite us over, it's nice of them.

I'm blessed, I'm thankful - for the patience to hold on for the "right people" to buy the house. They've been wonderful on so many levels. For three wonderful children, an incredible husband, good friends, good weather, and for a million things I can not mention here.

In my head daily I am thankful. This is my post of blessings....there probably won't be another one. I hope everyone continues to count theirs out loud. When I read those posts by my friends I smile and think of mine too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ReDONE and a new ReDO Earring Project

Finished this pair and now I'm on to the next ones!

This is the original earring. I found this set with the other one. Tarnish heaven here...but easy enough to clean off with a quick tumble. On the left is a quick drawing of what I'd like to change about the earring. I'd like to make it more swing and have more dangles.

I have experimented with some of what is shown attached to the earring. It had to be modified because the larger ring shown dangling on the go between ring was glass - and although smallish it interfered with everything else that was hanging.

What's cool about this is it's a great update. There is now a crystal, a very old Czech pressed square off of an antique necklace, new discs I made, and silver spiral twist I created. Since everything is attached singly it sways and moves....and it has some great mojo.

I shortened the way to long wire and gave everything an antiqued brushed surface. I like the Redo, how about you? This set will be for sale in the Etsy shop. My friend Susan owns quite a few of my earrings. She was one of my first customers and now a dear friend. She refers to my earrings as little pieces of art since I'm so picky with what goes on them. Most often they are OOAK. That part is kind of nice since you won't see them floating by on every ones ears.

I'm knee deep - well, maybe knuckle deep in finding where I stashed some of my old earrings from when I did art shows. Here is the final design for the old hearts. Eliminating the larger glass disc was a good idea - now they swing and hang better. Off to find more earrings.....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sweet Way to End September - Day Trip!

Friday I took a day trip with my friend to the GLW Bead show in Southfield (about 3 hours away). Since it’s drive we make a day of it with lunch out and a few other stops. I even got to spend some of another friend’s money on some stone beads she needed and I’ll ship those to her tomorrow. Maybe I can start renting myself out as a “bead wench” – kind of like a personal shopper, but a lot more fun.

I found some good things – but certainly not the selection you can find at Beadfest or Bead and Button – and definitely not Tucson. One of the photos is of the new items that will go into my stashes.

One of the places we stopped was CR Hill. They are the Michigan version of Rio Grande Jewelry Supply but without all of the bells and whistles. Locally owned for a gazillion years by good people who know jewelry supplies and equipment, what’s good, what’s not, and how to service anything. We stopped to see about casting equipment for my friends shop. I bought some 22 gauge silver wire and some polishing wheels for my Foredom while she talked “shop”.

The other photos I added for today are of a necklace I saw in one of the shops…maybe it’s not new to everyone but I thought it was terribly cool. Thick leather flowers stacked and strung on a nylon braided cord (like a nice cord for Kumihimo). I’m wondering if the style could be translated into something for lampwork…..ah, the possibilities and the greatness of a busman’s holiday.

The back of that necklace incase you want to see how it was created!