Saturday, April 28, 2012

Retail Therapy

 Sometimes an artist just has to shop.  I think shopping is one of the greatest therapies of all - - - unless of course you are broke (and boy have I had those weeks).  When I'm broke window shopping will do the trick, or gallery hopping, or book stores.  Maybe it's just out and about I like the best.....hmmmmmm.

Anyhoo, while on trips to do errands - like doctor/dentist stuff I stopped in some of my favorite places to buy unusual things and some not so unusual places for some things I've been wanting to try.  Lets see, this past week I've hit up four small towns - including Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Joann's, a flea market at the Trout Festival, and Nawbin (a great bead store in Traverse City).
Most of these places you know so lets talk about Nawbin.  I've included a little picture of the sign - and photos from their site - but that doesn't tell you much.  Nawbin is a local Native American word meaning: to look, to see, to become what you are gazing at. The store opened in 1991 and has grown through several spots around town into its present location.  It's an old livery; turned store, that was built about 120 years ago.  It has it that coolness factor alone...and then you go inside.  Talk about a treasure trove.  There are so many things in there that you can pick through for hours.  And frankly - were else can I find horse hair, ceramics, leather, and all manner of eye candy in one spot.  Technically it's called Nawbin (Beads and Curiosities) - oh hell yeah.  If you are ever around these parts it's a great place to stop.  They're on line too! Just click on "Nawbin" and you'll be there.

Added to my stash, new hammers - very odd heads I've not seen before.  I will polish these up and get them back to looking like they can be used.  Files - whoo, they were at the flea market.  These are Swiss files - obviously bought at a garage sale somewhere and resold here....I paid a dollar a piece for them.  What a steal.  Just lots of miscellaneous stuff to play with - don't you agree? 

Look at the goodies in this stash - New sharp scissors, horn beads, inks, in the package are some huge corrigated brass beads. Drills, files, semi-precious stone chips - be still my heart!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My friend Mallory and I traded some beads recently. Well, recently for me because I wanted to do a special bead for her. Mallory’s beads arrived a while ago but I resisted the temptation to open the package. I just plain decided to delay the gratification until I had reciprocated. Leaving the package where I could see it every day kind of drove me bonkers but unless I was going to be “on the ball” I refused to treat myself. Now isn’t that just the most self-flagellating thing you’ve heard lately, a bead person who can resist looking at her new beads? Well, the wait is over. My bud’s beads have affixed and I’m opening my package for everyone to see. Woot! Woot!

                                 Here we go and I'm so excited to finally open my package.

Here they are – Eggs and Bacon. You see, that is my favorite meal. I could eat it just about any time of day. It’s not that I’ve ever met a food I didn’t like but bacon – well, yummy stuff. Since Mallory was making these beads I thought a trade would be fun since she had a hankering for something I had. But, gheeze – look at the number of beads she sent! Holy Moley. I better get busy making some jewelry.

              I want to stamp some phrases to go with these. What “egg" sayings do you have?
                                                        So far I’m thinking:
                                                        Keep your sunny side up.
                                                        Bacon - The other white meat.

                                                         Thanks Mallory

    And be sure to check out For The Love of Beads - It's Mallory's blog and she's a very good writer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Making Bracelets

You know how it goes... I wanted to get this done and I joined the group to get stack bracelets together for a blog hop.   I blew it.  I simply ended up with life getting the way and not enough time to accomplish the task.  I'm sorry! What I'd like to do though is to point out this great blog  full of absolutely great inspirational eye candy.  Make Bracelets is written by Tracy Statler.  I think you'll enjoy it if you check it out.  And who couldn't use another great blog to visit and oogle.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Using "Alternative" Metals?

Hey There - These days using silver and gold alternatives and working in mixed media is a must, not just "trendy". But, there are a lot of questions from those of us who have decided to mix our metals and change things up a bit.

When I was asked a question about preserving patinas on copper I nearly froze. I thought I had the solution but just wasn't sure. I would use a microcrystalline wax (Renaissance Wax to be precise). And, if I were at an art show I would tag the piece with the appropriate suggestions for their upkeep.

Because of my temporary temperature drop I decided to do a little investigating and ran across a forum for copper wire workers. Well, why not check with what they suggest? It never hurts to "google" up some answers. Whew, I feel better. Add this one to your resource list:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Bead Sets

Not much time to communicate lately but I thought I'd show you the newest bracelet sets. To catch the Earthy Spirit Rattle bead just check into Etsy. I have another to list tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Colors - Already?

I just received my newsletter from Pantone and the Fall Colors are out - Actually, they even have forecasts for next years colors. Not being a major manufacturer of "things" I guess that isn't a problem. LOL Enjoy...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Some Earring Eye-Candy

I like the new discs I made. Well, I kind of like everything…or I probably wouldn’t make it, right? I’m still glaze challenged but getting better. I thought I’d try the new discs in an earring piece to see what I could do. WOOT WOOT! Love these earrings. The earring wires are handmade sterling silver and I oxidized them so they would match the wrapped steel. The glaze is Float Green and I guess I wasn’t expecting the green to float to the lowest point (my naive glaze experience - Float - DUH) but I sure like the way it looks because it made a natural segway into the stones at the bottom. Don’t ask me what the stones are – semi-precious something or other and I know I paid a too much for them but they sure match well with the glaze.

I'll have some of those discs for sale next week in my Etsy shop in a variety of colors. And I like them so I'll be making more as soon as the clay is out again. If you have a color request let me know and I'll work it into the mix even though it will be a few weeks before they're done.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Work - Finally!

And just when you thought I wasn’t working on any art…HA! I’m painting away on the new bisque work, trying out new glazes, and getting the kiln ready for some lampworking in between.

These are the new glazes – A Fog Gray, , and the usual Robin’s Egg (I just love that glaze), Green Float, and an Autumn something or other that comes up that speckled pottery red with purple. That last glaze is kind of spiffy.

New Bisque, sorry, no photo. I decided I’d try some pieces that had little compartments that I could put some “treasures” in and resin on top of them. When I do that – or maybe I’ll pull out some lampwork pieces made for that and I’ll put a little quickie tutorial on here about what I use and how I do it.

And, TAH DAH – My first experiment on molds of my originals. Now, whether this will work or not, we’ll see. It reminds me of casting with silver. First comes the original, then the silicone mold (which ends up smaller), followed by the reproduction casting which ends up smaller yet. It’s not a hugely discernable difference since it’s about 1-3%. When I used to work in PMC I always counted on the 50% plus shrink rate to make my pieces look like I’d done all of this itty bitty detailing. Sometimes the shrinkage can produce some great affects. Regardless of whether something has been molded it still has to detailed, cleaned, and in the case of ceramics – fired, glazed, and fired again. Not exactly a quick process despite the mold. It’s the nearly the same with casting metal. You just substitute patina, polish, tumble in place of glazing and firing.

Hmmmm. Why is it we are doing jewelry? I don’t remember painting having these many steps.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kittens - 3 weeks Old

Yes, I'm an absolute sap. I knowingly admit to this and if I owned a farm it would be full of animals. My husband undoubtably would try to keep me in check but he wouldn't have an easy task on his hands.

Over the past couple of years I have befriended several generations of feral cats. Rarely could I get close enough to do anything beyond providing them with a little shelter outside and some food over the winter months. But, eventually I have been able to get close enough to pet the third generation - and now fourth.

Mostly they wander off - eventually to be seen here and there; and not often, but we now have two who stick around. One we have called Big Mama because she was the biggest of a litter, the one who was the most weary and always stood guard over the others while they ate first. I knick named her Moo-Moo. She is also the one who now comes in the house at will for petting and brushing and doesn't seem to mind the dogs at all.

She is also the one who had kittens in the garage three weeks ago. There are five little kittens. Two female - two male - and one to squirmy to identify yet. So far one is spoken for and as soon as the kittens are weaned Moo-moo is going for a trip to the vets to be spayed. We are on mission to try and stop the cycle. She's my babe and DH has relented on her being more often inside than out. LOL - He's actually a bigger softy than me but don't tell him.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

She Sells Sea Shells...

I kept thinking about that tongue twister while I was on the beach in South Carolina. Unlike the beaches here in Michigan there are sea shells everywhere. Michigan is surrounded by lakes but the shells you find are generally smallish. They’re good for slipping into tiny glass globes and look great but they aren't generally very large. The ones on the Atlantic Ocean where we were at were thick, juicy, tumbled, strong, interesting. It could be “new eyes”. I love going new places - it doesn't have to be anywhere fancy just some place new and I'm like a kid in a candy store. It just all soaks into me like a dry sponge.

Before the storm rolled into the Surf Side Beach from the main Myrtle Beach drag I began picking up shells to use in mixed media pieces. I'd tell you all about those pieces but I have no idea yet except some of them have natural holes so they'd be great hanging in pieces like the talisman necklace.

You could see the storm coming as it crossed into the ocean and the swarming air born sand began to obliterate our view of the ocean front hotels. I'd probably be the person out chasing a storm somewhere - I find it facinating. The kids were laughing at me as I filled the pockets in my dress to overflowing with all of these. The multi-textures are great and could be used to pattern some clay pieces too.

These were some of the stones we recovered while panning at Emerald Village. There's rose quartz, tiny garnets, mica, amythyst, topaz, and so much more. Some of them might be going into wire wrapped pieces I hope. My Daughter took the larger pieces home with her for her pond and left me with some really nice pieces to use for jewelry.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Impress Stamp Giveaway

Hey Everyone - You've still got time to run over to Lori Anderson's blog and register for the giveaway. PJ Tools has provided her with a great set of stamps and a hammer to pass along to some lucky reader. The new styles of font they've added to their line of stamps look great and you can access them directly from PJ Tools or Lori's site since she has a quick link there too.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fun in North Carolina

One of the fun things we did while in North Carolina was to pan for semi-precious gems. We didn't know what to think about going to Emerald Village for the day - our preconceived notions and expectations were not terribly high. Much to our surprise we were joyously surprised. It was a riot and we spent hours sifting through our buckets for goodies. We found moonstones, garnets, little bitty emeralds, odd rubies, mica, aquamarine, and on and on. As you can plainly see by the photos it was wet, wild, and fun.

I even think I have a few pieces I can set into rustic jewelry pieces. You could have left them at the village for a genuinely nice lapidary person to make them into cabochons, but we decided to keep them "as is". Kate is going to use many of them in her water garden and everyone else is still deciding the fate of their gems.

Today I loaded up the kiln with clay and went to town to have my hair cut. Goodbye long locks! I also finally got to the mail and am pondering the glass conference information. It's the twentieth anniversary for the ISGB's Gathering. Tomorrow it's off to Traverse City to the dentist...gosh those appointments seem to come close together. I need torch time. Hopefully my schedule will be clearer after tomorrow.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Florence, South Carolina - Speed Trap

My absence was filled with a wonderful vacation to Asheville, North Carolina. My youngest son and his darling wife live in Marion, which isn't far away. It was a wonderful trip that my DD, my other DIL, and Granddaughter took with me. We called it the "Girl's Gone Mild" adventure.

The trip itself was great. And isn't there always a BUT! Let me tell you - it was quite a butt in more ways than one.

Let me introduce you to Florence, SC. And you can click on the red "Florence" below to check out the various speed traps. We were on our way to Myrtle Beach for a few days of beach fun when to make sure I didn't miss a turn that the GPS was giving me I had to wedge myself in between two semi-trucks going the speed limit on the Interstate of 70 MPH. Okay, no big deal to me - I learned to drive in Detroit and can take traffic. It was one of those splits the expressway can take where one lane goes to Savannah, GA and the other who knew where - I was told to take the middle. I did.

One truck veered left and the other right...and there it was - town with me in the middle lane and headed into it -Florence, SC. And, apparently a pretty nifty speed trap. I hit the breaks as I saw a sign ahead that said 45 mph. And under the sign sat, what else - a patrol car.

Yup, over to the side I went. Now come on. I lived in Georgia for nearly two years - there were some infamous speed traps near where I lived near Hinesville. The revenue raising machine was unbelievable. I have had a patrol officer in the family for 12 years, until he went to law school. I was polite and gave her my license and so on. It was obvious what we were doing - the suitcases in the car would easily bear that out. I apologized for not slowing sooner - there was no "end of freeway sign". Actually until I saw the 45mph sign she was sitting under there was no other speed limit sign. I was in between two semi's driving the same speed.

Whataya gonna do? -

Now here is the fun part. She comes back to the car - with attitude and says, "Ms. Driscoll, I don't know how you do it in Michigan but here in South Carolina we obey the traffic laws." Uh, I didn't even roll my eyes. I guess the lack of reaction to her declaration of war wasn't enough so she continued with, " Well, I could arrest you for reckless driving if I wanted to and take you to the jail." Still, no eye rolling or response of disrespect from me - although through my head was quickly rolling WTF through it in a mantra type way. Again, she hadn't had enough of this so she went on some more, "I'm writing you up for doing 71 mph in a 45 mph zone." To which (and working with delinquents who have murdered people puts me in a unique category to have my temper well under control) I responded with, "OK". Nope she hadn't had enough yet, "And, here is where you will be required to come to court on April (whatever the hell it was)...." - well, that was it. I couldn't help myself and said, "Sorry, I can't possibly be there but I'll call your court system up and pay whatever fine it is that you deem necessary." I took my ticket and rolled up my window. To engage her in any conversation would have been to show my GD a bad example - it was her father that had been a police officer himself. Someone set a bad example but it wasn't me.

And, that wasn't my only impression of Florence, South Carolina. After continuing into town the officer took the turn around street and returned to her perch under the traffic sign. Obviously to catch another unsuspecting Interstate driver. Whatever...... I drove into town - or through it. And listen to this - because this is all so true it's even funny. A semi-trucker drove through a red light - - - not a yellow about to turn red - - - but a red we were stopped at. This was followed by some woman who also drove through a red light in an Escalade. A different light, but much the same thing. And like a sundae with a cherry on top before we left dear Florence (to be bypassed indefinitely) as we sat in the right hand lane at another light some guys in a old beater station wagon decided they needed to turn right at that light and DID....from the left hand lane right in front of us. Was there an officer anywhere to be found? Oh Hell NO - she's under the speed limit sign waiting for her next victim.

You can't make this stuff up folks!

I'll call tomorrow and find out which of my children has to be sold to pay this ticket but she's right about one thing - We do things differently in Michigan.

1. We have "Freeway Ends" signs posted when appropriate.
2. Our speed limit signs aren't pasted on the back of what looks like huge gray yield signs but in the size of 10X14
3. We aren't still fighting the war of the North and South - Which by the way WE WON.
4. Last time I was in a car with an out of towner and they were stopped by our local police they were POLITE.
5. We provide our police force with dental insurance. Hers were rotten and some missing.
6. We tend to patrol the main drag of town because "law breakers" come in all shapes and sizes - including locals.
7. Her patrol car was manufactured here!

The ticket - it ain't no thing. I haven't had a ticket in twenty years. Was I speeding - for that area, perhaps. I was on my brakes and trying not to mash them down and hurt my Granddaughter or anyone else around me. Was I unduly insulted by that ignorant bitch...absolutely. I'll take my ticket - and I'll be calling the police station along with the court house tomorrow. I do expect, when I'm being well mannered (even in a speed trap), to be treated respectfully.

In the meantime - WATCH OUT FOR
FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA and some toothless, humorless, female cop! Use the Interstate bypass and don't listen to your GPS. "Have a nice day."