Friday, February 22, 2013

February is going to pass like a whoosh...

This is usually MY month.  I like it because it's full of promise.....yeah, you heard me.  January is recovery from the holidays.  February is the harbinger of the upcoming Spring.  It's like the 10 in a count down to one, full of anticipation.  You've got Valentines day, my wedding anniversary and this month is just full of anonymous "life" things that are coming to a resolution.  I've knee number two done and hips that are going to take on steroids like bounty towels wicking up a spill.   Nurses and therapists are showing up here quickly and I must be feeling better as I'd like them to disappear.

This painting has something to do with my musical choice
(Hint - Hint)
 February is going to blur on past and then spring will be here with flowers, a renewal of spirit and a great  year to come.  THIS February is about closure, renewal and growth, and of great things to come.  February has always been a good month for me but this one - - - well, it's going to be sweet.

Now do I sound excited, or what?

The surgery took precious work time from the Music Challenge - ACK!  And I am loving this challenge.   I've selected my music.  I'm not going to tell you what it is yet but I'll tell you how I forged ahead to make a decision.

First - so much music and so little time.  I like classical music but spend very little time listening to it.  I actually spend very little time listening to any music lately - although I am not sure as to why that is.  Maybe I need a sweet child to load my MP3 full of interesting things to listen to while I work.  I wonder who I could enlist to do that for me.  Okay, bad case of wandering thoughts here...

Another visual hint at the music I've chosen for my inspiration.
I immediately narrowed the field by wanting something classical.  Since I am no good at remembering the titles of songs whether contemporary or classical I decided to cut to the chase as fast as possible and Googled, Top 100 Classical Instrumentals.  In that google I came across this list from Kickass, of Best 100 Popular Classical Music.  Now, I have to tell you - this is some freekin' list.  I am so excited about this list.  On the list are not only the composers of the piece but info and a small musical excert to listen to.  I spent an entire evening listening to those passages.  I nearly drove DH to another room since I'd stop continually to have him listen to one with me and then rave on about the fact it was composed in 1892 or some other obscure fact I was dumb founded about.  Then there were the classical pieces you've heard a hundred times and not even realized they were over a hundred years old.  Wow -  and I mean just mean wow because there isn't any other descriptive word that can cover a topic that has more arms than an octopus.

Erin's challenge has definitely tripped a trigger here.

I've made my choice in music.  I will link it on the blog hop so you can listen to it too.  Tomorrow I will start posting some drawings this music inspired.  I started as large as the music I chose. When I closed my eyes it made me feel like I was dancing in a huge Tim Burton dance hall, but as the time frame narrowed so did my drawings.  I'm drawn more than I can explain to the original concept but the realization of my physical limitations has hit.  In fact the moment I forget my knee was cut out and replaced by some beautiful titanium spikes (on February 11th) the throbbing pain catches up or a physical therapist shows up on my doorstep.  Kill joys! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mail Call -

Goodies in the mail.  A good friend (Susan Lambert) turned me on to Zappos’.  Like am I about the slowest person on the planet to “get” this stuff….YES!  My feet are as wide as they are long, which just about sums up most of me but finding shoes just isn’t easy.  Susan turned me on to Keen’s which I adore for their quirkiness and fit.  I buy a men’s shoe in those to get the width and they wear like iron – love them.  But they just won’t cut it for more formal occasions so I needed some dress shoes.  Susan to the rescue.  She not only sent me the info but picked several out and attached them to the email.  That’s my gal – thank you.
I also ordered some unmentionables (actually just slips) from Amazon of all places.  No, no photos of those…..LOL

But most importantly and more fun are the art goodies. I received two totally cool packages.  One’s origin was a total surprise.  I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the Etsy seller was from Russia – The Ukraine to be exact.  Cool stuff in there.  I so wanted this postcard with this cherub looking face on it and then I got 20 great sheets of Mica and a key hole that will be the basis of some interesting work.  The bonus package of the day was from Allegory Gallery (Andrew Thornton’s great place in PA).  I do hope someday to attend a class there.  He’s such a nice person.  I just love Milagros. They are just a favorite of mine and they were having a sale at Allegory so I picked some up.  I can’t wait to put them on some earrings.  I have some plans – can you hear the wheels spinning?  Both of these wonderful places sent their packages all decked out.  The ONLY place I’ve ever experienced that does that – Nordstroms.
So there it is – order from Etsy or Nordstroms and you get these surprises – a joy of opening a well packaged product (kind of the thrill of Christmas).  And, thank you SO much Andrew for the surprise gift.  Check out Allergory Gallery HERE.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I started this post before surgery and now I'm finally finishing it.  Just prior to surgery I ordered Socklady socks in a bulk order from Robin at Foster Fire, via Lampwork etc.  Now I have some the fanciest ankles in town.  And if you never seen the whole collection of Socklady Socks just check them out HERE

Then there are the Kuchi from various vendors...including Mary Tafoya (who I have always admired) - I'll be using those up in earrings and things over the next couple of months.

What could be more exciting than goodies in the mail?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sweet Recovery and some musical challenge time

Just checking in - the right knee replacement is complete and I am home.  So far so good.  Next week we will start with the in home PT and OT.  I actually think I have more staples in my leg this time and whoever the nice doctor was who put them in was totally anal retentive and OCD.  I'll have to get a photo of it for you.  It's like all in such a neat little row and they are so lined up.  Considering I walk around on a Sequoia strong leg I'm totally surprised and delighted at his attempt toward neatening me up.

While in the hospital I did get to listen to quite a few musical pieces for the music challenge.  Surprisingly I liked the Verdi piece - Il Trovatore.  It is loosely known as the anvil chorus.  It seemed appropriate in some way with what we do with hammers on anvils.  Maybe it's the holiday but El Amor Brujo seemed to stir me - it was spicy, but light.  I'm still trying to find a good cut of Orff's Carmina, and I'm giving myself to through the weekend to find it or cross it off my list.

What I didn't anticipate was finding that most of the music that seemed to loosen my mind were from a Romantic Era in style.  That was a shocker and totally not what I had in mind when starting this project.  But it's working it's magic and if that's what's going to happen then I'm going to fly with it.

Well, just checking in - all is well here, totally sore and painful but we are definitely on the mend.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Challenge of Music

I usually participate in Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Hop but knew because of my surgery it would be a bit of a rush and I never want to rush with someone else's great "soup" they've worked so hard to gather and send.  I want to make out of it the best of what my creativeness can give to it.  So this year I bypassed Lori's blog hop - sigh.

But, I did find a totally interesting challenge to participate in.  It's hosted by Treasures-Found - Erin Prais-Hintz.  We're going to take a musical journey via instrumental music only.  It seems to me for the most part that even though there are usually vocals in the music I listen to I really don't tend to know many of the words to the songs.  Only for purposes of this challenge I'll need to find an instrumental only.  My plan is to use my Kindle while I'm in the hospital and find several suitable songs that are "playing my tune".   While I am there I can think it through - albeit maybe in a medicinally induced haze.

Okay, that sounds a little glib and I don't mean it to be that way.  I really want a piece of music that will whisk my imagination to a far away place.  Something that will inspire me.  I intend to use all of Erin's hints and work to be in the moment with the music.  It will be fun.

Thanks for the opportunity Erin.  The blog hop will be on March 1st so I'll have to work fast after I am home from the hospital but I figure it will be the only thing I concentrate on and give it my all.  While I'm in the hospital I can figure out the mechanics and creation in my mind's eye and on paper.

As soon as I figure out which music it will be I'll post it here and try and document my way through the process.  I'm excited about this.

Artisan Whimsey's Valentine Challenge

I saw this great challenge on Jean Wells site and went to vote for Jean's great piece.  While I was there I also saw it was open to components so whoo hoo and I added a glass heart I recently made.  I do think I might have put it in the wrong group but if you have a desire to vote for it anyway I'm sure the smarter people at Artisan Whimsey will put it in the right category.  You can go and vote HERE.
You'll also get to see the other great entries and you can vote there too.  Besides, Artisan Whimsey is a great place to visit and hang out.  The rest below is from their page so you can see the great gifts we are going for - 

We know you have PASSION and LOVE ~
We see it everyday in your designs and sharing here on

Here's your chance to show it!

Design a piece of jewelry or component(s) that represent your


You may enter once per category ~
Winners will be revealed by a random pick in
Jewelry & Component Categories
on February 13 midnight (EST)
Each will win a prize.

There will also be a Voted Category

"most original representation"

Enter one item to be voted on in each category ~
Entries must be in by Feb 11th Midnight (EST)

All members are encouraged to vote Feb 12-13th
Top 3 placements will win a prize.

Please be sure to enter the categories below that
best represent your design.

Please feel free to share the challenge badge
on your blog or social sites or pin it!

$25 Handmade Jewelry from Sharyl's Jewelry
$15 Gift Certificate from Sharyl's Jewelry
Two $25 Gift Certificates from Diane Hawkey
$20 ~ Large Textured Copper Heart from Melinda Orr Designs
$20 Tools from Melinda Orr Designs

This was my entry - Lampwork Heart Floral.

Friday, February 8, 2013

MetalWerks, here we come!

The first earrings are ready to go and I've listed them on Etsy.  MetalWerks is back in business.  It will be a slow start as the knee surgery is scheduled for February 11th, slowly and surely I'll get the pages filled with jewelry.  One step at a time - LOL (it's going to apply to so many things this month).  That one step will about all I can take anyway.  Maybe I can make a sculpture out of that walker after surgery....never doubt a cleaver woman.

So here is what is being listed.  I hope every one enjoys my variation in style.  I'm taking the lampwork, tin, some assorted metal skills, semi-precious gems, and mixing it up.   Everything contains handmade sterling silver earring wire - full hard or spring wire (as it's sometimes called) this gives you that normal twang to the wire that keeps it from bending out of shape.  All the wires have been hand formed to the design so the pieces will swing freely on your ear.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Soft Kitty

I love it when Penny sings that song to Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory.  Here is what sits in my lap while I'm typing posts for this blog.

And this is what I think every time she comes to sit in my lap.  Trudy (happy retriever that she is) would prefer to wait for her spot in the bed.  Maui (my soft kitty) doesn't much bother with the bed.  Everyone is happy - including me.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tin Re-Duex - I need a person to tell me when to stop.

Sometimes a piece you make just looks cheesy later on.  I liked the top of this earring but did not like the bottom....not enough weight there.  As an earring it worked okay.  Heavy enough to stay on but light enough not to stretch that ear lobe to your waist.  But to me it lacked a certain panache - a complete design.  It's not that I don't like simple things.  In fact, sometimes that is the best for me since I already wear glasses too much from the arm pits up can make me look like I ought to topple over.  These earrings - well - crap - I got an itch about them and just had to scratch it. 

I cut off what I thought wasn't working.  I added a little flare with a copper piece - a few rivets to hold the new copper and add some interest - and then I thought it needed a finish to balance the fact the top was visually kind of heavy.  In my stash I have the beads I've collected over the years sorted by color.  That makes it easy when you are working with a color segwey to find something fairly quickly. 

What I do sort differently (but by color) are seed beads, crystals (no matter what the size or color) are all in one plastic box, stone chips,  and so on.   Anything that reeks of same size - kind - origin - these are the only things that are separate.  Beyond those all the rest of the sparkly glass, resin, and so on are in the color sort area.  Okay, I'm off track here.

In the stash of blue I found a bag of miscellaneous and very old chevron beads.  The blue went well with the tin color and the theme...but I didn't want to stop there.  I guess I could of and maybe done a little something different on the bottom (no, no, no, stop it - only one re-duex to a pair of earrings).  Anyhoo, the original tin has stars.  And I've been watching entirely to much Merlin, Game of Thrones, and Syfy channel so I decided to go through the crystal stash.  Now we've got a little magic and some history in the chevrons and tin.

Voila' - I'm much happier with the look of these earrings.  But I wasn't happy enough to leave them didn't take but a day of looking and I decided they were too long and thin - off came the chevron section.  I guess in this case for these earrings I'm making the executive decision that less is more.

Pretty soon I'll have completed enough to reopen my old Etsy site for finished jewelry and start putting the pieces up for sale.

I've been working on other earring designs and will post as they are completed - I've been picking away at my pile of tin stampings.  (Smile).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Purple almost finished.

From the beads I showed in the previous post a decision was made on the bead for the center of the purple tin earrings.  I just couldn't help the choice - the red and teal were the best by far.  I made smaller rivets in silver for the corners and a large bronze rivet for attaching the lampwork bead.  My first thought was to put a centered hole and just dangle it from an earring wire but that seemed a little naked.  It's a pretty light piece for what is going on (and its size) so I decided on a wrapped wire for the top, brass with an overlay of silver.  It swings on that very freely.  I like earrings that have the ability to move effortlessly.  To what you see I will add the earring wire and then I'll oxidize the entire piece.   Almost finished...

ready to oxidize and get an earring wire.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Purple and WHAT?

Okay, so I am bending (fold forming) some tin to play with and it ends up in this odd square that catches the light in the forms.  I like it.  Uh, but it's purple.  I'll use purple but I will usually throw it in as an accent color to some blue-green or something.  So, I'm fiddly fartin' around with the parts I stamped out and it fits on the copper square I cut out earlier.  Okay, cool.  It's a good fit and with four corner rivets and something in the center it will be quite interesting.

Not cool to me was the possible color problem.  Copper with purple.  For me, it was a stumper.

I had recently seen a great article on the Art Bead Scene where they went over the color of metal.      Well, see for yourself HERE.  It honestly has got to be one of the best articles I've ever seen that covers the problem of contrast/color choices on beads/jewelry components.  Anyway, it helped immesely.  I'd highly recommend everyone check it out and it got me thinking.  In fact, I think those girls ought to take that same format and work it up into a book presentation for a publisher - along with color segways for jewelers and beaders.  There's nothing else like that out there that takes into account the color of the metal so comprehensibly.

What I resorted to after pouring over that article was Googling purple and copper color images.  Mostly the copper images is what helped me find some possible solutions.  What goes best and is most often used with copper is a teal (or turquoise) - blue green color.  Why is that?  Because copper is basically an orange.  DUH, and thank you Art Bead Scene.  And why didn't I think of that - I do know that they reside opposite on that color wheel.  So the googling showed a whole bunch of color matches that had the teal included.  What it also showed were these two combinations that were interesting:

purple/ orange(copper)/ red/ black
copper (orange)/ purple/ teal/ gunmetal

Now, for purposes of these earrings I'm going to oxidize that copper piece (maybe a pattern too), silver rivets will work nicely, but my orange (copper) is dark and my purple is dark.  This is where The Art Bead Scene article comes in mighty handy.  If I'm going to use one of the possible color choices I've listed I'm going to have to use a much lighter shade/tint of one of the remaining colors (for the additional component to the front) to make this pop a bit...or it will be dull and boring.

This is what I used for inspiration.  It's still a rather tight range of tints/shades of those colors - but the grey could be the silver - and you see the copper/purple teal.  I'm still considering the red combo on that list too.

Maybe a very simple riveted pop of bead color in the center.  Way over-thinking this, huh?

On the subject of over used brain power I either ought to have brain freeze or a burning sensation in my hair.  It's not like a simple pair of earrings is going to sell for a cool thousand - whoo - that would mean you'd only have to create like 30-50 pair a year to make a living.  LOL  It must be time to give it a rest and take a nap.

One set of these should work !