Thursday, March 29

I Think It's Brown Eyes

     Okay, for pure adorability, it doesn't get much better than this, does it? Yes, his hair is red like his mama's hair. And, it looks like it will be brown eyes, like his mama and grandmama. He's the happiest guy around, he smiles and laughs like this all day. He just had tubes put in his ears, and promptly started trying to crawl. Which means I need to raise everything up about three feet! Hasn't he grown a lot since he arrived last July? 
     I remind myself every day why I moved to Louisiana, and think about all the things I would be missing if I wasn't here, so close to the little family the next street over from my house.
     I keep thinking he can't get any cuter ... AND THEN he does!

Wednesday, March 28

Butterfly Bonanza

     I always thought it must have been a wonderful time, back before the turn of the century, when the gentlemen had their naturalist collections of butterflies and plants. I wanted these pendants to have the look of butterflies under glass, like those old collections in glass display cases.
      No butterflies were harmed in the creation of these pendants! I made up another new bezel shape, very industrial and simple, with a brushed metal front and a copper-bronze patina, to give them the feeling of age and a rustic look.
     The trick is getting the butterflies the right size to fit well in the pendant, some of the ones I like the best are too large with their wingspan, to capture all of their beauty in the oval shape. I may have to make some that are round, and see if they will fit and show up that way.
     I left the coppery-bronze patina with some darkened spots, hopefully to give a look of great age and wear. I'm enjoying these new bezels!
     SEE THE POLL in the left sidebar? Please vote for your favorite Etsy styles, so I know what you like best, and I can make more of those! The Poll closes the middle of April - but don't wait, go ahead and vote now ... and thanks!

Tuesday, March 27

Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry New Book

     I've always admired the creative efforts of Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel. A while back, we participated in a charm and bead swap, and the pieces that we received from that were wonderful. I just got notification for pre-order of their new book, aptly titled "Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry" - with 50 designs! And I learned that one of the jewelry pieces has my pewter heart charm, how great is that?
     The description from the notice says: 
     "With expert advice from artists Erin Siegel and Lorelei Eurto, you'll explore the rapidly growing trend of using cords and ribbon in jewelry. Inside this colorful book of projects are clear steps for incorporating these trendy materials into designs. From basic jewelry-making techniques, including stringing, knotting, and wire wrapping, to more advanced steps, such as knotted loops and button clasps, this book is perfect for all levels of jewelry makers interested in creating beautiful, hip designs."
     "Artists Erin Siegel and Lorelei Eurto excel in maximizing jewelry-making possibilities using a simplicity-focused foundation—simple materials, simple techniques, affordable prices. Joined by several top designers, including Denise Yezbak Moore, Tracy Statler, and Mary Jane Dodd, this duo offers plenty of great projects and inspiration."
     Congratulations to Erin and Lorelei on completing the book. The photos from the book look wonderful, the colors are scrumptious, and it is quite an accomplishment to have the book coming out soon.

Monday, March 26

Pansy and Petunia

      Around town, the pansies are still blooming like mad. Apparently, here in central Louisiana, they are an all-winter plant. I made some new round pendants this weekend, and most were inspired by florals. The images came from the french design book my friend sent me, they are so color saturated! very fun to work with.
     Remember a while back, I said the crucible burned itself out? I got a new one for the pewter, it's larger and hotter than the first one, so I'm re-melting all the pewter that was in the old one and making new bezels. For these round pendants, I decided to put a small hole in the bottom for a dangle or chain, I like to use colorful beads as dangles in my designs, so these will be able to have them.
     Maybe next weekend, I'll plant some fresh starts for my summer square foot garden, if the weather cooperates. 
     P.S. I put more things on sale in the Etsy shop ... maybe there's something you love on sale!

Sunday, March 25

Four Square Language of Flowers

      I like to collect old books from the 1800's, with poetry and literature in them. I have an old book, published in Chicago in 1884, titled "Language of Flowers" by Mrs. C.M. Kirtland (illustrated). In those days, especially in England, courting couples communicated with floral bouquets, the flowers themselves having meanings. There was symbolism in the choices of flowers that went into the bouquet, secretly speaking to the giver and the receiver of the gift.
      In taking the antique images from the french design book and turning them into these dainty square pendants, I thought I'd add the meanings from "Language of Flowers" for each. In this pretty pink square with two white lilies, the White Lily stands for PURITY and SWEETNESS. 
      Sometimes I have to interpret what type of flower it is, so this one I saw as a dogwood, the white flower with the yellow in the center. In "Language of Flowers" the dogwood blossom stands for "DURABILITY."
      Ivy by itself stands for "FRIENDSHIP. FIDELITY. MARRIAGE." and an ivy sprig with tendrils, like these, stands for "ASSIDUOUS TO PLEASE" in "Language of Flowers."
         This last one seems regal to me, with its dainty pansy flowers in pink, yellow and blue. The pansy flower stands for "THOUGHT" in "Language of Flowers."
    Since Easter is coming, I thought it would be nice to have some spring flowers on pendants. After April 1, no fooling, I will do another GIVEAWAY with these four square pendants. 

Friday, March 23

SALE AT ETSY SITE

     Have you had your eye on something in the Etsy shop? I just put some things on sale for the end of March.
     And some of you who posted on the Giveaway Post haven't used your discounts yet - they end in March. So, go take a peek, see if there's something you've been wanting, and nab it before it's gone!
     For those of you who posted on the Giveaway Post, I set up an ETSY COUPON CODE for you to use - if you're not sure about how to do that, be sure to put the information into the NOTE for the purchase, and I'll know to take it from there.

Thursday, March 22

Venus Gem Glam

      I haven't made any of these venus shell gemstone settings in a while, so I finished one on Sunday. I don't have very many of the gold-tones rhinestones left. I've made these with oval pearl-like gems in the setting, also. This setting casting comes from an original that was loaned to me, that was found in a french flea market. I like that I can reproduce it, and give it another life.
     The original that I copied didn't have a stone in it, only the setting where a stone should go. I was happy that I was able to find some rhinestones the right diameter to fit there, to make them look finished. Love the bling!

Tuesday, March 20

Pansy Blossoms

     The pollen count here is off the scale! I parked under a tree on Saturday and my car was covered with green. It's amazing how much spring pollen is around here.
     I didn't get a lot done on Sunday afternoon in the studio, but I did get this resin piece made, with the pansy blossom and bud on it. The image came from the antique french floral designs booklet that my friend gave me at the end of last year, after the holidays. With Easter coming, it seemed like the time to make up a pansy pendant. I thought about making a necklace with it, but I went ahead and listed it in the Etsy shop. I have a whole bunch of resin curing, I can't wait until I can get those out of the molds and see how they turned out!

Sunday, March 18

Busy Week Ends

     At work, it's been a busy week at the day job. I lost 2 days from the vertigo, so it's been a catch-up week there.
     The grandson got tubes put into his ears this week, so I helped out with the granddaughter and her school.
     And I had a bridal shower at my church on Saturday. That was very fun, we had a good time!
     So today, I'm headed over to the studio, to work on a few new ideas. An afternoon of creativity!
     

Wednesday, March 14

FlowerRama

      I talked about the french book of designs that my friend sent me, these images for the resin came from those patterns. Since spring seems to be coming, I guess I was inspired to make some floral designs for cabochons in the resin.
      With Easter coming, I made a couple with a lily in it, and one that reminds me of forget-me-nots. They are so sweet and feminine, I like the way they contrast against the dark patina pewter in their oval bezel setting.
     There's one with an ivy design, and one that reminds me of summertime flowers, all red and blooming. That book of designs is a treasure trove of beautiful vintage flower patterns. I need to pull out my book of "The Language of Flowers" to find out what these stood for in Victorian bouquets.

Tuesday, March 13

Movie Influenced

      After the Academy Awards program, we like to get the movies on DVD and watch them. Last week we watched a movie, and the next day I was inspired to make this clock pendant.
     Also, these vintage-looking pendants with the word "PARIS" on them. I'll bet you can figure out which movie it was that we watched, can't you?
      For some time, I've been trying to reproduce the look of mother-of-pearl in resin. A few experiments have not worked as I expected, but these oval pendants with the word "PARIS" and images on them are the closest I've come so far.
     I especially like the one in the front here, with the fleur-de-lys and the word "PARIS" in a small font on it, like a travel souvenir. I'm going to keep trying to get that pearly, mother-of-pearl translucent look. Did you guess that the movie was "HUGO"? I loved all the shots of the lights of Paris, and the great wheels and gears inside the clock at the train station. It translated to these pieces.
     To see examples of times when this has happened to me before, see the pieces I made after watching "The Spiderwick Chronicles" and "The Golden Compass." Also, the most recent Indiana Jones movie. I'm hopeless!

Sunday, March 11

Back on My Feet

      I'm getting around better now, the floor is staying where the floor should be, and I can walk without looking like a seasick sailor, most of the time. So after church, I went over to the studio to see if I could get some new things cranked out, since I missed so many days of creativity last week. I've been wanting to make a simpler rectangular bezel, something that was smaller with less detail on it, for some of the resin pieces I'm making. That was the project for today.
     I also had this large heart-shaped resin mold, but didn't have a bezel that it would fit into. Another project was to come up with a complimentary bezel that looked rustic and old, that the heart shape would fit into. This is the one I came up with. It's got some texture on it, and I like the twig-like look of the design, with a loop at the top. I think I can drill a hole in the bottom, but I dropped my dremel with my small drill bit in it, and broke the bit. So, I had to postpone drilling small holes for today, until I can replace the drill bit next week.
     The lady in the rectangular resin piece, and this little girl in the heart shape, both have such a determined expression on their faces. I like the dark sepia color, and the little girl's cheeks and checked dress were hand colored by the tintype photographer. So here these two new bezels are, I got them mocked up, molded and test cast this afternoon. Right before the big rainstorm hit. I know I'll get a lot of use out of these new bezels. What do you think?

Saturday, March 10

Giveaway Winner Announcement

 
     I intended to do the announcement of the winner much earlier this week. But I woke up on Thursday morning with VERTIGO. If you've never had it before, you might not think it could knock you off your feet for several days. Believe me, it really can! I had a doctor's appointment on Thursday afternoon to get "adjusted" so my ears would go back to normal and my eyes would stop spinning in my head. And then I had to keep my head still and level for 24 hours - upright all night in a recliner. But today I can walk without feeling like I'm in the dizzy house at the carnival arcade. So I thought I'd go ahead and do the random number generator and pick a winner out of the 13 replies to the Giveaway Post.And thank you for the feedback on the new work, it was very appreciated.
     The random number is 1 - the winner is ALICE! Send me an email with your mailing address and I'll send you the pendant. I hope you enjoy designing with it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     BUT WAIT! All 13 of you who posted (including you, Alice) can use the password GIVEAWAYPOST at the Etsy site and you will get free shipping and 20% discount on anything you purchase between now and the end of March!Don't forget to put the word GIVEAWAYPOST in your notes, so I know you're using the code to get the discount and free shipping - I may not know it's YOU otherwise!
     I hope you all go shopping for any goodies you may have had your eye on, with free shipping and a discount - but don't wait until April 1 - no fooling!

Tuesday, March 6

Frilly Heart Face Broke The Studio

     Last weekend, I continued on my quest to re-configure my pewter bezels. While I like many, if not most, of them to be simple and plain, with clean lines, sometimes I do like them to have some swirls and twirls on them. The bezel mold I had been using was made several years ago, and it wasn't quite open enough for the hearts to fit into easily. So I always had to work on them, to get the centerpieces to fit. On Sunday afternoon, I re-made the bezel from scratch, making sure there was plenty of room in the center for the hearts to fit. This is my first test of the new mold. It still has lots of detail, and now the hearts fit without a struggle.
      I don't know why it takes me so long sometimes, just to do the things I intend to do, need to do, to make things easier on myself. And it didn't really take all that long to do this. I puzzle myself - why work harder than necessary, when I can take a couple of hours and make things easier. It's a mystery.
     Speaking of mysteries, I finally wore out my crucible for the pewter. Last weekend, it just gave out and stopped working. So I will have to get a new one, and get familiar with it. Fortunately, my old one stayed hot long enough for me to get all the pewter out of it before it shut itself down. I'm researching now to see if I want the same thing, or something different this time.

Sunday, March 4

Happy Giveaway Productivity

      I'm happy some of you are participating in the giveaway.I was worried that no one would, and then I would not be smiling as big! This weekend was pretty productive at the studio. I was experimenting with some colors and textures, and one of the designs I ended up with was this richly patterned heart. It reminds me of oriental rugs, or kilim patterned fabrics. Very asian, I think.
     Here is another photo, a group shot of some of the other hearts I got finished today. I like seeing them together with all their colors lined up, they remind me of easter eggs.
     If you haven't posted to participate in the giveaway yet, it's still open. I added all these hearts to the Etsy shop Sunday evening, if you want to see more pictures of them.

Saturday, March 3

Let's Have a Giveaway

     Last night my granddaughter spent the night at my house, and today we all went to a birthday party of one of her friends. Her mother, brother and I piled in their car with her and drove to a park. The weather has been so odd - yesterday the temperature was in the 70's, then it poured rain for hours, and the temperatures fell. Today it was very windy and chilly for the outdoor party. The kids didn't seem to notice, they ate hot dogs and played on the playground, and had a great time. It was fun going to the party with them, I hadn't done anything like that with my daughter and her kids before. They were very tired afterward, and went home with an idea of naps for everyone.
     So I have the afternoon to myself, and I think I will go over to the studio and work on some new pieces. I make things that I like the looks of, and just hope that someone else will also like them and be inspired to create with them.
    I need some guidance, some feedback on the types of things that folks like, and I'm willing to do a giveaway to get you all to post your thoughts. 
    If you will go over to the Etsy shop and look at the new things I'm working on, the resin, polymer clay and pewter, and post here as a response what your particular favorite look is - one person will be selected from the responses to win the oval focal resin pendant in the picture. And as I usually do, everyone who posts a response will get some kind of a thank-you from me when I announce the winner.
     So please go over the the Etsy shop, look at the new work, and give me your honest feedback (good or bad!), for a chance to win the oval pendant!And thank you, in advance, for the feedback. I really need it!

Thursday, March 1

Marching Along

     I love the look of old tintypes. Most of the time there's no information about the person in the photo, and it makes me want to find out who they were and when the photo was taken. Doesn't this young man look serious? He's so young, and neatly groomed.
     These little girls, probably sisters, look so serious in the picture. Their dresses were hand colored with pink, with just a dab of color on their cheeks. Their hair was cut short, which was unusual for the time, so maybe they were farm girls, who had to help out with the chores.
     Doesn't she look fearless, like she could travel long distances and relocate her whole family for a better life? I made these tintype portrait pendants with an eye toward making some jewelry, but so far I haven't gotten anything assembled yet. I went ahead and listed them in the Etsy shop, in case someone else would like to give them a new life and a story.
     I'm having a crisis of confidence, I have to admit. I've been re-reading some of my posts from 2009, and I was making a lot of new things back then. I've taken time out, for the relocation from St. Louis to Louisiana, and for family time. Have I gotten myself too far out of the mainstream? Have I lost my creativity, and if I have, what will it take to jump start it again?
     I read something the other day, and mentioned it to my daughter. I think I saw it on the internet - "They're only babies for a year." Wow! And that's so true. And the grandson is more than halfway there. I don't regret taking the time out for family. But is it too late for me to be a creative mixed-media artist now?
     I can't help but create, whether it's dresses for the granddaughter, or jewelry charms. 


     I guess I'm wondering if the time off from creating jewelry charms has put me too far back, now. Now, I'm trying to get back into the routine of creating new things - I hope I still have time to re-build again.