Monday, April 30, 2007

Finished at Last!

I have two big pieces of news today. The first is that I have finally put together an Etsy Shop to attempt to sell some of the things I make. I don't know if anyone will find me, or want anything even if they do, but it was a big step outside of my comfort zone, and I am proud of myself for scraping up the confidence to finally Just Do It. I even managed to add the link to the sidebar of my blog. Who says you can't teach an Old Dog HTML?!

My second piece of news is that I have finally finished my beaded collar.

See, I can finish a Really Big Project when I want to... even if it does take several years, LOL! I put the last bead on my collar this afternoon, and I am so happy with how it all came together. I've been wearing it for over an hour now, and am very pleased with how comfortable it is, even for all its weight. It is very nicely balanced, and the leather backing hugs my neck in a very pleasant way.

Because of the requests for photos of me actually wearing it, I had my daughter snap this photo of me this afternoon when she came home from school to show you how it looks on the body. See how it just snuggles into the curve of my throat?

Tonight I am taking a class in wire wrapping. I hope to have something new to show very soon.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

April in Oregon... sigh..

It's been cold here... and wet... and COLD! What would YOU do under the circumstances?? Personally, I think my beloved little companion "Sailor" the dachschund has absolutely the right coping skills in place. Snuggled as deep and down and under something warm and cuddly as ever could be possible, LOL!

I, however, have been doing some spring cleaning and continuing with my beading on the collar I have already posted. I realised after I began adding fringe that I needed to construct a closure to determine how the finished collar would hang from my neck, so I could THEN determine where the center point of the fringe should be. Math and theory are good, but reality has its own way of imposing itself on a project, LOL!

So I have constructed two more small beaded pieces to form the base for the closure. Once I attach the pieces I can determine whether the thing FITS me or not, and whether or not the center of my design actually IS the center of the piece when it actually hangs from a human neck. And THEN I can finish adding the fringe. Oh, I hope this one is going to be as good as I hope it will be.

I'm learning...!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In its December 2003 issue, Bead & Button magazine featured the work of Sherry Serafini, a wonderful bead artist who specializes in THE most fabulous beaded accessories. Included with the article was the instructions for making a bead embroidered collar in her style. Of course I had to try one of my own.

My version features six small amethyst cabochons accented by various other small stones, pearls, and seed beads. It is more decidedly blue and purple than this photo shows. The actual embroidery went quickly -- I couldn't put it down! -- but my enthusiasm waned when I got to where I had to finish off the edges. The collar was set aside until such time as I could face such a tedious task.

Last week I decided to clean off my beading desk. Heaven knows it needed it, as I could no longer work there for the debris scattered over the entire surface. As I excavated the mess, I rediscovered several old projects that are worth completing, one of them being this collar. I put on a movie and decided to tackle that darned edge finish.

It actually took about 5 movies to complete the task, bead-by-stitch-by-bead, but last night I finished it, and now it's ready for the fun part... the fringe! I have been playing with combinations of beads and stones that might work, and I'm just about ready to thread up and get started, while sitting at my neat and tidy bead desk.

Do you think I can keep it that way? It's SO much more pleasant to work there, now that it's not such a disaster area.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Enticing my Muse

I suppose by now I ought to have stopped being surprised by my inability to stick to a plan... This project was supposed to be a simple piece, a "quick and easy" just to get me in the mood to create again. I guess I was more in the mood than I thought!

"The Peacock" is a wall doll is based on "Enticing the Muse", a pattern I found on the internet. I expected she would be a piece of cake, a 2 day project at most, as the original doll had no face, mitten hands, and very little embellishment. I chose a remnant of my one of my favorite quilting cottons and made the little mini-quilt for her body, adding the fine binding just because I could. I even remembered how to turn the little mitered corners. I guess quilting might be a little like bike riding... you don't forget what your fingers have learned.

Once having created such a pretty little quilt, I HAD to give her fingers and a face. What good is a muse if she can't look you in the eye??

Because I still believed I was just messing around, I decided to attempt something different for her face. Using Sherry Goshon's face painting book, I followed the instructions to create a face with African American features. I see by the photo that I need to darken and shadows and punch up the highlights, but all in all I am happy with her. One of these days though, I will learn to resist the temptation to keep making the eyes bigger and bigger and bigger...

Then I got out my beads. And some more beads. And then yet more beads. Finally, with the addition of the wrapped wire wristlets, she looked balanced and complete, which is good because my eyes have had enough of threading the miniscule hole of that oh-so-fine beading needle!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Getting it Right at Last

I have been on a baking binge since I returning home from my mother's funeral. My baking is usually successful, so I was surprised as well as frustrated when my attempts at creating a sour dough starter were spectacular failures. One attempt resulted in a lovely bowl of mold, but no sourdough...

On the 4th try, I used the instructions from King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking, and was rewarded with a nice crock of fragrant, bubbly, yeasty sour dough starter.

And so today I was at last able to bake sourdough from my own starter. Don't you wish you could smell these loaves, hot from the oven as they are??

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

An exercise in observation

Isn't she darling??! This is my version of "Ruby" a new pattern by Judi Wellnitz. Her headband will be much more dramatic once the glue dries, and she still needs a necklace, but I am delighted with her. (I know I probably should have let the glue dry before taking pictures of her, but I was anxious to get this posted this afternoon before I head off to church tonight for music rehearsals.)

Judi graciously allowed me to be a tester for the pattern in return for feedback before final publication. She was tons of fun to make and every piece fit together perfectly. The hardest part was being a faithful follower of Judi's directions... I kept having to remind myself to not just go and do things with my own methods. It all comes out the same in the end, but reading every last word before getting there slowed things down just a bit.

If I do the Holiday Bazaar again this fall, I absolutely will use her to display my business cards. She will certainly garner attention!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ready to Mail

He's done, but oh the headaches he gave me in the process! I have never ever worked this small before, and I'm not sure I will again. My fingers just don't like working that way.

I am not at all happy with the way his hands and fingers turned out. I eventually had to resort to a "mitten" style of hand to make any indication of fingers at all. Honestly, I don't know how the people who make the eeny teeny stuff that sells on eBay do it. Trade secret I guess...

Fortunately, the figure I am making for myself is on a much larger scale, and also female, with NO horn. (Another detail on the swap piece that gave me FITS!) I hope to get started sculpting on her this afternoon -- I just need to wait for the apoxie armature to get a little harder.

I want to try a different wing method too. I've been collecting wing tutorials from the internet for a long time I think now would be a good time to play with some new ways of doing things.

Now I just need to pack him securely and pop him in the mail and my swap obligations are done until I receive the next installment in my round robin. It feels SO good to be making things again!