Jake, my husband is taking a photography class from UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks) this semester.
He's having quite a bit of fun, and totally stressing out. I'm delighted he's doing it, finally. I expect to share more of his photos as he shares them with me. Take a moment and check out his Flickr photostream.
Here is one of the shots he took for a Strobist on-line lighting class.
Some family yucky stuff that has added stress. Blech, blech, blech.
Plus, the big deal: I have talked to my doctor, done a CT scan, and now I'm seeing a neural surgeon. Which adds up to me probably having another lower back spinal surgery. I am so not happy about this... But at least I knew it was possible.
When the surgeon removed the nasty synovial cyst on my lower spine he warned me that it might grow back. Until I have a MRI (which I thought I couldn't have 'cuz I've got a metal plate and screws in my neck, but they are titanium so I was wrong, yay.), we won't know exactly what's going on with the soft tissue. But the CT scan shows some pretty weird bone stuff going on down there.
Not happy right now.
Glad God has it all under control, 'cuz I certainly don't!
I bought a bunch of glass marbles at a garage sale this last summer. I had seen this really great tutorial over on houseofjoyfulnoise.com, and I wanted to try it.
And I did!
I wanted mine to look like something you would only ever find once, like nothing you'd find in a chain store. I think I've achieved that goal; however, I'm not done with them just yet...
The tutorial I read suggested Diamond Glaze, but I was using multiple papers and a few items with dimension- the ribbon, thread and glitter- so I used a Mod-Podge style glue to seal everything.
"Fly" Collage marble
First I layered the papers and images using regular Elmer's white glue. Then I added words and accents with Sharpies and some ink stamps. After those were dry, I added the glitter glue and the ribbon and thread. I waited another night until everything was completely dry and added any final touches to complete the tiny collages. And then, I glued them onto the marbles, again using the Mod-Podge.
"Dream" Collage marble
I waited another night and then sealed them with Mod-Podge again. I admit I was shocked at how long the project has taken so far. I think my favorite aspect of these pieces is how the marbles each add another layer to the collage. The "Fly" pendant is clear, while the "Dream" one is so cloudy and iridescent... And the "Once Upon A Time" pendant is rather blue with a bit of shimmer to it.
My intention is to take these marbles and bezel them in my metal-smithing class this semester. Probably with silver, which I hate using... (I prefer the look, feel and cost of copper.) I'll have to take them to the shop and see what looks best with each piece. I hope to reveal the final pieces soon.
I want to do more!
I think I might just be addicted.
Well, I guess I was so overwhelmed with finals and working on my last projects that I just stopped blogging... And then Christmas came and I was too busy to blog... or something. Yuck.
Wish I could say what's going on in my head, but I'm not sure yet.
I've started classes again this semester, and I'm still hoping to become a FT teacher in two years.
I'm hoping to be a k-12 art teacher.
I'm freakishly close to qualifying for an English teacher position, but bleargh. That does not sound like fun to me. In fact, it sounds like pain to me. Maybe if I taught drama, too?
I WISH I could get a job just teaching drama/acting, but nobody hires for that. At least not here in Fairbanks.
I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up....
I found my camera today!!!
It was in the drama bag I took to camp this summer. Pretty ridiculous! I can't believe I didn't find it until now.
So, I took some really quick photos of the work I've been doing this semester.
All our final projects are due in a week and a half, and I'm NOT ready for the semester to be over!
These Leaf Pendants are my favorite pieces from this semester.
First I pressed some leaves into the copper to create an impression of the veins.
Then I cut out the leaves and fold-formed them to give them the texture and curve of a leaf.
Finally, I attached a wire stem.
I had some fun creating copper bangle bracelets.
I cut the wire, soldered it together, then hammered them all over.
They are fun to wear!
I'm not sure yet whether I'll leave them as they are or wrap them with fabric, bead, chain or wire.
Probably I'll mix it up and do a bit of all of those.
These are some Word Pendants I created.
The top left one is a leaf impression like the Leaf Pendants, except I didn't cut it out.
The other three are fold formed pieces that I soldered onto nickel,
and then attached onto a leather backing.
I desperately wanted to try my hand at enameling this semester and finally
got the got the courage to try last month.
These are some pendants I made, and I am in the process of creating necklaces from them.
My favorite one is in the top right hand corner.
It's this fabulous mix of blue and lavender, with sparkles of turquoise.
I struggled with the bottom two so much, and they both look horrible in this photo.
The bottom left one doesn't show it's amazing black and green color well in this photo.
Beth calls it my "Galaxy Piece", because it looks like deep space.
And the bottom right one is this amazing dimensional red,
but I had to re-enamel and re-enamel and re-enamel for it to look good.
Here is one of my wave pendants. I made three of them- One is at school in the student art show.
Here is another of my wave pendants. I'm not finished with this necklace yet.
One of the things I really like about this piece is that I made the clasp myself.
Not the most elegant of clasps, but I am pleased with myself.
Wow. I can't believe I haven't posted since September. That's crazy.
I normally try and post a couple of things that have made me smile over the last week, but since I haven't posted in so long I think I'll share a couple of the things that have kept me busy over the last two months.
I'm taking a couple of classes up at UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks), Advanced Metalsmithing and Beginning Ceramics.
I've got a TON of stuff done in Metals, but I've only taken one picture. My camera is still MIA, so all of the following pictures are from my phone. And no, they are definitely not the best.
Enameling, butterflies, and pendants, oh, my.
My metals bench from a couple of weeks ago
I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying the ceramics. I've never done anything in clay before, and it's fun! I'm noticing how weak my shoulders and arms have become after my last spinal surgery.
My first bowl
We had the assignment of making between 4 and 10 bowls using different methods- coiling, slumping, draping or pinching. We made that many with the understanding that we were going to give some to the local food bank for a Empty Bowls fund-raiser.
Our next assignment was to reproduce an ancient vessel. I chose to make a reproduction of an Egyptian Canopic jar, primarily because my girls and I love cats. If I was going to have some ancient thing hanging around the house I wanted to make something I liked. And it looks like I've got a really fun cookie jar.
Our class projects with my professor on the left
My cat jar is front and center
Our next project was to create a narrative teapot. I really was annoyed by this one- a teapot that tells a story? Talking it over with my sister and my professor, I ended up deciding to make a representation of some of the books my daughters and I have read together over the last year. I've turned completely around and I love my teapot now. It's been incredibly fiddly and annoying, but so much fun. This project may be my favorite...
My teapot of books and character bits
And the lid
I haven't completely finished with this project- it's not glazed yet, but I really like what I've done so far.
So the sum up is this: I'm crazy busy! As a student, a mom, a wife, a reading tutor, a sister, a daughter and a jewelry designer. Plus, I'm the primary taxi driver and cook for our home. My house is currently a shambles and the girls have taken to begging for me to do laundry on Fridays... And my husband has been wearing my socks (because I don't wear mine out like he does, so I have more pairs).
Anyway, I love my classes! And we are surviving. And we've got an end goal now. I've probably only got a couple of years of part time classes and I will be certified as an art teacher. I'd rather be a drama teacher, mind you. But nobody hires those full time... I'll have to pass a couple of tests, but I'm not overwhelmed yet. (Mind you, I haven't looked at the math portion yet.)
I hope I can keep up with blogging better now that I have an end goal and am adjusted to the pace, but I don't know...
P.S.- PLEASE don't tell Jake I said anything about him wearing my socks!
Wow. Okay, I haven't blogged in something like three weeks, and I honestly forgot. I've been crazy busy with work, school, jewelry making and mommy-ing.
My job as a reading tutor for the school district has begun again, and I'm having fun and working crazy hard. I've got four little groups of students and I have an extra helping this month because one of our tutors is in France helping with her sick father. I'm so looking forward to her return! I normally have about 6 or 7 students and right now I have 10.
My classes have started and I am having so much fun! I'm taking beginning ceramics and advance metal-smithing. It's fun to try new things when I don't have a lot of emotion invested, which is where the ceramics comes in. And I'm doing what I want to do in Metal-smithing. So far, I've done a lot of rolling press leaf imprints and some fold-forming pendants. Nothing is complete, but I like working on several little projects at once so that I can leave something in the pickle or whatever. I'll take some pictures this week of the works in progress and share them.
Plus, I've been doing my wire-work at home to get ready for the Christmas bazaars. I should do quite a few pieces to get ready and I just don't know how I'll accomplish all of it!
So, too busy. But having fun. That's me.
On Saturdays I share a few things that have made me smile over the last week.
I admit it. This has been a HARD week. For many reasons.
First, I started work again. I'm a reading tutor during the school year, and I enjoy it very much. However, it's hard work- it involves lots of brain work and dealing with kids who often have issues. They are great kids, and I have to figure out how to work with them and help them learn.
Also, both of my girls complained and whined their way through this week. They are readjusting their sleep schedules and trying to deal with homework, new teachers and new friends.
Deborah's best friend moved away over the summer.
Abigail has realized she knows very few kids at her new school.
They both HATED school this week and they made mornings miserable for everybody.
I did smile this week, though. About several things.
1) I made new jewelry!
I made some pretty things, but my camera is still MIA. Blech.
2) Abigail got to go berry-picking with her class and she loved it.
3) Deborah has been recommended for the local youth orchestra by her orchestra teacher.
And she wants to audition. We'll see how it goes.
On Saturday I share a few things that have made me smile over the last week.
1) School Started!
My girls were gone at school all day on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Peace and quiet reigned. And...
2) Abigail likes her new school!
Which is a miracle and thrill. She has never really liked school, and we finally put her in the potential pool for one of the local charter schools which spends a majority of their time outside. Her name got drawn out of the hat, and she was excited at first. As the first day of school approached she started saying no, she didn't want to try a new school. But she liked it! And she wanted to go back.
3) I don't have to start work until next week!
I start tutoring next week on Tuesday, and I am thrilled to say that I'm enjoying the quiet at home while they are gone. Quiet and peace is an amazing gift. I've gotten a surprising amount of work done without their constant presence. I like my job. I like getting paid. But I also like accomplishing some much needed jobs. The job will come soon enough.
On Saturdays I share a few things that have made me smile over the last week.
1) Farmer's Market
Beth and I have been selling jewelry as fast as we can make it, and we are really struggling to keep up. I always remind myself at this point: Must keep up with the inventory better during the coming winter... Will I do it this year? I don't know... 2) Summer BBQ
Hanging out with friends and eating grilled halibut and s'mores.
3) Fresh Tomatoes
All I planted this year was a cherry tomato bush, and I've actually kept it alive. Plus it is fruiting like crazy. I have more than 20 little tomatoes ripening, and they are so pretty.
I've got two adorable things my girls used to say...
My oldest daughter, Deborah (now ten years old and entering 5th grade) used to say she was going to "cl-olor a picture" instead of "color a picture". She said that up until she was in kindergarten. I miss that one.
My youngest daughter, Abigail (almost eight and going into 3rd grade) used to say she was going to take a shower and wash her chest and her "nibbles", rather than her "nipples". Harder to catch this one and help her fix it since most people don't go around talking about their nipples. She really didn't get the difference until she was in first grade. She still sometimes substitutes and "F" for a "Th", but she knows the what they sound like now, she just kind of lets it slide every once in a while.
It's true that I want my girls to grow up, change and experience life, but there is a part of me that misses their baby hugs, smiles and words. I don't want them to be trapped in eternal child-hood, but much of that time was precious, simply because it is forever gone. Except for in my memories.
On Saturdays I post about a couple of things that have made me smile over the last week.
1) Rock Skipping on the river
Jake, the girls and I went for a walk last Monday and spent time skipping rocks. We had so much fun!
Abigail is learning, and really struggling since her Dad is a lefty.
At the end of our river walk I was able to get her to throw they with her right hand & she did better.
Jake is amazing! He got a rock to skip about 10 times and it looked like it was walking.
skipping rocks on the Chena
2) Lovely summer
I've enjoyed this summer so much! Most of ours summers are wet, cloudy or covered in smoke from wild fires. This summer has been beautiful and warm with lots of golden sun. I've thoroughly enjoyed myself. I'm shocked that we only have one more full week til school starts.
3) The Fair
We went to the fair last Sunday, and has FUN! Wild and crazy fun. Rides, animals, beads, crazy loud music, fair food... We spent way too much money, but came home tired and happy. I'm so glad we went!
Abigail and Deborah with their pixy sticks
Abigail in the bouncy house (they LOVED this ride & it was worth the money!
They got to jump in there forever- probably 15 minutes.)
Tree Wing Studio is giving away one of her precious little sleepy critters beads. I don't want you to go over there and try to win something, because I want to win! However, I am going to show you how sweet and adorable her beads are, and I am going to say her deadline is coming quickly...
On Saturday I post about a couple of things that have made me smile over the last week.
1) I found another wire artist I like! Cheryl Parrott Jewelry's Etsy shop is a delight. I love the organic nature of her jewelry and how she captures different seasons. I want to grow up to be just like her.
I want to share some of my favorite pieces she has made:
She makes amazing pieces and I am so pleased to have found another wire artist. I wish I could work in silver wire as she often does, maybe soon.
On Saturday I post about a few things that have made me smile over the last week.
1) My girls have gotten along really well this week.
The difficult neighbor girl has been gone all week, so my girls have played with each other and had a delightful week.
Okay, so here's the honesty... We have a neighbor girl who plays my girls off of each other. She'll be friends with Abigail one day, and say that Deborah is horrible and come up with an idea for a club so that they can leave Deborah out. And then she'll do the opposite the next day.
I want them to learn how to get along with difficult people so I have not forbidden them to play with this girl. BUT. I wonder sometimes if I should.
That's bad, isn't it? I should be the "nice" mom or the pro-active 'soccer' mom, but really, I just want everybody to get along and stop being so mean.
2) More new jewelry
My camera is still MIA... So no good pictures. But, believe me. I've made a lot of new stuff, and I'm happy with it all.
3) Fun Movies
During the summer, Beth and I watch movies and bead like crazy people in the evenings to keep up with the demand of Farmer's Market. Over the last week we have re-watched the Harry Potter movies and had a lot of fun. I discovered I never saw the third one, and she never saw the last one. It's fun to watch them again, and see what we missed the first time. It's great to watch them straight through and see the over-all story-lines. Plus, they are good beading movies because we'd already seen most of them.
We've also re-watched the Spiderman movies and the X-Men movies.
For the Bead Hoarders Blog Hop post, please go HERE.
On Saturdays I post about a couple of things that have made me smile over the last week.
1) I had a good market week.
I sold quite a few things last Saturday and Wednesday! Which meant...
2) I made a LOT of jewelry this week.
I normally make jewelry like crazy during the summer to keep up with the demand, but it seems like I never can quite keep up with the special requests. I was able to make quite a few pieces this week and have fun, too. I'm not ahead, of course, but I might just be caught up finally.
3) My girls were baptized last Sunday!
I wanted this to be something they chose, something that would be meaningful to them and mark a day they could remember. Jake and I talked with them and explained how baptism is a picture that shows their choice to follow Jesus and live for Him, and they got it. They talked to me and to our Children's Minister about wanting to be baptized like Jesus. And we got to do it in the Chena River last Sunday! My heart is so happy when I think about their baptisms.
The prayer afterwards with Pastor Andy Ekblad and Children's Minister Emily Miner.
My friend, the talented Lori Anderson of Pretty Things has done it again. She has created a brilliant blog hop and invited all her beady friends to participate with her. This time she came up with the idea of using all the special beads and pendants that you're too in love with to actually use... Your special hoard of bead treasures. For more about this particular challenge, go HERE.
Oh, my... Am I a bead hoarder... In fact, I'm completely unwilling to show my bead stash and storage methods because it is OUT OF CONTROL. I still have kids who get into stuff so my beads are mostly corralled in the hall closet, but they have escaped and spilled out... I find beads most everywhere- under the dining table. In the couch. In the bathroom...
I chose to work with a very special pendant my sister gave me two Christmases ago. The pendant is a butterfly wing under glass, and I've been too in love with it to do anything. I also felt guilty spending time on a piece for myself. Isn't that silly? Thank you, Lori! I don't think I would have stopped and made something for myself if you hadn't come up with this wonderful idea.
I'm delighted with the piece, but incredibly frustrated with the pictures. Somehow I've misplaced my camera, (my girls probably 'borrowed' it again) so I used my I-Phone to take the pictures, and they are horrible. Really horrible. The color is a little odd, and they are out of focus. I hope I can find my camera tomorrow and replace these pictures!
On the Wing
I wrapped a wire frame for the pendant and added a pearl and a Swarovski butterfly to accent the wing. Then, I wire wrapped crystals and some of the butterfly beads I've been hoarding and turned them into a rosary style chain. I added more chain to add space and light to the piece and also to draw the eye back down to the pendant..
On the Wing
I'm so pleased with my butterfly wing necklace. Thank you, Lori!
To see Lori's post and the list of participants, please go HERE.
I'm a wife, Mommy, writer, actor, director, poet, painter, singer, jewelry designer and beader. I have always loved the idea of an 'artist in residence' program... I pray that my life is a reflection of the love, mercy and grace of God.