I got to hang out with my youngest daughter today. She's a fun kid.
She got to choose our destination, so first we went to Petco and looked at all the animals. I admit I enjoy that kind of a trip, too. Her favorite was this silly, young ferret snaking along on his belly. My favorite was a parrakeet who dangled upside down by one toe while gently twirling around. He watched us watching him for about five minutes.
Next, we went next door to the new Fairbanks Pier One and tried on all their clearance masks. (Random Question: how can a store be 'new' and already have clearance items? They've been here a couple of months, but really?)
Her choices sum up my Abigail pretty well- she loves animals, loves dress-up, and would like to be either a veterinarian or a dog musher when she grows up. Although if she could, she'd be a wolf instead.
At a dinner, one of the diners, an Atheist, asked the Christian sitting next to him:
"How do you know your God forgave your sins or that He listens to your prayers, when you can't see anything of that sort?"
"How do you know your tea has sugar?" asked the Christian
"What do you mean? I taste it!"
"So you know there is sugar in your tea, even if you can't see it. Just the same, I feel God's love in my heart. My sinful soul feels delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Divine Liturgy, Holy Confession, and prayers make my spirit soar and find peace in God. You can't see love with the eyes of your body, but with the eyes of your soul."
I am reminded of God's love when I look at the painted sky and blooming flowers. I am reminded of His faithfulness as I watch the sun rise and set.
Deborah turned 11 this week. Pretty hard to believe...
I still think of her like this...
(That's her daddy & my husband, Jake.)
There are several things I miss about baby Deborah- she was cuddly, with the most amazing chuckle, and less inclined to talk back...
But there are some wonderfully cool things about watching her grow up and turn into a young woman- talking with her and hearing her opinions, watching her make smart choices and learn from her mistakes.
One of my favorite pieces from my last semester of metal-smithing is this necklace- partly because I am so pleased with how it turned out, but also because it took me four semesters of metal-smithing to complete the project. I've come so far in my ability to envision a piece of jewelry and then bring it into being. It is fun to look back at the small steps it took to complete the entire piece.
My "Bloom" Necklace
I hammered the fold-formed copper piece during my first semester and soldered it to the nickel back at the beginning of my second semester. Towards the end of that semester I cut out the flowers and soldered them onto the pendant base, but I didn't know what I wanted to do with it next. It didn't feel complete and I didn't really have a direction or idea. So I chose to let it simmer rather than push it.
A year later I took my third semester of metal-smithing and one of the first things I did was use letters to punch in the word bloom. Finally, towards the end of this last (and fourth) semester I added the rivet, the crystals, the leather, the liver-of-sulfur and the chain.
And I am keeping this one. It has been kind of cool to stretch out the process and see how my abilities slowly increased and allowed me to fully develop an idea.
Hello! Welcome to my little space on the inter-webs. I'm so excited to be part of Lori's soup party again! Honestly, she throws the best parties ever.
I was partnered with the bold and delightful RaMona Woolson of Jersey Girls Beadwork. Here's the soup she sent me.
RaMona's Bead Soup
Such a lovely mix of blues and turquoises! Pretty humorous since I sent similar colors...
My Soup For RaMona
I knew pretty quick what I wanted to do with that cute whirlpool handmade focal bead. I had seen a bracelet using a long handmade glass bead, and I wanted to try something similar. I also have just recently made my first purchase of sari silk and I wanted to work that in, too.
I love the sound this bracelet makes when you wear it. Ramona's swirly charms and the spin of the focal bead and the clinking of the glass beads make me smile.
I fell in love with the mosaic shell beads and wanted to work with them next. I had an idea, but it didn't quite work at first... It wasn't until I pulled out this large handmade glass bead from my stash that I knew what I was doing. And again, I pulled from my new stash of sari silk!
Caribbean shores bracelet
I find I'm mostly using large lobster clasps with my pieces right now because more of my customers prefer the ability to change the length of their bracelets and necklaces. I'm using a lot of extension chains to make them longer and varying the size of the lobster clasps. Which means I've got a lot of lovely clasps stashed away and I'm not using them.
And the sweet leaf clasp RaMona sent me was leaving me in a bit of a confusion. What was I going to do with it? Then Lori sent her bead soup tips e-mail and I jumped on the challenge of creating earrings with a clasp. Thank you, Lori!
Bloom Where You Are Planted Earrings
I pulled out my green wire and combined it with my stash of Lucite flowers & leaves to create these little cuties. And now I want to pull out some of my tucked away and unused clasps and make lots of asymmetrical wire-wrapped earrings.
Finally, those sodalite leaves were telling me they wanted to be long dangly earrings.
Leaf Wrap Earrings
I liked working with the wire so much on the clasp earrings that I did some wrapping here, too. It was fun to combine the different colors of silver.
I still haven't done anything with the cute birdie, the large shell beads or the blue pearls, but I have some ideas kicking around in my brain that haven't quite gelled yet. I'm looking forward to working with them this summer.
Thank you, Ramona for sharing your stash and playing beads with me!
Thank you, Lori for your work putting this party together!
I hate to admit this, but I am currently experiencing technical difficulties (partially contributed to by finals week) and my post isn't up yet. I have completed my pieces and my photos are mostly finished. I expect to have my post up today.
Please enjoy the rest of Lori's fabulous soup!
And if you think of it, come back later today or tomorrow. =)
Well, I got the chance to work on them again last night, and I'm pleased with how they turned out. I only have two of them halfway complete, the other one is still in the metals studio on campus.
Bezeled Collage Marbles:
"Dream", and "Once Upon A Time"
I love soldering on copper, but the other one needed a silver finish. Which made it more complicated for me to solder, since I chose to use nickel silver instead of the real thing for the back plating.
I cut and shaped the copper, then cut and filed the silver bezel strips. I soldered the silver bezels strips into a circle, then soldered the circles onto the copper. Then I drilled the hole, but I think I'll need to go back and drill the hole a little bigger. I want to put an eyelet or grommet (a rivet with a hold through it) through the hole to give it a more finished look. I also intend to attach leather to the back of the copper so that no one has an allergic response to copper. Besides, I just like the way the leather looks and finishes the pieces. I have some more sanding and finishing to do, but I am so pleased with the way they turned out.
Bezeled Collage Marbles:
"Dream", and "Once Upon A Time"
After Note: Anyone else out there hate trying to photograph glass or crystal? I am terrible at it! I can see the reflection of the camera in all of the marbles, and I didn't I got the collages as sharp & detailed as I wanted because of the reflective glass. I know I can only get better with practice, but my results are always so disappointing to me that I don't want to practice...
I'm so excited to participate in another of Lori's bead soup parties! It's fun to see what comes in the mail, to try new things, and to work with beads you never would have chosen for yourself. I've thoroughly enjoyed the challenge in the past and would not have willingly given up the opportunity to do it again. In the past I've had to push myself to work with unusual materials, and unusual beads. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes from my new partner, and to seeing what I can do with what she sends me.
In fact, I wanted to share some of my favorite pieces from past parties.
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!
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.