Friday, May 27, 2011

Simplicity & Harmony

Bead Give-Away

There is a fabulous bead give-away over on Barbara Lewis' blog I want the beads she is giving away, and so will you if you go visit! So don't, okay? 'Cuz then there will be even more people for me to compete with and I will never win!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Tent Up-Grade!

Last summer we had the best spot at Farmer's Market we've ever had. We were on a corner, and people would come out of the building and walk right over to us. When it rained, people would use our tent as cover because we had our tables set up in such a way that there was plenty of space. We loved our corner space.

This summer we lost our super, awesome, fabulous tent spot. Someone who has been at Farmer's Market longer than us claimed precedence and got the corner spot.

There are SO MANY people selling jewelry at the market this year that Beth and I despaired of ever making up the cachet we lost with our corner spot. We prayed and talked about what we could do to make our tent stand out from the other jewelery tents- to have people notice our jewelry and remember a feeling, style or look.

We came up with a couple of ideas-

First, we always use rice and black gravel in our containers at the Christmas bazaars because it looks lovely. We get a nice display surface, and the kids get something to play with- bonus. We decided to pull it out and use it at Farmer's Market. Yes, it's a pain to set up, but we're betting it's worth it in the long run.

Second, we decided to find an attractive rug. We looked all over for something with-in our price range and available in Alaska. (You wouldn't believe the companies that won't ship an attractive rug to Alaska! Or charge an exorbidant fee to do so. It's not like we're in Russia or Ethiopia...)

Third, we decided to go ahead and add the curtains/swag we've talked about for the last two summers. We've talked about it, but the kind of material that we were attracted to- organdy or voile- is IMPOSSIBLE to hem. Neither of us had any interest in spending hours hemming slippery fine fabric. But we found these fabulous curtains for a lovely price in just the fabric we wanted! Hemmed already! and at a good length!

So, for our internet debut:
The Two Sisters Farmer's Market tent Up-Grade!

We will continue to find ways to differentiate ourselves from the crowd, but it's not always easy... Please pray for us if you think about it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

It's time to share my work-space again... So, I invite you to enter my mess.

My mess has decreased by a small amount since last Wednesday, but not as much as I had hoped.

I've gotten some pictures taken of my metal-smithing projects, and a couple of projects completed. However, my bead table is still in chaos, and I don't know how much longer I can handle it.

Here's the mess...

And here's my current project. I'm working on a brass cuff bracelet, and I have struggled to find the right beads to match this component.

I admit it- When I originally grabbed this metal I had no idea it was brass. I love digging through the discard box in the shop- picking through everybody else's trash metal, and choosing their junk to turn into my treasures. I've created some of my favorite pieces from crazy worked over metal.

Anyway, I had no idea this metal was brass, or I probably would have let it stay in the discards 'cuz brass is so hard to work with and cut. Brass is difficult. Hard to cut, hard to solder, hard to shape. When I found the metal it was this lovely bronzey-coppery color, and I thought it was copper (my favorite metal). I was wrong. While I love the end results, I would never choose to willingly work with brass to create a cuff bracelet again.

I think I'm probably going to end up loving this piece. I've taken longer to match the right beads to the cuff and I suspect the rewards will be pretty sweet.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Smiles

Five Things That Make Me Smile:

1.) The last day of school!

The girls were simply WILD on Thursday because school is over for the summer. I couldn't blame them. I was just about wild, too.

2) My girls love going to church again!

This has been a huge change for us, but we finally made the choice to move to a different church... Jake & I were happy, but my girls hated going. They fought us every Sunday, and whined the whole way there. They hated the inconsistency of teachers, and the baby-sitting focus in the children's ministry at our last church. And one of the last things we want is for them to hate church when they are just 5 & 7.

Jake & I weren't very happy with the children's program either, but would have probably stayed if our girls hadn't made it clear they were miserable.

It's still not official & I'll report more later, but we think we've found where God wants us to be right now.

3) The Pagoda restaurant in North Pole-

They make excellent Chinese food, and Jake's from Seattle, so he's pretty particular. We finally got to go out alone on a date last Friday, and drove out to North Pole. We enjoyed the drive and the yummy food. The Pagoda is always worth the 15-20 minute drive out to North Pole. (Yes, my friends in the lower 48- that is a LONG drive up here in Fairbanks.)

4) The Library

Any library! I love visiting the library. I love the complete organization, and being able to find what you want, and the children's room... I love visiting different sections and finding all the books I haven't read yet. I could easily spend hours there... I enjoyed working at the music library in Fort Worth, even though I didn't make a ton of money. I like the quiet, and lighting, and the books.

5) Pearls

I love pearls. I love beading with them. I love wearing them. I love looking at them. I love their glow and shine. I love that it's just like God to take something painful & irritating and make it into something beautiful.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Metalsmithing- Spring 2011

I'm in the process of photographing my Metal-smithing projects.

Here are two of my cuffs.

The first cuff is silver and attached to leather. I used copper to create the little flowers, and soldered them onto the silver cuff.

The second cuff is twisted copper wire and soldered together.

Work Table Wednesday

Well, my metal-smithing class is over... All my projects are home. Whether they are complete or not.

And they are all sitting on my bead table. Some of them in zippies, some of them in piles. Waiting for me to photograph them.

So, it's Wednesday, and here's my work table... Covered in finished and unfinished metal-smithing projects. Waiting for their chance in the spotlight.

And no, I can't really believe I'm taking a pic of my horrible mess. But that's what work bench Wednesday is all about, right? The good, the bad and the downright ugly? (Ugly, that's my work table today!)

Also, I'm in mourning that I don't get to be in the metal-smithing shop for another 3 or 4 months... I'm very, very sad.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Work Table Wednesday

Here's what is on my work table up in the Metal Smithing Studio-

First, my moon locket:
I'm still working on this piece. Honestly, it's the most complicated piece I've ever made. From the hinge, to the box shape, and on to placing a bail.
Today, I was working on the back ground. I applied liver of sulphur to darken the sky.

I'm not sure if I'm completely done, I can still see what I would like to work on...

Here are four pendants I'm currently working on... I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do with each of them, but I hope I can come up with something soon! My final's this Thursday. I've completed all my required projects, but I'd like to get these pendants completed before I no longer have access to the studio.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Saturday Smiles Re-Boot

I am super sick this weekend, so I didn't have energy or time to do my Saturday Smiles. In fact, I'm trying to figure out HOW I can do them since we're starting Farmer's Market next Saturday. However it works out, I'm going to continue doing them. I enjoy writing them.

I was unable to do my smiles, so I offer up a couple of 'Work in Progress' photos...

The first is my copper stash with the two bracelets on the left. I've had these two bracelets for about a year, and I have not known how to finish them. They just didn't look right to my eye. But I finally know what I'm going to do! I hope to show the pictures this next Wednesday.

Next, I have some head-pins I cut and melted the ball ends. They are just waiting to be pickled and shined.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Fun Friday! - 3 Finished Pendants

I'll revisit these pendants when they are all strung and made into lovely necklaces, but I wanted to share some COMPLETED pieces.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Work Table Wednesday

I'm excited to show off a couple of finished pieces and one still in the process.

First, I have a couple finished pendants to share:

My Butterfly Pendant is pretty much complete- I'm not sure how I'll string it up, but I'm looking forward to finding the right beads.

I'm calling this next pendant "The Memory of Trees". I wish the photo of the green Prehnite revealed the amazing depth and glow of the stone. Beth had the stone, and let me buy it from her when she saw it against the pendant. Just stunning. While the photo looks nice, in person the stone glows like a high quality labradorite or cat's eye bead.

Here is the piece I still have in progress- my Night Sky locket.

I'm in the middle of completing the hinge and I fought with it for quite some time tonight. The hinge is almost complete, and then I'll get to place the stone and work on the night sky...