Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Work table Wednesday

Sadly, I do not have any pretty pictures to show of my work... What I can show is the wax pen I used to create my original pendant.

And I can show the kiln containing my wax original pendant. The kiln is currently burning out the wax original so that I can pour molten metal into the concrete mold. I hope to get my metal poured tomorrow! Maybe then I'll be able to show my pretty...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Smiles

I forgot to do my Saturday Smiles last night! Yikes! I'm sorry.

Here are 5 things that make me smile:

1) I love books by Tamora Pierce. She writes Young Adult fantasy.
Fabulous stories- about characters who change and grow, who deal with real life, and have to work within impossible situations. I love her characters- strong girls, interesting guys, yucky villains.

Her newest series is about a character named Beka. (I love the name!) Beka Cooper is a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost's Guard, and she's been assigned to the Lower City. It's a tough beat that's about to get tougher, as Beka's limited ability to communicate with the dead clues her in to an underworld conspiracy. Someone close to Beka is using dark magic to profit from the Lower City's criminal enterprises—and the result is a crime wave the likes of which the Provost's Guard has never seen before. http://www.tamora-pierce.com/

2) Queen- Don't tell me if you don't enjoy Queen's music. I don't want to know.

3) Jim Henson's Muppets
They make me smile and laugh. Fun silliness. I loved them when I was growing up, and am delighted to discover they are still fun as an adult. The Muppet Show was one of the few shows that my mom would let us watch. Our television watching was pretty curtailed, which I agree with now, but hated back then. I love Beaker, Animal, Electric Mayhem, Kermit... Oh, yeah. Good stuff.

4) The funny website with kitty cats- http://icanhascheezburger.com/ Makes me laugh everytime I visit.

5) Butterflies

God uses butterflies to remind me of his love and power.
I'm constantly questioning Him about His purposes and plans. I have a tendency to doubt His goodness and love.
And He uses butterflies to remind me that He is all that is good, right, pure, lovely, loving, true, noble, and admirable. Without Him there would be no love or kindness in this world. This time and place would be an evil and lawless place. He is all that is holding the world together and keeping it from spinning into space.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ice Park 2011- #2

We are all laughing so hard because I had just slipped off the turtle!
Jake wanted us all on the turtle for a picture. The girls got on, and then I tried. But it was so slippery!!
I was quite surprised to end up almost on the ground.

There were 3 or 4 turtles, and we chose one for all of us to sit on. Because the light is at an odd angle the picture just can't show the turtle to it's best advantage. The were beautiful, very detailed with lovely faces, shells and legs.

Ice Park 2011

The four of us got to go to the Ice park before everything melted.
Jake took some fabulous photos, again.

We had so much fun. =)

Spring Break-Up

I created a pictorial version of my trip to get Jake home from the Museum every night.

The first picture shows the pile of snow twice the size of the car as I drive down our street.

The second picture shows the round-about on campus that takes me up the hill to the Museum.
The University commissions a couple polar bear ice statues from the Ice Park artists every year- I particularly liked them this year. However, my picture isn't of the bear, it's of the melting snow, and the hill headed up towards the museum.

The final three pictures shows the driveway right in front of the Museum.
Jake was late, so I got the opportunity to take a couple pictures of the melting snow.
While the Bobcat is not my favorite part of the picture, it does a very good job of showing just how deep the snow is...

You can see the museum in the left corner of this photo, and the parking lot on past the museum.

I LOVE Break-up. It's so ugly and dirty as the snow melts and reveals all the gravel, dirt and trash.
Yet at the same time it's absolutely beautiful because I see winter trickling away... I know summer is coming! Flowers, and warmth and 24 hour daylight!

Words from Above

I heard this song on the radio today, and was reminded of the strength of God's love for His children. I admit, I have come to understand God's love in a new way since becoming a parent... Not that I didn't get it before, but, well, I'm not sure I did... It's easy for me to believe that God's love has an end- a place past which my actions will prevent Him from loving me. I need to be reminded that God's love has no end.


by Tenth Avenue North

I hear you say "my love is over,

It's underneath, it's inside, it's in between

The times you doubt me, when you can't feel

The times that you've questioned 'Is this for real?'

The times you've broken, the times that you mend

The times you hate me and the times that you bend

Well my love is over, its underneath

It's inside, it's in between,

These times you're healing

And when your heart breaks

The times that you feel like you've fallen from grace

The times you're hurting

The times that you heal

The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal

In times of confusion and chaos and pain

I'm there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame

I'm there through your heartache

I'm there in the storm

My love, I will keep you by my power alone

I don't care where you've fallen, where you have been

I'll never forsake you

my love never ends, it never ends"

Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Work Table Wednesday

It's Wednesday again! I get to share what's on my workbench.

First, the metalsmithing shop worktable:

I have quite a few projects going on in the shop, right now. The most important ones are the three across the middle front.

1) Starting on the left, my toggle clasp! I got to cast it, and it has turned out exactly as I hoped.

2) Next to the clasp, is a butterfly pendant I've been working with for a while. And I'm still not done. I want to patina the pendant so that the leaf stands out.

3) On the right, is the lid to my box. I've got a lot of work left on the box, but I'm glad to make a start.

Here's my home work table:
I finished the dangle for the pearl and crystal necklace. Yay! One project down. And now that I have the clasp end, I should be able to complete the nesting branch necklace.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saturday Smiles

10 Things that make me smile:

1) Spring is here! My spring is probably different than yours, though. LOL. Spring in Fairbanks, Alaska means neg 15 to plus 30 degrees, dirty snow and icy roads. All the photos I could find of break-up were copy-righted so I'm going to have to go outside tomorrow and take some break-up photos.

2) Don Williams music
I grew up listening to my mom's country music- and Don Williams was one of her favorites. Hearing his songs makes me think of Oregon & California.

3) Sitting on the couch with my husband and watching tv. We have a little two person love-seat, and when he & I sit there, we're close. Real close. Practically on top of each other close.

4) My bead tray! I love my bead buddy tray, and it certainly shows the wear of my love.
My tray holds at least two projects well, and I generally have more than that going at a time. It travels with me to our bazaars and the Farmer's Market.
Beth and I frequently have people who need re-sizing on our jewelry, and if it's possible we do it right there. Also, we spend so much time away- 2 full days a week- and I can't read at bazaars- it takes too much attention, so I have to have something to do. I can do beadwork and talk to customers or Beth.

5) Mercedes Lackey books
She has written many series, and over 100 books. These are my particular favorites:
Valdemar Universe,
Five Hundred Kingdom,
Elemental Masters, &
Diana Tregarde.

6) Dinner at Chili's
Fell in love with Chili's while in Ft. Worth, and now that there's one in Fairbanks I'm a happy girl. We only go out once or twice a month, but Chili's is pretty high on our 'favorite restaurants' list.

7) Brownies- Rich, chewy, fudgy brownies

8) Learning something new in Metal-smithing.
I'm a slow-poke while I'm learning. I want to do a new process at least 3 times and really understand it so that I can do it completely on my own. But I LOVE getting it, and being able to explain it to someone else.

9) Listening to my husband explain something he's excited about.
When he is learning something new or involved with something new, he completely dives into it. He reads several books, and studies about it on-line. Since he damaged his beautiful camera and we can't repair it yet, a friend loaned him a Canon EFS. Jake has submerged himself in the subject of the new camera.

10) Sharing books with friends
I love sharing titles and talking about books. I love talking about a favorite author with someone else, and going into story-lines, and discussing characters. I honestly miss Litereature classes in high school and college. Even the papers. That's just wrong, isn't it?

Me, Beading!

Jake took some pictures of me beading tonight while I was working. I'm wrapping the dangles for the pearl and crystal necklaces.

Aargh. I wish i had combed my hair. =) And I realize once again how tired I am all the time.
Pretty cool to see photos of me doing my work, though. I am pleased with how professional and capable my hands look.


Oye. I did not sleep last night. I think the last time I looked at the clock it was around 5. I hate that. And now I feel TERRIBLE.
Mama tired and grouchy does not make a happy household for two little girls who are home for spring break.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Work Bench Wednesday

Okay. I TOTALLY do not want to share my work table today! I am embarrassed that I've still got the same projects on it...

I've still got that necklace waiting for the fancy dangle. I discovered I don't have the right kind of large jump ring to hang it all on, so I either need to make one or find one...

And I've still got the bird/branch necklace waiting for me to cast the clasp.
At least I've got a good reason for not casting- it's spring break here, so no classes. So no casting.

I think Beth and I will make it into the shop tomorrow night so I can get some shop work done- but probably still not the casting since I want to do that with Jack.

Here's Luna watching me take pictures:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I heard this song a couple days ago...

by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
But long that we'd have the faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home,

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Laura is the lyricist who wrote "Indescribable" & "Mighty to Save". For her story, go here: http://www.laurastorymusic.com/bio


I have been incredibly dark the last few days.
Life seems overwhelmingly bleak.

I think I'm shocked at how horrific the Japanese tragedy has become... My sister asked me what was wrong today. I snapped at her, and have been incredibly short with my children.

And isn't that exactly the wrong response I should have??
Shouldn't I want to hold them and be kind and compassionate?
Shouldn't I be thankful that I have my loved ones with me?
That I know where they are?
That I know there is food and water for them?
That we are all okay?
Shouldn't I be thankful for the safety of my family?

Why am I so overwhelmed with the tragedy this time?
I was appalled by the tsunami in Indonesia.- Did you know one in every five Indonesians died or was severely injured?
I was shocked by the earthquake damage in Chile. Over 500,000 homes were destroyed.
I cried as I saw the destruction in Haiti. All the major hospitals were destroyed. More than 1300 schools and all the health care facilities were damaged.

I think there is so much devastation and loss of life that I have become overwhelmed. I do not see how everyone can possibly be saved. Haiti is still in a horrible situation. Now Japan, too...

God, please provide water & food for the Japanese people. Please provide care for those who need it, and rescue for those still trapped. Thank you for the amazing rescue stories I read today. But there are still so many who need help. I am only one person, and I can't do much. God, please be the God who provides- provide what is needed.


I found this at Lori's blog- http://www.lorianderson.blogspot.com

Monday, March 14, 2011

Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge

A monthly challenge occurs over at the Art Bead Scene blog- http://artbeadscene.blogspot.com/

Artists are encouraged to springboard off a chosen picture and it's color palette to create a complete piece of jewelry (so not just a single art bead or pendant), and then submit a picture of it as an entry.

I would love to start participating in this challenge! Especially since I have started to create my own components and focals. (which thrills and delights me!) And the use of an original 'art bead' or pendant is a requirement. I can't just string up a bunch of dyed pearls. I must use a unique piece made by myself or purchased from the creator. For more on the rules: http://artbeadscene.blogspot.com/2011/03/march-monthly-challenge.html

We'll see. At this particular moment I'm not feeling inspired by this Paul Gaugin painting.... But it could happen. And I have until March 31st to develop an idea from this warm, rich palette of colors.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Current Project - Branch In a Tree

Here's the project currently possessing my brain.
I've got some major issues to deal with yet, but I'm hoping it all works out well:
The clasp hasn't been poured yet. I've carved the piece, but I can't pour it til next week, and yes, I'm nervous.
Until I have the clasp, I can't string up the right side (which is the left side in the pic).
I'm still trying to figure out how to attach the bird and have it hang right where I want it to. It looks perfect laying out on the board. However, I know that if I just string it up the branch and nest will hang willy-nilly... And I can't just solder a jump-ring on the back of the branch. It's too ripply, and the solder will just run and run and run... And I can't really solder anything close to that pearl anyway. So that's completely out as an option.
I made the wire underneath the glass beads! =) Okay, so that's probably not such a big deal, but it is to me. I couldn't find a wire that matched the bronze tree branch, so I cut bronze sheet metal, ran it through the rolling mill (over and over and over...), then I pulled it through a plate to get it down to the gauge I wanted.
I'll keep posting updates. I hope to finish this project next week.

Real Life

"We must stop regarding unpleasant or unexpected things as interruptions of real life. The truth is that interruptions are real life."
C.S. Lewis

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Smiles

Here are 10 things that make me smile:

1) Family Reunion pictures
I loved those reunions when I was a kid. I have an enormous family on my mom's side (12 in my grammy's generation, over 50 in my mom's and a LOT in mine), and we used to go to the annual Durrette reunions when we lived down south (South to me is Oregon!). I miss living closing enough to go to these events and am sad my girls still haven't experienced a huge family reunion like I did.

2) Finding out that there are more Liaden stories out there!
I've read all the major stories in the Liaden universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. However, in a recent Google search I discovered many Liaden short stories I haven't read yet. And I am thrilled! I love the depth of their universe- all the wonderful characters, and the fascinating histories. I've ordered three of the books, and hope to receive them soon! https://www.srmpublisher.com/productcart/pc/viewcategories.asp?idCategory=2

3) Finishing a beading project-
I just finished two bracelets and a pair of earrings for a repeat customer. I love the satisfaction of holding an item in my hands and knowing that I made it. Funny. I never considered myself someone who made things. I always created ephemeral art- songs, dance, theatre... And now I have the contentment of making beautiful items that people wear.

4) My cat, Luna-
She's like holding a little fire 'cuz she exudes heat, but I love holding her & listening to her purr. She is the most stupid cat I've ever met, and her sheer persistence & stubborness would wear out the most patient person on the earth. But she's a sweet girl who lives to be close to her people.

5) Road Trips
I love driving in the car with friends or family. Going for fun, or for a job. I love driving at night in my own little world.

6) A new season of Supernatural!
I honestly thought season 5 was gonna be it. They wrapped the series up pretty good with the finale, and I thought that was the end. But I'm delighted to discover there will be more monsters and mayhem.

7) an afternoon nap
oh, yeah. Who doesn't like taking a little nap during the day?

8) Rocking my girls at night
I hold & rock each of them for two songs before they go to bed. It gives me a chance to cuddle with them even when we've had a bad day, and it gives them the opportunity to calm down and let the day go. (Deborah asked me how I'm going to do it when she's taller than me. I don't know. We'll cross that bridge later. Right now, she's 7 and still wants me to hold her. Thank you, God!)

9) The silence in our house when I'm still up and everybody else is in bed... 6 people do not a quiet house make...

10) ABBA- Yes, I smile when I listen to ABBA. In particular, I like "Fernando". I don't know why. I just do.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Workbench Wednesday

Time to look at my two workbenches!

Here's my school workbench- I have three projects on there currently:

1) In the center is a little bird's nest I wire-wrapped to go with the cast branch. I placed a white pearl egg in the center.
Oh! The trauma of trying to attach the thing on the branch!!!

First I cut out & shaped a small copper cup with holes around the sides to be the base. And then I drilled a hole in the branch for a wire to thread through the nest and into the branch. After that, I epoxied the nest on by placing a head pin through the nest and into the hole in the branch. It worked great.

Until I was half-way through wire wrapping the nest and had just attached the egg... Then the nest fell off because of the pressure I was putting it under as I pulled and tugged on the wire.
Arrgh. And then I couldn't hold onto the head-pin UNDERNEATH the pearl as I tried to reattach the nest... I got very frustrated. But I finally achieved success! It's on there. And I'm happy with it.

2) Below and to the right of the nest is a clasp I'm in the middle of creating to go with the branch necklace.

3) Above and to the left are four ovals I'm working with.... I really don't know what they are going to be, but it is always wise to have at least 2 projects, if not more, going in the shop. Then if Jack can't help you immediately when you run into a problem on one project you can jump over to the other while you're waiting. Or you can pop something into the pickle while you work on something else.

This is my home table.

I've got three projects on there right now. (Hmmmm... I must like threes.)

1) In the upper left corner is the completed purple and crystal wire necklace I was half-way through last week. I thought I was done, but the middle flower is missing a crystal petal. I don't know when it happened, but I'm gonna have to fix it before I sell it this summer. I might as well get it done now rather than later. (Farmer's Market opens in 60 days!!!)

2) In the center wells I have spread out the crystals I'm going to use to create the fabulous dangle for the necklace on the right. I'm looking forward to this project! It has taken me a long time to pull together the different elements I wanted to use.

3) And on the far left I have finished the bracelets a customer asked me to make for her. They are to match two necklaces she bought over Christmas- one for herself and one for a friend. She also asked for some earring to match and I need to complete those before I can deliver her necklace and bracelets.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Saturday Smiles

Here are 10 things that make me smile:

1) Good jewelry blogs- ones with pictures, and personality. Lori Anderson's blog Pretty Things is an example of one of the really good jewelry blogs. http://lorianderson.blogspot.com/
2) Watching someone who loves to dance do what they are good at-

Gene Kelly Singin in the Rain
(This isn't the only musical or dancer I love, but wow, wasn't this man amazing? I also really enjoy watching So You Think You Can Dance because I love seeing the dancers get to dance, and grow and get better...)

3) Freshly washed sheets on a clean bed
4) Looking at pics of my girls when they were little

5) That feeling when I am reading a really good book, and I don't want it to end...
6) Confidently, & competently using a torch in the metalsmithing shop (yes, I still mess stuff up, but I'm not scared of the flame anymore.)
7) Figuring out who dunnit in a mystery before the big reveal
8) Sitting outside of Deborah's piano lessons & listening to her practice
9) A really good massage- (My PT at Advanced Physical Therapy is AWESOME! I don't know how I would get along without her.)
10) Tillamook ice cream
(Our favorite flavor is Sweet Centennial- in their own words:
Vanilla ice cream surrounded by brownie batter swirl and… (wait for it) peanut butter filled chocolate cows. It’s a tribute to deliciousness and cows! Our forefathers would be so proud.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Workbench Wednesday

I have found a large community of beading/jewelry/metal-smithing blogs who participate in this really cool project called "Workbench Wednesday". They post pics of their workbench, even if it's a mess, and explain what projects they are working on at the time.

I was delighted with the idea, and wanted to participate too!

Of course, a problem immediately presented itself. I have two workbenches. My traveling table at home, and the one in my metal-smithing class. But I have solved the problem by presenting both workbenches!

Here is my work station at home. I am lucky enough to live with 6 people, so I don't have a stationary work-bench all to myself. Instead I have two shelves in the living room and half a closet.

I bead on my little work station at night while watching TV. We rent through whatever series we're currently watching and have a couple of series on TV we (me, mom, Beth, and my husband) all like: CSI works really well, 'cuz I can look down at my beads during any of the really gory scenes that are too much for me.

Currently I have 4 projects on my work-bench:
1) At the center-top of the pic is a pearl and crystal bronze necklace with large crystal beads in a plastic bag- I need to complete an extravagant crystal dangle for this necklace.
2) Continuing clockwise, in the center three longest wells I have purple and crystal seed beads and round beads transforming themselves into a wire-work necklace with flowers.
3) At the top left corner, I have 4 large metal focal pieces I made in metal-smithing waiting to become bracelets.
4) And in the center of all those busy beads, there is a large orange flower I am turning into a wire ring.

And in the metal-smithing shop up at UAF, I am in the process of creating components out of molds. We are making molds by carving cuttlefish bones. (For a really cool article about cuttlefish, go here: http://www.doublepluscool.com/blog/travelling )

On the far left is an example of one side of a carved cuttlefish bone, with my pattern. In the center is a wrapped cuttlefish bone waiting for me to pour liquid metal into the carved shape. Next to that are three carving tools I used on the bones (And I MADE the two tools on the right- one is a scribe and the other is a very sharp little knife). And at the top right is my first completed cast! A cute little tree branch next to the pattern I used. I don't know what I'll do with it, but I'm looking forward to using it.

Here is a jeweler's saw, my little branch again, and the carved and wrapped cuttle fish. I'll show a picture of my next completed casting soon...