Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Smiles Return

I haven't been able to do my smiles in a while because of SUMMER.

During summer I:
go to Farmer's Market twice a week (Wednesday & Saturday),
go to Pioneer Park once a week (Monday),
madly string and twist jewelry to keep up with the demand,
take my girls to swimming lessons,
take care of my mom,
take my youngest to her twice a week therapy sessions (Occupational therapy, an entirely different story, and a getting better all the time situation)
and try to keep food in the house.

It's a busy life. I like it, but that doesn't mean I keep up with everything.
During the summer, I don't keep a particularly clean house, I don't make hot dinners every night, and I don't get to read much. And my blog suffers...

However, school started Thursday of this week! Which means summer is just about over here in the far north. And I can blog regularly again! =)

Three things that make me smile:

1.) New school supplies
sharpened pencils, clean erasers, new crayons, fresh paper

2.) Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden books
I love this urban fantasy series- gritty mysteries with werewolves, vampires and fairies. A new one just came out and I haven't been able to read it yet because of SUMMER! But I'll have it read very soon.

3.) Fairy tales
I prefer the old country fairy tales, Grimm's Fairy Tales, the Andrew Lang's colored fairy tale books - Donkeyskin, Puss in Boots, The Golden Ball, Rose Red... They fired my imagination and fueled my dreams. As much as I enjoy the Disney cartoon versions, his re-telling of the old stories were much sweeter, lighter and more pious than the originals. The originals were gritty, cunning and blood-thirsty enough to satisfy any vampire addict.


That's how many people are participating in the Bead Soup Blog Party!
That's crazy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party

I'm so excited to be in another Bead Soup Blog Party!!!!

Lori Anderson of Pretty Things absolutely rocks, and she arranges for a lovely bead soup party regularly. I got to participate in the second one, and here I am again for the fourth one!

The way it works is pretty straight-forward. You sign up, and through Lori's magic you are paired up with another jewelry artist. Each person chooses the ingredients for a bead soup: a focal bead, some coordinating beads and a clasp. You put your ingredients in a package and mail it to your partner, and wait eagerly for their package to arrive! Then you take the ingredients they sent you and turn it into something fabulous.

The only requirements are that you must use the focal and the clasp. Of course, you are encouraged to use some of the beads, but that's not the point. The point is that you have the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and work with new ingredients, and new styles. The creative exercise of working with new materials may be challenging, but it is always fun.

Thank you, Lori! I am in awe of your willingness to participate in something magical.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun Day- Pearl Leaf Bracelet

I love making my leaf bracelets. I thoroughly enjoy making the leaf components. And even though it can be tedious, I am so pleased with the bead braiding when I am done that the whole creating/stringing process is fun, too.

The first step is selecting the metal for the leaf component- I prefer pulling discarded copper from the bin at school. I love the pieces with character, the ones that have been worked and heated, beat up and abandoned.

After choosing the perfect metal, I heat it and put it through the rolling mill with leaves. Then I cut out the sections I like best, shape them and file them down smooth. To use them in my bracelets, I need to drill holes on either end.

After completing the component, I take them home and string the perfect beads and chain into very short strands. Then I braid them and attach them to the central component.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Fun Day- Sun Pendant

My sun pendant necklace- The pendant is cast from a wax carving.

First, I carved the sun pendant out of wax, and attached several wax sprues (the funnels that allow the molten metal to reach every part of the pendant). Then I suspended the wax in investment, which hardens kind of like cement. Next, I burned out the wax in a very hot kiln. When the mold was complete, I poured molten metal (I chose rosey bronze), into the mold and let it cool. Next I broke the hardened investment off and cleaned up the casting, which came out dirty and grungy looking. After cleaning it up and cutting off the metal sprues, I polished and tumbled it.

After I was satisfied with the appearance of the sun, I chose the red Jasper cabachon and glued it into the bezel cup. Although I am not completely satisfied with the beads and structure of the necklace, I do like my sun quite a bit. I have some thoughts and ideas circling in my brain as to how I will change the necklace itself, and I'm probably going to change it up a bit in a couple of weeks.