Friday, November 08, 2013

The Pioneer Woman does it again!

I just love Ree Drmmond, the Pioneer Woman. She has the best blogs, blogs that usually make you laugh, sometimes to think, and sometimes to cry. Her recipes are to die for and she is just a powerhouse... she home schools her kids, she writes these wonderful blogs, has recipe books and kids books and a wonderful husband.... and she has a cooking show on Food Network.... I think she is amazing.
Well, today she is giving away another one of the beautiful mixers in turquoise and floral. I enter her giveaways, but I have never won anything.... but I have hope.  I am hoping that I win this mixer... I covet it. I am in love with it.... and I need it!
Well, ok, so needing it isn't part of the equation, I don't NEED it.... but it would make life so much easier. Like when I got the food processor, I didn't NEED it. I wanted to update the way I prepared food. I had used the old hand cranked grinder for everything. I made chow-chow and relish with it, as well as grinding venison, pork, beef.... well, everything that had to be ground up. I didn't use it for pecans though, I have a modern chopper for that. You know, one of those little gizmos that fits on top of a glass jar, you turn the handle and it feeds the nuts from the top through the grinding teeth and into the waiting glass jar?  Oh, come on, doesn't everyone use that?
OK, so my kitchen is still kind of out of date. My food processor is the same one that I bought about 20 years ago... my blender is near 30. OK it is about 35.... but it still works great. I do need to update. I have my Aunt Billie's stand mixer from the 1950s... and a hand mixer that is only about 10 years old. I do have a microwave. I do have a toaster oven, and a coffee maker that my old boss bought for me, yes, I haven't worked for him in a dozen years, but.... OK, I don't like change.
I would love a new mixer.

I haven't been working on jewelry this week. I had a bad spell with my eyes, but I worked on a kimono that I've wanted to try out. I made my own pattern based on another one that I saw, but I didn't like the way it looked, but the idea was good, so... .I drafted the pattern, cut it out in fabric and have it most of the way finished. I can't tell if it will lay well still, I used a heavy material because it was handy... but I did have fun hemming it.
I own a few machines, sewing machines that is. I own quite a few, but the thing I love about some of them is that they have all the gizmos that go with them. Usually it is the old, old machines that have all the added feet. The newer machines might have some feet, but they deny the coolest feet, making you spend a fortune for the ones like lace attachment, cording, bias binder foot.... I know not many people use those, but, darnit, they used to come standard on the old machines.

I have an old Singer Featherweight that has all the bells and whistles, so I tried out one of the feet, the hem roller, on my Brother and it worked, well, pretty much worked, the shank is just a little bit too long, or the attachment shank is a bit too tall, but with three hands you can make it work....
I hemmed the whole of the fabric with just a quick pass, and I was so pleased.
Yes, I could have used the Featherweight to do the hemming, but it doesn't have a threader on it. I have to have a threader if I am sewing by myself. Or a bunch of magnifying glasses, and I just didn't want to mess with that.

When I get the finished product done out of the right weight cloth, and screen printed, I'll post a picture. OK, when I find the cord from the camera to the computer, I'll post a picture. Yes, I have lost it. I do have the Cannon, but I am wanting to use the camera that has the bigger screen that I can see instead of having to use the little view finder. ... Nothing can be easy around here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Goodbye to October {Next blog down is Halloween.Day of the Dead Blog Hop post}

Hope your Trick or Treating was fun tonight, I've been blue all day, feeling my age. My 11 year old decided he didn't want to do anything for Halloween this year, his bestest friend went as a gladiator, and was sooooo cute!  I think my son had second thoughts when he saw his friend's costume, but it was too late. We only had a few kids come by, usually there are a lot around 9pm since the church by us has a carnival of sorts going on each year, but this year, I don't know if parents are just Halloweened out or what. They did have a lot going on this past weekend, and I guess it being a school night.... more candy to eat is what I say.

The Halloween/Day of the Dead Blog Hop in my post below, I started this necklace but put it aside and did the Gothic necklace instead....
I finished the Day of the Dead necklace. It turned out cute, but not what I planned.... OK so you know by my last post that not much ends up like I start out with. i am not sure that I like it, too much gliter I think. I had a hard time with the glitter on the vinal, geting it to stick down but not be rough... I ended up using a glitter glue, making a design, then when it was dry, I used a jewelry glue, and we will see how it goes. I lightly sprayed the polymer skulls with acrylic after they were painted, and I kind of like where they ended up. I couldn't decide if I liked them or not, but.... this is  one of those necklaces that is just for fun, not for profit things!

I cut the vinyl for several other projects, a couple of bracelets and a ring, when I had this large piece left over, I knew it had to be for something big and bold! The picture doesn't show it well, but I ruffled the vinyl, which was a bit tricky to keep it even, and it came out pretty cool, gave some dimension to the piece.  I used a velvet ribbon attached with black wire, then wrapped with wire, and left it as just a tie. I think in hindsight, I might like a clasp. I had fun with the polymer and remembered that I don't make polymer beads because it takes so long. I respect everyone that works with it. Glass as well. I just don't have the patience to work with either. Every now and then it is fun to go back and make flowers or skulls! but not something that I want to do every day.  I still like to make masks, but really, I haven't been working much with them... I am trying to make a vase out of clay, I made some pieces of graduated color polymer for a project that I was working on and loved the colors so much I wanted a vase out of them.... I just haven't gotten far with the design, I thought I knew the shape I wanted, but.... I got to thinking that it needed to be taller to really use the way I want to.... and the design I started out with was too squat to be useful......... Pictures if I ever get it made.
Well, here's to the last of October 2013. May it be remembered fondly. I don't know about you, but I am so ready for Thanksgiving. I miss family and friends so much, and good food.... and cool weather....

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Gothic Halloween~~Halloween/Day of the Dead Blog Hop

The past few weeks have been spent dreaming of possibilities, what's possible to do, what's possible to just dream.  The Halloween/Day of the Dead Blog Hop reveal is today, and all the thoughts and dreaming of possible designs finally down to this........
Before I show you.....
I had someone ask me how I can work on jewelry if I am blind.... or in other words, they just don't get it, the concept of blindness... One time I had surgery and explained to the aid who came to help me to the facilities that I couldn't see... when I came out, by myself, I wandered to the bed, she said..."I thought you couldn't see"... well, no, I can't, it is the only big white blob in the room, I figure it is my bed....
I thought I'd share a little of my work with you, and let you see how I can work... and see... and sometimes, not see....
 Some of my jumble of tools, This isn't everything, but I've been working on the kitchen table this week (again)... I can't hear the door or the phone in my workroom, and I can't see or hear my son, and he's been sick again, so.... here I am, tools and junk on the table, and yes, I fell off the wagon again, that's a Dr Pepper sitting there. Bad for drinking a soda, and bad for having it on the table while I am working.
 moving over a bit, my tools and necklace board, I don't use this much, but love it when I do, I have one that is printed on the fuzzy velour necklace stuff that I bead on, I use that more often. More often than not, I just measure on me...
I don't always keep my tools in such a mess, but lately they have been put away, and they got dragged out, put up, dragged out.... I haven't worked much in the past 6 or so months that I don't use them as much as I need to.
 This is more often than not how I work, sometimes on a piece of paper, sometimes off the top of my head. I usually know what I want to make, then just do it, or sketch out just the parts that I need help with... sometimes I will draw and cut out a piece that I want to make, but like the bat in the picture, I don't always follow my drawings or cut outs anyway, so why bother?
I doodle more than I sketch. If given colored pencils or markers, I will draw all day and forget that I am supposed to be working!
 Here's a peek into my junk box. I love this thing. I keep it full of pieces that I either messed up working on or spare parts that I didn't use. Sometimes it overflows into a bowl or even into a box. These are just polymer clay that has been cooked and some are even painted.  I say they are polymer, but I see a piece of glass peeking out from the box as well.
These are the most important items in my toolbox now. I have a number of magnifying glasses, but these two are my favorite. I also have a pair of jewelers lenses that I clip onto my glasses, they are for when I am putting in a small screw or threading a needle, not for normal use... though the doctor told me to get a pair of the glasses to use for regular work, I don't like wearing them for everything though. It is difficult to look at anything but close up items, so, I use the little flip down pair.
I love this one, it clips on to what you are working on and you can move it. It also has another base that has a strong magnet on it. I sometimes like that better when I work on a metal tv tray. Yes, I do have a few of those. I bought my son and I the divided plastic trays and love those, You can sit and work and have little copartments for everything you are using, though mine is always running over.
They make these with lights, but I haven't found one that really lights up enough to really help
This is the magnifier that I wear around my neck. It is necessary now to use this one in conjunction with the clip on. It has a light but I don't like it either. Not bright enough. Funny, I need a lot of light, but the mix of medications makes it almost impossible to have a light on. Some days (most everyday from late May to mid-October) I spent in a darkened room, laying down most of the day. I am off four of the medications now and my cornea is almost healed, the retina is stable, Yipee!
Day of the Dead sketch
Now the blog post, I removed a lot of this, I had kind of made fun of myself for being ADHD, changing the plans and welllll... I thought instead of scaring everyone with the way my brain works, I'd pare this down a bit... I fumbled with several ideas; Day of the Dead, Halloween, scary, Gothic, fun....  Several sketches and ideas later....
head for Spiderus

Spiderus necklace idea
Another Halloween idea... I like this one
I had bounced a few ideas off my son, and he likes that goth look, and I have made a few pieces that everyone loved, I thought OK, so here's the opportunity to do something a bit different, what could I use, since I am not going to cut out anymore vinyl, and I don't have any latex, and..... well.... I thought about using the vinyl tape as the base to build up resin and make a pendant, embedding a bat and maybe a moon, or....
 You can call me crazy if you want, but I had fun making this, and I really had forgotten how fun it is to make bats.
I made a rough sketch and then cut out the drawing and used it behind some parchment paper to a roughed out bat, it turned out cute?
There was only one change that I made. The eyes were just kind of cartoonish when I put in the white eyeballs, I kept them for a minute until I put the lids on and... ewww, they just looked pretty bad, so I cut them off and built up the face again and hollowed out the sockets for some glass.  I smoothed it before I stuck it into the oven, and when it came out, I just had to do a bit of sanding here and there,  and voila, I had a bat. Just to add the eyes, that in hindsight, would have been cool to just imbed a couple of glass beads into the clay instead of having to glue them in, but...
I wanted something gothic, but not all in clay, and I don't want to do a lot of metal, so I decided to try using resin on paper, since I have this cool scrapbooking paper that is pretty and I love the blue color, and... well, the first attempt was ok, but I didn't use the vinyl tape on the sides and I kind of had a mess, then I found a squeeze bottle that had a really great small tip, and that helped get the resin in just the places that I wanted it to be, and I made some pretty cutouts, inked them, backed them with sticky, black card stock and inked the sides, then resin-ed them and glittered them, and stuck in some stuff and decided I like the purple beads that I have.... hahahah So I cut out a few more pieces and got out the purple ink and did the magic all over again. after I cut out he holes I went back and reinforced the back and put more resin over the glitter, and poked through the hole again, so it would be stronger.
There was a slight hiccough with the bead portion of the necklace. I thought that I could use Fireline, but the bigger cut stone that I used chewed right through it, so I used a black plastic covered wire to string them
 added a few extra bangles and so forth, I used the pigment and then gave it a light spritz of acrylic sealant, and with the pretty clasp (that I stumbled onto, it was marked 'charms' and was on clearance)...I like how it turned out.

By the way, I did make the vinyl with polymer clay flowers and skulls, a picture of it is in the blog above this one.  I love flowery skulls :)

 Go by and give a visit to the other participants in the Halloween/Day of the Dead Blog Hop, they can be found here Blog Hop  or by clicking on the names below.
Have a Boooooootiful week!

 Participants for the Blog Hop

Kathleen Breeding

Dianne Miller

Lisa Liddy

Toltec Jewels

Laura Medeiros

Veralynne Malone

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Stephanie LaRosa

Nicole Valentine Rimmer

Sarajo Wentling

Dawn M. Gallop
 Christine Damm

Have Fun!!!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

blogger/non blogger necklace.

I haven't written in a while, What little I do has been hindered by my eyes. Though they are better, it is still a long road to being better. I am just impatient I suppose.

I started a necklace back in May, kind of just for myself, I haven't done anything just for me in quit a while, and I had these pretty shells and odd ceramic tiles, and thought about a necklace. Well... a friend saw it and thought she really wanted it, It really matched a dress she had bought for a specific event,  but then she found a different dress... and she needed something that would go with it. So... I put away the turquoise necklace and started on the black/white/red and silver necklace for her. I just never got back to the necklace that I had started for me... Do you ever do that? start on a project and just lay it aside to do something for someone else and never get back to the project you really like?

Teal Goddess
So... Lori Anderson added me to the Blogger/ non-Blogger Challenge-9th round ~Double the Fun, I thought I would go ahead and give it a try. I looked at the inspiration pictures and thought what a wonderful set of colors to work with. I wanted to do both colors in a project but I ended up going back to the eye doctor and he gave me more drops, which make it 4 prescriptions that I am using plus the three types of eye lubricant that I use, constantly.  Actually, he put a corneal shield in the right eye to keep in for 72 hours.. ha, it lasted about 50 and most of that time it was in the corner of the eye... so, he gave me this other med to take the shields place. It is a protein of some sort, it makes my eyes fuzzy, or more fuzzy... I can't really see much, I have an hour or so to work a day, and that's it.

Sheesh....I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to do anything for this challenge, and I really wanted to... so,  I took the necklace that I started back in May, that I never finished, and started working on it for one of the color sets in the challenge.
The picture I chose, The Teal Goddess, is of a woman in turquoise pouring something out of a vessel, it is kind of ethereal and beautiful and my favorite colors...  This is the most amazing coincidence :)  I actually have the chance of actually finishing a piece for the challenge. I decided to go in a totally different direction with the piece. I had pretty much decided since my friend wanted the piece that it would have a ribbon to tie the bib, since she likes that, and that it would be kind of a choker look. The main body of the piece would be sparkly and I'd have a lot of dangley bits with sparkley crystals and hex beads so it would catch light... but you know how that goes.

Since this is for myself again, I really wanted to kind of be silly. I wanted to try a few things to make the necklace unique (like it isn't) and  I want a longer necklace, I don't like anything close to my neck. I have a scar on the right side of my face and down onto my neck and back behind my right ear, and it is very sensitive, so nothing can touch it, or brush against it... I used beads to make the "chain" and made a loop and bar clasp using peyote stitch to make them both. I really like the odd way I made it, I wanted to be a little different, and I think I did ok.

Inspired by the Teal Goddess print
I added a net on one side of the bib, and a piece of coral (beaded of course) to the other, and added a little more "sea glass" beads, and really had fun with the piece. Two of the beads are my own, I don't really like doing glass work, but I had to try it out to find out that it just isn't for me. . I admire people that make beads out of glass... it is something that is beautiful and fascinating, but it just is not for me. I am afraid of the torch for one thing!!! I use a torch for metal and enameling... but it isn't the same. So I kind of hid the ugly things in the beaded "chain".  If you work with glass... know that I think you are super great!!!

I didn't buy anything new to do this challenge. I am in this challenge with the hope that if I do enough stuff like this, I will use up some of the stash in my workroom... OK, no more kidding, I want to use up my stash that is overflowing and is in the workroom, living room, kitchen, garage, and the closed in porch. Probably in the storage building as well.... ok, and my bedroom.

possibly in my closet.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hello, my name is...

Hello, my name is Marie and I am a bead hoarder.

Yes, I don't like that name, I would appreciate; collector, connoisseur, keeper of beautiful objects...

Oh, I jumped at the idea of this Blog Hop thinking it would be fun and a no brainer... I could do this even if I can't see. I won't be doing any tiny needle work, I'll tell you now, I had to make up my mind that if I want to do what I like, I have to back away a little and just do what I can... . I hadn't considered all the places that I have 'stashed' my jewels, where all I would have to climb, jump, crawl on hands and knees, Wow! ... I have them here and there and seemingly everywhere. I kind of want to sing that old Macdonald song... eieio. When I started out, I also thought doing the work would be ok, my eyes are a tiny bit better, well, the left eye is better, I can't stand having my right eye open for long. But back to the story, I didn't realize that it would be so long in making my first project, which is nothing like anything I've done before, well, I've made odd necklaces, and used the materials, but the techniques were totally governed by my eyes.  I also didn't think about taking pictures.
 Turritella communis fossil pendant
Thus far, I haven't taken a picture since I have gone into this ordeal with my eyes. Or if I did, it was on the little Nikon, which is hit or miss and usually it is just point it and shoot. I was amazed at how using the left eye is so much different in the picture outcome than I had realized, seems everything is thrown off to one side now!  I did get some pictures along the way, and I stayed up late thinking I would play around with the timer, lighting, and backgrounds... well, that didn't last long!

This first necklace is kind of a fun ode to summer. I found the heart shaped pendant at a little shop in Salado, Texas a couple of years ago. I had completely forgotten about it, I like it because it is a fossil, and it is pretty. When we lived in central Texas, I would dig in the yard for fossils and made different crafts out of them, now I live further West and there are still fossils, I just don't get out and dig in the yard anymore.
I wanted to make this very earthy and summery, and I kind of like it, a mixture of odds and ends, I found a piece of peyote stitch ribbon that I didn't like for whatever reason, but it matched just right, not very long, but I like it. I also used shells, crystal, glass beads, glass pearls, real pearls, and there is even a piece of jasper left over from the BSBP from Shannon Hicks, who is in this blog hop as well at Falling Into The Sky. Go see what she made!  Back to the ncklace... there are two types of yarn, bound by beads woven around. I like the light color. I was so impressed that I had finally made something with the pendant that I had forgotten, the day I bought it, I had this wonderful organic necklace in mind, with tons of seed beads and some pearls that I got from my grandmother, and some shells that we brought back from the Solway Firth, they would be perfect... now I can't find those shells, so I made do with these that I purchased for a totally different project!
I made another necklace. There is the picture in the blog below that shows the choices I had, but I had found so many more beads after that, I just couldn't decide... and I was getting kind of creeped out, thinking this is the first step, next I'll have a house full of cats and become a hermit... people will say, she was so nice, but we noticed that she was climbing out her window...

No, I'm not that bad yet, but you never know what sets that kind of behavior off. I do hoard, which is really saying, I do a lot of crafts and have every room full of my junk. So I say, we need to have a bi-monthly bead hoarder blog hop, so I can declutter.  Like I said, I thought this would be easy, how many beads could I have stashed away? hmmm, mmm, hm, I won't answer that. If my sewing machines haven't gotten me committed, the beads would.  I actually got kind of excited when I saw some of the beads that I have fondled and caressed and gently put away in drawers, cabinets, wardrobes... It was like seeing old friends, hello pretty bead, aw, you haven't aged a bit...
This is the second necklace I made. I don't know where I got any of the beads. I liked them, but never got further than putting them away in the dresser that serves as an overflow for my workbench.
 I do remember when I bought the beads I had in mind a very oriental feel for the necklace. I think I just got caught up in the day to day and forgot where I put them and just didn't give another thought about the beads, you know, out of sight, out of mind.?  I love the red beads, and I like the patina look in the big beads. They aren't expensive, I think I got them on half or more off... and that was cool with me ! I don't mind mixing my beads, some nice, some almost on the cheap side. I figure that no one else will use them, and they are kind of fun.  The clasp is from the Rebecca Nunn collection of Adorned Life. I love the pieces, they are so heavy and feel like they are expensive. The necklace is kind of long, the reason I can wrap it around the neck of the display.

 There are so many beads that I love, I buy these cool colors and stick them in a drawer...  I usually work with lighter colors, since my eyes have been so bad, that is the safest thing to do, but I hold out hope that something can be done so I can work on darker colors... These were really tough to string, the more I worked on them , the less I could see. I had to walk away time and time again, but I got them done

white or purple?
trying out colors with the mesh
I wasn't satisfied with just doing the two other necklaces, so I went ahead and made the black and white necklace (that nearly ended up as purple and black) that I had in mind when I found the black knit wire, which by the way, I love.  I bought some of the silver, gold, and copper Silversilk a couple of years ago and loved it. I have used it for bracelets, necklaces, even earrings. It is so pretty and versatile, and not as expensive as I thought it would be... but it wasn't something I would just play around with. I did take my torch to the copper, which I was kind of worried about, you never know what the content is of copper that you get now a days... but it was really nice copper. It made a nice patina and I used the piece in a rustic bracelet.
trying out beads, I didn't go with this clasp
 Finally the white pearl and black beads won out when I started this, I really thought about doing hot pink or fluorescent green... that would be cool, but this is nice... kind of plain, but I might add something else later on. I had thought about using the knit wire as a ribbon and winding it around the length of the necklace... but this is as far as I got, well, I got a bracelet done as well. I thought the bracelet needed something else so I used a red beaded head pin for the flower. I am tired, my eyes hurt every day after working on anything, but it was fun and I need to do some work to keep me out of trouble.. You see, I look at beading as therapy. I have time to think, to rest, and to curse if I want to, and there isn't anyone that will curse me back... Ha,
black mesh flowers on the necklace... bracelet on top with mesh flower
Sorry that the color on this isn't that great, I'll see if I can get a better picture, but it is really difficult for me to see the setup on the camera... maybe get the Nikon out and see if it will take a better pic. It has a screen to see what the picture looks like, ummmm, a display, which the Cannon doesn't show you the pic on the screen until after it's taken. Drives me kind of batty, trying to squint with the wrong eye!

So I hope you enjoyed the little goodies that I made for today. Please go over to Pretty Things Blog to see the list of reveals, and visit as many as you can. I haven't seen any yet, but I know there are a lot of really great talents on the list, and I am sure they will all deliver something great!  I hope that I get to see every blog, I know it will take a while, quite a while...  but I am willing to read one blog a day if that is what it takes!

circular clasp, hinge on one side small clasp on opposite, seems sluggish
PS... has anyone used this kind of clasp? It has both side that are round, one side has a tiny hinge and a tiny clasp opposite the hinge. I love the look, but it isn't easy to open, Maybe I am just not doing it right????

close up of mesh flowers in natural light. I think they are prettier in person

here's another picture in natural light
Turritella communis fossil necklace
And be sure to go to the Bead Hoarder's Blog Hop to see the list of people that participated. There are so many pretty things!!!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Baby bird update!! I have to post a few pictures this morning of the little Finch family nesting next to our front door. They are growing by leaps and bounds, I still can't tell if there are three or four left out of the five eggs. They are such a mass of bird flesh and feathers that it is hard to tell. I know I saw three beaks but they tend to stand on each other in the little nest.
 Mom Finch must be feeding them well, they have gained a lot of weight in just a few days, and I know where she is getting her nourishment. They seem to love the hummingbird feeder and tomatoes. I normally would have been upset that the tomatoes were disappearing three or four a day, but it's ok with me if it goes to getting these birds grown. I don't eat tomatoes anyway, I'm allergic, but my son eats them, and the reason that we have a plant in the first place. Mr Finch has been on the hummingbird feeder, but I haven't seen him eating the tomato yet. Ms Finch seems to love the delicacy, I'm sure the babies do as well.  Here they are with their beeks open, I don't know if it is from hunger or the heat. We have been bouncing between the extremes of temperature the past couple of weeks, normal for this time of year, and I covered the tomato plant the other night when it froze. I wanted to put a blanket or something over the nest... but I guess they stayed warm and cozy with their mom's soft feathers.
We used the back door to keep from scaring Mom Finch while it was the coldest. I didn't want her to leave the babies. Now, i am sure they need their space to keep cool.

My son was in the PTA program last night, he actually sang when he was supposed to, and didn't have that deer in the headlights look he normally has in front of a lot of people. I was proud of him, he stayed after school to help get the props ready for the performance and goofed off a bit as well. He's getting so grown up. After the performance, he took a picture of one of the roses in the front of the house, I thought all the buds froze but this one didn't

What a glorious morning, the sun is shining but it is cool and humid so far. The smell of salt in the air, and it seems to be clean air, not dusty or smelly, just nice fresh air. I think it is a good morning to sit outside and have a cup of tea and enjoy the cool air while it lasts.