Friday, January 30, 2009

Home again home again, plus some show and tell

Breaking news!  My husband and I just booked tickets to go to Kenya this summer.  It's about time, I haven't been home since summer 2003 - it'll be 6 years by the time we go.  (The picture to the left is where we lived from 1994 on, and one of the places we'll visit!!)

In other news, I have a couple of new listings that *aren't* beadweaving.  (whoah nelly!)

Bright dots on green teardrops polymer clay earrings - aren't they fun?

Next, a fun jar (perfect for guacamole with a little kick?).  I finally got the chance to take another pottery class last spring, and still have some pieces to photograph and list.  I looooooove ceramics, it's too bad the required equipment is bulky and expensive.  Not practical for someone who's not going to be very stationary for several years.
There you have it!  Kenya, and some fun new listings.

(I'm going to Kenya!  I'm going to Kenya!  I'm going to Kenya!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Get to know me Monday

My newest idea for this blog is to write a 'get to know me' post every Monday - give you a window into who's behind the work you see here. We'll see how exactly this plays out, but I'll probably do different things each week - factoids, stories, etc. If I forget to post, feel free to remind me. ;)

This week, it's a simple list making its way around various blogs, and brought to my attention on Carol Dean's blog. Here's how it goes: the things on the list that I've done are in bold face. I've written in little notes of my own on some of these, but it isn't a requirement. If you're interested in propagating this list, you can just be free! (as we say in Kenya...)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii - no, but I'd sure like to!
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disney World
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris - on a 10 hour layover, I was tired and grumpy with sore feet by the end of the day.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables - I love having a garden, too bad I don't have my own yard this year. Sigh!
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train - took one going to the coast in Kenya every year when I was little (until they jacked up the price)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort - siblings and I tried in about 2 inches of snow, but didn't complete the task. :)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse - just lunar, I've only seen a partial solar eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors - Ireland!
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - Money isn't what satisfies, I could be perfectly happy with none.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt - hooray for Geology!
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa - I think living there for 16 years counts.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted - if painting it myself counts. :D
48. Gone deep sea fishing - shallow Gulf fishing, but far enough out to not see land!
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud - my mom sent me outside to play every time it rained (a rare occurrence)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie - if the Freshman class film from college counts. ;)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen - not a soup kitchen per se, but I volunteered regularly at a food pantry while I lived in New Mexico.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - for a time, anyways.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt - a very simple one, and I'm still working on it. :D
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle - my uncle in Vienna had UN tags that allowed him to go any speed he wanted. Riding on the back coming out of the Alps was an experience to remember!
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper - when I was born!
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous - Elisabeth Elliot! I went to church with Jim Elliot's little sister while I was in college, and Elisabeth was just visiting. :D
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone - not 'till 2005 when I first started grad school
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

That makes 44/100, how do you score?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Christmas presents!

These are some of the things I was busy with late last year, but couldn't show - just in case the recipients found their way here!

A necklace for my mom - two herringbone ropes with a fabulous pendant made by Mak of MAKUstudio.

For my MIL - a set of ornaments

For a SIL (BIL's new wife, and my former room-mate!), a herringbone cuff with a cluster of labradorite chips as a centerpiece.

For my other SIL (husband's sister), a bookmark.  I didn't get a good picture, because I failed to take one before she showed up at our house, so I had to take this under some pretty bad lighting hidden away in my room.

And for my Grandpa (who I'll see and give this to over the weekend), a portrait of him playing sax in herringbone.  The real thing looks a little better than the picture, but you get the idea!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More fun with polymer clay

Just playin'!  This time doing additive stuff, just putting colors where I thought they'd look good.  The orange is a little more yellowy than it appears in the pictures.

Playing with translucent clay..  see the squiggles just beneath the surface?
This has chips  of a pre-baked disc on the inside.

Now, off to do more!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just being a show-off again...

I just finished making and listing this cuff, and I LIKE IT.  Not just because it's orange and blue (Gators are National Champs!!  Have I mentioned that?), but also because herringbone always comes out so well.  This pattern took a little while to make, it's pretty easy to make a little mistake.  The actual pattern is actually a very large square, and theoretically I can cut portions of the pattern to make quite a variety of cuffs (or other pieces??) from the one pattern.  

And my final bit of bragging is on the button closures - like em?  I made them!  One more reason to play with polymer clay - I can make my own cool embellishments that MATCH.  (That comes partly from knowing how to blend colors. ;p)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fishing for Purple

You all know I've been playing with polymer clay recently.  The object, of course, is not simply to have fun with this medium, but to use it in my work.  (of course, if I didn't find it fun, I wouldn't do it!)  I thought it would be fun to wildly embellish a cuff with some polymer clay beads.  I started by trying to match seed beads to some already made beads, and chose a dark purple which was at the center of some blue beads I'd made.  

I faithfully started netting (the obvious stitch choice for these purposes), and quickly realized that would need to make a whole new set of polymer clay beads to match the cuff. (what a drag, right?)

Well, here's the end result!  How 'bout that expanding ruffle at the end?

Gotta admit I'm a little bit pleased with this effort.  It was just.. fun.  You'll probably be seeing more combination of polymer clay and seed beads in the near future, what with it being my new kick and all. ;)

I would also like to acknowledge an award: Stormee has given me the Lemonade blogging award, and just wanted to say thanks!  She does some pretty inventive sewing.  
Now, there's certain 'requirements' for this award, such as picking other blogs to pass it on to. Being a bit of a rule breaker (not really...  I have an overactive conscience) I'm not going to specifically pick blogs to pass this on to.  But if you're itching for an award, consider yourself tagged. ;)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Scorpion Fish

It's done!  
For your viewing pleasure, my Scorpion Fish necklace.  I went with a herringbone rope, and hung the polymer clay strips along with strips of peyote for the fins.  You can vote for your favorite entry in the February challenge entitled 'Tropical Holiday' beginning Feb. 9th at the EBW blog.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Just for fun

Over Christmas break, my mom put on a home show for me.  It was my first, and went quite well!  As a result, I had a little extra, so I went and collected beads from folks I've been admiring from a distance for a while.  Aren't they fabulous??
We have, generally from left to right, two fun varieties of disk lampwork beads from HMB Studios, a fabulous pendant and two surprise raku beads from MAKU studio, and two types of playful fiber beads from Ebrown2503.  Feel free to check these folks out for yourself. :D 

Of Poisonous Fish and Polymer Clay

Warning: lots of pictures ahead.  For the summary, just look to the left! 
Just before Christmas, I started playing with some white Sculpey I had leftover from a raised relief saxophone-playing jackalope I had made a little while back.  (What??  Yes, sax-playing jackalope - as a Christmas present for my sax-playing and figurine collecting Grandpa.)

I picked up more polymer clay at the store over break.  I stood in the aisle for a while hypnotized by all those colors.  But being the good budget-keeper that I try to be, and having taken enough art classes to know how to make more colors out of what I had, I went with red, yellow, blue and silver of one type, and sienna, silver, and translucent of another type.  I've been playing the last few days!

Task 1 was to figure out how to imitate scorpion fish fins (see post below for fishy picture).  Here's the final result, using the sienna alternating with mixed translucent and silvery clay.

And here is the final result with the prototypes.  I used the lower cost stuff to figure out how to make it work.  And I might end up using some of the prototypes in the necklace.  (This is for the February challenge - tropical holiday, remember?  Don't worry, there will be plenty of beadweaving as well!)

And then I just played with the clay to see how it worked and try out different stuff.  I like this blue set!  The largest is ~ 1 inch across.

These were the fin-making leftovers.  I like the stripedy one just beside my pinky.

These are red themed, I promise.  (Okay, so they're pink.  sigh...)

Just for fun!  I baked a little disk of reddish clay, then chopped it up and mixed it into the light blue clay for baking #2.

Purpley beads.  We'll have to find a use for those spirally beads.

And random leftovers.  The white spiral has some of the silver mixed in, so it actually shimmers a little in real life.  
...Now I'm inspired to go make more!  I know, these are pretty rough, and have fingerprints on them, but I'm having fun playing.  And besides, some of them need to be a little rough.  It's in their nature!