Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Next Challenge

I had seen this post on Facebook a while ago, and it struck a cord with me. I had never considered myself a "creative person" albeit all the different crafts I had taken up in the past. Going all the way back to my high school art class days (and that is going back quite a while!), I remember my teachers encouraging my attempts at watercolor, pottery and year book art (yes, that was a senior elective).

It wasn't until nursing school, when I first had the confidence to venture out and volunteered to be the Yearbook Editor. The cover was white eons ago, and gave the advisor a hissy fit, because tradition dictated it should be garnet red, my first attempt at self expression! I was so proud of what we had accomplished, and even now, thumbing through the pages, reminds me of how and when photos were taken, write-ups approved, and the many decision meetings where my ideas were often taken and accepted.

I was fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom for the first four of our children, but when my husband took ill, I had to take on the role of bread winner, and I gravitated back to crafts and become a demonstrator for a now defunct crafting kit company. The idea was to teach a simple needle craft at a home party to the attendees and then sell the kits available to them. Made some money, still have a TON of sample kits stacked in a closet, and got to the Regional Manager position (which anyone who has ever done home parties, knows that is where the road turns into a major highway).

Of course, nursing was my first love, and after doing 42 years of it, my tired feet would no longer cooperate. So after moving to Florida with my retired husband, I followed suit and retired too, and then found polymer clay, and bead making to fill the hours while he was watching his football, hockey, etc, sports on TV. A natural progression was to jewelry designs and other creations.

It has been an interesting, richly rewarding and mind expanding experience. One I never thought I would have the confidence to show the world, and you, what came from my head and hands. Thanks to so many successes, and flubs, and innumerable words of encouragement from others, it has given me the desire to step out and share again.

My new venture will be teaching "newbies" a class in Polymer Clay, at a bead shop nearby. The owner of the shop picked out one of my simple pieces, that she felt her customers would like to attempt. The preparation is daunting, needing a lot of pre-planning, and probably more than I truly should do, revamping and rethinking (something all crafters are guilty of), but I look forward to sharing what I know with others. Guess that is the nursing (nurturing) side of me coming to the forefront again.

Wish me Luck!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop

Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures decided she had too many beads last month, so she held a destash sale. Those of us lucky enough to snag one of her "goody bags" were then offered the chance to create something with at least half of the beads we were sent. Hence the birth of the Summer Color Surprise Challenge.  Each of us received a particular color selection, which we did not know of in advance, and here is mine.
RED, RED, RED! It is not a color I work in often, and I don't know why. The beads she sent were eye-catching, several of which quickly became my favorites. I fell in love with the Lucite flowers, but my absolute favorite were the faux cloisonne rounds.

Strength Bead from BOC
Lampwork Bead from Lisa
Among all the treasures, was the cutest lampwork deer head, I think, and was hoping to have it made into a piece, not only for this hop, but for the Beads of Courage Design Challenge. This organization provides art in medicine for children hospitalized with serious illnesses. I am still waiting, however, for the bead I purchased to complete it.

With those pretty cloisonne beads always on my mind, it was the first thing I decided to work with. They didn't need much to create a fitting necklace.
I did some matching polymer clay beads in a gold color with faux leaves and combined them with one of Lisa's red nuggets as the focal and metal tube links I got from A Grain of Sand, which had been waiting for just the right bead, and these were them!

The next thing I chose to work with were flattened ovals streaked with red and pink. I had some polymer clay striped pillow beads and decided to combine the two for this bracelet.

That left me with a lovely gold flecked lampwork lentil focal, red glass swirls, all those pretty red tube and round beads, and of course, those Lucite flowers. Too much for another bracelet, so I combined them with seed and bugle beads, left to me in my mother's stash, and more polymer clay flowers (gilded roses this time). The stamens in the Lucite flowers are polymer clay with crushed red glass embedded.

Here you have my latest floral creation!
It turned out RED, RED, RED, but at the last moment I decided to tone it down just a bit with with a wash of acrylic Pearlcoat, and gold leaf accents.

Hope I have done justice to Lisa's stash, which I am so glad is MINE now. Here is the list of jewelry artists who received other colors of summer goodies. Enjoy the Hop!

Your Host: Lisa Lodge
Audrey Belanger
Lisa Boucher
Eleanor Burian-Mohr
Marlene Cupo --- You are here
Marla Gibson
Alicia Marinache
Inge von Ross
Stephanie Stamper
Diane Valasek

AND the best part is, Lisa is doing another challenge in October, with 20 participants this time. For the details, go here: My Bead Table Blog Hop

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What's In A Name

Shelley Graham Turner claims not to have a "way with words", yet she always fascinates me with the inventiveness of her blog posts. Its her Birthday, so she is having a party with this blog hop and giveaway. Her challenge to others (or as she puts it, "I'm nosey as heck!"), asks that we explain how and why we gave the name to our blog.

OK, this will be simple.
Hers:    Fabric of My Life and her Logo Name Tori Sophia Designs - Interesting, thought provoking, makes you want to go there.
Mine: Amazing Designs - dull, boring, some would say ordinary.

Courtesy of Merriam Webster Dictionary
Definition of AMAZING: causing amazement, great wonder, or surprise.
Definition of AMAZEMENT: the quality or state of being amazed.
Definition of AMAZED: to fill with wonder : astound.
Definition of ASTOUND: archaic - overwhelmed with amazement.
Well now this seems to be a little circuitous, and oh so fitting for me.

I have often found myself going in circles, especially since I retired from nursing, a few years back. Even though my feet could no longer handle lugging my body around concrete floors, my mind kept running a marathon. Wow, retirement, time to do what I want and love most (even if its just a whim).

In the past, that has been using my hands to create things: needle crafts, crochet, knitting, candle making, gardening, orchid growing, and even thinking back to my ancient teenage years, gluing jewelry components (store bought) together, and presenting them to my amazed (see definition above) mother.

Fast forward to several years ago, when my son and daughter-in-law ventured into creating "Hairtwisterz" out of polymer clay, to sell at farmer's markets, and then craft fairs. They intrigued me, and thought they had an inventive idea, but needed to expand on it (wrong, they sell a ton). So, I suggested they also make jewelry with this wondrous medium. My son's immediate response: "No, you do it!"

Now, no child of mine is going to dare me to do something, that I won't take them up on (though I could have done without finishing all those term papers, years after I was done with my own high school days). So off I went to the craft store, payed for my blocks of Premo, tissue blade, pasta machine, books on polymer clay, and then hunted through the house to find other objects to use (Where are those knitting needles? Buttons? Polyfil? etc).

Another fast forward, ASTOUNDED, AMAZED, full of AMAZEMENT, AMAZING! A very happy journey, that I know will not end any time soon!

Here are the others in this hop:
Audrey Belanger of Dreams of an Absolution
JennaTomalka of Twin Birch Studio
Marla Gibson  of Spice Box Designs
Toltec Jewels of Jewel School Friends
Shawn Mills of Bent Wire Boutique
Marlene Cupo of AmazingDesigns ---YOU ARE HERE
Joyce Blair of Bent Wire Boutique
Keri Lee Sereika of Pink Lemonade
Janye Capps of CoolBeads by Boot~C
Tammie Everly of TTE Designs
Christina Miles of Wings N Scales
Kelly Patterson of TravelingSideShow by PyxeeStyx
Heather Otto of The Crafthopper
Jenny Vidberg of Shyme Designs
Shannon Hicks of FallingInto The Sky     
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell of Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Candida Castleberry of Spun Sugar Beadworks
Shelley Graham Turner of Fabric of My Life by Tori Sophia --- Blog Host/Birthday Girl!

Now I'm off to read some great stories! Hope you do the same.

Art Bead Scene Blog Hop

Heather Powers of Humblebeads challenged 10 of us to create a piece of jewelry with inspiration from her book.

She sent each person a kit containing one of her beads, a photo print, and a short poem as a jumping off point.

This is the one I received.

The Wild Flower's Song
William Blake
As I wander'd the forest,
The green leaves among,
I heard a wild flower
Singing a song.

I slept in the Earth
In the silent night,
I murmur'd my fears
And I felt delight.

The reveal date was moved, due to unforeseen delays, and is finally here.

I used a Kumihimo Disk to weave green, brown and orange linen and brown suede together and attached Heather's flower, and "Itty Bitty" ceramic leaves from Marti Conrad of Marti's Button n Beads. Then a second layer of strands of Sari Silk in avocado, and pale forest green, along with a  melon colored ribbon were wrapped around copper wire to keep the shape and all attached to large copper links in this bracelet.

Have fun jumping to the others in this blog hop (Shelly Graham Turner was on the original list, but never received her kit):

Sharon Palac

Keirsten Giles

Alicia Marinache

Shelby Foxwell

Lisa Cone

Marlene Brady

Cece Cormier

Amy of Amybeads

Marlene Cupo - You are here!

Thanks Heather, its been an unusual challenge for me!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Simple Truths Celebratio​n Hop

This is reveal day for Erin Prais-Hintz's Simple Truths Celebration. She is the creator of the popular line of Simple Truths Pendants, examples of which you can see here:

I joined her Sampler Club last year and as she put it, "have been hoarding them ever since." Her idea for this hop was for anyone with her creations to show what we have done with them.

I particularly liked this floral pendant she sent one month as well as the inscription on the back.

If you have been following my blog, you know I have a penchant for flowers
(the beauty I love, is what I do), so it set me off and running.

I had received a delicate pendant from Lori Anderson, so I decided to combine the two. How can you lose when combining the work of these two fantastic people? 

Of course, I had to add my own flowers, both polymer and clothe, to the mix, and did so with wild abandon, and by making my own hammered links for them all.

Now I know why I like sticking to polymer clay(fingers still haven't recovered from the misses with that hammer).

The only problem with the pendants: one was done in antique gold and the other in copper, and since I had done the links in a bright brass wire to match the clasp from Nile Designs, there was but one answer. Sorry ladies for defacing your creations with my gold leafing pen, but it had to be done.

Erin's shop on Etsy is tesori trovati jewelry (Treasures Found) where you can see all of her latest Simple Truths Pendants, as well as her other jewelry designs.

Here are the other participants in this challenge:
Erin Prais-Hintz
Sharon Misuraco
Tanya Goodwin
Alice Peterson
Melissa Trudinger
Lori Bowring Michaud
Rebecca Anderson
Chris White
Cherrie Fick
Rosanne Garvison
Shelley Graham Turner
Marlene Cupo --- You are here!
Mary Harding
Lola Surwillo
Michelle Burnett
Kirsi Luostarinen
Paige Maxim
Kristen Fagan
Cynthia Riggs
Enjoy! I know I did!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Kreativ blogger - award!

As I was surfing through my Google Reader this morning, I saw a post about this award, and thought "How nice for the awarded site," one that I thought I was following, but am now. Then off to FB to catch up on the latest from friends, and to my surprise, I got a message from Alicia Marinache. She is such a sweet and humorous person and her creations are to die for. You can see them in her online studio here: All the Pretty Things. This is a marvelous way for all of us to share the joy we get from each others blogs and make wonderful new contacts.
When you receive this award, there are a few rules:
1. Post a link to the person who awarded you
2. Share 7 well-thought out random things about yourself
3. Award to 10 other deserving bloggers and let them know

Now here is the randomness(?) of my mind:

1. Wonder what hubby is making for dinner? Yes, taught him to cook and he loves it (ah, more time to clay play!)

2. I am still laughing out loud over the book by Bill Cosby "Fatherhood." So true it hurts.

3. Slid down here to Florida 14 years ago, because I was tired of black ice, while doing my visiting nursing.

4. So proud of my son, who just got admitted to Syracuse University Law School.

5. Love our rescue labradoodle, Pepper, even if she is crazy enough to growl at bears, but is afraid of armadillos when she is walked in the evening.

6. Only have one brother, who now lives with us, once I went to Arizona and pulled him out of an Assisted Living Facility.

7. Already working on the Christmas gift list. Have to get an early start with 5 children (all grown) and my 9 grandchildren!

Just 10 other bloggers? But there are so many deserving! Here is my list (in alphabetical order-the only reasonable way to do it) and the reason I am passing the award on.

Creative Chaos Sandra McGriff is as unpredictable as her eclectic gemstone jewelry, but can always be counted on to give advice to anyone who asks.

Creative Critters Michelle is not only a great sculptor, but also the curator of the very popular Artfire Blog Polymer Clay Smooshers.

Daisychain Jewellery Joanne Tinley, an amazing British metalwork artist, with a tremendous following on this side of the pond.

Fabric of My Life Shelley Graham Turner is a fantastic polymer clay artist, and an even more fantastic human being with a heart of gold.

lil mummy likes Ginger Bishop is a fun and bubbly person with a love of nature and wonderful beading and weaving skills.

Lorelei's Blog What can be said about Lorelei Eurto, that hasn't been said already?

Melinda Orr Designs Melinda, a true metal and clay artist, may not blog often, but can always be found helping others in the Creative Bead Chat

Moobie Grace Designs Tania Spivey, another British artisan, whose work is unconventional, but oh so easy on the eye.

Polymer Clay Tutorials Cindy Lietz, the polymer clay tutor par excellence, to whom many owe there creativity in polymer clay.

Tesori Travoti - Treasures Found Erin Prais-Hintz, the extraordinary, published jewelry designer, and creator of Simple Truths.

Have fun meeting some new friends!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Millefiori - A Thousand Flowers

A direct quote from Wikipedia: "Millefiori is a glass work technique which produces distinctive decorative patterns on glassware. The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words "mille" (thousand) and "fiori" (flowers)."

It first appeared in the decorating of glassware in the mid 1800's. Today, the millefiori technique is used in polymer clay creations as much or even more often. It has been said, "Because polymer clay is quite pliable and does not need to be heated and reheated to fuse it, it is a much easier medium in which to produce millefiori patterns than glass."

Now I grant you, a polymer clay artist does not have to work over an open flame, and there is little danger of the polymer bursting and crumbling as with glass rods, however, I would offer that the technique is no less easy in polymer clay than glass.

First intricate canes have to be produced, one detail at a time, combined, reduced and then carefully cut to form the designs. Then the base bead or object needs to be crafted so that the slices can be attached, and combined in a way that no edges or ridges show. Afterwards, it needs to be baked, sanded, buffed and possibly glazed to produce the finished creation (or put in the "let's try this again pile").

Witness these examples of that precision, from the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild:

Flower Earrings by Christina Kosinski Designs
Purple Petunia Pendant by Tonya's Treasures
 But the techniques lends itself to far more than flowers:

Doodle Art Cabachon by Gem's PC Creations

Mosaic by Second Sister at MoArk Jewelry

Butterfly Bead by Blue Morning Expressions

None of the above creations could be considered "easy" to make, but they are so "easy" on the eye!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Big Pot of Soup

Got my Bead Soup package from my partner, Michelle Burnett, today. Here is a quote from her blog, "She paints, she beads, she cooks, she collects, she knits! Coming from a long line of DIY-ers, she was born to craft!"

Not only is she talented, as evidenced by her blog Reverie and Revival, and an amazing artist, she calls this her "Old Art Blog",  but drop dead gorgeous.

My goodies came packaged in a lovely box tied with an extra surprise of angel wings (could easily add these to my "to do list"), with the sweetest note from her explaining her most generous contents.

I opened the box to find an absolute treasure trove of beads. Turquoise, my all time favorite to work with, and a plethora of orange beads for contrast, something I have not thought of using. The focal she included combined both colors, and that along with the awesome toggle clasp and findings she added completed a total package that will have me in creation heaven for weeks.

So glad our reveal date is in August. By then I hope to make a great pair of earrings, no bracelet, no necklace - heck I can make them ALL!