Monday, August 30, 2010

Beadweaving Inspired by Bones' Temperance Brennan

I watch a LOT of TV. My justification for all the TV is that I use my TV time to do my beadweaving. I do a lot of beadweaving; hence, I watch a lot of TV. It's a vicious cycle. :-)

Unlike a lot of people, I don't have a studio or even a dedicated workspace for my beady work. I just camp out in my big comfy chair with my task light next to me, legs scrunched up underneath me in pretzel-like formation, and an old cutting board which acts as my work surface propped on my knees and the arm of the chair. Whatever works, right?

A couple of years ago I saw some catchy ads on TV about a website called hulu. And almost immediately, hulu became my friend. On it I could watch shows my husband doesn't like - science fiction, medical dramas, etc. And it was on hulu that I was first able to watch what is now one of my favorite shows, Bones.

Even though I'm a big fan of the show, I hadn't really paid all that much attention to the fashions on the show until one of my beadweaving friends pointed out to me all the striking necklaces sported by one of the show's main characters, Temperance "Bones" Brennan. She does have some style! There's even a flickr photostream dedicated to Bones' Necklaces.

So why am I babbling on about Bones? Well, because the Bead Art Originals team decided that we wanted to start doing challenges -- creating something for a particular theme to get our creative juices flowing. And the theme that was chosen by the last challenge winner (Darcy Horn, aka thejadedog) is a Bones-worthy necklace. The official name of the challenge (which I'm proud to say I thought of!) is No Bones About It. :-)

It was serendipitous for me that the details for this challenge were being talked about shortly after I received one of those ginormous boxes of polymer clay goodies from my friend and fellow BAO member DDee Wilder (aka Malodora). Mixed in with all the other goodies was a polymer clay cabochon that I determined would be PERFECT for the challenge.

What do you think? Would Temperance Brennan wear this? I think so. I even decided to name this piece Temperance.

Now it's time to go back to watching TV. And playing with my beads, of course.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fabulous Friday Finds for August 27

Welcome back to another Fabulous Friday Finds! I have lots more goodies this week -- seems there's never a shortage of fabulous things to show off here.

My first Fabulous Friday Find is an art doll by an incredibly talented polymer clay artist named Amanda Klish. I almost hesitate to call her creations "dolls" because they are so amazing. They're like nothing I've ever seen!

I came across her work on Facebook, and I spent a looong time poring over the photos she has on her Facebook page.

I was particularly happy to find pictures of the process she uses to create the armatures for her figures. I've been wanting to try my hand at turning some of my drawings into art dolls, and now with Amanda's help I think I know where to start! (Suffice it to say that my idea of using chopsticks and tape has been tossed out the window.)

You can also find Amanda's creations on eBay occasionally. And I'm quite happy to report that they're demanding the prices they deserve!

Do you ever look at your contacts' contacts on Flickr? I do. All the time. Because I find really cool stuff that I'd probably never see otherwise.

Case in point - one of the cutest lampwork beads I've ever seen. I think it's the eyes that get me...

This adorable focal (called Lucy in the Sky) was created by a lampwork artist named Melanie Moertel. It's just one of a whole bunch of amazing beads and focals.

Loads of color and lots of whimsy. :-)

I almost hesitate to post this next Fabulous Friday Find... because I'm just asking for you to be my competition in a giveaway I want to WIN!!!

If you've ever seen any of the Lark books, you'll know just why this is so exciting. They're wonderful books, with great photographs of pieces created by incredibly talented artists. I own a few of them, but this giveaway would add a bunch more to my collection!

The giveaway is on the Lark Crafts website, and you could win NINE BOOKS (!) in their jewelry collection.

Talk about inspiration!

Hurry, though. The giveaway ends on August 30. I already entered. :-)

Do you ever see something you want, even though you have no thought whatsoever as to WHY you want it or HOW you would use it? Or is that just me?

This next Fabulous Friday Find is one of those things. It's something called Coarse Random Mesh, and it's from papermart.

It's just cool stuff, made from polypropylene plastic fibers molded together into a mat.

Of course I want every color. It's supposed to be for packaging material, but I just think it would be fun to play with... maybe I could make beads from it.

Oh, wait. I have millions of beads already and WAY too many projects going to think of taking on a new one.

Still. I want some.

Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh.

That's what keeps going through my head as I look at the pencil sculptures created by Dalton Ghetti.

That little shoe you see there is carved from the graphite in a pencil!!!!!

And when you click on his name (above), it'll take you to the site, where you can see more of his work (the gallery is to the right, with 17 pictures).

I am amazed.

Totally amazed.

Here's another link, this time from buzzfeed, where you can see Dalton and some more of his work.

Holy cow.

I think that's it for this edition of Fabulous Friday Finds... Hope you saw something you liked! :-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Well-Traveled Beads

Do you ever think about where your beads have been? I hadn't given it much thought until recently, when I took a bead crochet project to work on while we drove from North Carolina to Kentucky.

I like coming up with names for my pieces that have some kind of meaning, and I was trying to think of a name for this bead crochet lariat as we crossed over the mountains separating North Carolina and Tennessee. And then I began thinking about the journey these beads had taken...

This is just the part of the journey I know:
- The beads are Czech glass (picasso beads), so they began their lives somewhere in Czechoslovakia.
- I purchased them from a wonderful Etsy seller named Shannon Ferguson (aka beadsandbabble), and she lives in California.
- Shannon shipped them to me, so they wound up in North Carolina (not sure how many states they traversed as they made their way here).
- And then they traveled with me on my trip to London, Kentucky... out of North Carolina, across Tennessee, and into Kentucky.

And that's just the seed beads! I have no idea where the little ceramic cubes I used for the fringes originated.

But this piece, which I have named "Over the Mountains," is well traveled. :-)

Where have your beads been?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fabulous Friday Finds for August 20

I'm back with another installment of Fabulous Friday Finds! At some point I came to realize that the best way for me to ensure that I get a Friday post done with goodies I encounter during the week is to write the post and add the goodies as I find them and then schedule the post. Duh. :-)

My first Fabulous Friday Find for today is an amazing art doll (you know how much I love those!) by an artist named Cindee Moyer.

Obviously, this is Rapunzel.

Don't you just love the creativity Cindee employed in her version of this fairy tale figure? The detail of the bluebirds flying around that long blonde braid, the pensive expression on Rapunzel's face, and even the addition of moss around the bottom of the tower.


There are some other beautiful art dolls in Cindee's Etsy shop, but you'll be blown away if you visit her website.


In addition to art dolls, I frequently look around for unusual lampwork beads. I don't even want to think about how many lampwork beads I've got stashed away for some future project; but I just can't resist these little beauties. (Someday, I may have to take up the torch myself!)

I came across these beautiful hollow lampwork beads when I was poking around on Etsy.

These are made by a lampwork artist named Nadin Gershon. She makes all KINDS of lampwork beads in addition to these hollow ones, but I just love the look of these. Irregular, sparkly, and you know they're lightweight because they're hollow.

Nadin has several Etsy shops (click here for the shop where she sells her beads, and you can find the remainder of her shops in her shop announcement), where she sells not only her beads but also her own jewelry creations. She also has a website. Yummy beads! :-)

So... Do you like geese?

I have to admit I've never really given them much thought, but when I saw the polymer clay geese made by a French artist named Estelle Marchal, I laughed out loud.

The unfortunate little guy here looks as if he needs some flying lessons. He seems quite puzzled about why he's hung up in those branches.

Lest you think there are only geese, you need to check out Estelle's website to look at the other creatures she creates: hermit crabs, octopus, squid, flamingos, whales, pelicans, and fish. They're all equally cute and hilarious. You can find them all hanging out in the gallery on her site.

You can also see pictures on her Facebook page.

Just be careful that you haven't just taken a drink of something, or it will be sprayed all over your computer screen.

I will never claim to be a knitter, although I've made quite a number of knitted scarves, hats, and blankets over the years. Let's put it this way -- I can knit really well and really fast as long as I'm knitting in a straight line. When it comes to increasing or reducing, I wind up with a knotty mess.

That doesn't stop me from drooling over handspun yarns. Not for a minute. For a non-knitter, I've amassed quite a collection of yarns that I just couldn't live without; and someday I may even get around to using them for something.

One of my favorite yarn makers on Etsy (and a fellow member of the Full Time Etsy Crafters team) is Bobbi of kittygrrlz. She produces yummy delicious looking yarns that just call out to me with their colors and textures.

Best of all, until Friday night (that's tonight!) she's accepting comments on her Facebook fan page to win $25 worth of yarn! I didn't even know that until I went poking around to see what else I could tell you about Bobbi and her goodies. :-)

Don't know how to choose handmade yarns? Check out the Full Time Etsy Crafters blog for tips.

Whether or not you're a cook (I'm not), you just have to appreciate this last Fabulous Friday Find. It's a set of measuring spoons made from a mesquite log. Aren't they great!?

And there's absolutely nothing that says these have to be stored away in your kitchen drawer waiting to dole out the correct amounts of salt, baking powder, allspice, etc. They'd be great just sitting in a jar or a bowl and doing nothing at all. Or maybe I could use these to update my plastic bead scoop...

These spoons can be found in the Etsy shop called OutNumberedNovelties, a shop that's overflowing with wooden creations of all sorts. I also love the odd shaped little boxes they have. And there are pendants, cutting boards, hair sticks, and a bunch of other goodies in the shop.

That's it for this week's installment of Fabulous Friday Finds. Hope you found something you liked! :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UFO Spotting - Have You Seen Any?

UFOs are the bane of my existence. No, I don't see flying saucers or little green men. UFO, in this case, stands for UnFinished Objects. UnFinished BEADED objects, to be exact.

My mind is always swirling with new ideas. Some of them are committed to paper, some float around in the vast recesses of my brain for hours, days, months, years. And some of them make their way out of my head and onto my beading board.

The problem is that once on my beading board, there's absolutely no guarantee that these beady bits of inspiration will turn into finished pieces. I have every intent of finishing them when I start them. And I'm happy to say that most of the time what I envisioned in my head translates pretty well for me once I pick up the beads and start to work. But I have a frighteningly large number of pieces that have been relegated to bins to live with other UFOs because I just haven't managed to do the finishing touches -- in most cases, closures, the addition of a "special" focal, or something along those lines.

Pathetic, right?

But I think every beader out there probably practices this bad habit, although maybe not to the extent I do.

Within arm's reach of me right now are at least a dozen UFOs. Yep. A dozen. Maybe more. I'm afraid to count them.

There's the piece you see in the first picture... a bead crochet rope using hematite rondelles with bright gold colored delicas. It was kind of an experiment to see how the rondelles would look if crocheted so they all lined up single file. The experiment was a success, and a happy customer is wearing her own custom version of a delica/rondelle bracelet. But alas, this one sits next to me without a clasp of any kind.

The second picture is another bead crochet rope I made using some gorgeous Czech glass beads with a picasso finish. I love the beads, love the colors, love the pattern (which was also an experiment). But it's also missing its closure.

Then there's a long bead crochet lariat that needs something for the ends... and a shorter bead crochet piece which is going to have a Lisa Peters giant bead focal (that goes with the rope wonderfully) but needs a closure. A freeform peyote heart. A short length of bead crochet rope (bracelet size) using some beautiful raku colored beads that coordinate perfectly with a MakuStudio raku button, but I need to figure out how to put everything together for that one. A whole bag of peyote tubes. Wonder what I was thinking when I made those? Hmmm. Another bead crochet rope with a diamond pattern, using bright coppery beads and silver beads. A necklace using one of Lisa Peters' gorgeous cabochons and some vintage watch parts, exploring my steampunk side - that one could be considered finished, as it's wearable in its current condition, but I just need something else to make it "right".

See what I mean? And those are all pieces I can see and reach without even leaving the chair in which I'm sitting. I shudder to think of all the pieces that are stashed away out of sight...

Ah well. I have discovered that I'm in good company.

Perhaps because I didn't want to feel alone in this plight, I posted a message on my Facebook page while back asking for others to 'fess up about their UFOs. Only two of my beady friends were brave enough to step forward.

Melody Murray (salamanderhouse on Etsy) sent me the picture above, with these comments:

This was going to be a cuff bracelet, with an art deco flavor. It wouldn't cooperate, it wouldn't be what I saw in my head, it tormented me and then it turned into this:

and continued to taunt me until I rolled both of 'em up together and shoved them in the back of a drawer. They still mutter imprecations in my direction every now and then. I don't think either one of them is finished with me...

And my beading buddy and Cosmic Sister, Carol Dean Sharpe (SandFibers) sent me this picture of one of her UFOs, along with this comment:

Okay...this has been waiting for me to do something with it for years. I couldn't decide on what kind of rope to finish it up with and then I got sidetracked. Once I get sidetracked, I sadly seldom return to a project :( It's an LPA [Lisa Peters Art] cab, of course.

I know there's no logic to this reasoning whatsoever, but I feel a little better about my own UFOs knowing that others share in my plight.

Any UFOs hanging around your house? Come on. 'Fess up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happiness Comes from Mississippi

I knew I'd love it. And I was right.

As soon as my friend DDee Wilder (aka Malodora) posted details about an eBay auction for a BIG box of her polymer clay creations on her Facebook page, I knew I wanted that box. Seven plus pounds of polymer clay goodness.

See these pictures? Aren't they beautiful? Well, they're NOTHING compared to seeing the real thing. The bracelets you see in this image are DDee's nudibangles. I already own one of those, and now I have a whole collection of them.

And beads?!?!? HUGE beads, beads of every size and shape imaginable. And cabochons. And more beads. And flowers. And butterfly wings. And. And. And.

It's incredible. I feel like a pirate with an overflowing treasure chest. I might even have to take over the table my husband is using for his stuff just so I can spread all these goodies out to look at them. My head is already spinning with ideas for what to do with some of them.

Lest you feel left out, there's another big box of DDee's polymer clay goodies on eBay right now. Here's just one of the pictures of what's in that box. Be forewarned... you might be bidding against me.

Now I'm going to play with MY beads. Mine. All mine. :-)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Fabulous Find - and not what you think

It's not Friday, and this is not my normal installment of Fabulous Friday Finds. But I found something priceless last weekend -- FAMILY.

First, a little history. My parents split up when I was an infant, and I didn't meet my father until I was 17 years old. At that time I also met my half sister (Bev) and half brother (Doug), who were five and four years younger than I. I won't go into the details here, but that was the last contact I had with any of them until last December when my half sister tracked me down and sent me a friend request on Facebook. It was strange for me to think that someone who only met me when I was 17 still remembered me and wanted to reconnect.

Over the course of the next six months, Bev and I emailed back and forth quite a few times, talking about our respective childhoods, our current lives, and about our Dad. While I wanted to meet Bev in person, I still wasn't sure I was ready to see my Dad again. There was just a lot of baggage, bad things I'd been told by my Mom and my grandmother, and it was a big step for me. Since he had never made any effort to contact me in the 37 years since our first meeting, I wasn't sure he even wanted to see me, but Bev kept telling me that I was always on his mind and that he was a different person than he had been when I was a baby and when I met him.

And so came last weekend. It was time for the family reunion of my Dad's family -- aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, etc., that I had never seen. Bev kept trying to talk me into attending, but I didn't make the decision until Friday. My husband, the understanding sort, didn't bat an eye when I told him I'd like to make the six-hour drive to Cincinnati to meet this family I'd never known.

Anxious, emotional, nervous, excited, curious... I can't begin to describe everything going through my mind during the drive. I still hadn't told anyone we were making the trip, so we checked into a hotel near the park where the reunion would be held, and then I called Bev and asked if she had a sister she wanted to meet.

The meeting took place in the parking lot of a nearby Skyline Chili (when you go to Cincinnati, for any reason, you have to have Skyline!). This sister I'd never known made me feel like family the instant we saw each other. I've spent most of my life with a very small "family unit" -- just my Mom and grandparents, all of whom are gone now (way too early), and my husband. Now I have a little sister (she likes it when I refer to her as the younger one).

I had decided that I wanted to meet my Dad before the reunion. It just didn't seem right to have our first meeting in 37 years be in front of a crowd of family, so after our Skyline dinner we followed Bev to his house.

She had already told me enough history that I knew he hadn't ever forgotten about me, as I'd presumed for years, but had always wanted to see me. My high school picture, the latest one he had, was always on display somewhere in their house (sporting a wonderful 70s hairstyle, I might add). And he'd been asking Bev about me ever since he found out she and I had started to converse via email.

More nervousness, curiosity, anxiousness... and then we followed Bev into the kitchen as she announced, "Hey, Pops, I got a present for you!" And there was my Dad, standing at the sink, helping my stepmom prepare food for the reunion. Not the man I remember, but still my Dad. And so happy to see me that he immediately started to cry. Any thoughts I might have had of a "reserved" greeting promptly went out the window, and I gave my Dad a big hug.

I spent a lot of time with my Dad, sister, brother, and stepmom (as well as some aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and a nephew) over the next few days. What I initially thought would be a two-day trip turned into a four-day trip, but that's okay. It was a great weekend.

I'm not sure I could have approached this meeting in the same frame of mind if it had happened twenty, or even ten, years ago. I thought about my Dad during that time, but most of what I thought I knew about him wasn't good. Looking back, taking everything I know now in context, I think the reality might have been different than what I thought. I also know from Bev that he's different now than he was when he was younger. Aren't we all? Life goes on, and everything we experience changes us. So he's not the same person now as he was when he was 21 (his age when I was born), and neither am I.

I'm not the same person I was a week ago. The big difference for me? Well, Bev keeps telling me that I can no longer claim to be an only child...