Friday, June 25, 2010

Fabulous Friday Finds for June 25 (they're back!)

I missed a few Fridays, but now I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things, so I've gathered up a big new batch of Fabulous Friday Finds for you this week. Even though I wasn't keeping up with blog posts, I was still keeping track of goodies I came across as I prowled the internet.

First up is something I came across on Facebook. I don't remember how I came across it, but this is one of the coolest things I've seen.

The beautiful pendant you see here is the creation of an artist named Matt Cole. Pretty, isn't it?

Guess what it's made from.

Go ahead. Guess.

Natural stone? Polymer clay?

Nope! It's made from a bowling ball!!! Can you believe it??? I used to bowl (not very well), and I never would have imagined my ball could have been turned into something like this. Wow.

Be sure to click on his name up there and look at the rest of his art. You'll be amazed.

I don't know about you, but I really like ravens. I have no idea why, other than that I was enthralled by Edgar Allen Poe's poem when I was in junior high school and have had a fascination for those big black birds ever since. In fact, back when I was making stationery, my Quoth the Raven captioned critters cards were some of my first paper creations (and some of my best sellers).

They're popular subject matter for a lot of artists, and you've probably seen lots of them even if you weren't looking for them.

I came across Lauren Gray's raven when I went to browse through her shop when I saw one of her unusual trees. Lauren's Etsy shop is called TheHauntedHollowTree, and in it is a variety of works including this raven, her very stylized trees, and a lot of other pieces which live up to the shop's name. The interesting part for me is that she uses pyrography to create some of her amazing art.

If you've read any of my previous Fabulous Friday Finds, you know I also like little tiny houses... and Lauren has another Etsy shop, saysthetree, that has tiny miniature wooden houses!


My third Fabulous Friday Find is a spoon rest. For those of you who like cooking, it's a spoon rest. For me, it's a cool little ceramic saucer. I'd really prefer never having to cook, but that's a whole other story. I can still like the saucer.

Anyway, this spoon rest is just NEAT! It's in an Etsy shop called LennyMud. When I first came across the shop, I figured it was curated by an artist named Lenny... but it turns out that Lenny is the name of the artist's studio cat.

I like this. And lots of other stuff from LennyMud. I think I'm going to have to do some shopping here after we get our house built... And not necessarily just for my kitchen (despite my aversion to cooking, I realize that most people expect there to be a kitchen in a house - hmph).

This next piece is something for steampunk lovers. Lovers of the weird and the wonderful. Cuz it's weird, and it's wonderful.

This Unzipped Heart is the creation of Marie Segal, and you can find it in her Etsy shop.

Marie's polymer clay creations are diverse and amazing. I didn't even know she had these steampunk pieces until I went back to visit her shop earlier today to do this post. I was originally attracted to a completely different creation, one which has found a new home, her Laughing Woodland Creature pendant. I just love that face!

My next Fabulous Friday Find is another polymer clay creation, this one by Janice Abarbanel. Janice is a fellow member of Bead Art Originals, and I've long admired her work, frequently visiting her Etsy shop (Naftali).

Janice created a turquoise and brown urchin for one of the recent BAO color mosaics, and I really liked the texture of it. As much as I like turquoise and brown together, I forgot all about that one when I spotted this charcoal gray and silver urchin sitting in Janice's shop.

And then it was mine.

It arrived in today's mail, and it's GORGEOUS. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do with it, but I love it. The colors. The texture. Gorgeous.

And mine. :-)
Never fear. She has more. In other colors, too.

Lest you think I spend all my time prowling around the halls of Etsy and Facebook, I also spend time prowling around Flickr. I honestly have no idea what I was searching for when I came across the work of photographer Kelsey B.

For the love of Cherries

Kelsey is a photographer, and although the picture you see here is really cool, the ones I want you to check out are the ones in the set called My Face is a Canvas. Once you're there, you'll understand why. (I chose to link to the For the Love of Cherries photo in order to respect Kelsey's copyright - she has disabled downloading of her face pictures.)

Okay, I know I said I hang out in other places besides Etsy and Facebook, but I really do find fabulous things there! Jt look at this piece!!

My last Fabulous Friday Find for this week is a site one of my beady friends shared on Facebook. This amazing necklace/pendant was created by Joan Babcock in a technique called micro-macrame.

Remember macrame? Did you EVER think it could look this incredible?!?!

Seeing Joans creations makes me want to sign up for one of her classes (my friend Linda took one at Bead and Button, and I am envious). I'm planning to attend B&B next year, so I might just have to see if her classes are offered again...

Well, that's it for the Fabulous Friday Finds for this week. Thanks to those of you who commented that you missed my finds. Thanks to everyone who reads these and follows the links -- I'm sure the artists I show off here (most of whom I've never met) appreciate it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How Did It Get To Be JUNE 23!?!?!

Good grief. And I was doing a decent job of keeping up with my blog for awhile there.

Now I'm way behind on peyote cuff designs, both new ones and getting patterns finished for some of the newer designs I did this year (not to mention patterns for all my older designs!). And I missed a few Fabulous Friday Finds posts, so I have to try to catch up on that this week. I have lots of goodies to show off.

So why has my blog been neglected?

Well, we've been working like crazy on house plans. Finalizing, changing, finalizing again (yes, I know that's silly), calling contractors, sending plans out for bids, meeting contractors at our property to show them the lay of the land, calling more contractors, sending emails, looking for building materials. There's a LOT involved in building a house, and since I'd reaaaaaaaaaaaly like to get started on the house soon I have to help Pat out with all the preparations. I can hardly wait till we start building, although I should probably NOT be looking forward to painting thousands of square feet worth of siding...

And I've been busy doing some custom bead crochet pieces. They're such fun, and I haven't done that much crocheting in the past couple of years. It's a time-consuming process, involving creating a pattern, stringing hundreds or thousands of beads, and then crocheting for hours.

I'll just show you some pictures of my most recent creations here, and then I have more crocheting to do! :-)

This is a bracelet I created as a gift for the customer who ordered There and Back (a bead crochet rope I showed in a previous blog post).

I had some of the picasso finish beads left over from the rope, so I thought I'd make a bracelet; and as I was digging through my stash I came across the PERFECT beads to use as focals. I could hardly believe how well they matched the picasso beads!

The recipient of the bracelet LOVED it. Yay! :-)

Then it was off to string beads for the next project, Caribbean Blues, a bead crochet rope using more of the picasso beads (have I mentioned how much I love these beads? the customer loves them too!).

I was asked this time to make a 60" long rope with a random striped pattern, so as I strung the 7200 beads required for the rope I picked out like color beads to make the stripes and left some of the beads mixed so there are stripes of the mix also.

What you see here is about 5600 beads... I had to string more to finish the rope.

And here's the finished rope. The random stripes make it really interesting, don't you think?

This took two and a half hanks of beads, size 11/0 crocheted six around.

I'm not very good at keeping track of the time I spend crocheting (or doing any beadwork, for that matter), but I know I crocheted through a couple of episodes of Warehouse 13, three of Desperate Housewives, one of Lie to Me, one of Justified, and a few others I can't remember.

It's a lot of hours. But it's worth it.

The customer already has it in her hands, and she told me she loves it and will be wearing it with her jeans. How perfect is that?

I thought you might like to see a closeup of the beads.

'Cuz they are GORGEOUS!

The best source I found for the picasso beads is my new Etsy friend, Shannon Ferguson. Her shop name is beadsandbabble, and she has a wonderful selection of beads. Not just the picassos, but all kinds of other Czech glass goodies.


Somewhere between making Caribbean Blues and the next project (which is in progress), I made a rope using some Miyuki hex beads. I wanted to see how these would work, since most of the ropes I've done have been made with Czech glass beads.

This piece is called Puttin' on the Glitz, and it's listed in my Etsy shop.

At 45", this continuous rope works well as a necklace (a single loop or doubled) or as a bracelet. It's sooooooo sparkly!

I also carved out some time to create this rather over-the-top necklace called Dagny Taggart.

This was created for the first ever Bead Art Originals challenge theme, A Novel Idea. It was based on my all-time favorite book -- Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. More specifically, it was based on the protagonist in the novel, Dagny Taggart, a strong woman who basically runs the railroad owned by her family.

It didn't win the challenge, but I'm still happy with the way it turned out. The focal section of this was woven with peyote stitch using Czech glass beads in a mixture of grays and blacks with "rails" made from steel colored size 8/0 delicas. There are long rectangular wooden beads making up the rest of the railroad. That's the "work" side of Dagny's life.

At one point in the book, Dagny is described as wearing a simple black dress with a diamond bracelet as the only adornment, so the necklace portion of my piece was made using Miyuki black hex beads woven in herringbone stitch, with a small band of silver-lined crystal hex beads and a large faceted crystal button as the closure.

And now it's time for me to get back to work on crocheting... I'm working on a bead crochet rope made from size 11/0 DELICAS!! I had never thought of using delicas for bead crochet, but they're beautiful. I'll save pictures of that piece for later. Or you can visit my Facebook fan page to see them, if you're really curious. :-)