Monday, August 31, 2009

Button, button who's addicted to buttons?



I've been developing a new addiction recently - buttons. Particularly French buttons. Since the Art Nouveau Stile Floreal came out so beautifully, I've been trolling ebay for more. Doesn't matter that's not where I bought the Paris button from, it's the easiest. But I'm leaning more towards Etsy these days after losing a button I wanted so badly in an ebay auction. I hate those auction snipers!

I'm working on expanding the Art Nouveau Series but I want a particular look - the "whiplash."

Can I really be held accountable if when looking for French buttons, I find others I love? Like the French lyre buttons above. Saw them and really tried to pass them over. Afterall, they aren't flowers and they're aren't obviously Art Nouveau. But something about them was charming and I had to have them! So, I find myself with several more buttons than planned but I'm sure they'll find their way into my work somehow.

How about you? In pursuing a particular interest, do you find yourself sidetracked because you've been charmed?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Silly and Sensational Links!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

A Bead A Day
Have you ever used sterling silver curly-Q tubes in your jewelry designs?? Lisa is searching for cool ideas for these adorable tubes.

About.com Jewelry Making
Do you use blogging to promote your jewelry business? Tammy has some thoughts for you on this.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene expands the editorial staff and welcomes Lorelei Eurto!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi uses shrink plastic to make a neat little bracelet.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
What do bronze and rawhide have in common? Cindy explains how she uses both in her studio.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Check out this unusual call for entries the Crafty Princess found for Momiji doll lovers.


Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows off some fun experiments that she has seen coming out of her studio, mixing copper and pewter

Jewelry & Beading
Looking ahead to the fall, Cyndi shows how to make a new necklace called "Autumn Arbor".

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei is hosting a Necklace Round Robin, but you have to leave a comment to be entered to win a spot!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Beadfest Philadelphia was packed with talented artisans and bead-makers. See what Andrew picked out!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Colorwash!



Here's the Art Moderne Flower with the colorwash of red-pink on it. It's a nice translucent red-pink color. I love the color and the look! Makes me want to go around and color everything!

Restraint, Cindy, restraint!

This is just enough color without losing the whole point of the bronze.

I'm going to insert a warning here for Angela whose marker addiction I enabled yesterday by including a link to MarkersSupply.com. So if you're reading today, Angela, don't scroll down to see the actual markers!



I've painted the back of the pendant since bronze I've heard that bronze can turn some people's skin green. The Pebeo paint in the pens is actually resin, lead free and food safe. So by painting the back, I've sealed the bronze.



I have to go back and touch up the flower before I put it up on the website. While I do that, I'd like to ask you, what other color would you like to see on the Art Moderne Flower - yellow? blue? green?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Post about Nothing....



Today's picture is of an original neon in the collection at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery - I feel like today's post has no real content. But then some of the best things are about nothing (like Seinfeld)....

I want to know where the summer went? I was supposed to do alot more than what I've done! I guess many of us feel that way, huh?

Despite that, I've got to get some work done today. I've made a few more molds and have to get several orders out.

Erin is reading my mind. In yesterday's comment, she mentioned using alcohol inks to give the Art Moderne Flower some beautiful color. Erin, I have in my hands right now a set of Peboe Paint Pens which will add some lovely color and protect the back of the pendant. By protecting the back with the layer of protective and colorful finish, the bronze won't discolor the skin if worn against it.

Ok ok, I'll stop here and go get some work done - afterall, I've said it enough times in this post, huh? (wink!)

Are you working today?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Talk Back to Readers, Art Nouveau and Art Moderne


So I'm going to do a little "talk back" to my readers this morning instead of going into the comments and responding there. I've got my cup of coffee and I feel like we're around the kitchen table having a chat!

Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. Good luck with the first day of school, Erin! That's a crazy day! This year, the first day of school will be bittersweet for me, The Teen is a senior and it will be my last "first day." I'll have to take alot of pictures!

Thanks to Sharon and Lorelei for liking the Through the Looking Glass Nuggets so well they ordered some! I'm always thrilled when someone likes my work and buys it. It's greatly appreciated!

Tish and Katie - it's that time of year when you feel like you've got to re-organize or do something! Sometimes it's because of the day job and sometimes it just because things have just gotten out of hand! A schedule is very helpful and makes us feel like we're in control (even though we may not be! LOL!)

Thanks for the well wishes, Emanda and Summerstudio! :-) I hate the migraines, they're so incapacitating. I'm convinced half the time it's something worse (knock on wood) but it's all that female thing or as The Teen calls it "Puberty 2.0." LOL!

Arlene - thanks for the comment about the long necklaces. If you figure it out, let me know! :-)

Since posting will be every other day, I'll communicate on the off times through my newsletter. Please sign up for my newsletter if you haven't done so already. I'll be putting up more beads on the website too. Speaking of the website, I've put up a new piece this morning.

The style is more Art Deco than Art Nouveau but I loved the look of the single flower spilling over the edges of the medallion. I tried to identify the flower but it's stylized so I've entitled it, "Art Moderne."



The Art Moderne Flower is made of bronze metal clay (because I'm now addicted to it). You can see just the slightest rainbow patina in the center that was made when I fired it in the kiln. I like the look of it - it looks like a stylized poinsettia to me - just the piece to work into a gift for the holidays.

Which flower do you think the Art Moderne Flower looks like?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Photography, Through the Looking Glass and Re-assessing.

Thanks for commenting on the photography yesterday! Seems lots of us struggle with the long necklace or photographing the pieces to their best advantage. Erin's work always looks spectacularly lovely so I'm going to try the focus on the one piece and pooling the rest of it. I've also thought of having one of my teenager's friends model and take a photo in that "cute off head show only the torso artsy way." Stay tuned, the photo issue has yet to be solved!

I've put a few more items up on my website. I ran across smaller (14mm) glass nuggets in the craft store. They were so tiny, I wondered if I could router them to make some charms. You may not think 14mm is tiny but you need room to make a groove plus hold them in your hand while you cut the groove - 14mm doesn't leave much room. Would I be able to make charms?

Success!



I've entitled these "Through the Looking Glass Nuggets" and they're available on my website. I've included the crystal glass nuggets too on Lynn's suggestion.




The past couple of weeks, I've had a series of migraine headaches that have virtually incapacitated me for days at a time. The blogging has been spotty because of it.

I've promised myself never to apologize for not blogging but I think this odd situation warranted a reason.

Migraines. Blech.

Fall is coming and I've got to re-assess. How much time am I really going to have to do everything I want to?

I'll be sign interpreting more hours a week until December and I need to work on my online sales more.

So, I've come up with a schedule. I'm going to blog four days a week: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I'm going to start my blogging schedule next week, August 30th. If you read regularly, then you'll know which days to come on over!

The good news is, my website will have more on it and I'll be sending out my newsletters regularly. YAY!

Are you re-assessing? What are you planning for?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Photography Phaux Pas

Can we talk photography? Photos can really make or break your work when you sell on line. You need good photos to replace the ability to see a piece in person. I've invested in good quality photo equipment, camera with a great macro, photo booth set up, lighting and backgrounds. Many of the photos I take are very good yet there is one style of jewelry that is eluding the great photograph - long (40"+) necklaces.

I'm going to use my recent experience entering the fabulous Use the Muse II contest. BTW be sure to visit the gallery and see the winning entries - amazing and lovely work!



I participated in Use the Muse II to push myself. I made glass links to complement the lovely selection of beads I received in the kit. I love to create long chain-y style necklaces but the problem I have is how to photograph them. My entry for the Use the Muse II is a great example of the photography phaux pas I commit with long necklaces. Here are a couple of the photos I submitted....




Kind of blah, huh? Honestly, I didn't like the above pictures when I sent them but they were the best photos I seemed to be able to get. You don't get a sense of the scope of the necklace or how it all fits together or hangs on the body. The above pictures were only two of the 100 pictures I took but I just couldn't get a good photo even with the macro and my mini-cube set up and photographers lights.

I tried different backgrounds and ways to display it but just can't seem to hit on the right combination.

Is it better to pool the long necklace onto a flat surface?



The black seemed to wash out the color of the necklace yet the white above was just so so.



So help me out, dear Readers - how do you photograph long necklaces or are you committing a photography phaux pas?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Recession Good News/Bad News and Beady Links

John Stewart of the Daily Show weighs in on the good and bad news of the recession. A hilarious analysis of the recession news....
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Good News/Bad News - America's Recession
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests


A Bead A Day
Creating a "tiara" for your wrist is easy using Jill MacKay beading components and bicone crystals.

About.com Jewelry Making
Check out my beautifully organized list of mixed-media book reviews and find the perfect book to help you mix up your jewelry making.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene gets green findings at the local re-use store.


Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a short demo on how she came up with a contest entry.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
What do bronze and rawhide have in common? Cindy explains how she uses both in her studio.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie contemplates taking risks, making changes, and creative experimentation to prevent art burnout.

Jean Campbell
Jean whips up a pair of funky Steampunky earrings; you can make them, too!

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi wants to know, what's the best thing you've made so far this summer?

Katie's Beading Blog
Check out Katie's upcoming workshops!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Take a peek into Lorelei's studio and see some cool bead storage solutions!

Strands of Beads
Melissa reveals her Use the Muse II Entry, "Briar Rose"

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Come join the fun in Philadelphia this weekend at Beadfest! Stop by the Green Girl Studios booth to say hello to Andrew and check out all the great new things available!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Art Nouveau: Stile Floreal Sunflower

I so love the Art Nouveau style and have wanted to create beads and pendants in the style - I just haven't quite found the right note until now. Bronze metal clay has been the right medium for this particular song. I've shown you the process of working with bronze metal clay and then the mold making This is the lovely culmination of all of that - new bronze pendants and connectors.



The period between the late 1800's and World War I was a time full of "new art" (Art Nouveau). Characteristic of the style is undulating lines and forms, each named after the objects which inspired them. Here, the organic form which inspired this pendant is an antique French button in the "Stile Floreal" (floral style) of a sunflower. The curves are known as "the whiplash" which describes the sharp turns in the lines.



I'm much more organized with this new series than before because I have them up on my website already! YAY for organization!! Usually, I blog about them and then put them up but I've made up my mind that from now on, every new bead and pendant will be up on my website by the time I blog about them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Refining and Picking Up Tips

During the spring of 2000, I took an Introduction to Jewelrymaking at the local university. I learned basic techniques like sawing, filing and sanding. I didn't have any jeweler's tools yet so I wasn't able to continue working on metal.

Here I am a few years later and want to add more metal work to my designs. Last fall, I picked up Susan Lenart Kazmer's Cold Connections and worked on the bowl bezels ideas in her book. I didn't have a saw so I was cutting the sheet metal using metal shears. I needed a refresher on the basic techniques I'd learned in that first class I took in 2000.

Interweave was having their annual Hurt Book Sale so I picked up Mark Lareau's Getting Started Making Metal Jewelry.

I have Mark's other book on wire and it's one I used over and over so I was excited to see he was the author of this introductory book.

It's a good introductory book for metal. There is a list of basic tools you'll need. I went through my tools and ordered the few things I needed to fill in. As I was saying, I needed a refresher on the sawing - this fit the bill.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Funny Friday and Fabulous Links

Since I'll be over at Studio Saturday on ABS this week, I'm posting my funny and fabulous beady links a day earlier than normal. Enjoy!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

A Bead A Day
A Crystallized "Square Ring"! If you have never seen a "square ring", stop by A Bead A Day to see how it has been incorporated into a bracelet.

About.com Jewelry Making
Too Much Jewelry Business Success? Is it really possible? And if so, what do you do about it?

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene announces the August monthly challenge theme - a beautiful woodcut print.

Beading Arts
The simple spiral square stitch can add pizazz to your projects. Learn this easy stitch with an easy-to-follow tutorial!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi explains how she made her glue gun leather brooch.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Looking to create a pendant from one of her antique button treasures, Cindy tries her hand at mold making.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shares her new Shino glaze tests, and ponders about new work.

Jean Campbell
Jean helped deliver two babies this week: a new nephew and a new bracelet design.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
There are a couple of new bead and blog books on the shelves at Barnes & Noble! Lorelei's got the scoop!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
The BIG REVEAL is here! Check out Andrew's submission to the Use the Muse II contest!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rewind: DIY Packaging



As an small business owner, I look for the least expensive options in packaging to keep my costs low, it keeps the buyer's cost low. But low cost = boring! Brown paper envelopes, small plastic resealable bags, etc.






ZZZzzzz....Snore.

This is when I get out my stamps, ribbon, heart shaped paper punch and ink. I happily lay out groups of 12 plastic bags and stamp away, stamping thank you's and happy phrases for each customer. I add a little ribbon and VOILA!

A perfect bead package unique to each customer - and I DIY'd it!





What do you DIY?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Whatcha doin'?


Made some new molds yesterday. I'm really putting the push on to have a good selection of inventory when September hits. I always find myself scrambling when it comes to the fall. In the past, I didn't think about the holidays or having inventory for the holidays until October - way too late for customers. I've been thinking about inventory and the holidays since July.

So, I tell myself - work work work!

This summer was much busier than others and no vacation. Why? TBC (that's The Bean Counter hubby) has been out of work. Good news, last month he found work but it involves a great deal of travel (ugh) - while we're not crazy about that, we will manage.

The Teen spent the summer learning how to drive - with Triple A. I tried to teach him but I couldn't. I remember when I learned how to drive how my father yelled - now I know why. There's alot to be said for a driver's ed teacher who has a set of brakes on their side of the car. I think I could have taught him if I'd had that set of brakes.


So, that's what I've been doin' - whatcha been up to? Leave me a note and let me know if you're doin' any early holiday preparations or maybe you're teaching a teen to drive?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rawhide!

Now that I'm addicted to bronze metal clay, I've noticed it can warp while drying. I tried turning it while it's drying but it can still warp. So what's a bronze metal clay addict to do? The best remedy for warping is to hammer your bronze metal pieces on a steel bench block after you take it out of the kiln. But which hammer to use?

dun-da-la-dum-da-la-dum ---- RAWHIDE!

No, I don't remember watching the t.v. show, I remember the SNL skit where John Belushi sang the theme song to Rawhide.

Digression aside, I always wondered when you'd use a rawhide mallet. Now I know. You use a rawhide mallet on metal you don't want to mar. You can use a wood mallet but a rawhide mallet is heavier than wood. I pound the bronze pieces with the rawhide mallet to flatten the bronze metal clay pieces to smooth out any warping. Bronze isn't as soft as copper or brass so I have to pound a few extra times.


So now if you're thinking, "That's just the tool I need!" - here are a few sources for Rawhide mallets:

The rawhide mallets shown above are from the Contenti Company;

Rawhide and plastic mallets at the Hammer Source;

Rio Grande Jewelry Supply.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday Photo


When I saw this picture at work last week of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, my eyes welled up with tears. I could feel what they were feeling. What a horrible ordeal, they must have been terrified. I still well up looking at Euna Lee's face. Hope they're able to return to their lives. I wish them well.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Silly Saturday and Sensational Links!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
White Men Can't Judge - Sotomayor Confirmation
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance



A Bead A Day
Do you use buttons in your jewelry designs? Stop by A Bead A Day to share your experiences and ideas.

About.com Jewelry Making
Is the under 20 crowd crafting more or less these days? Take the quick poll & see the results of what other crafters are thinking about this issue.

Art Bead Scene
Looking for some new earring ideas? The Art Bead Scene reviews 101 Wire Earrings.

Barbe Saint John - New Treasures from Forgotten Artifacts
Join in the fun of the Objects & Elements Reader Challenge!

Beading Arts
Beautiful Swarovski components from ArtBeads.com inspired Cyndi...right over the moon!

Carmi's Art/Life World
A little Friendly Plastic, a charm and resin makes for an amazing pendant.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Summer heat getting to you? Cindy has a wrist full of Frost Links in Pear to keep her cool.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie happens upon a new line of supplies that blend perfectly with her steampunk designs as well as her new resin collage pendants.

Jean Campbell
Jean whips up a pair of funky Steampunky earrings; you can make them, too!

Katie's Beading Blog
Check out Katie's upcoming workshops!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei shares some links to another really cool blog beading challenge.

Strands of Beads
Melissa creates a simple but stunning necklace with goodies from Rings & Things.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew reveals ten new jewelry designs.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I venture into a mold....

Today is a new adventure for me. I know it's a well trodden path but it's one that I've never taken a venture on. It's mold making.

Yup, except for a complete-failure-mold I made in a fusing class a few years ago, and probably because of the complete-failure-mold, I've never tried to make a mold again. I just figured it went into the same category as clay - Cindy=not very good.

But the allure of creating an Art Noveau style pendant has just been too strong for me. I bought this antique button from the local "Button Lady" who infrequently shows up at the local flea market to sell her treasures.

OMG - don't you LOVE it?!? There's French written on the back of it and I had to have it. I'm pretty sure I paid $25-35 for it, but it's just so beautiful, I had to have it. Nevermind I had no idea what I'd do with it at the time.



So last week, I decided it was time to try my hand once again at mold making. I bought the sculpey mold clay awhile back. It was just the thing I needed. I read the directions and an online tutorial. I collected the materials I needed: work surface (the good part of an old shower curtain spread over my favorite tablecloth), baby powder and corn starch ( you can use either, I ended up using the corn starch), various buttons and the sculpey.

I planned to try out other buttons before my French one but I was so excited, I just went for it. I dusted the French button with cornstarch using a paintbrush and pressed it into the mold.





What do you think? I think it came out very nicely!

I learned a couple of things - the mold making sculpey is alot softer and becomes mush in your warm hands so don't work it too long. Refrigeration is good!

If the molding clay gets too warm and you can't get your button out cleanly, put it in the frig or freezer.

If some of the molding compound is left in your button, put it in the frig then to clean it, take it to your kitchen sink and spray it with your dishwashing sprayer. Maker sure the water is cold. If you don't have a sprayer, you can run it under the faucet but turn up the water so you get a good strong stream of water on it. You could always use a garden hose if you have it too.

I'm glad I finally took the mold path :-) It opens up some new possibilities for my work - glass and metal together!

So have you taken an adventure? Have you tried a well worn path but it's new for you?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Temptation and Pear Frost Links

This past weekend, a BeadStreet USA show was in town. I tried to resist the temptation to go, but if you read my Facebook on Sunday, I couldn't resist any longer and went on my lunch hour. The show was kinda sparse which normally would be a problem but since I was in a hurry, it was perfect.

I had a couple of things I was looking for so I went in like a stealth missle - zeroing in on what I was looking for and trying not to get sidetracked. I made a few quick decisions and was out of there. All done on my lunch hour! YAY!

This morning, I've taken my morning coffee outside and the strands of beads I bought.



Quite a colorful bunch, huh? I'm not really sure what it all is, I think it's mosaic turquoise and dyed turquoise. The bright pink/fuschia are dyed stones of some sort I think. I was going for color this time around.

The dyed turquoise was bought first because I had the Frost Links in Pear in mind. I think they go together quite well, don't you?



Topping today's to do list is to make something from the Pear Frost Link and the dyed turquoise before I have to leave for work at 11:30am. So I better get crackin'! What's topping your to do list today?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Wonderful Designers: Nancy and Sara

When you make beads, you set them free to designers. Sometimes they land in someone's stash, or collection or worked into jewelry. I rarely see the jewelry my beads end up in but sometimes I do. Here are a couple of

What does a Round Rabbit do with a Bling Link? She creates an amazing bracelet!



I love this bracelet! I think I licked the screen the first time I saw it! (ooopss TMI!) I love Nancy's contemporary design and bow tie connectors - I think this looks like a stylized XOXOXO - modern and not overdone. Very cool and wearable. (Thank you, Nancy for giving me permission to show your picture here and on Flickr!)

Last week, I was talking to associate editor of Step by Step Wire Jewelry, Sara Graham and she asked if I'd seen my one of a kind beads in her bracelet design, Creamsicle on page 133 in Creative Jewelry. Oh my! No I hadn't! Sara was kind enough to send me a copy of the magazine.



Sara's design is simple and elegant and uses the one of a kind beads I made just perfectly. The annual is full of great designs and how-to's so you can create each of them for yourself.

It's such a thrill to see my beads in such lovely designs. Have you had a thrill lately?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Silly Saturday and Sensational Links - Giveaway Winner

Happy Saturday! I've got some great links from BeadLand this week. But before the laughs and links, this week's winner of the Step by Step Wire and set of earrings is Luthvian!

Congratulations, Luthvian!

Send me an email with your postal address and I'll send the magazine and earrings to you!



funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures


A Bead A Day
Swarovski Crystal Volcano! Are you ready to see sparks of red, yellow and orange?

About.com Jewelry Making
Tammy's going bananas over bamboo beads!

Art Bead Scene
Learn how to make your own bezel with Art Bead Scene!

Beading Arts
Fishing is a fun summertime activity, but even more fun when it results in something to wear!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi places some vintage lace/tatting between glass for this lovely pendant idea.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Want to add charm to your jewelry? Cindy Gimbrone shows you how to make glass nugget charms.

Jean Campbell
Jean gives the inside scoop on Rachel Nelson-Smith's upcoming book, Seed Bead Fusion.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei is helping to promote Cynthia Thornton's new book release by offering the 1st of 8 giveaways!

Strands of Beads
Melissa discusses her experiences with metal clay safety issues.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
With Swarovski crystals from Artbeads.com, Andrew creates a wire-wrapped dangle bracelet inspired by a fuzzy caterpillar.