Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Minding the Business: Follow your own way even if you're a thread killer

Usually, I don't participate in discussion boards.

Why not? you ask.

I'll spend quite a long time crafting a response or starting a thread and post it thinking I was particularly pithy. I've got something to say that resonates with others! I anxiously check back on the thread expecting to see a long list of responses. What do I see?


Or, my pithy, well thought out comment has been completely ignored by the other participants.

That's right, I'm a thread killer.

After a long stint of not posting in any discussion board, I spent some time yesterday morning writing a response that got the typical response of nothing. So, I've decided to revise it a bit and post it here. I think it's good advice and maybe a few of you will too. 

Conventional business advice has never applied to me. I've tried to follow it and do what it suggests but my gut never likes it and I haven't been successful using it. 

Am I a flake? 

Am I a failure?


The business/life advice I follow now is: Be quiet and listen. Listen to myself. Listen to my gut. 

Way back in high school,  I chose a poem to read to my English class for a public speaking unit. I chose it because I thought it described me. Looking back now, I'm surprised at how much I intuitively understood about myself. How did I lose that? What happened? 

I stopped listening to myself. Maybe you've stopped listening to yourself. This poem applies to those of us who aren't cut from the conventional business cloth. Our life paths are wound around others, family and friends. Our work is woven in with others. 

My adult self shares what that high school girl knew in her heart. What you know in your heart. The poem is Scrub Pines by Rod McKuen (excerpted from his book, Celebrations of the Heart and gratefully borrowed with credit from his website):

Scrub Pines

Scrub pines struggle
through the underbrush,
sideways, d
then again.
Never really heading skyward
they seem happy to survive
if not really thrive.

Nature ignores the scrub,
it seems to caution
get there on your own,
wherever there is.
I am not sure
that even that slow growing
stunted, wanna be tree
could tell you
where it is heading
and which branch
leads the way.

Scrub pines finally
find their way.
Proud, predictably
they shoot up through
the under brush and belly
of long grass
in their own good time.

Their lack of beauty is their beauty. - Rod McKuen

Remember this my fellow Scrub Pines - you may be a thread killer but you'll get there in your own good time. Our paths are our own and that, my friends, is success.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Tangle: One Step Ahead with a Poinsetta Ring

I know summer isn't over yet, but as a glass artist, I always need to be one step ahead in my designs. So, I've used a wire wrapping technique and the double dips to make a poinsetta ring for the holidays. 

The poinsetta ring is offered as finished jewelry. It's not offered as a tutorial. I hate to say this but because I've seen a few people copy my work and sell it as their own, please don't copy the design. Just because it's posted on my blog doesn't mean it's open to copy. Thank you for respecting that. Now back to work! 

I've got several other holiday projects on the workbench. Gotta stay one step ahead!  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Metal Monday: A New Page and Flowers

I've put up a new page on my website with metal goodies that I've shown you here and some that I haven't like the beauty below.

I like a shallow dome on them, it gives them an added textural quality without over-powering the fundamental design.

What have you created today?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Macro Sunday: Rainbow in glass

Rainbows make me happy and put a smile on most people's faces. When my son was little, I had a prism hanging in the window and he used to dance in the sun and rainbows. That memory was the inspiration for making these small rainbows in spiral form....

Macro Sunday makes a rainbow of colors and shapes. Take some time to enjoy what other macro photographers have posted today.....

studio waterstone

....and don't forget to keep creating!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Crafting: Mason Jars and Crafty Bloggers

Saturday mornings, I go down to the basement to do laundry. On the shelving unit above the washer and dryer are these canning jars staring at me.

It's time I recycled them into a home decorating craft project. Here are a few ideas I'm considering:

1. Jar o'lantern: A kitschy idea for a jack o'lantern.

2. Lovely lighting like this one from AliCatJunction.

AliCat's colorful lighting puts a smile on my face!

3. Solar Lids for the Mason Jars and I have instant outdoor lighting!

4. Girl in the Air has a tutorial for converting a mason jar into a pendant light - I could give it a try!

The multicolor lighting looks the easiest to do. But I can't get the pendant lights out of my head. I need a new light in my home office/studio. I've never undertaken a lighting project so I'm a little intimidated. While I muster up my courage, take a look at what the Crafty Bloggers have been up to...

About Family Crafts
Take a moment to read some crafty money saving tips and then take a few more to publish your own!

Aileen's Musings
This week Aileen offers you a fun Altered Cabinet card tutorial and freebie downloads stop by and get inspired to make some fall art!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a new card featuring a sweet elephant!

Cindy Gimbrone Beads
Looking for a unique idea to display your handcrafted jewelry? Cindy's here to lend you a hand!

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a tutorial on how to fold an origami mosquito and enter to win a copy of the book Origami 101, how to treat a dog when its overheating, dehydrated and sunburned, some art from Gary Panter, and how to make your own crackers with a dehydrator.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy looks ahead at the school year that is already filling her calendar with oodles of projects and commitments.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Did you love finger painting as a child? Here's a sort of grown-up version you might enjoy.

Mixed Media Artist
Shrink plastic buttons? Yes!! Consider all the possibilities...

Stefani's crocheted eyeballs are tongue-in-cheek funny creepy! Perfect for Halloween!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Spooktacular crochet eyeball pattern!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Funny Friday and Fabulous Beady Links! Jewelrymaking
Craft stores have come a long way with the jewelry supplies they now offer. Take this quick poll about your own craft store experience.

Art Bead Scene
ABS Editor, Jennifer shares how to create a look for a store/gallery.

Beading Arts
Want to add a bezel to a curved surface? Cyndi shows you one easy way to do it!

Beads and Books
Michelle uses the story of Cinderella to inspire a pair of earrings and shares a related upcoming challenge at Stringing magazine.

Carmi's Art Life/World
Carmi's post features her favorite find from the CHA show in Chicago this month.

Cindy Gimbrone Beads
Cindy reviews Steel Wire Jewelry.

Resin Crafts!
There is a new series this week featuring EasyCast clear casting epoxy.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean points out a lovely book which is a bestseller which she has a project in: Best of BeadStyle, Vol. 7 ! Please come and see how pretty it is!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

DIY Thursday: Sew a Custom Jewelry Display

"Recycle, re-use" and "love the earth" were favorite catch phrases of my childhood of the late '60's early 70's. I was given a sewing needle when I was 5 years old and taught how to make basic stitches. So the other day when I was searching the internet for mannequin style jewelry displays, it hit me. Why don't I take the concept of one of my collections, hands, and make my own hands for display?

A quick peek at just one of my hand groupings. They're scattered all over my studio and house.

After some searching, I realized I wouldn't be able to purchase a sewing pattern for a hand. I had to jump right in and make one myself.  I don't have any training in pattern making but I had to try. I used regular white printer paper and drew an outline of my own hand. I didn't measure it while I was drawing but I tried to draw the outline 1/4 inch bigger to allow for seams.

The finished pattern on my kitchen table. 

I rummaged through the small cloth stash I have and found a piece of scrap cotton/polyester cloth. I ironed the material to smooth out the wrinkles and fold marks.  I pinned the pattern to the folded material.  No need to place on a fold but you do want two pieces after you've cut it out.

Printer paper pins easily to the material with sharp pins

I cut out the pattern and basted the two right sides together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Just to be clear, you place the right sides together with the wrong side out for basting. I reinforced the base of each finger slightly by backstitching a stitch or two. I wanted to be sure the base of the fingers would be fine because I cut slightly into the "V" at the base of each hand to be sure the material would lay flat when I turned it inside out. 

Once you've basted the material together, turn it right side out. This takes a little finesse and patience with the fingers. Next, I stuffed the hand with eco-friendly filling. I filled each finger first taking stock of the shape of each finger. I found the middle finger is a bit too slim. I'll have to go back and change the pattern keeping that in mind. 

To make the hand stand up, I filled a small plastic bag with dried beans and placed it inside the base of the hand. I hand stitched the base closed. The hand stands up but it still needs a wider, sturdier base. Another alteration for the pattern.  It's a good first try.  I can drape necklaces and bracelets from it or put T-pins and put earrings on it.  I think I'm on to something!

Finished prototype. Pretty good for the first try.

I'm going make the alterations to the pattern and then sew up some more. I can always use another hand around here! ;-)


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday: Bead ADD

Yup this is a real shot of my bead table. I'm in a beadmaking frenzy getting ready for the holidays. Yes, the holidays!  I make a bunch of lampwork beads, set them on the table to clean them off, cull through them and then think of a design, pull out the wire and try to rough out the design, finish off a wire wrapped rosette ring, polish it then go back to cleaning the lampwork beads. I think I've got Bead ADD.  I cycle through several projects and eventually finish them all!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday Tangle: Cat's Heart Has Got Me in a Tangle

My Bead Soup from Cat has arrived, folks! I gotta say I ran around in circles for a little bit when I opened the package and saw all the girly-goodness inside! A large copper etched heart pendant and a heart toggle paired with the super girly colors of pink, ruby and amethyst!


Here's a little closer look at that lovely heart!

The explosion of girly-goodness made me think of the Power Puff girls and how they were created in an explosion with Chemical X!  Girl Power!

Now it's time to get to work creating my own girly jewelry explosion! Thanks Cat!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Metal Monday: Making Your Metal Money Stretch

Yikes! Have you seen the price of gold and silver?!?  Especially silver which was my go to precious metal. I can't even afford that right now!

I'm sure many of you are in the same boat. One of the ways I make my money stretch is to use base metal and then cover it with silver fill wire. I wrote a tutorial last year on how to coil the double dips that's available to you for free.

If you're using base metals such as copper and brass, you can patina them to a dark finish which will unify the color of your base metals. I did this with the "Meandering Earrings" project that appeared in the summer 2010 issue of Easy Wire. The earrings were made with copper wire and finished in a dark, bark-like color.

When you've used a dark patina on base metals, it's important to seal in the patina so it doesn't rub off. There are several ways to do this. One is to seal it with Renaissance wax and another is to use a sealant like Midas available from Rio Grande.

Monsterslayer is the lowest priced silver fill wire I've found. If you've got a different source with lower prices, please share by leaving a comment.

Make sure you take some time today to create something!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Macro Sunday

Before we know it, the green of summer will be a memory and all the leaves will have turned to shades of russet, orange and yellow. Seeds will be sprung from their safety nestled within the leaves to plant themselves into the autumn ground.

I was struck by today's Japanese Maple seeds camouflaged in the leaves. The wind was blowing so it was difficult to get a picture of them between breezes. They're reminiscent of wings don't you think? 

Please take a peek at the other "i heart macro" postings. I'm sure you'll enjoy what others have noticed during this past week....

studio waterstone

....and don't forget to keep creating! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bead Soup Show Off and Joining Up with the Crafty Bloggers

Good Saturday morning to you!  I'm showing off the Bead Soup Mix I sent to my partner Cat. It's a lovely mix of reds, turquoise, ivory and copper.  I made some small decorative beads with hearts matching the color palette.  That's the great thing about making your own beads, creating a set of perfectly matched beads.

I loved it so much, I've made the beads available to you.  Just visit my website if you'd like some for yourself

Next week, I'll be doing the Bead Bloggers weekly links and joining up with the Crafty Bloggers too. I'm excited about it because I'll start showing off my other obsessions....errrr...skills and I can share beadmaking/crafting info there.

In the meantime, take a look at this week's beady links! Jewelrymaking
Set up your jewelry designing by making the perfect jewelry sets.

Art Bead Scene
Try something different with your art beads - ribbon!

Beading Arts
The "Mostly Metal" challenge was a great success, many thnaks to Michelle Mach! Come and see all the fun pieces that were made.

Carmi's Art Life/World
Margot Potter's new book inspired Carmi's new linked necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone Beads
Need some iron in your jewelry diet? Tuesday Tangle has just what you're looking for!

Resin Crafts
Carmi uses a great new mold to make "people" donuts.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
How to win the great giveaway of Maggie Meister's Classical Elagance--an amazing and breathtaking book! See jean's blog!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew introduces the twelve, talented designers that make up the NEW Allegory Gallery Design Team!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Partner: Cat Pruitt of Boo Beads

Ok, so I gotta keep the actual Bead Soup Beads quiet but I don't have to keep quiet about my Bead Soup Partner or BeadSoupPr as I like to refer to us.

Lucky me, I'm partnered with Cat Pruitt of Boo Beads. I think the cosmos (or Lori wink) paired us! How many posts have I made lately on metal and my new toy - er - tool the rolling mill?

Well Cat is no scardy-Cat (sorry had to make the pun) of chemicals like moi and she is an etching goddess!
The incomparable Cat and etching goddess!

Just take a look at these lovely etched copper pieces I plucked from her blog, Etsy Shop, and Artfire shop

Now that I've made you all jealous, you can't switch partners with me! But you can tell me who your partner is. We're all gonna have such fun creating!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Tangle: Steel Wire Book

Ok, this week's Tangle falls under the "DUH!" Category. Yep, that's gotta be one of my tags from now on, search engine optimization (SEO) be D@&%%#!!!

When the shoe fits, ya gotta wear it.

I just got Brenda Schweder's latest book (at least I think it's her latest book, I mighta missed the train more than once), Steel Wire Jewelry.

DUH! Why did not the self confessed Wirehead have this the moment it was out?

I hang my head in shame.

It was the after holiday checkbook that made me do it.

But, I'm correcting it today. 

Steel wire is the new copper. In the days before gold hit $1500, one would go to the hardware store and buy copper wire to practice. Today, thieves go into abandoned houses to strip it of all of its copper plumbing and wiring to sell. So if you're still practicing on copper wire, make sure you never leave your home too long!

Steel wire is inexpensive and some have replaced copper with steel as the new practice wire.

While at the hardware store buying your steel wire, pick up some general wire cutters and an extra set of needle nose and chainnose pliers. Steel is different than copper and you don't want to ruin your jewelry making tools to practice.

Many of the projects in Brenda's book use 16 gauge or heavier steel wire. I love the look of the heavy gauge and Brenda's projects are well suited to wire's assets. I love all of the projects but especially the Lotus Ring and her techniques for setting stones in pendants. The Lotus Ring is a way to set a stone and it's a technique I'm not very versed in. I can router glass to set it with wire, but not so good with the found objects and stones. Brenda is a master.

Now - off to the hardware store for that 16 gauge steel wire!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Announcing Monday Metal and Linky Love

If  you're a regular reader, you know I've been working with a rolling mill lately.  I've always had in the back of my mind, to make beads of all kinds and metal is a part of that. So, I've decided to add a regular post called Metal Monday when I'll talk about all things metal.  I've made a little logo to go along with it using my latest rolling mill/metal creation....

Did you know that you can put all kinds of media through a rolling mill to impress a design?  That notion sent me to the craft store looking for all kinds of crafty things to use.  I came up with ribbon and paper borders for scrapbooking.  Here's a sampling......

I picked up all of these ribbons and paper borders at my local Michael's store. Of these patterns, I liked the off-center flowers created by the brown floral ribbon.  Which is your favorite?

Speaking of favorites, here are my favorite bead bloggers with some beady love.....

A Bead A Day
Artists who create using found objects or materials from nature are awe inspiring! Lisa is showcasing one artist who uses birch bark to create beads! Jewelrymaking
Get twisting with your beads and learn to make a very cool twisted strand necklace with this bead weaving technique. 

Art Bead Scene
Come check out the August challenge! 

Beading Arts
Cyndi is celebrating bead embroidery month on Beading Arts! Come find out how you can get started.

Beads and Books
Share the name of your favorite glass beadmaker for a chance to win a copy of the book Creating Glass Beads. 

Carmi's Art Life/World
Carmi is experimenting with Apoxie Sculpt and rubber stamps to make pendants! 

Cindy Gimbrone Beads
Cindy's got a new tool on her workbench, a rolling mill. Check out the jewelry pieces that have rolled out onto her bench! 

Resin Crafts!
Carmi shows off a sweet resin heart pendant made in a candy mold.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is getting verrrry excited, anticipating Michelle Mach's Mostly Metal Challenge! Come read about it! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
In an effort to help launch Allegory Gallery, Andrew announces the Allegory Gallery Fundraiser! Make a donation and receive a prize for your support!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rained out and Spiffed Up...Creating

Well, Buffalo Yogafest  got rained out so I spent this rainy afternoon spiffing up my blog. It was in need of a little change. I'm considering migrating to another blog to better reflect Cindy Gimbrone beads rather than just focusing on the glass beads with lampwork diva.

I want to make sure I focus on creating whether it be beads, jewelry, art, cooking or sign language interpreting.  I'll end each post with this little reminder....

Let me know what you think of my sprucing to hear from you!

Sunday Photo is back - in macro!

Last year, I posted a picture every Sunday. I kinda miss it so I've joined up to post a macro picture every Sunday.

studio waterstone

When I saw this, I thought I'm the queen of macro!! In fact, most beadmakers, jewelry artists, miniature makers have to take macro pictures regularly. So if you're one of the above, join in!

Beginning next Sunday, look for a macro picture here every week. It'll be fun.

I know you're thinking, why not start today, Cindy?

Well,  I'm off to first annual Buffalo Yogafest instead of sitting at the computer.

See you here next Sunday!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tuesday Tangle: Iron wire

I love to see what kinds of things can be made with different types of wire. Not only the wearable but housewares like this sinuous lamp I spotted on Etsy.

Here's a lovely necklace my friend, Barbe Saint John made with iron wire using one of my lampwork focals (it's the one on the left).

I know you're going to ask me, where do I buy iron wire? My favorite place Metalliferous has it as well as Dick Blick.

Give iron wire a try, it's inexpensive and has a trendy look! 

Monday, August 08, 2011

Monday Links

This is one of my favorite quotes and it's perfect for the necklace by Lulubug Jewelry on Etsy

Speaking of favorites, here are the favorite links from the Bead Bloggers....

A Bead A Day
Do you ever get caught up just gazing at swarovski crystals? Lisa at A Bead A Day has a tendency to do that too! Stop over for a chance to win one for yourself Jewelrymaking
Here are some recipes and tutorials for cleaning up your gorgeous jewelry.

Art Bead Scene
Did you know ABS has a designer of the week? Join us in a challenge and you could be featured on ABS!  

Beading Arts
Cyndi shares step by step how she engineered one of her recent bead embroidery pieces.

Beads and Books
Share the name of your favorite glass beadmaker for a chance to win a copy of the book Creating Glass Beads.

Carmi's Art Life/World
Carmi has a link to her new Faux Solder technique for John Bead blog.

Cindy Gimbrone Beads
Come take a look at Cindy's charming experiments!

Resin Crafts!
Carmi shows off a sweet resin heart pendant made in a candy mold.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the fab new book by wonderful Margot Potter, New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry. PLUS, she has a GIVEAWAY of this super book! Race like a bunny to Jean's blog for all the information! You won't be sorry!

The Bead Dreamer
Charlene shares her review and enthusiasm for Maggie Meister's Classical Elegance bead weaving book.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew reveals the August Reader's Challenge Design Kit filled with sizzling summer reds!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Rolling Mill Coffee Talk: Secrets Shared

I had so many comments and questions yesterday about the rolling mill, I thought I'd pour a cup of coffee and share more about how I made those lovely disks.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, wanting a rolling mill started with the January 2011 issue of Art Jewelry where Lillian Jones wrote an article entitled "Adapt a Polymer Technique to Texture Metal Sheet." In that article, she describes a way to create your own texture pattern/sheet to use with the rolling mill. If you're a subscriber to Art Jewelry or even if you buy the single issue, you can download the copyright free images they have on their website to use in the project in the magazine.

When you use the rolling mill, you have to be sure that the metal is annealed or you buy it dead soft. I buy my metal mostly from Metalliferous in NYC or Contenti because I'm on the East coast and impatient when it comes to waiting for an order to arrive! You want dead soft or annealed metal so it can take an imprint. Aluminum and sterling/fine silver doesn't have to be annealed because they're soft enough without any additional annealing.

One of the things I didn't do that you should do when you use a rolling mill, is to bolt it down to your table or a piece of plywood or if you're flush, buy one of the stands available for some models.  My tables don't lend themselves to having things bolted or clamped to them. I thought, where is this heavy thing going?  But when you're turning the handle of a mill and compressing the metal, it will move believe me!  I'm on the look out for a clamp or a piece of plywood to bolt the rolling mill onto.

Follow this link to Etsy where you'll see examples of beautifully textured jewelry and a great seller, the Rolling Mill Resource who has lovely patterns to use in a rolling mill.

There you go - secrets shared! Happy rolling!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Tuesday Tangle: Rolled Metal!

I unveiled my new rolling mill last week so today I'm unveiling what I've done with it! Below are the first few disks of copper and brass I made. You can see one is a little bit more oval than round - it was really hard to roll that one through the mill!

Here's a little closer up....

I used 22 and 24 gauge copper and brass disks. I polished them up and used my Euro-Power-Punch to make holes after I'd rolled the disks. Making these is seriously addictive!