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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bird Brain

I was actually pretty productive this weekend. I feel like I haven't done much lately, but that's not necessarily true. I've just been working on paper clay or making bead caps and a few pairs of earrings. I started a Very Exciting™  necklace Friday night, but I don't have the focal yet. No use photographing it without the focal. But I'll get it next weekend. And I'm afraid I'm going to have to keep it when I'm done. I rarely claim my creations for myself, but sometimes I'm just not willing to part with something. Good thing I have a similar necklace planned that will be for sale. Same focal, plus a gorgeous cast pewter piece from Lynn Davis. And the focal for both pieces will be chandelier crystals that my mom saved after my parents' house was chopped up by falling pine trees during Katrina. Her chandelier was irreparably broken, but she saved what she could. I always loved it as a child, and I remember her on more than one occasion taking off every crystal to soak them and polish them up. It'll be nice to have one of them to wear for myself.

Then I made a really fun blue & brown necklace with one of my paper clay birds. I don't want to part with this one either, but I will. I'm just particularly excited about it right now. Here it is!

It's composed of dyed jade nuggets, big brown seeds of some sort, tiny jasper drums, some opalite moonstone, sari silk, antique bronze birdhouse, chain & findings, paper clay bird and clasp - both made by me :)

And here are some earrings I've made in the last couple of days.

 Faceted Amazonite, pewter birdies, and hand made (by me) floral bead caps.

Dyed jade rondelles, and handmade (by me) beadcaps.

Imitation coral, jasper, and handmade (by me) tin dangles.

Bonus if anyone recognizes what tin all these beadcaps came from. They're all from the same one, and it's pretty popular. When I put the word out that I wanted people's unwanted decorative tins, I got 3 of these, lol.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Bead Soup Blog Party Beads & Stuff!

I got my package from my partner, Beth of Vintage Sweets this week. She sent me gobs of stuff! And it's all copper, which is the metal I've worked with least. Coincidentally though, I've been recently starting to tip-toe in that direction with some findings and dangly leaves. Now I've got more than I know what to do with, and I'm really excited about it.

Everything was packaged neatly, and enclosed in a lovely vintage tin.

There were some purple & green crystals and pearls in cute little tic-tac containers:

Some Czech glass leaves and a pair of abalone beads:

Some copper wire in two gauges, the focal and clasp (plus a bonus bird):

And some various links, beads, and Viking braid:

I can't wait to get started, but there's so much to choose from I'm a little overwhelmed. I'm excited to see what I come up with. Thanks Beth!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Me & Birds, as Promised

I was deathly ill with the plague or cholera or non-fatal ebola or something all weekend, so I didn't do anything but watch too much TV and sleep. At the very least though, I managed to dig out those old photos of me with birds, just so you'd believe me when I claimed it in my last post.

These photos span several years in the late 90's to early 00's, when I changed my hair like underwear. It's been bright red for about 3.5 years now, but I'm going to be adjusting the tint soon. But you came here to see the birds, so I won't blab about my hair anymore.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

And just for fun, here's when a butterfly landed on my hand and stayed for a couple of minutes.

Things with wings love me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Birds! Birds! Biiiiiiiiirds!!!

We all have Bird Fever, don't we? I've always loved them. Some day, I will have to post all the pictures of me with the various birds that have for whatever reason decided they wanted me to hold them and pose for pictures. But for now, I'll just show you my latest project.

I've been wanting to experiment with making silicone molds, and I finally got the stuff this past weekend. Here are the results of my first attempt. I think I'll try re-molding the same piece and seeing if I can't get better detail, but even if I can't, I'm happy with what I've got. I want to make a million! But in typical Heidi fashion, I will get totally distracted by another project and forget about molding for months. I used paper clay for these, though I might upgrade to polymer clay some time.

The top is the pill case from which I made the mold, and below are the results. I have other painting ideas, which I will get to, hopefully, this weekend. They measure 4.5 cm in width.

Steve's favorite is the one below the gold one. He wouldn't wear it, but I think I'll make myself a necklace out of it so he can at least see it often enough. By the way, I took this with my phone, so the colors don't look quite like they do in reality. Still, I was so excited and I was eager to show off my new bird pendants!!!

If anyone would like one, or would like a necklace made with one - just message me! One day I'll get around to having an etsy shop, but I just can't keep enough stuff in stock to make it worth my while.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday (BTW)

It's my first Bead Table Wednesday contribution! This week, I've been experimenting with making silicone molds, and then using them with paper clay. So far, it's turned out better than I anticipated - especially because I found this wonderful little silver pill case that had belonged to one of my grandmothers. It's got 5 birds perched on a branch. I have a feeling I'm going to make 100 more because I'm having many ideas about how to paint them. Click on the photo to see everything close up.

Some of the other things here include a few stamped paper clay pendants still not finished being painted, as well as some of my Lorelei style hand made decorative tin bead caps & connectors. They are in various stages of being hole-punched & domed.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Salon Set Up

Yesterday morning, I went to my hair salon to get my flaming red hair touched up and to deliver Jeanne the necklace I promised her. If you read the previous couple of posts, you'll know how stressed I was while trying to create it. Turns out, she liked it a lot. I'll post some photos below, and they came out well, but it's one of those necklaces that looks better on. She said she'd had a slow work week, so she didn't have any sales for me. Hopefully this week will be better. While my sister was having her hair dried (we make appointments together), Jeanne's friend & lunch date came in. Turns out she was someone I used to know years ago. I told her about my jewelry and showed her a few things, and she immediately fell in love with a pair of earrings made from my home made tin bead cap/connectors. So I'd made a sale after all, and gotten to reconnect with someone from the past.

I asked Jeanne if she'd mind if I posted a photo of my display and of course she didn't. She then suggested I write a bio with a picture for her to post next to it. That's a great idea, and I'll work on that this week.

 The necklace

 My display - small, but it works.
The earrings on the right are the ones my old pal bought. I didn't have time to take pictures of all
my new earrings before my appointment, so I snapped a few in their bags just for my records.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday Night

Most of my friends are out having fun on a Friday night. Not me, I stay home making jewelry. And for the first time in a while, I'm being pretty productive. I've already worked on making some bead caps, made a pair of earrings using them, finished my hair stylist's necklace (not at all what I was aiming for), and am mostly finished with another necklace. I have a hair appointment in the morning, so I wanted to have some fabulous new stuff to bring with me.

Funny - remember how I was freaking out about my stylist's necklace?  I thought I had solved the problem by ordering some things from missficklemedia. Well, I was wrong. Her package arrived today, and don't get me wrong - the pieces were gorgeous, but they just didn't work for what I had in mind. So I put them away and will look forward to using them another day. Then in a last gasp desperate attempt, I grabbed this gigantor antique gold chain I've been holding onto, and wove a piece of sari silk through it. I had been contemplating that design with another color, but I figured I'd give it a try. And it's perfect! Tie a few knots, affix a toggle and voila! Huge weight off my shoulders.

Speaking of shoulders, my beading posture must be atrocious, because I am in constant pain. I just don't get up and walk around and stretch as often as I should. I get massages at least once a month, sometimes twice, but it's just not enough. Do the rest of you beaders out there have similar problems?

I'll post photos of the new jewelry tomorrow when I can get natural light. But I hate to leave you with nothing to look at, so I'll show you what my measly little jewelry corner looks like. I am super envious of those of you with whole rooms / studios. And I don't have NEARLY enough artbeads & focals, etc. When I first started out I thought I had so much, but the more you get the more you need. You know what I mean. It's a good thing people like my jewelry enough to buy it, otherwise I'd never be able to keep up with the costs of the addiction! Anyway, on to the pictures!

 My main workspace is a TV tray. But at least I have a big fun chair. Of course for bigger jobs, I have the kitchen table.

My mannequin, Delilah towers over me while I work. Apparently, there is no other location in the condo that Steve can handle her. So she just stands there taking up a precious quarter of my storage table. She's a good model when I need her though. I need to change her out of her Christmas outfit, but I've been too busy.

Closer view. Beads, buttons, baggies, everywhere. If you look down on the floor behind the lamp stem, that's a bag of sari silk ribbon. And of course there are extra bags of crap under the table.

This is photo central. Am I ruining the magic? I've gotten so many compliments on my photos, and this kind of spoils it, doesn't it? It's a little hard in this condo. I'm used to living in a house and having a yard and a porch. I'm making do. Notice, my stylist's necklace on my dress form. This photo does it no justice though as CFLs + Flash = mega color distortion. 

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed my little tour. Now it's time to get back to it.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Failures, Minor Success, Major Stress, & Finally a Glimmer of Hope

That was the theme of my weekend - as far as creativity goes anyway. Remember last entry I was unsure about the focal piece I had cobbled together for my stylist's necklace? Upon further examination and opinion gathering, it was determined (by Steve) to be "something a little old lady would wear." That was my initial concern, and I was right. I tried a million different ways to work it out, and ultimately decided I needed to just scrap the whole idea.

So then I moved on to the next thing in the queue - the beautiful lampwork bead pictured in the last post. Turns out, my ideas for that were awful too. And I didn't have the right accent beads. Some, but not all. Finally, I told myself I could just put it aside and get to it later, when the right accent beads presented themselves. That was about the sanest thing I did all weekend. I gave up for the night, about ready to give up entirely. But I was just having a pity party.

The next day, I put together the necklace I had a quick inspiration for when I was looking through my things for the Bead Soup Blog Party. I was fairly happy with it until I put it on. It's choker length on me. But there are a lot of people out there who love things choker length. And I wasn't making this for myself, so I had to calm down and admit it was kind of cute.

Sunday, I made quite a few pairs of earrings - basically just filler. I spend way too much time agonizing over things, wanting them to be the coolest, most original, artsy things ever made - and that usually just leads to frustration and disappointment. I have to have some things to sell! Ack! I really make myself crazy. Then last night, I was about in tears trying to figure out what on earth I was going to do for Jeanne's necklace. I looked at a million sites, magazines, and etsy listings looking for inspiration. I went through most of my beads 100 times. Pulled out the sari ribbon I intend to use, held it up to things. Experimented with a few concepts, all of which stressed me out even more. But I promised it to her for Saturday!!! I went to bed on the verge of a panic attack.

Today, it hit me. Missficklemedia was bound to solve my problem! I searched her etsy listings and found just what I needed. I feel like I can breathe now. I won't have the necklace done for Saturday, but I'm sure she'll understand when I tell her about the beautiful components I had to special-order for it. Wheew.

I just got a massage to help with my ultra-stressed shoulders, and I feel a little better. And I have a mug of tea waiting for me in the kitchen. Now have a look at the choker and some of the earrings.

Pendant by Jessi

Friday, January 7, 2011

Must Get Cracking!

I haven't been the queen of productivity this week, but I've gotten several small things accomplished. I went to my hair salon to pick up my sales, and because I hadn't done so in about 3 weeks, I had quite a bit! Because I'm paying my stylist in jewelry instead of commission, she said she wants something super fancy this time. She's requested a purple and gold necklace made from sari silk -- the details are up to me. Because she's wonderful and fabulous and oh so good to me, I want to make sure it's just perfect. Also, I promised it to her on my next hair appointment, which is a week from tomorrow. So I need to get cracking.

A fair amount of cracking happened last night in the form of Focal Creation. I can't decide if it's pretty or tacky as all get out. Do you do that to yourselves? I figured I'd suspend judgment until the rest of the necklace is made and I see it all together. I almost took a picture to post here, but I figured you all might need to see the finished product as well. So after that, I began piecing together the start of the necklace I'm making with this gorgeous creation from Julsbeads:

(Photo by Julsbeads)

That mostly involved picking numerous threads off of the cream colored piece of sari silk I'm using. Then I had to combine all the threads into little piles and tie them into knots, which I attached to jump rings. Unsure what to do with them, I stuffed them into the ends of my mannequin's stockings. They don't belong there, but they are within reach of my beading chair. I had to stop when I realized that my next step was hammering, and it was nearly midnight. Sadly, living in a condo does not lend itself to late-night hammering. I'm eager to return to both projects, but my stylist's comes first.

Today, I signed up for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party! WOO WOO!!! I'm super duper excited about that. I spent a few minutes looking through my supplies this morning, trying to see what I might pick out for my care package, and my first thought about what to send turned into a sketch and plans for another necklace! I was so thrilled by the idea of it, I couldn't bear to part with it. I'm really looking forward to trying to figure that one out, but again, Jeanne's purple and gold and hopefully not tacky necklace. 

Hopefully I'll get a couple of things made this weekend so I can post some new pictures for you. Oh, and lastly - Jeanne said that if I can make enough jewelry, she has a friend with a boutique on Metairie Road (for those of you not from around here, that's a pretty posh shopping area) that she's certain will want to sell my jewelry. Hooray! So I really, really, seriously really need to get cracking. I just need to figure out a way to speed up the creative process...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Party's Over

I'm not ready to go back to reality tomorrow. I was enjoying my vacation, though I didn't really accomplish much. Jewelry making was largely ignored after Christmas. I mostly just made the necklace from the last post for the ABS Monthly Challenge and the one below. I started a bracelet, and did a quick pair of earrings for a custom order, but that's it. I was imagining all the things I would create over my vacation, and I was really looking forward to it. But after the crazy Christmas rush, I had a 3 day allergy attack. No energy or inspiration. Just lots of napping, hot tea, kleenex, and bad TV. Then I became obsessed with Torchwood and started watching episode after episode on Netflix. That certainly didn't help with productivity! But I guess that's what I really needed -- an excuse to just be lazy and do nothing. I tend to force myself to always be doing something, so I guess I can't complain. It's been fun, but it couldn't last forever.

Below is my latest necklace -- more of the recycled sari ribbon, plus some gunmetal wire & jump rings, crystals, bone beads, I'm not sure what the white briolettes are, a fine silver leaf charm, a bit of labradorite, some vintage black beads, and a carved focal with a deer-like creature. Oh, and I made the clasp as well. I'll list it on my Facebook page tomorrow, but if anyone's interested, just leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks for reading!

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