Friday, January 30, 2009

Valentine Banners

I was challenged to make these cute mini-banners by a swap group I'm in. I'll be sending these out today, and will get different ones in return. My base is a white tissue paper that's been altered with pink, gold and cream paints. Then I attached it to the banner-shaped cardstock with polymer medium. And last, the embellishments. These were fun to do. Both sides are decorated, so my photos are the first side, then the second side. Stay tuned for photos of the ones I receive, ready for Valentine's Day!

Wandering Around

I love it when an errand brings me to another part of town. I get an opportunity to wander an area I haven't been to in awhile. I drive by a new shopping area in Palm Beach Gardens, but have only visited it once. I admire its outdoor sculptures as I'm zipping past at 60 m.p.h. Today I stopped by with my camera.

Right on the road, they've placed a beautiful butterfly sculpture. It's split into vertical pieces, and you can see parts of the butterfly from all angles. It's made of a reflective material so it picks up the sun. Here's a photo straight-on.

And here are a couple close-ups.

As you walk around the shops, you'll come across metal, windmill-type sculptures. They're done in copper and have a nice green patina. I started taking pictures of a few before I realized there's a whole garden of them. I then was so enthralled walking through them that I never got a good shot of the whole gang of them. They're created by the artist Lyman Whitaker, from Utah, and he calls them Wind Machines. They are on display there by Studio E Gallery. My photos don't do them justice, but you can check out the artist's website.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cocoon Beads

Recently the Charmsters group that I'm in did a "cocoon bead" swap. This was hosted by the wonderful Maureen, who always does a super job running a swap. Our inspiration for this swap was a couple of photos of beads that some of the girls did while at the Art & Soul retreat in Portland. I really had no instructions for making them, but I was impressed by their look: a wire base, wrapped in fabric or ribbon, then wrapped in a thin wire that has been strung with beads. That was enough to go on for me. I tried a few with a silk ribbon. They were nice, but not spectacular. I then pulled out my box of yarn. Jackpot! Thick yarn, wavy yarn, "hairy" yarn -- they all looked wonderful when wrapped with wire and beads. Each wire base was two inches long. I experimented with 12 - 24" of yarn, depending on how thick it was. I also used silver wire, copper wire, and black artistic wire. I found that matching the outer beads to the yarn color wasn't the best idea. They got lost in the yarn. Contrasting, brighter beads worked better. I also tried the "more is more" theory, and some of them really looked fantastic with a ton of beads. I ended up making six different kinds for the swap. Here is a photo with the yarns that I used.

I've seen these beads called fiber-wrapped beads, fabric-wrapped, and what we called them, cocoon beads. Going with the cocoon name, of course I just had to package them as if they were butterflies. I rubber stamped a card, punched holes in it, then attached the cocoons with wire, twisting the ends in the back.

Here are the groups of beads that I made. They were so fun to make -- my kids even tried their hands at it. I think for awhile I was addicted. I've even bought more yarn since I did these so I can do more.

For the swap, we send all our packaged beads to Maureen. In this case, there were 19 of us participating. Maureen then sorts them so we all received two beads from each person. She mails them back and -- surprise -- it's like Christmas when you receive that package in the mail! It's so fun opening it up and looking at everyon'e creations. I immediately put mine on a chain, and made one heckuva necklace. There were so many that I made another, more sedate necklace. But you've just gotta have a wild necklace like the first one -- and be bold enough to wear it out. I did, and got lots of raves from my friends.