Sunday, October 24, 2010

Golden Raspberry

I recently made this necklace with Beverly Gilbert's Golden Raspberry bead soup. I added a few glass beads to the mix, and made it a three-strand necklace. When attaching the strands to a 3-strand magnetic clasp, I purposely didn't match up the strands so that it would give a twisted look. When you wear the necklace, it appears like it's one long strand that has been twisted around your neck a couple times. This mix of beads has a lot of shiny gold seed beads, so the necklace is quite stunning and really catches the light. You can now see this necklace for sale at my Etsy Shop.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Home Renovation

I've been kind of quite about this, I guess because I don't want to jinx it, but our family is in the midst of a house renovation. It took us about 3 years to get a builder for it. I know, crazy in this economy, right? I can't tell you how many builders spend over an hour talking with us, only to never call us back with a quote. We finally got a good one, and it started over the summer. We're adding a couple bedrooms, and deleting one to expand the family room.

Here's a photo when we were dismantling the patio screen in the backyard.

Here's the start of the addition. You've got to have the concrete blocks in hurricane-prone Florida.

Here is it with a roof. Since this photo, the exterior has been painted, and the interior walls are up and painted. We're just waiting now for the electricity to be turned on.

Since we're tearing down a wall inside, I thought my son Michael would enjoy drawing a big picture on it before it goes. He's made hundreds of drawings in his life, mostly of elaborate creatures, gods and goddesses, or animals. Here he is drawing his "Warrior King," floor-to-ceiling.

I'm doing the painting, with my color choices. He wanted to see how I'd interpret it.

And here's the final, complete with its name in some made-up foreign language.

Michael with his masterpiece. Isn't it great? It will be up only a short time, or maybe longer if we get a few more days of no one showing up to work on the addition. I guess that's all part of renovation work. For now, we're loving having this great painting on our wall.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Portland Art and Soul Art Book Class

I was lucky enough to take a class with Leighanna Light at the Art and Soul Retreat in Portland, Oregon last week. The class was The Construction of an Art Book. We made it out of long strips of canvas that we folded to make book pages. Leighanna taught us great collage techniques -- painting, distressing, using copper patina on canvas (who knew you could do that?), attaching rivets, gluing and painting great papers. The class was informative, but then we were left to do our own playing. It was a fun group of women, from all over. I was surprised to find that there were a few others from Florida in the class! Here are some of the creations from the ladies in the class:

And this is the book that I made:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Whidbey Island Scenes

I spent four days on Whidbey Island, Washington, taking a bead class with Beverly Gilbert. For the past two years, Beverly has taught a week of bead classes at her home, and I was so thrilled that I could make it to part of the week. I showed photos of my necklace I created in her class in this post. But I wanted to show you just how beautiful the setting was. To give you a little background, I had never been up this way before. Whidbey Island is one of the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, near Seattle. You need drive your car onto a ferry just to get there. I was a little nervous about that, I guess because I've seen too many movies where cars drive right off the end of the ferries into the water. I drove on without incident, and was treated to a breathtaking view of the mountains. I don't know if you realize this, but you could live in Portland, Oregon or Seattle for months and not realize you are surrounded by mountains because they have so many cloudy, rainy days. I was lucky enough to have some of the clearest, most beautiful days ever on my trip. Here's a view from the ferry.

Each morning I took a walk on the beach, which is right across a wetlands area from Beverly's home. I took way too many photos of rocks and driftwood, because we just don't have those things on our beaches in Florida. Apparently, the residents tend to claim the driftwood that comes up near their houses. I don't mean they take the driftwood. They leave it on their beach, and expect that anyone walking on the beach won't take it away. They might just leave it there, or they might stack it up into interesting sculptures. But it's theirs, and it needs to stay on the beach in the front of their house. I respected that. Although I will admit I took a few rocks home. Not too many, though. Here's a photo journey of my walks.

Be sure and check out my 100th Post and Giveaway. You may comment until October 30 to be entered in the drawing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

100th Post and Giveaway!

Whew -- it took me 26 months to get to my 100th post. I'm definitely doing more posts per month now, but I'm still a little erratic. I'll do 4 in one week then skip 3 weeks. Ah well, that's just how it goes. But I'm very excited that I've reached this milestone. I love that I have this venue to showcase my jewelry creations, my experiments with painting, assemblage, artist trading cards, and other art pursuits. To celebrate, and thank all my blog readers, I will be giving away one of my necklaces to a lucky reader. I'll be drawing a name from all the comments to this post, but I have a request. My last couple posts I've been talking about the bead class I took from Beverly Gilbert. I love taking classes and would love to hear about more. So in your comment, tell me about an art class you took that you really liked. Who was the instructor? Where was the class?

As a special bonus, I'll be sending a 10% off coupon that can be used in my Etsy Shop to the first 26 readers who post a comment. Keep your comments coming, and keep them interesting. I love hearing from people all over the world, and I love visiting your blogs in return. Make sure you have a link to your own blog in your comment so I can stop by.

I decided to do a mini-tutorial to show how I made this giveaway necklace. I started out with one of Beverly's bead soups, and a piece of 18 guage sterling silver wire to make a pendant.

I used my round-nosed pliers to make a loop at one end. I always make the loop that will attach the pendant to the necklace first.

I continued using the round-nosed pliers to bend the wire into an attractive shape.

I used my steel block and chasing hammer to hammer the wire pendant flat. I used the large end of the chasing hammer. I didn't hammer the ring at the end of the pendant because that tends to open up the ring.

I turned around the chasing hammer and hammered with the smaller end to make little dimples in the flat wire. I like this look because the dimples catch the light and make it even shinier.

And finally, I strung the beads and attached a lobster clasp.

Here's the final necklace that will be given away to one reader. Get your comments going!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'll keep this giveaway open until October 30.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jewelry on Whidbey Island

In my last post, I told how I was heading to Whidbey Island, Washington to take a bead class with Beverly Gilbert. The class was called "Wander with Color," and she had 11 students. We took it in her wonderful house right across from the beach.
We were set up in her back room, spread over two tables. It was quite comfortable, and cozy so you could easily chat with your neighbors while beading.

This was a 2-day class. The first half-day was spent talking about color theory and how that works with beading. Essentially, you can't think of the color wheel in beading the same way you do with painting where you can just mix two colors to make another. With beading, the colors will be side by side. But can you truly make, for example, blue and orange sit side by side and look good? Beverly taught us how to gradually "wander" from one color to the next. So for that example, you might start with blue, then work with lighter blues, to a lighter yellow, to a darker yellow, to orange. Then you might go with red to get back to the blue again. I chose blue, purple, and copper as my colors. We started by piling the beads on a paper to make our own palette. Here's what I came up with.

We used a free-form bead weaving technique called netting. Here's my creation with just a couple rows of beads strung.

And here are some photos of how my necklace progressed to the finished project.

Be sure and stop by tomorrow when I make my 100th post. I'll be giving away one of my necklaces to one lucky reader to celebrate!