Monday, February 13, 2017

Been busy but not productive.......and that's OK

I made a big decision this year, to limit my shows.  I finally made a jump and applied to some "big time" shows.  I figured if I didn't get in, I would just take some time off and work on my product and my display (need a more modern clean cut booth for these shows) and catch up on things that have been neglected around the house and studio.

So, I didn't get into the spring shows, I got wait listed.  I am doing ONE spring show, the North Penn Select Craft Show, and other than that, I am keeping my schedule open.

I don't even think I am entering Bead Dreams this year, unless I get some crazy brainstorm, I may even take the year off from that competition.

There is not a Spring Bead Fest here to teach at either.

So what I am doing?

I have been feverishly working on new booth ideas.  They must be fairly easy to set up, durable and easy to transport.  Oh yeah, they have to fit in my car too.

I have been sketching booths and pricing options and tinkering with table ideas.  I wanted a narrower table, and I am looking to use wall space to hang jewelry more. 

Thin wood boards to hang vs. cork boards.....still figuring it out

 I may invest in Pro Panels if they will fit in my vehicle.  Anyhow, Here is a table I made, that I am really liking.  The "legs" are two boards with hinges that fold flat.  The top board has small pieces of wood attached to the bottom that the "legs" go into to.  I really like it, but fear its wind resistance.  If I use propanels though, that will help.  

So, this would still get some black stamps (that I carve) on it and they will get sealed, maybe more distressed.  there are still pieces not stained on them as well.  but you get the idea.

It is such a work in progress.  I have idea' stay tuned.  It will probably slowly come together as this year goes on.

I have also been spending time with the family as much as possible.  Been doing a lot of chilling and watching movies, and we even got to enjoy some snow (finally PA) together.

Collin also caught his finger in a car door, and it got infected.  He had a bit of a cold too, so I spent a few days with him at home hanging out too.

 the pitties love when a kid is home sick
like that red streak going up his arm?  A little scary, but we caught it early and the antibiotics are working wonderfully

Collin and I have also spent some time working on his Valentines Box for school, but I can't show you too much- he wants the reveal to be a surprise.

I finally fired some ceramic beads, that I had made back in November.  I love them, and totally plan to make more.  Stay tuned for a small sale on my destash page this week.  I will have some of these available.

I also made some little charms from quartz crystal spike and epoxy clay, and I am loving them!  now I can use stones that have no holes more easily.  I will have some of these for sale too, and others will surely go into my charm necklace!

I have also used my free time to spend time with friends, and enjoyed a painting and wine night!
It was a great time, and since then I have been tinkering with some paints.

I also made a new stamp / linocut and had fun with a few prints.
I had a dear friend who marched at the womens march in DC, and she really loved this symbol.  So as Julia and I sat together after the march, and talked about inequality, privilege, and justice, we looked at sister marched, bonded over signs and listened to speeches.  She too, picked this symbol out and said, "wow - that is great".  So, I wanted to do something with it.  

I have also made these into postcards and will order them at cost for you if you are into sending post cards to your senators and reps!  Message me if interested.

I have also used my time to finally put up some prints and fill some picture frames that have been sitting in my family room for way too long!!!!  Below is our little shrine to our dog Jake, and some family photos of the kids and dogs.

Here is my picture wall in the living room, I finally added my Jane of Gritty Arts Studio prints.  If you have not seen her work, please check it out, its amazing.  I also hung my Ward Van Haute (it used to be in my studio).

So, that is what I have been up to between listings.  That and calling and messaging my PA rep and senators to let them know how they can work for ME!  lol!  And you should too, not matter what it is you want.  Because that is how our democracy works.  We don't need someone to give this country back to us, we just need to raise our voices and take it back.  

Next on my list, is finishing up a new Craft Art Edu class on carving polymer clay (yay!!!!) 

and cleaning my studio (going to be a doooooozy of a job) to make new jewelry for the Bethlehem House Gallery and my show next month.  Wish me luck, there is so much other stuff I want to dive into!  

May focus be with me!

So, though I haven't been business productive, I guess things are getting done that need to be done or finished up.  It has felt good, even if I have nothing much to show for it and more mess!  

How is your winter going?  Are you snowed in and going batty?  or making sure you get out and socialize?  Do you have winter projects you plug away at?  I would love to hear it!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 Ornaments and a Product Review

Every year I make ornaments from polymer clay.  This year I was sorely behind.  I just couldn't figure out what I wanted to do.  Last year I made my usual styles into ornaments, and did a run of Blue Moons to commemorate the blue moon that occurred in December.

This year, nothing was coming to me.  I thought, how can I commemorate this year?  Its been quite a year, with the election and all the great singer songwriter poets we have lost.
And then it hit me.

I wanted to make some ornaments to embrace peace, love, and acceptance.  

First I decided to honor Leonard Cohen, and make something inspired by his song Anthem.  I love the line, "there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in".  The other part of that inspiration was Karen's post that included a picture of this sculpture by Paige Bradley, which I LOVE.

So I decided to make a heart, with gold shimmer in the cracks, and wire wings.
I added the lyrics and dated them as well

Then I made some star ornaments, to honor David Bowie, aka Ziggy Stardust, aka Starman

On the back I wrote "turn and face the strange" because I think it really fits for every single day of our lives. They are also dated.

 I also wanted to make something to do with Peace.  This election has caused so much chaos.  So I made a new design, a peace sign, with wooden textured parts.  It was really fun to make.  On the back, trying to stick with lyrics, I wrote, "Imagine all the people living life in peace".

So, my ornaments are finally done and listed in my destash group. (How my destash group workds: just click that link, ask to join if you are not a member, and then claim items in comments.  I invoice you for them and ship)  
Better late then never, right?  (on top of the normal holiday rush and business, I have had sick kids.  I am so behind).

Anyhow...................since I made a new ornament, I had to make a mold for it!  Thus, the review portion of this blog....

I have been wanting to try that molding plastic, the one that you put in warm water and mold it.  I thought it may capture detail better, or yet, last longer then my typical two part silicone molds.

I purchased this brand, InstaMorph, from Amazon.
I followed the instructions carefully. 

I used water that was 150 degrees as directed and poured in some of the little white plastic balls.  They are supposed to congeal into one piece.

But they never lost their ball shape textures.  So I started again, because the cool thing is, you can re use this product over and over again

 I heated the water again, this time making it between 160-170 degrees

These looked a bit more transparent this time and congealed.

 So I smooshed them together and tried to make it as smooth as possible, but it was hard to get the ball texture out of them

I went ahead and covered my peace sign anyway, hoping that it would smooth out by applying pressure

 While that was setting, I tried again and went a tad hotter.  It did get much more moldable- however, the work time is quick, by the time it cools enough to handle it, and you begin to work it smooth, it begins to harden.

When the plastic was cool, I tried to remove my mold.  it stuck to the polymer a bit, and it did NOT make a smooth mold at all.  As you can see- it never lost that ball like texture- and the sample I did in polymer on the lower right side is terrible

 So, even though I think this is a cool product, and it is amazingly strong, not a fan of it for molds.  I will find a use for it, but it was way more trouble then it was worth.  I ended using my good old trust two part silicone molds.

I actually have an article in the current issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry on making molds with two part silicone.  
(I am also honored to be the Designer Collection in the current issue).  So grab it if you want to have a copy of my mold article- or take a peek at the issue because I was so happy with the pieces they picked to be showcased in the
Designer Collection (12 pages of my jewelry!  squeeee!).

You can pick up the current issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry here, or at some local art and craft stores as well as Barnes and Noble.

I know I haven't been blogging much lately, so I hope you don't mind that I crammed like 3 blogs into one!!!!

Christmas is in 3 days, and I know everyone is just mad busy!  I truly hope you enjoy your holiday, no matter what you celebrate, may it be filled with love, and family and friends, peace and wellness.  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holiday Sale

I cannot believe how fast this year is going.  
The holidays are here- and I am having my year end sale.  It's a way for me to say thank you for a great year, and an opportunity for you to snag a piece you may have been eyeing up, at a discount.

The biggest part of this, is that I finally stocked my shop.  That's right, I stocked it.  It has been barren all year!  I am happy to have many necklaces and earrings to offer now.

To take advantage of the sale, use code holiday20 at checkout to save 20% off your order. in my webstore

I also have some items listed in my destash group on facebook.  I have some ornaments, some of my block printed bags and some smaller necklaces that would make great gifts (coupon code not valid in this group, most items are already marked down).

You can check that out here.  If you are not already a member, just request to join and I will add you.  Read the rules and FAQ so you know how it works.  

I also have some of my block prints available- they make great gifts.  So message me to see what I have on hand.  
(stamps for prints- hand carved by me)

I hope you can find something to make your holiday shopping complete- or to just treat yourself!

Thank you so much for supporting handmade. 
I know I have said this before, but I am a small business.  Your purchase literally puts shoes on my children's feet and groceries on the table.  I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love and that it benefits my family too.  My family and my art are what are most precious to me in life.  So thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 
(here is my gang, and let me tell you, these kids never stop growing- my 12 year old daughter is 5' 3"!!- and my 15 year old is at least 1-2" taller then me now)

Thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!  May it be filled with love and joy.