Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just a little something new from me in aquamarine and pink, loaded with granulated Bali sterling embellishments. Wear it on a chain or a silk ribbon when you're feeling like a little girly embellishment around your neck.
I was still playing with my Swarovski crystals from Artbeads when I picked up this sweet lampwork bead. I purchase a small set from a artisan on etsy named Diane (no last name) a couple of months ago. She had used a tutorial she purchase from Linda Muell to make the beads and I liked the colors very much. They had been sitting off to the side and as I was playing with my pretty aquarmarine briolettes my fiddling brought me to this pendant.
I loaded three different, diminishing sizes of bead caps together for a very frufru ornate bead cap and tied it altogether with an aquamarine Swarovski on either end. The bead is very 'watercolor'-y in styled and the colors are quite vivid, in spite of the fact that it is etched, which typically mutes color quite a bit. Here's an idea of how to wear it on a silk ribbon, but a pretty sterling silver chain would work just as well.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oh Artful Day...I Got to Play

I did something this week that I rarely give myself permission to do---started a project with no particular goal in mind. I hadn't worked with Swarovski crystal beads
for awhile, except as spacers. When I received an offer to try some samples from http://www.artbeads.com/ imagine my surprise to find these beautiful briolettes. (guess I haven't looked at crystals for awhile!) I couldn't resist getting a closer look and this is what happens when I free play with pretty crystals.
I love the chandelier and teardrop cut briolettes that I found in the swarki pendant section at artbeads--Swarovski pendants . Although I love working with gemstones, there were some unexpected pluses to the Swarovski's--great price points, larger beading holes and perfect consistancy of size, clarity and sparkle (and I didn't break any beads while trying my heavy handed wirewrapping, hooray!). They won't replace my gems, but you'll be seeing more of these great shapes in my future designs. My only complaint is the limited size and color selection--some of my favorites were missing.

Hands down my favorite is what I call a chandelier cut--the Swarovski Teardrop (6000) shape. I used a pair of the 13mm size, combined with a 17mm teardrop 6010 Swarovski Briolette for the necklace. I love the combination of tanzanite, aquamarine and amethyst crystals--they are such great gemmy colors. The gold vermeil and goldfilled findings give them warmth and a nice pop.

Shhhh! I did have to sneak, in a pair of my amethyst gemstones from my stash, to go with these aquamarine Swarovski's--because I decided they needed a little company. No comments needed on my wirewraps. As long as I was trying out something new, I decided to work on my 'messy' wraps...and I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams..just not the way I'd intended. They are messy, but not quite the 'artful messy look' I was going for. Definitely need a little work in that area. (time to go get some copper wire and practice, practice, practice...and then work from now on with dead soft, not half hard wire!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We're havin' a Heat Wave.....

We're definitely having a heat wave today! 100 degrees and counting. Ahh, there's nothing like Autumn in the high desert--Santa Ana winds ripping thru the canyons, parching the hills and byways, and of course there is always the obligatory fire with the fragrance of smoke wafting thru the valley. And so it begins..
Yes, this is the bracelet I mentioned yesterday and below is my knarly hand--veins, freckles and all! I love these beads, even though getting a good picture is practically impossible! The lampwork focals are by Julie Wong, one of my favorites, who alas doesn't torch very often anymore. These little treasures remind me of pressed flowers--each one different and special in it's own way. The colors include every shade of purple from palest lilac and lavendar, to rich wine and amethyst. Tied together with black Swarovski crystals and tiny vermeil beads, it's finished with briolette charms of carved pink amethyst and rutilated quartz. A hand model I do not make, but I love the contrast of asymetrical quirkiness and elegance in this finished design.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I've Got a Bat in My Belfry

Yes, life gets a little complicated sometimes and it seems like I've been runing a race with time since getting back from a month worth of fun. I guess you have to pay the piper for playing hookey that long. I did manage to find time to play a little on Friday and Saturday, and these Halloween-ie beads were begging to be used.
I don't do all that many whimsical fun pieces anymore, but these adorable beads from Lori Peterson were just too charming to pass by. I attached the charms to a hammered sterling ring with little round clasp findings...so you can rearrange them, or even take one or more off, if you like to simplify with a single charm or two. The silk ribbon is adjustable in length with a sterling slider, so it's short or long---you make the choice. You've got a bat, three pumpkins, even a couple of little vessonite gemstones for a touch of bling.

It was nice to just play with these beadies and after that I made a bracelet...but I'll share that tomorrow or the next day....one of the 'nice' things about having a 20-something artsy daughter, is that she points out how old fashioned and outdated my homedecor has become. Fortunately for me she is always willing to come 'help' me make it better...soooo we've taken on the project of first) removing the wall paper from the kitchen and dining area which was today's project (note to self: NEVER wallpaper a room again, removing it is a p.i.t.a.!) and after we're thru with that, we're going to redo the kitchen cabinets, so I won't have to hang my head in shame when visitors come, lol. I updated the appliances a couple of years ago, but it seems the rest of my world is stuck time and needs a little facelift! So do I, but it's not happenin' !

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Home Again...Home Again...JiggedyJig...

Five weeks is a long time to be gone fishing, and it's nice to be back with a basketful of precious memories and spiderwebs taking over my front porch (that part's not so nice, lol). While we were gone we missed the heatwave and smoke from the fires, so it was a good time to be gone on our big adventure. First there were two weeks in Montana and environs--mostly in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks--where we were once again overwhelmed by the beautiful mountains and streams, wildflowers, geysers, and glaciers all around us and delighted with every encounter with the flora, fauna and nature surrounding us. This first picture is my beloved Many Glacier Lodge in the northeastern corner of Glacier National Park--I've been alot of places in the world and this still might be my very favorite of all. If you love nature, western Montana will do wonders for your soul and spirit. We saw nesting eagles, bison, bears, birds of all kinds, wolves and marmots, fat little chipmonks and mountain goats, sheep and trout of every hue and size. We fished, relaxed, searched for bears, and relaxed, fished some more, relaxed, explored, relaxed, saw mountains and streams, valleys and rivers, relaxed some more, and...well, you get the picture!
Did I mention the bears? One evening we saw 6 different bears foraging for huckleberries and licking up ants under rocks (the area around Many Glacier is full of bears, bighorn sheep and mountain goats). Driving up the Gallatin from Yellowstone towards Bozeman there was a young black bear that had just downed a pronghorn and was feasting on dinner--what a sight to behold. Mitch fished for trout on the Madison, Gallatin and Yellowstone Rivers all in one day (three days in Livingston was a little bit of heaven all by itself in our own private cabin right on the Yellowstone River)--Montana is an excess of riches and delights that almost sends the senses into overload. I'm a mountain gal, and my heart was overflowing with the bounteous beauty of the earth every day. Summer in Montana is for me a glimpse of heaven. (And would you believe--no internet, no news, no worries and I totally and completely did not care!) Sooo, just when we thought it could not get better.....IT DID!!!! Talk about the icing on the cake.....

Just as we were returning home, the call came that a precious baby boy decided to come to earth a few days early and was waiting to meet his Grandma and Grandpa, so off I dashed across the continent (out of the woods and into the city, groan) for a first hand look at our beautifully handsome, sweet tempered and precious new grandson. , OH MY!!! It was love at first sight---he knows just how to melt his Grandma's (and Grandpa's) heart. I could go on and on, but I will just say that we adore him and felt so priviledged to be invited to share in the arrival of the sweetest little bundle of joy. I'm already missing him--two weeks, well two seconds really, was all it took to become attached to the dear little snuggly charmer--and it was so much fun to watch his Mom and Dad as they tenderly tended to his every need, with patience and love, despite their sleep deprivation, lol.
Yes, it's been a wonderful adventure, now it's time to get back into step. The first things that need attention are the spiderwebs on the porch and lots and lots of laundry. It was all worth it--what sweet memories I've treasured up for my musings while I work thru the everyday. I'm going to savour those couple of weeks with my forever sweetheart, just the two of us, drinking in one of the most beautiful places on earth, back to back with the joy of a new member of the family--a grandson to capture our hearts. Is it any wonder I feel my cup runneth over!!!
Of life's little pleasures, being grandma comes very close to the top of the list!