Sunday, March 22, 2015

Shalimar the Muse

The past two weeks you would have found me very busy in the studio.  Diligently working away to get it just the way I want it, it is still only a partially defined idea in my head.  It evolves from day to day just as any creative project does, determined by the process and what I have on hand, and what my feelings are telling me. I try to think something out ahead, then revise and re-think as I go along.  It works for me, but at times it is frustrating because of snags along the way.

Something I decided months ago, was that I needed NEEDED to have a bust to display
jewelry on.   I bought a plastic form at the local flea market for $5!  Can't beat that, but they can be found online for $7 new +shipping.  Originally, the plan was to decoupage old sheet music, floral papers ...??? and use it as a necklace display for photos.  That idea changed drastically when I saw a Pin (sorry, it came and went) that stuck in my head, of an artist's rendition of a goddess.  She had a few strands of curly hair that looked as if they were snatched from a Saint Bernard, and a vintage vamp face with a lace tiara.  I loved that crazy lady and had to try to re-create her for myself.  For a very long time, I have had a Boho/gypsy muse who whispered to me that her name is "Shalimar," a mysterious name that might mean "abode of love" or ...something else.  It is a contrived and decimated Hindi word that apparently would be described as slang in English.   Shalimar dances around a fire of creativity.  In the Chinese Five Elements, Fire represents passion ...having your heart in all you do.  That is exactly what I want for my studio, and I am listening to my muse.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let There Be Beautiful Light

This week in the studio, I was working away at one project and in typical ADD/ADHD fashion, another idea sideswiped me to set what I was doing aside and do this...

I did this with 3 feet by 12 inches of organza, about 5 feet of brassy beads, and a sheet of floral paper.  The chandelier chain was about 2 feet long.
  1. Tuck the fabric in at the top of the chandelier, perhaps anchoring it with thread or a tiny wire.
  2. Spiral it around evenly and tuck the bottom edge in.
  3. Wrap the beads from the center, going around snugly twice a the top and then crisscrossing them to the bottom where I used a thin piece of wire to clasp together.
  4. I cut the paper into strips and made tubes that fit around the plastic tubes under the lights
Time:  maybe 30 minutes

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

It has been since the end of last year that I have been working on creating a studio.  Even though it has been painfully slow, I have been sharing the experience with you.  Now, it suddenly seems to be pulling together.  I have a theme and a direction that was missing before this week.  So far, it has been driven by a desire and thinking process, and once I got more focus, I had direction.  Hooray!  What I wanted was:
  • a fun, playful place to create that made me feel happy and creative just to enter the space.
  • an organized and dedicated space
  • a place that symbolized my most positive feelings and nurtured my spirit
  • a place that I would be happy to spend time every day
  • a work area that took care of my creative and physical needs
  • a small, attractive and exciting space for display, to house jewelry that I make for sale so that customers can look easily and soak up atmosphere and feel the goodness
In order to accomplish all this, what I needed to do was some soul searching and a lot of research.  It is not something that can easily be thrown together, and unless an artisan has been at their craft for years, it is not easy to know all that is required.  I have been moving slowly because I wanted to make sure I purchased wisely and set up the space right the first time.  This is especially important for the walls, which newly faux-painted, will have to hold shelves, display pieces, and other invasive equipment.  If I wasn't careful, they would look like Swiss cheese.

One thing I knew I wanted was a mirror. I had an old one that I don't even know from whence it came.  It was a dark and plain wood frame, so I added decoupage.  I wish I had thought to share that process with you, but I get so ahead of myself at times and there is no slowing me down.  The first thing I did was to paint the beveled edge of the frame nearest the mirror with copper metallic paint (cheap from the craft store) and allowed that to dry thoroughly.  Then, I applied leafing adhesive and added gold leaf.  The next step was the decoupage.  I used a wheel cutter to cut straightedge strips from wrapping paper, wide enough to wrap to the back of the frame.  The top of the frame was painted in manageable sections with wood glue. I got that at  Lowes at $4 for a rather large bottle.  The glue was thinned just a little with water with just enough to flow easily but still be tacky and not runny.  I placed the strips at the beveled edge and smoothed them down on the top.  The next day, the process was repeated for the sides and around the edge of the frame to the back.  This two step process allowed the top to dry and have a strong hold to keep the paper from sliding out of position.
Giving the decoupaged surface yet another day to dry, I then covered the entire surface with a coat of Mod Podge.  Just one coat, because I am not a fan of high gloss surfaces.  I want the room to have a cozy up-cycled artsy vintage feel.  Please pardon the reflected junk on the other side of the room, it will be gone soon, as everything shapes up.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Just a Little Bit Crazy

...I must be.  Somehow, I got it into my head to use some Brown Sheep Cotton Fine that I had purchased a few (?) years back to make a pair of FairIsle socks.  I was doing just great until I hit the heel and then the knitting and life just fell apart on me.  Project was sent to hibernation, and when I tried to get back to it I just couldn't orient myself.  So, Froggie the Ripper pulled it all out.  Then I saw this scrumptious cropped sweater and knew what to do with the skeins of tiny yarn.  No amount of arguing could sway me, and now, here I am deep into tiny stitches and tiny needles, straining my eyes and wrist while setting in thousands of stitches.  I guess it is a little like scratching off those cards to see if you won a prize because I love the way the pattern unfolds.  (Ask me when I am done if I still feel the same way?)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Hurrier I Go the Behinder I Get

...That is a quote from an old cross stitch pattern I once did.  I often think of it and feel it was made up just for me.  I am a collector of things by my nature.  I collect not only all sorts of physical stuff but mental and emotional stuff as well. Sometimes that makes it very hard to move forward.  I have great hopes that this new year will bring some changes to all that.  When fruit stops ripening, it begins to rot.  Forward progress is essential or the rot begins!

For the past few weeks, I have been working on a new bracelet.  It is for someone who
loves Banksy and I wanted her to know I "had her back."  The Para Rat was actually started early last fall when she took a trip to Hawaii.  I just felt she needed a parachute. (metaphorically)  I was not able to finish the project in time, but it turned out she really did need a "parachute" when the vacation took a serious nosedive.  This ratty is filled with symbolism.  If I was in survival mode, I think I would want money (the dime), and food (the slice of Swiss cheese).  Ratty has a parachute to catch his fall, the blue beads symbolize clear skies ahead, and a hobo-like wrapped pack implies whatever is needed in our bag of tricks to get through the rough times (solder bumps).  Bone beads and the silvered pebble are to show strength and stability, and lastly, lava beads are there to remind the wearer that life is better met with fluidity than a rigid approach to whatever is in our path.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


This year is already getting away from me.  I wasn't even crazy to go off to the hills the weekend before last.  This trip, we had several uninvited guests in our well-known hotel chain room.


...5 of them!  ...Don't think we'll stay there again, even though we have stayed there many times in the past with no issues.  Catching and disposing of stink bugs just grossed me out.

I did enjoy a visit to Beads and Beyond.  Barry (the owner) is always so gracious and thrilled to share his knowledge of beads and jewelry making.  I am excited to know a little more about working with precious metal clay, which I have been wanting to play with.  He gave me the "OK" to torch a project.  I had read somewhere that torched clay was not as durable as kiln fired clay and I wouldn't want to mess it up.

I still need to get my studio straight so I can get to work in it!  This is taking it's own sweet time.  I have found two great plastic storage containers that I wish I had two more of.  They fit perfectly into the dresser drawers and hold so many beads in a 1-1/2 " layer with adjustable partitions.  I got a workshop grade power strip that I have attached to the bench leg.  This will facilitate plugging various tools in.  Really, ...I have had to crawl and reach low on my hands and knees to get to the outlet behind the bench and...

 I assure you it's no fun.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hit the Ground Running

Into the New Year, there are always a list of tasks that are left-over from the past.  Being caught up all the time is a fantasy that I sometimes dream of, but ya-a-a-h that's is not going to happen here!  My brain dumps loads of ideas every day that I really really really want to make happen.  I would never get caught up even if I lived to be as old as Methuselah.   I suspect that the alternative is a good de-cluttering of the "To~Do" list that I keep.  Really, do I think that making my own potholders is necessary?  Even though I know they would be better looking, better functionally, and last longer, can't I just go buy some some and use my time in other ways?

Lately, I have been knitting up some older stash yarns (same as the cowl I showed you last time) for a scarf for my daughter-in-law.  I thought there was another ball of the foundational orange yarn.  Well, I ran out and so now what's a gal to do?