Monday, April 30, 2012

Art Festival and New Stones.

We had a good day on Saturday at the Market Street Art Festival in the Woodlands.
I feel like such a wimp, however, as it took me the whole of yesterday to recover. There's just something about getting older isn't there? I hurt all over and had to lay on the sofa complaining all day about how tired I was. I was almost too tired to finish my glass of wine. Almost ...
We had good weather and good company and I made just over $1000 to give to charity. I haven't decided yet. It's between Save the Children, Care or Oxfam at the moment. 

I was happy to sell this.

It was so nice to see it appreciated and it gave me a lot more confidence about making larger pieces. P had said it was too big and that he didn't like it so I was feeling a little unsure about it. The lady who bought it was very nice and very complimentary of the setting, but, the stone is beautiful isn't it? It's Australian Crazy Lace Agate.

I was also pleased to sell this one.

I finished it the night before and really liked it. It sold just before we started packing up for the day and the woman seemed very happy with it. The stone is Mushroom Jasper from Arizona. Really nice.

So, I have ordered some more stones from a shop called Fabby Dabby Stones. They are coming from Norway so they take a while.

These are the ones I've ordered.

This is African Green Opal.

Rutilated Quartz.

Mexican Crazy Lace Agate.

And finally another Agate.

I really like the opal and crazy lace agate. 
I have another opal which is mulling around my head right now. The stones tend to stay up there a while before I finally settle into making something with them. 

This one is another African Green Opal. It's 30 x 30 mm in diameter and is just beautiful.

I want to share this wonderful painting by Lea Colie Wight.

You can find her website, here.

And these fantastic portraits by Cayce Zavaglia, all done with thread.

These are incredible. Her website is, here.

monday notes:
well, it's lunchtime already and i haven't done anything yet except surf the internet. great inspiration, but ... must get on.
i really think that i'd like to have a go at trying to sell some paintings at the next art festival. i'm almost getting to the point where i could chance it. now i just have to finish one :)
looking at the work above, however, makes me want to throw up my hands. they are just fabulous.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A sad day at the office.

I finished up a lot of stuff yesterday for the art festival on Saturday. Putting chains on pieces, etc. I always tend to put off that bit. Maybe because it's the same problem I have with ever completing something I've made - ie. the paintings etc. I'm always worried I'm going to get it wrong. The length of the chain, for example.
I'm beginning to see that I get worried about anything to do with selling the work I do. I really just like making it and I wish I could just stay in the bubble that is my studio and not be bothered about all that other part. At some point I just seem to go into a decline. I think finishing anything, including selling my stuff, makes me anxious and I've learned that when I get anxious I turn into a lethargic blob.

This morning I am a lethargic blob. 

I feel low and pretty sorry for myself. The world is not shiny and I want to cry :( but if I tell you that, this post will be boring and depressing and I have promised myself to smile and laugh - see my wannado list).

So, here's the plan.

I am going to eat a good breakfast. An omelet I think, as I've been reading that those are good for you as a breakfast instead of the sugars in cereal and toast etc. (I'm not going to poach my eggs as that will make me more depressed, see here). Then I am going to walk on the treadmill. Lexi Erickson is calling me to see what will happen next in her jewelry d.v.d. (I've just finished watching the bit about files on her hand finishing one).

Then I'm going out to the studio. 

At some point I'm going to have to come back in and finish pricing.
Here is a pic of preparing for Saturday.

And here is another pic of Wally. 
Sleeping as usual ...

thursday notes:
sad day yesterday. a bird brained itself on my studio window. sometimes when this happens they just knock themselves out for a while, but this one smashed into the window pretty hard. i kept an eye on him but he never recovered :(
he was beautiful.

so this just about sums up my mood.

you'd better run from this post before you're dragged into the pit with me ...

(did i ever mention i was a drama queen?)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The sad tale of brecciated mookaite and whiplash.

Here is a sad tale of woe and painful injury. It is one of stupidity and regret, oh, and thankfulness that I didn't actually take my eye out.


You'll notice that I've made the photographs small so that you won't be too shocked by the horror of it all.

This is what happens when the chain you are buffing gets wrapped around the mandrel of the rotary hand piece you are using and whiplashes your fingers - multiple times until your super human reflexes kick in and you take your foot off the power peddle thing. 

(You'll have to excuse the slowness of my typing at the moment, but the e's are very painful).

I had to sit down on the chair for a moment after this happened and say, ouchy, a few times before i realised that i didn't actually want to look at my finger just in case it was too frightful for me to cope with. It hurt that much that I had to shut out visions that my fingernail had been ripped off and flung across the room but that it would be such a bloody mess that I wouldn't immediately notice. Bitter sweet really.

As you can see that hadn't happened, but, it was still really, really painful and I had to come inside the house to put ice on it. N made me a cup of tea for the shock (a well known cure in England). It's still throbbing four hours later. 

Thing is, I wasn't paying attention and it could have been a lot worse, meaning the eye out thing. So, all you people out there, this might not look too bad to you, even though it still really, really hurts, but remember, if you use big girl tools you have to use your big girl brains ... nuff said.

And here is the chain I was buffing. Only here it isn't buffed yet.

Apparently this stone is brecciated mookaite. I had never heard of it before. I think I like it. (You can just see the offending chain at the top of the photograph).

I hope I sell this at the art festival on Saturday. It will bring back too many painful memories to keep ...

Turquoise and crazy lace agate - yum.

Here's a photograph of my table when I caught it unawares friday morning. I always think that, just perhaps, it will have miraculously cleaned itself during the night. Looking at it now, it actually looks spotless compared to how I left it last night. If I were good, I would keep back ten minutes at the end of each session to pick up for the next day ... 


So, from this table came these.

I'm quite liking the third one.

Here's a little of how I did it.

I make the bezel collar first with my new found love - plain bezel sheet. (I know, I'm slow to the party).

Then I trace around it and sketch out my design. This way I can keep putting the stone back on the drawing to give me a better feel for how it will look.

Love the sketching bit.

Now, this stuff is really handy as once I've finished my sketch I can then trace it onto this clear contact paper. I got mine from Hobby Lobby. I'm not sure if this link will work but on their site they call it magic cover. If you google magic cover it comes up with all that shelf covering vinyl stuff - that's not it, although, this is clearly handy if you need to cover a shelf. The stuff I'm talking about is a clear, sticky on one side, film and comes in a huge roll. (It probably comes in sheets but I couldn't find any at the time I needed it so now I have enough to share with everyone in the whole world.)

I then simply stick the tracing onto the silver sheet and saw around it.

Be warned. If you forget to take the film off and start to solder stuff onto it, you have to cough badly and squeeze your eyes shut tight as there will be lots of not good fumes. (Not that I've done that.)

Next I soldered the bezel collar onto the base plate - sans sticky film stuff.

Probably way too much solder here but I forgive myself as I'm still trying to perfect this skill.

This is the bale that I thought I wanted to put on it, and I still like it, but, just to keep things fresh, I mixed it up a bit and changed my mind.

Then I got excited and forgot to take photographs of how I variegated the bezel to fit around the awkwardness of the stone and added the little balls. Sorry.

But I did put it on one of my favourite chains and remembered to photograph it at the end, if that helps any.

The other two are still waiting for their chains.

So those three were made on friday and yesterday I made these.

I'm not a hundred percent sure about the big one, but, on the whole I think my bezels are getting better, so I'm happy with that. That big round stone is gorgeous. It's Australian Crazy Lace Agate. Beautiful

sunday notes:
yesterday i finally got around to cleaning the bathroom, so then I just had to have a bath. it's like when you've just cleaned the litter tray and the cats simply have to use it. drives me nuts but now i get it. the draw is impossible to resist. 
today i'm probably going back out to the studio. sometimes i just get too into it all to stay away. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Getting on with it.

Here are the finished earrings. Still not completely happy with the corners but getting better.

And here is a second pair. 
This is how they looked after I'd taken them out of the liver of sulphur. I really liked the colours I was getting. There were some lovely deep blues and rusts in there, but, it just doesn't seem right to cover up the silver this way.

Here is a different shot of them. (Sorry, I'm just loving the instagram app. Give me a while to get over the initial wonder of it and I'll get back to taking photographs that actually show the correct colours ...)

So, not convinced I could leave the silver hidden, I polished them.

I've got a sheet of nickel somewhere which I used when I was first learning to solder and I might get that out and have a go with the different patinas on that. Thing is a lot of people are allergic to wearing nickel and so I haven't used it. Perhaps if the ear wires are silver it wont matter, but I always feel as if I'm cheating people if I don't use silver.

Oh the problems ...

I really like the red creek jasper and the photos don't really do it justice. Here's another pair of earrings where I used it.

I'm usually a green/blue person but this jasper is so warm. A beautiful landscape of a stone. I have a lot more of it. I just hope I can do it proud :)

thursday notes:
the, book, is getting good. we've had the murder (i think. not a hundred percent sure right now. i'll keep you posted). it's really fun to read as, although it's by p.d. james, she is writing it in the style of jane austin. i did see that it got some bad reviews on amazon, but, right now i'm enjoying it, so ... 
i had a hard time putting it down last night. i could have gone on but i have decided to heed dr. oz's advice and try to get to sleep at a decent hour. i don't watch dr. oz. i must have, at some time, just caught that one episode, or read it somewhere. considering that most mornings i seem to wake up more tired than when i go to bed, it sounds like it might be a good idea.

so i'm just going to finish up my cup of tea and then go see what damage i can do in the studio today.

oh, and one more thing ...

joshua boy, you're my favourite.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bezel wire - where have you been all my life?

I broke down and bought some bezel wire. Up until now I have been cutting my own bezel edges out of sterling silver sheet. Don't get me wrong, I appreciated learning how to do that, but ... I think I'm in love.

The wire is just so easy to use. Here they are with the red creek jasper set in them.

I've still got a bit of a ways to go setting the corners. I didn't notice until I'd started pushing the edges in that the stones don't lie flat. I get so irritated with myself as just when I start to get one thing right something else crops up that I hadn't paid attention to. These stones are quite small and I think I've found that a little more difficult.

My bezels are not as good as I want them to be. I know it's just practice and it will eventually come, but, I've come to realise that I get very disheartened when I feel that I'm just not getting anywhere. On the one hand I get excited to make more yet on the other hand I feel like giving up. One of the problems I have is finishing. The cleaning and buffing bit. This is getting better for me but I just can't seem to get the look I want consistently. 

Here are some I made where I cut the bezel edge myself

These ones seem to be better although I did them some time back. It's like one step forward, two steps back. Sigh.

And here is a totally different pair that I made this morning. A little happy pair ...

wednesday notes:
i worked some more on the painting but i've kind of gone off the boil. i think the disappointment i'm feeling with the jewelry is creeping over to the painting side of the studio.

but, on a positive note, i'll leave you with a pic of the tomatoes. man they've grown ...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

R.I.P. spark thing ...

It's a beautiful day today.
I've already been out to the hardware store, (yes, I had to replace my dremel. Whoever misplaced it, I'm watching you ...) and, I had to get a new spark thing to light my torch as mine just stopped working. 

I didn't know they could stop working. I just thought, metal against metal, how simple can it get. I even felt a little embarrassed as I thought perhaps it was just me. But, as you can see, my new one came with replacement bits, so obviously they must wear out. (Watch me lose those bits before I need them.)

I also popped into the craft store, but just to return something. So proud of myself. It felt really weird leaving without carrying bags of stuff out. But then, I let myself down and went into the bead shop. Still, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Just $25, not a $125 ... it's not my fault that they have lots of pretty things. In another life I'm sure I was a magpie ...

As we're on the subject, take a look at this beautiful magpie.

It's an Indochinese Green Magpie.

tuesday notes:
started reading my new book.

i'm already enjoying it, but then I love p.d.james and i love jane austin so not a lot could go wrong really. 

and, i thought i'd show you a picture of my lunch

in one of my favourite bowls. tomato soup, yum.

now i'm going to change into my old grungy jeans and t shirt and go spark up my torch ...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Of herbs and murder - oh, and jewelry ...

A few new things.

monday notes:
lots of rain today. can't say we didn't need it but my herbs are probably all crushed now. i haven't had the heart to look yet.
there's something that scuttles quickly away each time i go over to check them out. it's too round to be a gecko, and too fast to be a frog, but as i've never really caught a good look at it i'm really not sure. i'm wondering if it's not a mouse or something. of course, now i'm after finding it, i haven't seen it again. the search is on.

i can't say i'm enjoying, the book, as much as i have her other ones. it's not so much the murder as it's the doctor. it's so depressing. i forget each time but the illnesses that the detective's sister has to deal with in each book is seriously beginning to affect my health ...
just when i recover from the possibility of getting one of the diseases she writes about, i pick up her next book and start to worry all over again about the next disease. motor neuron disease this time. i hadn't even considered it, and believe me, i've considered a lot (did i mention the hypochondria thing?) that, and the added subject of euthanasia and dementia, is really bringing me down. good job i've nearly finished it. i'm telling you, the murder part of the story is positively uplifting compared to the illnesses.

note to self: hypochondriacs should avoid medical fiction at all cost ...