Thursday, November 29, 2007

Inspiration trip

Today I wanted to find some inspiration, so I took a trip over to The Mexican Shack. It's a wonderful store, just filled with handcrafted jewelry and Southwestern style goodies. It's a great place to buy jewelry, should you be in the market for unusual pieces; they have great prices and things you won't see in most stores. It's also a great place to jump start creativity, should you be in the market for that.

Which I was. It's no secret that I've been cranking lately; I'm so far behind on taking pictures and writing stories that I could suffer a huge dry spell and still have something new to put up every week for several months. But, in spite of my recent burst of production, I woke up feeling a little stale this morning.

I'm feeling very fresh now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fun, fun, fun

After yesterday's precision soldering headache, I decided to give myself a fun, melting metal morning. I made a fused and soldered clasp; It's funky, it's textured, and, best of all, it's my favorite way to work. Blast furnace time. Melt, hammer, melt some more. File and sand, tumble, polish. Woohoo!

The bracelet is Euro 4-in-1 with a fabulous focal bead by Donna Millard of Fyrebeadz. This bead makes me think of something found in an archaeological dig; it looks positively Roman. I made the maille very lacy and it just slinks around my wrist. The clasp echos the bead with its spirals and dots; I am so pleased with this one, and I had so much fun making it.

Nope, no photo yet; but in a few days, pop over to Jewelry Tales and I'm sure you'll know which one I'm talking about.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The little things

...are sometimes the most difficult. Today I made a pendant, a very simple design, but it sure did give me fits. It had to be soldered precisely, and precise isn't my strong suit. I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants sort of solderer; I like to let my designs develop as they will; I like to be surprised by how things end up. I love the adventure and discovery of learning as I go and traveling without a map.

But not today. Nope, today I had a very strong idea of where I wanted to go, and I got there. It took a little filing, but I got there.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Too much information

Uh huh, that's what you're getting today!

I have to buy new jeans. Here's the good news: I've lost some weight, and the old ones are too big. I've been affecting the gangsta boy look with my pants falling down and it's not pretty. The bad news? I have again waited until my jeans have holes in embarrassing places, and I'm down to one functional pair.

Which needs washing.

So I will hie myself off to Wal-Mart today and see what evils lurk in the jeans department. I am sincerely hoping that low rise jeans are OUT (is it really sad that I don't already know this?) and I'll be able to find jeans with an actual waistband. I'd promise to keep you posted, but I'm quite sure this is more than you already want to know about my wardrobe!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beads, glorious beads!

Hello, my name is Cindy and I'm a lampwork bead addict.

I've already got too many, and yes, I want even more. Every time I see new beauties from my favorite artists, I just want to hold them. I love the colors, the textures, the translucency; oh, my, they are even prettier than gems.

And more expensive, some of them.

Oh, not that they are not worth it; not that the artists who create them don't deserve to be compensated for their gorgeous work; no, it's just that I cannot afford to buy them all. I buy as many as I can, but oh, I covet even more. Keep making those pretty little things, all you wonderful glass artists; you add such joy and beauty to my world.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pliers, pliers, who's got the pliers?

I love tools. I'm always looking at them in stores, and every once in awhile I decide that something is just exactly what I need. Today, my daughter found a lovely small pair of flat nose pliers in a Hobby Shop; they are only about 2mm wide at the tips, and come to a very fine point. I can hold wire with them and see what I'm doing!

Do you know how exciting that is?

I know, I know: you're probably laughing at me. I'm laughing, too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Taking pictures

In order to take pictures, I must first clear off my desk and put things away. There are times when that is no hardship; times when I'm working clean and have very few things laying about. But other times, I have been working madly, pulling out this and that and leaving it out; jumping from one thing to another, and leaving the evidence of my fits and starts to cover every imaginable surface. At times like that, it seems too much to clean it all up and take pictures; and so, the finished pieces mount up, and the task become ever larger and more ominous.

Guess what I did today?

Ummm hmmmm.

So a little later on, perhaps this afternoon, feel free to hop on over to Jewelry Tales and see what I've been up to. I've taken enough photos today to keep me telling stories for oh, at least a week or two!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sharpening the saw

Or, in this case, just replacing the blade.

It's something I forget to do. I used to break them often enough; but now I'm more likely to wear them out than snap them. They wear slowly, though; and I have yet to pinpoint the moment when they are really too worn to be of use. I'm thrifty, you see; I don't like replacing things that still have some use in them.

But today I realized that my saw blade wasn't really cutting very well, and I replaced it. I compared it to the new blade I was putting in, and got quite a giggle. The difference was very obvious, and I realized that I had used that old blade a good bit longer than I should have.

Ummhmm, that's the story of my life.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Graduated Jens Pind

A few days ago I bought some gorgeous large-holed lampwork beads from Donna Millard at Fyrebeadz Studio, and they told me that the time for making that graduated Jens Pind necklace has come. Yes, it's something I've been thinking about for a long time; today I began experimenting. It's not a success story yet; not bad, really, but not as nice as I'd like. More thinking will be required on this one. Yes, I could buy a kit with all the rings already cut and sized for me; but what would be the fun in that?

There's no rush; this one's for me. And experimenting is my favorite way to work.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wash my sins away

I find it so relaxing to be inside, listening to the rain on the roof; I love the way the storm ebbs and flows, light rain building to a crescendo, pounding for a minute or two, then easing off; the sky growing ever darker, then lighter, then back again. I am sitting here, a cup of coffee within reach, typing and sipping, watching the rain.

This has been a long, slow autumn; the trees in our yard have clung to summer and are only now at their peak fall colors. Most of the leaves in other yards have already had their day; they have been tidily gathered into paper bags and set out for collection; ours are very late. They are always late, these leaves of ours; most years we don't get them raked until spring because the snow falls about the time they do.

I used to wonder why; now I just accept it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Santa Claus is coming to town

OK; not for awhile yet. But I'm in Christmas mode, making gifts for family and friends. These things take awhile!

Making something with a specific person in mind is fun. It draws me outside my usual box and dares me to think from a different perspective. Although the finished jewelry is still very much me; there is always a subtle difference to each piece that I find exhilarating. It's like looking at myself from a new angle; I see things that I didn't know were there.

It's time for me to get back to work; I'm looking forward to new discoveries.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Teeny tiny

What is it about little things? I find it very relaxing to make teeny, tiny, intricate things; using small stitches, fine thread, itty bitty beads and minuscule loops of wire; all these give me a sense of order in the midst of chaos.

And it has been chaotic here.

So this will probably not be a good week for those who like big, chunky jewelry; I'm in a much smaller frame of mind just now.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wearing armour

I'm really loving my latest bracelet; it's a European 4-in-1, using two different sizes of rings, which makes it a very dense weave. It conforms to my wrist, and really feels nice. The bead is a big, flat, textured piece of multi-colored glass which catches the light; I'd tried it in a necklace a year or two ago and was not satisfied with how it lay, but in this bracelet, it's superb. The maille is about an inch wide, and it feels very substantial without being too heavy. I love the way it caresses my wrist.

This is the widest piece of maille that I've ever made, and yup, I'm hooked. I don't know if it will really protect me from anything, but wearing it does make me feel oddly comforted.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Note to self:

Heat patina copper before weaving it into chain maille.

Does the word annealing come to mind? Erm, not to mine, it didn't. Not before hitting it with the torch, anyway. Afterwards, oh yeah, that was all I could think of as I watched little rings pop off my bracelet when I tried to get it off my wrist after the clasp mushed up and refused to release!

Not to worry; I fixed it. I put the rings that had gone AWOL back, and hammered the clasp back into rigidness. I tumbled it, and for good measure, I hit it with my little plastic hammer to make sure it was good and hard.

It sure would have been easier had I made the decision to patina it before weaving it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

For no reason at all

We went out to breakfast this morning. What fun! Eating breakfast out is such a treat, and doing it on a weekday is an extra special treat. But I am so stuffed that I will most likely give lunch a miss and make dinner early.

Have you treated yourself lately? Go for it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Was I dreaming?

That is the question I woke with today after having a series of dreams that each started with me dreaming that I woke up. In each dream, I would awaken, then go on to face a troubling situation. In some of the dreams, things turned out well, and it others, it didn't. But they were all exceptionally vivid, and made more so by the sensation of being wakened before each one began. I've come to the conclusion that I was dreaming...but only because the others who were involved in my dreams didn't share in my experience last night.

I had a shared dream, once, which also involved dreaming that I woke; when my sister and I were very young, we both dreamt one night that we woke up, went out into our backyard, and discovered that we could fly. Oddly enough, neither of us dreamt that we left our own yard; we just flew in circles around the lawn, about ten or fifteen feet in the air. Only the fact that we could not fly anymore convinced us that it had indeed been a dream; a shared dream, but a dream nonetheless. It can probably be explained by Peter Pan; but for a few hours, we were convinced that it had been real.

In my dreams last night, I faced each situation as it arose; and even when the results were not stellar, my courage was. Perhaps I am stronger than I suspect.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Am I the only one who has trouble remembering which password I've used with which log in name, or was it my email address that they are now calling my user name? And it is only made worse by the ones that store the information on my computer and usually log me in automatically...those are great until my computer does its housecleaning and deletes all the connections.

And yes, I do know that I can exclude them, but it's more trouble to figure out how to do that than I want to get into most days. I'm writing this because I'm currently locked out of my photo host. Too many failed tries at getting my password to match up with my user name. I eventually looked it up, but by then it was too late. I'd tried too many false combinations and it wasn't having any of it.

Wonder if it's unlocked itself yet?

Monday, November 5, 2007

I'm back

I took the weekend off; I needed some time to think. Life is hard right now, and I was feeling overwhelmed. So I hid for a couple of days, and made some decisions.

I am giving up the idea of selling jewelry, at least for now. It wasn't happening, and I don't have the time or the energy to do the required marketing to make it happen at this point in my life. There is just too much else that needs my time and attention. I make jewelry because I love to make it, and I write because I love to write. I wasn't really doing it for anyone but myself, anyway, and I feel such relief at admitting that! So, thank you to everyone who encouraged and supported me, but it isn't what's best for me right now.

I'm keeping what I make, or giving it to those I love.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Time after time

There are rhythms that echo and spin through my life: beads, fiber, metal; techniques that dance and partner with each other and alternately surprise and comfort me. Embroidery. Lace. Quilting. Coiling. Forging.

Heat, stitching and pressure.

I've explored them again and again and not found an end; only the means, repeated with endless variations. My life unfurls, its fabric pleating and gathering; its colors bleeding, one to another, its pen describing circles and swirls.

What will I find?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

No destination in mind

When I can, I like to wander. No plan, no desired outcome, nothing to measure the results against. Just start, go, and end when I'm done. Wandering is always a success, because wherever I go, and whatever I do, it's interesting. I always discover something along the way; all I have to do is keep my eyes, and my mind, open.