Thursday, 28 June 2012

Yet another challenge

It would seem that my blog is quickly becoming filled with talk of challenges and challenges only.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.  It’s almost like warm up exercises for a new blogger. I like how blogging about them makes me accountable for getting them thought through and done.  I’ve always been a creative, but mostly in my head.  Blogging requires that I actually put the studio time in and get the idea out of my head into some tangible form to share. This, this is a good thing.

On that note, I won’t be able to join in for Finally Friday tomorrow. Ha! The worst part is I had the greatest idea but it went poof! Ah well, next week.

I do have news on another challenge.  I didn’t think I would be joining in, but when a perfect starting point practically jumped into my cart I couldn’t say no.  It’s the brainchild of Sarah Goode of Pookledo, the Thrift Store Blog Hop. In essence you get £1 (today that’s a buck sixty) to spend at the Thrift store, the make something, sharing the starting point, in progress and finally the result for a blog hop on August 4th.  The list is growing so please visit Sarah’s site for the full list of participants.

Here’s my start


I thought, heck I’ll use half and I’ll be at a dollar, but then I found I had a 30% card to use so score $1.40 I’m under budget on the whole deal!


Not too shabby eh? I have ideas of what I'd like to do, there's lots of flexibility here.  I can't wait to see wht everyone else finds!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Third time’s the charm

With bead soup fixins needing attention I kicked it in to high gear to get my Art Bead Scene challenge pieces done – one whole day early!  I had hopes of getting it done right at the start, even had the groundwork going. True to my nature though, if I have the time, I take the time.
Let’s get down to it! Here is the inspiration

Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks an interesting choice to me.  In searching for a starting point I’m immediately drawn to the woman dressed in red.  I can’t quite decide if the body language is a relaxed enjoyment of keeping a good night going by one more stop. Or, if it’s more a case of “I thought we were going out dancing, what gives?”  Either way she looks finely dressed and could sure use some fantastic jewelry.
I hit up the library for some more inspiration to help with appropriate styling.  Forties Fashion by Jonathan Walford was a pretty comprehensive view of the era and helped me form some more ideas.  I decided to keep the palette simple black and red since she’s a red head in a red dress.  Lastly, with the poppies blooming in my yard that shape was stuck in my head too.

Here it is -- Hot Date

A little lava bead, onyx, horn, chain and fantastic button to set off my handmade polymer poppies.  These poppies took four separate curings to achieve the dimension and strength of all polymer connections – ie no glues.  I was torn about where to drill the holes knowing that the large front was going to want to obey gravity and tip forward if it were centre drilled I thought I’d just drill the top third. Then I decided part of the joy of poppies is the way they flow all over in any wind because they are exactly that, top heavy on a wispy stem. 


So leaning forward a bit, one will hang down.  Straighten up and it turns to the side.


Knowing that this would be a bit untamed I considered the back also, so you get one more poppy around the backside


She needed earrings, simple earrings.

Vintage, well 80s, aluminum chain links with polymer rounds attached by cotton cord.

Of course, I had more beads I made up before I had a design idea.  I thought they could come together with some leather for a funky modern bracelet.  But hammers and sleeping 2 year olds don’t mix the same way my modern bracelet idea doesn’t fit on this forties chick.


This will be taken apart, but there’s the start of an idea there… somewhere…

I’m happy I’ve been able to do the last three challenges after spending so long not joining in.  My new goal – finish out the year and do them all!

Monday, 25 June 2012


Saturday was a perfect summer day. Good friends, good weather, good times!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Finally Friday, birthday edition

I’m still trying to follow along on Shannon’s Finally Friday series, it is good fun.  This week’s palette, from was the perfect inspiration to make something for my best friend.  We are celebrating her birthday tomorrow, at her family’s cottage.  This has been the tradition for many years and we’ve been friends 25 years now.  So tonight’s mission is to collect this mass of beads and such into some jewels for a special lady.


I haven’t taken the time to figure out why my printer is insisting on printing on the photo paper rather than the regular paper when I print from my phone. But it’s pretty cool technology so I should stop complaining.  I’ve left some wires in so you can see the holes.  Starting at the top, I’ve got some glass from Blue Seraphim that I’ve had an awful long time.  Moving clockwise I’ve got a bunch of that taupey types that I started from a mould I made, but changed along the way. The centers have a tinted liquid clay – think tide pool.  Then the pendant, it’s chunky, but I think it works.  I’m thrilled with the headpins, since the colours came out so nice.  It’s a sand base and I was generous with the fingerprints since I thought that would imitate the ripple of the sand.  Dipped unevenly in the lighter shade teal and then once dry dipped again unevenly in the darker shade. Just like lapping waves.  I made a few more pendant options, smaller, again thinking of tide pools.  Lastly,, I made a whole bunch of these small ones with a pattern like the shadows the trees cast.

Closer looks




Here’s some of the pile for creating


Before I go I have to share some better pictures of last weeks inspiration pieces.  I’m pleased with the two varieties I came up with.  I’m hoping to find the time next week to get them all photographed and listed in the shop.


And look how different if I squish them the opposite direction


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

I sent my personal shopper to bead & button

ok, ok, not really!

The truth is even better! I was the lucky winner of Erin Prais-Hintz's giveaway of her specially curated bead &button stash.  Perfect for those of us who couldn't attend in person, what a wonderful consolation.  I can't wait to see what I can come up with from all this loveliness.

It's a wonderful appetiser to the bead soup that is just around the corner (ok, that was bad wasn't it - I can't help myself)

I love that it's still light out, how I wish everyday was this long as it's always kinda shocking to think they get shorter from here on out when summer is just beginning.

I should be turning my attention to the Friday that is almost here and celebrating another Finally Friday. I mean, just look at those wonderful colours, it's a great jumping off point. I could easily spend this longest day of the year there instead, perhaps only in my imagination. Won't you join in too?
Mental Vacation from

And while I'm bugging you to join in the fun have you checked out all the luscious colours at Marsha Neal Studio Silk Colour Palette Challenge it's time to pick your favs!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

It’s Finally Friday–already!

Seems like Friday was just here.  But I was determined to get something going to show you today, the real deal Friday, for Shannon’s Finally Friday.  I sat down a few hours ago, once little miss was sleeping, and got to mixing up some greens.  Maybe it was a bit of an easy out but I opted to make a somewhat abstract version of an artichoke polymer cane.  Today you get to see some raw clay since I didn’t get all that far in making beads, but they are at least started.

raw artichoke
Part of the reason I was so determined to get the wheels turning on this was that I was thinking: “what do I really want to have on my blog?”  In turn, that process had me thinking about what I love about so many of my favourite blogs.  I think the regular features (or not even regular, but recurring) are often amongst my favourites.  There are way too many to list but just looking at what popped into my reader today…
  • Finally Friday – which is new to me but I really enjoy the concept
  • There’s Kitty Photo Friday that always makes me smile, they all look like sweeties!
  • Heather always shares her Friday Faves (actually, side note -  I think I love these since I first met Heather when I was 5 and we went all the way through school together. I haven’t seen her in years but her blog sounds just like her – like grown up five year old her, if that makes any sense) – But you’ll love her faves cuz their awesome|!
So I think I’ll be trying to come up with something I’d like to do regularly on my little slice of the interwebs – not on a Friday though. Hmmm

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Nothing finer than silk!

Don't you just love silk?  The sheen, the texture, the luxury-- I love it all! Learning a bit more about the blogging world by joining in on Marsha Neal's challenge.

I didn't pick any specific idea or photo.  I just went from my love of a brown and grey combo with a quick hit of a bright shade.  I'm not sure if all ten together sing the way four or five could but if you give me 10 choices they just all have to be different.

So here's my go at it, hope you enjoy

1. White MNS SCPC Text Box 300 square, 2. Not available, 3. 41DDarkestNavyMarshaNealStudio, 4. 64ChocolateMarshaNealStudio, 5. 60FawnBrownMarshaNealStudio, 6. 201GunmetalMarshaNealStudio, 7. 23MagentaMarshaNealStudio, 8. 98MossGreenMarshaNealStudio, 9. 31RoyalPurpleMarshaNealStudio, 10. 101DMediumGrayMarshaNealStudio, 11. 62PumpkinSpiceMarshaNealStudio, 12. 69EspressoMarshaNealStudio

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Finally Friday, sorta

I work this odd work week of Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at the day job so most of the time my Wednesday does feel a bit like a Friday.  Basically, I never know what day of the week it is!
I finished up some pendants that were in progress, but then took a left turn last week when I saw Shannon’s pick for her Finally Friday series – beaded bright from design seeds.  I thought I had missed a chance to join in the fun but Shannon kindly let me know that I could share up until Friday. Yay!

These pendants also happen to be the first beads I’ve completed using my The Cutting Edge tools from Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes.  They feature a crackle tone-on-tone surface, done with ink, that is surprisingly smooth.


This shot shows the crackle best.  I love how the size varied so much, but I wish I had a bit more contrast between the ink bronze and the clay bronze shade. I don’t know, maybe the subtlety will
grow on me.


All four together.  I found I had in my stash the perfect shade of recycled sari silk for a couple to hang from.  Of course I dug through the whole bag and had only one strand, isn’t that always the way? So since it was so wide I ripped it down the middle.  I’m not sure I’ll find anything else in my stash to go from there so maybe they’ll just hang around the studio waiting for more.  We’ll see.


So Friday, the real Friday, is coming back around really quickly, not sure I’ll think of something for all those greens…maybe just that big ‘ole mess.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Inspiration blooming

The lovely storm that knocked out my internet also took one of my precious poppies out.  A mere half inch stem left, just enough to sit in some form of silver cup that my husband brought home from an auction.  In his mind it had a nice “rose” on it… but really it has a poppy, so it’s quite fitting (too bad it didn’t see the polish before being pressed into use).  He knows to keep his eyes peeled for interesting textures I can use with polymer so you will likely see a clay version of this someday, in some form.


I wish I had a setup that would produce nice pictures at night so I could show you all the beads I’ve been making.  It just always turns out so disappointing compared to the sunlight shots.  Gotta get to work on a solution soon as those napping hour(s) are never long enough!


Friday, 8 June 2012

Almost Finally Friday

I had so much fun poking around everyone's blogs with the hop last week. I noticed a weekly feature on Shannon's blog called Finally Friday. I was excited and thought I might join in this week.

Pardon the ugly link but I'm phone blogging since a big storm last night has knocked out my Internet. I had taken a sneak peek to share, the palette is from

So my plan was to use the colours and patterns to complete these pieces.but I got a bit derailed by the weather. Oh well there's always next week!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

More deflating than bursting


When the Helium filled latex balloons started to hang down a bit I snipped the end to let them deflate to get rid of them.  That last part of the party still hanging around.  The texture left behind is really quite interesting.  I watched as they blew up the balloons for me.  First they fill them with some air, to stretch them I presume. Next they squirted some type of lotion in and she rolled it around spreading it all over the inside.  Then came the Helium.  So I suspect that whatever that lotion is that she squirted in has something to do with creating the texture above.  I’ve never seen anything like that from plain old air filled balloons.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Bursting with anticipation!

So I have this poppy I’ve managed not to kill for I think four years now.  It looks like a bit of a disaster really, and it’s been defended as, “that’s not a weed! more than once to my dandelion pulling husband.  It’s just about to hit it’s moment.  I have  nine buds that have been getting fatter and fatter for days and I keep sticking my head out the door to catch them pop – literally.  I tried to take a picture of my rain battered garden to share with you today and frankly all the poppy buds looked a little um bulging….


While blowing bubbles in the light rain we also stop to smell the flowers


Averleigh requested purple flowers before I went annual shopping so I did my best to oblige with some salvia (above and below) and I think that one in the foreground above was called “blue violet”.  I have this silly rule in my garden where I get rid of all the annual tags so I don’t mistake them for perennials.  It’s a flawed system, but I’m committed.


Until my poppies burst I’m happy with my smattering of annuals and in particular this big dahlia (“cotton candy” maybe, or something like that)


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Birthday Polymer

We had perfect weather last weekend to celebrate Averleigh's second birthday.  It was warm and sunny, perfect for a BBQ lunch and just playing in the yard.  Her new water table was were she entertained from, I couldn't believe what a magnet that thing was for every kid.  I think everyone had a fun time.  Averleigh was certainly spoiled and is still having fun getting to know her new toys and books.  With all the play I'm afraid I didn't get a very good shot of the birthday girl on the big day.  Mostly, I got frowny photos. Instead of that, here's a fun shot from the park the week before.

We're lucky to have these great splash pad parks so that's why the swimsuit... Not that she went near the water as there were a lot of bigger kids playing that day.

Now, I am not a cook in any sense of the word.  I've been known to joke about the only thing I bake is polymer! But birthday carrot cake is the one exception and it's so worth it.  The recipe I know is a photocopy from my mums giant binder of clipped recipes so who knows where it originated from but it has a good bit of apple in it that makes it nice and moist.  The cake, while delicious, is also a way for me to add some polymer to the celebrating.

This year, I went for a loose woodland type theme and had some foxes and an owl for the cake.  The owl started out as a dollar store find that I stripped these odd cork feathers off of and painted a bright "goji berry" and gave her a ruffled copper wing instead.  Here's the before, or more like just in progress:

Here's the after:

I think it turned out pretty well.  The two foxes are a little tough to make out here with the party stuff all in the way.  They were just a quicky project with some copper skinner blend I had on hand, a cookie cutter from ikea and a glass stir rod so that the polymer sits just above the cake and not touching the icing. The only other shot I grabbed was basically from the back.  I've tried to blur out the background a bit.  Not ideal shots but you get the idea.  People do some awesome things with cakes, but I kinda like the idea of having a little something to hang on to post birthday.

For her first birthday I had a bit more ambitious plan.  This was the first time (um and the last actually) that I tried a sculpted figure.  He's a heffalump, from Winnie the Pooh fame.  He sits on a bed of polymer grass with little paper flowers.  This little platform is raised off the cake by a jar lid.  I couldn't resist making her pennants either since I had those mini clothes pegs in my stash forever.  Those are clay covered baby food jar honey pots in the front.  I've cropped out most of it as each has a little banner with our guest's name just above the hand scrawled "hunny".  Perfect for little treasures.

I wonder what next year will bring?