Saturday 27 April 2013

focus on life–week 17–Colour!

Spring is starting to come around slowly here.  I know the trees will burst soon and I’ll look and think, “hey when did that happen?” It seems very appropriate at this most colour starved state, that Sally Russick of the Studio Sublime would bring us to focus on COLOUR!  The title pretty much says it all.

I’ve been working on and off on a very colourful project for my daughter.  You see I have friends with older girls and various boxes of hand-me-downs that we have been working our way through (and passing on of course).  Looking towards getting out of winter boots I found these.

shoes pre colour

I’ve got nothing against dump trucks per se, and despite the dirt from a good time in the sand, they are in good shape structurally.  So I tried cleaning them up and they didn’t get any whiter.  Now, some kids may not care one little bit what their shoes look like, as long as they can run fast. That is the goal really.  But here’s the thing.  If she likes it she looks forward to wearing it so she will put them on instead of singing and twirling around while I ask for the 47th time if she could please put on her stuff so we can go.  So what follows is mostly about saving my sanity not so much a quick and easy DIY for kids.

Here’s what her shoes look like now!


I busted out all manner of Shiva oil sticks, copic/prismacolour/assorted brand markers, pencil crayons, suede, glitter fabric paint and shrink plastic to create the ocean floor setting of the Octonauts.  I was working from supplies on hand (said she slightly shamefully) and because of drying times just kept them handy for working on between other projects.  Averleigh and I are fans of the television program Octonauts based on the books by Meomi.  So all copyrights belong to their rightful owners this is fan art to delight an (eek) almost 3 year old.  She hasn’t seen them yet, I think I will coat them with a sealer but I’m hesitating since at the moment they are totally flexible since the are mostly coloured by the Shiva paint which is so marvellous, love using it.

top side octonaut shoes

Top side we have, clockwise, Shellington sea otter, Kwazii kitten, Peso penguin and Captain Barnacles bear. This idea all cam about innocently when I had printed out this page of all the character profiles to share with the grandparents two explain the ongoing joke Averleigh makes about there being “two bears in the octopod” knowing full well that Shellington is a sea otter she likes to argue that he is a brown bear.  Anywho, this printout was hanging around on my worktable and next thing you know I put down some shrink plastic and got to colouring. I was so excited with how they turned out and the detail they retained.  They are all stuck down with E6000.

back side octonaut shoes

I had a little trouble getting the right colours for Tweak bunny and Dashi dog so they found a home around the back, which is fitting since they generally stay close to the Octopod, which you see on the left.  It lost some detail since I scratched it a bit with the metal glue tip and I had to zap it a bit with a heat gun to try and bend it to the right shape to make sure it would stick nicely.  Rigid shrick plastic in these spots is ok since they don’t need to bend, but how to cover those dump trucks?

outside of octonaut shoes
he dump trucks got covered in a shark and fish cut out of a teal scrap of suede.  A little fussing with various irridescent and glitter fabric paint and while they are not the prettiest part I’m satisfied that they will flex when jumping, running and generally getting these re-broke in. 

insides of octonaut shoes

You can’t quite see the golden glow coming from the coral gardens featured on the inside but they do shimmer.  I’m starting to feel a bit silly telling you all about the Octonauts and giving all these views of one pair of sneakers bound for destruction.  It was an excellent little diversion though full of just fun playing with something I’ve never done before – full of colour!

The best picture will be her reaction.  I hope I will capture her excitement upon seeing these and discovering all her favourites.  She gets to live in them, rest assured, I will not be upset when they get covered in sand and whatnot.

Off to see all the colour in everyone else’s world on Sally’s post here.

Saturday 20 April 2013

focus on life–week 16–take a walk

Hello friends! I have, just this moment, completed blog hopping the second reveal of the Bead Soup Blog Party.  What an amazing race of jewelry loving.  I’m sorry it meant I didn’t make it around to see all the aged beauty of last week, and I missed it.  I love seeing all the beautiful photos and reading the stories behind them.

So this week, we are all off on a walk as per Sally Russick’s weekly instruction.  Well folks, I’m a wimp.  If it’s snowy and cold (as it was when her prompt arrived) I don’t go for a walk for kicks.  But by Friday between showers I convinced little one to join me outside (she takes after me in the “I’m freezin” department).

She wasn’t keen to walk, but ride her tricycle – sure.  It’s sweet that her legs aren’t long enough yet to keep her feet on the pedals the whole swing around, but she keeps them there rather than on the bar underneath – where they were in the fall.

- side note I may be suffering from “oh my goodness, when did my baby become a kid” as my parents (who can plan ahead) brought me preschool registration forms for her for the fall.  It didn’t really register in my head that was something to be doing now in April.  She’s still so young…um turns out not so much.

Back to our walk! We have a newly made rec path that goes right behind out house through an easement for power lines.  Our kitchen looks out onto the path so we know every dog in the neighbourhood and their walking schedule as Averleigh loves to watch them.  We were on the path for about two seconds before there were dogs to snuggle – Snuggles and Axel.  Back on track, we got oh ten more steps before I spotted a pair of ducks on the ponds that appear as the snow and ice melt.  This prompted getting off the tricycle to go chase the ducks. 

photo (23)

Yeah, If you were going duck hunting this kind of outfit and giggle-run would be just the perfect strategy for them to stay put right?

photo (24)

So we chased ducks all over, either side of the path.  Can you find the pair of Mallards in the photo above?  When she was frustrated at not getting to pet them or know their names she discovered the puddles.

photo (25)

I caught charming (to me, I’ll spare you) video of her narrating her jumping in the puddles, complete with mimicking the sounds.  I took this picture and then put my phone away knowing it was about to get real dirty.

I have to find her some splash pants is one clear lesson.  Eager to see where everyone’s feet took them.  I’ll wager you weren’t wearing stripped rain boots with pink tulip handles.  Head on over to the Studio Sublime to see it all!

Saturday 13 April 2013

Bead Soup Blog Party 7 Reveal!

Welcome, welcome! The party is already in full swing with the first reveal group, the second group today and next weekend will bring a third and final installment this time.  This is the brainchild of Lori Anderson of Pretty Things, I’m sure you are all familiar with this wonderful concept, for full details check out What is the Bead Soup Blog Party?  With over 500 participants you would be hard pressed not to find some inspiration in all these collaborations. With that great volume in mind lets get going!

My partner this round is Cindy Ritchie, a lampwork artist with great style – just check out her Simply Cindy shop!  Cindy sent a soup full of dreamy, seemingly colour-shifting glass and treasures.  Here’s a little reminder

My first piece to come to fruition used the little purple (sometimes amber) glass bird.  She has the most charming little face I wanted to be able to see her so I turned her into a ring.  I wanted it to appear as if she had just landed for a sip of water from a little puddle.

bsbp7 bird ring

A commercial sterling band became the base for a silk worm cocoon I cut, emptied, and filled with polymer which holds the embedded sterling legs of the bird - which become the wings and lock her in place.  I experimented with very thin polymer wing sections but it blocked too much light.  This bird sings with light filtering in from all sides and reflecting from the silver “waters” beneath.  A few more angles:

BSBP7 bird ring views

Next, thinking of my little bird, I decided she had escaped from a cage using, what else, but that gorgeous key that Cindy elevated from utility to art.  The cage is made from a sewing bobbin base with a wire frame that I fiddled with forever before getting it to sit just how I wanted.  The key can spin and it turns the empty roost inside the cage.  To say I struggled trying to photograph this piece is an understatement.  The colour scheme came together from the key and two of the melon beads that had more of the blue/purple flash.  I created a translucent pearly pale green to complement the key and used Swellegant for the first time in creating the polymer keyhole/key shaped pieces.

BSBP bird cage

The five polymer discs have a touch of iridescent violet powder to let them shimmer and are woven with irish waxed linen sit across the back of the neck. 

full view bird cage

Here it is on.  Notice the little bird in the bottom right picture.  The bigger of the two is shrink plastic before shrinking and, you guessed it, the little one sitting on the polymer disc has been shrunk.  I was snapping away taking pictures before I noticed I had forgot to add them.  The plan was to glue them since curing them on the polymer sounded a little risky for that long in the heat.  Now I’m not so sure, maybe just one? maybe none?

bsbp 7 bird cage collage

I had another bead that could have easily been the focal also. The swirls of glass inspired me to try my hand at a Cellini spiral for the very first time.  I had it in my head I wanted to use a tonal bead mix.  Thank goodness I opted to use the mix as the biggest bead in the spiral, otherwise I would have never kept the pattern straight.  But it wasn’t all rookie luck, in my attempt to include a lot of colour I ended up with a massive diameter so a long length was out of the question.  A hop, skip and a jump and I ended up making a hair stick (uh, not using the same glass focal but another slimmer bead).

bsbp7 hair stick

Ok so back to that focal and another try at a Cellini spiral I brought in the silk Cindy dyed and created some twisted polymer elements to keep the spirals going.  You can see the original creation at the top right below.  I liked the idea in theory but not so much in execution.  I separated the elements and liked it so much better.  My second Cellini spiral I sort of made up the ends of the tube to try and get a more round shape and the mykonos copper discs Cindy sent totally finish off the very simple version with it on a cable choker (below bottom right).  The tea dyed silk is awaiting new inspiration.

cellini experiment

Still with me? I’ve been bringing you along for the journey as the pieces came together.  I was really trying to use every last bead and at this moment there are four other projects on my worktable.  I’m going to take a bit more time with them, perhaps wrap them up in time for the third reveal. But I needed to turn my attention to the handcrafted, stamped clasp Cindy sent.  I envisioned swooping banner type polymer elements to echo the shape and planned them to be a translucent blue with the glass melon beads at the “gather” points.  I ended up a little off course and with somewhat of a circus feel.
circus bsbp

This necklace became the exploration of a few polymer head pins, a polymer bail, some wire embedded  polymer swags, and some thin sequin-esque polymer to make a chain section.  In other words, a whole lot of fun all inspired by the two glass melon beads and clasp and capped off by a Jade Scott pendant that arrived in the mail at just the right moment. With it and the clasp oxidized it may look like the rest of the copper I added should be too. I'm torn though since there is copper leaf in the polymer, nice and bright copper. So for the moment this copper isn't sealed whilst I decide.  Feel free to let me know what you think!

more circus

I just realized I have two pairs of earring I forgot to photograph so I will have those to share another day.  Thank you so very much for visiting and reading this far! I swear I really did try to not chat so much.  I can’t thank Lori and Cindy enough for this gift of beautiful beads and moreover beautiful inspiration!

Now, it’s time to go see what the rest of the second reveal crew brought together.  Please hop on over to Lori’s second reveal post – special treat is the map that shows how one woman can conquer the world!

Friday 12 April 2013

Focus on life–week 15-aged beauty

My goodness friends I came this close to forgetting about this weeks prompt.  I so look forward to seeing which way Ms Sally Russick of the Studio Sublime will turn my eye each week.  I would have been so upset if I’d missed out, since so far, so good.  I’ve been wrapped up in working on my bead soup pieces for tomorrow.  I had about seven minutes before hubby and Averleigh walked in the door so this was a quickie. 

Part of Sally’s words this week:
“This week focus on the aged beauty that may be an old building or an aging vehicle in a parking lot, items in a local barn, flea market, garage or in your jewelry box and snap a shot of a vintage beauty!”
I thought of the little collection of odds and ends I collected at the last flea market we went to, last summer.
aged beauty week 15

Oh dear, I’m noticing now this ended up a bit blurry in my haste. drat. I had never opened the little metal tubes inside this old blush container.  I probably could have guessed they were Avon lipstick samples, but it was still a fun surprise.   When I got to thinking about aged beauty this was my literal interpretation.  That clear bottle in back says “one ounce success” I love it!  I can’t wait to go back this year and look for more treasures.

I know there will be many images full of age and hidden stories and secrets as everyone links up with our leader at the Studio Sublime.

Friday 5 April 2013

focus of life–week 14–Up close!

Sally Russick of the studio sublime gave us the prompt this week to explore a macro shot.  Specifically “glimps a world that you may never have noticed until you observed it magnified!” I bought a dSLR at the start of the year and still I have not fully explored and taken the training wheels off  ie, taken it off the auto settings.  I hope to start experimenting with that before we hit the half way point.  This was taken with the auto macro setting.

macro week 14 focus on life

I decided to share this one with you since I love how the noon sun (which I was just about to filter through some vellum) is strong enough to shine through the layers of translucent polymer and actually show a shadow from the bits of copper leaf.  Coooool!

These beads may or may not end up in some of my bead soup pieces.  The reveal, originally scheduled for tomorrow was postponed until next weekend.  More than fine by me since I’m so not done.  Nope the fine details of my partner Cindy Ritchie's gorgeous lampwork has my brain off and running in so many directions.  At this point I have one piece complete (using none of the required elements), one in the basically done stage, three in the partially constructed/mostly conceived stage, and three more in the “this could work” stage.  With more time I figured what a great excuse to go all out and really play.

I had so much fun last week hearing everyone’s stories about rings, hidden and returning, and so on in the comments, thank you for sharing ladies!

As always I look forward to seeing all the up close and well, likely personal, photos at the link up on Sally’s post