Sunday 26 January 2014

Focus on life–week 4–word

***If you are here for the “Grow Your Blog” hop you can find that specific post right here***
**if you are here for the first reveal of  of CC7A find that right here**

It’s not usually such a busy weekend round this little blog of mine, but what can I say…  If you are here for focus on life then I really need to start with such a big THANK YOU for all your lovely comments last week.  You are all so beautiful inside and out, and I thank you, sincerely.

I did pick a little word for 2014 and the month is almost over and I’ve yet to share, I’m not quite ready as silly as that sounds.  By chance I saw a post on Facebook from our local Wallack’s Art store that Melanie Matthews, working artist for GOLDEN, would be giving a demo at the store today.  I quickly signed up and I’m so happy I did.  In that two and a half hours I learned so much information that would have probably taken me months and months to learn by myself online.  You could tell Melanie really loves the products and sharing them, her enthusiasm was so contagious.  I snapped a quick photo of the generous sample pack that I walked away with in addition to all the new found knowledge.  I just planned on sharing it with others from my Life Book course that if they had the chance they should  jump at it.

fol 14-4

Then it hit me, in terms of this month’s theme of minimalism and this week’s prompt: word I was so struck by the simple, strong brand of GOLDEN.  That brochure on the bottom, every time they reference GOLDEN it is in all caps like that.  Where other companies have packaging that lets you see a lot of the contents Golden uses large white labels – all the same.  The flip side is that every label has a real swatch of paint on it so you know what it will really look like.  That three page colour chart is handmade (and signed) which I think is another extra special touch. 

So for today, my word is GOLDEN.  Thank you Sally for giving me a different lens on the experience!

The creative continuum of seven artists–reveal one!

***If you are here for the “Grow Your Blog” hop you can find that specific post right here***

Monique of A half-baked notion is first up on this little monthly blog hop masterminded by sweet Alicia.  Monique used inspiration from the National Gallery of Canada exhibit: Artists, Architects & Artisans.  I’m a lucky small town Ottawa girl with big city treats like a National Gallery to go visit – and visit we did.  The Gallery does an excellent job making the space interesting for all ages, Averleigh had a great time and did not want to leave.  They had a table full of supplies, and an employee to direct you to them, set up in the Garden Court to make “miniature environments”.  They handed me a piece of heavy stock paper with instruction to fold and cut to make the floor and two walls of a room. Then you could choose to make your furnishings from pasticine and there was assorted crafts stuff for decorating.  Averleigh chose just to draw instead but the idea got stuck in my head.

all in a row

With the new year here, I had been tidying up the studio and found these unfinished wood dollhouse armoires.  I seem to remember they were a quarter or less, and you know, I needed them.  I had to get to painting them and decided I’d make all the interior white so I can use them for the much higher purpose of storing some special beads in my studio.

long scale earrings

Oh look it can hold earrings!  These are a bit of a warm up to the main event.  Monique sent along the pretty wood squares and I matched them with a little frosted blue glass, a jet black octagonal type crystal (32 unequal faces called ?) and a bronze coloured enamel headpin.  It’s the exaggerated scale of the huge kidney ear wires that remind me of the era.  Actually, I really need to show you the necklace to walk through all the inspiration…

pour me a gin

Monique’s butterfly is exquisite and I knew I had no desire to add any of my own polymer work, I was just looking for a way to showcase it.  After seeing the beautiful iron work at the exhibit I had all kinds of fanciful antennae ideas floating through my mind.  I eventually pulled out my super special piece of reLuma from my friend Annie.  This piece of glass is from a gin bottle, it’s a square diamond and it is blue – that’s a trifecta of awesome for me.  Once I wrangled that 16g wire around the glass the rest kind of fell into place.  I love the czech glass that Monique included it’s such a beautiful match to the faux wood of the pendant. 


I recently acquired those black crystals from Andrew Thornton in a mystery box of goodies (so full of wonderful things).  They were just the thing reminded me of these dramatic iron light fixtures from the exhibit.  The lampwork in the centre of the horn ring  is from Bead Abundant

artisan butterfly a deco

I’m sure there is special term for the proportions of the time, but I don’t know it.  That equivalent of the golden rectangle was what I was going for and I certainly enjoyed the pursuit.

back appreciation

A moment of appreciation for the beautifully finished textured back of the pendant.  I can recall being very concerned myself about making the back special on a piece so I sanded and buffed it so smooth, it was beautiful.  But the first time I wore it I found out that is really the worst since all that did was allow it to stick to my chest in the most irritating fashion.  This is how to do it right!

in circle

What a treat to create with beautiful things collected and made by friends.  I’m very excited to see what the rest of our CC7A group created!

Here’s the team:
Monique of A Half-Backed Notion
Christine of One Kiss Creations
Cynthia of Antiquity Travelers
Sally of The Studio Sublime
Therese of Therese's Treasures
Alicia of All The Pretty Things
and me makes 7

It’s such a privilege to be invited to take part in this blog hop continuum, that Alicia, sweet and clever!  My mind has already started turning around ideas for next month, featuring Christine’s piece and inspiration of “round and round”.  In truth, March is further ahead in my brain but I like to invent rules like I have to do each month in order, just to add my own crazy into the mix.

Friday 24 January 2014

Grow your blog!

Welcome blogging friends!  It’s likely you’ve arrived at this post since you also have a blog you want to share (cool me too!…wait you know that).  Ok, at this point you know the address but what the heck goes on here? That’s what I’m about to fill you in on. 

My name is Emma, I make things.  It’s the way it has always been.  In April 2012 I started this blog and here is what I pitched in that inaugural post:

“There will be handmade polymer beads and jewelry, inspiration and process. There will likely be pics of my almost 2 year old girl, since who can resist? There will be lots of me trying to learn how to use all those fabulous online tools. I've been watching everyone else growing their online businesses for so many years now from the sidelines. I love watching the success, don't get me wrong, I just really need to join in the fun. I've had a case of the "if I can't do it perfectly, I don't do it at all" - it is time to outgrow that thinking.”

As it turns out, that has been pretty accurate.  I live in beautiful Ottawa, Canada with my husband, our daughter Averleigh and three cats.  I take part in a weekly photo challenge each Saturday called Focus on Life and this has probably tipped the scales towards more and more Averleigh photos.  However, If you scroll down to last week’s focus on life you will see my (rare) photo of me.


Here’s Averleigh chatting with some Hissing Madagascar Cockroaches this week at our Museum of Nature.  One of the many ways I use my iPhone is as a “baby book” of sorts.  The video I took was her encouraging the “guys” not to be shy but hiss loud for her, it’s hilarious but probably only to me, so I’ll spare you that.

I also take part in a variety of other blog hops and challenges as the mood strikes.  I’ve often said that the case with polymer, when it can be almost anything and you have the whole rainbow at your disposal, it can be hard to know where to start.  That’s the joy of taking on a certain inspiration point or limiting parameter to drive the creative process.  Here’s an idea of what I’m talking about.

You can read all the nitty gritty in the full post from the 6th Bead Soup Blog Hop reveal but in essence I would have never dreamed up those floral wing like polymer pieces, nor this design, had I not been gifted such a gorgeous pendant as a starting point.  Thank you blogging!

Tomorrow, right here, will be the first post of the CC7A series.  A group of seven ladies, who have all met through blogging, and we will have jewelry to share with you!  You can have a sneak peek at my starting point for this month’s challenge right here.  I have shocked myself by already having my piece complete a full day before the deadline, now just to catch the light for some photos tomorrow and I’ll be all set.

Sometimes I use this blog to think out loud and I always welcome conversation.  Perhaps you have had the “how long does it take you to make that” question yourself – do you have an answer?

There is so much I could share but I will restrain myself today as we have all been invited to view a whole big bunch of wonderful blogs.  Many thanks to Vicki of 2 Bags Full for gathering creative souls together on this occasion for one heck of a party!

Thank YOU for stopping by today for a little taste.  I’d love to have you follow along by any way you enjoy, find all the options on the right-hand sidebar. 

Saturday 18 January 2014

Focus on life–week 3–black and white photo of you

focus on life week 3

or week 3

I took away the colour and I think this week, I’m just going to take away words about it too.

Sunday 12 January 2014

So it’s 2014 and there’s some stuff going on!

I mentioned the other day I had various plans a go for the new year.  A couple are already under way.  First, I signed up for Lisa Vollrath’s  A Year of Altered Books.  I know absolutely nothing about altered books and little part of me feels uncomfortable about the idea so I decided to just jump right in and learn something new.

These aren’t finished pages, just the first attempts at the start of something I hope.  This month we are working on backgrounds and different ways with paint.

background altered books

Maybe a day or two after I signed up I saw a friend share on facebook that she had signed up for  Life Book 2014
“Life Book, a celebration and honouring of YOU”is a year-long mixed media art classorganised by Tamara Laporte from Willowing Arts.

It sure sounded like a whole lot of material and looking through the line up I wasn’t familiar with the names but I was sure liking what I was seeing.  I rationalized that I already have so many of the supplies on hand just sitting, it’s high time I put them to use.  I learnt last year with the Focus on Life series that I could manage a weekly course…Well, I’m “behind” already but that’s ok I will get there.

lifebook 2014 warm up and week2

I did manage to get the curl out of the paper on the warm up exercise seen at the left above, giving it a skewed look.  We had a guided meditation and this warm up lesson and the main lesson I’m still going over in my mind.  It will include my word for 2014 so I’m not telling my word yet to make sure I get it done!  The painting on the left was our second week lesson, a happy affirmation. 

Now, I can’t have you think I’ve left polymer and jewelry behind! Alicia Marinache was kind enough to invite me to take part in a little blog hop.  You can read all about it and the fine participants under the name The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists.  I have finally decided on what to send for my turn, you won’t be seeing what that is until July but until then each month on the 26th we will be sharing our creations.

Monique is first up, and for me especially, her inspiration was a real treat.  You can read all about Monique’s choice of the inspiration.  When Monique first shared this link to the Artists, Architects & Artisans exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada, I knew we would be fitting a trip in.  The weather made it a bit tricky, but we got there, and it was such a treat indeed.  They are pretty explicit about where you are able to take photos at the Gallery, only in the public areas and not inside the exhibits.  So I left the real camera at home and tried my very best to obey.  I did not take the picture below, it is from the link above to the exhibit.  The hardware on drawers was about the size of my hand, the Gallery has tall ceilings as you would imagine, and this still looked massive.  I wish there were photos of the light fixtures that were in the same room, again large scale and gorgeous. 

I’ll save some of my other favourites for reveal day.  I will be armed only with vague references though since attending such an exhibit with a three year old and no access to my cell phone means I don’t remember a thing I read.  Next time I’ll remember to bring a pen and paper. 

gallery visit

Here is Monique’s butterly soaking up the scenery in the Garden Court where they have all kinds of activities for kids to enjoy.  They have a piece of sculpture along the lines of a spiral staircase and you can move each step.  I didn’t stand up to take a nice wide shot of that fun, instead I have these two little sneaky ones. Note, this is the same garden as seen in the video Monique shared, only with a season planting change.

Well that was a little on the long side, but thanks so much for joining me on the journey!

Saturday 11 January 2014

focus on life–week 2–a silhouette

Continuing with this months theme of minimalism, this week’s prompt from Sally:

“A silhouette: a photograph with a subject(s) captured in a shadowy outline with little or no detail against a bright background.”

I love looking around for the cats when I get home times, and realizing that they are actually hidden in the window behind the curtain, a favourite silhouette.  I knew I wanted to get such a photo.

I grabbed the camera when the light was right and convinced first kitty to come over.  He was not very interested in being the model, more wanting to go back to sleep.  Next day he puked on the laptop – I did not take a photo.  I understand this was payback.  Later I was trying to cut #2’s claws and the damn thing shot up and hit me in the eye.  That little piece of claw splintered in my eye and as I blinked little slivers were scratching me.  I ran for the tap and still had to turn it inside out to get them.  I decided this was a pre-emptive strike.  That leaves the kitten aka “Roman Blind Killa” so I didn't really want to invite him to a windowsill.

20 minutes ago this happened
 focus on life 2014 - 2

Score one for the supposedly short hair kitten.

Saturday 4 January 2014

Focus on life–week 1–the minimalist photograph

Welcome 2014!  I hope everyone had a great time saying goodbye to the year that was, and hello to a fresh 2014.  I’m excited to be embarking on a second year of Sally Russick’s Focus on Life series, as always, you can find out more at the Studio Sublime.  This time around we have a monthly theme, for January:

“minimalism: there are many definitions of minimalism but the most prevalent is bare mininum”

This week, the minimalist photograph, a single subject.

fol 2014 week 1

I had some others on various backgrounds, but I like how the colour and contrast are minimal here.  This is a hint at what is to come for me in 2014.  In addition to Focus on Life, I’m taking part in two year long online courses and a six month project that will get some extra focus this week.  So 2014 isn’t feeling too minimal with these things in place on the first day of the year.  I’ve got lots of time to tell you all about it and share another day.  I think I have also settled on a word for 2014, I’m trying it on at the moment.