Wednesday, September 30, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 30

Wow - is it really already the end of the month? I can't believe it - tempus fugit, indeed! I was worried about not making it when I started, and now I'm not willing to let it end. So I am going to continue on, as I'd mentioned before, with the attempt to make 365 pieces in 365 days. From September 1st, 2009 to August 31st 2010. There'll be a few days here and there that I won't make a post in the year to come, because from time to time I may do something like, oh, I don't know, go on vacation (hopefully!), or be selling at an event.

Here's today's piece, to round out the month. The majority of the work was actually done last night. I made myself put it down and go to bed at about 1am, even though I was so close to finishing, but completed the work on the point this afternoon. So here's my newest Steampunk parasol, one of four modern brown pagoda umbrellas I got my happy little fingers on early this year. (Which means there's still three of these to go - it's going to be fun how they turn out, as I've never had a stock of the same base to work from before!)

And speaking of events, I've got two lined up for October. The first is the inaugural weekend for Penumbra Faire:

Then two weeks later, SteamCon!

I'm still holding my breath on two juried events in November and December, so cross your fingers for me! And my Etsy and ArtFire shops are always open for business.

Also, with October 31st being the 10th anniversary of my very first day as a business, look for something big to happen here at the end of the month.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 29

As promised, another day, another post! Today, I used up practically my entire remaining stock of rose quartz, along with a pendant recycled from two different broken vintage pieces. I had two little old beads leftover, so matching earrings were fabricated as well.

And for those of you crafters not yet on Artfire, here's an incentive for you:

ArtFire has launched their Holiday Free-for-All, in which all everyone can list and sell unlimited items during the holidays. All members, whether they are basic or pro users, can now list as many items as they wish on ArtFire for the next few months. Go Artfire! You guys rock!

Thanks to Found Handmade for the feature

Working on editing the pictures of today's creation, but in the meantime I thought I'd mention that my little vintage amber-eyed owl pin was featured today in the Found Handmade blog.

Would you believe he's about the size of a penny? A good camera is priceless!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Let them eat cake!

Some time ago I mentioned our friend Paul, who is the owner of Jet City Cakes, and makes the most incredible edible creations. Well, he just made the blog CakeWrecks, in a good way! Read about his creation here, and vote for him as best bakery of western Washington here.

Oh, and here's his cake:


A custom wedding set

I was honored to be contacted a few weeks ago to make a custom set for someone's wedding. And they requested I work in my all-time absolute favorite color combination - black and burgundy! Gee - twist my arm!

I actually did the bracelet and earrings early last week, and completed the choker this weekend, but waited to get permission from the bride to post them, as I didn't want to spoil things for anyone (like the groom, perhaps!) who wasn't supposed to see them.

So here it is, chunks of faceted garnet and black glass bicones, wrapped in sterling silver, keyhole choker with cluster earrings and matching bracelet:

30 Days Hath September, Day 28

I was 15 when Gran called me to her room. She didn’t leave it much anymore. She’d walked with a cane for my entire life, and as she got older her leg hurt her more and more and she walked less and less. She was propped up in her favorite chair by the fire, with a pot of tea and a book untouched on the table next to her. She beckoned for me to sit beside her on the floor, and when I was settled, she leaned forward and clasped her necklace around my neck. I’d always admired it, for as long as I remember. A long key was wrapped in silver wire and all done up in garnets, and it hung from a fine silver chain. Once as a child I’d reached for it, and she’d slapped my hand. Gran never had to raise a hand to anyone, as she could strip the hide from you with a look and make you wish you were 2 years dead in your grave if you earned the rough side of her tongue, so the slap had made a lifelong impression amongst myself and all my young kin.

“It’s time I passed this on, and you’re the only one worthy of passing it to, sad to say. Not that you’re a bad girl at all. Quite the contrary,” she added when she saw what effect her words had. “You’re the best and brightest lass I’ve seen in all my years, and I’m proud of ye, lass.” She sighed. “But it’s a terrible burden I’ve laid on you so young. I wasn’t but a few months older than you when it came to me.” She leaned forward again and touched the key. “That was the day I lost me own mum and gained this limp that’s plagued me ever since. Garnets are supposed to be for protection, and if you ever have to use this, you’ll need every ounce of it and more.”

“It doesn’t look very old,” I said, studying it. It was a simple iron key, with a number 12 stamped on one side. “It changes,” Gran told me. “It changes as the times change.”

“What’s it open, Gran?” I hardly dared to ask, but I’d been wanting to know ever since I first saw it.

“A door. A hidden door. You won’t find it if you go looking for it, but it’ll find you when you need it. Pray you never need it.”

“You opened it once, though, didn’t you Gran?”

“Me mum did, and I was with her. You know what was going on in those times. Terrible times.”

“What was there, when you opened the door?”

“It’s different every time, because the need is different. I won’t tell ye what we saw then, because it won’t make sense to ye, times being different now. Just know that if ye ever have the need the door will provide . Now go along with ye. Git!”

That was three years ago, and although I have prayed, I believe that I will someday soon find a door that needs to be opened, because the times are dark and becoming darker. And I worry, as unlike my great-grandmother, I do not have a daughter to stand with me to face whatever is behind the door and whatever has caused me to open it. My two older sisters have daughters, but they are but two and four years of age, and my brother has not yet married. My cousins are silly gits without a thought in their heads except that the next ball may not be canceled so they flirt and cavort and attempt to ensnare a husband before he is sent off to war. I do not know if I can pass on this trust to someone not of my blood, as Gran died two days after bequeathing the key to me and I had no chance to question her again. So I hope and pray that these troubles will pass before they demand a response from me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 27

Today, we took the munchkin to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Apparently, this is a scary movie. The munchkin asked to leave the theater about 15 minutes before the movie ended, as the food storm was too much to take. I think the 3-D might have had something to do with it, and she may also be coming down with a bit of something, as she fell asleep shortly after we got home. Poor munchkin!

I had a productive day today, before and after the movie expedition. One of the things I came across during the great clean-up last week was a bag of linens I'd purchased with the eye to altering, and in that bag were two cotton dust ruffles that were begging to become petticoats. One of them was paired with some antique lace I just found at an estate sale yesterday, so our unsuccessful trip to find an office chair had at least some benefit.

Dust ruffle #1, petticoats with 28" and 25" waistbands, and crocheted lace hems:

Dust ruffle #2, petticoats with 24" and 30" waistbands, with a lovely scalloped hem and lace insets:

We made a quick stop at Borders while we were out, as I finished my book of crosswords. I'm a huge puzzle nut, and it's one of the ways I spend my spare time when my brain needs a bit of a stretching. I finished puzzle the very last puzzle (#500!) this morning in my huge book, and so I picked up another big book of crosswords today. I didn't notice until we were in the car on the way home that there was a little something fishy on the back cover.

Here's the publisher's price in the upper left hand corner of the cover:

And here's Borders' pricetag on the bottom left:

Boo, hiss, Borders! I guess besides selling your information when you sign up for their discount program isn't enough, so they mark up their wares too!

This new book has 1001 puzzles at least, so I'll have lots of time to decide where else I'll be buying next humongous book of crosswords!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 26

Today, we went in search of an office chair for me, with no luck. I was hoping the University of Washington surplus sale would yield some possibilities, but the chairs were all short-backed, and I need a tall chair with neck and head support. It looks like I may have to break down and get one from Office Depot. It'll be expensive, but my body is aging even if my brain and heart aren't, and what's worked in the past isn't working anymore, set-up wise for creating.

Today, I made a big ole pot of chicken soup. Pretty simple - boil a chicken till the meat falls off the bones, separate the meat from the skin and bones, strain the broth, toss the meat and broth back in the pot with celery, onions, carrots, and fresh garlic, with a pinch of tarragon, and salt & pepper to taste.

I also made a new Steampunk necklace, with one of my favorite combinations - labradorite and freshwater pearls. I love how they compliment each other:

And I finished a custom order - here's a teaser:

I'm waiting to ask the bride-to-be if it's okay for me to post pictures of the whole set here.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to do a little bit of sewing, now that the cold is receding. Last night the husband made me a magical concoction that seems to have chased it away - a shot of Jack Daniels with honey and fresh lemon juice, warmed. I slept well, woke up this morning not sneezing, and made it through the day with no cold medicine and only two sneezing fits. Hallelujah! All hail the healing powers of whiskey!

Friday, September 25, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 25

Home again, home again, jiggity jig. I have managed to come down with the granddaddy of all headcolds, with a bit of a cough on top of it. Things being the way they are, of course as soon as the first major explosive rounds of sneezing faded, I was online checking to see if I had any other symptoms of swine flu. No fever, no gastrointestinal badness, no flu - check! Thank goodness, as I'd take out my entire department. So I've been woolen-headed with cold medicine all day, and stuck on the road for an extra 90 minutes on the way home too because of construction, which slowed traffic down to 5-10mph for a good 7 miles. But I finally made it, and sat down to make this bracelet as soon as I walked in the door - didn't even take time to unpack, except to pull my pliers out of my suitcase:

My publisher forwarded this to me as soon as I logged on, a video promo for an upcoming Faith and the Muse release: ankoku butoh.

I am now going to cuddle with my munchkin until bathtime, and then put my cold to bed shortly thereafter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 24

As promised, an "on the road" blog post! I'm currently in Lake Chelan, Washington, for a work conference. Checked into the hotel yesterday afternoon, and was immediately struck by the view from my deck. The room is nifty too, with this incredible lounge chair made out of driftwood.

Not usually a modern decor fan, but the room charmed me:

The incredible view:

I forgot and didn't close the drapes all the way, so I got woken up extra early this morning. So, I made these in the comfy chair looking out over the beautiful lake, Russian opals with Czech glass:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 23

A quick one today, because I'm hitting the road shortly, a conference for work. The next two days' posts and items will be made in Lake Chelan, WA. I've got beads, camera, and photo cloth packed and I'm ready to go. So for today, another pair of earrings, burgundy freshwater pearls:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 22

Today, I have just one pair of earrings, but it's all in a good cause. Because today, I spent the last four hours making order out of chaos. My sewing room was in complete disarray, partly because I pulled out a good portion of the boxes looking for one particular piece of leather I needed to complete a sewing project last month but mainly because I acquired oodles of new stuff and had never found a proper home for it.

Here's the earrings, made with my birthstone, peridot:

And here's what my sewing room ended up looking like:

I didn't take "before" pictures. I could pretend and say I forgot, but that's a lie. I just didn't want photographic proof of the mess. The counter on which my sewing machine was located was buried in bits of trim, spools of ribbon, bags of feathers, and other bits and bobs that have been used in projects over the last six months. The chair was piled with the costumes I've worn and washed and had never bothered to hang back up again. There was no sign of that brown table earlier, it just looked like piles of fabric plus mounds of trim that I've been stockpiling for parasol projects. The fabric is all now stowed in bins, and the trim stored in my cabinet, the corner of which you can see in the right of the second picture.

And since I was on a roll, I managed to clean off this table in the "office" area of the basement as well.

This will hopefully become my work area for jewelry making.

Now that I have more working space, maybe I can start work on some of the sewing projects that are percolating in the back of my brain.

Oh, and after all that work I was feeling virtuous and in need of a treat, so for dinner, I indulged in one of my all-time favorite comfort foods for dinner - a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Yum!

Monday, September 21, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 21

Three weeks in! 21 days of September down, 9 to go. Still considering attempting 365 in 365. The busy season is coming, and it'll be good for me to try to keep the creative juices flowing.

I updated yesterday's entry with the link to the aquamarine set on Artfire, and finally strung the two wrapped stone pendants I made awhile back and got them listed as well.

Aquamarine Steampunk Necklace & Earrings

Wrapped pendant #1

Wrapped pendant #2

I had a bit of a run on earrings this week, and so ended up making a few to replace ones I'd sold, and a few extras to boot. Thanks to my five year old daughter, I have been acquiring beads of purple and pink, her two most favorite colors. I interspersed some of my favorites, black and green, and here's the results for your perusal:

Green Garnet:

Purple Jade:



Hot Pink Glass:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 20

Today, I woke up at the unholy hour of 6:30am, but that's okay, because I got today's creation completed before our friends arrived and we all piled in the van to make a trip down to the Puyallup fair.

Remember that aquamarine I mentioned yesterday? Well, here it is with sterling silver wire and a part from an antique pocketwatch:

We visited some animals, went through the extremely disappointing "Craft Hall" (now billed as "Crafts and more" because it's mainly mass-produced junk and "As Seen on TV" gimmicky goods), rode some rides, ate some food, visited more animals, ate more food, and ended the day in the hobby hall (which is always my favorite part of the day. Well, except for the baby animals).

The first ride of the fair is always the giant slide:

Then the munchkin opted for the swings:

She passed up the baby roller coaster, even with the cool dragon cars, in favor of the whirlygig, and we could hear her delighted shrieks for the whole ride:

Convincing her to sit down was a challenge, but we managed a few rest breaks here and there:

And yes, I am wearing the necklace I just made. I like this one a lot, and decided I might as well show it off a bit.

The baby animals were next. This pygmy goat fell asleep standing on the wooden spool in the middle of her pen:

And one of my shots from the hobby hall, one of a collection of antique cannons. Shiny!

Monday manic Monday tomorrow. Ready for a new week?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 19

I was pretty good at the beadstore. Really. I only bought three extra strands besides what I went to go get. They had some purple goldstone, which I adore, and which I am coincidentally out of, so I got a strand of these. And I also got 2 strands of a beautiful blue faceted aquamarine, and have nefarious plans for them already.

With blue on the mind, here's today's creation, with a focal piece of an antique pocketwatch spring, strung with cobalt blue glass beads and brass, along with matching earrings.

Friday, September 18, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 18

TGIF! I am indulging in a glass of Charles Shaw Chardonnay (how can you beat $2.99 a bottle?), and listening to Faith and the Muse. If that isn't a good start to a weekend, I don't know what is.

Today's creation began with a faceted piece of crackled black onyx I picked up some time ago. Those of you who have been reading this month may be noticing this is a fairly regular theme with me. I find things, think "Oh, I can do something with that!," buy them, stick them in a beadbox and then finally get around to making something with them weeks, months, and sometimes even years later. I am trying to avoid buying new things at the moment until I work through some of my prodigious stash. Trying. Trying, really!

Of course, tomorrow I will be going to the bead store to pick up the supplies for a commission I just received. I will try to be good and only pick up the garnets I need for the commission. I will try. Really. My toolkit, a 16-gallon tote in which I keep my bead boxes, is currently too heavy for me to lift easily by myself without risk of injury, so if I do decide to push for the 365 items in 365 days goal I mentioned yesterday, I will be trying to do so as much as possible from components I already own.

But anyways, this hoarded black onyx pendant has been combined with filigree accents and some more vintage chain, and has earrings to match. I was good and listed it, even though I am sorely tempted to keep it for myself. Someone buy it quick and remove the temptation to sneak it into my jewelry box! (only half kidding there)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 17

Today, a new pair of waterfall earrings. I made a similar pair of these with larger gears several months ago, but I have a little ziplock baggie full of these teensy tiny bits, and wanted to revisit them in a more delicate style.

Last night I had this insane conversation with my husband. Because if you set yourself a goal and you complete it, what happens next? When I get to September 30th, will I go to maybe remembering to post here once or twice a month again? What happened to Julie after she finished her way through her year of cooking? I don't think I'll get a book deal, but I'm still wondering if I could do 365 pieces in 365 days. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 16

Today, an experiment, melding multiple strands of vintage chain from a broken necklace with new components, a focal piece in the shape of a rose in full bloom with a swarovski crystal center, offset and combined aurora borealis faceted bicones:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 15

Black hearts - romantic or no?

A new bracelet for today, black glass with a blue/green glaze on one side, strung with sterling silver wire and chain and a toggle clasp. I made it my size, but it can be easily sized up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

30 Days Hath September, Day 14

I finally finished it! Stayed up entirely too late last evening (well, this morning really) working on the beadwork, and I just now finished up the last few Czech glass beads. This is a modern battenburg lace parasol, to which I've attached 20 yards of braid, trim, and lace, and spent 10 hours doing hand beadwork to accent the floral pattern of the lace. Click on the image to take you to the listing in my Artfire shop, and to see all the pictures.

An addendum to yesterday's post - you saw my amateur photoshop attempts. Well, here's what I aspire to someday. This is a restoration of a vintage photograph, done by my friend Lily, of Nightshade Studios.

The original picture, and her restoration:

(click on the picture to see the full image, as my blog formatting is cutting off the edge)

She's multi-talented, as she also does art the old fashioned way. And in the image that I use as my avatar for Miss Victoria's Vintage, she did my hair and makeup, took the picture, and edited it to give the image the old-fashioned starlet look I love so well:

She doesn't have her art or photography online, but she does make the most adorable little monsters you've ever seen.