Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Year in the Making, Day 177

Sneaking in early because it's a gorgeous sunny day and we need to take the munchkin out and exhaust her at the park. And I've got a mountain of laundry to fold and put away. Another making order out of chaos day in the DBV household. Plus there's a dining room table here somewhere.

Today's piece, which won't be listed until late next week, as I've got my shops on vacation in preparation for being a at a training seminar all week:

Bronze Dragon Green Pearls by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Do I really have to clean? Do I? *sigh* I need a robot butler.

Expect another "on the road" post in the next day or so.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A day in pictures

And this'll qualify as A year in the making day 176, too, as I've posted a couple of today's pictures to my DeviantArt account.

Today we took a walk here, pretty much specifically so I could play with the new camera:

Arboretum Waterfront Trail by *dbvictoria on deviantART

It was raining, but if we let that stop us we'd never get out!

A walk in the park.

Rainy day

A walk along a graveled path with lots of trees ...

Tree & Water

Water at the arboretum

Tree knothole

and a crow vying with the ducks for nibbles


and then you reach a bridge


and go through more growth, just starting to bud and flower:

Mossy tree


Red Berries by *dbvictoria on deviantART

You cross under the interstate, in an echoing cement tunnel, and you're on the shores of Lake Washington, with Husky stadium visible across the water

Husky Stadium

There's a great promontory for dog wading and stick chasing:


(a friendly dog-walker let our munchkin help throw sticks for her water spaniel to fetch)


The Arboretum Waterfront Trail


and watch folks canoe or kayak past you:

Kayak crew

Kayak crew

You walk along the water for a bit, and there's a lookout point

The lookout

And then you can walk out over the water on the floating path

The Arboretum Waterfront Trail

After about an hour out there, we were tired and happy and COLD! So we headed to one of our favorite restaurants to warm up, Taste of India, in the University District.

Best Indian food in town

I've got a bad habit of always ordering the same thing when I go out, so the past year I've been making a concerted effort to try different things. Every other time we've gone here, I've had the coconut curry with lamb, so this time I got wild and had the shahi korma with fish. I'm not sorry I branched out in the slightest. We still started off the meal with garlic nan, though. And the best and most dangerous thing about going here?


The bottomless cup of chai. Think about ordering coffee at a diner from the best, most attentive waitress ever. Well, they're even better at keeping you topped off. I'll be up till dawn, I'm sure. I probably had about six cups. Chai is one of my vices.

So there it is, an afternoon with my family and my new baby. And a couple hours of photo editing and posting. Go me.

Playing with the new toy

I think the new camera will stay. Initial fiddlings, complicated by the fact that I misplaced the user manual already today, still produced happy pictures. I need to figure out how to turn off the flash still. But here's the first official Designs by Victoria listing with Canon product pictures:

Vintage Jade Green Glass Elephant Earrigns with Freshwater Pearls

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Year in the Making, Day 175

Here's the one shot of yesterday's elephant earrings I got before the camera went boom. I had a pair of vintage jade green glass elephants that I hung with freshwater pearls:

Elephant Earrings

Out with the old, in with the new

There's a new sheriff in cameratown:

Out with the old in with the new

That's a Canon Eos Rebel xsi. Battery is charging as I type. Will be taking it out for a spin to see the cherry blossoms in bloom this weekend, as well as checking it out with the shiny bits. The urge to be checking out the other lenses with which it could be equipped is being resisted. It is. Really.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

No make tonight, again

I have a pair of earrings all made, but the Nikon exhibited what may be its final death throes this evening. I took three pictures, and on the fourth, the words "SYSTEM ERROR" came up on the viewscreen in flashing red letters.


I'll be going to go get a new camera tomorrow, and try it out viewing the cherry blossoms in bloom this weekend.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Year in the Making, Day 174

Just woken up from a long end-of-winter nap. Munchkin snoozing vibes, one of the most powerful forces on the planet. No sewing of buttons for me today. Yet, at least. I did pull out the thimble, though. I was early to bed yesterday again, too, as I had a very early day for the "day job". Did finally get pictures of the antiqued faux turquoise piece yesterday afternoon, though:

Faux Turquoise and Antiqued Sterling Necklace

And today's piece, still for lack of a clasp but otherwise done:

Amber Glass Peridot Pearls by *dbvictoria on deviantART

This has become another cat-impaired post. Miss Nellie Kitty has managed to pin my left arm at some point when I was typing this up. I don't know exactly, when, though. Feline stealth mode successfully activated. Funny beast.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Year in the Making, Day 173

I missed out on the light today to get pictures of the antiqued turquoise piece. Tomorrow! *fingers crossed*

I also missed out on yesterday altogether. I had pictures taken all ready to post. I also tweaked my neck this weekend. We're rearranging the basement, and got new desks, and then I set grommets and was hand-sewing buttons, and my head support was very vocal in its unappreciation of my efforts. I took a muscle relaxer, and was *zonked* on the sofa at about 8:30.

I never posted the first stages of a vest alteration project, I just realized. I've had this vest for over a year, maybe as long as 2 years, and have had this idea for an outfit based on it for that long. The vest when I bought it was a little too big, and after losing 15 pounds over the last year, it was even baggier. I took a long thing wedge out of the back and an elongated oval out of each side, and finished the raw edges with extra wide double fold bias tape:

Vest in progress

Vest in progress

There it sat until last night, as I was procrastinating the setting of the 72 grommets I'd set for myself to do. I finally got around to it last night. I'll be redoing the laces. I bought 1/4" black grosgrain ribbon, I know I did. I don't know where I put it safely so I could use it when I finally got around to setting the grommets. My sewing room is a black hole. Especially when you consider how much black fabric I have.

Helpful hint, a general rule of thumb I've discovered for lacing. Whatever the length of the piece you need to lace, measure out a piece of lacing with about an inch extra on either end, then multiply by four if the edgings will meet when closed. That's the bare minimum.

On to pictures of the newly laced vest:

The Gunslinger Vest

The Gunslinger Vest

The next step, in progress already, is to replace those shiny brass ball buttons with some silver ones. It's missing three of the 36 buttons already, and they're just too bulbous and bright for me. And besides, black and burgundy and silver is MY color combo. I got 8 done last night. I would have gotten more if I'd remembered "Hey, this vest is suede. It's going to be hard to sew through. Better bring a thimble!" But I didn't. Owie.

As an added bonus, here's photographic proof of what a geek I was in high school, found during the great basement re-org of 2010:


That's right. My senior year in high school (1989, for those interested), I lettered in Academics and double-lettered in Band. Oh, and by the way, no, I never went to band camp.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Year in the Making, Day 171

I'm playing with eggs again, having a piece sealed up antiquing. The chain I used is being stubborn, though. My first attempt, with this citrine necklace, turned just a few hours, whereas today's has been sitting since 9am this morning and the necklace is just starting to darken. Here's the original, vintage findings and a faux turquoise bead:

Turquoise necklace before antiquing

The bead itself seems to be a polymer made to look like turquoise, and the bead caps are vintage, salvaged from a necklace with badly damaged beads.

Salvage is the game of the day, as the second piece I made is entirely from repurposed broken jewelry. I had a broken chain, another broken necklace with just a few beads left, and a single earring. Combined, they made this:

Green and Silver Upcycled necklace

I also cooked a real dinner this evening, for the first time in what seems months. I sauteed beef tips in a red wine reduction with garlic and onions, and served it up with some risotto tossed in olive oil and parmesan, and a side Caeser's salad. Tastyiness ensued. *urp*

Things I've learned of while vending the vintage shinies

There have been some wonderful discoveries I've made while researching the pieces I acquire for Miss Victoria's Vintage, and I wanted to share two of my favorites with you, both involving the engraving or etching of the metal surface of the jewelry piece.

The first is Damascene metal work. It is named after the the city of Damascus, where it is said the technique originated. It's an inlay process, where a base metal is engraved in intricate designs and then grooves are inlaid with wires of gold or silver which are hammered into place. The non-precious metal surfaces are "blued," or oxidized, giving a black finish. The results are stunning:

The second is Guilloche enamelwork, reputedly named after a French engineer Robert Guillot, who invented a metal engraving machine that did fine work. In Guilloche jewelry, a repetitive pattern is machined onto a metal surface, and an enamel, usually translucent, is applied over the metal:

The intricacy and delicacy of the work is truly amazing. It's always hard when I find pieces produced with these techniques to give them up.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 169

Playing around with photoshop again, a picture I took out at the waterfront a few months ago, a tree completely bare of leaves against a drab sky, transformed into a fantasy landscape:

The Tree by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 167

Another bright sunny beautiful cold day. And I have finished knitmonster #2! Well, except for tucking in all the yarny end bits. Pictures tomorrow, I hope. The danger of working free-form - this one is shorter and wider than the last one. A natural progression of the passage of time, right?

Here's a new necklace, in lieu of knitmonster pictures. I'd made a strung choker with these lovely offset drilled teal pearls, but I dropped one in the process. I found it a few days later, rolled under the sofa, and have been sitting on this single lonely teal pearl for a couple of years now. So today I paired it up with more freshwater pearls in a complimentary shade:

Teal and Pale Green Freshwater Pearl Y Necklace

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 166

We just got back from the park, fooled by the bright sunny day, and are currently wrapped around hot steaming mugs of tea to try to warm ourselves up. It was much colder than expected and very windy to boot. Brrrrr! But it's still a beautiful day, and spring fever is hitting like crazy.

I'm almost finished with knitmonster #2. It's been in the works for ages now, but the end is in sight. I'm about 3/4 of the way through with the last skein of boa yarn, so will probably finish it off tonight.

Something simple today - I found some tiger iron briolettes at my last trip to the bead store. Yeah, that trip when I was only supposed to be buying one strand of pearls for that custom wedding set. I am weak.

Tiger Iron Briolette Necklace with Freshwater Pearls

And tonight, I get to pick up my corset! Squeeee! It's my very first completely custom made piece, from the amazingly talented Marie of Fitting Room Corsets, ivory shantung silk with an overlay of beige lace with pink accents. You can see a picture of it here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 165

These earrings are jinxed, I tell you! I retook the pictures yesterday afternoon, and went to go edit them this morning, and of the four pairs, there were only pictures of two of them on the camera! There is an earring picture gremlin in the house.

So here's two of the four, finally listed, and hopefully I'll get the others tomorrow.

Faux Pearl Triple Dangle Earrings on Sterling Earwires

Purple and Lavender Swarovski Crystal Earrings

And two new pieces for the day. I sold a pair of cinnabar heart and pearl earrings from my Etsy shop earlier this week, and was going to remake them to relist, and then I discovered I only had one of the hearts left. So instead of a pair of earrings, I now have a necklace:

Red Cinnabar Heart Necklace and Freshwater Pearls

This last piece is way outside the box for me, as I hardly ever use plastic beads, but I found these large chunky clear lucite pieces that begged me to play with them. I paired them with some black faceted glass for a 3-strand strung piece:

Clear Lucite and Black Faceted Glass Multi Strand Strung Necklace

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 164

I got caught up editing images in Photoshop last night, and then fell asleep. Finally got the images of the earrings that went *poof* retaken, and will be listing them later tonight.

I also made a couple of new pieces today. I'm dipping into the odd bin with these. This is the box where I put all the one and two odd pieces I acquire incidentally when I'm buying bulk lots of vintage bits and broken jewelry pieces. One pendant, two charms, and a single earring later, here's what I came up with:

Diamond Cut Silver Flower Necklace with Pink and Clear Glass

Pink Skull and Crossbones Earrings with Rhinestones and Hot Pink Glass

And yesterday's post reminded me I'd never listed this set, so it's up as well. I need to stop doing that!

Romantic Pale Pink and White Pearl Set with Sterling Heart Pendant

We'll be off shortly to have an early dinner at our favorite local seafood place, with a lovely view over the sound, and I've got a bottle of very nice champagne chilling. Happy Valentine's Day to you all, and remember, each one of you, that there is always someone that loves you!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

ArtBeads' Valentine's Day gallery

I got a lovely little bit of e-news, letting me know my creations from the Valentine's Day ArtBeads Beaders who Blog feature were included in their Valentine's Day Blogger Gallery of Designs! My pieces are on page 3.

Pink and white pearls set

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 162

Happy Friday!

Munchkin is cheerfully counting all the Valentines she got at school today for the 6th time. I start to wonder how she can do something like that over and over and over again, and then I remember some of the jewelry pieces I've made over the years, and I realize she gets it from me.

It's raining here, actual umbrella weather. Normally I don't consider what they call rain here anything more than a persistent heavenly drool, but today was actually heavy enough to warrant the use of an umbrella.

In honor of the grey skies, I finally listed a piece I made last weekend:

Grey Glass Pearl and Celtic Knot Y Necklace

And now for something completely different! Another odd bit from the stash that I'd started to string as a pendant a couple of months ago, and then couldn't figure out how to finish. Well, I just recently acquired another box of bits and bobs, and found these vintage beads and chain that went with it beautifully. It's much chunkier and more masculine than my usual pieces, but that's good. I get told often enough that I need to more stuff for the other half of the species.

Raw Copper Pendant and Vintage Beads and Brass Chain Unisex Necklace

The pictures of the earrings I made yesterday went "poof" earlier. I took them, swear I transferred them off the memory card to the computer, but when I went to go edit them, they were gone. Not in my picture files, not in the recycling bin. Disappeared into thin air! And now I've lost the light, so they'll have to wait till tomorrow again. Color me annoyed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 160

Today, I sorted through and found some components I'd salvaged from a broken bracelet that I acquired in a mixed lot of jewelry some time back. There were four pink Swarovski bicones, and four matching rhinestones in settings, plus half of a toggle clasp set with smaller rhinestones. I paired them with some contrasting pearls, and used the clasp half as the pendant:

Pink pearl and Swarovski Y Necklace

Tonight, I make roasted garlic puree for a potluck tomorrow night. Easy peasey and so tasty.

Take about 8-10 garlic bulbs, chop off the tops, put them in a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle liberally with olive oil, and bake at 400F for ~1 hour. Peel and puree with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with slices of artisan bread. Be prepared for people to give you lots of room in the elevator at work the next day. Make sure your spouse eats some too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 159

I told you there were more pearls to come! Today, black pearls, which of course aren't really black, but a lovely iridescent charcoal grey in color.

Black Pearl and Glass Y Necklace

As I was making this, I had the laptop set up next to me on the dining room table, a pretty regular occurrence. I have a tendency to surf while creating, which slows down the creation process some, I'll admit, but otherwise I'd never keep up with some of my mailing lists. And I happened to be in the right place at the right time to catch a treasury. This one's inspired by a line from Percy Shelley's Ode to the West Wind:

Black Rain and Fire and Hail

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 158

Still digging into the pearl box. I had a few of this, a few of that left over, and wonders! they were complimentary in shade. There were some peach pearls left over from my first attempt at a knotted necklace, and a few hot pink pearls, but not enough to do a y-necklace, and a few almost pure white pearls too. So here they all are in a cluster:

Pink and Peach Pearl Cluster Necklace

And it looks like I'll still be in a pearl groove for a few more days, as there's a couple more colors that are demanding I play with them NOW!