Friday, April 30, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 238

A quick post, because I'm dead on my feet - rough day at work.

One more bracelet today, magnetic hematite and grey freshwater pearls. It's always so much fun working with magnetic hematite, because it sticks to the pliers!

I can't get a picture of it laid out because the draw of the beads is so strong!

Magnetic Hematite and Grey Freshwater Pearls Bracelet:

Now to see how long it takes me to doze off on the sofa. Three, two, o..... *zzzzzz*

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 238

The munchkin came up to me with a fuzzy dandelion puff, and asked me "Is it true if I blow on this my wish will come true?"

I am an evil depraved mommy. Instead of confirming this, I told her "That's what the dandelions want you to think! It's part of their evil plan to take over the world!"

If you saw our front yard, though, you'd understand why I said this.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have some old agate beads, of various shapes and colors, and I decided it was time they got new life. I've combined them with other old metal beads, also rescued from broken necklaces, and have three new chokers to show for my efforts:

Recycled Agate Choker #1

Recycled Agate Choker #2

Recycled Agate Choker #3

Earthy delights!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 237

Rain, rain, go away already! Sheesh! 54 degrees Fahrenheit today when I went to get my daughter from school, and the sky started drooling as we were walking home. Where's my may flowers? Well, I guess I had them a few posts back.

Today, playing at stringing with pearls:

Copper Biwa Pearls and Peach Freshwater Pearls Choker

And I started laying out a bunch of vintage agate beads I have salvaged from a couple of broken necklaces, so you'll probably be seeing those tomorrow.

Now to go curl up on the sofa with a warm purring cat and a cup of hot peppermint tea.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 235

It's overcast today, but just the perfect temperature. A little cool, so you don't get overheated taking a nice walk about the neighborhood. Just right!

A little springtime fun today, another bracelet:

Strawberry Glass and Peach Frenchwater Pearls Bracelet

In other important news, I've had Tom Jones stuck in my head all day long. So here - let him be stuck in yours too!

What's new, pussycat?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 233

We'll be off to a princess-themed birthday party shortly, and the munchkin is already dressed in her new sundress covered in big pink flowers. Of course, it's freakin' freezing! It's about 50F right now, even though it's bright and sunny. I made a trip out to the farmers' market this morning, as I'm out of honey for my current favorite breakfast (Greek yogurt with honey & granola), and I threw on my chenille sweater and hit the road, and spent the morning shivering. I should know better.

Today I finally got around to making a pair of earrings to match the necklace I'll be donating to repair Museum of History & Industry's clock for the silent auction at the Steampunk Film Festival in two weeks.



Supposedly this weekend we will be doing house-type stuff. There's an old desk to go to Goodwill, and I've found the floor in my sewing room, but still need to clear off some flat surfaces. I'm feeling the urge to sew something.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 232

Today, I explored the front and back yards. We have a variety of growths that we can take absolutely no credit for except that we planted them, sometimes years ago. The fact that they are still growing and thriving is entirely due to Mother Nature's benevolence and their hardiness.

First, the berry tree:

Red Berries 2 by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Next, several shots of some tulips I planted probably 5-6 years ago. They still keep coming up every spring:

Lavender Tulips by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Red Tulip 1 by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Red Tulip 2 by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Here's a lavender plant from the front yard, just coming into bloom:

Lavender 1 by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Lavender 2 by *dbvictoria on deviantART

And this plant has taken over most of our back yard. I have no clue what it is - any of you know?

Backyard Mystery by *dbvictoria on deviantART

And lastly, the jasmine bush by our front stoop:

Jasmine by *dbvictoria on deviantART

In between uploading these, I was packing up a few sales from MissVictoriasVintage, and thought share an un-pretty but eco friendly packaging tip. We buy our wine by the case, Charles Shaw from Trader Joe's, and the boxes get put to a bunch of interesting uses around the house. The cases store my vintage stock, for one thing. And the dividers get cut up and used to card trim to keep it from getting tangled, or cut into smaller strips like this, to prevent delicate jewelry bits from getting crushed in the mail:

My cardboard "shipper"

This adds a lot less weight to the envelope than a gift box would, and it doesn't add to the expense of shipping either! Win!

As I'm typing this, I see a patch of flowers growing out of the rock wall of our neighbor's house across the street through the open front door. More flower pictures! Ack!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A feature for Thursday

Or two - two more of my fabulous Jewelry on Etsy teammates!

Firstly, Shazzabeth, over whose wirework and chainmaille jewelryI've literally been lusting over for years:

Pretty in...
Pretty in... by dbvictoria

My all time favorite piece, that will be the one of the first things I buy when I win the lottery, is her Medieval Onyx & Pearl Chainmalle necklace:

And how about these beautiful antiqued brass beauties by The Brass Hussy:

Beautiful Blues...
Beautiful Blues... by dbvictoria

How can you not love a shop with a name like that? I've never been a fan of gold jewelry, but I've grown to love the muted tones of antiqued brass, like in this lilac purple flower necklace:

Probably taking a creation break tonight, although I might be able to convince myself to work on a parasol later tonight. We'll see. It depends on whether tonight's episode of Supernatural is new or a repeat, most likely.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 230

Stretching the definition today a bit again, perhaps, but I just made a permanent home for my lightbox, which I bought but never used after I determined that the lamps that came with it were not bright enough. The husband and I made a pilgrimage to IKEA this afternoon, though, and I acquired a couple more of the clamp-on lamps that are a part of my display kit for indoor shows. And then I reorganized a section of the spare bedroom so I could set everything up.

Here's how the corner looked before I started:

Before the reorg

That's a small square end table that we acquired with the house underneath all the books. And yes, that is a partially completed model of the original starship Enterprise in the corner of the picture. Have I mentioned before that I'm a bit of a geek?

The books are now all on shelves, albeit double stacked, and this end table was switched out for a longer and more sturdy one that we had leaning up against the wall in the corner of the basement until we reorganized to set up our new home offices, and which has since been sitting on end in the middle of my sewing room since (about 7 weeks now!).

And here's how it looks now, my lightbox sitting on the new end table with four lamps making things nice and bright:

After the reorg

The old table can now go to Goodwill. Yaaaa! Less stuff in the house! And here's some of the pictures I took with my new setup:

Vintage Amethyst Lucite and Brass Oval Brooch:

Vintage Anchor and Life Preserver Brooch in Goldtone with Red and Ivory Enamel

So now I can take pictures of my goods rain or shine, day or night! And I just noticed thanks to one of my handy widgets that the page rank for this blog has gone up from a 2 to a 3 (out of 10!)

It is a happy crafting day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 229

Finally - pictures of the finished necklace. This is another entry in the ArtBeads Beaders Who Blog program. ***

The theme this time was "Summertime." I've never taken a summer cruise, but it's on my bucket list. I want to visit the tropics, mainly because I've always loved the crystal clear blue waters you see in film and in the pictures on travel brochures. So I decided to try to capture that feeling in this choker, another keyhole design. It uses iridescent pale blue Czech glass beads chosen from their Glass Beads section, and an intricately painted oval of Mother of Pearl from their selection of Pendants.

The raw materials

I spent a lot of time trying to decide which shade of glass would go best with the pendant. It's always hard trying to color match from pictures on a computer screen, but I'm happy to say that the bead shades were captured perfectly by the pictures on the website, and they matched the pendant even better than I thought they were going to when I actually had them in hand.

There's just shy of 100 beads in this necklace, and the remainder went into these earrings:

Blue and Clear Czech Glass Earrings

And now for the necklace - the Blue Lagoon Keyhole Choker:

Blue keyhole choker by *dbvictoria on deviantART

***Disclaimer: I have received the products showcased in this post free of charge from ArtBeads, and I am honestly reviewing the products and have not been paid for my endorsement of the products received.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 227 & 228

More in progress shots today, but first let's talk about last night's dinner. I slow-roasted a nice chunk of beef in red wine all day yesterday. The husband made gravy from the juices, and made up a pot of egg noodles, which is the fall-back for beef meals when we don't feel like potatoes. Oh, so tasty, and today eating it with Saturday's homemade bread was the best lunch ever!

Beef & Noodles

Today, I've got the new blue choker almost completely done, except for the clasp, but got it finished too late to take good pictures. So instead here's another couple of in progress shots. Today was assembly day, taking all the pre-wrapped beads and stringing them together with split rings. To do so, I added another tool besides the pliers and cutters I always wield, a set of split ring pliers.

Split Ring Pliers

These are designed to spread apart the split ring so you can get your wire or line through:

Split Ring Pliers

Unfortunately I had the camera on the wrong setting so all my in-progress shots came out horribly overexposed. Here's the very start:

The layout

Starting out with a string of linked beads, then laying out the loose wrapped bits to make sure the pattern's going to work and that I've pre-wrapped enough beads, because nothing's more aggravating when I'm in the groove than to have to stop and go back and break the rhythm.

Next, I start building down from the linked strand:

The choker, stage 1

And I end up with something like this:

After the layout

Better pictures to come tomorrow, I promise!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 226

Arm was feeling fine today, no harm done yesterday it seems. So I added to the pile this morning:

More blue

And because that went so well, I made a new bracelet too, to continue the blue theme:

Blue Glass Dangle Bracelet

And I also baked bread today! I made two loaves, a herb & cheese and a wine & cheese. We had slices of the first with our salad for dinner this evening, and it was tasty. Warm fresh bread - yum!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 225

I'm working on a new necklace, but taking it easy - I let myself wrap 20 beads today, and made a couple of earrings, but then made myself put down the pliers and step away from the table. Don't want to overdo things again!

Here's one of the pairs of earrings:

Green Garnet Dangle Earrings

And here's the other pair, made to match the necklace I've got in the works:

Blue and Clear Czech Glass Earrings

The beads I've wrapped to date:

Blue in progress

Loving the color on these!

I'll see how the arm feels tomorrow, but hopefully I'll get another 20-30 wrapped.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pictures from the Ball

I was just forwarded the digital proofs taken by the wonderful folks from Domestic Bliss Photography a couple of weeks ago at the Vampire Ball in Portland. And wow. I feel pretty.

They were wonderful to work with, and the shots are amazing. And it's very nice to have a good set of pictures of my outfit, which is a rarity.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Year in the Making, Day 212

I had another physical therapy appointment today, and we discussed the renewed pain in my arm. It's more of a muscle ache, and I'm not having pain from movement the way I was three weeks ago. She said it's probably because I didn't use the arm for hardly anything for days, and now the muscles are working again. So I'm ordered to continue my stretches and alternate between ice and heat.

So today I'm giving the muscles a bit of a break and have played around again with one of my digital pictures. The original shot is from this set of an old rusty trestle bridge in a nearby park.

Here's the original image:

The Trestle Bridge

And here's the new version:

The Bridge by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 220

Day two back in the wire-wrapping saddle. Going to have to cut back a bit, as the arm is feeling a little sore. That's what I get for feeling cocky. But I did finish another necklace. And I'm still ahead of the game - clocking in at 251 items for day 220.

Steampunk Y-Necklace with Faux Pearls:

Steampunk Y-Necklace with Faux Pearls

This piece will be donated, along with a pair of matching earrings once I get them done, to the silent auction for the Seattle Steampunk Film Festival, May 8th & 9th, as a part of their fundraising efforts to repair the historic clock at the Seattle Museum of History and Industry, which was vandalized on Christmas Eve last year, barely a year after it had been donated.

Part of the repair cost is covered by insurance, and the festival is hoping to raise the funds to cover the deductible, and hopefully also a security camera system to prevent a recurrence.

They'll be showing the old classics Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Time Machine, and there'll also be classes in a variety of topics offered through Steampunk University, including a session on thriftstore Steampunk costuming by yours truly, because I have a little experience in that.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 219

Look! A new necklace! The first wrapped piece I've made since the arm went wonky! Can I get a woot-woot?

I was at my chiropractor's this morning, and she was admiring a piece I'd made for myself a few years ago, of green garnet. She was admiring it greatly, and I had to tell her this one was MINE! But I do have some more of the larger beads I used as a focal piece, so I made a similar one today that I could put into the shop so I don't have to worry that I'll get mugged for the piece I kept for myself. And besides, it's springtime, so a new green piece is just perfect.

Green (Tsavorite) Garnet Y Necklace

And as I get more pictures pulled off the camera I found this one, a shot I took of one of the legs of the pseudo-jodhpurs I made for my dieselpunk aviator outfit for Norwescon:

Fake Jodhpurs

Very wide legged pants. Well, very wide pants period - they were a size 42 waist. I took a large tuck at either hip, then added interfacing and put in grommets with tea-dyed elastic at the legs. Completely unnecessary, as I immediately stuffed my legs into knee high boots, but I wanted them. Dangit. More grommets! Always more grommets.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday morning Squeeeeeee!

Woke up this morning to find a notification in my inbox that the treasury in which I was featured hit the front page of Etsy at about 3am PST:

Big thanks to curator MarciG for including me in this stunning collection. She does lovely pottery, including a section of Poppy tea bag holders like this one:

What a great precursor to the upcoming weekend! I also get to see one of my favorite bands, Faith & the Muse, perform on Sunday, so the weekend will be bracketed by wonderfulness.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another talented jewelry

Today I am again cleaning - another evening of making order out of chaos. How does chaos encroach so quickly? I am making inroads, though. I have a huge box of cardboard broken down for recycling, another pile of trash, and am properly putting away things in my sewing room.

Will be taking a break shortly for the monthly PTA meeting. I've been feeling guilty because I completely forgot about the last two. Bad parent! No cookie for you! (The Girl Scout Cookie Mint Chocolate Wafer ice cream is another story.)

Taking a break and a breather (the dust accumulates almost as fast as the chaos), and looking at some of my Jewelry on Etsy teammates' shops again. Today you get to see some of the creative, fashionable, and affordable handmade jewelry from AdroitJewelers.

This is one of her current featured pieces, her Deep Blue Sea Necklace, a cobalt blue piece of water washed glass, elegant in its simplicity.

She also has a wonderful section of non-pierced earrings. Even though I've got way more holes in my head than a body should sport, these still tempt me. Check out these beauties with peridot green Czech glass:

So dangerous!

*sigh* Need to clean more. Back I go.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Year in the Making, Day 202

Wait a minute. Didn't she just post "A Year in the Making, day 213 a little while back?" Why yes! Yes I did. This is that strung necklace I made 11 days ago that I finally photographed and listed. This necklace is made from Japanese Miracle Beads, and I ended up with them completely accidentally serentipitiously. Several years ago, a coworker was going to visit family in Hong Kong and promised to help me in my previously mentioned long-suffering search for cobalt blue pearls. I sent her with a couple of my remaining stock for color reference and some cash.

A few days into her trip, I got a call. She said she'd found something really close, and should she go ahead and get them. They weren't actual pearls, but the lady in the shop kept insisting that they were better than pearls. Why not, I thought, so gave her the okay. I got a relieved sigh and she said "Oh, good, because I already bought them!" Eep!

She returns with them, and they were drop dead stunning, but definitely not pearls. I sat on them for awhile, not wanting to use them without being able to tell people what they were. Finally, I posted pictures of them to various online forums and communities, and some helpful soul told me they're what's known as Japanese Miracle Beads. They start with a lucite center, paint it with reflective metallic paint, and then add layer upon layer of iridescent lacquer. The result, as you can see, is stunning, and the beads themselves are quite light in weight so they're very comfortable to wear.

I've hardly done anything with them, though, so here's me remedying this sad situation:

Cobalt Blue Japanese Miracle Bead Multistrand Necklace

And yes, that's me playing around with the scrapbook paper for background again.

I might actually try making something tomorrow. The arm is doing much better. I've got pretty much my full range of motion back without pain, and the physical therapist says next week she'll give me some strength-building exercises to start doing. The magic anti-inflammatories, the stretches, the PT, and the ice have done wonders. Well, and not using my laptop or making hardly anything for two weeks have probably helped too. I am, however, going crazy. I need my creative outlet back!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A year in the making, day 213

Back in the saddle again. Or the pilot's seat!

I was at Norwescon this past weekend, doing costuming panels. Here's my outfit for Thursday evening's Dieselpunk panel:

Dieselpunk Aviatrix

The pants are a pair of very large men's chinos that I turned into a pair of faux-jodhpurs. A tuck at each hip, and I also added grommets at the legs to cinch them in. Instead of lacing I tea-dyed some elastic. The belt is actually two belts, one a vintage weight-lifting belt I found at the same thrift store at which I acquired the pants, and another belt I had stashed away because I found it at another thrift store some time ago and found it nifty.

Limiting my computer use so I don't undo all the progress I've been making with the arm feeling better, so I'll up date with pictures from the rest of the con and also the Vampire Ball from the weekend previous tomorrow.