Monday, May 30, 2011

New Jewels

Long time no post...I am enjoying a 'staycation' this weekend. So far, I've completed some new jewelry, went to a fabulous bead shop in Des Moines, met up with my bff, and cleaned my studio. I hope to finish the weekend by finishing the quilting on a rather large lap quilt and try to get the binding done. We'll see how far I get! Anyhoo...on to the new jewels...

These first two photos show a set I made for myself from leftovers from a commissioned work. I used watermelon jade, new and reclaimed wood beads along with Vintaj wire for all of the wirework and clasps. The small dark wood beads were reclaimed from a rather uninteresting necklace I found at Goodwill.

This second set ended up being a belated birthday gift for my bff Jaci. It's made with both handmade and commercial ceramic beads, Czech glass, jade, Vintaj wire, charms, chain and clasp. Seems like some people toss around the 'bff' thing quite a bit, but in our case I think it's true. We met the summer before kindergarden and have been friends for 42 years now. I hope she thinks this did our friendship justice :).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Scrumptious Scraps Week 2

Week two of my Scrumptious scraps class has been really fun. Above are photos of the dyed lace base. I'm hoping I didn't go too dark, and that my embellishments will show well once they are applied. I'm thinking that I'll add quite a bit of bead work to cover the areas I'm not that fond of. My plan to finish my piece is to add a border, and I have a very cool vintage crochet yoke that will act as a focal for the upper left corner. I will have a picture of that later, when my batteries are recharged.

On a side note, I have been working hard to organize my studio. I've been feeling totally overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I've accumulated over the last 23 years of quilting. I just don't want to share pictures yet because I still have a long way to go until it's finished. I don't suppose anyone else out there is in the same boat?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scrumptious Scraps Week One

I'm taking my very first online class at Joggles, an interesting online store that caters to art quilters and dollmakers. I have been wanting to take this class ever since I saw the beautiful example of work done by my friend Freda while at a retreat last summer in St. Louis.

I wasn't sure I would like an online class, but I know that it's unlikely that I will ever have the opportunity to take a class in person from the instructor, Christen Brown, since she resides in California.
The class project is to take odd bits of laces and apply them to a base. Once that is complete, there are 4 more lessons that will guide students to dye the base, and then add various embellishemnts. In my piece, I've combined vintage lace collars, small strips of scrap laces and Venice lace flower motifs. It is so great to finally have found a project to incorporate the beautiful pieces that have been languising in my lace box for more years than I care to count.

I'm really enjoying the process! I love that I didn't have to haul all the needed supplies any further than my worktable, and I wasn't stressed about not having the right supplies because everything I needed was close at hand. Christen's directions are clear, and she's been very prompt in answering questions in the class forum as they come up. I still miss the personal interaction with classmates and being able to see the class sample in person, but the lower stress level is worth it's weight in gold.

I'm really excited to start the next phase of the class, where we will dye the lace base that was created in the first lesson. I'll be sure to have photos when that part is done.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

Steve and I have a busy day ahead, so we chose to celebrate yesterday. Our choice of celebration??? Eagle watching! Steve had been seeing a lot of them in our area, having seen more that 20 of them while hunting early Sunday morning with a friend. We went out yesterday afternoon with camera in hand, and I managed to get some great (for me) pictures.

This one let me get about 20 feet away before he took flight. Amazing to see one so close... Below is the beginning of an eagle's nest. I asked Steve, and he says that they do not build nests if they are migrating through. They only build if they intend to stay in the area. And of course, a trip to the country is not complete with out one of these guys darting out in front of you... Even though temps were in the 50's yesterday, we chose to light a fire in the fireplace and made a romantic dinner together.
Medeterranian chicken, grilled asiago bread, salad, and my sweetie of 24 years....

And what better way to end the day than with brownies and ice cream! Here's hoping you enjoy your Valentine's day with the one you love :).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentines necklace

Awhile back I mentioned that I had won a 25 dollar gift certificate from Fusion Beads, one of my all time favorite online bead stores, simply for "liking" them on Facebook. Above are a few of the beads and components that I decided to buy with my gift certificate, and below is the Valentine necklace I made with some of the beads pictured above.
Soooooo......... Is it okay that Isay that I absolutely love something that I made for myself and not sound 'braggy"??? I hope so, because I am loving this one, and I just don't care if anyone else does or not. It just makes me happy to wear it :)

This was my first whack at an asymmetrical design, though I think it really reads symmetrical because I used components that balanced each other on both sides of the necklace. I loved that I was able to use both new components and very vintage components/beads that have been shared with me by several friends over the last few years.

Components that are pictured above but weren't used for this necklace and earring set are pegged for other designs I have in mind. It may be a long time before I have a chance to use them as I am under the gun for for several projects that I have due for the quilt shop, but that is another story for another day.

Here's hoping that you have something spectacular and special planned with your beloved and that you enjoy a wonderful, romantic day Valentine's Day.