Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction, 2014 edition - the reveal!

Welcome to a new event: the reveal for the Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction, hosted by Jen Cameron of Glass Addictions.

As you might know from previous posts, once a year Jen is organizing a charm exchange. With a twist, everybody makes an extra charm, which Jen is auctioning, and the profit goes to Beads of Courage. Every year, to make the challenge more interesting, Jen chooses a theme and this year the theme was 'Soar'.

Of course I turned the word over and over: a feather, a bird, a wing... the word itself stamped... nothing felt good. Or interesting. Or right. So I put it aside and went on with my summer.

During our travels we stopped for a long while in Pennsylvania, where our campsite is by a small creek. A creek we swim at the end of the day, to relax the muscles in the cold water. And then, at the end of the day, when you try to relax not only muscles, but your brain too, when you simply absorb nature and you just 'are' for a few moments (before both the kid and the dog ask for attention, how do you dare to get away from them for 30 milliseconds?)... then I saw them and found my inspiration. Pennsylvania is a magic place for me: one with fireflies and stars (we are almost at the top of the Appalachians there). And now, after many years, the place is offering me something as special as the fireflies:

Art Charm Exchange (Bead of Courage): Soar! Dragonflies :: All Pretty Things

Dragonflies! I watched them for minutes in a row: their translucent, fairy-like wings, their hovering flight, precise, delicate, yet very strong, their humming. And it occurred to me: maybe they aren't exactly eagles, but keeping proportions they sure can soar!

Light bulb on. I only had to get back home to implement it. And that I did - after I managed to buy all the Vintaj metal from Buffalo's Hobby Lobby :) I used a technique I only used twice before: embossing the metal charms, then patina with Color Me + polishing, buffing, the whole 9 yards.

In the end, this is what I sent Jen:
Catching dragonflies!
I wonder where he
has gone today.
~ by Chiyo of Kaga

Art Charm Exchange (Bead of Courage): Soar! Dragonflies: vintaj, embossing, patina, metal work :: All Pretty Things

Purple dragonflies...

Dyed he is with the
Color of Autumnal days,
O red dragonfly.
~ by Bakusui

Art Charm Exchange (Bead of Courage): Soar! Dragonflies: vintaj, embossing, patina, metal work :: All Pretty Things
Red dragonflies...

The dragonfly!
Distant mountains reflected
in his eyes.
~ by Issa

Art Charm Exchange (Bead of Courage): Soar! Dragonflies: vintaj, embossing, patina, metal work :: All Pretty Things
Blue dragonflies...

Art Charm Exchange (Bead of Courage): Soar! Dragonflies: vintaj, embossing, patina, metal work, ooak art charm :: All Pretty Things

All sent with a dragonfly haiku (the most known - to the west - form of Japanese poetry). As delicate as the insect itself.

Wait... what's the big one, you ask? Oh... I decided instead of making an extra charm to make an extra something else. A bit bigger than a charm: a pendant. A dragonfly pendant :)

Art Charm Exchange (Bead of Courage): Soar! Dragonflies: wirework, copper, facetted agate, ooak pendant :: All Pretty Things

This is the story of my dragonflies. They came to visit me one calm afternoon on the bed of a creek close to Susquehanna. I invited them to Soar! for Jen's challenge and they quietly accepted the challenge. Then they revealed their beauty in unique forms - and hopefully they'll do a good job in raising good money for the kids who suffer.

I am not going to show you what I have received ~ you'll have to visit them and the entire group. Trust me, it's a visit for the soul, you won't regret taking the time!

Before you go visit - remember: there is an auction taking place right now, right on this ebay auction site. Every year there are some serious beauties there and just in time for Christmas too!

Thank you, Jen, for all the incredible work that's behind the group - and thank you all for sending such beautiful and special charms!

Our host: Jennifer Cameron
Alicia Marinache <- you are here
Andrea Glick <- One of the charms I received
Cassi Paslick <- One of the charms I received
Lennis Carrier <- One of the charms I received
Michelle McCarthy <- One of the charms I received
Moriah Betterly <- One of the charms I received
Nancy Smith <- One of the charms I received
Niky Sayers <- One of the charms I received
Susan Delaney <- One of the charms I received
Terri DelSignore <- One of the charms I received

Saturday, November 22, 2014

2014 Holiday Ornament Swap & Hop

Another fun and exciting blog hop is the Ornament Swap hosted by Sally Russick. I participated last year for the first time and it was lovely. Sally pairs up artists and we have to create an art ornament for each other.

Last year I was quite late with sending it out - and Canada Post was of no help either... I'm just glad it was made of metal, as it arrived in poor conditions to my partner, fellow Canadian Lori Finney.

You can read all about last year's adventures right here.

As for this year's adventures?

We'll have to wait aaaaaaall the way to December 20th to see what we all made. I hope you'll join me and the other ~20 artists in the group.

Until then, please stay safe and enjoy the Holidays. They are right around the corner :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Art Charm Exchange 2014 - and more news

Hello, hello! Yes, I am still alive and can't believe I haven't posted since... August... oh, dear, and even back then I was late with my post.

Life was full and busy, as you can imagine. Summer is our competition season and this past summer has been quite crazy, as we now have athletes competing in 2 different types of trapshooting (the North-American version, called ATA, and the Olympic-type)... which means double the training, the competition number, the effort. And yes, double the pride when they do well. They did this year incredible well: one of our juniors won the Canadian Championship (overall, not in juniors!) and a tons of other trophies. Other 2 juniors won Gold, Silver, and Bronze in both the Provincial Championships and National Championships (Olympic-style). There were many other accomplishments, not measured in titles or medals, but as precious for both the athletes, and their coach.

And of course, if the coach is busy, his office administrator (truly yours) is even busier. Add on top that said office admin really wanted to train too, and she added some extra competitions to the season... and she's still going full time to school (and loving every minute of it! or almost every one :) )... and that her mom visited for a month back in October... hopefully you'll forgive me :)

This is not about my summer (one day I might come back with details, it was a fun one), though, but about something else.

Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction: Nov. 24th - 25th, 2014 :: All Pretty Things

Yes, it's the time for a new Art Charm Exchange & Charity Auction! Just days away! save the date :)

What's that? you'll ask. And I'll answer: a wonderful charity event, hosted by Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions, a swap, blog hop and charity auction to benefit the Beads of Courage. Jen took the herculean task to organize a number of component artists intro groups of 10. We each make 11 components: one for each member of our group, and an extra one to be auctioned, with the proceeds going to the Beads of Courage organization. I can rarely refrain from participating in a good charity event, and this one is absolutely adorable. Each year there is a theme.

In 2012, the theme was 'Laugh', and last year was 'Love'. You can see what we made in my previous posts:

Art Charm Exchange, 2012 - Laugh
Art Charm Exchange, 2013 - Love

This year, the theme is 'Soar' and you'll have to come back in just a few days to see how I managed it. In the meantime, I can show you what I made, a sneak peak, 'cause you've so patient and I know you won't tell Jen I spoiled all the fun:

Art Charm Exchange, 2014 - Beads Of Courage: SOAR! :: All Pretty Things

What? you thought I'll show them to you? :) No, can't do that to Jen, she's worked so hard!

But I'll invite you to come back on the 25th and you'll see all the charms, I promise! And remember, the Auction starts just the day before, on the 24th (so it will end on Cyber Monday). There will be lots of beautiful charms, trust me, I have 9 of them!

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Creative Continuum of Seven Artists: Reveal #7 ~ featuring Emma Todd

Hello, hello - and welcome to the sixth reveal of the CC7A, the group of 7 friends crazy enough to accept to get together an work with each other's choices each month.

First, an apology for being a full week late ~ life caught up with me big time in July. I will post a couple of updates soon (God willing and the creek don't rise :) ).

Back to the CC7A: this month is hosted by Emma ~ the third Canadian in the group, and a polymer artist. Emma sent one of her polymer pendants, along with some fun beads... and I, being so crazy this month, have no pictures of the original package. I really need to revamp my organization skills...

I will start with her fun items: she sent the 'flower' spikes (how do you call those?!) and the fractured pink glass and while I knew what I wanted to make with them from the very beginning (I added some glass pearls and beads from 2 of last year's Lisa Lodge's challenges):

Funky sparkly bookmarks (glass pearls, lucite, silver-tone bookmark, silver plated wire) by All Pretty Things

Bookmarks! Sparkling and funky and very pink (I have the recipients in mind, William's 2 'cousins' - our best friends' girls). William had fun with them too - he's catching imaginary fish with the sparkly fishing rods :)

I kept the pendant for a very long time, wondering what to do with it. It is very light (like any polymer clay pendant) and I find it challenging to work with very light items. I bought some extra items to combine - just to figure out my piece is grey and pink and doesn't match with the green / turquoise pieces. That will teach me not to take the piece I want to match *with* me when I shop!

Back to the drawing board... I was still waiting for some inspiration and finally I decided it's time to stop waiting and start working (funny how that works each and every time!). I picked up all the left overs from Lisa's last year 'Seasons' blog hop (all pinks and purples), which were conveniently strung on some dark antique copper wire, plus everything else that was left from another of her challenges: the 'Holiday Floral' blog hop (the lucite leaves and flowers). I added a few other items (glass seed beads, the silver-coloured backdrop, the wire) and this is what happened:

Purple universe: lucite leaves, flowers, and petals, silver-plated oval links, wire wrapping, ooak necklace :: All Pretty Things

The Lucite petals, leaves and flowers were combined with silver-plated oval links...

Purple Universe: Emma Todd pendant, glass, lucite, pearls Czech beads, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

The main part of the necklace is hard to take a picture of: there are beads of all sorts strung on ring-sized memory wire (the middle part); Emma's pendant received a metal background for balance, and the 'bail' is a piece of silver wire wrapped with the 'kitchen sink' copper wire.

Purple Universe: Emma Todd pendant, ooak necklace, glass, lucite, pearls Czech beads, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

And all together - a purple 'avalanche' :) While none of its parts made much sense, somehow together they all work... I hope Emma likes what her pendant became!

This is our last 'meeting' of the year ~ and I would like to thank again each of my artist friends for their participation (while I apologize for being late a couple of times!). It has been a fun time and I hope you all enjoyed as much as I did! I am a bit sad, as I was looking forward each month to seeing what everybody created. I'll have to think of a follow-up :)

Thank you, my visitor, for stopping by ~ I know time is precious and I appreciate each moment (and comment) you spend 'listening' to my stories. Now with fall almost here I'll get back into being more visible on the blog.

Please make sure you visit everybody in the group! I'll go there right now, since I'm quite late to the party :)

Emma Todd (July host)
Monique Urquhart (January host)
Christine Altmiller (February host)
Sally Russick (March host)
Therese Frank (April host)
Alicia Marinache (May host) <- you are here
Cynthia Macatha (June host)