Saturday, September 28, 2013

CBC 2000 - blog hop

Back in the summer the Creative Bead Chat group on Facebook arrived at a lovely milestone: 2,000 members! That's 2,000+ creative minds who share ideas and techniques and tips and sometimes just a smile or some much-needed love and encouragements.

As a 'thank you' for the members Melinda Orr (the group's leader) came up with a collective major giveaway. There were over 50 prizes to be had and I donated one of the earrings makes from etched and patina-ed Vintaj components, lampwork glass, and sterling silver findings:

Terpsichore (the Muse of Dance): etched Vintaj brass, patina, lampwork glass, sterling silver findings, OOAK earrings :: All Pretty Things
Terpsichore: the Dance Muse
Its swirls and lovely green shade just gave me the feeling of a light, summery dance - so I named them Terpsichore (which is one the the 9 Greek Muses: the Muse of Dance).

Kay from KayzKreationz was the lucky winner and today she blogged about the earrings, along with a few more of the winners.

To check what Kay had to say and to check what the other winner created with their prizes please check Kay's blog post!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: The Science of Happiness - An Experiment in Gratitude

Friday, September 20, 2013

Focus on life: Week 38 ~ A quiet moment

Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is hosting a year long challenge which is... sublime... as you'd expect with such a studio name. The challenge is named 'Focusing on Life' and every week Sally is sending a prompt on what should we focus the following week.

This week's prompt is 'A quiet moment' ~ ha! I don't think I've had one in a long time and sure not this week. Not that I've accomplished too much (and nothing of what it really mattered anyhow) - but feeling guilty that I should be doing this or that I managed to not get myself a quiet moment.

But if I would have had one it would have looked like this:

Focus on life ~ A quiet time :: beautiful orchid :: All Pretty Things

Thanks for stopping by - please make sure you check everybody else's quiet moment!

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Patina sunset challenge ~ Artisan Whimsy


On Artisan Whimsy there is currently a challenge going on (I almost missed the deadline, which is today): Patina Sunset.

As it happens, I recently worked with Lisa's Color Me This! patina for the Vintaj components - and I made each one of them into an actual necklace, as follows:

Of Brass and Colours: Vintaj natural brass components, ColorMeThis! patina, swarovski crystals, leather, brass wire, embossed, metal work, wire wrapping, ooak jewelry, ooak necklaces :: All Pretty Things

Of Brass and Colours: Vintaj natural brass components, ColorMeThis! patina, swarovski crystals, leather, brass wire, embossed, metal work, wire wrapping, ooak jewelry, ooak necklaces :: All Pretty Things

Of Brass and Colours: Red Heart ~ Vintaj natural brass components, ColorMeThis! patina, swarovski crystals, leather, brass wire, embossed, metal work, wire wrapping, ooak jewelry, ooak necklaces :: All Pretty Things

Of Brass and Colours: Green dragonfly ~ Vintaj natural brass components, ColorMeThis! patina, swarovski crystals, leather, brass wire, embossed, metal work, wire wrapping, ooak jewelry, ooak necklaces :: All Pretty Things

I hope some of you had already submitted components or pieces - if not, check what our amazing whimsy group created for the occasion:


Thank you for stopping by!

Creating with cabochons challenge & blog hop ~ the reveal

Welcome to the reveal of another of Sally's babies: the Creating with Cabochons challenge.

The idea - as the title suggest - was to pick a cabochon (or maybe two or more if you were brave enough) and create with it. What's a cabochon (or cab on short)? In a strict sense it is a stone with no holes (you cannot string it!). In a more general sense - any item you could thing of that has no holes to be strung through. Technically I would consider a wine bottle cork a cab: you'll need to come up with some idea to attach it to your piece.

I started almost immediately - I had this gorgeous jasper cab, I had picked from a gem show in the spring. 'Easy-peasy' I said to myself, we'll use the antique bronze wire (which, by the way, is pure bliss on one's hand, by the way, soft and lovely to work with) I bought for the Summer blog hop project, wire wrap it and be done in no time.

Well... I started it right then and there (which was waaaaaaaaaay in advance of the reveal)... then, half-way through I had to put it down. Of course that is exactly where it stayed until yesterday - yes, the day before the reveal! Can you spell "procraftinator"?!

The important part is that I finished it, right? The also important part is that... I don't like it! I'll show it to you, but I warned you: I don't like it. It's missing something - and I'll have to figure out what exactly :)

Wire wrapped jasper cab :: All Pretty Things

Wire wrapped jasper cab :: All Pretty Things

Wire wrapped jasper cab :: All Pretty Things

The wrapping is OK (better than other cases), the stone is nice, but the pendant just feels unbalanced for some reasons. It is not a perfectly shaped square or ellipsoid, it has a more 'acute' angle on 2 sides than on the other 2... so I believe I should have done *something* with the wrapping itself to somehow balance it back. I'll try some more :)

While working on last week's project I took out all my Vintaj components and I found a gorgeous filigree butterfly. I simply wanted to use it. I thought of soldering it to some other piece, but there is such a disaster up in the studio I can't even sit anywhere! Then I recalled someone using a filigree piece to wrap around another and had to try it.

You know how when you want a certain piece you can't get it? That was me, rummaging through the cabs trying to get one with a proper size. Nope... one after another they went back in the box: too big, too small, too heavy, too not matching the butterfly, too... And then - there it was, the perfect one! I honestly don't know what it is, I know exactly where I bought it from (I won't tell you for how much, though, it's ridiculous). At the time I picked it to try to solder a bezel around it - but the butterfly worked better, don't you think?!

Flat stone wrapped in Vintaj filigree butterfly :: All Pretty Things

Flat stone wrapped in Vintaj filigree butterfly :: All Pretty Things

Flat stone wrapped in Vintaj filigree butterfly :: All Pretty Things

The edges are not very soft - I was thinking maybe I should throw it in the tumbler a little bit to 'buff' it down. Until then - I really like it.

My cabochon creations: wrapped in antique bronze wire and Vintaj filigree butterfly :: All Pretty Things

Overall - I am good... I challenged myself and managed a 50% rate of success :)

Oh, about the pictures... It seems I am growing on multiple levels: I had the pieces in my hand, walking towards the table as the sun was setting, I wanted to still get that 'golden hour' light. On the floor was one of William's books (a Lego one, opened to a golf cart he was building)... and it just drew my attention... I placed both pendants on the book - and the 'aha' moment downed on me. I knew Lego won't work with my romantic filigree and that soft looking (although still ugly) wire wrapping... that's when I pulled this horses book from the shelves. I must admit - the cabochon pictures suddenly became emotionally charged and gathered depth. I love the effect!

Enough about my adventures - please make sure you visit everybody else!

A deep 'thank you!' to Sally for challenging us (or at least challenging me) and for so lovingly guiding our journey through the Google+ group and conversations.

Your Host: Sally Russick
D Lynne Bowland
Alicia Marinache
Lynn Jobber
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jo-Ann Woolverton
Marde Lowe
Dawn Doucette
Mary K McGraw
Gloria Allen
Cheri Reed
Sonya Stille
Elizabeth Owens Dwy
Veralynne Malone
Tania Hagen
Lynsey Brooks
Christina Miles
Holly Westfall
Kathy Lindemer
Patti Vanderbloemen
Therese Frank
Adrienne Berry
Liz E
Tanty Sri Hartanti
Ginger Bishop
Renetha Stanziano
Marlene Cupo
Sandi Volpe
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson
Niky Sayers
Mischelle Fanucchi
Tracy Stillman
Skylar Bre'z
Ann Schroeder
Paula Kramer
Jess Green
Susan Kennedy
Stacie Florer
Cathie Carroll

Susan F.
Michelle Caballero
Sabine Dittrich
Kristina Johansson
Kimberly Sturrup-Roberts
Melissa Meman
Cheryl McCloud
Michelle Timms
Cindy Pack
Lynda Carson
Cynthia Machata
Julia Harris
Karin Slaton
Ingrid Anderson
Karin Grosset Grange
Jasvanti Patel
Inge von Roos
Molly Alexander
Toltec Jewels

Monday, September 16, 2013

I am...

Main, on top of the mountain :: All Pretty Things
Maine, on top of the mountains - watching the ocean

I am...
making : time to finish one task I completely hate (taxes).
cooking : a hot dinner in the slow cooker, it's horrible outside today.
drinking : a special green tea, not from a bag, leaves are unfurling quietly under the hot water.
reading : Chicken Soup for the Soul ~ From Lemons to Lemonade ; sometimes it's good for your soul to realize you are blessed beyond comprehension, puts things in perspective.
wanting : to take a break from a few unpleasant chores.
looking : forward to making some special plans.
playing : with a few idea, throwing them in the air like juggling balls.
wasting : too much time online, must get back on track.
sowing : seeds of hope.
wishing : for a self-cleaning studio; why didn't someone invent one already?!
enjoying : the colour of the leaves, the fall is here and everything explodes in bright golds and rusty reds.
waiting : too long to get into action; part fear part not knowing how to approach new ideas.
liking : my moment of quiet, late at night, when everybody is sleeping.
wondering : if I'll ever find time to be in the studio again.
loving : when the child comes home and he's happy.
hoping : the child will have a better year at school (academically he was more than OK, but he didn't like last one too much).
marveling : at how fast the time went by, it seems like yesterday I had a baby in my arms and now he's walking by himself to school.
needing : to clean my room. Seriously, it's a disaster.
smelling : the dog (it's dump outside), she needs a bath :)
wearing : my Seasons piece, it's so cold and grey outside I just needed the happy colour.
following : my thoughts into a dream world.
noticing : the clock - the kitchen clock is 17 years old and from 8 am to 9 pm it 'chirps' at the hour.
knowing : that I can do what I want to do, but still doubting myself here and there.
thinking : I should make myself a to-do list for the day and week, otherwise nothing will get done.
bookmarking : Christmas recipes, every year I find new ones and I want to make them all.
opening : a new chapter in my busy life.
giggling : at how the dog creeps onto my pillow as soon as I get off bed.
feeling : a bit unsettled, a bit in between, but overall hopeful and content; if I will put the heart in it, I will succeed.

I saw this list on Kerry's blog and she found it somewhere on Erin’s blog, who found it over at the Che & Fidel. I thought I’d join in. Leave a link to your blog in the comments if you decide to join in too.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 37 ~ In motion

Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is hosting a year long challenge which is... sublime... as you'd expect with such a studio name. The challenge is named 'Focusing on Life' and every week Sally is sending a prompt on what should we focus the following week.

This week our prompt is 'In motion' - and I admit I cheated a bit... I am also a tad late to the party, crazy end of week...

These are pictures I took a few years back (April 2010) - but they are one of the best I ever captured... talk about the right moment. I'll let the pictures talk for themselves:

Chickadee landing on William's hand ~ Royal Botanical Garden :: All Pretty Things
Chickadee - landing (on the trails of Royal Botanical Gardens)

Chickadee feeding on William's hand ~ Royal Botanical Garden :: All Pretty Things
Feeding time!

Chickadee flying off William's hand ~ Royal Botanical Garden :: All Pretty Things
Departure!
Please make sure you visit everybody else's sites to check their take on the motion prompt :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Adventures with patina

Summer being crazy with family and competitions, I do touch my jewelry just to put it on, very rarely to actually make something (except for the occasional challenge, to keep me active). Now, with the school on and a tad more time on my hands (where the operative word is 'tad' and is very close to nil :) but I'll take whatever I can) - I can slowly, but surely come come back.

I've placed a few orders in August and so when I got back I had 3 new things to work on:
(1) a gorgeous package from Natalie McKenna of Grubbi - withe the most wonderful sets of ceramic beads I've ever owned!
(2) an equally gorgeous package from Cynthia Machata of Antiquity Travels with a surprise you'll be able to see mid-October
(3) my sample packs from Lisa Liddy of Metal Me This! (Color Me This!) - with 12 patina bottles. Not one, not two, but twelve!

Since I can't use all at the same time (although I wish to take a few days and do nothing but create), I started with the patina - I have a small project to finish by tomorrow and it came in handy.

This is how it started:

... first a bunch of Vintaj blanks from Hobby Lobby:
Vintaj blanks (natural brass) @ Hobby Lobby :: All Pretty Things
... then a few embossing folders from above mentioned Hobby Lobby:

Vintaj Deco Emboss folder; Dragonfly Pond @ Hobby Lobby :: All Pretty Things  Vintaj Deco Emboss folder; Wildeflower vines @ Hobby Lobby :: All Pretty Things

... together with Lisa's patina they became... a colourful mess on the table:

Vintaj components embossed and patina-ed :: All Pretty Things

... we patiently waited for the 1st layer to dry out and applied a 2nd layer:

Vintaj components embossed and patina-ed :: All Pretty Things

... just in case you wonder what's what - we have a picture for that too:

Patina from Metal Me This! :: All Pretty Things

... we waited (impatiently this time) for the 2nd layer to dry out... buffed them nicely... and...

Vintaj components: embossed, patina-ed and buffed - ready for sealing :: All Pretty Things

Look at that!! I was happy with them before buffing, but after - completely and profoundly in love!

They'll become simple necklaces later today, I'll post those pictures as soon as I get them :)

Lessons learned?

  1. Read instructions *before* starting work, it'll save you some time (and energy) later :) 
  2. On brass darker colours will actually work better (since the buffed metal will be bright yellow-gold)
  3. Experiment with gusto, and if you don't like the result - just cover it with a new layer :) [can you figure out which of the components was the experimental one?!]
How was the experience?! Awesome! I love the versatility and beauty of the patina in contrast to the shiny brass. I also love the embossing part - while I also like etching (and I will be first to agree you have more choices in there... from fancy stamps to simply using a marker :) ), it wouldn't have been possible to etch all these components in the time frame I had to work with. 

What are the next steps? I need to seal the components, add a charm or two and figure out a quick way to add the neck-piece, they must be in their boxes by tomorrow morning... and they will! 


Friday, September 6, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 36 ~ In Two

Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is hosting a year long challenge which is... sublime... as you'd expect with such a studio name. The challenge is named 'Focusing on Life' and every week Sally is sending a prompt on what should we focus the following week.

Sally's prompt for this week was 'There are pairs everywhere in our life: this week let's focus on things in twos'

I debated a bit on what to do - then I realized that, again, Sally seemed to have been in sync with what's going on in my life.

See - we (hubby and I) compete a lot in International Trapshooting. In fact, this is hubby's business now, he is coaching people in trapshooting (both north-american version and Olympic version). We travel over the summer as much as my work schedule and the time (the green type aka as money) allows us. We have a camper and we go over the hills and through US States like a mouse through cheese. We take the child and the dog, and transform each outing in a mini-vacation (when you get a 10 yo boy you need to make it a bit into a vacation, otherwise you'll turn the child against the sport and traveling).

Even now - we are at our last competition of the season, in Pennsylvania. Only this time our trip has a little catch. It is the 2nd time in our lives when we left by ourselves: no dog, no child, no nothing. Just us and the car (not even the camper!).

This is the picture I would like to share with you today:

Focus on life ~ In Twos: trapshooting adventures :: All Pretty Things

A pair of shotguns - ours, with the initials on, so it's easier to grab the proper one - as you can see they are set up quite oppositely... and it happened for one of us to grab the other's, go on the line and think 'What?!'

Focus on life ~ In Twos: trapshooting adventures :: All Pretty Things

See how they stay next to each other, waiting patiently to be picked up? They've been with us for 8 years now - and they've traveled as far as Florida to the south, Maine to the east, and Michigan to the west. They've been very good to us and helped us win lots of trophies and now medals. A pair that's perfectly fitted - and just like the pair of human using them, perfectly matched :)

Thanks for visiting today and every day you come by!
Please make sure you check everybody else's 'twos' too :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bead Chat Magazine - September edition

A new edition of the Bead Chat Magazine (the digital magazine of Artisan Whimsy community) is on with amazing ideas, gorgeous pictures, tutorials, answers to your questions, interviews and many, many features. Over 100 pages of jewelry and art design yummines!

Bead Chat Magazine, September 2013 edition :: All Pretty Things

Enjoy!