Friday, June 29, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Is it hot where you are today? Boy, near record heat here. It's days like today that make me thankful for air conditioning.  I don't want to go outside if I don't have too. So I've been inside thinking about Christmas.  Yes, that's right, I said Christmas.  I know, I complain when radio stations start playing Christmas songs before the Thanksgiving turkey has been consumed!  But let me explain myself.  I am participating in a Christmas in July sales promotion being put on by the Handmade Circle Team on Etsy.  We are trying hard to get the word out about our great shops and some great deals that can be found there.  I have been included in some awesome treasuries just today.  Take a look at this one.  You might just find that perfect gift for someone in your life.  Get a jump start on your Christmas shopping without going out in this heat! I'll be posting more soon, so until then, happy shopping!

'HMC Christmas in july #2' by BMaja

HMC Christmas in july saleUse the coupon code HMCJULY at check out for all these stores and you will recieve your savings of 15% to 35%.

Photo Brag Book -- Embo...

Baby Blanket, Chevron B...

Hippie Aroma Bead Chris...

Red Rose Rhinestone Pap...

Sing Do It Art Tag

Swarovski Earrings-Chak...

Tissue Holder, Kleenex ...

Sweetheart Baby Bib

Christmas, Holiday, ove...

Christmas Garland or Do...

Polymer Clay Bug, decor...

Tiny Earrings Sweet Che...

Kitchen Tea Towel Live...

6" Candle Wreath: ...

LOVE....Christian, gray...

Old Fashion Wind-Up Toy...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Stroll

Here it is, Sunday afternoon.  This week I took a break from my normal spot in my studio, aka the dining room, and did some things around the house.  My backyard was beginning to look a little over grown.  And with the addition to the heat and mosquitoes one might think they had wandered into an Amazon rain forest!  A snapped a few pictures and decided to share them with you today.  So come take a Sunday afternoon stroll with me in my yard.

I don't know who planted these gladiolus but they bloom every summer.  I like their cool frosted apricot color.

And speaking of color, just look at the purple on this hydrangea!  When I was a little girl I used to love to put milk on my blackberries and squish them until the milk turned purple!  That's what the color of these flowers reminds me of.

One of my favorite flowers is portulaca.  They seem to thrive in the heat.  And their seeds spread everywhere so you never know where they might come up.

These yellow 4 o'clocks smell so sweet.  Their perfume fills the air in my backyard.  But they only bloom in the late afternoon, hence the name!

Well, hello there garden spider.  I sure wish you would catch some of these dang mosquitoes in that web of yours!

Here's another sweet smelling flower, confederate jasmine.  Hey, I'm southern you know.

I love the hot colors of this lantana.  And so do the bees and butterflies.  I even see hummingbirds drawn to these flowers sometimes.

My pineapple is getting bigger. I can't wait until its ready to eat!

We had quite a bit of rain for a few days and it seemed this mushroom popped up overnight.  I can just imagine a garden fairy sitting underneath, using it as an umbrella!

Well that concludes the tour.  I hope you take time out of your busy day to enjoy the outdoors.  And stop and smell the flowers, because life is too short!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Out of Africa?

If you have read my last couple of posts then you know that I am doing what I am calling a bead challenge.  I posted that I wanted some suggestions for making beads. I was feeling uninspired and needed someone to kick my butt in gear.  Well, I had 6 people respond to my challenge and today is show and tell day # 2.

Jeanne from Blue Ridge Origami, suggested  I make African themed beads.  She mentioned that someone she works with, who is from Zambia, had brought some handmade African jewelry to the states with her.   Well for me, the first thought in my head when I hear Africa is animals; you know, lions, elephants, zebras and giraffes.  I could have gone the animal print route but that really wasn't were I wanted to go.  I wanted my beads to have a more natural Earthy feel. Maybe even a little primitive looking.  Something that had been made of bone or clay or had been painted with natural dyes.  So, where did that lead me?  To google of course!

When I was a kid I used to have to turn to the World Book Encyclopedia for the answers to my questions.  I had a teacher that when asked something by a student, her answer was "Look it up!"  Today, I don't even think my kids know how to look up information in an actual book!  The response I give them when they ask a question is "Google it!" Boy how things have changed in the past 3 decades! Is the World Book even published anymore? Hmmmmm

But now, back to the beads. I chose to use black, brown, gray, ivory and brick red, which is a far cry from my normal color palette. Sometimes we need a change from the norm.  And I have to say, I enjoyed it! In fact I got a little carried away.  I ended up making 51 beads which when strung together measures 22 inches.  Lots of possibilities with that many beads, I think.  I am very pleased with the way they turned out.  What do you think? Did I capture the African theme?  Thanks Jeanne, you have opened up my mind to even more projects in the future.

Well, I have now completed 2 challenges and I am looking forward to the next one.  I already have a plan for it, so be on the look out!  Karalee, you're up next!
They are temporarily strung just to give you an idea of how they could look as a necklace

Friday, June 15, 2012

Playing with Marbles

It's been 4 days since I posted about the challenge I was undertaking and I have had 6 responses.  Today I am happy to say I have completed my first challenge!

A fellow Etsy team member and shop owner, Katharine challenged me to make a set of "cat's eye" marble beads.  She said her Mom had been a marble player and  she remembered the way the cat's eye marbles had a "glowy" look about them.  I spent 2 days trying to replicate that in polymer clay.  Sorry to say, I was not happy with my results.  But I decided not to totally give up on the idea of marble beads.

You see, I too have childhood memories, not of my Mom's but of my Dad's marble collection.  He had a box full of marbles that he had once played with as a young boy.  I remember running my hands through these small  glass spheres and being in awe of their colors and patterns.  Some of them were solid white, while others had swirls of two or three colors.  I used to like to hold the transparent ones up to my eye and look through them at the light.  Daddy told us how he would carry them to school and play with his friends at recess, drawing the circle in the dirt.  So it was with these fond memories that I worked on my beads.

I did look at vintage marble images on google to get ideas on authentic colors.  Because of course I wanted the brightest most colorful marble beads I could make without straying too far from the real thing.  So here they are.  They may not be transparent like cat's eye marbles and they certainly are not perfectly round.  But I think, from a slight distance, they look like marbles. And I think my Dad would agree.

My polymer clay marble beads

So thank you Katharine for your suggestion that I make marble beads.  Being that it is almost Father's Day, I couldn't think of a better way to remember my Dad, as a young boy playing marbles in the dirt!

Some of my Dad's original marbles

It's not too late to give me your ideas.  Leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page.  I would love to hear from you.                                              

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm up for the challenge, are you???

The vocabulary word for today is challenge.

Challenge - a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc. 

So, what am I being challenged to do?  That is up to you. 

Here is how this will work, or at least I hope this works.  Anyone who has seen my polymer clay work knows that I do a variety of things. I like making beads, buttons, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, the list goes on and on.  So, every so often I will ask for your suggestions on making a certain item.  Right now I can't say how often, because I don't know how many suggestions I will actually get, or whether this will go over like a lead balloon.  Time will tell, but I'm not going to put strict time limits on myself.  For each challenge, I want you to give me as many specifics as you want. Tell me what color or colors you want, the size, even the shape. Then it will be up to me to make the item.  Pictures will be posted here and on my Facebook page.  After all the suggestions are given and the items are made a random winner will be chosen.  

For this first challenge I am asking you to give me your ideas for a set of beads.  This can be anything! Do you want them round, square, shaped like a bird? Glittery, marbled, a solid color? Bumpy, smooth, or some other texture? One focal bead or a whole set of assorted sizes?  Get the idea?  You name it, I'll try it!  Now I'm not promising works of art but I want to try and expand my abilities, broaden my horizons.  

So now the only question left to answer is, what will the winner get?  I will offer the winner either the actual item that I made per their suggestion OR a 50% off coupon good on anything in my Etsy shop. Sound like fun? I think it does! 

So, put on those thinking caps, come up with your ideas, and leave your suggestions on my Facebook page.  I will highlight the post so that it stays on top.  Here is the link to my page to make it easier for ya!  Can't wait to hear your ideas!  Do you know anyone else who might be interested in this challenge?  Share my Facebook post with them. The more the merrier!