Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Twisted Tuesdays - New Designs

JOOLZ Call For An Up Do 4
call for an up do
summer afternoon worn
JOOLZ Summer Afternoon 3

I have mentioned several times over the past week or so that I have been feeling invigorated by my studio time of late. Yesterday was no different. All the work has been to create a collection of BRIGHTS for JOOLZ (a local jewelry store that carries my work). The owner, Fracnie, has hinted a few times in the last, um, 6 months that she needs new designs for the store. The last time I sent designs, the pieces sold the same day they were put out! Francie knows her clients and what was all black and white last time is all about color this time. Why did it take so long to get her new pieces? Well, there was releasing my first book, teaching nationally for the first time, summer home with the kids, and then teaching again. I really wanted to make sure I fit this in though. Before teaching again in September, and going to the UK in October, and then prepping for an art show in November. So, rather than taking time off after Bead Fest, I jumped right into working on these new pieces. I wasn't sure if it would work. Did I have any ideas for new pieces? Would the kids let me work in peace? I quickly found that I do have ideas, and the kids are deep in self-entertainment this week and last.

The top piece is titled "Call For An Up Do". I am wicked excited about this one. I spent time during 3 separate torch sessions to create more then 15 big hole glass rings. I had in my head one idea about how I would bring them all together, but as I started to build it, that idea wasn't having the impact I wanted. I coiled and coiled and ringed and ringed, trying this and that until it suddenly started to come together. I couldn't be more thrilled with it. It might possibly be one of the COOLEST pieces I have ever created and I am actually kinda sad to let it go. (insert pouting lip here) One of the things that I like best is that I made it into a three part neckwire, so while it is stiff and formed, it lays so nicely on your neck.

The lower piece is one I showed last week. I am calling it "Summer Afternoon". For this, I wanted something sweet and simple. Each really round-round, is bright and poppin' with color. Together they are just sing, if I do say so myself. I don't usually do earrings, but for JOOLZ, I made a few. This necklace is a style that I can see in lots of beautiful color combinations. Can't you see is in beautiful blues and purples with some spots of chocolate brown. Or or, how about, deep reds and oranges with just a touch of purple or brown. Oh yeah... see? Invigorating. And just like the last time I sent JOOLZ new work, pieces are going to fly out of the shop! This piece is already claimed and it hasn't even left my house yet. If you want dibs on a piece, pop over to the JOOLZ website and send Francie an email.

What new twisted things have you been working on these days? Post on your blog and come back here to share a link in the comments!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Because It Is Monday Again

JOOLZ Summer Afternoon

:: I am really treasuring my super quiet mornings this past week or so.
:: We threw the kids in the car on Saturday and drove just an hour away to Darien Lake for a fun family day.
:: I left my camera home and just rode the rides!
:: Torch time the past few weeks has me flying through books on CD.
:: I have heard The Book Thief, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: Battle Of The Labyrinth, The Hunger Games, and Chasing Fire.
:: Up next will be our next book club book, A Reliable Wife.
:: I love being read to.
:: I am knee deep in jewelry making with plans to take new designs to JOOLZ this week.
:: Balancing "working" with a fun knit for me.
:: Carrie has been rearing her head to methodically work me through 13inches of stockinette on that fun knit.
:: Speaking of cameras... I haven't been using mine nearly enough lately.
:: I think I want to rearrange the living room again.
:: Note to self: you still need to get loose leaf paper for the kids.
:: I am completely dreading this week's weather. They're saying it is gonna be in the 90s! Yuck.
:: Guess I won't be trying SouleMama's Carrot Tomato Soup recipe this week. Oh well, maybe next week.

tea leaves body

Friday, August 27, 2010

Change Afoot

tomato harvest 1
tomato harvest 3
tea leaves and tomatoes
Can you feel that? The slight chill starting to sneak its way into the air? Gawd, I love it. School is so close I can almost taste it. At night, the windows behind our headboard are open and the cooler air has us pulling the covers up. The kids grab sweatshirts in the evenings and oh my stars, we have tomatoes coming out of our ears. I have spent lots of time in the studio this week while the kids entertain themselves in the backyard (something that only happens when the weather is just right). It is incredibly invigorating for me. Ron commented last night, when I strolled up to him while he mowed the lawn just to give him a kiss, that he hasn't seen a grin as big as I had on me in a while. I am going to ride this weather induced, kids returning to school soon (10 days to go), fall sweater knitting, high straight on through until Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Inside Jokes

1) While wandering the aisles at Bead Fest with one Round Rabbit, we came upon a bowl of beads which looked like the beads below. I said to Miss Rabbit, "this can't be real." Turns out the bowl of beads belong to a shopper. She heard my comment about its authenticity and proceed to insist is was a naturally occurring gemstone. Calling it something-site. In a fit of giggles later in the day, that same Miss Rabbit and I, along with our owl loving friend, took to calling it "kissmyasssite". You are more than welcome to call any obviously man made bead which someone insists on calling a naturally occurring gemstone by this name.

bead fest_kissmyassite

2) Doorklace Defined: It is amazing some of the things you'll find a big bead shows. We found a strand of beads that were wooden and the size of baseballs. They were quite literally, a show of BIG BEADS. When wondering what to do with such over sized beads, I said "you could make a necklace for your house, and put it around a door... you could call it a doorklace."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Twisted Tuesdays - Demos

Kinda a late post here today. Time seems to be completely running away with me. I don't know where the day went. And every moment that slips away, Bead Fest is seems like more of a dream. I hope the memories don't fade too fast!!

bead fest_demoing 1
For today's Twisted Tuesdays, I wanted to tell you more about demos! I remember back to the first time I was ever asked to demo, it was at JOOLZ a couple years ago during a trunk show. I remember being very nervous about it and spending some time chatting on the phone before hand with my beady friend and demo expert, Nancy Puffer Sells. With Nancy's advice ringing in my ears, I think I had a pretty successful demo and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when it was over. Since then, I have done demos at The Fine Craft Show, and Bead Fest Wire. I think it is my experience as a jewelry instructor that really helps me when I do a demo, because basically, I am teaching a mini class. Yeah, that's it... demos are mini classes!

bead fest_demoing 2
My past two demos, the one at Bead Fest Wire and then the one I did this past Friday at Bead Fest, have really been the easiest for me. I imagine that, as it is with most things, the more you do it, the easier it gets. I basically spend 30-45mins showing a project from start to finish, give pointers as I am creating the piece (ex: quick one liners that hopefully stick with the passers by), and answer any questions that come up along the way. It was recommended by my friends at Interweave the what ever I demo relate to Totally Twisted. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? I find the project that packs the most bang for it's buck is definitely Bang Gals! It is a project that works up quickly, is bold and colorful, plus lends itself to those quick one line pointers.

bead fest_demoing 3
Ha, it is funny, I wasn't sure where this post would go exactly when I started it. It would seem I should re-title it "Tips For Successful Demos!" Hey, why not?

~*Tips For Successful Demos*~

1) Seek sound advice from friends that have done similar demos.
2) Pick a project that has good bang for the buck. It should work up quickly, be bold and colorful, and teach a thing or two.
3) Give your crowd quick one liners to help remember what they saw. (ex: "Always cut in the direction the wire is traveling." or "1ft of wire = 1in of coil")
4) Relax, smile, and remember you are there to have some fun!

I think that last bit is the most important part. I notice I kinda take a deep breath and sigh just a bit before diving into the start of a demo. I try to remember that people are watching because they want to. They are interested in what I have to say and what I am showing them. Thankfully, I have yet to have a person get bored and wander off. (At least, not that I have noticed.) If you haven't done a demo, you should seriously consider giving it a try at your next show. What? You think the kind of shows you do aren't like big huge Bead Fest? Don't be silly! You could demo at your booth during a craft fair. Put a sign up and say "Demo @ 1pm". I am guessing you'll draw a crowd and increase sales!! Try it, I dare you... heck, I triple dog dare you.

If you have had experiences with doing demonstrations, I would love to hear about your tips and tricks! Feel free to leave comments.

And a special THANK YOU to Elisabeth, my marketing manager, for snapping these photos for me! You ROCK, Elisabeth!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Here In An Instant, Gone In A Flash

bead fest_ on the way
:: Just a few pics today from my adventures to Bead Fest Philly. More tales to come as this week goes by.
:: Who knew that four days could pass in a blink of an eye?
:: Note to self: triple check reservations next time, because double checking isn't enough. (insert eye roll here)
:: Even when it feels like everything is going wrong, it ends up working out for the best. So roll with it.
:: Thankful for opportunities like Bead Fest to remind me just how much I love to teach.

bead fest_lorelei shopping
:: Bead shows are even better with friends.
:: Hi Lorelei, Kelley, Nancy, and Cass!!
:: Note to self: Do NOT wear high heels to demos or book signings or bead shows.
:: There is a newly discovered naturally occurring gemstone called kissmyassite that we all had a good laugh about.
:: Remind me to tell you some time what a doorklace is.

bead fest_while shopping 2
:: Wouldn't this blanket make beautiful beads? (it was hanging in one of the vendor booths)
:: What did I buy at Bead Fest? I'll tell ya another day.
:: I love driving through tunnels.
:: Drives feel twice as long when you finish listening to a book on cd and don't have a second book to listen to in place of the first.
:: There really is nothing like sleeping in your own bed after being in a hotel for almost a week. *sigh* I love being home.

bead fest_heading home

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

While You Were Distracted...

While I was distracting you here on the blog with lots of beady goodness over the past week, I have been filling my down time with a bit of knitting. I think we all know by now that I have issues with being still. If I am just sitting in one spot too long and not distracted by a conversation or a movie or a computer screen or the kids or a book, I get a little ansie. Really, who doesn't? My hubby likes to sit out on the deck every evening we can during the summer and I like to be there with him, but I can't just sit in a lawn chair listening to the birds. So, I knit.

Last week went much like this... wake up, bead for 3-5 hours, eat lunch, do kid stuff, sit on the deck with hubby and knit. I started this sweater project for Lauren last Monday afternoon while the kids were over wise occupied. I had this yarn in my stash and I noticed it is pretty much the same color as everything in Lauren's back-to-school wardrobe. I thought it would be perfect to work on while in my hotel room during Bead Fest this week and I had hoped I would be able to finish it in time for the first day of school. Who knew it would whip up so quick?!? I finished it this past Monday night.

tiny tea 2
tiny tea 3
tiny tea 6
tiny tea bouncing
(She is bouncing on a mini trampoline in this last photo, just in case you were wondering.)

For those that knit...
Pattern: Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Color 880 (I used about 2 and 1/4 skeins)
Mods: Lauren requested the sleeves go right to her elbow and instead of doing 10rows of garter stitch, I repeated the yoke detail. I also repeated it on the bottom hem too.
And for those that wish you could have a Momma-size version of this sweater... it is called Tea Leaves! I have some pretty dark rust colored Berroco Vintage Wool that might get worked up into the Momma one for myself. But that will wait till after Bead Fest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Twisted Tuesdays - Bead In A Bead Hollow

Oh, what a wild ride it was to getting this video made for you. I attempted it several times yesterday and there were either kids horsing around in the background or spiders dropping down on my desk (totally not kidding, there is an outtake on Facebook, check it). So, I snuck down to the studio early this morning to have another go. I am totally okay with the fact that I am still in my pjs and my hair isn't washed. Whatcha see is whatcha get! HA! This is about bead making not how glamorous I look. I did quite a bit of editing, I realize when I babble and know where the delete button is for those parts. The whole process took about twice as long as the video shows (approximately 12mins). I wish I had a camera person to focus for me and zoom in on the important bits. Alas, it is just me and a make shift tripod. I hope you can learn a thing or two anyway!!

For those that don't make beads and have no desire to learn, here is some hollow beady goodness for you! Enjoy...

hollows 1
stripey hollows 2
green hollows
purple hollows
blue hollows

The blue set of hollows and the green set (SOLD, THANKS!) are still available it someone wants to snatch them up ($100 each set). The stripey ones, the purple, and the green sets have sold (THANK YOU!!).

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Monday

kits 1
:: we really packed a lot in this weekend.
:: friday i baked my first ever peach pie.
:: saturday i packed and packed and packed my kits.
:: i may not have any beads to sell at bead fest, but i got kits!
:: saturday we had friends over to watch the pga golf and did a mystery wine tasting.

wine tasting 1
:: i have been knitting a back to school sweater for lauren since last monday, i think will finish it today, cause yeah, i am an over-achiever like that.
:: thinking i will film a video for ya for tomorrow's twisted tuesday. fun.
:: oh wait i forgot sunday...
:: sunday i ate peach pie for breakfast and made 27 gorgeous hollow beads, wait till you see 'em.
:: also started narrowing down plans for my uk trip in october, so freaking excited.

breakfast 1
:: been practicing my solder flooding for homesteader's metalsmithing. practice, practice, practice.
:: ran this morning in 90% humitiy and now i know what it means to be a "hot mess".
:: need to do laundry for bead fest, and pack for bead fest, and grocery shop for bead fest... oh my stars.
:: leaving on wednesday, teaching thrusday, shopping/demoing/booksigning/hangingwithfriends on friday, driving home on saturday.
:: can't express just how good i feel having purpose and things to do and working through to-do lists... i have missed it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

... And More Beads

bonus beads 1
bonus beads 2
bonus beads 3
bonus beads 4
Over the past few days, as I have been working on the kit beads, I had made sets here and there of other beads too. One of the things I didn't take advantage of at the last bead show was my very eager-to-buy-beads students. Part of me feels like I shouldn't be selling extra in the classroom because I am there to teach not sell. But the business part of me knows that this is a HUGE part of the teaching biz. Students like to buy from their instructors. Now that my kits are done, I will be able to spend the next 5 days working on these bonus beads!

Some of the beads are fresh from the kiln, some are de-stash style sets built from beads on my desk. Who remembers THIS SET OF BEADS from 2007? I think my stringer skills have vestly improved in the past 3 years and I totally want to revisit a few of my older sets or only sorta oldish sets. Wow, it is fun to scroll through the ole archives. It really sparks ideas!

Anywho... if you are intested in snagging one of these sets before the show, you can zing me an email (they are $100 each). (strike that! they all sold!! THANK YOU!) Otherwise, what remains after Bead Fest will be posted on my website when I return!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Banging Out The Bang Gal Beads

bead fest class 2
bead fest class 5
bead fest class 7
bead fest class 8
Yesterday, I finished up the beads for the Bang Gals! class kits. My stars that kit takes a lot of beads!! And it is my fullest class, too. YOO HOO. If I am totally honest, when I made these kits back in March for Bead Fest Wire, I wasn't sure I would be able to make another 20 kits, all completely unique. But, I found a way! I just tossed the colors up! I am loving these kits!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Twisted Tuesdays - All YOU!

I had a rather frustrating experience this weekend when it was brought to my attention that a seller on Etsy was actually using one of my photos, straight from Flickr, as his avatar. I immediately contacted the seller, but had no response. Thankfully a few days later, my image was removed. And yes, it is the same shop where my dear friend Lorelei is being knocked-off. I know just what she is feeling, as I had a very similar situation this past spring with yet another Etsy seller. You should have seen those side by side shots. It just plain sucks that people feel they can borrow other people's ideas like that. Ugh.

Rather than write another long winded post about stopping copyright infringement though, I decided I want to celebrate those of you that get it. Celebrate you that know just what being inspired by means. Often times we joke that when we teach our kids things, we always tell them what they can't do and forget to tell them what they *can* do. This is a post where instead of telling you NO, I am telling you YES YES YES!! From the beginning I have said I want to you make the projects I share in tutorials! That is why I write them, right? All I ask is that you acknowledge the source with a link back to the project, or the book. If can't share a link, at least share my name. That isn't crazy talk, is it?

I didn't need to go far to find fantastic pieces of jewelry showing just what I am talking about. All of them can be found in Totally Twisted Designs Flickr group. Slowly but surely since the release of my book, Totally Twisted, the pictures have been rolling in. And I love them. Truly, I love what people are being inspired to make.

Have a gander at these goodies! (click the image to be taken to the flickr account of the maker! click their name to be taken to their website/blogs!)

Orange Dangley Earring
Orange Dangley Earrings by Jen Judd

Calyspso Fun
Calypso Fun by Sheri Tober

by Lorelei Eurto

Twist to the Max (557 x 600)
Twist to the Max by Designs With Heart (sorry, no website available)

Necklace ReDo
Necklace ReDo by Kimberly Roberts

Out of this World
Out Of This World by Erin Prais-Hintz

by Debbie Fowler

Now, as if that weren't enough beady goodness for one day, I have even more to share! One reader in particular has taken on a rather daunting challenge. She has decided to work her way through every project in Totally Twisted. Yeah, that is right, Molly Alexander is making every project in the book! Here are just a few of her takes on my projects so far.

Projects by Molly Alexander

I would love to do more of these posts celebrating YOU and what you are making! So, please take a second and join the Totally Twisted Designs Flickr Group. Then, run to your studio, make your favorite project, and share it with us!!