Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Creative Spark!

Hope Smitherman of Crafty Hope and Bill Zhang of ZnetShows have truly given me back my Creative Spark.

I had been in a creative slump for the longest time...pretty much most of this year. Hope emailed a bumch of us late February asking if we would like to participate in this quarter's design team. Bill would send us all beads and we were to create something with them, and Hope would put all our work into a beautiful magazine. A total win-win for me, right?

So here's what I got:




What a brilliant way to welcome Spring...with chinese crystals and sea glass in just the right colors.
I am so very tempted to show you right here what I made with them, but I'd rather you go look at it in the Glossi Hope put together. It has designs from a lot of other designers, book review, tips and tricks and also some funnies. Its even got videos!

So..here it is:









Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bead Soup Blog Party 8 ~ Soup ingredients are here!

Hello all...am back after a super long hiatus!

I am participating in Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party again this year.
Lori paired me up with the wonderful Kari Asbury of Hippie Chick Designs (blog / etsy)

I have known Kari for a while now through Facebook forums, and am SO glad I was paired with her. I have been lucky with all my partners so far, they all make their own unique, super gorgeous components! Kari makes the prettiest ephemera components and thoroughly spoiled me.

Here's what I got...

(I was too impatient to see what was inside the package to take pics of the package itself)



Aren't you floored!!! I knew I would get some cool wood pendants but this is beyond imagination.
I did tell her I usually get stumped with large focals, and she sent a sweet note, that in spite of the warning, she could not resist sending me the peacock. I am so glad she could not resist, it is drop dead gorgeous! And I think I am definitely going to make something with it...since it shows up in my dreams pretty much every day now!

She sent me two clasps..both made by her. The toggle clasp is so so so cool! The key has been attached in such a innovative way! I will take another picture when I make something with it...so its a mystery for you right now ;-) And the red brass clasp is very well made, and well-timed for me, since I have been wanting to make something like that. Now I have a sample to learn from.

I am having a hard time picking a favorite, they are all so beautiful!

In case you would like some of these tiles for yourself, here's the link to Kari's component store: Asbury Avenue Designs.

And then she sent me these co-ordinating beads, also artisan made:


The sari ribbon is from Design Talented One, ceramic beads from Gaea, and the lampwork and boro beads are from Pink Beach Studios, Art By Lisi, Firelily and Lynda's Lampwork.

This picture also has the back of one of the ephemera pendants...even the back is so pretty!

Thanks SO much Kari, you're the best!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Creative Bead Chat Thank You Blog Hop

Hmmm...so what is Creative Bead Chat?

"A home for creative component and jewelry designers to share new creations, tool tips and help build our creativity and sales ! A home for new designers as well experienced to share your experiences and ask questions. Ultimately we are a team and work together towards the goal of being proud of our accomplishments and accomplishing our dreams"

It was started by Melinda Orr and Marla James, and supported by a LOT of my friends! What started as a Facebook group has grown into a ning website of its own, called Artisan Whimsy. It has great learning resources, contests, challenges, giveaways and even a marketplace! The latest addition is a magazine of its own. And the magazine is ah-ma-zing! Like, seriously! You can read the August issue here.

The best part though, is the camaraderie and friendships being made there everyday!

The latest giveaway was hosted in July to mark the Facebook group reaching 2000 members! Over 50 components and finished jewelry pieces were given away! I had put my name in the hat, but didn't win anything. Nevertheless, I do want to participate in this blog hop to say thanks to everyone who helped make this happen!

I will start off with a pair of earrings I made a few minutes ago, last minute creation, of course :) The photos are not the best, but I wanted to make it to this hop, and so here they are!

These earrings feature components by my bead mommy, Sharyl McMillian-Nelson. You can look up that post to see the cool stuff I have received from her. What I love about her is that she is always evolving, making new components, adding on to what she learned and there is always something different and new in her shop Sharyl's Jewelry .

The polymer clay beads are a gift from my friend Lisa Caryl. She makes the most fantastic polymer clay beads and will be opening her shop on etsy soon! 

Anyhow...here's what I made:




I punched holes in the components, and added color with thread. I do love them a lot!

I bought these headpins from Heidi Kingman after I saw them on the giveaway, and didn't win. I love them a lot, and hence they are being hoarded :)






And now I will share jewelry I have made with components from other donors:

Marla has gifted me a whole lot of cool components, I am still working my way through them. Here's a necklace I made with an "arrowhead"



I received this blue focal bead as part of her Echo Creative Club. Its still available in my shop (click on the picture to go to the listing)



Shelley Graham Turner of Tori Sophia
Shelley gifted me these cute little turquoise beads :) I super love these earrings!
They are still available in my shop (click on the picture to go to the listing)

Marti Conrad of Marti's Buttons and Beads
This focal was a gift from Marti. The bracelet is available in a second shop where I sometimes list my items. Please click on the picture to go to the listing.


Janice Everett of J-Lynn Jewels

This art tile was an instant hit! I bought these at her holiday sale last year. Am looking forward to the next one so I can stock up!


And finally, one of my favorite people, Emma Todd of A Polymer Penchant! 
She gifted these discs to me along with an order I had placed. These are available, but not yet listed, do let me know if you are interested!


Here are the rest of the participants of the blog hop...
Sandra - http://skyescreativechaos.blogspot.com
Carolyn - http://artisanwhimsy.com/profiles/blog/list?user=07ase2t9q0suy
Kay      - http://kayzkreationz.blogspot.com
Jana     - http://lasjoyasdejana.blogspot.com
Alenka  - http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.com
Rose    - http://handedcraftedjewelrybyrose.blogspot.com
Melissa - http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Malie   - http://kumifisher.blogspot.com
Connie - http://artisanwhimsy.com/profiles/blogs/creative-bead-chat-2000-thank-you-blog-hop

 And to sign off...THANK YOU CBC! We love you!




 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!!

My buddy Michelle of MishelDesigns is a treasure trove of knowledge as far as pearls go (and I bet she knows a lot about a lot of other things too!)

Exactly a month ago, she announced a blog hop to celebrate her beloved pearls (she has a diploma in pearls from the Gemological Institute of America!). The challenge was to design something with pearls...any kind (there are so many, I get dizzy just thinking about them!), real or imitation, as many or as little, and any form of jewelry. For the reveal, she requested the design and the source of the pearls.

I jumped in, not quite sure what I would do. Maybe a ring? Since I have not really ever made one?
And then happened my dead-internet-saga and I forgot all about it until I received an email from the lovely lady giving us further details about the hop.

Shamefaced, I thought I was too late, and will have to bow out of it. But then last night I decided I had to make at least something! She didn't put too many rules in, and I have used them before, not as a main focus, but yeah, I have used them.

Then my brain dug up the visual of a bracelet I had thought of a looooong time ago, when the components all just happened to sit next to each other (I was not even using them for what I was doing at the time!)
I heaved a sigh of relief and quickly whipped up this....




The focal is a very interesting ceramic tube bead by Marti Conrad of Marti's Buttons-n-Beads.
She had sent it to me as part of the gift from the bead fairies of Project Bead.

The pearls are keishi pearls (I am giggling as I write this, as I have a Japanese friend by that name at work), gifted by Marla Gibson of Spice Box Designs, also as part of Project Bead. The silver spacers are also gifts from my bead fairies!

I was really tempted to add some color to this...maybe bright yellow or green, but thankfully, better sense prevailed.

The bracelet is 7.5 inches long and looks super pretty :) 

And as is always the case with my designs, some beads I bought from Emma Todd of A Polymer Penchant were just sitting there doing their own thing, and I ended up making these...
The beads I used here are gifts from her :-) Yeah, I have super awesome friends! I am blessed that's for sure!!
 


The earrings on the daintier side...just shy of 1.5 inches from the top of the earwire.

Both these pieces are for sale. The bracelet: $25 + shipping, and the earrings are $15 + shipping. So let me know if you are interested :-)

There are whole bunch of super talented ladies who joined this hop. Pearls are so versatile, they can be used and strung and coiled and done-whatever-you-want-with! All these ladies have very unique styles, and its definitely a visual feast! So go on and have a look!

Sadafulee,…Always in Bloom <-- You Be Over Here

 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Focus On Life ~ Week 37 ~ In Motion

This week's prompt says:

Get moving and a grooving this week!
Stretch those creative muscles and capture things in motion.

And hence, I present this....(stretched more than my creative muscles for sure! And I had to work hard to bring into motion the thing I had captured ;-) )


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2nd Annual Challenge Of Travel ~ Santa Clara County and California in general!


Gosh, I am SO late for this one!!!! The reveal was on August 31st, and I finished making my piece a couple weeks before that. I was all set (and excited) for the reveal, and some time around August 21st, my home internet connection decided to die. It was resurrected only yesterday, so here I am with my post!

What's it about?

Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati had put out a call in the beginning of August to join the "staycation" edition in her "Challenge of Travel" series. We were to explore what our hometowns had to offer for visitors. Hometown could be anything...the town you grew up in, the town where you live now, any place you call home.



I was torn about "where" home is! In my heart, its always, always, always going to be India (and in my mind, when I say, I want to go home, I will always mean I want to go to India) But in reality, and for all practical purposes, home is California. So this is about California! And it is more about the history of California than present day California. Hope that is ok!

Narrowing down to where I live...Santa Clara. Silicon Valley. We have so many tech companies headquartered right here. Google, Facebook, Apple, Cisco, eBay, PayPal, LinkedIn...just to name a very select few. I guess being a tech hub is what my hometown is well known for. But I would like to step back into history and speak about the actual street that I live off of.

El Camino Real ~ The Royal Road! Before I begin singing its glories, I have to admit that I hate driving on it. With that taken care of....

This is a historical road, stretching from San Diego in Southern California to Sonoma in Northern California, connecting 21 Franciscan missions. However, the road’s importance and its name recognition have far outlasted that of the missions it originally served.
Here is more information about the road: History Of El Camino Real

*this part of my post is copied from wikipedia*
In 1892, Anna Pitcher of Pasadena, California initiated an effort to preserve the as-yet uncommemorated route of Alta California’s Camino Real. Given the lack of standardized road signs at the time, it was decided to place distinctive bells along the route, hung on supports in the form of an 11-foot (3.4 m) high shepherd's crook, also described as "a Franciscan walking stick."
*end of wikipedia excerpt*

These bells have always fascinated me...and are a very prominent part of my design.
Here's a picture of the bell over at the mission in Santa Barbara. This is the only picture of the bells that I have managed to click.


Here's a better version, not clicked by me. Click on the picture to go to original website:


Next thing that I took inspiration from for my piece...is the land here! My neighbor, who has lived on this street for close to 60 years now, says that the region was all orchards! Oranges and plums and figs! Even now, the soil is rich and extremely fertile. There used to be a huge orange orchard near my office, actually right across the street from a big Sony campus. It was a gem in the middle of the city, oranges for as far as the eye can see. I bet you noticed the past tense here. Yeah, its gone, there are apartments there now :((

Here's a picture of my own orange tree...


And the last bit of inspiration...I thought about this for a long time...what is my state known for? What does it say on the license plates? Golden state! So yeah...the last bit is the gold :) Although, I don't know of any gold panning being done where I live...I had use this bit of info about my state :-)

So...here are my earrings that I made for this challenge :-)




 These are for sale, although not on my shop. Please send me a message if you are interested :)

There was an inlinkz code for this, but since I am late..its closed :((
Please visit Erin's blog to see the other entries
http://treasures-found.blogspot.com/2013/08/2nd-annual-challenge-of-travel-stevens.html.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lets Learn Together ~ Polymer Clay ~ Conditioning


Previous posts in this series:


Last night, I got "all" my essentials in place and thought I would condition my clay.
You must be wondering why the "all" is in quotes. Keep reading and you will know.



That's my tile (not completely white, but this is all Home Depot had, and I did not have the patience to shop around), my clay (I had a pack of Sculpey III that I bought a few years ago, and I thought of trying it out before buying the Premo.), my pasta machine, my notecard is outside the frame, but its there.
I started off with cleaning the tile with 409, and then I assembled the pasta machine.

The instructions were very simple. 1 is thickest setting, 9 is thinnest. Pass some wipes through the machine before first use to clean up any dirt in the rollers.

Now I realized I did not have wipes. So I decided to improvise. I sprayed some 409 on a paper towel and passed that through the machine. Towel came out clean, so I was happy.

Then I picked the clay. The colors are nothing exciting, so I decided to make something black and white. Picked out the white first. Cut it with the tissue blade.

Mistake 1:  I should have cleaned the tissue blade as well before the first use. The clay had small black streak where it was cut. But I did not notice this at first. I cut the block into three sections...umm...cross-sectional pieces (sorry, don't have pics, will take pics with the next batch) and passed it through the roller.

Mistake 2: I had not clamped the machine down to the table. So I had to use one hand to hold the machine. I could have used it to guide the clay properly instead.

BIG Mistake: See for yourself!


Yup! The machine was DIRTY!!!
But my lazy brain said...oh well...you wanted black and white beads, didn't you? Yup, a true blue lazy brain! It also said, this bit is ruined anyway, so just work with it and see how you can condition Sculpey III. I suppose there is a point to that argument.

So well, I continued. I passed each of the three sections through the machine, then two together and then all three together, then folded them in half and passed them through the machine, maybe 3-4 times. I must say, the clay was really soft. Much softer than the Premo that I worked with in my class. I am going to attribute that to a very hot day (and the hard Premo to AC turned up really high at the class)

I rolled my clay at setting 3. Not the thinnest, since I didn't really need it to be super thin. The sheet in the picture above is probably taken after the final run (you can tell, I don't do instructions very well :( )

The next step was to roll this into a log, making sure it was a tight roll and no bubbles.

I rolled it up and then just rolled the log some more on my tile. Yeah, I know its ugly and dirty.

I cut off some clay from the narrow end and made a nice round ball out of it. The clay was super soft so I had no issues forming it. Ok...so far, going ok, But at this point all I had was a dirty white ball. What to do with it, what to do with it? Ok, lets flatten it. Done. Now I have a dirty white disc. So then I thought of stamping something into it. So I did that.



Yup, super soft clay with a large thumbprint. And the bead had gotten kinda thin at this point, and I didn't know what else I could even do with this. So I poked a hole into it and called it done. I should have waited for it to harden a bit, it was, I think I did mention this, super soft).

This much got done very quickly. So I cut off another piece of clay from my log, and made another dirty white ball. Figured I will carve something on it. All I managed to do was poke some holes with my bead reamer. And the clay was super soft (oh, right, I did tell you that already), so every time I turned the bead to poke a hole, I got a small flat surface on the bottom. End result was an accidental faceted look :) But that felt like cheating, so I smoothed it back into a nice round dirty white ball. Here it is...


I have not baked these yet. Didn't feel like heating up the oven for just these two little things.
Not sure what I will do with them once I bake them, but I think I should.

So here are the lessons I learned:

Clean everything! Tile, hands, knife, roller, pasta machine...evvvvvverything!
Clamp the pasta machine. This one is a bit funky, as in the handle went below the bottom of the machine. So I had to have it hanging off the edge of the table. Not comfortable!
Watch the temperature of the room and my hands and all that...
Plan on what I want to do before rolling out that poor clay. I had no clue what to do next after I had my sheet!

I did buy some wipes today, so I should be ready for the next round.
I think I will try some color mixing or marbling technique next.

Here's a video on color mixing



And this one is for marbling...

Am not able to link it here, but here's the URL:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkTJodC5qL8

I have not yet watched these videos completely, just skimmed through them. They looked good.

Until next time....seeya!