Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chains Chains Chains...

Although time consuming, I really enjoy making chains. There's something about creating each link, watching the chain grow. I like seeing how the links work together and how it sits against the wrist or neck. Is exact repetition the way to go? or different sized links? My brain seems to like these challenges. Here's my newest chain, a bracelet. What I really enjoy about this piece is the dichotomy between the organic shapes and heat-formed balls, and the high shine polish finish giving it a very modern feel too. To be truthful, I wasn't really sure about this design until I had made many links and could see how they worked together. I'm very pleased with the outcome. Currently there is only the bracelet and earrings (seen in the background of the photo), but next burst of chain-making energy, I'm going to make a necklace too. The Persie Bracelet and Persie Earrings, as well as other chains I've created, are available in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Spot Curl Earrings

I got a custom order for my Speck Earrings, but without the stone. While I was playing with them, I thought it would be groovy (Yes, I still say groovy.) to have them curl around. So were born a very simple, yet stylish pair of earrings called Spot Curl.

Ok, so the name isn't so clever - ya gots a spot and ya gots a curl: spot curl - but they are dang cute. As I've been out and about, wearing my pair, I've gotten loads of compliments. The other cool thing is you can wear them backwards for just a simple wire look (don't have a photo yet). They're my new favorites.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

DIY Booth Banner Making...sort of

Experiencing heavy levels of banner-envy is never pretty. I had shared a booth at a street fair and my booth buddy had a fabu banner. I wanted one too. Not wanting to wait for a "real" banner to be printed for me, I headed out to the Avery store for some foamcore to make me a banner.
- or at least a booth sign. On the way, I thought to find out if they had any vinyl that I could stitch up and paint on. "No." said Friendly Avery Person, "but you could try over there." "Yeah, but it will cost you a lot for us to do it." says Friendly Sign Guy, "Go over there. They have everything you'll want." Friendly Sign Guy was right! The Pacific Coast Sign Supply had me shivering with anticipation. If you're an art supply store and/or hardware store junkie, this place would make your knees weak too. I was able not only able to get vinyl there, but a perfect 3' x 4' finished banner with the grommets and all for the more-than-reasonable price of $8.50. The next issue was painting on it. The PCSS person insisted that I needed to prime the thing and use these (very expensive) special paints and then seal it. Yadda yadda. I asked about just using acrylic paints and was told they wouldn't stick.
Backing out of the store, I said I'd come back later for paints and took my banner home to try my acrylics. Maybe he just assumed the thing was going to hang outside in the elements or something, but, uh, acrylics totally work. That said, if I do another one, I think paint pens or somesuch would be a cleaner, faster method.
Here's how I made my new banner:
1) The rolled up banner. You can see the spot where I tested the acrylic. I let it dry and tried scratching it with my nail and erasing it and it wouldn't budge. I'm working on my dining room table as it is the only large clear space in the house...
2) The paper there is a print out of a computer design/mock-up. On the mock-up I overlayed a grid and then measured out and drew the grid on the banner. It helped me judge how to space the letters. I then sketched in the letters. As you (maybe) can see, I drew them out pretty roughly, not paint-in-the-numbers quality. It depends on how comfortable you are free-handing it as to how tight your drawing should be.
3) After I finished the basic drawing. I've pulled out my paints and brushes and picked the colors I would use.
4) Since acrylics dry so fast, I decided to start from the bottom because the smaller lettering is more difficult and I could roll it down in front of me as I worked.
5) Here I've just finished the basic lettering. I later added some highlights, in silver paint, to the Curly Girl Jewelry letters; added some decorations; and painted the border using the stitching as my "line".
6) My new finished banner!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bake-A-Lite Beauties

I've recently been making an effort to go through the jewelry supplies I already have in the house. I thought they were cool when I bought them and it's time to start making stuff with them. A while ago, I bought these vintage Bake-a-lite cubes. They are sort of big, a bit more than an inch square, and I just knew cool jewelry was waiting to happen with them. I was right. Here is the first piece I've made with them. It was a piece that designed itself as I went along. I had a vague idea when I set out, but it veered and swerved and said no, go this way. I'm very happy with the way it's turned out. I love the combination of industrial and suit of armor, with a skoach of art deco. The brushed back oxidation gives it a great antiqued look. I also have these cubes in a tealy blue and a gold brown tan. Many new ideas are brewing.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Beach Day

Being that it was 100 degrees in Portland yesterday, I decided to take the dog to the beach for a cool-off. I didn't feel like driving all the way to the coast, so I thought I'd check out Sauvie Island Beach for the first time. Sauvie Island is just a teeny bit north of Portland on the Columbia river. It's quite pretty with farms (and u-pick fields!), homes, wildlife preserves and long stretches of river beach. It was Tuesday and I figured - since I got a late start - that the beach wouldn't be so crowded. Silly me. On a hot, sunny Portland summer afternoon the place was packed. The pictures don't really show just how many people were out. It was like Coney Island! Ok, maybe not that bad, but I was surprised. Who are all these people? Don't they have jobs? They can't all be stay-at-home crafters... Although I didn't get a swim in because I had to keep an eye on the dog, the cold river water was luscious to wade into. Kana had a blast charging into the water after her tennis ball and got very irked (see photo) at me for making her lay down and rest a bit. If a dog can glare, this would be it. We weren't there nearly long enough, but I'll be back soon.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Confetti Necklace

Bright and fun, this new necklace is created from vintage (70s) translucent plastic bingo tokens. I've had them for a while and kept pulling them out and putting them away. I finally (really) cleaned my workbench and decided to tackle some of these projects that kept calling to me. So here it is. I call it Confetti Necklace (and it's for sale in my Etsy shop). The vibrant colored discs stand out from the oxidized sterling chain they are connected to. I only have a few sets of the tokens and I'm thinking I might make one of these for me. I also really like the picture I took here on the upper left.