The snow is really coming down today and tonight. We've had over 5", which I realize is not much for those of you in the North, but for those of us south of the Mason-Dixon Line, it's a pretty decent amount. The above picture is of our house, taken around 1pm this afternoon, when about 5" of snow had fallen, with more coming down.
We had a fantastic Christmas at home with our kids. Santa was good to everyone this year! My husband really knows me well...I got a Lortone tumbler that I had wanted, and a disc cutter set, and also this:
Yes, that is a starship Enterprise NCC-1701 pizza cutter! I adore it, and I think pizza will be on the menu for dinner tomorrow night so I can use it! I'm a great big geek, I know.
My husband is home all week with us, so we are planning on lots of family time. Tomorrow is definitely for playing in the snow and for having hot cocoa. My daughter has requested to go ice skating, and I would like to go see the Victorian Christmas decorations at Maymont House. I probably should work at my office, too, at some point. The little kids both got board games, so we will likely play those, and build train layouts, and make things with Legos, and play cars and play 'kitchen', too. My oldest is at her dad's for the week, and I am sure she is having fun hanging out on her dad's horse farm. It's shaping up to be a good week, I think.
I've got some jewelry ideas brewing, and some plans to try out some more ferric chloride etching on copper. I'm working on a design for a fundraiser project for a friend's school (more on that later), and I need to order some stainless steel shot for my tumbler....lots to do.
And I'd like to spend some time this week meditating on what I want 2011 to look like for me and my art. Lots to think about, and many plans to make.
I hope all of you have had wonderful celebrations and spent peaceful time enjoying this end of the year season.
(I'm in the middle of craziness, getting ready for Christmas....sewing preschool Christmas pageant costumes, making some of the scenery, and recovering from throwing my daughter's fifth birthday party this weekend...I'll be back soonish with jewelry-related and/or art-related stuff...I promise...)
When I was on my odyssey of discovery at Liquidation Warehouse the other week, one of my purchases was a few crackled-glass ornament balls. I love glass in all its forms (no! really!?), and these ornaments just really spoke to me. I've wanted, for a while, a few of the blown-glass witches balls to hang in my kitchen window, but I've never found ones I liked. Since Christmas is almost upon us, I thought these would be beautiful instead.
Some of my very favorite glass colors are blue and red. These are so good-looking in the light of my window that they may just stay there through the winter.
Isn't that red just stunning? I love love love that deep ruby red. Just delicious. (and for the record, I hate the word 'nummy'...)
And the blue....at some angles it is almost cobalt, at another, it appears violet. Straight on, it's one of my current favorite shades of transparent blue Moretti glass -- dark blue tranparent.
(This is the part of this post where I wish I had something better than my little Panasonic Lumix camera to take my blog pictures with....oh Santa, I wish you could bring me a Nikon like Cindy's!)
Next year's large purchase will have to be an oxygen concentrator, to go with the torch I haven't bought yet. Of course, that is after THIS year's large purchase, a Glass Hive kiln, which I also have not finished paying for...
But I digress...
I also wanted to show you all some of the results of my studio time. My glass beadmaking Muse apparently is elsewhere today (maybe playing in the snow at Kerry's place!), but in an effort to not let myself get sucked into the negative that goes with a crappy torch session, I decided to salvage the time and make frit. I've wanted to make frit for some time now, not being able to justify buying crushed glass when there are so many awesome rods to buy. There are a couple of methods to crush and mix your own glass, but the one that seemed to make the most sense, and was the simplest to deal with, is the water-shock method.
Basically, you heat the end of a rod to glowing, flatten it into a paddle at the end of the rod, reheat the paddle til it's hot, then plunge it into a jar of water and let it shatter into tiny bits. You then strain it out of the water and spread it on a plate or something to dry out so you can use it.
I made two small batches today, one a blue-green mix that I am hoping will be sort of an underwater-looking blend:
And the second batch, which is my end-of-the-day mix of all the rods I used while beadmaking this morning:
Let's see...what's in there....CiM Sangre, dark ivory, CiM Ghee (which normally looks terrible for me), Moretti dark trans blue, Moretti electric yellow trans, some CiM Peace, and I think some dark and light topaz. Oh, and some medium brown, I think. I was practicing making chocolate hearts for Valentine's Day.
So, the frits are currently drying, and I hope to get some torch time tomorrow to play with them. If anything comes out interesting, I'll post pictures. The rest of this week will likely be taken up with birthday party prep and sewing costumes for the preschool Christmas pageant.
So, I'm in the December issue of Bead Trends, too. Just a simple pair of earrings, but they are so nicely photographed! They're also easy to make, and I think they'd make a terrific last-minute gift!
There are several fantastic projects in this issue, including a number of excellent pieces in the Under $15 section (where you'll find my earrings!). Check out the great feature on designer Mary Jane Dodd, too. Her work never fails to inspire me.
I'm currently in the grip of holiday and birthday party preparations. My middle daughter turns five on Thursday and has her first real birthday party with friends on Saturday afternoon. Yikes! Must prep goodie bags and order the cake and make sure we have enough plates and utensils and figure out the games and prizes....and, and, and.....!!
More to come, I promise! Hope you all are enjoying the beginning of the holiday season too!
I mentioned before that I was going to have an article and some work in this issue -- and I do -- but I am also accompanied by some fo the most fantastic artists I have ever seen! I mean, really, MY work in the company of people like Melissa Manley, and Barbara Lewis, and Denise Yezbak Moore and Cindy Wimmer and friends? Really? It's an honor, truly, and I am so incredibly happy to be among them.
(OMG, I am so excited, I can hardly stand it!!!)
Go pick up the magazine for yourself...it's chock-full of fantastic ideas and beautiful pieces of work.
This weekend I got some time to fool around in the workshop a little, playing with sheet copper and some discs I got in a few weeks ago. Inspired by an article in Art Jewelry Magazine, I tried out some foldforming and played around with heat patinas.
These will become earrings: It's really hard to capture how really cool-looking the heat patina is on these....all shades of blue and purple and yellow...really, really cool. I wish I could tell you exactly how I did it, but really, heat patinas are fickle. I'm just happy they are similar enough to become earrings. They will be sealed with lacquer to keep the patina.
I also made this, a pendant. It was made out of a 2" copper disc, and the same foldforming and heat patina. It came out way better than I had imagined! Again, really hard to capture the patina in a photograph. I haven't decided what the rest of this piece will look like yet.
I did some really outstanding etching on copper, too, but I didn't photograph that yet. Maybe in a few days. I need to make the beads for the necklace the etched piece will be, so I might just make you wait til I get that all done. :)
I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday weekend, if you were celebrating, and enjoy your week!
OOH! I almost forgot....I am looking to upgrade to a digital SLR camera....something not too terribly expensive, but that will handle macro photography as well as general-purpose family and landscape photography. Anybody got any opinions on this issue? Email me if you'd rather: ahotpieceofglass AT yahoo DOT com.
Sorry I have been absent....the holiday this week has sucked up most of my time and I really needed the relaxation and hanging out time with the family. It's been a wonderful Thanksgiving with fun family time, plenty of leftovers and yummy good things to eat. I think today some of the turkey is becoming curried turkey salad, and I'll probably bake some bread later on. I don't do Black Friday shopping at all. I hate the way (some) people act and I don't really feel up to being in a crush of people. There's nothing I really want or need at the store THAT much.
Well, except for some 'Cars' plates and napkins, and maybe a bunch of balloons. Today is my son's third birthday! I can't believe this little guy is three already! Here he is, all ready to go to a birthday party last Saturday for a little girl in his preschool class. We'll be having cupcakes and dinner out and a few presents later on today, and then my mom is coming tomorrow for even more cake and presents. It's a lot of cake, but I am a FIRM believer in marking one's birthday with cake ON the actual birthday. Every birthday should be a celebration.
And now for the jewelry and glass content today...
I make glass cupcake pendants, and some of you may remember this summer, when I started selling them wholesale to a local cupcake bakery, designed to look like their cupcakes. I didn't know how well it would work, but people do love my cupcake necklaces. Imagine my surprise when the owner of the shop called me a few Fridays ago and placed a large order for necklaces and rings! I delivered them on Tuesday, and here is what I made them:
Ten of their 'Plain Jane' cupcakes on sterling silver ball chain necklaces: And ten of their 'Red Velvet' cupcakes also on sterling silver ball chain necklaces: Then eight silver wire-wrapped rings, four of the 'Plain Jane' and four of the 'Red Velvet': If you are local to Richmond, Virginia, then get thee hence to Pearl's Cupcake Shoppe, on Grove Avenue, near Libbie. They have some of the most fantastic cupcakes ever, and also my necklaces, which make great stocking stuffers and gifts for little AND big girls!
....you have the Brandel Family "Adventures of Frank and Jane"!
This is Frank. ...and this is his lovely companion, Jane... They came to live with us this week, along with their two little friends, the Red Imps... Everyone seems to be getting along well, although there have been some issues with the Imps and attempts to push each other off the ledge... I think Jane got a little bent out of shape about their behavior, too because this was the scene yesterday afternoon... Shoving the Imps into the basket of pinecones was a noble attempt at silencing them for a while so Jane could at least TRY to read a magazine.
Frank just doesn't know what to make of all of this....
(and my oldest daughter cannot resist a goofy picture attempt)...
Honestly, Jane was exhausted from dealing with them, and Frank wasn't really much help. Eventually, though, things got under control. One of those Imps even helped Kira with some homework last night... ...but they do get bored easily, and are prone to bustin' a move, even when there's no music... Jane worked out her frustrations with some exercise and yoga (modified reverse plank)... ...and that helped, along with some quality time hanging out with Frank. Ultimately, though, Frank and Jane survived their first day here, and it was definitely a cause for celebration!
Stay tuned for further Adventures with Frank and Jane!
A friend of mine recently told me about a fantastic place in our city where I could indulge my love for thrift stores, junk shops, and decorative arts. It's Liquidation Warehouse (whose web address is actually shopneverland.com -- how cool is that!?) ! Right near Virginia Commonwealth University, downtown in a section of old, old buildings, is this gem. The buildings are incredible; HUGE with massively high ceilings, and are all brick. Walking into this place is like walking into a huge costume and prop department on some movie lot or theater campus. The woman who greets you as you come in even says, "have fun! Let me know if you need help with anything....and don't forget to look UP!" The ceilings are indescribably high and all kinds of interesting stuff is hanging in the space above your head.
It's amazing in there! There were some antiques and stuff like that, but mostly there were piles and piles of stuff that used to be display items and decoration in large big-name department stores. This picture is at the entrance to the 'Christmas Room', where there are tons and tons of sparkly and beautiful decorations of all kinds. This photo does not even remotely do justice to the extreme sparkliness of this place. All the lights and shiny Christmas ornaments, glittery trees and garlands...it's wonderful! And, one of the owners tells me this section of the building used to be a public icehouse. So fascinating!
I know there's someone out there who needs a bust of Napoleon with a neon hat brim...
Recognize the old Bloomingdale's shopping bag logo behind me??
There were more kinds of manniquins than I knew existed....and they had huge boxes of just parts...hands, legs, arms, heads...
For you, Kerry! Lots and lots of cool-looking (but a little too expensive) old suitcases!
Oh, and if you were wondering where Cloud 9 really is...I think I found it...
There was TONS of great stuff, and so much of it could have found a home with me, but I was good, and restrained myself. My total haul consisted of four heavy crackled glass ornaments for my kitchen window, two really fun wooden poseable mannequins, and a "neck" plastic display -- I needed something to photograph necklaces on, and this will work great! I just need to paint it or cover it in some way.
I think I'm going back tomorrow, with Noah. I got an idea for a Christmas present for someone...
These earrings: And these earrings: went up in the Etsy shop the other day...if you want to wear them for Thanksgiving, order 'em quick! I'll even ship for free (for those earrings) if you order them now!
**Convo me when you make your purchase and I will refund the shipping fees!**
*Got to get back in the saddle this week and get stuff listed in the shop.
*Don't know the outcome yet of the show I had work in this weekend. Hope it was decent! From all reports, the traffic was good, and sales numbers were not too shabby.
*Spent Friday night through Saturday night on a trip to North Carolina to visit some of my husband's family. It was a great time, but I am STILL recovering! Lots of food and family, and beautiful weather down near Charlotte!
*The hotel room we had was terrible. Ugh. Awful. Thank GOD we only stayed one night.
*I've been thinking a lot about how to move my business up to the next level....what exactly that entails, what I *want* it to be like...what I can plan for next year, how to manage the finances so it's self-supporting...
*All this thinking can be exhausting, and overwhelming.
*I forgot to show you all my Halloween necklace this year....and it didn't make it into the shop because I was...well, I forgot...and I like the necklace so I might keep it.
*Hoping for some studio time later today, but so far, it's not looking good.
*I feel terribly disorganized today.
*But, there's potato soup cooking away in the crock pot. That's a good thing.