Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Playing with St. Peteresburg Chain Jewelry Ideas


I'm giving a lexture and workshop with the Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo coming up in April and May (I'm the April Meeting Speaker on 4/13/2020 and the Workshop is on 5/02/2020).  Since the workshop is on the St. Petersburg Chain Stitch I'm working on my talk circling around how I use that stitch.  


This always pushes me to think about how else could I use this stitch?  So this is a new little set I came up with thinking about that.  The earrings are 3 rows of St. Petersburg Chain stitch, the bracelet is one row on each side of my netting sittch. 


The beads aren't suite lining up how I want them to between the St. Petersburg Chain and the Netting so I'm going to give it another try soon.  I do like that the pearl and loop closure can hook anywhere along this bracelet to get the correct size if it needs to go smaller.


I used the below blue beads for some of the accents in the above pieces.  I'm so enamored with this color that I made a small pair of leaf earrings in them.  They include some glass beads that I picked up on our trip to Wisconsin last summer.


I apologize for the poor photos, I was trying to get them quick and the sun was too bright, plus I didn't take the extra time to clean all the cat hair off of all my display things so they seem a bit extra fuzzy.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Lavender Leaf Jewelry Set


I finally finished this lavender leaf jewelry set.  I think I started on the chain last fall and got distracted with something else (Halloween, Holiday shows, work....)  Thinking about it now, October through New Years is just a whirlwind and I barely remember it. Things are finally slowing down a little bit.  Enough for me to finish some jewelry and get back to my weaving loom!  Anyway, I took some quick photos of this set, the light balance isn't great, but it's a current favorite, which usually means I get to wear it a handful of times and then it sells fast.



The colors in it are really a lavender with antique-looking off white faceted seed beads that I work with a lot.  There's 1 lariat necklace, a large leaf bracelet which can be shortened at the loop at the base of the last leaf for a smaller wrist.  I usually don't make them this way, but I liked how the leaf points off of the bracelet and down your wrist (see how it's clasped below).





And two matching earring options, a small faceted leaf and a pair of my leaf cluster earrings.





Sunday, January 19, 2020

Helen's Tiara


Deadlines are important for me.  I had set to work on this peacock tiara for Helen and since bead embroidery doesn't always keep my attention I kept setting it down.  It's been a year.  When she requested that I get it to her before an event she wants to wear it to in February it started living next to the couch so I would pick it up a little bit every day after work.  I got it done this week and I'm meeting her tonight so she can finish this into a tiara. 


I know Helen through the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild which has Fashion show every year where Helen shows off her amazing vintage dance dresses at.  One year I told her if she was ever to want to part with a particular piece, to let me know.  Consequently, she did as it wasn't quite as long as she'd like.  So we have been working on a trade.  When she came to me with this idea I was excited to do it and she even had a design to work off of for the peacock feathers.  We got the size down and she gave me some vintage beads to work with.  I also used gold and silver from my stash to make it a versatile metallic piece to go with many of her outfits.

(back side detail)

I was very attracted to the amber colored vintage seed beads she gave me so I'm hoping it's not too brown-heavy.  I kept picking them out as I went along.  I'm happy to breath a sign of relief having this done early enough to give her some time with it.


I found two articles on Helen if you want to took into her more, I'm not sure she has a website (I'll ask tonight and update if so):





This is the piece that we traded for, it's just wonderful 
and I make sure I have occasion to wear it.  <3 p="">

I almost forgot that I wanted to do a weaving update too.  I'm about 8 inches along on the large Leaf Me Alone piece that I've been putting off working on for far too long!  I did a few small ones but its time to go bigger again.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Tiny Leaf Earrings


I know I keep saying that I'll be making less jewelry, but I did want to do a quick post about these tiny leaf posts I made over the holidays.  I think I finally solved my problem of getting these pieces on to posts in a manner that I am happy with which is still stitched on.  


These actually came about with the extra small delicas I was working with for The Classic Cuff Bangle.  I wanted to try making a tiny leaf for my second ear lobe piercing which I usually wear a smaller earrings in.  The above white ones worked perfect.  


So I made a few for my holiday shows to see how they did.  My customers who don't wear dangle earrings are really appreciating this new design and they have gone over quite well. I think I'll be continuing to make them in between my weaving and house projects. 


To be honest, I also was excited to have them for the below display (I tried out at Not So Silent Night).  I've been lugging around this old display that they were throwing away at Chico's when I was at the Boulder, CO store and I am happy to have a good use for it!  It's a nice little display for the dangle earrings too, but not when they're too long and really they look less messy displayed in the top of the luggage case I use (below photo to the the right).


Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 in Review.


The end of 2015 is the last time I posted a year end anything, not looking back, but looking forward with excitement.  The following 3 years I got myself in a rut, I would start a year in review post but I didn't and couldn't get myself to feel positive enough to post anything. In the past New Year's had been a favorite holiday of mine but I couldn't see that I had accomplished anything nor was I hopeful for the future.  I was overwhelmed all of the time and it was consuming every aspect of my life.  Any sort of move and big life change can throw someone off balance, I was frustrated and talked a lot about finding my balance again, but I wasn't actually putting in the work to do so.


THIS year has been so amazing and so positive that I don't even know where to start.  Actually, I do, I'll start with the fact that I had hit my rock bottom at the end of 2018 which prompted me to decide to join AA.  Since then 2019 has been a year of personal growth for me, mostly emotionally and mentally.  I'm no longer beating myself up for there not being enough hours in the day to get everything I wanted to get done.  Hell, I just realized a few hours ago that tomorrow is New Year's Eve and we haven't gotten around to making reservations anywhere (opps).  I can't believe a year has already gone by!  I'm getting what I can done, but not working myself to the point of being sick all the time and not sleeping.  I sleep great now knowing that I did what I could with the time that I was provided each day.  Bryan has been the best, most patient boyfriend ever as I have been working through my issues. He's there for me when I need him and he busies himself with other things when I need my space.  He didn't complain once while the River Terrace Commission took over our dining room with fabric and needles spilling to all other corners and rooms of the house.  I was able to pull a nearly all-nighter to get Hope Flows finished in time to hang in River Terrace Church for its unveiling at their Easter Services.  My dad joined me at the later morning service and I pretty much cried the whole time I was so moved.  Easter has an entirely new meaning for me.  I've gotten super duper sappy this year, my happiness and general excitement of what each day holds has returned.  I'm not sure I've felt quite this way since my 20s.  I'm feeling like I felt in early college and when I lived in Colorado. 

I love lists, so here's my 2019 successes:

1) Finishing and hanging Hope Flows at River Terrace Church (3 12-foot long panels)



2) Having one of my proposals to talk at Convergence Conference 2020, Knoxville accepted.

3) Hanging a small show of my older work (college and Colorado/Wisconsin era) at the Haslett Library for 3 months.  This actually helped me re-hang (properly) old weavings and get photos to prepare for the talk I'm giving at the Handweaver's Guild of America Conference.

(prepping the show layout on my floor at home)

4) Working on our privacy fence of recycled doors!  I can see them from where I sit in my office right now, the bright colors lined up to create a privacy fence gives me so much joy.  Thank you to all who have donated doors to me and to the gentleman at Home Depot's paint department for suggesting that I use their "opps" paints for this project.


5) Saying no to shows I don't want to do or have the time to do.  I was much more relaxed this holiday season considering I work retail and I don't like trying to make a bunch of plans.  I still had a constant flow of holiday sales where I simply had people tell me when they wanted something and we'd meet for coffee and do the sale.  I've gotten to know my customers on a one on one basis which really means a lot more to me and I like to know where my work is headed off to live.  The other thing that falls under saying no to things I don't want to make is that I am constantly reminding myself that I have a day job to pay for my day to day living so that I don't have to take art-based work that I don't want to do.  It's so draining to have to work on something for money when you'd rather be weaving away in the studio on passion projects.

(passion projects include Halloween costumes, our favorite holiday!)

6) Getting 3 rooms in our house painted!  And once the downstairs bathroom was done, I got the giant dresser mirror up on the wall I had bought to replace the ugly mirrors that had come with the house.  Having house projects feel finished is just a great feeling.

(bedroom deep dark green)

(downstairs bathroom purple/grey)

7) Enjoying going to work again.  I used to think about what I had to get done at work when I was at home and when I was at work thinking about what I had to do at home.  The longing to always be working at the wrong spot was a mental waste!  I'm so much more focused and joyous, even my regular customers at my day job have noticed.  I really appreciate that Talbots encourages the development of personal connections with customers, I have so many lovely ladies that come in sometimes just to visit with me and give me a hug. Retail has its difficult days (especially this time of year), but most of my days are wonderful. 

8) Not drinking, not once, in all of 2019.  When you've been drinking almost every day for years it's hard to imagine not drinking at all.  Now I can't imagine ever picking up again.  It's hard getting caught up in addiction, really hard dealing with your emotions and it gets easier the longer you go.  I never ever want to go back there. I couldn't do it by myself and I'm glad I walked into my first AA meeting and someone there suggested other good meetings for me to go to.  There are some really amazing people helping me hold it together that I have met going to regular meetings and thankfully there's lots of options in the Lansing area!

9) Also thanks to AA, is my knitting.  I need something to keep my hands busy so I can pay attention  at meetings so for the first time in my life I have started learning to knit socks.  I have knit 6 pairs of socks and I've started my 7th. I've also knocked out a few hats and infinity scarves.  I've been knitting since the third grade but I'm feeling faster and more prolific after this year.


(when I knit at home it involves cats)

10) Speaking of prolific, the jewelry I have decided to make is exhibit-able.  A few really large bangles that take a lot longer to graph, plan and choose colors came about.  Klingon Light (structure play and experimentation), The Classic Cuff (first official bangle with 15/0, teeny tiny delicas), Aziraphale x Crowley (angel wings inspired by our halloween costumes) and Cat's Meow.

11) Finding balance. I don't usually say that I'm balanced, I've got a lot of projects going all the time.  But I was chatting with a woman at breakfast after an AA meeting and she said "wow! you've really got a lot of things going and you sound so balanced!"  I hadn't thought of myself as having obtained the balance that I longed for, but she made me think that yeah, I really have hit where I'm supposed to be and the direction my life needs to be going. With my artwork, my day job and my relationship.  I can't believe I got all of that balanced within a year, but as they say, taking it one day at a time works.

12) 2020!  I have a lecture and workshop lined up with the Kalamazoo Weaver's Guild.  I'm giving a talk at Convergence in Knoxville and am looking forward to really catching up with my friend and roommate on the drive and over the week.  I finally have started in on weaving another large double-weave pick up piece.  I have woven 3 small versions of "Leaf Me Alone" and I'm ready to bite off getting the big version of Leaf Me Alone done.  I have also begun to draft the cartoon for my next large weaving and I need to pick my colors to dye for it.  I'll still make some jewelry and I'm always playing with beads, but for me to be satisfied with my artwork that needs to be less important.  I'm showing at less galleries so I don't stress myself out trying to make new stuff to sell.   I'm sure there's more coming in 2020, but it's not on the top of my mind at the moment.  


Happy New Year to all and happy creating! 


Friday, December 13, 2019

Triple Pod Earrings and Open Leaf Snap Bracelet



The triple pod earrings are some of my favorites right now, I decided they would fit well with my holiday dress this year.  I was just going to do a black and white combo of the pods, but then I was looking closer at my dress and I realized that the white lace portion had black outlines in it.  So I chose to make the pods all white and silver with black edging. 



White based earrings pop against my darkish brown hair, especially when I wear it down.  The silver sparkle looked really lovely at the bottoms of these earrings and gave some extra glitter. 


This bracelet was inspired by the white with black edging of the earrings, but I wanted it to be more simple.  This is the second bracelet I've ever made with this snap closure that helps make the bracelet look like it has no clasp at all.   This first type of this bracelet can be seen HERE.



I was on a roll, so I made these thin dangle earrings too.  I wore one of these in my second piercing on my one ear along side the triple pod earrings, you can see them worn together below.  I love the look of all the beads together.  Of course, it's what I do. :)


Jax dress lace detail.


Layered earring look.

Bryan and I at his office holiday party.  <3 p="">

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Cat's Meow Bangle


I had finished this set in October, but I haven't had the chance to properly photograph the Cat's Meow bangle and earrings until now.  This piece is the result of slipping down a Pinterest rabbit hole of cat illustrations. I had been wanting to do some sort of cat bangle that was large, but not too terribly involved as far as the design was concerned and I found a ton of ideas that fit the bill.  I was concerned about the tail part of this cat design looking strange when converted into the peyote graph paper, but now that I have worn this a bunch, I don't even remember feeling like it looked off. 


I am so pleased with this piece that I'm not sure I'll ever part with it.  I wear a lot of browns and the blue that I picked out goes with a lot.  I would venture to say this matches a large portion of my wardrobe and I really enjoy wearing this as a set.  


The earrings follow the same design as the bangle and I wanted them long-wise but an everyday wear length, so I made them half of the cat head on each side.  



I post the progress of much of my work on my social media.  At the above length a friend said that she wanted it.  So I made another shorter one for her.  I think that this bangle, if one wants it a little wider would work well at the below length also.  I love how versatile this pattern ended up being.  


There is an additional narrower cat-head-only bangle at the Lansing Art Gallery right now (November 2019) for their holiday Michigan Made show.  I'm not sure that I'll get another one done for the REACH Art Studio Not So Silent Night event that I'll have all of my current available jewelry at for sale.  That show, along with a silent auction, food, entertainment and other invited artists is coming up on December 14th, 2019, 7 - 9:30pm. You can check out the Facebook Event HERE.  

Playing with St. Peteresburg Chain Jewelry Ideas

I'm giving a lexture and workshop with the Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo coming up in April and May (I'm the April Meeting Speake...