Stick with it

It’s nice to start with an image of sunflowers, isn’t it.

I’ve been listening to an audio book about sticking to what you want to do, whether you want to lose weight, save money or attract people to your business. The book is called Stick With It. Guess what. I’ve been forcing myself to listen to it. I get it: small, manageable goals, repetition, community, engaging rewards. Sadly there’s such a big difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it.

It would be beyond pitiful if I couldn’t finish it. And so, after a few days’ break, I’m back at it. But soon I’ll turn it off so that I can read the book club book.

This was one in a series of pendants I made to satisfy a special request. I loved pressed lavender!

This week I was able to make a few pieces that I wanted to make. There was pure joy in that, and I’m excited to find some time to do more of that. I also made and put out a new beaded pendant on Saturday, and it was the first item to go. I need to start stockpiling lucite cabochons.

A “for funsies” key with the word “Love” stamped into it. I’d like to try etching it with my  Dremel etcher. (How to correct for my horrible penmanship?) 
This dark blue and copper pendant won me over despite my initial doubts. I think it’s a color combo that’s worth revisiting.

This week also gave me some big lessons. First, the faux Fordite doesn’t look anything like Fordite. That’s a bummer. And I’m not sure it can be done in a curved mold. I think it will need to be flat. I started some new pieces. And, I did not use white oil paint to color the resin. The paint I used was too thick, and small bits of it sank to the bottom of the molds, leaving white pock marks. I tried getting the paint out, but that’s an exercise is frustration. So, I’m starting over.

The white spots are oil paint. I love all of those color combinations, and it breaks my heart to look at these. I can already imagine how much fun it will be to use them as cabochons in a bead embroidery project.

I also tried sealing painted sides of keycaps. I started with brushing on resin. That resulted in uneven lines and brush marks. I built silicone “stands” and tried another coat. That just “emphasized” the unevenness that was already present.

(I should include a photo, but it would be another photo of heartbreak. Maybe once there are some successful keycaps, I’ll show photos of both to compare and contract.)

I was ready to chuck them all and give up working on keycaps for good, but either the experimenting crafter (craft scientist?) in me kicked in — or the audio book *is* working. Next I tried two coats of varnish on one and a sealant spray on the other. I think the spray is ideal as the sides won’t get that much “action” anyway. Regardless, I think I have an action plan and this week I’ll tackle a few more.

On a much happier note, Bead World released their fall classes. My wish list, despite having done many of these things, includes metal etching, enameling and using a jeweler’s saw. Now seems like as good of a time as any to pour over the list and then decide whether I’ll sign up or let Youtube plus book content be my guide.

 

 

Beat the heat (aka more talking, less showing)

In honor of tomorrow’s full moon.

Wow it’s been hot in Seattle. Because it gets stupid hot at the market, I decided to take the day off. And by “taking the day off,” I mean adding items to my Etsy store and working on pendants and keycaps.

Online store maintenance and the photography it requires is a chore, but I understand that it’s something I need to do. And, I realize that I need to be willing to put in the work. Plus, there’s the hope that I’ll be able to be at the market about every other weekend and have more full weekends to spend running amok with Morgan.

And, it’s a funny thing, but now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the market season, I have a feeling of relief. This is very much the slower half, so now I can let my mind drift to knitting projects. Silly me, I can’t seem to daydream about doing nothing — like most rational people wood.

This was a really busy week: dinner with a friend, seeing the Violent Femmes with my niece and brother and checking out the Seattle Art Fair with Morgan. There was some great art, but the crowd provided the better visuals. Oh, and I love that glitter can be considered a medium in a mixed-media piece. It inspired both of us to make some art. Maybe some night this week.

There was a resin piece that had the look of a big slab that had ice-cream-scoop-size dollops taken out of Fordite. I’m not sure why I can’t describe it properly, so it’s best to see it here.) Not too long ago I found a tutorial for making faux fordite out of polymer clay, which really would result in better cross section colors. But I’ve decided to try a similar approach with resin in molds. Here’s the start. Pretty much I’ll be pouring layer after layer of colored resin into molds.

The beginnings of my faux fordite. It will be much cooler to see theses when they’re out of the molds.

On a completely different note, twice this week people at worked asked me for advice/help with jewelry and craft projects. It’s a nice feeling to sit with. Especially after being scolded for adding a “just” in front of bead embroidery, when a friend of an acquaintance asked me what I make. Was it snotty of them to point it out? I don’t think so, mostly because I’m always diminishing what I do when I speak about it.

That leads me to keycaps. I might always feel like a fraud. Is what I do valid? Is it only the stuff that is cast from molds the real deal? These are difficult questions for me. But I’ll keep plugging away.

On? No? You decide.
Damn the reflection that’s obscuring the adorable coffee cup image. Harrumph!

It doesn’t hurt that I attended an event on Thursday, for work, where I heard a handful of women speakers talk about how women, especially, are subject to feeling like frauds/imposters/hacks. Ding, ding, ding! What does it take to break through that horrible way of thinking? I also got another piece of advice from the author I interviewed last Tuesday. His day told him to “figure out what you love and then find people to pay you to do that.” Sounds like sound advice to me.

Lastly, this week also brought an email saying that the physical location of Fusion Beads will be closing at the end of September. I’m guilty of not being there enough, but it has a special place in my heart. That was the first local bead store where my love of jewelry making blossomed. I took so many classes there, and I’m eternally grateful for all of the inspiration and advice I found there. I need to make it there. Soon. Until then, it’s best to think about that line from that Semisonic song. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Here’s to looking forward to what that beginning will be for the Fusion Beads’ employees and and for me—and where it will lead us.

Back at it

Remember when my week of vacation was some 30 to 40 days away? This time tomorrow I’ll have nearly a full day of work behind me and my summer week off will be something to dream about for next year. It’s crazy how time passes. Damn that Steve Miller for identifying so correctly that time keeps on slipping into the future.

Anywho, it’s been a busy couple of weeks — busy  enough that I’ve been too lame to make a post.

Because there are still many things to do before I call it a day today, this will likely be another visual-heavy post, which, I understand, is not the right approach to blogging.

First: Keycaps. Morgan and I went to the meet-up at the Living Computer Museum on the 22nd. I was backwards and shy and didn’t want to talk to people. I even sat off to the side and read while he checked out keyboards. Morgan walked around with some of my keycaps in a small box, and got some great feedback. A couple of photos/mentions even ended up on Reddit. I still feel like a phony (or outsider), but I keep plugging away. We’ll see what happens.

Some of my second round of keycaps. The one with the blue background and yellow flower is my favorite.
Alcohol ink and metallic mixatives make for a lovely combination.
This hedgehog was a test. Can I draw something small on a piece of tissue paper and submerge it into the resin? Yes, I can. And the results, while needing to be finessed, aren’t too shabby.
As this dried, the colors lightened up, but it’s lovely. Morgan wonders what the next step is. Park of me wants to leave it as is.

Second: Art-o-mat. I got my 50 pieces ready by drilling holes and adding string. Then I packaged them up and they’re on their way to North Carolina. Yay!!

The 50 Art-o-mat pieces before I drilled holes.

Here are some of my favorite flowers-in-resin pendants.

Here are the pendants with strings attached. The stripes of color are pleasing to me.

Here are all of the pieces boxed up and ready to be put into Artomat machines. Yay!!!

Third: Just making jewelry. In addition to keycaps and Art-o-mat pieces, I made some jewelry. I was the shut-in I dreamed of being — at least for the firsts three days, and it was amazing. How can I make this my regular life?

One of the great things about being on vacation was that I had the time to dig into beads I’ve had for awhile and do something with them. What a satisfying feeling.
Bad photo. Fun “pillow” beads.
I don’t typically care for purple, but I like this. There’s some iridescence that the photo didn’t capture.
Someone aside from me will love this. Right?
I was asked to make something with both dark and light green lucite cabochons. This, too, is lovelier than I thought it would be.

Anywho, I need to read a book to prep for an interview on Tuesday. I also need to finish a birthday present, and I want to bake some banana bread with some Skippy Peanut Butter Bites mixed in. The question is, do I throw a few chocolate chips in for fun?

Happy baking and happy making everyone!

Anything-but-lazy days of summer

Every year I keep in my heart the notion that summer will be lazy, easy, languid. And every year, it’s a ridiculously busy season. This year is no exception. I think that once this month is over — marking the halfway point of the market season — I’ll have a little more breathing room. On the bright side, my week off is less than two weeks away, and I’ll have a Saturday off from the market to kick off that week.

This my be my favorite keycap so far. Thank goodness several years of working with resin have trained me for this kind of thing.

I will, however, be attending the mechanical keyboard meet-up on that free Saturday. Apparently someone who has come up with a kit for making a keycap mold will be there. That is something I’d like to see — and maybe purchase. And some cherry-profile caps are on there way to me. Some more keycaps will be in the works soon.

The keycaps I’ve made, in their adorable case.

In the meantime, I embellished/enhanced/”made” a few more keycaps this past week. For precision, the toothpick is my friend.

Pebeo paint + keycaps = tiny fun.

I also had fun with more bead embroidery this week.

I made the owl cabochon and then added several rows of beading around it. This pleases me.
Some rockabilly gal will love this. Right?

 

Anything featuring chartreuse is a-ok in my book.

Today I popped into the Value Village in Redmond and hit pay dirt! I’ve been searching for a copy of that since last year. The two journals I made with the first one were attention grabbers.

Aside from the old “Careers” game I found earlier this year, this is the best find of 2017.

After that score, I wandered into Ben Franklin looking for some fun scrapbook paper to use on the inside of the “Crazy Cat Lady” journals, the “Puppy-opoly” game I found last week and the Seattle Monopoly game I’ve had at the ready for awhile. I think these end papers will really make a big difference.

Fun scrapbook paper just waiting to become end papers for a journal.

Lastly, I am pleased to say that my artomat submission was mailed last Wednesday. I hope to hear from them this week.

My Artomat submission. It is a pressed flower in resin. I drilled a hole and added a cord to make it into a necklace.
This is the logo Morgan came up with. I think the words on the label are perfectl and incorporate my business name and the product in an ideal way.

This day full of chores has left me with little time for making anything. I’m hoping to get something accomplished yet this week. So … until next week when I’ll be at the Redmond Saturday Market and the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market.

Pop in the PNW

As I mentioned last week, my dad was here for a visit, and there wasn’t much time to work on too many projects. It was a great visit, and I only wish he would have been here longer. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with to-dos right now, so this post will be a quick show-and-kind-of-tell.

Pop checking out Snoqualmie Falls.
My friend-first-now-sister-in-law and Pop reading about the history of Snoqualmie Falls.
Pop and my brother hanging out on the deck.
Pop, me, Spritle and my brother.
Pop, me and the boyfriend. This picture makes me very happy!

 

After Pop left, I worked on these two journals to replace the ones that sold last week.

Horse- and Dog-opoly journals.
A trip to Ben Franklin last week resulted in the find of these papers that are great for the inside covers.

I made two more lucite cabochon bead-embroidered pendants. I love them both.

I also got in a little work on key caps. These two feature crystals embedded into an epoxy clay. There’s so much more to say about key caps. In fact, there are more with Morgan that he’ll be photographing this weekend. All I know for sure is that a mechanical keyboard meet up is in our future in two weeks.

The mica powder on the one on the left makes it, imho.

Plus, there’s always time for pouring resin!

Lavender is so pretty when pressed. I really like this piece.
I need to work on a better photo of this, but the cellophane wrap in the circle give it a nice iridescent look.
I am so smitten with the big pressed flower that comprises the cats “body.” I wish i knew what it is or where I found it.

 

I should work on better lighting for my photos. I should work on updating my Etsy store. I should get things ready for the Artomat. I also kind of want to finish a collage I started a few weeks ago. And then there’s just chilling out. What I will do, however, is head to Goodwill and see what kind of treats might be in store.

Until next week.