Welcome 2018! A new year of possibilities.

I’ve had the tiger-stipe pencils since I ordered them from Circus Fun cereal about 30 years ago. The other is from a set of pencils with quotes from/designed by the artist Karen Finley. I’ve had this one since the mid-90s.
It’s nothing shy of confounding that another year has passed and a new year is upon us. Yet here I am, simultaneously welcoming 2018 and hoping that I remember to write the right year on my checks sometime before March.
I’m not a resolutions kind of gal, but I am the kind of person to mull over thoughts, ideas and goals.
This is my list of goals — in no particular order.
1. Make better use of social media for the stuff I make.
2. Be consistent with my blog and taking process photos, not just final-product photos.
3. Work ahead on items for the market.
4. Drop five pounds (at the very least).
5. Workg in a sketchbook/art journal regularly.
6. Keep my Etsy store in better shape.
7. Make more keycaps.
Is that a lucky No. 7 or a lazy-not-quite 10?
There are so many things that I want to do/tackle/make/learn. But 2018 will be, if nothing else, a year for focus.
The beau and I are committed to the idea of cohabitating. That means packing up my small store-worth of various art and craft supplies—including books and magazines—and putting much of it in storage for a month or more.
I’ve actually started the process of sorting and tidying in my craft room. It’s a surprisingly satisfying process, and I only wish I had more time to do so and the discipline to keep everything organized.
Part of tidying meant testing a box full of pens and markers. I tossed out all of these, which seems like more pens than most people own.
Here are some fun finds during the tidying.
I found a whole pack of beads and a Klutz bead loom bracelet from many years ago. That’s totally the the wrong bead thread. I’m wondering if there’s a way to save it.
I also found a tiny paper clay book and to glass cabochons. The cabs need to find their way into some beaded pendants.
These kinds of cleaning binges always result in my finding cabs or other pieces that have been waiting to be turned into something great. How could I have let that “Joy” cab languish for so long?
Because the sale of my place and subsequent renting of a “together” place will possibly disrupt time typically used for making items for the market, I’m making a commitment to be very good about #3 on the list. I’ve already started some more dried-flower pendants. I even broke out some plain wooden bangles and have started painting some and decoupaging others.
Bangles painted and decoupaged. Of course that green — with a coat of glitter — is my favorite.
More decoupage and paint. The one with the green dots will see some stamp action. But which stamp?
Plus, in the week leading up to Christmas, I had some crazy insomnia and one of those nights/early mornings I started thinking about the Jewel Loom that I purchased more than a year ago. So, after watching a few videos and digging out the book Julianna Avelar wrote about using the Jewel Loom, I made some bracelets. On Christmas Eve I took those three bracelets over to the family’s Eastside compound and my mom declared that all three were hers. Of course I’m fine with that. I only regret not having photographed them for a little bit of blog show-and-tell.
Here are some other Jewel Loom pieces that I have (mostly) completed in the last few days. The beau loves the “chicklet”-like shape of the tile beads and is encouraging me to make more.
The one in the middle is still on the Jewel Loom. They all make me happy.
I know that soon I’ll need to step away from projects with bigger beads and do something with some size 11 Delicas. (I can’t help but have flashbacks to my Rick’s Beading Loom “dropped” beads. They funny thing is, I should be able to do the same kind of loom projects on both looms.) I’ve been trying to decide what kind of pattern might interest me. Should I design something fancy or stick to something simple?
What is it about the Jewel Loom that I love so much? I’m not sure. I know that I could make some off-loom bracelets with the same look, but the claw clasps  give these pieces a finished look that I can’t get with off-loom stitching. And when you have to tie all of the leather warp threads together, the beads at the top bunch up and pop out to one side or the other, which makes a girl like me kind of batty (battier?). So for now, I’m a Jewel Loom gal.
Two random notes: I really do need to make more keycaps. I’m trying out some Daniel Smith watercolor ground to see how that would work on the top of a keycap but underneath resin. Unfortunately, the only kind I have is titanium white. This bottle is so old that they might not have had translucent when I first wanted to try the product. (That might be a lie. Maybe I just didn’t know to look. However, the bottle is a good five years old or so, which means my test might not be happening under ideal conditions.)
I sent in my second batch of Art-o-mat pieces, too. The first round all sold out, which was (is!) a huge thrill for me! Again, being a planner, part of me feels that I should go ahead and make more to not be in a position of scrambling when (if) some more sell. Again, who knows what supplies I’ll have access to when that time comes.
One last aspect of moving-prep in the new year is going through my many books and magazines. Once upon a time I imagined that I’d do one book review a week. Prepping for the move feels like a good time to revisit that idea. I just don’t know where to start. And what should those reviews entail? Trying some of the projects? Just giving the text and photos a good, long look?
There’s still time to decide, I know. Even though books seem like the easiest thing to box up first, the thought of moving things that I’ll end up discarding drives me more than a little crazy. I went from moving so often throughout my life up until my mid-30s that I’ve lost that muscle memory. However, I really look forward to working in whatever well-lit work space I’ll have knowing that MF (one of his many nicknames) is just a room or two away.
No matter what, change is afoot in this new year, and my arms are open wide to embrace it all!

If I only had a brain

What lovely little plants. I bought a contain that has pink, orange, red and fuchsia. Now to find out how they’ll look once they’ve been properly dried.

What a week. I have been moving through this week as if in a daze. No amount of coffee is helping, either. I’m not really sure why? I haven’t had the best sleep this week, but that’s kind of par for the course. I think it comes down to this: Morgan and I share a brain. When he was taking classes and really busy, I would be really tired. When he takes more than his share of the brain, I want to do little more than sleep. As he’s been very busy helping someone this week — and the past few weeks — I think his tiredness finally reached me.

In all fairness, I did spend this week organizing all of my beads. While not a strenuous task, it was a time suck and left my living room unlivable for about five days.
Is it possible that I have too many beads? Yes, I think that might be possible. Or, at least while I was putting them in the small containers and sorting them by color, I felt that I have to many. I wonder how long that feeling will last.
It’s weird, but I have more purple beads than I thought I would. I have more turquoise-colored beads than I thought I did. (Who knew that I would be drawn to that color?) I have about as many green beads as I thought I would, with a nice emphasis on chartreuse/yellow-green. I do have more green beads than any other color.
It is pleasing to see the cascading shades of the various colors. I could probably go back in and do a better job of arranging them from light to dark, but that’s for a different day.
Beads labelled and ready for use. I’ve already found this system to be more efficient than when they were organized by size.
And, I broke out my label maker. Yay! I was too lazy to read the instructions to use special characters. You know what? I’m 100% OK with that — for now at least.
Between the repackaging, sorting and rooting out of beads, I found time to work on a special order of pendants. The order came out of the blue and was a pleasant surprise.
I also added the last embellishing row on this pendant and had a bit of time to work on a few more resin pieces.
Resin and dried flowers are a great combination.
I don’t know if any bloom I’ve ever smashed and dries has been as lovely as this one.
I do have a good collection of dried flowers now, and I will use that week of vacation in July to do a big batch of them. Only 33 days left until vacation starts. Yahoo….!!!!!
In addition to the resin pendants, I also made this to have at the ready for the market this weekend. The color scheme seems ideal for me; it will be a little sad to part with it, if I do indeed have the good fortune to sell it.
I really love this pendant. Even my sister-in-law said it “looks like me.”

Yesterday at the market there were two great interactions — and neither involved a sale. First, a man popped by to tell me how he’d purchased a mother’s day gift from me and that his wife really liked it.

Second, two little girls were watching me doing some bead embroidery. The mom suggested that she could find them a beading class to which the older of the two girls replied, “I want her to teach me.” It was really, really sweet!

I know just where to put the glitter

What a week, what a week.  I completed two custom orders and really love this one.

It’s time to order more blue and green lucite cabs. Especially because this new piece sold within the first two hours of the market yesterday.

The two journal covers below have resulted in more than enough inner turmoil and self doubt. I feel that I’ve gone too far, and then I feel that it’s just right. Then I make a mistake. Then I think of a fix I can live with. Tricky business, collage making.

Plus, in my mind, circles equal bubbles, which equal water. Stars equal sky. But I ran into having to reconcile circles/bubbles with green. That’s not a water color. And now I feel like twinkling stars are what this really needs.
Happily, when I googled “blue-green sky” I came up with some images of the northern lights. So green isn’t as strange of a sky color as I imagined it could be. I used to think I was a graphic minimalist, but after the layer upon layer of color and paint that I added to these, I have to admit that I might not be. And, I’m OK with that. While I first felt they were kind of lame, I’m now pleased with the results — even the fun tape to help seal the rough edges.
While waiting for layers to dry, I whipped up this journal, replacing the text block with plain paper which is glued in thank to my freebie “Your Story” binder.
I also created this one from a Seattle History Monopoly game. I might be set with journals for now — until a few sell.
In the midst of my making mania Thursday night I realized that three shelves in my craft room were taken up by bedding, and it hit me that I could move things around to free up some space. So, I got out of bed early, cleared off the shelves and am now in the very real beginnings of reorganizing my shelves to better serve my crafting needs and habits.
Lastly, these are prototypes. There are some air bubbles that displease me, but … I think it’s an interesting look, as if the flowers are floating.
I guess I’ll drill some holes, add a chain and see whether or not people like them. No harm in trying. (Although, that might violate my goal of simplifying my jewelry offerings.)
And, for funsies, I made a few more pendants with dried flowers and resins.
They get a lot of positive compliments, which makes me happy. (Yesterday when I asked a customer if she had any questions, she said: “No, only compliments.” That goes right up there after someone saying that I “know just where to put the glitter.”
Happy Memorial Day everyone!
p.s. I’m only 56 days away from having a week off to play at home. It’s become one of my favorite weeks of the year.

Too much stuff for Steph

First, let me say that I realized today that I’m the only person in my family who has a need to have a plan. I believe in some wiggle room within a plan, but I would like some kind of structure within which I can find comfort.
I asked my mother today if anyone else in the family was such a planner, and neither of us could think of anyone. Maybe it’s best that way. To be honest, neither I, nor my people, could stand it if there were another person like me demanding dates, times, commitments. Even I make myself crazy with the questions I ask, but it’s who I am.

Oh, me and my quirks.

Speaking of which, I realized that I seriously have way too much stuff squirreled away in boxes, bags and bins on my shelves. The bad news is that I so easily lose track of what I have that I end up having multiples of items. Just this week I realized that I have two copies of a polymer clay book on my shelves. While it’s a lovely book, it doesn’t necessitate a need for two copies.

   

Ocean-themed shrink plastic.
 
Anywho, I took last Friday off from work to do some organizing while I put the kiln to use.

I made some glass pieces. Some were successes, some not so much.

 

I love the tiny glass owls.
  
Fused-glass cabachons.
 And, I organized. Oh it felt good. While tidying up, I found a stash of pieces that need anything from a simple bail to a slick—or three—of paint to a special necklace/chain made just for that item.

 

Polymer clay pieces in need of paint
  
Mostly ready for chains or necklaces.
  
Resin shapes in need of some Swellegant paint.
 
 It left me feeling kind of ahead of things as far as the market goes. Hurray for small victories! Now to start finishing those pieces.

Finishing projects and keeping things organized is an ongoing battle. All I can do is soldier on.