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.

 

 

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!

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.

 

Resin, resin everywhere

When I first discovered resin, I wanted to put it on all surfaces. Well, anything that might make for fun jewelry or even card embellishments. And, like it or not, I got resin on my clothing and in my hair, and Slinky even managed to get it in her fur more than once. But any mostly flat surface would be embellished and then sealed with resin. The world was full of crafty possibility.

As time has gone by, I’m not quite as zealous. I still work with resin on a weekly basis, but I’m reigned in some of that experimentation. That said, when Morgan showed me what people were doing with keycaps, I wanted to give it a try. Here are my results: Four resin and flower caps with one Pebeo paint (and soon to be “plus resin”) caps. The tricky part was getting the caps even so that resin wouldn’t just flow over the side. I have some ideas for round two.
They’re all prototypes, in my eyes. The next step is to try them out on Morgan’s mechanical keyboard. (Hey, that’s a good title!)
I do like the way lights shines on through the resin. The paint is much more opaque.
Light shines nicely through the cap with resin.
The cap with paint is much more opaque.
These two pendants are also the result of me wanting to embellish something.
These were both big beads that I decorated with rub-on transfers and sealed with resin. There’s a pleasing heft to both of them. The silver one is really lovely, imho.
After scoring three animal “-opoly” games at Goodwill last Sunday, I decided to forge ahead and turn them into journals even if I have plenty of journals on hand.

Instead of gluing cards onto page of the journals, I made pockets and slipped in random cards from the games.
Plus, these two Reader’s Digest collections have lovely covers. The blue tape looks a little flat in this photo, but it’s really fun in real life.
The seahorse journal may stay with me. I’m so smitten with it.
My dad is visiting tomorrow evening through Thursday. I’m very excited for him to be here. Because my time will be spoken for over the next several days, it only makes sense to post this now. Here’s to keeping cool when the temperature gets into the 90s on Sunday. (Ugh! No thank you, please!!)

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!