A basic truth — or two

Oh the randomness! I printed out these images on shrink film years ago. Yesterday seemed like the right time to shrink them. In fact, I have a few more to shrink today.

The first basic truth about me is that sometimes I feel down, less than inspired because my crafty obsessions are pointless. I’m not so self-absorbed to think I’m alone. It’s just that sometimes I want to steep in it. And so when I wrote the draft of this post on Friday, my capital-BT Basic Truth was that Im a foolish time-wasting hack.

It’s nearly 24 hours later, and I’m feeling better (never mind the wish that I had all of next week off). Morgan has been ill, and that gave me time to dig into a few things. And, it helped boost my spirits, if not my confidence. So, take the below words for what they are: a snapshot of a moment, of a mood.

Here’s a basic truth about me: My day-to-day existence is nothing if not a roller coaster ride of feeling pretty good about myself and feeling rather down on myself. I know that doesn’t set me apart from anyone or make me special in any way.

I’m guessing that, like most people, it’s something I think about only when I’m in a “less than” frame of mind. You know, those days when you question yourself, your worth, your skills … your everything.

On the good days, I’m too busy making stuff and bouncing from idea to project and back again to think about myself. I’m busy thinking about beads, paint, paper, pens — pretty much all of the supplies.

So, how to harness the feelings of the good days? Or, how to ignore the doubt-filled messages that scroll through my head.

I’ve tried books. I recently finished Real Artists Don’t Starve. And then there was Make it Mighty Ugly that inspired me about two years ago. I really need to get to Life Without Envy. I have high hopes that there will be some message in there that works its way into my brain and becomes so deeply rooted that I can become one of those people who moves through the world with confidence and ease, not once surrendering to fear and skepticism.

I can say that, even at my lowest, I still manage to make things, even if I am unhappy with the results.

This bracelet, for example, is something I worked on despite being fearful that the result wouldn’t be perfect.

Sorry for the blurriness. This bracelet was too ashamed to be on the Internet, and this was the best I could do.

Even before I reached the halfway mark, I knew that I needed ot see it to completion, no matter how arbitrary that decision might have been. It’s a simple peyote stitch around a metal bangle. Those Delicas should be a uniform size, so I’m not sure why some rows stick out a little more than others. Oh well … It’s affixed and stitched up, and it is what it is.

I’m still thinking about soldering. Still trying to solder. Here are some of my most recent attempts. It is amazing how just a little practice makes a big difference. I also need to remember that burnishing is my friend. That said, I’ve burnished until my hand cramped, and the foil was still lifting. I wonder if my iron is getting too hot. Do I need a rheostat, which books and some online sources say I should have. Sigh…

Today I mostly worked with fused glass, broken “china” and some random titles. Here they are, waiting to be soldered.
Soldered. There is some lifting of the foil. There just awaiting jump rings. Ugh! Adding those is my least favorite part.
Jump rings — in all of their wabi sabi glory. The fused glass piece wit the copper back has me hankering for some affordable black-backed copper tape.
Is it some kind of sign that this glass cracked twice will making this. And always on the “Just be you” side. I finally got it to work. Whew…

Here are two keycap caps that I stitched up a couple of weeks ago. These I love, no matter how anyone else feels about them. They’re silly and make me smile.

Morgan suggested the bead to look like a ball on top of a knit hat. He’s very clever like that!
I am so smitten with this tiny pussy hat!

Speaking of keycaps, I have some new tools to put to use with keycaps: tiny stencils! I used them on keycaps and a few resin pendant.

Hold me closer tiny stencils …


Until then, here’s another basic truth (and then some!) about me.

• I’m a horrible housekeeper.

• I’m a decent baker and OK cook

• My feet are happiest in tennis shoes — after being barefoot, of course.

• I have a lot of bathroom rules. (Just ask Morgan.)

• I’m OK moving from baking to feet talk.

• There is no greater comfort than just being with Morgan. (Here’s one of his personal truths: No matter how motion sick he might be feeling, is is a rock, comforting me while I feel the same. Damn, I love that man!)

• I like making lists.

• I really like taking classes. And this week the universe is tormenting me with classes I would love to take, but can’t because there’s full or too far away.

There’s a class at Art and Soul in Portland this week that’s being taught by Laurie Mika about embellishing polymer clay that been put in molds. Man I’d love to have those skills – or boost the limited clay skills I have. Then, I visited Tracy Stanley’s site and after not have posted anything since last August, she has a relatively new post about classes she’ll be teaching in Milwaukee at the Bead and Button Show in June. It’s kind of breaking my heart to be missing those classes. She is local, however. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll find a place to offer them in the Pac NW.

All of that pining aside, I often find that trying to figure out something that I can’t learn in a classroom setting helps fire up my creativity.

If you have a basic truth — or two or 12, I’d love to hear from you.

Until then, enough with the navel gazing, it’s time to get back to making things.

Show and show

In one week’s time, I’ll be done with the second holiday craft show of a two-show weekend. I’ve spent the last week making things for those two shows. It’s always difficult knowing whether or not I’ve made the right thing.

Once the resin on a few dried-flower pieces is cured, I’ll finish them with chains or cords and be done (in theory). All in all I feel good about my progress. Maybe I should think about another journal or two for the weekend. Maybe one with original collage work and one from a board game. Maybe…

But, despite the fact that I said I’m feeling good about it all, I still feel like I should be making things and not sitting at my computer.

So, here are few things that have claimed my time in the last week.

Here are nearly 70 pendants that needed bails. (Hey boyfriend, note the gloves — to keep chemical-laden glue from underneath my fingernails!)

So many tile pendants. 

Here are some dried-flower pendants.

The big, speckled leaves are difficult to work into pieces. I’m happy with how this one turned out.
Blue and orange! Need I say more?
This chartreuse one is lovely, too. It’s Morgan’s favorite.

And, here are some beaded bezels. I really love the blue-and-green Christmas pendant. That might be my favorite Christmas color combination.

This pedant features a turquoise cabochon that I got in Santa Fe last month.
The finished raven pendant.
Labradorite! I love the iridescent nature of Labradorite. This was also the first time I experienced with bigger beads on the bottom and smaller beads of top. Color me satisfied.
This one makes me smile. I hope it finds a good home in the next month.
So Christmasy — and Morgan’s favorite of the two Christmas pendants.


One last thing: Today the podcast Off Book has kept me company. It’s great! If you love improv and musicals this is the podcast for you!!

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.