Beading, die cutting and keycaps

Happy Halloween! I hope we get some trick-or-treaters tomorrow. (That anchor between the signs really cracks me up! So spooky!)

I’m on day three of a four-day vacation. It doesn’t hurt that a weekend gave me an extra two days. In that time I’ve said farewell to the 2018 Redmond Saturday Market season, made jewelry, broken out my die cutter and dabbled in keycaps.

The great thing is that most of the projects have made me stretch myself.

First I was sorting through my bead stash looking for beads to re-home, and I found these bright, candy-like beads. I tried pearl knotting and a few iterations of stringing before I remembered some shiny pastel spacers I had on hand. Once I worked those between the beads with some clear glass spacers, I ended up with something that I don’t hate. It’s very Miami/summer. I’m such a Seattle/autumn.

These tiny elephants weren’t really challenging, but I think they are adorable. Elephants, plus the word “love.” Swoon.

Next, the beau commissioned a keycap. Although it’s not complete, how to get the image on the keycap really caused me no small amount of concern. Once again, I remembered a product that I had on hand (and that seems to be no longer available) saved the day. Preliminary results show that the technique is indeed promising.

As for die cutting, I hadn’t done much in ages. It always feels like an event to cut out a bunch of small pieces of paper — even though the machine does most of the work. I’m excited to try something with vinyl. Unfortunately, I only have white vinyl on hand. Unless I’m going to print out an image of go-go boots, I’m having a hard time imaging using it. That feels like another personal challenge.

Of course I had to make a Bigfoot card. I hope the “bare” spots give him dimension, not the look of mange.
I’ve wanted to make card after card lately. I’m not sure why the embossing powder fell away at the bottom of the word hello, but I like that distressed look.

While marbling doesn’t stretch my skills, per se, it’s still fun to see what kind of results I get. Who knew I’d fall in love with the medium.

Again with the Bigfoot?!
Of course a cephalopod had to be marbled. The swirls create a good sense of movement.
While looking for something yesterday, I found these papier mache pieces that I’d created in molds. Why did I move them? Anywho, some of them kind of begged to be marbled.
Here are some of the papier mache pieces. The gray of the original background really dulls the colors.

It’s a bummer to think that tomorrow is the last day of vacation. I could use another month of this. I mean, holiday shows are coming up, and there are Christmas gifts to make. No rest for weary/wicked.

 

It’s keycap time

Letter-row key with a cherry switch.

It’s keycap time, and isn’t it great. (To be sure, that’s to be sung to the tune of Three Beat Slide’sSummtertime is Great“. (I hope you listen and learn to love them as much as I do.)

Anywho, back to keycap time. After taking a break from keycaps, I knew it was time to get back to it. Seeing as how the keycaps with tiny flowers or leaves have been the most popular, I decided to focus on those.
I’ve added six to my Etsy store, with another five or six that need to be photographed and added as well.
WASD top-row key with a cherry switch and a tiny Johnny Jump Up.
Top-row key with a cherry switch.
Looking at all of my tiny flowers has be longing for spring and summer to have blooms ready for the picking. I’m not eager for the heat of summer, but oh how I love seeing pretty and colorful flowers right outside of my front door.
The month is not quite half full, and I already feel like my goals for 2018 have fallen to the way side. Maybe they have. Maybe I’m too hard on myself. Who can know? When pressed, I will always opt for shouldering the blame of being a slacker/phony, etc. (Is it as tiring to read those words as it is to write them?)
That said, I am plugging away at loomwork projects. In fact, two sold already. (Yay!!)
After an hour spent looking at journal-making videos on youtube this past Sunday evening, I decided that I needed to try something new.
So, I tried a junk journal, pamphlet-stitch journal with more than just plain paper and an accordion spine journal with signatures. All of them have imperfections, but as I’ve said before, I’m OK with prototypes.
My first attempt at an accordion-fold spine.
It took me longer than it should have to realized how I can use board game for collage substrates. They’re good and stiff, which means no buckling or bending. 

The inside of the altered book with the pamphlet stitch. I decided to stitch right through the spine instead creating an “insert” that I would later attach.
The inside of my first real junk journal. For this one I stapled the signatures and glued them in. Overall, this one has its charms.
Regarding books, I’m having trouble just pick them out for review. Horrible!
Maybe I need to start with some easier decisions. I have some boardgames that need to make their way to my Goodwill pile. Speaking of boardgames, I found this Charlie’s Angels board under my desk. It will make for two great covers!
I also looked, with much envy, at the website for San Fancisco’s Center for the Book. Why doesn’t Seattle have such a thing? Their classes look great. I was lying in bed wondering how to make their core certificate classes a reality. Right now I don’t have any answers. I might as well try to develop a plan to travel back in time to study book preservation in library school. I do kick myself for that decision, but then again, all of my decisions led me to where I am. So, make of that what you will.
(Maybe the next time I have a $1,000 burning a hole in my pocket, I’ll head to SF to day a four-day intensive. Ok, that does sound a little easier than time travel. There just won’t be time to travel there for the next session in March.)
I am also making slow, but semi-steady, progress on going through books and magazines. Deciding on whether or not to keep a magazine is the easier decision. However, the first two issues of Bead and Button that I picked up were relevant to things I’d recently been looking into: a review of looms and a story about the various options of pattern-making software. Funny how the information finds you once you’re ready.
Speaking of things finding you, a quick trip to Goodwill this past Saturday resulted in a fun board game find, to great books and a jar of beads. It was spendy for a Goodwill purchase, but I could tell there were enough real pearls to make it worth my while. I spent a good part of yesterday sorting them all out. And, several strands of plastic beads will make their way back to Goodwill.

 

The chalice of beads.
A pre-sorting look at my bounty.
It was fascinating to see the broken pieces that people gave away rather than fixing.
Sorting complete! The beads on the mat are all glass or real pearls. I love the green pearls!
These are the plastic beads that I found worth saving. Might be fun to use them with one of my bead looms.

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!

Tales from the Redmond Saturday Market

Just for fun! My first (almost) ripe strawberry of the season!

This week was a strange one. I’ve spent my afternoons listening to the podcast My Dad Wrote a P*rno, and then around 7 or so I’d switch to either The Keepers of the Netflix adaptation of 13 Reasons Why. It resulted in some serious emotional whiplash.

But, it also fueled a week of working on tile pendants and bead embroidery projects. I was hoping to have this one ready to have out on Saturday, but a round of show-and-tell at work resulted it its sale.

Fuchsia lucite cabochon with green beads.

I did finish these earrings, which are nice and light. I’ll next make a pair in green and pink. The great thing is that the centers are scrapbook embellishments that I’ve had for years. What fun to put them to use after languishing for so long.

Bead-embroidered earrings. Yes, that’s my reflection of me in my blue sweatshirt jacket.

I also worked on this pendant. Once again I failed to document the process with photos. I have this photo and then this one of the finished product. I do have one more embellishment to add.

Mostly, I want to use this space to tell a relay a story told to me at the market yesterday. A woman asked about the price of the tile pendants and then asked if a necklace could be turned into a keychain. That was a quick fix, and I was glad to help! She then told me how her 14-year-old son had asked her if the market would be a good place to bring a date. He’d also wondered if one of my tiles my make for a good purchase for the date. Then she added, “So I have a soft spot for what you do.” It’s interactions like that that really mean the most.

About an hour before the market closed, a couple came by and they really loved what I do. That also felt good. Even though it’s painful to see/experience, I understand that what I make isn’t for everyone. And then I get customers like that who made a fuss over many things, purchased many of them and said they’d be back. I guess it never ceases to amaze me that people like what I do.

Another “just for fun” photo. Here’s a hardware store washer colored with alcohol ink that features some wire wrapping and crystals.

Now for the boyfriend section of this post.

Earlier this week, I asked Morgan if I should organize my beads by either size or color. Before he replied “color” I knew that’s what I’d do. I love that he and I have a mind meld going on.

Earlier today I got a look at some art he’s working on. That make me happen. I was even able to share some oil paint and pearl ex powders with him. He is quite independent — and not just a little stubborn — so it’s nice to be able to do something nice for him.

Speaking of organizing beads by color, I think I might work on that a little right now. It seems like a satisfying thing to do.

Long time coming

Wow! How is it that I haven’t posted anything in so long? Could it be the back-to-back work trips that took me to Ottawa, Quebec City, Montreal, New Hampshire and Vermont? Indeed, I think that’s the reason.

On the trips I came close to finishing a shawl, worked on Morgan’s socks and read two books. (I loved both The Book that Matters Most and Dumplin’. Both had something that I needed, and I can’t say that it’s only coincidence that I read them when I did. I love how books often reach you when you need them most.

I’ve been home for a week now, and I’ve been able to get quite a few things done. (Including some gardening and work on a birthday present.)

To help get myself focused, I set out everything that I’d like to finish in time for the market. I’ve made a decent dent, but there’s still so much to do.

(Before you get the picture parade, I will start by saying that I know I need more process photos. At this time of year, at the heart of market prep, it’s hard to slow down and take photos. I mostly just want to get things made!)

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All of these pieces are waiting for some bead embroidery. I really want to tackle the yellow and black piece of resin, even though I’m not sure that it would be a big hit. I know, I should start with the lucite.
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These three pieces used to be wire wrapped together. And then … some Mickey Mouse comments prompted me disassemble them and turn them into a pendant and earrings.
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I turned this “Mickey Mouse” head upside down and think that this look, with wire-wrapped crystals joining sections of chain, is pretty good.
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I’d socked away these purplish beads and when I unearthed them, I know that I needed to stamp on the big one. I kind of love it. The owl is pretty great, imho.
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After the class I took on coloring metal, I was inspired to do these piece. The pink-and-blue one says “Love.” I did another Love piece with a backwards “e.” Oh Stephanie … I may have to wear it myself.
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These are the three wood-burned discs that I colored in. I covered both sides of each pendant with resin.The one on the bottom right is the backside with some pebeo paint. It’s pretty cool. I’d love to dangle some crystals, but that would make it a little uncomfortable, if someone wanted to wear the other side facing out.
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These three are made from either paper clay or polymer clay. That reminds me, I’m taking an image-transfer-on-polymer-clay class in two weeks. Yahoo!!!
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Another polymer clay piece, painted with crackle paint and acrylics. I love all of those fire-polished beads. That is the Stephanie color palette. No other colors need apply.

 

I can’t jury for journals until the second Saturday of May, so I have a little extra time to finish the journals I’d like to make. Remember the image transfer journal cover that didn’t work out? I just pasted some scrapbook paper over those eyesores and here’s how the outside will look on both sides. I love it! I added some sparkly embossing powder, which doesn’t really show up in this photo. Guess you’ll have to pop by the Redmond Saturday Market and check it out in person.

Journal cover. I think I need to move away from underwater themes soon.
Journal cover. I think I need to move away from underwater themes soon.

OK, it’s time to pack up some projects to take the East Side. It’s Easter and my brother’s birthday. We’ve got a double celebration in the works!