Crafting rabbit hole

This is one of the first pieces I made that made me feel like an artist.

This week I went down a craft-related rabbit hole. Twice! On the same day! It wasn’t the typical kind of rabbit hole in which one project/idea leads to another which leads to another project/idea and on and on until it’s time to go to bed. No, this rabbit hole was born from my commitment to sort through books and magazine before the imminent move.

There are so many beautiful projects in this book. (The Costco price tag is a nice touch, too.)
First, I was looking at my copy of the book The Art of Forgotten Things by Melissa Doerman. (I am certain that when I bought it, some five or six years ago, that I wasn’t ready for those projects. While I’m not certain that I’m ready now, I feel certain that I can at least try about few things.) I love the look of the ribbon links, but I do not understand all of the steps. It could be that I just need to try it and see how it works. You know, like turning a heel on a sock. No matter how many times I do it, it’s still nothing shy of pure magic!
Anywho, I thought to myself, “Why not google her and see if there’s a way to reach her and ask about it.” I found that she’d died. Right around (or just before) the time her book came out. I don’t know her age, but she looked way too young to have died. (That’s a stupid thing to say, and I know it.) Anywho, I found several mentions of her online in remembrances. She seemed to have been loved and admired. I think that’s all that most of us can hope for.
Because I’m ready to try some of the bead-weaving techniques presented in the book, that one is a keeper. I also looked through a metal techniques book during the same lunch out. My passion does not like in working with metal, but there were just enough tips and good ideas to make that book a keeper, too.
This book lead me on a second wild goose chase done the rabbit hole. (I dig that mixed metaphor.)
I stumbled into the second rabbit hole later that night when I decided to look at Sally Jean Alexander’s Pretty Little Things. I took a soldering class with her years ago at my first Art and Soul. I’ll be honest, I was pulling some single-white-female action on my friend Jonna who was (is) a Sally Jean fan. It was the time when soldering was all the rage. I’d also taken a class at Fusion Beads around that time. Even though I had (still have!) all the fixin’s for soldering, it was something I never dabbled in on my own. Now that its no longer *the* craft to do, I’m ready to get back to it. Classic me. (I think I’ll have some time on Sunday to give it a go — if not a small bit of time this afternoon. As I recall, it was attaching jump rings that really broke my spirit. Let’s see how my patience holds up five years later. Will my flux still be good? So much remains to be revealed, and I’m looking forward to this new/old/new craft adventure!)
My first attempts at soldering in many years. Adding a jump ring is still maddening.
Anywho, because soldering isn’t the “hot” trend it was back then, I wondered to myself: “What is Sally Jean Alexander up to these days? Is soldering still her main thing?” I went to her site/blog, and it hasn’t been updated since 2013.
One link that does work on the site is the link to Mr. Sally Jean’s Etsy store for cut class. It’s taking a lot of self control to not reach out to him and ask, politely, for answers. In my search for answers I found some complaints online about no services/products for money given to her. There was also a suggested search of “What happened to Sally Jean Alexander?” so I can’t be the only one to wonder.
I am genuinely curious and truly hope that she’s well and just in need of some quiet time. Being the youngest in my family and having an MLS means I feel it’s my birthright to know what I want to know.
But, thinking about Melissa and Sally Jean got me thinking about celebrity, even craft-world celebrity, trends and what it really means to be a published author. What about this world of (over)sharing and how people like me start to feel like we know people through blogs and social media posts when we don’t know them at all. At best we know of them and of their work.
In any event, my tumble down that rabbit hole left me thinking that everything is so fleeting. Isn’t it?
So, add to the goals of being loved and admired/respected, the goal of doing what you love and having that be enough. (hmm … the German world for aim or goal is Ziel. Does the English zeal come from that? And what part does one’s zeal affect one’s Ziel?)
This piece needs one more finishing touch before I make it into a book/journal cover.
The lesson of letting the satisfaction of creating be enough is one I still struggle to master. Just last night the boyfriend and I talked about some collages I’d done. I won’t lie, I’d love it if he loved everything I do, but I know that’s not really the ideal. I’d much rather that he be honest about what he likes and why some things don’t speak to him. He isn’t really my customer, so I need to learn to hear his thoughts without feeling deflated. I need to learn to hear *everyone’s* thoughts without feeling crushed if there’s not a glowing review (or purchase). People like what they like and that’s the bottom line.
Pink and green plus animal print? Yes, please!
That is not to say that my learning journey is done and I can be satisfied with the knowledge I have now. I intend to keep growing, keep expanding my skill set and keep working on not taking everything so personally. And if people like what I do as I change and grow, great. If they don’t, it’s really OK too.
A very Brady bracelet plus some happy-color stripes.
And, for me, part of the key to accepting feedback is to keep putting my stuff in front of people. Whether it’s via the market, through Instagram posts or by posting pictures here, it’s a good exercise.

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.

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.


Making time for inspiration

Enameled pendant with a beaded chain. Something new for the market today.
The nephew left on Wednesday; we had a great time. Well, I had a great time. I’m only assuming that he had a good time, too.
He is truly like no other person I know. I am particularly fond of this photo. He’s an art student at Ball State University. When we walked by the art building on the UW campus, he noted the unfortunate placement of the letter W on the building’s sign.
(I also love this picture of him at MoPop. He was so happy to see Targ. As he said, doing a “thumbs up” in photos is his thing.) 

He and Morgan talked and laughed a lot. The way those two get along truly makes me happy.
(As an aside: We played the game Careers three times. It’s too good to cut up and repurpose!)
James’ departure means that it’s time to get back to making things. I think I have enough journals for the jury tomorrow. I might make one more tonight, but the worry is that if I fail the jury, I won’t need to make any more for awhile. On the other hand … maybe one last journal would tip the scales in my favor.
Front cover of the latest hand-stitched journal
I was looking for a book that would remind me of the coptic stitch when I unearthed another bead embroidery book. So much good craft p*rn. The book is Textured Bead Embroidery, by Linda Landy. The projects are so lovely, and I am itching to try my hand at some aspects of what she’s done. I get so excited, and then I stop. Is it creative constipation? Is it fear of failure? I am not 100% sure. I think I need to just jump into a project and see what happens. (Of course, I also think that having a day to work on something would be nicer than grabbing an hour here or two hours there.) I love the simple beaded bezels. I love how just switching up the color of the beads can change the look of the overall item. But, I need to do something more.
I need to try new stitches.
I need to try some different kinds of beads.
I need to use two or more focal beads.
In that same bead embroidery book, I saw a reference to Fordite. Oh, it is lovely! I can’t believe I’m only now learning about it. And, happily, I discovered an online tutorial to recreate the look of Fordite. It’s worth a try.
The same video also addresses making your own bezels from clay. Making my own cabochons and bezels are two things I very much want to do. I think it’s little touches like that that can really help a person’s work stand out. At least that’s how I see it.
Polymer clay and crackle paint — just waiting for some resin.
Oh, I also gave some time for a few more polymer clay and crackle paint pieces. The flower is “meh” at best. The round one on the top and the top rectangle are my two favorites. We’ll see how they look with a layer of resin over them.
Tomorrow is the second day of the market. It’s the day before Mother’s Day, so there’s hope for some good sales. It’s supposed to rain, but Morgan said he’ll bring his camping stove. I’m hoping for a cozy day even if it is raining. Of course check in with me around 3:30 to see how cozy I’m feeling then.