Keycaps and then some

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything.

The move is complete. We’re still adapting to the house. I am glad to report that living together is good and something we’re both enjoying. The cool fall weather certainly help. This house gets crazy hot inside when it’s hot outside.

I’ve been making a few things. A class about painting with alcohol ink led me to give it a try on keycaps. I had some varying results.

 

My tiny alcohol-ink landscape.
Alcohol ink design that may or may not look like a flower.
I just have to think “avocado” when I see this alcohol-ink painted keycap.
As if there’s any doubt that this octopus keycap would be my favorite.

 

Here’s a marbled keycap. I quite enjoy marbling keycaps. I have learned that solid spaces are way prettier when marbled than pieces that have open designs. I’m not articulating this well. Let’s just say that there will be examples to come.

 

I haven’t done much bead embroidery this summer. This focal piece is waiting to be finished. I wonder how long it will take to find the right home. It was my first time beading with crystal cup chain. I’m eager to do more of that! And, just more bead embroidery in general.

Lastly, to bring it back around to alcohol ink, here’s a sheet of yupo paper and some stenciled alcohol ink. It’s kind of ghostly and lovely. Must break out more stencils and alcohol ink.

Keycaps, keycaps, keycaps

Four months since my last post. What’s up with that? I can answer that, but first a keycap.

I started this year knowing that the beau and I would be taking steps to move in together. And so, I made a lot of jewelry to prep for the time when my supplies would be packed up, and I’d need a surplus of jewelry.

I won’t say there’s a surplus, but I made a lot. See!

And, I dabbled in keycaps (including a few custom orders).

The move is less than a month away. My place is mostly boxes with random unpacked items here are there. I go from thinking that “I don’t have that much more to pack” to “Holy cow! The movers are going to be very unhappy with me.”

With my supplies mostly boxed up, I’ve come home from work and felt indifferent about making something with the items I left out. Maybe it was a sillyl decision, but I signed up for the #stencilgirl #stencilfiedjournal challenge to keep me creating something, anything. This is how I handled the first prompt — stencil a page and cover it with circles.

Easy Marble has helped, too, to get me to make something. I love that stuff and kind of want to marble everything, such at these cabochons that I need to work up into something a little more substantial.

And these keycaps!

 

I think that I get results that are as close to Fordite as anything I’ve tried/seen.

On that note, it’s time to make “We’re moving” cards. Yup, an email notification just won’t suffice.

Let’s see if I can blog again before another month goes by.

 

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, he 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 they’re 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.

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.

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!