Friday, May 30, 2008

Soldered Necklace Charm, music notes

I finished another soldered necklace charm. If you look back to previous posts, you'll see that i made my list of things i've learned about soldering. I like to think i'm somewhat better now than i was then: lets review that list:

1. It is important to burnish down the copper tape or it will just peel back and crispify and such I still have some problems with the tape not being completely smooth and having some small divets and such, but it never peels and crispifies anymore :)

2. The blow torch is too strong. It turns the tape into a burnt, discoloured crisp and makes the glass smoky. My soldering iron is working MUCH better. Far better controlled.

3. It is important to not only wrap the two pieces with copper tape individually, but to also wrap them together with another layer. Otherwise they are too difficult to hold with pliers, they move when you don't want them to and the image inside gets burnt to a crisp. This is working so much better, and i can easily hold it with pliers now. I have also discovered that if you want to add a jump ring, it is MUCH easier to tape it on BEFORE soldering, not after. Previous projects went wrong from insufficiently planning ahead for this, but with this one's planning it went well.

4. 'Soldering irons' that cost 2.50 are not sufficient. A glue gun gets hotter than that piece of crap :p The soldering iron gets maybe a little too hot, but generally pretty good.

I am pleased with how this is progressing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Sommerset Studios issue and new felted bracelet

I bought the new Sommerset Studios issue in May. However, Cloth Paper Scissors is released at that exact same time, and both are bi-monthly. So i have to wait TWO LONG MONTHS before i can get another magazine of either one! So i try to space them out and make each last as long as possible. I read the Cloth Paper Scissors issue back when i first got it, and I really did try to save the Sommerset Studios issue till June, but it just didn't work... last night i was sitting around and simply HAD to start it. I'm still trying to stretch it out and make it last as long as possible, since the new one isn't out till July :(

I was so pleased to see that one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie Lee, at Semiprecious Salvage had an article in there. She made a fabulous mixed media birdcage that was just wonderful :). I loved the fun, rustic feel to it. If you haven't checked out her website yet, you totally should :).

As well, i recently finally finished off a felted bracelet (actually, because of it's width it's called a 'cuff'). I really liked the way it turned out with the deep green dye. I used the fancy Jaquard dyes and it worked really well. Boiled it in vinegar and dye for half an hour and voila!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I win!

So, that contest i entered my 8 by 8 inch piece? I totally tied for winning! I got a 10$ gift certificate for How exciting! What to buy.... any recommendations out there?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Little black dress

There was a weekly prompt at Creative Constructionthat said to create something along the theme of 'little black dress'. I decided to participate this week, and i have created an 8" by 8" piece of art.

I originally created the background with acrylics and pencil crayons. but i was displeased with the way the pencil crayons don't completely cover the white with watercolour paper. I do wish in situations like that that i had watercolour pencils. Either way, it just wasn't working. I took spraypaint and covered the whole thing with gold. Which made for an interesting effect, as the swirls from the acrylic paint were still textured but everything was gold. I liked the way that turned out. I then created a stencil of a dress, cut out the center part and painted it black. Added the sign 'p'tit robe noir' (french for little black dress) and then added the rhinestones all over. Voila!

So, apparantly this is a contest. The winner gets a 10$ certificate to How wonderful that would be! Wish me luck :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fabulous shopping!

I recently read a post by Judy at her blog Red Velvet. Her and a bunch of her friends went shopping in New York. This was not the type of shopping most people do. We are not talking 'Neiman Marcus' or other such clothing shopping (although she may have also done that and not blogged it). Her post showed pictures of her and her friends shopping at fabulous stores filled with altered art supplies :). I was especially fascinated by the metal pieces from Metalifferous. I wonder if they were expensive? They looked so good, such a plethora of fabulous twists and turns of various metals. How fun! You should definately check out Judy's site.... she has fabulous things there such as her altered book The Twelve Tribes of Israel and discussions of beautiful retreats in Bali. How wonderful!

In short, go check out Judy's fabulous blog, and while you're at it buy me a plane ticket to New York so i can go see those great stores for myself :) hahha.... one day i'll go.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Hey out there :)

I came here to put in a quick post, and i saw that my visitor numbers have already reached 997 when i did this! How awesome :). I wonder who will be my 1000th viewer? I am thinking that i should commemorate this moment somehow. A small give-away maybe? With my visitor counter, i can see the location city of my viewers. So, if you are the 1000th viewer, (look at the counter along the top of the website) please leave a short comment.

I have been working, creating collage houses. I am thinking that i will give one of the collage houses to the 1000th viewer. If they don't notice, or happen to be a bot or something like that, i will just give it to the first person that comments. That will be my backup :).

Here's a quick peek at how the 'houses' are coming along so far.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Trombone Sketch

I was listening to some ska music off youtube earlier today, and it inspired me to sketch a trombone. I would highly recommend checking out Alpha Boy School. I was thinking about a conditiom/skill that some have, where they see music as colours. Each tone represents a different colour. I even know someone who has this. It is called synesthesia. I wondered to myself... if i had to associate a colour with this ska music what colour would i use? I think i'd have given it a nice golden yellow... warm with touches of brown within it. This line of thought led me on until i decided it was time to try sketching my trombone.

I love the way a brass instrument hits and reflects the light. I find trombones to be especially beautiful, with their simple lines and smooth flow. Of coarse, this has nothing to do with the fact that i am biased towards trombones, being a player myself :).

I am so pleased with how this came out. I love the smoothness and the shading here. Very proud of this :). I am very happy that my sketching is progressing.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Inspirations aboud!

This is my third post of three today. So much to say... easier to digest for myself, and you guys too, in smaller chunks.

I have had no lack of inspiration lately. I find that i am being challenged and pulled in so many directions. I love all the challenges and projects i am finding!

One highly inspiring thing is the release of this bi-monthly period of Cloth Paper Scissors and Somerset Studios. I haven't had a chance to actually look through either yet propperly, but from a quick flip through i saw awesome articles, from projects with alcohol ink painted vintage spoons to advice about keeping an interesting blog (which i obviously have not read yet... jj). I can't wait to really get into them. While at chapters picking them up, i also came across this fabulous new beading book in their craft/art section. They made such fabulous jewelry pieces, mostly necklaces, like fiber wrapped wood beads, fabric wrapped beads, ribbon and linen based necklaces... they had so much! I was fascinated. If only i could remember it's title or author for you. Oh well. I will eventually buy it, it is inevitable. I'll post it when i buy it, so you can see it's awesomeness for yourself lol.

I am also loving the challenges i am seeing on blogs. I was a regular viewer, and occasional participant, of the weekly challenges on Jen Worden's blog. She has now changed it to a monthly challenge, but has made it geared to somewhat more intricate, thought out, larger projects. I love the first monthly challenge she has created, which is to create a triptych using found text, a type of tape and a found object... how great! I am definitely interested in trying out such a fun, cool project! It is totally worth checking it out on her blog here.

I also just recently found another blog that had a weekly 'creativity challenge'. While the main focus seems to be to writing and literary arts, she seems supportive of visual artists popping in as well. She has a weekly challenge where she gives a prompt and the winner judged from this prompt recieves a 10$ gift certificate! I am not sure how much chance visual artists are given for winning there, as it seems pretty heavily literary there, but it is worth a try and is fun. Worst case scenario, i have a new piece of art created! (or... worse case scenario i don't participate at all..). The prompt for this week is something about a 'cup of coffee'. I may try this one... we'll see. Maybe i'll wait till next week. I'm not really feeling this one, being a non-coffee drinker.

So, i am pleased with the challenges abound. I find them so inspiring. No lack of ideas now. Just choosing which to try. Do i want to try making fabric covered beads? Or maybe a ribbon based necklace? Or try another felted piece, maybe a fabulous wrist piece type of thing like Gillian has been creating in her etsy shop... or something new from the magazines just picked up! I love this...

Collage Houses

This is my second post of three, all from the same day. I figured i'd separate them by topic instead of having one long, overwhelming post for my readers haha.

I decided it may be fun to open a cloth paper scissors magazine to a random page and see what it turns up. Well, i was in luck and my random magazine opening fell upon Sue Pelletier's fabulous collage houses project (in the jan/feb 2008 magazine). I really loved the houses that she created. I was facinated by the odd pieces that she used, such as rusty metal door pieces, odd nuts and bolts, vintage game pieces and much more. I would highly recommend checking out Sue Pelletier's collage houses if you have this year's jan/feb issue of cloth paper scissors. It is worth another look!

So, i started by finding some thick cardboard. Cut it into rectangles and triangles, and then gessoed them on one side. (Is gessoed even a word? My spell check tells me no... i guess it is for now hahaha.) I then painted one a patchy variety of greens, and the other with red-brown-coppers. I love monochromatic pieces. I'm not sure what colour i would call the theme for the second one... brown probably. However, it is loosely monocromatic for the second one. I gel mediumed them together, and the pic features where they are at for the moment.

I still need to add a coloured glaze over each piece to unify the colours, and then scrape, scratch and sand up the surface. After that i will solidify their bond and decorate them with small rusty nails and who knows where it will go from there? Bring on the odd pieces! I just picked up a bunch of stuff from a garage sale today (see prev. post) but i think they're all too big.

Rusty haul

Hey all!

Wow! It's been so long since i last posted! And now that i finally sit down to blog, i find i have a million and one things to talk about. Things I've done that i take pics and tell myself i need to blog about this, but just don't get to the 'sitting down and doing it' part. So much happening with life that this just hasn't been happening. So, the plan is to split this up into three posts. This is the first one (which'll end up at the bottom), and I'll blog here about the haul i just got.

So, gas hit 1.40 here yesterday. This is the highest it has ever been here. As someone who is concerned about both the environment and their back account, I realize it is most definitely past time to start rethinking the idea of constantly using your car. I took a good first step today and walked to work :). The weather was so beautiful, i just couldn't keep the grin off my face on the walk home. The wildflowers growing secretly in the middle of the neighbor's lawn, the first bursts of tulips here .... it has been far too long of a winter (here in saskatchewan, the first blooms are just starting to peek out, not like you lucky temperate readers out there).

On the way home, i ran into a garage sale sign. How exciting! I love garage sales. There's something about wandering through, picking out treasures from other people's stuff that just appeals to me. Cheap, social and friendly... what is there not to love :).

I hit a bit of a gold mine here at this one for a mixed media artist. The seller was an old farmer (?) who was selling oodles of old tools, odd hardware bits and pieces and random rusty bits and pieces. While they would be junk to some, i loved every bit of it. From the rusted horse card hitches, to the old door knocker, to the dinner bell... there was so much there that i wanted but simply don't have room for.

I did score a lot of stuff there that i did have room for. One of my two favorites is a pair of rusted, old style tin snips. They may not look like much, but they are strong. They make me think fondly of my grandmother and the day her and i spend together playing with art stuff. I still say she is the tin snips queen. I am thinking if i can find a really neat, even older and rustier style of tin snips i may make her a shrine using the tool as a feature... maybe with some cool crown attached to them or something?

My other favorite piece was this very cool, beautiful leather clasp. Two thick straps of leather, roughened by weather and time... you just can't get this kind of cool in stores. I hope to one day create an altered book worthy of this clasp for holding it closed.

so, as you saw in the top pics, i also got a bunch of other random metal stuff. Two round metal balls that were once part of a horse-cart harness, a strange door hinge, a horseshoe, an odd spinning electrical piece and some strips of metal now reside within my art cabinet drawers. How fabulous :)