Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snowy Charms

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it seems like winter is right around the corner! I put together a few pieces of jewelry with the snowy charms I've been creating. Above is a cluster necklace I gave to my mom as a thank-you for a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner. You can see another paper charm that I painted, stamped, and coated with that Dimensional Magic. I added a little crystal jewel for a little sparkle. I also found those cool snowflake-shaped crystals last week. They add just the right wintry touch, don't you think?

Below is another charm bracelet. The large white snowflake is white opaque shrink film cut with our Accucut machine at work. There is also white polymer clay that is stamped and dusted with a pearly "Perfect Pearls" powder. I think my favorite is the snowstorm-in-a-bottle. It's also one of the easiest! As you can see, I'm still a bit obsessed with these charms! It's really fun using all the different materials. It never gets boring!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Paper charms

I've continued to play with charm-making lately. One of the reasons I like it is because they're small and I can make many of them at once, unlike the stitched collages which take weeks! The book I blogged about here, Making Mixed-Media Art Charms and Jewelry, had a chapter on making charms out of paper, and I've been playing around with that with varied success. I started with some scraps of watercolor paper leftover from a previous project, and painted and stamped them, as shown above. Then I glued two layers of the paper together, back to back, to make it more sturdy, and cut it into various shapes. I originally planned to cut them into square inches to get the most charms out of my painted paper, but I find I don't like the look of squares in my jewelry - too rigid, boxy, and unnatural looking (do we ever find a square in nature?). So then I started making diamond shapes and ovals. I wrapped the edges of the cut up paper in copper foil tape. With a whole bunch of them, I glued on an oak leaf cut with a purchased paper punch. With some of them I wrote words on the back. Unfortunately, when it came to using them, I thought they looked too amateurish and homemade, too clunky and unrefined. I think it was the foil tape and my messy handwriting!

Finally, I made one more and did not wrap it in the tape. I put in a grommet and coated the whole thing front and back with a product similar to Dimensional Magic (a mod podge product). You have to let it dry very thoroughly on the first side before turning it over and coating it on the other side, which is a little drawback, but I was afraid it would require an edge to hold it in, like a jewelry bezel. This thick liquid has a nice consistency and enough surface tension that you can cover the charm completely right to the edge without it spilling over. Here is a finished charm (that I actually liked!) and put on an autumn-themed bracelet for myself. The Dimensional Magic dries hard and clear and is much easier to use than resins that have to be mixed and poured. I can't wait to try some other projects with it!
Below is a shot of the whole bracelet. I think I'll wear it for Thanksgiving and around the library this week!
I've started making a bunch of charms with a snow theme, as you can see below. I just painted and stamped some more paper to make some charms with these colors. Then maybe I'll be able to list a winter/holiday item or two in my Etsy shop before I get too busy and end up missing out on any potential holiday sales. I wish I could work faster so I had more stuff to sell!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another Charm Bracelet

Here is another bracelet I finished this week and listed in my Etsy shop. It's got a nice range of fall colors and a variety of shapes and materials, all with an Autumn theme. It's probably a bit late in the season to be posting it, but I like it, so I thought I'd give it a shot. (Right now, I'm working on a second one for myself!). I hope to have some more winter themed things out soon, since Christmas shopping is on everyone's minds already!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Business Card Holders

After I gave my doctor friend her underwater-themed wall hanging for her office (see a photo of it here), I thought I'd better send her some business cards too (just in case she has a wealthy patient who admires my work and wants a commission!). I got these made up through and put my little seahorse mascot on them. Then I made the little holder for them. I don't know if they'll have room for the holder at the receptionist's desk, but I thought they would look nice displayed this way. If she can't use it, I'll use it somehow. How do you like the wave-shaped back? I had fun creating it, as you can see.

I also made this fun business card holder and dispenser for another local artist friend, Tabby Marshall. Last week when we had no power, she generously invited over the whole family to shower and have a hot meal (she actually invited several families!). She is a terrific photographer and artist herself (see her website by clicking here) and her home is decorated with a million cool artsy photos and things, and I wanted to give her something cool and artsy, but also useful. This is the front of the wallet...
and this is the back, below.
It has two pockets - one to keep a credit card, money, or photo id, and the other to dispense the cards. What you do is pull on the ribbon, and the card pops out the top (I didn't invent this - Normajean Brevik had an article in Quilting Arts Magazine issue 24 which included directions). Neat, huh? I'd better make one for myself too!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Going Green" Charm Bracelet

I finally got some more copper-plated chain and have started putting together some more charm bracelets with some of the charms I crafted earlier this fall. I'm really happy with how this one turned out! It's a nice mix of materials and shades of green and has a nice earthy, organic look to it. Look for it in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Freak Storm

We are still recovering from that freaky snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of heavy wet snow here on Saturday. It was an unusually potent storm and came unusually early. As you can see from the pictures, most of the trees still have their leaves and the extra weight was devastating to branches and trunks alike.

Of course, that meant downed power lines, which almost happened in the shot above. That line didn't go down, but many others did and we were without power for almost 3 full days.

Here is a shot of the poor little apple tree we planted when my youngest was born. I hope we'll be able to push it back into an upright position, poor thing!
And here are the climbing petunias and geraniums that were still in bloom in the window boxes. They actually survived the storm.
But the top of this tree didn't. It came down across our upper deck and just missed crushing the gas grill. All in all, we were pretty lucky. I was even able to stop amidst the chaos and admire the beauty of the sunrise on Sunday.
We spent three very cold nights huddled under sweatshirts and comfortors, playing board games and listening to our hand-crank radio.

Schools are still closed through tomorrow, and now that we finally have the power back on, we'll be able to enjoy our time at home a little more. I hope this storm isn't a foreshadowing of things to come later this winter!