Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Next Steps

It felt like spring today, and even though there are still a few piles of melting snow, things are sprouting up everywhere!
Here's a hyacinth and below, the tulips are beginning to sprout.
The daffodils have already got a few inches of leaf sticking out...
and lo and behold, the first crocus! It's always a thrill to see the first crocus, even though we've had such an easy winter here compared to last year! Apparantly winter is not over yet... the weather men are predicting snow here tomorrow. I've heard reports of anywhere from 1 to 7 inches of snow may fall tomorrow before changing over to rain. It sure would be nice to get a little bonus time at home, especially since tomorrow is Leap Day. Certainly we could all use an extra day to be at home doing what we enjoy most!
Speaking of things I enjoy, here are the next few steps I've taken on the totem project. I completed a yellow seahorse out of the painted burlap I showed in the last post...
... And I painted some green burlap for the third and final seahorse. I used that interesting honeycomb cardboard again, this time in two ways. I bought these moldable stamps almost a year ago and haven't played with them that much. If you heat the surface with a heat gun or iron (cover the foam with parchment first), it will take and keep an imprint until it is reheated. It can be used over and over too - kind of a neat tool to have. After warming it up, I pushed the honeycomb cardboard into it to create that scaley-looking surface, which I then used to apply the green paint. Then I dipped the cardboard in yellow paint to add the hexagonal accents. Should make another nice seahorse!
Although I'm enjoying working on this project, I'm still tempted by the charm supplies. It's not too late for me to sign up for a "springtime in Paris" swap with the yahoo artcharm group. The description reads: "This swap is flirty, feminine & oh-so-French! Colors: pale-to-medium pink, spring or lime green, & black, w/ gunmetal/silver findings. Inspiration: Eiffel tower, vintage French text & maps, floral patterns, fleur de lis, vintage labels, lace & ribbon, French ironwork & architecture." Sounds tempting, doesn't it? I'd only need to make 20 charms... it would be so fun to play with some lacy stamps on shrink film or to get out some pink ribbon and black lace and make some pretty fabric beads... if only I had more TIME!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First Steps

Here are a few pics of the first steps of my next project, which is an 8ft long by 18" wide "totem" piece for the FiberArts group I belong to. Of course, I chose an underwater theme and just finished my first element in the piece, this seahorse. He's much larger than the ones I usually make at 18" tall, and it was nice to work on something big for a change. I used burlap again, but this time I painted it and then printed on it with various things to get some additional texture.
Here is the painted burlap for the next seahorse in the piece (there will be three altogether). I used that cardboard to make the prints you see, and then splattered on some bright orange. The bubble wrap and styrofoam tray were used on the seahorse above.
Here are some other fabrics I plan on using in the piece. It's due by April 5th, so I have a little over a month. Hope I can pull it off! I've never made something this long before.
While I'm making good progress there, I also could not completely stop with the charm making! I had this idea for a charm that looked like a bird's nest with eggs in it. I can't remember where I saw something like that, but I searched the internet for tutorials and found one here. After watching it (it's really pretty simple), I made the one below. Isn't it cute? It probably took less than 15 minutes to make. That's why the charms can be so much fun and so satisfying! By the way, is it too soon to start thinking about spring?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Freezin' for a Reason

My 11-year-old daughter Alana (on right) is helping her friend, Jacquelyn (left), who has Cystic Fibrosis. For the past 11 years, Jacquelyn and her friends and family have jumped into Lake Mahopac to raise money to find a cure for CF. This year, Alana has decided to take the plunge as well! The event, called "Freezin for a Reason," will take place on March 10th. Please visit Alana's donation page by clicking here. Every donation, no matter how small, helps find a cure. Thanks for helping!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Green & Yellow Charms

These are the various charms I created for the latest monthly color swap in the yahoo art charms group. I thought I would just go through my green and yellow beads and string some on a head pin to make some quick dangles, but that didn't satisfy me for some reason - too easy or too boring or something (I guess I like to try new challenging things). So I made three of the yellow dangles on the left, three of the shamrocks, and three of the "life" leaves (they are polymer clay stamped and accented with gold acrylic paint). I'll send five of the rolled fabric beads (the fabric scrap with the bees on it was just perfect, I thought) and nine of the fabric leaves on the right. All together, I think they make a nice cheerful reminder of spring about to come, don't you agree?

Now my worktable is completely bare of all charm and jewelry-making tools and supplies and I'll be ready to dive into my next fiber art project. Hope I can get a good start on it on Friday, my day off! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Changing Colors

Ta-dah! Here is the bracelet I made using a few of my own charms, plus charms I received from my last few swaps. The themes were "red/pink" and "all hearts," so together I was able to make this amazing bracelet, just in time for Valentine's Day!

I was also able to get the book below from the library just in time for the weekend. It has some nice ideas for using fabric, ribbon, and cording to make beads and charms. You can see it on Amazon by clicking here.It inspired me to make some more progress on the green/yellow swap I signed up for. To make the leaf charms below, I cut Timtex interfacing into little leaf shapes and wrapped them in a sparkly green fabric. I fused another leaf-shaped piece of fabric on top to cover the raw edges. After fusing everything, I stitched a zig-zag around the edge and free-motioned some veins using a metallic gold thread. Then I added an eyelet and a flower button dangle.
I have 10 of this style and six others. Cute, huh? I like them! I kind of did an assembly line, so they came together pretty quickly. Now I'm finishing up my final 7 charms using some rolled fabric beads. I'll share those when they're finished, and then I'll put all my charm-making tools and materials away for a while and get moving on my large fiber art piece. Can't wait to get started on that!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More Swap Charms

I joined two more swaps with the yahoo artcharms group and you can see some of my creations above and below for the quick winter swap. I got the idea for the snowmen from some earrings that belong to my daughter. They were made with pearls and silver metal scarves and hats. Since I didn't have those two elements, I made them out of polymer clay. They came out pretty cute! The ones below are also polymer clay, stamped with a snowflake stamp dusted with "perfect pearls" powder.
Now I only have one more set of charms to make: I joined a green/yellow swap with gold colored findings. Below are some of the designs I've come up with. I have a lot of green beads so I'll probably just make a bunch dangles with them. When this swap is over, I'll have to take a break from charm making for a while. I have a big fiber art piece due in early April and I have some other important projects I want to focus on. (Hope I can stay focused!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Valentine's Day Charm Bracelets

Here is one of the charm bracelets I've been working on. I've completed 5 altogether and I'm listing some on Etsy while I wait to hear back from a local gift shop. I'm really happy with the mix of red, pink, and white, as well as the variety of materials. These bracelet have more charms than my previous ones did. They are fuller looking, but not so full that you can't see the individual charms. They also feature a silver-plated chain and heart-shaped toggle clasp. Know anyone looking for a unique and memorable Valentine's Day gift? Send 'em my way!