Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sculpted Leaf Pendants

I played around with sculpting leaves and flowers this weekend...

These were inspired by Christi Friesen's book, Welcome to the Jungle. I love making lentil beads and stamped pendants and such, but I'd really like to make more items like these. I like the "organic" look and I like the sculpting and detail work, it's fun and relaxing. It really gets my creative juices flowing and I can let my imagination run wild.

I think I will finish these on satin cord with some Chinese knotwork, but I haven't completely decided. I rather think the pendants speak for themselves, they don't need lots of beadwork added. What do you think?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

PCSG Challenge

The entries are up for the first ever Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild challenge!

This month's challenge theme was YELLOW. Click on the banner below to come see all the unique pieces created just for this challenge and vote for your favorite:

Voting ends Sunday, May 31st at midnight Central time, so VOTE NOW!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Finished Mica Shift Jewelry

Sorrow left me a comment the other day asking about my mica shift pieces and I realized that I never posted the finished work, only the first stages. So here are some photos of how some of 'em ended up!

These are the Subtle Sunset earrings and necklace:

I'm calling the hot pink necklace and earrings the Totally '80's mica shift pieces. I don't know about you, but I wore a TON of hot pink/fuschia in the Big '80's.

This one I called the Zig-Zag mica shift-- and it already sold! I really liked the combination of copper & teal, I'm thinking about recreating this necklace so I have one for myself.

This last one is brand new and wasn't part of my original mica shift post; this is the Green Leaf mica shift pendant necklace. I wanted to see how a nice deep green would work for mica shift and it turned out really amazing! I think the darker color really shows off this technique.

These are all currently available at my ArtFire shop (except for the Zig-zag). Lots more pictures there, so you can see the technique from all angles-- it really looks 3D, hard to believe the pieces are flat and smooth!

Of course, not all my first mica shifts made it to the final phase-- the silver set was the first one I sanded and I over did the sanding and ended up not being able to use them. Oops. The silver OM is still waiting for me to brainstorm some sort of setting for it and so are a couple other copper pieces. Sometimes I need to set stuff aside for a bit until an idea gels.

Not to worry, they'll all be finished eventually!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thunder & Lightning

The weather here has been crazy these past few days-- absolute torrential downpours, real thunderstorms, complete with thunder and lightning! This hardly ever happens here in my area of Colorado. Usually if we get rain its a nice gentle shower that lasts maybe 20-30 minutes.

Until these past few days, I could count on probably one hand the number of times we ever had a true thunderstorm in the past 9 years that I've lived in Colorado. But we've had two separate thunderstorms already today. Yesterday we got caught in a thunderstorm when we were at the garden center. It lasted over an hour. Its insane!

But honestly, I'm loving it. I've always loved thunderstorms; the more rain, thunder and lightning, the better. Its one thing I've really missed since we moved away from Iowa, those wild spring thunderstorms. Happily, more storms are predicted for the next few days here!

I ran out today between the two storms and planted my basil and red geraniums. I hope that chamomile and basil are compatible because I put the basil in my oak barrel planters with the chamomile that self-seeded and came back from last year. Hopefully, they won't make each other smell or taste funny. I decided to try basil this year because I use so much of it when cooking; I'd love to grow enough of my own to keep myself stocked up over winter. That would be awesome.

I'm kind of sad about it, but I've decided not to try a vegetable garden this year. I just haven't had good luck the past few years. I even tried moving my veggie garden to another spot last year and it didn't help. I have such poor soil in my yard. What I hope to do in the future is build one or two raised beds for vegetable gardening. Just not going to happen this year, though.

However, I am focusing on my herb friends this year. My soil may be poor for veggies, but my herbs are loving it. My lemon balm, lavender, tansy, hyssop and sage are all very happy. So is the periwinkle and sweet woodruff, although I'm worried about them. They like shade and unfortunately, the neighbor's tree which hangs over the fence and shades them has died way back. I don't know if its going to make it, the neighbors will probably cut it down. I'm wondering where I can move my shade-lovers so I don't lose them. Have to wait and see...

Are you doing any gardening this year? How is it going so far?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Its a Sunshine Day

PCSG is having our first monthly challenge. The theme is YELLOW. I finished up my piece yesterday:

I call it the Swirly Summer Sun brooch-- its a pin to decorate your lapel, your purse or to hold up the brim of your summer hat.

Working with yellow was really a challenge for me. Its not a color I use very often. I had to really think about what kinds of things are yellow... daisies, sunflowers, tulips, roses, lemons, baby ducks, the sun... that was about all I could come up with. There were already lemon & sunflower entries made, so I thought since summer and solstice is on the way, I'd play with the sun idea.

Our entries are due by 9 PM May 27th; voting for the challenge will be at the Polymer Clay Smooshers blog. Stop on by and see all the wonderful entries & vote for your fave!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Leopard Bead Experiment

Remember my first cane, the leopard spot? I still had some of it left after the sculpting project, so...

It became part of my Big Bead Experiment. The big beads are prototypes for my "fun & funky, super chunky" beads idea I have brewing.

I love how the beads turned out, but I'm wondering if my big beads are going to be a bit too big. But strung on satin cord along with some Chinese button knots, I think they may look pretty cool. I'm just going to keep playing with the idea and see what happens.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Feathered Visitor

We had a lovely new feathered friend visit our bird feeder today! I was thrilled to look out the kitchen window and see this brilliantly colored bird enjoying the safflower seeds:

Between all my excited ooh-ing and ahh-ing and calling Husband to "come see, right now," I managed to take some photos of our gorgeous visitor, so that I could look him up in our Western Birds Peterson Field Guide after he was gone and be able to identify him.

This handsome bird is a male Black-headed Grosbeak (I had figured it was probably a male because they usually get all the brilliant coloring compared to female birds). His thick bill is adapted for seed-cracking and his song is supposed to be a rising and falling passage similar to robins, who have quite lovely songs themselves.

Thank you for visiting Mr. Grosbeak, and I hope you return now that you know the way!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Feline Friday: Magnificent Whiskers

Moose has the most glorious set of whiskers. I caught him basking in the sun one afternoon in my craft room, which showed them off to their best advantage:

He's ready for his close-up...


That's my handsome boy!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm on ArtFire

I recently opened my shop on ArtFire! Here are just a couple of the polymer clay pieces I have listed:

Green Pearl Rosette pendant necklace

Subtle Sunset mica shift pendant necklace

Come visit my studio Into the Dawn Designs on ArtFire to see the other treasures I've created-- who knows if there's something there waiting just for you...

ALSO-- I'm a proud member of the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild at ArtFire. Its a great, inspiring and active guild. And guess whose member interview appeared on the guild blog this past week? C'est moi! Come check it out!

While you're there, browse through all the other member interviews already posted-- we've got a talented crew. And be sure to bookmark the PCSG blog-- we have lots of great poly clay posts in the works-- more member interviews, poly clay Q & A, tips and techniques, Tool Drool Tuesdays all coming up!

You can also find the work of our talented crew on Flickr: ArtFire Poly Clay Smooshers

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hero & Shadow Panels

My Hero & Shadow panels are finally complete! They are mainly created from polymer clay, with a few other little elements added-- a few beads, wire, embroidery floss and leather cord. Even ground nutmeg. And some sticks from my back yard for good measure.

Any tarot readers out there will recognize these were highly influenced by the tarot. This was my first thought when I heard about Mother Henna's project and it made complete sense to me-- the Hero and the Shadow are common archetypes and the tarot is *all* about archetypes. Plus, I love the tarot and its imagery. So for my panels I blended together some tarot concepts that symbolized Hero & Shadow to me, personally.

My Hero panel is mainly influenced by the Fool (0) card, with a little bit of the Hermit (9) and the Magician (1) thrown in. The Fool is all about the beginning of a journey and I think heroes are always in the process of journeys and adventures, so I used The Fool as the basis for my Hero panel. Instead of a dog, I gave her a cat to journey with-- a little personalization there since I love cats-- and we all need our faithful companions as we go through life.

In one hand she's holding a wand, topped with the Hermit's lantern. I think heroes meet many people along their way, but their journey is ultimately a solitary one in the end. Especially if it is an internal journey. However, the Hermit always has a light to guide his way, and so too does my Hero. We all need our guiding lights, whether they happen to be our spiritual faith, hopes, dreams, inspirations or other people we meet during our journeys.

The stance of my Hero is a nod to the Magician card, although he is holding a wand aloft instead of a sword. I wanted my Hero to hold a sword, symbol of clear thinking, inspiration, drawing boundaries and protection. These are all tools we need on our heroic journeys.

The main influence for my Shadow panel was the Tower (16) card. The Tower is all about chaos-- the unexpected happening, shaking up your life. I think the Shadow is all about chaos, whether its internal or external. Our shadow side is the part of us that always feels in turmoil.

The 10 of Wands also influenced this panel. The negative aspects of the 10 of Wands relate to carrying a heavy burden, oppression, overexertion, taking on too much. The Shadow is always overwhelmed by life circumstances. And instead of seeing the respite of home in the background, which is common on 10 of Wands cards, my Shadow has only the chaos of the Tower.

The idea of the masks came from the Devil (15) card from Amy Zerner's Enchanted Tarot. Usually the Devil depicts a devil with a man and woman chained to his throne, but in the Enchanted Tarot the Devil is represented by a mask. I think the Shadow wears lots of masks to hide who s/he is and how s/he really feels. We never see the Shadow's true face, it is always hidden from us.

I based my masks on the Comedy/Tragedy masks of theatre, to represent polar opposite emotions, and on the painting The Scream, to represent the mental chaos and instability the Shadow feels. Notice that although the Shadow figure is carrying a big burden, the mask that is worn is the Comedy mask, to hide the Shadow's true feelings about her load.

This project really stretched my skills and imagination, but I enjoyed every minute of the challenge. There are so many more ideas I would have like to have incorporated into my panels but couldn't for lack of space. But overall, I'm very pleased with the end result and I'm glad I participated in the project!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Blessed Beltaine

Yes, I will spend the livelong day
With Nature this month of May;
And sit beneath the trees, and share
My bread with birds whose homes are there;

While cows lie down to eat, and sheep
Stand to their necks in grass so deep;
While birds do sing with all their might,
As though they felt the earth in flight.

~ William Henry Davies
It's May! But strangely, it does not feel like the merry month of May here. We barely had any snow all winter long and then in April we had more snow and rain than we did all winter. So we are getting our winter a bit late this year. And it has been known to snow in May here, so we could be in for a Beltaine surprise!

I'm not sure how I will celebrate Beltaine this year. What I would like to do is spend time in my herb garden this weekend, mulch, pull out any bits of dried and dead foliage, hang up the wind chimes and welcome signs and ribbons and then plant my containers on the patio. But since its forecasted to be cold and rainy, I'm at a bit of a loss. Indoor Beltaine celebrations just don't seem quite right to me...

However you celebrate this year, have a beautiful and blessed Beltaine!