Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Simple Fix for Earrings

I like dangly earrings and I don't mind wearing French hooks, but when I'd wear my favorite earrings I'd always get a little nervous that I might lose one. Sometimes I'd wear the little "caps" on the hook so that they couldn't come out of my piercing, but I was always losing the caps and never had enough so I'd have to switch them from pair to pair. Kind of a pain.

Imagine my surprise when I learned how to make jewelry and found out how easy it was to change my earrings from French hooks to lever backs! Over time, I switched all of my favorite earrings to leverbacks and now I never worry about losing them.


I even switched a pair of earrings for my step-mom when she was here visiting last fall. She was worried about the hooks coming out and losing her new earrings she'd gotten at the Butterfly Pavilion that day so I told her I could fix it for her. She protested it would be too hard, take too much time-- and by the time she finished protesting, I already had them changed out for her!

Such a quick and simple fix. Love it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Smoosher Spotlight: Too Aquarius

This week's spotlight shines on Polymer Clay Smooshers guild member Elaine of Too Aquarius. Elaine is a mom living in Canada who has been enamoured with making polymer clay canes and beads for over 10 years now. Her millefiore technique is perfection! Here are some of my favorites:





You can learn more about Elaine and her polymer clay here:
Blog:http://www.tooaquarius.com/
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/tooaquarius

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Celtic Lion Complete

Finished my Celtic lion design the other night and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. Not bad for my first woodburning project!

I switched from a tapered point for the fine details to a flow point to darken the larger areas of the design. I'd like to add some sort of border, I think-- some Celtic knotwork? But the lion design comes so close to the edge in a couple of places, it would have to be quite a small and simple knot. Have to think on that.

If I don't find anything that would work, no matter. I'm just as happy with it the way it looks right now. And I enjoyed the project so much, I'm already contemplating ways that I can incorporate woodburning in to some of my future projects.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Oak Leaves

I am beginning to feel autumn in the air and my poly clay work is starting to show it...

I pieced together these brown and russet oak leaves for earrings and pendants, thought it might be an interesting look. Now to embellish with some semi-precious gemstones-- jasper? tiger's eye?-- and add some swirly, viney details.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sweet Corn Moon

Tonight is a gloriously brilliant full moon and I can so easily see why there is a traditional Scottish folk prayer that rejoices thus:

Greeting to you, gem of the night!
Beauty of the skies, gem of the night!
Mother of the stars, gem of the night!
Foster child of the sun, gem of the night!
Majesty of the stars, gem of the night!

I sat on the patio tonight and watched the moon. I howled quietly at it, so as not to disturb the neighbors. The night was so cool-- no heat still rising from the ground after the warm day; the change of seasons is absolutely coming, one can feel it in the very air.

I watched the moon and the tree leaves bobbing in the soft breeze and I listened to the layered chorus of crickets merrily chirping away and during that time, I was between the worlds and knew utter peace.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Smoosher Spotlight: Positively Charming Things

Polymer Clay Smooshers guild member Niki of Positively Charming Things is in the spotlight this week. Niki's work with polymer clay began with sculpting dragons and, as her creative time became more limited due to working full time outside the home, has evolved toward making unique jewelry pieces-- which are positively charming-- as you can see by the adorable bird charm earrings below.

Little Blue Bird earrings

Pink & White Swirl Heart necklace


Above is one of her incredibly detailed dragon sculptures, which was a custom piece. And, be sure to check out the sale on her sweet winter holiday items, like the Snowgirl bead set below.


You can find Niki blogging at her blog by the same as her shop, Positively Charming Things and become a fan of her work on her FaceBook page.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Feline Friday: Sleepy Sisters

Naptime is always better...


...when you've got a sister to share it with...

...AND you can use her as a pillow...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Claying with the Crones-- Again!

Tonight was another fun and fabulous evening of claying with the crones, helping them prepare more goodies for their upcoming croning ritual.

We spent the first part of the evening making more tokens as they brought some new molds to use. The crones have gone crazy buying claying supplies since last we met. Have I mentioned that I have successfully corrupted all three of them and they are now totally addicted to polymer clay work? Mwa-ha-ha-haaaaa!


The second half of the evening we spent making lots and lots of disc beads. The more beads we made, the wilder and swirlier they got-- we had lots of fun with mixing it up! The tokens will go in little bags the crones are also making, and the beads will go on the drawstrings for the bags.

I can't wait to see everything together! But I'll have to practice patience, as the ritual is not until November...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recently Reorganized

My creative work space had been so cluttered for so long, it was beginning to drive me crazy. The piles were piling up higher and higher, never knew where to put supplies, never had enough space to work. So finally I took some time to reorganize my space around my desk.


I got the little storage cart on the right for half price and it's perfect for holding items that seemed to have no permanent home-- my clay extruder, rubber stamp overflow from my craft closet, unfinished projects, loose cording and so forth. On top of the cart are my containers holding my metal beads, spacers and findings, as well as some other jewelry supplies.


I reorganized the bins on the left side of my desk. Got rid of all the little snippets of things I was saving "just in case" they might come in handy for a project. Threw out odds and ends. Put all my cutters in one 3-drawer storage bin, all my molds in another, all my clay in another. Put odd items like my packing scale, heat embosser and food processor in the plastic "shoe box" drawer bins. My purple bins stayed pretty much the same; acrylic rods, mica powders and foils in one bin, paints, glazes and glues in the other.

It took quite a few days to get everything in order, but I feel so much better now that everything has a proper place! I feel like I've done a pretty decent job organizing quite a lot of supplies in a fairly small amount of space. Now to keep it this way.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Playing With Fire

This week my pagan spirituality group played with the element of fire.

Normally when I think of fire elemental, I think of the obvious-- candle flames, campfires, bonfires. Or the sun. So when I was told that the focus of this gathering was to play with fire, I figured we would be doing something with candles. But I was wrong!

Instead, we picked a pattern out of a multitude of choices and then used carbon paper to transfer the pattern onto a wooden disk. And then, we played with woodburning tools on scrap wood until we felt confident enough to start burning our patterns onto our disks. Then-- we did some serious pyrography!

Wow! Pyrography turned out to be a very powerful exercise for working with fire. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised. But the heat radiating from the woodburning tool, the smell of burning wood as I worked, really brought fire element to mind.

The pattern I chose was an intricate Celtic lion design. Since the focus was fire, I wanted to choose something that represented that element to me. Lions do-- I like to think of them with fiery golden manes, lounging in the hot, African sun. When I found a Celtic lion, that was just perfect!

So, above is as far as I got with my woodburning that night. I'm excited with how it looks so far. I have my own heat tool, so I can finish it here at home. Looking forward to playing with it more, can't wait to see how it turns out.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Feline Friday: Boxes

Boxes, boxes, boxes. Our cats love 'em! There's nothing better!

Boxes are nice to sleep in...

... fun to hide in...

... and... evidently... good to eat...


*sigh* Yep, that's our Dot...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tarot for 2010~ 8th moon

The eighth moon is already here, my how the year flies! Time to take a look at the card I drew for this cycle back when I did my New Year's spread.

5 of Pentacles~

To be honest, this is one of the cards I dread to see show up in a reading. It is filled with such worry and misery. Time to tighten one's belt and keep close track of expenses. You can see in the background of this card, the crows are stealing away the couple's pearls of wisdom! And the plants are dying and there is a hole in the money bag... not good signs.

BUT, although this card indicates loss, there is also help available-- in the Rider-Waite version of this card, the suffering couple only needs to look up to see the welcoming warmth of the church behind them. In this deck, it is clear that the man and woman have one another for love and comfort. And there is some overlooked abundance-- as symbolized by those juicy pears and joyful daisies. This card talks about being aware of life's small blessings.

The two runes on this card are Nauthiz and Kenaz. Nauthiz represents the letter N and symbolizes need or the need-fire (self-reliance). It is about distress, but also about endurance and survival. Kenaz represents the letter K and the beacon or torch. Kenaz indicates power, the power of light and the power to create your reality. It is a beacon of vision and inspiration.

In this card, the little things mean a lot, and the message is to draw strength and hope from these little blessings in times of despair.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Funky Leaves

Well, these were going to be little golden aspen leaves, but then I got kind of carried away...


... and they got a little funky looking. Now to figure out how to finish them...

Monday, August 9, 2010

In Memory of Garnet Girl

When I first met Abbey, it was online, and she was Garnet Girl and I was Turtleheart and we connected through a pagan networking site. She was in the process of moving from northern Colorado to the south Denver area and once she got settled, we met in person, and totally bonded over the fact that we shared the same anniversary date-- June 14th-- "Flag Day!" We would both laugh.

In February of 2005, Abbey introduced me to blogging and I was hooked! Abbey invited me to my first and only self-defense class-- something that still empowers me to this day. We discussed books and tarot cards and read and commented on each others' blogs all the time. We lost touch for a while, something that was completely my fault, and then we reconnected. And then in November 2007 she was diagnosed with cancer.

She went from blogging as Garnet Girl to blogging as Mrs. Honey on a new blog. And she and her husband, Mr. Honey, chronicled her battle with cancer with voices that were full of courage and optimism. And I cheered her on, mostly via comments on her blog and FB page, and sometimes by phone calls, although she wasn't much of a phone person. We agreed that we would have to visit Spirit Ways, a metaphysical shop in her area, together, when she had a high-energy day.

So optimistic were Mrs. & Mr. Honey, I didn't realize just how bad she was doing these past couple of weeks. In fact, I was under the impression that it was just another irritating set back in her treatment and that her condition was improving. It never, ever, EVER occurred to me that Abbey could, or would, die of cancer. But yesterday morning, she did.

Abbey, if it hadn't been for you, I would never have met all the wonderful creative and pagan people that I have met through blogging over the years. You taught me about facing life with optimism, you taught me about setting boundaries. You taught me about friendship-- both online and offline. You taught me its okay to be silly. You taught me its okay to say No. Maybe you were younger than me by almost a decade, but often, you were much wiser. You are-- still, and always will be-- an inspiration to me.

Be at peace, Garnet Girl. Blessed be.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Smoosher Spotlight: Tamed

This week, let me introduce you to Polymer Clay Smooshers guild member Dee of Tamed! Dee is an animal lover who has taken her passion for pets to a whole new level with polymer clay.


Dee adds to the detailed look of her animal sculptures by applying layers of fibers, such as merino wool, alpaca, mohair or silk, to give them an even more realistic appearance.


Even better-- Dee takes custom orders and will sculpt your pet in miniature for you!


To follow her adventures in creating these amazing sculptures, be sure to check out her blog, Time Tamed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Feline Friday: Moose Feels the Burn

Moose says,
Dis exercisin' an' stuff...

... waaaaaaayyyy too hard on me...


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Claying with the Crones

I had a clay play date tonight with some friends!

These wonderful ladies are planning their croning ritual and wanted to make some special tokens and beads out of polymer clay for it. I was very honored that, as none of them have much experience with poly clay, they asked me if I would be willing to assist them in the creative process.

The supplies start coming out and the crones are conditioning clay like crazy.

Of course I said yes! There was no way I was going to turn down the opportunity to hang out with these lovely crones AND play with clay together.

The crones working diligently!

We had a great time smooshing clay, working with molds and playing with mica powders. (Okay, I admit, I was very persuasive about using the mica powders, but once they saw how cool it looks on clay, they were into it.) There was lots of laughter and quite a bit of wise-assery as well.

All told, a very good evening! Even better, it's happening again next week.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blossoming

So this week the tree in our front yard started to blossom. It gets clusters of papery white flowers all over it; very pretty and... very messy.

The tree was in bloom the very first time we saw the house, when we arrived for a walk-through. I thought it was just enchanting... and a good omen.

Every day now for the next 2 or 3 weeks, whenever we leave the house or return, hundreds of little white petals will float through the air and swirl all around us. It’s rather like a fantasy, reminds me of that 80’s movie with Tom Cruise and Mia Sara– remember Legend? And for the first half hour of the movie, wherever they went, little flower petals were magically wafting through the air, dancing in the sunbeams…

Yeah, it's kinda like that around here...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Smoosher Spotlight: Haffina

This week I am proud to introduce fellow Polymer Clay Smoosher guild member Jennifer of Haffina Creations and Beads by Haffina.

One would think that being a mom of 5 children with two online shops would keep her more than busy enough, but Jennifer also has yet another shop on Zibbet, belongs to at least 4 other guilds and is guildmaster for the AF Chainmaille Guild. Plus, she's a columnist for Handmade News and is very actively involved in several other online forums.



As you can see, Jennifer's work is as diverse as her online presence! She creates and combines polymer clay pieces, chainmaille, beadweaving and wirework. And, she not only offers beautiful necklaces, earrings and bracelets, but she also sells beads, cabochons, toggle sets and buttons that she has handmade.



I've barely begun to show you all of the amazing items created by this amazing woman! Be sure to check out her shops for so much more beautiful work. And check out her blogs, Haffina Creations Blogspot and at Wordpress, as well.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blessed Lughnasadh

It's here already-- the first harvest! I've been watching the wheat in a small field near our house get more and more golden and I know that were I back in Iowa, the corn would be towering over my head, the ears full of plump kernels.
There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and plough'd him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show'rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris'd them all.

~excerpt from "John Barleycorn"
by Robert Burns, 1872


I often like to celebrate Lughnasadh simply by making cornbread muffins. I give some as an offering to the god/dess and the birds, the rest enjoyed by my husband and me. (And Moose, when he begs hard enough-- he seems to really like cornbread. He's a strange kitty). Here is my favorite recipe for muffins:

HONEY CORNBREAD MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS:


1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease or line 12 muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, honey, eggs and salt. Mix in flour, cornmeal and baking powder; blend thoroughly. Stir in milk and corn. Pour or spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.