Archive for March, 2010

and now for something completely different

after all that work with metal, i felt like working with something soft and supple.  i’ve been seeing these gorgeous gossamer flowers everywhere on etsy, and i’ve wanted to try my hand at them for a while now, so last night i made a bunch of these soft beauties.  i raided my fabric scrap stash (don’t even ask why i have leftover shiny orange tulle, but suffice it to say i do) and applied a little heat to the edge of these rounds and sewed them together with some beads and–voila!

i just want to pin them all over me and take them out on the town.  too much?  okay, i’ll just pin my favorite orange one onto my purse.  the rest of them will have to stay inside.

these were so easy to make.  i was able to arrange and rearrange until i got each flower exactly the way i wanted.  i used beads in the centers of most of them, but in the silk dupioni flower, i tried something a little different: i crumpled up some loose threads for the center and sewed that in.  the possibilities are endless.  watch out, it’s addictive!

wanna try it yourself?  get some fabric scraps or buy some new fabric–you won’t need much more than a quarter of a yard.  i used costume grade satin, silk dupioni, organza, and tulle.  the fabrics with plastic/polyester melted the best, but i’ve seen tons made with chiffon.  after my success last night, i might have to go out and expand my stash with some chiffon!  cut fabric into rough circles of varying sizes; when you put them together, you’ll put the little ones on top and the larger ones in back.  some of the fabrics melted at the touch of a really hot iron and others needed the direct heat of a flame; i used a lighter where a hot iron didn’t work.  either way, be careful with your fingers!  when you have it all arranged the way you like it, sew the beads and flower all together and then glue it to a pin back (check the jewelry section at your crafts store) with an all-purpose glue like hot glue or weldbond.

i think i’ll put together a pillow with these fluffy organza flowers and some leftover terracotta colored velveteen.  i made the small one by folding a circle in quarters and sewing the point together.  i just love these: they remind me of icelandic poppies and i think they’ll be so pretty with bright green embroidered stems!

March 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm Leave a comment

moon drops earrings

here’s a sample of what i’ve been up to the past two days.  i spent almost the entire time (with a break for a delicious afghani meal last night in rancho cucamonga) in the garage studio, soldering and hammering to my heart’s content.  yesterday, my husband went domestic: he mowed the lawn, washed and vacuumed the car, and washed the dog.  and all i did was work!  how’s that for a (much appreciated) switch?!  okay, i did cut his hair–don’t worry, he likes it.

i’m happy to report the results of all my torchwork, all made entirely from scratch: a soldered and hammered bracelet, a simple triple ring hammered pendant, and these beautiful moonstone earrings with hand forged and hammered hoops.  even the earwires are handmade!

i love the added ability to create my own sterling silver findings that my butane torch affords me.  it’s been an uphill battle teaching myself how to solder these little guys, but i think i’ve finally figured out the proper balance of solder, flux and heat that makes for a successful joint.  and i love hammered sterling, so that was just a natural!

look for these pieces and others like them soon at my etsy store!

now onto the next challenge: getting good photos of hammered sterling.  capturing all those little facets makes for a challenging photo shoot!

March 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

sometimes, you just need to take a break…

thank goodness scientists have discovered that walking away from something frustrating can lead to that “ah-hah!” moment.  and neuroscientists know that sleeping on it helps you store info in long term memory.  and my dog sadie knows that sometimes, you just need a nap.  even if your hiny is totally hanging out.

March 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm 1 comment

a new definition of success

on this day of green–and in celebration of the abundance of spring that just seems to have burst forth in my backyard–i thought i’d offer a little reflection on success.

too often, we think of success as getting somewhere, doing something, or being someone.  usually a rich and famous someone.  someone with lots of green.  it’s easy to get caught up in this idea, and harder to slow down and be present.  what about just being here?  now?  being who we are?  doing what we love?

i know, easier said than done.  i’ve had some experiences in life that forced me to slow down, both physically and mentally.  part of my recovery involved taking a close look at my life and deciding what was truly important (because that’s all i have the energy for) and what i really want from this life (because that’s what keeps me going).  you don’t have to wait for something to happen, though!  take a moment today and reflect.  and then take the next moment as it comes.  and the next moment.  and the next…

March 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm 1 comment

guilty pleasures no. 2

last time, my addiction to the tv show what not to wear.  guilty pleasures #2 = watching the detectives.

“oooh, he’s so cute!”

and of course, i’m referring (primarily) to agent seeley booth from the tv show bones.  though i also enjoy law & order, csi, and yes, even ncis.  and i think dr. temperance brennan’s pretty cute, too.  she’s got that whole nerdy/sexy thing going on.

that’s right, sometimes i have just so much mental energy to expend, and cheesy detective shows totally fit the bill.  plus, they solve the crime and get the bad guy in 60 minutes–minus commercials!  i mean, that’s fast.  and the world is right again.

March 16, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

good day…sunshine…

this weekend i put the finishing touches on a light diffusion box i’ve been making.  we have an overabundance of sunshine here in the sunny south (of california), but it’s mostly very bright, direct light.  great for contracting carcinoma; not so good for taking pictures.

i read a lot about people taking their photos next a bright window, but we don’t seem to have one positioned to capture the light just so (design flaw)…so i researched light boxes and diffusion boxes…and found that i could not really justify the cost.  the cheapest one i could find was about $80, but it would only work for very small items.  so no props, no changing background color outside of photo shop, no good.

but with the magic of pvc pipe and grafix drafting film (a matte plastic “paper” purchased at an arts supply store), i made a 2×3 foot diffusion screen for less than $10.  plus i was able to repurpose pvc pipe that i had from a hamper (the college years), so it was green.  ish.  i only had to purchase one 10 foot length of pvc pipe, which i am happy to report cost all of $1.26.  with tax!

combined with my very fancy reflector–aluminum foil over a piece of cardboard–i can now take super schwanky shots on budget.  i can even shoot directly into the sun–with the diffusion screen inbetween–to capture the sparkle of translucent gemstones!  below is an un-photoshopped example of the difference it makes in my photography:

shot in bright sun

shot in bright shade

diffusion & reflection

this setup keeps colors true and reduces the shadows.  it means much less time with photoshop and i don’t have to wait for bright shade to form in our treeless backyard.  in short, much less work, better payoff, and–most importantly–cheap!

March 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm Leave a comment

i had to tell you

from linzie hunter's spam project

what a busy weekend!  the hubby and i hit the farmer’s market, went to an awesomely amazing dinner at farm in redlands (think: locally grown mixed green salad, short rib with wild mushrooms and brussel sprouts appetizer, temprenillo, duck and filet mignon entrees, flourless chocolate cake, and locally roasted coffee all served up with grace.  fancy!  fabulous!),  and i had a bunch of etsy sales!  woohoo!

oh, and the lawn is mowed, laundry is done, and there was a divine (inspired) dinner last night of asparagus, wild mushrooms and roast chicken in a white wine sauce over rice noodles.  all without that extra hour.  i’d still like to have it back, though.

March 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

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