Sunday, December 19, 2010

DMC Memory Thread: Has anyone used this?

I saw DMC Memory Thread at Michael's yesterday. It's a thin fiber-wrapped wire. I almost bought some but decided to think about what I might do with it first (imagine that, resisting an impulse buy craft item!). I don't see too much about it on the web for other than embroidery use -- has anyone used it for jewelry? I think it has possibilities. Here are the colors and you get 3 ft for $2.99, if I recall correctly.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beads: Frosted Facets Demo

I posted photos on Flickr to show how to make these beads. It's so easy! Try it!

Win these sample beads (and some other goodies)! Comment on this item, on the flickr demo page at the link above, and/or on your own blog (and send me a link), and I'll put your name in the hat. The drawing will happen when my shop hits 400's not that far away so comment soon!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Beads: Frosted Facets

I took inspiration from Jibby and Juna's fragment carvings, and Beadworx's metallic powders, and Stillpoint Works' matte finish carvings, and these little pastel beads I had seen a while ago (that I finally found the link for) by Unaodd.
Thanks ladies!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

beads: Sealpoint Wraps

Years ago my grandmother's neighbor had Coco, an old Siamese cat who sat on the bed and made an mean sound when you walked by. These are named after her (or actually, colored after her!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Colored Pencil: Times Square

I took a bunch of photos in New York last month and some will become reference material.
I did this one from Times Square over Thanksgiving weekend.
Below is the original photo. I cropped it quite a bit to focus on the people in the center section.

I wanted to make the picture fairly large so I printed my reference out on 11x17 paper and gridded it off in 1" squares. I know, that's probably considered "cheating" but I don't have the time to invest in a drawing that's going to turn out dis-proportional! (I saw a "cartoon" by a Renaissance artist that had holes punched in it so his assistants could pat chalk through the holes to create the guidelines on the wall to help him begin his mural. If the Old Masters can do it, so can I!)
I put crosshairs on my paper at the intersections of the inch marks. I didn't sketch any outlines;
instead, I just laid down the all light and dark shapes and then fit all the rest in between, referring to my guidelines until I had the basic shapes of the entire scene in place.

Below is the original colored pencil drawing.
I wasn't crazy about the paper but it was the only kind I had on hand that was big enough.
There was too much texture and I couldn't get the color as intense or as solid as I wanted it. 

Problem solved with a bit of help from Photoshop! I played with the levels and brightness/contrast.

And then just for fun, I hit it with the Poster Edges filter. One way to deal with something you don't like is to make the "problem" more pronounced. I didn't like the original texture but after darkening and emphasizing it, it's kind of cool.

Beads: Holiday Clay

Did everyone have a nice Thanksgiving? I had time today to make a few new things...
they'll be posted in my etsy shop over the next few days.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thank You!: To all my bead customers on Etsy

Nothing is more rewarding than knowing people shell out their hard-earned money for things I make. Nothing, not even these adorable boots I bought today with my bead proceeds. (This photo makes them look like they're over-the-knee boots, but they're not. I am still on the lookout for those!)

DSW was filled with boots, boots, and more boots. And better yet, unlike in the past two years, there were many in size 11. I told the manager I was thrilled to see so many 11s and she said they're starting to carry more size 9 and up now. YAY!!! (I even saw a few 12s which I have never seen there before!)

Bead proceeds also pay for my groceries, new art supplies, my own etsy purchases, and the Manhattan vacation I went on last month. So, moral of the story is, I shouldn't be typing, I should be making more beads!

I went to clay day today and came home with some new ideas!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Virtual Paintout: Rio de Janeiro

My Virtual Paintout project for November. This scene can be found on Google Streetview here:

 There seems to be graffiti on every building there.
It's hard to drop the Google Streetview Man anywhere and not find it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Snacks: Spicy Goodness

If you like hot food, you must try Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus. It has a chipotle topping that will wake your mouth up!
I dip into it with a Pecan or Almond Nut-Thins cracker. Nut-Thins are so tasty! Don't let the "gluten-free" label scare you...They are addictive!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beads: Turquoise, Gold, Red

I made the sets below in the last few days. Will work on two special orders tonight with some online etnertainment (hulu, Stewart/Colbert, Conan, streaming netflix,, etc.), two movies (500 Days of Summer and Shutter Island) and several sets of The Learning Company CDs. There aren't enough hours in the day!
I used to think that when my old TV dies I would get a big screen TV...but now I think I won't even replace it. I'll just get a larger computer monitor. And I'll eventually end up living in one room with the clay, the colored pencils, the pastels, the computer, and some piece of exercise equipment.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Artist: Tony Allain

I saw Tony Allain's pastels in a magazine a while ago and loved his work. I just now ran into his blog. Seriously, his work makes me swoon! Gorgeous Gorgeous Gorgeous! Minimalist and perfect. Some have a vaguely retro look about them...they'd look right at home in Don Draper's office!
Look at these...
Federation Square, Melbourne  (detail at left...I love the periwinkle blue that he uses a lot)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Artist: Jeannie McGuire

After the pastel workshop (see post below), a few of us went to an open house at artist Jeannie McGuire's house. She works in watercolor and has a gorgeous, distinctive style. She does figures and uses strong cropping to add drama and put the focus on the subject. She was the featured artist in the Aug 2010 Watercolor Magazine.

And I am totally jealous of her attic studio. If I had such a room I would never leave it!

 Go look at her website!

At the open house I had this deeeeeeelicious white bean, rosemary,and lemon zest dip. Addictive and delicious!

Pastels: Pat Young Workshop for PPAL

Pat Young, a member of Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League, gave a workshop today at 3rd Street Gallery. She talked about composition and showed us how to add more interest to our pastels with a colored and "textured' ground on our paper that's created with water and pastel. It never occurred to me to mix pastel and water!
My reference was one of the many photos I took in New York last month. I snapped the Chelsea Gourmet Deli on W22nd in Chelsea, right down the street from where we stayed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vacation: Manhattan visit

We walked and walked and walked! My pedometer logged 28,000 steps and that was just one day! No wonder most of the Manhattanites we saw were thin!
We took the Amtrak train to NY. We arrived at 5 pm on Tuesday and walked the 9 blocks to Dupuy's Landing, our home-away-from-home, a second-floor apartment on 22nd Street in Chelsea. Chelsea was a great location...lots of interesting restaurants! And dogs everywhere! I counted 12 dogs in two blocks as we walked to dinner one night.

After dinner, we got a late-night snack from Breadstix Cafe to take back to the apartment. Chocolate Cheesecake for me, a cannoli for Rob. Both were very good.

Wednesday was an early get-up because we had a long walk down Hudson River Park to Battery Park to catch the ferry to see Lady Liberty. Tip: If you go, leave your pocket knife at home...none are allowed on Liberty Island but I don't recall reading that in the literature. Somewhere in New York there is a huge pile of discarded pocket knives! We spent most of the day at the Statue and the museum on Ellis Island. Here's Rob in the great hall.

On Thursday we made a pilgrimage to Mood Fabric (fabric store for Project Runway, the best reality show ever! Go Mondo!). It's crammed full of fabric. My grandmother, who sewed nearly every item of clothing she wore, would have been overwhelmed, yet ready to right dive into all the choices. I bought a souvenir for myself that will be part of a necklace someday and one for my brother that will be incorporated in a Christmas present.

After Mood, we walked to Greenwich Village for a walking food tour. The food was good but what really impressed me were the graphics in Murray's Cheese Shop. Words in red and yellow used as graphic elements on the wall, signage, packaging, etc. -- very nice!

Thursday night we went to the Upright Citizen's Brigade (within walking distance from our apartment) to see the Colbert Show Writers do improv (they all have improv in their background. It was really good and the shows are cheap! Thursday was $5 a ticket and we went back on Friday for $10. Can't beat that!

Friday morning we took another long trek...this time through Times Square, Central Park and a visit to the Cooper-Hewitt design museum. They just happened to have a show about sustainable ("green") design -- one of Rob's interests -- and admission was free because of the construction.
Times Square was crowded and it was only about 10 am. I snapped a photo of us on Forever 21's big screen. There we are right below the top part of the 2 (Rob's in the orange vest.)

I tested my new camera's wide screen setting on our walk home through Central Park.

Saturday morning we had a nice breakfast and headed back to Penn Station for the trip home. It was a fast, fun trip!

*Lots of good food found its way to my tummy. Here's where we went and what I had...
Dinner Tuesday: Jake’s Saloon.
Thai Chicken and Shrimp Salad -- Cherry tomatoes, Cucumber, Mint, Basil, Tangerines Pineapple, Cilantro, Jalapeno Chile, Peanuts, Thai Dressing washed down with the best wheat beer I've ever had.

Food Tour Wednesday
These are some of the places we stopped for a quick taste:
and this place looked good but we didn’t stop there:

Dinner Wednesday: Spice at 9th and 22nd (there was another right down the block!)
6 o’clock Train Spicy Fried Rice -- Chili pepper with egg, bell pepper, onion & sweet basil  - YUM!!

Dinner Thursday: Pars Grillhouse (Persian)

Lunch on Friday: Centolire

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Virtual Paintout: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Here's my latest for Bill Guffey's Virtual Paintout. So many beautiful flowers everywhere you drop the Google Streetview yellow man! I went with colored pencil this time.
This scene can be found by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Collaboration: The one-of-a-kind KatManDu necklace

I love opening my etsy site and finding a convo there for me. You never know what fun thing might be waiting for you there. Today's mail contained one I've been waiting for.

A while ago, Christine Damm of StoriesTheyTell, asked me if I was interested in participating in a collaboration (along with Claire Maunsell  of StillpointWorks). She had an idea for a necklace using beads created by all three of us. Today she wrote to say it was finished and posted on her blog.

Look how fun this is! The red-gold-gray-black combo is very striking and of course, the little KatManDo pendant just makes the whole thing! :o)   I feel some new beads in this color combo coming on...

In the post Christine gives her own thoughts about original works, and provides links to an interesting post by Leann Udell (whose site just sucked me in for about an hour!) about creating from your own point of view, and understanding why you create what you create. 

I've never really given any thought to why I create, other than that I know if I don't, I get antsy. I've always known I was going to have some sort of art-related career (graphic design is where I ended up as so many of us art-inclined kids did!) If you had met me at age seven many, many moons ago and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you "artist." I never considered any other path.

In college, what I liked best about my art classes was critique day. We were all given the same assignments, yet none of the final work was a copy of, or even very similar to, any other. It's also why I love Project get to the see the process of criteria/creation/success or failure over and over. It's great to see those times when an idea comes to fruition, and perhaps even more interesting on all the occasions where it doesn't.

When I'm not making something I'm usually thinking about what I will make when I have time. I'll give some thought to the whole idea of my "story" to see what lurks under the surface.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Beads: Doodle Ladies and friends

While I'm listening to whatever's going on in meetings at work, I'm often doodling ladies' heads. They're either a full face or a profile and a bunch of hair. They've been my doodle of choice for 30+ years so I decided to capture one in clay...

Monsieur Acorn (his beret was an acorn cap until I decided he needed a face)...

and a few boutonniere beads...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Artist: Jen Evenhus

Click on the link so you can see the large version of this beautiful beautiful beautiful pastel painting by Jen Evenhus.

So cute: Big Things!

Easy idea for cute home decor or gifts: Blow up stuff! Not like in an action flick, this "blowing up" uses a scanner! I must try this. I am sure there's an old movie ticket stub in the bottom of my purse!
Cathe Holden has a lot of good stuff on her blog, Just Something I Made! I just became her 4,790th follower so I guess I'm a little late to the party! Better late than never!

I think the first thing I have to blow up is a stink bug. Those darn things are everywhere. One is on my ceiling right now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Project Runway: If you love Tim Gunn...

If you love Tim Gunn and Project Runway, and you haven't watched any of Tim's video reports about the behind-the-scenes happenings, you must watch! He does a recap after each episode and this week, the story is a good one. He doesn't pull any punches!!/TimGunn

Monday, September 20, 2010

Beads: Weekend projects

The round one above is my little homage to the Bead Master SCDiva!

I think the only way to get on the Etsy front page is to have an acorn in your shop. So, darn it, if that's what it takes, I'll make an acorn! This one is plain but I have an idea in mind to make one that's more me...


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