Thursday, February 2, 2017

Playing with Macro Lens


This past Christmas mom bought me a macro lens for my phone. I really didn't have a chance to play with the lens for a couple of weeks (sick, yucky weather, etc.).

Last weekend I had my chance to finally play with the macro lens - it had rained - so there were droplets on the bushes outside the house and on the trees. So, got the lens out and told mom I would be outside playing.

Here are a few of the shots I took:

A droplet on one of the ornamental grasses in front of the house.

A droplet on a limb on the tree beside the extension

If you look closely you can see mom in the droplet - this droplet was
on one of the ornamental bushes - I took the pic as mom was looking
at the flowers next to the house.

A droplet on a limb on the tree next to the extension. A friend of mine thinks
it looks like a dragon's eye.
 I also took some pictures of the metal sculptures we have in the plot between the house and the extension. I LOVE rusty images!!!



Now I need to play with the macro lens when taking pictures of some of our jewelry pieces to see how the pictures look. I can't wait to do that.

I can't wait for spring either - I am looking forward to taking some close up images of the flowers with that macro lens. Just a few more weeks to go.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Creations - Stamped Key Chains

Stamped Copper Key Chains
This past Christmas mom and I created key chains for the wonderful Zumba/Piloxing/HiiT instructors at Studio b and HiiT.

This is something new we are trying - and the ladies were nice enough to give us feedback on the pieces - and from the feedback we have made some modifications.

But - I wanted to share on how mom and I created the key chains.


Mom and I agreed on the size of the pendants - so printed off the pattern, cut them out and then glued the pattern to 20g copper. We then use a jewelers saw to saw out all the pendants.


All the pendants have been sawed out - and then I actually did something new - I used our flex shaft to file and sand the pieces. OMG - that went so much faster than doing them by hand. So, guess what, I am using the flex shaft from now on!!!!!!


Mom was then nice enough to write out all the phrases on the copper. She is so much better at that than me - she actually measures things out (me no measure at all!!!).


Here is the pendants ready to be stamped. This time I actually taped down the metal so it wouldn't move around on me while stamping. I still am not perfectly straight - but hey - it is handmade. You can sort of see the lines mom used to measure out the words on the copper.


It was a little chilly, out in the garage, as I was stamping the words and then texturing the copper. So, the heaters were out and trying to keep me warm.


You can see I was using a ball peen hammer this time to texture the copper pendants. I usually use the garage floor to texture the copper - but I was watching YouTube videos on how to texture copper - and someone recommended using a ball peen hammer. So, gave it a try and I like how it turned out.


Hard to see - but I used liver of sulfur to color the copper. After taking out the copper from liver of sulfur we used sand paper to take off some of the dark color - especially around the phrases - so it was easier to read.


And, this is the assembly line mom created to assemble the key chains together.

Below are the actual key chains we created. We also added a tassel to the bottom of the pendant. We used suede for the tassel.

b happy and b fun - key chain

b you and b brave - key chain

b determined and be inspiring - key chain

b happy and "Wake Up, Kick Ass, Repeat" - key chain
I can't wait to make more of these - I already have an idea of what I want to create for myself.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Lot to Catch Up On

First fun thing:

Brian and I in the back
Kaitlyn, mom and Skyler
We had the kids starting the last week of June and the first week of July. They are getting so big - and they are teenagers. When did that happen????


We did our annual All Fired Up the first day we had them at home. I really hope the kids don't get to big to stop doing this. I think it is a lot of fun and I actually think Skyler likes it too - though he pretends he doesn't.


One weekend we went up to Wisconsin Dells and stayed for three days. We were at the Wilderness Resort and there sure was a lot to do. This day we did three different putt putt courses. And I actually got a picture of the kids without them hiding.


I think we wore Kaitlyn out this night - because she stayed in the room to sleep. So mom, Skyler and I went out to have fun. Mom and I rode the Go Karts, did lazer maze and then played lazer tag - which was a blast. Skyler was actually smiling and laughing a few times.


Mom couldn't do this - so I did the Zipline with Kaitlyn. I was a little worried at first - but after the first line it was a lot of fun. I told Kaitlyn if she wants to do it again next year I would do it with her.


I think the only thing Skyler really wanted to do was learn how to shoot. We have an indoor range near where we live - so mom called to set up a session for someone to teach Skyler all the basics. How to properly shoot the weapon, weapon safety, and how to clean the weapon. Dang, that boy had some tight shot groups - I was really impressed. I am sure grandma was in ecstatic - she used to be on the rifle team when she was a kid. So, it was nice that her and Skyler could do this together.


I had to share this picture because we almost got Skyler to smile in a pic. They are both such cuties - but I am sure they don't like to hear that from their Aunt Beth.


And the last picture - the day my brother came and got the kids. It was a whirl wind two weeks - but I loved every minute of it!

Second fun thing:


My friend Lisa and I went up to Ann Arbor this year (didn't have a chance to make it last year). It was great to be there again - but HOT, HOT, HOT. There were a lot of new artists and only so much money I could spend (I actually stayed in budget - only went over by $5).


And of course the fire hydrants. I took as many pics of the fire hydrants as I could because I noticed that they have started painting the hydrants red - two of my favorite fire hydrants were re-painted. I was so not happy - how dare they paint my fire hydrants :)

Third Fun Thing:


Mom and I were asked to be the feature artist this year at the Monticello, Broadway Art Show. It was a great honor. They let us set up some of our things in the display case, in the library. The window is in the main hallway as people come in - they get to see our stuff.



We were also asked to do a morning interview at our local TV station. I said sure, of course I know mom wasn't happy about it - but I thought what a great opportunity to show off some of our work.

It was also interesting to see how the morning news is put on.

Here is the link to the actual interview
There could only be two of us doing the interview, so mom was off to the side watching. I am at the end and Monica, the person in charge of the show, is in the middle. I talked for about 20 seconds and then let Monica do the rest of the talking. Mom said I did really good - because I was not going to watch myself on TV!

Fourth Fun Thing:
Because of the kids being here, me going to Ann Arbor, and then doing inventory for the show - there really hasn't been time to make things. But, the night before the show I got an overwhelming itch to create bracelets (I usually don't like creating bracelets because they are so hard for us). I think all of them turned out great.

"Be the Change" polymer clay from Swoon Dimples, our lampwork
glass beads and accent beads.

Jasper, our lampwork glass beads, and accent beads.

Fire Agate, our lampwork beads and accent beads.

Our enameled lotus cuff, our lampwork glass beads and moonstone.

Smoky Quartz, our lampwork glass beads, accent beads and the closure
is a button
Last fun thing:


I think the Broadway show was a great success. This is our booth set up before the show started.


A picture of mom and me before the show actually started.


My favorite metal print "Dandelion" sold. And then we were contacted by the customer asking if she could purchase two more of those prints - so mom and I were really excited!


Our big statement piece - Vortex - also sold. Mom and I were sad it was sold - but really happy that the necklace is going to a good home :)


Mom and I are also working on making up more Viking Knit chain. We also had a special order of Viking Knit chain for a customer who bought our enameled copper dragon pendant. She would like the pendant to be attached to the Viking Knit. So, excited!

Now - mom and I need to get the garage in order so we can start working on making more stuff. I have five pendants ready to enamel. Mom is working on a plate that needs to be enameled and I can't wait to share with you when it is done. We also have five trays of things in various states of completion - so need to finish those too. Also, we have ice cub trays filled with lampwork bead pairs that need to be made into earrings. So, lots to do.

We also submitted our application for a new show that is in the Indianapolis area - so we hope to expand into a new location. I am not sure when we will find out if we are accepted - they jury group is supposed to meet today.

So, our next show will be the end of September - Art on the Wabash. So, need to create, create, create.

I will share pics once we get things made up.

Monday, June 20, 2016

New Wood Floor and New Etsy Listings

The new wood floor - so nice not to have hills in the floor now
This past week mom and I had new wood floors put down in the living room and two hallways. A little over a month ago our water heater decided to spring a leak and water went everywhere. We thought we got it mopped up and fans going pretty fast - but it went into the hallway and damaged our wood floors. So, insurance was called, a run to Home Depot to figure out the wood floor color we wanted and then waited for the delivery and install.


While waiting for the call for the install - we had to move all the furniture out of the living room - and that meant unloading the Shrank (this is a solid German wall unit mom bought when we were living in Germany). Mom had it filled with all of our glass work we have purchased over the years, old photo albums, vinyl records, VCR tapes and DVDs. That was fun to unload. We then broke down and asked a good friend of ours if he could help us move it. I really don't think he will volunteer for anything ever again :)

Lily watching the fan
This past Tuesday the guys, who would lay the floor, came to the house - and of course after they pulled up the floor there were issues. So, there was some major clean up and then mom bought bleach and cleaned up the floor. So, on Wednesday they came back and laid the floors.


On Sunday our friend (yes, he came back) helped move the Shrank back into the house. Once it was in mom and I had to put it back together again - and boy was that fun. We will start putting the pretties back in this week - because it has to get done before we pick up my niece and nephew this Saturday for a two week visit. We really need to get the TV back in place so they can play the Wii.


Other fun things happening - our new George Burns rose bush (my other George Burns finally died) is blooming. Both mom and I were so excited to see the first bloom open up. Now he has about 10 blooms opened up and they smell so good.


After almost eight years of doing craft and art shows - mom and I finally bought a banner. Both of us are so happy with the way it turned out. LOVE IT!


On Sunday - while mom was cleaning - I was taking pictures of the metal prints that arrived on Saturday. I had to go on a scavenger hunt for the box - it said it was delivered but there wasn't a box on the front porch. So, went up and down our street until I found the box on our neighbor's porch. At least it got me outside to walk around - but there was a slight panic there for awhile.

Here is what got posted on Etsy:

Bee on Flower

Butterfly on Flower
Dandelion - for military children - this is my favorite image
since I was an Army brat for 12 years
Peony
Macro shot of a fire hydrant in Michigan
Macro shot of a fire hydrant in Michigan
Macro shot of a fire hydrant in Michigan
I hope you all had a great weekend - and a great start to the summer!
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