Tuesday, July 30, 2019

July Theme Challenge: Flowers

Photo by my nephew Skyler.
It is that time again - the reveal for the Art Elements monthly theme - Flowers.

Mom and I LOVE flowers. If you are friends on Facebook with mom - then you know she loves to post pictures of the flowers from her gardens.

We also love going to a little hort park located near where I work. We have thousands of photos of flowers from that little park. We have even put some of those flower photos on metal prints.

Mom and I love to make flower plates, bowls, pendants and jewelry. I have pictures posted on Flickr, Pinterest and our EB Facebook page. I have been a little lax on posting pictures and I also need to make sure all the photos are out on all of the sites.

Grandma showing Skyler how to saw. I also had Skyler help me enamel.
This past month mom and I have had my niece and nephew for a visit. My niece was able to stay two weeks before she had to get back to work and we have had my nephew for a little over three weeks. We only get to see the kids once a year (they live in Oklahoma) and we only maybe able to see them two more years before they start college. So, we are trying to enjoy as much time with them as we possibly can. If you follow me on Instagram - you can see some of things we did while the kids were here.

So - we didn't fully complete the piece for this month's theme.

The piece is ready to be strung - but we actually have a few more enameled pendants we want to add in. I didn't get them enameled - so waiting on those to be completed.

Mom found the pattern for a sunflower and she sawed it out. I know I took pictures of her sawing out the piece, but now I can't find those pictures (sorry!).

Mom then wanted to form the pendant. I have a dapping block I bought a year ago, but haven't done anything with. I haven't domed anything for over 10 years, so I need to watch some YouTube videos - but mom just winged it.

Mom did a really good job of winging it :)

Once she was done with that - it was onto enameling (after mom found the image she used so I knew what colors she wanted the pendant to be).

Before going into the kiln

After being taken out of the kiln
Here is the final look at the sunflower pendant.

And these are the smaller pendants that mom is sawing out to add to the necklace and also make a bracelet from.

Mom sawing out the little suckers that I will have
fun enameling

Mom finishing up the filing and sanding

Completed pendants that need to be enameled
A look of the beads we are using in the necklace:

We are using some of our lampwork glass beads, with pearls in between the beads and I think we are adding some seed beads too.

Thanks for sticking it out with me until the end.

Now it is off to see what everyone else has created. Here is the list of those participating:

Here is a list of our Visiting Artists:
Evie and Beth - you are here

And our Art Elements Blog Contributors:

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Plastic, Plastic, Plastic Everywhere You Look - Trying to Change That in My Life

This is a picture of my shower - lots and lots of plastic. I don't know why it took a 2x4 to hit me upside the head to see this. I can't believe how much plastic has invaded my life. I know I didn't always use plastic - what the heck happened. I know - convenience.

I am trying to change this.

Produce Bags

Grocery Bags
Mom and I do use recycle bags and produce bags when we grocery shop, but there is still soooooo much plastic in the store. We also use biodegradable trash bags, stainless steel straws, glass jars for water, glass containers for leftover foods. But I still want to make more changes.

In our area a new grocery store opened - we walked into the store on Sunday and it was a sea of plastic. There was a lot of produce that was not in plastic. I did go to the cheese and meat counter to ask if I brought in my own containers will they put the food in there. They said yes, so that can help out. And they do have some bulk items you can put in your containers - but they still had plastic tubs for peanut butter and plastic bags for the bulk items.

I crocheted this soap keeper sack
At our last show, the end of June, I did buy handmade soap. All fresh ingredients, but they package it in plastic. This past Saturday I went to our local market and there was a woman who made her own soap. It was at least wrapped in one piece of cardboard with her shop name. So, I think I will buy from her.

I want to get away from my loofah - still trying to remember when I started using it. I think I bought my first one from Bath and Body in the mid-90s. So, I found a YouTube video on how to crochet a soap sack. She did a very good job and I crocheted my first one.

The soap by a local woman. Smells divine.

I love how it turned out. I have got rid of my plastic loofah and I am now using this soap sack and I just crocheted a washcloth last night. I found another YouTube video and followed it.

I loved how it turned out. I was not able to use it yet because a co-worker wanted to see it today at work. She would like me to teach her how to crochet dish cloths/wash cloths for her to give as gifts. So, when I get back from vacation we are going to meet at lunch so I can show her how to crochet these.

I did find a couple of YouTube videos on how to crochet a loofah. I think I am going to give that a try tonight. I will post how well it worked when I finish.

This past weekend I also spent a lot of time on Etsy looking for handmade shampoo bars, deodorant, makeup and toothpaste. I was looking for bamboo toothbrushes, but didn't find a lot made in the United States - most were made in the United Kingdom or Canada.

I have ordered shampoo bars, foundation and powder, toothpaste, deodorant from several Etsy stores. They all should be arriving this week. I will let you know how they all worked out. The one thing I am worried about the shampoo bars is the pink in my hair. I tried to find bars that were for color treated hair.

I also looked for Etsy stores that used all natural resources and did not use plastic in shipping. Those were my big things for searching.

Once I receive everything I plan on documenting how they arrived and how well they work. And will let you know if I will buy them again from those sellers.

I have also joined a Facebook groups for plastic free: 1 Million Women, Plastic-Free July Support Group, and Zero Waste Cartel. There are really some good ideas on these Facebook groups.

I think the next thing I am going to look for are bamboo toothbrushes, biodegradable tampons, reusable razors. Though the razors scare me - I am really good at cutting myself when shaving.

If you have any good ideas about recycling, buying non-plastic, or already have things you use and love - please let me know. I really want to do better in my life!

Thanks for sticking around for my rant.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Art Elements Monthly Theme - Selkies

Mom and I started planning this piece from the beginning (though I almost forgot to sign up for the monthly theme challenge). You can learn more about the Selkies theme here on the Art Elements blog.

I actually was smart and (finally) started an idea board on Pinterest for Art Elements themes. I did a little reading - this link has some good information. The only issue was mom and I agreeing on the image idea and then mom coming up with a pattern for our piece.

This is the only photo I have that mom took after she sawed out the pendant. I didn't get an photos of mom sawing, filing or sanding.

I use a dental pick to get the enamel out of the holes.

This is the process of me enameling the pendant in the kiln. I always start with the back of the pendant first and then finish off enameling the front. This time I actually like the back of the pendant more than I liked the front of the pendant (you will see shortly). So, depending on what side you like; you can flip the necklace (two for one - score!).

The necklace was actually re-strung twice (my name was mud with mom). The first layout I really didn't like - too much brown. I told mom if she laid out the beads the second time I would re-string it, but she had it done by the time I got home from work. Mom said you better like it or you are figuring out what you want in the necklace. Thank goodness I like the new layout!

This is the backside of the pendant - but I really love how the colors turned out.

Here is the Selkie necklace with beads.

The lampwork beads are ones I made a few months ago and just have been sitting in the storage bin. I like how they worked really well with this piece!

Now to the flip side - the front side of the pendant.

The front side ended up being too dark for me. I still like the way it turned out, but I really like the backside of the pendant.

So, that is our piece for this month's Art Elements Theme - Selkies. I hope you take the time to see what everyone else created because I sure am.

Here is the list:


AE team: 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Completed Pieces - Art Elements Theme - Forest

If you read our post for the May Art Elements Theme - Forest you saw mom and I didn't complete our piece for the month. Well, I think mom and I made up for it by making eight different pieces - which I am really happy with.

So - here you go:

A picture of all the pieces we made together. I still can't get over how many pieces we ended up making - it also helps the pieces will be part of our two day show this coming weekend. The show is Arts in the Park, Danville, IL.

The necklace we ended up making is one of our enameled copper "Guardian of the Woods" pendants (we have a few still for sell in the Etsy store). I then made lampwork glass beads to go in the necklace (the base color is red with frit on top - these are mom's favorite beads). Mom sawed out a bunch of copper leaf pendants that I then used crackle enamel on to get the blue/green colors of the pendants. I love how this necklace turned out!

Mom and I then made bracelets with Viking Knit that we had weaved in the past and just have not used in any jewelry yet. Mom assembled the bracelets as I did a marathon enameling session this past weekend - we had a lot of bowls to enamel and the pendant for June's Art Elements Theme - Selkies. We are actually ahead of the game on this month's challenge.

We also made a set of earrings out of a pair of leaves that the holes filled up at the bottom. I hate when the holes fill up - but this time it actually worked in our favor.

The last two bracelets we used the leaf pendants, our lampwork glass beads, sterling silver spacers, seed beads and a sterling silver clasp.

I hope you enjoyed what mom and I ended up creating for the Art Element's Theme - Forests. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Art Elements Theme - Forest

Metal print by my nephew Skyler - can be found on Etsy.
This month's Art Elements Theme is the Forest. I was so looking forward to creating a piece for this month's challenge. Mom and I started discussing ideas the day I signed us up. I love doing "forest" themed pieces - leaves, animals, bugs, birds, etc.

Unfortunately I didn't complete our piece for this month. I lost track of time (seriously it is the end of May you guys). Mom had some health issues, I was lazy, a family member passed away, I was lazy, and let me say it again - I was lazy and lost track of time. Sorry - that is not an excuse.

But let me at least show you were we were going and I will also share some pieces we have made in the past that are forest themed.

Guardian of the Wood pendant - more in Etsy shop
Mom and I decided to use one of our Guardian of the Woods pendants (you can find four different ones in our Etsy shop). Mom designs a pattern - then we scan it for use later. The pattern is then glued to copper and mom saws it out and then I enamel the pieces in a kiln.

Mom wanted to make enameled copper leaves to go in the necklace and lampwork glass beads.

Mom loves these beads I make - they are a red base with frit on top. I usually have to yell at her to stop stealing the beads - they are to be used to make pieces for us to sell (slaps her hands away from the goodies).

These are the leaves mom sawed out - they are to be used in the necklace, to make a pair of earrings and possibly a bracelet (when I get done enameling).

This is the start of my enameling session. I got all of the backs done - but I still have to do the front of the pendants.

This is the rough sketch idea for the necklace. We want to use the lampwork glass beads down by the bail of the pendant and around the neck. We will then use the enameled leaves in the middle of the necklace. Once I get done enameling and mom and I assemble the piece I will share pictures.

Okay - to share some of our other "forest" themed pieces. First - just look at our blog banner. It is a picture of a Hedgie necklace mom and I made several years ago. I loved how that piece turned out. Mom and I were thinking of making a hedgie for this month's theme, but we wanted to use the Guardian of the Wood pendant.

Wall hangings/plates mom and I have made (max size is about 10" across):

Guardian of the Wood plate - this goes into a shadow box (Sold)

Dragonfly plate (sold)

Wolf howling at the moon plate (sold)
Metal prints/dog tags

Trees against a stormy sky - dog tags on Etsy

My nephew took this photograph - we have it on a metal print now for sell in Etsy

Pendants (wire wrapped or enameled copper)

Hummingbird enameled copper pendant

Wolf enameled copper pendant

Fall leaf enameled copper pendant

Wire wrapped tree pendant

Leaf necklace

Frog necklace

Bee necklace with honeycomb

Leaf necklace (the pendants are just LOS) with our
lampwork beads - mom wired wrap this piece

Hummingbird necklace

Leaf necklace
So, that is what we have for this month's theme. Again I apologize in not following through, but we will get the piece done and I will post pictures.

Now - onto the wonderful artists who are participating:


Evie & Beth - you are here

AE Team

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