Thursday, May 31, 2012

Challenge of Literature Blog Hop

It is that time - the Challenge of Literature Blog Hop!!!!  I was so excited to sign up for this challenge because I had the perfect poem that I have been wanting to create a piece for (since 2009).  I did a final ceramics project for school about this poem, but I have been wanting to make a necklace to go along with it.

The poem I chose for this challenge was Calvary Crossing a Ford by Walt Whitman.

Cavalry Crossing A Ford

A Line in long array, where they wind betwixt green islands;
They take a serpentine course--their arms flash in the sun--Hark to
the musical clank;
Behold the silvery river--in it the splashing horses, loitering, stop
to drink;
Behold the brown-faced men--each group, each person, a picture--the
negligent rest on the saddles;
Some emerge on the opposite bank--others are just entering the ford--
Scarlet, and blue, and snowy white,
The guidon flags flutter gaily in the wind.

Walt Whitman

Sketches - poem broken out and how assemble
I remember the first time I read this poem; it was for my American Literature class (fall 2003).  We had to read the poem in class.  I remember reading that poem and I while I was reading I could seriously smell the horses and sweat of the soldiers, hear the clank and jingling of the bridles, see the guidons flying in the wind and see the weariness of the soldiers resting in their saddles.

Stamping the pendants

I usually never raise my hand or gave an opinion in class, but that day I was more than ready to add my thoughts to the discussion of this poem.

Have liver of sulfur the pieces and are cleaning them with sand paper -
notice the very dirty hands
I know each person had a different take on the poem, but I saw the soldiers returning from a field exercise; they were exhausted and were just sitting there letting the horses cross the creek.  I do remember that the class was split down the middle on whether the soliders were returning from an exercise or were heading out to one.

Sprayed with lacquer and waxed - waiting to be polished
The reason I thought they were returning was the way the soldiers were sitting in the saddle - negliently.  I could emphathize with those soldiers - there were times I came back from a long field exercise (two weeks to a month) where there were no showers and sleep was sometimes non existant.  I can remember that deep weariness - telling myself, "one step at a time".

Pieces laid out
The main focus of this piece is the horse/soldier pendant and the guidons with snippets from the poem.

"Calvary Crossing a Ford"

I wanted to have the soldier and the horse in the necklace and I wanted the necklace to have a rustic feel.  I think mom and I nailed it.  Mom and I used Vintage chain, 20 gauge copper pendants that were stamped with snippets from the poem and dipped in liver of sulfur, and etched lampwork glass beads.  I chose the two different blues because those were the colors of the military uniforms in the late 1800s.

This is the second main pendant - the name of the poem.  I really love how the guidon pendants came out.  To get the texture of the pendants I found texture on mom's garage floor, put the pendants on the texture and hammered the pendants :)  Improvise, adapt and overcome baby!!!!

These are the top two pendants on the left side of the necklace.

Pendants on the top right side of the necklace.

Pendants on the bottom left side of the necklace.

Pendants on the bottom right side of the necklace.

The soldier and horse pendant.  At one point I did start making a necklace for the poem, but I started enameling this pendant and set it aside because it was a pain in the butt to enamel.  So, when Erin was doing this challenge mom and I pulled out the necklace.  I really didn't want the clear enamel on it, so mom took a hammer and broke off the enamel.  I LOVE the texture it left behind and the liver of sulfur really brought out the details.  As always mom did an awesome job sawing!!!!

So, that is our interpretation of Calvary Crossing a Ford.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures and how we created the piece.

Thank you Erin for putting on this wonderful blog hop!!!  I had a lot of fun - except for the last part of assembly, wish I got a picture of that.  I had the necklace on while mom was attaching the pendants.  I was holding my breath each time so she wouldn't accidently clock me with the pliers :)

To see all the other wonderful participents please see the list below (if the links don't work please head on over to Erin's blog to see the list).

Erin Prais-Hintz
Rebecca Anderson
Rose Binoya
Lori Bowring Michaud
Shannon Chomanszuk
Marlene Cupo
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Kim Dworak
Beth Emery
Therese Frank
Amy Freeland
K Hutchinson
Jennifer Justman
Susan Kennedy
Linda Landig
Lisa Lodge
Lisa Lowe
Kirsi Luostarinen
Beth McCord
Melissa Meman
Sharon Misuraco
Tracey Nanstad
Melinda Orr
Kashmira Patel
Alice Peterson
Sally Russick
Niky Sayers
Pam Sears
Amy Severino
Tracy Stillman
Emma Todd
Melissa Trudinger
Lesley Watt
Shai Williams

Have fun and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Been Quiet Lately

I thought I would share this video I came across when I was on Second Surf's blog.  I thought this was a very powerful song - sort of my new mantra right now.  Both mom and I have been feeling blah and not wanting to do anything.  I think I am going to get an Itunes card so I can download this song and several more of her songs - love it!

Kim Harrison on Amazon
About two weeks ago I was on Silver Parrot's site and noticed she was reading "A Perfect Blood" by Kim Harrison.  So, I download the first book and ended up purchasing all the books in the series.  I am hooked and I can't wait for the next book to come out with Rachel Morgan, Ivy Tamwood and Jenks.  I don't usually say a lot about the books I read, but I was very impressed with this series.  I am already rereading the whole series now.

This morning mom and I went to Round the Fountain Art Fair before it got to blasted hot.  There were a lot of new artists this year and that was nice.  Saw our favorite watercolorists Rena Brouwer and drooled over about four paintings I wanted (had to leave her tent asap before I broke down).

After we left the fair we stopped at our favorite store - Inspired Fire.  I need some silver foil leaf for making beads and some blue glass for the The Literature Challenge on May 31st.  Need to get the beads made and the piece assembled and photographed to post.

Currently mom is sleeping - she is still not feeling good at all.  She did get an ultrasound done of her gall bladder but it is inconclusive.  I got a name of surgeon I have asked her to call so we can get a second opinion - five months in pain is stupid and I want her fixed. 

Not sure what is going to happen tomorrow, just have my fingers crossed she feels better tomorrow.  She has this really cool plate she is sawing out that I want to enamel and share with you all - it is AWESOME! 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May ABS Challenge and Other Things

Italian's House at Monmarte by Maurice UtrilloOil on panel, 53 x 76 cm
Mom and I actually completed the May ABS Challenge piece way before the deadline and I think that maybe a first.  Mom and I actually agreed on what we wanted the design to look like plus we wanted to try something new.

Mom and I thought we would make a bracelet for this month's challenge piece.  For some reason mom and I both suck at making bracelets but one of the ideas we came up with, at the Nappanee show, was making cuff bracelets.  We would still have the sawing element of what mom is excellent at and I thought I would try patina (which I found out I suck at).

I so wanted to do this piece with patina from Missficklemedia but I totally suck.  I have the Chestnut Brown patina from Shannon's store, I have the tutorial and I have the materials, but I have no freaking clue what I am doing wrong.  Talk about frustration and disappointment because I thought it would look awesome with the Chestnut color.  So, I "Improvised, Adapted, and Overcame".  I sanded it all down and stuck the darn thing in Liver of Sulfur and made mom sand it down.  I thought mom brought out the richness of the color and I love the sanding effect.  We did seal it and wax it, but both mom and I will test this piece out before we start selling them.  Mom and I both react differently to metals so we are going to see how it goes.

Here is a close up of the beads.  I thought making a set of our "Green Gable" beads would be perfect and we accented the piece with Freshwater white and green pearls.

Mom and I also had differing opinions on how the piece should be put together.  We sort of had a "discussion" on Sunday.  She didn't like my idea and I didn't like her idea.  But we did end up going with mom's idea with the elastic cord, though instead of knotting it I want to crimp it - so there will be a slight tweak to this piece later.

Here is mom wearing so you have an idea of what it looks like.  I am happy with the way the design came out and I can't wait until we make more of these up.

So, there it is - our May ABS Challenge piece.

Some other news - look what came in the mail and I so can't wait to play with.

I finally broke down and bought some stamping tools which I have wanted and wanted for a very long time.  I bought these from Impress Art.  I also broke down and bought their hammer.  What made me finally break down and purchase them is because of Erin's Challenge of Literature blog hop on May 31st.  I knew exactly what piece I was using and I really wanted to stamp some of the lines to be part of the challenge piece.  I am so excited to use these and I have my fingers cross that the design will work as well in theory as it does on paper.  Come back on May 31st and check out what everyone is revealing!

We also finished a couple of special order pieces and will let the customers know that they are ready. 

This is a necklace for a customer in Nappanee.  She bought one of our necklaces at the show and wanted us to make her another one in blues.

The flower polymer clay pendants are from BeeTree by m.e., the glass beads are made by us and it is accented with copper findings and freshwater pearls.  We really hope she loves the piece.

These are a pair of earrings to go with the necklace.  We just now have to contact the customer to let her know the pieces are completed.

The next special order was for a five decade rosary.

All 53 small beads, 6 large beads and cross are handmade by us.  I used a transparent blue with frit melted in to make the beads and cross.  The rosary center is a Sterling Silver dove and the accent beads are Czech beads.

Here is a close up of the cross.

A close up of the beads.

Another look at the full rosary.  I really like how the colors turned out and I hope the customer likes the piece.

Not sure what is on our plate for this weekend - I know for sure working on the Challenge of Literature and maybe more cuffs.  Who knows - when we write a list of things to do we never go by it anyway.

I hope you all have a great rest of your week and a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Final Reminder - Mother's Day Sale on Etsy

Final reminder of our Mother's Day sale on Etsy.  The sale will end on Sunday, May 13th.
Coupon Code:  MOMDAY2012
Discount: 20% off the entire inventory

You must use the coupon code when checking out to get the discount.
Discount does not apply toward shipping.
We hope you enjoy browsing our handmade, one-of-a-kind items.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day Coupon Code

Etsy Store Mother's Day Sale
Mother's Day sale now through May 13th. 
Coupon Code:  MOMDAY2012
Discount: 20% off the entire inventory

You must use the coupon code when checking out to get the discount.  Discount does not apply toward shipping. We hope you enjoy browsing our handmade, one-of-a-kind items.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sunday's Accomplishments and Other Stuff

These are a set of earrings mom and I made for a special order.  I made the beads, mom did the Viking Knit and assembled them.  I need to email the customer tonight and let her know that they are done and ready for her if she likes them.

Another set of earrings mom made for another customer.  I made the beads and mom used the left over from the other Viking Knit earrings to make these.

Paisley Cuff by Kristi Bowman Designs
The above is the Paisley cuff I purchased from Kristi Bowman's Designs.  I really loved the paisley and I thought my friend Lisa would too. 

I made up some pink Viking Knit (because Lisa loves pink) and mom assembled the bracelet for me.  I plan on giving the bracelet to Lisa today, so I will let you know how she likes it in a later post.

I thought you all would get a kick out of Zola "helping" me in the computer room.  Nothing like a cat rug on the keyboard while you are trying to type :)

This is the piece we are sawing out for this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge (how you like my foot in the bottom left corner).  I did cut out the perimeter but mom is sawing out the rest of the piece.  I also made more beads yesterday for the five decade rosary, but ran out of frit for the rest of the beads.  So, I made beads to go with this month's challenge piece.

Etsy Sale - 20% off

A reminder in case you didn't see the announcement yesterday - Mom and I just wanted to let you know that we are having a Mom Day sale until the 13th of May. It is a 20% off inventory sale in our Etsy store.  Enter the coupon code MomDay2012 to receive your 20% discount when checking out. Discount does not apply toward shipping. We hope you enjoy browsing our handmade, one-of-a-kind items.

May Photo a Day
Today's Photo a Day is Someone that Inspires You.  For me that was easy - Mom.

I took a pic of her yesterday and she didn't know why.  I just said smile and she did.  Mom is my best friend and she inspires me on a daily basis!  I wish I was good with words like a lot of you out there to explain what mom means to me.  She is my best friend, confidant and so much more.  Of course she rocks the jewelry making business and I would be truly lost without her, but like I said, she is my best friend.  Thanks mom for being my inspiration on a daily basis!!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Etsy Sale, Photo Of the Day and Things to Do

Etsy Sale

Mom and I just wanted to let you know that we are having a Mom Day sale until the 13th of May. It is a 20% off inventory sale in our Etsy store. The sale will end on May 13th. Enter the coupon code MomDay2012 to receive your 20% discount when checking out. Discount does not apply toward shipping. We hope you enjoy browsing our handmade, one-of-a-kind items.

Photo of the Day today is Me.  I seriously hate my picture taken and I am sorry I am using a picture from a few months ago. 

Me and my camo pants :)  This was taken the morning before mom's foot surgery.  My hair is no longer that color, it is now RED!!!  I have been having fun trying different hair colors until I settled on this hair color the last few months.  It is almost the hair color of my grandma, she was a fiery red head.

This is the White Board of "Tthings to Do".  Mom and I also have to finish ordering some flower polymer clay pendants from BeeTree by m.e., send images to a juried show, clean the beads I made yesterday, make more beads to go with the five decade rosary I am making, find the pattern for Erin's The Challenge of Literature for the piece I want to make for that challenge, saw out the pattern for the May ABS Challenge (mom and I are gonig to try something different), and the whole list of other stuff to get done.

What kind of things do you have planned for today or the rest of the month?  We would love to hear what you have going on!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Whole Lot Going On

I thought I would start off with a picture of Sasha Bear helping me out on the computer.  He is such a lover and wants attention but I am trying to get the Etsy shop back open and several pendants listed.

Another image of him sprawled out on the paperwork for the Etsy listings.  Currently he is again facing the keyboard and he is snoring away.

Well, I didn't post the photo a day yesterday which was Fun.

This is my fun - torching and making beads.  Mom and I have several custom orders (beads for a necklace, earrings and a five decade rosary).  The five decade rosary may kill me because I make a lot of extra beads in case some are wonky looking, not the same size or flat bottoms - a lot of beads will be made.

Today's photo of the day is a Bird.

Mom and I like to walk on campus and take pictures.  We just happened to walk by one of the fountains and saw this bird playing in the water.  The bird was having a lot of fun getting wet.

Next on the list of things I just got done was listing three new pendants on Etsy.

Enameled Copper Hummingbird
Colors are transparent purples, greens and black
Enameled Copper Hummingbird
Colors are transparent blues, greens, red/orange and black
Enameled Copper Hummingbird
My favorite color mix (Peacock) misc. opaque blues/greens and black
I wanted to also share with you two things that came in the mail this past week.

Paisly Cuff Bracelet - Kristi Bowman Designs
Kristi did a blog post on Paisley in the House back on April 20th.  I fell in love with this cuff bracelet for a friend of mine.  I have made up some Viking Knit and I have asked mom if she can put it all together for me.  I can't wait to see the end result and give it to my friend for watching my fur babies last week when mom and I were at the Nappanee show.  Of course if my friend doesn't like the bracelet I think I will swipe it for myself :)  LOVE THIS CUFF!!!!  You can go to Kristi's blog here and her Etsy shop here.

My other surprise in the mail were these:

Polymer Clay beads from Heather at My Muse
Back in mid-April Heather were given these cuties away and of course I signed up for them and won.  Love them!!!  Mom and I have several ideas already and I can't wait to see what we create.  You can check out Heather's blog here.

I thought I would finish with a photograph of what my wonderful and crazy/stupid mother was doing as I was listing pieces on Etsy and writing this blog post.  I was suppose to help her but she is too stubborn for her own good sometimes!!!!

I was suppose to help mom cut down the HUGE, I mean GINORMOUS, ornamental grass and lilac bush.  The ornamental grass is at least 8-10 feet around and the lilac bush was pretty tall.  Mom knows I hate working in the yard, but for that I would have helped her cut the damn thing down.  Sometimes my mother, just want to choke her :)

Okay, I am off to finish some more of our long list of items to get done.  I hope you have a great Saturday everyone!
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