Thursday, May 29, 2008

TV Adds 10 pounds (and an Extra Chin): Lessons in Learning to Laugh at Yourself

I've been feeling a bit under the weather since Memorial Day weekend (probably in part because there's been so much bad weather to be under lately, at least here in the great Northwest). I've been getting a lot of art done, as well as a lot of sleeping in, and doing what I can to battle the "blahs."

Let me say here and now that watching yourself on TV is not always the best way to beat the blahs*. I had another crafty appearance on AM Northwest this morning, and I had a good time demonstrating how to make stamps from heat-moldable foam. (There's a whole step-by-step Demo of it here on the blog, and I may even end up doing a demo at the grand opening of the new Collage/DIY Lounge location at 4429 SE Woodstock this weekend). I had a less-than-good time watching the video afterwards . . . at least the first time.

See the extra chins? Nothing deflates the ego like video . . .

I swear to all of you that 1) in spite of appearances, I did brush my hair this morning and . . .

2) I did try to select a "slimming" ensemble. In retrospect, the baggy black cardigan was probably a bad idea, particularly when combined with moments of bad posture.

But the good part about seeing yourself on video is that it gives you plenty of opportunities to laugh at yourself. "Ooo . . . I do love blue foam!"

"Don't press people parts into the hot foam!" And opportunities to wonder if this is how other people really see you . . .

"Instead, mash it into a bunch of pine cones!" And opportunities to wonder if that's why they laugh so much . . . Though I do begin to understand why others see in me a resemblance to Molly Shannon.

Oh, Yeah. I'm a SuperStar!

*Taking shots of stupid stills of yourself on TV, however, is a guaranteed blahs-buster!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Back to Wax

The week has just sort of floated by on a cold and rainy river . . . but here's an encaustic piece I've been working on:

I'm really ready for spring-y, sunn-y weather. I was wearing a turtleneck on Memorial Day. It just doesn't seem right . . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pay it Forward: Comment, and You Could Be Next!

The lawn is mowed, and the ballot is in. My most critical community duties done, I moved on to something a little bit more fun, but still in the category of "community good," at least in my book.

Ella Rose works the main checkout desk at the Rebuilding Center. It's an awe-inspiring place, full of serviceable and salvaged windows, doors, cabinets, lighting fixtures, toilets, tiles, drawers, and even switchplate covers. It's usually the drawers that I drop by for - they make a great base for the shrines and shadowboxes that my students and I make as a part of Artmaking as Playful Prayer. Well, I dropped by a few months ago to load up on drawers, and Ella Rose was cheerful and chatty as usual, offering random discounts and even complimenting me on my earrings.

"Those are cool! Where'd you get those?"

"I made them - see, this is recycled bicycle inner tube."


"Yeah, and look - this is just a rubber band from produce!"

"REALLY? That is so cool - hey, wait a minute," and she paused to dig through a drawer. "I've been saving these - do you think you could do something with them?" She held out a pair of curved blue glass tiles, small, but still thick and heavy.

"They might be a little heavy for earrings . . ."

"Oh, that won't bother me!"

"Yeah, I can do something with these . . . It may be a while, but I'll make you some earrings - do you want inner tube on them?"

"Yeah, and rubber bands, too!"

I played with the glass over the weekend, and finally got a design I liked. Today, I delivered on my promise.

And she loved them! She gave me a hug, and a promised 10% off . . . but, you know, Ella Rose always gives me a good deal, so I'm not too worried about it! (and no, that's not Ella Rose wearing the earrings, just in case you were concerned for her health . . . )

She always treats me well, always has a smile, and sometimes, it's just nice to do something nice for someone else.

In a similar vein, Geek+Nerd did a "Pay it Forward" post about a month ago (ok, I checked, it was on April 9th, though I can't seem to get a permalink going to it!) After getting the tag from another blogger, she promised to send out a random handmade gift to the first three people who posted a comment with the understanding that they would do the same on their blogs . . . and I was chosen! So, I'm finally getting around to making my own "Pay it Forward" post. Be one of the first three to post, and I'll send you a handmade crafty item - all I ask is that you share the love on your own blog . . .

Friday, May 16, 2008


I've been making jewelry off-and-on for almost 20 years now - though I've almost always stuck with pretty straight-forward techniques (not a lot of metal-smithing for me, and never any casting - heck, I've even kept my wire-wrapping to a minimum). But old dogs can learn new tricks - or be reminded of the old ones in new, exciting ways! And the book to do it (at least for this old dog) is Bead Simple by local crafty luminary and West Coast Crafty Blogger Susan Beal.

In my quest to become an ever-better low-tech jewelry maker, it's become a reminder handbook and inspiration guide all in one. All of the projects are simple and beginner friendly, and the basic jewelry-making instructions are easy-to-follow and well-illustrated. And I love this project by Art School Dropout Jessee Malone that uses black o-rings from the hardware store!

And speaking of Art School Dropout, check out this Juxtapose Necklace from her site I just bought:

In a similar vein, I'm also working on this necklace using rubber grapes and little birds cut from a plastic lid and lightly sanded . . . and I can get it to hang well on the model, but not on my neck, so it needs a little more work, but I'm really liking the effect.

I finished teaching my Junk Drawer Jewels class this week, and actually took a soldering class from Jennifer Wells over the weekend! It was great fun, and I highly recommend it! Of course, even with all this jewelry madness, there's still room for other stuff - like the Images on Fabric class I started teaching this week! ooo . . . the sun is finally out and I am feelin' HOT!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shadowbox: Trophy Wife in Progress

At a second-hand shop, I found this image of a young woman in a white dress, holding a piece of paper. It looked to me like a woman in a wedding dress, displaying her marriage certificate. There's no way to verify this story I made up about the image, but I decided to just use it as launchpad for this piece . . .

Here's the piece in process - with "Trophy Wife" as the working title. The old trophy part just seemed to fit . . . and the layers of possible meaning began to build.

And here it is closer to being done. I'm still adding more milagros and charms along the sides . . . and I'm thinking the title is closer to "Negotiation."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

More Junk Drawer Jewels

Here's the necklace I've been working on this weekend:

It's got snaps, bingo pieces, dice, a monopoly house, washers . . . and a lot of other fun stuff!

I love how you can mix all of these things together, almost literally bits of junk, and come away with something that actually looks pretty and kind of quirky, fun.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's Been Awhile.

Ok, rather a long while. During which time I have been working hard with the other side of my brain, working in the yard, having new lights and a vent installed in the studio, prepping for upcoming shows, and getting ready to teach two new classes.

One of the new classes is Junk Drawer Jewels - it started last week, and as usual, teaching the class left me totally inspired to made some new stuff! Like this necklace - I used bits of rubber tubing from the hardware store, rolled up scraps of paper, and endcaps to make the beads on this necklace!

I love the way it just reads as a simple necklace from a distance, and that you don't notice its "junk" elements until you closer . . . unlike the other necklace I'm working on (you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see that one!)

As usual, my students are blowing me away with their creativity - Pamela even posted about the class on her blog - and you've got to check out the pendant she's making from hardware store finds and old watch parts!