Monday, September 23, 2013

Time flies when you are having fun!  I am working on cleaning out my house in preparation for a move.  We have lived here almost 30 years, too long in one house.  Stuff multiplies to fill the space you have, and I want to downsize, so much of it has to go.  One bag of garbage at a time- or if I have worked really hard, two or three bags out!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Open torch!

Three or four times a year, my glass tribe and I get together to work.  There are always new discoveries, new beads and lots of laughter! These are some of the beads I made.  The ones on the left are a work in progress- I may electroform them, and I may not.  I am thinking about it.  The other beads are the result of an attempt at an eye cane.  I still need to work on that, but I didn't want to waste the cane I made, so they became milli's.  I like the result!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Down time

What it is about so many of my creative friends that makes us feel guilty if we are not working?  After working so hard for several months to get ready for the Kutztown Folk Festival, I thought I would take a month off but that is easier said than done.  I have unpacked, cleaned and reorganized all my show stuff.  I don't have a show for 4 more weeks, so I can relax, watch some tv or read a book.  But my mind won't shut off, and lots of ideas are rolling around in there.  I am spending the weekend torching with friends, sort of a busman's holiday, but it really is a vacation for me.  I will spend that time exploring new ideas.  Some of those ideas will develop nicely and others will be total fizzles, but I look forward to just playing on a torch and having fun!  It is a great way to get re-energize!

Friday, June 21, 2013


It is about one week until the Kutztown Folk Festival, a 9 day celebration of the PA Dutch.  It is like doing 3 or 4 shows back to back- exhausting, but lots of fun! I have been working overtime, making beads during the day and putting jewelry together at night.  One night I decided to work on a new necklace and came up with this.  I don't know if I like it yet- I need to live with it for a while.  But even if I decide it's not right, it has led me to some new ideas.  Maybe right before a huge show is not a good time to be experimenting, but those urchin beads have been calling me.  Sometimes you just have to go for it!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Panic time

It is almost time for my annual panic, making enough beads and jewelry for the Kutztown Folk Festival.  This is a local festival celebrating the PA Dutch culture, and it runs 9 days over the 4th of July- this year it is June 29 to July 7.  That's right, 9 days!  It is a tough show to do but so much fun, with all the music, wonderful food and entertainment.  I set up a mini studio and two friends come and demo all week.  So many people don't understand that I actually make the beads. The photo is my work table, and I see at least 10 jewelry projects that have been started (or beads grouped to start).  The festival is like doing 3 or 4 shows back to back, so I need to have a lot of jewelry made.  A whole lot.

In May, I try to take care of all the little details of life so I can spend June just working in my studio, but somehow it never works out like that. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Time for play

As busy as I usually am, I always leave time just for fun. This week I had lunch with a group of women (and the husband of one friend who has passed away.) We meet monthly for lunch at a new place each time. I also meet monthly with a group to zentangle for a few hours, and there are other lunches, dinners or best of all, desserts out with friends. A local guild, the Reading-Berks Guild of Craftsmen gets me out to meetings and keeps me involved with the local arts scene. Being an artist can be a solitary profession, and I spend many hours working in my studio alone. There is nothing I would rather do. I am very protective of my studio time, but I also need time out in the world. Going to a movie, taking a walk, reading a book, taking a class (not necessarily in my craft) or having fun with friends and family is necessary for my sanity!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Boring beads

Finally, I am getting some time in my studio.  A few weeks ago I did a local show and realized how low my supply of jewelry has become, and I need to make beads before I can make jewelry.  I am mostly missing the "bread and butter" items like small earrings, so I have spent a few days this week making small matching sets of beads.  At least I start out that way.  After a while, I get bored and move on to something more interesting, but the pile of bead sets is growing.  Now I just need some time to turn them into earrings.  Even though I get bored making them, it is still better than almost any other "job" I can think of.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Time flies

I have spent too much time doing things other than working in my studio!  They were all necessary and important, but now I am behind on getting ready for shows.  It is so hard to stay focused- there are bills to pay (one of the reasons I must get ready for shows!), groceries to buy, laundry to do, and the list goes on.  Throw in some extras like changing burnt out light bulbs, doctor appointments and fixing broken things, and there aren't enough hours in a day.  Or a week.  Or a month.  I can't just say I will take care of things first and then get in my studio because there are always too many things to take care of.  The best I can do is take care of those absolutely necessary things and the rest have to wait.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


 What fun to try something new! I have been zentangling once a month with friends, and this month we tried doodling on fabric.  The first photo is before and the second is after, although as I look at the photos now, the first one is the other side of the bag.  Oh well, the scroll design was the same.  This is a canvas bag that Marsha of gave me.  Since it was natural canvas, I thought it would work well, but I was a little frustrated.  The texture was heavy enough that the ink wouldn't write a clean line and it was lighter than the printed pattern.  But after a while, I decided it was ok.  I like the bottom pattern more than the top, but it is all good.

It is always fun to learn a new skill!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Electroforming finally

I finally got my electroforming equipment set up.  I learned the process from Kate Fowle Meleeney late last year, and I finally had some time to try it out, although I had to clean off a flat space first.  I tried it on a few beads that I didn't particularly like.  They didn't come out quite how I expected, but I think I know what I did wrong.  The Berks Bead Bazaar is this coming weekend, and I had hoped to have some electroformed beads to show, but I ran out of time.   The beads on toothpicks have been painted and are ready for the process.  Just the paint is stunning!  There are also a few of Yvonne Irvins My Elements components to be done yet.
After the paint is dry, the bead is hung in the acid solution between two copper strips and the wires connected for current to flow, and copper is deposited onto the conductive paint.  If the solution is new, the process takes 8 hours or so, and as it gets older, it takes much longer.  Only one bead at a time can be electroformed, so I doubt if I will ever have too many beads.
This is a bead out of the solution, all bright and shiny.  I can leave it this way, or I can patina the copper.  So many possibilities to try!

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Kate!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January is over

January is over, and 31days2organize per Peter Walsh is over.  Spending only 10 minutes a day on an assigned task every day in January has made a huge difference in my house and in my attitude- I feel lighter!  Many jobs, like cleaning out the garage, seem overwhelming, but breaking them down into 10 minute segments make them manageable.  I won't hit the garage until spring, though.  It is too cold out there!  There have been many bags of trash and donations taken out, with more to go, and I didn't even touch my studio.   Tomorrow I am organizing my show crates so they are ready to go, and then I am lighting my torch!  Shows are coming up fast!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Organizing 10 minutes at a time

The month has slowly been improving, or at least not getting worse.  I have been spending at least 10 minutes each day doing daily organizing tasks suggested by Peter Walsh, starting on Jan 1.  I have been keeping up with it and even added some jobs of my own.  It has made me feel like I am accomplishing something each day, instead of focusing on the sad events of earlier this month.  Only 10 minutes a day is not bad, and it really adds up!  I made a commitment to stick with it for the 31 days in Jan, and then I will start working in my studio again with a clear conscience.  Hopefully the weather will warm up- it gets cold in my dungeon and I can't work longer than a hour or so.  When my knees start feeling numb, I know it is time to go upstairs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tough start to the year

It has not been a good new year so far.  Two dear friends have passed away, and my much loved 17 year old kitty is now gone.  My mood has matched the gray and drizzly skies.  I have been trying to keep myself occupied, and found 31days2organize by Peter Walsh on facebook.  He posts a 10 minute task for each day in January and I decided I could manage that.  It has given me a sense of accomplishment each day when I finish the task, and bags of things have been taken out to the trash, donated, recycled, etc.

January is a month of cleaning and organizing for me, a purging and renewal.  When Feb gets here, I will start working in my studio again with a clear conscience.