31 August 2011

how sweet it is ...

... or to be more exact -  how sweet are these?  I'm running low on silver spacers, so not sure how many more pairs of earrings I'll get done.  But these were just so cute, I had to share them.  I'm hoping to load up my Etsy shop by the weekend.  I'm thinking I should see if anyone else likes this new work as much as me before I get much more carried away. 

I can see lots of possibilities and have lots more ideas and so many pieces I'm wanting to make.  I really hope the feeling's mutual.  Especially with my new drill!

A thing of beauty and a joy forever ... for sure I am a happy happy jewelry girl!
Stay tuned!

l i g a - kvk

30 August 2011

nerve wracking

Today is tree removal day.  Two "large weed" trees, and two more problematic trees.  One leaning at a precarious angle in the back yard and the other a walnut that's too close to the house and has been dropping walnuts and breaking our siding.

I hate loud noises.  Dave usually does the vacuuming while I hide - can't stand the sound.  So the unloading and running of heavy equipment, chainsaws and a really huge chipper has me completely undone.  Not to mention I hate the idea of taking down trees in the first place.  So very distressing on most levels.

Saying goodbye to the walnut ... I loved peering through it's too close branches into the back yard.

Thankfully, our tree guy is a consummate professional ... rock climber, very strong, seriously safe, expert and fluid in his movements.  Still, the whole thing sucks royally.

Deep breaths.
l i g a - kvk

28 August 2011

the end of the day

Doing a post this time of day/night is against my normal m.o., but my mind is still designing and I'm hoping getting it out of my head will help ...

Working with new components and combinations is never fast.  It's always try this, nope not that, oooohh, how about this, what if I put these here and not there, would that be a better balance, oh I've got to switch tumblers, what was in that one, oh yes, I remember - ear wires, oh and don't forget to shorten that chain which will need to go back into the tumblers and I'm really liking that combination and didn't I have some big lavenderite nuggets that would look really cool with that big bone fossil and what time is it, oh just a few more minutes 'til I need to stop and get dinner going.  Always hard to shift gears after a long day of focusing on new work.

I was on an earring binge for a bit ... remember my forged bailing wire?  Here's a few finished pairs - I'm quite pleased with these - they're all jangly and very much fun ...

Rock and roll and asymmetry - plus I love the hammered green amethyst nuggets ...

Jumbo mystic topaz and raw diamonds ...

And here's a pair with the shark fossils and Roman glass...

The necklaces have been taking a while to figure out what components I want to use and then it always takes a while to get the balance right with all the little details.  I started the day with delicate and ethereal ...

And ended with seriously bold.  The piece on the left is a jumbo chunk of fossilized bone with a beautiful Basha bead and one of my sapphire studded beads and the right hand one is this lovely fossilized fragment of a shell that's kind of a dusky blue, combined with more fossils, mystic topaz, iolite and flourite...

Okay, I'm tired now.  Time to shut down, do a bit of reading and see if I can get to sleep.  My week ahead is going to be crazy - 3 doctors appointments, the tree guy for some yard work and ending up, thankfully, with a haircut on Friday ... ending with a bit of pampering after a week of being poked and prodded and accosted.  BTW - just way overdue annual check-up stuff.  I'm extremely healthy!

Nite nite!
l i g a - kvk

27 August 2011

chillin' in my happy place

Since I was on my ocean inspired design burst, I pulled out some beach glass to make a few of my Sea Goddess components.  Here's the before ...

And the really excellent after ...

Interesting that one of the green pieces changed color a bit.  That's what I love about doing these, it's always a surprise!  I think I'll do finished pieces with the two pendants and I'm planning to list the other componenets on Etsy.  This coming week is going to be crazy busy, but I should be able to squeeze a photo shoot and some 'puter time in there somewhere. 

I've been working with my mondo pile of shark fossils and enjoying myself immensely!  My soon to be replaced cheapo drill has actually been cooperating and I've been able to do a bunch of drilling.  The only challenging part with the fossils - some are not so fossilized and crumble or break when I'm drilling them.  The good ones make a lovely ringing sound when they click together.  Happy sounds are always a good thing in jewels.  I'm having so much fun with these ... I can't believe it took me 3 years to get these out and start experimenting.   Gotta say, on the whole, they're looking very cool and I'm quite pleased.

I took a couple of days and made a bunch of teeny spacers and accent beads.  I don't know what it is, but I absolutely love making these tiny beads.  And when I've got them all sorted out, well sort of sorted, and in my little bins ... that's a sight that makes me ever so happy.

What I've started with is these really simple necklaces with stacks of silver alternating with the fossils.  I'm debating about adding some sparklie bits, but keep going back to the simpler versions.  These are on the nylon cord I'm making.  I'm liking the thinner version for my own self, but can see that thicker cords will be good for the guys and the heavier pieces.

I'm planning on spending most of tomorrow working on these.  There'll be earrings and bracelets as well.  Oh yes, that will be me ... chillin' in my happy place!

Sending out prayers to those in the path of Irene - stay safe!
l i g a - kvk

24 August 2011

good morning, inspiration!

Welllll, I'm sure this is not going to be a surprise to anyone ... that where my mind has wondered and what my hands have plucked out to play around with are remnants of the sea - in particular, fossilized shark's teeth and bones from the SW coast of Florida.  Okay, so I didn't collect these.  My brother-in-law and his partner sent them to me, embarrassing to say - about 3 years ago.  That would be when we were still in Port Townsend.  But boy howdy they've been whispering to me since I got back home and since yesterday, it's been rather more insistent.

I've got lots to work with!  Here's some of the big pieces I culled ...

... from here.  A nice big zip-loc of inspiration.  There's a mix of fossils, shells and pebbles.  Some with lovely holes worn through - tailor made for jewelry!  Can't you just see a whole bunch of these tiny fossils, drilled and interspersed with my metal clay spacers and chunky bits?  I'm thinking an urban update to my beloved puka shells from the early 70's.

And here's some of the really big pieces - bones and teeth mostly and a few of the smaller, exceptionally cool pebbles and shells.

I'm seeing these paired with some of my jumbo gemstone nuggets ...

... or maybe with my metal clay/beach glass pendants ...

And if I get bored with any of that, it's September Issue season!  I've been buying the September issue of Vogue since I was in my early teens - a beloved annual tradition, my seasonal foray into absolute excess.  I did a quick perusal of everything on the shelf at B&N and decided to stick with my top two - W and Vogue.  Might have to check out the movie again - I can absolutely live without Anna Wintour, but Grace Coddington is a total inspiration.

Okay, time to do some drilling!  Which reminds me, gots to order more diamond drills.  And all my writing and introspection is back on hold ... inspiration calls and I must answer.  Like Andrew was saying in his current post, "I can talk about my ideologies and weave elaborate sentences to bolster my opinions... but without action behind those words, they might as well not exist at all."  Well said, Andrew!

Wish me luck!
l i g a - kvk

23 August 2011

lizards and bears and earthquakes ... oh my!

So I've really been trying to stay focused and write and have some extended ME time.  What's a girl s'posed to do when there's earthquakes - that 5.8 in VA sent a pretty good rumbling down this way and, on top of that, I'm still kind of rattled by the bear sightings in our back yard ...

This must be the guy that took out our bird feeders the day we left for Florida.  He came back this past Saturday hoping for seconds on the smorgasbord, but the buffet had been dismantled.  He came out of the wooded area just behind our house and when Dave started hollering at me, he was about 10 feet from the downstairs bedroom window.  BTW - he was BIG!

Luckily he sauntered on off, but I'm still not too excited about going outside.

Happily, we did have a lovely short stay in Florida.  Early morning walks on the beach every day, the last day we headed out in the rain, but the beach was empty - perfect!  And, silly me, I didn't take my camera onto the beach at all.  I was planning on swimming and didn't want to mess with it.  Unfortunately, we discovered there was a large influx of plate size moon jelly fish.  Not terribly dangerous.  But Dave brushed against one that first morning and had a big itchy circle on his chest for a couple of hours.  The jelly fish also thwarted our snorkeling adventure, actually okay by me as I'd never been snorkeling and they added one too many challenges for little ol' wimpy me.

We did spend the better part of one day at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Del Ray.  Really really hot, but absolutely lovely.  Seems the theme of the day was reptiles, well mostly lizards ... small, medium, large, greens and browns.

 small and brown

green, medium sized and, from what sister-in-law Kim says, mean and agressive
(btw - gorgeous huge bamboo!)
this one was medium sized brown and relatively sedate

then there was fearless and jumbo and green ... this iguana walked within about 3 feet of us ... beautiful

I love iguanas ... my fourth grade class had a pet one named Lurch ... very silly

As for my ME time, my attempts at interviewing myself haven't been as productive as I'd hoped.  Yesterday, I did a bit of the write a question with my dominant right hand, answer with my left hand.  I'll look it over again tomorrow and see what I had to say to myself.  Today I was mostly distracted and trying to resist the urge to run errands that could wait until tomorrow.  Then there was that silly earthquake and then I spent the rest of the afternoon thoroughly distracted, so I figured I'd edit a few pics and say HI.

One thing I've decided ... the (formerly) wounded child me is doing just fine, the adult me seems to be pretty good as well, but there's a part of the artist me that's still in hiding.  She's the one I'm trying to coax out.  Judging by today's high level of distraction, she's not wanting to budge.  But I'm going to be gentle and nurturing and soft spoken and see where that leads.  Keeping my fingers crossed. 

l i g a - kvk

21 August 2011

genius moment

Just had a flash of brilliance!  I'm making an appointment with the part of me that's been hidden ... tucked away, buried ... for - well, seems like forever.  We're going to have a nice long chat, see what she's like, where she's been, would she like to come out and play and be a permanent resident in my waking life.

I think we'll be best friends from here on out.

11 August 2011

holding pattern

So I finally got the steel pieces to where I want them, but then life got in the way...

I've left these lovelies on my soldering station just so's I can look at them and plan and imagine......

I already know they're going to be gorgeous when dangling from these ........

But now it's time to start getting ready to head south for a few days of visiting Dave's family on the east Florida coast.  Dave's mom is about to bust, she gets very excited.  Mom/Janet is 75 and has more energy than I'll ever have.  A slow day for her is a 16 mile bike ride before work - she's a bagger at Publix!  I always wanted to be a bagger.......

Anyway, we're flying down to visit for a few days and I'm shifting my focus to this ......

....... sea blues.  We're staying in a hotel on the beach (it was cheap!) and I can't wait for early morning walks and diving into the salt water, Gumbo Limbo Park and fresh seafood.  I'm in serious need of a saltwater fix.

Hopefully I'll be back to work later next week.  So for now, the bailing wire series is to be continued ............

l i g a - kvk

09 August 2011

steel and lavender oil

I'm close, really close to figuring it out.  The two pairs of earrings 'I thought' were finished ... well I realized I hadn't run them through the stainless shot/lavender oil combination.  Consequently the area where the earwires had been soldered to the steel is starting to rust.  That rust works FAST which is okay by me.  I know within a day if the pieces are good to go.

And the pieces I tumbled yesterday ... well I should have put a bit of oil in with them for that last run ... rust is setting in around that soldering area.

They're very close, though.  So I took the embellishments off the 'finished' earrings and have chucked everything back into the tumbler - stainless steel shot with a squirt of lavender oil in the water - one more time.  Feeling like this will be the one.

And while the tumbler's running, I'm heading off into a completely different direction and have hauled out my treasured little sewing machine, 'Bernie' the Bernette.

I love this little machine!  I've had her for about 17 years.  The best part is, I bought her with money I made from selling jewelry to a sewing class that was happening the day I went into the shop to make my purchase ... total serendipity!  I was making this crazy jewelry - little flakes of slate wire wrapped with base metal wire and beads and little hammered wire doo-dahs.  I had just been to a gallery to sell some work and had my travel case with me.  The owner of the fabric store was a friend and urged me to bring in my wares to tempt the students.  Et voila', I sold enough jewelry to buy my little machine ... and she's a peach!  All metal gears, no bells or whistles.  Basic, very basic.  The only 'fancy' features - she does button holes and the top plate slides off to do shoulder seams.

I had bought two colors of linen to make napkins to go with my new table runner and turns out I have enough left over to make a skirt out of each color.  And since the napkins will take a while ... all that mitering of corners and such, I'm going to work on the skirts so's I'll have them to take to Florida.  Sweet!

Oh yes! ... a special Thank You for your comments!  I really do love comments ... it's so very very nice knowing I'm not carrying on to just my own little self.

Okay, from the soldering station to the cutting board ... it's all creative!

l i g a - kvk

p.s.  check out this trailer for Jonathan Fields' new book ... can't wait to get my hands on a hard copy.

08 August 2011

steel and sparklies

A wee bit further on the design trail.  The thing slowing me down this morning is trying to remember the combination I used for tumbling/finishing these pieces.  I made these bailing wire/mild steel components at least a year ago, maybe two and they've never rusted.  I know it involved putting some lavender oil in the tumbler with the stainless shot.  But I had an unattractive mess this morning when I opened the tumbler ... so now I'm running it again with borax to clean everything up and will see how it looks at that point.  Can't remember if I put the pieces through the abrasive media or not.  Maybe I should write this stuff down .........

When I do figure it out, and figure it out I will, here's a couple of possibilities for the finished product.  
 This pair of earrings has blue topaz & labradorite dangles and wraps of raw diamonds 

This pair has tiny wraps of raw diamonds ... minimal, but I think they look very cool

I woke up kind of grumpy, so I'm trying to not succumb and keep moving forward.  The swings of that dern pendulum are kind of narrow right now ... not happy about that.  Seems like one day up, one day down, half a day up, half a day down.  Little pin-pricky annoyances that mean nothing, but still annoy.  Deep breaths.

onward ......
l i g a - kvk

06 August 2011

raw materials

Too funny ... yesterday I was all kind of "woe is me, I'm not feeling creative ... it's okay, I'll just sit here and plonk away on my computer until inspiration strikes."  Then this morning when I sat down to work on my website, I started thinking about forging out some bailing wire to put with all those gorgeous faceted stones I just bought ... especially the blue labradorite and moss aquamarine and silver earwires are such a lovely counterpoint and maybe some silk or linen accents or maybe some silver rivets and I do love firing the forged steel with pmc, ooohh I could try it with the sterling pmc I made and it really does look amazing after it's been tumbled and what about, what about???? 

Feeling delicious potential ... maybe I'm not in such a slump after all.
This will be me chuckling.

l i g a - kvk

05 August 2011

test driving

I've been in something like the doldrums ... pretty sure it has to do with Mercury in retrograde and I know I've just got to ride it out.  This doldrum thing has also affected my responding to email and blog comments.  So a big huge THANK YOU to Andrew and Hillary and Glitz and caRol and Janet and Sally for all your comments on the last couple of posts!  Times like this it might be hard to tell, but I really do love comments.

Mostly I've been putzing around, not accompishing much of anything.  I strained my knees last week getting too enthusiastic with my new workout DVD and took to swimming laps at the Rec Park in hopes of easing the pain.  They weren't any better after several days of that, so today I decided to not do anything ... well except I decided to go downtown and cruise around a bit.  Unfortunately, the stairs at the parking garage were no picnic.  I was really hoping to find some little treasures to share - some new magazine or tasty little something - but sadly I got skunked ... phooey!

But it's not been all awful.  I've taken some time to read, which I never do and, interestingly enough, I have had a couple of bursts of creative energy.  Mainly, I wanted to test drive the new nylon cord.  Here's my three trial pieces - two on the cocoa cord, one with all silver and one with silver and some of my stash of real live Roman glass beads and the other one on the indigo with my favorite 'elephant' beads - 'cause they look like the wrinkled skin of an elephant's legs. 

I've had those Roman glass beads for at least 10 years.  After doing a bit of online perusing this morning, I'm realizing I better hang on to them ... they were never cheap (I think I paid $50 per strand way back then!), but they've gotten really expensive.  As for the cord, it was feeling less than wonderful right at first.  But after wearing it for a bit, getting it wet and all that, it's not too bad.  Not as nice as silk, but I'm looking for durable and weatherproof here. 

It's been ages since I wore any jewelry 24/7.  I used to wear a slew of things ... rings, necklace, watch, teeny earrings in my second holes and most of all, my signature, seriously long beaded wrap bracelet ... I call it my armor... because it really does feel like protection when I don everything.  I think I've posted this before, but I'm pretty sure this was the longest version of my infamous wrap -  somewhere around 16 feet ... hmmmm, I wonder how much it weighed?

I think I took everything off about 3 years ago.  So, it's kind of strange to be wearing my little test pieces today.  The design still needs to be tweaked.  I'm liking the idea and the look of really long cords with just a few beads or doo-dahs, but I'm finding the spacing is crucial.  If the weight is too centrally located, it pulls the remaining cord tight and the beaded part just hangs and it gets pretty uncomfortable.  Since I'm not into S&M jewelry, I've got some work to do to get the balance right. 

But this break is a good thing.  Come to think of it, I tend to do this in August.  Funny, I hadn't realized that until just now.  The break will continue for another couple of weeks as we're heading to south FLA next week to visit Dave's family.  It's only for 4 nights and I know, we must be crazy to go to south Florida in August, but that's the only time Dave has off from school and work.  This time of year is also why we got a hotel on the beach for $64 a night.  Gotta say, I'm really really really looking forward to early morning beach swims.  It will be especially nice not to worry about Zoe ... I met a wonderful woman that is going to house sit for us.  Granted, she's getting paid, but it's so worth it to have a grown-up and not a semi-spacey college student looking after our little girl.

Speaking of my muffin ...
Little Zoe says HI!

with deep gratitude and bountiful blessings .........
l i g a - kvk

01 August 2011

acquistions part 2

Well, I know I said I was taking the day off and really I am, but I wanted to share a couple more things ...

First thing, if you don't already know or haven't figured it out, I have a strong aversion to synthetic ... well synthetic anything ... in all its connotations and permutations and variations.  So for me to go where I'm going is a big leap, but I'm fairly sure a necessary one.

I made a bracelet for my mom-in-law for Christmas using the silk cord I've been making. A very simple wrap with just a few beads and silver elements ... which she just mailed back.  The silk broke at the button.  Anyone who makes things for a living really hates it when our creations break.  I can't abide the idea that I've created something that might be substandard.  But the problem with the silk or any natural fiber, is ... well, it's natural.  It's not made to last forever.

Granted - Mom's been wearing the bracelet non-stop for 7 months, but that doesn't make me feel any better.  So I went to a trusted website to look for ... gasp! ... synthetic alternatives.  Enter Marion's Jewels in Fiber.  I had this site bookmarked from years ago for Chinese knotting cord and then on my horrible quest for silk last year, a blog-buddy recommended her as well.  From the descriptions, I decided on Vintage Mastex Nylon.  I ordered four spools which arrived today.  Amazingly, the silk and nylon colors are virtually identical.  Plus, the nylon shouldn't fade like the silk.

And it plied into a nice strand of cord.  Okay, so it definitely feels like nylon, but either my friend or the site said it will soften with wear.

I've actually been thinking about adding synthetic cord to my repertoire, so that's why I ordered four colors.  I've looked at gore-tex/Tenara but it's just too bloody expensive and the few colors it comes in are really hard to find.  Kevlar only comes in yellow and has its limitations.  So nylon it is.  Now I can offer a choice - especially nice for people who never take their jewelry off.  The colors I ordered (btw - the photo is not accurate) - rust, chocolate, black and indigo ... of course I had to get some blue!

And since we're talking about supplies ... if you were around last year when Gudebrod silk started disappearing and followed my expensive and panicked search for a replacement ... well, it was all for naught.  Turns out a supplier in Texas went to the trouble to have their own version manufactured ... pretty much all the same colors and sizes as the Gudebrod, especially my beloved charcoal.  Even better, it's less expensive than the original.  Only thing, it's made in China, but it's a core element in my wholesale line, an absolute necessity and there's literally nothing else like it on the market - believe me I know!  So, if you're looking for high quality silk thread here's the link - Big Stone Inc. and they have free shipping for purchases over $100.  I have lots of charcoal now and don't need to worry any more.

So that's really it for today!  I'm heading off to my silly novel - a totally beat mass market paperback (which I rarely buy) that I read years ago and liked and have hung onto just in case I needed a good summer read - Crown of Columbus.  A review said it's a cross between Raiders of the Lost Ark and Possession (an all time fave).

Once again ... bountiful blessings.
l i g a - kvk

delicious acquistions

So I'm still on this blue thing.  I just cannot get enough blue.  Case in point ... my trip to the gem show in Franklin, NC last week.  Notice a trend?

ghana glass, blue labradorite, iolite, mystic blue topaz, moss aquamarine, blue flourite, more moss aquamarine, 2 regular labradorite and 2 pyrite cubes.

And the other thing is, I want BIG stuff.  I've been buying teen-Intsie gems for the last two years and now I'm obsessed with this big chunky stuff.  Go figure.  Here's a closeup of some of the new treasure.

If I haven't blown my budget at the gem show, I like to get a little treat.  Well this time I went into my 'secret stash' and bought these ancient Indian coins.

They're quite small, about the size of one of our dimes.  The one in the package is about 1500 years old and the other one is 2500 years old.  I saw these at the last show in May and I couldn't get them out of my head.  I went online and researched them a bit, downloaded pics and have not stopped thinking about them since May.  Of course, the one I really wanted was $600 - minted by the Buddha's father - not going to happen, but this little one I could do.  It's the shape that gets me mostly, but the patterns in both coins are pretty compelling as well.

 And one day last week I popped into one of my favorite stores - the Screen Door - to look for display props.  I've been wanting something body-like to hang necklaces on for photographing.  I'd love to have a dress form, but I don't really have any room and the only cool, inexpensive one I let Nina buy - it was just too perfect for her.  Seems all the interesting ones I see these days are in the $300 - $400 range ... not a chance.  So what I found instead was an old grain scoop - for $24 ... much more better.  What do you think?

Then there was that little parcel of blue tourmaline I found on Ebay - very inexpensive, so I didn't feel too guilty.  I have no idea what I want to do with these, if anything.  They may just sit on my worktable in a nice little pinchpot.

And then somewhere along the line, I got obsessed with vintage French textiles - mainly homespun grain sack yardage.  I got a 2 1/2 yard piece from here.  I cut a yard and a half for a kitchen table runner.  I pulled several rows of thread for a fringe and then zig-zagged the edge.  Just beautiful!  Here's the one yard piece that's left.

 And then doesn't everything look ever so beautiful all together?

This would be me, such a happy little camper!
And even more amazing than all of this gorgeous treasure, I'm giving myself the day off!  I'm not working AT ALL ... and even better, I don't feel guilty about it one bit.  I might even read my no-redeeming-value novel.

bountiful blessings to all!
l i g a - kvk