Monday, January 30, 2012

Mystery Challenge Bracelet

The January Mystery Reader's Challenge hosted by Andrew Thornton is up!

Our kits contained really beautiful beads and a mystery component.

I made more components to mix with them. Various gauges of soldered and hammered copper jump rings, headpins and wire. I kept the firescale patina as is. I think it gives the pieces nice dimension.

Then I tossed it around on my bead board and came up with this bracelet and earrings...

Bracelet and earrings.
Earrings up close.
The mystery component made by Andrew.
I incorporated the handmade links in the bracelet.
I used the twig component to make the toggle bar.

I really love the way it came out! Thanks Andrew for hosting. This was a lovely mix of beads to work with.

Be sure to check out the other great pieces in this blog hop. 

Alice Bavaud hosted on Andrew Thornton's blog

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Bear writes this one...

Hello everyone. Torrance the Bear here. Kate is too exhausted to write her regular Friday post so I thought I would take over.

Besides, I am a much better writer than she is. She can get a little long-winded and she really can't spell all that well. I, on the other hand, am consice and never, ever go on and on when I write. How do you like these pillows? I love Apple products. I want Kate to get me an iPhone but she said "no". Imagine that? A tragidy, really.  It's hard to type with paws, but I manage.

I have had a great week here in Colorado. But I have been working HARD! I got to be on set for the DVD shoot.

While Kate was swilling tea and fooling around I was hard at work on the set.

It was exhausting. But I managed. I also went to the photo shoot to do some soldering. Kate was no where to be found, so I set up this shot.

I am a great soderer. Look at that presision. Well, gotta go. Today is a big day. We have six more projects to shoot and Kate is still asleep. I have my work cut out for me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Book Adventure Part 2

Wow. Tuesday was a big day. But you know what? The DVD for my book is going to be GREAT!!!!!

Oh my gosh. That was FUN. Everyone at Interweave made this process go so smoothly. They are such professionals and cover every detail. Right down to posting on Twitter.

Here are some shots of the action:

I used the teleprompter for my intro. It was a great security blanket as I usually wing things like this. I felt like a newscaster. I did not, however do a weather report or a traffic update, even though I wanted to.

I applied my signature MAC Russian Red lipstick. Nothing sets you up for success like a good red lipstick. Trust me. When all else fails, red lipstick to the rescue. But I digress...

Thank goodness Mary was there to keep me looking good. Not only did she make my pretty dress and apron, (and that kicky skirt she is wearing) she also kept my hair in line. (Want to see what we are up to? Click on over.)

We shot ALL DAY. I soldered and hammered and dapped and wrapped.

Who's the Diva? I need HOT TEA right NOW!!!
I just can't take it.
I told them to REMOVE all of the green M&Ms
from the bowl in my dressing room.

No, really. These M&Ms are a problem.
I can't solder ANYTHING until this is taken care of.
Then I was interviewed by my wonderful editor Erica for a promo video.

I think that was my favorite part. What a great day. A big thanks to all of the staff at Interweave Press. You all are pros and it was a joy to work with you.

But about those M&Ms... we really have to talk.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Book Adventure Part 1

So my friend Mary and I arrived in Denver and were whisked away to the Interweave Studios in Loveland CO. Since the DVD shoot is first thing Tuesday morning, our job on Monday was to prep the set, materials and run through the camera placement.

As you can imagine it was very exciting. Here is what happened:

Here is Mary, dressing the set. She is very clever and has an eye for that sort of thing.

Here I am in my natural habitat, prepping in front of the camera. Yep. That's my book cover on the right.

That's Garret. He runs the video department. He is awesome. He runs three separate cameras for the shoot and he knows how to put the ladies at ease.

He put Clooney in my sight line. I always knew that George wanted to learn how to make soldered jewelry.

Here is Mary in the prop room grabbing stuff to dress the set. There are some awesome things in there.

Including a Matchless spinning wheel tucked into a corner. I might throw a bit of spinning into the video. Yarn and metal go together, right?

Here I am with my awesome editor Erica (left) and awesome Rebecca the Managing Editor at Interweave.  They are making everything so easy!

And last but not least, meet Oreo. He is the hotel cat. Really friendly and NOT supposed to be in the guest rooms.
We broke the rules and let him in. Just for a little while.

Next up, the actual shoot. Stay tuned. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winging My Way to Loveland!

I am so excited!!! Today is the day I leave for my book DVD and photoshoot at the Interweave Press studios in Loveland CO.

Wish me luck and stay tuned all this week for updates. (This is the part where I jump up and down, because I can't believe it is really happening!!!!!)


Friday, January 20, 2012

Ready for my closeup!

I have packed and shipped every tool that I own. My dresses are pressed. New lipstick is packed. Nails and hair are done. Jewelry wardrobe is selected.

What's with the flurry, you ask? I'm getting on a plane on Monday to fly out to the Interweave Press offices and studio to shoot the pictures and DVD for my new book. Exciting, huh?

Stay tuned to the blog next week for updates from the shoot and maybe even a sneak peak or two of the projects. Want to know more about my fabulous book coming this Fall? Click on over and read all about it. How about joining the newsletter while you're at it?

Have a great weekend everybody. I am off to break it to my shoes that only three pair can come on this trip. It's going to be a sad day for the other eighty-three.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sparkle with Margot Potter and Swarovski Crystal

If there is one thing that I could do on Tuesday, January 31, 2012,  I would spend it with the wonderful Margot Potter at the Swarovski Crystal Design Event and Challenge class. I love sparkle and Swarovski and Margot have sparkle to spare!

Image from the Swarovski
Create Your Style website
This not-to-be-missed event takes place during the biggest-gem-show-in-the-whole-world in Tucson, AZ at the lovely Westin La Paloma Resort.

This design event is gonna be fancy. Not just "Oh, isn't this nice" kind of fancy, but more like "OMG this is SWANK! Hand me another glass of champagne so I can take it all in" kind of fancy.

In this day-long class, you'll be coached by the fab Margot and make a lovely piece of jewelry. You'll be showered with beads, materials and SWAG (!) and even your meals are included in the price of admission.

The day wraps up at 5:30 PM with a champagne reception and award ceremony to announce the 3 winners from the day's event. (With MORE prizes!) This is a brand new concept in Tucson for the Swarovski team and I can't wait to hear about the hijinks and hilarity that are sure to ensue!

For enrollment info and more details hop on over to Margot's blog. She'll tell you all about it (sing it OUT, sister!)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Secret Snowflake Challenge Reveal!

I love Michelle Mach's bead challenges. They always have an interesting theme and she sends out lovely beads. Sign ups for this one happened before Christmas, but the reveal was not until January, so I figured I had plenty of time to complete it during the post-holiday breathing spell.

Unfortunately, I have had a case of the "horribles" this past couple of weeks. It's the cold that just won't go away. I had this challenge to complete and I just did not feel up to beading. But I knew I could not put it off any longer, so I took to my bed and brought my beads with me.

From the comfort of my cozy bed, I created this beaded tassel.

Click on each photo to enlarge.
Here are the details...

Here is what I did.

I gathered my components on a bead board. I added some glass beads from my collection (in the box, upper left) to the beads Michelle sent out for the challenge (in the center of the board and in the box, lower right). I grabbed some nylon beading thread, scissors and clear nail polish to seal the knots.

I cut 12" of thread. The challenge mix had cute drops, so I used those for the bottom of each tassel leg.

 I tied an overhand knot to secure the drop and then threaded each strand with a double thread.

 I used the large focal as the main anchor for the tassel. I strung seven tassel legs with a random assortment of beads.

I gathered all of the strands and strung them through a bead with a large hole.

I used another large-holed bead to string the threads through.

I strung the threads around a silver ring, and back through the bead. I tied a square knot underneath the bead to secure the strands.

I wire wrapped a bead to the ring to act as a hanger. I used a few more to embellish the top and it was complete. I can use it as a decorative tassel or I could string it on a long cord or bead strand as a striking necklace. For now it enhances a green pot that sits on my worktable.

Thanks for stopping by to check out my piece. Here is a list of the other participants in the challenge. Everyone made such lovely pieces!
If you would like to join in a future challenge, sign up for Michelle's newsletter. Thanks Michelle for hosting and looking forward to the next one!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sometimes all you need is...

... a cat photo and an upcoming bead challenge to make your day.

Here is the cat.

Abby in her native habitat.

And the bead challenge.

The Secret Snowflake Challenge reveal and blog hop starts Sunday, January 15. Stop by to see what I made with the components above. Read more about it on host Michelle Mach's blog.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Making Mini Quilts

I love to make quilts. I learned to make quilts with my Mom years ago. We would have all-night quilt-a-thons. Me, Mom and my friend Susan would get out our sewing machines on a Friday night and not come up for air until Sunday afternoon. Who needed to sleep or eat when you could spend time cutting up fabric into tiny pieces and then sewing them back together?

This past New Year's weekend I decided to take scissors to fabric and make a few mini-quilts. Mini's are not such a big commitment. Make a few squares, add a border, machine quilt then bind it and voila...a quilt! A small quilt but a quilt nonetheless.

Here are a few snaps of the action.

I took a pile of scraps from Mary's quilt*
Sat at my beloved Featherweight sewing machine.
And whipped up this quilt top.
I sewed the strips together lengthwise into a large rectangle.
Cut it apart crosswise, rearranged and sewed them back together.

I sewed a border around the rectangle and
made a sandwich with backing fabric, cotton batting and the top.
Then quilted the sandwich with wavy freehand lines
from side to side and across.
Made a binding, and stitched it on.
Mary stitched the binding so I could snap a picture. 
Topstitched the binding in place.
And it's finished!
Ready for bears.
Or small dog.
*This is Mary's quilt that provided the scraps for the mini quilt.
 A perfect way to spend the New Year.