Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mini Bead Retreat
Since our friend, Lisa couldn't get into the Texas Bead Retreat back in January, we decided to do our own mini bead retreat. Originally we were going to head to a little town about 45 minutes north of here & stay in a hotel (suite room). Well, plans changed & we wanted to save money, so we had our mini bead retreat at my house (much cheaper & we were able to fix nice meals). We enjoyed beading, great company, good food, wine, music and movies. We're already talking about when we can get together and do another one. I'm so lucky to have such great, like-minded friends. I was able to make/finish 2 pieces at the retreat (I did have the base for the bracelet done in advance, though). The necklace uses Tim Holtz Key Plates & Keys. I've planned on doing a necklace with these for a while (especially after the success of my sprocket gear pieces).  The bracelet combines the new Industrial Chic line (from Susan Lenart Kazmer, available at Michaels) with Tokens typewriter key charms that I bought on clearance at Michaels earlier this year. I really like the steampunk style - it suits me and my eclectic style.

How does your garden grow?
This year in North Texas, very well, thank you. We've always done a tomato bed (you can see pictures of previous years on older posts. I've also always had an herb bed. This year we decided to have a full garden. Bennie tilled, composted, tilled, added more stuff, tilled, etc. beginning late last summer. We planted green beans (my favorite vegetable), 4 kinds of squash, zucchini, yellow, butternut and acorn. I've never had butternut before, but Hungry Girl makes faux french fries from it & several people have said it is good. Cantelope, 2 kinds of cucumbers (one is something I've never heard of but thought I'd tried, a lemon cucumber, shaped & colored like a lemon), stevia, green bell peppers, radishes, carrots and okra. We've already eaten some of the smaller variety tomatos and most of the radishes. I picked a whole row of green beans yesterday (I have 3 rows). I have a new respect for people who pick vegetables for a living, by the time I got to the end of the row, my muscles were protesting. I also picked 10 zucchini yesterday. Last night I fixed garden fresh vegetables with dinner - YUM!!!

I know my friends in the northeast are going to be jealous of these pictures. I think most of them are just beginning to plant their gardens. I can't believe it isn't even June and we are already starting to harvest vegetables. It is amazing, once they started producing, it was just a matter of a couple of days until they were ready to pick.

Bottles of Hope Challenge
Our guild, North Texas Polymer Clay Guild once again had a Bottles of Hope Challenge. I created three entries, one for each category - Wings, By the Sea & Nature. The winners were determined by adding vote points. I'm very thrilled to have won 2 first place, 1 third and Best of Show. The criteria for the pieces is that they must be formed with a bottle that can be opened - inspirational messages are put inside the bottles for cancer patients. Here are the pieces I created for the challenge with detail images showing how they open.

Impish Mermaid received 3rd place.
Tree Elf received first place in the Nature category. He has mushrooms, birdnest with eggs, butterflies, leaves and vines on him.

The Winged Dragon received first place in the Wings category and Best of Show.
I really enjoy pushing the limits to see what I can come up with on these challenges.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

More Canvases
These are small canvases - I painted them & glued two of the together. I cut the top one & peeled it back. I sculpted little forest fairies from polymer clay, adding feather wings & acorn top hats. They are decorated with floral moss and silk & paper flowers.
Playing with Canvases
It's been a long time since I've played with canvases. I'd forgotten how much fun they are to do.
I used a picture of my grand-daughter & printed one as it was taken & manipulated the other one in photoshop (the blue one). I'm going to give Jerrica & her dad the green one & hang the blue one in my cube at work.
I used Tim Holtz new dies to make the flourishes for the blue one & the flowers on the green one - I really like the new dies!
Another Bead Embroidery Necklace
This time I decided to go a bit bolder and used bigger beads on the piece. Originally I was going to use seed beads, but I used cubes to capture the focal beads and that lent itself to the bigger beads. I bought some beads at Michaels and used Etch-All to change them from shiny to matte. It only takes five minutes in the etch bath to remove the finish from them.
I don't know how much detail you can see - it is harder to see the beads since they are all black or gray.