Wednesday, August 26, 2015

CC7A Reveal for August: Colourful Chaos

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Welcome to the August edition of the Creative Continuum of Seven Artists! This month I was charged with providing the inspiration photo, and I chose this fun photo of the harbour of St. John's, the capital of the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (commonly referred to simply as Newfoundland). Newfoundland only joined the country in 1949, and remains one of the most culturally unique spots in Canada. They are well-known for this style of brightly coloured architecture.

When I saw this photo I knew immediately I would use these adorable little ceramic house beads from Finland's Szilvia Vihriälä (Elukka). Especially apropos since Newfoundland's first European visitors were from Scandinavia over 1000 years ago.

I added these "Mardi Gras" Impression Jasper beads in 8mm and 18mm sizes, with copper findings, for a bold and fun design. This is super-sized at 38" in length. I thought the stone a great addition to my photo theme, as Newfoundland is known colloquially as "The Rock" ;)

Thanks everyone for dropping by, and do check out the designs from these talented ladies:

Alicia Marinache 
(*will post Saturday*)

Join us again on September 26 when Cynthia will inspire us with the colours of Indian Summer. See you then!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

CC7A Monthly Challenge is this week!

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Hello everyone! I hope it has been a relaxing and restful couple of months for most of you. For me, not so much, but I am certainly eager to move on to the next season and get blogging again, after being mostly absent online since June :(

Our Creative Continuum of 7 Artists (CC7A) design group will be kicking things off with our August installment, creating from this photo of the bright and colourful buildings of St. John's, Newfoundland:

Awesome colour palette provided by the lovely Sally Russick :)

So you are invited to drop in and have a peek this Wednesday, August 26. See you then :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

CC7A Reveal for June: Soft Summer Hues

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Welcome to the June edition of the Creative Continuum of Seven Artists! This month Sally Russick  presents the gently elegant colours of summer:

Pastels are a challenge for me, but luckily I had a FEW shinies I could call upon to try to do the palette justice :) I created this necklace using artisan lampwork beads by Patricia Ritchie, Angela Bohanan, Jane Perala, and Carolyn Muir. Small pink Indonesian glass from Karine Loiseau. All findings are antiqued brass. I rarely use brass (as a matter of fact I was surprised by how much I encountered in my findings drawers LOL), but it really appealed to me with this palette. (I know you love brass, Alicia!) This guy is super long, 32", with a doubled-length of twisted oval & figure 8 chain.

Standing at attention :)

Relaxing :)

Close-up of the cute focal :)

Profile view :)

Thanks for visiting again, everyone!

Now check out the rest of the CC7A gang:

Alicia Marinache 
(Fearless Leader)
Sally Russick
(this month's hostess)

Our group will be taking a mid-summer break now to connect with family and friends, travel, relax... you know, all the typical summertime stuff. But we will be back on August 26 for our next installment. I will be in charge of the photo inspiration, which Sally has nicknamed "Colorful Chaos" LOL. See everyone in August! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

CC7A Reveal for May: Tutti-Fruity

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Welcome to the May edition of the Creative Continuum of Seven Artists! This month Therese Frank brings us the colours of late spring in Alabama... "Tutti-Fruity":

This month I had plenty of piles of starters, half-thought-out designs and gorgeous green, orange and yellow beads. Finally everything went back in a tray:

These WILL return. I have plans. Sort of :)
I forgot to mention... this is ONE tray... of SEVEN I had out!

Then I played with polymer clay for a few days. No problem getting the colours pretty close:

I was overwhelmed with inspiration. Not.

So for the last week I have been stringing and restringing pretty well the same beads. I thought it would be fun to make something with only two types of components. I picked glass and leather. Here, finally, is version #199:

Looks so innocent and without guile just laying there, doesn't it? LOL One would never guess at the struggle it put up!

And on the bust:

Here's what made the cut: artisan lampwork by Gems in Bloom (Jacqueline) (focal); Kathryn Newman Lampwork and Jewellery (Kat)A Little Trinket (Anna)Mermaid Glass (Laurie); oodles of Indonesian lampwork by makers whose names I will undoubtedly never learn (imported by Karine of Yukidesigns); and some yellow agate donuts (OK, that's a cheat, but they look and feel like glass LOL). Everything strung on lime green 1-mm leather cord. Oh and teeny tiny African seed beads of recycled glass.

The necklace length is adjustable from 16"-22" by way of two sliding knots at the top.

Knew I forgot one photo. Here's the "gang" LOL:

Do visit these lovely blogs and check what goodies these designers have in store for you:

Alicia Marinache 
(Fearless Leader)
Therese Frank
(this month's hostess) 

Yes, we are down one member but we hope it's only temporary!

You are welcome to return on June 26 when it will be Sally's turn to share Soft Summer Hues :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pearl's Awesome Giveaway

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It has been a long time since I shared a giveaway here, but this one is too good NOT to pass along :) This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (open to everyone) and ends in a week's time, at 6 pm EST Monday, May 25, 2015. Check here for details on how to take part. This contest has now concluded... congrats to Pearl's winner, Mary Morris! I'll bet you will take lots of wonderful photos with this kit!

Modahaus' $116 Steady Stand SS300 Kit/
Tabletop Studio TS400 Bundle 

Guaranteed to help beginners and experts get nicely light-balanced photos. Now that I have rearranged my studio and have a dedicated photography area, this little set-up would be a welcome addition :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Polymer Clay Challenge Week 19

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I have been mostly MIA for the past few weeks. Hubby is newly retired (Yay!) and we are having splendid negotiations about the "home front" LOL.

For Week 19 of Katie Oskin's polymer clay challenge, I did a super-easy project. Faux-turquoise:

Like the pic? Our hostas are just breaking ground and it is a beautiful sunny day (they are few and far between), so I thought I would take a rare outdoor piccy. 

A good friend had requested I repair her bracelet, which featured turquoise fakies. Several of them had fallen out and she had even lost one. I put off this project, thinking it would involve lots of custom colour mixing and experimenting, all for a couple of grams of clay for one small "stone". 

When I finally pulled out all my PC packages, I was delighted to see that my STOCK PREMO WAS AN ALMOST 100% MATCH. It is an old package (at least 4 years!). I don't know if the formula has been changed since then (probably; Polyform/Sculpey is famous for tinkering). All I know is: this is exactly the colour I needed. It was one of the quickest jewelry repairs I have ever done :)

Moral of this story: Do keep on hand as many different colours, brands (ages?) of your PC as you can. I don't use Premo very much since discovering Kato. BUT sometimes it is just what I want for a very special project.

Naturally, in my haste to return my friend's bracelet, I didn't even take a photo of the finished repair. Will have to borrow her wrist one of these days :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! See you next time :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Polymer Clay Challenge Week 17

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For Week 15 of Katie Oskin's polymer clay challenge, I decided to make use of the cane I made in Week 12. Not sure if I am done with this bracelet or if I might add a bit to it yet :)

Hope to see everyone this time next week :)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

CC7A Reveal for April: Pastel Spring

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Yes, the Creative Continuum of Seven Artists are indeed back! Our fearless leader, Alicia Marinache of All the Pretty Things, starts things off with the whimsical colours of "Pastel Spring":

I freely admit these colours were a true challenge (yeah, the best kind). As I admitted in my laspost, I cheated by creating custom polymer clay colours. I had so very little in the way of beads in this palette. Even with newly formulated clay in hand, I remained unconvinced I would come up with something worthy. Here is my necklace:

Paired with shell pearls in baby blue and olive, smoky crystals and pewter

OK, I changed my mind. I like this after all ;) I think I was just unused to all that pastel LOL.

Now jump over to these lovely blogs and check what goodies these designers have in store for you.

You are welcome to return on May 26, when Therese Frank will inspire us with the colours of late spring in Alabama... "Tutti-Fruity". Oooh, fruit... I am feeling hungry people!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Polymer Clay Challenge Week 16

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For Week 15 of Katie Oskin's polymer clay challenge, I have adapted a cane design from this Cindy Lietz tutorial, which was originally for an "Easter Lily" in these colours:

Y'all know I LOVE Cindy's videos :) I chose to use another colour palette and came up with this (OK, loud and proud colours LOL):

Seriously, I am hoping once reduced a bit more I will be able to use these. I have a monthly jewelry colour challenge on Sunday which necessitates these colours and I had very little on hand, especially in the blue and pink. Custom polymer colours to the rescue!

I noticed this cane reduced unevenly, in particular the leaf area stayed relatively large in relation to the other elements (the proportions started out very close to Cindy's example in the first picture). This problem usually indicates an imbalance in consistency and/or temperatures of the different sections of clay. In this case the green was an older mix and may have been harder. Or the packing colour (blue) may have been warmer when reduced. It's one of those events difficult to predict in cane-making. But given the bright colours and playful design, I think this will still be a fun cane to use for "spring" beads :)

Hope to see everyone on Sunday!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Polymer Clay Challenge Week 15

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For Week 15 of Katie Oskin's polymer clay challenge, I am using an old/new technique. It's one of those methods that pops up regularly it seems. I saw it when I first started going online a few years ago (around 2011, I think), on the blog of Violette Laporte,  one of the Quebec-based founders of the Canadian Polymer Clay group, Clayamies. Vio hasn't been active on this blog for some time, but it is still a source of great design ideas and entertaining bilingual commentary. More recently, Vio has been busy on Pinterest, being, as she puts it, "the curator of my own virtual museum".

Here is my first experiment:

I first cleaned the metal with rubbing alcohol, lightly painted the wing areas with Lisa Pavelka Polybonder glue, backed the wings with a medium-thin layer of translucent/pearl Kato, then trimmed off the extra clay. I chose a rainbow set of Alcohol inks and painted the "cells". I then removed all but a very thin layer of the clay from the back of the pendant, hoping the clay would become semi-transparent once baked.

Some messy steps and the finished product: not as
transparent as I had hoped. Next time I'll use just
translucent clay for a more "stained glass" look.

I am always on the lookout for this kind of component, one with lots of small, open areas for polymer insertions. I had ordered these butterfly shapes a couple of weeks ago, hoping to have them for our Butterfly Blog Hop this past weekend. Unfortunately they just arrived yesterday. For another interesting way to use them, please check Kathy's post (I think hers are the same basic component or very similar).

See everyone real soon!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Alenka's Butterfly Birthday Blog Hop and Giveaway

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Happy belated birthday, Alenka, and thanks for inviting us to help you celebrate in a special way!

Butterflies represent so many concepts to so many people. Over time, my perception has evolved... of these tiny denizens who live out such short but significant lives. The above maxim sums up my latest reflection on the power of butterflies to adapt. 

I have a serious love/love relationship with butterflies (possibly heightened by our never-ending winter... we see very few in my part of the world). So when Alenka Obid of Pepita Handmade suggested a butterfly-themed blog hop on the occasion of her birthday, I was at the head of the line!  I have been collecting a few goodies in preparation.

Earlier this week. I gave a sneak peak at the beginnings of this polymer clay cane (from this tutorial):

... which has been transformed into this small (2" high) sculpted piece (final design to be determined).

Awhile back, I received some beautiful handmade papers from a blogging colleague, Kathy. I will use some for beads, but I thought recycled paper would be a perfect medium for the chameleon butterfly. I don't do a lot of work in paper craft, so naturally I came up with a layered design which can later be developed into jewelry (surprise!)

Handmade paper coated with liquid polymer clay

My final medium is glass. I have been greedily collecting these awesome little lampwork butterfly wings by Kim Snider (a fellow Maritime Canadian):

My photo is sadly not showing the beauty of Kim's wings. If you fancy owning a few of these sweeties (and to ogle her amazing photos), do check out her online Facebook auction starting Thursday April 23rd and running through Sunday night (click on the JOIN key to take part). *Updated to the latest show date*

I forced myself to choose ONE of these wings and created a necklace with copper-wired pearls and a bit of kumihimo:

And here is the gang all together (well, I did have one other project planned, but my little butterfly-shaped metal components didn't arrive in time. *They finally arrived! See this post):

Thank you so much Alenka for inviting us to be part of your Butterfly Birthday Hop! 

And thank you everyone for reading this far. Please check these blogs for more beautiful butterfly inspiration! 

1. Alenka - hostess  Pepita Handmade
2. Monique A Half-Baked Notion*YOU ARE HERE*
3. Beti Horvath Stringing Fool
4. Kathy Lindemer BayMoonDesign
6. Christine Altmiller One Kiss Creations
7. Amy S. Amybeads
8. Dini Bruinsma  Angaza by Changes
9. Cynthia (Antiquity Travelers) Antiquity Travelers
10. Alicia*posting in a few days*
11. Sheilaposter Cats With Beads
12. Therese Frank Therese's Treasures
13. Rebecca White Morganafeycreations
14. Rachel Mallis Mint Monarch
15. Liz E Bead Contagion
16. Ana (ACBeads) AC Beads Jewellery
17. Jasvanti Patel Jewelry by Jasvanti
18. Carolyn Carolyn's Creations
19. Nan Smith Wired Nan

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Polymer Clay Challenge Week 14

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For Week 14 of Katie Oskin's polymer clay challenge, I can only share a teaser! These rather unspectacular canes were the start of a complex cane, which I will share this Saturday, April 11th on the occasion of Alenka's Birthday Blog Hop and Giveaway.

This was a first for me. I mixed my own mica colours in Kato, using recipes found on the Shades of Clay website, so I am anxious to see how they will look once baked. All will be revealed this Saturday (plus a few more themed surprises).

Hope to see you then!

Monday, April 06, 2015

CC7A Rebirth for 2015

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Happy Easter everyone!

Late in 2013, Alicia Marinache of All the Pretty Things proposed a small group of us exchange components and choose themes for a friendly design challenge, and The Creative Continuum of Seven Artists (CC7A) was born. Once a month last year, we seven designed around a component provided by one member for each month.

Wanting to keep the fun going, Alicia sent out pretty donuts in a variety of semi-precious stones in Christmas cards, with the suggestion that we use them as inspiration for a another round of designs. Unfortunately, the cards to U.S. destinations were all missing their donuts when they arrived. But everyone came up with a replacement and the challenge continues!

Mine is the pretty pink quartz on the left :)

Over the first part of 2015, I decided to overhaul my sewing/crafting/jewelry studio, which is actually a huge 14' x 16' spare room. Crammed with decades of fabric (from a part-time career as a seamstress), four sewing machines, ironing boards and presses; plus the leftovers from various other fibre arts I have enjoyed; finally everything overlaid with the material of the newest period of my crafting life: beads, beads, beads... and more beads. When Alicia's Christmas card and donut arrived, they had been matched with some other beads and carefully put aside... SOMEWHERE.

Reveal day (March 28th) found me, not only unprepared, but still searching for my missing treasure. It was only when I stopped "looking" that they mysteriously reappeared. (OK, I was actually digging for something completely unrelated LOL). So I was finally able to sit and create.

A bracelet. 

Of course :)

I actually wore it several times over the Easter weekend before remembering to get photos. April 4th, the Saturday before Easter, saw a late-season snow storm that left behind an extra foot of the white stuff. Today it is sunny so I took an extra photo in the front yard:

Yes, that is fresh white snow in the background, covering a 5' bank still lingering here in New Brunswick. 

I didn't have the waxed linen colours I wanted for my design, so my embroidery thread collection came to the rescue. It isn't as durable as the linen but super comfy and I have it in hundreds of colours. A couple of lampwork beads by Juli Cannon were a perfect match to the donut, and various Indonesian glass beads from Yukidesigns finished the project. The colours say spring even if I have to wait a few more weeks/months for the temperatures to agree :)

Here are the other members of CC7A:

Alicia Marinache (Hostess)

I think our next CC7A get-together will be April 26th, when we will be inspired by a photograph Alicia has chosen and a colour palette called "Pastel Spring". See you then!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Polymer Clay Challenge Week 13

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For Week 13 of Katie Oskin's polymer clay challenge, I am featuring both a handmade mold (from scrap clay... Kato makes awesome molds which capture every detail); and also some resulting cabochons. They were formed inside inexpensive pendant trays so they could be made into easy pendants. However, I haven't yet decided if these will be buttons. I painted them with alcohol inks before baking.

I have a small collection of handmade molds, mostly from
interesting old buttons which had seen better days :)

Well, the long winter finally seems to be yielding bit by bit to warmer days and disappearing snowbanks (hooray!) Let's hope the green grass and early flowers are close behind!

Hope to see everyone next week for more PC creations :) 

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