What I Learned in Jane and Richard Salley’s Class This Time

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I am writing this blog post from my cozy kitchen where stew is simmering on the stove and vegetables are roasting in the oven.  This is a new experience for me because I am relaxed.  I am relaxed because I am newly retired and do not have to get up at the crack of dawn each day  to fight the wind and sleet to my office.   I do not have to cram whatever cooking I might choose to do into the nights or weekends.  I can go into my studio and work when I want.  I actually visited Beading Yoda yesterday for conversation and a cup of tea.  (I will share the cache of Huichol beaded  earrings  I got for her in a later post.)  And I am newly-returned from a Jane and Richard Salley metal smithing class I took at the Hacienda Mosaico in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

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I learned I could pack lighter and still have everything I need, although I wish I had brought more silver bezel wire.

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I learned how to combine leather and silver to make jewelry! I learned how to make a hinge with a pin closure. I learned that you can drop your focal stone on the brick floor and rescue it with a little epoxy glue. If you can find all the pieces.

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I learned how to set a coin in a bezel and some soldering tricks that will give me a better result the next time I do it.

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I learned how to make this nifty spring-tension clasp!  I will be making more of these and working on design variations.

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I learned that it was possible to saw out a word in brass without feeling like putting a sharp object in my eye.  October 31 is my wedding anniversary so I made this for my husband even though I will have to wear it for him.

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I learned that if you execute a new technique perfectly the first time, it will take you thirty tries to do it again.  Wait,  I think I already knew that.

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I learned some new things to do with Faux Bone and mixed metals.

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I also learned a lot of other stuff including the location of a few liquor stores.  But I dare not reveal everything on this blog.

Many thanks to Jane and Richard and Sam and everyone at Hacienda Mosaico.

The Quilts They Are Finished!!!

I started making these quilts in 2011 right after I made Nathan’s baby quilt which was my first quilt. (I am not a quilter, so I decided I should start out with something small.) Ok, ok, it only took me four years to finish these, but I didn’t work on them continuously.

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I started with sewing scraps of fabric together just to get a quilting mojo thing going.  Then I started buying old clothes at thrift stores and taking them apart for the fabric.  Some friends gave me fabric.  Someone across the street threw out boxes and boxes of great fabric!  I bought fabric sample books
on eBay and a box of scraps from a quilt maker on  Etsy.

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Gradually, I settled on  Log Cabin Pattern.  Since the idea of making the blocks all the same made me want to stick a needle in my eye, I decided to make them all different and had fun with each one.  The only rule was that the colors had to work.  Oh,  and I settled on a size of 12 inches square for each finished block.  I taught myself to chain piece and I became a quilt block berserker for a while.

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The quilts are 6 blocks across and eight blocks long

Headboard

 Years  ago, I painted a headboard  on my wall.  Makes it hard to rearrange the furniture!

Nightstand

My husband said he quit drinking in case he woke up one day and looked at his night stand.  This is from my painted furniture phase.

Quilt Back

I made my own binding, machine sewed it to the front of the quilts and hand sewed it to the back.  Here’s a good quilt binding tutorial.

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I used fleece blankets as the filling and flannel sheets on the back.  I machine quilted by stitching in the ditch around the  blocks.  It wasn’t that difficult with a walking foot.

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The view through the mirror on the wall.  This is the companion piece to the nightstand.

I don’t have plans to make another quilt although I do have a third quilt top left over.  It could happen!

Black and White with a Hint of Red: Beading On The Diagonal

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Beading Yoda Jeri Schatz is at it again, this time with a quirky, funky bracelet design

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Black and white diagonal stripes with just a hint of red.

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Jeri finishes off the diagonal portion of the bracelet with herringbone worked in 15/0 seed beads.   

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The snap closure is easy to fasten and virtually invisible.

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Jeri teaches beading locally at The Bead Garden and she also does custom orders.  If you want to inquire about classes or custom work, leave a comment and I will pass it on to her.

Cheap and Easy (Drill Bit Storage That Is!)

I was trolling that delightful time sucker Pinterest a few months ago when I saw an awesome bur holder  sold on the Stuller website. It looked like it would hold hundreds of burs and drill bits in a compact space and could sit  right on the top of my jewelry bench.  Did I mention that I wanted one right then and there? I’m not given to impulse purchases, however,  so I tucked it into the back of my mind. Then one trash day, I found a wooden thing with four sides that spins. I think it’s a mug tree and kitchen utensil holder.  I took it home and studied it. Then I realized that it was a drill bit and bur holder  waiting for me to liberate it from its former job as a kitchen caddy.  It now sits proudly atop my jewelry bench enjoying its new role.

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To make the transition from the kitchen to the jewelry bench, I first marked where the holes would go and then I drilled pilot holes with an electric drill and a 1/8 inch drill bit.  Then I went back and drilled the holes at an  angle so the burs and drill buts would slip in and stay put.

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The wood caddy is hollow in the middle (probably meant for spoon storage)  so I took care to drill a number of holes only partially through so the bits without a brush, polisher or wheel on the top would not fall through.   If I want,  I can drill more holes on the top lip for more storage.

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This project was easy and cheap since I found the wooden caddy.   It would probably be easy to make one of these with scrap wood and a lazy susan base.   Unless you can build something yourself,  however, it probably wouldn’t pay to buy an  item similar to the one I used to convert to a drill bit holder.  But keep your eyes open at house sales and flea markets.  And on trash day.

What We Made at Clayathon

The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party

   A collaborative effort by the attendees of Clayathon 2013,  presented to Clayathon founder and organizer (and really cool person!!!)  Arlene Groch with gratitude,  affection and a big round of applause.

Some of the contributors: Sherman Oberson (chef),  Mary Frederici (fish),  Lisa Clarke  (napkins),  Terri Powell (wasabi peas),  Sarah Sorlien (bowl of oranges), Martha Aleo (baked potato) and Lenora Kandiner.

Here are the names of more contributors.  Thanks Robin and Sarah!

Sandra Donohue (pizza),   Jenn Dorion (salmon mousse), Lois Rosenthal (polka dot cake), Perrie Layton (orange flowers) Emily Squires Levine (bowls) Robin Milne (roses, banana and fortune cookies) Sue Springer (candy corn)

 I know that more people made things.   If I left your name out or omitted what you made, please leave a comment.

 

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Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild Website

The Big Reveal Revisited

The August 11 reveal date  for  group 2 of Lori Anderson’s  6th Bead Soup Blog Party has passed.  I was blown away by all of the outstanding work I saw as I hopped from blog to blog.  Lori put together the map below to show where  all 400 blog party participants live.  There are  more detailed breakdowns on her blog.

Look at what  my partner Kristen Latimer  made with the beads I sent to her

MJM Jewelry Designs

I don’t think my beads and clasp were the easiest to work with.   Kristen’s jewelry seems more delicate than a lot of  mine and the clasp I sent  was pretty big.  And I could never figure out what to do with those minty vintage curved bugle beads.   Kristen found a way to integrate her crystals and smaller beads  with mine and  made a a very attractive set of earrings and a bracelet that anyone would be pleased to wear.

On another topic, the Philadelphia Polymer Clay Guild (of which I am a member) has started a YouTube channel and we intend to fill it with playlists of high quality tutorials with videos we make ourselves.

So, here is the interview with Jana Roberts Benzon.

And finally, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.  That’s right: It’s Beadfest Philadelphia time.  Don’t miss it.

Now Playing on My Computer Screen

Now and then  I like to share the  blogs and web sites that are current addictions or on my must check out list.  Here’s what’s currently playing my computer screen:
fauna  is my latest addiction.  Blogger Paxon is a naturalist and  writes mostly about zoology and biology.  His  creative prose  and  acerbic wit make these subjects  even more fascinating (I know-your high school science teacher murdered them forcing you to major in the humanities.)  Paxon can be flip (don’t read this post if you are easily offended) but he is hooked on  fauna  (sorry- but I couldn’t be the first. . .) He even  invites questions (with a few conditions).  You will learn and be endlessly amused.   Your high school biology teacher should thank him.
If you are the artsy type and  think you are not interested in science,   the pictures alone justify a look at fauna.  Besides, nature is the most elegant and economical designer.   And it’s all connected.
the things that live in the ocean never cease to amaze me :3
Here’s more!
Graftgawker  Crafty projects from blogs all over the Internet
Inspirational Beading  is chock full of beading tutorials.
Brandigirl Blog A Life Inspired by Color – another great beading blog
Linda Peterson Designs –  Polymer clay, mixed media, news and tutorials
 Barbe Saint John  -Saint John is a mixed media artist who writes for Belle Armoire Jewelry , and is a member of Susan Lenart Kazmer’s creative team for Objects and Elements .
Object Fetish – Look at jewelry until your eyes go blurry
Top Ten DIY Fashion Blogs – Stripes and Sequin’s  picks for 2012.  Something is sure to interest you here.
For those of you who loved Domino Magazine,   check out  Lonny Magazine.  But wait!  A special edition of Domino, Quick Fixes, hits the news stands on April 17!
Finally,  here’s a picture of my contribution to the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s  Spring Fundraiser.     I made the bezel (for the bezel challenged) and the cabochon.  I hope someone likes it enough to buy it.

The Glass Ceiling

Dale Chuhily gives a new meaning to the term “glass ceiling”. His blown glass creations grace the lobby ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.  I filmed it earlier this week between classes at Clay Carnival Las Vegas. I will post about that fabulous gathering soon.

I hope you enjoy the video.

My First Quilt


I did not plan to make this quilt.  I wanted new quilts or comforters for my bedroom but could not justify buying new ones when the old ones were perfectly fine and I was just tired of the way they looked.  Then I started searching for the perfect duvet cover.  I didn’t see anything I liked.  Then I saw quilts I liked in a catalog and thought about making a patchwork design duvet cover.  I started dreaming in patchwork and going on line and looking at quilting supplies and fabric.   That’s when I got the idea of making quilts for my bedroom using the old comforter as the insides.  Have I ever done this before?  No.  But the Internet is full of blogs and tutorials with information on how to do things.   I read and watched videos.  A lot of videos.  I read books.  The main idea I came away with is that a beginner (me) should start small.  It was then that I remembered that a baby was due in our family in a few weeks and, if I put the (sewing machine) pedal to the metal, perhaps I could make a baby quilt.

What about the fabric?  I knew the little Tater Tot was a boy.  I had some great fabric I found at Jo-Mar in Philadelphia, along with some Bohemian Chic   style tablecloths bought at deep discount.   Not appropriate for a baby boy quilt.  So I went looking on line and saw all these kits and jelly rolls and charm packs  with gorgeous color coordinated fabric meant to be cut and sewn together.  But that didn’t resonate with me.  This project wasn’t about recreating someone else’s idea; I wanted to create my own palette and  I wanted to recycle fabric.  So I  bought old clothes at thrift stores, and raided  my small fabric stash and closet.  A co-worker gave me fabric that belonged to her late aunt who had made baby quilts for her family.  That seemed appropriate to use. I brought everything home,  washed and dried it, ripped out the seams in the clothes and ironed everything. 

Plumpton helped me to “audition” the colors.  He took his job seriously!

                                                                                                                               

I decided to make the quilt five (six inch) blocks across and down and to have blocks on both sides.  Because I intended to do the quilting on my sewing machine and didn’t have a walking foot, I used a baby blanket for the inner layer.  My first step was to cut out 50 blocks, arrange them in two sets of 25 and sew each set together.

One side sewn together.


After I completed both sides, I sandwiched the baby blanket in the middle using spray adhesive to hold everything in place and smoothed out the layers.  I put in a few pins for added stability.  Then I started to machine quilt.  It was here that tips from two friends came in handy.  I had watched one video where the quilter  started machine quilting from an outside corner.  “No,” instructed Jeri Beading Yoda, “You start from the center and go out.”  And since I had never machine quilted anything,  Susie B recommended I practice on some cheap fabric first. I’m glad I did.

I used a modified zig zag stitch because I knew my quilting was going to be crooked and this stitch would sort of hide that.

 

After quilting, I trimmed everything square and sewed on the binding.

 

Here I am machine stitching part of the binding.  I did it over  about three times before I was happy with it.  I ended up machine stitching one side of the binding and hand sewing the other.  You can see this technique here

They say you should sign the quilt, so I did.  I thought it was important to mention that I sewed it on a machine that had belonged to baby’s Great Grandmother Vicky.  It wasn’t until after I signed the quilt that I remembered that Vicky had  made me a beautiful quilted jacket  on the very same machine. 

 

Here is the finished baby quilt.

Art in the Open: Brian Dennis

When my friend Jeri told me that her friend Brian was participating in the second Philadelphia Art in the Open, which  took place  on June 9-12, 2011,  I was itching to go. I had never seen one of his installations “in person” before, but I had seen The Brian Dennis Project – a film documenting  how he designed a wooden installation  that seemed to defy gravity and then built it on a staircase inside the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 2004.   (To see pictures of  the installation, “Leaning Keep,” press here.)

Art in the Open aims to  give a different perspective on the creative process by inviting the public to watch artists working outdoors and, consequently, enabling artists to draw inspiration directly the environment.  In Philadelphia, this is an urban environment.  So it seemed appropriate that Brian had decided to build giant towers under a bridge near the  Waterworks.   

On our drive there, Jeri told me that Brian built the towers from  wooden coffee stirrers.   Talk about the environment having an effect on the creative process!  We wondered how the towers had withstood thunderstorms the night before.  Were they still there?  What would they look like?

We met Brian standing in front of his installation answering people’s questions and talking  about the challenges of building an art installation on a steep, rocky incline under a bridge trestle during a heat wave.  But he wasn’t alone; he  explained good naturedly  how a family of   baby rats, a  garter snake and a  suspicious groundhog watched his every move.  And take it from me, Philadelphia groundhogs are tough!  Brian knew enough not to mess with the groundhog (he was on the groundhog’s turf, after all) and he completed the installation.    To see the installation as it looked when Brian finished it, press here

But then it rained and the installation took on a different form.  Not what Brian had planned.  Even so, his installation  caught the attention of everyone who passed by the next day.

Here are some pictures.  

And a couple who had just gotten married had the courage to climb up under the bridge to have some wedding photographs taken next to Brian’s creation.  I wonder if the rats, snake and groundhog minded?

 To go to Brian’s web site, press here.    To go to his blog, which contains in-depth information about the creation of the installation, press here.