Saturday, December 17, 2011

December Art Bead Scene Entry - Uncle Sam Necklace

Chrysler Building
Architect:  William Van Alen
The December Art Bead Scene Challenge is inspired this month by the Chrysler Building designed by William Van Alen,  considered a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture.

When I saw the photo of the design inspiration this month, I was drawn by the repetitious patterns in the building's design, and that song from the Chrysler commercial about Detroit, which seems to run constantly through my head these days. You know the one.  It features a choir in the background and has a wicked beat.    

I created the pendant using a digital image of an iconic symbol of the U.S.A., Uncle Sam, which I encased in epoxy and  framed in an antique silver plated brass donut which mimics the layers found on the round face of the building and has a repetitioius, embossed pattern.  The filigree "prongs" framing the pendant have a very art deco look and feel.  The red Czech glass cathedral beads have silver tipping which mimics the triangles on the building.

You can read more of the fascinating history of the Chrysler Building at the Art Bead Scene website.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My "The Littlest Christmas Angel" Entry Chosen as the Editors' Pick for the December Vintaj Challenge!

Alas, I did not win the popular vote in Vintaj Natural Brass Company's December Challenge, "Victorian Christmas."  That honor went to Sunny Berrington for her design, "Being Merry Is the Key To Christmas," but I am absolutely thrilled to announce that my entry, "The Littlest Christmas Angel," was chosen by the Vintaj Editors as their favorite design this month!  

I love working with Vintaj components, and am so pleased the Editors thought my design worthy of this special honor!   Thank you so much!  And thank you, too, to everyone who voted for my entry.  I appreciate everyone's support!


Monday, December 5, 2011

The Voting Is Open!

Whew!  My entry in the December Vintaj challenge, "Victorian Christmas" was accepted and voting has begun.  There are a lot of beautiful entries this month.  I hope you will vote for your favorite, even if it isn't my entry, although I sure would appreciate your vote for #9!   Thanks, friends!

Vintaj Victorian Christmas Challenge

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Littlest Christmas Angel - My Entry in Vintaj's Victorian Christmas Challenge

One last piece of Christmas business to attend to, my entry in Vintaj's December challenge, the theme of which is "Victorian Christmas."  

I was on the Vintaj website yesterday, looking for the name of a filigree piece I was working with, and decided to click on the December challenge link and see what the theme was.   When I saw Victorian Christmas, well, you know I had to enter, since I am ALL about Vintage Victorian!  

I have had these little angel images for two years.  I originally purchased them to make some special Christmas ornaments to give as gifts that year, but couldn't bring myself to use them.   They have been patiently waiting for me in a file folder on my laptop ever since.  When I realized the deadline to enter was noon today, I frantically started searching for something to use and remembered the angel file.

The angels in this collection are all children, and are all dressed in Winter white. The graphics are gorgeous and feature Winter white and little bursts of color:  Evergreen, baby pink and sky blue.

The images evoke a range of emotions: Delight and joy at the innocence of the children and the magic of Christmas past; but also sadness to realize the child has wings, and so has departed this Earthly life.  These images have special meaning for me, as my sister lost her own little twin angels a few hours after they were born in the Summer of 1989.  

I wanted to highlight the Winter white theme, and added Czech and Chinese crystal in various shapes and finishes to symbolize glittering snowflakes.

I created bead caps from vintage rhinestone button frames given to me by my friend Lucia Hsu. I molded them around 12mm cushion cut Czech glass AB crystal rounds, and topped them with Vintaj Foliage and Vintaj Filigree Bead Caps.  I created the chain by linking Vintaj Blossoming Duet Fastenables, to which I glued Swarovski AB crystal flatbacks; and more bead stations made with the filigree and foliage bead caps.  I created the pendant bail from Vintaj Fanned Trellis Filigree and a 15mm jump ring. I finished the piece with a length of Vintaj Ornate Chain and Lobster claw clasp.

Now, I haven't heard that the editors at Vintaj have actually accepted my entry.  They have to look at how much Vintaj is used and that sort of thing.  I will be really embarrassed if they don't include it in this month's entry pool, won't I? 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Silver Scottish Tartans to Cap Off the 2011 Holiday Collection

I have been a busy little bee lately, so busy that I didn't get to execute as many designs for the 2011 Holiday Collection as I would have liked.  I capped off the collection with some Scottish Tartans framed in Silver.  Don't tell anyone, but I think I like the silver better than the brass.  The colors in the tartans really pop against the silver background, and they are very festive. 

Bonnie, just a note to tell you the Velveeta Fudge was such a hit.  I made 2 pounds for Thanksgiving, and it was scarfed up in 15 minutes.  It is decadent and addictive.  I have shared the recipe with upwards of 30 people since Thanksgiving.  Word has spread.  Velveeta Fudge has become viral!

I am still waiting on my copy of the Purple issue of "From Polymer To Art" to arrive, so I still haven't actually seen the tutorial I wrote for it, but I wanted to thank everyone who has sent me their congratulations, so THANK YOU, everyone!

I am now energized and itching to get back in the studio this weekend and create something new. 

I have a few orders to fill, including some family orders for memory pendants embellished in brass and silver, which I am very excited to try.  This will be an image transfer weekend, but I am also going to try and sneak in some time to write a couple of quick tutorials, hopefully on how to create more of the faux bone special projects (you all have just torn through the projects in the new tutorial!) and a few more quick projects using other techniques. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

I am Featured in the Purple Issue of From Polymer to Art!

Now that the Purple issue of From Polymer to Art has been released, I can let go of that breath I've been holding since July and tell you that a tutorial I wrote specifically for it is included! 

Saskia Veltenaar and Marjon Donker asked me to write a tutorial for the Orange issue, but I couldn't meet the deadline.  Gracious and generous ladies that they are, they allowed me to submit a brass and crystal embellished, faux lavender art glass necklace tutorial for the Purple issue!   If you are a subscriber, look for it on page 33!  

I am thrilled beyond words and truly honored to be in the company of such talented artisans.  Thank you so much for the opportunity, Saskia and Marjon!  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Miss Bonnie's Velveeta Cheese Fudge Recipe - Happy Thanksgiving!

My friend, the very talented polymer artist, Bonnie Kreger, has very generously agreed to share her Velveeta Fudge Recipe with us, just in time for your Thanksgiving table.  Bonnie says this makes a big batch, which can be cut in half. 

Thank you so much, Bonnie!







December Blog Giveaway Winner - Lupe Meter!

Congratulations, Lupe!  You are the winner of my December blog giveaway prize, a $25 Gift Certificate good toward any item in my shop at SCDiva!

We had 9 entries this month, excluding my own comments and a hacker that I deleted:

1)  Pine Ridge Treasures
2)  Bonnie Kreger
3)  Suzanne
4)  JuLee
5) Pips Jewellery
6) Lupe Meter
7)  Sweet Willow Designs
8) Cournte
9) Nancy Smith

I loved hearing about your holiday traditions and found a new recipe.  I am giving Velveeta Fudge a test drive this Thanksgiving!  Anything with Velveeta in it can't miss!   Doesn't that recipe look fantastic?  I don't know if it is the same one Miss Bonnie uses, but it is from Paula Deen, the butter queen, so it can't be too bad.  I am going to give it a try.

Thanks again to everyone who commented and participated every month in the blog giveaways this year.  I have decided not to have them again next year, but I am thinking of hosting some challenges that you can all participate in, which will show off your talents, too, regardless of the artistic medium.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  I'll be thinking more about rules and guidelines, so stay tuned.  

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A 30MB Baby Just Delivered! My New Faux Bone and Faux Ivory Tutorial is FINALLY Finished!

After more than 8 months of planning, writing and editing; and many sleepless nights, I am happy to announce the new faux bone and faux ivory tutorial is finally finished and in the shop!  Yay!

I feel like I've birthed a 30MB baby. Yep, 30MB. This one is a whopper.  It will be delivered either by email or by CD through the regular mail, whichever you choose.  There are listings in the shop for both versions. 

For those of you who need instant gratification, I will email it in 7 separate parts.  If you prefer a CD, I'll burn this baby to CD quick as a wink and get it out in the regular mail to you.

I am really excited about this tutorial.  Faux bone and ivory are two of my favorite things to create with polymer clay.  This is one faux that absolutely showcases polymer clay at its most versatile.  

The tutorial contains 11 recipes, the result of my own experimentation; 2 methods of creating faux bone, 6 special projects for faux bone and ivory; plus a gallery of finished pieces to inspire you when you create your own; plus the sanding and buffing and plexiglas tutorials, which I am now including in all my tutorials.   The gallery sections in the tutorials add to the file space, but it is one feature my customers have overwhelmingly asked for, so I included it again in this new tutorial. 

Thank you so much to John and Mary Ellen, who helped me proof the tutorial, and to all of you who have waited so patiently for me to finish this one.  I hope you enjoy it, and I want to see photos of your faux bone and faux ivory creations!

I am going to take a little break from writing to get some Christmas orders finished, but I have more tutorials planned, so stay tuned!   I'll be back at the work table in no time. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

December Blog Giveaway Prize - A $25 Diva Designs Gift Certificate

Gift Certificate Designed by Laurel Steven

I thought I would end the blog giveaways with a bang and give away a $25 gift certificate good toward any item in my Etsy shop, to be redeemed on or before December 31, 2011.  No purchase is necessary to enter the drawing, just leave a comment about your holiday traditions at the end of this post.  I will draw a winner from the comments next Wednesday, November 23rd.  You may comment as many times as you like, but only one comment will be entered.   If you won last month (sorry, Lois!) you aren't eligible to win this month.   If you do not have email enabled on your blog, please include it in your post so I will know how to contact you if you win.

This month, I want to know about your November and December holiday traditions, be they ethnic, cultural, historical or religious.  What makes this time of year special for you and your family?  

My family are Southern Baptists and we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, with lots of food and fellowship.  Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and has special meaning to me because I am descended from Mayflower passengers Isaac Allerton and Richard Warren.  That history has been important to us for a long, long time.  Thinking of the sacrifices the pilgrims made and how history was changed because of them and their sacrifices gives me the shivers, especially when I think that I would not be here if they had decided to chuck it all and go back to England and Holland.     

I also have vegetable duty for both holidays this year.  Since I am the acknowledged "Queen of Casseroles,"  I will be making Hash Brown Casserole, Broccoli Casserole, Squash Casserole and my maternal grandmother's cornbread dressing.  

Xan, my sister-in-law, has Salad duty, and I take my life into my hands horning in on her territory, but I think I may also have to risk it to sneak in a 7 Layer Salad, another of my holiday favorites.  My sister, Tara and I are the only ones who eat it, as most of my family is on the "no onions" side of the fence.   Tara is in charge of dessert, which lucky for us, means one of her towering, made from scratch, 3-layer German Chocolate Cakes.  Being a good Southern girl, Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese icing has always been my favorite dessert, but Tara's German Chocolate Cake is absolutely the best cake I have ever eaten.  I have dreams about that cake!  

However you celebrate this time of year, I wish you all joy and happiness this holiday season, and good health and good fortune in the coming year. 


Monday, November 14, 2011

ABS Designer of the Week Feature

I am thrilled to be the featured designer of the week at Art Bead Scene this week.  Thank you so much to editor Tari Sassar for choosing my necklace, "Stillman's Madonna" my entry in the November challenge.

I love the painting which is the subject of the challenge this month, and had an ephiphany while creating this necklace that has lead me in a whole new design direction; and it fits right in with my Ancient Romance Series!

Thanks so much, Tari! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Next Up In The 2011 Holiday Collection - A Bit O' The Plaid

Highland Heather Tartan
What a weekend!   I have been hunkered down in the studio for two days.  Yesterday, I received the shipment of chain and clasps I was waiting for, so I worked on finishing up more of the holiday collection, including these gorgeous (if I do say so myself) Scottish Tartan Necklaces.  worked on the Faux Bone and Ivory tutorial.  The publish date is near, though, my patient friends.

The tutorial was a whopping 30MB in size, and I have been paring it down by reshooting some of the photos at a lower resolution.  I also had to delete the gallery of finished pieces, which is a bummer, because I know all of you look forward to those at the end of the tuts.  

The projects for the tutorial are all done, though; and it is just a matter of resizing some more photos and rearranging some text and it will be ready to go.
Black Watch Tartan

I had an idea for one more set of pendants and necklaces for the holiday collection and went to hunting some Scottish and Irish clan tartan images I could transfer to polymer. 

I found a very nice man at Etsy who had some just the right size.   I chose two Stuart patterns, one I'm calling Highland Heather because I couldn't identify the clan it is associated with, and one Black Watch, which is my favorite, even though it isn't my clan's pattern. 

Oh, yes, I have some Scotch in me, as well as Irish.  My Scots were Border Reiver Forresters and Armstrongs.  I haven't researched all my Scottish connections, but those are the ones I know of so far.

I listed the first two in the Etsy shop today, and I must say, I am having a hard time with some of the changes they are implementing.  I used to be able to put in pretty long tag names, but now "image transfer jewelry" is too long, and apparently "romantic" isn't an official style.  Romantic and ultra-feminine is what I was going for in creating these.  I think they are really dreamy.

Stuart and ??? Tartans
I need to check and see which clan the plaid on the lower right belongs to, so pardon my ??? in the caption.   I have a nifty little book, The Scottish Clans & Their Tartans, by W. and A.K. Johnston which was published in 1946, a 32nd edition, that has been most helpful, but it doesn't have that one.

Now I am off to research some Irish clan tartans, and I still want to do a few which reflect holiday traditions in other countries. I also have my eye on some new Asian snow scenes.

Suggestions are welcome, too, so if you have any ideas of what you'd like to see framed in brass or antique silver, let me know.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More New Santas For the Holiday Collection, And A PCD Feature!

My friend Pippa Chandler (thank you, Pippa!) was the first to tell me this morning that my "Santa Americana" necklace and my 2011 Holiday Collection are being featured by Cynthia Tinapple today at Polymer Clay Daily

Oh, my stars, what a thrill!  I hope the boss doesn't actually expect me to work now.  Who could concentrate?  I think I will hang out on Cloud 9 all day today.   Climb on up and join me, we'll have a party!

Seriously, though, thank you so much, Cynthia.   It is a such an honor to have your work shown at PCD.  I know many polymer artists have the site bookmarked to visit every day, as do I.  I am constantly inspired and awed by the talent and creativity displayed there, and it means more than I can say to be included.    

If I can bring myself back down to Earth tomorrow, I am going to do a few more pendants for the holiday collection, including one or two brooches.  I love to wear Christmas brooches, another tradition my Grandmothers began.  I remember my maternal Grandmother had a gold enameled holly and berry leaf pin she wore, along with her Christmas aprons.  My paternal grandmother, a Baptist preacher's wife, always wore a pin depicting Jesus's hands folded in prayer.

These are a few I put together last night.  I am waiting on some new chain and clasps to finish them, but these will be a little less ornately embellished and a little less expensive.  Look for them in the Etsy shop shortly! 

Happy Holidays, everyone.  I hope it is a blessed and joyous one for everyone.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 Holiday Collection Preview

Here is a sneak peak at more designs from my 2011 Holiday Collection. The collection's theme is looseley based on historical holiday traditions around the world. There are a few new pieces in the Ancient Romance Series; and some new Victorian Christmas Ephemera pieces, several of which may look familiar, since I used the images in last year's Ornament collection. They feature Santa and Father Christmas in various incarnations.

I hope to add a few more which depict holiday traditions in other countries. I've always loved the story of Sweden's Christmas Rose. When I was a teenager, my grandmother gave me a crosstitch pattern book which had different Christmas traditions in it, and I recreated them all and put them on our tree.  My mother still puts them on her tree, and has every year for the last 35 years.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

November ABS Entry- Stillman's Madonna

The painting the ladies at Art Bead Scene chose for this month's challenge is a gorgeous painting by Marie Stillman in the style of Rosetti and Waterhouse, two of my favorite artists who painted Pre-Raphaelite women.   The Pre-Raphaelite woman has been a recurring theme in my Ancient Romance Series of Medieval and Renaissance era inspired jewelry, so this challenge was right up my alley.

The name of the painting is "Madonna Pietra degli Scrovigni."  The woodland setting and the lush olive green and gold tones, with that touch of crimson in the flower adorning the lady's bodice made me think of a Medieval Christmas, so with "Greensleeves" running through my head, I sat down to create what I hoped would be a delicate, old world necklace dripping with jewels.

I transferred an image of the painting to polymer clay and added Siam Swarovski crystal, a beautiful crimson red color; and Peridot Czech glass bell beads, all of which I framed and accented with Vintaj flower end caps and other brass connectors and components.

I am going to add this one to my 2011 Holiday Collection,  too.  It fits right in with my other "Ancient Romance" pieces.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Blog Prize Winner - Lois Moon!

We had 16 entries entries this month for the Faux Ivory and Swarovski Crystal Brass Embellished Necklace; and the winner is Lois Moon!   

Congratulations, Lois, and thank you very much to everyone who took the time to comment and enter.  In this big old virtual world, I appreciate each and every one of you who spends time with me here on my blog every day.  You are the best!

Have a fantastic day, my friends!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Sunday Walk In Autumn

I was inspired to create this necklace by the crisp, cool Fall weather I woke up to this morning in the South Carolina Lowcountry.  No snow, but it is plenty cold enough for me.   The leaves are gorgeous, and I took a stroll through the neighborhood.  I found a beautiful leaf that has a riot of colors in it, even a bit of plummy aubergine, and I brought it back to the studio for inspiration. 

The pendant is one of my faux red jade floral pieces. I added faceted orange carnelian beads, Czech glass flowers and Cathedral beads, and lots of Vintaj brass. 

Working with these flower sprays from Vintaj is not the easiest thing to do, as I am sure many of you can attest.  I can never figure out what to do with them, so I'm a little proud of myself for successfully incorporating them into this design.  Of course, it doesn't mean anything if the piece doesn't wear well, so I took it for a test spin.  I'm happy to report it drapes beautifully and is very comfortable to wear.  Hmm, this one might not make it to the shop... 

Happy Autumn, everyone. If you got snow, I hope it was a welcomed snow, if not, it will surely be gone soon. Wonder if my buddy M.E. in Baltimore got any...M.E., are you snowed under today?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

November Blog Prize - Win This Polymer and Brass Necklace!

I know it seems like it, but I have not forgotten about my blog.  It has just been that kind of hectic lately, so much so that I have had to give up on the idea of a holiday shoppe for this year.  I am very disappointed, because I love creating ornaments and crafting from my collection of vintage fabrics and trims as much as I do creating with polymer.  There just isn't enough time to get the second shop at Etsy stocked, so I have put it in vacation mode until after the first of the year.  I am going to try and create a few things, ornaments and small gift ideas, to sell directly from the blog here.   There just isn't enough time in the day to do what I want to do any more! 

For the November blog prize, I am giving one of you a chance to win one of my polymer and brass embellished necklaces from my 2011 Holiday Collection.  This necklace would be a beautiful accessory for a holiday part outfit; or use it as a gift for the romantic on your holiday gift list.  It features one of my faux ivory floral polymer clay pendants and is embellished with antique finish brass, including Vintaj components, and Ruby Swarovski crystal.  

So, you know what to do.  Just leave a comment, no purchase is necessary, and I'll draw a winner from the comment pool at random on November 1st.  You may comment as many times as you like, but only one comment per person will be entered.  If you do not have email enabled on your blog, please include your email address in your comment, so I can contact you for your mailing address if you are the winner.  I ship all over the world, so even if you don't live in the U.S., you are welcome to enter the drawing.  Thanks, friends! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vintaj Liquidation Sale - 50% Off With Discount Code VINTAJ50

UPDATE 10/13/11:   A very kind soul purchased most of the remaining Vintaj inventory in my PCDiva shop, so I closed it early to get it ready to reopen as my annual Holiday Shoppe.  Thanks again to everyone who purchased Vintaj from me.  Stay tuned for details on the new shop!    

I am liquidating my inventory of Vintaj items and will be closing the PCDiva shop at Etsy at the end of October, or sooner if the remaining quantities of brass items sell out before the end of the month, to get it ready for the holiday gift-giving season.   It will shortly reopen as my annual Holiday Gift Shoppe and will feature handmade polymer ornaments and fabric items, as well as vintage collectibles and goodies to help you fill your gift list. 

If you love Vintaj and use it in your jewelry designs or scrapbooking, this is a good opportunity to get some of your favorite pieces at a great price, so I hope you will check it out.  If you see something you like, use VINTAJ50 discount code at checkout (you must include the discount code in the blank box provided at checkout or Etsy won't credit it to you) and receive 50% off the total order in the PCDiva shop only; and, if you purchase $50 or more, no matter where you live, shipping is on me. 

Final quantities of every item are listed.

Thanks, friends! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Series - Southwest Landscapes Series Pendants and Earrings

Anyone who knows me knows how easily bored I get, even when creating.  I could never be a wholesaler.  It is very hard for me to make more than two of anything.  I work in very small batches of clay, usually enough to make 2 or 3 pieces from the same color batch, and that's it. 

Even a pair of earrings is a special challenge.  Don't laugh, it's true.  I have recently discovered though, that I love making polymer earrings.
This new series, which I am calling Southwest Landscapes, was inspired by the September Art Bead Scene challenge entry I created last month.  The color palette features some of my favorite tertiary colors:  Burnt orange, chocolate, tomato red, denim blue, turquoise, ecru; and more often than not, my favorite faux bone recipes, either showcased on the face or on the back sides of the earrings.

These are not really made from scrap clay, because the color palettes were deliberate, so it has become my "controlled marbling" technique, since I control the amount of each color added to the blend, and the colors themselves. 

I turned a teardrop cutter on its head to create the challenge entry for the October ABS challenge, just to be a little different.  I love the results so much, I may never go back to orienting the tip on the top of a pendant or earring.

I added some distressed finishes to a few, to give them that rugged, Old West look; and dressed up some with Czech glass and Chinese crystal, some of my recent finds at LimaBeads.  The Czech glass really lends itself well to these variegated color palettes because they have so many colors swirling around in their little bodies, too. 

I made these latest pieces while waiting for a shipment of bracelet blanks for one of the projects in the new faux jade tutorial (how is that for a tease?) and they are supposed to be here today, so it's back to the faux bone grindstone for the rest of this week.  Next time I write a tutorial, I'm going to keep my mouth shut about when to expect it until my sorry self has actually finished it!  Thank you again, everyone, for being so patient about it.  I promise, it won't be much longer. 

Here is some more stripedy eye candy to look at while you wait. 




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October ABS Entry - Southwestern Landscape Series - Red Rock Canyon Earrings

A Hedgehog in a Landscape, 1643-51
9¼ x 15 in. 23.5 x 38 cm. bodycolor on vellum
by Giovanna Garzoni

Color Palette
I went to check the blog at ArtBeadScene this morning to see if the new challenge art was up on the site yet, and did a double take when I saw the hedgehog.  I was scratching my head trying to figure out what to create for this one, when I realized I actually already had the perfect entry.  These polymer clay earrings, which I created last week, compliment the challenge color palette, and they are even shaped like a hedgehog!    

I was the first entry this month, too, which never happens (sorry, M.E., my friend.)  I am doing the happy dance this morning.  No waiting until the last minute and making myself crazy trying to come up with a decent design.  It is done!  Yay!  

Thanks again ladies, for the awesome, inspiring art, although I went about it a bit backwards this month.