Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm a Honey Bijou Hive Five VIP!

What a lovely surprise to come home to tonight, a flickr email from Jenna of Honey Bijou telling me she has chosen me as one of her "Hive Five" for the month of April.  

Jenna chooses 5 polymer clay artists and/or jewelry designers every month who inspire her, and she said some very nice things about my work this month.  

The other Hive VIPs for April are Heather Powers, Kristi Bowman, Lorelei Eurto, and Roberta Warshaw,  mighty lofty company for a girl from the boonies of South Carolina to be keeping, but I gladly accept the invite!  

I hope you will check out the beautiful blog Jenna and her partner Kim have created for Honey Bijou, too.  Talk about inspirational!  They also have an Etsy shop of the same name.  

Thanks so much, Jenna.  I am truly honored to be one of your VIPs this month.  

Weekend Projects

I have got to do better about blogging, my friends.   The month gets away from me before I realize that I have only posted twice in April.  How shameful.  I will try to make up for it in May.   

I am busy, busy, busy these days with some major projects.  I am working on a book outline, which I am very excited about, and also trying to write two new tutorials.  Before you ask, I am still in the planning stage for the tutorials, so no publication date yet, but I am determined to get them done soon.  

This past weekend, I had two goals on my plate:   Filling a custom order for a faux ivory brooch for a customer and tackling my button project for Cindy Wimmer's button swap coming up on May 13, in which I am partnered with the fabulously talented Kym Hunter.   

Kym sent me some beauties, including a dainty, handmade lampwork glass heart button, some vintage bakelite/plastic buttons, some brass and silver pieces she embossed with Vintaj's Sizzix BIGKick machine; a few shell buttons, and a wooden button with leaf shapes burned or etched into the surface.   She sent way more than she should have, and I was hoping to use every one.   I ended up with 6 finished pieces, which run from paper to assemblage to jewelry.  I can't reveal them until the 13th, but here is a photo of the buttons Kym sent.  

Next up was the custom order.  My customer wanted me to recreate, in brooch form, these faux ivory bangle bracelets I created as one of the special projects in my faux bone and ivory tutorial last year.  She specifically wanted the hashmarks and the ancient people incorporated somehow, so here is what I did.  I ended up with several brooches/pendants and three pair of earrings.

In the end, my customer decided on the larger arrowhead shaped brooch on the right, but I have lots of new pieces to add to the shop, which I will do shortly.  

 I am loving these new shapes, the arrowhead, which was inspired by a flint I saw at Etsy last week, and the dagger, which is from Barbara McGuire's line of rubber templates.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cowboys, Cowgirls and Cow...Bunnies?

I had a great time this past weekend putting together these pieces on spec for a jewelry shop owner who wanted Western themed Cowgirl jewelry.  I think it must be trending right now. 

For some of us, though, cowgirl jewelry is always in style.  I might be a Southern girl from South Carolina, but I am a cowgirl at heart.  In fact, about the time I hit 2nd grade, my birthday present that year was a pair of white, leather majorette boots with tassles on the front.   The burning desire to be a majorette lasted about 2 months, after which I pretended they were cowboy boots.   I still have those boots, athough they never looked as good after I tried to paint them red. 

These necklaces take me right back to sitting in front of the black and white TV on Sunday nights, watching Bonanza.  I loved the opening credits.  Remember the fire that burned through the Ponderosa map?  I thought that was so cool.   Bonanza debuted the year I was born, but I watched it from about 1966 until it ended in 1973.  I had a huge crush on oldest son Adam.  Back then, I went for those serious, moody bad boys.   Some things never change!  LOL

I made a few cowgirl bunny pins, too, using the small Vintaj stars for charms.  These images are from a collection of Western advertising art. 

And finally, I made a few more earrings for the shop.  I did something Easter weekend I hardly ever do.  I made up a bunch of solid colors and Skinner blends and stored them between parchment paper sheets.  I don't know why I got a wild hair and decided to do it ahead of time.   I am not at sure what I cobble together should technically be called a Skinner Blend, either.  I always feel like I should apologize to Judith Skinner whenever I use that term. 

I also received my buttons Saturday from my button swap partner, Kym Hunter.  I've got a few ideas and sketches of what I want to make, and I can't give a sneak peak until the big reveal on May 13, but I will be continuing the nostalgic childhood theme.

Have a great week, everyone! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Button, Button... Who's Got The Button?

I do!   I had two reasons to get motivated to create buttons this past weekend.    

First, I joined Cindy Wimmer's new Button Swap after seeing my good friend Laurel Steven's post about it on her blog, but I didn't see it until after the deadline to sign up had already passed.  Cindy is the artist behind Sweet Bead Studio, and since I make polymer clay buttons, I really wanted to be in on the swap.  

Cindy graciously allowed me to throw my buttons in the pot; and I am very pleased to be paired with Kym Hunter as my partner.   After cruising through her blog and Flickr photostream, it seems our tastes are similar.  Kym is a nature lover, and so am I.  She loves Southwestern colors and so do I.  She is a jewelry designer, and so am I!   Yay!  I am so excited!   As soon as Cindy emailed me with my partner's name Saturday morning, I got to it, creating 60+ buttons and clasp components.

The second reason I am motivated to create more buttons is a new venture my mother and I are collaborating on together.   I will be reopening my second shop at Etsy soon, and she will be selling hand-crocheted hats, small bags, cell phone holders and e-reader covers; and repurposed fabric items and ornaments from vintage linens I have collected over the years.  

Anyone who has read this blog regularly knows that my Momma is one of those rare women who can do anything she puts her mind to doing.  She is 80 years old now, but it wasn't so long ago that you might find her on the roof fixing it if it needed it.

Momma has made it her pet project for the past two years to make a hat for any lady who needs it at the Senior Citizens Center where she plays Canasta once a week. 

Momma asked me to create some unique polymer clay buttons to adorn her creations, and I am so glad she did.  The majority of the buttons I created this weekend will be attached to her crocheted items, but I will be offereing some in the shop, and as soon as another shipment of clay arrives, I'll be making more for us both.   I am already thinking of new ways to use smaller buttons, so it will be  Buttonmania at my house for awhile to come. 

The small size holder, for cell phones or credit cards and money, is about 3"x5."   The medium bag, which is perfect for cosmetics, is about 4"x 8."   The large bag, which accomodates a Nook or Kindle perfectly, is about 6" x 8."   She uses 100% cotton thread, and she likes the varigated, but can create virtually any color.  

We are working on stocking the shop, but hopefully within the next week or so, we will be ready to open with the first of the bags adorned with polymer buttons.  I love this little bee stamp!  I used it quite a few times over the weekend.  I call these buttons "Bees in Flight." 

Several of my customers collect my buttons to add to their collections; and some are knitters or crotcheters (is that a word?) who want a handmade button to finish off one of their own works of wearable art. 
Other customers prefer to use the pieces as clasps in jewelry designs.  I am tinkering with "one hole" designs for that specific purpose, too. 

Most of the buttons/clasps are perfect focals for bracelets, like the oval Dragonfly beads.  I did most of the pieces in variations of Skinner Blends using my unorthodox smushing of clay that usually yields a good blend.  

With sincere apologies to Miss Judith, I am not disciplined enough to do it the right way. 

Here is a sneak peak at two of the bags.  The cream varigated one is perfect for e-readers (and this one is mine, all mine!)  and the lavender and sage green one is perfect for cosmetic bags.  Aren't they precious?