Sunday, December 9, 2012

Status Update On the New Tutorial

I had hoped to have the new Controlled Marbling Tutorial in the shop by midnight tonight, but I'm afraid it is not going to happen.  I have shot all the photos and edited them for size.

I got up at 4:30 this morning to start writing it in my Word program.  I meticulously saved it every few sentences on my laptop and on a flash drive.

When I was about five paragraphs into the text part of the tutorial, I tried to insert an image, and my Word program froze.  I watched that filmy screen and the little circle going round and round for an hour, hoping it would resolve itself; but I had to turn the computer off to get out of the program.  I turned the laptop back on and tried to open the file, but could not.  All I saw was one of those "file corrupt" error messages.  I plugged in the flash drive and the same thing happened.

I switched to my desktop and could not open there, either.  I started typing the tutorial from scratch again, only to have the Word program freeze on my desktop at the same point.  As soon as I tried to upload the photo, it froze up and I could not save it.  Now, these are different versions of Word, and the pc runs on windows 98 and the laptop on Windows 7.

I was so frustrated, I threw up my hands and walked away for a little while.  An hour later, I decided to go looking for my Word program disc.  Unfortunately, there isn't one.  My laptop came programmed with the free trial version, which I later converted to the full length program, complete with key number.  I tried everything I could think of, even called a computer-savvy friend, who said it should be compatible due to some program built into Windows 7 that makes all things previous versions of programs compatible.  Right, researched that and found out I don't have that program and it would cost $200 for one that would do that.

I decided to purchase another Word program, and $130 later, I got a new key code and thought that would fix the problem.  Halfway through installation, installation stopped and I received another error message, this one something about a conflict between 32 bit and 64 bit.  I have no idea what that means, and at this point, I don't know what to do.  I ordered a backup cd with the new Word program, but it will be 3-4 weeks until it arrives.  Is it going to work if the digital version didn't?  With my luck, it won't.  I can't wait that long on this tutorial anyway.  My customers are waiting patiently for it, and I want to get it finished and in the shop.

I have Word Perfect on the old desktop.  I think I'm going to try typing the tutorial again in it and then saving it to Word, but I'm not at all sure I can get it from WP to Word to CuteWriter, which is the PDF conversion program I use.  My brain is just too frazzled at this point to think about doing any more tonight.

I am open to suggestions if anyone has any they think will help.  To my loyal customer friends waiting for the new tutorial, I am so sorry for the delay.  Hopefully, someone can help me figure out something soon and it won't be too much longer.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Monet

Reflections Earrings
These pieces are all from Round 3 of the controlled marbling technique tutorial, which resulted in these beauties (if I do say so myself.)

he color palette this time around was inspired by Monet's series of Water Lilies paintings:  Plum, violet, orchid, lavender, purple, iolite, aqua, teal, turquoise, cerulean blue, Prussian blue, sapphire blue and little swirls of silver running throughout.

I can't wait for you all to see how little clay it takes to produce all these pieces.  You will be amazed.  A dab'll do ya, for sure. 

Reflections II Earrings
My Momma also wanted to let everyone know that I wasn't picking on her when I posted about her recent Christmas sweater fetish.  In fact, she was standing over my shoulder laughing while I wrote the post.

I tease her relentlessly about the Red Hat Society she belongs to, and she promises that when my time comes for induction (never gonna happen) she intends to gag me, kidnap me, and take me by force to the meeting.  Don't worry, she'd never catch me, not with her spindly little legs.  Hee Hee  

Reflections I Pendant
Lily Pond Pendant

Skinner Blend from the Monet Scraps

One or two more color combinations and I think I'll be ready to start putting the written text together!  Yay!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Sweaters

Momma's Earrings
My mother takes full advantage of having a jewelry designer at her beck and call.  Today, she saw some of the pieces in the next phase of my controlled marbling tutorial, the black and red pieces, and asked me to make her some Christmas-y red and green stripedy (see, Jules, I get it honest!) earrings in the upside-down teardrop shape that I call the "hot air balloon" cut.  

Dutiful daughter that I am, I dropped everything and proceeded to make my Momma some red and green earrings.  

Now, other than her E-reader, which we forced on her (the one she would hurt you over now if you tried to take it from her,) there isn't much about my Momma that is "modern."  She is very old-fashioned, from her hair-do to her clothing to the furniture in her house.  Striped earrings, and in a funky shape?  Nuh-uh, I know her and I know better, or thought I did.  

North Pole Snowflake Earrings
The times, they are a-changing, though.  Apparently, she went out last week and bought herself a (gasp!) Christmas themed sweater!   Just the thought sends shudders through me.   She has never done the Christmas sweater thing!  Never!   What is happening here?  What's next, a turkey loaf for Christmas dinner?  It's that senior citizens group she plays cards with on Tuesdays.  They're a radical bunch, those women... drive themselves everywhere they want to go, wear red hats and purple clothes in public... you know the kind...

North Pole Snowflakes Teardrop
Well, there was nothing for it but to hunker down and create something to match the Christmas sweater.  Since I was marbling, and wanted to stay in the marbling frame of mind, I decided to blend some custom Christmas red and green and a snowy white.  

I don't like to use regular white clay because it is flat.  Instead, I add a few drops of white alcohol ink to Pardo Translucent.  It is much softer and has a sweet luminescence.  Marshmallows come to mind when I look at it. 

I blended the colors and marbled a batch, but the earrings looked too abstract and modern.  This is a pair I decided to leave that way.  I love these, but they aren't Momma and no matter what she says, she wouldn't wear them.

Ribbon Candy Earrings
Then the light bulb went off over my head and I decided to stamp the rest with a snowflake texture sheet and highlight the stamping with a whipped cream colored acrylic paint (custom blended using eggshell and white and the teeniest touch of yellow.)  

Yep, I did good.  She saw these and almost choked up.  She said "Those are EXACTLY what I wanted!"

They remind me of Scandinavian sweaters or the Fair Isle sweater patterns.   Maybe I'll let my fingers do the walking through the internet and see if I can find a Christmas red and green Fair Isle patterned sweater.  For her, of course, not for me... I don't do Christmas sweaters.  Nope, not me.  

Now it's back to the studio to work on the red and black, which frankly, aren't coming together as I had hoped.  I'm going to sort through my waxed paper wrapped stash of blended clay to get some inspiration for more color combinations.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Working On A New Tutorial

If you have looked at my flickr photostream the past few days, you have probably guessed I'm working on a new tutorial because of all the similarly colored pieces.  I normally work in color batches that yield 2 or 3 pieces at most, but my studio is an explosion of aqua and burnt orange at the moment.

When I'm working on a tutorial, I work in much larger batches of the same colors so I have enough in case I screw up (often) and have to recreate steps.  I am terrible about forgetting to photograph a step until I've gone on to the next one.  I probably shouldn't admit that, but it means I have to go back and recreate the step again.  

I usually write my tutorials first, then follow the instructions to create pieces, but this time, the creation comes first, then the writing.  

For this new tutorial, which is about how to use my controlled marbling technique, recreating steps isn't possible, because each piece is unique.  If I forget to photograph, I have to scrap the photos of it and make another.  So, you can see why a lot of the same colored clay would be needed. 
Right now, I'm working primarily with aqua, burnt orange and snowy white.  I have some other color combinations planned, so next you'll either see a bunch of red, black, silver and white pieces; or a bunch of  plum, indigo blue and gold pieces.   

I have promised to have this new tutorial ready to publish before Christmas, so I'm working every day to be sure I can meet that deadline, but since I have all day, every day to work on it, I don't think that is really going to be a problem.  

Working non-stop like I am, though, means new posts on the blog might be sparse for a couple of weeks.  One of my lovely customers (hey, Donetta!) emailed me about the sewn paper bag tutorial she purchased recently, and her sweet email prompted me to drag myself on over here and write a little something new.  

Here is a sneak peak at some of the new pieces made using my controlled marbling technique (all of these won't make it into the how-to, or else the tutorial would be 50MB large) but I'm trying to get as many in as I can and maintain some variety.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Art of the Surcee - My Newest Tutorial - How to Create Nostalgic Sewn Paper Gift Bags

In the Southern United States, we are raised with a wonderful tradition called the "surcee."  I've talked about them before, but if you don't know, a surcee is a gift given for no other reason that to show the recipient that he or she is special. These little gift bags a little surcees in themselves, but they make the most delightful vehicles to delivery surcees to your friends and loved ones, too. 

I wrote this new tutorial in response to several requests from my customers, who all receive these gift bags with each purchase of a piece of jewelry from my shop.  They often tell me they recycle the bags by passing them along to another gift recipient. One of my customers told me it felt like Christmas for her when she opened the box, and she found herself wrapping the box back up and opening it again and again, just to see these gift bags nestled inside. That is exactly the feeling I hope you will get, both from making these beautiful little bags and by giving them as well.  

One customer even told me opening the box they came in was such an unexpected surprise, she cried.  I don't want to make anyone cry, of course, but that is what a surcee will do for you.  She kept closing and opening the box they arrived in, just to repeat the feeling.  And the vintage buttons!   One of my very good customers, who has a couple dozen by now, has confessed to hoarding them for herself for the buttons alone!

The bags also make fabulous party favors when filled with candy and are the best way to give a gift card.  Who wants to use a boring old envelope when you could use one of these?  You could also slip in event tickets, money or a folded check.   I also had a request for 10 to be embellished with vintage kitchen images for a bridal shower.   Taking that idea a little further, wouldn't these be great to hold bridesmaid gifts?   You can make them masculine or feminine in theme.  The possibilities are almost endless.  

In the tutorial, I instruct you how to create these charming, whimsical, nostalgic sewn paper gift bags using vintage dictionary pages, vintage buttons, and a few other inexpensive materials and tools, none of which are hard to find or expensive, with the exception of a sewing machine. You will need the use of a sewing machine to complete the project, but advanced sewing skills are not necessary. If you can sew a zigzag stitch in a straight line, you can create these delightful gift bags.  The lesson is 14 pages total and contains step-by-step instructions and lots of clear, color photos.  It is also extremely easy to follow.   If you prefer a CD version, I can also burn a copy for you onto CD for a small additional fee for postage and the cost of the CD. 

I can tell you first hand that creating these beauties is also addictive.   I make them in batches of 50 or so at a time.  Speaking of which, I only have 11 left from the last batch.  I better get crackin' on some new ones!  


Saturday, November 10, 2012

I'm a Proud Daughter

I am so proud!  My 80 year old mother listed several Christmas ornaments she made today at Etsy.  We converted my 2nd shop, which has been dormant for awhile, into a new shop she is calling Carolina Homespun.   Since my mother is a fabric and needle artist, the name fits, and we do live in Carolina!

I helped her with the listings and the photos, and will be adding more of the felt ornaments in the next day or two as she finishes them.

These sweet little wreath ornaments, which she calls "puff wreaths," are her original design.  She has been making and sharing these with family and friends and our community for more than 30 years.   I doubt there is a Christmas tree in this county that doesn't have at least one of these wreath ornaments on it.  They also make fantastic napkin rings which guests can take home as a party favor or as we like to call them in the South, "surcees."   They also make wonderful thank you gifts or teacher gifts.  I've never met anyone who didn't love them.

Here is a peak at a few of the items Momma has made.  I hope you'll check out the shop and email us your comments on how you like it.  She's gotten a few views already and that gave her a huge thrill.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Word To The Wise Part II

Thank you to everyone who commented on my post about consignments.  I received some great feedback at Facebook and some insightful emails, too.   This is apparently an area that needs some attention.  

I promised Beth Wheeling I would look at the Small Business Administration website to see if any tips or seminars are available for artists who might be contemplating putting their art on consignment in brick and mortar galleries or gift shops, and post my findings here.  

I spent an hour on the website and didn't find much.  I had to resort to looking for tips for freelancers, since there wasn't anything in the search engine for "consignment agreement," but still didn't find anything really helpful.

I also looked at South Carolina's Secretary of State's website and the SC Consumer Affairs website, and didn't find anything.  I actually found the most helpful information at at  I should have thought of them first!

Here is a list of several helpful articles on consigning jewelry.  Here is a jewelry consignment checklist put together by Rena Klingenberg for  These articles are copyrighted, so I won't cut and paste any of the info here without permission.  Here is a link to a sample Consignment Agreement that I liked, which was created by Charles Lewton-Brain for  He also holds the copyright, but does state in the article the template is for information purposes only but may be used.  

As with any contract, depending on who prepares it, a consignment agreement may be slanted in favor of one party or the other, so you might want to consult an attorney in your area if you are serious about shopping your art to consignment venues.  He or she can prepare one that you could take with you to potential consignment shops and whip out if the opportunity presents itself.  

At any rate, the above-referenced links will hopefully educate you a little about the process, and give you an idea of what a basic agreement should include.    

If they have nothing to hide, reputable shop owners should also allow you to talk to other artists who have things on consignment with them so you can find out how they have been treated.  

Thanks again for your feedback.  I hope this helps!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Word To the Wise

A few months ago, I was approached by the owner of a brick and mortar gift shop in the upstate of South Carolina about putting some of my vintage look jewelry on consignment in her shop, which was about to open.  I declined because the rental fee was too high and I was in the middle of adding my 2012 holiday collection to the shop.  She emailed me again last week and said that they had a different offer:  Instead of a rental fee, how about a straight 20% commission?   Sounded great, because I've been hearing 40% from the local gift shops, at least in my area.  I said I would send some pieces if she could provide an artist agreement and some information about her business first.  The same lady said over and over how much she loved my work and how well my pieces fit what they had in mind for the store and not to worry, she would pass along my request to the actual partner who managed the legal stuff for the business and have her get in touch with me.   

Since the artist agreement is a contract, I wanted to be sure that whomever signed it on behalf of the company was doing so under authority of the company, thereby binding the company and making the company itself liable for any breach of the terms.  The person who is authorized to act for a company will be identified in the by-laws, corporate charter or blanket resolution, or an operating agreement if they are created as an LLC, a Limited Liability Company.   Blame it on being a paralegal for 32 years, but I didn't think the request was unreasonable.  I also wanted to know if there was insurance which would cover fire, theft, and damage as the result of negligence on behalf of the owner or their employees or customers.  Again, not an unreasonable request.  The artist agreement which the woman admitted they pulled off the internet, even had the terms backwards.  I was listed as the "consignee" instead of the "consignor," something which apparently had not come up with the other people who had signed it.  That's not my problem, but I wasn't about to sign it if it wasn't correct.   

Anyway, a few days went by and I heard nothing from them, but I went ahead and started on some new pieces to send.  Then I get an email basically stating that since they had JUST signed another artist who did virtually the same thing I do, and since they didn't want to be unfair to either of us, they were closing the opening for jewelry consignors and thanks very much for my interest.   Well.

I'm not stupid, and since everything was hunky dory up until I asked for proof they are who they say they are and that they had insurance, I have to believe that my request met with some resistance on the part of the business manager partner.  Wouldn't you?   I don't feel bad at all, though, as this may have saved me a whole bunch of heartache and money and aggravation down the road. Chalk it up to one of those lessons learned.

If I hadn't spent the last 32 years with my nose in law books, I might not have known to ask these questions, but I did spend 32 years as a paralegal, so I do know about this legal stuff.  I guess I just wanted to say to all you aspiring "consignors," be careful who you deal with and to whom you trust your precious creations.  If you don't protect yourself and your art, ain't nobody else gonna do it for you.  

So, I have a few new pieces to add to the shop, and I had a great time working with these vintage rhinestone bead caps that my friend Lucia (hey, Lucia!) sent me.  She found a warehouse full of vintage findings and good stuff a few years ago, and was so generous to send me a bag full of goodies, which I am playing with them this weekend.   

And on a personal note, happy birthday to my Momma, who celebrates her 80th today!   She can out-think, out-last and out-run me any day, even at 80!   I love you lots!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Designer of the Week at Art Bead Scene!

I guess the earrings do fit the theme after all, since they made me the Designer of the Week this week at Art Bead Scene!  Thank you, Erin Prais-Hintz, for the honor, and for the lovely compliments about my work. 

I'm doing the happy dance all the way to Cloud 9!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Art Bead Scene October Challenge Entry

It has been awhile since I entered one of ArtBeadScene's monthly challenges, but when I saw the painting that the ABS editors chose as the inspiration for October's contest, I decided to enter.  It is Kirt Schwitters's 1919 painting titled "Revolving."  

I created these earrings about a month ago, but immediately thought of them when I saw the painting.  What do you think?  Are they a good fit for the theme?   They are from my Ancient Romance Series - Cleopatra's Jewelry Box Collection, and are titled "Secrets Kept."   They were created by me using polymer clay, alcohol ink, embossing powder and acrylic paint.  

And please check out the other entries in ABS's flickr photostream if you have a minute.  

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Secret Garden Earrings In the November Issue of BeadStyle Magazine!

In July, Naomi Fujimoto, Senior Editor at BeadStyle Magazine, asked me if I would send her my Secret Garden earrings to be featured in the Earring Gallery in the November issue of the magazine.  Of course I said yes, and promptly shipped them off to her, then waited very impatiently until I received my advance copy this morning to see if there really were in it.  They are!   Woo Hoo!   I am beyond excited. 

Thanks again, Naomi.  You were so great to work with, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  I will probably be hounding you about other submissions now, because you made it was so easy the first time!  You are the best.

Naomi also has a stunning necklace included in the issue, so I hope you will check it out. 

I have one more pair of earrings from this same color batch, too, which are also listed in the shop.   

Okay, now to bring my head out of the clouds long enough to get back in the studio today.  

I got a wild hair yesterday and started working on some faux mercury glass beads, the result of reading Amy Hanna's book, Rejuvenated Jewels.   I love the book, but it features one of a kind, vintage components I am not likely to find anywhere in the boonies of the South Carolina lowcountry, so I have to resort (again!) to trying to recreate the look on my own.  Thank goodness polymer clay is so versatile!   More on those later.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Halellujah! It Is Beginning To Look A Lot Like Autumn in the South

I love the South and wouldn't live anywhere else, but I am not a fan of our Summer humidity.   I walk around feeling like a piece of wilted lettuce until 10:00 at night, so I was happy to see some cooler, crisp football weather this past weekend.  

I was so inspired by the weather, I went back into the studio to do some more experimenting, this time mixing Pardo and Premo with alcohol inks and acrylic paint and to see how far I could take the baking temps on the Premo. 

Turns out Premo is best left to bake at 275 degrees for 30 minutes.   I burned, no charred would be a better description, several beads set at 300 for 30 minutes, and several I set on 275 for 50 minutes.  

I went back to the manufacturer's suggested temp for Premo and baked the blended Pardo pieces at that, with good results.   I didn't get the glasslike clarity with the Pardo at 275, but the surface of these pieces is VERY strong.   It took twice as long to sand these pieces, but I won't complain because the finishes are absolutely flawless, which really makes my OCD self very happy.

These luscious "Black Ice" pieces are Premo Gray Granite and Pardo Translucent tinted with a generous saturation of Ranger Pitch Black Alcohol Ink.  There wasn't any color shift in the baking that could be seen under the Tungsten lights of my studio, but when I took them outside, there is a slight aubergine cast to them.  I was very tempted not to buff these after sanding.  The matte black look is so attractive, but the OCD took over again, as usual, and I buffed them anyway.  

These blueberry/dark denim pieces were made with Premo Gray Granite, Pardo Translucent, and Ranger and Pinata alcohol inks, a bit of this color and a bit of that.  

I didn't write down the formula, however, so can't tell you exactly how much of any, but the colors were Ranger Denim, Mushroom and Pinata Sapphire.  

These are really rich looking, and the perfect color to accessorize a pair of your favorite blue jeans, particularly the Denim Blue Birds earrings on the left.  I was going to name them "My Little Blue Chicadees" but didn't want to run afoul (I am SO funny) of any copyright law. 

One of my local customers has been after me to create a faux abalone bead to match a piece that is missing from a necklace she owns, but I could never get it quite right.  Yesterday, in a total bit of unplanned luck, the last piece from an experiment with Premo translucent, alcohol ink and acrylic paints (see those pieces in my flickr photostream if you like) was exactly what she wanted.  I called her right away.  

I spent the rest of Saturday with the manual for my camera, trying to figure out how to photograph some "green turquoise" pieces that photographed a very bright, almost neon turquoise blue.  The only way I could make the photos come out anywhere near the actual color was to set the camera for inside under flourescent lighting.   I made a gorgeous pair of purple earrings, too, but they photographed cobalt blue!   Oh, well.  All in all, it was a very productive weekend.

Before I sign off, I also wanted to express my thanks to everyone who read my post about losing my job of 20 years and the scary and exciting next step of becoming a full time artist.  I didn't know I had so many friends, although several of you who emailed me or responded to that post don't even know me; but you are friends now.  All of you offered encouragement and support.  I am truly blessed to have you all, and you have given me a huge boost to my confidence.

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Will

What will you do to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States of America on September 11, 2001? 

I will proudly fly the United States flag.
I will recite the pledge of allegiance, with emotion choking my heart.
I will grieve again the loss of so many innocent lives.
I will honor the many heroes from that day by giving blood.
I will tell my family I love them, because we never know when our next breath will be our last.
I will say a prayer for peace on Earth.

Our Pledge of Allegiance:
I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the Republic
For which it stands,
One nation, under God
With liberty and justice for all.


Monday, September 10, 2012

My Pardo Fix - Update

I have such wonderful friends!   One of you lovely folks very kindly offered to send me some Pardo to tide me over until I can find a stash.   Thank you so much, and thank you to everyone who has offered suggestions about where to find more.   

At the urging of Beth Wheeling, a new Facebook friend, I contacted Trish at PolyPlayClay in Lubbock, Texas.  She emailed me right back and said she would save me some bricks of the Professional Art Clay when she gets her next shipment.  If any of you want some, you might want to give her a shout.   You can contact her from her website.   

Trish also relayed that a reliable source has suggested you can bring the clay back to softness by adding Sculpey Clay Softener and/or Sculpey Mold Make, but that the Mold Maker would affect the level of translucency.  She also said it has been suggested to her that when you want to soften already baked clay slightly, to reheat it, but that it will never get back to the soft, pliable state.   Sigh.   I guess I am going to have to be patient and wait, so the Pardo experiments are on hold for now.  That's the bad news.  The good news is I met several new friends as a result of the search for Pardo!  

Thanks again, everyone.   

I said I would post a few pieces I created with the scraps of the cobalt and amethyst experiments, which I marbled with some Premo scraps.   These were all cured at 275 degrees F as recommended for Premo.   No heroics with these.  

Next up for me is my 2012 Holiday collection, and then I promise to finish at least two new tutorials.  I decided this year the theme for the collection will be "Winter Wonderland" and will feature lots of Winter White, crystal, antique brass findings, and Vintage Victorian Angels.   Here is a sneak peak:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

More Cobalty Blue Goodness... And Showing Out

These were made with the last of my good batch of Pardo.  I am now desperate for more.  As I am finding out, getting more is not an easy thing.  It's like looking for a golden Easter egg, or that proverbial needle in the haystack.

I received part of the shipment of Pardo yesterday from   Yes, it was the only place I could find Pardo Professional Art Clay in 2.1 oz. bricks.  I bought 6 bricks.   They weren't supposed to arrive until next week, so I was so excited when I opened the package and saw them.   Excitement quickly turned to frustration, and my famous temper surfaced.   I ranted, I raved.   My Momma calls it "showing out."   Well, I showed out, big time.   Why?   After having worked with nice, pliable, lovely, flexible Pardo, every brick of this stuff was so hard, it crumbled to dust when I tried to roll it through the pasta machine.   A scientist can't work her experiments without the main ingredient with which to work!   

I didn't want to add another brand of liquid polymer clay to soften the Pardo, which would defeat the purpose of my pure Pardo experiments; but that may be the only recourse.  I tried softening it by putting a brick in a sealed plastic bag and leaving it in a bowl under the spigot of hot water for 10 minutes.  Nothing.  I tried using a hair dryer on it, and even holding the heat back 2' resulted in the clay yellowing and looking like melted, HARD candle wax.   I tried holding it in my hand for a long time.  I tried wrapping it in a towel and setting the iron on it (iron set on low.)  None of these worked.   

I went to Viva Decor's website.  It was no help.  Lots of pretty pictures, but nothing to help.  I emailed Viva, but haven't heard back yet.  I don't know how to speak or write in German, so I am hoping they have someone there who can read my pitifully plaintive English email.  I googled how to make Pardo soft again.  No help.  While I was looking for a cure, I began to wonder why the translucent bricks aren't being offered anywhere.   Have they been discontinued?   I did find 3 bricks on the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby last week.  Is that significant?  Does that mean Hobby Lobby isn't going to carry Pardo any longer?   All the Pardo was on the clearance aisle, come to think of, even the colored balls.   

It is the stuff of nightmares, I tell you.  Now that I have discovered Pardo's translucent qualities, I don't want to give it up.  I hope someone somewhere out there has an answer.   In the mean time, I guess I'll have to add some liquid Kato and see what happens.   The mad scientist in me is still showing out, only inwardly.  

Hmmm, wonder if any of the ladies who helped develop Pardo can help out a sister in need.  Surely they can spare a few bricks... I bet they got a lifetime supply of free Pardo... 

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Cobalt Blues

There is a lot of experimenting going on in the Diva house this weekend.  I am knee deep in Pardo translucent and loving the glass-like results.   And the colors!  Oh, my!

First up, these mouthwatering faux jade Asian Kanji tower focal beads.  Mouthwatering and a mouthful, right?  I call them "tower beads" because they are 4-sided instead of round like my signature "cylinder beads."

My friend Ginger of The Blue Bottle Tree saw the faux jade tower beads on my flickr photostream earlier this week, and she wanted to experiment with a cobalt blue color.  She made a fabulous faux cobalt blue bead, and I was so positively pea green with envy, I had to try it myself.  I kicked a few formulas around, and got various shades of blue and purple, but ended up liking these the best, my first attempts.  What do you think?  They are a deep cobalt blue, and have great transparency.

Here are some faux red jade gingko leaf cylinder beads created from the Pardo, and a sweet little robin's egg blue Asian Waves cylinder bead.   The bead behind it actually has the waves stamped on the inside.  Those of you who have purchased my faux bone and ivory tutorial know how these are constructed, but it's the first time I've put the stamped design on the inside.  I love how the clay is so translucent, you can see the design from the other side.

And wait until you see the marbled earrings I made from some of the cobalt scraps.  More on those next time.  I gotta get back to the laboratory!   

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Faux Goody Weekend

I spent the weekend cleaning out my inspiration box of magazine clippings and texture samples and bad sketches I've made trying to come up with some interesting new topics for tutorials.   I've been experimenting all weekend, too.  Lots of happy accidents to report, and a few which went straight to the bottom of an empty new Butt Uglies jar.

Several months ago, I won a copy of Heather Powers' new book, Jewelry Designs From Nature, and I was looking through it again today and noticed a sticky note I had placed on page 82.

Page 82 shows a Sea Urchin Necklace Heather created with Sea Urchin Spines and one of her own 30mm sea urchin polymer beads.   The note said "find some of these" and pointed to the beautiful olive green spines.   I had never seen the spines in olive, and Heather's are also a lot bigger than the ones I have.  Mine are sort of mauve-ishy-caramel, and really small.  I tried to find some of the olive color, but couldn't, so today, I decided to try and make my own from polymer.  

Ta da!   I think they turned out pretty darn good.  I would show you a photo of Heather's necklace, but that would probably violate copyright laws, so I better not.   If any of you have her new book, though, check out the real thing on page 82 and let me know how you think mine compare.  

I also experimented with some of my "controlled marbling" technique to see what else I could write a tutorial on other than a ho-hum pair of earrings, so I added a herringbone or chevron texture sheet and went to town.   I like these, too.   There are so many colors that come through with marbled pieces.  I am always amazed to see what emerges after sanding and buffing.  

I am still going through the inspiration box, so more new stuff to come.  

And John, I haven't forgotten about your faux amber, either.  I'm just trying to come up with a recipe that looks like the real thing but isn't the same old thing everyone else has already done.