Saturday, January 17, 2009

An Embarrassment of Riches...

Today I finally got some time to go and play in my studio - and how I had been looking forward to it! Oddly enough, it turned out to be not as satisfying as I had hoped...

Let me dear hubby has converted the garage in the back yard into a craft studio for me (hence the Studio 2:14) - a dream of mine...and he saw it as self-preservation! I had completely taken over the guest bedroom in the house - and I had a dream (still do...) of learning to make glass beads - which involves a torch..hence flame. That hubby was not going to allow in the!

Now that the studio is done, and half-way organized, now when I go out there - it's all right there...waiting for my imagination. Coming in the double glass doors (lots of light), there is a closet (maybe someday a bathroom), and beyond it is my 'paper stuff' area - here I have my paints, glues, paper, scissors, all kinds of goodies to play with paper. That stretches to the corner.

The corner being a bit of wasted space (there is a lazy-susan cabinet below), that is where my stereo sits - so I can listen to the radio or CDs while I work (the TV comes later). Now, on the back wall - the next bit of counter is a solid slab of wood - for all my pounding, beating, soldering, and wire-work. I have a Dremel tool, a brand new soldering iron (to die for!), and my third hand. Close by are the foil for soldering, the glass slides, the wire and all the wire tools.

Just on the other side of that is my jewelry area - it kind of slops over the wire-soldering area, and here is where all the cool dangles, beads, charms, findings etc. are to be found. I have shallow boxes with those cool bead mats in them to corral those round beads, and to keep the project from spreading out too far.

Next to that - and now we've reached the other end of the back wall - is my polymer clay station - with the clay, the cutters, shapes, rollers, and of course, a brand new craft oven for what I make. This will also become where I work with the Melting Pot - which I just got and haven't used yet.

Turning the corner, there is a filing cabinet/junk table, then an end table and chair, and in the corner by the doors - we're all the way round the room now - is my glass kiln. Under that is the huge box of glass I have had for two years, waiting for the kiln to be somewhere where I could actually use it.

So...what's the problem, right? Dream come true...and it is....but when I got out there, I had an awful time deciding what to do first! Paper? Have that class project to work on...soldering my tiny glass goodies (this I did), and making more goodies to go inside? Make jewelry? Earrings - necklaces? Tons of stuff crying out to be used! Clay beads? Nope - this one is waiting for something I need to proceed with a project - so that wasn't a temptation today.

I ended up finishing up a little glass charm for a necklace - used the wrong size foil, and still learning the new soldering iron - but I like how it turned out...even used a little phrase on the back side. I fooled around with a red wire bracelet, adding a clasp, and trying several kinds of dangles to put on it - in the end, think I'll just leave it like it is..'s the little charm...

The charm is one inch square, and the front is petit-point on perforated paper, with lovely textured silver paper on the back - I added some silver stars, just because they went with the fiber colors, and reminded me of night. I foiled it, and soldered it with lead-free solder - the solder has a pewter finish, so it is not as bright and shiny. I sanded it down a bit, to smooth it, and to give it texture. Then, on the back I used part of a phrase that is a rub-on. Experiment to see if it stays put, and if so - does anyone know where I can get really small rub-on phrases?

All in all, I was pleased that I finished one project, and nearly finished another - but I have to get a better plan for my time out there - it is precious, and I don't want to waste any of it dithering around in indecision...any ideas out there?

Tomorrow I'll post the bracelet - be cool for Valentine's - as it is RED!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Uh Oh....

The day arrived for my free class - called "Everyday Moodling" - kind of an intro to paper-scrapbooking-mixed media - type of projects from a site called "My Creative Classroom"
so I was pretty pumped about the upcoming project.

There was a series of four videos explaining the project - and after totally crashing my machine, then figuring out to use Quicktime instead of Windows Media Player - I watched all the videos, and immediately saw a couple of large problems - for me....

I don't scrapbook - I know I would probably like it, but it for certain could eat up a LOT of money in the doing - and other things interest me more - so I don't have supplies that one who does would have. The new project is to cover a photo box however we like, and then fill it with bases of cards for future use, using patterned scrapbook paper that we have lying around. Hmmm......

Problem one...I don't have a photo box. I checked them out at A.C. Moore - but at $10.99 there, that's not going to happen. I know I've seen them at Michaels for about $6.00 - but at this point in my budget, that's not going to happen either.

Problem two....I don't have ANY scrapbooking patterned paper lying around - I do have some cardstock in some colors...but no patterns. I cannot justify spending money buying some just to do this project.

So....what to do? Just skip the project? Nah....that's just not me. So, I'm gonna change it. I do have some 12" x 12" watercolor paper (really nice and heavy) - so I'm going to attempt to MAKE a box - one that would fit the two sets of blank cards that I DO have. Would have to section it off - the cards I have are two very different sizes. So...that I actually have to make a template for that box, and then make it....

Stay'll see it all as it unfolds..

Thursday, January 15, 2009

After Thinking About It....

...I decided to not order from my former supplier after all. And why?
  • the number was a cellphone
  • as a business, why was there not a business phone?
  • as a business, why was there not an 800 number?
  • even the email was not set up as a business.
  • I had not actually used what I intended to buy from them - was going on memory of another product that was good. hubby advised against it for all of the above reasons. I don't know that they are the only game in town for what I want now....seems to be others - so I'll try them first.

I did put some new things on my Etsy store yesterday - more to come today - you can see them at TreasureMore
I am also going to add more to my tiny offerings at Artfire - thinking this may be a better venue for me....we'll see. You can see what's for sale there at ShimmerShineStudio !

Leave me a comment, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Disappointment.....then hope.....maybe!

I was playing around with ideas last week, and found one that I really wanted to pursue. I was not sure I could, as the materials I wanted, I did not know if they existed in the form I now need.

Long ago, I slip-cast porcelain Christmas ornaments, fired them and then decorated them with a dimensional glaze that was applied with little syringes. It was, I guess, tedious work, but I loved it, and the designs, when done, made the ornaments look like wedding cakes - all lacey and Victorian.

Now, I no longer have a kiln that will fire porcelain and glazes, so using a glaze to do this again is impossible. Plus, what I want to do is a miniature version of that - with beads rather than large ornaments. So, it would have to be the same 'look' without the necessity of firing to a high temperature. Then.....I found the same company I used so long ago as a supplier of these glazes - and they were on the internet....and they had a non-firing version of the glazes! Woo Hoo!! I was in!!

But no....I wasn't. I tried ordering from the order form on the website....hmmm...I could fill it out, but it would not submit - got an error. Ok, I thought - I'll just call the 800 number on the website, and order by phone (how archaic that seems!). But...when I dialed the number, I got a very odd cryptic message.....directing me to call a number in a format I did not that was a no go. Then I thought, I'll just email them with their contact form on their website, and see what's up....and yup, you guessed it....would not an error. Being the persistent type (and because they are the only people that I could find with this particular product), I searched around the website til I found an email address not hidden inside a form - and I emailed them. And, wonder of wonders, it went through....

I waited all through I'm thinking they're no longer in business, and I need to find a Plan B. I cruised the internet and found what 'might' work - but of course no one local has that product, so I can't try it without ordering from the internet....with shipping etc....when I don't know if it will work. Sigh....

Then, this morning.....wonder of wonders! An email in response to mine! Saying they were in the process of re-doing their website....and giving me a new 800 number to call and order by phone. But now I'm paranoid....are they for real? Should I call? Amazing how the doubts creep in - all because of all the errors on their website....

I'll keep you posted....what would you do? Leave me a comment!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Couple of Updates...

First - the Caron "Project Linus" contest that I entered many moons ago....the deadline for entries was 'supposed' to be December 31 - by which time, each afghan should have been mailed off, and photos submitted to Caron. This I did.....and then waited....only to find out that - oopsie - they have now extended the deadline for entries to January 31.

I find this really off-putting. Not only was it a royal pain to actually find a place to send my afghan (finally sent it off to the national headquarters in Illinois), now evidently either they didn't get enough, or what they got for entries wasn't up to snuff, so they extended the deadline. The only saving grace in this entire thing is the thought that sometime, my soft little afghan will be wrapped around a baby. I won't be entering any more contests for Project Linus, nor for Caron any time soon.

We'll see what happens on January 31 - will they really pick the 6 contestants to have y'all vote for? (and did they not have six who entered before?). If, and when they do....I'll post the picture of my afghan here again, and ask that (if you like it!) you go and vote for it!

On another note...sigh....the free class I signed up for was supposed to start January 7 - but guess what - do I see a pattern here? - the class was postponed til January 14. Some problem with the method of posting classes or something.

This new year of discovery is getting off to a rocky start....