Monday, December 27, 2010

A Special Christmas Tree

My daughter saved this gift for the last one of the evening on Christmas Day. (We wait and open gifts slowly on Christmas Night - after all the worship services are over, the dinner has been enjoyed and cleaned up, the candles are lit and soft carols playing on the iPod....and we take about 3 hours. It's lovely.)

She went out to the car since she had not wrapped this one....and presented me with the

Fisk Family Tree. 

Mounted on a wooden base which she covered with my favorite olive green in an embroidered taffeta fabric, the tree itself is made from wire - lots of it. Using 16 and 18 gauge wire, sequins and imagination, she wove a fanciful tree to hold amazing charms representing everyone in our family. Her cohort was Meridith, my daughter-in-law, who crafted charms symbolic of herself, our son, and their family of daughters. My daughter, Laura, made charms to represent Dale and me, plus herself and her husband, Aaron. The tree is accompanied by a scroll tied in ribbon with each person's first and second name, birthdate, the meaning of their names and a description of how the charms were selected.

It is simply fabulous. I'm sure we'll be adding charms to this tree for years as more grandchildren are born and they marry and have babies. Laura said she saw the idea in a Martha Stewart Living magazine, but Laura took it to another level.

Dale B. Fisk - Farmer of the valley
The key to this family and the cultivator "farmer" of music. The bells represent the music of your life, as well as the key to your home.

Lynette Yvonne Fisk - Little beautiful archer
The peacock feather represents an arrow, though more appropriately represents you, with an intricate, beautiful ring to show tenderness and creativity.

Jonathan McAdam - Gift of God
A box to represent a gift and a crucificix to represent the greatest gift God has given.

 (especially appropriate for Jonathan is a pastor.)

Meridith Elaine - Good friend with golden hair
A letter for a friend with the "M" seal on the closing to represent "Meridith".

Chloe Elkanah - Fruitful one created by God

A wedding couple, New Baby and New Arrival charms are hung on a diaper pin used on Chloe as a baby. This is all to show "fruitfulness". (Chloe is currently 6 years old.)

Anastasia Avielle - Resurrected one whose father is God
The butterfly is a symbol of resurrection and it is yellow because that is one of Anastasia's favorite colors. The cross shows "whose father is God" and is a pendant that Anastasia received when she was two. (She is currently 3 1/2.)

Trinity Promise - Baptism saves
Father, Son and Holy Spirit pendant for "Trinity" with a shell from our family trip to Ocean City, NJ, to represent baptism or "Promise". (Trinity is 18 months old.)

Unknown Baby Fisk - "Button"
The buttons are from Hungary - the place where this portion of the family tree began (Jonathan met Meridith when teaching English in Hungary.) When Button is born, we will replace the charm with something more personal, but the buttons can stay to represent any other people who may follow, Lord willing.

(The new baby, expected in June 2011, has been nicknamed "Button" by the girls. When their mother explained how small a newly forming baby is by holding her fingers about two centimeters apart, Chloe said "That's about as big as a button!"

 Laura Ruth - Loyal friend crowned with laurels
The leaf represents a love of nature, surrounding the image of a spritely woman. The ring is a baby ring also representing leaves and the Rose of Sharon.

Aaron Douglas - Exalted one from dark waters
The wire is a piece of Mig welding wire (from Aaron's current grad school projects) surrounding a Celtic knot showing his Celtic origins and a piece of padauk hardwood, which rises to the surface of even the deepest waters.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Quiet Time

A quiet holiday at our house this year. Daughter Laura and husband are in the Twin Cities with friends at a "friend's-gather-to-cook-unusual-foods-and-sip-adult-beverages-all day" weekend. Everyone cooks something they have never made before while everyone else watches, then everyone eats. Sort of a Julie and Julia/cooking class with friends marathon. Sounds like so much fun - would love to have been there when Laura "killed" a lobster today.

The rest of our family is far away - Philadelphia and Iowa. Friends who like my cooking couldn't make it from San Diego this year. And since Dale played for church both Wednesday and Thursday services and I was scheduled to work at the gallery today, we couldn't go anywhere.

So we cooked  a smallish turkey, made pies and other "trimmings" and took naps. Not a bad way to spend the day....thankful for many blessings and time with each other.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Steampunk Pendant Class

While it was a long day, yesterday end with a four-hour creativity party. Four people took my Steampunk Pendant class at Eclectics Gallery - it's always such fun to watch other people come up with something completely their own using the same kits. (Steampunk pendant kits include a 1.25 x 1.5 inch copper rectangle, old jewelry chains, rivets, eyelets, screws, washers and old watch parts.)

The class teaches them some beginning metalworking techniques - filing, drilling, riveting, texturing and patina on copper - and everyone ends up with a pendant on chain or a pre-made necklace.
This one is almost done - missing the main event, which is a watch work piece that missed getting into the photo. Bella was a newbie who learned fast! Her grandma Nina already knew her way around jewelry-making and provided us all with some exercise as we crawled around looking for a teeny tiny watch-part that fell onto the charcoal-colored carpet. But we found it - it was the piece that looks like a miniature crescent wrench.

Joann also knew her way around jewelry making, but was new to using rivets and copper.

Our biggest glitch was using a 2-part epoxy to attach the tiniest watch gears. We had a 15 minute epoxy that really needed 2 hours to set up properly, so that caused us some grief, but everyone was very flexible and we learned as we went.

Monday, November 15, 2010

First Snow of the Season

Visiting my sister Kristin in northern Iowa this past weekend, we woke up to 4 inches of soft, wet snow.
It was perfect snowman-snow, covering trees, cars and building with fluffy beauty -and disturbing people's plans. My sister was concerned about the patio cement pour scheduled for today......likely not going to happen til Spring now.
We left early enough on Saturday to drive south to my mom's house before dark, and drove out of the snow about 40 miles south.....bringing fatigue and a cold home with me. But it was magical to see the world turn blue-white!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ahead of the Curve Bead Kits

My pattern for an even-count peyote bracelet was published in the March/April 2009 issue of Step by Step Beads.

Although that mag has been combined into Interweave Press's other beading mag, Beadwork, the patterns are still available and Interweave keeps promoting them! Hurrah! I keep making bracelets using this pattern, varying the colors and beads sizes to make unique bracelets.

However, some people really want to replicate my Olivine Green color combo. I can tell you the beads were gathered from hither and yon and some are hard to find. Now when I find them, I buy lots, so kits containing JUST BEADS for this pattern are available at my Etsy site.

Don't have that issue or the pattern? Not a problem - it's available purchase and instant download for $4 from the Interweave online store. You'll need a beading needle #12 or #15 and beading thread. (Fireline is my preference)

Remember, published patterns are for personal use, not to make commercially.....but these bracelets make great "I made it myself" gifts! Don't be afraid to try other colors!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Apple Core Beads

My little apple core beads got noticed in my long-neglected listing! Tis the season for fall fruits, so I guess the collection curator searched me. See my tutorial for making these beads, published in the October 2009 issue of Polymer Cafe.

This year I'm making other things - covered egg ornaments and mummies and broomsticks.

I  think Baghead is my favorite, but  this mummy is cute, too.

He inspired my smaller Mummy Face Brooches.....

Each one slightly different, with varying amounts of graveyard aging  -  they have been buried for many years, some of them. You think it's clean in those old tombs???

I was also curious about making broomsticks. I used raffia with both copper wire and twigs, using wire, wrapping and stitching for different types of brooms. Not exactly Harry Potter's Firebolt or even an older Nimbus 2000, but perhaps useful for someone. These are about 4" long. The earrings were shorter...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Studio

Classes - people are always asking me to teach them. But my studio space - though big - is cluttered and the table that should be available for students to sit at is covered in storage things. Alright, covered with stacks of papers, books, a storage hutch snagged from my son's office, and generally just junky. I clean it off when I need to use it.

No longer! Once I get things sorted out, there is now lots more storage space to organize plus an 8' workbench height counter - with a vise!

Gotta love Craigs List. And Dewey - he's a Tennessee boy from my little country church who hauls scrap. He not only provided a truck, a trailer and 2 burly guys to move this behemoth (actually an old nuts and bolts cabinet from an hold hardware store) from a guy's basement, but they installed it into my walk-in basement and he had a formica countertop that just fit - off by only 1". He also added the vise.

Those boxes in the back are the 65 drawers . . .

which will soon hold my stuff.  I have plans to label maybe paint the drawer fronts so I know where things are, but NOT today.

I know some of you are jealous, admit it. But you should have seen what I didn't buy - a 10' long shoemaker's polishing/grinding/stitching machine, with ventilation system. I do not think it will ever leave that poor guy's basement. It was his father's who had shoe-repair hobby and who obviously collected a lot of stuff.

So, I'll post the finished results someday soon.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vote on Etsy Beadweavers Bollywood Challenge

Beadweavers united - on Etsy. The Etsy sellers who love beadweaving have their own team to co-promote sales of their work. Each month this group has a challenge - and September's challenge was Bollywood.

You can view some truly amazing beadwork and participate by voting for your favorite. To vote, visit their blog here, where you can view each of the below pieces up close.

Then vote for your favorite, on the right side of screen. Note: I'm not in this challenge, but there are some fabulous pieces here.....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Etsy - again. Seriously, check it out

Wow, twice in a week an item from my Etsy shop has been selected for a Treasury  (read, co-promotional selection of cool items on a theme, selected by another Etsy seller).

This time an artist from Turkey included my Apple Core Beads in a grouping about Autumn Colors. Thanks, Sema! Had a great time exploring the various items in this group. Love the birds...
The thing is, none of her items are in this grouping. So I had to go check out ZuZu's World. She lives in Turkey and does Turkish lace - with traditional scarves and shawls, but also making jewelry with individual flowers she crochets and connects into long wearable strands. Very cool. Reminds of "long ago days" when I wore daisies on my prom dress. Yep, I'm that ancient.

So while I'm exploring Etsy, I stumbled upon something completely different....a guy who makes clocks using recycled old computer hard drives,

tape deck reels, record players, dead Apple iBooks (yep, it happens).Shop is called PixelThis. So if you need a gift for a geek, or a lover of electronic gear this is a good place to shop.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Favorite Colors - Desert Sky

One of my favorite color combos of the many bracelets I've made from my original pattern "Ahead of the Curve" which was published in Step by Step Beads Magazine in 2009 is this combination I call Desert Sky. I am always partial to turquoisey-aqua-blue beads and this combination used a matte bronze 8/0 hex and a bronze 8/0 metallic bronze hex from Beadin' Path.

It's amazing how bead sizes differ, even with beads marked 8/0s. But the graduating sizes is what really makes my pattern work - the changing bead sizes and thread tension make the curves curve....

I also used this bronze hex bead in another color combo I called Amber Sky. It's in there between the 11/0 amber round and the bronze twist hex. Someone purchased this one so it's gone, but I'm trying to be fanatical about taking photos of every piece finished.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Fish

Spending most of my time working on my hand-made pages for our gallery's new cookbook, so my beading is slower right now.

But I have managed to finish two more fish while watching "The Pillars of the Earth" with Dale. Introducing Toni the Tiger Fish....

And her cousin, Rooster. Not sure what kind of fish Rooster is, but he sports a fancy raku tail I found at Shepherdess Beads in San Diego on our vacation in July.

BTW, our gallery (Eclectics Gallery in Kansas City) occasionally publishes a hand-made, limited edition cookbook that is a piece of art. The unveiling will be sometime this month....we only make 40 copies and all recipes pages are hand-made by gallery member artists. They are unique and amazing and also have good recipes! Curious??? You should be. The cost is $65 - a real bargain considering the hundreds of hours we are spending. My studio is a blizzard of papers, inks, glue, ribbons, and other mysterious elements that you'll see on my pages. Stay tuned....