Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fuzzy Gems: "Making Wool Beads" tutorial now available!

Making Wool Beads Tut  Etsy Promo,

I've been inspired by the folks over at Lampwork etc. to get off my butt and finally finish the "Making Wool Beads" tutorial that I started last spring. Let's just look at it as the jumping off point for the collection of tutorials that I'm planning to make up this winter (while I can't get on my torch to make glass beads since it's too cold...)

...and really, doesn't everyone need something to do during the winter months to fight off the "blahs"?

I hope you'll head on over to the shop and take a peek at the tut and at the new items that Tish and I have added. We'd love it if you decided that you needed to take a bit of our Creativity home with you by purchasing one of our pieces, but that's up to you!

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Makeup: "Eddie" from Iron Maiden


My husband, Chris, was quite the rocker when he was in highschool, and this Halloween, I made a dream come true for him when I painted him up as "Eddie" from Iron Maiden.

The headbangers in ol' St.T approved of my rockin' hubby as he energetically and skillfully beat his drums to the wild funk of his band, "Dave's Not Here".

Chris LIVES for his music and was thrilled to have a comfortable costume like this to wear at his Halloween night Gig.

I couldn't resist making a version of his photo where I tweaked it with Photoshop to give him the proper electric Eddie eyes and wild hair...

(Feel free to click on the pic to get a closer look, or to see more of my Halloween 2008 makeup pics!)

Update: Cool news! I won the Sept./Oct. 2008 monthly contest on the UKfacepainting Convention forum for this painting (I sent in a photo where I hadn't played with the hair and eyes)! They said that they liked my blending and brush control...

Ghoul's Night Out

Kay & Mary with Michelle Rowen

Last week, my friend Kay and I went out to the "Ghoul's Night Out" author reading at our local public library.

We had a wonderful time listening to Kelley Armstrong, Michelle Rowen, and Eve Silver read exerpts from their books and answer questions.
The staff at the St.Thomas Public Library did a wonderful job organizing everything from the advertising and decorations to the refreshments. We were just a bit disappointed at the way the costume contest turned out.

When the authors finished answering questions, they reminded the staff about the costume contest and I believe the response was something like: "Oh, let's pass this one off to (add name here, 'cos I forgot it) who's handling that" and then that person said "The winner is Sweeney Todd!"

What?!? When the heck was the judging? as we walked in?!? (Correction; as I quickly breezed in the door, making a beeline for the front row center like the book-geek that I am?) Kay and I both sewed our costumes, but as far as I could see, nobody checked workmanship. (boy, doesn't that sound whiney? I think I've entered too many convention costume contests...)
Sheesh. Oh well, I "won" the book that Michelle read from by asking a question -- and then I spent every penny that I had in my purse buying a copy of Kelley's newest book and the first one of Eve's.

Kelley Armstrong's new YA book :"The Summoning", was really good and I am impatient to read the next in the series. I just finished reading "Bitten & Smitten" by Michelle Rowen and I think that I've found a kindred spirit in Michelle and look forward to reading more of her books...I love a sense of humour mixed into writing.
I've just started Eve Silver's book: "Demon's Kiss". Much darker than the other author's books, but intreguing none-the-less.

Ghoul's Night Out: The Authors

...and hey, you learn something new every day! When I was resizing my pics from this Event, I learned about (and found) the red-eye button in my photoshop! Neat! No more glowing demon eyes now
...unless I add them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's a Blogger game... Creative Chaos


Mary Beth at tagged me in a comment and introduced me to a blogging game of Tag!

I checked out her site and blog and apparently, now I am supposed to go Tag 7 other blogs, list them and write some random, strange facts about me down here.
So here goes;

1. I'm ALWAYS going to find something more interesting to do than clean up my chaos. The only way I do housecleaning is if I can "trick" myself into it!
2. I'll always name my pets after food items. Evidence? Our two cats named "Bean" and "Licorice".
3. I know for a fact that our cats merely tolerate us for food, litter changing and "skritchies", so I occasionally humiliate them by taking silly photos of them when they're trying to sleep.
4. My favourite song right now is "The Highwayman", sung by Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.
5. I still occasionally "squee" at the sight of Orlando Bloom with his shirt off, although the fascination is fading...
6. Sometimes I have uncontrollable urges to colour my hair. I've been holding off for over a year and a half resolve is starting to flake at the edges.
7. I'm really really good at procrastinating about house-cleaning!

Blogs I tagged:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hot Glass: 16th Session

Hot Glass: 16th Session
Let's set the bar higher...
Okay, now that I'm not doing too badly with creating earring pairs, let's see if I can make matched sets for Knitting Stich Markers!
(not as easy as it looks, but hopefully will be like catnip to knitting enthusiasts!)
I played around some more with the stringer swirly twists...I'll be exploring that technique much more before I move on to the next technique.

Why do I love thee so much oh hot glass?

Hot Glass: 15th Session

Hot Glass: 15th Session
Ho ho ho...'tis the season to make bead to exchange with other enthusiasts before we all get too busy with the actual seasonal rush!

I played around with ivory and it's reactant qualities as well as attempted to sculpt some xmas beads. My first attempt at using a stringer to twist a swirl into a bead! Neat! I'm going to play with that some more! Now if I could just get organized enough to get these exchange beads into the mail I'd be doing really well!

Who's up for a cookie exchange!?! I'm making a list...

Hot Glass: 14th Session

Hot Glass: 14th Session "The Grape Escape"...
First time that I've worked in pretty much the ONE colour in a lampworking session. I can see the appeal.
You can see that I couldn't resist a little red as I was finishing up though. (*grin*)
I'm simply going to have to figure out some kind of closer by studio where I can lampwork in all weather conditions. That's all there is to it! Simple, eh? NOT!
Oh well, at least I can make as many pretty beads as possible before it gets too cold to work, and then I'll go back to my neat felted wool beadmaking and learning new stuff for graphic design and illustration.

If winter wasn't made for one to be some kind of couch potatoe, I don't know what season was!

Hot Glass: 13th Session

Hot Glass: 13th Session(Oooh! Lookit me, linking my pics to my Flickr account! Oooh!)
Okay, so here's my 13th session. I played a lot with making earring pairs and tried out a twisty on a Goddess. She's feisty looking! I pulled stringer with the iris orange and used it on some of the little beads and I tried raking some dots into a heart shape. Sort of successful...

Hot Glass: 12th Session

In my 12th session of Lampworking, I was concentrating on creating earring pairs and a few goddess beads. Those little gals are starting to come along nicely.

I also played around with some shards that were sent to me in the focal beads on the bottom. There was some unexpected (but still intreguing ) mysterious smokey blue colours that came out in the mostly amber coloured beads. I used Ivory glass as a base for them. It's such an interesting reactive glass and I'm slowly finding out all sorts of neat stuff that happens when you use different colours of glass on it.

I wish that I had more of the sparkle tangerine. The bead on the top right corner was made with a little shorty that someone gave me. I also want to buy at lease a pound of the new Effetre cool colour named "Kiwi". It is so lucious and juicy, I don't ever want to be without it in my kit!

Hot Glass and Nifty Knitting on Etsy!

I've gotten a bit behind in my weekly posting, so I'll have to catch up with my posting about my "Hot Glass" lampworking sessions #12-16!
In the mean time, here are some knitting stitch markers that I'm listing in my Etsy shop in time for the holiday gift-giving season...

It was really tricky trying to make matched sets of beads but as they say on the LWE forum, ppp/practice practice practice!

I'll be getting back into doing more with the felt beads as the weather cools off and I'm not able to use my garage studio when it gets too cold.

I'm hoping to have some of my Goddess beads up for sale in a local store soon... I just have to finish some of the production work on them!

It would be nice not to have to sell art, but I've got to pay for supplies and little things like rent and groceries somehow! Now's a good a time as any to thank the stars once more for my understanding hubby!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hot Glass: 9th, 10th and 11th Sessions

Yes, it's time to catch up on the glassy goodness! I've had a few sessions before and after Pennsic so here's some pics of what I did (in order of newest to oldest). Not much in the way of notes on what glass I used. I'm starting to get familiar with what is what. I think that the most important thing is to get the images of the beads recorded. Wow! I was soooo "rusty" after a few weeks of no lampworking! Feeling like I'm back in the swing now and looking forward to what comes next. I'm particularly pleased with the Goddess beads. I've got a store that is interested in carrying them for sale. Now I just have to arrange to get them annealed and I'll be all set!

Pennsic 37 Painting

America is indeed a litigeous society and as such, I did not facepaint/bodypaint at Pennsic 37 as I had hoped to...

Turns out that even buskers have to have liability insurance for this Event now and I was not prepared for that this year.

As a result I only did one painting at Pennsic 37 and that was for a new friend who was attending the Blue Feather Ball. I'm glad that I was able to help her out, as I had just slipped and fell in the mud that same day and gotten a "royal" bruise on my knee and pulled my groin badly.

This painting was done with Wolfe Bros. makeup so that it would "stick" a little better and defy any possible rain that night. By all reports afterwards, my friend had a lovely time and wowed many.

I had a great time at Pennsic getting to know old friends better and making some wonderful new friends. I'm really looking forward to next year! I think that the Journal my husband asked me to keep for him so that he could enjoy the Event vicariously was a success and I managed to meet at least one person from every kingdom in the Known World of the SCA. I think he's going to want to attend for most of two weeks next year. Pennsic 38, here we come!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hot Glass: 1st Goddess Beads

Baby Got "Back"!
I've been seeing many variations on Goddess beads around the lampwork forum where I hang out ( but wasn't quite bold enough to try one out. That changed last week.

I decided that my "skillz" were coming along enough to give it a try.

I'm still quite the newbie, but I was pleased with how they turned out. They're rather addictive ~ I'm going to do some more in this design and then try out some other goddess forms, from the "willendorf" style, to pregnant, to super primitive etc, and run with it! I see these types of beads as a female empowerment statement!

Going from L to R, Top to Bottom: 1) Dark Turquoise 2) Dark Ivory, w. #1 raku frit and 32g fine silver wire 3) Trans. Lt. Amber, aventurine stringer 4) Fossil, 24g fine silver wire.

This was my first opportunity playing with the silver wire. I like the effect, but whoo! does it get away from you! I expect to be making lots of beads with the silver before I get the hang of it...

The owner of a boutique around the corner from me ("Angels and Avalon") is very interested in my Artglass Goddess Beads, so I'm looking forward to working out a deal for her to sell them in her store! More news to come on that front as it develops...

(By the way, I'm going to be heading out to go camping for two weeks this friday, with approximately "12,000 of my closest medieval friends" so look for my posts after I get back if I don't post anything before I go!)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Eye-Bead Tutorial

Well, I not only won 2nd place beginner for my blue protective eye bead in the "Artistry in Glass" summer contest, (yum, more glass supplies! I've ordered them already!) but I got the tutorial made up for it today too! I'm glad that my "dotting" and "raking" lampwork skills are progressing nicely.
Now I just have to keep from going bonkers because I didn't get to make any glass beads this week!
Oh well, at least I have some new supplies from AiG to look forward to, and I got the fine silver wire that I ordered in the mail this week too... My next "Hot Glass" posting should be really interesting!
(Okay, back to procrastinating about getting my garb sewing done for my impending medieval camping trip!)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hot Glass: 8th Session

Usually I mention which glass that I used in each bead because these photo collages are for my lampworking notebook. I decided to put the notes in the book this time as I didn't think I had enough space on the photo page!

The jelly beans are for my "Eye-Candy" exchange in the Lampwork Etc. forum and they're inspired by the delicous "Jelly Belly" tm beans ~ my favourite candy!

I've been working on getting a bunch of "Norse style" beads done to Trade at Pennsic 37, this big Medieval camping Event that I'm going to.
I'm trying to base the designs and colours on actual beads that were dug up in archeological finds, but I forgot the pic yesterday so I had to "guestimate"(I know, the bubble dot bead isn't's just pretty! Every so often I try out a bubble bead. I'll probably focus on them more when I get better control of my dots).

...I've been working on variations on eye beads. I made up two dragon eye beads but one of them broke in the vermiculite. I think I was looking at it too long before I put it away! I'm going to try and re-create the design in my next session because I liked how it was looking!

D'oh! I thought that the flower turned out only "Ok" and I think I'll put flowers on the back-burner for now. I'm having a lot more fun with the eye beads!

The hollow heart was supposed to be a round hollow bead. I started out using med. amber stringer, but I didn't realize it would take more than one rod, so I didn't have one on hand to finish it with. I tried to finish it with the same colour rod. Note to self: Don't do that! It looks like it needs to be the same thickness all over! A good learning experience though... and I like the colour. That's the same tone of actual fossilized amber that I adore!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hot Glass: 7th Session

Another productive day making beads! My bears are coming along nicely and I like the "Norse-style Trade Beads" that I got done as well...

I found the Opal-plum frit to be rather dark for my tastes, but I'm not ready to give up on it quite yet.

I've been "lurking" in the "Canadian Play it Forward Box" thread on the Lampwork Etc. chat forum since 5:30am when my cat woke me up wanting to be fed! That's a game that a group of us are playing where the first person to message the person who HAS the box gets it next. The box contains a variety of glass and supplies etc. You take what you want out of it and replace it's value with stuff that you have, then you send it on to the next person. The gal who has it right now is only 40 minutes away from me, so I'm acting like I'm hanging out, trying to get front-row concert tickets!

Here's crossing my fingers!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hot Glass: 6th Session

Yesterday was a VERY good session...
I took the advice that I was given about turning down the flame on my HH torch and being aware of where I am working in the flame and it really helped!
I think that I might just be getting a little faster. I created all of these in about 6 hours.
Back to the torch tomorrow...
Note to self: Don't drink caffeine before trying to work with hot glass! That Ice Capp tastes good, but it's just. not. worth. it!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hot Glass: 4th and 5th Sessions

More Flameworking to catch up on...
I'm managing to do some glass bead making about once a week. (possibly two sessions this week!) My technique is getting a little better, but I think that I will work at obtaining the bulk tank of Mapp Gas after all... An investment at the quoted $187.00
I'm not liking how the propane scums up the transparent glass when I'm trying to encase my beads. It's not too bad with the bright colours that I favour and I kind of like the "antique" effect that it gives to the beads for the norse-style beads that I'm creating.

I'm hoping to have some beads to trade while I'm at Pennsic ( a HUGE medieval camping Event that I'm attending this summer), and if I manage to get a Norse -style dress sewn for myself in time, I will wear my beads with it too!
I think that with all the bead-making I'm doing I won't have to worry about being so totally obsessed with making them while I'm away at Pennsic as I have in the past.
I'm hoping to get a bit of pewter casting done as well to have tokens to trade/give to other people that I meet while I'm there.

FacePaintings at 'Melee

Well, I've gotten behind in posting about my Creative efforts!

Here's one from a couple weekends ago.
My husband, Chris (the attractive fellow with the "woad wolf" at the bottom right) attended a medieval reinactment camping event for the SCA (society for creative anachronism) on the weekend of June 13/14/15, 2008, called "Murder Melee in the Meadow XXV"

Friday was pretty low key and we enjoyed the musical talents of Noni Crete and Eugene Rea in The Raven Tavern that night.

There was some rain on Friday night, but we didn't care since we were snug in musical heaven and looked forward to sleeping in a nice dry bunk rather than a tent.

Saturday dawned clear and sunny and I enjoyed the day nestled in the foyer of the cabin we were staying in (near the merchants) -- facepainting and playing my penny whistle. My husband (known in the SCA as "Olfus") played his mandolin and we worked on our songlist for a Saturday night performance in the Tavern ~ since sadly, Noni and Eugene were not able to return.

The performance went very well and we wandered off afterwards to enjoy some more singing and some burnt marshmallows with friends around their campfires, before heading back to our bunks for the night.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hot Glass: 3rd Session

I got back to flameworking glass again yesterday.

After reading a thread in the LampworkEtc. Forum about using regular propane for a HotHead torch, I decided to give it a try since I'm still developing my skills and it's less than half the cost of buying Mapp gas in bulk. I found that they were right about the glass not getting mucked up as long as you don't work too low in the flame. I think I did okay with the exception of the first couple of beads.

I wanted to get back to work exploring the glass and how it responds to the flame. I played around with some of the frits that I have and a few samples that I just bought.

I love the iris orange/raku reduction frit, but the iris green-amber reduction frit is divine! Particularly on ivory glass which is fast becoming one of my favourites to work with. I really like how you get these unpredictable reactions with other colours that contain copper etc. in them.

I haven't gotten any silver wire yet that's pure enough to work properly on a bead. I'm looking forward to playing with that.

I love how the two long beads (11) turned out with the bright candy colours. I used some twisties and stringers to make the swirls and dots. The blue aventurine frit over sky blue (6) came out pretty nice. I was playing with layers using the frit and transparent clear glass. As a result of these experiments, I plan to buy some fine aventurine frits in several colours. I can't resist the sparkle! The striking cherry red (12) was unexpected. It was part of the "gambler's pack" that AiG is all sold out of. I was so disappointed when I found out, and wished I had bought TWO lbs. instead of just the one. Oh well.

Once I get enough beads accumulated, I'll send them off to be batch annealed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Etsy Store: Up with LISTINGS!!!

Well that feels good!
At long last, after much work and anticipation, I can tell you that I've finally got items up in my Etsy Shop!

The next step will be to get some photos and descriptions from Tish so that I can get her knitting up in our "Wearable Wool Art Collective"...

In the meantime, I invite you to wander on over to : and take a look at all the hand-made felt pins, necklaces and earrings that I've been working so hard on. If you feel like buying something I won't mind at all!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mehendi: Celebrating Life

While I was up in Toronto visiting with my friend, Tish, she asked me if I would do some Mehendi on her the same night that Shelna was coming over to have her "bump" painted.

We picked up a few tubes of ready-made henna and I started while we waited for our other friend to arrive. I created spirally designs on her feet and legs and then later on her hands.

In the end, it turned out like I had vaguely remembered it would-- the sole of the feet and the palm of the hand hold the Mehendi best and go the darkest. The designs on Tish's legs and wrists didn't end up coming out as dark, but were still lovely.

Mehendi is a very old traditional body artform and is often used to help to celebrate special occasions in Life.

Tish has a lot to celebrate with the big changes that she's been making in her life over the last few years.

She has lost 136 lbs in the past year after undergoing a gastric bypass surgery (see her blog "Adventured in Gastric Bypass" in my links to read more about it) and had gotten her breasts reduced two weeks ago as part of the whole process. There are two more surgeries ahead for her and I hope that they are all successful and not *too* painful.

I came up to spend some time with her on the 2nd week of her recovery and to do some things together that we weren't able to do over the march break since I wasn't able to get up there as we had planned.

One of the things that we did this week was to put together a collective shop on Etsy called: "WoolTwoGo".

Etsy is a website where Artists can sell their own Creations directly to buyers. We're going to use our Shop to sell our fiber arts like Tish's baby booties, hats, sets and patterns, and I am going to sell my felted beads and jewellery there.
Here's a link to the shop:
(You can also see a link on the right side of my blog)

We're still in the process of listing items and I'm going to be doing a lot of that "clerical" work, but I have high hopes that Tish can raise a lot of money to go towards her surgeries with this shop and share with others her hand-knitting, a Creative process that gives her much pleasure.

I hope you'll come and check out our shop!

Bodypainting: "Precious Koi"

My friend, Shelna, agreed to let me paint her "baby bump" while I was in Toronto visiting with another mutual friend of ours named 'Tish.

Shelna is about 7 months along and she and her husband know that they are going to be having a baby girl.

Other than sharing what her middle name will be (Kathleen), they are keeping their mouths shut until their baby is born.

I asked Shelna what she would like to have painted on her "bump" and told her about things that other artists had painted in this situation. She chose Koi (large, fancy japanese goldfish), and since we are both the Pieces star sign, I thought that featuring the Koi in that pose would be appropriate.

It was a very relaxing session and I got to hear all about the trials and tribulations of this first time pregnancy -- something that I very much enjoyed since I don't get to see Shelna very often. I don't know if I will make it up for the birth, but I know how much Shelna has wanted a baby, so I hope that everything goes well.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Felt Beads: Gift for the Graduate!

Congratulations Jodi! My cousin just got her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia and I couldn't be prouder!

We just saw her this weekend and I gave her a necklace that I created with one of my felt beads embroidered especially for her and a new lampwork glass bead that I made.

I always associate the colour combination of orange and green with Jodi since she knitted up these crazy striped leggings for herself when we were studying textiles together in the Bealart program...

Jodi is such an artistic inspiration to me and I am so glad that she achieved her goal through hard work and talent! Here's to your future as a "Self Employed Artist"!!! Cheers

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Felt Beads: May Creations

Out of bad things can come some good...
My computer "blew up" last weekend and I was without it for a good week.
While I was twiddling my thumbs going quietly insane, I worked on more felt projects.

I created more beads in several styles and further explored my idea of "Geek Chic" Brooches featuring cute and colourful micro-organisms. A couple of those brooches I had started before, but I finished them up and did a couple more.

I like the "Have a Heart" Brooch idea...that definitely invites more exploration and I am rather partial to the "Wings of Love" idea.

The "Pod Bead" at the bottom where I've shown several views uses a number of my favourite design motifs like the spiral, paramecium shape and retro stars. I love the colours and was playing around with distorting the motifs on a marbled bead.

Once I get back on the torch, I'm going to try and re-create some of these looks in Lampworked Glass Beads.

(Now if I can just get my computer tech guy to come back today and put in my video card before we leave for the long weekend, I'll be really happy...)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hot Glass: 2nd Session Lampworking

My 2nd session lampworking went well today.

I tried a few things differently. For one, I decided to try making smaller beads so that I could get more control over their shape.

I tested out plain ol' propane on the first and second bead. They turned out fine with no "muddiness" on their colours. I don't know if this means I will go with your garden variety propane for my bulk gas solution, but it certainly bears more research...

The encasing with clear and transparent turned out okay, and really adds dimension to the beads.

I made my own aventurine stringer with a transparent aqua blue rod and goldstone chip frit. It turned out reasonably well and I used it on several beads (gorgeous!).This stringer was inspired by a gloriously sparkly stringer given to me by Mark P. (I'm going to have to ask him how he made that!)
I'll probably take a break on bead making until I get the whole fuel issue figured out next week. I pretty much used up my second 1 lb. tank of MPS gas today...
*sigh* I'm really enjoying getting back into the swing of this artform.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hot Glass: First Beads in a looong time...

Finally! I bought my starter Lampworking kit last friday at "Artistry in Glass" (in London, ON) and got set up today in my friend's garage!

I spent most of the day re-acquainting myself with the Art of glass bead making.

My skills are sooooo rusty, but I'm sure they'll come back to me with a little work.

It's clear to me that I'll have to figure out a bulk MPS gas situation since I used up the whole 1 lb. container today and only got 8 viable beads out of it (that is if they survive the annealing process in the kiln!).

I'm using COE 104 Effetre (for the most part) glass and there were a few surprises. My "silver" wire that I wrapped on the ivory glass to get a reaction turned out not to be a particularly pure silver and it looks rather "fugly".

What I thought was "sky blue" turned out to be a gorgeous silvered reduction blue. It came from the "Gambler Pack" of glass that I had bought at the very reasonable price of $4.50 for the lb. It has a variety of glasses that are un-marked and sometimes a little broken. (I figure that I need to pinch a few pennies while I re-learn the basics.)

Still struggling with getting a nice round bead, but that said, I'm pretty happy with how the day's beads turned out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Self Image in Advertising

My father came to me a few days ago, asking me to help him out with creating some promotional materials for a new natural Dietary Supplement/Food Source that he is distributing.

He and my sister are trying it out and are hoping that it will help me too.

The original concept for the drawing had been brought to me in a cartoon that was clearly "dated" from some time in the 80's and my challenge was to update it, and make it more appealing to today's woman.
A picture tells a thousand words and that was what my father wanted this picture to do for his promo materials.

When creating this artwork, I had to face the fact that I look much more like the girl on the left than the one in the mirror, and while I was working on this piece, I gave a lot of thought and consideration to how self-image is used in advertising.

I felt that the original illustration given to me as a reference material was a bit condescending and sexist, so I tried to be as honest in my illustration as I could be. I asked myself to evaluate how the image I was creating would make me feel if someone handed me this ad. Would it make me thoughtful? or offended. Would it cause me to feel a bit of interest? or turn me right off.

One of the hardest things to do is to realise that as much as we nurture our creative soul, we must nurture our physical body and take care of it so that it can continue to contain our soul and keep us in the world as long as possible to inspire others.

(I created this art in Photoshop CS2, on my Wacom Intuos3 Tablet)

Friday, April 25, 2008

London Beadery: Winner Creative Bead Competition

I got a phone call this morning from Rita (the owner) at The London Beadery asking if I would mind if she showed my project on tv today so that she could talk about their beading competition.
I told her that I had no problem with that...
On the left is a picture of my piece: "Cuckoo's Nest"
Last august, I won first place in their Vibrant Creativity: 2007 London Beadery Creative Bead Competition.
This competition is where customers buy the same kit (almost like an affordable entry fee) and then create a project using the same beads as every other contestant. Other than that, you can use any findings and make whatever you want, you just can't add any more beads to the mix.
In 2006 I bought a kit for their first competition, but didn't get around to creating anything, as I was away camping for a week and then my sister got married in the same month that I had to complete the project in. Last summer, I vowed that I wouldn't let that happen again and was quite conscientious about working on my entry. I was very pleased to place, let alone win!
I don't know if this disqualifies me from entering this year, but I know that there will be many wonderful beaded pieces made by customers of The London Beadery.
Keep your eyes open for details sometime in July which is when the contest starts! (or better yet, sign up for their informative email newsletter!)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gifts of the heart

Yes actually, I do love my mother-in-law...

This weekend we went and visited with my in-laws. One of my biggest "fans" is my mother-in-law, Maxine. She's been truly supportive throughout my 15 year relationship with her son and I found a kindred spirit in her when I married him. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

While we were there, I crafted a new necklace and earring set for Maxine, as sort of an early Mother's Day gift. ("Springtime Hope")

I was thinking of putting the felted bead pendant on a gold chain and asked her to see if she had one of an appropriate length.

Maxine pulled out her jewellery box and I was surprised to see that about 85-90% of her jewellery had been crafted by me over the years!

When I give jewellery that I've crafted to family and friends, and I see that they wear it and enjoy it, I tend to give them such gifts again. I think that my family and friends have the best collections of my artwork because I'd much rather give a gift that I've made than buy one.

It just seems more special that way...a gift of the heart.

Looking at those jewellery pieces, I realized that I hadn't documented them and decided to do that since I happened to have my camera with me.

The wall hanging was commissioned by Maxine a few years ago. She had decided to buy a new couch and chair, so she told me what sort of colour that she was going to get and then gave me free reign on the hanging.

I love crazy patch and have enjoyed quilting ever since I won the london embroiderer's guild bursary for a quilting workshop in 1990, when I was studying art at Beal.
I chose the fabric patterns and colours based on Maxine's decor and her country-folk style.

Maxine is now a retired elementary school teacher, and I'm certain that there are many adults out there whose lives were changed by spending time with this very special lady.
I know that my life has been changed in a very good way.

Thanks Maxine. I love you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bodypainting: External and Internal Beauty

I did some bodypainting again today on my friend, Kay.

I'd had this vision as I was trying to go to sleep last week of her as Queen Boadiccea. The first image, "Celtic Queen" is the result. I'm sure that I could have gone really elaborate and spent hours on the painting, but she had limited time today.

The second painting is called "Tiger Inside". I tried to create the illusion that she was scratching her skin away to reveal a tiger persona inside.

Stay posted for more variations on these themes...I see a "Queen" series and an "Inner Beauty" series in the offing.

Recently, I've been talking with a local photographer and models about doing bodypainting sessions. I should have some really neat stuff come out of that soon!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tweaking Pics

I was surfing through the ukfacepaintingchat today and one of the members, Erica, wasn't happy with some of her latest new pics...

What's not to love? Good models who emote, attractive facepainting that is well executed with good brush-strokes and colour choices...

I figured that it was just because the background was too pale and the light a bit harsh (bright daylight).

I did up these examples with her ART on Photoshop to show her what I'd do if a photo I'd taken of my facepainting wasn't "singing" to me...

Afterwards we chatted online and I took her through the process so that she can do it herself! I enjoyed helping her out and giving another person a "push" to explore this nifty program.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fuzzy Gems; part two

Over the last week I've been working on creating some felt bead tutorials. Here's a group pic of more of the embellished felt beads that I've made.

The bead in the center is the one featured in the tutorial.

All of these beads feature seed-beads and embroidery (glass seed beads, delica miyuki beads, cotton, & hand-painted silk embroidery floss).I've mostly used the chain-stitch.
The little eyeball-with-eyelashes motif that I'm using is inspired by micro-organisms.

I think the lash-like cilia on paramecium are cute.
I don't know why I think single-celled organisms are cute and parasites are the most disgusting thing on earth... I guess it's a matter of scale.
I really don't want to see it unless I'm buffered by a super-powerful microscope!

I *might* be doing a bodypainting today. I'm still waiting to hear from my model...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bodypainting: Queen of Cups

I had my friend Kay, over for a visit yesterday, and she generously agreed to model for me and let me paint her back.
I wasn't quite sure what I was going to paint at first, but I thought it might be neat to so something inspired by the Tarot Deck since she knows how to do readings.
I had her shuffle through the deck and the Queen of Cups came out, along with several Swords cards.
My book had this to say about the Queen of Cups:
"Physical Description: A beautiful woman, with expressive eyes and sensuous lips. Her colouring is generally fair.
Meaning: A warm, sympathetic, and sociable woman. She may be artistically gifted and very imaginative. The Queen is honest, loyal, and devoted to those she loves.
Reversed Meaning: A vain and immoral woman, who is deceitful and perverse. Someone who constantly demands attention."
Here's what it had to say about the suit of Swords in general:
"The suit (of Swords) relates to the element of Air and is associated with mental activity, strife and troubles." ~ from "Tarot" by Jonathan Dee, ISBN 0-75256-315-7
I made the queen's hair more brown to represent Kay and thought of her and her life right now as I painted to "customize" the design to my friend. I hope that life turns around to the better for her soon. With the love and support of friends, it is bound to!

Beading Daily: Glass Design Challenge Win

Well, the news came out yesterday in the Beading Daily blog about my win as "Author's Choice" in the Glass Design Challenge!

I was thrilled to get the news, and was really interested to see the other winning designs!

Congrats to:
Earrings Category Winner ~ Marsha Melone
Bracelets Category Winner ~ Jennifer Judd and
Necklaces Category Winner ~ Samela Dorey

I have been truly enjoying my prizes of a copy of Stephanie Sersich's new book; "Designing Jewellery with Glass Beads", and the gorgeous glass starfish that she made.
I'm not quite sure what I'm going to create with it yet, but I think it will be neat to blend our styles in a necklace that I can wear.

I do pewter casting as well, so when I saw that she uses a custom tag to "sign" her designs (attached at the clasp), I put that idea on the back-burner of my brain to bubble away and come up with a little tag design for my own designs! I'll keep you updated on what I come up with.

There were some neat links to other contests as well that I'll be looking into entering, and I'm also working on some tutorials for Beading Daily that I hope you'll be able to buy soon.

I'll be doing Tutorials on:
1) Dry needle felting a wool bead.
2) Embellishing Wool Beads.
3) Jewellery design(s) featuring my wool beads.

I hope you'll check back soon to see what progress I've made on these Tutorials!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I've escaped from little Unicorn-girl land...

Well, I painted what seemed like three million and one unicorns on girls today... Eeyup, that was the popular design at the Springwater Family Fun Day.
The weather was clear and sunny, a little cold, but I was really nice and toasty in my shelter with my wonderful propane heater!

Here's the page that I made up with pics from the day. The Unicorn design is the one 3rd down on the right...

I am so ready for a nice hot bath.

I did the whole Earth Hour thing where I turned off lights and stuff for an hour between 8 & 9pm. Now I'm just finishing up some stuff before I chill out (or steam out if I decide on that nice bath!)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stitchy Goodness: Belt Pouch

I finallly finished off this linen belt pouch that I've been working on... I plan to give it away as a gift.

Never underestimate the value of having some "hand-work" to take with your for holiday family gatherings!
The knotwork is sewn with a simple chain-stitch. The edge of the opening flap is done with a blanket stitch. I even used linen thread for the embroidery. It was kind of nice, but I'll have to see how it like it when I'm doing a more extensive piece.

I'll tell you this though -- marking a design on black fabric? Not so fun. I used white coloured pencil, but some of the design rubbed off halfway through the project, so the end result is not quite as "perfect" as I'd like it to be. I suppose that will just reinforce the handmade look of the piece.

I liked how "cool and refreshing" the linen fabric felt as I was working with it. I'm intending to make up some medieval garb for the summer with some linen that I've been collecting. I know I've got some navy blue and some red somewhere in my fabric stash... the real trick will be having the discipline to pre-wash/shrink the fabric. I'm usually a bit lazy about that part (I dread all the frayed edges) but it will be worth it for peace of mind.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Not so COLD after all...

The weather turned out pretty nicely after all today. Of course, it helped that the wonderful folks at Springwater/Catfishcreek Conservation area set up a nice wind-proof tent for me with a propane heater! I was nice and toasty...

Speaking of toast, I still smell like a campfire from the boiling syrup demos that they were doing all day. I kinda like it! (I'm strange that way.)

Here's a montage that I made up of photos I took of a bunch of the kids I painted today.

I think I'll do one next weekend too. Now I just have to figure out what kind of "weather dance" I need to do to have it turn out as reasonable as it was today. Not terribly warm, but clear and sunny, so we had a good turnout of attendees.

Tomorrow I'm off to see some of my husband Chris' family for Easter. We should probably get ourselves to bed soon! Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fuzzy little Gems...

So here's a little example of what I've been working on lately....

I became interested in making felt beads when I worked on the London Beadery competition last summer.
Felt seemed like a good way to tie together the disparate elements of the kit that I'd have to work with. At that point, I couldn't find a source of wool roving in time, so I used commercially produced felt sheets and some wool yarn that I bought at the craft store (Michael's).

There's something that is just so enjoyable about the sensation of a needle passing through felt.
As I worked on that project, I was hooked.

A couple months ago, I was able to pick up some roving online and then in Toronto when I visited one of the coolest wool shop and hang-outs..."The Purple Purl" Tish!). I also obtained a needle-felting kit for doing dry felting. After reading everything that I could find online about the various processes, I was off to the races! There is so much more to explore. I'm looking forward to really sinking my needle into this portable craft...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'm sick of these Germs!

Okay, enough is enough!

In the last couple weeks I've had a cold, the flu, and now I have another cold again!

It is high time that these damned germs went on their way...

I'm hoping that the weather is going to co-operate on Saturday, since I'll be outside facepainting at the Springwater Maple Festival from 10am-3:30pm. It's difficult enough when you're NOT sick, so I'm trying to get better as fast as I can...(crossing all my fingers and toes)

Photobucket Contest: Ghosts Caught on Film

I've been hosting photos on Photobucket for quite a while now (I haven't quite figured out Flickr yet... but I'm learning!) and they send out emails periodically to announce various changes and new goodies with their service.

Today in my email, I saw that they have a contest to promote a movie called "Shutter" (in theatres March 21 where they invited their users to submit their best Ghost photo.

I've had some pics that I took at my friend's wedding that just begged to be used to create a spooky "photoshop wonder"*.

In St.Thomas, we have this historic church which features "the witch's grave". There's this whole spooky story about a witch who was married to the minister and some such villany lead to her death, whereupon her white monument went pitch black overnight. She was supposed to be pregnant too, but I don't remember all the details now. All I know is that when my friend got married and this black cat was strolling around the grave-yard, right by this infamous grave, I had to snap a pic! This little guy was chasing the cat too, and boy! What they say about photographing children and animals it true! It's a real challenge!

Yup, it's a hackneyed, trite pic in the end, but it was fun putting it together.

(*"Photoshop Wonder": what I call the photos that I mess around with on photoshop... Man! I LOVE that program!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Talbot's Cross: Heart & Hands Together

Here's part of the Liner Notes that I designed for my band's cd recording.
We wanted to have a recording that we could give to family and friends for xmas last year and we worked really hard on it.
Chris, Jim, Pete and I were very pleased with how it turned out.
I don't know if I would say that we were as pleased with some of the "less-than-wowed" response from some family members, but you know what? In the long run, that really doesn't matter.
It was worth doing!
I'm thrilled to be working on a musical creative project with my husband, Chris, and it's an honour to be playing with such fine musicians. We didn't start this to "become rich and famous", we just wanted to create something good. At the end of the day, that's not such a bad thing.
( one of these days I'm going to figure out how you share musical files!)