Thursday, February 28, 2013

Challenge of Music Blog Hop


What do you think of when you hear that word?

Chinese food? Probably.

But in relation to music, certainly you hear the childhood piano favorite, "chopsticks", playing in your head.

As a child, I wanted to learn to play piano. I took lessons, but could never get my left hand to do something different than my right hand (am I alone with this one?) But I could play Chopsticks. Because both hands are doing the same thing, but in the opposite direction. Then mid-way through the song, they do the same thing, but a couple keys apart. This was easy for my child hands (and brain) to "master". We played chopsticks until we were told to "knock it off!!" by the adults in the room (then we switched to "Heart and Soul" - another easy song for the piano). As an adult now, I can see where more than a couple minutes of chopsticks would make you yell "knock it off!!".

Liberace plays it in this youtube video, like I have never heard it before: (wow!)

And here is what I discovered on Wikipedia about Chopsticks (it's a waltz - who knew?!):

"Chopsticks" (original name "The Celebrated Chop Waltz") is a simple, extremely well known waltz for the piano. It was written in 1877 by the British composer Euphemia Allen under the pseudonym Arthur de Lulli.[1] Allen, who was the sister of a music publisher, was supposedly only sixteen when she composed the piece, with arrangements for solo and duet. The title Chop Waltz comes from Allen's specification that the melody be played in two-part harmony with both hands held sideways, little fingers down, striking the keys with a chopping motion. This name suggests the piece should be played in 3/4 (waltz) metre, although it is also commonly heard with the stresses as in 6/8 time.

On to my creations!!
***Obligatory apology for the photo quality. I was forced to use an indoor light box, which is no substitute for natural sunlight***

I knew when I decided to use this song I would need to make some decisions. Should I go with an Asian theme? Or a childhood theme? Or make some thing that represents the two halves of the song?
Rather than make a decision, I went in all directions.

My first photo is the childhood theme. When I think of "chopsticks" I think about being that kid at the piano! I'm not a bracelet fan, so this can be worn either as a bracelet or a necklace. Simply remove the length of chain and wrap the charm bracelet around your wrist! Lots of plastic kid charms and pixies, a bottle cap bead, a vintage red celluloid heart and wooden mini yo-yo.

Above the dog it says "I'm in the doghouse"

Next, I got to thinking about the Asian influence this song had on my thoughts. On a recent visit to Erin's etsy store, I saw her Asian inspired simple truths, to compliment the monthly painting at Art Bead Scene Blog. Serendipity! - It was perfect for what I had in mind. And the colors would be perfect too! In the meantime, I've had an Arizona iced tea can on my workbench, waiting to test my disc cutter. The can is fairly thin gauge, and it cut like buttah! My "plan" was to dap my discs into bead caps, but I now realize (after mutilating unsuccessfully dapping a couple discs) I do not have the right kind of dapping block for that - something to shop for, like I need a reason to shop ;-)
OK, plan "B"!
It took me a while to figure out how to fold them, but I made mini fortune cookies out of my discs! I absolutely love them! But then, my pendant arrived, and, while I love it, the colors were more subdued than I imagined they'd be. My fortune cookies are too bright and don't look good with it.
OK, plan "C"!
I happened to have an Asian brass fan sitting out on my bead desk (from Trinity Brass, I think), so I designed my fortune cookie necklace around that. I am actually quite happy with it. I have enough fortune cookies left over to make a bracelet too! (someday)

Faceted fuscia Jasper, Brass Fan, and my little fortune cookies!

 Of course, I made earrings to match!
I case you're wondering, I did not slide tiny little fortunes inside the cookies - but I could!
But what about Erin's beautiful pendant? Not to worry. I had strawberry quartz beads that matched wonderfully.
Now, this was another one of my ideas for Chopsticks...if you count the number of chain links on this necklace, it's the same number of notes in Chopsticks:
123456.123456.123456 (clasp) 12.12.12345.12345.12.12.

(plus, you might have noticed that I chose the stick version of Erin's pendants, rather than a round one or some other shape - get it? chop STICK)
18 links per side, represent the two "halves" of the song

Strawberry Quartz and sea glass, adventurine, Lucite leaves, and the lovely Simple Truths pendant

Lastly and also serendipitously, last weekend I stumbled across a bunch of chopstick I had bought, back during my auction-going days. They are petite (about 6" long) and beautiful, with mother of pearl inlay. So, at the last minute, I wanted to try to make something with two of them. This is more of a experimental necklace, and not really meant to be worn. I may add to it, but this all I had time to do. I think it has potential. The chopsticks alone would be beautiful stuck into a hair bun.
Czech Dragonfly bead from Maya Honey

Rather than copy the list here, please go to Erin's blog post here to see the other participants!

Thank you, Erin, for hosting once again. This challenge proved to be a bit more difficult than I thought it would be, but I'm happy to have been a part of it. I'm anxious to see what everyone else has done!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Downton Abbey Inspired

I've been so busy getting ready for the Challenge of Music blog hop this Friday, and The Bead Soup Blog Party at the end of March, I haven't had a lot of time to make anything else. But I was so inspired to make jewelry while watching Downton Abbey, I couldn't help but follow through on a couple of my ideas. I know there are MANY out there that love Downton, too!

Lady Mary always has the best dresses and the best jewelry! This necklace was inspired by a necklace she wore to dinner one night. Her necklace was more delicate, and had teardrop pearls. I couldn't find my teardrop pearls, but when I do, I'll make another similar necklace. In the meantime, black crystal drops stand in nicely!

Next, is a necklace inspired by Mrs Hughes' chatelaine. I have always loved Victorian jewelry, and I would kill to own a REAL chatelaine!! If I ever find a small pair old scissors and a mechanical pencil, I'll add them!
I had some vintage watch chain, so I used some of it, sparingly.
The rhinestone oval is from Vintage Groove, lock and key are Vintaj

Bring on Season 4!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bead soup received!

My soup is here! My soup is here!

I showed you what I sent Bridget. Now, here's what she sent me.

I think the really interesting (and fun) thing about exchanging beads with someone is that you get beads you've never seen before. There are several in this soup.

For instance, the little bird charm - I've never seen this particular bird (she is so sweet!!). And I've got a pretty keen eye for birds on etsy!

A closer look at my sweet little bird!

Also the 6 large blue beads. They appear to be a stone of some sort, and the shape is so unique - I have NEVER seen this shape bead before.

What would you call this shape? They look like birthday balloons to me!
Another discovery is the clasp. It is far and away the largest toggle clasp I have ever seen. The branch toggle bar is over 2 inches long! It will no doubt end up being the focal of a necklace!
This doesn't look that big when it's cropped so tight.
Thanks for my soup Bridget. I'll do my best to make delicious soup!

Friday, February 15, 2013

bead soup - this ain't chicken stock!

So, here is what I sent to my lovely bead soup partner, Bridget Torres. She received them yesterday.

Included in the package:
Enameled layered flower, made by me.
Some enameled beads, also made by me.
A Vintaj toggle clasp, with seed beads added to the bar.
Some Czech glass flower beads in various sizes and colors.
Some 6mm lampwork beads.
Some Vintaj findings and chain, in case Bridget doesn't have a stash of dark brass to go with the focal.
And, some dark brass bead caps and filigree tube beads.

Wow, this is really a close up!

Closer shot of some of the enameled beads

Vintaj floral circle and creative bar, with turquoise seed beads
I can not WAIT to see what she makes with these ingredients!
Please come back on March 30th!!

I have received my soup ingredients from Bridget, and will post pictures in a separate post (I need to take photos!)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day, if it's your thing.

I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day. It's nice to get flowers or a box of chocolates once in a while. But I don't need to eat the calories, and the flowers will eventually get knocked over or chewed on by the cat. So, it's just as well if I got nothing. OK, maybe a card would be nice. :-)

Not planning ahead at all, I just happened to photograph this recently completed necklace in the shape of a heart. It doesn't look like my more recent jewelry, because I started this a long time ago. I was demoing Kumihimo for a monthly craft group meeting (A.R.T.) and needed to refresh myself on my finishing techniques. The pendant is a shard of porcelain in a sterling bezel that I got super cheap at an auction. The end cones and clasp are also sterling. The cord is hand woven by moi.

A closer look at the pendant and cones - so pretty!
Remember the poppy necklace from a couple weeks ago? Well, I made this extra necklace from all the beads I had left over (from Emma at A Polymer Penchant). It can be worn on it's own, or with the poppy necklace. I added black crystals, small vintage plastic (or are they acrylic?) melon beads and Vintaj bead caps.

So many poppy beads! I love those flying saucers!

Monday, February 11, 2013

zloot from znetshows

I think by now, you've seen the blogs of some other talented designers out there, showing the sea glass beads they received from znetshows. Some of the designs were truly amazing. I was also invited to be a blog partner, to design some jewelry made from sea glass. But that invitation came only days after my dad's death, so I gratefully declined. But Bill from znetshows was so sweet and kind. He related a loss he had suffered, and asked me to design, in my own time. Wow - how nice!!
I am taken aback by all the kindness I've been shown these past several weeks, really!
I'll be too late for Tucson (they are already there!), but maybe my jewelry will show up at a bead show near you some day!

Here's the loot I was sent - so generous!!!!
I do not gravitate towards yellow. I rarely make jewelry in yellow. But I do love the color of the sea glass - like butter!
Besides the sea glass, there are pearls and crystals!
 Lots of different shades of yellow crystals!
 The sea glass is the star of this show. Lots of interesting shapes. As soon as I saw the curved bars, I had an earring idea right away! The little starfish button will make an excellent clasp (I hope).
So, that's the loot!!
Here's what I made so far. First up is the earrings I made with the curved bars.
 Along with the curved bars, I used the tiniest yellow crystals, the tooth shaped beads, and the spacers that were separating the tooth beads. They are so warm and inviting, aren't they?
Next, I decided to make another pair of earrings. Oh, how do you like my earring holder? It's a sign post from an old train set!
I used two of the square shaped "pendants", and the darker crystals, with the tiny yellow crystals. I can't help but notice, at this point, that I did not use any beads caps - hmmm, how unlike me!
 Usually I make earring to match my necklaces. This time, I made the necklace to go with the earrings.
 There was one larger square pendant, so I used it for the necklace. Wire wrapped links with the same beads that were used in the earrings, except I made one link with a little stack of the tiny yellow crystals. I really like those little tiny crystals!
That's all I've gotten made, so far. I am hoping to get some more elaborate pieces made soon.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

BSBP ~ circa 2013

I signed up for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party again. Last year I did it for the first time, and I had fun. This year there's only one blog party, so we'll have all year to visit the 500 bloggers that will be participating. I'll admit, I did not visit as many of the blogs as I wanted last time - there were just too many and I was overwhelmed. This time, I'm going to be methodical about it - maybe keep a list, and try to visit them all. I know I love getting comments on my blog, and I know everyone else does too! So, I'm really going to try!

My partner this time around is Bridget Torres. She has a blog and an etsy shop. Please visit her.

I gathered the soup ingredients last night. I hope she likes what I send. I need to take photos before I send it, then I'll post them once she receives her package. Our reveal date is March, 30th.

The weather's been perfect for soup around here. I'm excited to get mine started!!!