Saturday, December 31, 2011

LIttle school of new fishies

A potential customer has first dibs on these big fishies but whatever she doesn't want will be for sale on etsy after I hear from her.

...and Pinky has a bonus ball...
...and laces!

I had someone ask what people do with the fish so here are a few serving suggestions!
Of course, the other day I showed you this lovely necklace. They could be light chain pulls, a knick-knack on a shelf, or hanging on a chain like fish on a stringer:

No new resolutions for 2012 but one goal, set last year, for the looming 50th birthday was to not look like a "dumpy old lady" when the day arrived. Thanks to Dr. Dukan, I succeeded! I indulged in a few cookies at work, my stepfather's tasty pecan, apple, and cherry pies over Christmas, and a few other non-approved snacks. I was up 6 lbs when I got back home a week ago. But I did two protein days and am back to the target weight today. I cannot even believe it myself, but I now weigh only 11 lbs more than I did in high school 33 years ago!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sketchbook: Getting there

Been working and re-working pages in my Arthouse Coop sketchbook. My last one was all black and white ink sketches so I'm making this one in color for variety.
(January 7 comment: Jenny B asked what I used to color these. The ladies were first sketched with pretty pastel fine-tip markers, then inked with a black gel pen, and finished off with colored pencils.)

When I was in elementary school and Junior High in the '70s I wanted to be a fashion illustrator. My grandmother was quite a seamstress and I would go to the Piece Goods store with her when she went shopping for new patterns and fabrics. When I started sewing in 8th grade, I realized how much more useful it was to see the clothing on an actual person. Every outfit in the pattern book looked good on a super skinny watercolor-and-ink lady with legs that were 3/4 of her height! After that I just drew fashion photos from Grandmother's "Harper's Bazaar" and my "Seventeen" -- hairstyles and clothing for fun and practice, I decided being a fashion illustrator had limited utility.
Above and below are more detailed and colorful examples of what I do
while listening to a conference call or staff meeting.

I try to encourage my mom to draw. She'll say, "I don't have anything to draw" and I tell her it doesn't matter what it is, just draw whatever is in front of you.
You can see this one before I added color. Maybe it was better before....oh well, too late now!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Where my babies end up

I found a bunch of polymer artists on flickr last night who were not already in my contact list so I remedied that situation. One of them was Conny Brockstedt of Way of Clay. This morning I awoke to a nice email from her. Earlier this year she purchased two pastel fishies (here and here) and some matching beads so she sent me a photo of the necklace she made. She and her daughter share it and I'm sure they get lots of compliments when they wear it. It's big and bold...those fish are about 2.5 inches long and some of the beads are over 1". I love how she strung them with the round blue beads with a few coordinating colors tossed in. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Buying Handmade for Christmas

A friend and I took a road trip north to Sharon, PA to check out a gallery and craft show. We made a few sellers happy today!

We started at 29 Logan Ave (photo at left and article about owner Donna Bostardi are here) and then stopped by a show called "Arts on the Avenue" that was right around the corner from the Gallery. I can't show exactly what I bought because they're for Christmas, but you can see the artists' works at the links below:

Gail Trunick -- These works are more serious than the light-hearted clever creature I bought today. I will post a photo of it after Christmas. I challenge you not to chuckle when you see it!

C&C Ironworks (Charles Hughes) -- Some cool items that look like they would be right at home in a medieval castle

Sandpiper Soap Company (Susan Crisan) -- The most delicious smelling whipped body butter in a scent called "toasted rice" -- I want to eat it!

Carolyn Parker -- Colorful "fabric pottery" -- On this postcard you can see the loopy trimmed blue basket my friend bought. So cute!

Wet Dog Studios -- The item I bought has a most interesting carved texture on the outside and functions as a basket. It has a very graceful shape.

The party was fun and my dress was fantabulous!

The necklace I made for the dress worked great and I used links from one of the chains to make matching earrings.

See those straps on my shoes? These formerly slightly-too-loose shoes stayed put and were comfortable for dancing after I wrapped a skinny black stretchy headband twice around each foot at the arch.

This very cute little beaded purse came from Dress Barn. It was just the right size.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Craft Class: Enamel pendant

I took an Enameling class tonight at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts with Lindsay Huff. I have an enamel pendant I made in first grade but that's my only other experience I ever had with it. Lindsay showed us the basics and then we all went to town with colors. To get the most done in a short period of time, I chose a large 2-inch diameter disk and made different designs on both sides. As so often happens with me, the vision I had in my head for side one didn't turn out good at all, and the side I tossed together with no thought actually turned out really nice. Lesson: when starting out, simpler is better!

This was the no-thought, just make something quick to go on the back design. And I really like how it turned out so now it's the front.
I tried to make a sky and hillside with flowers. I ruined it with the purple. I should have left it simple with a loose cluster of orange flowers. Oh well. If the class hadn't been almost over, I could have salvaged this by putting a orange or yellow over the purple to tie the colors together better.

I just became aware of the website "Damn You, Autocorrect." It's definitely good for a few laughs! I texted my mother once to tell her I was "Almost to Kirwan Heights. Be home in 45 minutes." Autocorrect helpfully changed it to "Almost to Korean hysterical."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sketchbook 2012: due soon, not nearly finished!

I just realized how close the deadline is and of course my sketchbook is not nearly finished. Here are a few new pages. These are fancier versions of my usual doodles I make during meetings.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a tasty dinner of turkey, stuffing, roasted veggies, sweet potatoes, crescent rolls, and pumpkin dessert (not cake, not pudding, but somewhere in between). I cleaned up the dishes for my mom and now I'm giving her some computer guidance in between her phone calls from various relatives.

I won't have any time for claying this holiday weekend but here are some recent beadlings for your viewing pleasure...

My friend Marcy attended Carol Simmons' workshop a few weeks ago and came home with a lovely cane.  She had a few scrap slices so I asked if I could have some to test an idea. I layered several complementary sheets of color and then put the scaps on top and started running them through the pasta machine. As the layers got thinner, the underlayers started coming through giving a distressed look to the cane patterns.

For the beads above I sliced the sheet of stretched out cane into strips and wrapped them around a log of clay. I sliced the log into pieces about 1.25" long and loosely rolled them to squish them down and out without flattening the ridges too much. I cut circles out of the rest of the sheet and used them as endcaps.

 Fun TV... I am loving American Horror Story on FX. It is strange, creepy, and very dribbling out the mythology here! You have to start at the beginning because you learn new details every week. Here's the link to the first episode:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend Beads: Ribbons

Yesterday I put a "curb alert" free stuff ad on Craigslist and some people came and took away old things I didn't want any more. Easy way to get rid of the relatively-useful-but-no-longer-wanted things taking up space in your house.
Fueled by my favorite treat --  0% fat plain Fage Greek yogurt mixed with Wild Strawberry Crystal Light for flavor -- I found inspiration and made some new "ribbon spool" beads. I like these...will do more experiments.

There are eight here. They sort of look like stacked pop caps!
Six beads here...wider ribbons
This is what you get if you roll a ribbon spool smooth! Halfway smooth makes an interesting bead also
but I have none to show you. Later...

Scrap clay was rolled into a sheet, a giant bolt was rolled across the surface, the top bumps were shaved off, and the sheet was smoothed. Then the whole sheet was rolled into a log, sliced and rolled into beads.
These guys are relatively small for me...about 1/2" diameter.
These also started as a sheet of scrap, impressed with the plastic cover from an old office cubicle fluorescent light. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jewelry: 2011 Holiday Necklace

I found a great "little black dress" for the company party this year. It hits just above the knee, has a figure-flattering shape, and an interesting scallop-puckered fabric that forgives any remaining flaws. It also has a deep "v" in front and back. And, as I happen to have super short hair, I got the idea to make a necklace with most of the interest in the back.

I stewed on a design for a few days and then went on a scouting trip to my favorite bead store, Crystal Bead Bazaar in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsbugh. I needed chain, a metal ring, and some dangly items. I had considered adding clay elements to my design but decided against it, opting to go simple and more delicate than my usual tendency might be.

As luck would have it, I found exactly what I needed: three different chains, a delicate sparkly ring, and 3 cones  in a gunmetal finish.
Note...the clothing shown here is not the fabulous dress mentioned above.
 The necklace is just long enough that it fits over my head, therefore, no clasp required. Good thing, because I couldn't figure out how I was going to make a clasp look good -- no idea I had in mind was wowing me.

The football-shaped links of one chain were joined by figure-8 shaped links which proved to be the ideal size to link all the chains to the ring. Once I figured out that I didn't need a clasp, the whole thing went together in about 20 minutes. I had one big crystal bicone that I wired into the center drop down the back. And for an added bonus, the metal cones at the end are like tiny wind chimes and make a delicate clinking sound when I move.

In other news...
Anyone watching "American Horror Story"? Freaky, bizarre, and interesting. I've watched all 4 episodes and I'm hooked. You can watch them online here:
Also watched the first two episodes of "Project Accessory" and enjoyed it. You can watch it here:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In the Artybecca shop tomorrow...

This is two sets mixed together.
These have holes from end to end.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What to wear to the party?

I'm going to an Alice In Wonderland-themed fundraiser tonight with my friend so I wanted something theme-related to wear. My brooch below started off as a teacup but then took on a hat quality so...voila! Now it's the Mad Hatter's top hat. I wore it to work yesterday and it held up fine. Better yet, when I asked people what they thought it was, everyone said hat, and one person even said, "a hat like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland." I didn't add the white card with "In this style 10/6" although I could. Should I leave it generic or really make it the Mad Hatter's hat?

Okay, I'm not even finished writing this post and I've decided to add the card. There's a weird white blop on the left side and the card would allow me to cover that and add more dimension at the same time.

(With card, posted later after the party.)

Dukan diet update...down 35 lbs now! Only 5 more to the new goal. Since June 13 I've lost 4.25" off my waist, almost 5" off my hips, almost 3" off each thigh. Of course, as always, some fat comes off where you don't want it to...3.5" off the bustline as well. But I like to think that much of that was the unsightly back fat, which is indeed gone! You can do it too! It was not hard at all.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Idea: Potential clasp?

I made these two snake-ish things that could be a non-attached clasp for a necklace. I envision it hanging in front, with the ends running through rings at the end of the necklace portion. I haven't tried it out so not sure how it would work in actual practice. Can you think of any other interesting ways to use them? They are both fairly large...the smaller green one is about 4 inches long and the larger one is about 6".

This one looks a little reptilian!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I feel very continental. I bought a Bialetti Moka Express, a coffee bean grinder, and a faux coffee shop cup with lid (dishwasher safe plastic cup with a rubber heat sleeve....very cute!) so I can make lattes at home. Sugar-free syrup and skim milk stays in my diet guidelines so it's a treat I didn't have to give up! While the coffee was heating I had a small pot of milk on the stove and frothed it with a wisk. It worked fine. I am drinking my first home made latte right now...pretty good! My $50 investment will pay ff in less than a month. I also bought a French press to give that a try.
I never even drank coffee until I was 40. It was the Starbucks Frappucino that got me hooked one summer. When winter rolled around I didn't want a cold drink so someone suggested a latte. Yum. Actually, what I really like is not really coffee, it's more like coffee-flavored sweetened milk.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Home from my clay adventures

Had a great clay month! I have some new ideas and now I need to stock up the etsy shop. Here's a quick look at some new shapes...

The center of these pillows are Sculpey Ultra Light so they are not very heavy.

The back is is gold and warm orange.

I like how this one turned out. So much so, that I'll be keeping it for my very own self!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Artist: Barb Fajardo

Check out some lovely work by my new friend Barb Fajardo, also known online as rubarb04. I have a pair of earrings similar to the set shown here; you can see other colors and designs on this page. Or you learn how to make her interesting designs in her Textured Tesselations class on

I'm leaving in a few hours for the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild's weekend retreat. It's always fun to have a weekend with the ladies and see what everyone's been up to all summer.

Today is the official end of my Phase 2 fthe Dukan diet. Down 32 lbs, two more than my Dukan chart said I would be on this day. I don't plan to stop; aiming for 8 more pounds.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal!

My partner, Raida Disbrow sent me lovely glass beads in one of my favorite combinations, black and aqua blue. I don't usually use ribbon so having it in my package of goodies was a nice change of pace for me.

First, you can look at my "sneak preview" photos if you missed them.

Another close up...I added the green stones, light blue acrylic, and the large black seed beads:

And the whole shebang on my person...

Now go see what everyone else made:
The Hostess, Lori Anderson and her partner, Manuela Wutschke

1. Aimee Wheaton and Barbara York
2. Alice Craddick and Sandra Richardson
3. Alison Sachs and Amy Severino
4. Allison Scott and Cynthia Abner
5. Amanda Cargill Austin and Charlene Sevier
6. Amanda Davie and Patsy Evins
7. Amber Dawn and Kim Ballor
8. Ambra Gostoli and Christine Hansen
9. Amy Freeland and Christine Altmiller
10. Ana Krepel-Novak and Eleanor Snare

11. Andrea Morici and Hope Smitherman
12. Andrea Trank and Jayne Capps
13. Andrea Turini and Charlene Jacka
14. Angela May and Emanda Johnson
15. Anitra Gordy and Elizabeth Owens Dwy
16. Ann Rishell and Debbie Price
17. Ann Sherwood and Lynne Bowland
18. Anna Lear and Barbe Saint John
19. Anna Sabina­­­­ and Erin Siegel
19. Nan Emmett and Erin Siegel
20. Astrid Boyce and Birgitta Lejonklou

21. B.R. Kuhlman and Deanna Chase
22. Barbara Bechtel and Bryna Lumb
23. Barbara Blaszczyk and DaviniaDesign
24. Barbara Judy and Holly Westfall
25. Barbara Lewis and Cathie Carroll
26. Barrie Edwards and Lyn Foley
27. Becky Fairclough and Jana Tarhala
28. Bella Borgouise and Gillian Lehman
29. Beth and Evie McCord and Erin Prais-Hintz
30. Beth Bricker and Heather Pyle

31. Beth Emery and Cassie Donlen
32. Bobbie Rafferty and Cindy Cima Edwards
33. Candice McGinnis and Sally Anderson
34. Carol Bradley and Cece Cormier
 35.  Cathy Khoury and Molly Alexander
 36. Carol Tannahill and Hilary Frye
37. Carrie Tahquechi and Cris Peacock
38. Cat Pruitt and Cindy Gimbrone
39. Charlene Gary and Doris Stumpf
40. Charlotte Pevny and Kate Gardenghi

41. Cherrie Fickand Cathie Carroll
41. Claire Maunsell and Cherrie Fick
42. Cheryl Roe and Jenny Vidberg
43. Chris White and Norma Turvey
44. Christa Murphy and Kathy Alderfer
45. Christie Murrow and Dana James
46. Christina Miles and Collette Collins
47. Christine Brandel and Elizabeth Woodford
48. Christine Damm and Cynthia Deis
49. Christine Hendrickson and Debbie Goering
50. Christine Stonefield and Dee Wingrove-Smith

51. Cilla Watkins and Johanna Rhodes
52. Cindy Wimmer and Riki Schumacher
53. CJ Baushka and Cory Celaya
54. Courtney Breul and Joanna Matuszczyk
55. Cristi Clothier and Kathleen Robinson Young
56. Cryss Thain and Serena Trent
57. Cynthia Tucker and Kitty Durmaj
58. Dana Johnson Jones and Eva Sherman
59. Davinia Algeri and Janet McDonald
60. Deci Worland and Lara Lutrick

61. Diana Ptaszynski and Kristy Abner
62. Diane Cook and Kerry Bogert
63. Diane Hawkey and Jen Judd Velasquez
64. Dorcas Midkiff and Jill Harris
65. Doris Radlicki and Heather Goldsmith
66. Dot Lewallen and Gaea Cannaday
67. Elisabeth Auld and Jennifer Justman
68. Erin Fickert-Rowland and Geanina Grigore
69. Erin Grant and Julie Jones
70. Eszter Czibulyas and Helena Fritz

71. Fiona Christie and Michelle Heim
72. Gail Zwang and Genea Crivello-Knable
73. Geneva Collins and Jana Haag
74. Gretchen Nation and Heidi Post
75. Heather DeSimone and Karin Slaton
76. Heather Marley and Terry Carter
77. Ingrid McCue and Jennifer Pride
78. Jackie Ryan and Nicole Keller
79. Janna Harttgen and Joanne Tinley
80. Jean Yates and Lori Anderson

81. Jelveh Jaferian and Jenny Davies-Reazor
82. Jenni Connolly and Jennifer Heynen
83. Jennifer Cameron and Kristi Bowman
84. Jennifer Geldard and Lisa Liddy
85. Jennifer VanBenschoten and Kim Hora
86. Jess Italia Lincoln and Lori Greenberg
87. Jill MacKay and Lori Bergmann
88. JJ Jacobs and Karen Tremblay
89. Joyce Becker and Kathy Welsh
90. Judy Glende and Karen Sinkowski

91. Judy Riley and Kelly Morgan
92. JuLee Wolfe and Julie Bean
93. Julianna Cannon and Julianna Kis
94. Julie Nordine and Lesley Watt
95. K. Hutchinson and Shea Zukowski
96. Karen Firnberg and Karyn Bonfiglio
97. Karen Williams and Kimberly Roberts
98. Karen Zanco and Polly Barker
99. Kari Carrigan and Laura Twiford
100. Karin von Hoeren and Laura Blanck

101. Kate Richbourg and Lorelei Eurto
102. Kathleen Lange Klik and Maria Clark
103. Kathy Engstrom and Keri Lee Sereika
104. Kay Thomerson and Loretta Carstensen
105. Kelley Fogle and Laurel Bielec
106. Kelly Ramstack and Sally Anderson
107. Kim Stevens and Tiffany Long
108. Kristi Harrison and Mandy Williamson
109. Kristi Kyle and Lana Kinney
110. Kristina Johansson and Sue Hodgkinson

111. Kym Hunter and Laura Sanger
112. Laura Zeiner and Susan Kennedy
113. Laurel Steven and Mary McGraw
114. Laurie Hanna and Lisa Boucher
115. Lesley Weir and Liz DeLuca
116. Linda Djokic and Tracey Weiser
117. Linda Inhelder and Pam Brisse
118. Linda Landig and Lori Dorrington
119. Linda Murphy and Lisa Hamilton
119.  Line Labrecque and Marianne Baxter
120. Lisa Lodge and Monica Johnson

121. Lois Moon and Melissa Muir
122. Lola Surwillo and Therese Frank
123. Lori Bowring Michaud and Marci Brooks
124. Lupe Meter and Norma Agron
125. Maggie Towne and Marge Beebe
126. Malin de Koning and Susie Hibdon
127. Mallory Hoffman and Shirley Moore
128. Marcie Abney and Patty Miller
129. Marcy Lamberson and Melissa Clarke
130. Margot Potter and Suzann Sladcik Wilson

131. Maria Grimes and Wendy Blum
132. Maria Horvath and Melinda Orr
133. Maria Rosa Sharrow and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp
134. Marian Hertzog and Melissa Mesara
135. Marianna Boylan and Sandi Lee James
136. Marina Dobrynina and Michaela Pabeschitz
137. Marsha Neal and Miri Agassi
138. Mary Ellen Parker and Melissa Meman
139. Mary Elliott and Tamara Soper
140. Mary Hicks and Laurel Steven

141. Melissa Pynn and Michelle Buettner
142. Michelle Hardy and Niki Meiners
143. Michelle Mach and Moira McEvoy
144. Missy Rappaport and Norma Agron
145. Molly Alexander and Poranna
146. Mylene Hillam and Nicole Rennell
147. Nadezhda Parfyonova and Stacey Curry
148. Nan Emmett and Nancy Peterson
149. Nancy Boylan and Natalie McKenna
150. Natalie Monkivitch and Niky Sayers

151. Natasha Lutes and Pam Ferrari
152. Noemi Baena and Penny Ilagan
153. Pamela Petry and Rebecca Sirevaag
154. Pat Haight and Mary McGraw
155. Patty Gasparino and Vonna Maslanka
156. Penny Neville and Sandi Volpe
157. Pepita Bos and Wendy Chamberlain
158. Raida Disbrow and Rebecca Watkins   YOU ARE HERE
159. Rebecca Anderson and Sabrina Staub
160. Regina Santerre and Rose Binoya

161. Rhea Freitag and Tari Kahrs
162. Rochelle Brisson and Sheryl Stephen
163. Sally Russick and Tracy Bell
164. Sandra McGriff and Shay Williams
165. Sandra Wolberg and Sara Hardin
166. Sarah Elder and Salla Small
167. Saskia Kaffenberger and Sharon Gardner
 168. Sharon Palac and Shannon Chomanczuk
169. Shay Stone and Suzette Bentley
170. Shiraz Biggie and Tammy Powley

171. Staci Smith and Tracy Stillman
172. Stacie Stamper and Tracy Martin
173. Stefanie Teufel and Vicky Taylor
174. Stephanie Dixon and Stephanie LaRosa
175. Stephanie Haussler and Valerie Norton
176. Suzanne Tate and Terri Wlaschin
177. Sweet Freedom Designs and Tammy Jones
178. Tania Spivey and Tari Sasser
179. Tara Plote and Terry Matuszyk
180. Terri Gauthier and Deana Hager
181. Theresa Fosdick and Tracey Nanstad


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