Archive for August, 2009

Aug 31 2009

weekend creation

Published by under amy's head,crafty,iphone,jewelry,photos

Made this bracelet up over the weekend. It is done in a weave called “Stepping Stones” – very fitting, don’t you think? I tweaked the sizes of the rings to give maximum drama between the “stones” and the smaller rings running around them.

This will be listed in my shop as soon as I can get some good photos taken.

I think when I list it, I will name it, “A River Runs Through It.”

What would you name it? I’d love to hear.

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Aug 24 2009

I’m Teaching a Chainmaille Class (Take 2)!

Once again, I am teaching a chainmaille class! The first class did not have enough registrants, so it was cancelled. Woe is me! *sniff sniff* This one is on though! So signup!

If you are in the DC metro area and enjoy wearing gorgeous jewelry, you might be interested in the class I’m teaching in a few weeks!

This is a 4 hour class from 10am-2pm on Saturday, September 12th at The Soundry, a very cool artist space in Vienna, VA. I’m also all set to teach it on October 3rd. (All Saturdays!) All you have to do is bring yourself, and I supply everything else!

 

byzantine chain maille sterling silver bracelet

Many people hear “chain maille” and think medieval armor–not so anymore! With a pair
of pliers in each hand, you will learn the byzantine chain maille weave. It is a lovely, complex
and ornate looking weave, but surprisingly easy to learn! Students will finish an 8 inch sterling
silver bracelet with a toggle clasp that will be the envy of all your Tiffany-shopping friends!
Class Fee: $25, Supply Fee: $55 (may vary depending on cost of silver)
Ages: 12yrs + Experience: Beginner
Sign up now!

 
I am very excited! If you’d like to sign up, just click here for the sign up form. Feel free to drop me note in the comments or email if you like as well, I would be tickled to hear from you!

-amy

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Aug 22 2009

ALERT! Strawberry Shortcake is back! WHEEEEE!

Published by under amy's head

OK.

I know regular readers know I am a little nutty about Strawberry Shortcake dolls. What can I say. My neighbor Heidi and best friend when I was in my formative year had a beautiful case FULL, FULL I SAY, of nearly all the strawberry shortcake dolls. I had a mere pittance compared to her. Needless to say, we adored Strawberry and all her friends, and spent many a happy hour whiling away the time playing with them. So basically, I’m saying…. let’s blame Heidi!

Fast forward about a bajillion years, when I am grown with a small daughter of my own, and I saw them for sale for Target. I didn’t go nutty. But here was a doll that was bright eyed, innocent, GIRL-LOOKING (as opposed to skanky ho, (bratz) woman looking, (barbies) or related to royalty (princesses) –what’s not to love for your 3-4 year old daughter?) so yes, I was pleased, and didn’t mind purchasing this toy for my daughter.

Since then, I have gotten a little nutty. I think it started when we found this beauty at a garage sale:

How can you not love this? This is just maximum awesome! When I saw this with a $2 price tag on it, all I can say is, if Jocelyn didn’t want it, I DID. So we purchased it, and it’s seen hours of fun with Jocelyn. Our older neighbor girl even tried to buy it from Jocelyn before I put a stop to it, hee hee.

I’ve found that Strawberry and/or her friends make excellent birthday presents and we’ve tried to spread the strawberry love whenever we went a birthday-ing. When we drew names at christmastime for family present-giving, it wasn’t any surprise when Ethan got me a Strawberry doll for his present to me. Sweet :)

So, while I wasn’t nutty, I was a fan. The nuttiness came when suddenly, they all went on clearance at Toys R Us. It was right around christmas time, when I was shopping and looking things up online, so of course I noticed. What did this MEAN??? Would there be NO MORE STRAWBERRY?? All signs pointed to YES.

Well….. I panicked a bit. I bought some of the clearance dolls on the TRU website. After all, they were marked down to $4.98. It was a screaming deal, right?

And then before they arrived, I stopped and bought some at the store. Because there were SOME that they had IN THE STORE that they hadn’t had ONLINE! Come on, work with me here people!

strawberry shortcake stash

OK, so this is when I think we can say, the nuttiness for all things Strawberry was signed and certified. When I was done, our “present closet” had a HUYOOGE TRU bag filled with Strawberry, Lemon Meringue, Crepes Suzette, some of the ponies, BABY Strawberry, all in Rock-a-berry, Winter-berry, or some “twist” variety.

So, if there was no more strawberry dolls in the world, at least I had a stash. There’s a very real sense of relief with that, you know!

The stash came in pretty handy. A few came out for Jocelyn’s birthday. A few more came out friend’s birthdays. What can I say, it’s very handy having a Strawberry stash! And in the back of my mind, I knew they were there, even if no more strawberry dolls would be made ever again, it was OK, because I HAD SOME IN MY STASH.

Until today.

Jocelyn’s friend Sophia has a birthday next week, and so I told Jocelyn I’d check and see if we had any Strawberry Shortcake horses in the present closet. (Sophia is having a “horses” themed party, so we thought we’d carry on the theme!) Much to my chagrin, my stash had somehow become quite depleted. Only 3 dolls and one pony left! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??? WOE IS MEEEEEE!!

I tell you, I couldn’t have felt more shocked than someone in a bombshelter with nuclear winter overhead suddenly realizing they were out of chocolate syrup to go with their canned milk for the next 30 years.

Where had they all gone? WHAT WOULD I DOOOOO????

So, we headed out to gymnastics this morning, with the plan to hit target on the way back to pick out a present for Sophia (what, you think I was going to DEPLETE what little was left of my stash? no way buster!), and also a boy present for our neighbor, who is also having a birthday. Somehow, we decided to stop at Toys R Us, instead. On a whim, I did a search on the TRU site for Strawberry Shortcake on my phone, and imagine my shock and surprise to find a WHOLE NEW LINE of Strawberry Shortcake items.

I immediately freaked out. So excited was I, to go and check out these new items in the Strawberry brand! IT WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST! We looked everything over, Jocelyn purchased some Strawberry with her hard-saved allowance (Sophia is going to get my little ponies) and I have been all a-glow all day! Strawberries in the world again! Yay!

SO! Here’s the rundown of the new line!

We have the soft Strawberry dolls:

soft strawberry doll

soft strawberry doll box

TRU link: $9.99

These look cute, and they have included my main criteria: brushable hair. Jocelyn isn’t that interested into brushing hair yet, but I know as my neighbor and I got older, the hair was the main attraction of all our dolls, not just Strawberry.

Then, we have the slightly smaller, slightly less expensive, mini-purse strawberries:

TRU link: $6.99

mini purse strawberry dollmini purse strawberry box

Always a hit, to have a doll, AND a small plastic purse a young girl can slip onto her wrist. Comes with brush. I’m not sure I like having so many different types of dolls though — that’s just the first two!

There are completely different dolls with the different playsets! WithOUT brushable hair, I might add:

roadster TRU link: $15.99
strawberry roadster

Cafe playset TRU link: $29.99
strawberry cafe

Berry Market TRU link: $10.99

strawberry berry market

Berry Stylish Mini Dressup TRU link: $10.99

strawberry dressup

And finally, there is an oversized big doll, that looks very cute:
TRU link: $19.99

big strawberry

big strawberry

And finally, this is the one my daughter bought:

strawberry scooterstrawberry scooter

she has been playing with it all day.

new strawberry

While I love that there is now, once again, strawberry shortcakes out there in the land, I am a bit conflicted on the changes. I’m not sure I like how she looks now — she just doesn’t seem the same. I will probably grow to love her though.

So there you go. All your strawberry shortcake updates, right here. I aim to please.

Go forth, and have a berry nice day!

-amy

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Aug 17 2009

Learning via osmosis

Published by under amy's head,crafty,jewelry

It’s funny how one learns things. Sometimes, all it takes to pick up a lot of things is just immersion into the subject. But if one can’t immerse oneself, it’s hard.

I’m just thinking over how my course of jewelry making has taken in the last year. I decided about this time last year, that I was going to make jewelry for the females in my family for Christmas. I hadn’t done any jewelry making since high school, when I would do some stringing on fishing line, and then take a lighter and melt the knot so it wouldn’t SPROING apart. In case you don’t know, this is a pretty juvenile approach to bead stringing, however, it served pretty well, and I had several necklaces for many years before they broke.

So when I first started, I bought a bead stringing book, and some beads during a trip to Michaels. The book was a great start with the introduction of some basic stringing tools – the proper kind of material to string it with, crimping pliers, crimp beads, clasps, design elements. I knew that I couldn’t keep going to Michaels – I was still uneducated, but I knew it was over priced, and cheap. The first site I stumbled on was jewelrysupply.com and while it is a decent site, it’s not one of the better jewelry supply sites that I now know are out there.

So I strung a little and read my book and looked through the site looking through the various tools they had wondering what in the world one would do what THAT. I started scouring etsy for inspiration and also, some direction. Stringing wasn’t really for me, honestly. It was too easy and too hard, all at the same time. Too easy in that all you have to do is slip a bead onto a strand over and over until you have your piece. It’s too hard in that you have to decide WHAT to string and WHERE and in what order and how long and multistrand? and does this stone look good with that one and… It’s harder than it looks.

But I did make jewelry for all the females on my list, and I think back on them and still think they looked pretty good. In the meantime, I had taken a wire working class and learned how to wrap a bead, make some figure 8 connectors, twist wire in new and fun ways. The class was actually kind of an accident, in that if I knew what it was about, I think I would have passed, but in fact, it was exactly what I needed. I took in the language, the terminology of the wire work and yearned for more. I discarded what I didn’t like about the class and honed the skills it taught me.

I found a few of the jewelry supply monoliths out there and again pored over their catalogs and built wishlists. I went to local beadstores and bought way too many beads. (And never too many!) I joined a yahoo group for wire wrapping and continued to track and absorb. I looked through galleries, I knew what I liked, I knew what I didn’t like.

Somewhere in there, I found a few chainmaille sites. This is where I think I may have gone a little haywire. I think chainmaille is fantastic for many reasons – in the right material and sizes, it almost never fails to impress. It’s so intricate and meticulous and yet one can do it while they sit on the couch watching TV. (What’s not to love?) One can adorn it with beading or leave it plain and it still looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

I was a smitten kitten. I bought my first (last? I know james hopes so!) jump ring cutter and my love affair with sterling silver was fully underway.

I scoured forums, chainmaille weave tutorials, added super sale dates to my calendar so I could be sure to buy my expensive sterling silver wire at the best price, cursed my jumpringer, smooched my jumpringer, wove and wove some more. I branched back out from time to time, to make some wire wrapped beaded items that I was proud to see had a unique design to it, something I could proudly point to and say, “I designed that.”

Another class, this one on soldering, light up a big compact flourescent bulb over my head. I was on the search again, this time, poring over torches, solder, flux, pickle, and let’s not forget disc cutters, doming blocks, rolling mills, flexshafts. More groups to join, more forms to explore, more words, this time on smithing, to hang on to every one.

There is a great jewelry artist community out there that has given a lot to me (whether they knew it or not) just from my careful observation. Just from my reading every word I could find on the subject. Almost just through my proximity, my hovering around to hear every morsel, every drop. almost, one could say, through osmosis.

Still, I guess there comes a time where even learning through osmosis needs actual instruction. And so I’m very excited and absolutely giddy that I am taking a class in the fall term of the Art League, on silversmithing. Nine glorious weeks of bench time with someone to watch and hang on every word. Though this time, not in virtual space, but in real space.

I start mid September. Very excited.

-amy

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Aug 15 2009

New Banner!

Published by under amy's head

crazymokes august 2009

Featuring my new “Hooters” earrings! Aren’t they cuuuute?

Check them out in my artfire store.

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Aug 14 2009

2nd place!

Published by under amy's head,challenge,daily

I entered 3 pieces of jewelry into the Prince William county fair this year. I’ve never entered anything before — in fact, I’ve never actually been to the fair. I always seem to remember to go looking for information AFTER it’s over! I have many fond memories of the Snohomish County Fair in Washington when I was a teen, and so I’m glad I finally got it together to get to the fair this year!

So yes, when I went looking for information, I realized that it wasn’t too late to enter some exhibits! So I did!

I entered my “Luscious” necklace, currently on sale at Artfire:

My copper romanov bracelet with swarovski crystals:

And also, a new pair of earrings I can’t show you! Because they are being blindly judged in a “big and gaudy” earring challenge for a Yahoo jewelry group I’m on.

My necklace won second place. I am super tickled. I’m trying not to be disappointed about the earrings, because I just ADORE them, but oh well. It’s been fun — a little thrilling! and I am very happy to have my necklace win a ribbon.

– amy

2 responses so far