Archive for the 'challenge' Category

Feb 04 2014

3xR & THAW weeks 2-4

Well! Here it is February! And I still need to post each weeks piece for 3xR & THAW2014 challenges!

So here we go– just going to bust these guys out.

This cute little guy was a sample piece I stamped when experimenting for a piece in silver. I liked it so much I kept it for a long while. I enameled the back, and then the front with a lovely transparent enamel that makes the copper surface shimmery and golden. I still love this cute little guy — I am not generally a “cute” type of person, but looking at this piece just makes me happy.

3xR week 2 & THAW2014-2

On to week 3! This guy also makes me happy. I am not happy with the execution — this is the first time I’ve tried to set a faceted stone in a flush setting — and as you can see, it leaves much to be desired. However, I still love this little guy. The rustic stamping goes with the “rustic” stone setting, and I look forward to perfecting this technique.

Week 3: 3xR & THAW2014

And finally, week 4! I have kind of a thing about poppies. In Virginia, there was one week in May where the exit from I-66 was awash with poppies. It was the highlight of my commute — every May I would start to wonder.. “where are the poppies? Did I miss them somehow? Did they get mown over last year and they’re not coming back?” and have a serious panic sad moment — and then a week later, there they would be, in glorious wild bloom. I miss the field of poppies – little dots of brilliant red against the green grass, right next to the roaring (or more likely, stop and go) traffic of folks traveling into DC from the burbs. Every May, right around Mother’s Day and my son’s birthday.. I think of the lovely field of wild poppies gently nodding right off of the Nutley street exit.

Ahem. Where was I? Right! The enamel tile I made late last year using a sgraffito method of enameling. First a fired base of black enamel. Then I mixed up some liquid white, painted it down on top of the black and then sifted the green on top. I used a pick to scratch through the wet enamel to reveal the black underneath. I also scratched through where the red flowers would be, and then fired. Finally, I added the red enamel for the poppies, and touched up the stems with some enamel crayon. It was a joy to do and I hope to do more.

The tile was sitting in my enamel sample box — so I fished it out and added some scrap chain, dotted with lovely lemon citrine nuggets.

Week 4:

And there we go — a full month of Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling — a Thing A Week! In February — we’ll see if I can’t blog weekly instead of a big post with everything in it!


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Jan 27 2014

New Years Challenge – 3xR-1/52 & THAW2014-1

Published by under 3xR,challenge,jewelry

So it’s the end of January, and I have not posted at all on my blog. Doh! One of my new years resolutions was that I would try to do so more. Better late than never, right?

Another resolution I made was to make more jewelry. Not only MAKE it — but POST it. Post it on my flickr account, here on my blog, up on my site for sale… just get it OUT THERE! I have a lot of what I call.. UFOs. UnFinished Objects. Some of them are dangerously close to being done, if only I would do it.

So along with this vein, I joined a flickr group challenge called 3xR 2014. The challenge is to, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle all the crap we have laying around on our benches and in our studios! Finish all those projects, use those stones we’ve been hoarding, take a look at that old sketchbook. Nothing is off limits here. Make as much work or as little as you choose but you need to Use What You Have.”

I also joined in conjunction, a flickr challenge group called THAW2014 – which stands for Thing A Week – I think both of these challenges will be great for me.

This is perfect for me. I have a LOT of material to work with, if only I would sit down and do it. For myself, I am including taking some of these UFOs and getting them finished. My goal is to do at least 1 a week. Since buying a kiln last year, I have slowing been building up my collection of enamels, and want to move into that direction.

So enough with the jibber jab! I actually HAVE ben making a piece a week — but they’ve sat on my bench instead of beign shared with the world. Which is part of the challenge to myself — POST THEM! So here is my first week’s piece.

It started with a sample I made in a fold forming class I took last year with Ira Sherman. I had so much fun in that class, I was determined to come home and make fold forming my life’s work (it always goes like that after a workshop!)

I choose one of these two forms:

I annealed it, and pickled it, to get off all the black oxides. Enamel needs a clean surface or the glass particles won’t fuse to the copper. The metal was initially rolled through a rolling mill with a piece of pattered paper, which caused the pattern to imprint on the metal. The hammer marks on one side of the leaf are also quite visible, so I opted to go with transparent enamel on the front. Green transparent, and a clear transparent.

You can see the imprinted pattern underneath the green enamel. I love the clear enamel too — it makes a shimmery golden surface with the copper underneath.

On the opposite side, I decided on a punch of color. Bright orange, with a very subtle lighter orange through the middle of the leaf.

Enamel is sifted onto the metal dry. You can see faint lines where I drew through the enamel to reveal the base orange color underneath. This technique (scratching through one layer to see underneath) is called sgraffito.

Overall, I am so happy with this piece. I kind of wish I had done more with the setting rather than just attaching it to the chain with jump rings, but time wasn’t on my side this time.

I have the other pieces I did this month as well — so that will help me to post again later this week!


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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

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Mar 29 2006

A meme: childhood, remembered

Published by under amy's head,challenge,daily,kids

I think I’d like to start a meme. Just ’cause. SO NERRR.

I was thinking about weird things I did (and sometimes still do) as a child. These are kind of typical things, not necessarily “original” things that ONLY I did, but my weird brain did some of them in a different way, but enough with the explaining and on to the listing.

Childhood, Remembered:

  1. Everyone knows the whole step on a crack and break your mother’s back, thing. I never really heard that saying as a child, but I think everyone sort of instinctually goes through a thing with this, I’ve seen it with Ethan, and it’s amazing to see him only walk on certain colored tiles when we’re in a mall, or some such place. Walking in a certain/on certain things, I guess is something everyone has done in their lives.Here’s the kooky way I did it when I was a kid. I was very much into the “cracks” and not stepping on them. Maybe my brain decided that it was too easy, because I then started inventing new invisible lines that I couldn’t step on. For example, if I was walking down a hall, and there was a corner, I would envision the line of the wall continuing on the floor, even though the wall stopped at the corner, and I would not step on that “invisible” line. This is what I saw in my head:hallway
    If there were no corners, I would draw a 45 degree line coming from the corner of a tile and not step on that. sidewalk
    I would sometimes get very elaborate, because if you look around, there are angles and corners that can create lines everywhere if you continue them past their natural stopping place, the lines multiply and multiply and you couldn’t walk anywhere. I didn’t get obsessive or anything about this (I didn’t go hopscotching everywhere because of all the imaginary lines I couldn’t step on, for example), it was just a fun game that I grew from the original “don’t step on a crack” habit. (I just said crack habit. hee hee!) I still do this today, sometimes, and even if I don’t always avoid stepping on the lines, my mind seems to automatically draw them on the floor as I walk, if I’m not busy looking elsewhere. The lines are always 2 dimensional though, on the floor, even though there’d be plenty of fodder for 3-d lines going every which way.
  2. Everyone has scary dreams, and I remember talking about the dreams we had as children with someone recently. They stay vivid in my mind, even 25ish years later. I had the typical scary dream that something or someone was going to “get” me and I would round a corner and see it, and could not move my legs. Pretty typical. I also had a couple of dreams where I was the one that would have to “save the day” .. these dreams always featured me and my family in trouble by bad things or bad people, and somehow at the end, someone would declare dramatically that “Amy can save us!” and then, somehow I would, or would at least try. I can think of at least 2 or 3 dreams where in a rush to escape the evil gonna-getchas, everyone would pile into our van, and somehow in the rush, I would end up in the driver’s seat, and *I* would have to drive. I couldn’t have been more than 7 years old, because of the location of these dreams, so it’s amusing to think back about these dreams when I had to do this complicated driving thing or me and my family would all be “gotcha-ed.” I remember being a pretty decent driver, with this very stern, “I can do it, I HAVE to do it!” mentality the entire time.
  3. One thing that I did that I’m sure everyone has done, and I had no special Amy slant, was jump around the room on random things, following the self imposed rule that I couldn’t touch the floor. Ethan does this now, it’s pretty funny. I don’t know how it is that everyone makes up the same game when they’re little, but we all totally do. Ethan will lay down the couch pillows and jump from pillow, to rug, to his coat on the floor, back to pillow, and proclaim, “I didn’t touch the BUBBLES!”
  4. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I had this huge thing against medicine of any sort. Someone sometime must have tried to explained how it helps your body feel better, but I just imagined little “things” (organisms? nano-bots? the “things” in my mind were totally scary and alien) entering my body and doing things that my body didn’t necessarily want done and it weirded me out to the point where I would hold a pill in my mouth until my mom left the room and then spit it out. I think it was also because I hated swallowing pills. (becoming a woman and the onset of cramps put a stop to this fear pretty quickly.)
  5. I always felt like clothes fit me better the second day I wore them. If I had my way in the first grade, I would have worn the same clothes for the entire year. I definitely had favorites, and would try to wear them as often as I could. This stemmed an actual feeling of pity for my other, less favorite clothes that I didn’t want to wear, and sometimes I would wear them just so they wouldn’t feel bad, but then I’d go back to my favoritism elitist ways. I don’t remember all the clothes that were my favorite, except for one nightgown that I wore until it either was too small, or fell to pieces. It was a satiny material in soft pastel colors that was very smooth and soft, and it was very full, so that when I spun around it billowed out around me and made me feel like I was wearing a ball gown. Ahhh.. I still miss that twirly nightgown. A girl needs twirly clothes. Always remember that, people! Twirly clothes!

    Ethan definitely has favorite clothes, and the primary was a pair of red pants made in a sweatpants material, but weren’t quite like sweatpants (no elastic at the bottoms, for example). He had a red shirt with blue sleeves that he had to wear with it, and he called the ensemble his “red clothes” and delighted in saying, “Look mommy, I’M ALL RED!” I had to prepare him gradually when they were too small, that soon, we would have to put his red clothes away, and finally I said one morning when he was putting them on that that was the last time he’d be able to wear them. He took it surprisingly well, and the next time they came up and James tried to give them to him to wear, he informed daddy that they were too small, and he couldn’t wear them. He has other favorite clothes, and they seem to be his favorite because they are all one color, all gray, all blue, etc. I’m definitely saving those red clothes, though, it’s like an end of an era.ethan in his red clothes
    Jocelyn doesn’t have any favorites really yet, except a purple poncho which, let’s face it, is just fun, no matter your age. She also is enamored with underwear and we got her some with Dora the Explorer. She gets mad when we put a diaper on her, and sometimes starts exclaiming, “umberwear, mommy! umberwear!”

So there are a couple of “typical” things that everyone has from their childhood (with some cute kid stories tossed in). I don’t think it will be a very hard meme, and it’s interesting to think about the things from childhood that define who you were/are and how you thought/think.

I am going to tag CHRIS, ANNA, & LINDA – these are all folks I know, so if you don’t participate I will beat you soundly 🙂 I will also tag two folks I don’t know in real life, but read them religiously, and so let’s see if they will also participate, though if not, who can blame them for ignoring some random chick and her silly meme: Rockstar Mommy and leahpeah, I TAG THEE!

And if you want to do it too, that’d rock! Let me know, and I will link to you!

– amy

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Mar 13 2006


Published by under challenge,random

While they also bring a lot of frustration that makes one want to engage in screaming, hair-pulling and let’s not forget vodka swilling, I can’t think of anything else that can just bring a smile to my face no matter the crappiest mood I’m in. I had this post written for some time, but wanted to get a current family picture to round off the batch.. we didn’t get to it, however. Maybe next week.
My family brings me joy:

Ethan and Jocelyn

(the polyester orange dress with cute white eyelet cotton apron was MINE when I was a baby.)

baby ethan

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Mar 13 2006

Word Challenge: PLAY

Published by under amy's head,challenge

Betcha think I’ll post kid pics.

NOPE! What, I cant play around? Click to see the (very short) set of me, playing with the camera, which was propped up on the top of the fridge with the timer function on.

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Mar 13 2006

Word Challenge: Stillness

Published by under amy's head,challenge,gardening

I think that “work” would have also been a good word for this, but I HAD to use the laminate flooring as work, so this seemed the next best fit.

I love spring. The obvious reasons, of course. The cold ebbing and the sun warming everything up and the days getting a bit longer, and it not being so hot that you could cook eggs on the sidewalk yet. The little pale green points poking up out of the ground, and the trees showing new buds. Everything is still, but it’s a pregnant stillness, of activity to come. Neighbors starting to sit outside on their decks, the smell of grills getting fired up and the guy down the street with the BEEYOOTIFUL yard beat everyone to the punch and turned on his hose bibs, laid some mulch and watered his lawn.

Anyway. Stillness:

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Mar 12 2006

Word Challenge: Work

Published by under challenge,house

Laying the laminate floor in the basement was work – the good kind, where you feel so accomplished and glowing when you’re done. You look at it and think, “I DID THAT!” Well, I did, James did, Chris did, Kurt did, and Ann did. Thanks guys 🙂

Click to see the set, and sorry about the dimmness of some of them. I suck 🙁

laminate flooring laid

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Mar 11 2006

obviously, i’m going to be LATE.

Published by under amy's head,challenge,daily

Hi there.

That word challenge thing? The deadline is today.

So … how many have I done?

mm…. 2? maybe 3?

Yeah. I’m going to be late. Oh well, I’ll be out of the running for the tin dog biscuit holders or whatever, but oh well.

I was all into making a post today, in fact, I didn’t clean up post party because I was all settling in to write stuff, but then got distracted with the camera and pictures, and downloading said pictures, and then naptime was OVER and well, maybe tomorrow I’ll post all the pictures and commentary.

It was a lovely day, with lovely warm weather, and oh i feel so lovely! And no, its not the lovely lemondrop martini from williams-sonoma talking, it was ever so loverly! i WANT to tell you all about it but I need to drop dead asleep first. I’ll tell you tomorrow. I’ll just say that a nice time was had by all, including Jocelyn the birthday girl. Funniest moment, Jocelyn seeing her daycare lady in our house. She stood staring, trying to figure out what was going on for a full half minute. I can only imagine it must have been like seeing your 5th grade teacher at the grocery store. Buying tampons or something. Just hard to actually imagine that they are ACTUAL REAL LIVE PEOPLE AND NOT CYBORGS THAT CEASE TO EXIST AFTER YOU LEAVE THEIR PRESENCE.

Sorry. that was a lot of capitals. err, capitols. i’m a wee bit drunk at the moment i highly recommend it. however, i don’t recommend talking to your colleagues via instant messanger while tipsy, because i suspect i am going to be somewhat frantic at looking up my message history after i realize what i’ve done tomorrow morning.

anyway. good niiiiiiiiight never never land!

ps – oh i cna’t wait to tell you all about this weekend, including the party and the gardening ie: the sowing of seeds and the SPRINGTIME that is waiting to be SPRUNG! tomorrow! if it kills me! tomorrow!

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Mar 01 2006

Word Challenge: Sorrow

Published by under amy's head,challenge,kids

Read about the Word Challenge.

I talk all big about being happy going to work, but there is a part of me that just kills when I don’t get to see my kids for hours every day. We get home around 5:30-6pm each day, and we head up for bed between 7-7:15, so you can see that that doesn’t leave a lot of time, especially since you have fix and eat dinner in there also.

Ethan started full time preschool when his school started back in September. I had decided to go back to work and was desparately flailing around for a job in time for Ethan to start full time, rather than part time 3x a week. I knew that it would be better if he started school the way it was going to be all the time, rather than switched from part-time to full-time later. I was lucky and got a temporary gig for a web manager who was going on maternity leave. I got an offer from my current position not long after that, so on the first day of school, Ethan went back full time, and Jocelyn started full time at her home daycare.

I kind of wondered when or if Ethan would ever ask to quit going to school and stay home with me, like we used to. He has said on occasion, “Let’s stay home!” to which I would just say matter of factly, “But you/I have school/work tomorrow!” and it would evolve into a discussion on what I do at work, etc.

Yesterday was another of those days, we had picked up Jocelyn and were almost home, when Ethan stated happily, “School is ALL OVER!” and I could feel that knot of dread and pain start to form in my stomach as I tried to reply nonchalantly, “Yes, it is, we’re all done with school for today!” A pause, and then he said, “Let’s stay home, mommy.” and then the knot was fully formed and in rotation, making my stomach a gurgle of unhappiness. I knew exactly what he was saying, but I purposefully misheard him and said, “Ok honey, when we get home, we’ll stay home.” I think the conversation progressed from there, but I changed the subject and we got home, disembarked, ran around outside like crazy for a while, and went inside to eat dinner and watch Little Einsteins and make crazy GeoTrax layouts.

I would have to say, this is the one thing in my life right now that makes me want to cry. I know I’ve said how work is good for me right now, and when I went back, it was really out of financial necessity, and I may appear to be all gung-ho, “Working mothers UNITE! Together we can CONQUER THE UNIVERSE!” but I miss my kids. When I was talking to the lady at bunko about the costs of working vs. the costs of staying home, I was so sad, even in my defensiveness.

I miss being the one to feed them their lunch, and send them to time-out for being a snot, to sit on the floor and play with their toys, to lay on my back and give them SUPER-GIRL!s and SUPER-BOY!s, to start getting Jocelyn potty trained, to tuck them in for naptimes, for kissing the boo-boos, for taking them outside all bundled up to play, to see them all day and have them drive me so crazy that I wish I was working..

I miss my kids. Not seeing them all day makes me so sad.

– amy has to stop now before she starts to cry.

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