Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Very chaotic table today - last night I went through that giant bag of vintage costume jewelry given to me by Randy's Aunt and a pile of stuff from my Grandma Brenner that I have never thoroughly gone through. 

Grandma Brenner had a TON of circle pins, many of them still in pretty good condition (Paste/rhinestones intact).  Randy's Aunt's stuff was heavy on the "statement" pieces made of mostly wood or plastic.  Some of which I didn't think were worth taking apart.  I found some strands of wood/glass from both of them that I liked - the wood in particular.

There's no clear project in the above picture - I have some "rejected" acrylic pendants for one reason or another - bubbles, buckling, I hate that!  I also have a bunch of crystals from flea market purchases I have taken apart - in this case, wine glass charms.  I'm still working on a series inspired by Fresh Home Magazine's exotic locations layout, I have finished "India", "China", and "Australia" and am working on "Brazil" -- greens, the wood I re-purposed from Grandma's necklace, bone, and little hits of fuchsia.  Very springy! 

I finally obtained some photos of these inspiring design layouts to show you the colors that has me humming.


Australia - love hte various blues/greens with the white that pops!


I love the soothing greens/bamboo (or wood) with the pop of fuschia!

Ah, lovely China!

I think this is my favorite! India with bold pinks
and orange and yellow and hammered silver - sigh!

My mother is coming over tonight so I can tweak the two pieces she has submitted for approval for her church group's retreat - they want me to make 6 necklaces with their specific themes to give as prizes, and that will be fun, although I have a hard time making anything exactly alike - I would stink at an assembly line, I like each thing to be just a little different, even if I'm using similar charms or colors.  Sigh, I gotta do what they want me to do!

Only two days until Las Vegas...it's been so hard not to buy anything, I keep seeing all these great lampwork beads and other things on Etsy that I want.  Isn't that the way?  When I have money to burn, I can't find anything but when I'm trying to be good I see so many amazing things that I have to grit my teeth and force myself offline and pretend I didn't just see that ONE focal bead, or that other ADORABLE tote bag, or that Pyrex Square Flowers casserole.  I have to keep the big picture in mind -- Las Vegas + Flea Market + other insane shopping = need money for real.

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Estate Sale Bust and Unexpected Bounty

When I pulled up to this awesome mid-century ranch I had high hopes, which were quickly dashed as we were directed towards the barn/garage rather than the house.

What I could surmise by what was offered, either or both of the owners at one time was a watchmaker/jeweler or antiques dealer - which meant everything was priced REALLY high.  Even on half price day!  I ended up with an orange juice pitcher, a straw handbag and some vintage clip-on earrings that I plan on taking apart for the funky beads.  I was too dispirited to photograph any of my booty.

However, Randy's aunt gave me a large bag of her no-longer-wanted costume jewelry -some of it is worth keeping intact! The stuff I want to take apart and re-purpose is funky too, so I'm excited to get upstairs and start sorting everything.

I have been sick for the last 3 days, nasty head/chest cold - I am very low energy and blah.  I can't wait to feel normal again.  Only four days until I am in Las Vegas! YAY!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The First Of My "Exotic Destination" Inspired Cascade Pendants

I mentioned before that I was so crazy about that layout in Fresh Home Magazine, showcasing design ideas inspired by other countries.  They were so colorful that I posted my favorites on my "inspiration boards" knowing I'd want to go back and use them as a jumping off point for my cascades.


I tend to do two kinds of necklaces - I like mix pendant blanks with teeny tiny papercraft and then fill them with acrylic

Cascades are what I really love to make, though.  I hang a bunch of beads and beads-on-chains from circles or ovals of various sizes and materials.

The cascade I made last night is based on the "India" layout, my absolute favorite of the lot.

I realize how little hot pink or fuchsia I have in my bead stash - I have lots of blues and earth tones and even some pastels, but no bold brights.  I will have to remedy that, but did what I could with what I had.

I love this so much I am going to keep it.  I might make another one similar, but I tend to never do the same design twice, partially because I'm a Gemini with rampant ADD and partially because I like each thing I make to be a one-and-only. 
I wish I had better lighting, I really need to look into a better camera.

I'm wearing "India" today and have already gotten a few compliments, but I think it's because I'm in all black and the bright colors really stand out.

The design layout that
inspired me.










Work is busy today and all I want to do is hole up in the studio and break out all the beads, but tonight I am having dinner with one of my favorite people and fellow estate sale enthuisast.

One of my goals is to start getting up earlier and having more time in the morning before the office grind.  Not only do I have great ideas in the morning, but I like how peaceful my house is at that time.  No teenage boy bickering or loud heavy metal blasting, nobody looking for me because they can't find anything.  Peace.

However, I also like my bed a little too much to believe that I'm ever going to really start getting up at six or GOD FORBID 5:30, which is the ideal time for me to be up and productive.  Maybe someday.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Good Weekend At Estate Sales

Had a great weekend at estate/tag sales.  I purchased a nice mix of collectibles, impulse treasure, and even got a few things to add to my vintage kitchen.  First, the Pyrex:
"Daisy" Mixing Bowl

I love this one!! 



























Square baking dish and "Golden Poinsettia" Casserole dish
WITH LID!















I was very excited to add to my collection.  I also picked up these ADORABLE "snack" plates with built in rest for a tea cup and what I *think* is a thumb rest for someone to hold the plate on their lap.  Cookies and tea? Coffee and cake? I'm crazy about the atomic-esque pattern on them!
The lady at the estate sale said these were from the 40's
and were made in Japan.















My favorite thing however was this AMAZING psychedelic case for your 45 records - and it was FULL of awesome hit songs from the late 60's - early 70's.
Don't stare too hard, you might break out
into bell-bottoms! Far out!



















Then today, Randy and I found this great Columbia Compact Stereophonic record player at an estate sale, a little dusty but in perfect working condition (needs some velvet or thin foam on the turntable) - and we had a crazy listening party with all of the great 45's in my snazzy case.

Some of the great songs?  The are ALL in excellent condition, too - all of them had jackets.  I don't remember EVER keeping the jackets of my 45's.  Maybe it's because I never had a great case like this for mine, I had a shoe box.





















My other favorite stuff:
Fabulous Fondue pot...in RED one of my
kitchen accent colors.  Bring chocolate, stat!


Glass pearls and crystals and other weird stuff I can use
in my decoupage
Wood rooster canisters 

Swizzle Stick-o-Mania!

Lots of great vintage swizzle sticks from places
that don't exist anymore...love them!














































Randy also picked up some dumbbells for the home gym and we picked up a little end table for $5.

I had BIG PLANS for some jewelry making tonight but I am now more inclined to read a book and lay around and maybe even go to bed early,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Coffee Cup

One of my favorite people owns one of my favorite places: Molten Java, a local coffee shop in Bethel, CT. If you are anywhere in the area, I highly recommend dropping by for a great cup of delicious coffee or a yummy snack, or to see some local live music.  Wendy was an art major in college and it shows - the shop is decorated with all kinds of local art.  Her painted guitar collection over the bookshelves actually inspired me to take my love of scrapbooking/collage and move it to a new medium.
A bunch of Wendy's friends all painted these guitars.

And hey, even if you aren't local but want to try
some amazing fair trade coffee, fresh beans roasted right in house and mailed to you, go to
Molten Java, you won't be disappointed!

Wendy sent an email out to a bunch of her artist friends saying she wanted to do an installation around the theme "Coffee Cup" to hang on one of the bigger walls in the shop.  She didn't care what we did as long as it was coffee cup related, so I decided to do a guitar with that theme.

I was given a Stella 3/4 guitar that once belonged
to my Aunt back in the 60's.  After determining it had no real value as an antique or vintage item beyond the fact that it belonged to my dear Aunt, I laid a base of several coats of "Summer Peach" acrylic paint and then went to town with photos.

I have to hit up some old magazines I have lying around that I've brought home from flea markets for additional images. 

I am also torn between using a pom-pom trim or trying something a little different and more ornamental.  Like swinging rows of paillettes.

What is also still a mystery to me is what color I'm going to go with, if I'm going to go for big punchy contrast or if I'm going to stick to something a little more monochromatic with the peach and pale orange.

I'm also not sticking with the glittery plaid paper in the sound hole, it isn't laying flat like I'd like it to and I think I want to find something a little more subtle.

This will come to me.  I am already leaning toward hot pink since I'm so turned on by the hot pink + orange combo I saw in a layout in Fresh Home Magazine - they did different color schemes inspired by countries, and my favorites were India and Brazil.  India's colors were all hammered silver, hot pink, orange and yellow.  Brazil was pale green, bamboo and fuchsia.  Love these color combos!

Not just for the guitars, but for beads.  I don't have much of a bead budget this month since I'll be going to Las Vegas to see my best friend in two weeks.  I want to bring a wad of cash out there -- and I don't drink OR gamble, I want to hit the FLEA MARKET! The possibility of the kitsch to be had out there is TANTALIZING.  It's worth laying off on beads for a few weeks just in case I score some amazing stuff.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Crafter's Worst Nightmare (but not as bad as it could have been)

Last night I was roasting some potatoes at 400 degrees.  I opened the oven to add a pan of fish to bake during the last 15 minutes of the timer, when a ball of steam heat came out and burned my right hand.  I didn't jerk my hand back from the heat fast enough because I was afraid of dropping a whole pan of deliciously marinated pollock, so it was pretty bad.
Not As Bad As It Looked Last Night

As I was running cold water over my whole hand, trying not to cry from the pain, I began to freak out a little.  I really really need my right hand.  I play guitar, I play piano, I type all day at work, I make jewelry, I scrapbook (sometimes), and I decoupage guitars and other strange things.  As it was throbbing and swelling, I was unable to bend my fingers and all I could think about was how I just received a bunch of great pendant blanks and I wouldn't be able to work on them.

Randy is the bomb, though - he kept a cool head while I devolved into drama queen territory.  He ran to CVS and hooked me up with gauze and burn cream and ice packs and dressed my hand like a combat medic.  Thanks to him, my blisters are minimal and as of this morning, I can bend my fingers.  DISASTER AVERTED.

This just brought home to me how important it is to me to be able to have a creative outlet, and I realized too that it isn't exactly the finished product that does it for me.  Sure, I might have a glimmer of accomplishment, but for me, the true joy is in the process.  The actual "making" of whatever it is I am making.  I am known to lose myself up in my studio for hours and not notice how late it's getting.  I have to tell people to come get me if I'm not downstairs by a certain time or else I could easily be up there all night.

What was driving me crazy was the thought of losing my clearest path to sanity.

I should be back up in the studio and working/playing again in a few days, and until then, I am going to take very good care of my hand.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Some Things That Inspire Me

I'm gearing up to check out two new flea markets this weekend, I love Spring because it means flea markets and tag sales. Oh, and magnolia blossoms!

I am trying to go to the fleas/tag sales with specific things in mind to cut down on on-the-spot impulse purchases that I end up not using or even loving. I can love a useless thing, but if it's useless and I don't love it, I don't need to part with the green for it.

I am looking for jewelry, of course, always. I am also looking for old magazines I can use in my decoupage, old cookbooks, vintage Christmas ornaments, anything Danbury Fair or carnival related, anything "old New York". and of course, beat up old guitars.  I also have my vintage obsessions: textiles - particularly kitchen things, Pyrex, cake stands, religious kitsch, old beauty tools, Pfaltzgraff pottery (particularly Nordic Green which was discontinued in 1971 and given to me by my grandmother - except hers didn't have the flower, so I look for the plain), and many other things which I love or hoard and use in my crafting.

I love Coney Island, and the aura of decay it has around it's bright carnival colors. I know that they're re-vamping it, which breaks my heart just a little bit. Kind of like when they cleaned up Times Square.  I guess I'm a little demented and like things just a little bit seedy.  Developers want to turn Coney Island into a year-round destination with new hotels and possibly a casino.  Big changes!

One thing I hope never changes is the amazing Mermaid Parade held every year right around the end of June. A DIY-parade full of handmade costumes and floats. (all sea-themed). One year I took my family down there to see the fun, we missed the actual parade, but saw a lot of participants on the beach. I love the colors in this woman's costume:

















She was with a large group of people painted and clothed in similar ways:


















And here is some of that fabulous decayed carnival color I love:

I want to incorporate some of this feeling in a piece without it looking too "tropical" - because it's the decay along with the bright colors that thrills me.






One of my favorite restaurants in the world is Milon on 2nd Avenue between 5th and 6th Street in Manhattan.

 The Bangladeshi cuisine is delicious, and because the restaurant is located right around the corner from "Indian Row" the prices are very low in order to stay competitive. Being a starving artist in NYC is easy if you eat at Milon often. Like I did. Every time I go there, they add even more insanity to the ceilings and the walls. I am only 5' 3" and I even need to duck sometimes under strings of Christmas lights and chili pepper lights and sometimes hanging beach balls. This photo doesn't do it justice. It's bright, colorful, chaotic, and it totally works. I really like the deep jewel tones of the seat covers and how they play off the burgundy walls and the reflective wallpaper. If you are in the neighborhood, I recommend the chicken tikka mussalam and get the shrimp poori as an appetizer, it's amazing.

I also have to give a shout-out to the Elephant's Trunk, my hometown's local amazing flea market. Every Sunday from 7-2 (open early at 5 for a $20 cover, but I'm too cheap and sleepy for that).

Last week I picked up some howlite and ceramic beads, a few vintage postcards, and some foreign coins for my friend's six year old son, Buster.

These pictures are from last summer, but these give a good overview of what catches my eye when I'm wandering up and down seemingly endless aisles.  I never know when I'll find treasure, and I admit it, half the thrill is the hunt!
I am so in love with this lampshade! It reminded me of pom-pom trim and how much I love it.

I added red pom-pom trim to my monkey guitar, and to my kitchen curtains.





Isn't this a delicious jumble? I love to dig in there for possible pendants or connectors or even old glass beads I can re-use.












I love the crosses and of course, Hello Kitty.

I look forward to what I might find tomorrow.

Today I'm working on cleaning up this insane house and hope to get at least an hour in the studio tonight before going out with some old friends.  I've been making lots of earrings lately.  I'm also working on finding ways of using that green-dyed howlite that I bought last weekend without it being too bulky or overload, I like it mixed with hematite.

If anybody is out this weekend in search of treasure - happy hunting! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Four Strand Buddah Necklace


Sometimes I don't know when to stop - I fused two separate necklaces together - a pearl necklace and a choker with a cloisonne pendant, then just kept going.


Coral/Pearl/Turquoise/Silver Choker


This was a Christmas gift for my boyfriend's sister, she seemed to really like it.

Disregard the pilled bedspread in the background, HA!

Art Guitars

Work in Progress:











Here are some finished works:


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