Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Butterflies and Thank You's


Thanks for all the healing butterflies we received!  Keep them coming! 

So many people have severe health issues.  Those of us who have a network of friends and family that offer both emotional and physical support are indeed the lucky ones.  It’s how we get through the bad times. 

So I am taking this opportunity to once again thank our friends and family for their continued love.  The phone calls, emails and hugs mean so much.  Being reminded that each story is unique and not a repeat; being reminded that all I have to do is pick up the phone to hear a caring voice; and being reminded that there is always someone to listen have pulled me back from a previous story and grounded me in reality. 

So we will go to Tucson and have more testing done on Peter.  We will see his doctor and build a game plan and go forward.  Whatever the results, they are treatable. We will continue to love, live and hang onto our wonderful network of friends and family.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tangents with Polymer Clay

A couple of weeks ago, I took Patrik Kusek’s Warm Connections Class with Craftcast  http://www.craftcast.com/classes.  I’ve been trying out some of his techniques for combining silver metal clay and polymer clay. 

Several years ago I took Lisa Pavelka’s https://www.lisapavelka.com/Gallery.asp  classes at Art Unraveled http://www.artunraveled.com/  and learned just enough about polymer clay to think I could do anything!  I made a large mirror frame for a client out of copper polymer and incorporated beads and copper braid.  It turned out to be about 42” x 54”.  The frame was made with many (I mean many) pieces of 3” x 4” copper ruffles glued to a wood frame.  The client still has it and I still remember my friend Phyllis working with me to make more ruffles. 

Polymer Clay Mirror Frame
I still have some of that clay plus a lot of other colors.  It takes a lot of conditioning to make it pliable but it works!  It also took a couple of hours to clean the pasta maker before I started on Patrik’s projects!  Seems I did not clean it well after the mirror project.  I’ll certainly be more careful about the cleaning from now on. 
Patrik is an excellent teacher and having the videos to refer to helped.  I made the silver clay pendant with a design on the back and the front would hold the polymer clay.  I made the canes and filled the circle as directed.  The silver, copper and purple clays blended together beautifully.   Yes, I was happy and baked (or cured) the polymer clay, sealed it and finished the pendant.

I had several small piles of purple, silver and copper polymer clay lying on my work bench.  I just had to use it!  I blended it and added pieces of the cane.  A bracelet! I wanted to make a bracelet and made rectangles.  I made beads, a focal tube and pieces for earrings.  I realized I was on a tangent that just had to get finished. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Healing Butterflies





Good Morning Everyone!  This week Peter and I are in Tucson AZ getting a 2nd medical opinion for Peter’s recently discovered condition.  When I was deciding what to write or even whether to write a post today, I flipped through my photos and saw these butterflies.  They were in a store window in Coronado Ca when I was visiting.  I love butterflies and always thought it would be more than wonderful to have a room painted that almost sunshine yellow of the early morning.  Hundreds of butterflies would hang from the ceiling at different heights.  When I opened my eyes I could almost hear their wings pushing through the air and just maybe one would land on my  nose and in my heart! 


I am imagining thousands of butterflies bringing healing thoughts, prayers, and warm energy to Tucson as we visit the doctors to find a way back to good health for Peter. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Design Becomes Reality

When I used to design homes, I knew what they would look like in my mind.  And I always sighed gratefully and with relief when the homes were finished and they really did look like what I imagined.  It is the same with my jewelry.

Viking Knit with pearls

The beautiful crystal prism that I saved (who knows why) from some chandelier years ago would become my focal. When I added pearls to viking knit just to see what it looked like, I had no idea where I would use it (see post http://lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/search?q=viking+knit+and+pearls). As I sat at my workbench with my pencil, paper and parts, this design took shape.  I realized I did not have enough pearls and knew the Tucson Gem Show was coming up.  I drew the design and put the parts (prism and viking knit with pearls) in a box.   I could get pearls the right color and size to finish my recycled prism necklace.
Some major health issues popped up in our house and I had to cancel the Tucson trip.  A couple of very good friends, Jay and Jennifer, went in my stead.  And from an emailed photo and some description they were able to find the exact pearls I needed.  I could hardly wait to receive them in the mail. 
When they arrived, everything stopped so I could sit down in my studio and complete the design. It felt so good to get it out of my head and in to a finished necklace.  And it turned out just as I planned.  That is such a good feeling and I just had to share with you.   


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Woodpeckers Everywhere


Acorn Woodpecker on my porch - Had to share this one!

  
Woodpeckers are all around my neighborhood.  Peter and I took a walk and saw four different species in just a few minutes.  They are so much fun to watch flying and pecking holes in the trees.
The most common one I see is the Acorn Woodpecker.  He’s the one that looks a little like a clown and sounds like he is laughing.  The male has a brilliant red cap starting at the forehead while the females have a black area between the forehead and the cap.  Look for the white neck, throat, and forehead patches as field marks to identify these birds.  They rely on acorns as well as insects for food and they often peck holes in a tree to store acorns for winter.    
Acorn Woodpecker
  
Williamson Sapsuckers are gorgeous woodpeckers.  The male has a bright yellow belly, a bright red patch under the chin and is black and white.  I just stopped and watched him drill sap wells in the tree.  The female is not as dramatic with her brown head and barred black and white feathers.  In fact, they were first thought to be different species.

The Hairy Woodpecker has a thorn-like beak and is a small powerful bird often seen foraging in the main branches of trees.  They have 2 stripes on their head and a large white patch runs down their backs.  The oldest known Hairy Woodpecker lived 15 years and 11 months.
Hairy Woodpecker
  
The last woodpecker we saw on our hour walk was a Northern Flicker.  This bird is overall grayish brown with black bars, spots and crescents.  A white rump patch is really noticeable when they fly.  The undersides of the wings and tail feathers are red here in Arizona but some are yellow in the East.  They spend a lot of time on the ground looking for insects. 
Northern Flicker
  
My new word for this post is zygodactyl   Woodpeckers (and some other birds like parrots) have zygodactyl feet that consist of four toes, the first and the fourth facing backward and the second and third facing forward. This helps them grasp the limbs and trunks of trees. They can walk vertically up a tree trunk-good for activities such as foraging for food or cleaning out a nest.  Woodpeckers fly in an up and down pattern and then glide.  It reminds me of flying in a scallop pattern.
So next time you see a woodpecker, really look at it and find out what kind it is!





Friday, February 10, 2012

The Adventure of Making Chain


Bead-It (Prescott AZ) and I are offering a class to make a viking knit bracelet in March.  I took the class example in to the bead store and in the process came home with two new (to me) tools to experiment with - a Knitting Spool and a Wyr Knittr. I wanted to know how the chain looked using these techniques compared to the Viking knit and how the processes differed.
Viking Knit Example









Check my post on viking knit to see that technique. http://lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2011/10/learning-as-we-go.html

 I started with the Knitting Spool – a wooden spool about 3” tall and 1 ½” wide with a hole through the middle.  There are 5 cotter pins on the top and the wire is wound around the pins in one of 2 patterns.  A pick helps put the lower wire over the upper wire at each cotter pin for each row.  The knitted tube is funneled through the center hole and comes out the bottom.   

Knitter Spool Example

I think it took me a couple of tries to conquer the technique and I found it fun to see the tube grow.  I made enough for a bracelet and when I took it off the spool, it definitely looks knitted. Completely different look than the viking knit.   I used 26 gauge wire and could certainly use 28 or 30. 
    Wyr Knitter came in a package with 3 heavy clips, the knitter, and 30 gauge wire.  I read the instructions…several times.  And then I started with step 1, step 2, step 3…….  I figured out the technique on the 4th try.  I sometimes wonder if I am just slow and if one of those times was now. 
Wyr Knitter

By the time I learned to hold the knitter correctly applying the correct tension to the wire, attached the clip on the bottom as I continued reading the directions turning the handle slowly, I knew this was going to take some time.  It is vital that the wire and the hooks work in tandem and if you don’t watch carefully the clip on the hook will be in the wrong position or not allow the wire to come up and over.   

I was expecting the knittr to facilitate the process but I found I had to pay very close attention.  The wire also kept breaking increasing my frustration level.  So after 12 attempts to knit with this contraption, I decided to write this post.  As you can see in the photos, I eventually got 1” done and it looks good.  And yes, the wire broke and I quit. 
Two bad examples of Wyr Knittr - wire brok often
This is just NOT a tool that I will have at my disposal.  I’m sure many people use it effectively.  I’ve seen the pictures.   In fact, I went on line looking for information that might make it easier and give me a reason to try again.  The link www.wyrknittr.com that came with the tool has no information on this.  I googled wyr knittr and found several places that sell and have the same pictures as the instructions.  My advice on this tool would be …..find someplace to try it before investing.  I’m taking mine back to the store! 
  


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Labyrinth Garden

On my recent trip to Tucson’s Sonoran Desert Museum, I took time to walk paths and really enjoy the scenery.  I was drawn to a garden area with a spiral path.  The path was a labyrinth design and following it I became quietly thoughtful.  I was focused on the here and now as I looked at the rocks and plants beside me.   Quite the Zen experience!
Later I read the signage about the path and was intrigued.  A labyrinth is a combination of a circle and a spiral that meanders into a meaningful experience.  There are two types of labyrinth patterns.  The archetypal design is classical – about 4000 years old.  It is a single pathway that loops back and forth to form 7 circuits around a single goal.  The one at the Desert Museum is a variation with 5 circuits.  The medieval labyrinth is the second pattern and is very symmetrical.  It was developed in the 10th and 11th centuries and has eleven concentric circles.  The Chartres labyrinth is an example of this.  Wish I had been more aware when I visited Chartres.  http://www.lessons4living.com/chartres_labyrinth.htm

Throughout history, labyrinths have symbolized journey and spiritual renewal.  Today we are seeing this pattern in churches, schools, gardens, hospital grounds and parks.  Wholeness, balance, unity, and development are qualities that have been attached to the concept.   
I came across this one in a campground in the Chiricahua Mountains.

The ‘man in the maze’ design is a common pattern in the Tohono O’odham Indian culture and is just one of many labyrinth patterns seen throughout history.  The baskets with this design are beautiful and the weavers often refer to the pattern as the floor plan to the house of the creator.  http://www.rivertradingpost.com/Man%20In%20The%20Maze.htm 

Thinking of building your own labyrinth garden?  http://www.labyrinthbuilders.co.uk/about_labyrinths/labyrinth_building.html


Friday, February 3, 2012

Last Week's Survey Results

First, thank you to everyone who looked, read and especially a big thank you to those who responded to the survey. 

#3 Best Liked Style

I compiled you answers and here are the results:
14 liked the idea
5 liked the shiny
7 liked the patina finish
7 liked #3 (the leaves)
3 liked #1 (the swirl engraved look)

#1 Best Liked Finish

4 liked all of the styles
3 liked a silver chain
4 liked a simple chain
7 either would use their own chain or had no opinion
My conclusions:
My basic idea was well received and has lots of possibilities.
Variety is the spice of life.
Chains are an add-on.

There are lots more ideas, twists and turns, in my head.  Keep watching for them!  Check out my etsy site: www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Butterflies and Thank You's


Thanks for all the healing butterflies we received!  Keep them coming! 

So many people have severe health issues.  Those of us who have a network of friends and family that offer both emotional and physical support are indeed the lucky ones.  It’s how we get through the bad times. 

So I am taking this opportunity to once again thank our friends and family for their continued love.  The phone calls, emails and hugs mean so much.  Being reminded that each story is unique and not a repeat; being reminded that all I have to do is pick up the phone to hear a caring voice; and being reminded that there is always someone to listen have pulled me back from a previous story and grounded me in reality. 

So we will go to Tucson and have more testing done on Peter.  We will see his doctor and build a game plan and go forward.  Whatever the results, they are treatable. We will continue to love, live and hang onto our wonderful network of friends and family.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tangents with Polymer Clay

A couple of weeks ago, I took Patrik Kusek’s Warm Connections Class with Craftcast  http://www.craftcast.com/classes.  I’ve been trying out some of his techniques for combining silver metal clay and polymer clay. 

Several years ago I took Lisa Pavelka’s https://www.lisapavelka.com/Gallery.asp  classes at Art Unraveled http://www.artunraveled.com/  and learned just enough about polymer clay to think I could do anything!  I made a large mirror frame for a client out of copper polymer and incorporated beads and copper braid.  It turned out to be about 42” x 54”.  The frame was made with many (I mean many) pieces of 3” x 4” copper ruffles glued to a wood frame.  The client still has it and I still remember my friend Phyllis working with me to make more ruffles. 

Polymer Clay Mirror Frame
I still have some of that clay plus a lot of other colors.  It takes a lot of conditioning to make it pliable but it works!  It also took a couple of hours to clean the pasta maker before I started on Patrik’s projects!  Seems I did not clean it well after the mirror project.  I’ll certainly be more careful about the cleaning from now on. 
Patrik is an excellent teacher and having the videos to refer to helped.  I made the silver clay pendant with a design on the back and the front would hold the polymer clay.  I made the canes and filled the circle as directed.  The silver, copper and purple clays blended together beautifully.   Yes, I was happy and baked (or cured) the polymer clay, sealed it and finished the pendant.

I had several small piles of purple, silver and copper polymer clay lying on my work bench.  I just had to use it!  I blended it and added pieces of the cane.  A bracelet! I wanted to make a bracelet and made rectangles.  I made beads, a focal tube and pieces for earrings.  I realized I was on a tangent that just had to get finished. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Healing Butterflies





Good Morning Everyone!  This week Peter and I are in Tucson AZ getting a 2nd medical opinion for Peter’s recently discovered condition.  When I was deciding what to write or even whether to write a post today, I flipped through my photos and saw these butterflies.  They were in a store window in Coronado Ca when I was visiting.  I love butterflies and always thought it would be more than wonderful to have a room painted that almost sunshine yellow of the early morning.  Hundreds of butterflies would hang from the ceiling at different heights.  When I opened my eyes I could almost hear their wings pushing through the air and just maybe one would land on my  nose and in my heart! 


I am imagining thousands of butterflies bringing healing thoughts, prayers, and warm energy to Tucson as we visit the doctors to find a way back to good health for Peter. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Design Becomes Reality

When I used to design homes, I knew what they would look like in my mind.  And I always sighed gratefully and with relief when the homes were finished and they really did look like what I imagined.  It is the same with my jewelry.

Viking Knit with pearls

The beautiful crystal prism that I saved (who knows why) from some chandelier years ago would become my focal. When I added pearls to viking knit just to see what it looked like, I had no idea where I would use it (see post http://lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/search?q=viking+knit+and+pearls). As I sat at my workbench with my pencil, paper and parts, this design took shape.  I realized I did not have enough pearls and knew the Tucson Gem Show was coming up.  I drew the design and put the parts (prism and viking knit with pearls) in a box.   I could get pearls the right color and size to finish my recycled prism necklace.
Some major health issues popped up in our house and I had to cancel the Tucson trip.  A couple of very good friends, Jay and Jennifer, went in my stead.  And from an emailed photo and some description they were able to find the exact pearls I needed.  I could hardly wait to receive them in the mail. 
When they arrived, everything stopped so I could sit down in my studio and complete the design. It felt so good to get it out of my head and in to a finished necklace.  And it turned out just as I planned.  That is such a good feeling and I just had to share with you.   


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Woodpeckers Everywhere


Acorn Woodpecker on my porch - Had to share this one!

  
Woodpeckers are all around my neighborhood.  Peter and I took a walk and saw four different species in just a few minutes.  They are so much fun to watch flying and pecking holes in the trees.
The most common one I see is the Acorn Woodpecker.  He’s the one that looks a little like a clown and sounds like he is laughing.  The male has a brilliant red cap starting at the forehead while the females have a black area between the forehead and the cap.  Look for the white neck, throat, and forehead patches as field marks to identify these birds.  They rely on acorns as well as insects for food and they often peck holes in a tree to store acorns for winter.    
Acorn Woodpecker
  
Williamson Sapsuckers are gorgeous woodpeckers.  The male has a bright yellow belly, a bright red patch under the chin and is black and white.  I just stopped and watched him drill sap wells in the tree.  The female is not as dramatic with her brown head and barred black and white feathers.  In fact, they were first thought to be different species.

The Hairy Woodpecker has a thorn-like beak and is a small powerful bird often seen foraging in the main branches of trees.  They have 2 stripes on their head and a large white patch runs down their backs.  The oldest known Hairy Woodpecker lived 15 years and 11 months.
Hairy Woodpecker
  
The last woodpecker we saw on our hour walk was a Northern Flicker.  This bird is overall grayish brown with black bars, spots and crescents.  A white rump patch is really noticeable when they fly.  The undersides of the wings and tail feathers are red here in Arizona but some are yellow in the East.  They spend a lot of time on the ground looking for insects. 
Northern Flicker
  
My new word for this post is zygodactyl   Woodpeckers (and some other birds like parrots) have zygodactyl feet that consist of four toes, the first and the fourth facing backward and the second and third facing forward. This helps them grasp the limbs and trunks of trees. They can walk vertically up a tree trunk-good for activities such as foraging for food or cleaning out a nest.  Woodpeckers fly in an up and down pattern and then glide.  It reminds me of flying in a scallop pattern.
So next time you see a woodpecker, really look at it and find out what kind it is!





Friday, February 10, 2012

The Adventure of Making Chain


Bead-It (Prescott AZ) and I are offering a class to make a viking knit bracelet in March.  I took the class example in to the bead store and in the process came home with two new (to me) tools to experiment with - a Knitting Spool and a Wyr Knittr. I wanted to know how the chain looked using these techniques compared to the Viking knit and how the processes differed.
Viking Knit Example









Check my post on viking knit to see that technique. http://lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2011/10/learning-as-we-go.html

 I started with the Knitting Spool – a wooden spool about 3” tall and 1 ½” wide with a hole through the middle.  There are 5 cotter pins on the top and the wire is wound around the pins in one of 2 patterns.  A pick helps put the lower wire over the upper wire at each cotter pin for each row.  The knitted tube is funneled through the center hole and comes out the bottom.   

Knitter Spool Example

I think it took me a couple of tries to conquer the technique and I found it fun to see the tube grow.  I made enough for a bracelet and when I took it off the spool, it definitely looks knitted. Completely different look than the viking knit.   I used 26 gauge wire and could certainly use 28 or 30. 
    Wyr Knitter came in a package with 3 heavy clips, the knitter, and 30 gauge wire.  I read the instructions…several times.  And then I started with step 1, step 2, step 3…….  I figured out the technique on the 4th try.  I sometimes wonder if I am just slow and if one of those times was now. 
Wyr Knitter

By the time I learned to hold the knitter correctly applying the correct tension to the wire, attached the clip on the bottom as I continued reading the directions turning the handle slowly, I knew this was going to take some time.  It is vital that the wire and the hooks work in tandem and if you don’t watch carefully the clip on the hook will be in the wrong position or not allow the wire to come up and over.   

I was expecting the knittr to facilitate the process but I found I had to pay very close attention.  The wire also kept breaking increasing my frustration level.  So after 12 attempts to knit with this contraption, I decided to write this post.  As you can see in the photos, I eventually got 1” done and it looks good.  And yes, the wire broke and I quit. 
Two bad examples of Wyr Knittr - wire brok often
This is just NOT a tool that I will have at my disposal.  I’m sure many people use it effectively.  I’ve seen the pictures.   In fact, I went on line looking for information that might make it easier and give me a reason to try again.  The link www.wyrknittr.com that came with the tool has no information on this.  I googled wyr knittr and found several places that sell and have the same pictures as the instructions.  My advice on this tool would be …..find someplace to try it before investing.  I’m taking mine back to the store! 
  


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Labyrinth Garden

On my recent trip to Tucson’s Sonoran Desert Museum, I took time to walk paths and really enjoy the scenery.  I was drawn to a garden area with a spiral path.  The path was a labyrinth design and following it I became quietly thoughtful.  I was focused on the here and now as I looked at the rocks and plants beside me.   Quite the Zen experience!
Later I read the signage about the path and was intrigued.  A labyrinth is a combination of a circle and a spiral that meanders into a meaningful experience.  There are two types of labyrinth patterns.  The archetypal design is classical – about 4000 years old.  It is a single pathway that loops back and forth to form 7 circuits around a single goal.  The one at the Desert Museum is a variation with 5 circuits.  The medieval labyrinth is the second pattern and is very symmetrical.  It was developed in the 10th and 11th centuries and has eleven concentric circles.  The Chartres labyrinth is an example of this.  Wish I had been more aware when I visited Chartres.  http://www.lessons4living.com/chartres_labyrinth.htm

Throughout history, labyrinths have symbolized journey and spiritual renewal.  Today we are seeing this pattern in churches, schools, gardens, hospital grounds and parks.  Wholeness, balance, unity, and development are qualities that have been attached to the concept.   
I came across this one in a campground in the Chiricahua Mountains.

The ‘man in the maze’ design is a common pattern in the Tohono O’odham Indian culture and is just one of many labyrinth patterns seen throughout history.  The baskets with this design are beautiful and the weavers often refer to the pattern as the floor plan to the house of the creator.  http://www.rivertradingpost.com/Man%20In%20The%20Maze.htm 

Thinking of building your own labyrinth garden?  http://www.labyrinthbuilders.co.uk/about_labyrinths/labyrinth_building.html


Friday, February 3, 2012

Last Week's Survey Results

First, thank you to everyone who looked, read and especially a big thank you to those who responded to the survey. 

#3 Best Liked Style

I compiled you answers and here are the results:
14 liked the idea
5 liked the shiny
7 liked the patina finish
7 liked #3 (the leaves)
3 liked #1 (the swirl engraved look)

#1 Best Liked Finish

4 liked all of the styles
3 liked a silver chain
4 liked a simple chain
7 either would use their own chain or had no opinion
My conclusions:
My basic idea was well received and has lots of possibilities.
Variety is the spice of life.
Chains are an add-on.

There are lots more ideas, twists and turns, in my head.  Keep watching for them!  Check out my etsy site: www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign