Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Elegance of the Black-necked Stilt

Look how close he is!
I can see his red eye with the white eye ring.
See those long thin red legs?
He looks like he is dressed in his best tuxedo
White throat and belly with that contrast of black

Carefully picking his way through the shallow water
Looking for food with his long, thin, straight black bill.
He pecks and plunges his head into the water
To capture fish and beetles and tadpoles.
Ah! The simplicity and elegance of nature!

Linda Britt

Friday, November 23, 2012

Conversation - a Picture Story


This is such a good time of year for conversation, being thankful and enjoying life.  I watched these two Northern Pintails (ducks) having just such a conversation – at least that’s what I thought!  Today’s blog is a picture story of ‘Conversation’.










Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Finding Treasure in Handkerchiefs

Recently I decided to clean out the master bedroom closet.  It is a long narrow walk in closet and the coldest place in the house in the winter.  It was now or wait until spring. 
I began with the usual – going through the hanging clothes and then the shoes and last the boxes that never got unpacked from the last move.  That was when the fun began! 
When I opened a small box of handkerchiefs I could almost smell the lilac fragrance my grandmother was so found of.  There was a stack of my mother’s and grandmother’s beautiful handkerchiefs I had forgotten about.  Both women loved the femininity of the embroidery and lace on batiste and fine linen fabric.  They never went anywhere without a clean ironed square in their purses. 
 
Finding those handkerchiefs got me to thinking about handkerchiefs in general and I did a little research.  It seems that King Richard II of England, who reigned from 1377 to 1399, was responsible for the original squares of fabric for nose blowing.  His courtiers made notes about this.  They were widely used in Shakespeare’s time. 
The fabric, especially during the Victorian era, denoted the bearer’s social status.  People with more money used the more expensive decorated fabric and of course their handkerchiefs were more about style than practical use.  Cotton, silk and linen were the fabrics of choice.  Children used to carry small items in them and for a time messages were sent to others by the type of folds used. 
It’s almost a shame that we don’t see people using handkerchief anymore.  They have such an interesting history.   I’ve seen beautiful vests, quilts, placemats, valances and cuffs made from vintage hankies.  I’m going to be carefully pressing and listing these heirlooms on my vintage etsy site.   Watch for them! www.etsy.com/shop/brittdesign  and perhaps you will come up with your own ideas of using them.  I’d be interested in them so please share.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Storing Finished Pieces of Jewelry

How do you store your finished projects? Please leave your solutions in the comment box and I’ll share them.
 As I look around my studio, I see earrings on cards and earrings on stands.  I see necklaces stacked next to each other on the necklace jewelry stand. Necklaces hang from hooks on the side of my cabinet.   I see a necklace on a neck display stand, stacks of bracelets and so much more.   It’s a little overwhelming.
 I think I am hyperventilating!  Too much of everything takes my mind away from creating and leaves me wondering what to do with it all.  How can I make more?  Where would I put it and how can I rationalize buying more supplies for more jewelry making?  Surely I’m not the only jewelry designer/artist with this problem?

 I need a system for storing the finished pieces that are listed in my website store www.lindabrittdesign.com and on my etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign.  Focus!  That’s what I need!  And more sales!

My solution (at least for now) is to put the finished pieces in gift boxes and attach a photo to the outside.  A rubber band holds it together just in case a gift box turns over in my plastic tub.  It’s a good start and I don’t have to open each box every time I look for a certain piece.   I’m keeping my newest or most favorite pieces out to remind me where I am in the learning curve of making jewelry.  It is also nice to show my friends what I’m doing at the moment. 
 
I’m calmer now.  It must be time to start a new project!




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Weekend Getaway!

Cormorants Visit Santee Lakes and Hang Out!
There is nothing like a weekend getaway to widen and relax one’s perspective.  We drove from Prescott AZ to Coronado Island CA and stayed at a friend’s lovely home.  The reason?  An early music concert by Concerto Koln http://www.concerto-koeln.de/home_welcome.php?lang=eng at Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in San Diego.  What an amazing evening.  The baroque music was exquisite and the hall, designed for the San Diego Symphony, was perfect for the instruments.  The evening’s highlight for me was  Vivaldi’s ‘Concerto for Recorder, Strings, and Continuo in C, RV 443’ with Cordula Breuer playing the Sopranino Recorder.  I had not seen or heard this instrument before.  Picture the recorder you played in grade school and make it 6” long.  It was amazing to watch and listen to an artist playing with her fingers literally flying.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recorder
Another day we went birding at the Santee Lakes.  What a show.  http://www.santeelakes.com/  Padre Dam Municipal Water District built this area to show how wastewater can be used in recreation areas as it increases the water supply at no cost to the taxpayer.  The area is periodically toured by international and national urban planners, architects and government officials.  This is a beautiful area. 

Snowy Egret watches for fish

The Osprey and the egrets were touring the day we were there.  I watched an Osprey sit high in a tree watching for food.  He targeted a fish in the lake and swooped down, caught it and flew away with his lunch.  Talk about good eyesight!
 
Osprey checking out his options
  
Osprey Going in for his lunch

 
Tri-colored Blackbird

The great egret was just popping up along the rise with a fish he caught.  It took about 15 minutes for him to eat it.  And there were tri-colored blackbirds, ducks, snowy egrets and great heron walking around not very afraid of us humans.  So I’m sharing some of the highlights with you while I remember the relaxing getaway. 
Great Blue Heron

Great Egret with tiny fish











Friday, November 9, 2012

Red and White Swirl Holiday Lentil Beads

One of the things I love about Facebook is being directed to tutorials concerning subjects of interest to me.  For instance, I’d been playing with swirls and lentil polymer beads when I spotted a link chock full of helpful hints.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6Oq0G54jIYk  Thanks to Cindy Lietz, my beads look much better and I understand about getting the colors more or less where I want them.  If you haven’t seen this video, you just might want to!
 
A few months ago, I made red and white and ivory canes based on a quilt pattern design.  I made them in various sizes of squares and put them away thinking they would be great for the Christmas holidays.  This week they came out of their box and I started making buttons and earrings.

What to do with the scraps?  Lentil swirl beads of course!  I’m having such fun forming my polymer balls and putting the scrap canes in a band around the outside.   Then I take my clear acrylic sheet, start the circular motion and watch the bands become swirls.  Mesmerizing! 
I’ve tried making buttons from them by drilling a shank effect in the back and there is undoubtedly an easier way of doing that.  I still need to file the openings but needed to put this photo in the post.  Suggestions?
The drilled hole goes through the back of the bead.
Last night’s project was a necklace.  I took some square bone beads, some carved beads and my red/ivory swirl lentil bead and went to work.  This Holiday Necklace is the end result and will be my newest addition to my etsy shop   www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign 





Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trip to Jerome AZ - Changes

Taking a day trip to Jerome AZ should not be such a big deal for three girlfriends since we live in Prescott – not so far away.  Finding a day that worked for all of us took a while!  I’ve wanted to go to Nellie Bly ‘the biggest kaleidoscope store in the world’ for 16 years!  They have been open for 25 years but I’ve only known they existed for 16. 
 We left at 10 a.m. and lunched in Jerome at ‘Grapes’.  Each of us ordered a different dish and shared great food and fun.   Sounds like a girl’s day out, doesn’t it?  We visited just about every store.  Of course, I stayed in Nellie Bly’s a long time.  I just missed the annual workshop teaching how to make those incredible tubes of color and changing shapes.  It’s on my calendar for next year.
If you haven’t guessed, I’m crazy for kaleidoscopes.  Once when there were many things happening in my life, I took a class called ‘Changes’.  There was discussion on why and how changes affect us, what we could do to help ourselves travel through the change and come out with a positive attitude.  One suggestion was to select something that would signify change and help us see it for what it was.  I chose kaleidoscopes because each time I looked through one, there was a difference configuration.  Each change of color and shape was beautiful and new.  Kaleidoscopes remind me that with each change comes a shift, an unsettling that becomes new and exciting – an adventure and a new picture.  Now I collect a kaleidoscope with each big change in my life.  I could have stayed in that store all day and will just have to go back again and again!
In a store “Lola….whatever she wants” looking up on a high shelf, I saw wonderful manikin heads from the 1920’s and 1940’s.  Spectacular!  Oh to have one to display a hat.
On and on we went visiting most of the stores.  I guess I will confess: outside the last gallery I was spellbound looking at the revolving sculpture and fell face forward into a very large bush of lavender.  It broke my fall so I was not hurt and it happened so fast that I just remember the fragrance that surrounded me.   The plant and I will survive and Jerome will forever be associated with kaleidoscopes and lavender.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Raven In Flight





One of the benefits of taking online classes is building an arsenal of techniques that can be drawn on to produce the design that is in the mind’s eye.   After practicing making transfers to polymer in Heather Campbell’s class, a design idea popped into my head that could incorporate some of my own photographs into my polymer jewelry. 
Looking through my photographs (I have hundreds..really) and deciding which images to use took a little time!  I made digital copies and turned them into black and white photographs, reduced them to contact sheet size and printed them using the toner printer.   Then I rolled out the creamy blend of white and Sahara Fimo polymer clay to #3, placed it on a tile and put a thin coating of clay softener over the clay.  The cut out images were placed upside down on the clay.  As you can see from the photo to the finished piece, the image is reversed.  If there is writing that is very important! 
Learning to burnish the images with my fingers and a blade tool was more difficult and more important that I expected.  Once the images were burnished, I waited between 15 and 30 minutes.  I admit it! I peeked by lifting an edge to see if the ink had transferred to the clay.  Some had and some not.  I burnished again.  Lifted again and burnished again until most of the ink was on the clay.  It seemed that the more detailed the image the less clear it transferred.  Out of 4 images, 2 came out good. 
Before baking
The raven in flight was my pick to make into a pendant.  Because the ink stays wet until the piece is baked, it is important to carefully lift it.  I layered it on black, stacked that on a sheet of ivory with silver foil (left from another project) and stacked that on another layer of black.  Thin strips of the foiled ivory were placed around the image.  After baking, the finished look has a vintage quality to it.  I like it!  What do you think?
Finished!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Elegance of the Black-necked Stilt

Look how close he is!
I can see his red eye with the white eye ring.
See those long thin red legs?
He looks like he is dressed in his best tuxedo
White throat and belly with that contrast of black

Carefully picking his way through the shallow water
Looking for food with his long, thin, straight black bill.
He pecks and plunges his head into the water
To capture fish and beetles and tadpoles.
Ah! The simplicity and elegance of nature!

Linda Britt

Friday, November 23, 2012

Conversation - a Picture Story


This is such a good time of year for conversation, being thankful and enjoying life.  I watched these two Northern Pintails (ducks) having just such a conversation – at least that’s what I thought!  Today’s blog is a picture story of ‘Conversation’.










Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Finding Treasure in Handkerchiefs

Recently I decided to clean out the master bedroom closet.  It is a long narrow walk in closet and the coldest place in the house in the winter.  It was now or wait until spring. 
I began with the usual – going through the hanging clothes and then the shoes and last the boxes that never got unpacked from the last move.  That was when the fun began! 
When I opened a small box of handkerchiefs I could almost smell the lilac fragrance my grandmother was so found of.  There was a stack of my mother’s and grandmother’s beautiful handkerchiefs I had forgotten about.  Both women loved the femininity of the embroidery and lace on batiste and fine linen fabric.  They never went anywhere without a clean ironed square in their purses. 
 
Finding those handkerchiefs got me to thinking about handkerchiefs in general and I did a little research.  It seems that King Richard II of England, who reigned from 1377 to 1399, was responsible for the original squares of fabric for nose blowing.  His courtiers made notes about this.  They were widely used in Shakespeare’s time. 
The fabric, especially during the Victorian era, denoted the bearer’s social status.  People with more money used the more expensive decorated fabric and of course their handkerchiefs were more about style than practical use.  Cotton, silk and linen were the fabrics of choice.  Children used to carry small items in them and for a time messages were sent to others by the type of folds used. 
It’s almost a shame that we don’t see people using handkerchief anymore.  They have such an interesting history.   I’ve seen beautiful vests, quilts, placemats, valances and cuffs made from vintage hankies.  I’m going to be carefully pressing and listing these heirlooms on my vintage etsy site.   Watch for them! www.etsy.com/shop/brittdesign  and perhaps you will come up with your own ideas of using them.  I’d be interested in them so please share.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Storing Finished Pieces of Jewelry

How do you store your finished projects? Please leave your solutions in the comment box and I’ll share them.
 As I look around my studio, I see earrings on cards and earrings on stands.  I see necklaces stacked next to each other on the necklace jewelry stand. Necklaces hang from hooks on the side of my cabinet.   I see a necklace on a neck display stand, stacks of bracelets and so much more.   It’s a little overwhelming.
 I think I am hyperventilating!  Too much of everything takes my mind away from creating and leaves me wondering what to do with it all.  How can I make more?  Where would I put it and how can I rationalize buying more supplies for more jewelry making?  Surely I’m not the only jewelry designer/artist with this problem?

 I need a system for storing the finished pieces that are listed in my website store www.lindabrittdesign.com and on my etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign.  Focus!  That’s what I need!  And more sales!

My solution (at least for now) is to put the finished pieces in gift boxes and attach a photo to the outside.  A rubber band holds it together just in case a gift box turns over in my plastic tub.  It’s a good start and I don’t have to open each box every time I look for a certain piece.   I’m keeping my newest or most favorite pieces out to remind me where I am in the learning curve of making jewelry.  It is also nice to show my friends what I’m doing at the moment. 
 
I’m calmer now.  It must be time to start a new project!




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Weekend Getaway!

Cormorants Visit Santee Lakes and Hang Out!
There is nothing like a weekend getaway to widen and relax one’s perspective.  We drove from Prescott AZ to Coronado Island CA and stayed at a friend’s lovely home.  The reason?  An early music concert by Concerto Koln http://www.concerto-koeln.de/home_welcome.php?lang=eng at Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in San Diego.  What an amazing evening.  The baroque music was exquisite and the hall, designed for the San Diego Symphony, was perfect for the instruments.  The evening’s highlight for me was  Vivaldi’s ‘Concerto for Recorder, Strings, and Continuo in C, RV 443’ with Cordula Breuer playing the Sopranino Recorder.  I had not seen or heard this instrument before.  Picture the recorder you played in grade school and make it 6” long.  It was amazing to watch and listen to an artist playing with her fingers literally flying.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recorder
Another day we went birding at the Santee Lakes.  What a show.  http://www.santeelakes.com/  Padre Dam Municipal Water District built this area to show how wastewater can be used in recreation areas as it increases the water supply at no cost to the taxpayer.  The area is periodically toured by international and national urban planners, architects and government officials.  This is a beautiful area. 

Snowy Egret watches for fish

The Osprey and the egrets were touring the day we were there.  I watched an Osprey sit high in a tree watching for food.  He targeted a fish in the lake and swooped down, caught it and flew away with his lunch.  Talk about good eyesight!
 
Osprey checking out his options
  
Osprey Going in for his lunch

 
Tri-colored Blackbird

The great egret was just popping up along the rise with a fish he caught.  It took about 15 minutes for him to eat it.  And there were tri-colored blackbirds, ducks, snowy egrets and great heron walking around not very afraid of us humans.  So I’m sharing some of the highlights with you while I remember the relaxing getaway. 
Great Blue Heron

Great Egret with tiny fish











Friday, November 9, 2012

Red and White Swirl Holiday Lentil Beads

One of the things I love about Facebook is being directed to tutorials concerning subjects of interest to me.  For instance, I’d been playing with swirls and lentil polymer beads when I spotted a link chock full of helpful hints.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6Oq0G54jIYk  Thanks to Cindy Lietz, my beads look much better and I understand about getting the colors more or less where I want them.  If you haven’t seen this video, you just might want to!
 
A few months ago, I made red and white and ivory canes based on a quilt pattern design.  I made them in various sizes of squares and put them away thinking they would be great for the Christmas holidays.  This week they came out of their box and I started making buttons and earrings.

What to do with the scraps?  Lentil swirl beads of course!  I’m having such fun forming my polymer balls and putting the scrap canes in a band around the outside.   Then I take my clear acrylic sheet, start the circular motion and watch the bands become swirls.  Mesmerizing! 
I’ve tried making buttons from them by drilling a shank effect in the back and there is undoubtedly an easier way of doing that.  I still need to file the openings but needed to put this photo in the post.  Suggestions?
The drilled hole goes through the back of the bead.
Last night’s project was a necklace.  I took some square bone beads, some carved beads and my red/ivory swirl lentil bead and went to work.  This Holiday Necklace is the end result and will be my newest addition to my etsy shop   www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign 





Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trip to Jerome AZ - Changes

Taking a day trip to Jerome AZ should not be such a big deal for three girlfriends since we live in Prescott – not so far away.  Finding a day that worked for all of us took a while!  I’ve wanted to go to Nellie Bly ‘the biggest kaleidoscope store in the world’ for 16 years!  They have been open for 25 years but I’ve only known they existed for 16. 
 We left at 10 a.m. and lunched in Jerome at ‘Grapes’.  Each of us ordered a different dish and shared great food and fun.   Sounds like a girl’s day out, doesn’t it?  We visited just about every store.  Of course, I stayed in Nellie Bly’s a long time.  I just missed the annual workshop teaching how to make those incredible tubes of color and changing shapes.  It’s on my calendar for next year.
If you haven’t guessed, I’m crazy for kaleidoscopes.  Once when there were many things happening in my life, I took a class called ‘Changes’.  There was discussion on why and how changes affect us, what we could do to help ourselves travel through the change and come out with a positive attitude.  One suggestion was to select something that would signify change and help us see it for what it was.  I chose kaleidoscopes because each time I looked through one, there was a difference configuration.  Each change of color and shape was beautiful and new.  Kaleidoscopes remind me that with each change comes a shift, an unsettling that becomes new and exciting – an adventure and a new picture.  Now I collect a kaleidoscope with each big change in my life.  I could have stayed in that store all day and will just have to go back again and again!
In a store “Lola….whatever she wants” looking up on a high shelf, I saw wonderful manikin heads from the 1920’s and 1940’s.  Spectacular!  Oh to have one to display a hat.
On and on we went visiting most of the stores.  I guess I will confess: outside the last gallery I was spellbound looking at the revolving sculpture and fell face forward into a very large bush of lavender.  It broke my fall so I was not hurt and it happened so fast that I just remember the fragrance that surrounded me.   The plant and I will survive and Jerome will forever be associated with kaleidoscopes and lavender.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Raven In Flight





One of the benefits of taking online classes is building an arsenal of techniques that can be drawn on to produce the design that is in the mind’s eye.   After practicing making transfers to polymer in Heather Campbell’s class, a design idea popped into my head that could incorporate some of my own photographs into my polymer jewelry. 
Looking through my photographs (I have hundreds..really) and deciding which images to use took a little time!  I made digital copies and turned them into black and white photographs, reduced them to contact sheet size and printed them using the toner printer.   Then I rolled out the creamy blend of white and Sahara Fimo polymer clay to #3, placed it on a tile and put a thin coating of clay softener over the clay.  The cut out images were placed upside down on the clay.  As you can see from the photo to the finished piece, the image is reversed.  If there is writing that is very important! 
Learning to burnish the images with my fingers and a blade tool was more difficult and more important that I expected.  Once the images were burnished, I waited between 15 and 30 minutes.  I admit it! I peeked by lifting an edge to see if the ink had transferred to the clay.  Some had and some not.  I burnished again.  Lifted again and burnished again until most of the ink was on the clay.  It seemed that the more detailed the image the less clear it transferred.  Out of 4 images, 2 came out good. 
Before baking
The raven in flight was my pick to make into a pendant.  Because the ink stays wet until the piece is baked, it is important to carefully lift it.  I layered it on black, stacked that on a sheet of ivory with silver foil (left from another project) and stacked that on another layer of black.  Thin strips of the foiled ivory were placed around the image.  After baking, the finished look has a vintage quality to it.  I like it!  What do you think?
Finished!