Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays


From OUr House to Yours

Prescott AZ


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Friday, December 11, 2015

How I Tell Stories!


What is the story this elf is writing?

Storytelling has always fascinated me and I’ve attempted to tell stories throughout my life in various ways.  As a child, I listened to stories told by my parents and my grandparents.  I listened to stories told by their friends and I learned much about my family, my culture and formed my dreams.

Many years ago (30+), my niece was just the right age to have one of my dolls.  As I did not want to just give her the doll, I created a story for that doll with doll clothes for different activities.  She could take those props and make her own stories.

As a photographer I try to catch an image that makes you wonder or want to know more!

Why is this American Kestrel hovering?

As an interior designer, I had many shelves and pot ledges (high shelves popular in the southwest homes) to create.  I created stories that reflected the interests of my clients in an artistic manner. As I created the props or visual cues for the stories, the viewer could make up their own stories or ask the owner for theirs. 

Giving a Setting to Folk Art

 My favorite accessorizer, Jay Woehlck of Plant Effects, and I created many 3-D stories.  Using a group of jars filled with colorful fruit on a kitchen shelf might make us wonder where the fruit originated, appreciate the shape of unusual bottles and wonder what can be made or what the fruit tastes like.  Easy to make up a story! 

A group of Southwest Indian baskets tells of a person’s interest in a specific culture and craft.  Picture the elder basket weaver teaching a beginner or think of the fun of finding each basket for the collection.   The stories made by the viewer are endless. 

Collection of Southwest Baskets

Now that I make jewelry, I like for you to know how it is made, what material is used, where the stones came from and what inspired me.  In my ‘about me’ section of my website (www.lindabrittdesign.com) and my etsy site (www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign) I tell about my dad and my brothers mining a stone in the Mojave Desert and trade marking it ‘Mojave Stone’.  I share how my dad cut  and polished the stone making cabochons and how I came to have them.  It is important to me and hopefully interesting to you that I share the story behind my one of a kind creations.  Each piece is unique to the buyer filling a special need making both our lives better. 

Mojave Stone in the Sea

Stories help us dream, help us remember, reinforce history and bring us together.  Telling good stories is an art – an important art.  And this is the perfect time of year for stories!  I'd love to see/hear your stories.  Please share!
You might enjoy www.storycorps.com too!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Making Gift Giving Special


One evening I was searching for a small project to make, something easy to create and something for the holiday season.  Outside my window the pine trees swayed in the wind and caught my attention.  I wondered how I could use some of my old polymer canes with a holiday tree theme and this is what I came from that evening of play!

Plain sheet of polymer with edges trimmed and the patterned canes above.

Patterned canes sliced and graduated in size to make the tree ornaments


I'm learning to use Instagram  #brittdesign2 and decided to post my first attempts and actually got an order for more of these.  What a nice holiday surprise!  They can be used as ornaments, as gift tags or anything else that you think of.  A Sharpie is good to write a message or a name or date on the plain backs.  I have to make a few more for gifts to close friends and then hopefully I'll have a few in my Etsy shop!  www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign


Finished gift tags and ornaments



Friday, November 13, 2015

My Silver Bug Series BeginsBug #1



I'm one of those people fascinated by the textures, shapes and patterns of  bugs...  dead bugs - not live crawling bugs!  When I found stylized bug stamps in a glitter store in Cottonwood AZ, I ordered them all in small sizes.  http://www.artglitter.com/   I could use the stamps as a starting point for the silver bug series I've been creating in my head.

My first bug is done.  It has 2 orange CZ's in the antennae and a larger orange colored CZ in the center for some bling!  I dried the stamped clay on a round form with a flat piece for the back.  There is shape, texture and dimension in the silver.

Bug #1

My second bug is at the firing stage.  I stacked layers of silver clay for the wings on the back to give this one dimension and interest.  There is an aqua CZ in it's head and I can't wait to see it come out of the kiln.

Starting to cut the layers for bug #2

Back of Bug #2
 
Bug #2  not fired.
 I think this series will be my spring collection!  Keep checking in with my progress.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Weather and Creativity


Does a change in the weather affect my creativity?  Apparently it does!  I’ve been deciding what project to start, what project to finish, what project to put away. The result is a clean work station!  And I’m still thinking about what I want to do. 

Polymer canes - waiting!

Silver and stone design - waiting!
Prescott weather has gone from warm and sunny to cold and snowy to crisp and clear.  I’ve gone from wanting to be outside to wanting a fire and cup of hot tea to cleaning!  All in a week’s time. 

This is the result of the cleaning and I’m sure it will not look like this in a week’s time.  I just wanted to capture it for the moment to show how organized I can be when I’m not excited about anything else!

This also means I'm ready to start something new!  So be on the watch for it!

Silver Pendants in the works.




Friday, October 23, 2015

Partitions - what to do with old polymer canes

Canes - long rolls of polymer clay set in patterns
If you design and make polymer canes you probably have boxes of them stacked in shelves like I do. And if you sometimes look at all the cases of canes and wonder "What am I going to do with those rolls of patterned polymer clay?" then we are a lot alike!

One of many boxes of canes - waiting!

This week my attention span was just long enough to take a few of the canes and put them together in new ways and make some beads and buttons.  The color choices were blacks, gray, white and a little rusty red wrapped in thin black casings.  The canes needed a little massaging to activate the clay since they were older.

unfired buttons

The buttons are 1/8" slices with the pattern going through the button.  Be sure and notice the color change from the unfired clay to the fired clay.  I try to make a couple of sizes of each pattern.


fired buttons

  The beads are made of thinly sliced canes applied to scrap clay and then rolled in my hands for the shape.  They have a depth of color because there is some translucent clay in the canes.

finished bead

I usually make just a few buttons at a time and I make 3,5 or 7 beads depending on how I'm feeling or if I have something in mind for a finished product.

finished beads 

I derive a lot of pleasure from the colors, patterns and shapes when making buttons and beads and love the instant gratification I get from polymer!

link to buttons:  https://img0.etsystatic.com/125/0/6037243/il_570xN.854582928_mk1y.jpg

Friday, October 16, 2015

'Petals' Experiment in Silver ClayTechniques


'Petals"  finished pendant

Experimenting with different metal clays involves risk, creativity and knowledge.  The risk is about the price of silver and not wanting to waste it.  The creativity is about an idea and the knowledge comes from experience.  

In this project, I wanted to used fine silver bezel wire to hold a unique cabochon and I wanted to use FYI clay.  I knew from experience how to cut tabs in the bezel wire so that some tabs go into the clay and some are perpendicular and lay flat on the clay.  When the clay fires the wire and silver clay setting become one.  What I did not know was what the higher shrinkage rate of the FYI clay backing would do with the bezel wire.  Would it all come apart (I've had that happen) or would it shrink with so much curvature that the stone would not fit? Typically I use the  Art Clay brand of silver clay that does not have so much shrinkage.  This time I wanted to use the FYI clay because it is much less expensive and new to me.  I decided take the risk.

First I measured the bezel wire to fit the large stone; then tabbed the wire and used PMC oil paste the connect the two ends of the wire and fired it in the kiln.  I placed the bezel in a sheet of clay, cut the shape I wanted and painted clay petals similar to the ones in the stone.  Since the stone was large and a bit heavy, I made the surround of clay smaller to compensate for weight.  I also cut a shape out of the back to lighten the weight, cut down on the amount of silver clay and show the back of the stone. Lisa Barth taught this technique in a class I took and has written a great book  about it Designing From the Stone.

Fiber Paper cut to fit in the bezel  with an investment, Satin Cast 20,  to keep the bezel from shrinking became the place holder for the stone.

Investment to hold the space for the stone
 I fired the piece at 1635 degrees F for 90 minutes and was pleased that the bezel stayed intact, the setting did not curve too much, and the stone would fit.  But... there were a few places that the bezel tabs could be seen on the back and a few places that needed to be filled where the bezel and setting met. I added silver clay and some paste, let it dry and put it back in the kiln.  After the 2nd firing all but one tiny place showed on the back and I decided to leave it!  Everything else was fine.

After firing I removed the investment and polished.  
After the 2nd firing you can see the place on the right that could be repaired.  I decided to leave it.



After polishing, using a patina, and adding the stone.  Pretty pleased with it.

Next time I'd recommend a smaller stone and anticipating some repair and yes I was happy with the new FYI Silver Clay!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Painting on Silver Clay with Paste

Flowers in the Wind
I’ve been experimenting and taking online classes again!  Terry Kovalcik has a great class on www.craftcast.com   called ‘Painting and Sculpting using PMC Paste’.  It is well worth taking because there is so much information on materials, tools and technique.  Terry explains and shows details and shares some tips.  After watching the video once, collecting the materials needed and deciding what design I wanted to paint, I watched the video again!



Terry uses PMC clay but I had FYI silver clay on hand and used it for the foundation shape and PMC paste with lavender oil for the painting.  I was concerned about the extra shrinkage of the FYI silver but the two worked well together.  I’m sharing the stages of my creations with you but you need to take the class for the real substance. 


Shapes and Designs - FYI Silver Clay

Out of the kiln
 This technique requires a steady hand and some patience.  Layers of paste build up the image and it is so easy to get too much paste on the brush.


Patina of  Liver of Sulfur 

Butterfly on Flower
Relief was polished 

It will take quite a bit of practice and patience to get anywhere as good as Terry.  I really did enjoy the process.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Making Bubbles in the Wind


As a child, I loved making bubbles.  As an adult I still love making bubbles. I love watching the sun hit the clear bubble and turn it into rainbow colors, I love watching the bubbles float on the wind.  I love watching them glide to a tree and disappear.  I can watch bubbles for a long time!


On a recent trip to Walgreens, I found long tubes filled with liquid and a long wand for making bubbles.  I bought three of them.  One for me, one for a friend and one for a hostess gift!  The three of us made bubbles in the hostess’s back yard and laughed while we played.   I brought mine back home because the want could make more bubbles!








 I found it again this week and yes! I made bubbles on a windy day.  It was so much fun to see them floating on the wind to neighbors yards.  I wondered if anyone else saw them!  Then I wondered if I could take pictures.  I had to try and this is the result!  What a fun hour playing with the bubbles in the wind!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Sorting Chains



This past week has been about care giving to my guy.  Peter fell and fractured his ankle and needed lots of help with getting 'the boot' on and off and with icing.  So creativity took second place!

One evening I looked for something in my stash of stuff to inspire me.  Like most jewelry artists, I have a lot of stuff and it is not all organized and comes from many places including a yard sale plastic box filled with all sorts, shapes and lengths of chain for very little money.  It's been sitting on a shelf since I bought it and that night the plastic box fell on the floor and everything in it scattered.  I had a choice - gather them up and stuff them back in the box or look at this as an opportunity to see what I have.



I started separating the chains into gold color and silver color; then separating them in to types of chains and lengths and pretty soon it became clear that their was not enough time or space!  I really wanted to just stuff them back in the plastic box on the shelf!   My solution was chains by color and maybe by thickness.  Separating the chains into types and cleaning them will have to wait for another time!  At least they may be tangle-free and somewhat organized.  If anyone has a better idea for organization please share it!



There is so much to learn about chains and this even made me realize how little I really know.  Things like knowing what kind of metal, what style and is it vintage or new?  How to clean chain, which is worth keeping and how to store it.  There is always something new to learn!  I just need more time in my days!  This is a start!

  credit:  www.kennygoodman.com
TYPES OF CHAINS
A quick guide to cleaning!   http://www.jewelrynotes.com/necklace-clean-and-care-guide/



Friday, September 11, 2015

Feeling like Alice in Butterfly Wonderland

Largest exhibit in the U.S.  - Phoenix AZ
 Picture walking into a large lobby and being submersed in large plastic butterflies hanging from the ceiling. 


I was reminded of a time when I wanted to wake up in the mornings with sunshine highlighting butterflies hanging from the ceiling over my bed.  Now I know how that would feel and I am so sorry I did not hang those butterflies. 


A friend and I joined a tour group with Master’s Touch Tours to Phoenix AZ in a very comfortable bus.  We arrived at Butterfly Wonderland to spend the morning enjoying and learning about a variety of butterflies.  www.butterflywonderland.com  They receive butterflies from farms all over the world.  They have from 1500 to 35,000 in any given week depending on shipments and hatchings.  I learned the difference between cocoons and chrysalis (moths make cocoons and butterflies make chrysalis).  Good to know. 


We watched an excellent 20 minute 3-D movie about the migration of Monarch butterflies.  I love 3-D.  It felt like I could reach up and just pick a Monarch out of the air in this excellent award winning film.

Monarch Butterfly

In a smaller room we saw the cocoons and chrysalis’ hanging from trays behind glass windows and could watch as they hatched (or just hung). 


An attendant stood at the door to the very large tropical rainforest environment making sure butterflies did not escape.  I’ve been to the Amazon (Ecuador) and have seen a variety of butterflies but when I walked into this rainforest with thousands of butterflies I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland!  Butterflies of every color, size and shape filled the air, sat on leaves, landed on people and sometimes rested on the concrete walkways.  It was imperative to walk slowly and look everywhere.  I took 200 photos (so these are only a few!)


The walkways wound around a waterfall and a koi pond banked by rainforest flowers, plants and trees.  Spending hours meandering through such beauty was such a pleasure.


Over in one corner I saw a Norfolk Pine tree covered in butterflies.  Talk about tree decoration!  Spellbinding!


There were attendants who would explain butterfly gardening and gave us brochures with lists of plants that would draw in the butterflies.  I’m trying to grow AZ milkweed plants but from one packet of seeds I only have one plant this year!  Not as easy as it sounds. 


Things I did not know:
There are about 28,000 species of butterflies.  There are about 800 species in North America.
334 species can be found in Arizona but Texas has more!
Butterflies sense vibrations (no ears) and taste with their feet.  Not surprising is the antennae that help with direction.


Things I did know:
Pesticides can and do kill caterpillars and butterflies. 
Adult butterflies like certain but not all flowers with nectar.  For instance, Monarch butterflies like certain milkweeds.
Caterpillars eat certain host plants after they emerge from their eggs.  They need them for energy and when we destroy those plants, we destroy the caterpillars reducing the butterfly populations.


I’ve just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book Flight Behavior  http://www.amazon.com/Flight-Behavior-Novel-Barbara-Kingsolver/dp/0062124277/ref=sr_1_1/189-6467846-9119038?ie=UTF8&qid=1441683547&sr=8-1&keywords=flight+behavior+by+kingsolver  The 3-D movie really brought her word pictures to life.  I highly recommend that book.

There is a gift shop and a café available when you need a break from all that active butterfly beauty and you can go back to the butterflies as often as you want.



I'm ready to go visit again!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays


From OUr House to Yours

Prescott AZ


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Friday, December 11, 2015

How I Tell Stories!


What is the story this elf is writing?

Storytelling has always fascinated me and I’ve attempted to tell stories throughout my life in various ways.  As a child, I listened to stories told by my parents and my grandparents.  I listened to stories told by their friends and I learned much about my family, my culture and formed my dreams.

Many years ago (30+), my niece was just the right age to have one of my dolls.  As I did not want to just give her the doll, I created a story for that doll with doll clothes for different activities.  She could take those props and make her own stories.

As a photographer I try to catch an image that makes you wonder or want to know more!

Why is this American Kestrel hovering?

As an interior designer, I had many shelves and pot ledges (high shelves popular in the southwest homes) to create.  I created stories that reflected the interests of my clients in an artistic manner. As I created the props or visual cues for the stories, the viewer could make up their own stories or ask the owner for theirs. 

Giving a Setting to Folk Art

 My favorite accessorizer, Jay Woehlck of Plant Effects, and I created many 3-D stories.  Using a group of jars filled with colorful fruit on a kitchen shelf might make us wonder where the fruit originated, appreciate the shape of unusual bottles and wonder what can be made or what the fruit tastes like.  Easy to make up a story! 

A group of Southwest Indian baskets tells of a person’s interest in a specific culture and craft.  Picture the elder basket weaver teaching a beginner or think of the fun of finding each basket for the collection.   The stories made by the viewer are endless. 

Collection of Southwest Baskets

Now that I make jewelry, I like for you to know how it is made, what material is used, where the stones came from and what inspired me.  In my ‘about me’ section of my website (www.lindabrittdesign.com) and my etsy site (www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign) I tell about my dad and my brothers mining a stone in the Mojave Desert and trade marking it ‘Mojave Stone’.  I share how my dad cut  and polished the stone making cabochons and how I came to have them.  It is important to me and hopefully interesting to you that I share the story behind my one of a kind creations.  Each piece is unique to the buyer filling a special need making both our lives better. 

Mojave Stone in the Sea

Stories help us dream, help us remember, reinforce history and bring us together.  Telling good stories is an art – an important art.  And this is the perfect time of year for stories!  I'd love to see/hear your stories.  Please share!
You might enjoy www.storycorps.com too!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Making Gift Giving Special


One evening I was searching for a small project to make, something easy to create and something for the holiday season.  Outside my window the pine trees swayed in the wind and caught my attention.  I wondered how I could use some of my old polymer canes with a holiday tree theme and this is what I came from that evening of play!

Plain sheet of polymer with edges trimmed and the patterned canes above.

Patterned canes sliced and graduated in size to make the tree ornaments


I'm learning to use Instagram  #brittdesign2 and decided to post my first attempts and actually got an order for more of these.  What a nice holiday surprise!  They can be used as ornaments, as gift tags or anything else that you think of.  A Sharpie is good to write a message or a name or date on the plain backs.  I have to make a few more for gifts to close friends and then hopefully I'll have a few in my Etsy shop!  www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign


Finished gift tags and ornaments



Friday, November 13, 2015

My Silver Bug Series BeginsBug #1



I'm one of those people fascinated by the textures, shapes and patterns of  bugs...  dead bugs - not live crawling bugs!  When I found stylized bug stamps in a glitter store in Cottonwood AZ, I ordered them all in small sizes.  http://www.artglitter.com/   I could use the stamps as a starting point for the silver bug series I've been creating in my head.

My first bug is done.  It has 2 orange CZ's in the antennae and a larger orange colored CZ in the center for some bling!  I dried the stamped clay on a round form with a flat piece for the back.  There is shape, texture and dimension in the silver.

Bug #1

My second bug is at the firing stage.  I stacked layers of silver clay for the wings on the back to give this one dimension and interest.  There is an aqua CZ in it's head and I can't wait to see it come out of the kiln.

Starting to cut the layers for bug #2

Back of Bug #2
 
Bug #2  not fired.
 I think this series will be my spring collection!  Keep checking in with my progress.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Weather and Creativity


Does a change in the weather affect my creativity?  Apparently it does!  I’ve been deciding what project to start, what project to finish, what project to put away. The result is a clean work station!  And I’m still thinking about what I want to do. 

Polymer canes - waiting!

Silver and stone design - waiting!
Prescott weather has gone from warm and sunny to cold and snowy to crisp and clear.  I’ve gone from wanting to be outside to wanting a fire and cup of hot tea to cleaning!  All in a week’s time. 

This is the result of the cleaning and I’m sure it will not look like this in a week’s time.  I just wanted to capture it for the moment to show how organized I can be when I’m not excited about anything else!

This also means I'm ready to start something new!  So be on the watch for it!

Silver Pendants in the works.




Friday, October 23, 2015

Partitions - what to do with old polymer canes

Canes - long rolls of polymer clay set in patterns
If you design and make polymer canes you probably have boxes of them stacked in shelves like I do. And if you sometimes look at all the cases of canes and wonder "What am I going to do with those rolls of patterned polymer clay?" then we are a lot alike!

One of many boxes of canes - waiting!

This week my attention span was just long enough to take a few of the canes and put them together in new ways and make some beads and buttons.  The color choices were blacks, gray, white and a little rusty red wrapped in thin black casings.  The canes needed a little massaging to activate the clay since they were older.

unfired buttons

The buttons are 1/8" slices with the pattern going through the button.  Be sure and notice the color change from the unfired clay to the fired clay.  I try to make a couple of sizes of each pattern.


fired buttons

  The beads are made of thinly sliced canes applied to scrap clay and then rolled in my hands for the shape.  They have a depth of color because there is some translucent clay in the canes.

finished bead

I usually make just a few buttons at a time and I make 3,5 or 7 beads depending on how I'm feeling or if I have something in mind for a finished product.

finished beads 

I derive a lot of pleasure from the colors, patterns and shapes when making buttons and beads and love the instant gratification I get from polymer!

link to buttons:  https://img0.etsystatic.com/125/0/6037243/il_570xN.854582928_mk1y.jpg

Friday, October 16, 2015

'Petals' Experiment in Silver ClayTechniques


'Petals"  finished pendant

Experimenting with different metal clays involves risk, creativity and knowledge.  The risk is about the price of silver and not wanting to waste it.  The creativity is about an idea and the knowledge comes from experience.  

In this project, I wanted to used fine silver bezel wire to hold a unique cabochon and I wanted to use FYI clay.  I knew from experience how to cut tabs in the bezel wire so that some tabs go into the clay and some are perpendicular and lay flat on the clay.  When the clay fires the wire and silver clay setting become one.  What I did not know was what the higher shrinkage rate of the FYI clay backing would do with the bezel wire.  Would it all come apart (I've had that happen) or would it shrink with so much curvature that the stone would not fit? Typically I use the  Art Clay brand of silver clay that does not have so much shrinkage.  This time I wanted to use the FYI clay because it is much less expensive and new to me.  I decided take the risk.

First I measured the bezel wire to fit the large stone; then tabbed the wire and used PMC oil paste the connect the two ends of the wire and fired it in the kiln.  I placed the bezel in a sheet of clay, cut the shape I wanted and painted clay petals similar to the ones in the stone.  Since the stone was large and a bit heavy, I made the surround of clay smaller to compensate for weight.  I also cut a shape out of the back to lighten the weight, cut down on the amount of silver clay and show the back of the stone. Lisa Barth taught this technique in a class I took and has written a great book  about it Designing From the Stone.

Fiber Paper cut to fit in the bezel  with an investment, Satin Cast 20,  to keep the bezel from shrinking became the place holder for the stone.

Investment to hold the space for the stone
 I fired the piece at 1635 degrees F for 90 minutes and was pleased that the bezel stayed intact, the setting did not curve too much, and the stone would fit.  But... there were a few places that the bezel tabs could be seen on the back and a few places that needed to be filled where the bezel and setting met. I added silver clay and some paste, let it dry and put it back in the kiln.  After the 2nd firing all but one tiny place showed on the back and I decided to leave it!  Everything else was fine.

After firing I removed the investment and polished.  
After the 2nd firing you can see the place on the right that could be repaired.  I decided to leave it.



After polishing, using a patina, and adding the stone.  Pretty pleased with it.

Next time I'd recommend a smaller stone and anticipating some repair and yes I was happy with the new FYI Silver Clay!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Painting on Silver Clay with Paste

Flowers in the Wind
I’ve been experimenting and taking online classes again!  Terry Kovalcik has a great class on www.craftcast.com   called ‘Painting and Sculpting using PMC Paste’.  It is well worth taking because there is so much information on materials, tools and technique.  Terry explains and shows details and shares some tips.  After watching the video once, collecting the materials needed and deciding what design I wanted to paint, I watched the video again!



Terry uses PMC clay but I had FYI silver clay on hand and used it for the foundation shape and PMC paste with lavender oil for the painting.  I was concerned about the extra shrinkage of the FYI silver but the two worked well together.  I’m sharing the stages of my creations with you but you need to take the class for the real substance. 


Shapes and Designs - FYI Silver Clay

Out of the kiln
 This technique requires a steady hand and some patience.  Layers of paste build up the image and it is so easy to get too much paste on the brush.


Patina of  Liver of Sulfur 

Butterfly on Flower
Relief was polished 

It will take quite a bit of practice and patience to get anywhere as good as Terry.  I really did enjoy the process.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Making Bubbles in the Wind


As a child, I loved making bubbles.  As an adult I still love making bubbles. I love watching the sun hit the clear bubble and turn it into rainbow colors, I love watching the bubbles float on the wind.  I love watching them glide to a tree and disappear.  I can watch bubbles for a long time!


On a recent trip to Walgreens, I found long tubes filled with liquid and a long wand for making bubbles.  I bought three of them.  One for me, one for a friend and one for a hostess gift!  The three of us made bubbles in the hostess’s back yard and laughed while we played.   I brought mine back home because the want could make more bubbles!








 I found it again this week and yes! I made bubbles on a windy day.  It was so much fun to see them floating on the wind to neighbors yards.  I wondered if anyone else saw them!  Then I wondered if I could take pictures.  I had to try and this is the result!  What a fun hour playing with the bubbles in the wind!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Sorting Chains



This past week has been about care giving to my guy.  Peter fell and fractured his ankle and needed lots of help with getting 'the boot' on and off and with icing.  So creativity took second place!

One evening I looked for something in my stash of stuff to inspire me.  Like most jewelry artists, I have a lot of stuff and it is not all organized and comes from many places including a yard sale plastic box filled with all sorts, shapes and lengths of chain for very little money.  It's been sitting on a shelf since I bought it and that night the plastic box fell on the floor and everything in it scattered.  I had a choice - gather them up and stuff them back in the box or look at this as an opportunity to see what I have.



I started separating the chains into gold color and silver color; then separating them in to types of chains and lengths and pretty soon it became clear that their was not enough time or space!  I really wanted to just stuff them back in the plastic box on the shelf!   My solution was chains by color and maybe by thickness.  Separating the chains into types and cleaning them will have to wait for another time!  At least they may be tangle-free and somewhat organized.  If anyone has a better idea for organization please share it!



There is so much to learn about chains and this even made me realize how little I really know.  Things like knowing what kind of metal, what style and is it vintage or new?  How to clean chain, which is worth keeping and how to store it.  There is always something new to learn!  I just need more time in my days!  This is a start!

  credit:  www.kennygoodman.com
TYPES OF CHAINS
A quick guide to cleaning!   http://www.jewelrynotes.com/necklace-clean-and-care-guide/



Friday, September 11, 2015

Feeling like Alice in Butterfly Wonderland

Largest exhibit in the U.S.  - Phoenix AZ
 Picture walking into a large lobby and being submersed in large plastic butterflies hanging from the ceiling. 


I was reminded of a time when I wanted to wake up in the mornings with sunshine highlighting butterflies hanging from the ceiling over my bed.  Now I know how that would feel and I am so sorry I did not hang those butterflies. 


A friend and I joined a tour group with Master’s Touch Tours to Phoenix AZ in a very comfortable bus.  We arrived at Butterfly Wonderland to spend the morning enjoying and learning about a variety of butterflies.  www.butterflywonderland.com  They receive butterflies from farms all over the world.  They have from 1500 to 35,000 in any given week depending on shipments and hatchings.  I learned the difference between cocoons and chrysalis (moths make cocoons and butterflies make chrysalis).  Good to know. 


We watched an excellent 20 minute 3-D movie about the migration of Monarch butterflies.  I love 3-D.  It felt like I could reach up and just pick a Monarch out of the air in this excellent award winning film.

Monarch Butterfly

In a smaller room we saw the cocoons and chrysalis’ hanging from trays behind glass windows and could watch as they hatched (or just hung). 


An attendant stood at the door to the very large tropical rainforest environment making sure butterflies did not escape.  I’ve been to the Amazon (Ecuador) and have seen a variety of butterflies but when I walked into this rainforest with thousands of butterflies I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland!  Butterflies of every color, size and shape filled the air, sat on leaves, landed on people and sometimes rested on the concrete walkways.  It was imperative to walk slowly and look everywhere.  I took 200 photos (so these are only a few!)


The walkways wound around a waterfall and a koi pond banked by rainforest flowers, plants and trees.  Spending hours meandering through such beauty was such a pleasure.


Over in one corner I saw a Norfolk Pine tree covered in butterflies.  Talk about tree decoration!  Spellbinding!


There were attendants who would explain butterfly gardening and gave us brochures with lists of plants that would draw in the butterflies.  I’m trying to grow AZ milkweed plants but from one packet of seeds I only have one plant this year!  Not as easy as it sounds. 


Things I did not know:
There are about 28,000 species of butterflies.  There are about 800 species in North America.
334 species can be found in Arizona but Texas has more!
Butterflies sense vibrations (no ears) and taste with their feet.  Not surprising is the antennae that help with direction.


Things I did know:
Pesticides can and do kill caterpillars and butterflies. 
Adult butterflies like certain but not all flowers with nectar.  For instance, Monarch butterflies like certain milkweeds.
Caterpillars eat certain host plants after they emerge from their eggs.  They need them for energy and when we destroy those plants, we destroy the caterpillars reducing the butterfly populations.


I’ve just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book Flight Behavior  http://www.amazon.com/Flight-Behavior-Novel-Barbara-Kingsolver/dp/0062124277/ref=sr_1_1/189-6467846-9119038?ie=UTF8&qid=1441683547&sr=8-1&keywords=flight+behavior+by+kingsolver  The 3-D movie really brought her word pictures to life.  I highly recommend that book.

There is a gift shop and a café available when you need a break from all that active butterfly beauty and you can go back to the butterflies as often as you want.



I'm ready to go visit again!