Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Sweet Story...

Wow!  I didn't realize it had been such a long time since I last posted...

We've been very busy, traveling around New England selling our wares at various sportsman's shows.  Husband Ed sells his firearms supplies, and I put out my jewelry, which raises a few eyebrows, I must admit.  But, most folks seem to like my little pink oasis in the midst of all of that camouflage, and honestly, I think the guys buy more jewelry for their wives, girlfriends and daughters (and sometimes themselves!) than the women do.

In any case, I've got a very sweet story to share with you.  Whenever I set my table up, I always include a little corner with a treasure box filled to the brim with buttons, bracelets and car magnets, all bearing the sentiment: Cancer Sucks.  I ask for a dollar donation, and guests at the show can choose whatever they want out of the box.  If they don't want to donate, I give them a button anyway.  All of the money that I collect goes directly to Stand Up To Cancer.  I've collected one hundred dollars so far!
This weekend, a lot of the adults helped themselves to the Halloween candy I had put out, and walked right past the donation jar, barely giving it a second look.  But just when I was about to give up hope, a young man about eight years old went by with his Dad.  He stopped, read my plea for help, and very gravely got his grown up wallet out of his back pocket.  His Dad and I exchanged a smile as he took two dollars out and dropped it in the jar.  I was very touched by this young boy's generosity.  What a sweet soul he has!  He won't see this, but maybe he'll feel it somehow; I thank him from the bottom of my heart.  I could tell that his Dad was proud, and rightly so.
I was very excited to share this story; I hope it gets your week off to a good start.  There's hope for humanity yet!
P.S.  After his generous donation, things began to pick up.  Plenty of people donated their hard earned money, and I collected thirty two dollars to send to Stand Up To Cancer.  My heartfelt thanks to all! ❤

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Adjectif Charms

The new Adjectif charms have been fired, and I must say that I'm pretty pleased with the results.

I followed a new firing schedule - made possible by the new digital controller that Ed installed on my kiln yesterday (YAY!) - and the results are  like night and day when compared with the schedule I was using for the manual controller.  In the photo above, you can see the fired charms ready to go into the tumbler, and also some of the descriptive words already cut out of the hand painted paper.  And in the photo to the left is the kiln with my new friend the digital controller.

Yesterday was a fun day for me... Ed had a chance, finally, to install the new controller, and it works!  Thanks Ed!  I got the charms fired and ready to finish, and UPS delivered my new printer.  Woohoo!

After the charms have been tumble polished, the final step is to set the words into them and cover them with the epoxy resin.  This step seals and protects the paper, and makes the charm waterproof.  Tomorrow I'll show the process for finishing the charms and setting the epoxy resin.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Try, try again.  After last week's metal clay debacle, I decided to give it a few days rest, and put it aside for a while.  And while I was mulling over what went wrong, an idea began to form: what if there were a way to create silver charms alive with color, and personalized in a unique way?  Well, guess what?  There is!  And thus was born my new line of charms and pendants: Adjectifs.  In these photos you can see the very first ones in their infancy.

 This one is for me with the date of my surgery.  These will go into the Survivors category of my Etsy shop, where, of course, the profits all go to cancer research.  However, the charms are not just for survivors; I will also be creating anniversary charms, birthday charms, and any other commemorative charms I can come up with or receive requests for.

In addition, I'll be doing some creative writing with these: it's a tell 'em how you're really feeling kind of thing.  You may notice that the charm in the following photo says: Creative.  There will be lots of those, with a number of different adjectives, describing all kinds of states of mind.  I've hand painted some watercolor paper in some beautiful colors, and will be adding the descriptive words in a couple of days, as soon as my new printer arrives.  They won't all be nice; some will be just for fun like: Diva, Sexy, Offbeat, Silly, Trippy, Smart and Funny.
What you're seeing here is the metal clay in an unfired state.  Looks pretty dull right now,I know, but once it has been fired and polished it will take on a beautiful silver shine.
Tomorrow after firing, I'll be posting some photos of the charms in their unpolished state.  Since I am planning a whole line of these charms, I thought that you might like to see the process from start to finish. 

Of course, Boone and Sunny like to help.  Their input during the creative process is key.  Lots of woo-wooing, and tail wagging makes me think that they like my ideas with a doggy version of: "Way to go, Mom!"
Please note: all designs are copyright Savoir Faire Creations 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Am Still Learning...

 Some days it just doesn't pay to try to work in a new-ish medium.  Inspired by a new book with all kinds of fun projects in precious metal clay, I decided to sit myself down and create some new masterpieces.  In reality, the only thing I ended up creating was a big, sticky mess!  I guess I should read the directions again...

However, all is not lost, because I discovered something important about working with precious metal clay: unlike chain maille, which I can work on for a short time, and put down when I get sick of it, metal clay is a medium that demands your complete attention.  Put aside all other endeavors for a while; you'll need to concentrate on this one thing, and nothing else.
So far, working with the clay has been a bit hit or miss for me.  Sometimes everything goes very smoothly, and the pieces turn out just the way I want them; other times (like today!) not so much.  I'm not prepared to give up on it just yet.  For one thing, I have a pretty fair amount of money invested in it - there's the kiln, the packages of clay, the molds, stamps, cutters and assorted equipment that I have stashed away, but the most important thing (I think) is that I can't allow this stupid, stupid stuff to defeat me!

I've managed to make a few pieces that I'm pretty happy with; these are the most recent ones:

In the immortal words of Michelangelo: Ancora imparo (I am still learning).  I guess I'll try it again another day...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy June to all!  Can you believe that it's June already?  Summer is almost upon us!

Ed and I spent most of the Memorial Day weekend planting a new flower garden.  I've never felt that I have much talent in this area - most of my houseplants wind up as pathetic brown things, but we did our best, and I must say that I'm pretty pleased with the results.  The scent wafting up from the garden when I stepped out on to the deck this morning made all of the hard work worthwhile.  I wish I could get this amazing perfume to you - somebody please invent smell-o-vision!

I love all of the colors, from bright, lemony yellows to orange, pink and salmon, pale blue and the deep royal blue of  Lobelia - a veritable rainbow!  Many thanks to Prisco's for all of the wonderful flowers.  Someday, I hope to make this small space a garden we can walk through, and install a gazebo for summer gazing, but for now, I'm content just to have this little splash of color and scent in my own little backyard.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Beginnings

It's springtime, and that means new beginnings... this sweet little baby was in our garden this week; poor little thing had been frightened by the lawnmower.  My running out there to snap it's picture probably didn't help it's mood any, but I just couldn't resist.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but this little one could have fit into the palm of my hand.  Good thing Mr. MacGregor wasn't around!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!

The work has been done, final exams given, and final grades turned in... YAY!  Let summer begin!

Gee whiz!  I didn't realize that it has been such a long time since I posted anything here.  I have been busy, busy, busy at school, at Ed's trade shows, at Gemorama, and in the studio; there just never seems to be enough hours in the day!  I'm hoping for a little breather now that classes and trade shows are over for the summer.

Speaking of not enough hours in the day, I've been thinking a lot lately about carving out a little more time for myself from my daily schedule.  It's important to make sure that everyone and everything is taken care of, but I'm starting to understand that it's also important to take care of me.  That means improving my diet, taking steps (no pun intended) to make sure that I squeeze in a daily walk, and giving myself a little time every day to do something creative and satisfying.  After all, if I don't do it, who will?  I would love to hear some of your thoughts about how you accomplish all of this... any ideas out there?  I can use all of the help I can get!

In other news, Boone and Sunny are now getting along quite well; their little period of strife seems to be over, although they can still be a bit competitive.  If Boone is getting attention, Sunny will try to wedge herself in for some attention as well.  If Sunny is getting attention, Boone will nudge her out of the way, and woo,woo,woo until he gets what he wants.  But they seem to like each other, and sometimes gang up on us now when they want something.  There's nothing like turning around when you've got your lunch in hand, and seeing two very large dogs drooling and hovering, both of them hoping something will fall on the floor.

And, of course, just in time to coincide with the springtime pollen, the shedding has begun!  This is Boone after being brushed.  I think there's enough brushed out fur there to make a whole new dog.  Just so you know, we brush this much out of him every day.  He's not that crazy about being brushed, but will sit reasonably still for a little while.  We know when he's had enough, because he jumps up and runs off, squeezing himself into some small space so that we can't get close enough to brush anymore.  Thank God for slipcovers because he's a real couch potato, and I'm not sure how I would get all of the fur off if I couldn't just take the cover off and wash it.

Now that I'm off for the summer, I am taking the opportunity to play more with the metal clay.  I have quite a few pieces waiting to go into the kiln, and a few that are finished.  This material fascinates me; to be honest, it doesn't look like much before it has been fired.  Kind of off white, and, in a word, boring!  And after it has been fired, it doesn't look much different.  It's in the finishing that the real beauty of the piece begins to appear.  This can be a bit of work, but I love to see it go from its dull off white to shiny gleaming silver.  I can understand now what the alchemists of old were trying to achieve.  It's a little like magic, watching these pieces transform.

This is how the silver looks after it has been fired and brushed with a brass brush.  It takes on a matte appearance, and any flaws are readily visible.  It sometimes takes a good  bit of finishing to get that smooth, shiny look to it.

I confess, I wish I knew more about working with this material.  There are no classes that I am aware of in my immediate area, so I guess, at least for now, I'm on my own.  I suppose I will learn as I go along, and maybe it will be kind of fun for me to see my work evolve.  I'm firing some more pieces today, and will plan on posting their progress here.  If anyone has any pointers, I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Love That Dirty Water...


Spring break, wonderful weather, so daughter Shann and I headed into the city yesterday to see some butterflies at the Museum of Science.

The Butterfly Garden is a beautiful place; especially after a long, dreary winter.  A virtual kaleidoscope of color and pattern greets you as you enter the room.  Green, blue, pink, orange, yellow - nearly all of the colors of the rainbow are there.  The Garden room is small, warm and steamy; just the way the butterflies like it.  As they meander from flower to foliage, they flutter around you and bump into you - a truly amazing experience.   Sometimes the butterflies like to land and hitch a ride; visitors are advised to check for hitchhikers as they leave the room.  Photographs are encouraged, and if I'd spent a little more time, I probably could have shot hundreds of photos.  But, it got a little warm for me in there, so I did reluctantly leave after fifteen minutes or so.  Even so, I'm glad I brought my camera as I was able to get in a few good shots:

And finally, for just a little slice of history (and some window shopping!), we paid a visit to historic Faneuil Hall.  I had a really fun day; the city is an interesting place, and the butterflies were a real joy.  Thanks, Shann!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Emerging From Hibernation!

Well, here I am, back again after a much needed time out.  Bandit's death did take the wind out of my sails just a bit.  Well, okay, more than just a bit, but I can console myself by knowing that my old friend is not suffering anymore.  Poor Sunny was so sad and missing him, that we decided to find another pal for her.  So please allow me to introduce Sunny's new pal, Boone.  Boone arrived here this past Sunday, so we are all still adjusting to one another, (this may take a while!), but he seems like a nice boy, overall, and I think everything will be okay soon.

In the meantime, I spotted my first Robin out in the yard this morning, and a funny little Chickadee hopping around on the deck rail - a sure sign that Spring is on its way!  Soon, I hope!

I have been very busy in the studio, creating some new chain maille designs, and experimenting with some new materials.  Ed brought home a whole bag of empty shell cases (spent bullets for those of you who, like me, don't know much about guns and things), and after tumble polishing them to get all of the yucky stuff off, I have been trying to incorporate them into some jewelry designs.  I used the larger shell cases as end caps in a chunky bracelet (probably more suitable for a man?), pictured here:
In addition to the bracelet, I used a smaller, nickel plated brass case as a pendant to hang from a stainless steel Jens Pind chain.

I'm working on some other designs that will incorporate shell cases, but don't have anything else finished just yet.

I have also discovered Aluminum!  What an excellent material this is:  strong, tarnish free, colorful and ultra lightweight!  Take a look at these:

 I have lots of new things planned for the coming months.  Now that the sun is starting to shine, and the daylight is lasting a little longer, I am getting the urge to create again.  Check back often to see what's new!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In Memoriam

1994 - 2010

Two weeks ago today, my very good friend Bandit crossed the Rainbow Bridge and moved on to a better place.  We miss you, old buddy.