Saturday, October 8, 2011

What has Kat been up to lately??

Don't pay the ransom!  I promise I am alive and still kick'n!  This has been quite a super busy past couple of months for me!  New thrills of adventure with exciting things happening and a bit of bittersweet agony of defeat (elbow, actually LOL)!  We've been working on our jewelry then while having fun skating with the grandsons I manage to fall and fracture my left arm.  Ever try making jewelry with a fractured arm?  Don't try it, it is NOT pleasant!  So, in the time of my healing and basically jewelry hiatus, I took on planning an arts and crafts event for our Friends of the Library (that I am the Vice President of)!  I had to have something to keep me busy while I heal, right?!  Well, I sure picked a doozie!  In fact, even the name is appropriate "Whale of a Tale" Arts and Crafts Sale...Ironic, huh?  LOL!  Little did I realize what a monstrosity of coordination it would entail.  But, with the insight of being a vendor in 50+ events, I think we have about every base covered with a few items added to the list for the NEXT event.  I was able to take our experience as vendors and add to the planning and coordination of our event!  How thrilling to come to realize that my previous experience has helped support a fundraising opportunity for our local library!  The next event planning will be even better because with the groundwork being laid with this one, we will be able to delegate to other board members -- now THAT will be AWESOME!  I have found that people enjoy being involved, the are just waiting for the opportunity to help!

So, if you are in the Claremore/Tulsa area this Saturday, October 15th, and would like to support local handcrafters, come on out and join us!  We would LOVE to be graced with your bright shining faces!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blissful Garden Beads June Bracelet Challenge

This month I have had the tremendous pleasure of participating in my third of Heather's four challenges!  I'm loving the gentle nudges of these challenges to creatively explore outside my usual "box".  Had someone told me a year ago I would be making these types of pieces I probably would have laughed it off while secretly hoping they were right.

This month's challenge piece was to be a bracelet.  I received 3 beads in a beautiful translucent brilliant blue with delicate pink and white roses, lavender lilacs and that oh so yummy sage green she uses for the leaves!  I was so excited to hear we were to make bracelets and David and I had several design ideas, but nothing seemed to be drawing me in.  I pondered and let it do what I call "marinate" then almost suddenly it all came together!  The pictures in this post will take you on a journey through the creation of this bracelet.  I hope you enjoy!

I started with copper sheet that was cut a nice size for bracelets.  It was all nice and shiny and I had every intention of putting an end to that!  LOL  First I trimmed and filed the ends round for wearer's comfort.  Then I added texture with a couple of texturing hammers.  Cut and textured the three tabs and balled six pieces of heavy gauge wire for rivets/cold connections (learned a trick to that in the process!).  Gave everything a good swim in the pickle and rinse and broke out the torch for some fun!  I wanted the copper to have as much color as the beads so I started playing around with flame painting so, here comes one of my "what happens when I do THIS" moments.  LOL  It took a few tries, but I was finally able to come up with something I was pleased with.  I am now in LOVE with flame painted copper!  Next was connecting the tabs to the bracelet blank.

(click image to zoom)
Don't you just LOVE the vibrant colors given by the flame?!
Looking at the flame painted colors I thought OH! I have some beads that would go PERFECT with that!
You can bet I'll be using these in a cuff! ;)

Actually, I have SEVERAL bead sets that would go nicely w/ the flame painted copper, but I stuck with the plan to use the randomly provided beads from Heather.  ;)  I was pleasantly surprised to see the pinks and greens and blues in the beads went QUITE nicely with the copper!  On to the next step -- securing the beads to the bracelet.  I placed the beads between the tabs and marked the hole placement.  Check twice and punch once!  The beads are secured using three of the longer balled wire I had made earlier as pins. impending design modification in process...

I had initially intended on cutting the long ends of the tabs off but decided to do another one of my "what happens when I do this?" experiments and was liked how it worked out!  Fun little surprise -- the beads now had enough wiggle room to have a tiny bit of movement...Not stationary as they would have been had the tabs been cut flush.  ;)


Let's see what it looks like after forming on the bracelet mandrel...

ponder ponder...seems to have too much space between the beads...
OH!  Another fun discovery was that with the weight of the beads and the tabs not being soldered or snug on the cuff, there was some snazzy movement and a little tiny slave bell jingle to the bracelet when shaken!  How fun is that?!   However, something wasn't quite right.  So, I dug out some lengths of two gauges of wire, flame painted them and added some vines to my wrist garden!

MUCH better, don't you think?!

I hope you've enjoyed learning about the design process and construction of this cuff.  I invite you to visit Heather's Blissful Garden Beads Blog of the Bracelet Challenge Voting and check out all the lovely artistry!  Take a good hard look and cast your vote.  My entry is lucky #13!

Feel free to share with your friends and -- above all Have Fun!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blissful Garden Beads April Earring Challenge

I had the immense pleasure of being allowed to participate in Heather's Bead Challenge this month! Today was the much awaited Reveal of all the entries. I tell ya, I had always looked at challenges such as this and just shuddered at the thought of the pressure of coming up with a nice design to submit.  I took the plunge in March for the necklace challenge then could not WAIT till the next one in April!  One thing I have noticed is that this type of event design FORCES one to think outside the box.  I've never really considered myself a "creative" person, but I'm finding that if I ALLOW myself to be, I can be!  How fun is that?  Took me till past the age of 40 to come to realize that, but I am really having fun, when time permits, creating!  And these challenges are just the ticket for my Muse to make an appearance!

The beads I received were randomly selected.  I had no idea what I was going to be working with till I received them.  I love ALL of her beads so it is always a joy to open the parcel -- just like Christmas!  The beads were a deep red with white daisy's and tiny pink rose buds.  I let the ideas tumble around in my head for a few days.  Suddenly one afternoon a design popped in my head!  I grabbed a pencil and paper and quickly sketched out a rudimentary pictorial representation of what my creative mind was trying to communicate to me.  A couple or three tries with wire and tools and I decided on the direction to go with it.  I wanted something different than I had done in the past.  After all, this is an exercise in stretching and thinking outside the box, right?  I raided my Swarovski crystal stash and found some sweet clear crystal rounded bicones that worked perfectly!  The way they catch the light was exactly what I was hoping for!  I then found the Siam bicones for the dangles.  The frames and ear-wires are made of copper then oxidized and polished to add dimension.  They are amazingly comfortable to wear and SO much fun with all the easy movement!  Not at all as heavy as they appear, either.  So, that is a little background behind the process of these earrings.

If you have a moment, I'd truly appreciate your dropping by Heather's Blissful Garden Beads blog and taking a peek at my earring submission. If you choose to vote for my earrings, I would be so greatful!
Click image to zoom.

It just so happened that I had a set of the same beads as the earring challenge beads I received, so I made a simple necklace to go with the earrings.  I made a simple single drop pendant and hung it from a loooooong chain...Long enough to slip over my head.  I also learned that if you tie a knot in the chain, it gives it a completely different look!  FUN STUFF! =)

I appreciate your time in reading and voting!  I would love to hear back from you all!

Have a fabulous day!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

800 Fan/Like Celebration Give-Away!

April showers bring May flowers.  On this sultry spring evening with storms looming about, it makes me think back on previous springtime experiences and fond memories:  fishing with dad and grandma; fishing and camping trips with David and the kids; the first peek of color after a long bleak winter; hunting Easter eggs -- a week after Easter LOL; fresh cut roses from grandma's rose bush to wear to church on Mother's Day!

Tell us about your fondest (most fond?) springtime memory to be entered in a drawing for our give-away!  You can share your comments here, but please see the Discussions tab 800 Fan Celebration thread on our Fan Page to leave your comment for official entry.

I will leave the posts open till Sunday afternoon, 4 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST).  Don't know what time it is in CST?  Click here for a handy converter.

Enjoy your stroll down memory lane -- I know we will!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blissful Garden Beads' March Bead Challenge Submission

The voting will be open for 3 days.
You can vote at Heather's Blog.
Spread the word!

What a tremendous honor to be allowed to participate in Heather Davis of Blissful Garden Beads' Bead Challenge this month! Being as this was my first Challenge submission, I was a little intimidated.  I had seen several Challenges I could have participated in freely, but for some reason they always seemed beyond my comfort zone. I decided to "go for it" and hopped on the first chance I had to sign up!  I received the GORGEOUS handmade Artisan bead created by the lovely Heather of Blissful Garden Beads almost immediately I had a visit from my ever elusive Muse! I pondered on the design for a bit, made a sketch, then let it marinate a bit longer. By the time the actual fabrication process was put into motion, the bead seemed to speak to me in high definition! The design took on a whole life of its own. No telling what it would have turned out to be had I not gotten so busy with work and other daily routines and had time to put some thought into the chain portion. I may just have to expound on the initial submission when I have a few moments to steal away with my thoughts and a consult my Muse...keep an eye out for more on that later! ;)

At any rate, here are the photos of my submission.  Hope you like it!


Hand made entirely of copper sheet and wire along with a nice chunky chain I scored on Etsy.  I used 2 gauges of copper sheet and wire.  Frame is hand sawn, filed and finished.  The vines are solid copper wire which I balled myself (have you ever tried to ball 16ga copper?!  I learned a thing or two there LOL) and fashioned into vines to embellish the bead frame.  After I had the frame cut and filed to my liking, I soldered on the vines then tossed it into the pickle for a bit.  While I was waiting for the pickle to do it's magic, I cut and drilled a couple of disks for the bead top and bottom and selected a piece of balled large gauge wire for the bead.  After the pickle bath I gave the frame a good rinse -- it was now time to finalize exactly how the bead was going to attach to the frame.  My first attempt was a fail but I took that and applied what I learned from not working and took a different approach.  You'll notice that there are no holes drilled in the frame.  I had soldered a ring on one corner and used the vine on the opposite corner as bale rings.  For the bead, I took an end of the vine up top and made a loop, looped the bead wire and wove it into the others -- VIOLA!  Bead attached!  It took a little fanangling of holding my tongue just right and tweaking the vines to keep the bead from trying to flip.  Then into the tumbler it went -- I went to bed for a little shut eye.  After a few hours playing in the tumbler I gave it a quick dip in the patina solution, good rinse, dry, polish up the high spots.  I decided to have the clasp at the pendant rather than in the back to incorporate the swirling up toward the chain and we were good to go!

I wish I'd gotten pictures of each process, but I was flying solo and doing a balancing act with the tax preparer on the phone, so, we will have to imagine the process pictures.  LOL

I am tossing around name
ideas: Brambles to Blooms or; Secret Gardens or; Treasures
Within...something along those lines.


Don't forget to pop over to Heather's Blog and check out all the other entries -- there are some AMAZINGLY creative folks out there! Voting will be opened tonight so be thinking about that while you peruse the pretties!

My first bead challenge!

I am SO excited to have been one of the lucky few to be included in the March Bead Challenge held by Heather Davis of Blissful Garden Beads!  Today is the reveal day!  I will be making a post later on today with pictures of my submission...Until then, feel free to pop over to Heather's page to have a look see of all the entries!