Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

I just got my first blogger award the same week I topped the 200 followers mark. I've never gotten an award before but it entails several responsibilities. 
I'd like to thank Palimpa Lim at Schnitzkatschen for the award.

One of my responsibilities as the recipient of the award is to list 7 random things about myself.

1) I used to be a heavy equipment operator for the State of Alaska. (one of my first intaglio prints I made in my printmaking class was called "Even Plowgirls Get the Blues")

2) I'm not a pet person. I haven't had a pet in over 25 years although my yard housed a 6 dog sled dog team for 8 years. (belonged to ex boyfriend)

3) I've always had a hard time getting up in the morning

4) I have cute feet

5) Caffeine gives me night terrors and makes my arms tingle yet I still allow it into my system from time to time.

6) I can't drink wine, top shelf hard liquor agrees with me much better.

7) I was born on an island... 

I know some of you are "No Award" bloggers and also because a lot of us travel in the same circles that some of my favorite blogs have already been awarded, I am going to give a list of 15 links of some of my other favorites that you may want to visit. I know it becomes rather like a pyramid chain letter with ever widening circles but please have a look at these blogs if you wish.

10) layers
15) Amy

I'd like to award one more to my Canadian neighbor that lives off off the same highway as our Alaskan home. It's another Kim from Letting in the Light
She's recovering from a head injury from ice hockey and it's been harder for her to blog lately but her work is quite wonderful

If you choose to accept the award here are the rules:

1) add the award to your blog
2) thank the blogger that awarded you
3) write 7 random things about yourself
4) list the rules
5) award 15 other bloggers

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Learning Curve on Photographing My Jewelry...

I'm finally applying myself to the task of trying to take better photos of my jewelry. I have relied on my trusty scanner for a long time which has pretty good results but tend to make the pieces look less dimensional and leave the way they may hang to your imagination.
Still hoping to develop a more cohesive "look" that exemplifies my style and at the same time makes it easier on me in the process rather than running around the house and yard experimenting.
This first photo was taken on my scanner  and then edited to make the background more white.
I like this background but the shadows are a bit much

ooh... macro and sparkly quartz. Maybe alright for a side pic on Etsy

so they do hang but not the best photo

Got that background in grey gesso? still alotta shadow
( future journal page BTW)

I made these with some old painted metal tiles from out on our  remote property
Javelina Trail, how's that for a name?

distressed background

Hanging but still not my favorite photo look

This is when it gets more difficult on the scanner. things don't drape exactly right but shadows are minimized

I like the color on this. I have no way of knowing how it looks on your monitor though.
greens and creams and copper here.

See, it's better to see these hanging because they're long ones.
I cut up those copper embossed metal bits I bought on the banks of the Ganges.
the long tube in the right is copper that I enameled long ago.
There is evidence of my headpins in all of these earrings you may have noticed.
I think they're a blast to work with.

Art shot attempt

 too much shadow..shadoobie

trusty rusty, hang 'em high

Stuffs for other earrings. My excuse to sit out on the patio and soak up some sun.
I'd better be careful and pick up EVERY metal shaving, else they get embedded in someone's bare feet.
( oops, shouldn't brag about bare feet weather, most of you are grey and frosty and cold still...Ok I will anyway, I see green leaves budding out here, so there!)

This lovely item is what my archaeologist husband dug up in our yard yesterday when he was planting a tree. Look closely, it's part of a motorcycle!
Our house was built in 1915. I imagine that this heavy iron toy might have been from the 20's or so.
There you have it today. Input and feedback is welcome on the photos (and the design too)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Influenced by India... my latest work

Pink City earrings

Components I'm making for future earrings from a tea tin 
and metal tile that I found at an abandoned shack in the desert

Perhaps inspired by my India trip and made with new gem show beads.
Paddle headpins made by me.

Rajasthan earrings

Jade pieces from the gem show.
I'm selling these for $3.50 each...just ask me!

From a vendor at the ghat in Varanasi by the banks of the Ganges.
"Very old" he said, hundreds of years old...well maybe 20 years according to a more reputable antiques dealer. I promise you I didn't pay too much for these! 
This is the same guy that guessed my age at 65 so maybe I shouldn't feel so bad.
He thought so by looking at my hands...one reason I'm not anxious to do any online video tutorials for you guys!

Newest necklace made yesterday with components from mala prayer beads, Thai amulet, Roman glass beads, labradorite and raw sapphire.

outdoor photo

light box with no lights photo

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Patterns of India

One of the things that has always stood out for me about India is the decorative art and architecture.
I suppose it's one of the things that draws me to it.
When I was 18, India was top on the list for places I wanted to visit.
Indian cooking was my favorite new hobby. I was fascinated by the curries and spices and wanted to learn more about Indian cooking. I then met an Indian Prince from Punjab at my rather alternative semester of commune living put on by my local community college. We spent an entire semester, 21 of us at an unoccupied summer camp one fall in Maine. Most of my "education" was spent in the kitchen learning both vegetarian and Indian cooking. 
Somehow plans to travel to India took a back burner and my next trip was my move to Alaska instead at age 19.
 Now over 35 years later I finally got my India trip.
I have traveled frequently to other parts of Southeast Asia- Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, Laos and had always heard from other travelers that India was a different sort of travel, "not a vacation, an experience"
"intense" "difficult" "mindblowing" "too many people" "filthy" "beggars everywhere following you and touching you"
It was with some trepidation that we planned this trip, I wasn't exactly sure what was in store for us.
My son's girlfriend is from India so when she was planning her yearly trip back to see her folks and had invited my son to make the trip we took it upon ourselves to invite ourselves along at least for the convenience of a jumping off and landing place to bookend our trip.

What I didn't expect was that our almost 5 week trip was like visiting about 5 different countries each with a different flavor, climate and scenery. I suppose I did know on some level when you think of a country that large that it will span many environs but it was the actual traveling and the short amount of time we did it in that made an even bigger impact on my psyche.
I've told more than a few people of how exhausting it was, we didn't spend more than 4 days in any one place and as I've experienced in most of my overseas travel that I tend to go into survival mode trying to conserve my energy and not to overextend myself. Try that when you are traveling with a non-stop energy bunny that I call my husband. He can just go-go-go and it's up to me to speak up for the rest breaks.

I had to abandon the diet I had crafted for myself just to make things simpler.
No wheat wasn't an option for me when there were daily offerings of naan, rotis and chapatis.
I was quite surprised that I didn't take to Indian food as I thought I would (or it didn't take to me)
The sauces seemed too heavy and I think I just didn't know what to order a lot of the time.
It took some trial and error to find my favorites.
Most of our meals were Indian food at restaurants for travelers and I tired of the menus.
The seafood and rice-based dishes in the south were my favorites and there was more fresh produce gracing our meals. We took the chance with salads.
My all time favorite food was dosas, a rice and dal based thin pancake with a bit of filling.
Paper dosas were enourmous bigger than your plate sized thin crepe like pancakes that had some nicely seasoned potatoes filling them. That's my kind of breakfast!

Pink Palace, Jaipur

I wonder what this says

Carving and paint job on a delivery truck

 India was such a wealth of imagery and experience that I'm hoping to distill it here to share with you some of the thoughts, images and feelings that I acquired on our trip.
Feel free to ask me any questions You may have. 
I'm only halfway through editing my photos from the trip so far.

I will share with you the biggest tragedy of the trip right now.
What, as a blogger would be one of the worst things that could befall you barring accidents and health concerns? 
Losing all your photos, right?
Well that's exactly what happened to my husband "Mr Paparazzi" himself on the last days of our trip.
He apparently left his camera with the memory chip from the entire trip in a taxi in Mumbai.
We were so incredibly careful the whole trip and it seems our guard was down when we took our last taxi ride to our friends house in Mumbai. He probably had twice as many as I did on that memory chip and there were quite a few that I counted on him having on his camera that I wanted to share.
At least my photos survived and so did we.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Enough about me... Here's something fresh

I'd like to share a little known art blog that I've found that I think is super original and fresh. I happen to know her parents rather well and even met her when we were on our honeymoon in Sweden. 
 Introducing Karin Backlof
I do hope you take a moment to discover her amazing artistry with fiber and clean design sense.
Just wait till you see how she made these!

I did a swap with her recently and I received this sweet raincloud.
I think she sensed we needed some here in the desert.

I'm still trying to sort out how to present my India stories here. 
It seems to be that current creations and experiences shout out the loudest to be shared and I know I ought to find a way to present my experiences before they fade to far back into history.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Arizona Statehood Centennial

Did you know that it's the centennial of statehood today?  It will be easy for you to remember that it's on Valentine's Day. Perhaps it's fitting that today I'm starting my volunteering at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. I'll be working in the bookstore and will have access to some wonderful publications about our area and history.
I'll be bringing my reading glasses along!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Utilizing Gem Show Finds

I wanted to share with you a few of my newest creations with some of my finds from The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. It was the first time since we got our little co-op unit in Tucson and I was actually able to ride my bike to one of the shows.

I was particularly drawn to bone Tibetan mala prayer beads this time and gravitated to more tribal looking pieces of bone and even wood.
This pair has my own swirly headpins that can be found in my Etsy shop NuminosityBeads.
I found some delicious pyrite chunks that were small enough not to add too much heft but add some understated bling (is that an oxymoron?) I have been waiting to use my vintage buttons, perhaps hoarding them. Taking a lesson from fancifuldevices I am going to let go and use some of my favorite collections now.

Here are a few of the strands I've broken up that I'll be listing in my supply shop Numinosity.
I have plenty of these so if you want to shout out for some now before I list, have at it!
These top mala beads are a bit larger than the ones I already have listed in my shop.
In case you're confused, I have two shops. One for supplies and vintage things that I didn't make  and the other is all of my own creations including some supplies I have made such as headpins and beads

My photoshop on my laptop is groaning from all of my India photos and won't let me edit any more due to a lack of RAM memory at the moment so I'm sharing some unadulterated photos here, please forgive me.

buttons and bones

Amber swirl headpins... small ivory color mala beads.

I hope to be adding more once I get my memory back!
I have one more thing to add here, do you folks prefer me to answer your comments here or via email, I've always been unsure about this. It has been kind of fun to see responses on other blogs so I may consider switching to answering here, Whatyathink?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Old Photos from India

We were on the lookout for antique shops on our trip since we are such collectors.
I was so pleased to find a plethora of old photos. We weren't sure what sort of things we might find and if there was much in the way of second hand or antique shops on our trip.
Fort Kochi, Kerala has an area called "Jewtown" named such from Jewish immigrants that landed there 2000 years ago. It was on Jew Street that we found a treasure trove of interesting artifacts and treasures.

 Don't you just love this display?

If I had room this box would have made it home with me!

Our lovely proprietress

Imagine my delight when I found stacks of old photos!
Some of the photos weren't perhaps as old as they looked but with the tropical environment they took on the aged appearance that I love.

I was told that most of these are from the Tamil Nadu area of India

a better close-up

Now this one already looks like a piece I'd like to make. The composition that time created.

A slice of someone's life

Quite solemn

Now this one is totally classic! I laugh every time I look at it.
Gotta be the 70's (I was probably around the same age then)

First thought was twins but it's a mirror image.

I have no idea how I'll use these just yet but let me tell you, just finding them gave me the greatest pleasure!