Studio Musings

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm Teaching at Fusion Beads this Fall

Earlier this summer, Fusion Beads accepted three of my classes for the fall, but asked me not to say anything until their schedule was published.  This postcard just arrived in the mail yesterday, so now I can spread the news.  My freeform ruffles are even featured at the lower left! 

What will I be teaching? And when?  Thanks for asking! 

Blue Urchin brooch
Freeform Peyote Ruffles, Sunday October 9 from 11:00am - 5:00pm

Photo from Fusion Beads' Fall Classes catalog
Snowflakes, Wednesday, November 2nd, 6 - 9:00 pm

Photo from Fusion Beads' Fall Classes catalog
Lacework Bracelet, Tuesday November 15th from 6 - 9:00pm

Their full schedule is available online or in their Seattle store and class sign-ups start Thursday, August 25th at 10:00am.  Be sure to check it out - they offer an incredible schedule, including several free demos. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I am SOOO Impressed with Dremel

My new "warranty" Dremel
Last Tuesday I sent my old Dremel tool in for warranty work.  I didn't have a receipt, and wasn't sure how long I'd had it as I'd received it for Christmas a while back. 

This morning when I opened the front door I found this  package waiting on my front porch.  Huh!  That was fast.

Inside I found a brand-new Dremel tool (guess I really broke the old one), the drill bit I couldn't remove from my old one, and a brand-new, still-in-the-package 3/16" flapper wheel as a thank you for trusting Dremel.

I am floored!  It's been just over a week since I sent my original package.  I have never had warranty work completed so fast, nor with such delightful results!

Yeah Dremel!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two Fish

Emme's design neatly laid out.
After dropping Sam off at camp, we headed to the studio so that Emme could string the beads she'd purchased the day before and make a necklace. 

She did a great job, but I failed to take a picture of the finished project, and that evening the piece broke, so it needs to go in for repairs. 

I normally do beadweaving, not stringing, As such, I'm generally more interested in how many threads I can fit through one bead than its tensile strength.  We used the strongest thread I had - 6lb. Fireline - but even doubled it just wasn't enough.  Wish I'd purchased some beading wire for Emme's visit.

Out of curiosity, what's your favorite stringing material?

Wondering where the fish from the title are?  Well, we visited the Aquarium after the studio and here are a few pics from that:

This big boy posed for his picture
Rockfish - too bad their spiny dorsal fins are tucked away!
A little curlique inspiration with the basket star
Walk Like a Penguin

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hanging out at the Beach

Yesterday was an absolutely picture perfect, once-in-a-summer sort of day.  The perfect sort of day to kick off your shoes and hang out at the beach.  The kind of day to make me wonder why in the world I didn't hang out at the beach more often.

And this trip was made even better for the additional company.  While Dan and I played frisbee, Sam and Emme played in the cold, cold surf (how do children do it?) and took turns burying themselves in the sand.

Emme's happily burying her brother
Doesn't he look upset?

Dan's addition

Uncle Joe acting as a sun shield
Emerging from the sand
Life is indeed very, very good! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stepping Away from the Studio

Tomorrow my brother and his kids are arriving from Missouri for our annual Seattle vacation - Yippee!  Can't wait to see them.  I know we're going to be doing all sorts of touristy things.  This will be Emme's first Seattle visit and her big brother Sam has already declared that we MUST Ride the Duck to show her around.  

 So today, I'm trying to finish up on things.  Besides housework, I just finished up the web page I'd promised on finishing the concrete cabochons.   The gist of the page:  a little sandpaper and paint go a long, long way. 

I likely won't get to the write up on working with epoxy until after their visit - so expect that in early August. 

Now, it's time to get back to house cleaning.  Need to change the sheets, pull together the kids' art supplies, pull out extra towels, pick up and put away.  Our household is expanding from two to five for the next week and a half.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Had a Little Dremel

Earlier this week I had the belated, but bright idea of pulling out my trusty dremel tool to help me sand my growing collection of concrete beauties.  But when I went to change drill bits, I couldn't get the shaft lock to engage.  Pout!

Unsure whether it was just myself or if the tool was actually broken, (does anyone else have this problem?) I packed it up and headed down the street to the local Home Depot, where I happily accosted unsuspecting sales associates in the tool department and made them take a look.  The universal answer, after it had been passed from hand to hand, was Broken.  Double Pout!

A girl has to have her accessories
Potential good news - I may be able to get a replacement part and fix it myself from Dremel (if I can ever manage to call while they're open).  But that wouldn't help me in the short term.  But what before my eyes should appear,  but a row of brand new dremel tools and accessories, singing their siren songs.  Aack!

My new Dremel 1000 with its little accessory kit
So now I'm the proud owner of the Dremel 1000, with its handy dandy speed dial of 5,000-35,000 rpm.  And I love it!

I spent the afternoon sanding with these little sand paper drums.  They worked beautifully on the concrete and I only caught my cuticles twice.  I probably should have worn safety goggles (squinting doesn't really work to keep concrete grit out of the eyes), but all and all I emerged happily unscathed and triumphant. 

And as it turns out, once you've worn the little sanding drums down so that they don't actually sand anymore, they become buffing wheels.  How perfect is that?
Sanded, buffed, polished and painted - Ready for a night on the town

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Concrete pancake just removed from the tray
Are you sick of concrete yet?  Hope not: it's what I worked on today and hence my focus for this post.

I pulled a tray's worth of concrete pancakes off of their blue tape today and the immediate results were far from stunning.

Take this blue baby: the concrete had crept well past my design lines and underneath most of my beads.

After Sanding
A little work with with sandpaper - 60 grit to remove the excess concrete and 150 grit to knock back the scratches - it's starting to look a little more presentable, but still nothing to write home about.

Just add water (though resin is more permanent)
To test how it would look if I added resin (and to remove any left over concrete dust) I ran it under the tap.  The colors and beads immediately jumped out - this gives me a good idea what it would look like with resin.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Open Studio Evenings in Full Swing

Hard at work, laying out designs and mixing concrete
Four intrepid souls from the Sead Beaders' group helped me kick off the first of three open studio evenings. 

Couldn't have asked for nicer weather - in fact the sun was so bright we ended up having to pull the curtains for much of the evening until it set. 

Shelly smoothing concrete over her designs
It was fascinating watching what people brought to use for inclusions - so many new ideas.  I can't wait for this Thursday to see how everyone's pieces turned out.

And I hope everyone is pleased - often, they have a bit of an ugly duckling look about them until we've had a chance to brush them up with a little sand paper and add a touch of acrylics or resin to help bring out the design.

And that's what this Thursday evening is all about - and playing with resin as well.

A tray of colored concrete pancakes waiting for their reveal
For those who attended last week: you'll have a chance to put the finishing touches on your concrete cabochons.  If you weren't able to attend, but are curious - I will have the concrete available for experimentation.

We'll work with the epoxy resin both in conjunction with the concrete and on its own.  I plan to spend some time this evening drawing little designs that might get used in the resin. 

Steampunk bracelet from Cindy's ResinObsession blog
Here are some fun links on working with resin: