Studio Musings

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Halloween Snowflakes

I'd originally intended to create a bead-embroidered piece with leaves for Sarah's Sequintastic Blog Hop using the lovely Fall palette of sequins I got from Cartwright's Sequins. But I got a late start as yesterday was the first time I've picked up a beading needle in three weeks. I woke up with songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas running through my head and they wouldn't go away.

The full set to date, working with four colors of beads and three colors of sequins

So I broke down, bought the sound track and spent the day listening to it while making Halloween Snowflakes. It took a little bit to get into it - the first couple I made look pretty much like snowflakes with a weird color scheme. They're the ones at the top of this picture.

Then it clicked, and I started making flower stars that would fit right into Dia del Muerto. I really like the effect from stacking the sequins - smaller black on top of lime green and purple. Very festive.

I will definitely be wearing these earrings!

I'd purchased a bunch of lampworked bats beads last year, but never got around to using them.   A couple finally made their debut in this pair of earrings that I will definitely wear.

My sequin entry is pretty light, but I had such fun playing with them and this color scheme! I am definitely making more, and am seriously considering putting together a couple of Halloween Snowflake kits for my Etsy shop.

And a funny aside - when I went searching for a link to the movie, I discovered that Nightmare Before Christmas came out the month after we were married. Way to make me feel old!
And on a dark cold night, under full moonlight, 
he flies into the fog like a vulture in the sky!
And they call him, Sandy... Clawssss...! - Jack Skellington

Make sure to check out the other participants in Sequintastic September - I know that's where I'm going next.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rest, Relaxation and Inspiration

DCL's Fantasy, docked at Castaway Cay
Slowly regaining my bearings after two wonderful weeks at sea on the Disney Cruise Lines Fantasy, sailing through the warm blue waters of the Caribbean.  This was our first time on Disney's new, larger ships and I have to say it was sweet.  I especially loved the new adults-only deck areas. 

Rather than giving you a potentially boring blow by blow of our vacation, I thought I'd take a slightly different approach and share some of the inspiration I found on board.  Unlike other cruise lines, the Disney ships are designed by Imagineers, the same people who design the theme parks and attractions.  In my opinion, it really shows. 

All four ships were designed as "modern classics"; the Fantasy's interior design draws heavily from Art Nouveau.  Everywhere I went, I was awed by their attention to detail and their ability to tell a story.  Time and again, I was reminded of the City and Guilds' Design course I took with Gail Harker years ago - where we looked at all the different ways we might interpret and use a single source of inspiration.    I thought I'd share two of my favorites.

Roses used as a design element in the Royal Court restaurant
First up, the Royal Court restaurant.  It's overarching theme is Disney princesses, with several stunning mosaics depicting the ballroom scenes from their movies.  Cinderella running down the stairs, the feast from Sleeping Beauty, the ball at the end of Beauty and the Beast; you get the picture.  All done in tiny glass tiles.  That's the art, and it is truly beautiful.

But what brought me back to the restaurant before breakfast one morning were all of the different ways they used Roses.  My collage shows a few of these, including the pillars that sweep into tree-like light-canopies overhead, and the carpets and tile underfoot.  Beauty's roses crest each pillar, which are topped in turn by rose bushes which also hide the main light fixtures for the room.   Most of the room is done in muted shades of ecru and cream, reminding me of castle walls, except for the flooring coverings.  Tile paths led through the restaurant, with rich red and gold carpets to either side.  I'm particularly fond of the bramble vines, though the densely packed rosebuds create a gorgeous red-carpet effect. 

It was really funny, because the waitstaff got a kick out of watching me run around taking pictures of carpeting and they started pointing things out, making sure I didn't miss any of the other details, including Cinderella's carriages embossed white-on-white on the plates, and the symbols for each of the princesses - rose, slipper, etc - carved into the backs of each chair. 

FYI, there are three main dining rooms - doing some quick math each can accommodate six hundred plus guests at any one seating.  But they never felt cavernous, or over-crowded. 

It's funny how you think you've taken so many photos, but you get home and discover that you're missing some of the most basic?  Well, I don't have any pictures of the whole, three-story atrium.  Just lots and lots of detail shots of all the different ways they used peacock feathers in the space.

The top right photo is of the atrium's central carpet.  It's every bit as detailed (and as large) as a full-scale wall mural.  If you look, you can see a few people in the picture for scale.  To me, it looks like a jewelry design waiting to happen.

Around the edges of the atrium, below the second floor balconies, the flooring switches to tile, reinterpreting the feather design yet again.  There's a set of broad stairs that sweeps up to the second floor of the atrium.  At the top of those stairs, three peacock feathers sweep out to fill the landing, with smaller blue-on-blue feathers in the background (bottom middle and left in my collage).  If you look closely, you'll note that even the railing carries the design.   The top two photos to the left of my collage are from the carpeting in the cafe area on the atrium's second floor.  The gold band helps delineates the walkway from the seating areas. 

I didn't do any beading on the trip, but I did do a little sketching. 

sketching while lounging on a deck chair around the Satellite Falls pool
Joe grabbed a shot of me painting my sketch in the atrium's cafe

And since it was a vacation, here a a couple of random shots:
One mural from the Royal Court restaurant.   I love all the details!

St Maarteen was one of our prettiest ports of call
An amazing sunrise over the water

my attempt to take a panoramic, just a little earlier the same sunrise
They say it's 7 years good luck to kiss a stingray

It wouldn't be a Disney Cruise without the characters

Capt. Jack Sparrow staggered, wandered down the beach at Disney's private island, so of course I had to grab a shot with him.  Not my best shot - but Captain Jack's looking good.  :)  Joe spent part of each morning journaling at the bar up on the pool deck.  We got to check out the kids' clubs during one of their open houses.  Boy does it look like it would be fun to be a kid!  And Joe heading back to the ship after we toured Costa Maya, Mexico. 

And now we're home.  Can I just say that Seattle seems positively cold in comparison?   It seems that we've jumped straight from Summer into Autumn.  I'm teaching my Fancy Fish at Fusion Beads this coming Sunday.  Last I checked, there's still a couple of spots if you're in town and interested.  Also need to finish up a little something for Sarah's Sequintastic September this Saturday.  Oh, and I've decided to rearrange my studio - I spent the morning moving furniture and tubs of fabric.

Hi ho, hi ho..... Just wish I could whistle as well as they do. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Twenty Years, Floods and my Etsy Shop

Twenty years ago today, we were down to the wire.  Exactly one week until our wedding, less than that until our families arrived from out of town.  We were living in mid-Missouri then, and while we weren't directly affected by the flooding of '93, Columbia had a brief stint as an island as the waters covered all major access points to the city - including the interstate.  But by September 4th, the roads were clear - family and friends flying into Kansas City would be able to make it. 

What we didn't know until some time after the wedding was that some of our guests were caught in another sort of flood on their way to the church.  Not being football fans ourselves, we'd failed to note that we were marrying on the same weekend as the Mizzou homecoming game.  The Tigers won - a miracle in that time period - sending a parade of people carrying the goal post through downtown, right past the front doors of the church.  What's a little more celebration on your big day, right? 

We'd decided to marry in Columbia, rather than either of our home towns because it was our home.  The home we were making with each other.  And I wanted to share my new home with my family, who lived half a country away in California.  It must have worked - while Joe and I now live in Seattle, the rest of my immediate family is happily ensconced in.... you guessed it, Columbia! 

Fast forward a few years and next Wednesday, Joe and I will celebrate our twentieth anniversary. It's funny, because it truly doesn't seem that long.  And it's wonderful, because he's still my very best friend and I'd marry him today if we weren't already married.  But since we are married, we've decided to simply go on a trip and have fun together. 

Preparing for the trip, we both agreed that we're going to unplug - no phones, no emails, no conference calls with work.  Why is it so much easier to contemplate that for him than for myself?  I could catch up on my blogging, a sad little voice inside my head cries out.  I could read my friends blogs for a change.  But for much of the time, we'll be out of cell-phone and internet range anyways.  Unplugging really does make sense for so many reasons. 

What about my Etsy shop?  I won't be around to answer convos or ship packages.  My best friend who has covered shipping for me in the past will be gone the same time, too.   I debated putting my shop on vacation mode.  I debated deactivating all of my listings except for my PDF automatic downloads.  Instead, I've decided to leave it live for the duration, with a note saying that I will ship any physical orders (kits, beads, jewelry) after I return - so expect packages of that sort to ship on the 23-24th.  Then I decided to add an 'only while I'm gone' listing for the PDF tutorial for my Winter Blues freeform peyote bracelet.  I've listed ten copies - any leftover when I get back will simply disappear.

I've also added a coupon code.  Use HAPPYANNIVERSARY - for free domestic shipping on orders over $20.00 as my way of saying thank you for waiting for your package while we're off celebrating twenty years (and girding ourselves for the next 20).

And for those of you who have made through this post - here's a look at a much younger us:

Bye for now! See you real soon....