Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh, oh, oh Christmas trees for I Might Make That! Monday

Wire trees by Chris Wrinn

I appreciate everyone's patience while I dropped off the radar for what now feels like a very long time. We now return to our regular programming.

Black Friday is winding down as I type this a few days in advance of posting Monday. I don't do Black Friday--never have. I DO plan to do a little shopping on Small Business Saturday. One of the spots I'll be checking out is the Fenton Street Holiday Market in downtown Silver Spring. Want to do some scoping out to see if I am interested indoing this crafts show next year.

I also want to hit Accents Beads, a great little bead store in Rockville that is having a small-business Saturday sale. Although I know I can buy seed beads cheaper online, there's nothing like being able to see the color in person, and I do appreciate having a local store that's not a Michael's or other chain for buying such supplies. (Not that I don't drop plenty of $$ at Michaels.)

Because we're inching toward December, I do have Christmas on my mind, so here is a roundup of tannenbaum bounty. I wanted to find some patterns beyond the cliched stacked marguerites or the staggered swirls embellished with beads that you see everywhere.

WigJig Chandeliers
I love the simplicity of the simple wire trees shown above. They are designed by Chris Wrinn and are available as a free download from Jewelry Making Daily

And these here, to the right, are ordinary chandeliers, and the instructions from WigJig show them in several colors, but don't they evoke Christmas trees when made with green bicones? All it needs is a little blingy something right at the topmost point.

Beyond trees, there's a whole page of Christmas-themed patterns from WigJig, from a funky Rudolph to a moon angel.

I've already featured WigJig's dove pin, and last Christmas I highlighted these clever magatama tree earrings from Bead & Button.

Friendly Plastic trees
I'm not fond of plastic jewelry as a rule, but I do admire the artistry of these marbled ones here, made from a product I'm not familiar with called Friendly Plastic. The tute is very detailed with lots of cool pics.

I'll stop with this last one. This is intended to be a tree ornament, I think, but with fancier ribbons and blingier beads, I think this would make a lovely brooch. (No tute, but surely you can figure it out.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blingy things and big screens

I promise to resume regular programming very soon. Let me at least give you a peek into what's been occupying all of my free time these past couple of weeks (along with the usual job, grad school, etc.)

For those of you in the DC area, come visit the wondrous Holiday Shop at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria on Saturday and say. They have very high-quality crafts and the most helpful volunteer organizers.

I did this event last year and it was lots of fun. (Read about my Kumihimo-ing in public here.)

This same weekend is the Alexandria Film Festival. This project is a labor of love for my friend Patti, who launched this event six years ago, and a labor of friendship by those who love Patti and want to support her. I've been helping out with advertising and publicity.

There is a fabulous, eclectic lineup of local, international, ethnic, provocative, offbeat, outrageous serious, haunting and hilarious films. Many of the filmmakers will be in attendance.

It starts Friday and ends Sunday night.

Now from reading about those two events, you might reasonably assume that I live in Alexandria. I do not. I live on the northern side of DC, in a Maryland suburb, and I always get lost when I drive to Virginia. But such is the power of my friend Patti, who does live in Alexandria, that I brave the border.

For those of you who don't live in the DC metropolitan area, it may be hard to fathom how Marylanders and Virginians feel about crossing the Potomac. I am more likely to drive to Baltimore than I am to cross over to Northern Virginia, which is less than half the distance. Every Marylander I know feels the same way, and every Virginian I know feels the same about venturing into Maryland. It's like DC, which separates us, is a kind of DMZ.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rings and running in circles

Ack, I wish I could blame Hurricane Sandy and a power outage for my lack of posting. She's partly responsible, in that she delayed my return from Texas by two days last week.

Amazingly, we had no loss of power. (I say "amazingly" because every piddly thunderstorm seems to knock out power in our leafy suburb. Above-ground power lines and mature trees are a bad combo.)

But my graduate class is in full throttle (paper due tomorrow) and the Alexandria Film Festival needs some of my attention. Plus I have a craft show coming up in two weeks. Oh, and I decided to throw an Election Watch party. So let's just say posting will be erratic for a little while longer and I'll get back to my I Might Make That! Mondays and Need a Laugh Wednesdays when things calm a bit.

The pic shows off my handiwork at Lexi Erickson's class in metalsmithing at Beadfest Texas. Most of the students were way more experienced than I was. But still it was a great intro, and I got to use a jeweler's saw for the first time, and learned proper hammering, filing and finishing techniques. The real biggie was that I got to use an acetylene torch in my first attempts at soldering.

In addition to making the three sterling silver stacking rings shown here, we made copper triangles cut from copper sheet metal that were supposed to be turned into earrings. My triangles were a little lopsided (but full of character), so I plan on using them to make a focal at a future point.