28 May 2013

Comfortable in the Nest - FREE Tutorial

"When I learn something new - and it happens every day - I feel a little more at home in this Universe, a little more comfortable in the nest." ~ Bill Moyers

I am delighted that one of my projects for Nunn Design was picked up on Jewelry Making Daily.

I love the idea of nests of eggs. They speak of home and comfort and new life and possibilities. I love to mix metals, so using different tones was easy for me to do. When I saw the little copper bead cap, I thought it looked like a nest--and that is where I started. And a nest needs a branch and a bird to go along with it! The Nunn Design products are full of potential, especially if you are able to look past what their typical function is and use them as building blocks to making your design unique!

If you have a chance, please go and check it out! You can see the step by step instructions on Jewelry Making Daily or you can download the instructions from Nunn Design.

And if you are looking for more birds' nest ideas, today is also my day over at Earring Everyday and you can read about my inspiration for the Nesting Instincts earrings.

23 May 2013

Powdered Sugar and Sprinkles

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were big things."
~Robert Brault

On Tuesday, May 21st I got a phone call from the principal of my daughter's school.
"I have some bad news," she said. "One of our seventh grade students collapsed during third period and died."

Her voice was cracking as she said this. My heart broke a little at the thought of this monumental task. No doubt it was not any easier to call the first or the 200th parent that day to let them know.

And then I had to tell Tiny Dancer.

I had a hard time keeping it together to inform her that her classmate had passed away. She knew that he had collapsed, but didn't know the sad outcome. She is in sixth grade, so she didn't know him well, but there were still sobs.

Joey Miller was a bright boy with a big smile who loved to fish and play video games. He is part of our small Catholic Middle School community. There were classmates there when it happened. He was surrounded by friends. My heart aches for the teacher who could not do anything to bring him back. And for the administrators who had to make a terrible phone call. Joey could easily have been anyone's child that day. We don't know the reasons why this happened yet, but it really doesn't matter. He is the child of all of us today.

Joey's best friend is Noah Lamaide. Noah started a fundraising network a few years ago on his 9th birthday called Noah's Dream Catcher Network. His lofty goal is to do a fundraiser each year to help those who are disadvantaged. In 2012 he saved his grandmother's home from foreclosure and got national attention. Currently, Noah has started a fund where 100% of the donations will be given to the Miller Family in Joey's honor. What an incredible gift of friendship and support! This young man's actions restore my faith that there is a lot of good in this world.

Last night when I was at the store, I spied the powdered sugar mini donuts and the colorful sprinkles on the chocolate donut holes. On impulse, I threw them in my cart.

I broke off my work for the evening early.
I shared a hearty laugh with my daughter over googly eyes we made at each other.
I told my son to not stay up too late.
I tucked my daughter in bed with extra snuggles.

This morning Tiny Dancer asked me why there were donuts for breakfast.

I shrugged and said, "Why not?"

I recognized that I needed to take the chance to make the ordinary extraordinary. I need to do that more often. In truth, I am celebrating the every day moments that become memories and honoring a little boy who has left a big hole in our community.

If today is not the right time for powdered sugar and sprinkles, then when?

06 May 2013

Rusty Bits Challenge :: Lies They Told Me...

"I am still standing there waiting for you where you left me. I hope someday you will come otherwise I will remain like this forever. I was there but you were gone leaving all those glimpses of memories." ~ Sushan R. Sharma

It all started with that hunk of rust I pried off the bottom of my car.

A few weeks ago I saw a picture on Brenda Schweder's wall about a piece of rust that she found in a parking lot. Sweet rusty serendipity! It looked a lot like mine so I asked her to share what she would make of it. That is when Brenda threw down the rusty gauntlet and issued a challenge.

Make something with the rusty bit and share it with the world.

Intrigued. And you know I never shy away from a challenge.

So, despite all the things that I had going on this month - including being called for jury duty (but haven't had to serve...yet) - I thought "heck, yeah!" I would take her up on that challenge.

I stopped by a local art gallery on my lunch break called the Riverfront Art Gallery to get some inspiration. They happened to be showing an exhibit of local artists using repurposed or recycled materials called Re-Art in honor of Earth Day. I had a little personal tour from the director, Nancy. Man, do I wish that I had seen that call for artists! This is totally in my wheelhouse!

One of the most intriguing and dominating pieces was a coffee table sized hollow piece that was made of steel with all these tubes and gears around the outside. It was all welded together and had a pebbly surface with the most amazing steel-green patina. There was also recycled glass from the dorm they tore down on campus fused in some top secret process to create this porthole effect and a whole piece of art made from wine corks. A whole flock of talisman dolls were actually re-purposed Barbies that had been embellished in a very interesting display that said a lot about women's image and domestic abuse. I hope they do this exhibit again.

{images I took of art at the Riverfront Art Center Re-Art exhibit, April 2013}
One of my favorite pieces in the exhibit was a departmental mail cubby from the University that was made into a Cabinet of Curiosities. (Those are just two of dozens of cubbies in the top middle picture). Broken stems from wine glasses, the type balls from a Smith-Corona typewriter, pencil nubs and snips of maps, parts of rulers and tiny animal skulls... there was so much to look at! I have to go back and take a closer look at each of the cubbies. I would love to come and see where he stores all these treasures! A great commentary that nothing is ever wasted, that even in those broken bits that others would discard there is beauty and intrigue. That piece is part of what is inspiring this new series that I am embarking on.

As I was working with the rusty bit, which I sealed with a metal sealer (no use needing a tetanus shot just to wear the rusty bits), the idea that I had was to make a sandwich of metal bits with the micro screw set that I got last summer at the Richard Salley class. However, as I was cutting the rust, the more fragile pieces with the raggedy edges was falling off. To me those were most interesting! The center of it is more sturdy and I can still do something with that, but this was causing me to stop and re-evaluate my plan. It will still be something I come back to when I have more time to engineer it, but since I started at 10:30 pm and had a goal to be done by midnight, it wasn't in the cards.

I had a heart shaped bezel sitting out where the rusty bits were falling. That gave me the idea of making a Cabinet of Curiosities sort of series. If you know me at all, then you know how I feel about hearts. I am not the sort that likes the traditional pink and white lacy hearts. Hearts are not perfect like that. We all have ours stitched together Frankenweenie style with exposed cogs, battle scars and old flames.

I looked in the dusty corner of my studio and saw a large sheet of this perforated metal. That looks sort of like lace, but I just liked the texture. If I had been more awake I might have tried to color it or patina it or maybe even torch it (I got the torch out to play this weekend finally but never did anything more than set it up on the kitchen island). I trimmed a small piece to fit inside and then found a rusty bit to add to it. I drilled a little hole through it all and added the clock hands with the micro screw set. I still might add resin to this piece, but I am not sure how that would work with the rust, and I don't want the great color to be obscured.

I knew I needed a more industrial looking chain than what I had in my stash. Miss Brenda was kind enough to send me one of her innovative Now That's A Jig kits to play with. I have wanted one of those ever since I read her book Steel Wire Designs (love it!) and found out that she pioneered this new tool. I wanted to use it to make my own chain, but considering that I started this after most {sane} people's bedtime, I knew that my brain was not up to the task of learning a new tool. So I will save that for a future installment. I went on a treasure hunt and found a box of E-clamps and Retaining Rings. I discovered about six different chain possibilities for these little retaining clamps. I will be buying more of those in the future!

The remaining parts with the pearl and chain were just defunct pieces in my studio that I have repurposed. So I would guess that this might qualify me to enter the next Re-Art exhibit at the Riverfront next year!

I am calling this series LIES He  They Told Me...

And this piece is called "I'll only be gone for a minute." The clock has stopped on their love. Frozen in time.

I think the next one will be called "She is just a friend."

Hmmm... I wonder what rusty bits will show up in THAT one!


Thank you Miss Brenda, for intriguing and inspiring me!

Please go and check out what my friend Miss Brenda Schweder has created.

Your turn...

I have actually never had much experience (thankfully) with lies of this sort. 

What phrases would you suggest I tackle for this series? 

I just came back from a walk and talked to a local boutique owner who wants me to create a line of these called LIES They Told Me (rather than He) so now I will make a few more in this series and see what comes of it!

Erin Prais-Hintz invites you to go on a journey of inspiration at her blog Treasures Found :: Inspiration is Everywhere. You can view a gallery of her work at http://www.tesoritrovati.com/ or purchase her popular line of 'Simple Truths' in her Etsy shop.


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