Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big Biggedy Jewelry Sale

I have an overabundance of items in my jewelry shop! And I keep making more. So I'm having an End of Summer Sale, to make room for new items. Many, many yummy goodies are marked down 10%, 15%, and 20%. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and other items. Click any of the thumbnails above to go to my SALE folder at Etsy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I can't believe I just listed this...

Silver Dowry
Originally uploaded by mary_tafoya

I almost don't want to part with it. It feels SO good on. But fortunately I made it about half an inch too big for me. I call it "Silver Dowry." In a few years someone might be able to pay a semester of their kid's college tuition with it, LOL!!!

In my Etsy shop, y'all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Best Beaded Earring Design of the Century

Ha! Monkeygirl has done it again. She sent this link to the cleverest beadwork design I've seen in a month of Sundays:

OH yeah. You can talk about your fancy graphed patterns and your elaborate color schemes. Uh-huh. But LiciaBeads at Etsy has great design all figured out -- 1. Bead what you know (LOL!) and 2. Less is more (except perhaps when it comes to the TP). Ahhh, the unity of form and function, a perfect exploitation of the inherent properties of beads and wire. Oops, I think I just had an art criticgasm.

Seriously, when I asked Licia if I could post a picture of her darn-it-wish-I'd-thought-of-it design, she said, "Sure!" and even went one better. She's offering a free pair of her sterling star earrings to any purchasers who use coupon code SeriousTP808. All you have to do is choose the star color.
[The fine print: Use coupon SeriousTP808 for your free gift of beaded star earrings with sterling earwires when you make a purchase from LiciaBeads. Just let her know what color you would like or it will be chosen at random. See listing for your choices. Indicate coupon code and color preference in the notes to seller box upon checkout. Offer is valid thru September 30, 2008.]
I kinda like the sound of that coupon code: Serious TP. ;-) Nice job all around, Licia! Thanks for letting me share your insanely, mundanely, smart design.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Speaking of Blogging

altered art blogging

Artful Blogging is a new periodical from Somerset Studio. I bought my first issue right before a plane ride and enjoyed the eye candy in it each night of my trip.

Beautiful images, obviously, but I mention it now because it's also got words from the artists about how they got into the rhythm of blogging.

I do find it kind of ironic, though, that it's a print publication about online blogging, and they have a website (of sorts), yet there are no links to artful blogs on it. Hmmmmm...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

See Mort Bead

crystal beadworkLinda Breyer, AKA "Morticia" in Beadland, is incredible. To say the least. And so is her beadwork! I often feel transformed somehow after looking at her work -- it's the shapes, the colors, and the detail I think.
If you found the picture above enticing (it's called "Alchemy"), here are some more links to Linda's elaborately rendered beadwork:

I realized the other day that I've known Linda since 1997. Yeah. If my math is correct that is 11 years of online beady chatting. Linda lives in London.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just Crosses, a Treasury

Wow, within an hour or so of listing my little Cranberry Crosses, BillGuestPhotography had placed them into his Etsy Treasury. That's some quick searchin' there, Bill...

And thanks! Btw, I make these little crosses as gifts fairly often but this is the first time I've listed them on Etsy. Let's see how they do... (I also have similar pearls in olive -- YUM.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bead Palettes in Kuler

Beadnik and I have been playing in Kuler! I'm trying to create some palettes that are based on traditional bead colors, as well as some of my beadwork projects... Here are a couple of links:

Lots of fun! Kuler is rather addictive! I have a bunch more color themes there too (and will probably have a few hundred at the rate I'm going, LOL!) If you click my name after travelling to one of the links above, you can see the rest of my palettes. Or, you can search marytafoya directly from the home page.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hecho del Mano Necklace

Hecho del Mano
Originally uploaded by mary_tafoya

An open hand, made of bone, handpainted with flowers, for healing, for artists. Wire wrapped coral and turquoise charm. In my Etsy shop. 8-)

healing hand necklace

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Squidoo Bookbinding Tutorial

Don't get TOO's just a quick and easy booklet project. When I prepared a workbook for the NMBS' Hands-on Color Workshop, I hand-bound several of them for the class participants. And then...made a tutorial about it:

With pictures & step-by-step instructions.
If ya like it, feel free to rate it or post a comment! (Not all the links and geegaws are up yet, but the instructions are there, along with some bookbinding resources and a couple of fun YouTube videos.)

Pick a Painting-inspired Color Palette with Kuler

Kuler is one of my favorite color play-places. It's a free, online Adobe application for generating color schemes. You can browse other folks' palettes, or create (and upload) your own. You can generate a color scheme in a number of different ways -- one of my favorites is to upload an image, usually a work of art (or a public domain image from the Internet) and choose colors from it.
Here's a quick step-by-step for using Kuler to generate a color scheme from a painting. Just remember, there are lots of other ways to play there!

1. First, you should have the color-inspiring image on your computer. You can scan an image, take a digital photo, or find one on an Internet site such as Wikipedia. You can also search Flickr directly from Kuler.

2. Next, go to

3. Go to Create, then click From an Image, then click Upload, and browse to the image on your computer. Click on the filename, and then click Open.

4. Kuler will generate a palette of 5 colors for you. (You might have to scroll to the bottom of the screen to see them.) If you don't like Kuler's choices, drag the circles around on the image. You can also play with the "mood" settings.

5. You can print the page, jot down the colors, take a screen shot of the colors, of all, join Kuler and save your color theme.

Note: I have a more detailed (4 pp.), printable PDF handout on this process, available in the Files area of my Yahoo group, MaryTafoyaBeadwork.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Etsy Treasury Times Two

Hey, last night I found my work included in a couple of Etsy Treasuries. Thanks, MSHandbags and Donkeywolf!

handmade recycled jewelry
Limelight Earrings
in MSHandbags' Pistachio Treasury

Sisters Journal, in Donkeywolf's
"Lilac Lavendar Lovelies" Treasury

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Mystery Friend

Check out this blog post from Adelita at Duke City Fix, about OFFCenter's "We Art the People" art fair, parade, and general all-around neighborhood fest:

The DH took me there on Saturday to meet his Goodwill-hunting friend. She has been my mystery friend for several months now. She and I found out (through my DH) that we have a mutual friend, Nancy at China Phoenix II, and her friend Annie Onderdonk is someone whose art I've admired lasciviously for. . . ever. (Wow, I just spell-checked that and I did spell lasciviously right!)

So anyway, one day DH was Goodwill-hunting (my word for his estate sale, yard sale, thrift store obsession and apparently he's not alone because he actually has friends on that circuit...), and my mystery friend's friend Annie was with her on the circuit, and somehow the subject of ME came up, and Annie remembered me because we were in a class together at OFFCenter (Keith LoBue's class, in fact), and also I queried a magazine once to do an interview of her. Well anyway, I received a big strangulation hug from him on her behalf.

Since then, my lovely mystery friend has sent home odds and ends of super lucsious (another difficult L word) found goodies for me -- most recently a lovely batch of vintage buttons she handpicked for me and tossed into his basket.

Saturday, I imagine it was sort of like meeting someone you know from an online dating service, except we obviously aren't dating and had never even corresponded... but MAN, I saw her booth and started drooling, and then when I saw HER, I realized I'd seen her before (I never forget a face, it's an affliction).

A few years ago, the DH took me on his Goodwill-hunting rounds, and we walked into the Goodwill distribution center a bit late in the day. Out walks this woman, I recognized her instantly as an artist though I'd never seen her before (it's an affinity...I went to Catholic schools so I can recognize nuns too, by the way). She was wandering out the door with a huge roll of beaded ball chain, the industrial kind. It was the one and only time I went there with him.

How utterly odd that she would be the one who became his friend...and my mystery friend. Well, ta-da, her name is Cheryl Thorpe and she teaches soldering classes at China Phoenix II. And, she is as lovely as her work is. Not surprising. Here's what I bought from her, along with a big packet of ephemera to play with:

This little house ornament and the woman in it will grace my bulletin board at work.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's in Those Watercolors?

OMG, I was kidding when I said in the previous post that they put sugar in everything. But apparently they do!

I found this wonderful site, humbly named The World's Finest Guide to Watercolor Painting, by Bruce MacEvoy. Did you know they often put corn syrup into watercolor paints? The corn syrup acts as a humectant, drawing in moisture (and, in the previous post, ANTS) and making it easier to re-moisturize the paint when you're ready to paint with it.

In Paints > How Watercolor Paints Are Made, I clicked on the subsection called Paint Ingredients, where MacEvoy includes this graphic, in case ya don't blieve me about the corn syrup!
While you're on the site, grab a cup of coffee and spend a little time at the website exploring the other sections. They are really well done!

Watercolor-eating Ants???

This is from Chris, who posted this to a list I'm on. Frankly, I'm baffled. Any guesses as to why the ants are doing this (other than 1. they could be having a Peter Max flashback, 2. it's mating season and they're getting all dolled up to get dates, or 3. they really do put sugar in everything!)

I came home tonight to find my box of Prang water colors covered in ants. I know water colors are held together with gum arabic, but I'm not sure what that's made of or if it's sweet. Any ideas on why the ants are eating my water colors? I don't think they're after the water since there's a shallow bowl of clean water sitting next to the paints.

The ants aren't on the outside of the paint box. They are in the wells of paint. They seem to like the aqua blue and copper best followed by orange and green. There are 30-40 in each of the wells - the sort of look like antelope around a watering hole. It's just cheap paint - I got it for .99 last fall before school started at Staples...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Findings Organizer from Heaven

No, I'm not talking about an actual person (wish I was -- my studio has reached critical mass). Today I was at Thomason Stone Supply and noticed these cute little, inexpensive, tres compact organizers from Beadsmith (a wholesaler, you'll have to find this item retail somewhere). I just spent 20 minutes googling them to no avail so I don't know if it's a new product or if most jewelry vendors stock other organizers that are more geared more toward bead storage. Well, I bought 2 today and haven't opened the second one, so heres' a scan:

It's very compact -- only 10" x 8" and 1-7/8" deep, but it has a whopping 52 removable boxes, mostly 1-1/2" x 1-1/2", which are big enough to hold my biggest, long kidney earring wires. They had one open on the counter so I spent a good 5 minutes clicking the plastic boxes open and shut, open and shut, taking them out and putting them back in, to make sure my fingers would fit, LOL.

I'm absolutely done with storage containers that are hard to snap or don't snap securely. Or the hard plastic kind that crack when you drop them, or the screw top kinds that crack when you screw them on too tightly. Grrr! I intend to transfer all my findings from my old grandpa-style nuts and bolts drawers (that have cracked over the years, and allow dust to seep in from the backs), into these tidy little mini-briefcases.

So far, I'm almost done with one set of grandpa-drawers and I've put my earring wires, earring posts, clutch backs, smaller clasps, cones, crimps and crimp covers into one new case, with several boxes to spare. (What did I learn about my findings collection? That I have too many different kinds!)

My longer headpins are too long for the basic boxes, but there are two larger boxes they'll nestle into just fine. Oh! Plus, this package comes with a scooper spoon in one of the larger boxes, and a pair of tweezers in the other.

Don't know the price range around the country (and beyond) on this item, but at Thomason I only paid $12.50 each, well a bit less w/my discount. I think this is a great deal! My only slight complaint is that when you stand the case up, the hinge causes it to tilt slightly to one side. No I'm not OCD ;-) I just worry it will fall over up on my shelf when it's all full of schtuff.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bent, Bound and Stitched Review

Last night, frankly, I was not thrilled with the boyz so I went out for a drive, and my car took me to Barnes & Noble, where I thought I'd look for a good button collecting book. Not-a-one in the shop, so I piled my arms full of whatever else caught my eye, including Bent, Bound and Stitched: Collage, Cards and Jewelry with a Twist, by Giuseppina Cirincione (whose name is probably easier to pronouce than it looks!)

Actually it was near the bottom of my pile. I managed to find a soft chair (yes, tonight I was one of those B&N shoppers) and parked my tired self in it. I started with a couple of new jewelry books. After about the 4,000th pair of wire and briolette earrings (I know, I'm guilty too) I was getting hungry and a lot harder to impress, so I flipped quickly through the last few tomes, which were mostly on mixed media this and that and everything looked kind of ho-hum and messy at that point. The last book I looked at was Bent, and I hastily flipped through the pages like I was fanning myself ;-)

I didn't take much notice of her cards and stitching the first time through, although the old photos and cute layouts made me feel all warm and cozy -- nice, fresh use of that imagery, in my opinion, and I'm impressed (now that I've looked at the book a few more times) at the ease with which she integrates such a variety of materials -- including metals, with fabric and sewing, in well-executed and well-composed projects.

I think it was the little wire coat hangers that registered the first time through, kind of on a pre-cognitive level. Then her bailing wire stands to hold paper cards and pictures made me blink a couple of times and shake off that over-stimulated mind boggle... she includes 3 varieties, with little wire or dice feet, and one is even multi-armed. Well, I rarely buy a book anymore unless there are several projects that interest me. So when I saw the cutout domino pendants, I was sparked. Further on, when I saw the copper etching projects? I was definitely turning the pages more slowly and ready to part with some cash. And then the wire alphabet letters templates in the back prompted me to jump up and head for the cash register.

In fact, on the way home I popped into a cafe for a cup of peppermint tea and a leisurely read through the whole thing. I love her unique chains, her button treatments, and her succinct intro to tools and materials in the front. The wire "bead caps" for buttons (or cabs) are brilliant and particularly useful for me right now.

I don't think I'd have been able to imagine how a book could cover sewing, paper collage, and jewelry without being disjointed or superficial, but she and her publisher managed it with a great layout, cozy photos, and really good quality project samples. Bent is a gem of a book, even richer the third time through. Takes a rare talent to pull that off!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Joyful Heart ATCs

This month's swap theme is "Black and White" (to balance out the "Colors" swap from two months ago... ;-)

When I joined the group I vowed to draw at least a little on each card -- and then didn't follow through with that. Drawing is something you have to practice to do well, DUH! I'm very out of practice. (I guess I did draw a few wavy lines on the Celebrate Life cards.) This month I had lots of ideas for the black and white theme, but settled on drawing. I have a fear of drawing! And I used to love to draw.

So I got some black ATC stock (hey there's half the color combo right there ;-). I punched the edges with a fancy triple corner punch my DH found at Goodwill recently. Then while looking for a small circle punch I found a spongey flower stamp cube, so I stamped one of them onto the center of the card with white chalk ink, which dries fairly quickly.

Next, I got some white and silver scrapbooking paper and punched little hearts out of it. 18 of them to be exact. Well, 20 in case I flubbed a couple. I just used glue dots to attach them to the card, centered over the flower "rays." Then I put little silver rhinestone heart stickers in the centers of the paper hearts. Sinfully easy so far...

To warm up, I doodled on a couple of cards to see which white marker worked the best. I prefer the strong white of correcting pens, but they're uncomfortable to hold and draw smoothly with. Especially when you're making bunches of ATC's at once! I'm left-handed so rolling ball pens (such as the gel pen I settled on) don't always work well. I found that if I drew very, very slowly, the ink flow was better.

Most of the time, I started with a border around the fancy edges, and by the time I was done I'd have an idea for the centers. I tried to think of various ways to "treat" the heart motif -- kind of like those improvisational comedians who take a prop and do various funny things with it.

Pretty soon I was in a kind of drawing trance. The night was finally cool, the breeze was finally blowing, the boyz were finally in bed... and I drew until 1:00 a.m.! I actually have a sore place on my thumb today! I finished 12 of the cards and hope to finish a total of 18 or so before Saturday morning.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Suzycoop got bit by the blog bug, bad -- GOOD!

Hey y'all, Suzanne Cooper, Queen of Beads and several other things, has started a blog. Let's make sure she is not allowed to drift and neglect it...

I cannot wait to see how her postings evolve. If it's anything like her website(s) she'll probably have the best Google plug-ins and geegaws. Not to mention humor, compassion, and pretty, pretty thangs.
P.S. Sorry I've been AWOL. I was with the Boyz. Photos and journal notes are coming...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Rumi Quotation "That Sight Becomes This Art"

Speaking of art (oh, were we???), my friend Jamila uses this beautiful quotation in her email signature:

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.