Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh Dear, How True, and Where Does She Find These Sites?

Sarah sent me this e-card yesterday:

LOLOL! The site is called Someecards (over 18 please) and I'm pretty sure it's gonna be my first time next time I need to send a card to Sarah, LOL!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pounding Letters Into Metal

Nowadays you can find just about any jewelry technique on YouTube. Here's Lisa Niven Kelly with the first of 3 (3?) videos on hammering letters into metal jewelry.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Historical Photos -- US Forests

I somehow found this site when I was searching for vintage images of Smokey the Bear (don't ask). I love using these kinds of images in my collages and whatnot. Sometimes I pretend the people are my ancestors, but mostly I just enjoy using anything that is not a cute child with pretend angel wings. 8-) I like pictures of gritty settlers and rustic cabins. Even baseball and boxing (anything but poppet headed darlings...)

Anyway, here are a couple of my favorites, reduced in size for bloggish purposes:

Take a cruise through the site -- there are pages and pages of unusual historical photos.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cubicle Design Update!

Ok, so weekend before last, I'm sitting in my friend Buffy's (aka Bethany Nelson, House of Figs), in her cozy living room in her cozy little home, talking about how to decorate my cubicle. When all of a sudden it hit me -- she does interior design. So I hired her! (I can't believe I hired someone to decorate my cubicle...)

I had already decided on a decorating theme. "Sophisticated Persian" Do ya like it so far!?!

Wait -- did I mention that the cubicles are not EVEN pink? I don't know why I thought they were. I mean, I walked through the place after my interview and saw pink. My coworker said "Maybe you were wearing rose colored glasses that day." LOL. The color is actually tan. It's a nice tan, I swear. It's embossed with kind of circular patterns. The furniture is blue, and the carpet is kind of reddish brown. The cabinets are upholstered with brown combined with tan and black. And there is lots of dark gray metal, but the desk is very light oak, oval shaped. It's a lot roomier than I thought it would be.

I had purchased a beautiful red wooden box at Cost Plus. No, it's not Persian, it's East Indian. And it wasn't cheap either. It has an embossed metal frame on the top, around 6 small paintings of men and women. Ahem. Not men and women together, more like, little portraits of men and women singly. And then I purchased a turquoise placemat with a beautiful red stamped motif right down the center. It's kind of my centerpiece.

And that's my tea box. I have my chai, ginger/lemon, and green tea (with my secret ingredient, crushed cardamom) in the box, along with sweetener and a tea spoon for the cardamom.
I also bought a big wooden letter M at Cost Plus. I have never in my life had my initial anywhere, not even on a keychain. But this one is dark wood, with beautiful bronzey embossed metal. I hung it near the entrance. On the second day a woman came in and started petting it. She said, "This is very visceral." I said "I think you mean tactile." LOL! But it did start a wonderful conversation that involved calling to people over cubicle walls to come and pet my M.

Anyway! Back to the decorating. Buffy got on it right away and brought me four lightweight paintings on vinyl that look like Persian flowers -- big blowups of them. They're red ochre, warm golden orange, and walnut brown. She arranged them. I put a big blockprinted calendar made by one of the OFFCenter artists on the locker at the back of the cubicle, to kind of tone down the metal (and plug OFFCenter). It gets almost as many comments as my M.

We pushed a big two-drawer file cabinat (long and rectangular, not tall) closer to the entrance, and today I brought in the most beautiful silk scarf I've been not wearing because it gets all wrinkled when I wear it. I pressed it and draped it over the file cabinet and it's positively exquisite (without being all bulky and flea market looking). It was handpainted in Turkey, in shades of blue, black and gold, and it features dudes riding horses and leaping gazelles! Oh, and the most perfect complement to that is, in my email program, one of the "letterhead" designs you can select from is a Persian guy on horseback! I'm so coordinated I'm squeaky!

Buffy is bringing me two plants tomorrow, along with a pillow for my guest chair. She said she also found a vase, and she showed me a mirror this weekend that also goes perfectly with the Persian theme.

My final touches will be on the cabinets. The MOTH, aka the consummate Goodwill shopper, brought me a 1969 appointment book of Persian miniature paintings, and the colors go great with my schtuff. Plus they add a lot of sensory vibe that I can't actually put for real into the cubicle (music, cooking, scents, etc.). So I'm going to slip them into those very sturdy clear acrylic sheet protectors with velcro on the backs. I picked out about 6 images, that I can rotate out now and then.

But the best part is, I picked out 2 images that have squares/rectanglular shapes in the middle, like Persian paintings do. I'm going to cut out the shapes and put my family photos behind them, then slip those into the sheet protectors.

So depending on what Buffy brings me and how soon I can find family photos to fit those little openings, we're just about done! Did I mention I have stocked one of the little cabinets with snacks??? Yum. Just today I got my phone messaging and email working, so I'm starting to feel at home.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Mexico Transcendalist Painters

While searching for Agnes Martin I found this cool New Mexico Arts video about Raymond Jonson. Grab a cup of tea and sit for awhile, it's wonderful!

Agnes heroine. 8-) Alas, Wikipedia has no images, so try these pages for some of her work (soothing eye candy):


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stitching with Sequins Class

sequins stitches embroidery
Yay! At last I get to teach a class totally devoted to sequin embroidery. I've been working sequins into my occasional bead embroidery classes, but now I get to coerce other people into playing with them for 3 hours straight!
(click the image for an enlargement -- this sample shows spot stitch, a couple of floral motifs, scales, and a line stitch I call flying comets...)

Here is the blurb from the OFFCenter flyer:

Saturday, February 14, 10am – 1pm

Mary Tafoya will help you solve the mysteries of sewing sequins to fabric using several different stitches, with and without beads: spot stitch, lines, scales, and floral motifs.

In this class, you will work on fabric and felt to create a sampler of stitches that Mary has explored and discovered over several years studying old European, East Indian and Asian surface embellishment and embroidery.

Mary Tafoya is a nationally known beadwork artist, teacher and writer whose work has been featured in numerous books and exhibitions. Currently, she works in various media and creates a line of recycled jewelry for her online shop.

Be sure to bring reading glasses if you need them!

Cost: $35. Scholarships are available. Registration required. 12 person maximum. Call 505-247-1172

Actually, 12 people is a lot. Last weekend we had about 7 in the twisted wire earrings class and that was plenty. I like that OFFCenter doesn't try to pack them in.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tutorial: Peyote Stitch Cuff Bracelet

peyote stitch bracelet
Kind of an odd feeling, but a good feeling 8-) This week's email from Beading Daily (Interweave's beading/jewelry-related newsletter/blog) had a blurb about their new Interweave Store online, and lo! behold! They added another of my previously published articles to their tutorial roster, and there was even a picture of it in the newsletter.

This tutorial explains how to bead flat peyote stitch with Delica beads to create a hummingbird and trumpet vine pattern, and how to attach the beadwork to a sturdy metal core, using Ultrasuede or leather.

Cool and thanks! That makes three tutorials they've added to the store so far. And I don't mind promoting the shop because (unlike most other print mags) Interweave pays a commission on sales.

In their new shop, you can also by Interweave's books too, by the way.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Golden Treasury

Wow, this is one of the coolest Etsy treasuries I've seen lately. I love the colors, mood, and diversity of items -- from supplies to vintage to handmade. And thank you L>> for including my topaz-ish vintage rhinestones in it:

vintage rhinestones


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Poll Results -- Crafts and Your Economy

Sorry for taking so long to post these results. December's poll question was:

How has the economy affected your ability to buy arts and crafts supplies?

Forty-six valiant artisans answered the poll, and here's what you said:
  • 1 (2%) Buy? I'm selling my supplies to pay bills
  • 3 (6%) All purchasing is on hold indefinitely
  • 20 (43%) Making do with what I already own
  • 18 (39%) I'm careful w/my small discretionery income
  • 8 (17%) I can still buy items on my wish list
  • 4 (8%) I haven't felt the pinch yet
  • 8 (17%) I'm taking advantage of some great deals
  • 1 (2%) Things are better than ever for me

Wow. Four out of five respondents are either not buying, or being more careful about what they can afford to buy. However, being one of the "every cloud has a silver lining" clan, I think it's wonderfully freeing and creativity-enhancing sometimes to make do with what we have. Somehow, limiting our choices to the materials we have on hand can simplify things and enhance productivity.

Another observation -- what would the poll results have been if I'd posted it THIS month? All last week was news of more massive layoffs. Supposedly, this has actually been good for the craft industry and artisans, according to a well circulated New York Times article. But that was the holidays, and now it's just cold outside (ok not so much here in New Mexico...I'm trying to be empathetic here).

One solution keeps springing to mind:

Recycled art. It's amazing what you can make with intriguing reused materials, like game pieces, book pages, unraveled sweaters, and cool things you find at yard sales or, in my case, in the back of my closet! I once cut apart an old pathwork silk robe from India and covered manila tags with the thin patterned silk. I also like to make envelopes out of heavy magazine pages and inserts out of old file folders.

I hope we can hang in there and keep on crafting. Well, I know we can.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Decorating My Cubicle

Don't think I've forgotten that I need to decorate my pink cubicle. Tomorrow I'll finally get a chance to take measurements, locate my light source, scope out my bins and drawers and what have you's, and figure out if I should go wild, or serene. In conversations with friends and (recently) former coworkers, I've narrowed some options for decorating themes. It did occur to me that if I came up with twelve, I could change the decor every month!

1. Thank you Sherry for riffin' with me on the Nautical Theme. I thought, wow, I could wrap a big knotted rope around the top of the cubicle, and hang a captain's wheel out front. Sherry suggested a shell mirror, and I thought a framed picture of my pirate grandfather (or grandmother, thank you Nik, I was listening) would look perfect on my desk!

2. I have not let go of the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine theme. I just don't know if I could concentrate with all those boddhisatvas looking at me, and all that red and gold. Then again, if I was transported into mandala land, I woudn't be concerned that I am now working in a little cubicle.

3. There's the bead theme. Dulcey, you are ever practical -- and yes, I almost see it as a subtle form of advertising. Can't hurt, right? (as long as I'm subtle). I still don't know if you can put thumbtacks in cubicle walls. Should I invest in some kind of display grid? Hehe. I would have brought my Bead Museum poster along with me, but it was completely stuck to the wall at my old job.

4. The beads keep sequeing into stuff like Renaissance Fairs, Bedoing Tents, and all kinds of other ideas that are sure to get me a rep. What kind of rep depends ultimately on how well I do my job, I suppose...

5. I did do some research on feng shui for the cubicle, and so far I've learned that I should face the door. If I can't face the door, I'm supposed to put something red on my chair. A water feature (somehow I'm not seeing that being allowed), live plants, all good. Other details escape me at the moment.

I'm having a really hard time coming up with colors that would look good with dusty pink. So, here's what I am ACTUALLY doing to adorn my cubicle. I was over at my friend Buffy's house (aka Bethany Nelson), looking around for the umpteenth time at how beautifully and serenely she decorates. And it dawned on me that DUH, she just started up her own art consulting business, and she does interiors. She also does fung shui and some East Indian thing that is similar to fung shui. So I hired her. Really. I hired a consultant for my cubicle!!!

There were some constraints (aside from the pink). One, I can't take her to see the space. The public can't get into the offices (as far as I know). So I'll have to take the measurements and give them to her. And two, if there's anything that needs to be purchased, she has to shop for me! I don't have the time. She said of course she'd shop for me. I figure it will be good for her resume and great for my cubicle. Oh goodie goodie. I think. I hope this doesn't cost me an arm and a leg (not my kind of decluttering...)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Captured Fairy Trees in a Treasury

Eleonora Marchi, an Etsy jewelry artist from Italy, graciously included my Fairy Tree Wings in her Treasury yesterday - thank you! Here is a screen shot. Click on the image to visit her Treasury.

mary tafoya jewelry