Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Beading


I've been in quite a productive mood lately! Lots of lovely things have been happening.

I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO MENTION THAT BEAD & BUTTON PUBLISHED ME!!! It was just the loom finishing tip that I've been yammering on about here, but still...they've been so elusive thus far. Or maybe I've been too intimidated. And now I have something in the works with Facet Jewelry as well! *smug Tamara face* Khalambach is my new favorite publishing company nonetheless.

In my normal drudging life I have discovered that gardening is my new hobby. Never in my life had I actually cared about plants...until living in a house. Here are my geranium/zinnia/calibrachoa arrangements:

Atempt at flower arranging #1.
Attempt # 2! :-)

Hopefully I've given them enough space to thrive. So far they're doing okay, but some of the leaves are drying out fast. Could be the glaring hot Texas sun. *shrug*

Next up: fake flowers. Getting some ideas for resin and metal flowers since I'm in a colorful mood.

Coloring books, wallpaper, and fabric flower patterns.
Lastly, this is a loomed design I've been working on for roughly a year. It has lots of potential, otherwise I wouldn't bother repeating it several times. I'm thinking attempt #3 is the bread winner. Wish me luck on submitting it! Here's an in progress snippet:

Loomed Tilas and Superduos!

What's next? Why, I'm going to do some yard work. (Little do you realize how long my grass grows.) And then I'm going to enjoy the view from my back porch:

Too bad it's so windy today!

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Listing and a Painting and a Mug Shot

Hi. I got a new phone for Christmas! This will be the second post I've made with it. I couldn't successfully do that on my old one, which is a bummer since it's such a convenient blogging and everything thing else imaginable miniature computer. Asimov would be proud.

So, using my fancy new phone, I've skipped the middleman of using the desktop for photo editing and listed something new to you in my Etsy shop:

Maroon and Teal Bangles. Made with Cubic Right Angle Weave.

 And I also made a painting the other day:

Drip Coffee

Conversation between me and my assistant manager the other day.

ASM: What have you been doing lately, Tamara?
Me: I just painted a lady being pelted by coffee beans and hiding under an umbrella.
ASM: I would have been using a bucket to collect them instead.

Maybe she's right. I used old gift cards for the background and based the composition off of a couple artists, one of them being Aaron Kraten. If you've never heard of him, check out his website. He's one of the few artists whose work I would love to own. ♡♡♡

And now I get to enjoy a neon colors dress up day at work! Am I ridiculous enough?

Cringe worthy grimace there. Yikes!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New Year, Late Blog

Ouch, did the holiday season hurt. Worse than the year before even. I think I marathon trained at least ten new employees and spent all of January recuperating.

I have, however, made over a dozen pieces in that time. I want to share one of them with you today.

Anybody who loves micro macrame may or may not have heard of Joan Babcock. If you have, you have probably seen this piece. It's a classic. It also happens to be a necklace that JD's penal Tanya thinks is something she would like to wear.

Now, I don't think I have made many pieces for complete strangers, but this was fun! Tanya was an exchange student at JD's high school. She recently sent us a Christmas gift box, so I decided to make her something in return.

Let me know what you think. I'm pretty proud of it. *Pats self on back.*

If you had told me several years ago that I would be duplicating this piece in beads, I would not have believed you. I'm glad I did though.

Viewing pleasure during the creation of this piece: Netflix's version of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I LOVE everything about this adaptation. Hoping it continues and that I get to see more of Neil Patrick Harris in heels.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Musings on Coffee and Pinterest

So I've noticed that I haven't blogged in about two weeks, which is a personal misstep for me. I've been intending to do so once a week, preferably on Sundays. The time change is killing me. And so is barista work. :-/

I was doing so well at waking up on time every day too...

So, for those of you who frequent coffee shops, corporate or local, be kind to your baristas. We're working as hard as we can, and we know the volume is ramped up because it's fall now, and we know the wait times can be long. It's difficult for you and us both. But I still had a good day! I was slinging drinks like a maniac and smiling despite the long lines and frustrated stares. This time last year I was crying inside.

A year and a half at Starbucks and now I think I'm ready for this:

My coffee master journal!

I haven't opened it yet, but am excited to do so!!

Enough about my job. Let's talk about Pinterest. It got me back into beading. Seriously. Not kidding here.

I had signed up for an account back in 2013, when Pinterest was still new. I didn't utilize it much but did see it's potential for artists. Besides this blog, it is now my sole means of social media sharing. Never had a Twitter, and Facebook bit the dust for me in 2014. Everything older long ago vanished from my life as well.

I'm no Pinter-mom or Pinter-wife or Pinter-girlfriend. I'm just looking for beading inspiration by browsing. And this gets the gears turning in my head.

Can't decide what to make? Duplicate something from a board.

See something you think is clever or ingenious? Save it for later. Make it now. Whatever.

I basically like the fact that I can keep all the imagery that I find interesting saved to an online account and not on my hard drive. They're much easier to organize this way. (I do still have quite a back log of old pictures to sort through on my hard drive. I'm trying to get it pared down.)

However, when I'm trying to legitimately research something on Google, I receive umpteen Pinterest results that may or may not link back to the original source material. :-/ It can be a scourge at times.

I apologize that I don't have an example of this conversation topic, but here's a photo of me dressed up as Waldo for Halloween:

They'll never find me behind this TV box...

Bye for now!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Piece for Me and a Rust Warning

Good afternoon! Today I wanted to share a short post about making pieces for yourself. Just do it. All the time.

For years, I was caught up in making humongous 'pieces of art' that nobody in their right mind would wear on a daily basis. I do occasionally wear such things to gallery openings on campus or to other fancy one night events. I was also caught up in trying to make things that would sell at craft shows. Both of these endeavors eventually resulted in Tamara burn out, meaning I just quit making altogether. Those were an unhappy two years for me.

The moral of the story here is to listen to your mother. Mine also happens to be an artist. (Emily Allison Studios) K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid. Those words still echo in my head every time I'm about to get ahead of myself. And I pretty much always listen to them now. The times that I don't inevitably end up as sad little U.F.O.s (unfinished objects).

One day last summer, my mother sent me a text of my niece Emmy, short for Emily, as she was named after mom. She was wearing some necklace that I made eons ago. (Imagine picture of adorable mini me here. I can't find it on my disorganized hard drive. *sad*) So I sent her back this picture:

Ugly mug of yours truly featuring fly away hairs, bottle cap necklace, and my "Don't Worry, Bead Happy" shirt!

I've had this necklace for about three years now. I made it right in the middle of my artistic slump. Because JD brought me home the Root Beer bottle cap beads and a shirt from a bead store he found in the Mall of America. Something about the beads made me want to make something for ME. And I did.

And when I did, I kept it simple. There is no clasp, since the repeating pattern is long enough to slip over my head. The peyote tubes and bottle cap beads are strung on beading wire and attached to short segments of gold plated chain (which have since rusted to copper since I keep this piece in my bathroom). Don't keep cheap metals in your bathroom!!! Don't!!! Unless you don't mind the oxidation and/or erosion that happens. In this case, I didn't mind, since I didn't really like the gold color in the first place. It was just all I had at the time.

Ever since I made this necklace, something has changed about my beadwork. I make things that I like. I make things that I WANT to wear. I make things that match my wardrobe and personal style. I make things for ME. And that's important.

Today's listening pleasure: Don't Wanna Know by Maroon 5. I can't say that I'm a big fan of their new work. I think I've grown out of it. Sad day. Oh well, on to better music to bead to!

Monday, October 3, 2016

I Win at Chinese Checkers!!

A quick blog post as I wind down form work tonight/this morning. Chinese Checkers is one of those games that is very nostalgic for me. It always reminds me of summers at my grandmother's house. She had an elaborate wooden board and a tin full of colorful marbles. Fond memories. :-)

It turns out that a love of this game is something that JD and I share. And last year he asked me to buy him a game for his birthday. So I did, but just the board. I had to do a lot of searching in the thrift stores here before I found a board made out of tin. Sadly, the drawers don't open very easily due to a few dents. I don't have legitimate marbles anyways. I decided to make my own!!

Typically, I was very very late getting JD his present. He got to stare at the board for a couple months while I stitched together 60 little beaded beads from old Twist A Bead necklaces. I've always called them fossil beads because my mother did. As always, I underestimated the amount of time it would take for a big project. Here's the finished result and my winning move:

My best game of all time. JD lost by a single move.

If you've never played three colors on three, I suggest you should. It makes a mess of the board and things can heat up pretty quick. I played a game recently with five players and my friends got super intense, which was a surprise since a couple of them had never played before.

Anyway, here's the tutorial I used to make the beads. I had tried a couple designs on my own before giving up and asking the internet for help. My skills in independent 3D design are sadly lacking. :-( After stitching all of them, I gave them each a good dunking in Mop and Glo for stability. Now none of them squish. Best trick ever. It dries clear!! And true to my nature, I also have stored these 'marbles' in a tin of my own, one featuring Gunter the Penguin from Adventure Time. *nerd*

That's all I've got for now. Enjoy your week!

Tonight's listening pleasure: Empire of the Sun. Their new single To Her Door is making me a little sleepy with it's soft melody. I may nod off soon.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

To Have an Art Studio? The Ultimate Crafter's Question

Often times I get to wondering about what my favorite artists' crafting spaces look like. I read things like 'kitchen table' or 'corner of my bedroom' but I never really get to see what they actually look like. The internet doesn't provide much help in this regard either. I mostly just get Pinterest results of staged organization ideas. Nobody is that clean. Not even me. Trust me, even with a nice space inspiration sometimes never comes. And keeping it nice is even more of a chore. So, I've decided to share a bit of my own past and present with the whole picture perfect studio vs. home studio debate.

I had an art studio once. It was both good and bad. It was good because it was the perfect place for me to emerge from my two year long creative slump. And it was located next door to my job at the time. And it got me away from the house. And it was filled with sunlight. See:

This is the room when I first encountered it.

I first came across this space when the World's Littlest Skysecrapr and attached boutique was changing hands. The new business owners were about to take up residence inside of Hello Again and the old owner was moving away. The old owner was a regular of mine at the restaurant next door. For some reason, I had never actually been inside the skyscraper, so I decided to visit and tell her goodbye. And fell in love. And was told no, I could not rent out the empty space.....because. The new owners later changed their minds, but not before I had spent a couple days at home crying over the matter:

Still rocking my Pi shirt though!

This happened roughly in May of 2015, not that long ago really. At the time I really needed to have a place of my own. It needed to be a place that was neither work nor an apartment that I was quickly tiring of. It needed to be a space specifically for crafting. This room fit the bill!

Beading desk, chair, stool, and old tv stand for storage.

Jewelry displays/hidden storage.
This and two other pieces were the only things I sold in six months in the studio.

If I remember right, the space measured about 14x16 feet. So, not much bigger than a craft show space. It was perfect. I got to meet tourists because of the building itself. I had a downstairs neighbor who was a colored pencil artist. And I got lots and lots of sunlight! But all of this didn't last long. I soon started a second job inside of town, rather than downtown. I then left my restaurant job for the second job and had less mandatory reason to frequent downtown, especially with an erratic schedule. Then I bought my new/old car back in October and had to make the tough decision to replace my studio rent for car payments. But never fear! I was not terribly upset because by that point, JD and I were on the way to moving out of our sad apartment and into a three bedroom house. :-)

This ended up being an even better thing for me. For all my fancy studio, there was very little I could do to work on tutorials, or blog or, you know, stay in the building past 5:30 PM. It was a very sad thing to be kicked out right when I'd just started being excited about a project. Or to only be inspired on Mondays, when the building was closed. :-(

I like having a home studio anyways. I can bead in my pajamas. Here are some images I took fairly recently:

Beading desk with beads up top, MST3Ks, tins, WIPs, magazines, etc. (Set up in the space between the hallway and hearth.)

Work surface with WIPs, current issue of BEADWORK, Oopsie Pikachu plush, and Evil Stan pretending to be Batman.

Bonus room computer desk setup.
Bonus room closet setup.Various art supplies and cosplay stuff. Fisher Price toy collection on top shelf.

Bonus room doodle desk! Old school desk from my grandmother's house. Side table and nerd display.

 It's strange. I never would have thought that working from home would have been the preferable option. I have gotten SO SO much work done these past eight months. But I was really tired of that old apartment and don't miss it at all. I miss a few things about the studio though. My downstairs neighbor was super nice, but she wasn't there very much. The furniture was really cool, especially that desk. But it was on temporary loan from a fellow artist friend. :-( And, of course, the sunlight. It always comes down to that with me. I get a fair amount in the mornings now, but not enough. Maybe someday I'll be able to afford patio furniture and be able to bead outside while enjoying breakfast! (Any bug candle suggestions?)

Tonight's listening pleasure: Ingrid Michaelson <3 <3 <3