Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beaded Magnetic Bracelet

     This has been a busy week so far. I've been trying to get everything caught up, all the bills paid and the house cleaned up as Don is coming home, finally, on Saturday morning. Only two more sleeps! I haven't been working with wool as it requires more space and I'm trying to tidy up, so I've been filling in a few spare hours with this beaded magnetic bracelet. All the black rounds are magnetic hematite, surrounded by #11 seed beads. As usual it turned into something more elaborate than I'd envisioned at the beginning but it was fun to weave, if a bit time consuming. 

     I took a small break in my routine yesterday, and drove into Dartmouth for a great cocktail party. Nice buffet and sangria punch and so many friends. When I left, I think I counted a total of sixteen .... in a small apartment! It was really nice and even though I left rather early in order to get a couple more hours work in last night, I had a great time and was very glad I went. 

     Oh, and I have a new pen pal! Hi Linda in Ohio! We've been bantering back and forth on Facebook and we seem to have lots in common, so that's going to be fun. 

     Once I have the studio all cleaned up ... sometime today I hope, I have to start taking down some of my displays in order to make room for Don's things. He likes to fill up a couple of shelves with some of his tools, paperwork and art as well. I've been hogging the whole room for the past six months and even though he has the whole basement for his woodworking shop and pool room, he really does need some storage up here for some of his other things. 

     This bracelet has given me an idea for a great necklace and earrings which would go very well with the new African style dress I just purchased. I see shades of green and gold. The rosettes aren't hard to make, just tedious but they're fun to weave together, so that will give me something to pick away at for the rest of this week. I'm also beginning the process of going through my inventory and deciding what will be going into the In Hants Craft Show this fall. It's an important show so I have to make sure everything is properly labelled and priced. I need to work on displays for the jewelry too. I want that stuff at eye level this year and have to make some things to show it off. Well, the laundry is done now so I'm off to do more housework. Can't wait until Don't plane lands. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm on a Big Rant!

     I just returned from having a coffee and a chat with an old friend of mine, who happens to be a high school teacher. The more I think about part of our conversation, the more I want to let loose and rant. After all, ranting is rather fun once in awhile, and you feel so much better after getting it all off your chest. Since my husband is still up north, and the dog doesn't care, I'm left with no other outlet than going on a big one right here. 

     Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, those of genteel manner and sensitive feelings might just as well stop reading now as this is apt to get ugly. First, my disclaimer: I, in no way, manner or form, claim to be an expert on the following issue. Nor do I take any responsibility for your health or costs incurred from the shock that I might actually have an opinion of such prejudice on this subject. You've all been fairly warned. 

     'What do you mean; no marks are deducted for misspelling?' My retort even surprised yours truly in  it's ferocity. What the Sam Hill has public education come to? Are you just an overpaid babysitter? What ever happened to spelling? Honestly, I was mortified, that in today's world, education is stretched so thin that essential skills have been dropped from the curriculum. First it was music, arts and drama that vanished ... but this? This is criminal! 

     While once again patting myself on the back for my early life decision not to have kids, I could only shake my head in disbelief. Back in my day, in public school, in very early grades, we had to learn to spell. We not only lost marks in subjects other than spelling, but we could actually flunk the whole year for not being able to spell, and it very early on pointed out those with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. We could spell pretty well by the third grade and spelling was an actual subject. I admit I hated it and dodged it at every opportunity. However, since my mother was a school teacher before she was married, I didn't get away with much. Back in the days when kids still got punished for bad behavior, a common detention activity was writing lists of complicated words over and over. I was no angel so participated in this process on a regular basis. All through my formal education, spelling was important and had to be correct. Even in the workforce ... technical reports had to be correct in every way. Nobody was going to tell us how to spell a word either! Didn't matter what kind of crisis I was in, the reply was, "Go look it up in the dictionary." There was no computer so you actually had to get your fat ass off a chair, walk across the room and lift a large book off the shelf .... and open it.  OK, so you had to be able to almost spell a word in order to do that ... and that involved thinking about it on your own. I managed. Why can't the kids today? 

     So I'm told everybody uses Spellcheck. Well, I use Spellcheck too but I don't rely on it. What about when you get all the choices to choose from? You kinda have to know the difference between those words or your document is still worth diddly squat. I know my mother is reading this and getting a good laugh. Her spelling and grammar is only less perfect than God's, and I'm sure she's already found some errors in this rant. I don't care .. and I don't claim my spelling is always correct, and I know I tend to use slang to create a mood, but it's a damn sight better than what passes for correct these days in a whole lot of media. The bottom line is this: Kids today can't spell worth a crap and they're not going to learn unless its taught and taught early. What is spelling now? An extracurricular sport? Right up there with the chess club and the bridge club and the Reach For the Top team? Geeksville! Only a select few brain boxes are remotely interested and  passionate about correctness. By the way, those are the kids who are going to get the really high paying jobs after university. Take note of that parents. 

     See .... ranting is a good thing. I'm feeling better already. I'm still disgusted though. I am aware that heavy emphasis is put on spelling in private school. Great ... and I certainly admire the education taught there. What about the other 90% of children who aren't privileged enough to attend these fine schools? This, folks, is a very sad state of affairs. I'm appalled that public education is stretched that thin and my tax dollars are paying for this ridiculous excuse for an education. The classrooms are so overcrowded that the teachers are hard pressed just to maintain order, and hopefully a few will absorb the lessons. I guess it all just makes me sad. I am also thankful. Thankful that I had the proper education in public school and thankful to my parents for making me do the work. At least I don't look like a total idiot when I post something publicly. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Journal Covers

     It's been awhile since I've written here. Been busy with social events, most notably the Dutch Mason Blues Festival in Truro, Nova Scotia last weekend. I've finally recovered from sleep deprivation, dehydration and sunburn and back to my normal self. I just finished up a series of journal covers for the craft show in the fall. I was able to find the journals at a very small cost so can keep the price low in hopes they all sell. This week has been very hot so working with wool has been put aside until it cools down a bit. In the meantime, I'm catching up on housework. My husband is returning next week from six months working in the Arctic so I have to give the place a good cleaning while the clutter is at an all time low. 
I've been looking at more work from various fiber artists and have decided to attempt something new. Not sure how it's going to work out as there are some technical issues that I don't know how to do, but I'm going to wing it and hope for something great to evolve. Stay tuned for progress on that. Here's a couple more pics of the journals. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Just Playin' Around

     I've been experimenting again ... and while I'm doing that, have satisfied a need for a small case to carry my business cards. They always seem to get messed up on the corners in my wallet, due to the heavy traffic in there, I'm sure, so I needed something just for them that would keep them clean and free from rubbing against other things. 

     The experimental part was playing with the Angelina fiber. Up until now, I've just been gently "sprinkling" the fibers over the second to last layer from the top, then applying a very thin layer of fiber to lock it in. I've been finding that very time consuming as I have to pull it apart and almost let the air place it on the fiber. It always seems to take me a long time to place it. Then I have to be so careful not to cover it with too much wool or it vanishes completely. I was also finding that some of the fibers were coming loose and falling out. My solution was to bond the fiber to itself first by pressing it with the dry iron between a folded piece of paper. It will only stick to itself. This creates a flat sheet of Angelina which I can now place were I want it and cover with a very whispy layer of wool. Because it's bonded, I like the look when it sort of bubbles in spots and no fiber is lost. The extra sheen is amazing too. 

     This will probably be my last attempt to photograph this effect as it's just not working. I can't seem to capture the effect at all. This photo sort of gives you a vague idea of what I'm talking about. You can't really see the fiber, only the holographic shimmer it reflects as the light hits it. I'm truly in love with the effect and tend to use often in small projects. Now that I've discovered that bonding it works better, I'm thinking of using it in sheets with resists for slits and cut outs as well, Oooohhhh ... the possibilities! 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Book Jackets

     With the passing of another long, summer weekend, I've suddenly realized I've been getting lazy and just enjoying some good weather. It's dryer now and the nights are cooling down. Sleeping is bliss again and the mornings are perfect for any chores as heat isn't an issue until later in the afternoon. 

     I've been satisfying my artistic needs with a couple of wet felted book jackets for myself. As always they are experiments in technique. In this case, setting the curly locks and blending the colors. I got to play with my beads for awhile too, making embellishments for them. They are covering my two favorite sketch books. I especially love the one shown above, mostly because those colors appeal to my tastes. 

     I think I would love the red tones as well had I used a whiter background. Both of these were done with two resists, for the front and back covers of the book. I did the inside in a thinner felt as I didn't want too much bulk. They have a simple single snap sewn in closure under the flap. 

     My first attempt at this project was a miserable failure as this wool shrunk 40% during the process and the end result was too small for the book. The insides were a bit bulky as well so I think it's looking for a home as a cover for some sort of storage folder ... perhaps a CD case. Who knows? I will either find a use for it, or it's going into my scraps pile and will be used as prefelt in something else. All the little scraps can be rolled up and used for textural elements on felt. There is virtually no waste. 

    I now must go attend to a few domestic issues, and then I have an idea for playing with some Angelina fiber for a new project. It looks like it's going to be another lovely day, so I must accomplish something. Bye for now.