Monday, February 23, 2015

Weather and Creativity - February Blog Carnival

Once again, it is time for the monthly blog carnival from the Jewelry Artisans Community.  Our topic for February is how weather affects creativity.

My first thought was to focus on creativity and winter weather, but summer, spring and fall also have an influence so I decided to touch on all of the seasons.

For many people, winter is a depressing time of year.  The weather is cold, gray and blah.  Travel or just getting outside can be a challenge.  Boredom and cabin fever often sets in causing people to want to hibernate or at least nap a lot.

A winter view from my kitchen
For me personally, winter time is when I'm at my most creative.  I like winter weather, especially rain.  Even snow doesn't bother me too much if I don't have to go out in it.  Spending time at my jewelry work bench doesn't cause feelings of guilt that I should be outside enjoying beautiful weather and accomplishing yard work, gardening or whatever else it is that people do when the weather is nice.

Sun battles the fog on a winter day
 Nope, I can indulge myself in creating, designing and experimenting to my heart's content without that nagging feeling that I shouldn't be wasting a beautiful day by staying inside.

The opposite season from winter is summer.  That's when everyone wants to be outside going camping, to the lake, grilling, swimming and gardening - all that warm weather stuff.  To be honest, I find summer to be highly overrated.  It is hot, dusty and when all the insects (including the stinging variety) are active and on a mission to harass the humans.  No thanks.

I will happily stay indoors creating from June to September without a twinge of guilt.

Which brings me to spring and fall.  These are the best times of the year to be outside and the times when I find myself setting aside the jewelry projects in order to enjoy the fabulous weather we experience in California during these seasons.

A side benefit is that experiencing the outdoors at these times is a wonderful source of inspiration for future projects and jewelry designs.  During spring, the trees bud, the flowers bloom and the weather is sunny and mild with the occasional spring shower. 

A wild iris blooms in my yard
Beautiful California poppies bloom for a short time in spring and early summer

 The wildlife returns.  Babies are being born and making their debut.  It's a time of renewal and everything is fresh.  I keep these types of images in mind for when summer arrives and it's time to  start creating again.

The photo is a bit grainy, but my hands might have been shaking! 


The fall brings us astonishing color and textures along with crisp, clean air and the first hint of frost.  Wildlife is busy preparing for winter as are the humans.  It's a fantastic time to be out gathering inspiration for those long winter months when we're all stuck inside again.

Nothing says Autumn like pumpkins

To sum up, I can't say that the hot, sultry weather of summer or the gloomy, gray weather of winter affects my creativity in a negative way.  Rather, both times of year are looked forward to because it's such an intense time of creating as evidenced below. 

My work area on a creative day - I know where everything is!

To see what the other participants in this month's blog carnival have to say about weather and creativity, please click on the links below.

Bead Sophisticate

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Painting the Studio - Part 2

The wall that I plan to paint brown (Bourbon Rue) is a wall made out of cinder blocks. They are porous and bumpy.  When I started to roll on the paint, I noticed the pattern of the blocks showing through and thought it looked really cool. So, instead of painting it solid brown, I decided to leave the block pattern showing thinking that it would provide a fun and funky look.  I also thought that the white showing through the brown would help keep the wall from being too dark. 

I'm not sure exactly how I want to go about finishing this, but it does look rather stark and unfinished in it's current state.  The plan is to proceed slowly as I don't want to ruin it by not thinking it through.  Of course, I didn't notice the block pattern until after I'd painted a few of the blocks solid brown, so that will have to be dealt with too.

I am in love with the Smoky Mountain Spring; what a beautiful shade of blue!  It's so pretty that I'm thinking about other ways I could use it in this room without going overboard.

Next steps are to continue working on the block wall and to paint the door and window sill.  It is starting to come together but there is a lot more work ahead.  Enjoying every minute of it!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Painting the New Studio - Part I

The more time I spend in this room that will soon be my studio, the more I like it.  With all this space to spread out, I can only imagine the creativity and inspiration that is going to become part of my days.  Rather than be impatient about moving in and setting up, I am savoring the process of creating this room.  Each little step is an important part of the journey to the end result.  I have a feeling that this room will always be a work in progress which excites me.

These are the colors I've chosen.   From left to right we have Smoky Mountain Spring, Rue Bourbon and Sassafras Tea.  I really like the way the cool blue works with the warm browns.  Hope it works as well on the walls!

Today's accomplishments.

Masking with newspaper and tape and covering stuff with old sheets:

The tedious detail work - painting the corners and edges with Sassafras Tea. Have you ever wondered who gets paid to come up with names for paint colors?

Nearly done painting the walls with Sassafras Tea.

I painted around the refrigerator until hubby had time to help me move it. The fridge is now sitting in the middle of the room so I can finish painting the walls where it was located.  In case anyone is wondering, it will be vacating the room for a spot in the garage.

I really like the Sassafras Tea. When I first started painting, I was worried that it was going to be too dark, but I was worried for nothing. The plan for tomorrow is to paint the ceiling in the same color and paint the block wall dark brown. Bonus if I get the other wall painted blue too!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My New Studio

I am so excited!

We have a room downstairs off of our garage that used to be a guest room, but it was never used. When we had a garage sale last spring we sold most of the furniture that was in there and it was slowly turning into a storage room. My current work area is a drafting table and one very small shelving unit that is tucked into a corner of hubby's office. See where I'm going with this?

Last weekend, I decided the room was going to waste and should be used for something besides storage.  I cleaned it out, vacuumed, dusted and washed the window and am slowly turning it into my new studio.

I was going to buy a desk and a big shelving/storage unit for it, but hubby pointed out to me that we are storing a heavy duty metal desk and credenza in the garage  that I could use.  He's right.  Why buy new furniture when we have perfectly good stuff that's not being used.  Except they are a puke beige color that I don't like. But, that's what spray paint is for, right?

Tomorrow we are going to move the desk, credenza and the small shelving unit I'm using so that I can clean and spray paint them.

Once the paint is dry I can start moving in. I know I am going to love having so much room, but I also know that I'll probably miss sitting next to hubby while working at my drafting table, so I'm going to leave it in his office for working on small projects that don't require a lot of materials, tools or room to complete.

Pics, I know you all want to see pics. Wait no more!

Looking in from the doorway there is a window and a baseboard heater.  I won't freeze during the winter!

Nice bare cinder block wall:

My great grandfather's old trunk, a wild door and a dresser that's already in the room to use for storing tools and supplies:

Outside the studio room, in the garage, is a trail bike hubby is working on.

Our 1950's beer kegger fridge that hasn't been used in a long time. Many years ago, we spent an entire day putting hubby's collection of motorcycle racing stickers on it. Hey, I could start it up and keep snacks/drinks in there!

My reflection:

While cleaning the room, I looked out the window and saw this:

Waiting for it to be ready is going to be hard, but I am going to try to savor the process and not be impatient.  But, it's going to be really, really hard!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

January Challenge - Lace

A monthly challenge is held at the Jewelry Artisans Community for fun, to bond with other members, to build or learn new skills and to push our creativity.  Our challenge for the month of January was to design jewelry that was reminiscent of Lace.  There were wonderful entries and all of them hit the mark and then some!

From Caroline of The Crafty Chimp we have this beautiful brooch.  The main stone is Sea Sediment Jasper that is surrounded by seed beads of bronze and blue and designed to look like a lace edge cuff.

This exquisite bracelet was designed by Cat of Cat's Wire and is made of tiny cube beads and crystals in combination with Delicas and seed beads.

Carina of Violetmoon created this lacy necklace out of chain and dagger beads - it's both feminine and sultry.  Lovely worn with a little black dress for a night on the town.

I have been learning a lace netting technique and used it in both of my entries.  First a tiny bottle full of shells that has been covered in wire "lace" and turned into a necklace.

Next, after playing around with a variation on the above wire netting, I made this little basket and filled it with beads.  Cat suggested I permanently attached the beads to the basket and turn it into a pendant which is in the works.  Thanks, Cat!

I'm always thrilled to see how each of the challenge participants interprets the challenge theme and this month was no exception.  Great work by everyone!