Decompressing and Sitting with it.

Disclaimer: This post may sound like I’m really hard on myself, and I suppose I am. I am trying to be gentle with myself and look for the good in what I create and put out there. I am not fishing for compliments, rather, sharing my process, in AND outside my head. It’s what makes me tick. It’s what makes me strive to refine my technique. It’s who I am and, while it can be painful sometimes (what artist doesn’t experience that??) it’s how I roll and I’m good with that. If I weren’t, I’d quit or find a way to change it.

I am working through my thoughts about the process and outcome of my most recent murrine. LeeLoo from the movie the 5th Element.

LeeLoo Murrine from Fifth Element Movie

This is my first attempt at a portrait murrine and I’m not sure how I feel about it. It just came out of the kiln this morning. 50 hours of time mixing and pulling color, and placing the design. 17 hours in the kiln. I want to point out all the things that bug me but, who wants to hear that? I feel like I need to get on to the next project so I can redeem my shortcomings in this one. So I can say, “See! I really DO know how to do this!” I am not satisfied with not knowing how to do it. Note to self: I understand now why my 13yo might not want to always jump in and try things…what if he doesn’t do it right the first time? He might be left with this same icky feeling in his gut as I get in mine.

Things I learned from this go-round (my fourth color murrine):

1. Working larger is easier. Duh.
2. Adding ‘dots’ of saturated darker color in with your lighter color does not give the effect of a darker color. It overpowers. Do not do this ever again! If I want a darker color, I need to mix a darker color! No shortcuts.
3. Dark colors dominate. Use sparingly.
4. Using clear glass as a layer in any color makes that color SIGNIFICANTLY darker. The theory was that the clear will let the light color reflect through the clear and look even lighter. It doesn’t work that way.
5. Two light colors next to each other really blend. Use some type of darker color on the edge if you want more definition (like between the eye color and the white).
6. A dark and a light color form a line. Be careful.
7. Orange and periwinkle next to each other make my head want to explode. I don’t even like periwinkle…why did I use it?
8. Brown has a purpose somewhere but so far it has not been my friend.
9. Make sure your kiln paper goes all the way to the bottom of your tube!! Dammit.

I have to remember that my first eyeball looked like this:

first color murrine

The stringers were fat and the image was highly pixellated because I used solid color mixes. I learned that I didn’t like the pixellation and went to wrapping bands of color to mix, and made the stringers thinner. This is the much improved second version:
second eye murrineThat was kind of cool. The brown areas that were supposed to be more subtle kind of irked me but I liked this one much better than the last. Then there was the mouth:

mouth murrine

This one taught me that the stringer needed to get even thinner and started to teach me that my theories about using clear glass sometimes work, and sometimes don’t.

That’s about all I have processed right now. I’m glad I went through this exercise of comparing them all side by side. It’s also helpful to see them displayed all together.

all my color murrine

Damn that periwinkle!!!!

Cats in Hats, by Sara Thomas

lg150325a1Another cutie-pie project book that I was fortunate enough to receive for review from Running Press, Cats in Hats, 30 knit and crochet patterns for your kitty. Don’t tell anyone but my 13 year old loves kittens and this book had him squee-ing as we turned the pages. The poor kid is very allergic so he has to settle for Youtube videos for his doses of cuteness. Cats in Hats gave us a little time together to see all the cute kitties and their equally as adorable head gear.

The hat projects are just as adorable as the cats and I can’t wait to try my hand at crocheting them. We have plenty of friends we can give them to, if the kids don’t keep them for their stuffed animals. I might want to try and adapt a design or two for a kid-sized hat.

The book is beautiful and the directions are easy to follow with print that is easy to read. Thirty fun patterns from Santa to one with a heart that hovers overhead like an antenna. Our favorite is the shark fin. Perfect for if we did have a cat so it could watch our Beta fish in the tank.

See what other bloggers on the tour are saying and be sure to enter the contest:

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Pretty Birds, by Virginia Lindsay – and a contest

Pretty BirdsI’ve been spreading myself nice and thin lately. I guess it’s just that time in the cycle for me. The good news is, it’s all good stuff…not like I usually do, over-committing to other people. No, this includes lots of craft stuff. So, when asked if I was interested to review a copy of Virginia Lindsay’s Pretty Birds, of course I said, YES! Eighteen simple projects? Sign me up!

My first thoughts were that I could do these little projects with my crafty daughter. We’ve had fun in the past making felt plushies. Then I thought, oh no, we just made her get rid of a lot of her stuffed animals to make room in her clutter-crafty bedroom. We don’t need more stuff!

I was very excited when I started reading to see that every project has a page titled “Other Ideas to Try” that tells you how to make your little birdy functional! Bingo. Some of the suggestions are decorative, like a mobile or refrigerator magnet, but they also include something that can make your bird sing, er, work for you. Think, computer charger caddy, napkin ring, car air freshener, etc.

What cute gift ideas! Attach it to the outside of a present and voila! Personal touch that shows I care. Flipping through the pages I had a growing desire to give more gifts just because.

As for the actual mechanics of the book, the directions are simple to follow and you don’t need a sewing machine. I have a machine that I got a couple years ago but it’s still in the box. I like that I can bring out the hand-sewing supplies and get down to business. The font is easy to read and very welcoming. The way the cover folds back easily makes it easy to use while doing the project. In this day of digital books, this one, with it’s matte pages is easy on the eyes and just feels good in your hands.

These little bird projects have sparked so many ideas. When my grandmother passed away, my cousin had all of her pjs and favorite robes made into pillows and fabric bookmarks for all of us grandkids. I’ve heard of people having quilts made in the same manner. I think these birds would be perfect for that kind of project too since each piece only needs scrap pieces of fabric.

Thanks, Running Press, for sending this book my way. We are going to have lots of fun with these projects and I’ll be back to show y’all!

——

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To see other reviews of this book, please visit:

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