Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Christmas Projects, Christmas blog giveaway.

I have been busy working on Christmas projects - I can't believe Christmas is in 3 weeks! Of course, I am not ready, as usual. I promised myself I would start early and get everything done with ample time so I could enjoy the holidays...but alas - I am woefully behind and feeling the pressure I swore I wouldn't let myself feel.
I am involved in 2 Christmas Swaps - "the 12 days of Christmas", which I have finished, but I can't post any pics until everyone opens their present from me on Dec 8th .
...and the "8 Days of Chanukah", which I haven't quite finished yet.
I did however, finish one more hand - this was the hand for my blog winner Fran - she requested a hand in blue...it has a cuff made of turquoise chips.

I also finished my charms for a Black and White swap hosted by Amber Dawn.
I am incredibly neurotic about by artwork. First I decided to use some seashells I had gathered. They weren't quite black and white enough, so I enhanced the contrast with some paint. Then I resined the outside to make them more durable and then I put a layer of resin inside the shells so I could adhere a picture to a level surface, with the intention of then filling the shell with more clear resin and maybe some silver and white micro beads. I couldn't get the pics to fit right and I just didn't like them.

This is as far as I got with the seashell idea before I lost patience with them....
Then I got the idea to take tiny clothespins (1") and paint them white, decoupage words on them, dip them in microbeads (what's with my sudden obsession with those dumb beads) and then seal them with a varnish.
Way, way junky.

...lousy picture, but they look worse in person.....
...and then I decided to do something simple, my old stand by. Birds! I made some polymer black birds. The first batch i painted with white to fill in the carved designs - they looked kind of barnwashed. But the waterbased varnish "made for polymer clay" dried a bit tacky feeling and they felt ugly..

Scummy rejected blackbirds
So....I made a 2nd batch. These I left black except for the eyes. I wanted them matte with shiny beaks, but after a lot of experimentation (wet sand them with fine grit sandpaper and then buff to a natural shine with your muslin buff attached to your dremel - yeah, right - they looked way dull) I just put a single coat of varathane on them (it always works!) and made them into little charms.

Blackbirds drying on a line in my spotless shop....

Finished Charms...thank you, God.
So, because I made extra birds, I'm giving away a pair of bird earrings....for you, or to give as a gift, or to take apart for your own creations!

Cernit Polymer bird, swarovski crystals, glass polka dot bead, sterling rondell on sterling earwires (not shown)
Just leave a comment to this blog post - and tell me how you're dealing with the joyous season of Christmas (which I love) and the stress of underachieving overachievement! I'll randomly draw one name next Sunday Dec 7th.


Gena said...

Your birds are gorgeous! What fun. I always spill over into January. Seems like when December hits, its already too late. What's the hurry though? It's the spirit that counts. I just do what I can. Lots of times I spend Christmas in my craft room making cards and playing with papers... I love the spirit too, but our holidays have taken on a simple aspect... but then I do not live in the U.S. where all the action is:)! Happy Holidays to you!

jackie said...

I adore your blackbird charms/earrings! I also really like your black shells and your fun clothespins! I'm filled with admiration for your patience and creativity and talent!
This year I am doing NO shopping in stores - anything I get for gifts will be via the internet. All seven Littles in my life are receiving a personalized canvas tote filled with art goodies (most of which I have already purchased) and their parents are receiving hugs and kisses - much cheaper and sanity-saving than bought gifts!

Angie in AZ said...

Oh Connie, these are wonderful! LOVE them! Put my name in for sure! Hey, when you are coming back to the mainland again?

Kim said...

Oh my! Yes I would eversomuch love a pair of birds! Even the "ugly" birds look good to me!

dejavucreations said...

Oh Connie ... I know EXACTLY what you went through with choosing/making those charms. I tend to do the same thing and then end up with all these bits and pieces of stuff that doesn't make sense. But by putting it back and re-visiting it on a later project, I sometimes find a place where it works. I think your final results are fabulous and your jewelry holder cards are always so creative! On a side note ... I love your phrase "blackbirds drying on a line" - could make for a humorous art theme. I hope you're having a joyous holiday season.


Joanie Hoffman said...

I am thinking this was a fun posting to read! And I love the blackbirds.
Christmas is so much fun for me because of my grandchildren.
I am very consistent at "underachieving overachieving"!
: )
Happy days,

Sanna(Susan) Burgess said...

Hi Connie! Love the bird earrings! The background paper they are on too very artsie! I love bird anything to me they are spiritual symbols we can almost touch.
To me the holidays are special because of the way a child can see things. The way we can see thing because of God's love for us.
This morning on the way to preschool my four year old asked me if he could still get presents from Santa if he did one bad thing. I let him know that Santa is friends with God and that is why he gives us gifts. That anythime we "SIN" OR DO SOMETHING NAUGHTY,all we have to do is tell God we are sorry and ask Him to help us stop doing that naughty thing. Then He can forgive us. Santa will still bring us some toys.
He said he would do all that asking for forgiveness when he was done with school today! I told him he could ask God to forgive him anytime at all even in the car!
I just love children and their innocent view or life and love and Christmas.
The Holidays are special to me because Christ came down to earth was born a baby and died and rose again! Becasue of this we all have hope and forgiveness! Sanna

Elizabeth Golden said...

These are wonderful! The whole presentation is stunning. I love black birds. My ears are hoping we win. So kind of you to share.

Fran Saperstein said...

These are gorgeous, as is the beautiful hand I received on Monday- right after my treatment! Perfect timing! Thank you for showing us your process and how you had so many attempts before you felt comfortable with the final. I did the same thing with my gifts for the 8 days swap, but I couldn't share, or I'd spoil the surprise!
xo, Fran

Brenda said...

I Love your birds!!!! and I wear lots of black!!
brenda bliss

Isabella said...

Hi! I love birds and your earrings are divine! I loved reading about your creative process. I could definitely relate to the feeling when first attempts are not quite a success. Thank you for sharing!



inventivesoul said...

Hi Connie!
I like the clothes pin idea!
I JUST HAD to write and tell you that I am posting your story to the Black and White blog.
It is pretty entertaining.
Not really fun though, how you sampled ENTIRE sets that had to be scrapped! I do hope you can make something out of all the left overs!
If you have fine mica powder, you can coat the sticky birds in them.

Well, I am not entering my name because I already get one in the swap!

Thank you for the update!

*Happy to share*

BR said...

Hey Connie, they look like crows to me and I love crows. I have everything to be thankful for and nothing to spill into January. I care for injured crows and they send you plenty of "caws" for Christmas.


Anonymous said...

I can so relate to your saga of creating these charms. I do the same thing. I think we're too analytical. However, your results are worth it. The blackbirds are "charming."
Judy Streger

It's just Raven said...

The birds are absolutely delightful, and even the "rejects" look lovely from here! (Waving to Barbara, I do corvid rescue too and my house girl "Lily" is sitting here yelling greetings to all!)
I'm taking things as easy as I can this holiday season. It's been a busy and rather stressful year so I want to savor the peace and goodwill of this time.

I soooo very much desire these earrings... they'd go absolutely perfectly with the new crow sweatshirt my Mom just gave me for my birthday!!!

Raven... OOOH! Shiny!

grblog said...

Like most, I deal with the holidays my making a LOT of gifts... for friends, family, teachers, etc. This year earring and bracelet sets seem to be the thing. I also deal with the "left overs" as you do- raffling them off on my blog, donating them to the after-school program at the local elementary school, stuff like that. I hate to let things to go waste, and I figure someone ELSE can make use of my extras. Thanks for entering me into the drawing, & come visit my blog sometime!

Linda said...

Love your birds! But I really like your clothespins, too!!!

kiwicarole said...

Wow, you've turned these into fabulous charms! I would love to wear these earrings! Thanks for the process tour! lol
Xmas is a bit of a non starter here at my place, I put all my decorations up yesterday, but I still don't feel christmassy! HELP!
;) Carole

LuniLadi said...

I think our bird charms and earrings are gorgeous!!! Now, how am I dealing with Christmas? Well, ahem....the problem is I'm NOT! Swamped at work....away this weekend for an out-of-town wedding...YIKES!!!! That leaves TWO weekends before Christmas. Still have shopping, wrapping, cards, decorating...EVERYTHING! to do. It's going to be an "interesting" two weekends coming up.

Bet you feel much LESS stressed now! LOL
aka LuniLadi

peggy gatto said...

Hope I can sing....."hello blackbird"!!!! They are delightful!!!

Anonymous said...

Your notes on your adventures in making your blackbirds had me laughing and shaking my head...reminded me of some of my projects. Seems easy but the execution is what gets cha! Thanks for sharing the agony. Kathy Parks kparks39@comcast.net

craftyLinda said...

This is the first time I have visited your stie and found it delightful. I loved your story about your blackbirds. I am a fellow groupie on Clap-polymer group.
I am having a very busy Christmas season so far. Like you I promised myself to start earlier but I still don't know if I will get everything done on time or not. I just keep thinking of new things I want to do or make. Come check out my blog sometime. I don't post as often as you but that is another of my promises to myself. One I hope to keep.

wilmafernsgirl said...

What great birds!!! They remind me of Poe!!
About the Christmas rush--I have way to much to do. I HAVE to address all Cristmas cards during Thanksgiving week. I figured out years ago that if they didn't get done that week--they never get done!! Same thing with decorating the house--Thanksgiving week or it just won't happen!! I have gotten to where 99% of my gifts are handmade--what few I feel I have to purchase, I try to get bought the week after Christmas for the next year!! Regardless of how hard I try, there is always at least one gift I am finishing up on Christmas eve!! (It usually ends up being the gift I enjoy giving the most--and the best liked by everyone.)

3rdEyeMuse said...

Amber posted the link and I am so glad she did! I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait!! and am sooooo glad that I signed up for this one. :) I think your shell & clothespin ideas were really clever, so sorry you had to scrap them ... though I have to admit that I adore the little birds!

thanks for shairng the journey from there to here. :)

3rdEyeMuse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanne Huffman said...

Fran's hand is wonderful. I love seeing the various stages of your efforts - all these frustrations will make great component parts for something later. The blackbird earrings are fantastic! By the way, my studio is so messy, I wouldn't be able to string a batch of blackbirds across it.

Joanne, who mailed off the 8 days gifts yesterday

Peg said...

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who has a couple of "false starts" before I get in the right groove and finish a set of charms--or any other artwork.

I love the earrings, but save 'em for somebody else--just hearing your story about them was my prize!

Anonymous said...

I was a raven in a former life, we celebrate Halloween, but loudly protest all the Winter Holidays...

I even tried to peck out Santa squirrely little eyes one year... hoping to end all the nonsense... but,

It continues...

Did you know the original "Bah Humbug" phrase was a raven trying to find a juicy Humbug for Christmas dinner. Couldn't find one. they hate the cold. Psst her off big time.

Thats how all that crap started..

Hooray for Halloween, Down with Santa whatizname....

Former Raven,
Who still loves Halloween and shiny stuff.....

dogfaeriex5 said...

well, i think your art looks fabulous! i always get stressed over any swap or round robin i get into also..i want my art to be the best it can and am constantly changing things at the last minute and everything is strung throughtout the house!!! happy holidays!~kim

Kelly Snelling_Soulhumming.typepad.com said...

connie, seriously. i love the ones you think are "scummy"! i think we are our own worst critics. i think they look distressed and really cool. so you can send me scummy blackbirds anytime, friend! the earrings are super, too, by the by. and i managed to get online before i got this horrible cold and pretty much wiped out the shopping needs. it feels so awesome to be done with those details. now i am focusing on spending time with my family. we're reading lots of Christmas stories and enjoying the warm weather. i'm going to let the boys pick out some new toys to take for the local toy drive. i want them to understand what it means to give instead of just receive. it is a difficult concept for these fellows sometimes. i hope your christmas is wonderful!!

sandee said...

These are awesome! So happy I found your blog...(and if it's not too late, could you enter my name too?)

JgWM said...

I love these, can you add me to the list. i would love to have one of your gifts. Happy days to you!

AwtemNymf said...

I Love Ravens/Blackbirds and these are awesome! Perfectly done! :O)

And I didn't know the Bah Humbug was originally said by a Raven and not Scrooge. Anonymous ^ there said it! Interesting!
Have a great weekend!