Sunday, 26 October 2014

Octoberfest Blog Hop

Thank you Rita from Toltec Jewels for hostessing this wonderful blog hop. Autumn is my favorite time of year as well. I've become less of a fan of hot, humid weather as I have grown older ( and wiser!). I no longer sun bath due to an episode of skin cancer several years ago and I find the heat and humidity of a normal summer's day in Southern Ontario too uncomfortable to enjoy.
Ah, but with the autumn comes cool, refreshing breezes and sunny, clear days to bundle up and walk forever in. I love putting on a sweater, jeans and  a jacket and head out to explore the world.The changing colours of the leaves is the most stunning display that nature shows us. It's like the final blaze before the fire dies down and sleeps for the winter. Maybe it's knowing what is to come that makes me appreciate it so much.
I have been playing with clay for  several weeks and had planned to make some jewelry with my clay creations . However the amount of work and finishing that goes into polymer clay has used up all my time so I'll just have to show you some of my polymer clay creations made in honour of the Autumn.
These beads were made from some orange and black clay using the Mokune Gane technique that didn't quite work out as planned. I'm discovering that that is the rule rather than the exception with polymer clay!

These feathers were made using a feather/ leaf tutorial I found online but I can't remember who by!

I love using Gilder's Paste but have discovered that it doesn't take well to either Renaissance Wax ( removes the paste completely) or acrylic varnish ( makes it permanently sticky!). Needless to say I've had many trials and errors in my discovery journey with polymer clay!
The next set of pictures show some of my more successful attempts using Gilders Paste as a finishing touch for polymer clay.
Beads and Pendant


My first headpins! ( I have since cleaned the wires)

I hope you've enjoyed seeing my latest attempts at creating with polymer clay. I am having a lot of fun and love most of what I've made but am not sure if it appeals to others. What do you think? Would you buy any of my components?
Have fun browsing through the rest of the blogs featured in this 3rd Annual Octoberfest Blog Hop. Check out Toltec Jewels post and see the list of all the participants you can hop to and enjoy their creations.
Thanks for looking!

Nan of nanMade Jewelry

Friday, 10 October 2014

Good Luck, Bad Luck!!

This is a very delayed blog post because I've had trouble getting myself organized. Any of you who have read my blog over the last year will know that I've had quite a lot of bad luck with my health since November 2013. To recap briefly...I retired after 38 years of nursing and moved to a new town . Soon after moving in I had an accident by tripping in my back yard which resulted in my breaking my neck! That's the bad luck but the good luck is I had no serious long term affects. I wore a neck brace for 4 months and took it easy for the winter.
Soon after the neck brace was removed, I ended up back in the hospital in heart failure for 1 week. Again, bad luck  but I survived which is more good luck! It's been another restful time period this summer as I adjusted to my new normal and all the new medications I now have to take. It has slowed me down but I now have all the time in the world to spend on polymer clay and jewelry making!!!!
Pretty good luck, I guess!
Running simultaneously with this run of bad luck has been an incredible string of wins on the internet. I've been hesitant to talk about this in my blog because I didn't want people to think I was bragging ( and I didn't want to jinx myself!). Once the holiday rush ended last year I started spending a lot of time online, reading blogs and facebook regularly. As you know there are many contests and giveaways so I got in the habit of entering everyone I came across. Starting in January and continuing until last week I kept winning. Now that I've revealed this I'm sure my luck will change but that's only fair since I've won more than my share...7 or 8 in all! I really wanted to share what I won from some incredibly talented artists and thank them publically for their giveaways. I hope I haven't neglected anyone but it's been a complicated year.
I haven't taken pictures of everything but will try to credit everyone who contributed to my winnings. I will start with pictures since there is way too much text here.
March saw me winning the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge and getting a gift certificate from Mary Harding. She asked me to choose anything I wanted and custom made the following goodies for me. Check out her blog and Etsy shop to see more of her work.
Beautiful Copper Clay bracelet bars....I haven't created the right pieces for them yet.

Beautiful ceramic maple leaves .....they became a giveaway for my blog hop July 1st.

My next big win was from  Esfera Jewellery who had featured an artist  interview, Jetta Sellers, on her blog and had a giveaway of jewelry she made with beads from Jetta Bug. Janine has a great blog and has interviews with jewlery artists and giveaways every month. You have to follow her never know! I was given a choice of 2 bracelets of Janine's and chose this one.
If you notice it's broken it's because I wore it all summer and had a habit of playing with it until the twine holding the blue beads broke. I will repair it soon. I literally wore it everyday.
 It is the cutest bracelet ever!
Another contest I entered on Facebook was given by Niky of Silver Nik Nats, a jewelry artist in England who does incredible silver and jewelry work. I love her style and follow her blog and Etsy shop all the time! The earrings she gave away are stunning, just my style and made with my favorite gemstone ever, Labradorite! I couldn't believe my luck when I saw that I had won! I really wanted those earrings and here they are! ( they go very well with my bunny bracelet!)

Thank you, Niky, I love them!
Please check out Niky's blog and Etsy shop. You'll love them and her creations!

My most recent win was another one from Art Bead Scene blog which is a fabulous blog to follow if you have any interest in art beads, handmade components or jewelry made using art beads! That's pretty much every jeweler I know! Every week this blog features a post by one of their many talented contributors called Inside the Studio. Whichever artist it is writes a post about their studio or something they create inside their own studios. It's great to read and see and hear about their artistic vision and process. As well as this fabulous post they also have a giveaway hosted by the artist who is featured that week.
September 19th featured Ema Kilroy who is another artist who's work I greatly admire. In fact her lamp work beads were the first ones I ever bought during an online auction on Facebook! I received these fabulous lamp work beads yesterday and was going to make some earrings before posting but decided not to delay this post any longer. Here they are.....
Aren't they the most beautiful colours?

OMG this is a VERY LONG blog post but I can't neglect all the other wonderful folks that I've won from. 
The year started out with Ann Schroder's giveaway on her blog, Bead Love, which  was the first one I won. Beautiful art beads from Jenny Blasen, Humblebeads, Round Rabbit and Scorched Earth. How's that for a score?

Next blog Hop I entered was the Grow Your Blog party which was created to encourage traffic to everybody's blog. Since I was pretty new to the blogosphere then I eagerly joined in. Well almost everybody else who joined in hosted a give away on their blogs and I won one of them! 
I received fabulous dark chocolate and some very good health conscious magazines which given the issues I've had this year were very apropos!

I also won a wonderful colour filled painting from a blog I started following as a result of the Grow Your Blog Hop but I'm so disorganized that I can't find the name of the artist or the blog. as soon as I do I will come back to this and add it.

I won a fabulous macrame bracelet this summer from another jewelry artist on Facebook. It was also on my wrist all summer until it got stretched out of shape.  I think I'm a little rough on bracelets!!!!
The bracelet is in great shades of blue and green and I love it! It was made by Medina of Medina Medibeads on Facebook.

That's all folks! Thanks for reading if you made it this far!