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Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Note About Ice Resin

I've been working with resin as it relates to jewelry making for many years. In fact, my experimentation with resin came long before the current resin craze which has taken the world by storm. During that time, I had the opportunity of trying several different resin products, but hands down - my absolute favorite resin for jewelry making is Ice Resin. Yep, Ice Resin.

 I've got to admit - I am a bargain shopper - and the cost of the Ice Resin was initially a deterrent to my purchasing the product. At a cost of $24.99 for an 8 ounce set, it is double the price of a readily available competitor on the market, Easy Cast. But once I tried it, I was hooked. Have you ever heard of the old saying, "You get what you pay for" ? Well, it is absolutely true when it relates to this product. I've noticed that jewelry designs I made several years ago using another brand of resin turned yellow. That's right, yellow. Now, if that's the look you're going for, that's great, but I normally like my Catholic jewelry creations (complete with images of the Virgin Mary, Jesus and the saints)to be true to color. I like to capture the bright images inside of crystal clear resin. One selling point I use when promoting my jewelry designs is that they are heirloom pieces which can be passed down from generation to generation. Obviously, that's not a possibility when the piece yellows with age and degrades the beauty of the initial design. 

Another attribute to Ice Resin that I really love is that it is self-doming. This makes all of the difference in the final outcome of the product. For many of my pendants, I like the softly rounded look and feel of the surface. It adds depth and a nice finishing touch to the design.  The pendant below was made with Ice Resin; the doming effect of the resin really made this piece pop.  Unfortunately, you can't see the dimension in the photograph, but it really added to this creation.


By the way, I should also mention that a little resin goes a long way. This morning, I made 30 pendants like the ones shown below with just one 1 ounce cup of resin.  When completed, these will be sold at my EBay and Etsy stores and at a local boutique here in Northwest Arkansas.
If you haven't tried Ice Resin yet, you are in for a treat, but I warn you - once you experiment with it, you will be hooked.
                                                             

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Vintage Hankie Mini Quilt

Throughout my lifetime, I was always very close to my maternal German-Polish grandmother, my "Oma".  She left us in 1999 from complications brought on by diabetes, but there isn't a day that I don't think about her.  I think Oma is the one who inspired my crafty side.  Ever since I can remember, she was usually making a new dress at her vintage 1940's sewing machine (a gift to her from my grandfather for their anniversary one year), knitting, crocheting or baking.  Her passing left a void in my family that can never be filled.

Sadly, my own mother has been quite ill lately, also suffering from diabetes complications.  She recently had her leg amputated and is still at home in Arizona recovering from the surgery.  I wanted to do something extra special for her this year for Mother's Day.   I decided to incorporate images of my Oma (my mom's mom) into a little memory quilt that she can display and enjoy all year long.

I cut apart vintage purple and white floral hankies and arranged them "crazy-quilt" style into a pleasing arrangement.  I also added images of my Oma that I printed from my computer onto fabric and incorporated them into the design.  Once all of the pieces were sewn into place, I embellished the quilt with buttons, trims, lace, fabric flowers and the like. 







I mailed my mother the quilt earlier this week to ensure she'd have it in time for Mother's Day.  She received it yesterday and said she cried when she opened her present.  I'm glad that I was able to do something for my mom to give her a little happiness during this really rough time she is experiencing.

If you are a mother, I want to wish you a heartfelt "Happy Mother's Day".  It's been said that there is no love like a Mother's love, and I really think that's true.  Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your day!

P.S.  I want to credit quilter Cindy Brick for the inspiration behind my quilt.  Years ago, I purchased her "Hanky Panky Crazy Quilts" book that utilizes the concept of repurposing vintage hankies into quilts.  I own hundreds of craft and sewing books, but this one is still at the top of my favorites list.  If you'd like to see other hankie quilts I've made that are available for purchase, please check them out on my Etsy store, Retro Eclectica.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Youth Bridge Almost Van Gogh Fundraiser Art Challenge

Youth Bridge is a non-profit agency in Arkansas that serves youths and their families in the areas of neglect, abuse, addiction, homelessness, mental health issues and behavioral problems.  When my son told me about Youth Bridge's annual art fundraiser and auction- "Almost Van Gogh" - I couldn't resist the challenge of participating in this very worthwhile event.  This year's event focuses on the importance of art therapy.  As one who regularly makes art as a way of "de-stressing" from everyday life and it's issues, I can totally attest to the value of art therapy.

This challenge invites local artists to create their own version of a Van Gogh, or paint something in the style of Van Gogh.  Each participant is given 3 colors of paint (my colors are black, white and red), 2 paint brushes and a 14" x 18" canvas to work with.  Artists can use any other products (not paint) to color and decorate their art.

I decided to make my version of Van Gogh's Poppies.  I painted the background with a mixture of white paint, alcohol ink and heavy gel medium to achieve texture.  I then used punchinella (sequin waste ribbon) as a stencil and sponged red highlights over the background.  Colorful scrapbook paper was cut into little squares for the mosaic-style table and vase.  Pretty silk purple poppies, leaves and filler flowers were used to complete the design.  Last, but certainly not least, I used a touch a red and black paint and glitter glue to add highlights to the bouquet.



I am looking forward to attending the "Almost Van Gogh" event this year and seeing how other artists rose to the challenge of creating art with a limited base of materials.  The event takes place on Saturday, June 23, 2012.  Stay tuned for an update of this fabulous and worthwhile event after that time. :)