Month: October 2013

Starting Crafting Earrings

Did I ever post on here about the beaded rings I make?

beaded rings
beaded rings

If not, here they are. I used to make the circular ones that are small circles linked at opposite ends, but I found those fell apart too easily so until I find a different assembling medium, I will mainly be crafting the rings in three rows as you see above.

As far as my artistic skills go I write and publish stories, illustrate, and craft; I create digital prints, canvas prints, costume pieces, simple masquerade masks, beaded rings, and now I am adding handcrafted earrings!

earrings
earrings

These are a little tricky to get the hang of, especially making loops to make the dangling bits dangle but once I started understanding how to make the loops it became easier. The green pair are a tad heavy but for the most part I try to use lightweight beads and accents. If there is a heavy item I use it as the main accent piece on the earring. As it is I actually have a few metal beads from an old jewelry kit I bought years ago and until now I had forgotten about them completely. I’ve ordered more parts on Ebay to play around and experiment with.

If you want to get into making jewelry on your own I suggest buying a package of assorted gems (Ebay is a good source) and playing around with combinations and connections. If your first creations fail to meet your expectations keep going. Not everyone is a ‘natural’ and some people who are not natural can study and practice and learn to be just as good as those who have a high affinity for a particular skill.

What is next after earrings? Well, perhaps sculptures will be next. Until then, I will be stockpiling a few more jewelry pieces and then putting them up for sale on either my Storenvy Shop or on Ebay. I will definitely let you know when and where the items will be listed if you are interested. Until then you can follow me on Facebook (where you’ll have access to exclusive discounts).

Happy exploring!

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Kaleidoscope Plug

This week’s post is exactly that. I am trying to get more attention to this interactive series of shorts that will be coming to a close in about another 3-6 stories. The Kaleidoscope series was a starter series, meant to help me brave the self-publishing world. For me, starting was the hardest part and I did not want to put out any of my longer works first – I just was not ready to see them go. Instead, I have this short series that started as a study on human interactions, relationships, and body language (the subtleties of communication). Everything the characters do has almost as much importance as what they say.

How is the series interactive? It’s simple: you can interact with the characters and even influence the story lines by going to its tumblr blog: Ask Kaleidoscope where you can read extra material about the characters and submit questions, comments, and requests. Go check it out!

Here are the stories out so far (and none of them will cost you more than $1.00!) as well as a preview of the next story.

Ark arrived home from a foray into the high speed life of modeling with a whole new definition of life scarring. Can his adoptive family find a way to cheer him up?

This is the first story in the Kaleidoscope series and is available only on Smashwords – but it’s FREE! Click on the image to be taken to my Smashwords store~

Raylan has left Kaleidoscope to complete his investigative internship, though he cheats a tad: he has the ability to transform into a wolf and heighten his sense of smell by 10,000! Though Raylan is trying to move forward with his life the past calls to him on one particular case and he struggles to keep focused. Will he find the hostage in time or will he be haunted by the one he couldn’t save?

Click on the image to go to the Smashwords store for the second story in the series, or buy it for your Kindle on Amazon!

It has been two years since the rescue in the cabin when the memory of the past reared its ugly head. Now Raylan has received a demand letter and this one is personal. Back home in Kaleidoscope there is a new arrival. What brings her to the valley in the mountains? In the mean time, Anise catches an upsetting broadcast on the news at work and immediately calls Ark. Will she be able to reach him?

Click on the image to go to the Smashwords store for the third story in the series, or buy it for your Kindle on Amazon!

Anise and Raylan have returned to Kaleidoscope but Raylan’s mother has laid out another plan for him. He seems willing to stay to search for the woman who saved his cousin’s life years ago. While he wades back into the clan Anise and Raylan’s younger brother are kidnapped and pulled into a power play between two of Kaleidoscope’s prominent familial organizations. Will Raylan find them in time?

Click on the image to go to the Smashwords store for the fourth story in the series, or buy it for Kindle on Amazon!

Finally, the next Kaleidoscope story will be available in November. Here’s a preview of the cover in progress:

walls of the keep preview

“Walls of the Keep” will feature Jaeda and Ark. That’s all for now, kids!

Until next week, happy exploring!

Dealing with Stress in Your Life

I’d like to start this week’s short post off with an image from a group that I watch on Facebook. This group primarily revolves around relationship rules between significant others but a lot of what they post is basic and can be applied to a wide variety of situations, not solely to those romantically involved.

Now, first you should be teaching yourself to recognize the situations that you are in. Teach yourself to increase your observance. Try to recognize when you are in trouble and when you can handle the situations you find yourself in. Unfortunately the only way I know to teach you this is to say: practice. Primarily you have to learn to listen to yourself. Everyone is born with instincts and everyone can make themselves more attuned to these instincts. When you find yourself floundering, take note of the steps that led up. Now here you could run into a pitfall for some people obsess over their mistakes and drag themselves down further. The key here is that you noticed them and now you can learn to improve on them.

Until then, it is okay to say, “I do not want to/cannot do this alone, please help me.” Asking for help isn’t always a sign of weakness. I think it also shows that you know how to assess your limits and you are willing to take steps to help take care of yourself. How can you do unto others if you do not start with yourself, ey? The better you learn to recognize this stress and build methods to deal with it the more likely you will be able to help others – especially those you care about – in the future.

There is some after-midnight food for thought for you.

The Rainbow Eucalyptus and Color Tutorials

Creative title, ey?

A few weeks ago I saw a post about some of the most colorful trees in nature, Eucalyptus deglupta, also known as the rainbow eucalyptus. This got me to thinking about a technique I am using to experiment with what colors to combine in a picture and what hues and such to combine to make the focus point in my pictures stand out.

First the tree.

The Eucalyptus deglupta‘s smooth bark changes color as it ages. This process occurs in different zones at different stages simultaneously along the trunk, which produced the variance in colors you see above. According to the Agro Forestry Tree Database the rainbow eucalyptus is classified as an evergreen tree stretching up to a maximum of seventy-five feet tall. It’s new as a plantation species but thanks to a period of small scale introductions starting in the 1950s it has grown to be a pantropic species. The colorful tree is said to have originated in the Philippines where it is grown for pulpwood and saw logs. It can be used for firewood and trees older than fifteen years yield good charcoal.

Want one for yourself? If you live in the United States the rainbow eucalyptus is only shipped to zones nine and ten where the lowest possible temperatures are 20-30°F and flourishes in areas where the temperature averages at about 75-88°F. While it does best in full overhead sunlight and near a generous water source, it can also be found growing on disturbed land (sites of landslides, post volcanic eruptions).

Now the art concept: if you feel you struggle with combining colors in your work (no matter the medium) there are many ways you can improve. One way is to observe the colors you see around you and copy the combinations. This was, however, not the way I began choosing colors. For as long as I can remember the most prominent way in which I select colors for my work is through imagination. I improved this via trial and error and so if a vision emerges in my mind I can transfer the colors I visualize in my head into the medium I am working with.

Another method is to select combinations based on color theory, which starts with the color wheel. Cyril Rolando (AquaSixio) outlines the basic function and operation of a color wheel in his tutorial on deviantArt. He has also developed a method of selecting colors for complex pieces with a color turtle. I am not sure exactly how the color turtle works but perhaps it will come in handy for a few of you. Be sure to check out a few more of his tutorials as they offer great help in practicing improving your pictures the way you like. Remember, you can pick and choose what you use from a tutorial as the tutorial’s purpose is to show you one of many ways to achieve the effects you want to show in your work.

The last method I want to highlight is one brought to my attention by Tina (griffsnuff) in a brief tutorial. This one is very simple especially if you work with digital art. The gist of it is locate a picture (preferably from nature) that shows the colors you like. Open the photo in whatever program you use (Photoshop, Sai, Painter, etc.) and color drop from the picture. As you can see from Tina’s tutorial the content of the picture you are drawing does not have to be remotely related to the photo you are color dropping from. So, get going, find a picture and start practicing!

In the end, who’s to say two or more colors do not fit together? There are many people out there with bold color selection and even more people out there who like combinations that some may consider psychedelic. The same goes for those who would consider a particular combination of colors boring or dull. EIther way, you will never know which you prefer working with until you try and there will always be a demographic you can glean attention and purchases from.

Matrishka Dance

Happy experimenting~

Horses as Bloodhounds

Did you know the power of a horse’s scenting ability rivals that of a dog? Granted a tracking dog can outperform a horse in thick underbrush but horses have an advantage. Why is that? Airborne scents rise and when the winds change, hunting down a target can become a wild goose chase. A horse will zig and zag, following the movement of that scent to the target. The horse’s sense of smell is “one of the best kept secrets in the horse world” according to horse trainer Terry Nowacki in the article, “Horses as Bloodhounds.” He even conducts demonstrations where a volunteer runs to hide in the underbrush and then a horse trained in tracking scents wilwill run out and hide in the underbrush

Well, think about it, when you greet a horse, what does it do when examining you? It’ll look, turn its ears towards you, but most notably it’ll extend it’s nose towards you to smell you. In the wild a horse can detect danger not only by sight and sound, but also by smell. When the wind shifts the horse can pick up on predators hidden from sight, silent in their hiding spots. Therein lies another advantage for horses. When a horse is tired, most especially from exertion, what does it do? It blows harder, flaring its nostrils and taking in more scents. What does a dog do when it’s tired? It pants and breathes through its mouth instead of its nose, reducing the opportunity for olfactory analysis.

To us humans horses may all smell the same with that unique horsey smell. This smell varies between people from stinky to lovely (it depends if you ask a horse fanatic or not). Horses, however, identify each other by unique scents just like dogs, cats, deer, etc. Not only that but horses can also identify dangerous foods simply by the smell of them. How do they learn this? Through observation of their elders or through experience. Through personal experience I have found that some horses enjoy my scent very much. One horse at the center I volunteer at gave a lot of the other female volunteers some trouble. Before I was aware of that I walked the horse around for exercise as he was not allowed to run around on a recovering injury. While walking this horse around he followed close behind with his nose buried in my hair. How do I know he liked the smell in my hair? I would turn my head and he would curl his nose around to follow the hair. He even lipped at it! Never fear, my hair was not yanked on and we made it safely back to his stall with no other mishaps.

According to the above mentioned article horses also give different signs for scenting different things. The signals a horse communicates for a human would be different from, say, a wolf or a deer in the woods. The language horses communicate with can be complicated to decipher. In fact horses are the most difficult animal for animators to bring to life, the most prominent reason being that there are so many moving parts. Despite the challenge the movement of the horse is for some people it is rather fun to watch. The best way I recommend learning their signals is to observe a herd of horses interacting. Well? Go out and find a herd – or look up video recordings online. Teach yourself something today!