Thursday, June 23, 2011

Storage Solutions in the Studio

I recently began reorganizing my studio.  I work in different mediums such as silver clay, polymer clay, and sometimes resin.  This can lead to a lot of disorganization due to all the different materials involved.  I separated my space into three separate work areas.  One area for polymer clay, one for metal clay, and a third area for tumbling, buffing and polishing, and assembling jewelry.

I came up with a way to store all my sead beads above one table.  It's a sort of shadow box that I already had on hand.  It's decorative and functional.  Here's a photo:

It hangs above the table where I polish, buff, and put together my jewelry.  It's handy to see them all at a glance when I'm working.  And very easy to just reach up and get the color that's needed.

And sitting in the middle at the back of the table is an acrylic container that I got from a kitchen supply store.  I think it's normally used for condiments.  I labled the containers inside to hold things I make that are in different stages of production.  For instance, beads that need sanding, or pieces that need polishing, ect.  It's pretty handy because the individual bins on the inside are removable.  Here's a photo of that:

And one of my most favorite storge items are these wooden boxes with bins that I got on sale.  They were being discontinued, so I got them at a great price.  Each bin can be labled, and there are a ton of bins!  I have a few of them on each table.

And here's yet another storage solution for beads.  The spice rack.  I have one that has 30 bottles that I use to hold my smaller handmade polymer clay beads.  

And of course there is the usual ordinary standard cabinet that can hold lots and lots of supplies and tools.  Mine came from Lowes.

And last but not least is the jewelry armoire.  It opens up on both sides and has a drawer at the bottom.  It holds most of my completed polymer clay jewelry.  Excuse the mess around it, I'm still working on the rest of the studio.  I keep my fine silver jewelry stored away in plastic airtight containers to keep them out of the air and from tarnishing. 

So, what kinds of ideas have you come up with concerning storage in your studio?  I would love to see photos of how other artist organize their spaces.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Sea Turtles are Back!

We have sea turtles and they have laid eggs!  This is an exciting event on our little barrier Island here in the Gulf Coast.  We were especially worried about them last year because of the horrible BP oil spill.  Many of the eggs that were laid last year were evacuated to Florida for protection and survival after the oil spill.  It was a good thing.  BP has had a fleet of four wheel buggies running up and down the beaches the whole last year.  Not to mention all the digging and sand cleaning. 

Here is a photo of the eggs:

If you would like to read more, please check out the  "Share the Beach" blog.  It even has some video of sea turtles hatching and making their way back to the water.  And, you can find out about some volunteer opportunities and other ways that you can help.

There are several different types of sea turtles.  Here's some info about Loggerhead turtles:

Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Photo and text courtesy of Texas Fish & Wildlife Service. Photo by Mike Lubich /USFWS.

Loggerhead Sea Turtles have characteristically large heads with powerful jaws. They are found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters with temperatures above 10 C. Although sea turtles are subject to predation throughout their life cycle, predation is particularly high during the first two years of life. Highest predation occurs during incubation and during the race of the hatchlings to the sea. The eggs are eaten by ghost crabs, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and dogs. Hatchlings are preyed upon by mammals, sea birds, crabs, and carnivorous fishes. Predation continues to be high until the turtles are big enough to avoid being swallowed by large carnivorous fishes such as groupers, snappers, and jacks. Sharks are a formidable predator throughout the life cycle of sea turtles, although larger turtles can often avoid a shark attack by presenting the flat side of the plastron or carapace to prevent biting.

Date of Listing: Threatened, 1978

Reason for Concern:
Until the 1970's, Loggerhead turtles were commercially harvested for their meat, eggs, leather, and fat. Its meat and leather are not as valuable as the Green Sea Turtle, and its shell is of less value than the Hawksbill. However, in places where regulations are not enforced, the harvest of turtle meat and eggs remains a problem. Because of their feeding behavior and their habit of wintering in shallow waters, Loggerheads, along with Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles, are more likely to be caught in large shrimp trawl nets and drown. Today, Turtle Excluder Devices (TED's) pulled by shrimp boats help reduce mortality from net entanglement by allowing many turtles to escape from the nets.

Size: Adults weigh 170 to 500 lbs. and have a carapace up to 45 inches in length.

Diet: Although feeding behavior may change with age, this species is carnivorous throughout its life. Hatchlings eat small animals living in seagrass mats which are often distributed along drift lines and eddies. Juveniles and adults show a wide variety of prey, mostly such as conchs, clams, crabs, horseshoe crabs, shrimps, sea urchins, sponges, fishes, squids, and octopuses. During migration through the open sea, Loggerheads eat jellyfishes, pteropods, floating molluscs, floating egg clusters, squids, and flying fishes.

Habitat (where it lives): Loggerheads are capable of living in a variety of environments, such as in brackish waters of coastal lagoons and river mouths. During the winter, they may remain dormant, buried in the mud at the bottom of sounds, bays, and estuaries. The major nesting beaches are located in the southeastern United States, primarily along the Atlantic coast of Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Only minor and solitary nesting has been recorded along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico.

Life Span: At least 30 years and up to 50 years or more.

Reproduction: This is the only sea turtle that can nest successfully outside of the tropics, but the summer surface water temperature must be over 20 C.As with other sea turtles, females return to lay their eggs on or near the same beach where they hatched. Unlike other sea turtles, courtship and mating usually do not take place near the nesting beach, but rather along the migration routes between feeding and breeding grounds. Females may nest several times during a breeding season (April- September), laying as many as 190 soft, round white eggs per nest. The eggs incubate in the sand for 55 to 75 days. The incubation period is longer when the weather is cool, and there is evidence that cooler incubation temperatures produce more male hatchlings. Hatchlings emerge from the nest mostly at night. After the majority of the hatchlings appear at the surface of the nest, they start a frenzied race toward the surf and out to sea.

Population Numbers: Unknown

Interesting Fact: Loggerhead hatchlings and juveniles are frequently associated with sea fronts (areas where ocean currents converge), downwellings, and eddies, where floating open ocean animals gather. The time that young turtles remain in these places feeding and growing is called the "lost year". During this period, young turtles float on rafts of seaweed with the currents, feeding on organisms associated with sargassum mats.

The above info was taken from the Share the Beach blog.

Have a great Day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Swirly Beads From Left Over Clay

I love to make polymer clay swirly beads.  And, it is a great way to recyle clay.  They also make some great pendants or focal beads. I usually use my cane ends.  It's very easy to do.  You chop up the clay into bits and roll it all into a ball.  Put the ball onto the table and place a clear square piece of acrylic or glass on top of the clay.  Start moving the acrylic, and hence the clay ball, into a circle while applying some pressue.  After a short period, you will see the colors start to swirl together.  Continue until you get a pattern or effect you like, then stop.  Here are some that I have made:

A Set of 3 Three Handmade Swirly Focal Beads 

Three Colorful Polymer Clay Swirly Beads

And here are some things I have made with them:

Handsculpted Polymer Clay Heart Necklace

Have A Great Day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Round Cucumber

I have a round circular cucumber.  Really.  We grew a garden this year.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, chives, onions, potatoes, and herbs.  And on my cucumber vine, I found a round cucumber growing.  I have no idea why it grew that way, but it did.  I finally got to pick it today.  Here's a photo:
And here it is still on the vine:

Might as well show you our little garden while I'm at it:

And here is one of my favorite things to do with a broken clay pot:

That's all for gardening today.  I promise, I'll try and get ack to jewelry next time... Have a great day!