Nine Lives Studio - Ellen Miffitt
Sumi-e, Collage, Mixed Media, Watercolor Pencil, PMC Jewelry, Block Prints and Art Instruction


(posted on 8 May 2016)

Saturday turned out to be Wooden Boat Day celebration so the attendance at the NOVA school Innovations sale was very low. Think my table display looked good. I did work more on my Camp NaNoWriMo novel when it was slow...

sorry, the image is a little fuzzy -

there was plenty of room so I set my shelf unit in back of the table.

Below the paint box and mini bulletin board display for the jewelry...

I set the drawer out to display the extra pieces...

lastly the blank journals. the one on the right sold. It was a very delicate looking Zen Doodle design.

I made my table fee yesterday and a small amount more. I do have to say that many shows now are requesting this: Reporting of sales: At the end of the day, we will pass out a reporting form. The primary purpose of this is to indicate the success of the event overall, as well as the different categories of products. While not required, we request vendors consider making a tax-deductible donation of 10-percent of sales (once covering the cost of the booth) to NOVA School to support the School’s programs and financial aid. NOVA School offers an unmatched comprehensive combination of creativity-building programs, such as visual arts, music, textiles, cooking, robotics, engineering, and more…and over one-third of our students only attend with the assistance of financial aid.

I did not participate in this - the main reason that I did not donate 10% - I grossed so little above the $40 table fee, I did not charge tax for my sales unless it went through the Square so I will have to pay tax at the end of the year and my prices are rock bottom so things will sell/be affordable.

Art/Crafting is an act of creativity to fuel an inner drive... I know that most art/crafters are not making hundreds of dollars at these events. Unless you bring lunch, you buy food and of course there is the gas to travel. It normally takes an hour or so to set up and break down. This means a normal 10 to 4pm event = 8 to 10 hours of work... if you figure that for an hourly wage, I make less than minimum for almost any event I've done.

I love events because it is fun to talk to customers and other vendors. Please realize that I'm not doing the sour grapes thing; I'm just telling the truth about the reality of selling handcrafted items...


A week ago Wed was the The Evergreen State College Spring Fair...

the earrings and other jewelry was just flat on the table so not displayed attractively...

Then Saturday was the POSSCA Annual Artists' Garage Sale... forgot to take a photo of my set up. I was really not feeling well and crashed Sunday & Monday. Still coughing but feeling much better.

Tuesday & Wednesday I worked on more blank journals - 24 just need to be threaded with the ribbon. The less expensive ones need images and tying...

I almost threw out some demo paintings from acrylic... then it was chop time to make small sections for the blank books!

More paper bead earrings that I made today...

Now how to display them better... woke up yesterday morning with a aha! Finally found my mini cork board this afternoon and then...

I needed an easel or something.... Someone gave me two travel paint box easels! The drawer is perfect for storing the jewelry.

full drawer

practice display...

OK back to finishing chopstick books, attaching enso necklaces to cards, and packing the car!
Keep Arting

(posted on 4 Apr 2016)

Almost ready to wrap the pin wire for these paper bead earrings... three weeks until Spring Arts Walk where I will display my work at the Estate Store and I have a million loose ends
Least I'm not bored when going from one project to another.

Friends have given me beads/old jewelry over the last few years - time to organize them... although the scavenger hunt of locating different stashes of beads is fun it's also time consuming. There is the word time again It does speed past.

Started a mini macrame key ring fob and finished a mini macrame bracelet.

dang, I need brighter light and stronger glasses! This micro dark cord is hard to see

Bought these simple tags for displaying the jewelry - large ones for necklaces and small for earrings. will print a label with info for the back...

I know I could have made them but I figured for the sake of time which tends to slip away that it would be easier to purchase.

Keep arting!

(posted on 2 Apr 2016)

Lesson about wearing glasses and I need to stop being so stressed so I can think clearly

this picture shows my first batch of aromatherapy clay pendants. This is low fire clay. When i went to fire them last time I did not look at the package with glasses on and saw only "cone 6". Looking up the temperature chart on Internet... cone 6 is 2,232...
The cone/firing temp for "06" low fire is - 18,030... I have been stressed lately and very fuzzy thinking - it should have been a real no brainer low fire vs high fire non mistake. You can't tell from the picture but the clay over-fired and vitrified. The pieces will make good wind chimes.

Second try:

after drying to leather hard stage, I then clean the edges a bit...

and load the kiln:

this kiln is from around 1970 and still has the original coils...

I've made a lot more paper beads. It is tricky to cut the paper and roll so that the beads come out the same size.

bought my tools for making "Broken Plate" jewelry:

I saw a how-to where the person used chamois cloth and inserted a wire hanger and glued that to the back of the chard. I'm going to try that... I'm not a fan of the copper foil/non lead solder.

Here's the plates that I bought today to practice with:

Last but not least -

signed up before midnight April 1st for Camp NaNoWriMo...
same deal as National Writing Month in November - goal is 50,000 word count by the end of the month.

I am using a story that I slightly started since last December... I have a character list and a 2 page synopsis.

off to check the kiln temp... no more over firing.

(posted on 22 Mar 2016)

Continuing adventures - second time etching this batch. Basically I think the rubber stamp lines are too fine for a strong etching. I left these in at least 4 hours in a fresh batch for ferric chloride. One of the stars has a hole for the jump ring that was too close to the edge... remind me to drill the holes after etching! It destroyed the fine piece that made the hole edge. I'll just saw/round off all the corners.

today I stopped in to pick up the handouts for AARP tax prep at the Olympia Senior Center and also visited the Senior Boutique. SCORE! I was bemoaning the fact that I had given away many of my rubber stamps awhile ago. Remember Murphy's Law about discarding stuff and needing it soon after... Look what I found!


Most were .25, .50 or $1.00... The designs have much wider lines so they will translate better as far as applying the StazOn permanent ink...
Can't wait to try these out on more of my copper shapes and I will remember not to drill the holes until after etching.

Off to teach the last Mixed Media class...

(posted on 20 Mar 2016)

my low fire white clay arrived the other day... rolled it out and as soon as its bone dry, I'll bisque fire. I'm making clay diffusers pendants for essential oil. Pinterest is great for how-to as well as you tube. The consensus was that low fire clay was better than self-dry because firing the clay makes it porous.

since I'm rolling on Plexiglas, the clay really sticks. It would roll & lift better on a plaster of Paris surface... I also found I can't remove the canape cutters because of the sticking factor. I just slide them to the side and cut the next one.

I brush off the excess clay stuck to the cutter edges then I let the clay dry a little before pushing them out of the metal shapes. I can smooth the backs/sides later if they're uneven. I may glaze the backside so the oil doesn't soak through.

Then I tried making the texture first... I wish I hadn't gotten rid of a lot of the rubber stamps my daughter had at one time

Letting the textured clay shapes sit a bit before pulling them apart by sliding the canape cutter across the Plexiglas to the edge.

Before they dry too much I used a straw to poke the holes in the clay. You have to gently rotate the straw to lift the plug of clay out. They are aproimately .25 inch thick. I did press a few of the rubber stamps I have into the clay.

I have them drying on the porch.... hoping no cats hop up to investigate these odd things.

I have to rework the etching pieces from Friday. Think the solution is spent as they didn't etch at all after 2.5 hours! After that its finally back to the paper beads.

(posted on 20 Mar 2016)

here's news about the Broken Pottery Jewelry Workshop I went to yesterday...

It was a nice group of women at the workshop. The presenter facilitates one "recycle" workshop a month at the Estate Store.

Several of the woman volunteer at the Estate Store and the director was there. The presenter experimented with shard jewelry over the last couple weeks before the workshop. I admit to having done that in my past as an art teacher [ I'm making paper beads like crazy as I'm offering a class two months from now]... so for all it was a learning experience and good company.

When I came home, I looked up some references to broken pottery jewelry and realized we were not using the wheeled cutter properly. Its more to score and then use pliers to snap a clean break. This way it creates a straighter break that you don't have to clean up as much with a tile stone or various grinding stones using a dremel.

The main tools you need are: the wheeled tile cutter tool, regular & tile nipper/trimmer pliers, glass key cutter, scorer/breaker tool, and safety glasses. A dremel or flex shaft or a tile stone can be used to smooth the sides. I will experiment more as I love how the shards look. You need a really good soldering gun, lead free solder, copper foil tape like they use in stain glass and flux. A hammer can be used to break the plate/cup into smaller pieces but I saw a picture demo that just used scoring and snapping with the nipper/trimmer pliers. Much more control over the braking/selecting of the pattern.

I didn't stay to put the jump rings on... I had to get home as my son hasn't been feeling well. As I said, it was fun group and we played musical chairs moving around from dremel tools or soldering irons all the while chatting away.

Lots of patience to get the sides smooth [see better cutting tool list above] and to put the self sticking copper foil tape around the edges without wrinkles as well as an even edge on front and back of the china piece. Next hold in place with clamp or clothespins, apply flux to help move the solder, apply heat to the solder and melt/smooth over copper foil and finally add a jump ring. A third hand tweezer would be great to hold the jump ring in place while applying the solder.

That's it - fairly easy process but its deceptively tricky... I think they're making book clocks next month, then a garden angel and sometime soon Fairy Lamps from tea cups with the addition of a small solar light... great group of women and I'm enticed to learn more. My daughter is bring up some broken plates later next week so I need to get some tile tools!!!!!

Keep Arting - now to go make some more paper beads and finish my earrings...

I just found a video showing how to glue leather to the back that encloses a wire bail! No soldering...

(posted on 18 Mar 2016)

Today the "studio" was just the right temperature to work on my jewelry projects

I drilled the holes in the shells, wire wrapped the top of the headpin holding the beads to form a loop, cut fine copper wire to 5" and wrapped it around a tool hand to make a bail. I just have to smooth/tuck in the wire ends before stringing them on rolled leather. I plan to make a findings out of the copper wire too...

I also made a loop on the end of the headpins that held beads & paper beads. Then I attached a simple silver preformed ear wire. picture isn't the best - excited to share...

I made this PMC [Precious Metal Clay] pendant a long time ago. Recently set the hematite stone and today strung a few beads and ta Dah...
its looking good except for the hastily crumby lighted photograph.


I just have to check all the ends of the wrapped wires to make sure they won't snag on skin/clothing...
It's 1am and time for some ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzz

yesterday I gave the shells a second coat of mod podge and selected the beads that will hang inside of the shell. I have to still have to drill holes in the shells, make a loop on the end of the pin holding the beads and then make a wire bail to attach the beads with a jump ring & then to ribbon/cord necklace.

I have completed one mixed media and started two more in the mixed media class that I am teaching... everyone is enjoying learning to use gels, modeling paste, etc...

Keep arting!

(posted on 13 Mar 2016)

Futzing around looking for beads to add to my paper beads to make earrings...

Its a scavenger hunt through my collage/mixed media collections because I don't want to have to purchase beads. As you see I have matched size as best as I could. There is definitely a knack to making the paper beads a consistent size and shape. The paper to make the beads is cut the same size but sometimes it gets lopsided when rolling on the coffee stirrer.

Thankful that my 4 week mixed media class, 4 week watercolor pencil class and a 6 week drawing class is running...

My mandala class was cancelled for next Saturday. but .... I have signed up for a Broken China jewelry class . "Make a fabulous pair of earrings or a pendant out of broken china! $20 for earrings side option of adding $7 for matching pendant. All supplies included, you are more than welcome to bring a china pattern of your choosing. March 19th 11am - 1:30" at the Estate Store...

Although Pinterest has lots of how-to and images of micro macrame jewelry, I did find an inexpensive how-to book at Jo-Ann Fabric the other day and I had some coupons. I never go into Jo-Ann or Michael's without coupons because their mark up is often double a normal price. Many coupon driven stores keep their prices high so they can offer all those coupons which make a product a normal price....

I also stumbled upon alcohol ink that was marked down so I bought that as I was just reading about applying alcohol ink to metal as in copper/brass pendants. That might be easier than trying to enamel on the back side of the etched pendants. Some articles recommended that that the alcohol ink be sealed with a sealant... another adventure.

I also have a plethora of shells that I plan to drill and add a few beads to make recycled pendants. I ordered some finished necklaces [ribbon, faux leather, etc.] to hang them on as well as making my own copper clasps and use my rolled leather or ratail ....

I have 6 weeks until Spring Arts Walk and I plan to have some paper bead earrings, etched pendants, macrame bracelets/necklaces as well as blank journals and those collage boxes on display at the Estate Store in Olympia.

Need to get cracking back to arting!

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