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#219: Sunken Treasure Spider

Working on this spider reminded me of the excitement I felt early in my project when I created the Message in a Bottle spider and even found an appropriate poem that I scripted and rolled up to place in the bottle. My sunken treasure spider is a small "treasure chest" filled with rhinestones/gems, a conch shell, and a mermaid. I included a real shell from a broke necklace and a padlock from a toggle clasp. Altogether, this piece blends the dingy tarnish of things long lost to the sea and the rich splendor of extravagant travel by ocean liner. I couldn't help but think of the Titanic or even the iron-ore ship, The Edmund Fitzgerald (my absolute favorite sunken ship story), while I was making this spider. Being a person who is absolutely mesmerized by the history of an object, how it goes from something brand new to something unrecognizable, I couldn't have picked a better spider to represent that wonder.

Materials: metal chest pendant, rhinestones on netting, large rhinestone, large topaz rhinestone, metal mermaid finding with orange stone, conch shell charm, padlock charm, iridescent shell, rhinestone encrusted spacer, faux tan pearl, gray and iridescent brown bugle beads, sage green seed beads, blue glass pearl beads, silver wire

#218: Limeade Spider

Today's spider is sort of an intermission to some truly great spiders. I occasionally have NO good ideas or not enough time for a really great one, so I fill in my project with something colorful but less meaningful. My neighbor came over this morning and asked to see my spider project so far. She last saw my project about 50 spiders ago and said that the most recent box of spiders (I store my spiders in pizza boxes and can fit about 30-40 per box) was filled with my best ideas so far. I was actually a little surprised to hear someone say that. By the time I reached 200, I was feeling pretty dried up. Maybe in knowing that, I was actually kicking things up a notch, attempting to outdo myself and to keep my creativity from sliding down into an abyss.

I am still going strong at 218 and am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don't mean that to sound I'm trying to escape something dark. But the truth is, this project is sometimes draining. It keeps me from other projects and activities. It forces me to constantly think about how to turn something into something it isn't. I'm always scratching around for objects that resemble spiders, which is how macaroni caught my attention. Everything is a spider. Even macaroni and cheese. I eat, sleep, and breathe spiders and quite possibly won't know how to live without them in January, when I finish my project.

So enjoy this intermission.

Materials: green plastic beads, green seed beads, lime green and cream seed beads, green wire

#217: White Oak Spider

Sometimes, your brain will wrap around an idea as if it were your own when actually you saw the idea recently and subconsciously remember it, which is sort of how I came to realize that I was making this spider to resemble a spider that I made last week (the fairy frost spider). Using a segment from a vintage bracelet and coordinating cream and silver, I basically made the same spider but got a different vibe from it. After Hurricane Irene moved north and out to sea, a cool breeze replaced our summer winds. I heard geese outside this morning, and the air was crisp. Fall is on the way. Fall reminds me of oak trees and acorns (and a really wonderful apples and oak candle that I used to have).

Materials: plastic/metal bracelet segment, white crackle bead, silver spacer bead, ivory bugle beads, silver and sage green seed beads, silver wire

#216: Débutante Spider

Débutante is French for "female beginner." This aristocratic young lady is "debuted" as a mature adult, and if she is from the Southern U.S. is considered a "Southern Belle." Photographs of débutantes depict elaborate full white gowns, which is what I thought of when I decided to use the focal piece for this spider (which, like many of my pieces, was once an earring). With almost a Ferris Wheel design, the faceted bezels, filigree, and rhinestones give this spider much ado. I should have just called it a filigree spider, but how is that fun?

Materials: silver/rhinestone earring piece, silver spacer bead, silver filigree button, silver filigree tube beads, silver seed beads, iridescent round beads, silver wire

#215: Fiesta Spider

Fiesta! We're stuck inside with Hurricane Irene bellowing outside, so we're basically eating everything in the house. That's what partying is all about. So far we've cleaned out an entire can of Omega-3 Planter's trail mix that I bought this morning, and we're working on some baked goods with chocolate chips. We'll probably eat popcorn and watch a movie if the power stays on. Tomorrow I plan to make some soup while the weather is still soggy. The warm, vibrant colors that I used for this spider are a welcome sign on this gray, wet, rainy day. Here's hoping everyone--our friends and loved ones from North Carolina to Baltimore to New Jersey to New York--stay warm and safe over the next couple of days.

Materials: blue plastic disc bead, brass bead caps, wooden bead, floral clay bead, yellow bugle beads, peacock blue seed beads, coral E beads, lime green floral wire

#214: Jade Elephant Spider

This particular jade elephant is from a charm bracelet, but I can remember my dad having a series of stone elephants in his house from small to large. Elephant figurines are evidently lucky, especially if their trunks are up and number 8 or more. They're supposed to be placed in the "wealth" area of your home. The elephant has long been known as a symbol of strength (the animal is huge), power (see previous comment), and wisdom ("an elephant never forgets"). According to Animal Planet's Top Ten Animal Myths: An Elephant Never Forgets, "Elephants are able to retain a mental map of their entire home range—we're talking an area the size of Rhode Island! Elephants also travel in packs and when the group gets too big, the eldest daughter breaks off to start her own contingent, yet she never forgets her roots. One researcher witnessed a mother and daughter elephant recognizing each other after 23 years of separation." That's pretty amazing.

Materials: jade elephant, green glass bead, pewter bead cap, gray bugle beads, seafoam green seed beads, grooved metal spacer beads, silver wire

#213: Copper Flame Spider

I flame colored copper mesh for a flame-like cap over a copper-colored bead on which I painted a green patina. The rectangular beads used for the leg joints already have a flame-colored effect, so the idea was to give the spider a lot of dimension with color and age. I made another copper spider for my 365 Spiders project but used different beads (glass rather than metal for the legs) and a more simple concept.

Materials: textured copper focal bead, copper mesh, copper coil bead, flame-colored rectangular copper beads, copper seed beads, copper tube beads, rusted wire

#212: Fairy Frost Spider

You were perhaps expecting glitter and wings? Haven't you heard that glitter is the herpes of the craft world. I can't believe that someone had the idea of putting it on clothing!

I had a lone clip-on earring that I've looked at on and off for a spider idea, but sometimes I get my idea once I put the right colors together. It's difficult to match this color of blue-green, and I didn't have bugle beads that came close. I didn't want to use a lot of gold, and nothing else really seemed to go with the costume jewelry piece except a non-color. So when I decided on ivory, that's when the idea of frost came to me. And who else puts frost on leaves and spiders but...oh, well, yes--Jack Frost. But don't you think Jack Frost is a bit fairyish?

Materials: leaf clip-on earring, blue glass drop bead, gold bead cap, tan pearls, ivory bugle beads, blue-green E beads, gold seed beads, gold wire

#211: Macaroni Spider

I Spy bottle filled with small charms and pasta/rice
It's more fun to call this a macaroni spider than just plain ol' pasta spider. Besides, I got my inspiration from a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Maybe you've realized that KM&C is even yummier when you cut back on the macaroni and mix in all of the cheese. That's how I ended up with extra noodles, which I realized were a lot like over-sized bugle beads. And the idea was probably planted in my head after I spent an evening dying alphabet pasta red and blue to put in I Spy bottles for birthday party favors (the likes of which would have been great for the 365 day project if I were following Noah Scalin's book).

Materials: bowtie pasta, rotini pasta, macaroni pasta, star pasta, gold wire

#210: Drag Racing Spider

I was at Michaels in their kids' summer craft section and spotted pine wood pull-back car kits for $1--el cheapo! How cool to make a spider that MOVES! Yeah, guess what you get for a dollar? Exactly what you paid for, that's what. I used just the device with the pull-back gears for my spider (plus the rods and tires). I started off by making an actual pine wood body; I just adapted the car to make it smaller, but it was still too big for a spider (see photo), so I adapted the model once again, taking it down to just the bare bones (and adding some cool checkered-flag paper to the body). Although the spider looks very cool (IMO), it lacks mobility. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But the spider gets 5 stars for ingenuity.

Remember the movie Animal House? At the very end, the frat boys convert Fred's Lincoln Continental into a deathmobile to crash the homecoming parade. This was what I had in mind when I was creating my spider, although mine looks nothing like the deathmobile in the movie.

Materials: pull-back car mechanism with tire rods and tires, hounds tooth glitter card stock, painted wooden bead, black and teal bugle beads, black and teal seed beads, silver wire

#209: Summer Pond Spider

I bought what I thought was a copper leaf finding at a bead shop and took it home to torch it and watch the colors change (and use it for a copper spider), but when I discovered it wasn't copper, I decided to take a different approach. The green/orange/gold color scheme was very vivid in my mind's eye, and it even turned out the way I envisioned it, with small brass dragonflies glued all over. I kept thinking of the way dragonflies skim across ponds in the summer light, and I wanted a spider that would reflect the light and shadow of these colors on a pond.

Materials: painted metal leaf finding, tan pearl bead, green marbled glass bead, green and orange bugle beads, green and orange seed beads, silver wire

#208: Observatory Spider

The focal bead for this spider is sort of a peacock blue pearl with a silver rim around it, which made me think of Saturn and then the overall shape of an observatory. Plus, the peacock blue and matching faceted joint beads are very night-sky-like.

Materials: metal pearl bead, hematite star bead, peacock blue pearl bead, silver bugle beads, peacock blue and silver seed beads, peacock blue faceted beads, silver wire

#207: Equestrian Spider

I had a small brass horse head and a small silver horseshoe charm, so I glued them together and painted them with a pewter finish. I love the lucky horseshoe/horse look and even went through a phase of looking for horse designs on fabric and jewelry pieces. I chose the darker leg colors to match the dark reds, greens, and browns of horse and hound paintings (which I have also seen on some very marvelous toile fabric). I think it would be neat to have a sun room or mud room done up with an equestrian theme.

Materials: metal horse and horseshoe charms; green glass bead; brown plastic bead; red wooden spacer; gray and green bugle beads; coral, green, and topaz seed beads, silver wire

#206: MerSpider

Because MerSpider could potentially be a man or a maid (I'm not good at determining the sex of a spider, especially these), I'm afraid you'll have to use your imagination for the torso. No, really, use your imagination, because I chose the ivory/gold bead intentionally. Do you see why? I didn't want anything human (as far as a head/torso) for this spider, and it was a challenge to find beads that I liked to go with this sort of slapped together fish tail pendant. I severed a metal mermaid pendant at the waist so that I could attach the body/fin to a teardrop pendant that had a scale-like pattern. I had to bend and glue the pieces together, then wrap them in aluminum foil so they would look seamless, then paint the bejeezus out of the pendant to ensure that the aluminum and the paint wouldn't chip away. I wanted to use shiny greens and blues for the spider, so I surprised myself by falling for ivories and golds, too. Even an ivory and gold-painted clam shell is helpful in accessorizing this spider (and hiding a lot of rather ugly wire bits in the center).

Materials: metal pendants, aluminum foil, paint, clear seal, metal clam shell charm, vintage plastic floral-etched bead, blue flower bead, blue and ivory bugle beads, sea foam green and gold seed beads, lime green floral wire

#205: Cave Painting Spider

Handmade pendants from the Taylors Falls Bead Store, MN
Ideas are everywhere, especially in bead shops. I love coming across handmade pendants and beads because they're so unique and original, and when I stumbled on these cave painting pendants, I knew I had to attempt one for a spider. I painted a polished black stone with browns, coppers, and golds until I came up with the right backdrop for my design. Then I painted cave designs with black, copper, and dark bronze to celebrate a few other 365 Days of Creativity projects.

Three other blogs that I follow share something in common with my spider project: roundness. Tara of Sun A Day, Ange of The Daily Turtle, and Heidi of A Snail A Day! are making something every day for a year, too. I often see Tara's suns and think of my spiders, and Ange's turtles are round leggy critters just like my spiders. How Heidi goes about her daily brainstorming for her snails is something I can identify with, and I think it's true that we all help each other brainstorm for our projects. So the cave painting on my spider is a snail swirl within a sun within a turtle.

Materials: polished stone, paint, brown plastic leaf bead, black and iridescent brown bugle beads, multi-tone brushed metallic and iridescent brown seed beads, silver wire

#204: Gladiator Spider

The piece that I used for this spider was probably from an old earring or pin. I'm not sure. But it has the look of a shield to it, so I wanted to make some kind of Renaissance warrior spider or some-such. I thought this would be a cool Ren Fest spider. It's huge, too. It spans about 4 inches.

Materials: silver/red rhinestone medallion, round pewter bead, metal floral spacer bead, metal bugle beads, gray glass faceted beads, black seed beads, red rondelle beads, silver wire

#203: Scorpider (Scorpion Spider)

I guess I'm just sick of looking at and making spiders that look like spiders. Now that I've come across countless plastic dollar store insects and have access to lots of metallic and antiquing paints (and clear seal), it's fun to make some spider hybrids. I've made a bat spider, a hermit crab spider, and some other interesting mutant spiders, so what's one more? This scorpion needed a little more umph in the way of metallic red and copper paints and having its tail suspended over its body rather than curled off to one side like some cheap plastic-molded bug. I removed 6 of the plastic legs in order to replace them with much cooler beaded legs, but the pincers had to stay.

Materials: plastic scorpion, head pin, red rondelle bead, red faceted teardrop bead, red/black and red coral bugle beads, red and black seed beads, gold wire

#202: Pushing Up Daisies Spider

Typically when flowers are paired with black, the juxtaposition has a funereal feel.

Materials: black daisy lampwork bead, black glass bead, charteuse glass bead, black bugle beads, lime green seed beads, white E beads, lime green floral wire

#201: Josephine Spider

I told my daughters that they would each get a spider especially made for them on their birthday, so this is Josephine's spider with her initial and favorite colors.

Materials: Journey token; J typewriter key; purple/pink plastic bead; faceted magenta beads; dusty purple flower beads; pink, purple, and dusty purple bugle beads; magenta and purple seed beads; purple wire

#200: Moon Landing Spider

I spent hours yesterday--hours that, trust me, I should have been spending on more important things--working on a great Day 200 video for today's spider. The content of my video relied on the arrangement "Also sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss. This piece is the title music for 2001: A Space Odyssey, but even though Mr. Strauss has been dead for eons and the piece should be considered fair use like most other classical music (in my opinion), someone out there obviously owns the rights and thwarted my attempts to use the music in my video no matter how hard I tried to find a fair use file. Also, there are already loads of YouTube videos using the piece, so copyright be damned!

Instead, you'll have to settle for this slightly less amazing video, but monumental in its own way, to celebrate my 200th day of making spiders. Neil Armstrong made history with his words when he set foot on our moon for the first time on July 20, 1969--42 years ago. I even used the Apollo filter on my Instagram camera app to take the picture and the 70s timeline feature on my SilentFilm Director app to take the video. I try so hard.

Materials: blue moon bead, metal astronaut finding, pewter bead, silver glitter bead, gray and blue bugle beads, silver and blue seed beads, silver wire

#199: Carpenter Spider

I spied an old folding ruler at a collectibles shop and saw its potential for being cut up in lots of little pieces and used for projects, starting with this spider.

Materials: wooden ruler segment, brass finding, dark red and gold bugle beads, topaz and dark red seed beads, burgundy wire

#198: Cameo Spider

You can imagine that cameos, way back before mass production, received much of their popularity due to being so small and yet so elaborately carved. Picture how amazed you were the first time you witnessed the goings-on at the Your Name On Rice kiosk at the mall. Except that cameos—the nice ones—are often carved from stone, coral, shell, or glass and not a piece of Minute Rice. The word "cameo" is Italian meaning "to engrave," and it's no wonder that people place a lot of value on the real deal. Look at all of the cheap plastic imitations out there in the world (including the one in this spider) making a mockery of a great art. Do you have a real cameo? Or know anyone else who has one? Wonders to behold.

Materials: brass cabochon base, plastic cameo, faceted ball chain, faux tan pearl, agate bead, marbled lavender bugle beads, peach seed beads, round tiger eye beads, copper wire

Day 197: View-Master Spider

Before Ipods...wait, go back. Before DVDs...wait, even further. Before VHS...are you kidding me? Go way, WAY back. Back to when you listened to stories on a record player and probably read great adventures more than you watched them. Back to when Wizard of Oz was on TV once a year and it was a family event with buttered popcorn. Back when you had to get up off the couch to turn the channel. Yeah, right about there. That's when View-Master was in its prime. Let me give you a brief history (the good parts) of View-Master from our good friends at Wikipedia. The View-Master we know today--that is, the basic design we're used to--was introduced at the 1939 NY World Fair as an alternative to postcards. In the 1940s, the U.S. military saw its potential for personnel training and purchased 100,000 viewers and nearly 6 million disks from 1942 to the end of WWII in 1945. In 1951, the owner of View-Master bought out its competitor, Tru-Vue, and thus obtained licensing rights to Walt Disney Studios. Fifteen years later, View-Master began producing disks that featured child-friendly subjects, like popular TV shows of the time, and little else has changed since then other than companies merging, etc., etc.

When I was a kid, we had a View-Master projector that would get so hot you thought the whole contraption was going to melt and start the house on fire, and for a time, I think View-Master (or a competing company) came out with film cartridges that fit into a toy with a handle that you would turn to watch the movie (with no sound, of course). For kids during this era and during the advent of View-Master as a toy, this was as close as you came to seeing a movie without actually going to one. Pretty much. And even though it's more difficult to find good View-Master reels for the kiddies today (that's if they'd actually WANT to look at a View-Master), I'm still in awe when I put the View-Master up to my eyes and see such a teeny tiny picture in bigger-than-life quality. Fireworks, the Grand Canyon, even Bert and Mary on the rooftops of London--they all remind me of how we can be in awe of something so simple and technologically archaic. The View-Master reel I used for this spider is from Cinderella. Josie decided it would be fun to start cutting it up; it's okay, I did that with a few back in my day to see what they'd look like when taken apart. If you look at the picture closely, you can see the evil Lady Tremaine, in her non-3D glory.

Materials: View-Master reel section, foil tape, metal gear finding, black and silver bugle beads, silver and orange seed beads, silver wire

#196: Plum in the Library Spider (#1 in the Clue series)

I was messing around with some plum-colored beads and trying to come up with a name when my thoughts naturally turned to dear Professor Plum of Clue game fame. This spider is perhaps slightly too effeminate to be considered male, but what kind of professor wears all purple?! And where would you find Professor Plum? In the study, of course. The real question is: Is it the candlestick, the dagger, the lead pipe, the revolver, the rope, or the wrench? I don't think the good professor's education would have allowed for any weapons training, so he might very well just go for the first thing he finds. The candlestick, don't you think?

My grandma had Clue in a closet in her family room. It was missing some pieces and the instructions, so my brother and I had to get creative about how to play the game. But I loved the little murder weapons and the game characters with their specific color preferences. My favorite was Mrs. Peacock. When the game was released in vintage (1970s) packaging a few years ago, with the same design as my grandmother's game, I had to have it.

I urge you to visit Wikipedia and read about the history of the Clue game. Some versions have additional characters, other murder weapons, and additional mansion rooms. Very interesting. This spider is more purple than the picture shows. Now I have to find just the right beads for the other characters.

Materials: light yellow glass bead, wrapped brass floral finding (with purple rhinestone), glass purple bead, brass head pin, iridescent lavender and ivory bugle beads, purple seed beads, brass disc beads, burgundy wire

#195: Hermit Crab Spider

This "spider" probably stretches the idea of spider more than anything I've made so far...even the winged spiders. I have a bunch of these flat vintage plastic beads that I bought to make Anthropologie knock-off necklaces (I did make ONE before I got distracted), and the tiny handful of coral colored beads that I had were just enough for the claws. The heart bead on the shell covers a hole in the shell that was used to hang the it from a necklace. This one is pretty darn cute.

Materials: small shell, red/white swirled glass bead, white plastic heart bead, iridescent orange bugle beads, vintage plastic coral beads, coral seed beads, coral bugle bead shards, copper wire

#194: Black Widow Spider

Okay, I used artistic license here because I didn't realize, until I'd found the perfect piece for the body of a black widow spider, that the red hour glass shape appears on the underside of the real black widow. To make the spider a little extra scary, I used some black and red striped bugle beads. In general, did you know you're supposed to avoid brightly colored spiders? Bright colors, such as red, could mean there's a good chance the spider is poisonous.

Materials: black brass teardrop pendant, round black plastic bead, black teardrop seed bead, black and black/red bugle beads, black seed beads, silver wire

#193: Sweetheart Spider

I made this spider with pieces from two old necklaces. I would typically just give Greta my plastic beads, but the plastic hearts that I used for the legs don't look plastic. I've used stars on spider legs before, and I knew these hearts would be too big to repeat in all of the "knee" joints. So they just make up one segment on each leg.

Materials: decoupage heart pendant, coral bead, two plastic magenta drop beads, iridescent pink and light green bugle beads, lime green and purple seed beads, magenta wire

#192: Albino Spider

This vintage earring piece is a lacquered mosaic of abalone shells, much like the mosaic shell bead I used a couple of weeks ago for a spider. The pale colors were what I based this spider on, but I almost decided to make it a turtle spider except that with 8 long legs, it looks nothing like a turtle.

Materials: mosaic pendant, copper bead cap, vintage peach bugle beads, magenta seed beads, copper wire spacers, copper wire

#191: Sorcerer Spider

I can't resist making a spider with crystal or crystal-like beads. These are just plastic, but they look perfect with some hematite stars and royal blue for this wizard spider.

Materials: clear plastic faceted beads, silver bead cap, silver spacer bead, hematite star beads, royal blue and silver bugle beads, blue seed beads, silver wire

#190: Not So Cowardly Lion Spider (#2 in Oz series)

The second of 4 Oz spiders that I'm going to create (#152 was my Tin Woodsman spider) is the lion who gets a bad rap for being cowardly but is cured in the end. He gets a shiny medal, kind of like the one I used to make this spider, and becomes, once again, king of the forest.

It was rather lucky not just that I found a locket pendant that resembled a medal but that I actually had a coin (a Tim Holtz finding) that had a "C" for "Courageous." Some Ruby Slippers nail enamel, plus a red garnet, make the medal extra sparkly and special. I hesitate to point out that the real Dorothy (that is, L. Frank Baum's Dorothy) didn't actually sport ruby slippers. Imagine my disappointment when I read the book and discovered that Dorothy's shoes were silver. I'll get to the Dorothy spider soon enough, but she and the scarecrow require a lot more thought.

Materials: brass locket pendant, brass courage coin, red garnet, brass spacer, brown plastic bead, gold and iridescent brown bugle beads, brown and red seed beads, gold wire

#189: Pop Bead Spider

A couple of years ago, I was so excited to find a big canister of pop beads for Josie. I had them when I was a kid--small ones for making necklaces and such--and I couldn't find anything similar that wasn't total crap. I love that Target has a whole section of "vintage" children's toys, all of the Fisher-Price toys of my youth. This pop bead spider is made with two of Josie's pop beads.

Materials: orange and blue pop beads, iridescent orange bugle beads, orange and blue seed beads, gold wire

#188: Green is Gold Spider

"Nature's first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold" so says Robert Frost in his well-known poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" (which, incidentally, always reminds me of the scene in The Outsiders when C. Thomas Howell reads the poem). This spider is made from a vintage green and gold bamboo hair clip, but the hair clip was removed.

Materials: green and gold spiraled bamboo, vintage teal rectangle bead, plastic amber bead, apple-green round bead, apple-green tube beads, apple-green bugle beads, lime green and gold seed beads, gold wire