Friday, September 2, 2016

Labor Day!

I cannot wait for this Summer to be over.  Yesterday I read that it was the hottest (or second hottest) Summer on record for the Washington DC area.  Yuck.

So....I am celebrating!

Have a wonderful --- and safe --- Labor Day Holiday weekend!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I love experiments!

One of my "bucket-list" techniques to learn was how to reticulate sterling silver. There are lots of videos and how-to's for this technique, but it basically entails heating the sterling silver sheet until it glows light pink - hold it at this temperature for 2 minutes, and carefully drop it in your heated pickle. This stage of the process is called depletion gilding, whereby a layer of fine silver is created at the surface of the silver sheet.  Repeat this heat/pickle process 3 times, until the surface of the silver turns frosty white (and it really did turn frosty white - I was excited)!

The next stage of torching involves focusing the heat slowly over the surface of the sheet until it turns a dull red.  As you move your flame away, the surface layer crinkles and folds and creates my favorite thing in the whole world - texture!.

While my first try at this process was not what I would call stellar, there is some texture going on here! Of course I forgot to take a picture of my entire sheet (I was excited to use it), but as you can see, there is lots of missed opportunity for texture on my sheet below.

But, I was able to use a few areas of this reticulated sheet and I made a few far.

First up, I had these gorgeous porcelain drops from Scorched Earth with a glaze called Hematite Shimmer.  I swear, in natural light (not under my photo lights, unfortunately), they ooze glitter!  I even took the earrings outside to photograph, but as soon as I opened the door, I was accosted by the insane humidity and turned right back around.  

Next up, some handmade porcelain charms by Carol Dekle of TerraRusticaStudio.  These are such a pretty light blue..almost turquoise color. 

I love using porcelain beads/charms - they are so lightweight and easy-peasy to wear. 

The next pair also feature porcelain charms by Carol - pretty texture and a lovely Evergreen color.  I paired these with two itty bitty sterling silver hollow beads that I made.

My favorite pair of earrings feature Carol's Tree of Life porcelain charms. In researching its origin, I read so many interpretations of this ancient symbol...these are my favorites:

  • A Cosmic Family tree, telling ancient stories of shared roots that link to the past, showing connected struggles and aspirations, and desires to reach for the light.
  • Similar to a Family Tree, the symbol illustrates roots and branches where one has both diverged and joined.  It shows where we come from and who comes from us.
  • It also carries the meaning that we are all related to the Cosmos - humans, animals, earth family, beyond earth family, etc.  All of these Cosmos are inter-connected ...DNA and chemicals link us and it is this link where we find compassion and tolerance.

I paired these charms with tiny copper beads that I textured and rolled, along with some sterling silver because...come on...MIXED METAL!  Yum!

Carol also gave me several porcelain cabochons to play with.  I used the first one to make a ring.

What I love about this cab is that she has cut facets into the sides...which are NOT symmetrical.  I hand stamped the back plate, and was successful with my second split shank!

The split shank is fast becoming my favorite!  It looks substantial, but unlike a wide band ring, it is so comfortable to wear!

I started cutting some silver for cuffs, with the intention of stamping some designs.  That will have to wait until tomorrow!

Thanks so much for stopping by..I truly appreciate it!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016


by Patti Vanderbloemen

To recap....I had a custom order request that did not turn out the way the customer wanted. I truly put too much work into this necklace, so I was hoping to turn a bad situation into a happy one by finding someone who would give it just a little bit of love.... and I did!!

The winner of the necklace my giveaway is...

(I have hosted many a giveaway here on my blog and this is the FIRST time Random.Org picked #1 - coolio!)

Congratulations to:

Allison Teague

Allison - please send me your email address ( and I will mail this right out!

From the bottom of my heart, a HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment. I knew this was the best way to deal with a not-very-nice situation!

Thanks so very much for stopping by today!!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Give Away!

Happy Monday!

Last year, I opened up my own website - but I kept my Etsy shop because I still have quite a few customers  that only shop through Etsy. I was recently contacted by a customer to create a custom order necklace for her. Not what I like to do, but I finally agreed.

Well, here it is!  I made her this necklace per her specifications, but, in the end, it was not her cup of tea.  So....I am going to GIVE IT AWAY!!!

The chain is comprised of hand cut and hand riveted solid copper links, graduated in size. The 3 links in front are larger, soldered closed, and each has two wraps of copper along the sides.  I also stamped a tiny little filigree on the 3 focal links. 

I added a series of 5 drops to the center, largest link:  A lovely copper bead by Scorched Earth (link here); two different wrapped links of tiny lampwork beads by Beads and Botanicals (link here); a little copper swirl, and finally, a hollow copper bead that I made (textured..of course!) 

The chain is 24" long and closes with a copper lobster clasp.  I also added a 2" extender chain.

I darkened the copper with liver of sulfur, hand buffed, and tumbled for hours to get this rustic patina that I just love!  I also buffed on a couple of layers of jewelry grade museum wax (Renaissance Wax) to aide in protecting the patina.

How to Win
I sure hope someone else likes this necklace - 'cause it was a solid 2 day effort!  Want to win?? Here's how:

1) Leave a comment on this blog - equals 1 entry.
2) Share this blog post on Face book - COME BACK HERE and leave a second comment on this blog post - equals 1 entry.

I will pick a winner in a few days!

Thanks for stopping by and reading today - and, no more custom orders!  Life is too short my friends!!!



Thursday, August 11, 2016

New for August

What a boring blog title....

Another day...another sweltering heat. Perfect temperature to drive me down to my basement. I have managed to make a few newbies.

First up is the Stone-on-Stone pendant.  The Labradorite cabochon I received a long time ago - completely devoid of any iridescent flash that Labradorite is supposed to be known of the pitfalls of buying online! But the color and veining is truly beautiful --- wish I could capture that in my photos. But, I did add my own flash to this stone.

This is a brand new-to-me technique. The scariest part was drilling a hole in the stone, but again, it was lacking something anyway. I topped it with my latest craze of using tube settings - this is a pretty faceted 6mm CZ. I think the contrast in color and the sparkle from the faceted CZ bring back the flash I was looking for in the Labradorite. In the end, it worked, and I could not be more pleased!

I learned this technique through a video course I purchased from Jeff Fulkerson, who is extremely well-known in the jewelry industry. I do love to take video courses - and this one had no time limit for viewing...another plus!

Next up is a re-do of a design that was just not working.  I had this pretty fossil-looking artisan ceramic cab made by Jenny Davies Reazor.  I know it was years ago that I purchased this cab at Art Bliss. The corners are "wonky" - not perfectly round...which is what drew me to the cabochon in the first place. So, I used a prong setting - kept it simple.

Not my best work! :)  So, I released that tiny cab out of its setting, and decided to try a traditional bezel setting. There is a star motif on that cab - and I wanted to accent that feature.  So, I made 3 little star beads from my shot plate, and this is how the necklace looks now.

Very organic, which I think matches the nature of the cab itself.

It felt like forever since I made earrings.  So, I mosied on over to one of my favorite component-maker shops - Inviciti - and picked up a few of their charms.  These charms feature one of their newest patina's - slightly antiqued, but also polished to a high shine.  They do like sterling silver - love this look! And, the components are so lightweight - absolutely perfect for earrings.

First up is this simple pair of earrings - made special by adding some antique brass beads with a glorious little design. I just love the :X" in these charms - they look "wrapped", you know?! And, I think silver and gold are a classic combination.

Searching for a bead to add to the other Inviciti Charms, I happened upon these beads that I purchased from polymer clay artist Selena Anne 2012!  The age of my bead stash is shameful! :) But, the intricate flower impression, along with the deep magenta color highlighted with gold drew me to her beads.
Photo by Selena Anne Wells
I thought these lovely, lightweight beads would go perfect with the leaves on these Inviciti charms. I continued the silver and gold theme, as well.

These components made earrings that are lighter than air!

My affinity with the Cross symbol continues in this next pair of earrings. And set CZ's once again!  This time, the earrings are post-style.  This makes for a smaller earring - but you cannot deny the flash from the Swarovski CZ's...and the charms dangle - I love to have movement when I wear earrings.

Last April, I experimented in making hollow beads..from tubing. I made what -- for me -- was the smallest beads I could handle in my hand while forming and filing! The ends were textured and I was quite pleased with how they turned out.


I had no idea what to do with these little beads, so that sat on my bench for nearly 5 months waiting for the right design. 

These charms are perfect, I think, and the touch of gold once again -- to me --  symbolizes a classic combination.

Every single pair of earrings is incredibly lightweight - a feat for me!

I am once again truly grateful for the artists who share their creativity with us!

Thanks so very much for stopping by today - enjoy!