Friday, June 24, 2016

Proof that Artists have the kindest hearts!

Over the past few years, I have been blessed with beads and charms, donated to me by fellow artists. I donate all proceeds from my jewelry to Miracle Horse Rescue, and these artists - many of whom make these beads as their full time job - selflessly give these beads to me (a source of income for them!) in the hopes that I can create a piece of jewelry to benefit the horses. Jan Onipenco is one of these artists.

Today, I would like to share a different kind of donation.  Jan recently took up the art form of needle felting.  While I have seen images of these darling 3-D creations on the Internet, I was totally baffled as to how they are created.  So, I googled "Needle Felting" and was entranced by this process! 

In totally simplified terms, needle felting uses a sharp needle to turn wool roving into 3-D objects. The wool is agitated - with this fine needle - so that it sticks together, creating a solid fabric. While I have not tried this art form (yet!), the creativity in the final product is only limited by the imagination of the artist.

Well, Stephanie and Rob of Miracle Horse Rescue recently had a new addition to the family --- his name is Dusty!  Here is a recent picture of Dusty - with Emma (the beautiful little girl who now has a necklace with her name on it!)  Emma is Stephanie's grand daughter - she has the most contagious smile!  Millie - Dusty's mom - is also in the background, too!

And, here is Dusty's replica, completely handcrafted by Jan.


The auction for this beautiful work of art starts online today (June 24) and runs through Sunday (June 26).  If you are so inclined, please stop by the Miracle Horse Rescue Face Book page (link here)  and place a bid!

Now...Jan did not stop with her generous donation of "Dusty". An artist with many facets, she recently began her journey of making jewelry pendants and charm from resin, with gorgeous inclusions of nature, prints, and other decorations.

The two below are my favorites - :)

I am going to attempt (key word!) to bezel set these pendants in sterling for necklaces and/or possibly a bracelet - I also see a pair of earrings in the making!

I am forever grateful to the artist community for their generosity - THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH JAN!!!!

Thanks for stopping by today!!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Things can only get better...right?

I was so glad that last week ended yesterday - it was not my best!  I had a second opinion doctor's appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, who ordered yet another MRI (I am soooo claustrophobic)! But, I managed to get the nicest radiologist and came through with flying colors!

However, turns out I have a bone spur in my spine - in one of the vertebrate's within my neck. The doctor is surprised I do not have pains running down my arms, as my nerves are being squeezed by that little spur. I see a Pain Management doctor July 7th as hopefully, a shot will help with that pain. Motto of this story: When at first you see a doctor with zero bedside manner and could care less about your ailments other than to make you feel like a hypochondriac -  seek a second opinion!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I cracked a tooth on a 4-tooth bridge in my mouth. It does not matter that I brush/floss/water pic and see my dentist every 6 months, my teeth are just RENTED inside my mouth and are not meant to remain there permanently. My dentist gave me the sad news that I needed a new bridge (this was the second bridge - same spot - in less than 8 years) So, on Friday, I went to the dentist anticipating a 4-tooth bridge removal. Well, he pried that sucker off (no worries as I felt nothing as the Novocaine had kicked in) and then he left the room. I was concerned, as he had never done that in the past 15-16 years. He obviously needed a shot of "Just tell her and get it over with" as he came back in the room, pulled up a chair, and sat next to me.  Then, he delivered to me the bad news that the three remaining teeth (well...just roots at this point) required removal ASAP. So, he walked me across the street to a dental surgeon who proceeded to pull those three teeth out and perform a bone graft at the same time. He also told me I am not a candidate for implants and crowns, as my sinus cavities are too low and I would require some nasty surgery called a "Sinus Lift" if I cared to go that route.  No Thank You! So, a partial, removable denture is in my near future.

I was actually fine until the Novocaine wore off! :)  The swelling on the left side of my face is so intense that this 55 year old broad has zero wrinkles...on the left side of her face.  I look so lopsided! Honestly - the pain is subsiding every day - thanks to prescription strength Motrin!

Source: www.HypoThyroidism
One last thing health wise that I would like to share with you.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about my present chronic vertigo, and all the testing I went through over the past 11 months.  My doctor is still convinced it is caused by my Thyroid and associated Hasimoto's Disease. Well, I have been influenced by Heidi Kingman (she does not know this little factoid, but I am)! She suffered many health ailments and three years ago changed her diet to Gluten/Dairy/Egg and Soy Free - she is so healthy now. So, I did a ton of research and decided to try a Gluten Free diet (I have to start slow and quite frankly, Dairy, Eggs, and Soy do not bother me one bit. In fact, I was not even sure if gluten affected me). Gluten intolerance can cause inflammation, among other things. Well, 10 days in, and my vertigo is much less intense - in fact - I have had only two days of any vertigo symptoms and it was so minor that it was "manageable". I almost feel normal again! :) Well...normal enough to venture down into my creative space!

So, I am still enamored with tube setting faceted gemstones.  So, I got daring (for me) and made this little anticlastic ring.

The sterling setting (the tube) has to be made to fit on the curve of the ring shank. It was challenging, but I am so tickled that it worked! I nearly shaved off my fingers while finagling the curve of the tube  with my files - it's only 6 mm wide.

A few months ago, I successfully completed my first etch on sterling silver.  I have made quite a few pieces of jewelry with this sheet - in fact - only scraps are left. Not wanting it to go to waste, I made a sweet little necklace.

I made a tiny little flower from a sterling disc, which I domed, and then added a little bud in the center, made from my shot plate. I was disgusted with the photos - 59 in total.  I have the hardest time taking photos of pure silver jewelry (jewelry not adorned with any beads). Inevitably, I end up with the weirdest reflections on the silver - usually of my camera.  Sigh. 

The bail was made from a piece of textured 10 gauge silver that I had scrapped from another project.

Finally, a very special little girl turns 9 years old today (Happy Birthday Emma)!!  So, I cozied up to my jeweler's saw and made her a special little necklace. Yup - another horse lover!

Again - not the best picture 'cause it's silver! But, I made a nice, substantial chain - 14 inches in length so she won't hang herself. :)  And since June is her birth month, I wired a little pearl to the last link in the chain.

I am so very happy to start a fresh new week!  Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Take care!


Sunday, June 12, 2016

New stuff

Blog does one come up with a catchy blog title?  I can't even come up with catchy names for my "New Stuff" it is!

I very recently received a fresh batch of pewter charms from Vincent and Nooma of Inviciti (link here)  and lo and behold, I used every single set in a week!  That NEVER happens, as I usually tend to "over buy" ANYTHING, thus my stash of beads keeps growing (out of control, I might add).

First up is a very simple pair of earrings. I have had these two "orphan" beads from Maryse of GlassBeadArt (link here) for quite a while. Inevitably, I always seem to be "left" with one or two beads from ANY strand. No worries...they all get used eventually!

But, I really love the shape of these clear glass beads! They are so unique, and the glass itself appears to have crackling inside - reminding me of an ice cube!

I have been adding to my gemstone hoard as well. I had these TEENY TINY gemstones (4mm) with what is I am positive the world's smallest hole. Not really, but I had to wear my Opti-visor's in order to string these itsy bitsy beauties.I bought these with the intention of making a multi-strand bracelet. 

I had a small, Blue Apatite cabochon sitting on my bench and thought it would blend so well with the colors in the gemstone mix. So, I made a silver bezel and wrapped it to the center hole in the focal. Notice the horse?  That horse is simply my eyes! 

I am always torn between making a "matching" pair of earrings. When I don't make them, I am asked for a pair..and when I do make them, inevitably one is purchased without the other. So, I flipped a coin and made a pair.

I like the fact that earrings are not so "matchy/matchy" with the necklace.

With my hoard of Inviciti charms dwindling, I made one last pair of earrings.

Those two little silver tabs were a death wish! When I make earrings, like most artists, I tend to complete one step on one earring and proceed to the same step on the second earring....always hoping and praying for symmetry and consistency. Well, after cutting each back plate and stamping the design; cutting the silver tubing, soldering it onto the back plate, and cutting a seat into the tubing; creating and soldering a half ring for the wire wrap; soldering on the earring post; and finally, oxidizing/buffing/tumbling, I was ready to set the stones. The first stone set beautifully. When I began to set the second stone, the gemstone was sitting just crooked enough to drive me insane. So, I had to cut the tubing off the ruined back plate and start over. I ALMOST said forget it, but I am glad I did not!

Lastly, I had several people (on Facebook) ask me to make a wire wrapped cross pendant like the one I gave away in my last post.  So, I made a few and listed them in my shop.  My favorite is the mixed metal sterling silver with copper.

So, that was my week!

Thank you for stopping by today!  Have a wonderful week!



Saturday, June 4, 2016


by Patti Vanderbloemen

The winner of one of these wire wrapped Cross Necklaces....

is Kristine!!!

Kristine, please send me you address via email ( and I will get this out to you right away!

Thanks for the comments - and for stopping by today!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!



Sunday, May 29, 2016

Symbolism in Design - and a Give Away

Symbols - they are everywhere! Recently, I embarked on using an inspirational symbol in a few pieces - the Cross. Although I am a practicing Catholic - I did not choose this symbol solely for the religious aspect.  To me, it symbolizes Life, Truth, and  Hope. All good things.

I have been using Vincent's (of Inviciti) hand cast pewter charms in my jewelry for quite some time, including making several necklaces with a cross as a focal.

Isn't that gorgeous?  Not sure what I love more - the focal itself or the aged patina he applies.  Either way, I am smitten!

First up, I have been coveting an absolutely perfect strand of graduated turquoise. The blue/green and veining in these beads are truly perfect.  I seriously considered just stringing the strand with tiny silver beads - that alone would have been beautiful. 

But, I made a cross out sterling silver sheet to serve as the focal.

I added a turquoise cabochon, set in sterling, to the center. The handmade stamp (Danny Wade/Ferro Valley Tools) is also a cross and shield. I had the hardest time getting the patina just right. I wanted an ancient/antiqued/just-dug-out-of-the-ground look to this focal.  I hope I achieved that look. When I cut out the cross pattern, I gave myself some room to fold the bail over and add a rivet for closure.

Then I made some earrings out of copper - and added two tiny faceted Amethysts set in sterling silver tubing.  My first tube-set gems! I was excited to cut the seat into the tubing and actually see that it worked!  It's the little things....

The last piece I made is a Sideways Cross Bracelet.  

It also features some stamping with hand made stamps by Danny Wade.  It is actually a flower stamp...but if you turn it on its's a Cross. 

Still enthralled with setting a gemstone in silver tubing, I added a little faceted Peridot to the center of the Cross focal.

More handmade chain - this is my go-to wire wrapped link of choice.  It's double wrapped and substantial, but still tiny and not overpowering. A tiny Swarovski Crystal in Peridot - and a little sterling silver leaf charm - are wrapped to the last link in the adjustable chain portion of the bracelet. 

Are you all still with me today?  'Cause I have a little give away for you!

I found an old tutorial on Pinterest for a wire wrapped Cross Focal (here is a link to the artist's blog if you are interested in making one yourself). It looked so simple in the tutorial but to be honest, it took me 3-4 attempts to not have a mangled mess on my hands! The cross measures about 2" in length - and not heavy at all!  I soldered closed a sterling silver jump ring for the bail, and strung the Cross on a sterling silver chain.

I am going to give away one of these necklaces! To win, simply leave a comment on this blog. If you want a second chance to win, share this blog post on Facebook, come back to this blog and leave a comment that you shared the post.  I will pick a winner in a few days!

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a safe Memorial Day and please take a moment to give thanks to those that ensure our freedom Every.Single.Day.


PS - Spell check on Blogger is not working today for some reason - please excuse any typos!!