Monday, July 28, 2014


So, I made a new necklace today, and no matter what I do, my pictures just don't do the lampwork beads justice!  They are borocilicate lampwork - encased in clear - so the depth is incredible!  They are made by Jody at Inspire Glass Studio - her work is fabulous! The beads have a nugget shape, also not captured in my pictures...sigh...

I had already made the links to this chain, and then stopped to take a break.  Cindy Wimmer has a new link tutorial in Step by Step magazine.  I received the magazine last week and could not believe I had not even cracked it open yet!  Anyway, it happens to be the same link I used in my necklace - but hers was made with a twisted wire coil (my coil is plain).  But, I did use her clasp design, which creates a nice, seamless look between the links and the glad I took a break!

I normally take pictures of my necklaces, modeled by Lolita, right outside my walk-out basement door (located just off my studio).  However, there was the BIGGEST beetle I have ever seen IN MY LIFE sitting there - it was least 4" long and quite fat (I did not want to find out if it had teeth).  So, Lolita refused exit from the basement at this point (thank goodness!), so my picture of her wearing the necklace is a tad on the dark side.

It's going to take a while for that beetle to crawl up the 12 steps (or die), so I won't be making necklaces for little bit! Ha!

Last week, I made a silver bezel number with another Onyx cabachon (I had to buy a package of 12 Onyx cabs, so I you will be seeing these for a while)! This time I used it as a bracelet connector with other gorgeous beads, also by InspireGlassStudio.

I actually set two eyelets in the sides of the bezel for a nice clean finish to the focal.  

I was so pleased with how comfortable the bracelet is to wear - the focal stays dead center on my arm.  I tried to take a picture of me wearing the bracelet, but all I saw were freckles which competed with the bracelet design, so, my arm model took over.

Last up for today's post, are post-style hoop earrings.  I am so excited - I have been trying (and failing) to solder a sterling post onto a piece of wire (not an easy task) for at least a year and a half now, only to have a) the solder melt to the side of the wire, b) the teeny tiny silver post melts into a blob of nothing, or c) the post solders to the wire, but waaaaaaaaaay off center.

These are in no way perfect - touch of solder melted at the top of these copper hoops...but I am close!  

I used 12 gauge wire (copper and silver, respectively) to make these work.  I tried using 14 gauge, and I just could not line up the post with the center of the wire.  But, these are my prototypes and now that I know I can do this, I will try to perfect my technique.

Mother Nature has again blessed Northern Virginia with INCREDIBLY beautiful weather today through at least Thursday.  Unbelievable for July - so I am just going to say "thank you, Mother Nature" and not question it.  I just will not be exiting my abode via the basement walk-out door.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Enjoy your week!!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Beach???? Me????

So, I bought this absolutely gorgeous set of beads by Jenelle and Daniel of Beads and Botanicals - in colors I simply NEVER use.  Way out of my comfort zone, but DROP. DEAD. GORGEOUS.  I never buy beads with a final project in mind - I simply buy them because they hit a chord within. Which is why I have SO MANY BEADS!  No complaints here, just a statement of fact.

So, I made this bracelet - why, yes it is adjustable.  But zoom in and looks at these beads:

The focal alone is screaming "get to a beach...NOW"...but the tiny spacers have a nugget shape and texture.  My downfall is ALWAYS the texture!

With the bracelet complete, I started to play with my silver wire and I soldered bunches of the same type of links I used in the bracelet.  And I went one step further.  I made some jump rings, and was simply going to connect the links, but this time, I actually soldered the jump rings, as well.

Almost indestructible, I'd say!  Well, the set of beads, above, came with a large STRIKING focal.  I did not want to "over muss" (my word) the design - the focal is just that beautiful.  So, I made an extra long pendant design and wrapped it to the center loop of the necklace.

I added some sterling paddles to serve as fringe on the bottom of the focal bead.  A simple clasp for fastening.

Love this necklace!  I don't however, love the beach - except in the dead of winter when it is freezing cold and there is no one there!  I know...I am odd.

With the necklace and bracelet done, I went ahead and tried another silver bezel set cab - this time Denim Lapis.

It is not 100% symmetrical, - the silver wires on the side are off  just enough to bug me - so I won't be selling this one, but I am still very pleased with how it turned out!  

I even soldered closed the jump ring on the top - my luck, this pendant would fly right off my neck if I did not!

I am going to keep practicing this skill set - maybe abstract design is better for me than trying to attain symmetry! 

Thanks so much for stopping by - enjoy the upcoming weekend!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Many thanks!

I have come to the conclusion that artists have BIG hearts.  I have known this for a while, but things keep happening that only reinforce this fact.  

Recently, Julie Burgard  - the artist behind Outwest Beads (OMG - awesome beads) contacted me on Facebook.  She had a set of beads that she purchased from a lampwork artist years ago, before she started making beads herself.  She offered them to me, as I am constantly bombarding Facebook with images of my jewelry, and I note that the proceeds are donated to Miracle Horse Rescue.  Anyway, of course I said "yes"!  Though I do not have  a picture of the whole strand here, it is a large strand of 12 pillow-shaped beads (my favorite shape) and each bead is different.  Julie cannot remember the name of the artist, who no longer makes these beauties, so I am afraid no credit can be given to the artist - just a heartfelt YUM!

These beads were screaming at me to be matched with copper, so I made this bracelet:

This adjustable style bracelet is fast becoming my "signature style" - if I actually had to put a name to it.  Let's face it - it hard work to fill one's shop with jewelry that appeals to "the masses", yet represents one-of-a-kind.  I find that making adjustable bracelets helps.

I also prefer to use as many handmade components as possible, so the chain is comprised of my textured, soldered links.

I love the colors in these little story-telling beads!  I see the horizon, a moon, a them!  Heartfelt thank you to Julie for these little beauties - and I have 8 left...yeah me!!!

Please be sure to visit Julie's shop here - her work is no less than A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

In other jewelry making mother has been asking me for a black pendant that she can wear on a stunning sterling chain maille necklace that she made years ago.  She asked for a specific style, too.  So black to me means onyx...

Isn't her chain gorgeous!  Mom prefers "shiny" silver over the antiqued silver look - but, I wanted the details that I painstakingly soldered onto this piece to pop - so, just a quick bath in liver of sulfur and a good buffing helped to make the texture stand out just a bit.

The bail is more like a hook - slips right over this very thick chain.  She learned this technique years ago when she was making jewelry while living in Florida.  Makes it easy to slip it on and off the chain, too.

So glad that this turned exactly how I pictured it in my mind!  That is a rare event for me!

Thanks so much for visiting me today - I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wire - Squared

My niece's wedding this past weekend was nothing less than spectacular!  I took 75 pictures - with my camera.  Perhaps I should have just used my I-Phone, as I have less than 10 pictures that I consider usable!  The lighting was very dark, or I was too far away, or too close - whatever!  Luckily, she had a fabulous photographer and I will hopefully be getting better images from her (what a let down!)

When we arrived at the venue, the "girls" were outside posing for pic with the photographer.  I did not even see the photographer standing there, but by golly, I captured her arm and her camera bag!  And poor little Shannon is completely cut out of the picture! Ugh.

Suffice it to say, it was a STUNNING wedding party, but you'll just have to take my word for it!  :)  I did happen to take some excellent shots of these two little peeps...

My Great Niece and Nephew, Evie and Ollie, respectively, were so cute!

By late yesterday afternoon, all my company was gone so I retreated to my studio and played with some wire.  Cindy Wimmer recently had an excellent tutorial for an oval shaped chain-link bracelet with NO SOLDER required - published on the Craftsy blog.  But, instead of making the links in an oval shape- which looked fantastic - I decided to make squares.

These are made with 16 gauge wire.  Prior to adding patina (liver of sulfur), buffing, tumbling, etc., I had concerns that the links would be too flimsy.  But, after a couple of hours in my tumbler - I was wrong!  The last link has a hook clasp that literally disappears when worn on the arm.

I was also quite surprised at the flexibility between the links - and they are so lightweight!  I have worn one all day long and forgot it was even on my arm!

Very pleased with this link!  So, thanks to Craftsy and to Cindy Wimmer for sharing yet another wonderful link with wire!

Thanks for stopping by today!



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Full Circle

I have been on an earring-making kick lately.  The first pair, below, features gorgeous lampwork glass pillows - jet black with splashes of color - love these!  I added a soldered and stamped sterling silver hoop.  The lovely lampwork beads were donated by Mallory Hoffman (Rosebud on Etsy).  Thanks again, Mallory!!

Last week, I actually had an earring idea in my sleep.  I have no idea if I was influenced by a design I saw elsewhere (which is quite possible with Pinterest), but I had to try it.  

A length of brass wire soldered to a length of copper wire, forged into a ring/hoop shape, and soldered again.  I then stamped the metal and wrapped the center connection with sterling and balled the ends of the silver in a flame.   I love these!  They sold from my Etsy site in less than an hour, and I had incredible feedback on Facebook.  I was flabbergasted!  So, I made another pair yesterday and added them to my shop.

I don't like to duplicate too many designs for so many reasons, but I wanted to see how silver and copper would look - so I made this pair...which sold in less than 15 minutes - yeah!!

The brass coils photograph much brighter than "real life" - not sure why!  But, I am really liking mixing the metals together.

This last pair feature twisted silver - 14 gauge.  I really love this pair - I actually kept one pair for myself.  I tend to wear simple jewelry...when I wear it!

My niece, Sarah is getting married this Saturday.  OMG, where did the time go!!  Kevin, her intended, is a sweet guy and I could not be happier for them both!

I titled this post Full Circle - not just for the hoops, but I remember the day this little girl was born!  My sister checked into the hospital at 12:02 AM and she called me at 4:00 AM to announce "it's a girl".  Sigh...

Gonna be busy around here the next few days, and I am sure it will be one big blur!

Photo swiped right off of Sarah's Facebook page - hah!
Thanks for stopping by - Happy Wednesday!