Monday, October 27, 2014


We had a wonderful week last week - my niece and her twins, Ollie and Evie (now 14+ months) and my other niece and her son (Gavin - now 10 weeks) came to visit me and their Great Grandma ON THE SAME DAY!  Since I have been taking jewelry pictures, in MACRO MODE, I have lost almost all abilities to take a picture of anything else.  I apologize in advance for these crummy photos!

Mom and I invaded Babies R Us to have a stash of toys around whenever little ones visit.  Books were number 1 on the list, as Evie, below with my Mom, LOVES her books!

Don't you just love Ollie's bow tie??!!  My goodness, he is adorable!

I also purchased, appropriately colored toy bins - they had just as much fun in the bins as they did with the toys!  Never mind that Ollie is in the pink one and Evie is in the blue cute!

Even Gavin had fun!

I managed to make a few new pieces of jewelry as well.  I titled this Blog Post Evolution, because I am finally using some beads that I have been hoarding admiring for quite some time!

 First up - I swear, I have had these lampwork beads from Susan Kennedy of Sue Beads forever.  They are large holed beads - I never use large holed beads, as I stay away from leather or fibers.  But, I just loved the jewel-toned colors!

I just added a tiny piece of sterling silver coiled wire inside the bead to hold it in place, and flanked the ends with larger, pewter nuggets to "hide" the holes.  

Speaking of Sue Kennedy, I also had this glass cabochon that I wanted to use as a focal.  So, I bezel set it in silver.  

I did not want to distract from this beautiful Ammonite focal - so a simple sterling chain was the initial vision.  I did add one additional bead - a handmade hollow bead - this time I crafted the bead in sterling silver.  I wanted the hollow bead to evoke the feeling of a closed clam shell - not sure if it does or not, but I still like the bead!

I added riveted chain and a gorgeous sterling silver shell charm that I commissioned from Lesley Watt  of  THEAElements at least 2 years ago (2 years!!)  I have a couple more of those charms in my stash, too!

The focal sits nicely on the wrist when worn.

I posted a picture about a month or so ago of these gorgeous beads by Donna Millard

I normally keep all of her beads in one gorgeous pile in a handmade ceramic bowl smack dab in the middle of my bench, sometimes for an entire year or so  (inspiration??)  What can I say, it makes me happy just to look at them!  I shocked myself yesterday when I actually plucked them from the bowl before their normal "expiration date" and  used them in this necklace.

I am not sure what I love the most about these beads - the dark, rosy red, the light pink, the flecks of gold, or that nugget shape!

The link above, by Cindy Wimmer, has to be my favorite as it is so versatile.  It makes an awesome  link, bail - or toggle clasp for that matter!  I have used it often.  I forged the heart from copper sheet and handmade rivets - a technique I learned last year from an e-course by Kerry Bogert.

All in all, last week was pretty good!  Back to the grind stone!

Thank you so much for stopping by today!  I hope you all have a lovely week!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Put a Ring On It

I can honestly state that I have never heard one complete song by Beyonce - I am a Classic Rock and Classic Country Girl.  But, the title lyrics seemed to fit what I have been concentrating on.

I added 8 rings to my shop, in multiple sizes.  I truly, truly was exhilarated while making each and every one of these.  Not my usual stuff.  Expanding the horizons.  All good!  Here are a few closeups:

The spinner ring below was a bugger to photograph - that is a crystal clear Blue Topaz, tiny cabochon, that likes to pick up the colors of every prop in my photos, no matter which way I turned the ring.

I always love the look of mixed metals, and was so pleased with the texture on the ring below.

Love this beaded wire posing as the satellite ring.

I had this Mahogany Obsidian cabochon FOREVER.

These stacking rings are THICK - 10 gauge wire - there was definitely extra annealing of the wire required in order to forge these into rings for soldering.

It's Monday...time to start something new!

Thanks for stopping by - have a wonderful day!  (I love to read your comments!)


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Practice Makes I continue to practice...

Anyone else ever feel like they are in a rut?  You know....same thing...different day?  I have felt that way with my jewelry designs for quite some time.  While I always use beautiful artisan beads, I try to add a new technique often to help me feel like I am expanding my horizons.  I dunno....

Here is an overall picture of what I have made the past couple of days.  Lots of metal, with a few choice art beads added in for good measure.

So, first up is this cuff bracelet.  I needed to make just one more tab setting to make sure it was not a fluke!

I just love how this one turned out.  I riveted the tab setting to the cuff, before setting the tabs on the sterling disc.

I have quite the collection of artisan lampwork cabochons.  First up is this lovely purple ammonnite made by Susan Kennedy of Sue Beads.  

I silver bezel-set this beauty.  It was going to be a pendant, but, I felt adventurous, crossed my fingers,  and instead, made it into a ring.

I intentionally sized this on the small side - it fits perfectly on my mother's index finger....have I mentioned in the past that my mother is obsessed with purple???  Well...she is!  She wore this all day yesterday!

Then, I happened upon this beautiful cab that I purchased from Kerry Bogert a couple of years ago.  She no longer makes lampwork at this time (snif!), so it is special to me!

I soldered the ring ever so slightly off center - again - I wanted it to fit snugly on the index finger.

And it fits exactly how I wanted it to - but it may look like a mistake to the average customer.  So, not sure this will sell. I need a manicure...and some hand lotion!

Anyway, I also made two spinner rings - each with a different hammered texture. Here is a close-up of one of the rings.

I kept the metal with silver on silver - I used a heavy gauge for the base ring and it is substantial -  has quite the spin to it - great when sitting at a red light!

Lastly, I remade a bezel set pendant.  I had this absolutely lovely Laguna Lace Agate cabachon from Lexx Stones.  I originally set it in the most ugly setting possible (unintentional, of course):

I am almost embarrassed to show the picture above!  I have not yet mastered asymmetry design - it's like I have a mental block.  Anyway, I set this monstrosity aside for two months - disgusted with its outcome.  Yesterday, I took it apart and remade the pendant.

Love the gallery wire - what a challenge to work with!  I had done some research before using this particular bezel wire.  It likes to "move" when you barely even touch it with a flame.  So, I used some steel binding wire to "tie it together" while soldering.  The back of a piece is as important as the front - well, at least it is in my eyes.  So, I added a little copper sparkle.

This is going in my jewelry box!

I think a few of these items are good enough to go into my shop....practice..practice..practice.

Thanks for stopping by today - love to read your comments!!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rainy, rainy Saturday

Rainy days have ALWAYS been my favorite types of days.  I don't like the sun (I am soooo pale...with freckles), and I hate the heat.  So, I become energized on these days.  So I am hitting the studio all day long - with breaks to look out the window around the corner at the gray skies - and could not be happier!  I know...strange...

Just a few new things to show you so far since my last post.  I was gifted a set of beads, by the most awesome Catherine Pruitt of BooBeads (go see her beautiful jewelry in her shop right here).  These beads are made by Cindy Gimbrone and have the most lovely hearts!  One of the beads is a large hole bead.  I don't work with fibers, i.e., leather, silk etc., So, I spent some time trying to figure out how to use all the beads from the set in one piece.  

The focal on the bracelet below does just that.  I took about an inch and a half of very heavy silver, added some silver coil, and slipped the large hole bead in between.  I am so excited with this, as the disc bead moves, while everything else remains stationary.

I have begun creating another bracelet, similar to the above, as I have discovered that I have quite a few large hole beads in my stash.

These are my favorite hoops - to date - as hoops will always remain my favorite style.

These are actually tiny - for me!  The hoop is only 3/4 inch in diameter.  I did not antique these this time...the silver spoke to me and said "keep me shiny"!  So I did.

I made one more pair of earrings with the Inviciti Pewter charms.  I have had these rough-cut garnet chunks in my gemstone box for way too long.

Gorgeous aurora borealis (AB) finish that flashes peacock shades of blue, green and gold.  The bracelets below are my FAVORITES!

The one on the top is from a Kerry Bogert tutorial.  The bottom one - I just played with wire.  This one is so cool:

Just a twist of a long length of 12 gauge wire - I am hoping this is not a fluke and I duplicate the design - ha!

Back to work - I hope you all enjoy your weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

PS - The horses at Miracle Horse Rescue are in desperate need of funds for hay, so having a little mini sale in my shop to help where I can.  Everyone suffers in this rotten economy, especially the non-profits.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lights, Cameras, know the rest!

In my last post, I talked about my revelation in utilizing an 18% Photo Gray Board for taking pictures.  Several people on Facebook messaged me and wanted more information regarding the lights that I use.

In addition to a myriad of backgrounds for my photos, I have tried many different light setups.  Again - my studio has always been in a basement, and natural light is simply not easily accessible.  First off, I use a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Zoom - phew...that is a mouthful!  It is available here.  I sadly left my previous Sony Cyber-shot at a friend's 60th birthday party celebration - it was at a hotel, and by the time I realized it was not in my purse (days was a party, people!!), it was too late.  So, I upgraded to my current camera.  It took me a couple of months to become accustomed to the automatic macro setting.  Angles are everything - if I am off just a bit, my subject is blurry in all the wrong places!  But, I am used to it now, and love it as much as my old Sony.

These are the lights that I use.

Yes - they are large BUT they are at all heavy.

I intentionally have them set up this way - one sits horizontal to my table, and the other sits portrait.  I don't know why, but this particular spread of the lights works best for my pictures.  The lights are available here.

No shadows - and true, true colors - so important to someone who is selling jewelry made with beads!

The description on Amazon states that these lights are portable, and technically, they are.  However, there are metal rods inserted into the jacket of the light - it took a bit of time to install these - so, I personally would not want to break these down, carry them with me, and set them up again.  For my stationary-at-all-times purpose, they work wonderful.  

There.  Those are my lights and my camera!

I have made a few things, as well.  Sue Kennedy of SueBeads was selling strands of orphan lampwork beads.  Nothing wrong with these beads, they were simply leftovers.  I ADORE the color green, but I rarely work with it - so I wanted a challenge and bought the strand below.

Yesterday, I made this necklace.

Personally, I love it when the beads don't match.  Typically, when making bracelets  I add a copper or silver bead to a lampwork strand, just to keep the eye moving around the piece.  Anyway, I wanted to make a pendant styled necklace, so I spiced up the design just a tad by making the mixed metal focal.  I soldered a sterling silver disc (stamped and domed first) to a copper backplate and added some eyelets.

Necklaces remain - for me - the hardest thing in the world to photograph - I don't care what kind of lights or backgrounds I use!

Much as I hate photographing necklaces, I made another one, also with Sue's beads - her Chicklets to be exact, in an awesome Black Metallic finish that flashes gold and purple when you turn the beads.

I paired Sue's Chicklets with Rachel Bishop's (Puffafish) nuggets - same type of black metallic finish, but a different flash of color.

That's a Cindy Wimmer link connecting all those beautiful beads.

I made the necklace large enough to just slip over the head - no clasp!

I wear a version of these copper hoops almost daily, so I added one to my shop.

The brass bangles below sold almost as soon as I listed them - I love that when that happens (it does not happen often!)  

I also found a new shop on Etsy, courtesy of a shout out by Nikki of Love Root.  Look at these gorgeous, crusty, ancient looking relics!  These are hand made, lead free pewter.  The shop is Inviciti, and I could do some serious damage to my wallet in this shop.

So far, I have only made one pair of earrings with these lovelies, which I topped with a trio of ancient looking Czech Glass beads.

So this is what I have been up to - not sure what I will make next.  I hope you have had a productive week as well!

Thank you for stopping by today - love to read your comments!