Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 Ornament Swap/Hop

Scheduling conflicts have prohibited me from joining blog hops this year.  But, when the gifted Sally Russick sent out the invites for the Ornament Swap/Hop I knew I had to join in, and I am so glad I did!

Sally pairs up the participants - and the only requirement is to use an art problem here!  I was so excited to learn that my partner was Jenny Davies-Reazor.  I met Jenny in person at Art Bliss a couple of years ago.  She is so multi-talented and truly fits the bill of "Mixed Media Artist".  In my humble opinion, my favorite of her artwork is her ceramics...and not just beads!

Before the swap, Jenny sent me a little survey, asking me questions such as my favorite colors, my favorite beverage.  Well, when I opened the package containing her ornament, she took my answers to that little quiz literally!

Look at this masterpiece of hand-sewn felt!!  My favorite colors are blue and green, and why yes, my favorite beverage is coffee!  The details in the leaves (look at that tiny red felt bird people!!) are amazing!  Even the back ...

The porcelain knot bead is by Caroline at Blueberri Beads and the little red lampwork bird is from Lori Lochner. I cannot get my camera to catch the subtle details in the porcelain knot... but trust me - just gorgeous!

She then spoiled me with what she called "extras", which came in their own sweet little felted envelope.  Packaging is everything!  Isn't this sweet?!

Now, her extras were wrapped in lovely brown tissue that I would swear was scented with patchouli.  That scent - whatever it is - still lingers in my studio and is one of my favorites!  Look at these beautiful works of art, handmade by Jenny

Two of those ceramic pieces are cabochons and I WILL attempt a prong setting for those babies!  But, look closely at this mixed media piece:

Polymer clay, hand painted, with the word "create" from a dictionary (I assume!), and resin poured on top - isn't this fabulous!  What a word!!!  This is my favorite! :)

I have three Christmas trees in my home.  One is a pencil tree in my living room (24" wide and I love that - no furniture to move!)  One is in my family room, and my favorite of all trees is my white tree, which sits in my upstairs foyer.  This tree holds all of my treasured ornaments, many of which were made by my mom, and my Christopher Radko glass ornament collection.  The picture above is Jenny's ornament in my favorite tree!

I made Jenny an ornament with lots of wire (duh!)  But, I also used two treasured art beads, as well. My intent was to have a blue bird, perched on his nest (the wire wreath) while waiting for his food, and his tiny little house in which she can quickly go to rest after a long days work hunting for that food.  It was my intent, anyway!

The lampwork bird is by none other than Donna Millard, and that exquisite little polymer clay house is by Marla James.

I also sent Jenny a copper fold formed leaf pendant I made, glistening with just a touch of gold gilders paste, and a copper toggle clasp.  

Jenny - I cannot thank you enough for your thoughtful, personalized art work - I feel so blessed!  Thank you to Sally for hosting this wonderful "Gift Giving" Blog Hop - it is my favorite!

Please give some love to the other participants!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Copper Bangles - Winner of the Giveaway

So, I went to Random.Org this morning, and the winner of the set of  these 3 copper bangles...


I am particularly happy that her number was chosen as Lori is the Queen of the Bead Soup Blog Party Hop, and one of the most talented jewelry designers!  She is one of - if not the first - blogs that I stumbled upon and started following "way back when".  She is a kind and generous soul, and I am so pleased to gift these to her!

Lori, these bracelets are wrapped up and in today's postal run!

Thank you to everyone for the wonderful comments -  I truly appreciate each and every one!  Thanks for stopping by today!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Giveaway Time!

I have much to be grateful for this health, my mother's health, my family's health, roof over my head, new babies in the family, etc.  I am very grateful that I am able to create jewelry, sell it, and donate the proceeds to Miracle Horse Rescue.  

I have stated in the past that I am technologically challenged...product of my age, I suppose (that is my excuse and I am holding to it!).  I post LOTS of links to my jewelry on Facebook.  Well, come January, Facebook will be policing postings from non-business pages and will "disallow" this type of "free advertising".  Not that I blame them...they are a business...but, I am starting over again with social media. So, I finally jumped on the bandwagon and started a Business Page.  I would love it if you "liked" that page ( link here) so you can continue follow my journey!

I had a hard time figuring out what to make for this giveaway, but I finally decided upon my favorite metal-related accessory - the bangle (spinner ring's are right up, there, too, but they require more sizing).  

So - here is a set of 3 solid copper bangles.

One bangle is made from 14 gauge solid copper, to which I added a solid sterling silver nugget bead.  The other two bangles are a hefty 10 gauge:  one has two twists, and the other has been heavily faceted with my hammer.  After soldering and forging, the bangles were given a bath in liver of sulfur, buffed, tumbled for hours for strength and incredible shine, and coated with museum wax to protect the patina.

The bangles measure approximately 2 5/8" in diameter (8" circumference).

How to Enter

If you'd like to be entered to win this set of bangles, here's how!

NOTE:  I will use Random.Org to select the winner - I will count up all the comments, and Random.Org selects the winning number - that's why it is important to leave a separate comment on this blog post for each entry below)

1)  Enter a comment on this blog post (counts as one entry)
2)  Share a link to this blog post on  Facebook (counts as one entry - you must come back and leave a separate comment on this blog post after sharing for this entry to count)
3) "Like" my Business Facebook page (link here)  - (Counts as one entry - must come back and leave a separate comment on this blog post after Liking my page for this entry to count.  If you already "Like" my business page, leave a separate comment).
4)  Pin an item from my Etsy Shop (link here) to your Pinterest Board (counts as one entry - you must come back and leave a separate comment on this blog post for this entry to count).

I will choose a winner sometime on Saturday (December 13th).

Please make sure I am able to contact you if you are the winner (i.e, your email is "turned on" in blogger)!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!!!



Friday, December 5, 2014

My latest and greatest...tool!

I hate to admit it, but I am a collector - artisan beads, spools of wire (yes...I buy copper and red brass in very large spools 'cause it is cheaper!) and tools.  I can spend just as many hours scouring online websites drooling over tools that I do on artisan sites staring at beads.

After years of fumbling my way around this jewelry making hobby (it's not really a hobby, but it is not really a full time business for me, either), I feel like I have finally found my direction.  I love to look at jewelry that is strung on bead wire - but I absolutely cannot stand using crimp beads.  At one point, I wanted to learn to make lampwork beads - and I am still on the fence about trying Precious Metal Clay.  My "fear" is that I won't be able to carve out enough time, once the beads are made, to create the jewelry.  

So, I dabble in metal - and I get so much satisfaction with each piece I finish.... a toggle, a focal,  charms, bezel set cabochons, etc.  So, with the metal, comes the desire for texture.

While I have acquired quite a few tools to achieve the desired texture - nails, metal screen, any metal object for that matter - hammers remain my favorite vehicle.  I have been blessed to have acquired a few Fretz Hammers.  I bought my first one at Rio Grande and it was instant LOVE.  I am short - 5'0", and with my lack of height comes small hands.  The weight and length of the Fretz is perfect for my hands.  I have acquired a few more Fretz Hammers from Fusion Beads - they frequently have 30% off sales and free shipping, and that is when I buy them.  They are expensive, but as the saying goes "worth it"!  To be honest, I quit smoking almost 5 years ago - any time I purchase something that I don't really need but I really want, I just tell myself, "well, a carton of cigarettes is $50 - so go for it)!"

Here is my latest Fretz Hammer - it's called the Raw Silk Hammer (here is a link).  

I drooled a lot when I finally received this, and have been happily banging away.  By the way - while I use the term "banging away" liberally in my posts, it is not necessary to have a heavy hand when using the hammer.  In fact, a lighter touch, for me anyway, allows me to achieve the desired texture.

I made a few  rings - the first one is a plain wide band - I just wanted the texture to shine.

I even soldered some gold - first time for me - for the satellite ring in this Spinner Ring.  

Then I made some earrings.  I did not oxidize the silver on these earrings, just 'cause I liked how it looked. 

But the copper looks fantastic with oxidation.  I used 20 gauge sheet for both sets of earrings.  The little metal charms are small, so not heavy, and they take the texture quite well.

I even textured the back plate on this tiger eye cab, prior to soldering (those gorgeous ceramic beads, by the way, are from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio).

And, I have been practicing with my saw - I still have a long way to go, but baby steps!  I think the free-handed heart turned out well, considering I did it!  LOL!

Thanksgiving was perfect at my house - lots of family, lots of dogs, lots of food, lots of recovery time needed afterward! :)  For now, it is countdown to Christmas!  This year, my niece's twins will be 16 months old and I look forward to seeing their faces - especially at this time of year!

By the way, I am working on a giveaway for my next post - so much to be thankful for these days ... I want to share!  So, stay tuned...

Thank you so much for stopping by today - have a wonderful weekend!!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving...and a Sale!

I have been so swamped lately, that I have neglected my little blog space here!  I had a very successful show last week (thank you to everyone)!  A very nice donation was sent to Miracle Horse Rescue, and that made the horses so thankful!

Upon my return, Mom and I got to spend 5 wonderful days (daytime only!) babysitting this little guy!

This image was STOLEN right off of my niece's Facebook page, because if you have ever read my blog, my abilities to take adequate pictures of anything but jewelry is non-existent!  Gavin looks so sharp in his jeans and pink shirt!  He is just so freaking cute! :)

I have spent all day today, with the aide of my sister (thanks Lori!) prepping for Turkey Day tomorrow.  So, I will be totally useless come Black Friday.  I have set up my Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday sale to take effect at 5:00 PM EST tonight (November 26th). 

Where ever you decide to shop this Holiday Season, please consider buying handmade.  Your purchases go such a long way in supporting those who maintain a Small Business!

Lastly, for those who are experiencing NASTY Winter weather way too early in the season, I bid you safe travels!  And most of all...


Peace to all this Thanksgiving!

Thanks for stopping by!!



Saturday, November 8, 2014

I have been feverishly prepping for the one and only show that I am vending at this year.  It is an open house at friend of mine's to benefit Borremeo Housing, Inc.(BHI).  BHI is an Arlington, Virginia-based nonproft that administers a two-year education, housing, and life skills development program for homeless young mothers, ages 16 - 22, and their babies.  Dani is always so generous to open her beautiful home to vendors and host this open house.  Every single room in her home is filled with potential Christmas presents. In addition, her extremely talented sister, Cathy, supplies the most delicious food NON STOP ALL.DAY.LONG.  It is a win/win all the way around - guests, vendor's and BHI.

So, I have been filling up my shop.  The necklace below features a beautiful lampwork cab by Susan Kennedy of SueBeads.  It is a stunning shade of purple with confetti-like pink and blue colors throughout. 

It features handmade infinity link chain, and lovely TINY gemstones of Pink Tourmaline and Blue Chalcedony dangling from the bottom, and four faceted Amethyst Rounds in the chain.

I actually sold a few of my Spinner Beads and was quite excited - one went to Great Britain, and one went to Finland.  Keeping my fingers crossed that they actually make it across the pond.  My postal tracking capabilities end in the US.  I did make a few more - SO.MUCH.FUN to make!  They rank right up there with my bangles!  I really like the thick copper satellite ring on this one.

The ring below features heavy gauge, half round wire to serve as the Spinner.

Been playing around with sheet metal some more and made a couple of toggle clasps for some bracelets.  I have been inspired by Ema Kilroy - she runs her sheet through a rolling mill and her toggles have the most amazing texture!  The bracelet below features gorgeous lampwork by GlassBeadArt (Sparkling Rocks in Winter White - MY FAVORITE!) and the toggle has been stamped - I HAVE to have texture!

This bracelet below turned out even better than I had hoped.  I checked - I have had these beads by Sheila Davis for YEARS - the color striations and the fine silver details are perfection.  So, I forged this clasp and then added some sterling silver rivets to mimic the silver details in the beads.

I hand cut the copper tubes for the earrings below - the ONLY copper in my store that has not been treated to a patina - so unlike me!  But, I really liked how Petra's (Scorched Earth) shiny copper complemented the bare copper tubes - so I left them alone.

I have quite a few pairs of these faux-ancient-looking lead free pewter charms from Inviciti - I paired these crusty crosses with Roman Glass.  I bought a strand several months ago from Happy Mango Beads and I use them so sparingly - they are estimated to be at least 900 years old!

Another Inviciti charm below - this one a Key.  The artist, Vincent added a  perfect verdigris to the pewter.  I soldered a thick ring of copper for the pendant, wire wrapped a Scorched Earth Black Heart and a nice, thick antique copper chain.  Simple - but still a statement piece, I think.

The bracelet below features beads donated to me by artist Mallory Hoffman.  A few months ago, she sent me a HUGE box of lampwork beads to use in my work - as I donated all proceeds to Miracle Horse Rescue.  These are even more beautiful in person - two of the rounds are hollow! (Thank you, again, Mallory!)

So much left to do before the show on November 20th.  But, I will get done what I get done..right? Right!

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


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!