Friday, December 2, 2016

Where does the time go?

Standard cliche - but I truly cannot believe that December has snuck up on me yet again. Sigh. Since I have not kept up with my blog, I decided to write a sort of rambling post today and just sprinkle some pictures of recent designs I have made here and there. Some have sold, and others are still available.

Copper Flower Post Earrings
Sterling and Copper Flower Post Earrings 

I had a fantastic Thanksgiving this year! We hosted my sister and her family, and it was truly enjoyable! Although, anytime you add a child to the mix (Gavin is 2 years and 3 months old), it always increases the fun. The past year has held so much negativity, politically speaking, that it was simply refreshing. I look forward to Christmas when my house will hold even more little ones!

Fold Formed Sterling Leaf and Lapis Lazuli Necklace

I opened up my own website a while ago, through Indiemade. In the meantime, I have kept my Etsy shop, which basically has the same items. I opened my own website when Etsy first allowed manufactured items, versus handmade. It was hard choice for me, as I am not all that computer literate and starting a brand new site was so time consuming. While there were lots of negatives to Etsy, there were also lots of positives. 

Heavy Gauge Twisted Sterling Silver Bangle

I recently read in a Facebook forum where a woman had an item from her shop "yanked" by the legal team of Etsy, stating the title of her necklace was subjected to copyright infringement.  She has been making this same necklace for years and has sold many. The fact that Etsy can pull an item/suspend it from your shop with no feedback from you really irritates me to no end.

Set of 3 Stacking Bracelets, with Turquoise (sold)
Etsy also has two payment methods for Seller's to offer to their customers - PayPal or Direct Checkout.  With Direct Checkout, the customer simply uses a credit card without going through PayPal. The Seller, however, does not actually receive the funds for a minimum of 3 days. Example: Customer purchases through Direct Checkout on Monday. On Tuesday, IF I REMEMBER, I have to instruct Etsy to deposit the funds immediately. I would receive the funds in my chosen bank account by close of business Wednesday (available to me on Thursday).  If the seller forgets to instruct Etsy to deposit the funds immediately, they are deposited to the seller's account in 7 days. This irritates me! Why should Etsy have use of the seller's funds for ANY amount of time? 

Rainbow Fluorite Bracelet (sold)

Lapis Lazuli and Cloissione Bracelet (sold)
When an item is listed for sale in Etsy, there is a $0.20 listing fee, plus a nominal fee is kept by Etsy if the item is sold. Items are listed for 90 days...they then expire, and the seller has to pay an additional $0.20 to relist the item. It does not sound like a lot of fees...but it adds up!

Sapphire and Sterling Silver Ring

I have had only a few sales on Etsy this past year. So, I have decided not to relist any items that expire. By March, my Etsy shop will be empty.


For the past few months, I have gone crazy using Pattern Sterling Silver wire. I am a lover of texture, and this wire is amazing,

Patterned Sterling Silver Bangle

Patterned Sterling Silver Earrings

Patterned Sterling Silver Earrings

Some of the wire available is square - this is some thick wire! Not always easy to manipulate, but I was determined!

Pattern Sterling Silver Earrings - Square Wire (sold)

Pattered Sterling Silver Earrings - Square Wire (sold)

Pattern Sterling Silver Hoops (sold)

Triple Hoop Earrings with Pattern Sterling Silver Wire

I have also enjoyed playing with stamps. I do not have a proper anvil, but I did recently purchase a 12" piece of railroad track that has significantly improved my stamping.  That long, flat surface of hardened steel is so much better than my little 3" x 3" bench block.

Tiger's Eye and Garnet Stamped Sterling Silver Necklace

Artisan Glass Cabochon and Stamped Sterling Silver Necklace

I have not participated in a craft show for several years now - my chronic spine and neck issues just cannot handle all that stress.  So, I have relied solely on online sales.  My sincere gratitude to my online customers.  I had the best November sales EVER - and Miracle Horse Rescue received every last dollar! This warms my heart --- the support of handmade and ultimately, the equines of MHR!


Stephanie (R), Me,and Dusty!

Luna and Millie
One last plea...if you are so inclined!  Here are the residents of Miracle Horse Rescue under the wonderful care of Stephanie and Rob Pierce.  The horse of your choice would love to receive a Christmas Card to decorate their barn this season!

If you are still with me here ... THANK YOU! And as always, thank you so much for stopping by! I wish you all Peace during this most special Holiday Season!


Thursday, November 24, 2016


Okay ... so I lied on my last post and have been lax (again!) at updating this personal space of mine. Sigh.  First of all... I have so very much to be grateful for, and I wish you and yours a heartfelt, peaceful, and Happy Thanksgiving!

I am also having a quick BLACK FRIDAY sale in both my online website (here) and Etsy (here). Receive 25% off your total purchase (minimum purchase of $30.00) through Friday evening, November 25th (11:59 PM).  Use coupon code THANKFUL at checkout.

Remember - all proceeds are donated to Miracle Horse Rescue!

Have a wonderful day!  And if you do dare to go out among the masses on Black Friday...please be safe!


Monday, October 24, 2016

Bracelet Giveaway Winner!

Last week was oh-so-special to me!  I spent the week at Miracle Horse Rescue - and created memories that I will hold dearly for the rest of my life!  Many, many heartfelt thank-yous to Stephanie and Rob for sharing their home, 6 dogs, 3 goats, and all those glorious horses with me! I will blog more about that later! :)

Today, I am announcing the winner of this bracelet, created with an Artisan Lampwork focal faceted fluorite beads, and handmade sterling silver bead caps.

Many thank-yous for all of the lovely comments - I truly appreciate it!

The winner is...

Sue Pompetti

Sue - please email me ( and I will mail out your bracelet via snail mail! :)

Thanks for stopping by today!!



Saturday, October 15, 2016

Grrr....and a Giveaway!

I had the most beautiful artisan-made lampwork focal bead and I cannot for the life of me figure out the maker! I have a bit of OCD when it comes to organization (that would be an understatement), so I am a bit mad at myself for misplacing the artist's card.

I have a hard time designing with this shape bead - too many options! I could easily see it hanging vertically as a necklace focal, with a tassel of beads or chain, or simply strung in a necklace (horizontal) with like beads. But, I was in the mood to make a bracelet.

I dug forever (truly) to find beads that went with the beautiful colors in this focal.  I found the TINIEST faceted Fluorite beads - purchased back in the day when I thought  2 mm was more like 1/2 an inch! :) The beautiful pinks, purples, and greens of the lampwork worked perfectly with these gemstones.

I carefully cut and forged two sizes of bead caps from both plain and etched sterling, soldered together some extender chain jump rings, and tumbled the silver, oxidized, buffed, and tumbled again. I then spent quite some time stringing three strands of these teeny beads (oh my eyes!!) to make a multi strand bracelet. 

The focal bead is complete with "stringers" of clear glass wrapped around the bead added for texture. It was not until I was editing the photos that I saw the problem... and I cried a little. This is where the "Grrr" comes in from my title of this blog post!

Can you see the issue? I cannot see it with my naked eye - I had to put on my Optivisor's, and even then, I could not see it.  But the camera does not lie!

One of those "stringer strands" of glass has chipped. The bead is not sharp anywhere - but it is there, and I cannot sell it knowing there is a flaw. As I have had this focal bead forever, I don't know when it became chipped. The chip on the exterior of the glass does not impede its purpose - it looks fabulous...even on my freckle-filled arm! And, well, I spent hours on this bracelet - I just do not have the heart to take it apart!

So, I am going to give it away!

  • Bracelet measures 8 1/2" in length
  • Adjustable to fit wrist diameter from 6 1/4" to 7 1/4"
  • Genuine faceted Fluorite Gemstone Beads (triple strand)
  • All metals used are sterling silver
  • Handmade bead caps and chain
  • Sterling Silver Lobster Clasp
  • Sterling silver beads and wire guards
How Enter - 2 Chances to Win

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 am traveling out of town from Monday - Friday of next week and will pick a winner when I return.

I sure hope someone out there wants to give this bracelet some love!! Thanks so very much for stopping by!  


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Supporting Handmade

Boy...have I been neglecting this little blog.  Sigh.  I also contribute to the Love My Art Jewelry blog every two weeks, and I think I spend more time thinking about that post than my own little space right here.  I must do something about that!

When I shop (whether online or in person), I truly try to find products that are "Made in the USA" - they are hard to find, but they are out there. It is not that I harbor any ill-will to Countries outside the USA that manufacture products, I simply prefer to buy "local", for lack of a better word. I am also a huge supporter of handmade - not just jewelry - for many reasons. I know I am helping someone support themselves or their family, and, the quality of handmade is typically much better than mass produced. When I was growing up, when I was not wearing my uniform for Catholic school, I was wearing some article of clothing that my mother had made. And, whether I liked the dress or not (sorry Mom!), it was the quality that mattered the most.

When I buy beads or handmade supplies online, I am thrilled when an artist includes "freebies". Many lampwork bead artists have slipped in a pair or two of earring-pair beads, or a focal, and it does not just make my day - it makes my week! I mean...what an act of kindness!

As a jewelry designer, I cannot include "freebie" beads in my packages - especially if the customer does not make jewelry. But, I want my customer to know how much I appreciate their purchase.  I donate 100% of my sales to Miracle Horse Rescue - the more I sell - the more the Rescue receives. Having a sale motivates me to create more - and this creative outlet is a necessity for my own peace of mind. I want my customers to know how much I appreciate that sale.

So, lately, I have been including a Sunshine Polishing Cloth in my sales (similar to this one). I slap my label on the package, and I typed up a quick little note on how to properly use the cloth. I have had a good response from my customers - similar to when I receive free beads! 

While I still include the polishing cloth, I have added something new to my packages. I began using handmade soap and lotions - my skin is so dry - and I have seen an improvement in the texture and elasticity in my old skin. Specifically, I buy my soaps and lotions from this shop: The Bathing Goddess. Wholesome ingredients that work. The shop owner - Catherine Pruitt - is a fellow jewelry designer (I own several of her pieces, as well)!  Cat and I have become "friends" on Face Book and one night, during one of our Face Book Chats, we were discussing her Solid Lotion Melts. There is nothing quite like these rounds of softness - I have a jar on hand at all times. Just a few rubs of the solid lotion between your palms, and BAM - instant softness! I told her that I purchased --- years ago --- a tin of single solid lotion melts that I kept in my purse. Well, Cat took that to heart, and came up with a purse pack size of these wonderful lotions!

So, I purchased a bunch of these Solid Lotion Melts, and I also purchased some Lip Balms. I love that I can pronounce the ingredients and they truly work! 

I typed up a little note...

And wrapped either a Solid Lotion Melt or a Lip Balm in a little cellophane envelope to include with my sales.

Yes - I appreciate every single sale from either of my shops - and I am supporting handmade the best way I know how.

Thanks so much for stopping by today - I promise to do better at blogging! :)

Have a great day!!



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!!