Friday, February 27, 2009

Final touches

I am doing just that. Putting the final touches on a few things to get things ready to take to the arts council tomorrow.

I have no fingernails, my stomach is in knots, and i think, yes - I have a pimple on my chin.....*sigh*

I'll leave you with this -

I haven't named it yet.

And now for something completely different - Delicately put

It all started with a search for a house. I love architecture - LOVE IT. I have had a house on my mind for a few days - I see it from time to time in films, can I describe it to you? Not with justice. It is a huge bungalow with a drive way over hang, deep porch and a lot of greenery. The type of house in the type of neighborhood that has been depicted by hollywood as 'typical'. The type that makes you feel warm and comfortable. That new-clee-your family kinda warmth.

I began to do google searches for 'film locations', 'houses in film' and so forth hoping to find an image of that house. No luck. The search turned into a house hunt in California. Mebbe I could find something similar for sale. As I found interesting houses, I sent their images to my daughter including the price and the square footage. It went from "oh how cute" to "OMG! SERIOUSLY!" (we type in caps a lot, we are kinda loud)

One house in particular in San Fran - 340k a month mortgage - *faints* Neither I nor she can fathom that type of money. Trying to understand what would be going out a month in mortgage sparked a conversation. If you had that kind of money - what kind of a difference could you make to your community by donating.

It all goes downhill from here - random bits of thought patterns and excuses -

Being that I have never had that type of money, would I understand the responsibilities that come with it. I do understand that I do not need a 20k sq ft house, a Bentley, yacht, or vacation home I have that wonderful guilt complex that all needs to be right in the world. If i can't help the world, I can help my corner. Can someone like me, have that kind of money? If I won the lottery would I be able to pay for my needs and give the rest away. Would it corrupt me and my simple lifestyle to where I would need to lavish accommodations?

What a strong sentence - Would it corrupt me -. On the surface it sounds like I think having a lot of money would make me corrupt or not a good person. I am turning that question inward to myself. Corrupt, change from the original version - as in would I change or be different than what I am now.

I think, yes - I would be different.

My daughter sums it up -

i could open an animal shelter

and a coffee shop (for homeless)

and an after school program

and get a 67 shelby GT Me -*blink* *blink*

My response -

I like how you can do so much for everyone with a 67 shelby :)

Her response -

it would bring joy to so many hearts

In the words of Cyndi Lauper -

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Re purpose project

I love the repurpose projects. It is fun to create something new with old mismatched jewelry pieces or just give new life to something you already have made. Kinda like a design make over, or a new line for a new season.

I was never happy with this piece. I felt like I was stringing just for the sake of stringing. That in itself is not a bad thing, sometimes you need to create to get inspiration. And in this case I did. If I had never strung this piece, I would never have remade it. Just because I don't like it, doesn't mean someone else will.

This is bloodstone rice beads and faceted briolettes.

I dumped the briolettes and worked with the rice beads.

This is a more delicate design.

Way back machine

Taking a break from the jewelry and from the world right now - I was on YouTube falling deeper and deeper into the viral spiral. I found this commerical -

man it takes me back. Early 70's, schwin banana seat bicycles, water buffalo sandals, polyester, tyedye, glitter transfers, Freddie's Dead, Family Affair, Saturday morning cartoons, "These cahds ah mahked - They're a mess!" and soooo much more -....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gallery countdown

The Arts Counsil show is soon, too soon

The jitters are setting in -

Do I have the right pieces
Are they set right
Are they good enuff
Will they be secure
Am I really doing the right thing

More and more questions and doubt run thru my mind.

We hang on Saturday, the pieces will display for a month and then life goes on.

This is a peek at what will be on display:

Mojave Sunset - Turquoise, coral, carnelian, rose quartz, sterling, amethyst

Luck Be a Lady - Vintage lead crystal (repurposed from my Grandmas necklace), Czech crystal, pearls, chalcedony,

Evenings Inspiration - Tourmalated quartz

Enchantment Song - beach glass and sterling

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The 'Key' to that extra bead

Oh how I love the extra large beads. Creating a piece with all large beads however beautiful it may be, is not always practical. It can be heavy, uncomfortable, bulky, may not lay correctly - these are from my experiences.

Still I buy the strands of the large beads and incorporate them into my designs as focals and accents. After the designs are done, I may have one or two left over - what do I do with them? - put them in my random pile and wait for inspiration.

Here is some fun I have had with my 'stray' beads.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wrap me up

I played with wire yesterday.

This is an easy pendant style, with a wire wrapped look. The pendant is a bead, so you make a wire wrapped loop at one end - feed it thru the bead, and make a wire wrapped loop at the other. The extra wire you can create a design with, and then secure it at the top loop with a couple quick wraps.

This is autumn jade with a turquoise and crystal drop.

I made several loops of wire around a pen to create a coil. Snipped along the top of the coil to make jump rings. Soldered the rings closed and then added a wrapped piece of turquoise.

I call this one Spiders Garden. I was playing with the idea, and regret that I didn't use a base metal wire for practice. I am not sure it will stay this way. This may be the first prototype. It was a lot of fun but it needs more work. I found an earring, snipped of the post, threaded wire thru the gallery of the setting, and then went wrap crazy :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Looking for inspiration

It is cold -
it is raining
I have a list of chores a mile long, dishes are done, and laundry is started, two down, infinity to go. Need to get to the store, friends coming for dinner. *insert vertigo*

I have a gallery showing next week - I still need to get my pieces finished.....
I have my environment set up, coffee, classic Motown is cranking and my feet are tappin'. I am looking at my supplies and my sketch book....... but that is all I am doing...... looking.

Now I have this sweet face beside me, sleepy eyed and whining wanting to go snuggle......

How can I turn it down?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's like bubble gum

I am thrilled - THRILLED at the product I just received. I am not a fan of shopping on line for supplies. Let's face it, you can't hand pick all the time. There are very few places I trust to give me the quality I demand. Bottom line, my reputation is on the line as an artist, and I have to have the product that reflects that.

One of the places I do trust is Sedona Stones, where these beads came from.

I am making a piece to be donated to a no kill shelter auction in April. In my mind I am thinking bold, colorful, Tabby :) I did some poking around as I normally do, look for something unique and special.

I found these:

Autumn Medley Multi Color Magnesite Nugget Chips, approx 10-20mm 15-16 inch #R643

The picture does not do them justice. I put the nickle in there to give a size representation. They are so vivid and BIG and shiney and random in size! I can't wait to work with them.

I want to eat them - They remind me of bubble gum.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rings & Things Choker Challenge - 5

I really have had the best time with this challenge. I want to thank Dave at Rings and Things for approaching me with their blogger outreach. It has pushed me into new areas of design that I though were not possible. I can't believe how much it has helped me grow in thought process, and design mechanics in such a short time - Thanks again!!!

I have had this idea rolling around in my head for several days. This morning I sat down to try and bring it out. I documented the process so you could see how it is done.

Used in this challenge:
Rings & Things part number #52-030-18-05 - Choker, Cable, 18" SmoothEnd (Red/White)

This choker cable has a barrel screw clasp - very exciting. That allows me to create a bigger bolder design and be confident that the clasp will stay secure. I went through my craft room and gathered up some random goodness of black/red/gray/white. Piled it on the kitchen table and began to create. I used a base metal wire - approx 26 ga from the looks of it - cut a good length for wrapping - 4 inches - and made a wire wrapped loop at the end.

Cut a lenght of ribbon and cording to attach to the cable - 12 inches or so each. Pinch the ribbon and cord onto the cable and secure it with your fingers. Use the wire wrapped loop as the base of the wrap, and start wrapping up the cable. Keep your wraps close and tight.

Give the wrap a bit of a 'mash' to help tighten it up.

Do an 'over and under' around the cable with the ribbon and cord. It doesn't have to be perfect.

Secure the other end with the same wrapping style that you used to start it.

Begin stringing your design. Keep the design random an fun. This will be the focal of this piece. The beaded section should hang at the same level as the choker cable. It will be heavy and want to drape, don't make it too long. Beadalon is the beading wire I used for this example. Use a crimp bead and attach the beading wire to the wire wrapped loop at the base of the wrap that was used to secure the ribbon and cable. Run the tail of the beading wire back thru the beads to help anchor it, and then trim the excess.

In the search for some fun beads, I had some pewter spacer beads that have charm links attached to them. I also added them randomly thru the design to add charms to the look.

Cut a 2" piece of the wire, and fold the end back onto itself to create a head pin.

Decorate the head pin with your beads and make a bend at the top to push thru the charm loop on your spacer bead.

Finish with a basic wrap to secure the charm to the link.

Here ya have it kids - The finished product. I intentionelly put it off center - that is how I see the world :)

Ya Ya

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Who has coffee?? I have cake!!

I am going to share one of my favorite recipes today. This is the cake of all cakes, as far as my husband is concerned. Any excuse to make one will do - B'day's, Sundays, Test Day, Down Day, Gym Day, you name it, the cake is worth it.

It is a heavy, dense, killer chocolate cake. This recipe will make a three layer cake and serve 20 - 25 ppl.


2 c guinness (one bottle of the guinness stout will do honestly)
2 c butter
1 1/2 c cocoa powder
4 c flour
4 cups sugar
1 T baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 c sour cream

ganache -
2 c whipping cream
1 lb. choc. chips

Grease 3 8" cake pans. Set oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients - minus the cocoa power - set aside.

In heavy sauce pan, bring the beer and butter to a simmer, add cocoa, wisk till smooth. set aside
to cool slightly.

With mixer, beat eggs and sour cream, add in the beer/butter mixture, beat till smooth, add dry ingredients, beat till smooth.

Divide batter between the three pans and bake for 35 mins. maybe longer, just test with a toothpick or knife.

Let cool - completely - this is the key. Ii cook mine before I go to bed, and let them sit in the pans all nite. they only get better, trust me.

Ganache -
In heavy sauce pan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer - stir, stir, stir, so it won't scald - dump in the choc. chips and beat till smooth. let cool for about an hour.

use a genererous ladle of the ganache between the layers of the cake, then let the remainder drape down the sides.


This is the two layer version. I sent the third layer to work with my husband to share with everyone and get the hooked :)

Are you licking your monitor!!!!

This recipe was used as the base for the 'Hamburger Cake' pictured below. I made this for an artist cake competition held by The Nature of Art, the gallery/store that showcases the wares made by local artists.

I won!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finding Support

I spend a good part of my day online searching for ways to improve my craft, my sales, my business, my approach, basically, my "all things business and who I am" search - I am an information junkie! In my searches I found these "inside(area-code)" networks. These little networking communities are popping up all over, and more than likely in an area code near you! They offer a springboard type platform for you to immerse yourself into your community, find out what is going on, and who it is happening with. All you have to do is create an account, log on and start your networking, it is that simple and best of all - IT'S FREE!!!!

Did I mention FREE!!!!

With casual posting, you can share about yourself and in turn find out the expertise, and experiences of others. One thing that holds true to most - people love to talk about who they are and what they do. General rule of thumb - People who are successful in what they do, love what they are doing. I am not saying to use this as a mentoring program. Actively search for answers, comment on posts, and ask questions. This is a great wealth of information. Help yourself, after all it is YOUR business.

This is also a great way to meet people in your community, help support your local businesses, and start new friendships.

O.K, I know this has to be coming across as a shameless promtion, and well, I guess I do mean it to be. It has helped me so much, that I want it to help you too!

Here is more information - I hope there is one in your area that you can benefit from!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Choker Challenge - 4

This piece is made of lampwork beads with a dyed howlite focal wrapped onto the choker. The color of the choker inspired the dyed howlite focal. I love the barrel screw connector on this choker which allowed me to take a simple but bolder approach wiht the heavier beads.

This is the invenotry number from Rings and Things :

#52-030-18-24 Choker, Cable, 18" SmoothEnd (Turquoise/White)

choker challenge

Finding inspiration

I find inspriation in everything around me. Whether I use the inspiration, that is another story. I keep a notepad with me so I can jot down design ideas, or make note of an interesting texture or color I see in passing. I have also been known to clip pictures and tuck them away to use another day. Soon my little notebook becomes a weatlh of idea referals when my idea pool is empty.

Another great source of inspiration are Soul Cards . A beautiful collection of prints by artist Deborah Koff-Chapin. The cards have no meaning - they are intended to inspire you. I have gifted several of my 'artist' friends these cards to have for those times when the creativity just won't flow.

One exercise I use after I have had a low point in creativity, is a recreate project. I use an image or an item and try to design a piece that imitates it, as opposed to being inspired by. I am a firm believer that creativity spawns creativity. This being said, more times than not, as I am doing this exercise, I have an idea for something else. I keep an inventory of base metal findings, mismatched jewlery, and odds and ends for these practice sessions. I do this as I don't want to waste sterling on an item that I may tear apart two or three times trying to get it right.

In the dreary throws of winter, I love looking at pictures of flowers in bloom. I takes me to a place in my mind where I want to be. Planting flowers and strolling through my yard enjoying them. Below is an image of the elder bloom, and the bracelet created from it.

elder bloom inspriation

elder bloom bracelet

Getting your name out there

I was pah-roosing around on craigslist (as I normally do when bored at work) looking for something interesting, when a post caught my eye - donations for an auction - more precisely - art donations for an auction.

This got me thinking, wrinkled brow and all.

It has to start somewhere.

Being in the craft/art business, one of the hardest things I have found, is to get your name out there. When you have this kind of business you don't always have startup capital - is more of a "pay as you go" plan. Cut costs where you can, forgoing business cards for your name and number scratched on a napkin when someone compliments what you are wearing. Printing up small flyers and adding them to the local community boards, spamming your friends with 'pass this along for me' messages - It really is a word of mouth campaign to get started.

When I first started I was desperate to get my name out there, to get noticed. I had to get my foot in the door, and secure me a corner at a local consignment store. If I was in that brick and mortor, I knew people could see me. Money was my obstacle - "How can I get people to take me seriously and also to see my work on this budget?"


Donating items to local charity organization for auctions is a GREAT way to get your name out there. Not only are people seeing your work, they see your business card (even if you have to go to Staples, buy the paper and print your own) AND you are typically invited to attend. At the auction, you get a night out, you get to dress up, you can 'hob nob' (do ppl still use that term?) with other auction goers. You get to shake hands, you get to not only promote your items, but network and met other people in the area and make great business connections.

*insert sage widsom*
Sharing interests with others, creates interest from others.

So kids, whether it is an item, or a service, more than likely it is needed by someone, and can be auctioned off for a great purpose - plus you get a tax deduction!!!!

*drops two cents*

someone can pick it up or drop two more!!!!

Choker cable challenge

Chapter two. Bola Faux

I thought it would be fun to create an illustion of a bola (also known as a bolo) tie. I brought the ends of the leather together, made a pinch loop at the bend in the middle, and pushed the tails through the loop, attaching it to the cable. I then made a basic wire loop and attached it to the leather. This gives the look of the bola. Finally, I added embelishments to the ends and a turqoise teardrop. No self respecting bola can be without turquoise!

One thing I would recommend, if you are using heavy stones for the focal, use the choker cable that has the barrel screw connector instead of the magnetic. The magnectic connectors are very conveinent, but cannot support a lot of weight.

Rings and Things inventory number for the cable used in this piece is:
#52-52-090-20-1 Choker, Magnet, Cable, 1mm, 20"

This is a fun piece to wear with a scoop neck tee.

choker challenge

Or under the collar of your button-down shirt for that true bola look.

choker challenge

To be continued......

The Challenge is Set!

I love a good challenge, and thanks to Rings and Things , I have one.

This is an ongoing project, so make sure to use the RSS feed at the left of the page so you don't miss out on any of the newest design updates!

Challenge 1: Choker cables.

The choker cables in these images have magnetic clasps. The clasp feels to be secure, but I think with a heavy pendant I would worry about it coming free. I like the idea of the barrel screw clasp better.

First thought with a choker cable is pendant. I love the cable, it holds its shape - unlike a chain or leather thong that drapes to the weight of the pendant. With a crew neck or scoop neck t-shirt, these cables keep the focus of the pendant up at your neck line. Truly fabulous. I have tons of pendants because I am a pendant wearer. I normally have them on a leather thong and in different links, depending on the type of shirt i am wearing. I also have a tendency to wear a shorter style necklace - and the choker cable is a great fit for that. (I feel a change coming on.) The clasp is small enough the bale slides over it easily giving me so much versatility. All I have to do is decide which pendant for which mood! I am impressed at the cable for keeping it shape with four pendants hanging from it!

pendants on choker cable

Pictured in this image - #52-000-15-9 Choker, Steel, Cable, 1mm, 15" (Black/White Clasp)

"That is too easy, TIsh!" I hear you say and, yes, I agree. What fun is a challenge if the outcome is predictable?

What can I do to create something different, w/o just sliding beads onto the cable?

*think* *think* *think*

I poked through my box of "glorious randomness" and found these fun vintage Czech glass beads. I chose these as the focal using an eye pin to secure them to the choker cable. The cable does slide around some, and it works the clasp toward the front. I wanted the design more stable, so I wrapped a copper wire around the cable and threaded on amethyst chips for an acent.

Here is the first, of five.

Restless Wend

choker challenge

Pictured in this image - #52-001-18-9 Choker, Steel, Cable, 1mm, 18" (Black/Gold Clasp)

Am wearing this one today, and have already been complimented!

proof in da puddin
To be continued......

My Muse

Deep down, you and I can't be that different. How we gain our inspiraiton, express our emotions into our craft, or how we dig through our supplies to find just the right piece. I felt that you would have an appreciation of the effort required to create such beauty. I thought I would throw caution to the wind and bring a real side of me to you.

My Muse

The weather has been cold, and my muse has packed up and moved on south. This time of year is the worst for me and finding my creative vein. I just want to curl up with a good book and wait for spring. I sit at my craft table looking for inspiration, finding little and forced to create from the chaos that is my life.

I use to have the spare bedroom of the house set up as my crafting domain. I could close the door, turn on my music and get lost for hours. Now, I have been displaced - maybe that is it. Due to the life of chaos that I lead, add in a troubled nephew, and a jilted best friend with no where to go, I have no room. My spare rooms are now in use, and I am downstairs, in the wide open, with no doors, and no privacy. I think my muse, the fussy diva that she is, liked the coziness and the privacy of the spare room.

Across my craft tables, the cats now sleep. Beads and baubles getting stuck between their toes, and dropped throughout the house as they preen. The dogs chase the cats thru the house in good humor, ending up in a spray of supplies across the floor........ *sigh*

Our show schedules have slowed to a crawl, one here, one there. I sit at my table and stare, slurping on my coffee and trying to justify why i am not organized, or why I am not producing new product. I look around me, trying to make sence of the lack of organization, look out the window at the dim summer sun and shudder.

I have attached an image of my craft room and I have to laugh, for what would I gain by crying? Messy mascara :)