header info

To see what jewelry creations are currently available Click here!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Photos of Penryn in the Fog

"People will forget what you said; People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."

Before the big winds came, we had a couple of lovely, foggy days… very serene.

The tree in the first photo is completely nekkid now. Three days of really heavy winds have taken those leaves (along with a couple of chair cushions).

I have begun a new project… it’s slow going, but hopefully I’ll have something to show you soon. Things have to be formed then painted, then the paint has to dry. Then other parts are painted and added to the first part and the glue that holds those has to dry. Then the whole thing needs to be made waterproof. Then we’ll sink it in resin and wait for the resin to dry. Fingers crossed.

I should have opted for the miniature work back when my eyes had amazing close-up vision. Now, let’s just say my magnifying visor is becoming my best friend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Adventures at 2011 BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza)

From their website: “This is the largest two-day bead and jewelry show on the West Coast, with over 225 exhibitor spaces showing handmade, ethnic and vintage beads, jewelry, buttons, findings, books and DVDs. There will be more than 80 studio glass, silver, ceramic and polymer clay bead artists. Many artists or vendors will be exhibiting for the first time in the Bay Area. Classes are available for every level of experience and in many mediums…”

Last weekend, I attended BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza). Three days of bead shopping, classes, and mingling with other creative-types.

I’d like to thank Donna Conklin for letting me share some of her BABE photos (show floor, JC Herrel, Leah Fairbainks, Lori & Kim):

On Friday, I was signed up to take Christi Friesen’s
class called “Lovely Lily Pond”. And guess what? I actually made a lovely lily pond (as well as a little “in-law” pond. See!

I was so impressed with what we learned. We made EVERYTHING you see on these lily ponds out of polymer clay (except the resin in the pool and some of the shimmering embossing powder effects)… the pebbles, the moss, the flowers and fish!

Christi is a hoot and I learned a TON in the four-hour class. I had planned to visit some friends in the afternoon, but that plan bombed so I stuck around for Christi’s second class: Seeing the Light (faux stained glass out of polymer clay).

Here’s what I made there, but I have to tell you that I’m not an “all day class” kind of gal. My brain gets fried after about four hours of learning. So my intention was to learn the techniques in class and work on being more creative once I got home and tried it on my own. Take these two photos with a grain of salt. The second photo shows what the pieces actually look like when the sun shines through them. I need to remember that you can’t have four layers of clay if you want the stained glass effect.

Oh, that reminds me… I need to pick up an oven thermometer soon… I think I left my other ones behind when I moved (or they’re packed somewhere ridiculous and I’ll find them in a few months… d’oh!).

Saturday was Resin-Wire Forms with Tracy Stanley. Another very friendly and helpful instructor. The class was super fun and my fear of resin is now removed.

Some of you may remember my one-time previous attempt at resin.

A few days later, this turned cloudy and totally caved in. I decided I wasn’t interested in resin if it was going to be that fickle… after all, it’s not like there’s a shortage of things to play with and do in the world of jewelry-making.

But it’s always been in the back of my mind to try again someday. So… when this class was offered, I decided to give it a go.


Here’s what I made:

The first one was for me. I like the concept of an "ideas" pendant... and I made sure to purposely include a shell within a shell to represent that impression of having something inside, the creative kernal, so to speak.

The second one I made for my mom. I like the idea of joy because I'm a big believer in happiness as a way of life. And Mom really likes the beach so I put seashells and pearls in her pendant.

The third one was an experiment in 3-D. I've included moss and bark. This one is called "Starry Night".

One thing I’m learning about resin is that people have opinions. In the past three days, I’ve used four different kinds of resin and what I find funny is that most people who talk about (and/or are selling) resin have fairly strong opinions on the type of resin they use and they recommend ONLY the kind they use and usually dis all other forms of resin. (Not everyone does this, but enough do it that it struck me as funny… and scary.)

There’s two-part UV cured, two-part air dry, one part glaze adhesive, and more. And within each of those are several different brands with strong recommendations and strong non-recommendations. I decided my best bet is to experiment.

So my first “test” is using an air-drying two-part epoxy. I’m also testing papers.

Here are the five things I applied the resin to for my first test:
1) Washi paper decoupaged to vintage metal forms
2) Photos printed (ink jet) on the “special” and expensive glossy photo paper from one of the specialty resin companies
3) Photos printed (ink jet) on HP glossy photo paper (‘cause, y’know… if they come out the same as the “exclusively recommended fancy resin paper” I can save a ton of money and time)
4) Photos printed (ink jet) on JP glossy paper then mod podged (to seal them)
5) Painted metal

I applied doming 2-part air dry epoxy resin to a sample of each of these then covered them and set them aside. Sort of. They were on my work bench and since they take so long to dry and I didn’t want my work bench to be indisposed for that long, I moved them to a less trafficked area. In doing so, however, I managed to wreck two of them, I think. Maybe the resin that got touched will settle back down, but if not, I did enough pieces of each so at least I’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

Stay tuned for those results.

One of the key things to have (in my opinion) when doing resin is a plethora of little plastic cups and stirring sticks because you have to (or at least I was told you have to) throw them away after each use. The stirring cups are about the size of a Nyquil dosing cup so if you’re doing small work, you may want to get a squeeze bottle to make application easier.

I didn’t have a squeeze bottle on-hand so I used one of these:

And my segue winds back to BABE as Saturday afternoon and Sunday were spent in the “shopping” portion of the show.

I go to a lot of bead/gem shows (probably 8-10 per year) and the ones that feature self-representing artists, particularly lampworkers, are my absolute favorite. I only wish I had thousands of dollars to spend on the amazingly beautiful beads being offered at the show.

BABE comes to Oakland, California once a year, usually in the fall and I highly recommend it to anyone in the bead/jewelry industry. Three days of classes and two days of bead shopping (also tools, finished product, and more). Icing on the cake is getting to meet in person the people you’ve been getting to know online throughout the year(s).

I had a lot of fun and spent a lot of money. Now I’m off to create.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yeah, I've been away

So I spent some concentrated time getting things in order so I could leave everything for three days. And then I spent three days gone. :-)

I was at B.A.B.E (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza) in Oakland. It was awesome.

I took a class... er, two classes from Christi Friesen and another class on resin and wire work. I'll give you the details and show you some photos on these classes in my next blog post.

I met some LE lampworkers and saw some amazing beads. I purchased a few (yeah, I know... do I really need more beads?!).

I've got another book review coming up. I'll find some goodie to give away again. That was so much fun! BTW, Sheila Gibson was the winner of the Lapis, Serpentine Sterling Silver bangle. Congrats, Sheila!

I gotta tell ya, I'm pretty stoked about some of the stuff I made at my BABE classes. I hope I can find ways to incorporate these new techniques into my jewelry making.

Well, just wanted to touch base, let you all know I'm still alive and well (just swamped).

Talk later!

funny pictures - going to comic/con  brb
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Free Bracelet, A Book Review, and Four New Earring Pairs

So I made this bracelet and messed up the pattern (see the 8 o'clock position) and I can't redo it because it's on 18 gauge sterling silver and is only 6¾ inches (so can't make it smaller). It's Lapis, Serpentine and all Sterling Silver.

And because of the boo-boo, I'm giving it away.

I just did a book review (30-Minute Earrings) and everyone who leaves a comment on my review is entered into the contest.

This Friday (Nov 4th), I will randomly select a winner from among those who left a comment.

Here's the review: 30-Minute Earrings

And check out these earrings I made from projects in the book (click on a photo for more info):

Monday, October 31, 2011

What I'm Watching/Reading Currently... and Downtown Oakland Interactive Map for Bay Area Bead Extravaganza


Watched the X-Men prequel today. Now I feel like I must find the other X-Men movies and catch up. :-)

So I finished watching the only two seasons of Reaper. Liked it, but the show kind of stopped midstream. I don’t know if they’ll ever revive it.

Then I watched all eight seasons of Monk. Those were enjoyable.

That led me to re-watching Murder, She Wrote. It’s so funny seeing how dated some of the clothing, actions, and plot lines are, but it’s still kind of fun.

Probably sounds like I watch a lot of tv… and I guess I do, but it’s never just plopping my rear-end down and watching. I like to have something going in the background when I’m doing certain jewelry work (wire-wrapping, photographing, listing, etc).

Murder, She Wrote made me think of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, so I downloaded a couple books onto my Kindle and am reading those before bed (no multi-tasking there).


I’ll be attending a couple classes at BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza ) in two weeks. If anyone else reading this blog will be going and isn’t overly familiar with the area, here’s a cool interactive map
showing some of the things within a couple blocks’ radius.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween!

Funny Pictures - Cute Halloween Kittens
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Wall Art, Kumihimo Video Tutorial, Sign up for email notifications now


I haven’t been too experimental this week. Oh, I did make a wall hanging…

I plan to continue my foray into wall art.


After watching this really well-made video on Kumihimo, I took the plunge and finally bought the book that had been in my Amazon shopping cart for the last three months. I figured it’s something I can do maybe in front of the tv in the evenings when I’m too tired for things that take more concentration.


Here’s a piece I had a lot of fun with. I etched, then enameled the copper leaf shape. It seems a great color to match the BHB I put on this great silk ribbon and once I patinated the sterling it all blended together well.

This bracelet’s pretty wild. It features ginormous Quartz Crystal beads and vintage tin bead caps made by Donna Millard .

I am so in love with these beads (and really mad at myself for forgetting the lampworker’s name who made them…. I’m pretty sure I saw them on LE… and I can GUESS whose they are, but I’m not sure).

And these are rather eye-catching.


I added a new gadget to my blog here… if you look over there on the right-hand sidebar, up near the top, you’ll see a way to follow this blog via email. (You get notified when I post a new entry.).

Here’s a really heart-warming video about a guy on a motorcycle who rescues a stranded calf.

funny pictures - this is why the label  says dry clean only
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

funny pictures - Fell asleep
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Use It Or Lose It and Logging Out of PayPal


Here’s something you should know if you shop on Etsy: If you pay via PayPal, when you are done and the page returns you to Etsy, you are still logged in to your PayPal account. Yes, after the usual amount of time it will “time out”, but if you prefer to be overly cautious (as I do), you will open another window (or you can do it in your current window too) and open PayPal (you’ll see you won’t have to log in). From there, you can log out.


Today I compared how many items I have listed in Etsy versus how many items I thought I had listed in Etsy. There was a discrepancy. The missing items weren’t in DRAFT, EXPIRED, or INACTIVE. Shrug. Sometimes I feel so lost. I like everything to have a reasonable explanation, but it seems there are so many things that defy explanation.


As I was closing one of my drawers in my bead dresser tonight, I glanced down at the contents and saw some beautiful big hole beads. Big hole beads that had been sitting in that drawer for over a year… WAY over a year.

And I was instantly struck by two things. One, my current efforts to downsize. And two, my ever-changing interests. Let’s tackle #1 first.

As I get rid of “things” in my life, I find myself throwing out, giving away, or selling many things that I had the intention of using SOME DAY. Well, my ability to create was much smaller than my ability to collect art supplies and crafting materials, and things easily got out of hand regarding my intake versus my outgo. The end result is that I have to get rid of stuff and it’s rarely at a profit, if you know what I mean.

Okay, #2… sometimes I keep things because I’m not ready to use them. I figure I have to wait until I have the PERFECT idea and more skill… or something. Shrug. Well, what I’ve learned about keeping things is that my interest in doing certain kinds of techniques or designs changes and that framed pendant I bought two years ago and was going to make into a certain kind of necklace but didn’t … well, now it’s just sitting there and I no longer have the desire to make that necklace. My style has changed. The problem is, it’s not just one pendant… it’s hundreds if not thousands of beads and components.

So I say embrace your ability to just use up everything you have. :-) Tomorrow is a new day and you have no idea what you’ll feel like making or what components you’ll come across. Use what you have now to make room for new things to come into your life.

Okay, internal peptalk done.

On to the jewelry. (Click a photo for more details!)

funny pictures - i look amazin  in a mirror
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Jewelry Listings, Enamel and Etching Experiments, Disc Cutters

Whoa, I apologize for showing you the same newly listed jewelry in multiple blog posts. Maybe I shouldn’t wait until the end of the day (when I’m tired) to do my bloggling.

Anyway, I got out the enameling and etching stuff this past week.

My etching had a few hiccups, but experimenting and practicing are always good.

Then here are some of my enamel experiments. I’m working on cloisonné technique (but at some point soon, I’m going to have to break out the klin).

Only the first photo is an actual listing… the rest are experiments.

I’m thinking of making a charm bracelet of most of these practice pieces. I don’t know, though, how well enamel holds up to the kind of abuse a charm bracelet might cause. My pieces are counter-enameled, at least.

I listed a lot more this week and didn’t do as much blogging… so here’s a bunch of new listings. (Click on a photo for more info.)

One a personal note, I’m up to season 7 of Monk. :-)

From Comments: Hey Chris , I’ve never heard of Two Weeks Notice. Will have to check it out. And I completely agree with you about Sandra Bullock. BTW, I’m lovin’ your blog! It’s so colorful and “inspirational”. :-)

This looks like a good article on Disc Cutters.

Alright… goodnight for now.

funny pictures - If it fits...I sits
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!