Wednesday, March 28, 2012

stacked brass and rivets = "Valerie"

I made this necklace and earring set a couple of weeks ago, and while I made it the name "Valerie" popped into my head. Not sure why, but heck, it's a pretty name so why not go with it?
What ever you call it, I love how it turned out!! Each component is 2 or more layers riveted together.
See how neat my rivets are getting??? whee!!!
And of course, matching earrings.
It's hard to see in the pics but the rondell crystal on the brass is in tanzanite and the drops are in this lovely purply-blue not sure what the heck color that had tanzanite hi-lights.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Win DVD's!! Makin' Jewelry! Woot!

oh oh oh!!! I know I just posted , but I was over reading Lori's blog and she's giving away DVD's... wooo hoo! Find out how here!

Lori is giving them away, but the DVD's were passed on to her by the instructor, Scott David Plumlee

They look darn good ( especially the 2nd chainmaile one)

so... if you win because you saw it here, remember you need to give it to me for my Birthday..... LOL

Randon Thoughts

I'm getting a cold. ugh.

Every time I see "Zumba Fitness" on the TV, I think it says "Zombie Fitness". While that boggles the mind, wouldn't that be kewl? "OK undead! work that detached limb! " " ugggggggg"

I'm almost done transferring artfire listings to my Etsy shop. I've got 5-6 left to move over, I'll run a double check and then I'll take my artfire shop down. It's just easier to move to Etsy. Etsy gets much more traffic (thus more potential sales ) and my supply shop is there. I don't really have enough time to focus on 1 site, let alone 2, so Etsy wins this race.

I"m hoping this weekend I'll start listing new items on both my jewelry and supply shops. I've got scads of jewelry of course, and lots of brass, chain, and findings to list in the supply side.

Still working on garage sale, and probably will be for the next 2 months. ugh. It's much more work than I thought it would be. Wow, Kat misjudges how long something will take to do, go figure! ( stop snickering Jerry!)

While I sort for the garage sale I've run across stuff I don't want but I don't want to sell for a buck... so I am going to start listing stuff on Craig's list again. More time involved...

Still this weekend is gonna be a Studio/ PJ's weekend... Jerry and little Bit will be spending most of the weekend at Fields of Honor Spring (game convention of course) so I'm going to take advantage of that and really get some work done in the studio.... no closet cleaning, I'm hiding the books ( well except for breaks of course.. he he) and I'm trying to get all of my chores done by Thursday. That's of course the plan, subject to the whims of fate and if I get this cold I'm trying to get.......

The earrings above are Brass I've textured and shaped, colored by flame, added chain and some Vintaj Arte Metal bits. I really like them!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Despite the rumors yes, I am actually making jewelry right now....

OK, a very few items. My husband is making fun of me on a daily basis right now, because this is suppose to be my productive time, when I catch up on inventory and gear up for the summer shows.
And he's right, I"m not really working much up in the studio right now.....

I've been reading books like a mad woman, probably 1 a day.

I've also got a huge house project.. cleaning and sorting almost everything in the house in preparation for a garage sale this spring. I got Jesscera's room done last weekend, this weekend I'm pricing what she doesn't want anymore and boxing it up til we have the sale. I am hoping to hit both closets in the spare room this weekend also...

So my studio time isn't the priority right now, and I"m OK with that. I'm getting up to the studio at least once a week. See the chainmaile bracelets above. (SEE JERRY!) In another week or so I'll start increasing time. Until then I'm cleaning closets, bonding with the kid and the hubby and reading up a storm.

And oh, all the normal stuff like working, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, etc etc etc.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sharing the good life.....

I had a good weekend this weekend.. I really did. One of the things Jerry and I did was shop for antiques and such.

He got the brilliant idea!

I've been incorporating reused/recycled items in my jewelry but his idea was to buy cheapo cameras, break them apart and incorporate pieces of them into my work.

Finally, I can used my husband's finely honed ability to destroy things!

He had a great time breaking up the 2 cameras we bought.

Being probably 80's cameras they were mostly plastic, with some metal bits. It's the metal I want... but a couple of the small plastic parts were interesting, so I kept them also.

The antique mall had some really lovely, vintage cameras but they were very expensive. Besides, they were so beautiful, I wouldn't have the heart to break them apart.

But a old Polaroid bought at Good will for $2.00? you bet! Another old camera that was $4.50? sure why not!
I I really consider this pendant collaborate effort.. Jerry took something apart, I put it back together again with some brass cogs and gears and copper wire.

He was so proud of it, he took a picture and sold it the next day to a co-worker!

And I've got 3 baggies full of interesting bits to use in future pieces...

I can't wait to see what he drags home next!

Monday, March 19, 2012

metal on my mind

I etched a big batch of brass and copper almost 2 months ago, and last weekend I finally got back to it. what makes this batch super special is most of the art was done by my brother and my niece... Thanks Kirk and Ame!
The dragon in copper is a no brainer. The pic on this does not do it justice, I applied a heat patina of purple & red, sealed it in ren wax and added a copper bail. I'm sure this is Ame's artwork!
My second piece is really 3-D. The back copper plate is etched on both sides , then I riveted the card face in brass on top. It needed something else, so I took a scrap of copper, went to town with a couple of hammers and created a wrapped bail for it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


When you run a small business, especially a creative one that feeds your soul, keeping life in balance can be real tough thing to do.

Family, Friends, the $ job, the home business, time for yourself.... health, sleep, downtime....

Figuring out competing priorities can give you a headache!

And when you are a mom, you want to do this well, because you are the example to your child. And when you don't do it well, everything can suck.

A couple of months ago while applying to shows I didn't think about my little girls drama ambitions. She got a part in the spring musical! And Of course I had a application out for that weekend.... I felt so crappy about that. When she was in the fall play I helped all 3 nights of the play and watched it with joy in my heart. This time I wouldn't even get to see the play, let alone the logistics of a weekend where hubby and I are 3 hours away! This is the first year that my daughter really has extracurricular activities to work around, but still. Bad Mom.

First time in my life I received the reject notice from a show with glee!!! I didn't get in-- Yippee!!! I'm so relieved that I can not only see her in the musical but I can support her group by helping like last time. I will also keep better track in the future so I don't screw up for real! And I won't have to cancel on them and loose my $160.00 table fee and feel guilty for backing out and hurting my rep as a reliable artist, which is what I'd decided to do if I got juried in.

It's a wonderful art show I will be missing, and a prime weekend ( Mom day weekend), but even a great show isn't worth missing my daughter's play. (hopefully I will get in the rest of the shows I've applied for, and hopefully no more serious life conflicts)

I've tried very hard to keep the balance between the business, family, work and self needs the last few years.

You only have so much time in life you know.

So When my hubby wants to spend time together as a couple, even if I have something planned already, I'm probably going to do the hubby thing.

It's the perfect weekend for it, as little girl is visiting relatives for spring break, and the weather couldn't be nicer. (78 in March!)

It's not even "bad" for the business, as we went antique hunting. We hit a few garage sales ( total bust ) a couple of antique malls ( the photo above is my big "score" for the trip... vintage brass bits, probably hardware scavaged off old furiture. Some of the pieces are in rough shape, but I know I have very interesting pieces to incorporate into jewelry) and the I-80 flea market. Then hubby and I went to one of our most favorite places in the world, 1/2-price book store. I picked up some good "me" time books (including 2 Heyers!!) and a couple of jewelry making books to browse through for inspiration. All the while, hanging out together and chating about nothing special, which is the important thing in life and the glue that holds a family together.

We hit a couple of bakeries, (I'm always up for bakeries) Creme Cupcake is wonderful, and a brand new one in Des Moines : ElCafeCito Bakery with mexican cookies and pastries. (haven't eaten them yet, but they smell so good! I have to let supper set some more before I try those)

Now I'm home, and Jerry and I just had homemade pizza. (Hamburger, 6 different cheeses mixed together, yum!)

I'm catching up on internet stuff and in a little while Jerry and I will probably snuggle together and read new books.

Life can be very, very good.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


OK, my morning didn't go well ..... I opened up the kiln and instead of seeing a nicely rounded piece of glass that I can slump over my bowl mold, I find this, this .. MESS!
Not only did the piece explode, but it melted over the edge and onto the kiln floor. I really could of cried.
Instead I carefully removed the glass, vacuumed the kiln. Since the glass did melt after the explosion, I'm pretty sure I have no damage to the kiln coils (well except the floor of the kiln is rougher in spots now... where I had to detach the glass.. urrrrrrrr)

I'm thinking tonight I'm going to run the kiln empty, to make sure it's ok.

So why did this happen???

I'm not sure.. sometimes even if glass is the same COE it's not completely compatible.

Maybe despite my best efforts, some 96 got mixed in with some 90 (which I've done once before, but not with kind of result!)

I used alot of glue on this run, it's possible I used too much ( though I've used alot in the past as well but all the books caution you to use as little as you can)

I glued the glass on Thursday night, it's possible it wasn't completely dry, which is a huge no no.
It seemed dry, but if it was still wet in the trapped layers, that would sort of explain it exploding apparently from the middle.

I'm leaning toward the too much glue/ it was still wet theory, so I'm going to be extra careful about using the glue.. I'll try to use as little as possible, and if I use more than a dot or too, I'm going to let it dry a couple of days to make sure it's completely dry.

Friday, March 9, 2012

more adventures in glass fusing....

I'm trying to make another small bowl/ candle holder. This is the 3rd try. The 2 that had "gaps" in the glass just didn't turn out like I'd hope, so this time I"m going to use lots of clear glass to give it that filigree feel, without actually having holes in it. So I carefully built a couple of random layers of dichro, stringers, etc and then dumped clear sheets on top. Then I added more glass, including more chunks of clear.

Part of the challenge for me is I'm trying to use up my COE 90 glass. Now I don't have any large chunks of 90 clear.. in fact most of my 90 glass is scrap glass, and I think the largest piece I have is a 5x5 of red.

I have long strips of clear, but nothing wider than 3 inches.

When you are trying to make a round shape approximately 5x5, this makes it challenging. Now the nature of glass is the round up edges as it melts if given half a chance, So I figured I'd add clear frit strategically to smooth out the edges and make my plate round.

It didn't exactly work... I've got very uneven edges ( actually quite sharp to boot!) I also had spots of cloudy ( something I get when I use 90, which is why I'm trying to use it up. I get along better with 96 !)

I've cleaned it up, chipped and sanded done the sharper edges

So I"m going to fire it a second time tonight, with added clear in the hopes that the glass shape will spread out more roundish and the extra clear over the cloudy bits will help hide that.

worse case scenario, I can always break it up later for frit!

A note on 90 vs 96. most glass artists seem to prefer one or the other, and have a stash of both. I won't get into the various debatable merits of which is better, but 96 seems to work better for me. I rarely get the scummy cloudy crap on 96 but I get it almost every time with the 90. I know many artists work exclusively with 90 without issues.

Maybe it's because most of my 90 is scrap glass, and possibly older to boot. ( they keep working on the glass formulas and making them better... so it's possible it's just an older formula that doesn't work as well)

Originally I only bought 90 ... it seems slightly cheaper and I got some great deals on scrap ( including a large stash of dichro !!) Then I ran the scummy problems ( and a few others) so I bought some 96... and then kept buying and buying.

In any case, I've got 3 times as much 96 as I have 90, so I've decided when I work through the 90 I won't buy any more. So while I'm experimenting I might as well use up some of the 90 I have laying around.

It's probably safer this way. You can't mix the two glass coe. I keep them separated but I've accidentally mixed them a few times. At least my kiln didn't explode. At least yet.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party Wrapup post...

I know I normally post on Mondays but I'm so busy tomorrow, I figured I'd get in tonight. First, below is the list of all the Blog Hoppers , and I'm removing the links off the original post as some folks had problems loading my page with it. So I really invite you to check out at least some of the other members, even if you can't get to all 200 of them. There are some really outstanding projects !!

If you can't see all of them, at least stop by my partner : Silver Parrot and see the very kewl versatile necklace she made with the cab I sent her!

I am planning to check them all out, though it will probably take me all this week to do so. I'm working from the bottom of the list 2 blogs at a time. And I want to thank everyone who's left comments on my blog hop post so far.. I'll get to yours soon !

Hostess, Lori Anderson

Special Book Sneak Peeks, Cindy Wimmer

1. Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)

2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)

3. Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)

4. Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman

7. Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu

15. Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)

16. Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)

21. Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski

22. Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)

24. Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)

25. Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs

32. Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)

33. Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)

37. Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)

41. Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)

43. Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday

45. Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)

48. Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent

54. Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)

55. Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)

65. Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)

66. Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)

76. Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)

78. Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)

83. Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)

93. Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick

95. Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)

97. Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)

98. Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Time for the Big Reveal!! Bead Soup Party Blog Hop

Yeah!! I can finally show my project!!!

I've titled it " Chase Your Dreams"

Every since I received the wonderful bead soup from Silver Parrot , I've had it sitting on my desk, mulling over ideas... and the thing that kept coming back to me is the horse was running TO something, not away or randomly. So what would the horse be chasing? Dreams seemed like the best fit, as the horse seems sort of like a spirit horse to me with the spiral on it.

Here's my original package

I utterly loved the flame patina clasp KJ included. I've been playing with flame coloring, so I knew I wanted to incorporate more copper in the piece to go with the clasp and cause, heck, it's fun!! I decided pretty quickly to make a back plate for the focal, add "chase your dreams" somehow and use heat patina.

See how the copper I made matches the clasp KJ sent!

I also wanted to incorporate at least some of the beads she sent, and that's the part I tripped over for a couple of weeks. While I loved the focal and clasp, the beads were not singing to me. The beads were lovely, don't get me wrong, I just couldn't get a handle on how to use them in my design.

I finally hit the idea of backing the beads just as I did the focal, and woot! it all fell together at that point!

Making the chain!

Since I wanted everything copper to have heat patina, I had to cut, texture, file, sand and assemble prior to the torch work. I did torch some lose wire to attach the focal and clasp once everything else was done.

Then it was torch time!

Raw Copper and......

Patina from the torch!

Once I got done with adding the color, I used Ren wax to seal them. I'm pretty please on the color... I'm getting much much better at getting the color I want with a torch. ( The copper colors change soooo fast you really have to use a bushy flame and be very very careful!)

Then I wired up the focal to the plate, and wire wrapped the round MOP beads on my copper circles.

I love how my necklace turned out!!

KJ also sent 1 other special piece, a bead with the horse on it. To give the piece just a "dash" of asymmetrical, I used it as the 2ND link in the necklace.

the little horse bead is soooo cute!

close up

I had so much fun with this!! Tell me what you think And if you think I'm alone in my fun, think again... Meet 197 of my new best friends who all participated in this round of the hop!!

Here is the list of the party members!