Monday, October 2, 2017

Taking a break

Hey guys, I'm taking the week off from blogging.. I'll be back next Monday . 

Friday, September 29, 2017

I can't finish American Dreams............

Sometimes I feel like making simpler pieces like this one.    The brass stamping is so pretty all by itself, I just added a couple of holes for crystals and and curved the flat piece and woot!  Pretty pretty bracelet.

Sometimes my jewelry is more about how I feel, and sometimes it's about how it makes me feel to make it.  Something like this just feels good to make... and I know the gal that bought it loved it.  I love when someone buys a piece and has to wear it out of the booth they are so excited!

And the times when it's about how I feel, that I need to express what's inside me.. they of course take longer.  I've been struggling with just such a piece.  I'm calling it "American Dreams" .
 This First picture shows the first layout I had.  The round bit is a vintage MOP buckle, the drop crystal and the earring are both vintage.  The flag pin is vintage as well.  Do you remember when veteran groups would hand out those little tin flag badges at parades? that's what the flag is.  (do they still do that? I don't remember getting these anytime recently.. only as a kid )  The coke tag is actually from a 90's coke tin, made to look like a turn of a century coke tin.
 This picture you can see it's getting more complicated.  the round bit in the square is the top of a pocket watch ( proper term is crown)   The damaged type writer key says " back space" which sort of expresses my American dreams right now... I kind of wish we had a back space button to go back to Nov. 7th.  But I'll save that discussion for my therapist.
This is the current rough layout, but I'm still not happy with it.   I've added in the back a vintage Gage plate,  to express all the pressure we are under, watch parts because it feels like time is running out, a key for hope, the liberty bell ( broken bit from a key chain)  as another symbol of America, the compass because we are trying to find our way, a cross for spiritualism, a part of a ruler ( from a typewriter) because we are not measuring up right now... a spoon and the arrow for personal reasons.  The "r" on the top is a beer bottle lid.  I've since removed that.

 I want to try to express both the current crap we are all in, but yet express hope from the future.  In some stories of Pandora, hope is a butterfly... maybe it needs that.  I just don't have the right mix yet to say what I'm trying to say.... that America will survive this and someday will actually be better.  I guess I'm having a hard time believing it myself, so that makes it hard for me to hold on to the optimism I want to have.

It's gonna be a long long long 4 years...........  I think I'll go play with chainmail now.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Let the sun Shine in......

OK today is pretty dank and dark and hard rain, so I though this picture would brighten things up.  This sun started out life as maybe a keyring? It was broken in a mix of a jewelry lot I bought.  The face was just such a happy one though, I wanted to rehabilitate it.  I filed and sanded the broken off bits and decided to add some color.  I added wings cause well happy sunshine always makes my heart fly!

This one is already sold, I'm trying to clean out my picture files.

So on the cranky, rainy day enjoy some sun!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I'm on Court This Weekend.......

 Yeah, I know, I'm normally on 4th across from Hy-Vee, but this weekend is also Oktoberfest and that's being held exactly where I normally pitch my tent... so all the vendors on 4th South are getting moved to other areas of the market.  The fest doesn't start until 3pm or so, but they need time to set up!

My new spot is 207.  Now vendor spot # means nothing to you folks, so I'm about 4th booth in on the north side  from the corner of 2nd and court.   That means I'm in front of the parking ramp that's on 2nd and court.

 I've never actually been in this part of the market before.   Always an adventure, is Farmer's Market!! 
I've been making earrings mostly this week, with watch parts and other things.  I'm up to 13 for the week -- I've got about 6 more laid out and ready to assemble ( all the cutting, filing, holes and glue steps done) and then I'll probably get everything priced and see where I'm at.  I feel the itch to make a bigger project... so maybe I'll work on something like that.. or maybe I'll catch up on a novel.  It's almost the end of the show season for me and I'm getting tired.  I don't want to be down to the last dregs like I was last year.  Last year it took nearly a month before I really felt creative again.  I've been pacing it better this year, but still I'll probably take a few weeks off to reconnect with real life.

Not that real life is all that fun lately but still, it is what it is.

On that note, off to finish some earrings... see ya Saturday in a new place !!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Farmer's Market this Weekend!

I'm feeling pretty positive about this weekend.. I'm working on a piece right now I'm excited about and I'm pretty sure I'll get it done before Saturday... I've got some new earrings and bracelets at least.

If you haven't been out to the market lately this weekend might make a good one for you... I just had to show off my spiffy new sign, I think it looks great!  It took a couple of weeks to figure out exactly how to hang it best, but it really does seem to draw folks into the tent.

We are getting to the end of show season, we have 3 more markets left... this weekend, September 23rd and October 14th.

So stop by and say hi, as always we are on 4th st across the street from Hy-Vee.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Happenings at the Gallery

 As you know, I'm very happy being a artist in Five Monkeys, Inc , one of the nicest galleries here in Des Moines.  What you might not know is all the great things happening there starting this weekend!

 Starting tomorrow, the gallery will also be the source for vinyl in Des Moines!  Rogue Planet Music

 you can read about this new store in the Des Moines Register here
 The gallery will also start hosting live music from time to time -- it's gonna be fantastic!!! All these lovely changes means Dina ( the fab owner of the gallery) is rearranging  - so here are sneak peaks of how my jewelry is set up now...
Be sure to stop by Five Monkeys  this Friday and Saturday for the grand opening -- and even special 1 time discounts on art.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I still love Chainmaile

I still love making chainmaile, it's just such a nice yen to my yang of steampunk inspired designs.  So here are recent bracelets - the top pic is the shaggy, and the bottom are just a few of the endless helm chain color combos I get to play with.

Chainmaile is very meditative to make, and good therapy -- after all you make a bracelet or a earring just 1 link at a time.. just like you have to do one step at a time in life.......  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day!

 I've always loved that "labor" is celebrated with a day off.  There is a lesson in there somewhere...   So while you enjoy your day off, my plans include a whole day of puttering around the studio in jammies making jewelry and organizing stuff.... labor of sorts but pure joy to my heart! I hope your enjoy your day as well..

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Under the Sea

I've gotten some questions on making Under the Sea.  A couple of months ago a gal commissioned me to make a mermaid necklace  (you can see that here).  Strangely enough, I really had to talk myself into doing it.. I'm not really a mermaid person.  By the time I finished I ended up making 2 mermaid necklaces and I really felt like playing in the sea -- which eventually lead to this piece.

(Notice there are no mermaids in it... but I really like mermaids now! )

I did this great octopus necklace last year, so I really wanted to do something with a octopus again, but I hate to repeat myself.  So I laid out a bunch of vintage bits and a bunch of sea themed brass and played for awhile on the layout.  I finally came up with this rough idea:
Original layout
I wasn't completely happy yet.. I liked the general layout but it felt it was missing something.  Also I wanted it sturdy, so it needed a back piece to give it stability.

I wanted the back piece for structure, but I didn't want it to take away from the front design, I also wanted more color to tie together the patina pieces.

I used both patina paints and alcohol inks on the back piece, and then sealed it.  I also added another brass stamping to bridge the empty spot in the middle, to look like I open shell.  It also increased the stability of the piece.  I riveted everything together and a few places are reinforced with glue in spots.  it's riveted up to 4 layers in places, which makes this piece very stable and solid.  For all that, it's not heavy compared to it's size, as brass stampings are hollow and very light.

I really loved how this piece turned out.. it has vintage and modern stampings, vintage sewing machine pieces, vintage clock and watch parts and a vintage key.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Love not Hate, free speech and twisted truth

It hurts my soul, all this stuff kicking up.  My worst fears about that man winning the presidency are coming true -- he's opened a flood gate of hate and vitriol, all in the name of "telling it like it is".  I always worried how we could teach our kids right from wrong when the so call leader of the free world acts like a 3 year old on a sugar rush.

Being "PC" is becoming a swear word.

Look, I know how convoluted trying to be PC can be, I've felt the pain myself.  But what is going on isn't letting your hair down.  When you say things with the intent to hurt, to tear down, to kick others... that's just wrong.  Didn't your mamma's teach you that?

Saying you hate Jews and plan to kill them, hate blacks and plan to kill them, hate anyone who isn't your idea of white American, and they need to leave or die--- it's insane.  Saying it's your right to say these things.. I guess that is your right.

Free Speech.

But guess what, I have the right not to listen.   I have the right to say, you are an idiot.  A dangerous idiot.   Your ideas of whites being better simply because of the pigment in your skin is silly, dangerous and ultimately will be your downfall.  I guess at least  now we know who you are.  At least if you aren't trying to be PC we know now how really stupid you are and wrong thinking.

I believe in America as the ideal, not that it's ever quite achieved it.  The ideal is the melting pot, where all types of people- fat, black, red hair, polka lovin', gay, straight, Jewish, any religion, atheist, left handed - it doesn't matter- come together and make this world a better place.

I don't understand people who hate like this, it's not in me.

How can you live with that much hatred?  How is it not eating holes in your body?  

I don't have any answers..... I can only hope for a better tomorrow where we all pull together and finally get past this bullshit about our outsides being more important than our insides.


Monday, August 14, 2017

and now for something completely different ........

yep.  I really don't have words for this.  hehehehehehehehehehehehehe

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

3 Necklaces

Victorian Penny Necklace - from 1900.
Pocket watch etched piece is 1930s or earlier, I added back on a cog and a painted butterfly
I love this one!! I just love playing with the eyeballs I guess.  Vintage pocket watch face, brass bits and the eye.  I was thinking a "nice" Sauron, like his angelic twin or something.  Why do people always talk about Skippy (Sauron) the evil twin but never the good one?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Don't cross me

I've been fascinated of late by religious icons and symbols,  and the transformative power of them.   This is my take on the cross, I love the medieval Celtic cross, so I created my own using vintage cogs and gears.  The earrings are brass icons teamed up with vintage unused stock cross charms.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Had Fantastic time on my Trip!

We decided to take a quickie long weekend to St. Louis, but about a week before we left, I got granted 2 extra days of vacation.. so we were gone from Monday night to Sunday night.  Had an absolute blast! We spent a day in KCMO, did some antiquing and visited the steamboat museum .  Then we drove down to Springfield MO, did more antiquing and hit Fantastic Caverns and visited castle like ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State Park.   Spent the night in Jeff City Mo, and had breakfast at a marvelous local diner, Mels Country Cafe.  I think I had the best damn country fried steak EVER! .  if you are ever in Jeff City, and adore Country Fried Steak, this is the place you must go.  It's the local hang out as well.. you know the food is good when it's the local best kept secret.

Then we hit St. Louis for the next 3 days.  Had a ton of fun, special mention to City Museum  .  It's sort of a adult size play area and functional art exhibit.. like 4 + floors worth of a old shoe factory.

The other must do in St Louis is the gooey butter cake.  Specifically the Gooey Louie brand.     You all know I'm a total nut job about bakery treats, but even Jerry was like do they ship these?

I'm gonna have to do some Internet research and see if I can find a recipe for it, as it's mostly a St Louis area thing.

This weekend I have big plans.. namely I'm gonna try to get lots of new stuff made for my next Farmer's Market which is August 12th.

I better get crackin'

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Mermaid Commissions

Back in Late May (?) I had a gal ask me about doing a mermaid piece.  I said sure!! I ended up making these 2 pieces, and darn if she didn't end up buying both of them.

Clock, watch parts, American made brass some pewter parts, and chain.

Mermaids Ahoy!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I'm working on the railroad....

Early idea for the train
OK last post I I showed you my train necklace, I just wanted to tell you more about this.  Back in November I got these great vintage french brass stampings of a train engine.  I loved it! It's the perfect steampunk kind of image!

You can see above one of my earlier ideas ... but I kept playing around with it  - or putting it aside but not completely away, because I really wanted to make something with a train theme.

So Last week I ran across the brass train again, and I had fairies out, and it just clicked.  I mean someone has to drive the engine right?   Who better than a fairy, at least when it's my jewelry.

Before I got my hands on the back.... 
And after I added color and brass!
I wanted a watch or clock involved somehow, because trains made America great -- and it took accurate time pieces to do it.   There are a whole range of specialty pocket watches made specifically for train workers.   I have had a few pocket watch faces that were train types but I've already used them in other projects.  The great railroad pocket watches tend to be more valuable and don't get pieced out... and I only recycle responsibly.  (you can read that as if it's pretty or functional- and not a adding machine, cause even the pretty adding machines are butt ugly- then it's not on my chopping block)

All finished

So I fished around and found this cute square face from a old alarm clock.  The back was pretty ugly, so I decided to add patina and then brass to make it look nice from both sides.    I added another clock part in the front, and it might be hard to tell from the picture but I have small watch gears in front of the train wheels.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Adventures this weekend

Train necklace, fused glass and my popular bird necklaces,
 I had 13 projects lined up, and I didn't get them all done but I got 9 of them done, as well as a few earrings that I hadn't planned for.  And I've laid out probably my most ambitious statement piece ever, but I'm trying to decide if I'm happy about it or not.  So come this Saturday at Farmer's Market  and see the new goodies!
I've been working on this guy off and on for over a 2 months, and I'm so pleased how it turned out.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

This Weekend I will get these done........

 I hope!! Next weekend is Farmer's Market and I want some new big pieces to wow folks.  So Wednesday I carefully set out the pieces to 3 projects I've been working on off and on for a month or so, and then some quickie earrings and a couple of other things I needed inventory wise.  I come up with 13 pieces, and my goal is to get them done by Sunday night.  Thursday I got absolutely no work time, but Friday night I got a good chunk of time.

 I wish I could say I got everything done - I only actually got 2 earrings done -  but I feel good, I've made huge progress.

 In this pic you see things I'm gluing.  Now most of these pieces will be riveted as well, because I cannot find it to trust glue by it's self.  But I like to use glue to reinforce and sometimes to hold delicate pieces in place so when I rivet I won't have to worry about it shifting.    So this picture shows a bunch of stuff drying, with pressure for a good strong glue bond.  Tomorrow I should be able to finish up the rivets and add chains and clasps and maybe dangles and embellishments as needed.   The little round containers have the pieces that aren't being glued.. that way I can find them when I'm ready to assemble the pieces.  Nothing is worse that finally having all the pre-work done and then you can't find the damn things you are working with!!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A lazy but productive day.....

Version one, in antique brass colors.  
I love Saturdays like this!! My wonderful darling daughter is off having fun with relatives, and my hubby is off with the guys gaming for the day.  So I get to keep the home fires burning, just me and the cats.

Jerry thoughtfully got me treats at the store, so I have food for the day, lots of cold pop in the fridge, and my air is already chugging away trying to make the studio tolerable.  I got to sleep in til 10am

that bears repeating.... I GOT TO SLEEP IN TIL 10AM!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOHOOOOO!

sorry, I get emotional about my sleep :)

The last 2 weeks I've been burnt out I think.. we are half way through show season, I've been working overtime at my day job, and it's been hot.. humid and hot.  at least every other day.  You know Iowa, one day it's really hot and humid and the next, it's 30 degrees cooler.  Or it's all in the say day.  You know, typical Iowa weather.   The humidity just kills me, I wilt, and don't move much.

Any Terry Pratchett fans out there ?   You know his trolls right?  They are the typical trolls, stupid, slow, lumbering, etc.  At least at warmer temperatures.  You get them in a freezer, and they are scary smart and articulate and actually have grace.

I'm a Terry Pratchett troll.   I get too hot and the humidity is high... I hardly move, I lumber in place and I speak in few words.  Get me at a nice comfy temperature and I'm witty and funny and intelligent and I move a smidgen  faster.  Yeah, I'm really not a fast mover regardless of the temp.

Version 2, in silver, and with beaded chain.  yummy!
So honestly having a studio in my attic and having only a small window unit to cool it down.... it gets uncomfy up there at times in the summer.  ( and then in the winter, I use oil heaters.  No heating up there either.. but I'm much better being chilly than warm)

I know know... once must suffer for one's art... but where does it say I have to sweat???

I hate to waste money, so on working days we turn the air on 1-2pm, and it's still warm when I finally get up there around 6-7pm.  But it does cut the humidity.

So Today, since I get to play allllll day, I set the timer for 8am.  as soon as my brunch is done cooking, I am going up and I will work on inventory.

Since my brain is a limp noodle of late, I have a list of top inventory needs, like navigation rings, to work on.  I'm hoping just being up there and the mojo will kick in and I'll make needed inventory items but have a "magic" piece or 2.

Eitherway, I'm gonna have a lovely, quiet, peaceful day in my PJs.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Planning my Trip

Elegant design featuring a clock gear and a vintage crystal in a wonderful barrel shape.
I don't have another show until July 22th, so now I finally have a few minutes to rub together I need to spend time planning the family vacation.  Nothing huge this year, just going to St Louis for a few days to relax, antique, and try what apparently is one of St. Louis's delicacies.. butter gooey cake.

Hotels are booked ( all on points yeah!!!!) and now I'm planning out activities.  I have friends ( Hi Cathie ! Hi Sue!! ) that make fun of my planning style , but my family loves it.   Our ideal trips incorporate hotels booked in advanced and 1 to 3 planned activities daily, with lots of time left unplanned to have some spontaneity - or just relax in the hotel if we are all feeling low energy.

I budget the trips, but I do so in a way that no one else has to worry about the $$ but me, and I always build in a healthy cushion just in case something kewl shows up.   I also save up money through the year, so when vacation time rolls around, I don't have to scramble for dollars.

 I have a total dollar amount that can be spent each day, and as long as we don't go over that, we can spend as much as we want to.

We have 1 hard rule when the BarronMiller's go vacationing.. we always know where we need to  be at the end of the day to sleep.

This means I usually spreadsheet the $ and the activities and print it out for the trip, though the last trip I just used my cell phone to track everything, and that worked great.

That way everyone has fun, I don't have to worry about over spending, and I always have a pillow for my head at the end of the day.  And I don't have to worry about a huge credit card bill when we get home.

I don't understand why anyone would want to take trips and not plan !!!!!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth!!!!!

Commercial sea glass and silver fairy - recycled silver chain for necklace

Have a great day - celebrate your country and your family! Me -- we are making home made maid-rites and corn, and Jerry and I are watching TV together while he destroys stuff and I create stuff.  Living the American Dream baby!