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!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Earrings, earrings earrings at Farmer's Market

I sell tons of earrings at Farmer's Market  which gives me the perfect excuse to make tons of earrings!   I love making them, and I love when I can make them absolutely unique, one of a kind!   Using vintage materials like I do.. even with I remake the same design it always turns out different because the materials are so different.  This top picture shows a variety of earrings, most made with vintage parts like keys, bobbins, and parts from old phones.
I love making these flower earrings, and people seem to love to wear them.  the colorful flowers are so fun to play with and some I hand paint.  I try to make each pair slightly different, by mixing up the colors and the findings I use on them.

My current favorite pair of earrings from the newest batch of them.  I just love anything with wings, they make me feel so free.  That is what I think of whenever I see something like this.. dreams flying free, freedom to dream, the key to your happiness, etc etc etc.

So come on down to Farmer's Market this weekend and buy your favorite pair!

Monday, June 26, 2017

B-52's Tiger Necklace now at Five Monkey's !

Every once in a while I gotcha make a big statement piece.  I started with the wings and I started to play around with other things to add to them... found this great giant tiger head with the hint of wings already... added a cog, then added more cogs and propellers and realized I was thinking of WWII planes and all the great art that got painted on them.. usually by the crew members themselves.  There was even a group called the fighting tigers (though all the planes seem to be tiger sharks, instead of tiger tigers.  Very kewl art! )   but I did find this picture : 

Below is my layout, before I  start to make holes and rivet stuff together.

Originally I was going to have the tiger head swing freely, but I was afraid it wasn't sturdy enough that way, so I ended up added another screw rivet right on top.
Just another view --- you can see this piece in person or buy it online at Five Monkeys!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

More Sewing Machine Jewelry

First is is a singer sewing machine tag bracelet.  This already sold this past weekend, I just can't seem to find old broken singers fast enough to make these tag bracelets.  This one had an interesting shape, most of them are rectangular, and this time I used a black filigree for the backing.  I thought It turned out pretty snazzy if I say so myself.

This second piece is affectionately known as a 'fish wrench" cause it looks like a fish shaped wrench or a wrench with a fish face, take your pick.  These show up in older model singers, the newer models the "wrench" shaped piece is much larger and it looses the fishy quality I adore.

Last up, my absolutely favorite of the bunch.. this is my "One eye, one horn, flying purple people eater"   I loved that song growing up as a kid.. my dad and I would sing it together ( along with Chantilly Lace, both by the Big Bopper)   This is a singer sewing machine hinge... you know in the older sewing machines were often mounted in on a table, and made to flip up when in use and fold down into the table when not.. usually the sewing machines have 2 hinges like this that did that.  The long part actually moves back and forth, so it can be the nose or the 1 horn, as you prefer.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cuff bracelets

This top one is the leather strap from a late 40's early 50's brownie camera.  The cuff below is part of a metal measuring tape.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Amazing Homemade Chicken Alfredo

I love Pinterest!   Not only is it a great tool for sharing my art, getting inspired and learning techniques, but it has amazing food on it!  I Love chicken Alfredo, and I pulled a great recipe for it off Pinterest a while back.  it's not hard to make, just takes some time to do it right.  I also gave great care on how I prepared the chicken for it... I made the crust using Parmesan cheese.   It was yummy!   If you are interested in the Alfredo sauce recipe it's right here    note: I didn't add any salt as requested and I think it turned out perfect.  Course I use salted butter,  

Tonight I'm just gonna have tuna and crackers, I don't have the time I would need to make Chicken Alfredo today.

To make the chicken, I use the Parmesan cheese you get in a jar  -- you know dried and grated finely.  I use zip lock bags to do the "shake and bake trick" .  I clean the chicken, pat dry, then dip in raw eggs with 1/4 teaspoon pepper mixed in.  Then I put them in a bag with flour, and shake til coated.  I dip them in eggs again, then put them in a bag with the Parmesan cheese and shake.  I cook them in half olive oil and half butter.  If you buy the tenders ( or cut down the breasts) they only take 5-6 minutes to cook.

Soooo yum!  Just cook your favorite noodles and then toss it all together, add a dash extra cheese on top, and there you go... a fantastic homemade tasty diner.  For the health nuts out there, just add a salad to make you feel better about eating pure sin in a bowl.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The last of my resin batch

I finally finished up the last piece from my resin batch.  I actually had this sketched out for over a year and then when I decided to get enough pieces pulled together for a pour I remembered this one.  This is the first time I've used resin on paper, and I like how it turned out, so I might have to do more.

The frame is 3 strips of brass that I etched and then riveted together to form the triangle.  I used tube rivets because I wanted to use all 3 corners to attach the chain and a dangle to.  Then I picked out paper to "fill" the frame, a old ceramic watch face.  I felt it needed just a dash of color, so I painted up a small dragonfly and added it to the mix.  Then I poured resin everywhere!  I wanted the resin to protect the brass as well as the paper, so it overflowed the frame.  This is where using professional jewelry grade resin is a huge boon ... once it's fully cured you can saw it!  you can even polish it up like a stone.  So I carefully cut around the border and then sanded it to a nice soft edge.

Still in the future I'll know better how to do this and not go over the edges as badly!

All I really needed to do at this point is add chain and the dangle, but for some reason it just never made it in the "pile" to get finished until a couple of weeks ago.

So what do you think?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My starting pile this week 06-14-17

 I participate in a group on facebook that every week we show our what we are working on, and then during the weekend we share what we got done.   I can't do it every week, but I love when I can.  It helps me focus for one thing.  So I'm going to start sharing these "piles".   This pile is mostly earrings and 2 big pieces.

Since I have Farmer's Market this weekend  (everyone do a Kermie YEAHHHH!!!) I don't know if I'll get the big one on my table done, but here is the lay out I'm thinking about:
I have some of the earrings done already, and I'm working on the new owl piece as well.... and I have some fantastic pieces that got done last week... future post I'm sure.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


I made these last month, I'm trying to catch up on the photo pile.

Both of these are ladies... the cuff is leather with a vintage filigree topped with a vintage keyhole with a vintage picture.  I love the concept of people peeking out of keyholes, so I thought this picture was perfect for this keyhole -- you see one eye and part of her shy smile.  I covered the photo ( which if you are curious was a reproduction) with mica to protect it.

These ladies needed some glam.  I very carefully added some vintage rhinestones to the back plate.  I could have glued the ladies on, but I left them loose and swingie, so the earrings have great movement.

I've had a great  break from shows and I've made some really exciting new pieces, which I'll start doing "sneak peaks" over the next few days on my Facebook page.  You can see them in person this Saturday at Farmer's Market in Des Moines!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Random Thoughts

etched copper wings, vintage skeleton key and copper wire.

I've had a grand weekend, I finished up a large project, a couple of small ones, and I've got another large piece laid out -- I'm still complicating it but I'm feeling pretty good about it.  pictures coming soon!

We had a 90th birthday party for Jerry's Grandma -- that was pretty special.  She's a sweet sweet lady and so happy to see all her family and friends gathered together.   Social gigs like this are not Jerry's favorite, but even he couldn't complain that celebrating her 90th was special and necessary.

We got our foundation fixed this week --- it's already dryer in the basement.  I can only hope that it helps my health issues if my basement is no longer a giant petri dish of mold.  Now the stuff they put on the walls for extra water repellent -- wow! stinky!! I've basically had to live up in the studio this weekend to avoid allergy and asthma complications, but honestly, hanging out in my studio is one of my favorite things anyway.   Still I'll be very grateful if my asthma calms down.  The last couple of years my control is crappy.

Jesscera and Jerry got a great buy at 1/2 price books.. the first 3 seasons of Warehouse 13.  I'm currently doing a Bones marathon but I'll probably do Warehouse next.  Course I keep thinking about joining Hulu to watch Handmaiden.  Anyone been watching this?

Jerry cooked supper tonight... crock pot Lasagna.  Yum!

It's almost 9pm on a Sunday night.  Worst time of the week... I have to switch gears from the weekend to work.  Ugh.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Let me tell you about this piece.  First the big pretty aqua and silver Dial is the thread tension wheel from a 1960's sewing machine.  Normally "newer" machines like that don't yield much as we get into the age of  plastic.  But this sewing machine had gorgeous sky blue / aqua color accents, and this part at least was metal.

I've been really stressed out this year, I won't go into the details cause it's private, and boring to anyone besides myself and my family,   Making jewelry is one of the ways I keep sane.  

So I've been thinking about stress and the pressures that modern life bring - and how tension and pressure are antonyms for each other.

Even good things can be stressful.  Like thread tension, it has to be in balance, too little and whatever you are sewing the stitches won't "stick" together and you are wasting your time.  But if you have the thread too tight, you could break the thread, or even the needle.

How often do you feel like the needle is gonna break on you ?

I put the propeller on the tension wheel because life has felt so out of control lately, all the pressure is flying wildly out of control.

She's holding on to her dreams with both hands, cause that helps you get through all the stress and tension (and thread and needle) breaking that happens in life.

The lady has flower earrings, which are washers for rivets holding her in place.  I thought that was a lovely decorative touch.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Rain baddddddd

Farmer's market was truly lovely - except for the last 30 minutes when it rained cats and dogs and got everything, and I mean everything! wet wet wet.

I've never seen Farmer's Market pack up so quickly!

So my studio right now has towels laid on the floor and jewelry carefully patted down with paper towels and allowed to dry some more on those towels.  I don't think anything got damaged so that's good, but I'll probably have to replace some of the tags.

Most of my displays will survive as well I believe. We did managed to pack away the vintage wood displays ( well except for my clock!) before the skies opened up and dumped on us.  Some Murphy's oil soap and the clock will be fine, probably looking better than before.

The the only real cost is the time involved making sure everything is OK - safe and dry.  I hate losing time.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

See you at Farmer's Market On Saturday!

I'm so looking forward to Farmer's Market again this weekend, but then we get a nice, 2 week break.  I wish I could say the break was for a long trip or something, but instead we are getting our foundation fixed, and a few minor home repairs done.

I will still get some studio time though, and I have some thoughts...... I got this great sewing machine with gorgeous almost Art Deco type tags on it, and I'm just dreaming up designs for it.  Maybe Jerry and I will hit the big fairgrounds flea market, and of course we have a couple of family events to attend.

There never seems to be a shortage of things I need to get done around here.

So I'll leave you with these heart earrings.  I love this design, it's all new materials but I get to do such fun techniques like wire wrapping and riveting on  one project!