Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Newest Leaf Bracelets

My leaf bracelets have become a staple of my inventory.... I use these great flat leaves as a base to build on, which makes them sort of half cuffs.  I carefully curve them to fit the wrist, and decorate as the mood drives me.  I'm pleased to say that even though I've used some of the same design elements on them, each one is unique.

I lay out the main focus, usually a animal, and then I add cogs, gears, dangling bits until I like how it looks.  

 This pic shows one of the bracelets in progess... i rivet mostly to put these together.

I've never used a cat before, which makes this one extra special.

I've used dragonflies multiple times, but each one comes out with it's own flavor.

Owls have proved to be popular the last year, so I decided to make another one.

I love this brass fairy, she's so beautifully rendered.  I think this one came out the best, she's got such a 3D effect going on.

Monday, April 24, 2017

I'm going to let my Picture do the Talking.....

Yet another lovely new necklace just in time for Farmer's Market 

I'm tired so that's all I got today!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Earings, earrings, coming out of my .......

the first pair has delicate, detailed unicorns ! the end pair is vintage adding machine cog, with crystals, and the middle pair... I ADORE! vintage pocket watch regulators with little angels!
EARS! hehehehehehe

Sorry, I couldn't resist, I know I should try harder, but hey, you only live once, but you can pun a thousand times!   Anyway, more earrings to tempt you with... Downtown Farmer's Market is only 2 weeks away!!! wow!!  I so want to have plenty of temptation for you, so here are several pairs of earrings for suit all types!
Lightbulb earrings, all blinged and worded up!

Dangling vintage watch cogs, Paris and clock face, and another lightbulb earring

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Vintage Button Rings

My stash is large and varied, and boy I really need to use up some of it.

So here are 4 rings made using "vintage" buttons from the stash.  the all metal silver button with the flower on it is probably Victorian,   The MOP is pretty old as well.  It's hard to date buttons because most of the styles and types were used for YEARS,   And There are sooo many of them!

The navy button was sold to me as WWII.  I have my doubts on that, but it's all metal so that means it's at least much older than what would be on current uniforms.

The glass one it's extra hard to judge.  The dealer that sold it to me told me it's vintage, but I know that buttons like this had huge popularity in the early 90's and several Czech companies "copied" old designs, in some cases using the original molds that were 100 years old.  I'm guessing it's a "authentic" reproduction,  so it's definitely in the vintage style.  So vintage or not, these rings represent just a quick look at my 3 boxes of buttons.  Three boxes of buttons, and I've lost count of boxes of beads, stones, cabs, and now bunches of vintage parts.  Boxes I get to go through as time allows to fondle and dream and create with.  (And some just to hoard.. I admit it)

Some days I just have the Best Job in the 'verse!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Just for Fun

As a artist, some pieces have deep meaning to me.  I use my art to work out emotional conflicts in my life, to try to understand the meaning of the universe and share my discoveries with others.

And sometimes, it's just pure, unadulterated fun!  I would place this owl firmly in the 2nd category!  I had fun conceiving it, I had fun making it, and it makes me smile just to look at it.

This piece was made during girl's weekend about a month ago, so right there it has a major leg up on the whole "happy" spectrum.  I took the owl with me and I knew I wanted to use small watch gears in the eye area. Beyond that it just grew organically.   When I put the gears in the eyes, it looked good but they didn't pop.  So I added the cobalt color in behind.  Once I started to pull the other elements in, and figured out the wings were going to be apart of this... they had to be colored as well.

I've had the hat in my pile for some time.  I worked the crystals on it well over a year ago, and then couldn't decide what story it wanted to tell.  So  there it sat in the pile... when the ideas started to gel on the owl I wanted a hat.  I was going to use a crown but none of them looked right.. then I remembered the hat and it fit perfect!!   (however I still want to do an owl with a crown.. hm hm hm)

Since Mr owl definitely had a steampunk vibe going on with gear eyes and all, I added a vintage watch face to the hat as well.

The final touch is he looks like he's perched on something...  so I added the key for that.
putting it all together stage.... 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Feeling Lazy

I can't indulge myself like my Cat Jupiter is in this picture... I need to finish refinishing displays, clean the kitchen, fold laundry, make jewelry, do quarterly sales taxes and a million other things.  But hey, at least someone is enjoying himself right?   And he's still pretty damn cute for a cat, especially going on 18 years old.

So for those who can, go take a cat nap, watch a movie, or curl up with a good book.  I'm gonna go get stuff done.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Been in a "fowl" mood.....

hehehehe, I love puns!  Seriously, and more specifically, I've been in a owl mood.  I've made 3 owl pieces in the last month.  This is the big one, and it actually started as a sketch, sort of.  Early last year, I started this owl on a vintage porcelain pocket watch face.  Since it's porcelain I added an extra layer of resin on top of it, since porcelain can be very fragile.  Then I didn't know where to go with it.

If you actually follow my blog, you know that I'm trying to finish up UFO's (UnFinished art Objects) the last couple of months.  So my brain has had this incomplete owl and watch face lurking in my brain... I had a dream during the night of 3/17/17 -- and it was massively weird dream, I won't burden you with the details - but I woke up and drew the below sketch.  This design was the most normal part of the dream actually.

It still wasn't a complete idea, but at least it got me started again.  I thought I would build a larger necklace using a wing with the owl and face on it, and add stuff til it looked right.  That is seriously how most of my pieces get built lately.. I just start laying stuff out and eventually it looks right to me.

I have these large wings, like 6 inches across, but it just didn't look right to me.  the width of the wing was 2 skinny, you couldn't see the wing under the face.. and that ruined the look I wanted.  So I dug some more in my pile and found this great feather.  I also added one of my large old clock gears in the background for more visual impact.

I laid out a bunch of watch and clock parts until it looked good to me... here is what I liked layout wise.

Then it was time to actually construct the piece with rivets and screws and a touch of glue.  I mostly use glue to hold stuff in place when I am using more delicate materials.  Since the owl is already on the face, I didn't want this face to move.  it's screwed and riveted just in the middle, so I used glue to keep the 12 at the top.

Here's the thing with layout vs. actually constructing the piece... things often change.  In this case, as I was drilling holes for the screws/rivets, at one point I flipped the feather in the other direction.. and l liked how that looked even more!  So some of the other components had to be rearranged as well.

This piece has some real 3D layering going on, and the top small gear spins pretty well.  I used some new heavy brass chain I recently found... I'm really pleased how this all came together.  This Piece will be one of the "big" necklaces making it's debut at Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market May 6th.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Just a Quickie

So I'm 1 month away from my first show -- which is the opening weekend of Downtown Farmer's Market   (wooo hooo!!!!!!!!)

Traditionally this time frame -before the start of the season- I start freaking out and working like a mad woman.  Alas, this year is no different.

So this weekend is all about inventory, and getting stuff done and figuring out what are the most pressing, glaring holes in my stock.

So I'm off to spend several hours in my studio despite what looks like excellent weather outside.

Please, enjoy this fine spring day.  And I'll see ya May 6th at the Market!!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

More flower earrings now at Five Monkeys!

Yep that's right! Yes, I've hit the mad woman stage of show prep, but I'm not gonna forget my favorite local gallery, Five Monkeys Inc.  This Saturday Dina is having a Garden themed sale, so I figured I had to get in some flowers earrings!  Now these pics show pairs I've made in the last month or so... I took 6 pairs in, so go in and see which ones she got! Go this Saturday and see all special artsy garden stuff she's got -- and all the art from 50+ Iowa artists.  You won't be sorry!

Now I need to add more flower earrings to my list of stuff to make before my first show 1 month from now.  Yep, Crazy Mad Woman stage!

Monday, April 3, 2017

And the modeling award goes to.....

Recently on Etsy a customer wanted to know what the necklace would look like on a real person.  So here is my lovely assistant, aka The Daughter, rocking the necklace.

You know what? It sold that same day.  Thanks Sweetie!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Updating my Booth Display

So Today was all about mocking up my booth display and test out some of the new ideas I have for it.
I've long been tired of my top drapes being so influenced by the wind.  We have little clips we can add to the table cloth on windy days but it looks kind of tacky.  So I've been thinking of other solutions including such things as weighted table cloths, and try to upscale my booth in the process.  I think we got !

You can see the contrast in the above picture.  The aqua drape is the old, the bamboo surface is the new.   It won't be flopping around in the wind!  I love the dark, rich texture the bamboo gives, and I think it goes great with the vintage vibe we try to have in the booth.. since most of my jewelry has vintage pieces in it!

So here is a sneak peek at two tables.  I won't guarantee you will see exactly this when you come to my booth this season, but I think I've got it almost there.  We are not using the singer sewing machine box this year, nor the cash register drawer.  Still have the adding machine case for bracelets though.  See the great clock in the background?   I used that for awhile at the gallery, and we liked how it looked so much it's now apart of our regular display!

The other kewl new "old" display is the radio on the other table.

Now that I've worked through most of the layout, I know what I need to fix and replace.  I also have a rough count of the pieces of jewelry I need to have a full display.

Now I've got to pack it all away again.  UGH.  At least it's not in the rain :)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

And now for Something Completely Different......

OK for most of you that are following me, I make jewelry that's steampunk inspired, which I call Mechanical Romance.  I used real pieces of history in this jewelry, because my hubby and I cut up old mechanical like typewriters and clocks and use the bits in the actual jewelry pieces.  If you are new to my jewelry, feel free to look around my blog entries and you will quickly see what I am famous for.

I started making this kind of jewelry in 2012 or there about, but I've been making jewelry for almost 20 years now, and I've gone through several styles and types in those years.

I started out with seed beads and bead weaving, then quickly added stringing, using crystals, gemstones and pearls, gradually moved on to silver smithing, lampworking ( making glass beads myself) glass fusing, wire-wrapping etc.  I've "majored" and "minored" in multitude of jewelry making techniques, and overall my absolutely favorite kind is cold connections... rivets and wire --- which is how I construct most of my mechanical romance pieces.

But every once in a while I get a hankering to revisit older passions, and I guess that explains this necklace as much as anything will.

 I originally started this probably 4 years ago.. I pulled together 50+ different types of pearls, crystals, and findings, Then I got into my Mechanical Romance phase, and this whole project got bagged up and more or less forgotten.  Last year I decided to really get through the huge pile of UFO's (Unfinished art Objects) and of course ran into what had to be 3 lbs of beads and things shoved in a gallon sized zip and almost bursting at the seams.

I loved the copper toned themed I had going on, and I've never lost my fondness for pearls, even though they don't come up much in my current work.

I found this glorious vintage hand cut chandelier crystal, which I wire-wrapped into a filigree type finding.  I loved how it looked! I even blogged about it... then promptly lost my way again on it.

The problem seemed to boil down to - since it doesn't fit my current jewelry line, I didn't want to commit the time and effort to make it.  I only have handfuls of hours before my season starts, I cannot "waste" it making something that won't fit into my MR (Mechanical Romance) line and therefore won't probably sell.  The only thing I really wanted to do was a large multi-stand pearl necklace, which isn't MR in any way.  It just didn't give me a MR feel - I just couldn't put it in a MR round hole when it wanted to be a parallelogram pearl peg!

I took the heavy zip with me on my annual Girls Weekend, and showed my buddies this poor, never gonna get finished piece, and said I really wanted it off my back table,  Since the crystal is vintage, I reasoned I could just slap chain on it and it wouldn't be too far outside my line.

My Buddy Cathie had a flying fit!  She's like it needs the whole pearl and crystal treatment, it's crying for it... just do it!!!

How can I ignore my bestie?

Honestly how could I ignore what the pendant had been telling me?

so I made a large, 3 strand pearl, crystal, and copper beads necklace.  And it looks fantastic!  I'm very glad I made it the way it needed to be made.  I still have a necklace that I'm going to have a hard time even putting out on the table because it doesn't go with most of my stock.  I've worked really hard the last few years to make my table offerings cohesive, so it feels like a step back on some level.

But sometimes I just need to make something that I don't have to file down, sand and possible seal before I use it.  Sometimes I just need to feel the silky smooth fresh water pearls between my fingers.  Nothing is as lux as a really nice pearl necklace.  Sometimes I just want to string in pretty patterns, and finish a piece the same evening I started it.

So it's in the back of my mind again.. I want to play with pearls!  I have boxes and boxes of them.. while I've destashed some of my beads, strangely enough the pearls never seem to make it to the sale pile.

So while I'm working on inventory, I'm thinking about pearls incorporated with gears.  it has to look right.. classy and elegant, yet fit into the MR brand.  I have made a few pieces that fit this idea, but I haven't put serious thought into it.  I think I have a few designs lurking in the brain box that would work... maybe a classy, steampunk wedding line, for those who want to be girlie-girl in a white wedding dress but still have a nod to their favorite normal styles.  The whole reason I call my line Mechanical Romance and not just call it steampunk is I didn't want to be limited to just the "steampunk" style, and I didn't want to make jewelry that just has a watch cog slapped on it.  I still want to create art.  I still want to make pieces that make my heart sing and maybe someone else's heart as well.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Time in a Bottle on Etsy!

You can buy it here!
Before my computer had it's issue, I'll started to list some of my current line.  My thought was to get it up on Etsy and then blog about the new stuff.  And then my hard drive took a dive.. so I'm trying again.

One of my favorite designs is "Time in a Bottle".  All kinds of vintage watch goodness in little glass bottles with corks.  The best part is I came up with the name before my husband did, and it really bugs him cause he thinks he has all the good puns.

I love love them because of the name, and they look kewl.. and they sooth my heart that wants to use up all the little itty bitty watch parts I've been hoarding, wasting none.  Some of these are not practical in my other designs, but putting them in itty bitty bottles? Fab-U-lous !
and the matching earrings!
So wear some history... run to Etsy and buy them now!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Elegant Fairy Necklace and Sat Morning Musings

This is my version of the Fairy Queen.. the back butterfly is old french stock, and the detail is fantastic on the filigree.  I added extra patina, and then riveted the fairy and cogs.  I love how the butterfly antenna became her fancy crown!
So it's 1030 am on a Saturday morning... a dreary Saturday morning - and I'm in a pretty chipper mood.

I've already bought some supplies for future jewelry on Etsy at some decent pricing.  (if you are curious, a vintage 40's adding machine, old souvenir spoon lot and some kewl brass stampings)  My kitchen is about as clean as it gets short of mopping, I have a movie date later this evening with my Mom (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MA!!!! ) to see La La Land  and breakfast is left over Chinese.

I get bonus points because last night I laid out about 10 projects for inventory, and I think I can get about half done before I need to clean up for my date with Ma (HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN  MOMMA!!!) After all the hard part is done... chasing down my "ingredients" (aka jewelry components, watch parts, and stuff to make the pieces)

I have 6 weekends left before my first show, so it's really time to get crackin'.

I've been thinking hard about display changes for the year.  I'm hoping next weekend I'll get to spread it out and do a mock up of this year's display.  I like doing it at least a month before so if I need to replace busts and such I have time to research and buy them.  We are retiring the singer box display and the cash register drawer displays, so I have almost a table size footprint to play with.  One of the recent flea market finds is a old radio, and it's probably gonna be apart of the new display.  We have bought a few other odds and ends at flea markets specifically for displays, so this gives me a chance to pull it together and see if it looks good.

Tomorrow will be more inventory making, and more house cleaning (blah) Maybe go to Mom's (HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mommy! ) for a few hours, which I do most Sundays.

So what's your plans for the weekend?  Whatever they are, enjoy!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Catching up on my photos

I made these pieces in late Jan, early Feb, right when I started to have all the computer problems, so I didn't get much chance to blog about them then.

The necklace on the left, if you look closely, has a little girl peeking out of the keyhole.  That little girl is... I have no idea.  A couple of years ago I bought a jewelry lot, in a actual jewelry box, and this beautiful little girl was in it.  The picture was actually cut up, only have this girl in it, about 2/3rd of the picture was missing.. it looked like 2-3 people were missing.  In my head I make up stories about this, Why was the photo cut up? Who's missing? Why did it get left in a jewelry box with a bunch of costume jewelry?  What was her name? Was the jewelry hers or her mom's or what?

I think this sliver of  a photograph was as intriguing to me as all the jewelry in the lot!

I always knew it would end up in one of my pieces -- so when I was making this necklace I knew I needed someone to peek out of it.. and I remember this girl.

The bracelet in the middle are all wheat pennies, carefully wire wrapped into a charm bracelet.  (Penny for your thoughts!  Hey, maybe the girls name is Penny?? ) I bought the pennies at a flea market in AZ during our trip last summer.

The last is a clock gear with a Egyptian scarab on it.  I used new old stock vintage chain on this one, love that chain!

Monday, March 20, 2017

I'm back!! with pictures...... recent watch buy

 Computer issues suck.  I've been suffering problems for probably close to 2 months, but the last month has been impossible... the computer would work for maybe 20 minutes at a time, and then die on me.  It would take an hour to reboot and get it going again.  I finally found a local place and got it fixed... by buying a new hard-drive.

They recovered most of my data, and loaded a slightly newer version of windows for me, so I've been working hard the last few days reloading software, checking my back ups and getting things going again.

This is part of the reason my blogging has been so very spotty.  Sure I had my Ipad but honestly the blogger app doesn't work that well on it either... so it just seemed better to wait.  Besides it's my winter break ...  my time to recharge and refresh.

However, I'm gearing up (hehehehehehehe) for the summer shows, so well, I'll try to be more faithful about my blog.  I actually enjoy sharing pics and process and just random thoughts, so I'm actually really glad I can get back into the swing of things.
Kas is trying to help me, I think... 

To celebrate my computer is back, here are pictures showing a recent flea market buy, of over 100 watches to make into jewelry.

 So here is Jerry working hard, taking apart the watch cases, carefully prying off the faces.  Since the best of these will become watch movement rings, I don't want to take apart the actual movements yet.
While the watches above are not being broken down, here's me sorting pocket watch gears after they are taken completely apart.  I make tons of watch part earrings, so I spend a chunk of time each winter sorting like a mad woman, so I have pairs.
Can you spot the pairs? 

Can you spot them here? 
Seriously , it take some major time to find matches , or close enough matches.  But only the best for my customers!!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Key necklaces and semi-random thoughts.

basic old key all dressed up to go to an Egyptian Party!
It's been a long long long couple of weeks... yet another cold, this one got bad, with a side of sinus infection and Asthma complications.  It's just seems the last 2 years I'm getting sick again and again, every 2 to 3 months, and I'm dead tired of it.  It's such a waste of time, and it sucks all my energy.. and I'm whining.  OK done with that.

Next week is my mostly Annual Girls Weekend Trip! this one has a kicker.. the hubby is coming with.  He's planning to Hang with the guys mostly, so I guess we will see how it goes.  he says he needs a vacation too, hard to argue that one.
Vintage key, some paperwork, old token and pearl.  This has a different vibe that most of my work, but I like it 

I'm having a hard time dealing with having that guy as prez.  I seriously want our Country to be OK, but every time I hear his voice I just cringe, and I doubt.  I seriously think anti-depressants are gonna be at a all time high in 4 years time.  Good investment maybe?

I haven't been making much jewelry the last few weeks ( see the sick part) but I have been dreaming!  I only remember fragments, but just maybe I can get one or 2 to pan out.  I keep thinking about a gal running through the woods, only the trees are not trees but giant, half melted/battered fiber conduits.  I keep having dreams with this recurring image.  I think it's art... I think I can make it art?  It's probably all the free form anxiety I have right now about life in general, and work and everything.   The gal running is all in white of course.  couldn't be a proper techno-Gothic dream otherwise.

It's also possible I'm overtaking my cold meds.

The wild Tiger population is recovering according to my Hubby.  He wanted to get in the random thoughts .

My blogging will probably be spotting for a few weeks -- I'll promise to be more faithful after my trip!

Love hugs and peace y'all .

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Works in progress

Just a few things on my back burner that I'm working on...
I really like where this is going, but I wanted to add color to the butterfly, cause in my head it's like almost a "bow" the gal is wearing.  I've got a great patina on the insect now, and I'm hoping to get back to this one this weekend.

This old knife is hollow --- Jerry has cut it now, and I've cleaned up the edges.. so now it's sort of a giant bead.  Not sure what I'm gonna do with it yet... 

I mostly need to add chain to this, and complete the bracelet.  I put the last coat of sealant on it today, so maybe this will get finished this weekend as well

OK this one I got done last weekend!  but I wanted to share the in progress pic