Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What Cheer Report

 A couple of weeks ago Jerry and I did the huge and glorious What Cheer Flea Market together to gather new jewelry supplies --also known as stuff Jerry gets to rip up so I have parts to play with.

We had an excellent hunt! 
Left to right, optometrist set, loose small stuff, old clocks, old victor adding machine, 3 giant bags of costume jewelry, more clocks, more small stuff, all piled on the domestic sewing machine table.

Here's a picture of the whole stash ... the "table" it's one is a domestic sewing machine in table ... and we just barely fit all the stuff on! 

One of the big finds, is a complete optometrist's set of testing lenses.  These are extra sweet...  they are all brass and all of them are in great condition.   there are no maker markings that I've found yet, but I think they are older than the set we bought a couple of years ago.  We even got the eyeglass frames that you put the lenses in!
Got several clocks - some have actual jewel movements which makes them more like large pocket watches. 

 This is my favorite clock... it looks like a small AM radio.  I'm not sure I can bring myself to ripping this one up for parts. 
 This picture shows some of the misc. small stuff I got.  Some watches, some keys, little boxes  (the blue in the lower left corner is from the 1920's or 30's -- it's got a flapper like lady golfing on front.  very kewl)
I also bought a few odds and end of vintage jewelry, including a big almost 20 lb buy that including this fantastic chain in it... see the lovely detail on the rings? 

One of the dealers we bought clocks from saw a couple of owl necklaces in the bag and offered cash/trade for them.

So we traded stuff we bought there for other stuff!

Made me feel like a real picker.

As always, we didn't make it all around the market, but I felt like we got great stuff!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Farmer's Market On Sat!!!!!

Sneek peak -- new pieces just in time for Farmer's Market !  The earrings dead in center have typewriter parts that are just over 100 years old! They are from a 1915 typewriter.

I really like the watch face earrings on the right.  Made from 1928 brand unused old stock faces, blue crystals and vintage french brass that's 50-60 years old.  These are one of a kind.. I only had  pieces of this brass shape.

Come see these and more in person at the market 7-12pm Saturday.  I'm on 4th street south, across from Hy-Vee. 

See ya there!

Friday, August 3, 2018

I MUST write a blog...........

Recent bracelets - all new materials on this set.  Most of these are gone, still have the flower I think.
I will be honest, I really have nothing to say, but I'm making an effort to get back to writing on my blog 2-3 times a week.

Things are going great business wise, despite only doing about half the number of shows we used to do.  Farmer's Market continues to be a blast, The gallery (Five Monkeys Inc By Roosevelt High School) is doing well, and I've even sold the occasional piece of jewelry on my etsy site!! 
Tonight I'm meeting with a client for a personal showing.  

So The business is in good shape.  Its that time of the show cycle though, I'm half way through, I get tired and I feel like my creativity is dead, and it's hard to get excited about spending time in the studio.  ( doesn't help when I forget to set the timer on the air conditioning but that's a whole other story!) 
But I have hope....  tomorrow we do our big flea market adventure, and that always gets things flowing again... I have every expectation we will find something wonky and kewl to play with on our journey.  If nothing else, I get to spend the whole day with my man, which is most excellent.  With his new work schedule, I don't get to spend much time with Jerry and I MISS HIM.

Sure we see each other at shows, but that's not exactly quality time together, just us, is it? 

So here is my blog entry.  I made it.  Time to meet up with the customer, and then maybe the studio won't be so sticky hot anymore by the time I get back.  (turned the air on when I got home) 

Have a great weekend all!  

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Happy Anniversary !

Tomorrow I celebrate my 24th wedding anniversary to Jerry.

I can't believe I've been with him now almost half my life.  It's amazing, and humbling and overwhelming. 

I'm truly lucky and blessed and all the lovely words in the world -- I'm so happy he's apart of my life and my family.

Love you!

I wish we could celebrate this event on the actual day, but since reality is a jealous beast, we both have to work like normal.  Instead we are doing a flea market / garage sale run next weekend, just the 2 of us.  Going to the What Cheer Flea market, which is huge and fun, and we will shop til we drop, eat pie ( a vendor there has fantastic homemade pies!) hit the Pella bakery for goodies, find some kewl local joint to eat something new, and just generally enjoy each other's company.

24 years and counting.

I can't wait for what's next!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Farmer's Market This Saturday!

This weekend, July 28th, I have another Farmer's Market!

So I guess I better go to the studio and some new stuff done! 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Tis the season of necklaces

I cannot keep fairy/angels in stock.. they sell as soon as I make them
 I've been making jewelry for over 20 years now, and I've been doing art shows for 16+ years, and after awhile, you start to notice trends. 

Earrings are always popular, but long or short goes in cycles.  Some years bracelets are the top seller, and some years everyone seems to want necklaces.

Again, this is a TREND... which means while I'm selling more necklaces this year than last, I'm still selling anklets and bracelets.. just not as many.  But I'm selling necklaces like hotcakes.

I'm good with this, as making necklaces is probably my favorite type of jewelry to make.  My necklaces tend to be one of a kind, even when I set out to make something over --it's not going to be the same.  One of the reasons I adore playing with vintage goodies... it keeps it fresh, interesting, and I rarely make 2 things alike!

So I'm a happy camper.  This weekend I'm gonna catch up on chainmaile needs and then I'm gonna focus on more necklaces.  I have a week before Farmer's Market, so this is the time to play!

Happy weekend guys!
3 necklaces I made up recently using clock parts, watch parts and recycled jewelry parts.  All three are gone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I'm getting old.......

One of my newer pieces, vintage clock gears, vintage pocket watch face
 Well I have 1 word for how my 3 day show went: pain.

Jerry and I both feel so old, cause 3 days shows, even when everyone is super friendly and happy and want to spend money.... 3 days is just too much stress on our poor old bodies.

Doing shows is hard work!

If you are outside, you have to deal with possible weather extremes and smokers. ( No  comments that I'm being mean, I have asthma and I just can't be around it.  It's a health issue)

Inside you deal with lighting issues.

We have to load the car, unload and set up in the space, and when it's over load the car again.

Here's what's gets hauled around for a typical show:

3 tables
6-7 crates of displays and selling materials. 
2 heavy and large metal shelves
bamboo coverings for the tables
cash box
2 heavy bags of jewelry supplies so I can customize on the fly during the show
2 bags of jewelry
2 chairs
floor cushion tiles
10x10 tent
assorted stuff, usually an extra bag worth.
4 8-10 lb blocks of concrete  (tent weights)

All of this seriously fills up the entire van.  We have enough space for 2 people to sit, 3 if they don't mind having a crate or the cooler in their laps.

I haven't weight this stuff, but I bet it's at least 150lbs pounds. 

Being "on" all the time.  Standing up for chunks of time, or sitting in crappy folding chairs. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful and glad to do my shows, make new friends with customers, sell items and have a good time.

But it takes it out of you, both mentally and physically.  One day shows is fine, it's just the longer shows that prove really tasking. 

Last year and this year both we are doing fewer shows, mostly concentrating on Farmer's Market.  I think that trend will continue. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Farmer's Market this Weekend!

You know, it's been really really hot lately, so hot that it's been hard to work in the studio.  Our house doesn't have central air, and I don't have heating up in the studio... I make due with window units, oil heaters, and fans during temperature extremes.  Regretfully, in this 95-102 degree weather, I sweat like a pig and take air-conditioning breaks.  My bedroom window unit is fantastic, so 10-15 minute cooling breaks make it slightly more do-able.   So this pic is me hanging out with my beady buddy Kya, both of us enjoying the waves of cool air traveling over our bodies.   Some days I feel like moving my studio into my bedroom!! 

It looks like the heat broke finally.. it's still in the high 80's today but it's not quite as humid... right now the weather for Saturday's Des Moines Downtown Farmer's Market sound excellent... high in the mid 80's and humidity around 50 %.. which is higher than I like but compared to last week, it's a balmy day! 

Here's another thing to be excited about -- we have been selling necklaces like hotcakes !  The dragonfly below is long gone, it sold the first FM I had it at.  But I loved making it, I love making bigger pieces where I can really express myself.    I've been hard at work the last few weeks making new necklaces - and earrings - and bracelets.  I'll have a sneak peek later tonight or tomorrow in facebook.

Or come in person to FM and see them yourself! 7-12pm  across the street from Hy-Vee on 4th st. 
 I have a few more that I am hoping to finish before Saturday Morning, and I bet Kya will help me, even if the studio is still warmish!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Mostly Random Thoughts and pics

I've not really felt like blogging of late, but I really need to get back into good habits.  Since I have the attention span of a Gerbil , it seems time for a random thought post. 

First, the really kewl necklace above sold at the last FM, so I don't have it anymore, but I loved that it started out as a old vintage boy scout order of the arrow bookmark.

I loved the shape it had, so building it was really just about making a silhouette that I liked as much as the original shape. 

It's amazing where we find stuff to make jewelry out of.  Today Jerry was paying our parking for work.. which is a downtown church.  Someone had dropped off a domestic sewing machine as a donation.  Jerry asked them how much, they looked at him like he was crazy, but he bought it on the spot.

I love the domestics sewing machines.  They got bought out in the early 30's but they continued to sell the stock with the old branding until they ran out.   I just adore the tag on these, "domestic" in a pretty script. 

I usually just make bracelets out of the tag, but I got a idea of a big statement piece using it.  I hope I can carry it out, it looks fantastic in my head! 

I am a NPR junkie at work when I can.  However for my mental health, I'm thinking I need to limit listening or cut it out entirely, it's just so damn depressing and I  get so furious at the raging hypocritical government we currently have.  Don't get me started.

I'm noticing a trend in commercials, more and more gay couples are being portrayed in a positive, "this is real life" affirming way.  Yeah!    One last year had 2 dads worried about a sick child, and I just saw a Vegas commercial this weekend featuring 2 women getting married.

This means of course that Gay folks are not as cool anymore.. cause they are mainstreaming.  I bet they are OK with this, at least the mainstreaming part :)

So raised your hand if you cried during Handmaid last week.  I dread / can't wait for the new episode next Wednesday . 

I love my hubby.

I'm almost 50.   My body is wearing out.  My soul will be forever.

Asthma Sucks. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Farmer's Market Preview !!

 This Saturday is going to be a amazing day at Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market!  First of all, I"m there, in my normal wonderful spot on the south side of 4th street, across the street from Hy-Vee. 

Second, so far ( knock on wood) the weather promises to be very nice.. not so damn hot and low chances of rain. 

Third, I actually got my butt in gear the last couple of weeks and I've got some great new pieces to share!  You can see just *some* of the earrings I got done in the top pic.  I think my favorites this time around are the copper brass with watch face and pearls.  The drop pearls I used are actually vintage unused plastic ... I know I don't normally use plastic but they are so cute and vintage, so I"ll make an exception for them.   I only had 6 of them, which worked out perfect for these earrings!  I love the vintage watch faces with dragonflies and  purple drop crystals.. those are glass and they are vintage as well. 
 I finally got my Kitty-Fairy done! I've been working on this off and on for months.  I just kept hitting a road block on where I wanted to go with this.. I finally realized I was over-thinking it.  I kept wanting to make it bigger than it is, but it's Practically Perfect just this way ( Mary Poppins anyone??)

It's a lovely group shot showing *most* of the necklaces I made the last few weeks.  Look guys, I got the camera guy done!! I'll blog about it  soon... all pieces in this group have vintage bits -- I had so much fun pulling these pieces together!

So Come down to Farmer's Market   Saturday, Downtown Des Moines, 7-12pm and enjoy the weather, food, fun and art!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day Dad

Dad, Uncle Tom, Aunt Neva, Mom
 I miss you, more than I ever imagine I could. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018


 Not feeling words today, so here are pictures of recently made bracelets. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Blue is my favorite color

Vintage clock gears with part of a blue broach added on 
If you are a fan of my jewelry, you have probably figured out my favorite color is blue. 

Not that I dislike any color -- even orange has it's place.

I love purples and reds and greens ... but blue is the top.  Sometimes I like light blues, or the aquas and the turquoises and capri's, but my favorite of favorites is Cobalt.

Cobalt is a color made for glass and crystal.  You don't find textiles with cobalt, because to really get that dept of blue you need the reflective qualities of glass.  In fabric and other items, it sort of gets muddied up or it's royal blue rather than a true cobalt.  (IMHO)

I'm not alone in my love affair with blue -- you can find beads that are over 4000 years old that are blue.  A survey of color favorites in the US has blue on top by a wide margin.  Even worldwide blue edges out the other colors. 

So what's your favorite color? 


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What's on my desk this week

Here's my starting pile for this week.. a mix of big and small necklaces, a few bracelets and earrings, even a chainmaile piece.
So I don't have a show until June 23rd when I once again get to have fun at Farmer's Market   When I get breaks like this it's wonderful cause I might be able to actually look at some larger projects.

One of those is my camera piece, which I have worked on and off for weeks now.  I really really really want to get it done! 
Before I started on the camera 
 I'm getting close.. all the pieces have been decided on and I've started to add them on in the proper order .    Below is my rough mock up.  notice the eye in the lens , the key in the open hole  (and I believe I've worked it out so it will turn freely in place ) Inside of the little brown fairy I know have a fairy face.  Since it's a Kodak/brownie movie camera (8mm probably 50's ?) I thought it would be cute to have a fairy stand in for a "brownie" even though in folklore they are not the same thing.  

If you look in the top picture, you can see the "wings" are already screwed/riveted to the back piece.  I've got the fairy attached.. now it's just sandwiching both pieces together and I'll be done.  

Nothing is actually attached yet, it's all pinned into place while I figure out if this is the design I want 
I'm going to make another octopus bracelet as that went very well.  The light socket ( which is from a 1950's singer sewing machine ) I'm thinking lots of crystals to glam it up.

I have about 12 projects total represented in this pile.  So that's what's on my desk right now.

Monday, June 4, 2018

For 5 minutes I dreamed about retiring early.....

Vintage Coin Bracelets

Occasionally at the Day job they offer incentives for "early retirement"

I've never really seriously considered it because who can afford it? But today when it came up I actually did... maybe because I'll be 50 this year.  Not that I think 50 is old... I'm proud I'm still breathing!  I had close encounters with dying as a child so honestly I try to remember it's all gravy at this point. 

Funny thing is, I don't really mind what I do at work, and the people I work with can't be beat.  For where I live the money and bennies are excellent.

But as always it comes down to time for me.

How much happier could I be if I had time to do everything I wanted to do?  If I didn't have to spend time to make a living?  Right or wrong, that's what retiring from the day-job means to me. 

Maybe my house would stay clean without complaint or resentment on my part :)

I imagine a well kept, maybe smaller house for me and Jerry to putter around in.  It would still have enough room in it for his gaming and my jewelry making.  Maybe we would still do a few shows a year, but mostly I would try the gallery route or maybe even wholesale to boutiques.  I could work on jewelry everyday if I wanted ... or take a week off to read books if I wanted.   I could have time to really cook again.

 We could travel from time to time, long and short trips when the mood strikes us.  We would spend evenings together.. something I miss greatly right now since I'm dayshift and he's evening.  I imagine we would only have a few bills -- house, car, student loans etc would be paid off.  I hope our health is OK, but honestly since that's a struggle for me now, at 49 .....

I realize that retirement doesn't really mean that- at least not anymore for most folks.  But it sounds really nice doesn't it?

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Everyone have a fun, relaxing but thoughtful Memorial Day!

This is my kitty Kya.  She knows now to relax, how to be happy -- all it takes is lounging on her favorite person, which is , ehem, me.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Memorial Day, while also honoring those we love who served or didn't,  who are gone or still with us.

I plan to spend some quality time with my kitty, work on some  necklaces for my next show, clean the house (ugh!), Think about my Dad who passed 2 years ago ( and was a veteran of the Korean Conflict) and think about my family who's still will me.... Monday we are doing a big family picnic.. something we haven't done in years.  We used to do them every Memorial day, Dad would man the grill with that grin of his.

My favorite food was "Barron Burgers" .

Dad would mix up the meat with seasonings (mostly garlic salt, onions & pepper )  a few days ahead, and have them pre-shaped into burgers.  It made the grilling at the park quick and easy, and they tasted fantastic!   Add in hot dogs and brats, chips, potato salad and cookies, and anything else folks would bring -- and don't forget the Frisbee for after diner family bonding.

Sometimes we would do steaks, but mostly it is the Barron burgers I craved.

cherish your loved ones.  We only get this one live on earth.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Farmer's Market Tomorrow!!! Sneak Peek

 Jerry and I will be at the Market with Bells on.... same location on 4th street South, just across from Hy-Vee's parking lot.  See ya at Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market!
1920-30's or earlier pocket watch regulator.  

Pocket Watch parts, and a crystal for just that special touch... 

More vintage watch parts dangling on retainer rings 

This is my new bigger piece... dragonflies dancing in the air around vintage clock gears and crystals bits.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A day in the life .......

Really nice vintage watch movement with crystals in a lovely silver bezel.
Tell me if this sounds familiar!!

Sundays are my main day each week to sleep in.  I cherish this, so even if I wake up fairly early (today it was about 8am)  I either try to go back to sleep or I read in bed or something.

I finally got out of bed around 10:30am, had breakfast, cleaned up, took Jerry to work, came back and got close to1-1/2 hours in the studio... prepped 3 pairs of earrings to finish later, and worked on matching up some watch part pairs for other earrings. 

Then I brushed my teeth, grabbed all my mom stuff - bill info, checkbook, and a double handful of new paperbacks for her, and ran Jess out to work, did mom's grocery shopping, Stopped by Culver's to get Me and Mom lunch, and spend some time with her..  I go out to her house almost every Sunday at least... I help her with her bills writing checks and  balancing the checkbook, help with any computer issues (hardware usually gets bumped to my brother Kit) I take out her garbage for the week if needed ( Kit beat me to it this week, yeah Kit!!)  I spend some time with her, give her books cause at 87, her main love anymore is reading books so I try hard to keep her supplied.  I got home around 6pm, and since I have to pick the kid up at 8pm from work ( and Jerry at 10pm) it seems like a good time to get my bills done and get a blog up, since I skipped Weds and Saturday doing my blog.

It's now 630pm, so I have the choice to -

1/ work on jewelry
2/ work on the kitchen
3/ fold  a week's worth of laundry
4/ make a grocery list and get my family's shopping done
5/try to get as much of all the above done.  All this by 735pm, because that's when I need to leave to get the girl.

I write this not to whine ( OK maybe a tiny whine) but to illustrate why no matter how hard I try, I just don't have time to get everything done. 

I know I'm not special in this way, I know I have it comparatively good actually.  Some folks have way way worse schedules and time issues.

But I sure would like to get more time to play in the studio on a Sunday!

Monday, May 14, 2018

working hard on earrings

I'm working hard on earrings, I'm up to 23 so far since I started on Friday, and I've got my big piece started... I'll probably try to finish up on the earrings through Wednesday and then really go to town on my big piece.  Then if I have time I have a couple more bracelets I want to do and maybe a few smaller necklaces -- all before my next show and Farmer's Market on May 26th.

I'll try to have some of the new earrings in pics on my next blog, these earrings are some that got made before the last farmer's Market. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Starting point for this weekend

OK, another quickie, but that's because I'm working in the studio!

My goal this weekend is to make 30 + earrings and get the layout for my next big necklace done.   

Now I love earrings because they can be quick and easy, or really elaborate but still usually pretty quick to make.

So you can get creative and flirty with earrings but it's still not a huge chunk of time ( well maybe when you are going to do 30 + ... but still!)

Bigger projects usually take me weeks, because working with real vintage materials just takes longer. 

I usually spend some time researching what the vintage part is, so I have some idea how old it is.  I'm telling stories here, so the more info I know about the item the better the story will be.

I also want to make sure I'm using materials that are safe.  Some vintage stuff cannot be used because the materials are considered dangerous now.  Or maybe it's fragile and easily broken cause something is old and brittle... so I have to be careful how I use it to minimize damage or harm to my customers down the road ( which is why I use small light bulbs in earrings but no where else... even though I'm sooooo tempted...  I have some really kick ass designs in my head for them but I'm afraid cause they are fragile.)  (and yes, I've seen those bracelets made out of old xmas tree lights and all I can think of is how much that's gonna hurt when it breaks )

So my big project will be built around this camera front piece.  So that's where I'm at this weekend.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A quickie....

First, I had an absolute blast and fantastic Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market on Saturday and I cannot wait til my next one.... May 26th. 

Sold a bunch of everything really, but especially earrings, so this weekend I'll concentrate on earrings first.... but I have a couple of necklace and bracelet designs lurking around in my head as well. 

So of course this blog has pics of stuff that are not earrings!!!

Top is a simple necklace using a angel "coin" my mom got somewhere and a vintage bezel.  The key is also recycled from broken jewelry bits.

Bottom is a vintage pin back that I added the watch face and cameo to.  This sold last week.... one of these days I'll sit down and really get some pins out, since I've only got 2 right now. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

1st Farmer's Market is this Saturday !!!


I've been bustin'..... something... to be ready in time. 

Every year my booth changes around to some degree.  Last year we did a bunch of changes such as adding bamboo table mats which worked great!

So this year I just tweaked a few things.   Still I feel better when I can spread it out in my studio to get a good idea how it will look.

So here is a sneak peek of one of my tables:
 The "new" part on this table is the suitcase in the back.. it's actually a sax case from the 1930's.  It makes a great raiser for the busts!

I have a couple other "new" displays, or displays worked in a different way than last year. 

And I have buckets full of new jewelry... here are some crappy pictures but you get the idea!  See ya 7-12pm this Saturday across the street from the HY-Vee parking lot on 4th st.