Saturday, October 20, 2018

chainmail pics

OK I made these a couple of months ago, I'm just catching up on my photo files.  I really like this pattern though... it's the same in both bracelets, but looks so different because I used different sized beads. 

Love how just playing with sizes you can so completely change the look on chainmail!

Monday, October 15, 2018


These necklaces are based on a very old concept, medieval or older. 

In a great house or castle, the Lady in charge was once called a Chatelaine.  She often wore a belt with little bits attached to it, pretty much showing who was in charge... things like keys to the store rooms, little pouches of this or that, money, knife, household objects like scissors.  Eventually the belt /chains with attachments got the same name.. Chatelaine.

Think of a female batman with the bat belt!

Through the centuries down to probably 1900's the concept continued and somewhere fizzled out. 

Before it breathe it's last gasp, it was very popular in Victorian times, more as accessories than actual practical day to day applications.  They made them as long pendant type necklaces with small scissors, smelling salt containers, sewing kits and such.

This is my interpretation of a Chatelaine. 

The ball is a locket and opens, so you could put messages or something nickle sized in it.  I added a vintage Key and a coin charm.

I could have added more, but I  thought it looked pretty balanced with just those items. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

getting ready for my LAST FARMER'S MARKET OF THE YEAR!

 I'm getting ready for the last Farmer's Market I'm doing this year.. sniff sniff!

I admit the weather is looking ify right now, but even if it's less than prefect, we always have a good time at Farmer's Market.  Food, shopping, good vendor friends... it's all good!

I've got a bunch of new stuff ready to go... and I'll be across the street from Hy-vee on 4th ST south, just like I've been allll year.

I've even give you a hint! I'm in the coupons this week! wooo !

do you know how to get coupons for farmer's Market?

It's easy... text 46986 and type in the message line “Market"

every week during Farmer Market they will text you up to 6 vendor deals for that Saturday.  SWEET!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

We all need some Magic in our Lives....

It's been a really tough week.  To approximately 51 percent of the population, I don't need to explain this.

So we can all use fairy  magic, kindness and good heart right now.

This fairy necklace has a vintage pocket watch enameled face and a clock gear that I added just a touch of patina. ( fairy dust?)

The heart is salvaged from vintage jewelry, probably not super old ( 80's?)  but added a nice touch.  The chain is actual clock chain.  I ran across some unused chain from a retired clock repair guy.

So here is my good wishes to all that's really had to struggle to deal this week.  I feel you. 

Whatever good vibes my wand can grant, I give to you.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Bats in the house

I wish I only referred to my awesome bracelet and earrings, but alas, we get bats sometimes.  Since we got the roof repaired 3 weeks ago, it's only been 2, so maybe we finally got the access closed up again.  Occasionally one comes in through the fireplace.  The hazards of living in a 1920's house in a well treed neighborhood. 

Bat's are actually great creatures, I just don't really like them flapping around inside my house.  But these guys, as jewelry? Cat's Pajamas!

Before the roof got fixed - yep 3 of them.  (total that day was 6)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Soul Music

Made with a vintage saxophone key,  opal, vintage brass, and chain.

I like how it looks like the sax key and the angel are  being "lifted" by the double winged serpents .  That's how good soul music played on a sax should be... lifting you up.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

If only you could bottle time........ and Planned Parenthood Booksale!

I know I've made these before, but each one is soooo different! This one has both vintage clock and watch parts in it, and I added a clock face charm.

But unfortunately  I can only bottle it metaphorically.   (word for the day anyone?? )   I never seem to have enough time to get done what I have to do and what I want to do.

Now that I'm feeling better, this weekend I want to make fantastic jewelry and sort through my personal books and get them donated Monday to Planned Parenthood for the Fall booksale October 18-22th.

Now I'm not going to argue over abortion in my blog, other than to say it's a very tiny part of the overall health services offered by planned Parenthood.

If a person has strong objections to abortion they should be the front line supporters of Planned Parenthood -- because they prevent more unplanned pregnancies year in and year out by providing birth control at low cost in a positive environment.  They help prevent the spread of diseases.  They help catch cancer in women, often at earlier stages leading to better medical outcomes.

In so many areas, Planned Parenthood is the ONLY venue woman have for health services.

They are under attack and in Iowa one of the ways they fight back is BOOKS!

The Booksale has been going on for over 40 years, because I remember going with my Mom every year when I was a kid.  (and now as an Adult I try to get her there as well!)

It's Huge!!!! the take over the whole 4-H Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds and it's filled to the rafters with books, DVD's, records and magazines.  If you love books, it's magical!

So I'm gonna help out by donating a bunch of books, and then I'll help out by buying a bunch at the sale.

OH, I am donating some beady books as well :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Today my baby is 22.  So we did girl's night at home.... Chicken wings, pasta and brownies and watched Last Holiday.

The meaning of life is...... Butter.

Happy Birthday my Babygirl!

Monday, September 10, 2018

What's on my table this week

 It's late, and I'm running behind like I usually am.  but I really am trying to get my blog back to 3 times a week, so here is a quickie.  The top picture is stuff I've pulled to work on a few weeks ago, and I'm slowing picking stuff out to actually use... and the below pic is what's actually on my desk right now... flute parts.  This flute I couldn't date, but I'm guessing is 1950-60's due to wear and what the case looked like.  It's not as old as some of the flutes we have had but I would guess it's in the worse shape, part of the body was actually kind-of.. well, bent.  just slightly, but I can't imagine that helped the sound quality.  This is one of the What Cheer buys from August!

One interesting part of the flute is most of the keys were in sets' of 3.  So I'm getting a bunch of earrings out of this flute ( the first flute we got every key was slightly different sized... again part of why I think it's newer.. if the keys are more uniform then it's probably cheaper to produce them)

Jerry has kindly cut the keys off, and now I'm doing some extra filing and sanding for smooth corners and I'm cleaning them up and polishing them.

I'll definitely have new flute earrings for Farmer's Market on the 24th!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Space Evy

Foot release lever from sewing machine, 1950-60's broach and butterfly.  I wanted to create the picture of a butterfly landing on a flower in a field of them.....

One of my Sisters is in the process of buying a house.  Naturally I helped her look for one...  which in hindsight was a mistake, because now I keep looking at a new house for ME and that's not going to happen.

My other Sister is hard at work renovating her house and creating a new bedroom and craft room for herself.  I get pictures almost daily of the progress. 

It makes me salivate, the idea of getting some work done on my house, assuming I just can't get another house.

When Jerry and I moved here, we were like this is our forever house.  We were never ever gonna move. 

Now Jerry just has one word when the subject comes up: stairs.  As in this house has too many.  As much as I hate to admit it, I'm starting to have mobility issues or at least pain, and stairs are not my friend.  At some point hauling stuff up and down 3 flights of stairs isn't going to work anymore.

When we bought this house, my jewelry empire fit into a couple of drawers and a couple of shoe boxes.  I had no dedicated space for making stuff.  The first couple of years of my obsession it fit into a rolling set of plastic drawers that fit in the closet.  I would just roll it out when I wanted to work on stuff.

At some point, I had so much stuff I took up the spare bedroom, which is the smallest room in the house.

When my stuff threatened to overflow that space, we got a contractor in and remade the attic space as my studio. 

I really love my house, and I love my studio.... but Jerry, darn his hide, is right.  At some point going up and down all those stairs isn't going to be practical. 

So I've been facing the idea that this isn't my forever house, and I've found a couple of houses on the market right now that would be just about perfect for my family and my business.

Timing isn't right right now.

And I find all of this kind-of depressing.

And I look around my house and think how the space isn't working as well... how I really want a fully functional kitchen.  How I can't stand how cluttered the first floor has gotten.

The worse part of depression is how it just sort of freezes you in place.. how it sucks your ability to move to make decision or get anything done.

So  the first thing I need to do, regardless if this is our forever house now or we move sometime in the future, is to make our space right now better. 

I hate housework, but it's time to put my big girl panties one and just get it done.

So get it cleaned up, get the little things that are bugging me fixed (the things I can get done via a handyman for just a few bucks.  The kitchen is 2 big a fix.. but the hole in my studio? that's doable )

We need to get rid of the graveyard of dead mechanicals, formally known as my living room.  I want my living room back.  We have a bunch of empty sewing machine tables right now.. we have room and use for maybe 4? and have like 10. 

The cats have completely destroyed the love-seat.  Maybe I can find something used that won't pretzel-ize my budget?

Little baby steps.  That's all I can do.  But maybe if I get enough steps in I'll actually get somewhere.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Earrings - just earrings

 I've been ranting / whining a bunch lately, so here is a blog just about my jewelry-- earrings.

I love making earrings, and while I probably love making them with watch parts more than anything else, it's good to stretch and make earrings out of other types of parts.

Above are cogs from a adding machine... the hole in the middle is raised like a tire hub.  I carefully put crystals in the whole and then crystals all around the hole and I love how they turned out.  They kind of make me think of the 1950's cluster earrings !   but these are made from gears!!

This picture shows a wide variety of parts... the first pair is from a clarinet, then the moon and crystals are from a sewing machine, the bottom pair with the ruler? that's actually from a type writer and  top part is loose washers from jeans? I think it was jeans. 

The last part on the far bottom is adding machine cogs and drop crystals.

the back pair is my famous time in a bottle... with watch parts.

Monday, September 3, 2018

This Post is a Whine-Rant. (whimper) you have been warned!

Vintage Adding Machine parts as Earrings.  
Let me start out by saying I'm just fine now, thanks.

Then let me whine.. I have Asthma and I hate it and it sucks.

Or rather, it doesn't suck... it doesn't blow either.  Asthma is when your lungs decide to not work right and they don't grab oxygen and pump it to your other body parts. 

I've been diagnosed with Asthma now for over 10 years, and honestly I've had breathing issues off and all my entire life.

For the most part, it's doable.  It means I need to be aware of my environment at all times, because my asthma can be triggered by smoking, hair spray, flowers, perfumes, cleaning products and a wide variety of things. 

Seriously, I've been triggered by someones hair conditioner 7 hours after they had their shower.

So if you are standing by me and taking to me, and I start to shy away and put distance between us, it's probably cause something you are wearing is making me twitchy in a bad, "oh dear I can't breathe" kind of way.

Please don't take it personal, I know my lungs are defective.  Now you do too!  Isn't shinny new knowledge fun?!?!?

So for the most part, if I can stay away from the triggers I don't need to even use my inhaler.

But like all chronic diseases occasionally you have a bad day.   A day where you wake up and there is a 25 lb SOMETHING already pressing on your chest, and it's hard and hurts to take a full breath, and it's tight, and scary I know one of these days I'll end up in the hospital.  Soooo looking forward to it.

You use your rescue inhaler, and you try not to move for awhile and try to figure out if something is triggering it or if it's a bad lung day and your just going to struggle the whole of it.

Saturday was a bad lung day.

I've had quite a few bad lung days this summer.... The humidity doesn't help.  Humidity hasn't ever been my favorite thing but the last few years It's becoming hard to deal with.

I seem to struggle more when it rains ... change of pressure maybe?  Or it kicks up all the plant stuff?

Not sure.

I had to miss a Farmer's Market this past weekend, which really sucks.  I hate the idea they think I'm not reliable. 

In the last 20 years of doing my jewelry business... I've only missed 4-5 shows due to illness.  Most of them have been in the last 6 years as my asthma gets worse.

Yet another reason to limit the number of shows I do.   I look back at the 25+ shows I use to do years ago and I'm amazed at that person.  Where has she gone?   I wore her out I did!

I think my current schedule of 10-12 shows is probably all I can get away with anymore.  Add in Jerry's work schedule and it's a miracle we are getting that many in this year.

OK I'm done, I've spilled my spleen, I feel better.  Maybe.  I'm going to finish some pieces for the gallery today, so that definitely makes me feel better.  Happy Labor Day!  So glad it's not Labored Breathing Day!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I had such a great evening tonight!!

 I got to play tag along kid sister ( I'm 49) to my sister Gretchie ( ageless) and her friends!  I got to invite one of my buddies as well, and we ate out and then watch Mamma Mia II which was so much fun.

I'm gonna be listening to ABBA tomorrow at work for sure!!

It's just a fun fun happy kind of movie, just like the first one. 

Some things just make you feel lighter inside, like ABBA music, good food and friends and SISTERS!

And to tie this into jewelry making, some pieces just make me feel happy.  This recent necklace is one.  It has an Egyptian theme, and just a touch of the steampunk. 

Just the balance of the piece makes me feel joy. 

If it doesn't sell in the next few shows, I might just have to take it home and keep it.  Some pieces are just like that.

I kind of hope all my jewelry brings people joy and happiness.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cuffs for Farmer's Market !

 Just in time for Saturday's Market, I whipped up a whole big batch of new cuff bracelets!!   Here
's a few of my favorites.
 This cuff the tag is from a off brand Victrola record player... from 1915!!
 A Singer Sewing Machine medallion from a 1920's machine, with wings!
 I love this lion face! it's a brass drawer plate for the pull.  Gorgeous!
This just makes me laugh! I got the tag loose off a big buy of stuff  from a local shop, and this was in it.  Check out it's a Des Moines Business!!  And a fish on it! how kewl is that??

Come see these new cuffs and more in person at the Market, 7-12 Saturday 8/25/18!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Colorful flowers that DON'T make me sneeze.....

 I know I recently shared I've been a tad down and burnt out.  So my solution?  Make happy, colorful and cheerful flower earrings!!  Top picture shows me laying out a bunch of resin pairs to play with. 
 Sometimes I want more color so I add it using patina paints or like this picture, alcohol inks.
This picture shows 1 earring of each pair I got done.  Some of these will "premiere" this Saturday at Farmer's Market  , but I ran some of them over to Five Monkeys Inc Gallery here in town!

This Pair is at the gallery --- and one of my favorites.  I got this great greenish/teal color using alcohol inks and the patina on the middle layer of the budding... the picture really doesn't do it justice!  here are more that are at the gallery... you can look at my whole collection of jewelry at the gallery here!

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.