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. 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Heart locket ring

OK here is a fun one for you... it's a new/old stock heart locket riveted to a ring base.  I added some color, cause I felt like ( actually I'm imagining this color in my hair -- just a couple of streaks maybe? what do you think?)

Now it looks very sweet, but my brain, that very strange organ that doesn't seem to work like anyone else's?

I keep thinking Poison ring -  BAWH HAHAHAHAHA !

Don't worry, I'm not catching...... erm, I think ?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

One Week and counting....... Farmer's Market!!!!

Next Saturday I will get to enjoy waking up at 430am to get ready for Farmer's Market!   OK, OK, I won't really enjoy getting up that early, but I am excited for the first market of the year, and my first show of the year!

I've been working off and on all winter making new pieces of jewelry, and the last few weeks I've been working on booth arrangement.  I'm not making huge changes this year, cause I really like the setup for last year but there will be a few changes.

One thing is I'll have a small selection of beaded jewelry again.  Just a taste!  I've been more in a stringing mood, so I'm indulging that desire.  I'm bringing back a selection of anklets after a 2 year absence as well.  I've been playing more and more with vintage jewelry redo's so you will probably see more of that as the season unfolds as well.

I'll still have my line of chainmaile and of course the focus of the booth will still be my Mechanical Romance line.   But I should have something for everyone this year!

No gears, but vintage jewelry recycled and restrung.


Mechanical Romance baby! 
My booth from last year 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tick Tock Clock Necklace

I really adore this one, it looks like a really old wall clock!

I recently scored a bunch of old French and German brass stampings and filigree.  These pieces are heavy and ornate and unbelievably detailed.  I had 2-3 frames and all I could think of is old wall clocks.  So I added a vintage watch face, and I recycled these funky drops from a 1970-80's bracelet that made perfect looking weights.  Add chain, and it looks like you are wearing a Victorian clock !

I've only got this one done so far, but I've at least 2 more to make, with completely different brass frames.  The lots I've been buying are all rare and mostly 1 piece of each type... so really special and unique pieces. 

I'm keeping my eye's open - I"m hoping I can find a few more old brass stampings that scream old wall clocks at me!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Pocket Watch and I'm running out of time

I actually made this awhile ago-- the pocket watch case is actually a vintage locket that looks like a pocket watch, so I went with the them and made my own version of a fancy watch.  I added patina, the lady's brass face on the front and I found this vintage Cab that looks like a hand painted watch face from the 1770's or something.

Love it!

But I'm running out of time cause Farmer's Market is just around the corner.... so what did I do last night while trying to get a few pieces done before my deadline?  I smashed my pointer finger with my hammer.  It's not as bad as I thought it was last night, but it still hurt like a son of a gun... and it's pretty sore today.  After a full day of typing at the day job, it's throbbing and I guess I'm just not gonna get much done tonight.  It's funny all last week I I couldn't bring myself to getting much done, and this week i"m feeling every so much better and motivated and I smash my finger.


As always, I can't wait to see what happens next.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sorting Brass

OK I admit I seem to be in a creative slump right now.  Normally when I'm down making jewelry helps.  This time I can't seem to get the energy to make jewelry either. 

So I'm finally sorting the last bits of my giant brass buy, and sorting out all the bits of beady and jewelry making goodness that I haven't bothered to put away in the last few months.

And I it makes me feel calmer, better, more centered.  I am not going to put expectations on myself  this weekend, because that will just racket up the pressures I"m trying to get back under control.

But I do hope that once I get the rest of this put away, and clean up my space all the way - I'll feel like messing it up again making stuff.
I will note, these are pictures from this summer.... but my desk looks more or less like this right now, just different stuff getting sorted.

If I'm still not ready to make jewelry -- well maybe I match up watch part pairs.  I'm pretty low on them and I have a bunch of bags of stuff unsorted there as well.  Actually maybe I'll just play with watch parts.  I've been trying to focus on needed inventory holes, and I'm at the stuff that are necessary but maybe not as "sexy" as watch part jewelry.  hum...........

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

souvenir spoon Jewelry

Growing up as a truck driver's daughter means one thing: Dad would bring home little Souvenirs from his travels.  Mom loved spoons and snow globs, so she got tons of them.  Anytime we traveled as a family, she would add to her collection.

I've always been fascinated by them and now that I make jewelry with recycled bits, when I saw a bunch of them at a flea market this summer, I had to buy them.  ( I admit I'd eyed up mom's collection before this, but hey, they are Mom's toys.....)

A couple of months ago, I finally got around to making a few pieces of jewelry incorporating parts form the spoon.  Mainly on the older spoons they had little enameled shields on the end.  I have plans for making more jewelry using the whole spoon but I'm pretty happy with this first batch of jewelry.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

So I had a Dream....

I love the winged goddess greeting the sun on this brass stamping, so I didn't embellish much -- didn't want to loose the impact of the brass it's self.

Or maybe a nightmare.  Actually I call these type of dreams anxiety dreams. 

I've been having huge problems getting out of bed on time lately.  Side effect of one of my meds combined with not sleeping well lately.

So when I get up, it takes me forever to really get moving and feel awake.  It's not like I've ever been an early morning person anyway!!!   So Jerry wakes me up 15 minutes earlier than normal, and then I'm like give me 10-15 more minutes!!! and he does and and I more or less get out of bed on time.  More or less.  If I'm allowed, I will sleep until 11am.  That seems to be when my body wants to really wake up anymore. 

So in this dream Jerry tried to wake me up at 430am for Farmer's Market.   I'm a immovable object.   I'm like give me 15 more minutes!! and He's like OK.  And he wakes me up at 930am.

Farmer's Market starts at 7am.  I'm now 2-1/2 hours late for Farmer's Market.  I freak so bad in my dream I wake up in real life.

It was sooooo real it took me a few minutes to realize it really was just a dream.  It was around 8am in real life and let me tell you, I was fully awake for once.

A couple of days later, with time to reflect I realize it's just my normal pre-show season jitters. 

I am always tense and anxious before the season starts or even from a larger important show.  I want to do well yeah? I know I've been doing shows in general for almost 20 years now, and Farmer's Market for 15+, but I always worry.  It's in my DNA.  My jewelry is such a part of myself, so if I don't do well it feels like a personal rejection. 

And getting up at 430am on a Saturday is scary all by itself.

Actually made this pair a while ago and already long gone -- the stacked watch parts are always popular and boy I hope to get more made before Farmer's Market !

Tea Time... charms all about tea.