Monday, November 29, 2010

Aqua crystal necklace set -- more Vintaj Brass

I made this set last week in prep for my upcoming Black Fri sale.. I sold the earrings and the bracelet there. I think I have enough stuff to make another bracelet but it won't be exactly the same.. what would be the fun of that?? And another pair of earrings... Maybe it will part of the stuff I'll bring to the Gallery (Sat. Dec 4th 12-5pm)to demo, or maybe I'll stick to wire wrapping. I haven't don't as much wire wrapping lately, mostly busy and really into playing with the Vintaj brass and some vintage pieces. with the Vintaj pieces I use wire alittle, but it's not the same as wrapping with sterling. I got a commission to wrap a donut in sterling, and now I've got the bug to play with sterling wire again. Lovely, fluid sterling! I've got 3 different sterling wire projects laying on my studio desk to work on this week.. between glass cutting, getting ready for the Gallery visit, taking pics and getting new items up on Artfire , working on commissions.... and of course all the normal day to day items like house cleaning, day job and being a wife and mom. Not complaining, just wishing I had more time.....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ramblings - Black Market wrapup & Christmas Gift ideas

First I want to think everyone involved with Market Day - Black Friday . Cat, Scott, all the other vendors, and the customers... it truly was a fun and exiting way to spend Black Friday, way better than fighting the crowds at the mall. Market Day just keeps getting better and better, and I for one am extremely grateful I get to be a part of the growing Indie art market scene in Des Moines!

I for one want to keep that spirit alive this Christmas season... So I've been messing around ArtFire and Etsy looking for gifts to give, gifts I want and just good gift suggestions for the people in your life.

On Artfire I found this incredibly cute Ipod pouch on artfire, from a seller ArtfulBeginnings . They are hand made with hand dyed silk, the design is gorgeous and she offers these in several different colors. I bet if you contacted her, she could make one specifically for you in your favorite colors! I love the color blocking. It's a good price, and there isn't a woman alive who wouldn't enjoy one of these pouches. And the silk is recycled from other items, so it's a green gift to boot! So check out ArtfulBeginnings on Artfire!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

BLACK FRIDAY sneak peak!

Here is a sneak peek of new items premiering at Black Friday - Market Day !! Happy Thanksgiving, and see you at PappaJohns tomorrow 9-2pm!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My glass load from monday nights' firing!

I'm sooo pleased!! my glass load went so darn well!!

Here is a shot of all of them. Now the first layer was 4 donut cabs (which if you want to see close up, check out this blog entry!) and the tree cab..
The 2nd layer, on top, were mostly 2nd run cabs that needed to be fire polished, or "fixed" because of alittle scum on top (you can read about that in this blog entry) or had sharpies that needed to be rounded out. they really turned out well! I also tried something I've not done so far before.. add wire in the firing process, to make pendants loops in the glass.pretty kewl no? I think this one will be on artfire very very soon!

If you notice this pictures are pretty good, well I've been working on that as well. I think I finally have enough or close to enough light to take good pics. I've also switched photo programs recently, and I've been playing around with that. I love some of the kewl effects you can do with it, check out the "negative" cab close up below!!


CAB A method: stacking little pieces of hand cut dicro with some clear carefully balanced on top and lots of praying.

Hey Kathy! sorry this took so long, it's been sort of a bad couple of weeks.. but I'm getting back on course now. anyway here are the 4 cabs I made for your inspection. Let me know which one you like the best and I"ll get it made asap w/ sterling wrap!!
CAB B Used some glass fusing glue and strips of dicro layered with some regular glass, and then strips of clear layered over that.
CAB C this cab was made out of a single piece dicro, which I cut into strips and then cut clear over it.
CAB D This first went into the frit mold, and then I reran it in the kiln with clear. I think I overdid the clear...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The goal today....

is to make some glass cabs and glass donuts. I actually have a commission to make a donut, it's just well, this week hasn't been a happy week for the BarronMillers you know? Anyway, The top picture is the kiln table. The purple stuff is mold release in frit molds that are drying. The release keeps glass from sticking to the ceramic molds. It should dry for at least 24 hours before using them in the kiln.
This picture is one of my candy corn cabs that had a bad spot. Sometimes the top layer of glass goes frosty and scummy. It's not easy to fix, as the chemistry of the glass has actually changed in that spot. The best method I've found so far is lightly sand or grind down the spot, clean really really good, and then re-fire with alittle frit on top and hopefully the ugly stuff goes away. Doesn't always work. You can use a glue to gently hold the frit in place, which also has to dry, which is what is going on here.
These are glass shards from a glass blower's studio. I love to incorporate these into my designs! Some of my best cabs have bits of this in them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

still struggling to create....

I'm still feeling alittle maudlin, and out of sorts. I had to make a necklace for my daughter's friend's birthday, and that was an effort! I got it done, but I'm not happy with it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, I think right now I won't be happy with anything. As much as I want to get things made up for my last art show of the year (Black Friday Market Day) I think at least tonight I won't force it. It rarely works to force creativity anyway, even under the best of circumstances. Tonight I think I will clean my studio, and maybe pick out beads for the upcoming beady garage sale in January. It's very peaceful and meditative to sort beads, and who knows, maybe something will spark my interest! To keep my blog current, I present 3 pendants from my back log of photos. This top one is Mookite, and sterling.
Blood stone and sterling.
tiger eye and sterling.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hard time being creative right now

My Mother in law passed away on Sunday. I love Sandy, as she is author to all my happiness in a deeply significant way --- I married her son 16 years ago and had her granddaughter 14 years ago. She is out of pain now, and she will be missed.

Until today I've been dealing with it very well. Sunday was all about being at the nursing home and being the support person for my family, including my sister in law Karla. Monday was dealing with the funeral arrangements, and running errands all day. The memorial service is tomorrow ( Thurs 18Th) 4:30 -7pm at Radiant Church at 717 e 26Th st in Des Moines.

Yesterday I went to work, and that was a grand distraction, for all that I seem to spend most of the day just talking to people about it. I'm afraid my work quality suffered!

Today I'm home by myself, and it's maybe starting to sink in. I'm not crying or having fits; instead it's a quiet awareness that there is a hole in my life somewhere. Maybe it's not a big hole, but it's there. It's hard to be creative with the backdrop of constant thoughts and feelings about Sandy banging around in my head. I think I will just be depressed in a low level kind of way for awhile. My mood rather matches the dreariness of the weather today- no sun. No rain or snow (yet) but you can feel it's coming. And it's cold!

So I guess I haven't been dealing as well as I thought, I think maybe I just wasn't dealing.
I do know I will be OK, it's all part of the grief process. I worry most about my daughter. This is her first grandparent to pass and she's taking it pretty hard, when she allows herself to think about it.

I do know that tomorrow will be very hard, but we will be OK, because we will face it together as a family. I know that Sandy would have wanted that.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I've gotten behind in my blogging this week. In an effort to catch up and use some pics I've had on the pile for some time, here are 3 pendants. As I have time, I play around with backgrounds to improve my photography. The first 2 Pendants were all taken on a bright red background with strands of pearls used to sort of "prop" the pendant up for better viewing. I actually liked the idea at the time, but maybe the pearls make the background 2 busy?
Third pendant is fossil jasper, named after well, all the little bitty fossils found it it. (Some fossil jasper just looks like little fossils, this one is the real deal) All 3 pendants are made in sterling silver.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Time to get new stuff in the Art Store....

I'm planning on rotating my inventory at the Art Store this weekend. I've done pretty well there, but I've picked out some items that would make great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers! For example, here are some PMC / fine silver earrings made with my own hand cut and hammered ear wires. This top pair I made using a music stamp, and the bottom have a nice line of flowers going across the middle with a pearl hanging down. I'm also taking some of my new vintaj brass items, and a variety of wire and stone pieces. So Next week, stop by the Art Store and check out my new set up!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Newest Passion.. Part VI

This will be my entry, for now, on Vintaj. I need to make more stuff before I can really blog on it! LOL Despite my love of color, I think this is my favorite piece to date. The large crystal is in a champagne color, which is very delicate, warm color, and harmonizes perfectly with the warm tones of Vintaj brass. With bailing pliers I very carefully folded and bent the large dragonfly around the crystal, and then wired it to the other pieces. I made very slightly asymmetrical by using another dragonfly on the ride side. I liked how it looked so much I ended it with chain.

I've really enjoyed working with Vintaj and plan to order more. I want to play with the coloring aspects more ( and I'm going to try the inks on more metals) and I want to explore more crystal wrappings, maybe in red. I think the contract between red and Vintaj would be excellent! And blue, and purple and.......

My Newest Passion... part V

Vintaj and Pearls!! what more can I say????

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Newest Passion... part IV

This lovely set features a large painted and inked butterfly which I didn't actually do, it was in a goodie bag from one of my orders from Vintaj. However I was so inspired by this butterfly, that I attached it to this filigree, colored flowers and 1 leaf to match and used vintage rhinestone headpins to attach them. And I made matching earrings, and I did the coloring on these butterflies! I sold the Necklace last weekend, but I still have the earrings. I still have a few butterflies, so my brain is entertaining making something to to with the earrings....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Newest Passion.... Part III

OK, and this is true probably of all metals, but I discovered this with Vintaj natural brass, and it looks FAB on the brass and boy, I"m rambling!!

Here's the deal, you can paint the stampings, with acrylics and with alcohol inks! I love the inks!! They come in 20 + colors, and they work so funky.. because they are alcohol based, they don't blend, they sort of "chase" each other as you add another color, so you can get incredible effects. It makes me think of tie-dye really. To intensify the color and seal it, you can use resin or resin like products. Here are three of the color projects I've worked on in the last month.
These earrings are one of the first projects I did, to test out the inks. ( I bought a 3 pack of inks to try out... now I have 21 colors!!) It's hard to see in the pics, but I used a stamp and ink pad to add black swirls in the background, let them dry, and then dabbed acrylic paint on 3 corners for texture. Then I started adding the inks. Finally I sealed it with glossy accents, which is a very fast drying resin like product. (not sure I would recommend for projects you need a good dome on, but for fast and dirty, it works great!) Now the colors I used didn't exactly turn out to be the colors I ended up with, but it looked really Autumn-ly to me, so I used black, orange and tourmaline colored crystals to accent them.
This pendant started out as a blank . This was pure color experimentation. I used a combination of acrylics and alcohol inks. I let it dry, then I added a pearl ink on top.. very fun! it bubbled up and mixed everything up! Then I sealed it in, again, it looks very little like it started out as. I topped it with another Vintaj piece, and added crystals in matching colors with Sterling wire. I think it turned out stunningly!
This pendant is "U are are the key to your dreams" . I used metal stamps to make the words on a blank, and another Vintaj piece shaped like a key instead of the word. I used again a combination of paint and inks, and sealed it. Now this took longer to dry, as I layered the sealant much heavier as I was "gluing" the key to it. Added a large, heavy ring as the bail. There is a really delicate color effect on this one.

More tomorrow!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Newest Passion.... Part II

Earrings made with Vintaj products!
I Love the scarabs, I want to make me a pair!! Now here is the thing, Vintaj carries scarabs just like these, but I actually bought them elsewhere. They have a lovely delicate color and go great with the vintage glass opal like cabs. The brass ear wires are Vintaj.

The keys are in the darker "arte metal" collection at Vintaj, and I wanted them opposite for earrings. So I flipped one over, and then hammered both of them to give them more of a rough look with consistent texture on the front. Red velvet Chinese crystals.
More tomorrow!

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Newest Passion..... part I

There is a company call Vintaj Natural Brass. Now the funny thing is I've known about this company for years. Back in 2003 when I had a booth at Bead & Button they were handing out samples to vendors. (I still have that sample pack!) At the time I wasn't really interested. At the time I mostly sold beads and did just a few jewelry shows. Most of the jewelry I made was stringing or seed beads. Brass stampings just really didn't trip my trigger. The only metal I dealt with back then were clasps & spacer beads! I was all about glass, crystals and seed beads.

Seven years later things are different in my life. I still love glass, crystals and seed beads, (who doesn't?) but I love other stuff too! I do 20-25 art shows a year, and only sell beads and findings as destash. I love to make jewelry, and I seem to be picking up more and more skills in different branches of the jewelry making family tree.

When people ask me what style of jewelry I make, it's sort of a hard question to answer. I usually settle on wire wrapping as that's my main love. But I have many passions... glass, crystals, seed beads, gemstones, metalsmithing, hammering ( I love love love hammering!!), glass fusing, and now --- playing with brass components.

I've been thinking about it for 5 or so months now. I think maybe it was all the research I did for the resin class for the Girls weekend. Part of the fun with resin is putting stuff in it, like stampings and such. I have a couple of Plano boxes full of vintage/ old stock stampings and metal bits that I've not touched in years, probably since I bought them. I dug them out looking for bezel settings and decorations for the resin, and as any beader/jewelry maker knows, just digging through a box you've ignore for a while can get the creative juices flowing!

So I finally broke down ordered a small mixed lot of Vintaj stuff off one of the etsy sellers. She had shipping problems (no fault of her own) and in my impatience to finally have some to play with, I opened a wholesale account directly with them and placed my first order. The first 2 necklaces I made sold at the next show. I didn't get pictures taken, hate that!

So last month I placed my 2ND order, and I'm seriously considering a 3rd this month. Of the jewelry pieces I've made since, I've probably sold half of them. Not only do I like making jewelry with these components, people like buying them!

One of the things that is so exciting about the brass is you can paint it!! more on that in future entries, but I think it was the added color element that finally tipped me over. The Vintaj website is very generous with ideas and suggestions on what to make with their products.

This is my bird necklace. The ring says "hope" on it. The Vintaj pieces are the bird, the hope ring, the leaf and the clasp. The gun metal chain I think balances nicely with the coffee colored fresh water pearls and black matte seed beads. I added a few black crystals for just a touch of sparkle.. (see, still love crystals and seed beads !!)

Matching earrings, I really love these little birds from Vintaj! I only had 2 from a sample pack. I really want more of them!
Matching bracelet

While you can buy brass stampings at many companies, Vintaj's quality is fantastic, and the lovely brown shades are part of their own own process that you won't get anywhere else.

All this week I will be blogging about Vintaj and brass stampings in general. If you aren't ready to dive in a wholesale account with them, I am selling a few Vintaj components on my artfire site. If you want to buy from me you better hurry.. I might end up using them myself!