Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas to all!

I hope everyone has a great holiday season.  Remember to practice kindness, not  because it's Christmas--  practice it everyday.  We all need all the kindness we can get !

Monday, December 19, 2016

typewriter bracelet - probably my last commission for the year!

This is a typewriter from 1950, pre - destruction.
Close up of the margin bar.... 
Finish bracelet, once cleaned, cut, filed, shaped, and sealed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Battlestar Galactica and Making Jewelry

Costume jewelry necklace missing it's centerpiece cab... so I added a vintage watch face and crystal  instead..  I adore  redos! 
I came to watching Battlestar pretty late in the game... I remember exactly when, we were at a gaming convention in Council Buffs and I wasn't feeling very good or I was over peopled or something.  Anyway, I decided to stay that Sat in the hotel room and Jerry went out and gamed.  I remember we had a great suit with 2 tv's ( This would of been 2006 ).  So I got Chinese and looked around the cable and lounged on the bed and started watching Battlestar.  I'll heard about it, I'd probably caught an episode or part of one.  I've always been a scfi qeek but somehow I'd missed the first 2 seasons...

They had this great recap show prior to the season 3 opener, which was damn helpful.

But the first real episode I watched was Occupation.

*****Spoiler Alert *****

Kara thrace calmly eating steak after killing her Cylon captor.  Wow.  Just wow.  

***** End Spoiler *****

So here I am, rewatching BG , and it's just as good as I remembered
My only complaint ( ok this is tongue in cheek) -- not enough jewelry in it, and most of it is booooring.

But that's ok, as I rewatch the whole show, I'm making jewelry... and wrapping Christmas presents and sometimes just watching a great show.

If you haven't ever watched it, I strongly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Time Lady and early Christmas Presents

I'm wrapping presents, making jewelry and posting etsy listings this fine Tuesday, while watching my early Christmas present to myself: the Blue Ray of "Battlestar Galactica Blood & Chrome".

I'm about 30 minutes in and it's really good, and damn I wish it became the spin-off it was intended to be.

Battlestar Galactica is hands down, one of the best SCFI tv shows ever... up there with Babylon 5, Firefly and Doctor Who (IMO)

I've watched the show in it's entirety - but this came out during the years of no Cable  so I missed it.  I didn't even know it existed actually.  So the best kind of Christmas -- a true surprise and pleasure!

My hope is this necklace, "time Lady" is the same sort of surprise and pleasure.  I worked very hard to make the vintage ceramic clock face so it sprins like a game show wheel.

Just putting that bit of fun in fashion that we all love so well.  If you are interested in this piece it's available at Five Monkeys Inc Gallery.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

My shows are done, but you can still buy my jewelry and here is how....

Made from the little lights from a speedometer.  I added the sparkies!
Just a quick hey and Hi !

 The holiday season is upon us, and I'm thinking more about what shortbread recipe will I try this year for Christmas than making jewelry.

Not that I can actually turn off that part of my brain off very long.  I even have a few commissions on my desk right now, and I've actually been sketching some design ideas.  Still  I am glad that show deadline pressure is off me.

But the good news is you can still buy my jewelry and right now is the perfect time -- my jewelry makes excellent gifts!

The easiest way would be online... you can see a good portion of my current Mechanical Romance line on the very easy to use Five Monkey Inc online Gallery .  If you are in the Des Moines Area, stop by the shop, as I have several other pieces on display that's not on the website, including the fab speedometer earrings shown above.  Actually the bulk of my Mechanical Romance line is at the gallery through December, so seriously go check it out.  The gallery represents only Iowa Artists, up to 60 at a time, so if you can't find that special present with my jewelry, you can find something else at the gallery to suit anyone!

You can also visit my Etsy store here  which has over 100 pieces of jewelry from all of my lines, including my chainmail.   I'll be adding new pieces everyday (OK that's my hope )

I still have a few commission slots open before Christmas actually arrives, so if you have something old from a loved one and want to have a new piece of jewelry, talk to me.  I've made jewelry for folks using all kinds of things like beloved scrabble tiles, watches and bicycle parts.  That way you have a keepsake from someone you love, but in a usable piece of jewelry.  Or if you just want something different and unique than what you can buy at icky large retailers, talk to me.  I thrive on the different!

Have you seen something on my blog or facebook and you loved it? Well ask... I might still have it, or I can probably create something from scratch that will capture what you loved about the original piece, but customized for you.

So The artist is still in the house guys, just ask.  It never hurts to ask.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Small Business Saturday Preview!

1920's singer sewing machine plaque.  I've cleaned, patined and polished to a lovely glowy shine, and then embellished with painted dragonflies... 
 I'm almost ready for Small Business Saturday this weekend!! I'll be at my favorite local gallery, Five Monkeys, Inc  10-4, but the whole block is doing stuff for SBS all day long... you can see some of the shops and fun activities here    Here's pics of some of the new stuff I'll have on hand for the show... so come out and support your local shops, we keep your shopping fun and interesting!
Domestic is early 30's sewing machine, the singer harder to date, it was a added on motor to a 1898 singer sewing machine.. from the tag I'm guessing probably 30's on the motor tag.  no way to know for sure ...

old gears, dragonflies and crystals.  yummy!
This is a angel Christmas tree ornament, I'm probably only going to have 2 made for the show, but I've got more golf club plates so I can make more.  This one has a watch face for a face, a bottle cap for a halo, and the body is cut from a cookie tin.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Typewriter Earrings

I love using typewriter parts, but I rarely use the keys.  I think it's because there are soooo many other folks doing name and saying jewelry using the keys, to the point you can buy fake keys for making said jewelry.

I'm into going where my muse leads me,  so I don't normally feel like I even want to use them.  I've made a couple of rings and I've used the odd letter key here and there as embellishments.  I have nothing against them, they just don't talk to me normally.  (And if anyone ever wants to commission something with the keys, that's fine and dandy- I have no problems with that, hint hint)   However when Jerry was chopping up a old L. C. Smith typewriter from the 1920's, I fell in love with the shift keys.  As you can see in the pictures, it has "Smith Typewriter Sales Chicago"

These keys' tell a story.  I tried to research them, but couldn't find anything conclusive. They make my imagination run wild.  Was the typewriter a special, display model to sell other typewriters?   Did a particular store get this added to the typewriters they sold for branding?  I did find an interesting ad from 1922 .

I paired the keys with large crystals that are new, but they look really vintage to me with the large bezels.  I love these, I'm tempted to keep them, but they are currently in the sales pile.  Want to see them in person? Be sure to Stop by Small Business Saturday Nov 26th starting at 10am at Five Monkey's Inc gallery!   They won't last long, that's for sure.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A tale of two Bracelets

I can make cuffs in a variety of colors, including a natural brown leather.
I used a sharpie marker as the etch resist, which you can see here.  The best way to use a sharpie as a resist is just letting it sit for a couple of weeks before you etch. since this was a commission and had a deadline, I use the secret shortcut. ( Don't tell anyone, but it's heat!)
I love Commissions!  Especially when the client trusts me to make something they will like.  I basically got told to make 2 leather cuffs , one for Miss Polk county 2017, and one that said "Wanderlust" and had an anchor involved.  My original thought -- stamp the letters.  After some thought, I decided to etch instead.  The lovely thing about text messages and using facebook messenger... I took photos along  the way so the clients could see the projects develop as I worked them.  It also gave them a chance to approve of the design options as I worked the process.  I thought it would be fun to share the step by step!  A huge thank you to Dina at Five Monkeys who suggested me to the clients.

After etching and clean up.  I got a really good etch on these

Adding patina.. then cleaning it up again, and then renwax to seal.

adding the holes to attach to the bracelet

Finished cuff -- because the anchor I used is pewter and won't bend, I was afraid to rivet it directly, as too much pressure will break pewter.  So I wire wrapped it to the cuff.

Hard to see in the photo, but I did end up using stamps.. i stamped 2017 in the heart.  Since this is all brass or copper  I only used rivets on this one.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

7 day jewelry challenge day 7 - pretty as a picture

I've been nominated for the 7 day jewelry challenge by Lyn Joy Reeve.  Thanks Lyn!  It's a Facebook challenge on one of the groups I belong to, and I thought it might be fun to share.  The idea is to share for 1 week a piece a day that is important to you in some fashion that you have made.

I'm using this piece as my 7th day piece because I loved how this turned out, and it has a more "formal" feel than many of my pieces.  I used this great brass stamping tag in a rectangle shape.  when I looked at it it looked like to me a great vintage frame for a picture.  I instantly thought I could make like a mini-portrait using it as the base.  I ended up "drawing" outside the lines, but I still think the design works.  I have a couple more tags like this in my stash -- I feel like I still have things to say artistically about mini-portraits.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

7 day jewelry challenge day 6

I've been nominated for the 7 day jewelry challenge by Lyn Joy Reeve.  Thanks Lyn!  It's a facebook challenge on one of the groups I belong to, and I thought it might be fun to share.  The idea is to share for 1 week a piece a day that is important to you in some fashion that you have made.

This is one of my newest pieces, I call her lady of the lake at least in my head, because of the great patina that I managed to put on her, it just makes me think of something lost in the water, then found again.  Besides, her hair is all floaty, in great art nouveau style.  What I  really like is the movement... the vintage pearl drop at the bottom has lovely swing to it, and the vintage pocket watch face has very easy movement.. you can make it twirl like a top if you hold the necklace just right.  Brass stampings, vintage jewelry bits, vintage pocket watch face, rivets and screws.

Friday, November 4, 2016

7 day jewelry challenge day 5: The pair that got away

I've been nominated for the 7 day jewelry challenge by Lyn Joy Reeve.  Thanks Lyn!  It's a Facebook challenge on one of the groups I belong to, and I thought it might be fun to share.  The idea is to share for 1 week a piece a day that is important to you in some fashion that you have made.

Not surprising for a jewelry artist, I made a heck of a lot of earrings.  This pair I adore!! it's made with a retaining ring, vintage watch face and typewriter parts.  and Wings of course.  They make me think Egyptian thoughts -- they look like really stylized ankhs to me.  These were sold months ago, and I regret letting them fly away... they should have been keepers!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

7 day jewelry challenge day 4 Liberty Fairy

I've been nominated for the 7 day jewelry challenge by Lyn Joy Reeve.  Thanks Lyn!  It's a Facebook challenge on one of the groups I belong to, and I thought it might be fun to share.  The idea is to share for 1 week a piece a day that is important to you in some fashion that you have made.

This is one of my lady Liberty Fairies.  I made 4 of them total, all had colorful fairy wings with a lady liberty, but from there all of them explored different aspects of freedom.  I used a large cog from a adding machine, watch face, clock key, and the standard tag is from a sewing machine.

This one is about breaking free from expectations, and flying free.  it's hard to see but the key has "journey" on it.  Cause art is all about the journey, not the destinations!

This statement piece is still available through Five Monkeys Inc, gallery website 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

7 day jewelry challenge day 3 Medusa

I've been nominated for the 7 day jewelry challenge by Lyn Joy Reeve.  Thanks Lyn!  It's a facebook challenge on one of the groups I belong to, and I thought it might be fun to share.  The idea is to share for 1 week a piece a day that is important to you in some fashion that you have made.

 Yesterday I featured Octy as one of my favorite pieces.  Believe it or not, octy is in this piece as well... as Medusa's Hair!   The American made brass stamping got turn upside down, I pounded his poor head in so I could lay the bone face flat.  Vintage pocket watch face, and vintage watch movement and parts complete Medusa's head to toe look.  Of the many pieces I've made, this is one I seriously think of doing again... it wouldn't turn out exactly the same of course, but I just love the hair-do, and I've looked for faces for a Medusa II but I've not been happy with any so far.  Too many of the bone faces look, I don't know.. smirky.  I love the calm look on this one.  And I really made a great steampunky necklace to go with my Medusa.  If you want more pictures or details on her construction, you can see my original blog here.  This is the piece that finally got me over my fears of glue... while I will always look at over types of connections first, I no longer fear glue for me or my customers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

7 day jewelry challenge -- day's 1 and 2

I've been nominated for the 7 day jewelry challenge by Lyn Joy Reeve.  Thanks Lyn!  It's a facebook challenge on one of the groups I belong to, and I thought it might be fun to share.  The idea is to share for 1 week a piece a day that is important to you in some fashion that you have made.  My first day was yesterday, so this post is a catch up.  

Day 1 : This is one of my signature Mechanical Romance pieces, even before I had a name for my steampunk like line. I use an old key and then mostly tim holtz pieces, and a vintaj black hinge piece. I've been making versions of this for 4 years now, and each one ( I think) turns out so very different in character due to the different keys I've used. I sometimes add little bits dangling off as well. It's still a strong design and I still make them.  Most importantly, I still have fun making them.  If I can't have some fun, what's the point?

Day 2: I love Octy! This is one of my titled pieces, the official name is "Defender of the Sea".  I wrote a blog already on this guy, you can see that here.  He's currently for sale at Five Monkeys, a fab gallery here in Des Moines and I have no doubt he's gonna go to a good home soon.  But he's one of the pieces I have made that if he never sold,, I won't be sad, I'll be wearing him!  He more representative of what I Love to do... make one of a kind statement pieces!   Vintage chain, American stampings, clock parts, and part of a speedometer (the wings)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

So it's that Time again.... Show research....

So I'm done more or less for shows for the year.  This is the time where I  get to recharge my batteries, plan new designs and pick up those projects I got stuck on and try again. See the pics of the very lovely work in progress? I started this maybe in March? but got stuck, then got busy, and it's just sitting in one of the many piles of half done somethings.  I hope I'll pick it up again at some point this winter, the vintage chandelier crystal wrapped in copper.. it's de-lish!  But then I'm not sure where it needs to go after that.  I originally thought pearls, but I don't know now.   I hate being indecisive, especially about my art!

It's also the time of year where I need to figure out my show schedule.  It's just penciling in shows I'm interested in, so I can get time off at my day job ( if needed) and start planning what pictures to send in for the jury.  I need to figure out weekends that I already know won't work ( family things) and decide if we want a family vacation or not... and plan around holidays and every one's work schedules.

Last year Jerry and I made the conscious decision to cut shows in half.  After much lively discussion, we've decided that again in 2017 to have a smaller schedule. For 2017 I'm aiming for 10-14 .  (For comparison, our biggest year was 27 shows)  So the shows I pick out to try for -- and there is no guarantee I will get in!- have to be planned out very carefully.  Just as carefully as I think about this piece.

It's possible that I won't get in to most of the shows I apply for, then I will be stuck with just a few shows for the year.  It's a horrible possibility, but very real.  You just never know with juries.  In past years I would have back up shows I could apply for later... I don't believe I'll do that.  It's so much stress trying to juggle multiple possible shows on the same date.

So I will aim for 10-14 shows, and maybe I'll end up doing 6, who knows?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Refill at the Gallery!!

Here's the view when you first walk into the gallery!
Bracelet central!  

Back view
 Now that the shows are done, it's time to work on the gallery... Five Monkeys, Inc .  With that in mind, I brought in bunches of new jewelry pieces, and actually doubled the number of earrings!  So welcome to my winter home guys! I'll probably do a few meet and great type events this winter at the gallery as well.

I brought in some of my kewlest pieces, including Octy !   I'm hoping to start getting new pieces made up, and as that happens some of them will find their way to the gallery as well... I'll keep you all posted!

 One of the things a adore about Dina ( the Gallery Mistress) is she has art from 60 + artists.. and they are all based in IOWA!!!

So get in, buy yourself a treat and one for someone you love and do it now!!

Five Monkeys is located in Des Moines right off 235, 42nd st exit.  Address is 4211 Chamberlain Dr.  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

I'm off for 2 weeks!

So shows are done! This coming weekend is both my Birthday and a Girls Weekend!!! woooooo!!! I'm gonna take a 2 week break from blogging / facebooking, just to recharge batteries and frankly clean my space.   So  in a couple of weeks ( give or take) I'll be back with new pics, new thoughts, and hopefully freaking awesome art!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last Farmer's Market of the season!

OK, I'm pleased to tell you my location for my last Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market will be on the South Side of 2nd street, 4-5 booths in.  We haven't been on 2nd street all year, so it's great to be back.. we will be close to Uncle Wendell's  booth, which has to die for BBQ and bakery goods, so that's lovely!!  I know what I'll be eating for lunch on Sat!

It's my last show as well for the year.. unless something pops up, which could happen -- good chance I'll probably at least do some sort of artist meet and greet again at Five Monkeys, but no date on that yet, that's sort of tentative.

I'm looking forward to my winter season to charge batteries and new designs... I've got some ideas sitting in my sketch book and my head... and I'm in the mood to create, so I'm thinking this winter will be fantastic!!   I'm also excited that I have a girl's weekend coming up.. just a quickie shopping trip in Omaha but still, anytime I can get together with the girls.. life is good!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Last show this coming Sat

So my last show ( that I know of, I suppose that could change if something good came up) is for this coming Saturday.  Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market 8-12 .  Note the hour change.. we go to 8-noon hours for the last month of the market.  I'll confirm my location next blog, but it will probably be on the main drag right around 2nd st corner ( by the bathrooms again)

After doing a summer with fewer shows ( only 12 -- most years we do 20-24, one year we did 28 - ack!) I think I like the slower pace.  It really helps I'm in a great gallery here in Des Moines... huge shout out to Five Monkeys  ! My online sales have picked up this year.  So I think we will stick to a  smaller show schedule next year as well.  I want to get a Omaha show in again, and maybe one in Minnesota.  But for the most part, sticking close to home this year worked great.

I'm looking at getting into more galleries, and maybe this winter I'll finally actually try to get my Etsy up to date.  As always, if you see something in the blog or facebook and you want it, just email me and I'll ship it to you-- happens all the time!

Friday, September 23, 2016

lucky penny

Once upon a time, I carried a Victorian penny in my pocket.  I had it for 3-4 years, and it just made me feel good, like only a lucky penny can make a kid feel good.  I don't exactly remember where I got it, I think my Dad gave it to me... at the time I collected coins so I'm just not sure.  It was from, I believe, 1887,  and it was so special that I owned something that was so old.

When my pet cat died when I was 12, I buried the penny with Taffy.  Taffy was my best friend.  Taffy gave me so much in life, I felt like I had to give him something in death, and what else would a 12 year old have that meant so much?  

I've never regretted it.  Still I missed the magic of carrying that penny, and while a penny at age 47 isn't probably as magical as it is at 12 ---  when I found this Victorian penny (from 1901) and it already had a hole in it -- I couldn't resist.  I've put it on a lobster call and it's gonna be the zipper pull for my light jacket.  Let the luck commence.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Propellers are such a fun finding, here are 2 versions.  The top necklace uses all modern bits, but I love the antique feel to this piece.

The bottom necklace is on a vintage locket, and front plate from a vintage timer.

When I use propellers I try to leave them movable when possible.  That's actually harder than it sounds, any pressure on them and they lock up and won't move.. so when I do them I use screws and nuts, and hope I don't over hammer it, making it stiff.  I usually glue the screws after I hammer them, it's both to make sure the nut doesn't get loose and to make sure there is nothing sharp to poke or catch.