Sunday, December 31, 2017

Starting pile for 2018 -- HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This is my starting pile for making jewelry in 2018.  Oh I probably won't use all of it ( though wouldn't that be nifty!) and I'll probably add to it as I get interested in new projects.. but I spent Friday night in the studio going through all my little trays of stuff to play with, and most of the unsorted piles that accumulate from new buys or stuff I just didn't have the heart to put away... and anything that caught my eye, that made me go "hmmm" or just got my fingers to tingle, they went into this pile.

Note, Jerry got the Sax taken apart and a bunch of sax pieces are in this pile, as well as sewing machines, adding machines vintage jewelry  bits, and all kinds of brass stampings.

Don't forget watch and clock parts... it's all in there, and I really can't wait to get started on it!  Actually I didn't.. Saturday I picked out stuff for rings, and added more ring stuff, and I'm working on probably 25 rings.  By Monday I plan to have them all done, and I'll dive in my 2018 starter pile again -- I have Both Monday (Happy New Year everyone!) and Tuesday off, so I plan to make decent inroads on my pile.

Enjoy the weekend everyone, and may 2018 be better for all of us - and kinder! than 2017.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

next up, 2018!

So Christmas is done, and it was a good one.  I got some fantastic things and I hope I gave some stuff people really wanted. 

Hubby and I passed out some acts of kindness gifts ( just little things to hard working folks during this season, like wait-staff, the pizza delivery gal, etc)

I'm starting to think about my goals for next year... not exactly resolutions cause resolutions just seem to be statements of wish-fulfillment without any actual meat behind it, at least for me.  So I go for goals and break it down into step by steps with actual deadlines.. a much more proactive process than wishing.  Not that wishes aren't important too, but wishing and doing are two very different things.

The other part that's important is to make the goals attainable, and limited in number.  When you try to do too much at once you are setting yourself up for failure.

I've already got 3 ideas for goals for 2018 : start fusing glass again, get back to etching, and play with my new torch.

These are business or artistic goals.  I know I should probably think about personal goals, but I'm so much better meeting business goals than personal goals.   And last few years have been tough... I've taken a beating on emotional and health spectrums,  and lately I just feel tired.  Almost numb sometimes.

So I think I'll just stick to trying to make myself happy.  That means getting enough sleep is more important than washing dishes.  That means putting myself first at least some of the times, instead of everyone else.  That means if I want to read a couple of books each week for down time, that I have that right and it's not a pleasure marred by a self guilt trip.  That means being happy even if some of the people around me are not.  (like most women, I internalize responsibility for everyone's happiness -- a hopeless battle if ever there is one) 

On the home front, it looks like (finger's crossed) this summer might be the summer to redo the kitchen.  I might have my very own real live full size oven again for the first time in maybe 10 years?  I'm almost afraid to hope -- but with 2 incomes again, it's a strong possibility. 

So that's it for me.   Happy new years! 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

My studio has new stairs!!!

I just had to share this amazing transformation!!! My studio is in my attic at home, and the attic stairs are almost 100 years old -- and they have seen better days.  It was getting to the point I didn't feel safe going up anymore... and coming down?? I had to be soooo careful. 

Now that we are a 2 paycheck family again, it was time to finally get them fixed... so I have a all new stairway! wheee!!!!! It feels so stable and rock-like... here I was starting to think all stairs are suppose to dip and shift and move!!

It's like the best Christmas prezzie to myself!!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Getting Ready for Christmas yet?

You know, this weekend I was reallllly hoping to get a good long crack at making jewelry.  Instead I've played taxi for everyone in the house, wash dishes, Christmas shopped, wrapped and planned most of my Christmas giving, baking, etc.  I did make a few pieces of jewelry, but as Christmas gifts.

I have maybe 3 presents left to wrap, and 2 of them haven't been delivered yet.  So I'm feeling pretty good about Christmas.

I've even decorated the house --- sorry but that means I've hung up stockings.  We stopped doing a tree and regular decorations a few years ago because of the cats, and our general laziness.  They just can't keep the tree alone! and with the Kid - basically, really an adult - no one really wants to decorate much.  So I hang up my stockings, put a few Christmas themed nick knacks out and and envy other folks' efforts.

That is until they have to take it down after Christmas, then I feel ever so slightly smug cause it takes me 5 minutes to undo the decorations, instead of 5 hours.

Because Christmas is really about what's going on inside the heart, not what's on your hearth.  Right?

Then again, if I ever win the lottery, I'll go full out Christmas decorations -- and hire people to help take it down.

So maybe next weekend I'll finally get some jewelry made up, before I need to gear up for cookies and candy making.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I want to get back to glass..... and!

Here is a recent necklace I made using a fused glass piece I made a couple of years ago.  I added sort of a fairy garden motif... bees, butterfly, flowers and a fairy of course... and I I believe this is already gone as well ( yeah, I know, when will Kat get new pics up???? )

When I made this piece I thought about how small my pile of fused glass is, and how I say every winter I'm gonna get back to that!!   I had so much fun making all the cabs that I'm almost out of now!!

So I am making this a resolution.. who says you have to wait til new years right?

Course we are almost up to Christmas and I hurt my hand so right now I can't really make stuff ( seriously don't ask.. I just want to know how I managed to hurt myself and all the strange ways that I do)  So it will probably be in January before I can get to making glass again. 

But it's on my list!!   I have a small list of stuff I want to explore on this winter break, and once I get past the holiday season I'm gonna do it. 

So expect glass in the future........ again!  I also want to get back to etching, which I 've not done in a year at least.  And I  got a new torch this Summer.  It's smaller, lighter weight and not as smelly, so I want to play with it.  I'm hoping less smoke/stink and it won't effect my asthma as much.  Not sure I'll get back to silversmithing or anything, I just want the torch as an option again when it's warranted  - and you can do such cool patina effects with a proper torch! 

I have a couple of other things I want to play with, but 3 goals is probably a good start. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

it's time for a fish story.....

 First let me say this piece is already sold.. I'm still trying to catch up on my pictures from the summer and I'm almost there.

But I wanted to share this piece cause I loved making it, and I'm sure the person who "caught" this fish loves it too!

I called it "swimming with the fishes" .  The back plate ( see below) is from a old pocket watch. Some pocket watches come with an extra inner cover, to protect the watch movement.  This inner cover came in a big mix lot of stuff, and only the this piece from this watch.... I love it anytime you get such detail and words on a piece! I basically used this as a bezel to build off of.  I was playing around with the round brass stamping, and put the fish over it.. and it made me think of a porthole on a ship.
 I dug around and found a cookie tin with nautical scenes on it.  One of the ships from the tin fit perfectly in the porthole.  I even put glass in it, to create the underwater porthole effect that much more.  I love that it looks like the fish is looking in on the ship, and I imagine the passengers are looking out at the fish .  fun fun fun! 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

I'm sad today

Vintage jewelry pieces reused into a new bracelet and matching earrings 
It's a Saturday Morning sliding into noon, so I'm working on breakfast and while I wait for a few minutes before it needs attention again, I figure I'll start on the weekly bills.   I'm already feeling pissed listening to CNN and that they passed the tax bill, also known as the betrayal of the poor, though why we should be surprised?   Considering who our Prez is, why should anyone who has less than a million think we will get a fair shake right now?

In the bills is the the annual License for the cats.  In Des Moines you have to pay to have pets.. and of course on the form is Jupiter. 

All my anger is now just a knot of sad.  I really miss Jup.  I miss him politely waiting his share of my dinner.  I miss his good morning pets while I try to clean up and brush my teeth.  I miss his bone shaking purr.  I miss his good cheer and calm.  He was such a calm kitty. 

I wrote on the form that he's passed away.

I burned my biscuits writing this blog.

I hope everyone else is in a better mood today.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Taking a break on the blog for at least this week, I wish everyone a fantastic, family but not strife filled thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Goodbye Jupiter (2000 - 2017)

Recent photo of Jupiter, sleeping in the bathroom, one of his favorite hunts.
 We lost one of the best kitties ever this weekend, Jupiter, Jumpin' Jupiter, Old Man, My Good Guy, Jup-ie, Jup, and my bigboy... all the names I called him.

He was pretty mellow as a cat, at least in contrast to the other nut jobs we have right now.  When healthy, Jupiter weighted 18 or more pounds, and he wasn't fat.. he just was a big, well proportioned cat.   He had the longer head/nose like a Egyptian statue, I always loved that.  he adored being held, he loved tummy rubs, and basically being pet everywhere and anywhere.  When he was about 3 years old, we had a bat in the house.. he jumped up and caught it-- then dropped it.  I think he was as surprised as we where he jumped up 7 feet to catch the damn thing.  He was smart too.. the only cat in the household that could open some of the doors.  (thank goodness!!! )   He had the best meow I have ever heard, and he had a large variety of them.  He would talk to you.  His purr could shake the floorboards. 

I could go on and on, but it still makes me cry to think about him too much.  I just try to keep in mind he had a good, long life, 17-1/2 years is a pretty good run.  He was doing OK until just the last couple of months, he really seemed to slow down but didn't seem to be in any pain or anything.  He just didn't move as much, and when he did he moved slower.   Since he was 17 years old, we just though age was finally catching up to him.   (his sister Jezzibel is much slower than she used to be as well)

Friday he started to act like he didn't feel well, and he had sores in his mouth.  He refused to eat - by Saturday afternoon he refused to drink water.  Sunday we took him into the vet, and they said it was probably renal failure.. and there really wasn't much they could do at his age and stage of condition.

So we made the decision to put him to sleep.  It's always one of the hardest things you have to do in this life, make a decision about one of your best buddies... but it comes down to quality of life and length of life... and dignity.

Rest in peace my big boy.
Taken 4ish years ago, the rare photo showing all 4 cats in the house, starting from the left: Jupiter, Kass, Jezzibel.  On top is Kya.

Jezzibel with her brother Jupiter.  Probably 10 years ago.

Friday, November 10, 2017

3 Necklaces

 OK, I'm trying to catch up on all the photos I've taken during the season as I make things, so this post I'm showing you 3 necklaces I made just in the last month...
 Now Jerry gets little grumpy at me when I make stuff that isn't in my main lines, but sometimes I just need to make something that talks to me.  I was digging out a few jasper beads to make dangles on a bracelet... and ran across this silver leaf jasper teardrop stone pendant... and I just had to make something!!! Seriously!! I haven't touched my semi-precious stone collection in ages, and this poor, beautiful teardrop cried out to me!!!!

so I found a few more stone beads in various types of jasper, and came up with this fantastic necklace with brass dragonfly. 
 Yet another dragonfly, but this is attached artfully to a flute key.  This is available at Five Monkeys Inc Gallery  and I have one pair left of matching flute earrings.

I adore this one, and it's super light !  It's part of a vintage drawer decoration, I bought it some time ago at a flea market in a mix box of door and drawers brass bits.  The patina is fantastic, but it's so thin and light that I put some resin on the backside to make it sturdier.  I added a vintage clock gear and a lovely drop crystal.  The piece is just fantastically detailed.  This is available at Five Monkeys Inc Gallery

Sunday, November 5, 2017

This is my 1000th blog post

I wish I could spin some pithy interesting story for my 1000th blog but honestly it kind of snuck up on me and I really don't have any interesting ruminations to share on this mile-stone.  So instead I'll share this picture of a piece that's already sold, even though I only made it in September.

I love the extra face in this one.  I designed it for the fairy and the watch face and gears, but when I laid it all out there was this empty spot.  I thought about putting another gear or face in but it didn't look good to me.  I finally added the copper Art Nouveau  lady and it popped!!

So wish me happy 1000th blog post.  This weekend I'm sorting several lbs of brass findings/stampings.  (my pretttties! my prettties! )   I'm just not into making anything today.. but I've sketched out a few ideas while I"m playing around my piles of brass bits.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I'm featured artist at the Gallery!!!!!

 I'm so happy to get my jewelry set up in the place of pride at Five Monkeys, Inc Gallery here in town!  I'm to be featured artist both November and December, so not only is my display huge right now, I'll be in close touch with Dina, our wonderful Gallery Mistress and keep it stocked at all times. 

But here is the 2 main views of the display - window side -

and in the store side :

and here are some close ups:

Under the Sea!

 King of the World!

On the top shelf is our lovely 1940's radio with great necklaces !

Window side you have chainmaile and rings and more necklaces and such...

I think the display turned out great.... you need to see it in person, as well as all the other great art Five Monkey has, all of it by Iowa Artists, many of them local to the Des Moines Area.

and you can check out the vintage record store as well all at one great location at 4211 Chamberlain Ave in Des Moines, across the street from the shops at Roosevelt.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Decisions, decisions decisions ...

I'm so very please to once again be the featured artist at Five Monkeys, Inc  art gallery again!  I  feel very honored. 

I'm trying to pull inventory,  figure out the displays, and get everything indexed before I need to set up Weds Night.   So I'll keep this short.... but look for a blog Weds night or Thurs with lots of pics of the display! 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Jerry's favorite earrings.....

 Jerry loves this earrings, because they incorporate parts you would have seen everyday of your life, if not actually used the item, at least for folks born before the the mid-nineties.   Kids my daughter's age ( 21) and younger, not so much.  Can you guess what the clear columns in these earrings are from?
Scroll down ---

They are the receiver buttons on a old phone... you know the clear plastic bits that you rested the phone on that cut off the phone dial. 

Kewl huh??

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I'm BACCCCCK! with a Sax......

 I'm BACK!! OK had my last show for the year last weekend, and it was a tad cold, and rainy, but hey !  Overall this year we really lucked out on the weather.  Only 2 weekends that the weather was well, crappy... Don't get my started on 2008, the year of many canceled shows!!!!! argh!

OK! so, now I'm in my winter zone.... I get to experiment more, I can slow down and come up with some really fantastic, artsy pieces, I actually get to read once in a while without feeling guilty, and maybe my house will be slightly cleaner than it is in the summer.  ( and maybe not)

I'm also gearing up to be the feature artist in November at Five Monkey's, Inc gallery here in town!   woot!   So this weekend I'll be spending time going through my stash and deciding what will be in the gallery.. I have several pieces there now of course, but my display will double, possibly triple in size, at least through the end of this year.  Not only will I have my Mechanical Romance line, but I'll have chainmaile as well, and a few select holiday pieces.

I've been kicking around making a few holiday pins featuring gears actually... anyone have any interest??

OK I have to tell you this funny funny story .... Jerry tells me he's bought me a present.  Well I love love love prezzies!!!  So I begged and whine to find out what it was... well he bought a saxophone to take apart and make jewelry out of it. 

WOW!!! we have taken apart broken flutes but a sax?  how much?  He's like only $5.

and he shows me...

I adore the MOP buttons!

It's got problems, that's visible that it's in rough shape, but still we try to recycle in a responsible manner... and not rip apart stuff that's you know, valuable or usable condition.   So I ask him do you think it's OK to rip this up???

so he shows me this:

WOW!  this seriously is the best possible prezzie.. I love a sax! it's my favorite instrument.  The wonderful soulful sound they make... they can be the most incredibly happy noise -- or sad with just that lilt of hope threaded in, something to keep a small flame burning in your heart on a dark day. 

And I can make jewelry with one without any guilt!!! Woot!!!

Thanks Honey!

He tells me he was just killing time waiting for his appointment and saw a thrift store we haven't been in before.  So He pokes in and sees this older looking case and asked the counter guy if anything is in it. 

The guy proceeded to tell him the thing is a bad luck piece.. he sold it but it got returned because it would cost too much to fix.  At this point, he said it would take $5.00 for it cause he was taking it in for scrap and probably wouldn't get more than that for it.

Jerry takes one look, and says, sure!!

So that's how I got the sax... if Jerry hadn't caught it that afternoon it would have gone for scrap. 

Now I just need to get Jerry to take it apart!!

I already have a couple of ideas lurking in the brain box...   This is gonna be the best winter ever!!!


Monday, October 2, 2017

Taking a break

Hey guys, I'm taking the week off from blogging.. I'll be back next Monday . 

Friday, September 29, 2017

I can't finish American Dreams............

Sometimes I feel like making simpler pieces like this one.    The brass stamping is so pretty all by itself, I just added a couple of holes for crystals and and curved the flat piece and woot!  Pretty pretty bracelet.

Sometimes my jewelry is more about how I feel, and sometimes it's about how it makes me feel to make it.  Something like this just feels good to make... and I know the gal that bought it loved it.  I love when someone buys a piece and has to wear it out of the booth they are so excited!

And the times when it's about how I feel, that I need to express what's inside me.. they of course take longer.  I've been struggling with just such a piece.  I'm calling it "American Dreams" .
 This First picture shows the first layout I had.  The round bit is a vintage MOP buckle, the drop crystal and the earring are both vintage.  The flag pin is vintage as well.  Do you remember when veteran groups would hand out those little tin flag badges at parades? that's what the flag is.  (do they still do that? I don't remember getting these anytime recently.. only as a kid )  The coke tag is actually from a 90's coke tin, made to look like a turn of a century coke tin.
 This picture you can see it's getting more complicated.  the round bit in the square is the top of a pocket watch ( proper term is crown)   The damaged type writer key says " back space" which sort of expresses my American dreams right now... I kind of wish we had a back space button to go back to Nov. 7th.  But I'll save that discussion for my therapist.
This is the current rough layout, but I'm still not happy with it.   I've added in the back a vintage Gage plate,  to express all the pressure we are under, watch parts because it feels like time is running out, a key for hope, the liberty bell ( broken bit from a key chain)  as another symbol of America, the compass because we are trying to find our way, a cross for spiritualism, a part of a ruler ( from a typewriter) because we are not measuring up right now... a spoon and the arrow for personal reasons.  The "r" on the top is a beer bottle lid.  I've since removed that.

 I want to try to express both the current crap we are all in, but yet express hope from the future.  In some stories of Pandora, hope is a butterfly... maybe it needs that.  I just don't have the right mix yet to say what I'm trying to say.... that America will survive this and someday will actually be better.  I guess I'm having a hard time believing it myself, so that makes it hard for me to hold on to the optimism I want to have.

It's gonna be a long long long 4 years...........  I think I'll go play with chainmail now.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Let the sun Shine in......

OK today is pretty dank and dark and hard rain, so I though this picture would brighten things up.  This sun started out life as maybe a keyring? It was broken in a mix of a jewelry lot I bought.  The face was just such a happy one though, I wanted to rehabilitate it.  I filed and sanded the broken off bits and decided to add some color.  I added wings cause well happy sunshine always makes my heart fly!

This one is already sold, I'm trying to clean out my picture files.

So on the cranky, rainy day enjoy some sun!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I'm on Court This Weekend.......

 Yeah, I know, I'm normally on 4th across from Hy-Vee, but this weekend is also Oktoberfest and that's being held exactly where I normally pitch my tent... so all the vendors on 4th South are getting moved to other areas of the market.  The fest doesn't start until 3pm or so, but they need time to set up!

My new spot is 207.  Now vendor spot # means nothing to you folks, so I'm about 4th booth in on the north side  from the corner of 2nd and court.   That means I'm in front of the parking ramp that's on 2nd and court.

 I've never actually been in this part of the market before.   Always an adventure, is Farmer's Market!! 
I've been making earrings mostly this week, with watch parts and other things.  I'm up to 13 for the week -- I've got about 6 more laid out and ready to assemble ( all the cutting, filing, holes and glue steps done) and then I'll probably get everything priced and see where I'm at.  I feel the itch to make a bigger project... so maybe I'll work on something like that.. or maybe I'll catch up on a novel.  It's almost the end of the show season for me and I'm getting tired.  I don't want to be down to the last dregs like I was last year.  Last year it took nearly a month before I really felt creative again.  I've been pacing it better this year, but still I'll probably take a few weeks off to reconnect with real life.

Not that real life is all that fun lately but still, it is what it is.

On that note, off to finish some earrings... see ya Saturday in a new place !!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Farmer's Market this Weekend!

I'm feeling pretty positive about this weekend.. I'm working on a piece right now I'm excited about and I'm pretty sure I'll get it done before Saturday... I've got some new earrings and bracelets at least.

If you haven't been out to the market lately this weekend might make a good one for you... I just had to show off my spiffy new sign, I think it looks great!  It took a couple of weeks to figure out exactly how to hang it best, but it really does seem to draw folks into the tent.

We are getting to the end of show season, we have 3 more markets left... this weekend, September 23rd and October 14th.

So stop by and say hi, as always we are on 4th st across the street from Hy-Vee.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Happenings at the Gallery

 As you know, I'm very happy being a artist in Five Monkeys, Inc , one of the nicest galleries here in Des Moines.  What you might not know is all the great things happening there starting this weekend!

 Starting tomorrow, the gallery will also be the source for vinyl in Des Moines!  Rogue Planet Music

 you can read about this new store in the Des Moines Register here
 The gallery will also start hosting live music from time to time -- it's gonna be fantastic!!! All these lovely changes means Dina ( the fab owner of the gallery) is rearranging  - so here are sneak peaks of how my jewelry is set up now...
Be sure to stop by Five Monkeys  this Friday and Saturday for the grand opening -- and even special 1 time discounts on art.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I still love Chainmaile

I still love making chainmaile, it's just such a nice yen to my yang of steampunk inspired designs.  So here are recent bracelets - the top pic is the shaggy, and the bottom are just a few of the endless helm chain color combos I get to play with.

Chainmaile is very meditative to make, and good therapy -- after all you make a bracelet or a earring just 1 link at a time.. just like you have to do one step at a time in life.......