Sunday, May 31, 2009

Romance Summer

This is a sweet pendant focal, I went ahead and joined the two units with a faceted crystal and wire wrapping. All it needs for a simple look is a chain attached to the top loop.

I could see it really dressed up though, with pearls in multi-strands, more crystals and an ornate clasp. It looks very pretty next to the fused glass gems. Or in a deep black, wouldn't it be elegant?

Or very simply with a satin or velvet ribbon, as a delicate choker. I used a clear glass faceted bead so it could have any colors you like in the chain.

It would also be sweet as a brooch on a kilt pin. I think I'll make one for myself like that, with an oversized pin to hang it from a sweater, coat or on the neckline of a sweet white lace cotton dress for summertime.

It's very antique looking, with a vintage type style. I have to admit, I really lean that way in the things I like, something from long ago. The great thing is that I could make it up fresh with new metal, and not take apart an old piece. It has a coppery, silvertoned look to the pewter with lots of detail.

And I can make more, without going to flea markets to look for them! I don't like to shop, so that works best for me. Because they are all handmade, they're also different and unique, each one is special.

I hope you like it and can see its possibilities, too.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Light As Feathers

I'm still learning about casting the pewter metal. I made up some wings in the dark patina and put them alongside some of the fused glass faux gems.

When I was in Scotland I tried looking for vintage medallions or medals, I wanted to try to replicate them, let them inspire my design ideas. But I could never find them, or in the one place I saw some through the shop window the store wasn't open so I couldn't see them up close, or bring any home.

Using the pewter and the fused glass, I want to reproduce that antique look, like an old medal or medallion that someone brought back from their travels long ago.

These wings are in the ExpeditionD shop, I wanted them to be with the colorful wings as a group. So all the soaring wing shapes are there in one place. But the glass is in the vintage style jewelry shop.

Maybe I should have put everything together. But I liked having all the wings, even the one with the master key and lock, arranged in a feathery group together.

Which Way, Switch Way

Okay, so this is one of the "wrong-way" opposite facing wings I was talking about, that I made earlier. It's still pretty, and very sparkly and detailed.

This one looks like copper when it's been out in the weather, that green patina it gets with time, called verdigris.

So what do you think? If you were looking at the bird, wouldn't this be a right wing. So the left wing would face the other direction.

I think.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Color Right, Color Left

The days are slowly getting longer, as we head toward the longest day of the year, June 21. There's been a lot of rain and storms lately, makes for a grey light. I'm working on a custom order for a left wing with writing on the back, and apparently I am unable to tell a left wing from a right wing. That sounds funny when I write it that way.

Last night I made two wings, one for "just in case" anything happened to the first one. Got it all painted, and realized that both of them were right wings.

So do you tell on a bird which is the right and which is the left by looking at them from above. Kind of like our right arm and left arm. It's oriented to the body, so even if you look at me from the front, the right and left stays the same.

Anyway, I have to do two more wings, and make sure this time they are the opposite wing side from what I've been making. I never gave bird wings this much thought until now.

These are some new colors of wings I'm making, in pairs. So there's definitely a right and a left, no matter how you look at them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I showed photos earlier of the glass ready for the kiln. I let it cool after firing, ground the edges and created wire scrollwork to turn them into small glass pendants or pairs for earrings.

I can see them on either side of a clasp, or as part of a chain. I put some of them next to the cast pewter and they go together really well.

Some of them have one loop on one side, and three on the other. That would be great for attaching chains or wire wrapped beads, to make a bracelet.

I plan to fire some more really soon, and let them cool all day, so I'll have a surprise in the kiln when I return at the end of the day.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Medallion

I recently watched a show on the history of WWII, about the freeing of Paris, and the role of the French Resistance. I didn't know that the City of Lights had been slated for destruction rather than liberation, and that it was preserved to come to us today by the efforts and sacrifices of many people, so long ago now.

I made the pewter charm with the Eiffel Tower and a lock at the bottom, as a remembrance of a safeguard of the beautiful Paris buildings on this Memorial Day.

I got a bunch of the glass charms made up into pairs as components. I'll show some of them through the week, they're up on the Etsy site. Here I've teamed them up with the pewter charm, to show how they might look on the chain for a necklace.

Thank you to all of those in the military, or who have family members serving, on this Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


These fine silver links were made yesterday and patinaed. I put them in the Etsy shop, I think I want some for myself to make bracelets. I also made some earrings yesterday.

I don't know why I don't make earrings more often. I wear earrings every day, I just don't seem to make them.

I'm making pairs of pewter charms, and polishing the glass drops, I did make them in pairs so I can use them for earrings. I made a three-link chain, with an oval link. And two five-link chains. One has long oval links, and one has more squared, boxy links. They both turned out very nicely.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

High Temperature Transformation

Learning to use a lot of different media interests me. Today I'm preparing some glass to go into the kiln, to make faux gemstones. I want to use some of them with the cast pewter, to make medallions that have that bright colored gloss of glass.

It all starts with sheets of fusible glass, some tools and a kiln. I'm preparing a load for the kiln now. I finally got the kiln and the glass-cutting station set back up. An electrician came last week to fix a circuit breaker and while here he installed a new outlet for me, dedicated to the kiln. So I'm trying it out today.

I've had this kiln for several years now, I use it for the glass and for silver metal clay.

Here are my tools that I use with the glass. I'm using some black, some clear and some dichroic glass. Later, when they have fused and cooled, I'll take the grinder to smooth out the edges and then do a bevel on them.

Glass facinates me, there's nothing that looks like the beautiful glass when it's fused.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Just the title of this one excites me, and when I learn that it's by Cynthia Thornton, I start planning to end my book diet and put my spare change in a jar so I can get a copy.

I've always loved the pewter work of Green Girls Studio, the distinctive and ethereal look of the work. I have some charms I bought quite a while ago that I'm hoarding still, and one little chain maille bracelet with a heart toggle clasp that I wear often. Keep your eyes open for that chance to get a copy! This one looks like a sure-fire winner ...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Talented Friends

I'm really enjoying working with and learning from the pewter. I've only had one small minor injury so far, and I've remembered to wear my closed toe shoes and long sleeves around the molten metal. This focal charm, with its crown fleur de lys, skeleton key and ornate wing was one of the first designs I tried.

I'm still learning a lot about the material and thinking of new ways to combine it with other things. This crown wing key charm was made up by Deryn Mentock into a fantastic necklace, with lots of dangles here and there and a beautiful chain.

It's the kind of design I pictured for it, and Deryn has a way with combining things together. She sent me these photos of the piece as she finished it, I was so excited to see it grow into a full wearable jewelry design. Love those long, long dangles!

I'm going to make some more like this. I have quite a few others cast now, that need clean up, patina and polishing. It's quite messy, and I look so lovely in my safety goggles, gloves, apron and facemask! Can you imagine?

I'll bet Deryn didn't need to wear goggles, gloves and masks, what do you think?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gifts and Exchanges

Rachel at TileSmile and I did an exchange in the winter time. She liked some of my things, and I selected some of her tiles. This one is an Irish toast.

Some I can't show as they are planned for gifts, and the gift receivers read this blog. Don't want to spoil the surprise.

I love the colors, and the ruddy earthenware clay. The words are cheery and fun. They came in this fun box, with purple paper.

And she sent me an unglazed tile, inviting me to paint onto it. So far I've just been enjoying its rustic raw unglazed texture. Maybe I'll paint on it, and possibly I'll leave it the way it is, swirls of reddish, glazed terra cotta.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I made this oval bead focal, to resemble a carved piece from a sailboat or hand compass, with the four directions on it.

The colors are deep and distinctive. I enjoy travel emblems, they bring thoughts of the voyages of discovery.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gifted Friendly Hearts

A while ago, Deryn Mentock sent me these photos of a bracelet she created that included one of my heart designs, the pink heart you see in the photo above.

I spend so much time creating components, beads and units for others to use in making and creating things, I don't seem to have time to put things together myself, using my own beads.

So it's always an immense pleasure to see what others are doing with them. I did an interview with Deryn for Art Bead Scene, if you'd like to read it follow the link.

She sent me these photos to graciously share with me the design she had created and I still love the way the parts work together, and the soft pink color of the heart. Makes me want one like it ...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friendly Giving, Giving Friends

A few weeks ago, Nancy at Rabbit Muse posted a gift exchange on her blog, and I signed up. She sent me this great little heart shaped bowl. I keep it in my bathroom, full of these little fused glass droplets.

It reminds me of the colors in the leaves of giant elephant ear plants, shaded in the summertime under the tree.

The smoothness in the hand, the delightful green tones in the eye, make me happy to see in the mornings as I'm preparing for the day.

Now that the leaves are full on the trees and the grass green, it's a mirror of what exists outside the window rather than a promise of something that's hidden but coming soon. I like that part the best.

Thank you, Nancy, for the promise, the image and the gift.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Medallion Steers Homeward

I stayed up very late, working with the pewter. I love the warm tones of the metal, the romantic shapes I see coming out of the work.

Here's the list of those of you who posted on May 9, some of you have been with me for a while, some of you are new to me and I'm glad you visit the blog and leave comments:

1. Sue at SueBeads
2. Emanda at EmandaJ
3. Sharon
4. Renate
5. Emma at FrankandRox
6. Kim at Dogfaeriex5
7. Sarah at SarahKelley
8. Joann Loos
9. SharonP
10. Stacy at Sissy and Jack's
11. Pattie at The Joy of Nesting
12. LeAnn Weih at SummersStudio

The Random Number Generator cranked out this message:

The winner of the "STAY THE COURSE" emblem is LeAnn Weih at SummerStudio! Send me an email with your mailing address and I'll send the emblem out to you. I appreciate your ideas and feedback, I hope you will enjoy it.

Just so all of you don't feel left out, if you posted on May 9 to assist my soul-searching with your thoughts, you may have 25% off anything in either Etsy shop. Please send me a message in Etsy and I will mark it RESERVED and adjust the price for you.

And if you posted on both May 8 and May 9, remind me you're in that group when you send the message and you'll have free shipping on your Etsy selection, too, from either shop!

I'm traveling for the day job beginning on Sunday afternoon, so if you contact me right away I can ship for you, otherwise it will be later in the week before I get back to home base.

I'll post some more photos of the pewter charms from the midnight oil, I'm very pleased and I think they turned out very well, hope you will think so also.

Friday, May 15, 2009

When Is A Pencil Not A Pencil

A while back I did some posts in a series on Legendary Jewelrymakers. One of the people I featured is Amy Pfaffman, she uses interesting recycled and upsized things in her work and found objects such as aluminum knitting needles, wooden yardsticks and pencils. You can read about her on the blog, or use the "legendary jewelrymakers" tag to see the whole series, there are several.

So when I ran across Jennifer Maestre's work on Etsy, I was intrigued by her use of colored pencils to create scultures and wearable pieces.

Jennifer has a website and there are interviews with her about her work. I first saw her through a Treasury on Etsy that had one of her pencil sculptures in it, and I was curious to learn more about her. See it there, in the upper right-hand corner of the Treasury?

I learned that she's using the pencils almost like beads, weaving them together in peyote stitch, to create her innovative and sculptural three-dimensional pieces. Facinating, isn't it?

In her Etsy site she has pins and focal beads for pendants made of colored pencils too, very graphic and colorful.

Aren't they marvelous? They make me smile.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tomorrow Will Come

On Sunday I'm traveling for the day job, and I'll be out of town for a few days, so I'm trying to wind up a few things before I hit the trail, going westward across the state.

I don't want to cut off the discussion for the giveaway of the little 'STAY THE COURSE' emblem too soon but I'd like to pull the name out of the hat before I go. So if you haven't posted a comment yet, and you still want to do that, I'm leaving it open until tomorrow morning. Then I'll close it, and announce all the good news on Saturday, so hang in a little longer.

Based on some of your ingenius ideas, here are three definitions for -STAY that so far I've decided to cling to:

1. To stop from motion or falling; to prop; to fix firmly; to hold up; to support. Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side. --Ex. xvii. 12.

2. To support from sinking; to sustain with strength; to satisfy in part or for the time. He has devoured a whole loaf of bread and butter, and it has not staid his stomach for a minute. --Sir W. Scott.

3. To bear up under; to endure; to support; to resist successfully. She will not stay the siege of loving terms, Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes. --Shak.

Who can argue with Sir Walter Scott, the Bible and Shakespeare, right?
"This above all: to thine own self be true". - (Hamlet Act I, Scene III).

I've really enjoyed reading your comments, keep posting if you're not done yet, and tomorrow will come.
PS - to clarify, in case there's confusion, the folks who posted a comment on the May 8 blog post (which has been closed for new comments for a while now) are the ones who have the 50% discount in the Etsy shops - just send me a message in Etsy, identify yourself as one of those folks and let me know what piece(s) you'd like so I can reserve for you and mark down the price before you do the transaction!