Monday, June 29, 2009

Full Moon Summer

This moon faced, zen looking medallion looks very peaceful. Sort of like I feel when I'm on vacation.

Lots of rest, good food and laughter. The moonface is smiling too! With three little loops on the bottom for strands of beads or for dangles, and one generous loop at the top. It can even be used as a toggle or lariat clasp, wouldn't it be pretty with lots of tiny seashells on a chain?

The sweet expression of rest and relaxation, an honorary medal for the good life! Bring me a tall, cold drink with a paper umbrella and a candystripe colored straw ...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

In the Anchor Seaport Classy Spirit

Can you tell I'm headed toward the coast?

I promise, I'm affected by what's going on around me. I made this focal medallion in one long, straight-through late night (early morning) work session.

It has a design behind the pewter that looks like a map pattern or compass rose, and the reverse is french script words overlaid on map lines.

Since I'm headed toward a water-related vacation location, my hands are suddenly reaching for boat and nautical themes.

The colors are very subtle and sweet, it embodies some of the medallion designs I wanted to find as antiques but didn't locate in Ireland on the last trip. It's a substantial medallion, and the detail on the anchor and rope pattern is vivid!

Anchors aweigh! and I need to get some sleep and stop staying up so late!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Car Trip Planning

What do you do on long car trips, when you're not the driver of course?

There are some things jewelry-related I can do, like making strands of rosary wrapped pearls, or putting them onto headpins and wire wrapping.

But mostly I like to knit or crochet on long trips. The picture is a design in the latest Vogue Knitting magazine designed by Shiri Mor, it's called Botanica Medallion. Isn't it so pretty and sweet? I'd love to work on that during the drive down to the southlands next week, and then back to Saint Louis.

That is definitely NOT me in the photos. And if I make it, I might have someone else in mind to wear it. It's constructed in a giant circular pattern.

I have some of my hand-dyed silk that would look really pretty made up into this design. It's an interesting construction for the design, kind of a shawl-shrug-sweater combination. And it's knit lace, not crochet. I think the medallion is one that used to be found in cotton bedspreads long ago, I have a book of antique pattern reproductions. And some folks online have converted the pattern to a baby blanket, sounds like fun too.

If I get time before I leave, I'll take and post some photos of the cotton lace afghan I'm working on and that I SHOULD keep working during the drive, so it's ready for an early fall birthday present! It's always fun to dream of that next project you'll start when the current one is finished.

Before I leave I'm going to make up some stitch markers using some of my heart-shaped designs, just in case I can't resist putting this onto needles during the trip.

Do you do major cleaning before you go on a trip? I like to return home to a nice, fresh house, so I do a huge cleaning and laundry project before I go. But OH NO! I KILLED the vacuum cleaner. The beater bar started making a huge rattling sound and turned into a real beater, whacking the insides of the poor vaccum cleaner. So now we have to make an expedition to try to find a replacement, so I can finish cleaning the house.

Next is the kitchen, especially the refrigerator. Taking any food that won't be eaten before we leave and putting it in the freezer. Might have to finish off the ice cream, it's the least I can do, right?

Pesky vacuum! why NOW, why TODAY?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lovely Friends, Friendly Lovelies

Stacey Curry at StarHitchedWagon took one of my odd little transparent components and made a beautiful necklace with it.

When I first saw the photo she sent me, I thought it was a bracelet, but I checked it out on her Etsy site for a closer look. The bead was called "Window Scale" because it has an image of a measuring scale on the translucent window part, can you see it?

I didn't have a specific purpose for making the transparent framed pieces, I think they reminded me of the glass slides of natural wonders that gentlemen scientists used to make and collect, back in Victorian England.

The one side of it reminds me of old black leather photo albums, the kind that have the embossed designs and lettering. And the other side more like an antique picture frame.

Thanks, Stacey, for sharing your creativity and letting me know how one of my little beads grew up to be a necklace in your skillful hands!


I'm working away on a special project for a publication right now and I need the guidance for my hands, for some reason I'm low on energy and feeling very low generally. I feel like I'm letting myself down, not rising to my potential. Do you ever feel that way, like you've failed in some unspecified way, just not making the grade? Maybe like the little girl Gretel felt when she looked behind and saw that all the bread crumbs were eaten up by the birds, a little lost in a big forest.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blue Tendrils

I'm still working my way through the fused dichroic glass faux gems I made a week or two ago. I want to combine them with the cast pewter, to create emblems and medallions that resemble antiques or old jewelry you might find in a flea market stall.

This piece has a coppertoned design at the bottom I made up in cast pewter, with a floral and wing design, attached to an upsurging loop design.

If this emblem is attached with jump rings or wire wrapped beads to a chain or silk cord, I think it would look very delicate and sweeping. I wanted it to have the feeling of a tendril from a vine, or a twig from a flowering tree, reaching up to the light.

The dichroic fused glass has a beautiful blue wavy color, it shimmers and shines in the light, so pretty.

I'm going to attach it to some chain and try wearing it for a day or so, to make sure it's balanced and just the right shape. I think it would also be pretty and have nice movement if I added some more of the oval shaped chain links , might try that too and see which is better.

There's daily construction at my work office on the floor just beneath where I sit, all day there is drilling and hammering that rebounds with loud sounds through the floor. My head feels like a shaken snow globe, all the little bits flying in all directions! I almost bought a new and slightly larger suitcase for the upcoming trip, a goldenrod color. I may still go back and get it, my old roller bag is getting really worn out. I'm excited and weary at the same time, how can I hold both of those at one time? And I really feel the need for vacation, relaxation and some time off. My head feels full of cottonwool, like a dandilion head just before you blow off all the seeds!~

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Admiration of Fleur de Lys

Remember a while back, I asked for advice, and learned that the fleur de lys emblem is a particular favorite of some of you?

I cast the fleur de lys charm in pewter and combined it with an oval I created that looks like an ancient map or compass rose design. I added a large and a small loop on either side.

Either end could be the top, I guess it could even be used as a toggle in the front of a design. Put a toggle bar through the hole, or use as the loop for a lariat stranded necklace to hang through.

I like the coppertone color on the cast pewter, and the warm colors of the oval showing underneath. It looks really ancient! Like it came off an old doorknocker for a cabin on a sleeper train, like the Orient Express!

I'm preparing for my trip down south to see the family, apparently I'm distracted and absent-minded. If I've promised you something, or owe you anything that should be shipped, don't be shy about asking me. I am involved in packing and arrangements and just a teensy bit scattered! All help is appreciated ... I need to make lists of my lists!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Tips and Right Sizes

I did a little online shopping, and got some things I'd been needing, couldn't find locally and just had been putting up with not having.

To drill holes, small holes for jump rings, into fused glass you use diamond tipped bits. I ordered a six-pack of small drill bits, planning to use them in my cordless dremel tool.

I found out right away that the collets I had for the dremel weren't small enough to hold the small drill bits.

The cordless dremel was a gift from my daughter, I've had it quite a while and use it a lot. So I went online to find other sizes of collets, and ordered a package of 4 sizes, with a collet nut included. They weren't expensive at all, and now I can use my tiny drill bits in the dremel.

While I was looking around, I found a great sale at on their flex shaft engraving tool, so I ordered that too! It plugs into regular electricity, so I can save my cordless dremel for times when I really need the mobility.

So here are a few tips on taking care of diamond drill bits and drilling glass, in case you are interested.

1. Always drill glass with water on the drill bit, to keep it cool. Otherwise the friction will heat up the glass and it may crack.

2. Be patient while drilling glass. Don't apply pressure to the drill bit, it's the rotation of the bit, not any pressure you apply, that makes the hole. If you press down, you may crack the glass.

3. Take frequent breaks, don't always try to get through the glass in one pass. Let the glass and the drill bit cool off, take a break and rinse things off and you won't risk damaging your drill bit or cracking the glass.

4. Be sure to wear your safety glasses to protect your eyes, sometimes small bits of glass or shards and dust can fly up into your face - you don't want them to get into your precious eyes and harm your vision.

Now I'll be able to make small holes in the fused glass, for hanging with jump rings! I'm waiting for the rotary engraving tool to arrive, to see if the new collets will fit that tool too. Don't you just love tools?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Peeking in the Stateroom Keyhole

If you ever wonder how I work, and think I have this vision of something completed and work toward it, it's often not like that.

I made this oval piece, with the sun signs and map symbols, and an ornate hanger on the top. But I didn't know what it would be, how I would use it.

I also had recently created a cast off the antique keyhole cover, and was experimenting with painting and putting patina on it.

Then I watched a TV documentary show on the history of the Titanic, about the beauty of the ship and how it was made. At that point I decided that this would become a decorative keyhole cover on the door of a beautiful stateroom in a vanished steamship like the Titanic.

So I put the keyhole cover on top of the oval medallion, and it spoke to me. It has an opening at the top for a chain to pass through, it's very fun and looks to me as though it was meant to be that way all along. More photos in the Etsy shop, if you want to see those follow the link.

Sometimes it's happy accident, or maybe it isn't and I'm just unaware of the process.

PS: I finally caught up with orders, shipping out several today. For some reason I have the summertime slowdown, all I want to do is sip an iced tea and fan myself! With a nap on the verandah in the hammock, if I had either of those things ...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers, Grandfathers and Greats

This is a photo recently taken during a visit by my granddaughter to my parents in Texas. One little beautiful red-headed baby girl, held by her great-grandfather. I wasn't able to be there, but I'll be seeing her in a few weeks. They are lovely together, aren't they?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Blackbird Wings

I took the advice I got from the giveaway posts, and made up several different designs of wings.

These are black with accents that look like rust on dark cast iron. Dark loops at each end, this pair would look good together on a pendant, or I could see them made into earrings, too.

They have fancy french script on the back - see the word "London" on the back side?

Friday, June 19, 2009

In Flight For Friends

An online friend asked me to make these blue wings, she's making a special memorial remembrance of her Dad. We worked out the color, shape and where the loops should go.

I hope she likes them, and I also hope I get a chance to see the finished memorial piece. I love making things like that for people, to make that connection.

The back has script written in french that says "Always Have A Good Experience" - Something nice to read sometimes. From the back they resemble those bright blue butterfly wings.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Triple Play Toggles

I was up very late last night, working on casting and finishing some pewter pieces. I had ideas I wanted to test, to create some decorative clasps and closures. That could be used as a closure, or not as a closure, and maybe when used as a clasp doesn't really look like a toggle, but is worked into the design somewhat steathily.

The kind of closure or clasp you leave in the front of the necklace, showing right up as part of the design. This wheat sheaf design, for abundance, has a small fused dichroic gemstone on it, it sparkles like mad in the light.

The outspread wings have a large decorative loop on one side, and small loops at each wingtip. I could see these as closures for a long beaded lariat, to drape the long end through the large opening.

Or a bar toggle closure, to put through the hole for the clasp. Lots of ideas running around, creatively. Even possibly not a closure at all, just having some dangles hung from the loops, or chain for a necklace, to use as a focal charm.

I especially like the lock and key one. The keyhole is a cast I took from my old 1920's home, from one of the doors in the bungalow, the house I had before I moved to Saint Louis. It reminds me of the old doors and beautiful woodwork in that house.

And the key is cast from an english secretary desk key, I got that piece of furniture, with its stained glass design cabinet doors, when I still lived in Texas. It came in a container shipment from England as part of an auction sale, this metal key was taped to the inside of the drawer for the locks on the fold-down writing desk cabinet.

See, a toggle bar could be pushed right through that keyhole, to become a toggle clasp!

What do you think - to toggle, or not to toggle?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Light Heart, Dark Heart

You may not think I listen to you, or read your emails and comments, but I surely do. Believe me, I do. I asked for your advice earlier, and what I heard was encouragement to make more wings, and hearts.

See what happens when I internalize what you say, and then let my fingers roam around freely?

Light colored hearts with wings, on heart background shapes, with french script writing on the back. Inspired by old carved bone or ivory pieces, and your ideas about birds, wings and hearts.

Dark colored hearts, rusty and ancient looking, with folded resting wings on a shield medallion shape, with cursive script writing on the back. Inspired by dark much-worn cast iron with rusty patches and ancient paint that's worn and peeling, and things you all said about hearts, birds and wings.

Always looking for guidance, listening and taking things to heart ... so to speak! Like the old song says, "the music goes round and round, whoa-oah-oh-oh, and it comes out here" ...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Tips and Random Thoughts

This piece called "Walden" was created a while back, I really like the main focal piece in it. I'm wanting to make some more faux tintypes in fauxtique cabinet cases like this, using the cast pewter I'm making up for the fleur de lys charms this time. I need to order some more mini-Moo cards, I'm almost out again - this image is one I use on them and it reminded me.

Wandering around the studio doing a bit of clearing up (calling it cleaning would be too much of a stretch) I was thinking of a few random things I've been meaning to put into a Tuesday Tips post, haven't done one in a while. No particular theme or order to it, hope you find something here that's useful!

1. When fusing fine silver wire (see the links on "Walden" - those are fused fine silver) - don't forget that they remain extremely hot for a surprisingly long time, use metal tweezers or a hemostat to pick them up to quench them in water, so you don't get a blister on the tip of your finger like mine right now!

2. Be sure to top off your liquid liver of sulphur mixture in a jar with a tight lid and keep it in a cool dark place, to avoid having it lose strength. It interacts with the air, but if the liquid goes all the way to the top (like in a baby food sized jar) it will last a long, long time and you won't waste any.

3. Be careful and hold wire links for hammering with a tool and not your fingers, if you whack your pointer fingernail or thumbnail, it will break, and you'll have a manicure like mine that looks like it was done with hedge clippers.

4. If you use 2-part silicone to make molds of your carvings so you can create polymer clay components, don't ever use latex gloves while mixing or working with the silicone. The latex dust has something in it that keeps the silicone from curing properly and it will stay mushy for a very, very long time. Oh - and be sure to wash your hands carefully if you've had latex gloves on before you use the 2-part silicone, the dust stays around. Learned that the hard way!

5. Finally, a memory aid for making sure my "hot" tools are turned off when I leave the studio - I plug the radio, work lights and soldering irons into a power strip. When I leave (even for a short time) I turn off everything by turning off the power strip. If I can hear the radio, I know the "hot" tools are still on. Keeps me from forgetting and leaving things on by accident!

Hope you have a great, productive week.

PS - to see the whole series of Tuesday Tips in the blog, click on this link.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Friends and Favors

I love keys. These tiny little charms are from Patina Queen, they have a beautiful verdigris green patina on them and I've been hoarding them. And the antiqued brass wire I used is from her Etsy shop, too.

I was clearing away a workspace on the table, things seem to accumulate somehow, and the little bag with the keys got next to the box with
LeAnn Weih's circular ceramic disks.

Well, look at that! They have the same green color - NEAT! So of course I stopped the clearing away long enough to make this pair of earrings.

I should make more earring designs, they're fairly quick to make. Except for the part where I dig through all my storage box containers looking for just that perfect thing. So when they fall together like these did, I make time to grant their wish to be together.

I spent a lot of time in the studio this past weekend, finally got some new things made up for the ExpeditionD shop - and this pair of earrings is in the other Etsy jewelry shop too, if you've fallen for LeAnn's beautiful ceramic disks the way I did and want to wear these earrings.

I call them Mint Key Verdigris - because I like the way it sounds, and to me it describes how they look. Have you ever seen those wafer mints, the sweet minty candies? They remind me of those, so dainty!

Thank you again, LeAnn! It was fun working with these pretty little disks, now I want more - of course!

P.S. - the crochet cotton lace in the background of the photos is mine, it's a lacy circular collar shape I made up, just waiting to have a button or brooch added - do you think I should make some and list in the shop? Don't know if anyone would like to play with the handmade crochet lace in sewing or jewelry designs ... ???

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Charity and Jewelry - A Perfect Match

A while back several of us worked on a jewelry exchange necklace, hosted by Gaea, and she's having a silent auction for charity to raise money. You can post your bid on her blog for a chance to win.

It's a lovely necklace, you'll feel good about contributing to charity, and great for obtaining a beautiful piece with many hands of creativity in it. Go to her blog if you want more details.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Giving Gifts on my Birthday

I went to the post office and I found this wondrous lovely thing, addressed to me from Susan Erickson, who sat next to me in one of my Artfest classes. Today is my birthday, and this was a marvelous surprise!

I just LOVE the charming saying on the reverse side, "When Dottie practices cymbals, all the "do this, do that" demands were drowned out."

And there are her pair of cymbals, on her moveable limbs, all ready to drown out the demands of the day. Truer words were never written, and I've decided I need to make myself some little finger cymbals to wear in honor of it - jingle, jangle, ting-a-ling!

If you look on my Artfest blog you'll find photos of her book pages, she makes the loveliest things and uses stitching and all kinds of neat things on her work. The envelope had stitching all along the edges and the address was stitched onto it, too. Susan is so creative and fun, don't you agree?


In honor of an unexpected gift to me, and today being my birthday and all, I thought I'd announce the giveaway winner. There's really nothing better than giving especially on your own birthday celebration!

The Random Number Generator picked out a number - drum roll please!

It's Kristen at WakingBeautyDesigns! If you click where it says "Send an Email to the Ringleader of LLYYNN" and send me your mailing address, I'll send the "Sweet Dreamer" box bead out to you.

All your posted comments were so helpful, I basically learned that I should make more 3-D beads like this box bead, and that wings, birds and hearts are good themes, also travel related ideas.


For giving me your feedback, if you posted on either day, on
June 3 Weathervane or June 4 Giving Special Gifts:

When you buy something from either shop it's BOGO - Buy One Get One of equal or lesser value - please send me a CONVO message first so I know to adjust the items and reserve for you.

And if you commented on both posts - you will get FREE SHIPPING on your next purchase, too!

How's that for giving gifts on one's own natal day? Thanks, my friends. And especially thanks to Susan for her special gift to me.

(PS - if you would like me to make a 3-D bead box similar to this for you, with specific words or names on it, send me an email ... I'll be working on making some more in the next few days!)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Scorch the Wire, Color of Fire

Here are some photos sent to me by Lorelei Eurto, to show me how she's using these forged silver links to make the coolest bracelets, I just love them! And her handmade clasp matches with the links so beautifully.

She used a three-link oval set, and inside one of the links she wired in a beautiful lampwork glass bead for a ZING of color, she calls it "Memory Keeper." FUN - isn't she clever? These are the fourteen-gauge wire links, nice and chunky but still light.

Thank you, Lorelei! I just love this bracelet, it's so summery and fun.

These links in the photos below were just recently made with the eighteen-gauge wire I brought back from Glasshopper Studio on my field trip last weekend, and it's DEFINITELY more difficult to fuse than the twelve or fourteen gauge, the wire heats up faster and it's easy to overheat the link and create a ball-end piece of wire instead of a loop that's fused. Ooops! Happens quickly ... don't blink!

It doesn't seem like the smaller wire and the smaller diameter links would be harder, but they are, believe me. I always fuse the smallest diameter links first, then add the larger diameter links afterward.

Even being careful, I still managed to melt one loop beyond repair, but I've learned to always prepare extra links, just in case.

I did get a nice patina on all of these though, it's a lovely golden-blue color. Maybe because of the humidity, it's been raining a lot lately.

Thanks again, Lorelei, for showing me the beautiful bracelet!