Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friends With a Gift

Most of you know that I relocated from Missouri to Louisiana to be nearer to my family. I am still meeting people here in my new home. But one person who was in Louisiana made me very happy, by sending me a gift made with her own hands.

Beverly Herman of No Easy Beads makes the loveliest beaded cords and necklaces. She made this pretty little bracelet, and sent it to me. Wasn't that sweet of her? See the focal bead - it's one of Heather Powers' little branch beads. How ingenious, to use it that way.

At first I thought it was a crocheted cording with beads, but as I looked more closely I could see that it was tiny little beads stitched carefully together to make a round cord. 

I've been enjoying wearing it around my wrist. It serves as a constant reminder of friendship, happiness and new adventures. It rolls right on over your hand, and slips easily on your wrist just as light as a feather.

I love it! Thank you so much, Beverly. It's simply amazing ... just like you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Before, During and After

 A lovely friend recently sent me a wonderful package of original keys, to use them as the springboard to create faux antique copies. I was so excited to see them, and to see if I could replicate the originals. They're very special, and unique. Distinctive!

Here's just one of them, a large fancy one, with a sort of brass mixed metal on the bottom and a scroll in white metal on the top. I mixed up the mold compound, and set to trying to duplicate the key. I didn't want it three-dimensional, I like to keep them flat on the reverse to keep the bulk down, and to make them rest smoothly on a flat back.

After the mold set and finished up, I prepared it for casting and took a first prototype cast from it. The pewter is very shiny and bright when first cast. It doesn't have a lot of shadows or patina on it, it's just bright white metal until I set to work on it. It also has a lot of excess metal from the casting that has to be removed.

After I cleaned up the excess metal and polished the edges, I drilled a hole in the bottom to use for a dangle or to attach a jump ring and chain. I don't mind drilling the duplicates, but I wouldn't ever want to drill the originals! 

I put a dark patina on the metal. Where the original scrolls are open, I left them closed on the duplicate and allowed the dark patina to settle in the loops, to make them interesting and showy. 

I polished and buffed it, and applied a special finishing compound on it so the patina is protected. The pewter sometimes gets little pinholes while it's casting, and for these old keys I like that look on the shaft of the key. I think it makes it look more authentic and old, not manufactured.

Here is the original and the replica side by side. The original is on the right side. The duplicate is on the left.

I'm pleased with the amount of detail and finish on the replica. I'll be sending it to the original's owner, to compare!

I think with a key this large, I might try drilling holes along the shaft, so dangles could hang down when the key is hung on a chain horizontally, maybe three holes along the shaft and one at the end for attaching the chain.

I love preserving and reproducing these old things, so they can have another, new life as jewelry, collage or mixed media art emblems!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Interviewer's Gold

I made a post, asking for interview questions, and some of you gave me some meaty topics to ponder. I love the questions, and I'll be working on some answers for them.

In the meantime, if you posted a question as a reply to that post, you will get a 50% discount on any item in the Etsy shop that's over $20. That's right, anything above $19.99 will be half off when you purchase! Please put ASKMEPOST in the Notes when you purchase so I know you're taking advantage of the discount on any items over $20, and I'll send you a revised invoice through PayPal.

Thanks so much for the great questions. And they have another future use I'm considering, stay tuned to check out what happens!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Flocks and Friends

These four birds, with their extra large loops, are a special delivery for a friend. I finally got some time today to spend in the studio.

All week I've been saying that I must head over to the studio today - and every evening I had something else taking my time. Or I was just wrung out from the day, and sat on the porch knitting until twilight fell.

Next week I hope I'll be better about going over to the studio to work and be creative! I have new designs I want to try out.

In the meantime, these four birds will be winging their way to their new home!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Harvest Moon Fall

This year, the first time since 1991, the full moon that's called the Harvest Moon rose on the same day as the summer ended and autumn began with the autumnal equinox on Wednesday night, nearly at midnight.

I didn't know the origin of the name "harvest moon" until I heard on the radio program "Stardate" that it is the full moon closest to the September equinox. I saw it myself when it was at its fullest, walking the dog in the early morning hours as it reached the western horizon, ready to set. 

I learned that it's called the harvest moon, because farmers used its bright celestial light to extend the day for harvesting in the fields.

This year, the bright star right next to it is Jupiter. It's the closest Jupiter has been to the moon since 1963.

If my memory is right, the Harvest Moon won't come this close to the actual day of the equinox again until 2029. Since the moon's cycle is less than 30 days, it comes on different days during the season. Sometimes the Harvest Moon is as late as October.

Did you notice the beautiful, very round, enormous moon in the sky? At midnight it was so bright it actually cast shadows.

Check out this National Geographic link if you would like to know more about this beautiful, seasonal event.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Around the Neighborhood

I just came in from the sidewalk, visiting with my daughter and grandbaby in her carseat. She has new sunglasses, to protect her eyes against the "stinky sun" - as she calls it when it gets in her face.

The weather is still warm around here. And humid.

In the mornings before I go in to work, I sit on the front porch until my daughter drives by on the way to work, and we visit for a minute.

On Thursdays we carpool together into town, so I get to visit with both of them until time for the day job to start.

This is the fabulous grandbaby wearing her sunglasses - for some reason she insists on putting them on upside down.

To her, that's the right way round. Who am I to say different?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ask Me, Who Knows

Are there things you'd like to know about me, my background, that I don't mention on the blog? Are there inquiring minds wanting to know?

Here's your chance to do a "quasi-interview" of me, based on posting the questions as a reply comment to this post.

I am hoping the questions will not involve "how do you do" with specifics about jewelry. I'm hoping they will be questions about "who are you" or "when did you" or "why do you" sorts of things.

If you post a question here for my blog-interview, you'll get a special savings in the Etsy shop. Will that sweeten the deal enough to get you typing those questions for me?

Once I have your questions, I can ponder the answers, and maybe answer them on-line here on the blog. 

Sounds like fun to me. Hope you will join me and play along! I'll close out the questions by Thursday, so if you want to ask, now's the time .....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saintly Spooky Treasury

The skully beads are in a Treasury! It's called "All the Saints" and has a definite zoo-zoo scary feeling. I love all the spooky images, don't you?  

It's still very hot-hot-hot here, hard to think about the autumn. But I'm sure it will come sooner than I expect. This Treasury is a reminder of the shorter days and spooky nights ahead in October!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Breakfast Time

Another week in the rear view window, so to speak. As a treat, I made a special breakfast this morning.

With home made espresso to make a cappaccino, with frothed whole milk.

Pancakes, pan fried fresh eggs, and bacon.

I made a big stack of them, I'll put the rest in the refrigerator to re-heat and eat during the week.

Today my daughter and I are headed into town to go shopping, something we were looking forward to doing once I got moved closer.

Later, when we get back, I'm headed over to the studio for a while to finish some orders.

And I found a really cute dress pattern for little girls. I need to rummage through my stacks of fabric stash and find some that would make up into a cute dress for a special little girl I know.

I hope you're  having a wonderfully creative day, too!

Cheery Cherry On Top

This is a replica of an antique button, with three little cherries, leaves and stems.

I love the coppery-bronze patina on it. It has two holes, one at each side. I think it would be fun for a small copper chain to make a bracelet.

Last weekend I made several designs that I usually give a dark pewter finish, and made them with a bright coppertone look. Like many of you, I've been using copper wire for some wire wrapping projects. These little components are great with antiqued copper or brass wire.

Locks, stars and keys.

I like their rustic look and the color of the coppery bronze patina on them.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here's the Key to My Heart

I've been wanting to combine these elements to make a dangle. 

The pewter padlock and key.

The bright red glass heart with the picasso metal edging.

So I took some time on Sunday and made this dangle.

To wear on a long chain. It could be kind of sentimental, or it could have a gothic spin.

Heart's blood, locked up, with the key worn on a chain. Like Bluebeard's closet.

I guess I'm thinking ahead to the end of October, huh?

Spooky stories, locked turrets and dark attics. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sugar Princess Necklace

I've been making these keys, and finally I just had to stop and take the time to make a necklace design with one of them.

I don't know if the episode on Saturday with the optometrist made me choose the little lens, but it just seems to go well with the key and the glass drops on the necklace chain.

I like to make the length adjustable by putting the clasp in the front, and I did that this time. So it can be a neckline length necklace, or by hooking into the links of the chain it can be a choker.

I think I'm going to have to test wear this one. I like it. But I went ahead and listed it in the Etsy shop. I can only wear just so much jewelry, no matter how hard I try!

The hardest part is getting a decent photograph of it, that shows all the parts and isn't a mile long ...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beauty and the Beast Treasury

Another one of my keys found its way into a treasury. This one is very clever, called "Beauty and the Beast." 

I've never made a Treasury in Etsy, but folks are very creative with them, I think. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010


My daughter took this picture of the grandbaby girl and I playing with blocks in the family room of our house. I like how she made it look really old fashioned and vintage. She snaps these with her phone when I'm not looking, so they're a surprise to me!

Don't you love the cute sandals on the baby?

Yesterday we drove into town to get my glasses repaired. The teensy screws came out of the side earpieces and the lens tried to come out. I stumbled through the week with one pair for driving (distance) and another pair for reading (closeups) until we could make it to the store to get them repaired.

Good thing I have lots of glasses around!

Today I have many packages to ship, some from the Labor Day sale. I got such an enthusiastic response, it's taken me a few days to get everything finished and ready to send.

Thanks to all of you who participated.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Treasures in Teal

My new pewter key found its way into this pretty Treasury on Etsy called "Pewter and Teal" - I really like the choices and the different textures.

I'm a fiber person at heart, I wish I had time for more knitting and stitching. Aren't the colors lovely?

It isn't often that I want EVERYTHING out of a Treasury's photos, but this is one of those times.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Key Factors

Along with the new crosses that I made, I created a few new key designs.

I want to make some necklaces with the big key as part of the chain. I think I'd like to wear one like that.

So, I'm back at work, doing the 9-to-5 thing.  Like so many of you, too. Most of you, probably.

It feels good to be useful. To help in a tangible, measurable way.

I do have to admit to daydreaming about jewelry designs sometimes. But not for long because the days are action-packed and filled with things that need attention.

Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it seems to zip right by, without my noticing a single hour in the day.

And other times, it goes so slowly, I feel the day will last forever.

There's that lyric from James Taylor that comes to mind - "The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time" - that's something I sing to myself as I drive into town in the morning, watching the sun slowly coming up.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Forward into the Fog

I think I mentioned a while back that I was working on some new cross designs. I finally got them photographed.

You'd think I would have all the time in the world, right?

Well, things have taken a different turn. What's that old saying - "life is what happens while you are making other plans" or something along those lines.

About a week ago someone contacted me.  A friend of a friend had passed the word that I had moved to town, and my prior corporate experience. Someone who was working in a law office locally had just been tragically killed in an automobile accident. The law office needed help, and right away.

Would I? Could I?

Well, I did. I decided that I would help out. I have been back to the 9-to-5 for about a week and a half now.

Did you notice? I tried to keep the ball rolling while I was away. And I was thankful for a three-day weekend, believe me, more than usual.

So, I go to the studio when I can, on weekends and evenings. Not every day, as I planned and hoped.

During the day, I go into town and help these folks out the best I can.
It seemed like the right thing, at the present time. It feels right, right now.

When those folks tell me every day "thank you for helping" it feels like the only thing I can do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Things Come In Threes

Here are three little pendants I created last week. The round ones are really tiny and sweet, I really like how they are turning out. They'd be so cute as charms on a bracelet, or as a dangle on a necklace. I want to make up some jewelry using them - I can't wait!

You've probably heard the old saying that things "come in groups of three" - good things, and not so good things.

I have some personal experience with that, since the move from Missouri to Louisiana.

One thing was the VW Van throwing a rod. I only partly know what that means, but it means a new engine. That's a pretty big thing.

Another thing was the abrupt departure of the HP computer. KAPUT! Thankfully I have a stand-in, and I cross my fingers every time I boot up the machine and say a silent "thank you" when it turns on.

The third thing was the sudden passing of my father-in-law in Kansas, which involved some rapid airline arrangements for my hubby to be there with his family.

I'm hoping that this is the run of the threes, and this is all that's coming right now. 

Tomorrow, I'll let you know what I did because of this triad of eventualities that visited me since the relocation to Louisiana, and the coincidence that changed all my plans.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Skully Mastery

I get so excited when people send me pictures of what they've created using the pewter elements.

Pam Traub at KlassyJoolz sent me wonderful photos of this spectacular necklace she made.

She described the elements she used as "beautiful pewter skull pendant, matte finish black lampwork beads with real silver, Jena Fulcher black and white animal print lampwork beads, sterling silver bead caps, all wire wrapped in sterling silver, silver plated rollo chain, and handmade sterling silver box clasp with inlayed onyx gemstone" --- and I just ADORE the finished look.

Pam made me feel really special when she shared with me that she gets lots of compliments every time she wears this unique and gorgeous necklace.

I bet she does, don't you???

Pam says, "I purchased your Memento Mori Skull Pendant back in June....And I finally designed a necklace with it...I wanted to share with you what I created. Each time I've worn it I get so many compliments...I love it, too!!!! This necklace is just one of those special pieces."
I was thinking just the other day about the upcoming holiday at the end of October. Wouldn't that skully be great for some thing to wear on October 31?
Thanks, Pam, I love it and appreciate you sharing the results with me, so wonderful.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Today's Special Discount and A Chance To See Me in Silly Glasses

Happy Labor Day! I'm Having a Sale in the Etsy Shop ...
For a lot of folks, it's the last sign of the end of the seemingly endless summer. And a chance to shop and save some money on the holiday. Yay!
Those photos are from my workbench at the studio. That's a pile of unfinished cast pewter pieces, with the scrubber and cleaning setup that I use on the left.

And that's my new flex shaft tool for the dremel, and a small buffing wheel accessory I bought at Harbor Freight on sale, in the photo on the right. The flex shaft is better than my old one, quieter and faster. So I'm glad I replaced the old one.

The sweeping brush is because everything I do on that side of the workbench is very dusty and messy. I have to sweep the desk, the floor and myself very often while I'm working. And I still seem to get covered with messy dust anyway.

That's me behind the close up prescription glasses, safety glasses, and respirator dust mask.

Sometime maybe I'll show a photo of one of my old dust masks covered in dust and you'll see why I wear the uncomfortable and annoying things. It's truly better for me to have both eyes and both lungs working than to worry about how crazy I look!

So, if you go to the Etsy shop TODAY and buy something or several things, I'll adjust your total invoice for 50% off and free shipping!

Is that a DEAL or what? If you've had your eye on something special, zip on over there and take advantage of the discount for Labor Day Monday Special!

Just put "SAFETYFIRST" in your notes on checkout so I know you're taking advantage of this.
And don't laugh at my silly glasses ... too much.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ivory Blue

Here's another of the components I created last week, this one to resemble carved ivory or old glazed porcelain.

It's one of the designs from the buttons that Deryn Mentock sent me, but instead of using the design in pewter it's made in polymer clay this time. I wanted them to look very old and worn, like ceramic tiles from an antique salvage yard or something.

Here is is again, but with a blue-tinted faux glaze this time.

And both of them with the faux filigree in wire. Each one is slightly different, I'm trying out various combinations in the wire.

I enjoy finding different ways to use the pattern from the antique button.

To give it new life and let it live again, in a new way.

Both of these are in the Etsy shop, if you want to try designing with this faux filigree.
DO YOU read the blog regularly? DO YOU like sales, discounts and specials? BE SURE to check the blog tomorrow morning for a SPECIAL SURPRISE ... just saying, don't miss out if you've had your eye on something special in the shop!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In the Kitchen

This morning I got up early and baked muffins and muffies.
Muffins are full sized, baked in paper cup liners.
Muffies are smaller, they're like just the muffin tops. I have a special muffie tin.
I made chocolate chip and blueberry cheesecake of each.
The muffins are in Dora the Explorer liners, guess who gets those?

Someone special who is two years old.

I also made homemade vanilla ice cream, and a container of homemade lemon sherbet. We still have a few leftover cupcakes from last weekend because I baked so many.

Can you freeze cupcakes? If not, I guess I'll just have to eat them more quickly.

I cooked up three dinners for next week and I'll put those in the refrigerator.

Sometimes on the weekend it's great to stock up.
So you don't have to work hard in the kitchen over a holiday.

And ice cream and cupcakes are always welcome additions to a meal, aren't they? 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tulips in Filigree

I made some faux handpainted porcelain components, and then sat back to think about what I wanted to do with them.

I didn't think I wanted to put them into pewter settings. I wanted something airy and open.

I looked at my collection of brass filigree, but I didn't have any that were large enough for the handpainted component, to wrap around it.

So I got out some wire, cut some lengths and decided to see if I could create a filigree look myself.

I started bending and curling the wire, making different shapes.

Then decided how they might combine with each other and with the little oval shape, to create a frame for it.

This is how it turned out. I like the yellow highlighted background, and the yellow-green leaves. With just a touch of red in the tulips. Like a handpainted tulip portrait.

I plan to keep playing with this combination, the faux porcelain centerpieces with the wire faux filigree.

It reminds me of a very old, handpainted antique. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leaf and Twig

I was very lucky with this pewter leaf - I got lots of good details and veins showing.

I'm thinking of turning this design into a natural looking toggle. With a twig as the toggle bar.

I'll have to go hunting for some likely twigs, that look right and have some details, but aren't too large.

So that it's visibly a twig, and not just a stick. Hard to describe the difference, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

Pretty soon the autumn will be here, and the leaves from the huge pecan tree in the front yard will be dropping. I don't think the leaves change colors too much here, but I'll be watching to see if they do.

I have this little leaf charm in the Etsy shop, if you're in an autumn mood or thinking ahead to the fall season.

It's hot here, so it's hard to think of cooler weather, but I know it will come.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wearable Jewelry

Last week, I took time to create some finished jewelry from the pewter components and my hand dyed costume pearls.

It's been a while since I sat down with the beads and jewelry pliers and made finished jewelry.

These costume pearls were my attempt to create dark, blue-black colored costume pearls. There were some small diameter, some slightly larger, and one that's a teardrop shape. I dyed them a while back in the Missouri studio. I haven't set up the dyebaths in the new studio here yet. One more thing I need to get done.

The acrylic bicone beads I used for an accent were also dyed, right along with the costume pearls.

This necklace has found a home already, which makes me very happy. I often wonder whether, if I create wearable jewelry instead of components only, will they find someone who wants to wear them?

This necklace did! And that's a special excitement for me.