Sunday, October 31, 2010


My daughter took this photo at the end of our trip to North Texas. We did a lot of visiting and ate a lot of food.

Traveling with a two-year-old in the back seat has its own special sense of togetherness. We thought the grandbaby would take a long nap in the carseat. Ummm, does 30 minutes even count as a nap? I didn't think so!

We came back on Monday, and back to the day job on Tuesday. The studio is a bit chilly. Know why?

Today we figured out that, in both houses, we didn't get the gas turned on yet. A big huge DUH!

We went to turn on the heat in the house, it was 60 degrees inside, and no heat. A head-scratcher. We checked the electrical box, any breakers off? Nope.

We went to check the pilot light. It wasn't lit. Ahh, that's the problem. 

And it wouldn't light. Because there was no gas!

So we are bundled up this weekend until we can call the town office and have the gas turned on to the house.

Sometimes, it's the little things.

So I'm headed over to the studio now to open the doors and let some warm, outdoor air in. To warm things up a bit. Since it's going to be 70 degrees today outdoors!

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Pieces

I finally got a chance last weekend to work in polymer clay for a while.

I've been working in pewter for a few weeks now. It was good to change gears.

Since I moved, I haven't even cracked open the resin yet. 

So much to do, so little time.

But I did enjoy the polymer play, and how this one turned out. 
Reminds me of crewel embroidery.

I put it in the Etsy shop, but if you want it, it'll ship after I get back from traveling.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blind as A Bat, Clumsy as An Ox

On Thursday night I went over to the studio to package up some things that needed to be shipped.

I dropped my glasses and broke them - AGAIN.

I carefully collected the pieces, even the teensy screws. Whew, I'll be able to put them back together and fix them, I'm thinking to myself.

Then, somewhere between the door of the studio and the car, I dropped the lens in the yard! OOOOOH NOOOOO!

It was too dark to look for it.

And I'm about to drive hours to see my family.

Do I have timing, or what?
No time to go to the eyeglass place and get  new ones made real quick.

So if you see someone in North Texas, squinting and looking over the top of some really old eyeglass frames - that would be ME!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gratitude and Amazement

Last weekend, when I met Katie Nelson at her beading class, she had a little present for me.

I feel so lucky, all these talented people want to give me things. And they're beautiful!

The focal and the little accent beads are by Heather Powers. I just love her esthetic, the colors and the shapes. It's more lovely in person than in the photos I've admired in the past.

And to top it off, Katie made a necklace with bronze seed beads, in a spiral pattern.

I have no idea how she does that.

At the class I was watching her, she was using little teensy beads to make a lovely spiral pattern necklace.

She says it relaxes her, although I think I'd be cross-eyed and tense like a harp string if I tried to do it!

I feel so fortunate to have such friends!

Thanks, thanks, thanks ... I will wear it and love every minute, thinking of both my friends who collaborated to make it for me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friends of Renown

Last April, I went to Artfest and had a wonderful time. I met some neat people there, walked on the beach of the Pacific, and heard some really cool music. If you ever get a chance to go, be sure to take it! I promise you'll have the time of your life.

One of the wonderful people I met is Gail Pfrommer in Reno, Nevada. She recently sent me this fantasticl heart that she made in polymer clay. It's like a polymer mosaic, with all kinds of amazing things embedded in it!

She's so sweet, I enjoyed meeting her. I'm sorry I won't see her again next April at Artfest 2011. But I know she'll be there, taking some fun classes. I'll be there in spirit!

Thanks so much, Gail, I'll treasure it ...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Street Miles

Remember my "triad of troubles" when I said that the VW Van had thrown a rod - whatever that means, it's BAD - and it was in the shop?

We ordered a new engine from California, it took a long time to arrive and another long time to get installed, but it's here and now the Van is Back!

We picked it up yesterday. It got a lot of other new parts, too. It is a 1989 VW Westfalia Campmobile. If you're a fan of them, you know what that means. If not, it's a camper, inside a VW van.

The top pops up, it has a refrigerator, stove and sink inside, and it is very fun for camping, for those who don't like to sleep on the ground in the great out of doors.

So we got it back, and it is driving very well now. I'm excited.

It's a coincidence that this weekend my daughter, the grandbaby and I are driving to Texas to visit family. Because we're NOT taking the van.

But when I get back, I mean to start planning some overnight trips to the lake soon, while the weather is still nice and not too cold at night.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rolling the Odometer

On Sunday, the sales count on the Etsy shop rolled over from 1199 - where it had been maddeningly hovering for several days - to 1200.

Feels like a milestone! Is it cheating to add the 826 sales from the expeditionD shop, to top out over 2026? 

I have new items to photograph and add to the shop. I worked mainly in polymer clay this past weekend, and it takes me a while to get new things finished, photographed and uploaded. They were inspired by the book I've been reading, very atmospheric. I'll carve out some time to get those photos taken one evening.

At the moment, I'm relishing the new number in the Etsy shop, it's very special to me.

That represents a lot of individual items and bouts of creativity since November, 2007, when I opened the Etsy shop. So I'm easing up on an anniversary, too.

Thanks go to all of you who have supported, encouraged and heartened me.

I couldn't do it without you!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday Baking and Events

There's a Schlotzsky's sandwich shop here in my new home, and on paydays I treat myself to a sandwich as I go through the drive-through of the bank that's nearby.

I have decided to try to duplicate, as closely as I can, their special bread.

Yesterday I made up some yeast dough and made small buns and baked them.

But there's something missing. That Schlotzsky's bread had a unique texture and taste.

I'm going to keep experimenting, while I eat the little rolls I made yesterday. They're great for breakfast, toasted in the toaster with apricot jam and butter.

I also made a four-layer white cake with buttercream icing. I'd show a photo, but we cut into it last night after dinner. Maybe I'll go ahead and show it, you can really see the layers where it was cut.

It's yummy!

Yesterday at noon I drove out into the country and met Katie Nelson at her beading class, here in my neighborhood. I got to meet some other nice beading ladies. Katie is very sweet and friendly, I'm very happy we got a chance to visit. The hostess took a photo of us, as I forgot my camera!

If you know the secret of Schlotzsky's buns, with their holes and soft crust texture - point me in the right direction!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Art Bead Scene Winner Abroad

Did you know, if you reply to the posts on Saturdays at the Art Bead Scene, and you are selected, you can win something fun?

Last week was my turn to post on the blog at Art Bead Scene for Studio Saturdays. This week the winner was selected, it was Dale. I'll be sending her button reproduction to Korea. I often send my winner's goodies to far away places, but I think this one is the furthest. Or would Australia be farther away? I'll have to check on that. 

Congratulations to Dale for posting, and for being the winner. 
Keep an eye on Art Bead Scene - lots of great content!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Artfriends Abroad

Esther Ramos is a wonderful designer. She lives in Provence - don't you wish you could go visit her? 
I know I do!

She used one of my resin pieces to create this beautiful necklace. I'm so happy she shared this photo with me. The piece I made has the word "time" in the center. It's the most non-renewable resource, and the most precious. 

Thanks, Esther!

Friday, October 15, 2010

ZaZu Musicalle

This is the music to listen to while reading Deanna Raybourn's book.

Caravan Palace has some fantastic zing-zip-pop to it!

I first heard about it on the radio, listening to NPR. They played some of the music, and I jotted a note so I could search them out.

Their sound has a gypsy lilt to it, with some of the jazzy sounds of the 1930's.

They are from Paris, and have a bistro late night in a smoky cafe sound. They echo Django Reinhardt and a gypsy camp combined with a racy tempo. Here's a link to their official website - it's in french.

They combine the romantic past with the machine age future, to create a sound that's totally new and facinating. I can't stop listening to them.

Try them, see if you can stop tapping your foot and nodding your head!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Reading Anew and Fried Okra

I finally went last weekend to the local library and got my new library card.

When I was young, I went to the library several times a week during the summer, getting lots of books to read sitting in the shade under a tree.

Since I moved at the end of July, I just hadn't made it to the library to get my card.

The library branch is right down the street from my new house, I can walk or ride my bike. I only have time to go on Saturday morning, so I loaded up my empty tote bag and got some books.

I brought home two cookbooks about local cooking and recipes. I'm enjoying reading them, and there has been a lot more fried okra and cornbread around the house this week. The power of suggestion is strong!

And I got this debut novel by Deanna Raybourn. It's written by an american author, but set in the 1880's in England. It reminds me of the mysteries of Dauphne de Maurier. The author does a great job of describing the setting, the clothing, and especially the jewelry. There's a murder mystery, gypsies and lords and ladies. An eccentric family, a lovely heroine, a mysterious investigator. 
Very atmospheric!
It's the first in a series, I may try to read the others, too.

I know it's going to influence my jewelry designs, just reading it. 
Inspiration flows from many different places.

I haven't finished it yet, so if you have, don't give away the ending!

I also got some books for the grandbaby. You can't start the reading habit too early!

I feel more like a member of this community now, between the okra and the library card. Settling in.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Round Bubble Button

In the goodie bag that Erin loaned me, I found a large round button. I wanted to turn it into something fun for jewelry designs. So I cast it as a hollow circle with two holes.

I can see it as the focal bead for a bracelet or necklace.

It's a little large to become one of the rings, unless you're the daring sort that doesn't mind large showy finger gems!

It reminds me of the buttons on military coats from the old European nations.

I also have an idea on how to combine it with one of my bezels, to make a locket design. I'll have to play with that and see if I can figure it out.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Razzle Dazzle Bling

In with the keys, in the package of goodies that Erin loaned me, was this marvelous rectangular piece that looks like it might have been a buckle, or some kind of connector.

I wasn't sure how well it would cast or mold, I didn't know if it would look as shiny and sparkly as the original once I re-created it in pewter.

But I think it turned out really well. I can see it as a focal for a bracelet, with a double strand of faux pearls or faceted shiny beads. It's in the Etsy shop, if you want to see more pictures, or take it home and design with it.

I really enjoy working with the old pieces. If I can re-create a replica of them, it makes me feel that I'm giving them a second life.

Studio Saturday at ABS

Today is my turn as editor for the Art Bead Scene blog. If you want to check it out, post a reply and have a chance a winning something fun, pop over and enjoy!

It's a lovely fall morning here in central Louisiana. I'm headed over to the studio soon.
I have orders to fill, and promises to keep. It's been a crazy week at the in-town 9-5 day job.
But yesterday we had an open house at the new office, so the work day ended early and the fun started. 

Enjoy the Art Bead Scene, answer the question with a comment to the post - I'm always curious about what's going on with you. Share?

Don't forget about the SPECIAL SALE going on in the ETSY shop. It's time to take out some of the summer items to make room for the change of seasons. There are some goodies there you might want to see!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Three Keys

Last weekend I got a chance to work on some more key designs. These two smaller ones are also from Erin. I love the heft of them, they're very detailed also. One is medium-sized, the other is a bit smaller. The smallest one reminds me of the keys used to lock old-style window shutters. The mid-sized one put me in mind of an old monastery door key, very ornate and historic. Fanciful, huh?

I cast another one of her large keys, and as I mentioned, I put three holes in the shaft, so when it's hung horizontally by the holes at each end, there can be three dangles from the middle.

And I gave the shaft a ruddy, coppertoned patina. Kind of reminds me of the original that way. I'm sending this one to her as a "thank you" for the loan.

Keys are fun! Especially when far away friends send them to me for a while!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Church Woods

More buttons from the rescue! This one is beautiful, almost like a carved sculpture.

It has a church, or a castle, in the woods.

One I gave a dark, ruddy coppertone patina.

The other one I gave a dark pewter, aged patina. This one is just a little too large, I think, for a ring. But I put a hole at top and bottom, to use as a central focal bead for a necklace. 

There's so much detail, I'm really happy with the way this turned out.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Behind Bars

This clever Etsy Treasury features one of Erin's special keys that I just cast.

It's called "In the Jailhouse Now" and is very colorful and clever.

Don't you love the graphic designs and bright colors.


Click on the link to the Treasury if you want to see any of the items up close. 
People are so ingenious with those Treasury spots, I like seeing them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Three Rings

A couple of weeks ago I took some more of the rescued buttons loaned to me for casting, and tried out their new molds.

I thought it would be fun to do something different with them, so I used them on these adjustable ring shanks, to make them fun and wearable.

One has the design I think of as a bowl of cherries, with the red patinaed coppertone fruit, stems and leaves.

One has a geometric, sort of star shaped design.

One has a floral, abstract nature design. Like Queen Anne's Lace flowers, quaint and dainty.

The Bowl of Cherries ring is fairly small. The other two are a larger sized design.

But I can see myself wearing any of them, for fun. A quick slip on the finger, a big smile on my face.

I listed them in the Etsy shop, to avoid the temptation to make one be "mine" - they have an adjustable ring shank, so they'll fit anyone.

I hope they find fun homes, so I'm not tempted to change my mind and wear them!
I just put some fun things on SALE in the Etsy shop, if you've had your eye on something, check it out .... it might have a special price.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Two Sticks and a String

I want to use some of the cast pewter buttons on knitting projects.

Sometimes, I just have to break out the yarn and put something onto needles.

I keep a bunch of 3x5 cards with me, and write down knitting patterns, so I can carry them with me in a little portable package.

This is a short neck cowl scarf, made in cotton yarn that looks like denim. I think it would be cute wrapped around the neck and fastened with a pewter button, just inside the neck of a coat or sweater.

This coral-pink square is a washcloth, for the bathroom or kitchen.

See the heart shape knitted into the center?

It's just easy enough to knit while watching TV or a movie, and just interesting enough to keep me going on it.

This last, smaller green one on top is the same pattern, but it's my hand dyed green cotton yarn and smaller needles. It would be a great shape and size for a washcloth. It's very lightweight.

I need to wash all three of these to fluff them up.

I think they'll be gifts later on this year. And all it took was two sticks, and some string!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dark Heart

This heart started out to be ornate, ruddy, and a little spooky looking.

I fashioned it and added the color, then buffed and polished it.

Then I added some rough-hewn loops at the top. To attach a special wire wrapped bead chain, or some dark, heavy cording. 

I guess I have the dark holiday on my mind. Spooky! A little bit sweet, a little bit gothic.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gazing and Wondering

I thought it might be fun this month to make up some little gazing balls, for dangles or to use on a charm bracelet. I want to use one as a dangle on a necklace, so I made up several last weekend.

Two are clear, and two are black. I'm thinking of looking for some red glass balls to encase. That would be interesting, for October designs. I put some in the Etsy shop, if you want to play with them.

You'd be surprised how hard it is to work with these round forms. They want to roll around. And it's hard to hang onto them, they slip through the pliers or grippers, and want to get loose. It's tricky too, getting the round loop on the top to be straight, when you're working with a little sphere.

But they're worth it once they're done.