Saturday, February 26, 2011


We had a a busy week last week.
We put up a canvas gazebo in the yard.
I dug out my "Square Foot Gardening" book - the original copy from 1975, and started thinking about setting up a vegetable garden in the new lot next to the house.

I was "window shopping" on Etsy, and I found some new flat-backed rhinestones. They have a sweet, opal-looking glow to them.
I used some of them in the portal medallion in the photo.
I like the subtle bling they give to the pewter pieces.

We got pricing for a new fence. 
I can't wait until it's warm enough, and far enough past the last freeze, to put out some plants.
I can imagine myself eating fresh lettuce and herbs now!

I've been planning and waiting for this stage of the relocation for over a year now. I just can't wait to get started.... 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Peace Rose

I learned some interesting things today. The rose my grandmother grew beside her front step was called a "peace" rose. It is a yellow rose with pink and peach tips. I found it has a history that goes back to before World War II, coming from France before the invasion and being safeguarded in America and other countries, until the war was over. 

Here in Central Louisiana, at our new house, we just bought the empty lot next to our house.
Last weekend, we put up a canvas gazebo with mosquito netting.
And I've been haunting the local garden stores.

I want to do some square foot gardening this summer.
Last year, we moved in mid-July, and it was too late to start a garden.
This year, I'm already looking longingly at the seed packets.
Have you ever noticed that if you look, you'll find garden and flower seed packets all over the place?

The weather has been mild and wonderful.
I can't wait to plant tomatos!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bark and Leaf Buttons

Another button. This one's color reminds me of mahogany.
Or Autumn leaves.
This one has a wood grain to it.
I made it a two-loop connector.
All the buttons are in the Etsy shop.
In case you'd like to play with them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baby Blue Button

I picked up a jar of old buttons at a flea market.
I couldn't decide how to use them.
To start off, I made some of them into little charms, with a loop at the top.
And a dark metal finish.
This one is very quaint, with its baby blue color.
Reminds me of spring.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's Not Brass, But The Brass Color Is There

I learned a while back how to get a bronze-looking finish on the pewter.
And how to enhance the coppery tones, and make it look like cast copper.
But I hadn't made a look that was like brass tones.
I've been using brass wire lately, to give a golden look to the rosary wire wrap necklace chains, using my hand dyed costume pearls.

I wanted to give this festive, ornate centerpiece a brass-toned look.
I think I'm there.
I do love color. And color WITH metal, even better.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Color With Metal

I love working with the cast pewter.
Sometimes, to add some color, I combine it with the cast resin cabochons.
Or make a centerpiece of polymer clay, to give the metal some bright color. Like the red heart in the previous post, that was handpainted and added to a pewter bezel.

But I've long wanted to re-create the look of enameled metal, the shiny, luminous colors.

I have been playing around with ways to get that look.
I think I'm there.

This replica of a french medal has a ruby, luminous border around it.

The texture of the leaves shows through, and it reflects the light back for an inner glowing look.
Just like the real enamels do. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy V-Day on Monday!

Monday is the loving holiday of Valentine's Day, February 14.

Hope you have some fun, eat something yummy and give lots of hugs and kisses!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pretty Shiny Glass

I love dichroic glass when it's fused.
If you aren't familiar with dichroic glass, it's a metal-coated surface on glass that's used for optics and some space age glass applications;
the metal is applied to the surface of the glass in a vaccuum.

Sometime in the 1970's someone who worked in hot glass wondered what the dichroic glass would do when it was heated to melting temperatures.
And learned by experimenting, that it created a two-color light reflection.

I cut the glass, layer it with white, clear or black glass, and fuse it in my kiln.
It brings out the beautiful, shiny light reflections in the glass.

This little connector is made using a cabochon of fused dichroic that I made before the kiln was packed up and moved. I keep coming across little pieces like this in the studio.
I need to cut some and try fusing again, to make sure the kiln relocated okay.

And before it gets too hot outdoors. Definitely NOT a problem right now!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I adapted my resting heart pendant to create this soaring, heart-with-wings pendant.
Rather than resting, this one is in mid-flight.
It's really small and dainty.
I love casting the pewter and playing with the results.
With the loving holiday coming up this month, I was inspired to make this soaring heart charm.
L-O-V-E on the W-I-N-G

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bluebonnet Basket

This weekend was rough. There was a thick coating of ice on the trees and power lines. The power kept going up and down.
So while it was daylight, I put together this spring bouquet basket necklace.

I guess you can tell what was on my mind. 
Flowers, bluebirds, robin's eggs. Warmer weather.
I know I still have a bit of a wait.
And that many in other parts of the country have it colder, and have a longer wait for warm weather.
But maybe if I wear this little victorian flower basket, with green leaves and blue flowers dangling, it will give my spirit a lift.
While I wait for the real weather change that's coming.
I took one of my flower basket charms, and combined it with blue and green glass flower beads. A faceted pink bead and a vintage blue lucite round bead. And made it adjustable in length, so it can be a choker, or neckline length.
I put it in the Etsy shop, if anyone else is in love with bird's egg blue the way I am. It's all of the blue beads I have, so it's one of a kind.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Flower Power By Hook

I've been enjoying a return to knitting and crochet lately, making sweaters for family members, and warm scarves to protect against the cold.
I wondered how I could bring my pleasure in working with crochet together with my happiness with beads, and make a jewelry item.
I started playing with wire and a crochet hook. And came up with this lacy, fun little bracelet. It's lightweight, sturdy and a good framework for the beads I added, for some extra BLING.
I used one of my cast pewter button replicas for the closure. 
I've been wearing it this week, to make sure it's comfortable and sturdy. I already have some ideas about different ones I may make. 
And the central emblems, for earrings and pins. 
I made up the pattern, just playing around. I want to make some with a cast pewter emblem as part of the central design. 
It reminds me of something very old, like a design you'd see in Godey's Lady's Magazine Patterns.

I think I'll spend some more time working on this idea. What do you think of it?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eeek! Photoshop is Holding Me Hostage!!

Remember when I mentioned that my old computer kicked the bucket?
I used to have Photoshop Elements 3 on it.
I used the program to merge photos, add text to photos.
All kinds of cool stuff for the blog, and Etsy.

Well, you can't get that version of Photoshop Elements any more.
Want to know what version is it now? Elements 9.
So, for Christmas, my hubby got it for me.
I've been afraid of it ever since.

Photoshop is not for the timid!
It can do very powerful stuff.
It's like lifting a brick with a high-powered crane!
The montage photo in this post was created using the new version.
I am certain I'm not doing it the right way.
And I'm sure I'll figure it out somehow. Someday.
In the meantime, I feel like I'm trying to land a plane.
Without flying lessons.

Hoo Boy.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tabletop View and Giveaway Winner

I brought a handful of cast pewter pieces that I've had set aside for a while over to the house, and pulled them all out on the rolltop desk to contemplate their next steps.
And some faceted glass beads and strands of pearls that I've been hoarding for too long.
Now it's time to take up pliers, hammer and bead wire, and get busy.
And make those pieces come together for a finished project.
Thanks for all the interesting ideas for how you'd use the bottle with loops that I posted earlier in the week. The winner of the bottle is 
 - send me an email with your mailing address and I'll send it out to you. And I hope to see how it turns out!
And for all of you who posted comments, you get free shipping in February for any orders you place in the Etsy shop, and 10% off any purchase during February.
 Just put "CASTAWAYPOST" in the Notes when you purchase, so I know you're using the discount.
Thanks again!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ice Day Off So Rearrange The Furniture

After we relocated to this old, restored railroad house in Central Louisiana, my husband's family drove down towing a trailer, to bring us this old rolltop desk that was in his family.

We put it in the office that he uses for computer work. I recently moved my photo setup into the same room. We discussed setting up a place for me to assemble jewelry, and his suggestion was that I make use of the rolltop desk.
His idea was that all the cubbies and slots would be a good place for my little tidbits that I use in creating the jewelry.
There are skinny little drawers, horizontal and vertical cubbyholes. I don't know about you, but I need to have things visible when I'm creating. For me, out of sight is truly out of mind.
Since my office is closed today due to the coating of ice, I decided to test out the setup using the roll-top desk. I covered the top carefully with thick shelf plastic, to protect it. It has marks of wear, but I don't want to mess it up or harm it.
I brought my magnifying lamp over from the studio, and a couple of boxes of beads and tools. Only the ones I need to assemble jewelry and work with wire. I haven't completely figured out yet how to make the best use of the desk, but I think it's going to work out for me.

I have to try it out, make some things, and that will show what needs to be shifted, take more space or be put away in a drawer.

And one advantage - if I do let things get as messy as I sometimes do when I'm in creativity mode, the top of the desk slides down and hides it all!

Do you think maybe that's another reason my hubby suggested it?
A different kind of "out of sight," possibly.

If so, that's just fine by me, too. I won't feel guilty about leaving a mess behind me!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Deep Cold

This might not seem cold where you are.
But it's definitely considered cold here.

Things are closing here, even though it's not icing or snowing YET.
Just the word 'SNOW' is a big deal here in Central Louisiana.

Oh, but pay no attention to those numbers on Sunday.
If you see those, I'll lose all sympathy, I'm sure.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Heart Fires

My little red valentine heart already found its way into an Etsy Treasury called "Seeing Red" - I guess it is February, after all, isn't it?

I enjoy seeing the Treasury creations, but I don't think I've seen anything of mine on the Etsy front page in a long time.

This morning we had more excitement, remember I had a hot water heater problem that was fixed?

This morning the hard overnight winds blew out the pilot light in the furnace.
Sometime between midnight and 4:30 a.m.
You know, it can get really chilly in that length of time, with only cold air coming out as the furnace tries valiantly to warm the house without any heat coming out!

So my hubby had to climb in the attic where the furnace lives, this morning before I left for the commute to the regular 9-5, to re-light the pilot.

Oh, boy, that warm air coming out was a treat!
Hope all of you are safe and toasty warm, in spite of ice storms or blizzards, or whatever mother nature is handing out to you this week.
Keep those portable heaters nearby - you just never know ....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dream Catcher Giveaway

To all of you who are getting snowed in, or having ice storms, I'm thinking of you.
The weather across the country is severe today. We just had a tornado warning on the radio for the Louisiana parishes north of here.

It's been raining a lot here, the ground is saturated, but at least the temperatures are above freezing.

Think of this little bottle as a repository for my well-wishes for you.
And full of my glee!
Woo Hoo!
I can't help but celebrate. For some reason, those round numbers always make me feel happy.

So if you need something to lift your spirits today, how about a giveaway?
Share some ideas about how to use these little looped bottles by replying to this post with a comment, later this week someone will be chosen at random to win one!

What would you put inside? Would you put a label on the outside? 
Add a cork? Beads? Chain?
Do tell ... you might win one to play with!
And thanks to all of you who helped to push my sales over that 1299 mark - so great!