Saturday, September 27, 2008

Relaxing, Guilt-free

My big orange boy, Mango.

When I first started this blog, I intended it solely for the purpose of furthering my jewelry and bead passion. Now that time has passed, business is business, and I am busy with a multitude of pursuits, to the point that I don't have the time I thought I would to post regularly. I lead a very bohemian life, quite different than that of most women my age. Sometimes I have time, sometimes not. I'm making jewelry several days out of the week, I'm just not finding it easy to take time away from my household, my husband, our pets, our business and enjoyment of life (which is far too short) in general, to diligently document my progress in jewelry making.

So I've decided instead of feeling guilty, instead of feeling a slave to the blog, this weekend I'm just going to enjoy life. Today was such a day. Yesterday I spent all day (since it was awful outside anyway) to devote myself to cleaning and doing piles of laundry. This I did not only because of the pure necessity, but because I work, think and feel better in a clean environment and this place was getting out of hand. It also left me free to enjoy today unencumbered by a big mess from which there is no room available to escape. Today we intended to go to a big auction in our neighborhood- an historic home with loads of antiques. But, instead of buzzing crowds, we instead found a sign announcing the auction postponed until next Saturday. Oh well. Til next week... Then we drove and got coffee since we skipped breakfast for an early start. Then we went to some yard sales, where I scored some great vintage crochet manuals that I will list on Ebay shortly, went to WalMart for a few items (small pumpkins there were five bucks, folks. forget it!), then drove home, where I proceeded to work on some memory necklaces, then relaxed on the futon with Mango, watching tv and chatting with my husband. I watched two old episodes of Sex & the City, then some foreign movie I forget the title... And hey, Paul Newman passed away. What a shame.

We walked Lucy about two miles or so, then came home and watched recaps of the debate (Go Obama!), fixed dinner, then wound yarn into skeins for a new project.

This was the kind of relaxing day I have maybe once every couple of months, so no guilt at all!

Time for bed. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

devil cat and the monk

Since the show is over, I decided to put some of the polymer pieces I've made a while ago into necklaces. This particular one is cast from a mold I made from an antique set of pewter monks, all playing instruments or singing. They have fascinating and funny little faces. This one looked like a moon face and was the little monk holding a choral book for the other monks to look on.

Several necklaces I wrapped in vintaj brass wire, which compliments the gold leaf in the mokume gane or the bronze clay. This piece is securely held in vintaj brass, with the wires twisted here and there for added security and decoration. The chain is lovely links of vintaj brass as well, with either copper or brass vintaj lobster clasps.
Diamond Drop Green and Bronze Mokume Gane Necklace, available on my Etsy shop.
I was happy to sell several of these at the University of Richmond art sale. I have one left. The little knots are very time consuming but hold strong and flow beautifully.

Bronze mokume gane bracelet with faceted smokey quartz rondelle and copper spacer bead accents. I haven't made many bracelets, other than those in the current Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine, but I am really falling hard for copper and brass chain, not just because it is less expensive than silver but because it is already with patina in alot of cases and it is very versatile and lovely to wear in layers of several types of chains.

Twisted wire.
Everything here should be available for sale on Etsy by tomorrow. I am having technical difficulties in the shape of a large orange devil cat, who insists on tormenting me to scratch his head or play with his mouse, with me holding one end of the mouse on a string, him holding the other- ears flat, and growling. That is him growling, not me.
At least I got some jewelry made.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Art Show

Well, by now I expected to have some news to tell but nothing so far. We trekked up 95 to West Chester, Pennsylvania last week for my husband to interview at West Chester University to join their staff at the school of Fine and Performing Arts in the Music Department. He had an excellent interview (four hours!), looked dashing in his new suit and the weather was utterly fabulous. But now that we are home, it is hurry up and wait. They said within a few days he should know. It's hard to know what to do, although if the offer is good enough, of course we will be there. We've lived in Richmond together for eight years, and I've lived in this neck of Virginia for eighteen years, so it's not just a purely simple matter of heading out. It's literally starting over, although I've heard from several friends that they have lived near there and it is just great. So we're hopeful we can begin again, somewhere new and more exciting, prosperous and secure. Fingers crossed...

Otherwise, I had an art show to attend at the University of Richmond this past Sunday. It was a short show, from 11-5 only but it was also Parent's Weekend at the University, and also for the first time in two years the show was held in its normal spot, along a lovely trail next to the lake there. The weather cooperated beautifully with cool temps, no wind at all and our spot was in the shade to boot. With all that going for it, I sold almost 3/4 of my inventory, a nice mix of older items and new things, so I was a very happy gal indeed at the day's end. I have removed a bunch of things off etsy that sold at the show and am now figuring up what to make next.

No pictures again today. My camera croaked, although all it needs is a charge.

For anyone, but Karen in particular, if you are reading this, a book recommendation. The evening before the interview we went to the ginormous mall at King of Prussia and spent some time in Borders. While there I picked up a new book, Acedia & Me- A Marriage, Monks, and A Writer's Life, by Kathleen Norris. A quote in there kept me thinking of you-- "When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, "do you want to be made well?" - John 5:6
Look it up on Amazon and see what you think.

Pictures of new stuff, I promise, VERY SOON! I have no more excuses.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

gone baby gone

We are in lovely West Chester, PA for a few days for a job interview. The temperature is so lovely, I want to go home and pack the apartment up now, but that's a bit premature. I'll be posting again over the weekend all the excitement...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

green/bronze speckle pendants

Happy Birthday Sweetheart! Still smokin' at 46!!

It's my husband's 46th birthday today. Happy birthday, honey! We had a big day planned, but alas, he inexplicably came down with a bad cold last night and we scrapped the entire day, favoring postponement until he feels better. Poor him. Even his cake sits in the refrigerator, untouched. And that, dear friends, is torture for me!

We did go out to our new Whole Foods Market (love it!!) and loaded both of us up with soup, salad and fruit for lunch, and some organic this and that for the fridge stock.
While Michael slept off his aching head, I spent my afternoon sanding beads and pendants. After that bout, anyone who wants to email me how to load up a tumbler with sandpaper will be most welcome. My fingers feel like claws!!

The light left me before I could photograph and post the smaller 15 mm round beads but these larger ones and several others not pictured got a good photograph and post to my Etsy store. I fine sanded all of these to 1500 grit and then buffed on the lathe for a nice shiny but soft finish. With the bronze accents and highlights, these would all look lovely paired with the Vintaj chain and charms so prevalent on the market. You can't beat brass and bronze for a lovely Fall necklace.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall colors

In honor of the cooler weather today and yesterday, I took some time lately to make some nice fall colored beads. They are mokume gane beads, set off with blazing combinations of bronze, green, ivory and brown.

Look for two sets of these on my etsy site within the next day, as well as several larger pendants, not shown. They are still cooling. Contemplating fine sanding of each bead makes my arms hurt already but the effort is worth the end result. Each bead is sanded to a 2000 grit finish and then soft buffed.

This effort, with frequent interruptions from animals, phone, email, diet coke breaks and just plain thinking out the best design combination for each bead to match each set of five, stretched the day past the intended point of quitting. But it was fun to get back into playing with clay, after a long absence.

Since I'm chipping away at a long overdue to-do list, tomorrow's agenda includes finally finishing up those memory necklaces. Since those two necklaces took my silver sheet stock down to about zilch, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to learn that silver prices (at least yesterday) were down to a low not seen for several years. I think I paid something like 10 bucks and some change. Nice!! The same order from four months ago was about $40 more. boy. Just like gas prices.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Barrel Beads

Playing around with copper and brass tubes of various sizes, some of the results of which are these brass barrels with etched French script. Each barrel is hollow, slightly smaller diameter than a dime.

I'm thinking copper tubes would look extra lovely with an etching and then a heat patina applied afterwards. Maybe something to work on tomorrow... In the meantime, it's back to business, which means back to work at home, back to work in my husband's shop, back to feeling relatively normal (whatever that is...)

My cat is sleeping on my grandmother's chair next to me, Lucy is giving me that look that she knows something is up that might include her, which means a good, long walk around the neighborhood.

Check out the barrel bead progression on my etsy site..

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nie Nie Fund

A blogger I love to read is in need of help. Some of you may have noticed the little "Donate to NieNie" icon listed to the right. It is for anyone so inclined to help contribute funds to Stephanie Nielson and her family. Stephanie is a blogger living in Mesa, Arizona with her husband and four children. She and her husband were in a private plane crash recently, both suffering significant injuries. Stephanie has third degree burns over 80 percent of her body, her husband has 30 percent third degree burns. Both are in medically induced comas while doctors work on skin graft surgeries. Many in the blogging family are helping by donating work to be auctioned, having their own auctions or just plain donating money to help the mounting medical bills facing this lovely family.
To give you an idea of the massive expense involved, this is taken from the Burn Resource Center:

"Burns are one of the most expensive catastrophic injuries to treat. For example, a burn of 30% of total body area can cost as much as $200,000 in initial hospitalization costs and for physicians fees. For extensive burns, there are additional significant costs which will include costs for repeat admission for reconstruction and for rehabilitation."

I am contributing this necklace featured in Belle Armoire Jewelry spring '08 issue to be auctioned, proceeds to benefit this family.

For more information about this tragic event and how you can help, visit Stephanie's sister's blog

Also visit Stephanie's blog to learn more about the Nielson family and ways to help.

Won't you please join me?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The two pendants are curing now, thankfully they weren't over-poured.
It will take about two days for them to be cured enough to work without leaving fingerprints or other marks. Maybe three days. I poured the larger one in stages to cure faster. I've made sterling links to hang from the bottom drilled hole and intend to load them up with sterling wire wrapped pearls and other lovely faceted stones.


While we were in PA over the weekend, we went to WalMart and bought pots and pots of lovely mums to plant on the family grave plots. I was surprised the variety and health of the plants. Looking over the colorful array of blooms, this lovely old fellow was setting on top of one pot of mums. He looks a bit on the end-of-the-run ragged side, but isn't he lovely nevertheless? We took his photo and left him there, hoping no one would bother him. Later, when we were finished with our shopping, I couldn't help but go back and check on him. He wasn't there on the mums anymore, but was hunkered down on a wooden barrel nearby.

My dearest husband is watching the Republican convention now. I'm hoping he's only trying to obtain all points of view... lest he have to sleep on the sofa tonight.

Memory pendants

We're back from PA, after a whirlwind 24 hour trip to Somerset for Michael's class reunion. For some reason, probably because I hated high school, I keep mistakenly typing "ruinion" instead. But my husband had a good time and many friends so he is always itching to get to the five year reunions (I did it again!). Since we rarely dress up, it was a fun occasion to don suits and silks. As careful as I was, I still managed to dribble oil and vinegar salad dressing down the front of my $$$ silk blouse. Since it's practically the only article of clothing I own that didn't come from Sam's Club or the thrift shop, I hope the dry cleaner can get it out.

Now that we're home, I've been itching to make some things that have been pending for a little while. An order for a mother and daughter who wanted to commemorate their loved ones in the shape of memory necklaces is taking shape in these two sterling pendants.

This pendant was hand stamped and soldered tonight, then hit with patina and brushed to a soft shine. The very talented artist Jesse Reno gave me permission to use this quote to honor my customer's mother. Tomorrow I will insert a sepia photograph and fill it with resin. After a day or two of drying time, it will be surrounded with sterling silver wrapped faceted rondelle aquamarine and other blue and green stones, as requested, and several lengths of sterling chain.

This quote is from yours truly and is in remembrance of the other customer's late mother.

Here we are, in our finery, at the reunion at Indian Lake Lodge, Somerset, PA. My husband was looking particularly handsome, don't you think? It was a lovely cool evening, set on a lake with many lovely homes and cabins surrounding the area. After the reunion, we took a walk along a trail under the most intensely brilliant stars I have ever seen. It was truly magical.

This week- back to work but with a better outlook and much jewelry work to be done. I'm finally feeling well enough to get back into the swing of things and make polymer beads. ya-hooooooooo!!