Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Zipper Pull

Recently I received a request for something unusual for me-- a sweater zipper pull. The woman who is the recipient does not wear necklaces but loved this pendant, so we improvised and this is what we came up with. It is one of my favorite quotes and one everyone can identify with... The beads are aquamarine and smokey quartz, the pebble comes from Riverstone Bead Company, care of Lake Michigan. The chain I recycled from a necklace I bought a few years ago and dismantled and was perfect regenerated into this piece.

A close up...

I downloaded some photos from my trip to visit my parents on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Here is my parent's dog Maggie (on the left) and my dear Lucy snuggling together. They are particularly fond of each other and are good companions.

My parents had a surprise in their little garden this year-- a tiny pumpkin! They planted some seeds last year and nothing yielded but this year, this darling little thing. Isn't it cute? I think they should carve it with a tiny knife and put it in their front window.

Here are my dear folks on the beach at Assateague Island, soaking up the last of the relatively warm weather. This is the day we spotted several peregrine falcons on the same beach, resting on their migratory journey from Greenland to South America.

More recently, this past Sunday my husband and I decided we needed an emotional lift (I probably needed it more than he did) so we drove up to Ashland, VA, a small and charming community north of Richmond off of Rt. 95. On the main street of the town, in front of the library, there is a wonderful kugle ball. I spent more time than was probably normal spinning the ball in the water and then stopping it with some effort and reversing the earth's rotation. Just like Superman...
No, we didn't go back in time.


Lucy went with us, of course, and we all enjoyed ice cream cones from the old fashioned soda fountain next to the library, and then headed into the country to view lovely red and orange trees, horse farms and a pretty stream along the way.


Every day, we've decided we need to do something, however small, to keep our spirits up and refreshed, in the face of this hardship. Spending time together carries me through. And hey, look at that blue, blue sky....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

History in the Making


My husband and I went to the Obama Rally in Richmond today. We waited in line for almost two and a half hours, around two city blocks, and then once inside, waited another hour to see and hear the man himself. Later I saw on the news that 7000 (!) additional people didn't make it inside since the coliseum was filled to capacity (12,000) and then some. I'm thankful we made it in because baby, it was C O L D outside! Michael snapped these photos. It was difficult to get good pictures because of the crowds and we weren't exactly up front either. But it was really wonderful to see history in the making and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Otherwise, I had a great trip to visit my parents. Two days we spent driving the beach, where we saw two juvenile and one adult peregrine falcons resting on their migratory journey, plus one hawk on the beach. I've never seen such birds on the sand before so it was thrilling to say the least.

Since returning home, I haven't made any jewelry, although I have one order to fill that came in just tonight. Mostly I have been taking care of the important business of keeping a roof over our heads, helping my husband with our piano business, trying to generate more business and filling out applications for jobs for myself. It's really tough right now for us and we're fighting it, these hard times. Sometimes it's difficult not to get upset but we're keeping straight and level.

More than ever before, I am reminded how much there is to be grateful for. So many simple things, like food in the freezer and pantry, flats of dog and cat food piled in the bin, fuel up to the top in both cars, library books that are new and free, plus DVD's from same place, walks around the neighborhood, cheap and good coffee at WaWa =). We both have good health and those we love are healthy. And our dear little animals keep us laughing and loving every day.

We have for a long time been learning to do with less. We don't care about the newest electronics, or what is the hottest video game out there, or digital television, or what is new and better than anything we may have. We never go shopping. Even when I go to Costco, I get the essentials and get out. I can't believe all the stuff out there to buy, buy, buy. Who really needs all this junk?? There are more important issues. And I know we are strong and resilient and willing to work hard to make it through this economic catastrophe. Staying strong, staying together. These are the important things. In the end, it's good, and it's enough.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tiny Egg Book


Another of my passions in life is book making. Here is a book I just completed. It is made from cut up matchbooks for the covers, vintage maps for inserts, and 70 pound drawing paper. The stitching is two needle coptic binding, although actually this technique uses six needles to sew up a nice opposite braid for each set of two holes. It has eight signatures and measures 4.5" x 2.25". I intended one more signature but Mango sat on it and mashed the papers while I was working.

Lucy and I are off to the Eastern Shore of VA now to visit my parents and deliver some jewelry.

I'm thinking of selling these on Etsy. What do you think?? Comments, please... =)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beads on Ebay

In an effort to assist our trip finances, and to eliminate some beads I have had sitting around for far too long, I am de-stashing some artisan beads courtesy of Ebay. This Anne Choi sterling silver Mandrake With Eye bead was purchased last year for $75 plus shipping. It will be listed on Ebay tonight for a seven day auction under the user name doggiecentral, so check them out and bid, bid, bid! Get some good beads that are no longer made, some one of a kind, for far less than retail. I will be putting a "buy it now" listing for this bead, so go and take a look. Some of these beads I hate to part with but honestly, in my drawer for two or three years? Time for them to ship to another loving owner...

Otherwise, I am heading to my parents house on Tuesday for the visit that was previously delayed. I'll be back on Friday. I'm looking forward to seeing my folks, my mom's good cooking, and some beautiful scenery on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Have a good week, everyone!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Finished with some projects

My dear friend of many years asked me several months ago to create a necklace for her based on one I made for my mother. My mom's necklace is comprised of a photo of her mother taken in the mid 1940's, set in a bezel and nestled in resin. It has a poem on the back I wrote and was appropriate for the piece. My friend, an artist in advanced age, was taken with it and asked me to do one up for her with her mother's picture, highlighted with silver chain and blue stones of my choice. This is what I came up with:

As an afterthought, she also asked me to do a different one for her daughter featuring her own picture from her youth. This is it:


I was to have travelled to the Eastern Shore of Virginia this weekend to deliver them and visit my parents but the flu derailed my plans, so it will be next week after the bug is long gone, I hope.

For anyone so inclined, I create custom memory necklaces based on a photo you provide and your color preferences, and go from there.  For more information or requests, contact me at my email jennifer@jenniferstumpf.com.  Prices start at $130 and as you can see, I use fine stones and I don't skimp!

I didn't feel quite right last Friday evening and by Saturday morning, boy, I knew I was in for it. However, the Northern Virginia Bead Society Bead Show was that day and Sunday. What to do, what to do.... Why, go anyway, of course! Michael didn't want to go (I can't imagine why) so I went it alone, all 109 miles one way up 95. It was no trouble to find the Vienna Community Center. Here's what I got:AD Adornments was there with a jackpot of lovely things. As my budget was limited, I actually made a list of beads to look for instead of my usual MO-- scoop, pay, and run to the next booth. AD Adornments had tons of interesting base metal chain but good heavens it was so expensive it made sterling chain look like an incredible deal. So I didn't get any. These are faceted blue labradorite teardrops, and faceted freshwater pearl in a deep blue.
Natural Golden Coral and again, faceted freshwater pearl, in a color I wouldn't normally buy but it was such a pretty shade of pink, it called my name. This bead show was four rooms in all, and many more artisan dealers than I have ever seen before at a bead show. Nice to see. Also, I am always on the lookout for faceted pearls but never could find them at shows until this one. Always before I had to order online. Wonder what the deal was? Seemed everyone had them for the first time ever.
I bought these faceted crystal and prehnite from a very patient Indian man who let me handle all his fabulously expensive beads, explained the cuts and origin of many different stones, before finally ringing me up some of his less expensive wares, these two strands. As it was, they were the most expensive items I bought, but aren't they beautiful? A beautifully cut stone with gorgeous color can just make a piece of jewelry pop with a single bead.

I got lost on the way home, after chasing cheap gas promised at a WaWa from a sign on 95. Once I got into Potomac Mills area, turned here, turned here, turned here, etc., got gas, I could not remember at all where I should go, so 15 miles later I found myself in the middle of Prince William county cow country. Oh dear. Finally, after several calls to my husband, I made my way back to 95 and home. Then I spent the next four days in bed with the flu. Now that is dedication to craft, folks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tagged!

Well, I've never been tagged before, but Lynn has tagged me so I must come up with something.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

You know what, I don't know seven bloggers, other than the ones already tagged by other bloggers I read,
so I'll tag as many as I can but maybe not seven. Anyway...

Seven Facts:

Fact One: Every form of art I've endeavored I have learned almost entirely on my own intense study.

Fact Two: My apartment was a morgue until the hospital closed and the building renovated into apartments in the late '90's.

Fact Three: A Victorian home I used to live in for years was haunted.

Fact Four: In my spare time, I make books with coptic binding out of old and new boards.

Fact Five: I've chewed my fingernails since first grade.

Fact Six: In my twenties I was a uniform patrol police officer. Yes, I drew my weapon.

Fact Seven: In 2003 I lost 72 pounds and have kept all but five pounds off.

Now, I am tagging: