Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Now Showing...

Last month, I was a lucky winner over at the Art Bead Scene Blog.... I won three pendants from Melanie over at Now Showing. If you are not familiar with this great shop, it is jewelry made from upcycled DVD rental cards! Cool, hun? You know how I love upcycled objects!

These pendants made for some interesting color palettes, but I was able to find some great matching beads in my stash! This necklace features little carved wood beads that are blue and purple in color, separated by black seed beads. I had some ceramic coins in a yellow/lime glaze that brought out those details in the image perfectly!

A little peach, and some carved jade flowers in matching colors of lavender, yellow, and pink. Paired with a multi-dyed ribbon.

Both of these "now showing" in my Etsy shop. And I still have one more pendant to play with!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Handmade Gifts - Grandparents

My Grandparents - both devout Catholics - pray the rosary every day. I felt very honored while making these handmade rosaries for them. Several years ago, my Grandma's purse got stolen. What upset her the most - even more than money or credit cards - was that her Mother's rosary was in there.

I know I can never replace that rosary, but I know that these will be special and treasured. The faceted crystal beads I selected are so sparkly, they almost glow. Grandma's is a soft lavender with some little rose lampwork beads I got at Bead and Button several years ago. Grandpa's is green (his favorite color) with teal accents. I used brass components for a vintage feel.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Handmade Gifts - Sister-in-Law

Okay, so my brother is not technically married yet, but he and Kaylan have lived together for years and she is the mother of my nephew so I already consider her a sister. For Christmas, I made her several pieces of jewelry.

You might remember from this post, that she too admired Fordite and is a car lover. I also found out that she likes opals. So for this bracelet, I combined some rough opals I had with a Fordite clasp from Jess Imports.

When Kaylan was visiting us over Labor Day Weekend, she brought with her a bag full of vintage jewelry that her Mom had given to her that had been collected over the years from various family members. Kaylan pointed out these pale lime green cabs (originally a bracelet) and said she'd like me to create something for her with them. I came up with this necklace and earring set. The pretty little dangly pendant is another upcycled item (an earring) from some jewelry Erin sent to me. It has tiny leaves, flowers and insects on it. So, this vintage feminine piece is entirely an "old to new" transformation!Lastly, Kaylan had pointed out that she liked these oval stones I had (blue goldstone mixed with traditional goldstone), so I made this simple necklace for her. The copper goes so well with these, and then I had some little blue goldstone chips to wire wrap as accents.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Handmade Gifts - Friend

This pin I made for my dear friend Andrea. I pulled inspiration from a lot of places for this one.

First, I etched the copper plate with a stamp that was the definition of "friend". I attached it to a large safety pin.

The little charms have the following meanings:

The house is from Jubilee. It represents Andrea's passion for home making and being a "home body".

The egg is from Floridity. I adhered the words "good egg" onto it. This is because Andrea is a "good egg" and it is one of her favorite sayings when she is referring to others.

The button represents Andrea's talent as a Mom, Wife, Sister, Daughter and Friend - how she is able to keep everything "buttoned together".

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Handmade Gifts - Parents

This holiday season, I was more inspired than ever to give handmade. I have been a busy bee these last few months, but have been unable to unveil anything until these gifts made it to their recipients. Over the next few days, I will show you what I created!

My Mom loves snowmen, so I used some of the new techniques I learned in my recent metals class to create this snowman pin for her. I drew and stamped various designs on his copper shape in order to etch it. Then I attached buttons and a scrapbook hinge nose with rivets!

I made my Dad a key chain. I etched a key onto the copper, and then I used my metal letter stamps to apply his initials.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Warm Wishes to you and yours......

A little peek into my life this holiday season.......

.....the pretty lights (done by yours truly) until they decided to malfunction and are no longer turning on. They are hand me downs from my Dad, so I am not too upset about it. It didn't take me long to put them up during a mild November day. The ground is now covered in snow so I haven't felt like going out there to see if I can find the problem.

...... my right hand view while sitting on the couch. Yum, that cinnamon candle smells so warm and homey!

...... a cozy little town tucked in a corner.

..... view of my dining room buffet: all of the peacock wrap and ribbons I have collected over the years, turned into faux gifts for decorating with.

...... more peacock displays on my dining room table: plates, ornaments, placecard holders, etc.... The lovely silk covering is actually a window treatment from Pier One! I bought a few of them to use on my tables at Art Fairs.

..... and I certainly couldn't forget about my sweet dogs, who make it hard to get off the couch! Ah yes, your legs make a perfect hammock for me!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

New Offerings - Wood Shop

Check 'em out!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From Tea to Coffee.....

...... and have I mentioned how much I love these 10 hole wood spacer sticks???

So from previous posts, you have already learned that I am a faithful tea drinker. But I do enjoy a cup of coffee from time to time. Unfortunately, the type of coffee I like is loaded with chocolate, sugar, whipped cream, etc.... so not so good for the waistline. So I indulge only occasionally.

This weekend, these necklaces came together effortlessly and reminded me of coffee houses. You know, the cute little local ones that are so cozy and inviting? The ceramic "house" pendants are from Kylie Parry, and the lucite keys are from Ornamentea. I then used a variety of beads in rich coffee shades: mochas, lattes, chocolate, whatever it reminds you of.

Both of these necklaces are listed on Etsy, and I named them after 2 local coffee houses I enjoy.

Barista Blues Cafe
The Brownstone

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Harpy's Home

You might remember a while back, I purchased a fun little kit from Art by Heather...... a kit of tiny wooden house charms to decorate as you desired. There were a total of 4 houses so I burned 2 and decoupaged 2. (One of the burned ones sold in my wood shop, so I have to list the other one). Now I am debuting the decoupaged ones, in completed jewelry. I used the vintage images and stamps that were provided in the kit, then used a good protective glaze over the entire piece. To put my own twist on the project, I drilled a hole into the base big enough for a pewter Green Girl Studios bird to "peek" out. I also added a brass perch. Now she can nestle in her funky home for the winter, hanging on a strand of pretty gems and ribbon! Now listed on Etsy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ornaments for your ears

I have the hardest time photographing earrings. I continue to try new props and angles. At any rate, here are 2 new pairs both featuring lampwork beads from SueBeads.

The blue wheels I think I am going to give as a gift to someone I know who likes larger earrings. And the keyholes will be listed on Etsy soon. I really like how the silver dots on Sue's beads mimic the raised bumps on the keyholes!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Vacation Day

On Wednesday, my Etsy shop was in "vacation" mode. Why? Because my Mom had the opportunity to enter an Art Fair that was being put on by the company where she works - in Wisconsin. Since she has helped me over the years at the Art Fairs I do here in Michigan, she offered to attempt this one on her own. This event was in it's first year, so they were being overly accommodating by providing the tables. Plus, it was inside so no need to haul tents too. It worked out perfectly because I was going to my hometown last month to celebrate my Grandpa's 80th birthday, so I packed up all the jewelry I had..... some displays..... decor for the table...... cards and bags.....etc all neatly into one tote for her to transport. I had some extra stock that wasn't on Etsy that had already done it's rotation at the other stores I sell at. And, I made up some new pieces that I haven't shown yet - like these bracelets below:

A while ago, I bought these 3 peacock charms from Flox & Me. They have now found their place in these bracelets.
One of the things I really like about working with peacock inspired items is that there are so many different color palettes that can be like a peacock! This charm matched perfectly with these carved wood beads I had that were deep shades of purple and turquoise. I added in 3 mustard colored beads to pull out the yellow in the image.
This charm had a more reddish/pink background, perfect for these shimmery seed beads. The deep cobalt blue was brought out with a lampwork bead from SueBeads!
I knew immediately that I wanted to do white and blue beads on this one, so these glass beads in round and teardrop shapes worked out great!

As far as the Fair went, we did okay. It's hard when an event is in it's first year, and Mom has already heard about how they are going to improve it next year. It didn't cost us anything, so why not get my name out there and try new things!

Monday, November 30, 2009

More than just owls......

Yep, I promised ya that I was dreaming up more than owls in the metal studio. Of course, creating owls is a lot of fun so I definitely see more of them in my future. But here are some other fun pieces I've made.

Here we have.... a peacock of course!!! This started out with a flattened fork I found in a parking lot probably back in the Spring. I knew I wanted to upcycle the fork into jewelry somehow, and this occurred. Bending the fork was quite a task - man that sucker was tough! I worked on it during one of the open studio nights at the Art Center with my teacher's advice. We annealed it twice and it still did not want to move! So, I had to be happy with what I got. There were no markings on the fork, so I don't know what it was made out of.

I cut his body and head shape out of copper, and etched the border and eye on it. I sawed the fork head off of it's handle. I knew I wanted to use several rivets, curved like a wing, to attached the fork to the body and my initial idea was to have the fork on top. Then my husband came down to the basement and suggested putting it on that back. Yeah, that looks better. He also picked up one of my little silver spacer beads and said that would look good for an eye, rather than the etched one. Thanks honey, that does look good! I tried a technique on the rivets - almost like doubling them. I first did a hollow brass tubing rivet, then I did a solid copper rivet in the middle of the holes. A pin was attached to the back and I wore this to work today! It's funny the reactions you get in the corporate world.... when you tell some people it was a fork they respond by saying "wow! cool!" and then you tell others and you can just tell they "don't get it". Like, whoa, that's just too artsy fartsy for me. Or, OMG, I would never wear an eating utensil as an accessory. LOL!
Here, I used one of my heart shaped tea strainers to make butterfly wings! I created an etched copper body to attached them to. Then I formed antennae out of silver wire and hammered it flat. Coordinating copper chain and a silver toggle clasp pull this statement necklace together. And here's an example of when I didn't take my husband's advice: he said the chain was too plain. I told him that is because I wanted the focus to be on the butterfly and since it was such a large piece already, it didn't need anything else. I am thinking of bringing this one to the Art Center to sell.

I also made some pieces that were Christmas presents, but I won't be able to show them until after they are received!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Owl Family

I want to introduce you to my new owl family! Ever since completing the class I took at the Art Center, I have been so inspired to work with the metal techniques I learned. I probably shouldn't even say that I have fallen into a routine again, because every time I talk of routines something comes along and throws a wrench in the plans. But, I am going to jinx myself anyway. The last 2 weekends I have spent most of my Saturdays in my metal studio in the basement and then on Sundays I will take photos, blog, make completed jewelry, take care of other online tasks, clean (and lately decorate for the holidays) and whatever else my heart desires. The perfect weekend for me is feeling like I have gotten a lot of things done that I want to get done, along with a little bit of relaxation. If I don't have that, I don't feel as satisfied.

Anyway, the hours that I spend working on metal just fly by! However, it is rough on the hands, and sometimes body if you are contorting yourself in one position for too long. So for now, doing a day of it a week is just enough for me. I have learned to multi-task quite well - planning pieces I want to etch ahead of time so that they can be soaking while I assemble other things. Well, enough about all that - let's talk about these owls!!!

All of the owl heads were cut out of copper, and then etched with different features. Then, I riveted a variety of objects onto them for eyes and noses. They will have bails attached to them and will be strung on leather. I am planning on listing 2 on Etsy and then sell 2 at the Art Center's gift shop.

This first guy is similar to the first owl I completed after the class. What's different about this one is that I actually interlocked the gears this time and left the rivets loose so they will move! I have just been taking my thumbnail of my right hand and turning the right eye every chance I get! As with any mechanical object, I am starting to see wear (circles) on the copper as the gears go around. I think that is so cool and will give this piece more character as years go on!
For this next guy's eyes, I used 2 carved bone beads that I had. I really like how he turned out!
Here's Mr. Button Eyes...... riveting buttons is tricky because they break so easily!
What a classy fella with dimes for eyes! The rivets I used here are from Vintaj. It wasn't until after I completed the class, that I came across Vintaj's nail head rivets. I just couldn't wait to order some and try them. The difference between the Vintaj rivets and the rivets I had been using is this: the Vintaj rivets already have the "nail head" on one end, so you only have to hammer down the other end. They are also already cut in 1/4" and 1/2" lengths (which you can cut down even further). The way I was taught to do rivets was by using a tube of metal about a foot long, and cutting how much material you needed with your saw. Then, on those, you have to hammer out both ends to hold to connection. No matter what though, you will always need a variety of rivets depending on your project, size holes, etc.... so there aren't any that are better than others.

Stay tuned as I have made some other metal projects that aren't owls!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Owls & Wine

I recently made this necklace with one of my etched copper pieces, and I just love how it turned out! I love the dark navy blue stones I used mixed with the goldstone. With the dark patina on the metal, it just was meant to be.

I am happy to report this necklace found a home today on Etsy. When I saw the address, it intrigued me so I did a little research. It is on it's way to a lady at Owl Creek Vineyard in Cobden, Illinois. I really enjoyed looking around on their website, and finding out more about their wines. The owl artwork that goes on the bottle labels would certainly make the empty bottle a collectible item for me! Next time I am going through Illinois, I might just have to make a stop at the vineyard - or at least go to one of the retailers that carries their wine!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

About Dad

I took a quick trip to my home town last weekend, and while there I got to admire some new garden art my Dad made. He made these modern looking trees by upcycling copper trays he found at work which I am assuming were destined for the garbage. He said he has since made one for me and I am thrilled - I really like them!
I also had the honor of taking a family heirloom home with me. My Dad is a tool & die maker and he bought this wood toolbox for himself when I was 2. He wanted me to have it for my jewelry business. He refinished and cleaned it up - here is the leather handle with his name on it.
Here is a view of the box from the front.
Once the top comes down, it reveals lots of drawers!
The felt in the bottom of the drawers is original and I plan to keep it that way. Not only can I store my tools/beads in here, I immediately knew I was also going to use it as a display at shows!
Eventually, when a baby comes our way, I plan to move my studio to the sunroom right off our living room. But for now, I didn't want to hide this pretty box in my spare bedroom studio upstairs, so it has earned a spot in our living room.

I know my Dad reads my blog...... thanks Dad!!!! Love you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wood Beads in Action!

One of my morning rituals includes searching Etsy for peacock items. It was so great this morning to discover one of my peacock feather wood burned components made into a bracelet! I asked Brittany of Bella Beach Jewelry if I could brag up her design on my blog and she agreed! I love that she used peacock colors (blues and greens) with the wood.
Take a minute to look at her Etsy shop - she has lots of pretty things!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stuck in the Horizon

Lately, I have been stuck on creating focal pieces that are horizontal. I'm not complaining - it's just how ideas are coming to me. First, the felted beads on the wood - then the Peacock Fairy dream necklace in my last post - and now this cute little forest inspired necklace.
Here, I used an actual twig that I drilled holes into. I wired Humblebeads cute gnome and mushroom beads onto it (the mushroom came only as a top so I made a stem for it out of polymer clay). The chain has simple Czech glass beads wired into it in even intervals.
I think I might submit this for the ABS challenge too - I am sure I see some gnomes (or little people) in the one corner of Richard Dadd's painting. Also, I think the colors here go perfectly with the painting - the dark grey of the twig, the touch of red, the muted olive green........