Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another great yesterday.....

So Tuesday was pretty much just as awesome as Monday. The package waiting for me when I got home was from Sharon of Livewire Jewelry. By some stroke of magic, I won a gorgeous necklace from her blog giveaway! This necklace is amazing - everything is handmade and every detail is perfect! The wire wrapping and metal work is wonderful! I promptly wore it to my Board Meeting at the Art Center, and to work today.Speaking of the Board Meeting, I had a lovely surprise there too. Before the holidays, I started a trade with a fellow board member - Sarah. She is a very talented clay artist. She needed a necklace shortened, and also wanted another necklace made in a certain color palette. In return, I asked her if she would make me a peacock. Here are the results - more of a 2D jungle scene with two peacocks - one with his tail spread and the other with the feathers down. The backside is just as funky with larger peacock feathers painted on it. She paints teeny, tiny strokes - something you'd have to see in person to really appreciate, but I'll try with the photos. I LOVE it!!!

Just so you can see more of her work, here is another piece (3D) I got from her about a year ago. A folksy chair with a dog, cat and bird. She uses vibrant colors and certainly has a look so you always know when a piece is hers. I wish I had a website to direct you to, but she only sells at the Art Center for now. Truly, these will be cherished forever!

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Today is my Mom & Dad's Anniversary, so I thought I'd share the gift that I got them since I bought the same thing for myself!

Jon and I have been collecting empty wine bottles for years. I.... don't really know why. I guess we always thought we'd do some kind of project. I could slump them, but I'd have to bring them into the Art Center and see if they'd make room for me in the kiln. Hmmm, maybe dig a trench and use them as a colorful garden border? We like using found objects and recycled things in our garden. We have an old rusty gate in our rose garden, various other old pipes/spikets/faucets about, and an old chair with the seat cut out for a planter. So I was paging through a cheesy catalog the other day and saw this! A metal tree that holds 15 wine bottles! Perfect! It can also hold fruit to feed the wildlife. I told a friend about this and he ordered one for his sister's birthday - turns out she is a bottle collector too! If you'd like one for your garden, it's from Collections Etc.
My Dad's garden is gorgeous - I hope they like this. I look forward to finding a place for mine too!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yesterday was the best day ever!

So, Mondays are usually a drag right? The weekend is over, it's back to the grind..... Well, yesterday was pretty great! I came into the office to find my cubicle decorated to celebrate my graduation. My scrapbooking friend, Kristen, had made several paper owls to hang from the ceiling with ribbons and streamers. They are too cute! I think she followed a pattern where she had to cut most of the pieces out by hand, but I know she owns several sizes of round punches that she was able to use for the layered eyes. She and I are both expert paper collectors and we sometimes have a hard time actually using the paper so I know what a great friend she is for "letting go" of a lot of her patterned paper for this project! I didn't take a pic of them flipped over, but the backsides are nicely covered with patterned paper too!There was delicious cake, cookies and ice cream and very generous gifts. My friend Brent got me a Target gift card that had a peacock on it - the tail feather eyes were the Target symbol - maybe you've seen it if you shop there. So it was very appropriate that I immediately logged onto their website and ordered a peacock tunic I had seen on there previously!

In keeping with the wise owl theme, I also got this cute stuffed owl that can record a message. In my excitement, I didn't want to stop and read which button to push so I accidentally pressed the record button and erased the message. Much fun and laughter ensued after that about the fact that my new degree might not have made me any smarter. We had fun re-recording the message several times, but in my defense, that record button is really sensitive! "Who, who graduated?" repeatedly got taped over with me squealing "Oh no, I erased it againnnnnnnnnnnn!" I will share pics once I get them from Kristen......
As if my day couldn't have gotten any better, there were 2 packages waiting for me when I got home - I love getting the mail! One was from Nancy at Round Rabbit. The additional art deco peacocks I had bought from her arrived (I blogged some previously). I have 9 now, I think my addiction will be in check for a while. Don't worry, I plan to share once I come up with some designs. Anyway, she was sweet enough to refund some shipping money (since I kept buying, and buying, and buying) AND she included these 2 other peacock designs! I just love them - one is a cobalt blue and the other a deep purple. Thank you Nancy - you're so sweet!Next was the funky bracelet I bought from Lorelei on Friday- can you believe I got it already! I can't believe how sometimes the mail can be so fast and other times it can be so slow. This bracelet is the bomb! The long wood beads are so satiny soft that it pulls on and off the wrist with ease and comfort. The handmade button she used is so cool! If she makes more of this cuff design, I highly, highly recommend you get one!So last night, I really didn't get anything done. I just sat in my studio and ran my fingers across my porcelain peacocks, slide my bracelet on and off, and ate the leftover goodies from work. I just sat back and was thankful for my friends - both the ones I see in person on a daily basis as well as the ones I connect with online everyday!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I absolutely love how this necklace turned out!It's been storming on and off this weekend, so everything is damp and wet outside. I've still been able to get outside though, in between rain fall, to enjoy the warmer temperatures. Everything is turning green and mossy, so that inspired me to make this necklace.The green patina on Zoa Art's pendant and an aged coin from India for the clasp pulls everything together. I started pulling green elements out - like the pearls, golden window beads and an unidentified green stone. For sale in my shop right now! Take advantage of the 30% off and free shipping!

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Necklaces

All just added to my shop. And yes, included in the 30% off and free shipping!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I am done with school. I don't have my grades yet, or that little piece of paper that is so important, but I am done. I have a Bachelor Degree in Accounting. I am not going through the ceremony, I guess for a lot of reasons. First, I tend to be shy and humble when it comes to these things. Maybe it's because I feel like I should have gotten this done at 21 instead of 31. Another reason is because the ceremony is over an hour away since I go to a branch location of the school. Not to mention my immediate family doesn't live here and I don't expect them to make a special trip. Lastly, I would rather spend $100 on beads instead of a cheap satin gown I will only wear once. It's just my feelings, and I am fine with them. No regrets.

I know there will be other fun ways to celebrate with my husband, family, friends and co-workers. I do look forward to sharing meals with enjoyable company over the next few weeks. I always love an excuse to go out to eat!

My husband asked me if I was going to frame my diploma and hang it on the wall next to his. I told him I'd rather frame my first published project in Stringing magazine (due out June 16th). What I mean by that is, I'd love to be doing something artsy for a living. Maybe someday, but for now I am glad it can be a hobby and creative outlet for me. So in honor of that, and this occasion, I'd like you to celebrate with me by offering 30% OFF and FREE SHIPPING in my Peacock Fairy shop and FREE SHIPPING in my Loose Feathers shop! Just enter the word GRADUATE when you checkout, make sure I have a way to contact you, and I will send you a revised invoice! This sale will last until May 3rd!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pure Peacock Bliss!

Getting the mail this week was so much fun! I have felt so lucky lately to be purchasing some wonderful peacock goodies, all made from very talented clay artists!

First up, I got some more pendants from Melanie at Earthenwood Studio. I had asked her if she would be willing to wrap them in filigree like the ones on her Etsy site, but she encouraged me to try it myself. I did try one and I like how it turned out (the one on the right).

Next, is Wendy from Mudaliscious. I got a really cool blue peacock pendant, and then bought another set from her called "Flight" which included a peacock feather (the flight set also had a really cool owl and some birds). Wendy has agreed to make more of these for me!I was so thrilled this week when Nancy at Round Rabbit started making her peacocks again! First she had a few necklaces in her store. Then, it was sheer luck that I was online on Friday (waiting for my contractor to finish) that I saw she listed some individual ones in her extra shop. I got my first necklace in the mail yesterday and she was sweet enough to include a few "extras" already! Thanks so much Nancy!So, hopefully I will have some designs to share soon with all these. I hope I can get into the studio this week, but.... With the exception of the wood trim (which my husband insisted on redoing - not part of the contracted work) my dining room is done and I have started cleaning the entire house. I'm sure I'll be asked to help stain and such..... And, it is my last week of school this week!!! I have a test tomorrow and an 8 page paper due on Wednesday so I'm not out of the woods yet.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Comic Book Store

Since I have gotten so involved in jewelry again, I have a lot of finished pieces to store. Currently, they are all laid nicely in a tray. But...... now it looks more like a heap and when you try to pull something out at the bottom, things get tangled and it's just a mess!I am glad that I will be so well stocked when I do my annual Art Fair this June (where I pull out all the stops with my display with mannequins, busts, peacocks, etc..), but there are a lot of other scenarios of traveling with my jewelry. The pieces that are listed on Etsy aren't really a problem, but at one store I sell at in town the owner likes to choose what she takes because she knows what her customers will buy. Another thing I do sometimes is bring a bunch into work for my co-workers to shop. Yeah, the tray is easy to transport but then you have to organize the jumbled mess at the destination, it takes a lot of time, and sometimes people don't get a good idea of how a necklace would lay.

So my dream was to have them on boards that stood up for people to flip through. But, as you probably know, real jewelry displays can be quite expensive. So I racked my brain to think of anything I already had at home to use. I'm a scrapbooker, but even card stock from that seemed too thin. Hmmm, cutting up a cardboard box..... file folders..... I don't know. I brainstormed with my co-workers yesterday and my genius friend Kristen said, "Why don't you try a comic book store - they store all their books in a plastic bag with a board in them." Hooray!!! I called the local store in town before heading over there after work. Once there, I just went over to the shelf and grabbed a bag of boards and a set of bags. At the counter, I was informed that I had a different size board than bag. Uhhhh, they all looked the same to me but, the measurements can be different and they are so small you would hardly notice. The guy gave me one of those chuckles like "this chick has no business being here". He then asked what year comic books I was working with!?!?!?! I had to come clean and tell him what I was really using them for. He set me up with the right stuff and I was on my way. A small $16 investment for 100 of each seemed perfect to me.
So today, I have just starting putting things together. I cut 2 little notches at the top of each board for the necklace to hang from. I wasn't initially thinking bags too, but I am glad they offer an even cleaner look and protection. I am so pleased with this solution! I am always looking for better ways to organize. The only thing I forgot was they probably had a box that was the exact size for these puppies, but hopefully I can find one in my basement. Once they are all put together, my brain is already thinking of organizing with tabs/dividers. Since I like to experiment with so many types of looks, I can already see that I will have one tab for vintage looking, one tab for peacock designs (of course!), one tab for really colorful summer stuff, etc....... I know I can also fasten bracelets to the boards and then I'll probably put several pairs of earrings on a board(s). These can be reused over the years and depending on how motivated I feel I can even decorate them up with my logo/name, peacock stamps, etc.... I hope others might find this a good solution as well! Have a great day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I've been rather selfish with my free time lately... Time in the studio has been working on little projects/designs I've wanted to try for myself. Last night, I decided painting my toenails so I could wear sandals today was more important than beading. So, I decided to take you on a trip down memory lane - looking at different mediums I've tried over the years. I got the idea from Lisa at Lucid Moon Studio since she posted a few weeks ago her "to do" list. Here goes:

I think that once a jewelry artist gets up and running, we all think to ourselves: hmmmm, maybe I could make my own ________. Sometimes you find that some things are left best to the professionals. Other times you discover something new that makes you happy. Either way, with all the creativity out there it's sometimes hard to find a market for something that hasn't already been done and/or look similar. When I started burning my wood components months ago, I certainly did a search on Etsy to make sure I wouldn't "step on any toes". Luckily, I didn't find anything that could compare to what I was doing. Then, the next step is what happens when someone starts to do the same thing as you? They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but when it comes to art that's a whole other story. Sure, you can take inspiration from something, but..... well, we all know the ending to that sentence.

Anyway, about 8 years ago my first experimentation was with lampwork glass. I took a class at my local bead store in Wisconsin. Here are the beads I made that I have been hanging onto for all these years! Some are quite sad looking. As you can see, we tried a texture plate, how to create a "bubble" and millefiori. I think I'm gonna leave glass to the pros - you need lots of practice with this!
Just recently, I tried polymer clay. Of course I had to make something peacock, so I bought a premade feather cane. I carefully sliced it and set it into my pendant. I then used a pick to imprint the rest of the feather and other details and also some letter stamps. I went even further by setting it into one of my newest favorite things - a keepsake pendant. (Katie Hacker has a project in the most recent issue of Bead Style where she too "framed" her polymer clay)
I didn't realize, until I did some research online, that you had to sand and buff your finished piece. So, I used a real fine grit paper with water and then a soft towel (for about 5 minutes) to buff. Then I rubbed the brown paint in to bring out the details. (Disclaimer: this piece was inspired by a very talented artist so rest assured, it is only for me and never for sale). All in all, polymer clay was pretty fun and I'd be apt to do it again.
Etching copper was another project I tried this year, and it can be addictive! It's pretty instantly gratifying and the possibilities are endless!
The past few nights, I've been working with resin. I was so thrilled to recently win some pretties from Zoa Art, one of which was an empty bezel. No surprise I filled it with a peacock feather cut out of some textured paper I had! I'm glad I practiced first because it's very important you have the exact ratios (if you are using a 2 part epoxy), mix it well, watch for bubbles, etc... My first batch cured sticky - lucky I used something else. The second time it came out perfect. I didn't get the "domed" effect you see on some, but it's nice and even with the lip, smooth, and I am quite pleased. Now I have to make some designs with this awesome Zoa stuff! Anyway, I'd probably work with resin again. But for anyone not patient enough for it, I did notice that these bezels are the perfect size to glue in a very special button!
I've also done all sorts of other little projects over the years, such as: rolled paper beads, beaded beads, decoupage on a bead, etc... What do I want to try in the future? Maybe playing with some porcelain/ceramic at the Art Center. PMC, maybe? There is such a vast world open to beaders, and it's sometimes overwhelming and easy to get caught up/side tracked. My advice: stick to what you are best at, but leave time for a little fun experimenting now and again!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Stop on over to Lara Hart's blog to enter a fab giveaway she's having. It's this lovely necklace! You just have to comment which piece in her Etsy shop is your favorite - mine is the Provenir Necklace. I also want to thank Lara for introducing me to, where I got my new peacock (free) background for my blog! Lara too has some pretty feathers on her blog.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The winner..... plus pictures.

Good Morning.... I have to cover for my team at work today until Noon, even though it is a holiday for us. So, I put every one's name on a piece of paper, cut them up, and mixed them up in my Toucan Sam cereal bowl! No fooling! I should have brought my camera.... And the winner is:


Congrats! Lorelei picked the "Tell the Story" necklace, so I will get that off in the mail to her! I will then list "In My Past Life" in my shop.

So for my regular post today, I wanted to talk about pictures. I am really lazy when it comes to organizing my digital pictures and maybe many of you are in the same boat. Here's my usual turn of events:

1. Take several pictures, several days of the week. I take pictures as I complete things or if there is something I want to blog about. Several "layers" of pictures are then on my memory card until I decide to clean it. This means every time I want to upload my most recent 5 pictures, it takes a long time because it has to sift through all the others.

2. Post the pictures to either Etsy, blog, Snapfish, or a Flickr group.

3. Here's the step I should be doing more since I've already lived through one computer crash. Every few months I will organize all the pictures on our hard drive and then save them to CD.

4. Clean above mentioned memory card. For some reason, I only feel comfortable doing this when each picture has been saved to CD and possibly ordered from Snapfish.

5. Scrap, frame or share cute pictures of dogs (see below) and other family members/friends. I am actually going scrapping at a friend's house this afternoon.

So there you have it. I don't know if there is an easier/better solution to this. I like to get back to creating as soon as possible, so that's probably why I don't like being bothered with organizing/administration/paperwork type stuff.

And here you have a picture of Mocha, modeling her newest hat from Target - I found it on clearance for 78 cents! It has a cute bird on it - so Spring! It's actually a hat for a cat, so if you need to dress up any of your pets - cat or dog - check it out at Target.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April ABS Challenge

This month's Art Bead Scene Blog Challenge revolves around this painting:

The Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli, c. 1482–1486

When I saw it, the first thing that came to mind was that I needed to get a Goddess bead from an artist. I chose Mamacita Beadworks Wise Mama. I liked her because she has a tree on her back to follow the theme of trees on the right side of the painting. From there, the ideas just started flowing to make the focal a sort of altered art/mixed media pendant. I decoupaged Venus's face onto both sides of a flat shell bead. I found a green wood ring to attach the body to so that I could also attach the head and a shell at the bottom.
The rest of the necklace is composed of chunky quartz beads that remind me of beach glass - blue prominent on one side for the water and peachy pink on the other side for the robes. I found a diamond shaped stone to use as a toggle clasp and attached a wing charm to symbolize the angel on the left. The back of the necklace has copper chain. I mixed metals of copper, brass and silver in this necklace.Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway - I pick the winner tomorrow!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009


Inspired by the book "Semiprecious Salvage", here are two necklaces I created as a take on the Open Doors Toggle Necklace. I love this book because it teaches it is okay to not have all your metals match. That something found and distressed is so beautiful! I also created a pocket watch necklace with the same vintage feel.The pocket watch necklace is listed in my shop, but I am going to give away one of the Open Doors Toggle Necklaces! All you have to do is leave me a comment and tell me which of the two you like best. I will draw a winner on Friday, April 10th and that person will get the necklace they chose. I will then list the other one in my shop. Good luck!

Here are some more detailed pics of the two:

Let's call this one Tell the Story.... it features a copper piece I etched myself and a chunk of quartz.
This one is In My Past Life.... it features a piece I stamped myself with metal letters and a very old watch face.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Slow Sunday

Well, I went to the event at the Brownstone Coffee house yesterday with a friend and it was quite fun! This was after we stopped at the post office to send off my entries for the Fall Stringing issue. I had originally had 4 necklaces, but I only decided to send 3. There was one that was just not quite right..... One of them is like the bird necklace I previously posted and the other 2 were made using my wood components as I am hoping to get some publicity for them.

Anyway, while enjoying my mocha, I met one of the featured artists there - a mixed media gal named Angela. She shared her many altered art books, artist trading cards and even jewelry! She had on the most amazing necklace - a chunky chain with tons of buttons dangling! It's interesting to see different people's take on something as simple as a button and to see how they use them. She also used to design scrapbook papers! She has been published in Belle Amoire magazine. You can purchase some of her work on her website, including her very own designed collage papers.

On an entirely different note, I received some new peacock components from Earthenwood Studio. I recently saw this lovely necklace by Heather Powers on the Art Bead Scene blog:
What's that? Is that a peacock pendant? It sure is! I was kicking myself because I knew when Heather posted her finished jewelry for sale before the holidays I had looked at each and every piece. How could I have missed this then? I certainly would have bought this.... Anyway, I contacted the maker of the pendant - Melanie at Earthenwood Studio - and she agreed to make me some along with some other feather pattern pieces. Turns out, Melanie's Mom is a peacock lover too!

So here is the first piece I made and it will be listed in my shop today. It's very simple: green spot tree agate nuggets that match the glaze on the pendant perfectly. Brown cotton cord and a stone toggle clasp by You and Me Findings that I got last Fall. I am hoping Melanie will agree to make some more of these for me.... I'd like her to possibly frame them in filigree as she has been doing recently. I hope everyone is enjoying a slow Sunday!