Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Silvery Gray Pearls

handmade jewelry earrings stick keshi pearls white gray sterling silver oxidized
These earrings are so simple, yet so striking. I started with silvery gray keshi stick shaped pearls. I put them on handmade oxidized sterling silver head pins. Then I attached them to matching earwires and voila, a perfect pair of earrings for everyday wear.

These types of pearls are purchased in temporarily strung strands, like most other pearls. (The really expensive ones are sold individually.) When I cut the strands to start working with them, it's always interesting to see if there are any 2 that are similar enough to make a pair! When looking at round or roundish pearls on temporary strands, it's easier to see if the pearls are uniform in size and shape. These stick pearls are much more difficult to judge.

These are the last 2 pearls of this color that make an acceptable pair. Sigh.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Island Girl - Fireball Beads

Isn't this just about the cutest thing you've ever seen? It's a lampworked gumball machine from Island Girl on etsy, one of my teammates on the Artisan Beaders Street Team. Lynne is very talented with the torch and creates all sorts of sculptural and artistic glass beads.

I can envision a whole ensemble of jewelry made from this green set of beads. Check out Lynne's shop to see some more of her florals and her whimsical bird beads.

Lynne is from Deer Island, New Brunswick, Canada. She runs a seasonal gallery that features her handmade lovelies.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fruit Punch

handcrafted jewelry necklace pink tourmaline peach moonstone yellow pearl sterling silverHere's a new color combination for me! I've used a lemon yellow faceted freshwater pearl, a peach moonstone briolette and a slice of pink tourmaline.

Looks almost good enough to eat, doesn't it? These bright, fresh colors are just what I need this time of year, when everything is still shades of gray.

This sweet necklace is for sale in my etsy shop.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Busy, busy days ...

I've been creating lots and lots of jewelry in preparation for tourist season. I certainly hope they show up this summer! I've heard that cruise ship bookings are down by 100,000, which I think is about 25%. That's some sobering news. In reality, I think that very little of my business is tourist driven, but other than Christmas time, the locals seem to shop the most during the summer too.

Yesterday, we went to Anchorage to run some errands. While in town, we stopped in at Artic Rose Gallery, where I consign quite a bit of jewelry. We also stopped at Signatures, a lovely clothing boutique, where I started consigning select pieces of jewelry last fall at the owner's request. She's a sweetheart with an amazing sense of style. I needed to see what was still in my inventory at these two stores to help me figure out what additional jewelry to bring them. There was quite a bit of jewelry that had been sold (yay!) so I have my work cut out for me. I also need to put together a package for the Fireweed Gallery in Homer and Dragonfly Gallery in Soldotna.

This photo shows my last batch of completed earrings and some other metal pieces not yet incorporated into finished jewelry. Several more days of this and I might be able to start delivering those consignment packages.

This type of work makes me happy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tropical Waters

jewelry earrings london blue topaz aqua tourmaline apatiteI've had these London Blue Topaz teardrop beads in my stash for about 2 years. They were a real splurge for me and I've been using them very sparingly. The color and cut are both gorgeous.

For these earrings, I topped them with a tight cluster of blue apatite, greenish-blue apatite and golden green tourmaline. The entire collection is hanging from sterling silver leverback earwires.

This color combination reminds me of the tropics and the wonderful colors that can be seen while snorkeling or diving.

They are for sale in my etsy shop. Click on the photo to go directly to the listing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Calla Lilies

These earrings feature wonderful carved shell components in the form of a calla lily. I was so entranced with them, that I purchased them in brown, white and pink shell! Here they are in brown, topped with a pearl.jewelry earrings calla lily sterling silver carved shell brown

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Catching up on loose ends ...

The green sweater turned out ok -- not great, just ok. This was quite a disappointment to me, as I had many hours invested in this knitting project. I think the problem lies more with my choice of yarn than my knitting skills. The tencel/wool blend was a dream to work with, but it knits up into a very flimsy fabric. It doesn't drape in the most flattering way. Oh well, live and learn.

I've completed two knitted bags, which are in the washing machine being felted at this very moment. Both are patterns I have not tried before and I'm anxious to see how they turn out. That's a determining factor as to whether I keep them or sell them. HA!

What the heck do I need a shawl for? I don't, but I have to keep this beauty I knitted from some gorgeous yarn I bought on etsy at a fantastic price. Here's a close up of the shawl. It's just a big triangle, so a picture of the colors seemed more important. The yarn is a blend of wool, mohair and rayon. The colors are aqua, deep purple, navy blue and emerald green. It's perfectly me.

The last loose end to tie up is my foray into poetry. I've had to abandon this project for now. Apparently I can only write poetry about sad things and not about things that bring me joy. It was just too depressing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chalcedony Necklace

jewelry necklace chalcedony blue nugget iolite lavender pearls fluorite
The name Chalcedony refers to wide variety of stones including jasper, agate, onyx and carnelian. It comes in many colors. This pendant features a faceted nugget in a light blue. It's a little bit freeform and is drilled across the top.

I've topped the nugget with a cluster of freshwater pearls, fluorite, keshi pearls and iolite. Many more little iolite rondelles flow down the sides, in waterfall fashion. This necklace is most definitely one-of-a-kind, as I obtained this nugget as part of a bead trade with a very good friend and and talented bead artist, Linda Smith of "Mistress of Chaos".

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Breast Cancer Auction

I've donated a pair of earrings to raise money for Breast Cancer. The Weekend to End Breast Cancer will take place in Vancouver, BC. I learned of this great cause through Helen, a Twitter friend of mine.

Visit her website, Triage From Home, to see my earrings and to make a bid. There are all sorts of wonderful items that have been donated to raise money for this worthy cause. Please pass this information along to friends and family.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Mixed Metals

I started the pair of earrings with pre-made and very shiny hammered brass disks. I drilled some off-center holes in which to "plant" the Bali silver spacer beads. They look like little daisies. They are held in place by handmade ball-end headpins that act like rivets.

Making the headpins requires the use of a torch. The heat of the torch colored the brass to charcoal gray color. I used some fine polishing paper to highlight the high spots on the brass, resulting in a warm, rich almost coppery color.

These very lightweight earrings are suspended from sterling silver earwires that have been antiqued and hand sanded.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Xena Speaks ... about the new haircut

Hi, Xena here.

Now that I'm over the initial embarrassment of my new haircut, I have to admit that it feels pretty good. You can see my pretty pink and brown collar now. That should help people figure out that I'm a girl. Can you imagine how it feels to be referred to as "he" by so many unobservant people? That was getting a little tiring. And it hurt my feelings. I feel very feminine and graceful.

I realize that I look pretty skinny now. This is working to my advantage -- in a big way. Mommy's been feeling badly about this and lucky for me, we recently received a huge box of extra special treats from The Baker's Dog. I love those little Pawcos (look like tacos) and those Beefy Boys are quite delicious too. My absolute favorites are the Nom-Nom Sandwich Cookies. Mommy says they look a little like Oreos. I don't know what Oreos are, but they're probably not as good as the Nom-Noms.

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Be Daring ... wear Purple, Red and Orange Together!

handcrafted jewelry earrings sterling silver amethyst garnetsGo ahead, live on the edge. What's wrong with a little color in your life, or more specifically, hanging from your ears.

These earrings feature large amethyst cushion rondelles topped with a round garnet. In between the two, I have added a spiky cluster of tiny amethysts and garnets in shades of red and orange.

What? You didn't know that garnets come in such a wide variety of colors? Stay tuned -- there's an article on this subject scheduled for publication on the Artisan Beaders Blog in the very near future.

These earrings can be seen in my etsy shop. Click on the photo to go directly to the listing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Xena Gets a Haircut!

Yesterday was Xena's first trip to the groomer since last September. That's way too long for a Bouvier. She was quite adorable and cuddly with all that fur, but I love her naked too. If you promise not to laugh, I'll show you a picture. Please don't share it with any Bouviers, as this would embarrass her tremendously. She doesn't even look like part of the breed.

Now that I can see her face and her beautiful eyes, I have rediscovered how expressive her face can be.

(It was quite sunny yesterday when I took this photo, and I couldn't quite block all of the rays.)

Just as a reminder, this is what she looked like prior to the haircut:

She doesn't even look like the same dog, does she?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lemony Citrine

handcrafted jewelry earrings necklace yellow citrine marquis briolettes
The color of these citrine marquis cut briolettes is astoundingly yellow. The faceting enhances that color by reflecting light at every angle. I've used oxidized silver with this stone, as the contrast between the yellow and the gray is just lovely.

I've used large link chain on the necklace. The earrings are on leverbacks, for maximum security.
If you love yellow, these items are for you. Click on the photos to go directly to the listings in my etsy shop.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Moose

We woke up this morning to discover that a moose had bedded down for the night on our property. Rick said he had seen the tracks last night when he walked Xena at around 10:00. This moose must have found a comfortable spot for a good night's sleep. We are happy to accommodate her. At least we think it's a her. There's no sign of antlers and males would most likely have some small antler growth by this time of year.

I took the first photo as we left the house on our morning walk. I snapped the second photo as we were returning from our walk, about 45 minutes later. I guess it was time for her to find some willow for Sunday brunch!

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Day for Baking

Rick decided to redeem one of his Christmas coupons the other day. I love to bake, but I also love reading recipes. Sometimes this can lead to lots of reading and absolutely no baking. Letting Rick choose what he wanted was a real help to shortening the whole process.

Today, I share with you the easiest recipe for Mixed Berry Cobbler.

2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 cup sugar (yes, again)
3 cups of mixed berries (I use frozen berries. Don't make me tell you how difficult it can be to find cobbler-worthy fresh berries in Alaska. In the winter.)

Mix all but the berries and the second half-cup of sugar, and fit into a greased square (9 x 9) pan. Mix the berries with the second half-cup of sugar and pour this over the "crust". Here's the strange part: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and pour it over the berries. Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes (don't know why) it takes 40 minutes. The crust will float to the top and brown. It's magic. Really.

I have successfully doubled this recipe and baked it in a deep 9 x 13 pan. Double everything except the boiling water.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beautiful Brass

handmade earrings jewelry brass filigree glass beads leverback antiqued
While most of my jewelry is made from sterling silver, I have found that antiqued brass can be very warm. It is especially well suited for use with glass beads of all colors, especially the bright ones. This is perfect for me, as I have a huge collection of vintage and contemporary glass beads . Best of all, brass is very affordable.

I've recently listed these 2 pairs of earrings featuring brass filigree, some bold glass beads and antiqued brass leverback earwires. Click on either of the photos to go directly to the listings in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Update on the Xena Situation ...

xena bouvier des flanders metal art
The Xena Beast (aka Bouvier des Flanders) is still in dire need of a haircut and a bath. The weather has moderated a bit, so I have made an appointment at the groomer for next Tuesday. That's St. Patrick's Day, so I know she will have a green kerchief on when her grooming is complete.

She is so overgrown and shaggy that I've completely given up with the brushing I had been so diligent about. (Xena says "whew!")

I tried to get her to pose in front of this stake, but she wasn't about to be told where to sit. I love this stake. It was made by local artist and friend Cindy Shake. I have several of her pieces, but this is the only outdoor one. When Xena first saw this, she said "That fake dog will never catch that fake bone. Poor thing." I agreed. We are of one mind. It's a little scary, isn't it?

Stay tuned -- Xena just told me she wants to contribute to the blog again sometime soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Black and White . Earrings

One of my new purchases from Tucson was a strand of rutilated quartz briolettes. Searching the strand for perfect pairs with which to make earrings is both fun and frustrating. The two brios that went into creating these earrings are perfectly matched (yay!).

I've topped them with tiny beads of black spinel and slightly larger beads of quartz crystal. The black and clear (and white?) color combination is stark and striking.

They hang from sterling silver leverback earwires.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Variations on a Theme

A few days ago I shared a new earring design which involved copper wire formed into a loop -- see this post. Well, here's another pair based on the same copper element. I've introduced some variations, to keep things interesting.

handmade handcrafted jewelry earrings copper sterling silver
Instead of the silver bead at the bottom, I added a curled barbell I made from fine silver wire. I kept that silver, and the sterling earwire shiny for contrast. Click on the photo to go directly to the listing in my etsy shop.

I sent out my March newsletter yesterday, but it's not too late to get on my mailing list and be eligible for the March discount. Sign up using the form on the right and I'll send it out to you!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ripe Peaches!

earrings sterling silver peach moonstone gray
Can't you imagine that yummy taste of your first peach in summer by looking at these earrings? No? Me neither. I'm in Alaska and a really ripe peach is almost impossible to find, even in the height of summer. But a girl can dream, can't she?

These luscious peach moonstone briolettes will have to suffice. The color is delectable and I've topped them with a cluster of smaller peach and gray moonstone beads. The gray helps to balance the force of the peach. You wouldn't want the juice of the ripe peaches running down your chin, would you? Have I gone to far with the food analogy?

Click either one of the photos to go directly to the listing in my etsy shop.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Be with those...

... who help your being

This is the saying on a new rubber stamp I purchased from Quietfire Design. The quote is from Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet. Actually, I purchased several different stamps. The sentiments were so meaningful and the stylized script was lovely. These 2 cards feature this special stamp.

This first one has the saying on a panel of Acetate Swirl, a technique from the Technique Junkies newsletter. The floral image I used there was from Stampin Up. This layout gave me the opportunity to use some of that "hardware" from Stampin Up too. For some reason, that's always satisfying. This next card has the same saying, but I layered it on a background I had on hand. The technique used on this background is a marbling technique called Simple Sumi, also from Technique Junkies. When I do this technique - it must be done outdoors - I set up a table and do a massive amount. That way, I have a pile of background papers to use for a year or more. It's a messy technique and I try to invite a friend over to work with me. She gets lots of backgrounds too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Earring Design

jewelry copper earrings sterling silver brass mixed metals
Before I left for Tucson, I started a series of new earrings that represent a departure in style for me. While I have been leaning towards metal work for some time now, these earrings are the first leg on a new journey.

The twisted loops are copper that I hand formed and hammered for textural interest. I attached the sterling silver puffy lentil bead (at the bottom) with brass wire. The earwires are hand forged from sterling silver wire -- my signature earwires.

A friend asked: "What was the inspiration for these earrings". The only answer I could come up with was: "the spool of 16 gauge copper wire staring at me"!

I have a series of these earrings in progress on my worktable. Most of them have variations in the bottom embellishment, and some of them have different earwires, depending on the look I want to achieve.

Click the photo to go directly to the listing in my etsy shop. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter by filling out the form on the right. I'm preparing to send another one soon, with a special offer for subscribers only!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Brand New and Very Special Necklace

I started using some of my new Tucson purchases as soon as I arrived home. Well, after I unpacked them, sorted through them, ogled them, fondled them and logged them into their appropriate spreadsheet. It was exhausting!

This brand new necklace features some of those purchases. I was going to say "favorite purchases", but then I realized that I can't say favorite every time I refer to a gemstone. It loses some of its meaning when overused.

Anyway, the large faceted drop is bi-color quartz in shades of purple. I used tiny rondelles of tanzanite and spinel for the clustering around the top. They move a little, which helps to show off the inherent sparkle in these gemstones. As I was adding these rondelles, I was trying to cover the sterling silver wire that is wrapped around the top of the quartz. I kept finding "bald spots', so I kept adding rondelles. As a result, there is a generous number of these rondelles.

The colors of the tanzanite and spinel coordinate perfectly with the quartz drop. I may have to make another one of these to keep for myself. Click on the photo to go directly to the listing in my etsy shop.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Sunny Day for Making Cards

My rubber stamps were feeling neglected and my ever-growing paper collection was collecting dust. The best remedy I know for this is to make cards! I've had a fun few days stamping, cutting, adhering and just plain playing.

Here are 2 cards I made featuring a stamping technique from the Technique Junkies newsletter. The name of the technique is Background Burst and the name is an accurate reflection of the results. Unfortunately, the full beauty of the backgrounds do not show very well in these scans. To me, they have the look of a worn tapestry: a little distressed, with the hint of a colorful past. I purposely kept both cards simple to show off as much background as possible. Why hide it?

Background stamp from Stampin Up and I have no idea where the sentiment stamp came from!

This second card is my favorite. The technique calls for a large background stamp, but I chose to use this abstract daisy stamp all over the paper as a substitute for the large stamp. I like the effect of the overlapping petals. Background daisy stamp from Stampington and the sentiment is from Stampin Up.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Color on a Snowy Day

Yesterday was one of the snowiest days we've had in a while. We ended up with about 10" of fresh, soft fluffy snow. While I'm not really happy about it, I have to admit that it's very beautiful. I ventured out to take a picture of some frozen cranberries in my yard.

In the midst of the colorlessness of an Alaskan winter, I struggle to find some bright spots. (see this post). I didn't have to go very far. Our property is full of high bush cranberries in summer. These red goodies that have escaped the birds' attacks, remain in small bunches throughout the winter, growing just a bit paler in color.

They offer just what I'm looking for on a very white day.