Monday, November 30, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

My shows are over, but for some reason I feel very busy. I stocked up a couple of my galleries and fulfilled a nice wholesale order. The other thing keeping me busy is photographing items for etsy. For those of you that sell on etsy, you know what I mean! For the rest of you, trust me, it is all consuming. I've been listing a couple of new items everyday in an attempt to keep my shop full of fresh items for holiday shoppers.

Here are a few of my newest listings.

Mixed Gemstones on a copper hoop with sterling earwires:

Long Black Spinel Briolette topped with a cluster of cubic zircona rondelles:

Boulder Opal rounds hanging from fine silver ovals on sterling earwires:

Click on any of the photos to go directly to the listing in my etsy shop. Free shipping continues through year-end!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ballet Slipper Pink . Lampwork . Earrings

These soft pink lampwork beads are from my Artisan Beaders teammate Deronda. Definitely feminine, definitely understated, definitely pretty.

I placed the beads on decorative headpins and topped them with a "rolled" style Thai Hill Tribe silver bead. They hang simply from sterling silver earwires, which have been left bright and shiny.

These are perfect for the girly girl on your shopping list. Don't forget, free worldwide shipping in my etsy shop through year-end!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Special!

It's that time of year when even the most adamant haters-of-shopping do what must be done -- shop! Shopping online is a breeze. You can do it in the middle of the night. You can do it while wearing your pajamas. You can do it while eating a bowl of ice cream.

Sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? To make it even easier, I'm offering free worldwide shipping in my etsy shop from now through year end. That's right, free shipping. All of my listings are ready to go -- no special codes to enter, no complicated paypal refunds. Just free shipping.

Pass on the good news to all of your friends who love jewelry! The best part is that I'm still adding new listings almost every day. There's something fresh and fun every time you visit my shop.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Special Order

Last week I received an etsy convo from someone who had "hearted" one of my knitted bags. That bag was awesome -- so awesome that I contemplated keeping it -- and it sold in March of 2008. She wanted to know if I would make one for her. I told her I would be happy to do that.

We went back and forth several times regarding colors and she finally decided on a deep burgundy with a creamy color accent. I think it will be a lovely combination. The yarn is now on order. I'm anxious to begin and I'm sure my customer is anxious to see the finished product.

This is the bag:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Italian Glass and Brass

My dwindling collection of Italian glass beads was beckoning me. These 10mm round, frosted beads have gold foil embedded in them. I purchased them many years ago and was reluctant to use them. Why, you ask? Because if I used them, they would be gone from my collection. Then what would I do? Well, I finally got over that ridiculousness and the earrings have sold well for me this season. While I still find the beads beautiful, I'm definitely over my deification of them.

These earrings feature these wonderful beads in a glowing peach color. The glow comes from a combination of the foil and the matte finish. I topped them with lacy brass beadcaps and a contemporary Czech glass bead. I used antiqued brass leverback earwires. They are available in my etsy shop. Click on the photo to go directly to the listing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Faceted Pearls

It's no secret that I love pearls. Faceted pearls have become a bit difficult to find. I think they may have gone out of fashion in the world of beads, but that never bothers me. I still crave them.

This pair of earrings features faceted pearls in a deep teal color. I fused the circles from fine silver wire and textured them with a riveting hammer.

The earwires are handmade by me. I oxidized all of the silver and selectively hand sanded it to highlight the high spots.

These earrings are for sale in my etsy shop.

*Note - I will be at a 2 day craft show this weekend in Wasilla. Yes, that Wasilla. I'll be back to posting here on Sunday or Monday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Noodle Kugel

For those of you not familiar with kugel, the rough translation from the Yiddish is pudding or casserole. The types of kugel I ate while growing up were either noodle based or potato based. While my brother loved the potato kugel, I was always partial to the noodle variety.

I made a noodle kugel yesterday and it is delicious and simple to prepare.

Noodle Kugel
1/2 lb wide noodles (about 4 cups dry)
4 TPS butter
2 eggs
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Cook the noodles. When done, stir in the butter to melt it and set it aside. Beat the eggs with the sugar. Add cottage cheese, sour cream, vanilla and salt. Mix well and stir into the buttered noodles. Pour into greased square pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Easy peasy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Some New Pottery

I know, I need more pottery like I need a hole in my head (that was a favorite saying of my mother's). But I couldn't resist this gorgeous work. I found this seller on this front page of etsy a few weeks ago and it was love at first sight.

Suzzie Holler is from Stockholm, Sweden and her designs are simple and classic. My package arrived in less than a week! I purchased this coffee cup:

... and a couple of these candle holders. One will be a gift for a friend, but I'm keeping one. I used it last night and the light comes through the porcelain in a very beautiful and romantic way. It will be great for holiday decoration, but I'll use it on our dinner table throughout the dark, dreary winter months.

Please visit Suzzie's etsy shop. Click on either of these photos to go directly to the listings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Friend is Having a SALE!

My good friend Brenda is having a wonderful sale in her etsy shop. She has a clearance section with some beautiful jewelry in it. All of these items are 40% off, which she will refund after your purchase. Isn't that a great deal?

I have my eye on these earrings, from Brenda's clearance section. Click HERE to see everything available at 40% off. But don't ignore the rest of Brenda's shop. It too is full of lovely jewelry.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Earrings from Outer Space

Ok, not really. But these bronze-y beadcaps definitely look like they're part of a spaceship. I found them at one of my local bead stores, in a drawer that I had never ventured in before. What an amazing find! Oddly, they are a bit narrower at the top than they are at the opening, which makes it very difficult to find the right bead to fit inside. Luckily, I have these tapered tube vintage glass beads in several colors (I've been hoarding them). They are perfect for these beadcaps! A very satisfying discovery indeed.

Here they are in classic black:

And now in a gorgeous olive green:

Both of these earrings are now available for sale in my etsy shop. Click on the photos to go directly to the listings.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Great Everyday Earrings

I don't know about you, but I wear earrings every day. I usually try to match what I'm wearing, but some days I just don't want to think about it that much. These earrings are perfect for days like that. They will go with any clothing you might wear and they are appropriate for any occasion.

Two different shapes of creamy white freshwater pearls are separated by a romantic little lacy beadcap featuring a scrolled heart motif.

Sometimes, simple designs are the most satisfying to
create and to wear. 

Click on the photo to go directly to the listing in my etsy shop.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Be Vewy Vewy Quiet ....

We had our first snowfall last weekend. It's always so beautiful -- all the dirt and downed leaves are covered and animal tracks are so much easier to see. The overall feeling is softness and quietude.

We went for a walk through the woods and saw plenty of these:

It's funny because we never see any rabbits, just amazing amounts of tracks. I thought Elmer Fudd was going to show up any second. I wouldn't have been surprised.

Xena stuck her nose in plenty of tracks, but she seemed unsure as to what had left the tracks. I'm not sure what she would do if she actually saw a rabbit. If she decided to chase it, I'm sure the rabbit would be safe. Xena is not a speed demon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fine Silver Headpins

Fine silver headpins can be made quite easily with a small butane torch.

This photo shows my simple set up for making headpins. I use those disposable aluminum cookie sheets for a base and backdrop. I also have a small firebrick that I use mainly when fusing fine silver. It's not really necessary for making headpins. In the foreground is a pair of cross-lock tweezers. Off to the right are 4" lengths of 22 ga fine silver.

Holding a piece of wire with the tweezers, place the bottom end of the wire in the hottest part of the flame. That spot is at the very end of the blue section of the flame. You can see how that cookie sheet comes in handy as a backdrop.

The fine silver will begin to ball up after a few seconds. You will need to slowly lower the wire as this happens. As soon as the ball is the size you want, remove it from the flame and put it on the cookie sheet. It will be hot.

If you leave the wire in the flame too long, the ball will most likely fall off. Then you will be glad you started with 4" of wire, because you still have enough to make another headpin!

The resulting headpins are about 3 1/2" long. If you use 24 ga wire, this will be different. It will take a bit more wire to achieve an adequate size ball.

Here are the completed headpins. This can also be done with sterling silver, but the copper content in sterling silver will cause it to darken (firescale). Also, whenever I've done this with sterling, the balls on the end have been pitted. I suspect that using flux would minimize this problem, but I'm not set up for that in my studio.

Please be sure to read the instructions that come with your butane torch and follow all safety precautions.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sandhill Cranes ... on silk

I know you've been wondering if I had any time to shop at the Bad Girls show over the weekend. Yes and no. I really didn't have time to do any serious shopping (what a shame, I know), but I did have time to make a purchase.

On our way back from a brief vacation in Homer last summer, we stopped at the Dragonfly Gallery in Soldotna, owned by my dear friend Chelline Larsen. Rick and I both fell in love with this pair of sandhill cranes. Chelline painted them on silk and also did the quilting.

At the time, I told Chelline that if they had not sold by the time of the Bad Girls show in Anchorage, that I wanted to buy them. And I did just that.

Aren't they beautiful? This photo shows some of the quilting detail.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 Wants You!

I've done several blog posts over the past couple of months about Artbeads online store. Not only do they have great products with terrific variety, they also excel at customer service. I have just received a coupon code that I am encouraged to share with all of you. The code is good until the end of the year and is for 10% your entire order. How can you NOT take advantage of this great offer????

Ready? Here's the code : SCF10P-ARTBEADS-0424

You will also get free shipping in the US and shipping to Canada is only a dollar.

This is only one of the reasons you should shop at Artbeads. Remember this post? Well, all 4 of those pairs of earrings now have new homes. Yes, I sold them all at my last craft show. Those gorgeous Swarovski briolettes were from Artbeads.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bad Girls Take Anchorage!

You've heard me ramble on about my Bad Girls business and the craft shows we produce. Well, we just celebrated out 12th show in Anchorage. We were at a new venue this year, the Millennium Hotel. Carol & I took an informal poll of the vendors and the consensus is that this venue WORKED! What a relief. Moving in and out was a bit of a hassle, but not any worse than our last venue.

I know I promised photos, but to be quite honest, I was too busy to take many and the ones I did take, turned out pretty bad. Here's one of my booth that will give you a general idea of how I did my set up. I prefer this type of walk-up-to booth, as I don't like the barrier of a table between me and my customer. I like to hold a mirror for them and help them try on necklaces and bracelets. That is not easily accomplished from behind a table.

Luckily, my friend Cindy has some photos on her blog, so check them out here.

On a personal note, this show was my most successful show in my 12 years of doing craft shows :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Stichtite Necklace

What is stichtite, you ask? Well, it's a stone of dark pink or purple color and is sometimes found in serpentine, which can be all shades of green.

The stone featured in this necklace is the type of stichtite found in serpentine. The contrast of the greens and purple is one that is very striking to me.

I added a little dangle of faceted amethyst to help highlight the purple of the stichtite inclusions.

The chain and all the wire is sterling and has been oxidized for a bit of a vintage look.

This brand new necklace is for sale in my etsy shop.

I will not be updating my blog for a few days while I'm at the Bad Girls of the North craft show in Anchorage. We will be at a new location this year, the Millennium Hotel. If you're a local, please stop by! Hopefully, I will have time to take some pictures and share some of our new vendors with you here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Note Cards

I haven't done a post in a very long time featuring my handmade note cards. Mostly because I didn't have any to feature. After the State Fair, my card inventory was very "picked over" and I just made time this week (2 months later!) to make some more.

This first card was made using the technique called Precious Stone Smudge from an old Technique Junkies Newsletter. I was in a very autumn-y mood and that dictated the colors I chose. Autumn doesn't last very long in Alaska and the colors aren't as vibrant or varied as they are in the northeast part of the country where I grew up. I miss that.

Continuing with the autumn theme, this card was made using the Triple Dimension technique, also from an older newsletter. I love this the colors I chose for this card. The pigment ink used in the last step is a metallic copper, which looks a lot more glittery in real life than it does in this scan.

* All rubber stamps used on these cards are from Stampin Up.

Remember, all Technique Junkie members always qualify for 10% in my etsy shop. Just enter "TJ" in the message to seller upon checkout and I'll refund the appropriate amount!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Two New Dragonfly Necklaces

I recently listed these two dragonfly necklaces. The first two I had listed sold pretty quickly and it's taken me a couple of months (!?!) to get around to making some more. The buttons which provide the base for the brass dragonflies are large, at about 2" in diameter. The each hang on hand dyed silk ribbons.

The first one features an abalone shell button and the silk ribbon is a delicious blend of green and mauve.

This second necklace features a glossy pink conch shell button and a brown and black silk ribbon.

Both are for sale in my etsy shop. These will be the last two I can list until I find more of these beautiful buttons at a reasonable price!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Xena on Halloween

Xena (the cutest Bouvier in the world) has a hat she wears every Halloween. It's a witch hat that her Auntie Carol gave her. Id rather not think about why Auntie Carol thought Xena needed a witch hat.

Here, Rick helps Xena don her cute hat. It has a button that you can push to make the lights flash on and off randomly. Very festive.

Now, Xena looks up at Rick and says "what the #*%@ is this thing on my head????"

Lastly, she hangs her head in utter shame ... sigh

Here's this year's jack-o-lantern

All in all, we had a great night and even saw a few trick-or-treaters!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Labradorite . Lemon Quartz . Earrings

You are all very aware of my labradorite love. I found these 8 mm faceted labradorite beads while down in Homer this past summer at Gig's Beads. Not only are they a really nice size, but they have a generous amount of blue flash.

I added a bright vermeil gold spacer followed by a faceted bead of pale yellow lemon quartz.

The gold filled earwires finish the look.

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

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Color :: Saturation

Once again, I visited the pages of the book Color Works by Deb Menz to gather some information on color saturation. Don't let my postings here prevent you from purchasing this book. There is much more that Deb Menz covers that I can't even begin to understand!

Color saturation is the relative brightness or dullness of a color. It is probably easiest to determine the level of color saturation when looking a several samples of color from the same hue family. Colors that are more saturated will stand out more than those that are less saturated.

This crocheted wristband from Meri Greenleaf is a great example to illustrate color saturation. The deep purple colored flower petals are far more saturated than the lighter, almost periwinkle colored petals. Both colors are from the violet hue family.

In this pair of earrings from Sue of Signature Sterling, it's easy to see the saturation difference between the deep green lampwork beads at the bottom of the stack as compared the pale green aventurine beads above.

The saturation level of the colors that Brenda of The Jewelry Box chose for these earrings is in a much narrower range. This demonstrates the different looks you can achieve by either keeping your color choices within a narrow range of saturation versus using colors at opposite ends of the saturation scale, as in Sue & Meri's examples above.