Monday, February 28, 2011

He's A Handful!

I guess I really forgot how much work it is to train a new puppy.  Jet, our new little (not for long though) Giant Schnauzer is truly a handful.  He's testing his limits with us every step of the way.  It's tempting to go the easy route and simply give-in, but we know better.  Slowly but surely, we are making progress with him.  The most difficult thing has been teaching him to walk in a controlled manner on a loose leash.  This will probably take a few weeks.

With his favorite squeaky toy.

Taking a drink of water, with his toy nearby.

And basking in the sun without a care in the world.  Probably dreaming about his toy.  Yes, he is very relaxed and his legs are spread wide open.  No shame.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Some New Earrings

Even with the new puppy taking so much of my time (not complaining, just explaining), I was able to complete some new earrings and even made some time to photograph them and list them in my etsy shop.

Click on any of the photos to go directly to the listings.  Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Little Jet Engine

Right now, Jet, our brand new Giant Schnauzer puppy is like a Piper Cub.  The truth is that he will be a 747 Jumbo Jet before long.  I swear, I think he's grown in the 3 days we've had him!

I snapped this photo after we took those ear bandages off:

One ear is a little floppy, but we have a vet appointment soon and will find out the ins and outs of this silly ear business.  If I had my druthers, I never would have had his ears cropped and I understand this is against the law in England.  How civilized!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Exciting Day in the Potter Household!

We got a new puppy today!  YAY!  Last week, my friend Carol sent me a link to a listing on Craig's List for a 4 month old giant Schnauzer.  I shared it with Rick and he did some stealth research with our friend Cindy, who has 2 giant Schnauzers.   She must have said the words that Rick wanted to hear because he quickly made the necessary phone call and we were on our way to Anchorage.

He had his ears cropped about a month ago and they still need to be bandaged up -- it makes him look a bit like a bull with horns!  He's so adorable ... we've decided to call him Jet.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Artbeads - Winter Enchantment

I was invited to take part in Artbeads winter blogging program.  The theme this time around is Winter Enchantment.  While the possibilities with this theme are endless, it said "white, white, white" to me.  That's pretty much all I see out my window this time of year.

Artbeads is chock full of of items that suited my needs.  I started with a 30 mm (can you say huge?) Swarovski Navette drop, from the Pendant category on their website.  I also selected Snow Jade beads in both 4mm and 6mm.  These are from the Gemstone category.  While I wasn't really sure what my final necklace would look like, some ideas were forming in my mind.

I used lots of 20 gauge sterling silver wire to suspend the pendant.  While 20 gauge may seem heavy, the size of this pendant really required a substantial "support" mechanism.  It looked completely out of balance with lighter gauge wire.

I created clusters of 4 mm snow jade and 4 mm faceted Czech glass beads (from my stash) to dress up the necklace.  I finished with a series of 6 mm snow jade rounds, which lead to lengths of sterling chain.  At the very end is a hook clasp (also from my stash) with an extender.

Isn't that pendant striking?  Forgive the photos -- I always have the most trouble with white and clear jewelry items.  The next photo gives you an idea of the clasp and extender.

  And here's Marilyn modeling the necklace for you:

All of these components were a pleasure to work with.  Some of the snow jade beads were chipped around the hole, but this is not uncommon with stone beads.  The crystal pendant was securely packaged to avoid any damage in the shipping process.  Once again, Artbeads has satisfied my beady needs!

Disclosure: Artbeads invited me to join their blogging community. I receive these products free of charge in return for honest reviews. I have not been paid for doing this.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gemstones from Tucson - Part III

While I still have many strands of gemstones, I'll finish this series of posts with only 2 additional photos.  Wouldn't want to bore you to tears.

From top to bottom: moss aquamarine, hot pink chalcedony (a bit too hot for me), black spinel and minty green chalcedony.

From top to bottom: deliciously smooth turquoise briolettes, green onyx teardrops and moss amethyst.  I bought 2 strands of the moss amethyst.  That patterning in that particular stone is so inconsistent, I thought I might have a better chance of making more pairs if I bought 2 strands.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gemstones from Tucson - Part II

Continuing with yesterday's theme, here are some more of the lovely gemstones I found in Tucson.

Beautifully rich citrine teardrop briolettes, faceted marquis rose quartz briolettes and a graduated strand of labradorite teardrop brios.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a calibrated (as opposed to graduated) strand of gemstones???  All of the vendors told me that many designers prefer the calibrated stones, but very few gem cutters make them.  This seems to be a case of the supplier not fulfilling the demands of the marketplace.  One vendor mentioned that it is more efficient (in terms of rough stone usage) to make graduated gemstones.  This sort of makes sense to me, but I don't like it.  Not one bit.

Smooth moonstone brios, cute little kyanite brios and oh-so-useful peridot brios.

There will be one more post tomorrow with more stones.  Then, I really need to put them away and get back to work!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gemstones from Tucson - Part I

As promised here are some of my purchases from the recent Tucson gem shows.  We spent 5 days there, which was about 1 1/2 days too many for my budget.  I ended up buying the same exact cut of one stone twice, simply because we were there too long.  C'est la vie.

Chrysophrase (or is it chrysoprase?), rubies and lovely little glossy lapis briolettes.

Green Quartz (that's the one I bought twice -- love that marquis cut!), amethyst and rose quartz.

More to follow ... in another day or so.  Thanks for sticking with me!

Friday, February 11, 2011

We're Home!

After over 2 weeks in the desert southwest, we are home.  And it feels really good to be here.

We spent some time in Las Vegas visiting my brother and my nieces.  It was great to see them -- had not been there since Heather's wedding, over 2 years ago!

When we left Vegas, we decided to spend some time in Prescott, Arizona, which we both loved.  It's a smallish city of about 40,000, with a vibrant downtown and cultural scene.  Jerome, Arizona, an old mining town was another one of our stops.  Since the mine has closed, the town has become very artsy, with lots of galleries, boutiques and fine restaurants.

Also on our itinerary was Scottsdale, where we once again visited Celebration of Fine Art.  It was amazing as always, to see artists at work and have the opportunity to converse with them and share stories.  Mesa was another one of our stops, where we did some antiquing.  I found some fun vintage jewelry, which I will share with you later.

We ran into some unseasonably cold weather around the usually warm state of Arizona.  One morning in Prescott, it was 10 degrees!  We didn't travel 4000 miles for that!  As we left Mesa, heading south to Tucson, we stopped to take a photo of this normally flowing fountain:


Yes, the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun almost hurt my eyes, but the temperature ... brrrr!

Stay tuned for some photos of my gemstone acquisitions over the next few days.