Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Honey Boy: The Cat with a Plan

My parents have some cats, and one of them is named Honey Boy.

On the cat intelligence scale Honey Boy is right up there at the top, maybe even above the top.

I know Honey Boy is smart because he can plan ahead.

Honey Boy and Casper are the two youngest cats Mom and Dad have. They are also the most playful. They like to chase each other around the house. Honey Boy will start chasing Casper in the kitchen. The chase proceeds into the living room where the roles reverse and Casper turns around and chases Honey Boy back into the kitchen.
Sometimes, though, Honey Boy will start after Casper, but will briefly break off his chase to open a kitchen cabinet door, thus creating a "bolt hole" for the return trip when Casper chases Honey Boy from the living room to back to the kitchen. Honey Boy plans ahead. If my Dad is around he sometimes shuts the cabinet door before the chase gets back to the kitchen. Dad gets a kick out of the surprise on Honey Boy's face when he finds that the door isn't open.

Honey Boy is smart enough that he gets into more trouble than the other cats. I'm pretty sure he's the one who got himself briefly locked in the refrigerator one time. He's always thinking of something new to try. Mom says if there is a crash somewhere in the house she knows it is Honey Boy. I read a scien
ce fiction book one time where one of the cats had been altered so that it had opposable thumbs. The cat had a little tool belt and would use it to do things. I can see Honey Boy doing lots of things if he had opposable thumbs.

Mom has one of those talking scales for blind people. You touch it with your foot and it turns on and says "hello".... then "I'm ready." Then you step on and it reads out your weight, and says goodbye. If you step on it before it's ready, it doesn't work.

All the cats love the scale, especially Casper. In the m
iddle of the night the cats will be amusing themselves with it. Mom can tell which cat it is by how much they weigh. I think we should write the manufacturer and tell them their scale is so easy to use, even the cats can operate it.

Here's Casper: (9.4 pounds)

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Devious Diva Dog

Yes, I like alliteration.

Mom and Dad have a little mixed breed dog named Sadie. Dad found Sadie sitting beside the highway several years ago. She was waiting for the jerk, errgh...person, who dumped her to come back and pick her up.

Here she is. For some reason she's a little camera shy and won't look up at the camera.

Sadie is the smallest of my parents dogs. She is the smartest and the boss dog as well. She follows Mom around the house all day and keeps those other dogs in line.

Sadie has the natural ability to tell when Mom is going into a diabetic coma. She has barked her head off and awakened my Dad several times at night when Mom had a severe low (low blood sugar episode).

Mom has been legally blind for many years, but two years ago she lost all of her vision. Sadie, cunning little dog that she is, has figured out that Mom can't see. Mom and Dad will be eating at the kitchen table and Dad will get up and leave the table for a moment. Sadie will hop up on the table and start eating Mom's food right out of her plate. Mom's not real happy about this.

Mom and Dad lost one of their older dogs, Boogie, a few weeks ago. Sadie and Boogie had a regular begging routine at the table. Sadie got on Mom's right side and whined. Boogie got on Mom's left side and poked Mom's thigh with her nose. They had Mom well trained because she gave them treats when they did this.

Sadie still has a regular begging routine. She gets on Mom's right side and whines, and gets a treat. Then she goes to Mom's left side. She's a short stubbie little thing and can't reach Mom with her nose, so she pokes Mom's thigh with her foot. And she gets ANOTHER treat. It's a good thing she doesn't have opposable thumbs because she could really get into trouble then. Mom, of course, gets a kick out of Sadie impersonating Boogie.

Now if their cat Honey Boy had opposable thumbs he could get himself and all the rest of us into trouble. That's a story for a couple of days from now though.

(This is Casper with Sadie.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Posting at Etsy

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted on this blog.

Lately I've been experimenting with the jewelry showcases on Etsy. In November I bought a showcase spot and did notice more traffic to my store, Essential Adornment. I also made a sale. I did another showcase for December. No sales, but again increased traffic and some more people favorited the store. For the second showcase I managed to get more items posted. I'll try again after the new year.

Here are a few items I've posted recently, plus the dragonfly bracelet above:

blackstone cross

pearl and hilltribe silver earrings

Swarovski crystal earrings

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dang! I Lost my Earring!

Just kidding.

Archaeologists have found this gorgeous 2,000 year old earring in Jerusalim. Check out the short 3 image slideshow here for a pic that shows a model wearing the earring.

I could see something similar done in wire. Instead of the bead pattern around the large pearl, a ring could be wrapped in wire, or a twisted wire used.

We All Can Fly

I never listen to rap and am not really familiar with any of the artists. I did catch this lyrical poetry by Jay-Z via Try Handmade and dallas examiner.com.

"Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama’s running so we all can fly." Jay-Z

I really like this. I tell the girls at the middle school where I sub almost daily that they need to grow up to be president. Now they listen to me when I say that, because they believe it's possible.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dia de los Muertos and Farewell to Buddy

We visited Austin in mid October for Maker Faire 2008. Stay tuned later for more on the Faire.

Stefan went skating at a skatepark on Sunday and I noticed that Assumption Cemetery was nearby. I like to take close up pictures of angel statues so we drove by. Assumption Cemetery turned out to be a very beautiful cemetery. There were flowers everywhere. Some of the decorations were clearly Dia de los Muertos decorations. Some headstones had little altars with candles and religious figures. There were also lots of people visiting the cemetery. One woman was sitting on a bench in a family plot reading a book. Unlike the cemeteries I usually see, this was a place for the living as well as the dead.

The prettiest part was the older section. I never did get out to take angel pictures because I didn't want to intrude on the the visitors. I did snap a few pictures of sections of the cemetery that didn't include visitors, but they don't show the scale of the beauty. Usually the cemeteries with the angel statues are older cemeteries, and there aren't a lot of graves with flowers. Here, almost every grave had flowers, and you can see in the second picture that there were decorations hung in the trees.

In our family we don't have the custom of visiting the graveyard. For one thing, no one is buried close by. They're mostly far away. We do have our backyard pet cemetery decorated somewhat with flowered garden stakes. I keep planting flowers and plants there, but they don't do well since there is too much shade.
I do like the custom of building and decorating the Ofrenda and we've built them before. The Ofrenda is a family altar with photos of loved ones and pets, things they liked, flowers, candles, and other things. For more check out Dia de los Bloglandia and here.

Here is my virtual Ofrenda photo of Buddy. It's my favorite photo of him. In 2003 Buddy showed up, an apparent stray or dumped kitty. He had been abused and was very skittish. For a long time if you picked up anything in the yard he ran off an hid. Gradually we tamed him.
A week ago last Wednesday we discovered Buddy had cancer. He had been sick for a while, but we were hoping that the mass in his abdomen was a cyst or abscess, especially when he responded so well to the antibiotic. He wasn't in pain and the vet thought he might make it for a month or even the winter. But last Sunday he began going down hill rapidly and clearly was feeling very badly by Monday. On Monday we held him as he passed with the aid of the vet.

To those deceased loved ones, both named and unnamed, and those dead, both known and unknown, we call your name, we remember you, and we pray that you cross the bridge to Heaven and walk the green hills of Summerland, now and forever.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Historical Vintage Costume Jewelry Designers

Today I went through a lot of vintage and "junk" jewelry looking for items to use in the green line I'm developing. I came across a really unusual pair of earrings signed Vendome. I searched for similar earrings online and found this excellent video about historical costume designers. Enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Join Me in Voting for Kiva

Kiva is a micro-lending organization. I think it's a great way to help working people achieve success and better their lives and the lives of their families.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tutorial Monday is On a Break

I'm taking a little break from reviewing tutorials. I'm leaving for Shreveport for Red River Revel tomorrow and have too much to do. Back later!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Designing Dilemma

I haven't posted much because I'm getting ready to go to my biggest show of the year, Red River Revel in Shreveport. It started Saturday, but I'm doing the second half so I will arrive on Tuesday and be in the booth selling (hopefully) Wednesday through Saturday, then drive home Sunday. It is a great show, lots of fun, great volunteers helping in the booths, but very exhausting because of the long hours. A few days ago rain was predicted for the entire time I'm going to be there, but now it's just looking like it will be raining during setup and take down. Take down is Saturday, which is usually my best selling day. DRAT. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will be better than that. Please, please, please.

Also, I seem to be in the process of completely changing my jewelry style. The consequences of this is that right now almost nothing I do satisfies me. I feel rather like my brain is exploding with ideas. I have several pieces which I need to finish for this show that aren't finished yet. I keep harrying off on experimental projects which really need more work before I'm ready to sell them. I don't have nearly the amount of jewelry done that I usually have before a show.

Speaking of experimental projects here is a bangle bracelet that I've been working on. I bought soft copper 1/4 inch tubing at Lowe's. I was going to make copper beads. I went to Home Depot for a tube cutter and found a cool thingie to bend the copper tubing with. I'll post more on it the tool thingie later. The beads went right out of my head and I started playing with the tube bender. The bending worked pretty well, although I did learn a thing or two that will help me next time. This bracelet is the result. It's not finished yet. I am going to wrap wire around the ends of the copper tube, and rotate the copper wire leaf a quarter turn. Then I'll antique the silver and brush the copper to shine it up. Or maybe I'll just antique all of it with liver of sulfur.

One of the things I like about it is it fits on my forearm and stays there comfortably.

For way too long now I have been in the process of moving all my jewelry stuff from everywhere in the house to one room. Of course, I'm also still trying to get rid of the stuff in that one room so progress is slow. In the mean time, I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING. I'm stuck in that stage of organization where everything is completely disorganized.

Enough complaining! I'm going to go work on some jewelry.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tutorial Monday-Resin Tutorials

John Golden has a series of three resin casting tutorials that are very detailed and complete. He's posted them on You Tube. If you've ever wanted to make your own resin jewelry this is a good start.

Here is the link to part 2 and part 3.

Mr. Golden also has this video at Mind Bites in one part. The video quality is better. It's not free, but it is only one credit and part of the money goes to a selected charity. A single credit is only $1.99, less if you buy in bulk.

So many viewers of his videos had trouble finding the jewelry blanks that he is now selling them at his website, and in one of his Etsy stores, Golden Supply. While you're over on Etsy, check out his digital art here, and at this store, Mot and Dot, that he runs with his wife.

Sherri Haab has written a great book on creating resin jewelry.

I have this book and have been very pleased with it. Ms. Haab also has kits available for projects in her book.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tutorial Monday-Earrings by Erin

photo by Erin

I just purchased two tutorials: Moana Hoop Earrings and Framed Cabochon Pendant from Earrings by Erin. These are great tutorials by Australian wire artist Erin.

The Moana Hoop Earrings features 32 color photos and 12 pages. You also get a video link with the tutorial showing how to do the Koru spiral motifs. I found the tutorial to be well illustrated and well written. The experience level on the Moana Hoop Earrings is listed as novice to intermediate.

The Framed Cabochon Pendant tutorial is listed as an advanced tutorial. This tutorial has 28 pages and 68 color photos. Like the earring tutorial, it has good photos and is well-written.

One of my favorite things about these tutorials is that they are designed for use with round wire. I know a lot of wire workers like square wire, but I prefer the more ethnic look of round wire.

Read an artist interview of Erin at For You Designs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stefan's Sweet Sixteen

Today our son Stefan turned 16. Wow, they really do grow up fast. Or at least they get big, since I can't really say he's completely grown up yet.

When I was 16, I got a (used) car for my birthday. Stefan is getting a better video camera for his. He's not that interested in learning to drive, which is fine with us. In about a year my car will be paid off and it's a top ten safe car for teenagers so we'll revisit the driving thing. Most of his friends will be learning to drive by then and he'll probably be more interested in getting his license. If not, that's okay.

I paid extra to expedite the shipping of the camera, but it's not here yet. We did get the new fisheye lens and he's thrilled with it. He had me take a picture with it on the old camera so he could show all his friends.
We're taking Stefan and a bunch of his friends to Dallas to skateboard on Saturday. They will ride the DART rail, which is a big thing for these small town kids. On the way back we will stop for pizza. Stefan's eager to film with the new camera.

I'm working on a couple of slide shows but so far the browser crashes every time I try to load it here, or else Blogger refuses to save it. I've been trying for three days. I'm going to post the slide show separately, if possible. We'll see.

Stefan Through the Years

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In the Zone

The Crafty Princess, Tammy Powley posts in Beading and Brain Surgery about how intense people look when they're in the "creative zone." She wanted to see others "furrowed brows." So here's mine:

Okay, maybe I'm stringing that turquoise a little intensely. In the next one though, I look like I'm torching that art clay with my eyeballs. It's not my most flattering picture. And yes, there is a flame on the torch, but no matter how I set up the shot the camera I had then wouldn't pick it up.


Be sure to check out Tammy's free projects at her blog. She also has some good articles about craft writing. I have a link to her latest book, Picture Youself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry, on the Amazon sidebar.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tutorial Monday-How to Make Fabric Beads

photo: Monica Magness

This week's tutorial review is something a little different. Instead of a wire project here is a tutorial on a fresh style of fabric bead. Most of the fabric beads I've seen involve rolling the fabric into a cylinder. Not this design! Instead, scrap fabric is turned into a round bead, embellished with seed beads. It's perfect for all those little fabric scraps left over after a project. I always think they are too pretty to throw away but I never know what to do with them. Aaack! Now I really do have to save them!

This bead design is easy to customize since you can add your choice of beads. I think you could also wrap some ribbon or yarn around the bead and stitch it on. And if you just have to have wire, a little colored art wire wrap would be pretty. You could wire the seed beads on instead of sewing them.

This beautiful design and tutorial comes from Monica Magness of Girl-Gone-Thread-Wild. Monica is active in the Pink Artist project. You can help out and enter the drawing by making a donation to benefit the Susan B. Komen for the cure Foundation.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ralph Lauren's Spring 2009 Collection

photos: New York Post

I looked at a video of Ralph Lauren's Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear line. The designs are reminiscent of Indiana Jones, Bedouin fashion, and with some updated forties uniform suits thrown in. Very, very nice. The fabrics were shimmery and included sequins and beads. It made me want to get out my Folkwear patterns and play with fabric. That bag in the second picture above reminds me of the wonderful vintage Army Surplus store ammo bag that my cousin carries.

The accessories included tribal style jewelry, chandelier earrings, and lots of turbans, Indiana Jones hats and leather belts and leather and canvas bags. Ethnic style jewelry should be a good bet for next year, judging from these examples. Teal never seems to go out of style either; look at the gorgeous necklace set above.

Accessories photos: Harper's Bazaar

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike Has Arrived

The little red dot northeast of Dallas is Greenville.

We're just now starting to get some light rain and the winds have gone from nothing to crisp in the last few minutes as we start to feel the effects of Ike. Our major concern here will be power outages, and I have food planned around that, although if power stays out very long we'll need ice. That, and Buddy cat is not home. I'm a little worried about him. Lately he has been around sporadically and we suspect he has found someplace else to get food. I hope they let him in.

We don't usually have much wind damage in the immediate area of our house because we have woods to break the wind. As long as a tree doesn't fall on us we are okay.

The eye of the storm is around Huntsville, I believe, and it is still a category one storm. I think by the time it gets here it is supposed to be a tropical storm.

There's been a lot of comparison between this storm and the 1900 storm since both hit Galveston. The 1900 storm is the worst natural disaster to hit the U. S. and 6000 people were killed. Our family lost two young boys, 8 and 11, I believe. Family history has it that a many-time-great aunt got all her nephews and nieces in the upper story of their house. The storm surge carried water into the upper story and at one point a chest of drawers came through the window with a cat hanging on. They rescued the cat. The nieces and nephews were all safe. After the storm they moved from Galveston, and took the cat with them.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where Have the Insects Gone?

I love taking photos of butterflies and other insects. I was hoping to get a lot of good shots this year, particularly since I got the new Canon Rebel. I haven't seen many this year though. Last year we had several large garden spiders, and all summer the butterfly bush was covered in flying insects, including butterflies. This year there were honeybees right at the start of the summer, along with some black and gold large bees, and a few skipper butterflies. Ominously, only the black and gold bees remain. That bush should be covered all summer and into the fall. I have only seen a couple of butterflies. And I have not seen a single ladybug this year.

In fact, Cornell University is doing a population study of Ladybugs and has asked for the public's help.

It has been a year for chameleons anoles though. Here are some shots of some that I took in East Texas. I just hope they had plenty of insects to eat, so there will be chameleons anoles next year. I did see some younger chameleons anoles in the same place later in the year so I'm assuming these bad boys found some lady friends.
These are all the same chameleon anole. On the picture below, he's the one on the right. Just as I was finishing taking pictures the fellow on the left stalked up and they began circling the electrical socket and eyeballing each other. I guess it was some sort of territorial thing since both chameleon's anoles were male. There was a lot of strategic posing going on.
Here's a link to the Wikipedia entry for chameleons anoles, if you are interested in learning more about them.

New Jewelry

Here's a new wirewrapped donut necklace set that will be going up at my Etsy store Essential Adornment soon.

The donut and the ovals are chrysanthemum stone and the rounds are red tigereye.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11 and 2975

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-five people plus twenty-four missing and presumed dead: all lives snuffed out on 9/11. They were people from many countries; all walks of life; young and old; men, women, and children. We should never forget.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My First Sale at Etsy-Essential Adornment

I had my first sale at my Etsy store Essential Adornment recently! Now I need to get to work and get more listings up.

I sold these earrings:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tutorial Monday-JewelryLessons.com

Eni Oken has started a new jewelry site: Jewelry Lessons by Eni Oken and friends. The site is loaded with good info, mostly on wire wrapping, but undoubtedly with much more to come. In addition to articles, profiles, pictures and more, there are quite a few tutorials for sale, and also some free ones. The tutorials have been authored by Eni Oken and other artists. I can't speak for all the tutorials, but I have purchased Eni's tutorials from her site Eni Oken's Jewelry Journal before and found them to be immensely detailed and well written, with excellent close-up photos of every step.

Eni writes in her
journal that "The site will be a community, sales venue and bank of knowledge all wrapped in one. It will have articles, tips, tutorials, Q&A section, member profile pages, student galleries and a lot more. The idea is to SHARE information on jewelry making -- not only wirework, but all artisan techniques -- and store it in more efficient ways than the traditional forums and newsgroups."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Out of Pocket

I'll be out of town this coming week starting Monday evening. I won't have access to a computer, but I do have some posts scheduled during the week.

I'll be helping out at my parent's while Dad has some minor surgery. I plan to take some supplies up there and get some jewelry done while I'm away.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Posh Mama

I joined Posh Mama a few weeks ago, and last week I won the Posh Mama Summer Gold Medal Award. It's on the sidebar.

Posh Mama is fun and interesting. Most of the social networks I belong to revolve around jewelry so this is different for me. I always find interesting articles on the front page and links to interesting Posh Mom's. Check it out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tutorial Monday-Wire Frame Bracelet

I stumbled across this Wire Frame Bracelet tutorial from Belinda Spiwak the other day. The bracelet is somewhat freeform and allows for lots of individualization. While there are good close up pictures of the finished bracelet this tutorial doesn't have step by step pictures. It does have good text instructions. If you have a little experience with wire I think you could have a lot of fun creating your own version of the frame bracelet. The design lends itself well to mixed media type art, found objects, and eclectic mixtures of metals, beads and charms.

For more inspiring wire bracelets, check out the pictures of Susan Lenart Kazmer's beautiful and arresting bracelets.

Belinda includes a tutorial on booklace pendants at this same URL. Check it out!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Back to School & Work

School started on the 25th and on the 27th I was back to subbing. Right now I'm doing an 8th grade American History class for a teacher who resigned. I'm hoping the district finds someone by the 8th of September, because on the 8th I have to go out of town and help my parents while Dad recovers from some minor surgery he is having on the 9th.

I imagine it is going to be hard to find someone this time of year, especially since they are limited to a male teacher because the teacher must also coach boys. Right now the other coaches are doing the athletics class so I don't have to do that. That makes it easier because I have extra time to grade their papers, make copies, and all that other stuff. The kids in the classes are pretty good kids and the permanent teacher will be able to enjoy teaching them I think. If I stay there very long I'll miss them after the new teacher comes.

My son started tenth grade this year. He has chemistry for his science class, which I'm a little worried about. Luckily my husband knows chemistry so at least one of us will be able to help him. I'm going to have to work with him on his Spanish II. I'm not great with Spanish, but at least I've had some. If there was a skateboarding class we wouldn't have to worry, but alas...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tutorial Monday-Multistrand Hook & Eye

I ran across this very interesting tutorial Finishing Triplicate Chain Weaves by Theresa Olin from a concept by Desert Rhino. The tutorial is intended as a finishing technique for chain mail, but I believe this hook an eye could be easily adapted to multi strand necklaces or bracelets, chandelier earrings, and other uses. This style hook is also very sturdy.

The tutorial has good close up pictures and is easy to follow. She also has some other good tutorials at Theresa's Beadwork and Chainmail Tutorials. See her beautiful chainmail at The Maille Market.

Photo by Theresa Olin.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The North East Texas Team

A little while back I met with Martha of Menagerie Studio and we talked about getting an Etsy team going for our corner of Texas. Our goals for a team include promoting our Etsy stores, and promoting ourselves and Etsy to the local community, and raising awareness of handmade items . Greenville, and this region (outside of Dallas) have few good opportunities for artisans to show their creations.

We got busy and started contacting other Etsy vendors and today our Team was officially recognized by Etsy. So say hello to the NEtexasTeam. I just checked the search link and so far Martha is the only one who has added the Team tag to her listings, but I'm sure everyone else will do so soon. We're just getting started and have a blog N E Texas Team. I'll be adding team blog rolls to both this blog and the team blog.

Remember, shop handmade.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Etsy Banner

A while back I blogged about tutorials on blog and Etsy banners and headers. Yesterday I finally took a few minutes to work on one. It's not the best in the world, but it didn't take a really long time either. I suspect that it will be like my business cards, which have a photo that changes all the time.

The background is from one of the sunset photos that I took last week. I solarized it so that the colors were more green. You can still see the electrical lines that ran across one side of the page. I guess I could have taken them out but I don't mind them. The rest is the picture from my avatar and basic brushes and text from photoshop elements.

Click to view the banner at Essential Adornment, my Etsy store.
Next up, the blog header.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tutorial Monday-Beaducation Classes

Beaducation is an on-line commercial shoppe with on-line video classes. I've both shopped with them and done free and purchased classes. I've been very pleased with both my purchases and the classes.

Beaducation currently has 10 free classes, 29 classes available for purchase, and 9 classes marked "coming soon."

The ten free classes include stamping on metal, intro to chain mail, byzantine chain, making your own ear wires, and torch safety. I've done the stamping on metal class and found it very clear and helpful. I also plan on doing the torch safety. I've been using a torch for a while to fire art clay and a review of safety never hurts.

The "for purchase" classes range in price from $12.00 to $38.00 with most being in the $38.00 range. I purchased the Mermaid Braid Bracelet class and have found it very complete and easy to follow.

The classes show a close over-the-shoulder view from the angle you would be working from. Classes never expire, so this means you can go back again and again and watch it as many times as you want to . Each class is divided into fairly short segments, so you can review just the ones you need. The Mermaid Braid Bracelet class is divided into ten segments:
  1. introduction
  2. tools and materials
  3. step one: braiding with copper wire
  4. step two: braiding in lap
  5. step three: adding the cap
  6. step four: braiding with sterling wire
  7. step five: making the loops
  8. step six: shaping the bracelet and adding the clasp
  9. design ideas
  10. get to know your instructor

Purchased classes also include good "print yourself" instructions with pictures. There are no printed instructions on the free classes.

Techniques taught include chain mail, metalwork, mixed media, seed bead work, and wire work. At the time of this posting the mixed media classes are marked "coming soon." These include classes utilizing felt. All of the classes are graded according to skill level required.

Instructors include Lisa Niven Kelly, Barb Switzer, Laura McCabe, Dallas Lovett, Kate Richbourg, Lisa Claxton, Kriss Silva, Emily B. Miller, Mel McCabe, Colin Mahler, Gail Crossman Moore, and Iris SandkĆ¼lher. Quite an impressive list!

The shoppe also carries kits for many of the classes. Other supplies and tools are also available. They have a good selection of metal working tools, including some that I've not seen other places. You can buy stainless steel shot in convenient two pound bags, as well as metal punching pliers in two sizes, bracelet bending pliers, and their "fat daddy" cutting pliers for heavy gauge metal. They have a good selection of pattern stamps for metal, including some exclusive designs. Metal blanks in sterling, copper, and gold filled are available. One thing about their supplies, especially their metal stamps and cutters: they frequently sell out. If you don't want to be caught waiting until their next order arrives, buy quickly.

Friday, August 8, 2008

1000 Jewelry Inspirations

Sandra Salamony delivers tons of inspiration and some sensory overload in 1000 Jewelry Inspirations. I mean that in a good way; there's so much in the book that I have to look at it a few pages at a time.

Pieces range from simplistic to complex, yet each will jump start you on your own projects. The book is divided into several sections. Each photo is numbered. Chapter 1, Beads and Baubles, is by far the largest section with items 1 through 313. Next up is Paper + Mixed Media with 314 through 440. Polymer + Precious Metal Clay follows with items 441 through 602. Chapter 4 covers Vintage and Repurposed items with numbers 603 through 749. Fibers + Fabric is next with items 750 through 864. Items 865 through 1000 are covered in Wire + Metal. The book concludes with a very short appendix of jewelry-making techniques (beginner level), an artist directory and index, and resources.

There is something for every skill level here. The type and style of jewelry is very broad, so if you've been doing only one type you can get inspiration on types and styles that you are unfamiliar with.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sunset Over Texas

Here's a picture I shot of the sunset just outside Greenville. I like this picture so well that I'm trying to figure out how to use it in some artwork. The pale blue dot over on the left side is the moon seen through the clouds.
You can go to Flickr and see my photos with better resolution.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tutorial Monday-Whoops!

Tutorial Monday will be postponed until next Monday. It took longer than I expected to get my business done and I had to extend my out of town trip. I don't want to post without my pics. Sorry about that. I'll be back with it next week, I promise.

Meanwhile, if you haven't already checked out the current issues of Jewelry Artist and Art Jewelry magazines you should. I'm going to be perusing them for a good while.

There are good projects on both websites; some are free and some aren't.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pearls and Crystals

Here's a necklace and earrings set that I made that will shortly go up in my Etsy store, Essential Adornment. It features large diamond shaped freshwater cultured pearls, sterling silver, and large Swarovski crystals. This is the only time I've found pearls this color blue. The color is gorgeous, plus there is enough iridescence that the pearls will go with more colors than blue. I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

My Guest Blog on "Her Accessories"

Last week Chloe of Her Accessories and Gleaming Things sent out an invite for guest bloggers. I sent in a blog for Her Accessories.

This morning I was pleased to see my blog "
Clip on a New Look" on Her Accessories.

Her Accessories is my favorite fashion blog and I've been following it for a long time. Gleaming Things is new, but I expect to be following it for a long time.
Check them out!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tutorial Monday-Home Jewelry Business Success Tips

Today's Tutorial Monday features a resource rather than a tutorial, although the articles are tutorials of a different kind. If you have a jewelry business you might want to check out Rena Klingenberg's site and sign up for the newsletter Jewelry Business Success News.

Rena has a wonderful site filled with a tremendous amount of information. Many of her articles are also applicable to other types of art work.

She also has published some e-books, the latest of which is Social Networking: Sell Your Jewelry Online. I purchased Your Profitable Jewelry Booth and was very pleased with it.

Be sure to check out her sections on Your Jewelry Website, Jewelry Displays, Jewelry Party Tips, and Jewelry Show Tips. These articles (and there are many) are most helpful to beginners, but even seasoned jewelry artists can get some good info here. I wish I'd known about this site before I started selling jewelry.

Her blog, Jewelry Business Blog has some interesting info as well. One recent article detailed how a jewelry thief was able to steal jewelry from upscale stores, often right under the clerks noses.

Friday, July 25, 2008

We're Off to See the Wizard

Actually, we're going to my parents for my Dad's 80th birthday party. Cake and ice cream, yum. We'll be out of town for the weekend.

Unfortunately, Tutorial Monday may not be out until Tuesday due to our being gone and my medical checkup on Monday. So if it's not out Monday, look for it on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Gift from Phoenix

or perhaps A Letter From the Clearys' cat.*

I was doing a little deep cleaning today getting under the heavy furniture when I found this. I knew immediately that the poor lizard had been a gift from our cat Phoenix. Phoenix went in and out the cat door during the day and we frequently came home to perfectly uninjured birds flying through the house.

A number of times I would awake at 2 am and hear the cats running through the house playing with one of the pack rats she liked to bring in. The pack rats are slow moving and not very bright. I'm surprised that they aren't extinct. They are a size between mice and rats and look like the mice in a Beatrice Potter book, minus the clothes. They always look like they are smiling. I'd get up at night and catch the rat in a box and let it go in the woods. Any rat that I can catch in a couple of minutes is no match for a cat.

Neither Phoenix nor my husband cared for the other cats, but they loved each other with fierce intensity. Phoenix once spent an entire week in bed with my husband when he was sick with the flu. She loved to sit on his shoulder while he watched TV.

She liked to flop on your face at night--you couldn't breathe. We were afraid that she would flop on our infant son when we first brought him home from the hospital. We kept him in the bassinet in our room and locked her out. We needn't have worried. As soon as she figured out that that thing was alive, she was terrified; and later, maybe a little jealous. After he got older and became mobile, she would leave any room he entered.

Then one day, when he was eight, he called me with a quavering voice. "Look, Mom." Phoenix had climbed into his lap. Obviously, he had grown large enough to be one-who-should-adore-her. And from that day, she expected him to adore her.

Phoenix was named because she "rose" from the ashes. As a kitten she wandered up to my mother-in-law's house with singed whiskers, a spot of hair burned off one side, and singed feet. There had been nine grass and house fires in the area and we never found out where she came from.

She was fourteen when a tumor took her from us. Although she was not young it still seemed to us that she was taken before her time, and our grief was deeper. Yet I know that there can be no heaven without cats. Somewhere she rises again and for her there are green hills, trees, meadows, a warm spot in the sun, and a soft bed.

And maybe a pack rat or lizard.

*A Letter From the Clearys is a short story by Connie Willis that was published in Fire Watch. If you haven't read it, you should. The collection won the Nebula for the best science fiction in 1983. Connie Willis has won six Nebula awards and six Hugo awards, more than any other author. If you have read it, then you know why I subtitled this post.