Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Therese of Therese's Treasures is the winner of my earrings!  Congratulations, Therese.  And thanks to all who participated.

copper and sterling earrings-to be given away to a current (as of 12/20/11) blog follower who comments on

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday--Hammering Down to the Holidays

Wow, I can hardly believe that it is almost Christmas!  I still have a couple of presents to find and some plans to finalize.  And a little shopping...and probably some things I've forgotten about...

The last couple of days I've been working on finishing up another batch of fold formed copper cuffs.  I just can't get enough of the fold forming.  

Here's a set of pictures illustrating the various courses of hammering.  You may remember the first picture from a couple of weeks ago. This was after the first course of hammering.

fold formed copper cuffs in progress

This is after the second course of forging.

foldforming #2

Hammering is finished. The curved cuff has four courses of hammering and the other had three.

foldforming #3

I've opened the Rutger fold and done some pickling and filing. There was some interesting color on these after the pickling but it all came off when I cleaned it with steel wool.

foldforming #4

The cuffs have been cleaned with steel wool, stamped with my initials,  and a final shaping has been done.  They'll go in the tumbler tomorrow, get patinaed, and have a finish coat applied. 

foldforming #5

I've decided to start including more focals by other artists in my designs and have been hitting Etsy pretty hard over the last couple of months.  I have these pieces out where they will percolate for a while until I decide what to do.

These are by Martha Eason of Menagerie Studio

etsy purchases from Menagerie Studio

These are by Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  Hmmmm...I seem to have a theme going on.

etsy purchase from Humblebeads

These are by Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood. Maybe I should be careful and not let these get too close to the ones above. 

etsy purchase from Earthenwood

And I got some really cool found objects.  These escutcheons are from Nemisis on Etsy.

etsy purchase from Nemisis-escutcheons

I'm going to put the long one on the bottom left on a cuff.  It looks like it will bend just fine.  I have some others I want to put on cuffs, but I'm not sure they'll survive the bending.  The three escutcheons in the upper right are nice and thick.  I may etch them. Or not. 

Check here for a giveaway for my followers.  I'll be posting another giveaway open to everyone soon. And don't forget to check out the other bead tables here.

I leave you with this, taken from a letter by Fra Giovanni in 1513.  

I am your friend
and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you
which you have not got, 
but there is much, very much 
that while I cannot give it,
you can take.

No heaven can come to us
unless our hearts find rest in today.
Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future
which is not hidden
in this present little instant.
Take peace!

The gloom of the world
is but a shadow.
Behind it,
yet within our reach
is joy.
There is radiance and glory
in the darkness
could we but see -
and to see we have only to look.
I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver,
but we, judging its gifts
by the covering,
cast them away as ugly,
or heavy or hard.
Remove the covering
and you will find beneath it
a living splendor,
woven of love,
by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it,
touch the angel's hand
that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial,
a sorrow, or a duty, believe me,
that angel's hand
is there,
the gift is there, and the wonder
of an overshadowing presence.
Our joys, too, be not
content with them as joys.
They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full
of meaning and purpose,
so full of beauty
- beneath its covering -
that you will find earth
but cloaks your heaven.

Courage, then, to claim it,
that is all.
But courage you have,
and the knowledge that
we are all pilgrims together,
wending through
unknown country, home.

And so, at this time,
I greet you.
Not quite as the world
sends greetings,
but with profound esteem
and with the prayer
that for you
now and forever,
the day breaks,
and the shadows flee away. 

Fra Giovanni

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Celebrating my Followers-A Giveaway

I've decided to celebrate going over 100 followers with a giveaway.  This giveaway is open just to people who are already following me either on Blogger or on Networked Blogs.  There will be another giveaway shortly that will be open to everyone.

I'm giving away these earrings:

copper and sterling earrings

These have etched copper domes with a Swarovski crystal and hand made sterling silver ear wires.  They've been finished with a patina and a jewelry finish so they won't tarnish or need to be polished.

To enter you must be a current follower, and you must comment on the blog.  Make sure I can contact you in some way, or leave me your email.  Comments will close on next Tuesday the 27th of December at midnight.  The winner will be selected with a random number generator. Good luck, and thanks for following. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday-More Cuffs and Delicas

The holidays are upon us and it's cut heavily into my blogging.  Oh well.

I have just a few things on my my bead table.  I have some lots of Delica beads that I'm destashing in my Etsy store, Essential Adornment. I have a lot more lots still to list.

Delica bead lots

And I have the beginnings of four copper fold formed cuffs.  They've had the first hammering and are now ready to be annealed again.  The black is from the torch and will come off later when I pickle them.  I like to anneal outside but it's so cold now I guess I'm going to have to do it inside.

fold formed copper cuffs in progress

Ralph and I went to a salvage yard for school stuff yesterday where they had some wooden lab tables that would have been perfect for the studio for the metal work table if they hadn't been outside and just been rained on for the last few days.  I'm going to keep checking back with them, unless Ralph builds me one first.  

I had some disappointing news lately.  Adorn Me 2012 was cancelled because not enough people signed up before the 90 day mark.  It's a great set of workshops and I was really sad to see it canceled.  

Richard Salley, who was scheduled to teach at Adorn Me, put together a three day-two class workshop during the same time period at Spring Beads near Houston so I've signed up for that.  His first session in early March booked in two days and when I talked to Spring Beads a few days ago they were booking a second session for the end of February. There's a description on their website. Richard's a great teacher and I love his classes.

What's on your bead table?  Be sure to check out the other bead tables at: 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tejas Trade Open House

When I first started selling jewelry I shared booths with Dell Kirkman and her daughter Leitha Herring.  They are my husband's aunt and cousin.

Leitha and Del

We both got too big for half a booth, but for several years still did many of the same shows.  Dell and Leitha named their business Tejas Trade. 

This past week I attended the grand opening of Tejas Trade.  The store is located in downtown Texarkana, Texas in a cute little red brick building.

Tejas Trade grande opening

They've stocked it with clothing, some of Leitha's original art, and their jewelry.

Tejas Trade grand opening

The store was so packed with people when I got there that I had to wait until things were almost over to take any pictures.


Leitha's son Patrick manned the bar. This table will be their work table during store hours.

Tejas Trade

Leitha makes these horn cuffs and bangles.  I tried on every one of them but I have a small wrist and they were all a little big. I love them.
horn cuff with turquoise

This is my favorite one.  It has turquoise embedded in the fissures.  

This building was a wreck when they rented it.  They did all the restoration themselves.  They did a fantastic job!

And I did do a little Christmas shopping while I was there.  Shhhhh--don't tell.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

And the Results Are...

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for Craft Activism.  The winner is #2 Martha!  

Congratulations, Martha!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vintage Shopping Fun

I stopped by the Tipsy Tango in Quinlan, TX a few days ago. It's one of my favorite places for vintage finds.  Every time I go in there it looks like a completely different store.  

Tipsy Tango, Quinlan TX  

This time it was full of vintage mannequins, wedding gowns and other curiosities. 

Tipsy Tango, Quinlan TX

Here's a cool vanity.  I'm kind of fond of shabby chic/cottage style decor.

Tipsy Tango, Quinlan TX

And a dresser.

Tipsy Tango, Quinlan TX

I did get this wire folding screen.  I think I'm going to use it as part of an earring display.  It folds completely flat.  I swear I can't get one more thing in my car when I'm traveling to shows unless it will fold up really small.  That's Pawlie Newman checking it out. Anyone want some rosemary?  I have a very overgrown hedge there in the background that I really need to dig up...someday.

folding screen

 I also got these two lamp shade frames.  I like them just how they are--it's kind of an industrial look.  I think I'm going to get a metal lamp kit and stick an interesting looking bulb in them and use them just like that in my studio. I found the frames in the shop next door to Tipsy Tango and I have unfortunately forgotten their name. 

lamp shade frames for the studio

My studio mannequin--I'm still deciding on a name for her--needed a new hand because all her fingers were broken off when I got her.  So I got this one.

revenge of the mannequin

I would show a picture of her with her new part but she doesn't have any clothes yet, poor girl.  Yes, I know, I'm a bad mannequin mother.  You can see she's getting a bit testy about the clothing situation. 

Oh, don't forget I have a giveaway going for the new book Craft Activism. Post a comment on the post previous to this one for a chance to win. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday and a Giveaway

I had hoped to give my anvil a good workout today and do some foldforming.  Unfortunately I couldn't get to it.  Instead, I got this necklace ready to go to the buyer.  I had to shorten it slightly and I took this picture for my records.  

Home is Where the Heart Is

I call this one "Home is Where the Heart Is."  The focal is the creation of Martha Eason, of Menagerie Studio.  I love her charms and pendants.  I really like how she finishes the back of her pieces, too.

home detail reverse

Yesterday I posted a review of the new book Craft Activism.  This is a book that needs to be read and I'm hosting a giveaway for it.  Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.  Comments will close at noon central time on Wednesday, November 9th. Good luck! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Craft Activism--Review

The first thought that popped into my head when I read the title Craft Activism was using a craft or art to draw attention to a cause or maybe using part of the proceeds of sales to fund charities or causes.

Craft Activism is so much more than that.  The book is divided into five sections organized around the type of activism.  

Part I is titled "Crafting a Statement."  In this section are five chapters about specific people or groups, such as  "Knit Bombing"  (The Jaffa Girls), "Quilts With a Message" (Carolyn Mazloomi), "A Knitted Spotlight on Endangered Species" (Ruth Marshall) and others.  Most chapters are  accompanied by a "DIY" section with tips or guidelines on how to do each activity, and a "Makers Jam" with  one paragraph highlights on projects and accomplishments by other crafters.  There are also one or more projects in each chapter, for a total of seventeen projects.  

Other main sections are:

  • Part II:  "Recrafting the Past" with chapters "Not Your Grandmother's Embroidery," "A New Take On Old Domestic Arts," and "Return of the Granny Square."
  • Part III:  "Crafting for a Cause" with a chapter on "Knitters United." 
  • Part IV:  "Crafting to Recycle, Renew, and Reuse" with chapters on "Recycled Chic," "One Word: Plastic," and "Toys Out of Trash."
  • Part V:  "Crafting a Community" with chapters "Get Organized" and "How to Get Crafting."
The book concludes with a resource list and index. 

Projects in the book lean heavily toward fiber arts. Nine of the seventeen projects include at least some knitting. The book assumes that you have some knowledge of knitting or whatever skill is being utilized. Other crafts include sewing, crochet and embroidery. There are two projects, one involving crafting an Artist Trading Card (ATC) and one with tin work which I believe could be done by someone with no experience in either. 

Craft Activism is not a project book, although there are projects.  It is more an overview of activism involving crafts and an inspiration to connect with the world, with like-minded people, and to create a better community. The subtitle of the book says it best:  "People, Ideas, and Projects from the New Community of Handmade and How You Can Join In." I found the book very inspiring and the articles about individual crafters  intriguing. 

Craft Activism is written by Joan Tapper and photography is by Gale Zucker.  Check out their blog here.  It is published by Potter Craft, New York.  I was provided with a copy of the book for review.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Our neighbors, Christina and Carlos, invited us to their Halloween party Saturday.  We hadn't been to a Halloween party in years and this was a really fun party.

Can you guess what I dressed as?  Here are some clues, starting from the top and working down:


Not yet?  Here's some more clues:

some bling

I wore a little vintage bling and a brass necklace with a sundial pendant.  Ralph gave me the sundial pendant years ago during my re-enactor stage.  It's a copy of a historical one. 

artisan pin

I also wore this awesome Halloween pin by Wendy Leaumont of My Brainchild.


And I had these lace gloves with the mysterious looking ring with Asian script. Naturally I can't remember what it says.

If you haven't guessed (or seen my new Facebook profile pic) this should clear things up:


Yes, that's right.  I dressed as a witch.  Ralph dressed as a mad scientist.  As I told my parents, we went as ourselves.


Christina took this picture of us at the party.  That's a slide rule Ralph is holding.  It's a vintage one that he actually used back in the day.

Christina and Carlos are so creative.  They made a haunted maze in the back yard utilizing the deck and yard. It was complete with scary stuff, a fog machine, laser lights and all sorts of fun. Christina led everyone through one at a time and there was a lot of screaming involved.  It was a blast.  Some of the children of their extended family and some friends were posted in various locations within the maze, ready to scare whoever happened by. It was impressive and so much fun!

None of the pictures I took of the costumes at the party came out.  Christina is supposed to send me some she took and I'll post them when I get them.  

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday--It's Here!

My new anvil arrived today. 


Here it is fresh out of the box.  It's a 35 pound anvil from Cliff Carroll's Horseshoers Supplies.  I think I'm going to be very pleased with it.  

I went to BeadFest in Arlington, TX recently and acquired some more hammers and other things, including this  very small Fretz hammer.  I'm going to use it to do things like the cuffs, only in minature.  I have earring sized fold forming projects in mind. 


That cuff in between the hammers is the reason why I got the anvil.  I had to anneal it about six times and it took forever because my little 4 inch bench block was bouncing around when I hit it. It was fun to make, though, and I'm going to do some more. 

I showed at Red River Revel in Shreveport earlier this month.  I've done it for several years and it's always a great show.  The weather was fantastic this year.

Red River Revel 2011--my booth

My son, Stefan,  came with me this year to help out. It was nice not being by myself. As soon as he saw the camera he started looking everywhere but at me.

booth detail at Red River Revel 2011

Here's a better shot of the cuff from earlier in the post.  I believe this is called a Rutger fold.  The red is reflected color from the tent we were in.

fold formed cuff

Here's another cuff I had at the show.  I really liked how it turned out.  The red on this cuff is from fire scale.  It was so pretty I left it on.  It was one of the first cuffs to sell at the show. 

fold formed cuff with red fire scale

And here's a pendant in progress that is a mystery.  I did finish this pendant and it sold at the show.  I didn't put the liver of sulphur patina on it until I got to the hotel in Shreveport though.  (Nothing like working until the very last minute.)  This is where the mystery comes in.  The liver of sulphur made a very brilliant iridescent patina on the brass, and a more muted patina on the copper. 

pendant in progress

The patina was a lot more colorful in person than this photo shows. I put more LOS on the copper portion to darken it, and removed the brilliant fuchsia and blues from the brass with steel wool.  The brilliant colors just didn't go with the stone.  I really want to recreate this on some more brass.  I have no idea how it happened.  If you've used LOS before you know it doesn't do much for brass.  I have a few ideas and I'm going to experiment. 

I have a book review on a great new book, Craft Activism, coming up shortly with a giveaway.  And I'm going to have another giveaway to celebrate reaching 100 followers on the blog.  Stay tuned. 

As always, check out the other bead tables on Flickr:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday-Various Stages

I have a lot of pieces in progress on the bead table, some nearing completion and some not so near.

I haven't decided what to rivet onto the etched cuffs at the top yet. Most of the time when I etch the cuffs the background comes out rather matte, like the middle cuff.  I don't know how the other two cuffs got shiny.  It must be a different metal content since I etched them just like I always do. 

The twisty things are brass and copper bails.  The "queen" pendant lacks a couple of body parts but has the patina and the finish coat, as do the two spiral pendants beside her. I finished up the last batch of pearls and have some more in progress. 

Pawlie Newman is snuggled up in my lap impeding my typing. In a minute he'll tire of the typing and then he'll be on the bead table. 

Check out the other bead tables at:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nature Shots-Bees and Butterfly

This has not been the best year for insects and butterflies.  The drought has been vicious and the heat too high.  Now that it's cooled off a little I'm seeing more activity. 


Here's a beautiful Swallowtail butterfly feeding on the butterfly bush. It was hard to get a shot because this butterfly moved continuously and the wind was blowing quite stiffly, making the flowers bob around.  His/her wings are being curved around the flower by the wind in this shot.  

swallowtail underside

The butterfly reminds me of a stained glass window from this angle. 

some sort of bee

There were honey bees and these big fellas all over the bush too.

bee- possibly Eastern Carpenter Bee

I think these are Eastern Carpenter Bees.  Fortunately none of them objected to having their picture taken.  I've heard that some people use a telephoto and a tripod to take photos like this but I do handheld up close and personal.  If the bees object I run like a girl. These bees are supposed to be fairly mellow.  There were honey bees too, but I didn't get any good shots.