Monday, August 31, 2009

It's Time to Go Back

Today is the first day of fourth grade for Lauren (on the left in all the pictures) so I thought I'd dedicate this post to her. She's been upset for days now knowing that the big day was coming. Yesterday she spent part of the day in tears with a belly ache because she had herself so worked up. Poor thing! So, here's some photos of her with her friends before embarking on the big yellow bus.

Well, to finish the summer off we decided to go to the Carnegie Art and Natural History museums. These are two seperate museums but they are both within the same building which was really nice. We saw art as old as 5000 years and famous names like Picasso and Monet. Here are a few of the highlights of the art.

Lauren even had a chance to create her own art. Fabulous!

Then we headed over to the natural history museum. Lauren had a chance to dig for dinosaur bones which was a big plus. She put on all of her gear and got to work right away.

We are both big fans of the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. My daughter is somewhat of a rock hound. She spends hours going through the backyard looking for interesting rocks and has a rather large collection. The Hillman Hall has probably hundreds of displays of gems. They even have a section for gems found in PA.

I'll miss my little buddy today but I hope she has a day full of friends and laughter. And 3:30 will come before I know it! For those of you with kiddos going off to school today I wish you the best. I'll send you a few imaginary tissues to wipe those tears with! :(

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lucky Me!

Look what I found in the mail yesterday! I was the winner of Judy’s giveaway at Judith B. Designs. I received these lovely horse note cards by What a lucky girl I am! I was telling Judy that my daughter is crazy about horses and is learning to ride. Lauren thought these were really neat and asked if she could have them. Nope! All mine. Well, maybe I’ll let her have one. I’m not that mean.

Please check out Judy’s beautifully romantic jewelry on Etsy. My favorite is the typewriter key pieces.

Readable Art...Vintage Typewriter Key Pendant

She’s a collector of old typewriters and uses the keys to make these striking works of art. I love her vintage, Victorian flair. But if this look is not your thing then check out her other shop, Flap Your Wings. Yes, she has two. What a busy lady! This one is more of an upbeat style with brighter colors. Oh, I can’t choose which one I like better. I love them both! Also, check out Judy’s blog at where you can find out about her spectacular jewelry and interesting hobbies. The horse note cards are a hint. Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sale and Giveaway at Gaea

Only a few days left! Gaea is having a huge sale of 20% off retail and 10% off wholesale until Sept. 1st. I'm in the process of putting together an order myself. I've been waiting for the right time to get some of her cuties and now is definitely the time. Check out Oot the Owl, the funky skulls, and romantic hearts. These are just a few of the items that are on my list. And what about all these glaze and color options. It's mind boggling! She's also offering a giveaway for a frame connector so go check it out!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Block (Blog) Party at Jeanette Blix

Give Jeanette at Jeanette Blix a visit. She's having a huge giveway! Here's the list of prizes.
  • Jumbo Butane torch, Tronex flush cutters, or a pair of Swanstrom round nose pliers
  • Jeanette’s wirework and Swarovki crystal earrings
  • Business card design by Amy Jazwinski
  • Design stamp
  • Polymer clay bead set by Christine Damm
  • “Wish” copper necklace by Cindy of sweet bead studio


Is all you have to do is leave a comment on her blog, leave a message on your blog, or become a follower. Jeanette has a great online store by the name of which has an awesome selection. Check it out!

Yesterday's Mistake

Hm... Yesterday's Mistake. Sounds like a title to a song or something. Any-hoo, here are the results after shining these guys up.

I'm pretty happy with the first one so it will go into the shop today. I think I'll name it Palau Lagoon. The only problem I really had with it was the clasp so I just remade that part of it. This one has lots of squiggles and wiggles around the lampwork beads. These are made by Norma Brink who is excellent. I've bought several of her lampwork sets and they have all been incredible. Plus, she's extremely nice which is always a plus. Please check out her site. She also sells on Etsy.

Ok, now that second one. I'm thinking I might just change out the focal bead or maybe use the same stone but I won't wrap it in copper this time. I like the colors in the stone with the copper so I'll probably stick with it. Although the whole piece didn't work out the way I planned, I really like the style of the rest of the bracelet. I was inspired by Sharilyn Miller's Contemporary Copper Jewelry. In the book she uses these great copper washers from Harbor Freight. Unfortunately, I couldn't find them in my town so I ordered off of Amazon. About $10 for a box of over 100 in various sizes. I used them in both these pieces. I got the washer idea from the book and I added my own swirls between each to attach them to each other. Let me know what you think! I love the comments!

It's kinda sad. Lauren only has a few days left until the dreaded fourth grade. We've been trying to enjoy the last few days of freedom together as much as we can. She loves doing crafts of all kinds so here's her projects that she has done this week.

This is a stepping stone. Lauren's dog is named Emily and we call her Em for short (although it should be hurricane with legs but that's too long to say). So she made this stone with Em's pawprint and designed with pebbles.

Ok, so we like stepping stones. I guess you can tell that. We made this one together with our footprints. Man, that cement was cold and my feet are big!

Ok, ladies, I hope you all have a restful weekend! Enjoy what's left of August!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Has this ever happened to you?

I'm still new to oxidizing metals. And I was hoping I was kinda getting the hang of it but then this happened. Hm... what did I do wrong?

As you can see there's beautiful shiny copper in the center and the rest is black. Well, half that's what I wanted. So, what happened? I cleaned the wire, I used hot water in a crock pot with the LOS, I don't believe I used too little or too much LOS (that's evident in the rest of the bracelet), and I rinsed then dried the piece as usual. Here's a photo of another piece I did at the same time. Same type of results. I used 20 gauge wire on the parts that didn't tarnish and the rest is a 16 gauge. Is it possible that maybe this wire is made differently (maybe the mixture of metals is different) or maybe I somehow got anti-tarnish wire? Any suggestions? I need advice from the beading veterans!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Birds of a Feather

I am, like a lot of you crafty girls out there, in love with owls and birds. I can't seem to get enough of them. I'm constantly on the lookout for charms, beads, pendants, ANYTHING with birds. I especially have a soft spot for owls. They are so mysterious one minute and so cute the next. Even their sound is cute and scary at the same time. How can that be??? Anyway, I had to pass on an Etsy shop that makes these cute little creatures in macrame form.

The more I looked at them the more they grew on me. This shop has a whole array of colors from the rainbow too. But, I kept noticing something...well... different about her pictures. See if you can spot it. Ok, I'll just tell you. She has taken her cute little owls and placed them on the faces of people. At first I thought maybe this was an accident. No, couldn't be an accident. It's like this in every photo just about. Interesting choice for a photo. It does catch your attention, doesn't it? Maybe she's come up with a new kind of advertising we don't know about yet. Hm.... Well, I'm putting the pretty prussian blue owl on my never ending Christmas list. I'd love to hang it from the rear view mirror in my car. I think he'd look quite nice there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mystery Solved

Yesterday I had asked about a beautiful vintage swarovski bead and where to find one. Lorelei directed me to Kat at Jewels by Kat. Kat found several beads in this same style at with so many color combinations to choose from. I'm in love with this vintage feel with a little bit of bling, bling. Lorelei also found similar beads at AD Adornments. Take a look at both of these!

And how did I come to ask about this bead? Check out this bracelet if you haven't already. I'm intrigued by the colors, materials, and style of this piece. Kat has done a wonderful job! Please check out her shop when you have the time. Jewels by Kat

Both of these ladies were loads of help so a big THANK YOU to them!

I was watching this show last night that I was intrigued by so I thought I would spread the word. It's called "Out of Egypt" and here is an explanation on the show's basis, "Using Egypt as a starting point, Cooney embarks on a journey to find links between the social, cultural and religious practices of several ancient civilizations. She discovers that despite being completely disassociated from one another, the societies had striking similarities in behaviors, traditions and beliefs." The lady hosting the show teaches Egyptian art and architecture at UCLA. Last night's show was about how other cultures cherish the remains of loved ones after they have deceased. Sounds rather morbid, doesn't it? But they believe that there is a connection between the bones of the deceased and their spirit or the heavenly world. Day of the Dead is a good example of this and I was surprised to find that several other cultures around the world embark on the same type of practice holding festivals and eating meals with the deceased. Ok, I guess it's the science geek in me coming out but give it a watch sometime.

On to today's piece for the shop.

October Moon
Gray beach stones play along the deep brown of the Vintaj chain. Soft aquamarine, smokey quartz, a shiny silver bead, and a Vintaj moon charm dangle from the piece which stand out against the muted browns and grays.

I thought I'd add a little groove to your Tuesday. My daughter and I love this song by Shakira and we've been known to howl at the moon when we hear it on the radio. It's named "She Wolf" which is fitting. It's a real sight to see two girls howling in the car driving down the road. Yeah, we're weird, so what. Enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

C'est la vie

Hello and good morning! How did everyone's weekends go? Lots of sunshine and fun I hope.

Well, it looks like I lost a follower so hence the title of today's post. I'm trying to not let it get me down. So, "C'est la vie"! You win some, you loose some!

I've decided to lower some of my prices in my shop and also add free shipping. This might bring in more traffic, who knows. Pricing is kinda tough and I feel like I'm all over the place. I'm hoping if I narrow down the range of prices I can zero in on a more specific group of buyers. What works best for you when it comes to pricing? Do you price a piece by adding every bead and piece of wire along with exactly the length of time it took to make? Or do you price your items based on what you would pay or what you think others would pay? I love advice!

Ok, I'll throw today's piece out here real quick and then get on with today's post.

Happy Buddha charm looks content hanging out on this piece made with sterling jumprings, silver wire, beach glass in muted mint green and a darker forest green. Also includes a soft suede strap and sterling swirl clasp. I like the silver with the brown strap, it really stands out.

Ok, I need your help. I've desperately been looking for a bead with no success. Here's the picture. I am trying a find the swarovski filigree brass ball bead like on this bracelet. I love this vintage look. The stones are of a dark hue and not super shiny. Any idea where I can find one? Maybe this is an older bead that they no longer make. Also, for those of you who buy chain, where do you purchase it from? I am looking for all types of metals with a larger size link and a more intricate design.

Hope your Monday isn't going too bad. I know how Mondays can be. Ugh!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Use the Muse Bracelet

Happy Friday!

I realized last night that I hadn't posted my entry for the Use the Muse contest. For those of you not familiar with the contest you can check it out here. Mine is the very last one in the gallery (I'm use to being last since my last name starts with a Z) and mine is rather simple compared to most of the entries but that's what I like.

Over the Top
I used all the items in the kit except I added the Bali silver beads that mimic the design in the muse, silver wire, and a silver sliding clasp. I love the blues and purples.

I thought I would add a picture of my daughter's craft project that she did recently. There is a place close to us called "The Crafty Shack" where we love to paint pottery. This place has so many different pieces to choose from and they offer classes on making your own pottery. Lauren loves it because she's able to make so many choices for herself from picking out her own piece of pottery to all of the colors and what technique she wants to use on painting them. As you know, kids usually don't get to make too many decisions for themselves. Just look at the Subway commercials! Anyway, here's the piece she made when we last went there. She first painted the background using a bubble method where she got to blow bubbles in the paint with a straw. What fun! Then she glued the mirror onto the piece and finished it off with wire along with beads. Some of these are paper beads that we created earlier with scrapbook paper and glue. I think she did a great job! I know some of you are into mixed media, scrapbooking, quilting, etc. and I'd love to see some of your art work.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mermaid's Song

Finally, finally done with the Art Bead Scene challenge. I had so many ideas which I started on and decided I didn't like that's why it took FOREVER!!! Any way, here she is. The sexy mermaid from Green Girl Studios is the star, of course. She's holding several of her treasures from the sea which include a large beaded bead from The Bead Goes On, a lampwork bead from JavaBead, sea glass in green and cobalt from Ecstasea, a "flame" charm from Mamacita Beadworks which reminds me of ocean waves, and various Bali silver. Blues and greens from the ribbon make up the length of the piece which is held together with a handmade sterling S hook. Let me know what you think!

This piece re minds of the tale about the beautiful mermaid's song luring seamen into the deep blue. And woul dn't you know last night while I was making this I was listening to Scott Hardkiss who sings Underwater Ball. It dawned on me while I was "chair dancing" to it so I had to add it to today's post. Give it a listen!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Earthy Bracelets

I've got two new bracelets that are a bit different than my usual look. Organic and natural looking with lots of character using Vintaj brass. Hope you like these!

Appalachian River Birch

These little darlings have seashells, beach stones, and lots of Vintaj brass. The first includes a large wooden bead, olive green fossil briolettes, and tiny rhyolite rondelles. The second has a large crazy lace agate bead with swirling yellows and grays, flat wooden beads, jade rondelles, and a little sea glass dangle with a filigree brass leaf. These will both go in the shop today once I figure out some names and prices. I also forgot to add the pieces yesterday to the shop and I think I have a buyer for one of the pieces. Hooray!

Ok, this has absolutely nothing to do with jewelry but I discovered a new treat. A friend of my husband's told him about mixing greek yogurt with honey. How simple is that! The first time I tried it I wasn't sure if I could eat it because the yogurt is quite sour but it grew on me. Now I love it! You've gotta try it! Yummy yummy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Giveaway at Judith B Designs

Hey gals! Judy over at Judith B Designs is hosting a give away good until 8/22. She's offering these beautiful Letterpress Stationary note cards with artwork of a horse. Perfect for the equine lover! Just post a message on your blog, twitter, or facebook to enter. Also, check out Judy's wonderful designs. She has a couple intriguing bracelets with old time typewriter keys. They are so unique!

Oxidized Pieces Up for Show

The Etsy advertising was... well... not the greatest. No sales but I did get a few more people that heart my shop. The item I used was a bracelet that had been listed for a week. I had 7 views starting yesterday and by the end of the night I was up to 44. That part is nice but nothing ground breaking. I signed up for another one in Sept. This one is in the jewelry section so maybe it will get more traffic. The one I did yesterday was in the bracelet section. I'll let you know what happens.

So, do any of you sell at 1000 markets or Ruby? Do any of you sell to local shops? Once again, advice is greatly appreciated.

Here's the pieces that were oxidized. I only left them in the LOS for a minute or two so the patina was kinda light. I scrubbed them with steel wool and then hand polished them. This is definitely a trial and error procedure. I would like to create a deeper patina next time and try to figure out the best way to situate the lighting when taking pictures to bring out the shine. They will go in the Etsy shop today and you're likely to see more of this type of work from me since these were so much fun to make.

Before and After LOS

I'm currently working on my entry for the Art Bead Scene August challenge. It should be done by tomorrow so I'll show you what I came up with. Please check out Ester's creation on the Mes illusions baroques blog. This lady is amazing! Check out her fiber bracelets on her blog as well. I am in love with these!

Well, on a personal note, my friend is on her cruise and there is a hurricane headed that way. I'm a bit worried for her but I'm sure those big cruise ships know how to handle crazy weather. I hope she's safe and still having a marvelous time!

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's Monday already! Yikes!

Happy Monday! All of us here worked really hard on the yard yesterday. We had 4 yards of top soil delivered and spent the day spreading it around the yard to fill in the tire tracks from having the walkway poured. I spent so long making sure it was all even and this morning I woke up to footprints all in the dirt. It just so happens that right next to where we were working there is a crab apple tree and deer love crab apples. Enough said! Ugh!

Frozen Lake Tilicho Bracelet
Well, I'm adding one to the shop today. This bracelet has several different elements to it. I just love the spiky silver ball. That's my favorite part. It also includes a lampwork bead by Java Bead, a Swarovski square crystal ring, apatite, yellow turquoise, rhyolite, and lots of silver. It's a bit delicate since this is made with 24 gauge half hard wire but I like the look.

I'm trying out something new. I paid to promote an item on Etsy on their bracelet page for today. I would be astonished if it created a sale but I would at least hope for looky-loos. I'll let you know the results. It was $7 to promote which seems pretty steep but if it adds more traffic to my Etsy page then it was well worth it. Mama needs to bring home the bacon! hehe I'm also on Facebook now but I'll be posting the same thing each day as my blog. Where do you gals sell your jewelry? Anyone do anything other than Etsy? And what has worked best for you? I'm new to this so I love advice!

Oh, and here are some photos of last weeks "girl day". They are a bit on the blurry side but it's pretty hard to take pictures in a place that's so dark. We had sushi for lunch (yum) and then headed over to Monster Golf! This place is so cool. The whole place is dark when you walk in but soon you see why. Everything is painted to glow in the black lights and there are monsters that move and make noise throughout. It's a bit distracting when you are trying to get a hole in one. Enjoy your morning!

Friday, August 14, 2009

And the vote is in...

Patina wins! Gonna oxidize today! I have a few other pieces to throw in as well. I have only oxidized once before and it didn't turn out so great.'ll either see pictures later of everything oxidized or a picture of a huge frown on my face. Here's another wire wrapped "experiment" I made recently. It will go into my huge witch's brew this afternoon as well. TGIF! Have a rockin' weekend!!!