Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Buying a sewing machine

HELP....
which sewing machine should I buy?

I have been searching for the right sewing machine to buy. After making my little bags for Adorn Me, to put cuffs and boxes into for those being purchased, I am HOOKED. So I've been reading all the mixed media blogs I can, including Ruth Rae's. And reading articles regarding mixed media and assemblage. No one has any real tangible advice. So I'm reaching out to my blogging artist sisters and asking for you help, and advice.

Here's what I'm thinking in what I need in a machine.
  • I want one that isn't REAL expensive, say $200-250
  • I've borrowed a Brother machine, that was okay, but not great. BUT, I do like being able to change the length of a stitch, really helpful. But it was too heavy.
  • I borrowed a Janome Gold 2, lower end, not able to change length of a stitch. Sewed well, smooth, but not enough features, and runs $250
  • I went shopping and saw some that might work. Anyone know anything about White machines? Are they good, going to hold up. They have one at $188 that has all the bells and whistles and features I want, and oh, did I mention has to be light weight and PORTABLE? For sure portable. It also has an ingenious feature. You can take the hard plastic cover off and use it as an extended table that fits into the machine, so your piece doesn't fall off. This one is only 12 lbs, very light. I was told Janome makes this model of White machine?? That sounds good.
  • Also saw a Baby Lock, entry level. Seems to be good, but heavier.
Okay, this is quite the dilemma. I want to make sure it has the ability to put one of those floating, free form feet on it too. Apparently, most machines have that feature. I'm seeing some free form sewing in my future, making cute gift bags for my Etsy purchases, (if I ever get some items entered into the store), and little wall hangings, stuff like that. I want to be able to free form sew them, and add papers, stuff like that.

ANY suggestions would be so appreciated ladies!!!
Thanks so much for your help.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Let's imagine a world of Peace

Debby at "The Gathering Nest" has posted this You Tube video.
She said it brought her to tears.
So I had to go watch it.


In a world of such anger at this time, this short video says it all.
Enjoy, and have a meaningful day. Wrap your heart around someone who needs it.
Hugs and kisses.

Monday, March 22, 2010

There's a few spaces left for our
charm bracelet workshop!!

Diana Frey and I have this workshop almost filled, but there are few spaces left. We would love to have you join us if you can. We're going to include so many skill building techniques into this workshop. You'll learn to work with pmc making molds, and setting some crystals.
Then with mixed metals, we're teaching sawing, piercing,
cold connections, wire wrapping,
and making clasps.
On top of all of that, you'll learn how to ETCH brass or copper.
Now doesn't this sound like fun??
Did I mention we're feeding you a home made lunch, each day, as well?
And can Diana cook!

So if you're interested in the fun Charming Romance weekend, in sunny central coast California, in Pismo Beach, at MY house, just let Diana know at www.belladonna1351@charter.net. We'll get you signed up pronto.
Have a great week everyone. Make something beautiful.

Stay tuned to the grand opening of my new Etsy Store. I'm so excited, I'm going to do a giveaway to roll it out!! After years of "going to do it", I'm finally doing it!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Adorn Me vendor night

Vendor night at Adorn Me

They were lined up ten deep, all the ladies waiting outside the door. Most of the instructors, including myself, we exhausted from a day of teaching, or attending class. But when that crowd got turned loose....WOW! The enthusiasm just FILLED the room. It was all smiles, all the time. My feet got light again, my body stopped aching from a weeks worth of classes, and there were customers grabbing up beauties everywhere...it was every jeweler's dream!

Here's the wonderful Richard Salley with his adorable wife Jane. They are both such talented jewelry designers and artists. Look them up when you can. Both are teaching around the nation now. They moved to Santa Fe a short time ago from LA, and are loving it.


Here's me, Diane, Diana, Deryn and Charlene in the back. We were having too much fun!

Oh, this group is pure trouble. Let's see, there's Diane, me, Amy Hanna, Pam Garrison, Diana and in the back row is Ruth Rae peeking out and Stephanie Rubiano with the camera!

That's the last of Adorn Me for this year. Who knows what next year might bring!!

More Adorn Me stories

More Adornment!

I took a two day class from legend Thomas Mann called "The Found Object Sandwich". Wow, it was really intense, but fun. He handed out the kits, that included some materials for the pin we were to make, as well as a 24 page instruction book! No wonder this was a two day class. If you didn't know how to use your jeweler's saw before, you would after this class. Of course I loved the intricate sawing, alignment of mini hardware, and the hand laborious hand finishing, this was right up my alley!

The object was to bring a photo, most of us brought antique photos. Then he resized them to fit within the finished size of our pin.

This picture is what I started with. We began making layers, templates, too much fun. It was great to see it all come together. Patience was a virtue making this project. There were ladies in this class that had never held a jeweler's saw before, I was so proud they finished, and everyone's pieces looked amazing.

This is Thomas in action. I couldn't move fast enough! He's a very nice man, and quite hip, don't you think?
He lives in New Orleans, and luckily didn't get wiped out by the floods.
Check out his website for wonderful jewelry, very "techno-romantic". He truly changed the was jewelry was being made years ago, very much a legend in our industry.


And again, a great sport. Beavo was in good hands! Diane Cook and I had a blast in class. Did I tell you how much I love that gal? Wish she lived closer, darn it!

Here's my finished piece from that class. It was larger than I really wanted, but wanted to incorporate that beautiful antique plate. It was fun to add the plexiglass to the top, letting the middle child peek through.

Wow, what a great experience. Loved every minute of Adorn Me!
What do you think?

New Friends "Adorn Me!"

New friends "adorn me"!
It's not everyday you get to take a classes from idols!
I got to at Adorn Me.
Not only did I get to teach at Adorn Me, I got to attend classes from some folks I've heard about for over 10 years. This was a double good whammy for me! I couldn't get all the pictures I want to post into one post, so there will be more than one.

The first picutres are from Keith's classes, who lives in Australia. This is Keith LoBue, grinding my hammer head to make it a better riveting tool. I took an evening class, "Getting Attached", where he showed us some variations on riveting. Great to know new and other's technique.

In preparing the hammer, he used a dremel tool with a grinding wheel attached. Just took the sharp edge off the flat hammer side of the ball peen, kind of a 45 degree angle. Then we polished my hammers by hand, using different grades of sandpaper. Made my hammers just sparkle, and a cleaner rivet.

Another day, I took a "Papering Over It" class from Keith, with Diane Cook. Guess you see Beavo made it into the photo! That was really fun, using rebar wire, annealed steel, and bending it to different shapes. Then using some glue and varnish, to attach tissue papers, or light papers to it, forming a kind of skin. Makes wonderful sculpture, and fabulous additions to pieces, giving a 3-D dimension. To see what Keith does with this, just visit his website.
True eye candy! And he is as amazingly nice as he is talented.


This is a quickie example I made in class. Formed a heart, then attached the glue mixture with a paintbrush, and let it dry. This is a fun alternative to resin in some applications. LOVE the possibilities.


Dinner one evening, with my new friends Charlene, and Melissa Manley. And of course the lovely Diana Frey, whom you already know. Diane Cook was there too. We went for Mexican Food, Texas style...delicious!!

I took a wonderful class from the lovely and multi-talented Melissa, learning how to enamel beads, called "Hard Candy". We domed metal circles then torch fired enamel on them, lovely!! She is just the nicest lady, you guys would love her. I would take another class in a minute. Now I call her friend!

Okay, took me all day to make two beads, but I love them! Just can't get enough of those teal colors! Did I tell you I had teal put in my hair before I went to Texas? Oh those California girls!! Diana had raspberry added and me teal, too funny! Painted my toenails teal as well. Hey, a girl has to have fun, right?

More to come!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Adorn Me stories

ADORN ME WAS AMAZING!!

I am back from the most amazing experience of teaching at my first national retreat. It was so much fun. I taught two classes, an etched hinged cuff, and how to weave with sterling wire. This first post is the summary of the students and their amazing projects. Then later, after I regain my energy, I'll post about the "social" aspect of the trip, and pics of the classes I took. I'm still recuperating! Diana Frey and I got back to San Luis Obispo about 12:30 in the morning on Monday, after delayed flights, airplane malfunctions, etc. We are beat...but it was all worth it!

This first picture is a finished piece from Mirta, posing with my bull. Okay, why the bull? Well, when Diane Cook came to visit us in California, she brought Diana Frey and me each a darling bull. Since I was going back to Texas, I had to take the bull for a visit. He got lots of names suggested for him, but I haven't decided. For now, let's just call him Beavo. That's what Diane Cook called him! I tried to include him in all shots, but he only made it into a few. What stories he could tell!

And look at this class of mine, minus Dale and Gena. What a bunch of hams we were! They looked gorgeous in their fabulous finished projects. There's Mirta, Brigitte, Julie, me and the lovely Carol. Yep, we had too much fun!! Great job ladies, you worked hard, and it paid off.

This is the second class I taught, the woven pendant. Dale (again, thanks Dale), Bonnie and Joanne pounded their little buns off making not just one project, but two. Bonnie made three! With so few students, we had time for me to show them how to make rings as well.

These are Joanne's finished pieces. Great job Joanne!
Love the way she manipulated the wire for these. She used really heavy wire combining it with thin. And Bonnie used a textured hammer to give her pendant a different look. All of you did amazing work!
We all had too much fun. I met lots of new people, as well fabulous and talented instructors, and have to say what an amazing job Linda and Chuck did to coordinate this event. All the students were thrilled, it went off without a hitch. The vendor night, on Friday, was a huge success, with ladies stacked ten deep to get in and see what the instructors brought to sell and show off. I'm happy to say I sold a ton, including all the little boxes I made before going, and the big French shoe clip choker with the woven sides. (Boo hoo). I'll just have to make another.

More later! Don't you think the students did an awesome job???