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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Start your New Year on the page!
It isn't everyday that something this wonderful comes along. Before Christmas, I just completed an on line course from the wonderful Stephanie Lee. Turns out she is not only a talented artist, but fabulous journal writing coach. The course was about learning to journal, so I thought. I didn't know exactly what was involved, but thought I might learn how to make a pretty journal I see on so many mixed media artist sights right now. Since I had never written in a journal, not since 5th grade, I thought it might be inspirational, and I would learn some new techniques. Boy, did I learn some new stuff!

Stephanie didn't teach us how to make pretty pictures and write some lovely words around them. Turns out, that's not what the course was about! Of course you can do that if you want to. It was a soul searching class about getting inside your heart and head, working through all that "dark" stuff you might have repressed for so many years, and finding a way to release it...finding a way to express it on "the page", as Stephanie refers to journaling. She offers the most open, encouraging and safe forum for you, giving you a road map to tackle issues you never thought possible. She offers prompts to start your writing off, and amazing audio interviews with talented women, to allow the insight to continue. By clearing out the darkness, there is light. Yes, this is an endorsement! I would be happy to sing Stephanie's praises to anyone.

If you want to start the New Year off with an open, refreshing outlook on your challenges, creativity, relationships and peace of mind, take a look at this course. It's the best $50 I ever spent. Daily journaling has become a part of my life now, and I can't imagine not doing it. Give yourself a gift, and start taking those deep, fulfilling breaths you used to, I had forgotten what that was like! I put the link on here for you to read about, let me know what you think.
Happy New Year everyone!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Secret Santa gift

She received her gift!
My Secret Santa can now be revealed. The name given to me by Molly was Diane Cook. That was handy, since Diane is a fabulous friend! I had no idea what to make her. When she filled out her questionare and said she likes vintage rhinestones, crystals, and smiles, I remembered a picture I had of all three of us! We took a workshop together last April, so it was a recent photo of me, Diane and Diana Frey. I thought she might like a little frame to hold a fun picture. We are three dear art sisters, so it seemed appropriate to add "Sisters" to the photo. And I know sisters mean a lot to Diane, check out her blog.
This is the back of the frame. After I got it done, I decided it needed a little signature piece with a signed name plate.
So I added this little signature plate last.
I heard from Diane, she seems to like it a lot. What do you think? Have you ever made a frame, I sure hadn't. It was a lot of fun though. I used one sheet on the back, and an etched one on the front. Then I soldered the rhinestones to the front, and glued everything else on. The little stand construction for the leg was tricky, but seems to work.
I used mica to cover the picture, and screwed everything together.
Voila, a frame to last the years.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Contest winner

And the winner is.....
Esther from France!
The person who guessed what the pictures were of the Secret Santa gift exchange was Esther from France. Way to go Esther, how did you figure out it was a frame that I made for the exchange? Please check out Esther's beautiful blog. Her designs are just exquisitel, and very inventive using a combination of materials, as well as found objects and gems. I love each design she posts more than the last! She has a fabulous bracelet on there right now.

There were so many good guesses, you ladies really gave it some thought. I appreciate all your attempts, that was a blast!
Esther gets to choose from three pair of earrings. One pair is etched brass (I think I used French writing), one is beaded with chain and crystals, and the third is embossed brass.
Which ones will she choose? Which would you choose?

Don't forget, I'm going to have a drawing next month for my one year anniversary of my blog. I would love for you to enter and win! May each of you have a warm, wonderful and peaceful Christmas. We are all so blessed. Don't forget to give a donation to your local shelters this holiday season, they need us more than ever this year!!
Hugs and kisses to all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Secret Santa Gift
Oh, am I a lucky girl! Santa was VERY good to me this year. I received my Secret Santa Gift, from Molly Alexander. She organized the exchange, and 12 of us were in it. I've never done this before, so it was new to me. This was a lot of fun to anticipate getting a gift in the mail, from someone I don't know well yet.

I love my beautiful necklace Molly made me. She had everyone exchange some information about themselves before the exchange, our favorite colors, things we like, etc. Isn't that a good idea?
I mentioned my favorite color was blue, and I loved anything old, and I think I mentioned bees too! She couldn't have nailed it any better. I am so impressed with her craftsmanship and design. Way cool.
Isn't that little bee to die for? What a cutie! I know they symbolize nature, and renewal. What else do they represent? They go back to Roman days and I believe, even the Egyptians. Anyway, I love them.
So thank you again Molly, for setting up and organizing the exchange, and inviting me to be a part of it. I really love my necklace and will be proud to tell everyone my new friend Molly made it!
Please visit Molly's site to see what everyone else made. People are just receiving their gifts, so they might not all be posted yet.
Merry Christmas everyone! Ho, ho, ho!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Secret Santa

Secret Santa Exchange
I see many of you are, or were, involved with a charm, or jewelry exchange this season. They are so much fun. I was asked about a month ago to take part in one, and have since met some new blogging art buddies. I finished my piece, and had so much fun making it, I had to share some teasers with you. The lady receiving this doesn't know I have her name, that's the "secret" part of it. This gets shipped on Monday to my Secret new friend.

Can you tell what it is? If you think you have an idea, leave a comment. I am going to have my own little contest!!
I have a new pair of hand made earrings for the lucky winner. I'm not posting them, because I want to give the winner her choice from three pair. I'll pick different styles, she gets to pick the ones she wants.

So the first person that guesses what my little gift is to my secret receiver gets to pick one of my new little creations as a prize!! So spread the word! Let everyone know. I would LOVE for you to win!
There is no time limit, and if two people guess right, they both get a pair of earrings!!
How fun is that?
Merry Christmas everyone. May you find joy, peace and happiness this fine holiday season.

This month is my one year anniversary for my blog, I can't believe it. So, in honor of my surviving all of the challenges with that, and with your love and support, I am going to have a contest in January. Get ready, the gift will be a handmade necklace!!! I'm working on some designs currently. I want to get you all lathered up for something nice, something you would be proud to wear. Maybe even to one of my classes (hint, hint) that I am teaching in 2010!! Ha ha. I'm teaching at my first national retreat in Houston (isn't self promotion wonderful?). So for all of you who say California is too far away, there ya go! Please have a wonderful holiday.

Stay tuned for the winner of this little guessing contest!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Charming Romance

A Charming Romance
A weekend jewelry escape, the perfect gift for the holidays!
Ladies, I'm so excited to tell you about a new workshop my friend, Diana Frey, and I put together. This is the perfect gift to add to your Christmas wish list. The two day workshop is called A Charming Romance, because you will be making a charm bracelet packed with darling charms that you make during the workshop. We are offering it two different weekends. The first weekend will be February 6 & 7, 2010. The second weekend is April 10 & 11, 2010, both are full days on Saturday and Sunday. It will be held at my home in Pismo Beach, CA on the beautiful Central coast, how cool is that?

Diana is a very talented jewelry artist, nationally renowned I might add! So her skills, combined with mine, we can cover a lot of ground. We will help you design charms for your bracelet utilizing many mixed media techniques. These will include using PMC, etching, embossing and metal smithing on a small scale. Don't be shy if you're a beginner, this class is a beginner/intermediate level. Then when all the little darlings are made over the two days, you will assemble your beautiful bracelet with hand made charms, and romantic found objects that you'll bring. So, not only will you learn many new skills, you'll have a reminder of those techniques with lots of little romantic dangles. Of course, you can choose any theme you like, we just like this girlie approach, very glam! And of course we plan to pamper you with delicious food for lunch, and yummy snacks, both days.

Diana is handling the registration for this workshop, so please contact her to reserve your space. If you have any questions what so ever, please let me know. The class space is limited, so please sign up as soon as you can. Give this information to all the "W.H.'s" out there so he can buy you something you REALLY want for Christmas this year!
We hope you can join us for the fun.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sisters of all kinds

Sisters are a beautiful thing

My older sister just had a "biggey" birthday. It was important to me present her with something very special this year. She's had a hard year, like so many of us at this time. She's worked her tail off, taken classes to improve her opportunities in business (yes, even at her age), and driven huge amounts of miles all over the Los Angeles area for the opportunity to make a sale in the housing industry, which she is new at. In other words, I love her dearly and wanted to bring a smile to her face, and hopefully a laugh.

I was successful! After seeing the fabulous projects that a dear "art sister" of mine, Diane Cook, and a blogging friend of hers, Colette Copeland, put together for an article in the recent Winter 2010 Belle Armoire Jewelry, called the "The Art of Presentation": Sisterhood", I WAS HOOKED. The timing couldn't have been better for me to see this article. I knew I had to package my gift of a new cuff in some way special for this birthday. She deserved it! So I took the magazine over to a dear "art sister's" house, Diana Frey, and the two of us brainstormed some designs. I haven't been near a sewing machine since the 80's, really. But somehow, that all comes back to you, like riding a bike I guess. We took a high school picture of my sister's and put it on photo transfer paper for fabric, found at Michaels. I brought tidbits of fabrics and scraps I had, and Diana went to her magical drawers, pulling out some darling accents. Then I just whipped this baby up, in about four hours!! I know the next one will take an hour, but like I said, I haven't sewn in a million years, thus the time spent!

It was all worth it. My sister, Kami, held the little bundle of hand made paper, tied with a wide silk ribbon, and slowly began unwrapping. She held up the little fabric bag with her picture on the front, kind of squinted, asked "is that me?", then we handed her some reading glasses, and she started laughing! It was successful, my work here is done! She didn't remember the picture, and we got a big laugh out of that as well. Oh, she loved what was inside as well. So thank you to all my art sisters help on this one. Couldn't have done it without Colette, Diane and Diana.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks

I am so thankful.

Today, I am thankful for so many things. For the beauty I can see, for the amazing sounds that fill my ears, for the love I am surrounded with daily by family and friends. I am so thankful.
I wish you a wonderful, happy day of celebrating with family and friends, and hopefully new friends.
And may all our odd uncles be on best behavior, and no one falls down and breaks anything!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Robin Dudley-Howes

A Cuff Class

Finally! I finished a class project and would like to share it with you. It is so easy to go to a class, get a project started, and not finish it after you bring it home. BUT, I did this time!

This cuff is a result of a wonderful class I took from a great teacher, Robin Dudley-Howes. When I was down in Orange County, CA over Halloween I took this great little one day class at a sweet venue called Piecemakers. It is a store, restaurant, class rooms and bead supply as well, all rolled in to one location! I have been trying to coordinate a class there with a trip down to see our kids in Orange county, and it finally worked. So, Robin was teaching a class to make this decorated cuff, and I thought it looked like great fun. These pictures are the result of that helpful class. There were four of us in the class, so it resulted in relaxed fun, and great conversational This method is a fun way to make a sweet cuff.

I put a LOT of bling on mine, felt girlie that day. You make a frame, then wire on beads as you go. Then you cut out a backing to glue on the backside. It really was a lot of fun to make. If you get the chance, take a class from Robin. She's a great teacher, and makes beautiful things as well. Look her up!

Thanks for looking everyone. What do you think, would you wear this little gem?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Amazing store!


Close your eyes, and imagine with me if you will, the most amazing notions store on the planet. You walk through the door of this little shop, step inside, and suddenly can't take another breath! The shop is packed floor to ceiling, with the most amazing assortment of EVERYTHING! And mostly vintage. There are hand made velvet flowers from the 20's, sequins of all kinds, and buttons...buttons...buttons.

Did I mention buttons? I have never seen so many. This little gem of a store is such eye candy. It is located in Morro Bay in Central Coast California. The owner buys huge inventory being closed out from manufacturers as far away as Paris.

She has owned this store for a zillion years. When I strolled in my first visit, my feet were planted. Then items started to focus, my heart raced, the earth moved. After minutes of just taking it all in, I could take another breath and actually move! I had been told this was the place to get some vintage ribbon...that is an understatement!

These treasures came home with me, all my pocketbook could part with on this journey. I chose some hand painted Czech glass buttons, vintage rhinestone buttons, rhinestones with backing, and some designer rhinestones sewn on to backing. Guess my "girlie" was speaking to me that day!

Hope you enjoy the pictures. The name of the store is Lina G. She has a store on ebay. If there is something specific you want, you could call her at 805-772-7759.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Playing with Vintaj pieces

New Vintaj pieces
Have you ever bought any Vintaj pieces before? They have such an array of eye candy, and I've been wanting them for such a long time. I wanted to buy them wholesale, so a friend and I put in an order together to make the minimum amount, ummm, okay, over that amount!

I was so excited to get the pieces. They have such a variety, and great quality. No, I'm not working for them, but you'd think so at this point, huh? The bird piece comes flat, I bent it around that amazing pearl.
And the circle scroll on the earrings came flat as well. I just love the way they turned out. I can see an assortment of these little guys with different stones, and gems. Can't wait to experiment. Guess I should send these pics to Vintaj! LOL. Hope you like them!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Finale of workshop remodel

The Work is done, Playtime begins!

I am happy to report that WH has finished the job! There is one small thing that has to be worked on...we covered up the electrical outlet that works from the switch next to the door! Oops. Okay, so the huge cupboard has to come out, the back taken off, ect. But, WH is goin in!

I wanted to show you the darling mirror I bought while still on my little island in Washington before I left. Yes, WH hauled it all the way to California for me, he is truly and angel. It finally got hung yesterday. My friend, Diana Frey, and I were fighting over who gets to hang it in their workshop when we spotted it at a quaint store on the island called Robin's Nest. Thank goodness it wouldn't fit in her studio, so.....! I put an Ikea bar underneath to make the item a little more useful, instead of just a pretty face! It is at the spot I do a lot of metalsmithing, so will get a little saw, and a few more necessary things hung from it. The challenge will be to maintain lack of "ego clutter"!!
And here are more of those inexpensive bars from Ikea. Perfect for things like wire, cords, whatever. They are so dang reasonable, I think those were only $1.99! I mean you just can't beat that anywhere!
These are more shelves, from you guessed it, Ikea. And yes, I do confess WH gives me Direct TV, and cable, and I have my iPod in my studio as well. I'm totally spoiled, but boy am I happy! And as WH always says, "Happy wife, happy life"! Gotta love it.
That's all on the remodel for the time being. I want to get a little fabric valance up. Maybe some art work here and there, and I bought a little "bird thingy hang on the wall art deal" that I can attach pictures to. So thanks for looking, I wish you all "happy lives"! Now I get to begin playing and creating.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Workshop remodel!

The end is in sight!
For my workshop remodel that is! If you haven't ever bought cabinets from Ikea for any reason, take a look at them next time. I am so impressed with the quality for the money. And they have so many choices. (No, I don't work there or own stock!) We brought home a truckload of boxes, I mean a huge truckload, and WH was up to his eyeballs in drawer sides, pulls, counter tops, bookcases....well, you get the idea! He spent the entire day putting all these pieces together from Ikea instructions, that are just pictures. I couldn't make sense of them, kept turning them upside down, right side up. But WH worked through it all and made it happen. Here's a before, and after shot of the process. You'll recognize the difference!

Boy was I tired. Had to run to the kitchen for a zillion ice tea refills for WH (that's wonderful husband by the way). Made him lunch, kissed his feet a thousand times, and voila. I love have a handy guy as a husband!! My workshop is transformed. I still have some finishing touches, like some fun stuff for the walls. And we covered up the only electrical plug in connected to the light switch with a cabinet, oops. So there will be some tweaking. I can see the end in sight.
Go look at Ikea cabinets! Anyone else had the same experience? Any remodels you want to show off, or just plain great studios? I know you have one out there!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Picture yourself attending a wonderful workshop in a beautiful setting in the greater Los Angeles area, a home in Agoura Hills. Here there will be an airy, open room to take marvelous workshops with fun and talented instructors. Picture a roomy, great room complete with antique barn windows and a lovely wooded setting. This rustic retreat is complete with artisan charm and old world character, the perfect place for your creativity to flow!

I am so excited to bring you news of doing a team teaching class in May with Diana Frey. We just love the idea of going to such an inspirational place and being able to share our skills with you, in a two day retreat. This class will be called Friends of a Feather, and you will leave with a bird theme, designer necklace. You can read all about it if you click the Inspirational Retreat link above.

But the news just gets better! If you sign up for ANY class they are offering in 2010, BEFORE the end of the year, you will receive 10% off the class price, AND a free lunch for both days as a holiday gift. That is a great deal. So go to the website and check it out!! We would love to have you join us and learn some wonderful new techniques with pmc and wiring.
What do you think?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Where does inspiration come from?
I got pretty much everything unloaded from the truck, and out of the garage, and into my studio. I hesitated to shoot these pictures, and then post them. But, there is a reason I did. I am in a reflective mood this morning. I am busy counting my blessings, and there are so many. It feels so good to post these pictures, and realize that what this blogging world might be truly about, is more than perfection. It feels good to not have everything in it's place and be able to post these pictures. Does that make sense. I really had to let go of my constant background noise of "is it perfect enough"? So I did. I know I will get things put away, and throw out a ton of things, so it fits, after I get some more storage. Not to worry!

Before I made this post, I did a little surfing this morning. It was perfect to find some things that were moving for me to read, as well as enlightening. After looking at my friend Diane Cook's blog, I read that she is touched by a lady she heard about with breast cancer. We send out love and prayers for her. That situation puts everything into perspective.
Then I came upon a post on Teesha Moore's blog where she quoted Wayne Dyer on his 12-step Program to Simplicity. Reminders to "eliminate ego clutter, in order to be receptive to inspiration". How to "Sweep it Clean, Inside and Out". He quotes Socrates who says "He is nearest to God who needs the fewest things". It is on her 9/3/09 post.

Now, how does this all tie in for me.? I don't feel like as much of a loser in having so many items, AND not having a place for everything. That is not important in the larger scheme of life. Our health is the only thing that truly matters. We don't have a choice about that. I have a choice about wanting to keep "things" or eliminate them. But I do agree with Wayne, "eliminating ego clutter" can have an amazing affect on your inspiration. After I was robbed of all the jewelry it took me six months to create, the most amazing thing happened....inspiration! I'm guessing it was my "ego clutter" that got stolen. Not because I made it, but because it was just a lot of "things". Yes, my heart and soul went in to making those, but in the big picture, they are just things. And I know in my heart I wouldn't have started from scratch in a new direction with designing if everything hadn't have been taken.

So thank you robbers!! You helped me get to an amazing place of inspiration, a re-growth position... you took the blossoms, but not the roots!
I hope this was inspiring for you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A husband from heaven!

Not all husbands are made equal!
And I have to share how great mine is with you. This is WH (now referred to as wonderful husband), on his all fours the last few days putting new flooring in my workshop. We tore up carpeting, found cement. Then went to Home Depot to explore the possibilities that would be within the budget. Lo and behold, they have a new product out now, called Traffic Master Dimensions by Allure. This isn't an advertisement for it, but it is way cool. I picked out the pine, which is an aged, knotty pine look. I have to tell you, I LOVE it! And it is vinyl, so it will be durable, when I drop a hammer on it! No denting, no scratching.
So this is WH putting in the first few boards of it, or planks I guess you would say. It all sticks together, no nails, no screws. It's a floating floor, like the Pergo stuff, only vinyl.
And my friend Diana Frey came speeding to my urgent call the other morning, while I was on my way to the paint store, to help me pick out a color for the walls, other than white! I started with greens, then she quickly directed me to my favorite color, a blue. This soft, zen blue looks like my favorite gem...aquamarines! Since our house it at the ocean, it works so well. Thank you dear friend, you saved me! So I got to do the painting, took me about four hours.
See how those planks bend, then they just stick to each other. We were so amazed how easily this went in....well, I was! No actually, so was WH.
And, voila! He finished the last strips tonight. That is my closet, I took the doors off of, against the advice of WH. But he finally relented, and is going with the flow now! So, the furniture gets moved in as soon as the floor base boards to up. I hope to have it somewhat put back together by Monday or Tuesday. Then off to Ikea next weekend for some more storage. I have never had enough storage to put all this junk in, and doing more mixed media jewelry, oh my gosh, anyone else have a problem with storage in their workshops? I mean, all the fabrics, ribbons, papers, glues, resins, beads, beads, beads!! Oh well, maybe I'll take over another room soon?
Say, why don't you post pictures of your workshop for everyone to see. I would love to see anyone's workshop who reads this. Or, send me pics, and I'll post them for you. Wouldn't that be fun to see where we all create?

Monday, October 19, 2009

California here I come!

We arrived safely!
I'm happy to report that we made it to California safely, and it was mainly uneventful. What I'm really saying is....no break ins. Of course, I brought what little jewelry that was left over from the summer, in every evening. The thieves knew I was prepared this time!!

Sadly, all the beautiful photos I took to document our lovely trip have vanished off my camera. This has never happened! Has it happened to any of you? To my surprise, I'm ready to download them and...gone. There is simply nothing on my memory stick. How can this happen? Did the camera do it, or the disc just fail? Should I use the disc again, it is working fine now? How curious.

Well, I'll just describe! We stayed at a beautiful place on the Oregon coast, right on the water. The waves were so loud, we had to shut the windows tight. And the sea lions woke us up through out the night. Absoultely heaven. Then on to Mendocino, one of nature's best gifts. The cliffs are high above the black, rocky shore line. The waves come crashing in with their deep aquas and white whipped cream tops. Then the fog and mist started to appear about the time we had to leave, sneaking in silently.

Next stop was the Russian River in California's northern wine country. We drove through tons of giant Redwood groves, bending our necks back to attempt to see the tops. The deep forests were damp with recent rain, and the giants stand guard over seedlings. Having Chester the doggie, we need dog friendly places, so it was off to a tree house above the Russian River. It took some doing getting all the luggage up all the stairs, but once there, we settled in to seeing eye to eye with the tops of golden leafed trees. The wine tasting with our son, daughter in law and their six pals in a huge passenger van turned out to be a blast. We only got stuck in the mud once...but a quick call to AAA and voila, we were out in an hour. Oh, those boys and their automobiles in the mud. Way too much to tempt them.

Then on to Pismo beach. Our little house was waiting with open arms, along with a few neighbors that gave us some hugs and welcomed us back. It's nice to be home, but there were days on this five day journey, I would have loved to click my heels, and be home! Now the real work begins. I'm going to rework my studio space. Rip out carpet, paint, arrange for more storage! Any chance I can click my heels and have this be done?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

mystery mushrooms

Does anyone know what kind of mushrooms these are?
I'm still loving the fall eye candy that is springing up on San Juan Island. These beautiful, delicate little bell mushrooms are pushing their way up all along our forest roads. It's as though they are sneaking out, then grow to tower over the weeds. I wonder if they are edible? If you know what these are, please tell me! And if they are edible.
Can't you just visualize little woodland creatures living in these, like fortresses? They look like they have little shingled roofs, and have been there for hundreds of years.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Workshop week

Beautiful week in the San Juan Islands, WA
My dear friend, Diana Frey, was up at the island for a week. We had too much fun! We made jewelry, ate, drank, laughed, and oh yes, went for long walks. Here are just a few of the many wonders, within walking distance from our cabin, that I got to show off to her.
The blackberries are bursting, waiting to be eaten by the many deer. I snatched a few today on my walk in our brilliant green surroundings.
There are fields of these things, I don't think are thistles. A friend called them something else, I don't remember, but they are amazing, standing so tall, guarding their little pond.
And you have to watch out for all the woodland creatures. They sneak up on you when you're not paying attention! Soooo dangerous! Ok, that's Chester, my four legged baby. Isn't it amazing how he poses. I just ask him to pose, and voila! What a good boy.
We even have furniture in our woods. I'd like to say we built this beautiful bench, but the folks who play frisbee golf built it. It is really comfortable, wouldn't think so.
And, oh yes, we taught a jewelry workshop, and had a ball. It was a small and productive class. That's Julie and Janet with me on top, and seated are Claudia and Diana. Barbara missed the group shot, she had to catch a ferry! They loved having a small class, and they made beautiful creations with their Feathered Friends inspired workshop!

So I'm getting ready to pack it up and head south to CA for the winter. It's getting pretty cold here, but I'll miss my beloved woods and the deep green forest. I have sunshine and coastlines to look forward to. Isn't life wonderful!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Timeless Creations

I was lucky enough to visit the B.C. Museum of Art in Victoria, Canada a month ago or so. What a spectacular museum it is. They had on display some ancient jewelry. I was so inspired by the gold, Roman pieces, they just talked to me. I stood in front of them and felt such a kindred spirit, almost as though I used to own one or two of them. That happens quite often when I view Roman jewelry. There was a piece that was on a hand woven chain, not unlike the Viking Knit we're all learning these days. The designer, thousands of years ago, used a simple medallion with two hooks, on a chain. This is my version of seeing that spectacular piece.

Who knows, maybe I was Roman royalty at one time? I'm sure my husband is sure of it! Seeing the beautiful craftsmanship is a reminder, we are all human, we make jewelry the same way, and we have similar passions, thousands of years later.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I have a dilemma. My daughter-in-laws "big one" is coming up, and I can't decide which style of necklace to make for her. She doesn't wear a lot of jewelry, but loves mine. Go figure. So I know she doesn't like a lot of bling, but a touch is kind of nice.
She used to be a tomboy and still is a jock.
Since it's a surprise, I can't tell her about it, and want to make something fun for the big birthday. Any advice you can give me, I would sure appreciate it. Guess since it's family, I can't make up my own mind!!

So what do you think? Necklace #1 style....
or necklace #2 style??? Ok, I'll tell you, it's her 4oth, but that's just between us!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Adorn Me! 2010

There is a new national art jewelry retreat coming to Houston, Texas next year!!
It is called Adorn Me! Linda Young, of the successful retreats, ART Unraveled, has organized this new jewelry event, and chosen a huge array of jewelry/mixed-media artists. The dates will be March 2-7, 2010. I am thrilled to have been chosen to be one of the instructors at this exciting event, along with a huge line up of talented teachers.

The first project I teach will be on Saturday, March 6th, called
Hinged Cuff. Here is the class description. Check it out! You will have so much fun cutting this bracelet out from etched metal, then making the hinges yourself. These bracelets are interesting to assemble, to see all the pieces come together. You will feel a huge sense of accomplishment! And this hinged cuff is very comfortable to wear.

The next project I will teach is on Sunday, March 7th, is called Woven Silver Pendant. Just click the link for a class description. I am so excited to show you how to weave with sterling silver wire. The effect is so earthy, tactile and interesting. I love forming with this weaving process, and creating fabulous shapes. Then wire on a beautiful big pearl or stone, to add a finishing touch. You will leave the workshop enlightened about using the little torch, and wearing your fabulous, new necklace! And feel free to do whatever shape you like!

I plan to take as many classes as I can as well. There are so many talented instructors, it is hard to choose. Just to list a few are Diane Cook, Diana Frey, Deryn Mentock, Richard Salley, Jane Salley, Sherri Haab...the list goes on and on! WOW!

If you would like to follow the conversations about the retreat, join the Yahoo Group discussion. That way you won't miss a thing. Send in your class choices asap, since this is all done by mail. They will start opening requests on Oct. 1st, so don't delay. And please let me know if I can answer any questions.
I sure hope to see you at one of my fun classes!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Challenges and passion

It isn't often that I come home from just seeing a movie, and find such huge similarities, to many parts of my life in it. That is the case with this movie.

The movie was Julie and Julia. There are really so many similarities to what we are all experiencing at this time in our lives. Yes, this movie is about Julia Child's cooking, but mostly about her personal challenges, she set forth, to make her life more meaningful. She wasn't one to sit around darning socks, or wait on her husband hand and foot. She wasn't satisfied with joining women's card groups, or taking hat making classes. She hadn't found her passion...
until she found cooking!
Does this sound familiar fellow artisans?

Once she discovered her passion, she was on a mission. But the act of cooking, by itself, wasn't enough. She set goals for herself. One was to become published. Yet, she understood she couldn't do it alone. She needed the love and support of family and friends. Just like the star of the movie found out, played by Amy Adams. In the movie, Julie, her character, sets her own goal. She was driven to cook every recipe Julia published in her book, within one years time. She starts a blog, and wonders if anyone will ever read it, or be interested, or respond!
Sound familiar?

This post really isn't a review of the movie. I'm writing from the heart, about how moved I was to see someone like Julia Child struggle, to overcome her challenges she took on. The best things in life DON'T come easy! Her motivation wasn't just about money and success, although she hoped for a few bucks as a result of all her hard work at getting published. She wanted to feel like she brought a service, a joy, to women. All the while being able to fulfill her passion of cooking. It wasn't just cooking that gave her joy. She was willing to give so much of herself, so others could benefit. But she needed the help and support group of friends and family.

I feel such a kindred spirit with Julia. I think many of my friends will too. Making jewelry is a passion. I feel it is truly my life's work, since retiring from a job of many years. But, making jewelry is in itself is not the reward. If you can't see the joy it brings to people, why do it? So I started selling a few pieces. Then I saw that my jewelry pleased a few, so I started jurying in to art festivals. Every little baby step, allowed me to gain more confidence, and set bigger goals. Then I decided to teach a class. That was extremely rewarding. A little more confidence was built, so I set a goal to get published. That was a big one! Now that has become a reality. Recently, the opportunity arose to submit to a national jewelry retreat, as a teacher. So, what the heck, I held my nose and plunged. I was chosen to participate. But, these things happening are truly because of having, like Julia and Julie, the gentle nudging of friends and family.

I'm in my late fifties now, and just starting to understand a few things about life. I might be a late bloomer, okay, for sure I am. But I am really understanding some basic fundamentals about how to make your life more fulfilling.
Don't settle for less in life than will make you happy. I'm talking about goose bumps happy. I'm talking about jumping up and down happy. What ever that might be. Don't be afraid to try....anything! Because if you don't, how can you accomplish your goals? And set those goals! Big ones. Ones that make you nervous, make you shake, make your heart race. And a little bit of struggle to make them work out is worth it. If I can do it, anyone can.
Nothing can hurt you for trying.

And the most important lesson to attaining these goals for me, was to find a support group. One that shared my vision. If you don't have one, please find it. It can be girlfriends, boyfriends, family, anyone who encourages you to do what you want to do. My mother and father divorced at an early age. I was three. My mother died when I was eleven. The only support I had was my older sister, and she never stopped encouraging me. I never had a support "group". Now I have a wonderful husband, who never stops encouraging me. And I am lucky enough to have a fabulous circle of lady friends, who continue to encourage me to set new goals, and lend the support to see me through them. I have met some wonderful "jewelry" sisters in the last couple of years, fellow kindred spirits, looking for the same thing I am. This has been the most rewarding treasure, since picking up my first jewelry tool.

I wish each and everyone one of you, the warmth and support from friendships I feel in my life. It is such a rewarding thing.
And, if you haven't challenged yourself recently, do something about that, okay?
You have the power to accomplish whatever you want to, don't forget.
Plant one foot in front of the other. Take baby steps if you need to.
Set goals you've been putting off for whatever reasons.
And find friendships that share your vision.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Something is a buzz...

It's all a "buzz" here...

I was so inspired by the busy, fuzzy bees this week, here on our beautiful island.  I see so few of them right now, and when I do see them, they seem to be working furiously. Fall is slowly sneaking in, and they are working so hard to gather the last dollops of golden pollen from the fading flowers.  We are all getting ready to settle in for the winter.  I'm looking forward to meaningful moments with friends and loved ones.  
What does fall mean to you? Does it inspire you in some way?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Words to live by

Get out your stamps!
Here is an example of stamping the silver solder after applying it.  I love doing this! I can personalize my pieces, with a little message, or a word. Just use your metal stamps, and give it a good pound, super easy.
Any suggestions on some lovely words? 
I love this little swallow, he just seemed to be savoring the moment!

Orcas Island trip

A trip to a neighboring island.
Today Fred and I took a fabulous excursion to one of our favorite neighboring island, Orcas Island, in the beautiful San Juans, WA, on our motorcycles!  It is about a half hour ferry ride, and when you're on a motorcycle, you get to be right up front of all the cars, I love that! No long lines to wait in for loading, like we deal with every other day to get on or off the island.

This is my incredibly handsome husband, Fred.  Or as he calls himself, "Fred X", since he carts my junk all over the nation, helping me out with my jewelry passion.  Those of you signed up for our class here on the island will meet him, he will be playing taxi driver that weekend for anyone who needs a ride to and from the class. Sorry, you will have to ride in a car!
Oh yeah, that is my Vespa 25o next to his little Suzuki 650.  He still can't believe how much fun my bike is, and I can do 88 mph if I want, but I don't want, ha ha.  
Here' s a look inside the ferry.
Ok, look past the lack of lipstick, and a brush, and just look at that smile on my face.  Ah, love the island life!  Now that's what I call playing.  Aren't the island just incredibly beautiful? Have you ever been here? Let me know if you have, ok?
Thanks for letting me share my little outings with you!
Life is wonderful, aren't we lucky?