Category Archives: General Craftiness

Berries and Leaves!

Berries and Leaves!

What good timing Artisan Whimsy had!  Announcing the November Challenge “Berries and Leaves”, I immediately thought to submit my Autumn Harvest II necklace that I created recently. But the question arose-do I post it to the finished jewelry section, or the component section? Since I created the leaf pendant myself, I decided I’d post in both!
My oak leaf is sawn from 22 gauge copper sheet. Annealed, hammered to shape, filed, sanded smooth, etched to create the veins on the leaf, and finally, oxidized with liver of sulfur to create the fantastic swirling of colors you see. I lightly buffed it, and added the carnelian “berries” and copper charm, and created a necklace with dyed magnesite and orange aventurine just before the hand-forged clasp to complete.

I included multiple pictures so you can see how the colors change according to the angle the leaf is seen. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you liked my necklace! =^..^=



Holiday Bling Blog Hop!!

Holiday Bling Blog Hop!!

Well, it seems like ages ago that I signed up for this blog hop! Anything that was before “The Wedding” feels like it was eons ago. After the excitement of “The Big Reveal” from the 6the Bead Hop Blog Party (BSBP), I was on the lookout for another fun, sharing event. I caught a post about a holiday swap, and knew I wanted to join! I signed up on Shelley Graham Turner’s blog post, and emailed and yay! I was in!
Part of the reason I wanted to sign up, was that I worried how deflated I would be after the crescendo of the wedding/trip to Oregon, and needed something that I HAD to get done, so as not to disappoint my partner, or break the rules of the swap.

My partner for this hop is Lori Bowring Michaud, of Artfully Ornamental. Lori and I have never met, never chatted, and really never knew much about each other before this hop other than that we had both been in Lori Anderson’s 6th BSBP. Since I wanted to make something that would hold far more meaning to Lori, something that was more than “just an ornament” from a swap, I started reading her blog. I think I learned a lot about Lori from the words she wrote, and words she didn’t write. Her love of family and community. Her love of the ocean and art. Her search for peace. Because, isn’t that something we all search for? Something we all long to have surrounding us as we go about our day to day lives? With that in mind, I created an ornament from the heart that I hope Lori will not only be proud of to hang on her tree year and year, but one that makes her smile every time she sees it.

Lori has a great talent in hand painted stained glass ornaments. She sent me a link to the lion ornament she made her daughter last year, and it is just adorable! I knew I was in for a treat and was so excited when my package arrived:

Lori included a handmade card with such a beautiful picture of the beach on it. We have so much in common-we both love to have a hand in a wide variety of crafts and the hand made card just added to the specialness of this swap.  I was surprised to see two boxes and immediately worried that I should have done more, sent more. Having lived much of my adult life overseas, it is something I have sustained from that culture-when someone gives you anything, a gift or what have you, you must go one step above and beyond when you return the sentiment. But I am learning that that isn’t what giving is about. When you give from the heart, the physical object is merely a means of conveyance. That doesn’t mean that the object is any less important. It means that no matter how big or small, it is the perfect gift for that person.

Lori’s ornaments to me were perfect. I am originally from the north east, and I do miss the joys of snow days, hot cocoa after sled riding, or that certain hush that only comes in the evening as the snow falls, when the world is covered with a thick white shimmering blanket, the dark outlines of bare trees in the distance.. Lori sent me a little bit winter, conjuring childhood memories so sharp, I can smell the snow, my head tilted back, eyes closed, snowflakes brushing on my cheeks,  sometimes landing on my forehead for a split second before bursting into a water droplet. Thank you, thank you Lori! Thank you for these beautifully sweet ornaments that take me back to a time in my life where my world was so small, that I couldn’t fit anything but peace and happiness in it! I will treasure these adorable mitten ornaments for the rest of my days and they will adorn my trees, prominently displayed year after year. <3

After pondering for days and days on how exactly to create Lori’s ornament, slowly building it in my head, then sketching it in my book, and finally trifling through my supplies to make sure I had the exact ingredients I was conjuring in my head, I began. While visiting Oregon for I+A’s wedding, we went to the west coast. There we scoured the beach for sea glass (none found), rocks (a ton brought home), and useful pieces of driftwood that we could create simple works of art with that will always make us smile as we reminisce about our trip. Little did I know at that time that I had found the perfect basis of my ornament to Lori.
Lori loves to walk on the beach. She finds all sorts of treasures-sea glass,  rocks, white periwinkle shells. She loves the beach, the sights, smells, sounds. The feel of the breeze. In her words to me, I read more. I read that there, walking the beach along the ocean with all its saltiness, calling birds and rolling waves, there is where she finds peace. With that in mind, I created her ornament, copper, drift wood from the west coast, red bamboo coral, mother of pearl star.

To bring a little bit of the ocean air to the waves, I used my new favorite patina method of salt and ammonia to the “waves”. A hand made hook finishes off the ornament.

This was a great blog hop, thanks to Shelley Graham Turner of  Tori Sophia and Marlene Cupo of Amazing Designs for dreaming up and organizing this swap/hop, and a great big hug and thank you to my swap partner Lori!!

Please visit our other participants blogs and see what great creations they made and received as well!

Michelle Fanucchi
 Monique Urquhart
Therese Frank
Heather Otto
Jo-Ann Woolverton
Linda Florian
Debbie Rasmussen
Alicia Marinache
Ginger Bishop
Lo/  Lynn Jobber
Leanne Loftus
Rita/Toltec Jewels
Shelly Joyce
Shai Williams
Lori Bowring Michaud
Lennis Carrier
Marla Gibson
Mary Howell Govaars
Linda Younkmann
Shirley Jones Moore
Melinda Orr
Marlene Cupo
Shelley Graham Turner
Sonya Stille
Dyanne Cantrell
Anindita Basu
Dee Elgie
Gina Hockett
Lori Jean Poppe
Charlie Jacka
Stephanie Stamper (Woods)
Mary Hicks, Shannon Hicks


Oktober Fest!!

Oktober Fest!!

Ok, it isn’t even September yet, so what am I rambling about *nao*??  Well, Toltec Jewels of Jewel School Friends is having a Blog Hop in celebration of October, and all its Autumny delights, to be revealed October 28th, Toltec Jewels’ birthday!! Being that October is my favorite month, since it contains my favorite holiday-Halloween- and is the kick off of my favorite season-Autumn, I signed right up, and cannot wait to get started on the items and goodies I will be whipping up for the occasion! So check back, October 28th, or any other day leading up to it, as I am sure I will be whipping many yummy, gorgeous delights the entire month!




As promised, I have pottery pictures! I didn’t like my platter much when I first finished. I hate feeling hurried, but we ran late getting there, and had a few *ahem* unco-operative people with us. So I didn’t get to focus as much as I would have otherwise. I need to try and figure out a way to make it more enjoyable for everyone, and yet still get to add the kids’ touches to the things I paint there. L snuck her tile away before I could get a picture of it, but it has a super sweet owl on it.

It was hard to get a picture without glare from the glossy surface! But I am absolutely in love with the results!! It’s amazing how different a piece looks after firing.
I tried to make sure you can see each hand print as the “leaves” of the tree.  Adler’s, then Weise reaching up towards the top of the tree, and Valerie’s on the right. A little heart on each of them..
Five stars in the sky.. One, with a tiny heart, for my Selma. Sometimes, I get it just right. Symbolism.. I don’t always mean it. And I’ve always known I could express myself in writing. But I’m learning, lately, that I can also express through art. Maybe not everyone knows the background story to anything or everything I make.. but I do. And when I look a finished piece that has emotions, feelings and thoughts tied to it, it makes me happy, almost maybe relieved, to see my feelings put into something tangible.

Moving on.

I am getting more and more excited as several Big Events loom ever closer this month!! The biggest of course, is our drive to Oregon for the wedding!! Also on the calendar this month is the Hot Stuff class (yes!! Look out world, Mama’s playing with FIRE!) that I am taking with Karen Meador, Ph.D., of Dreamcatcher Designs TX,  and *insert drum roll here* The Big Reveal!! August 25th is my reveal date for Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party and I have been playing around with the items my fantastic Bead Soup partner, Gretchen Nation of ArtFoodLodging and here at her Etsy Shop, sent me way back in the beginning of July! I am so excited to see what she cooks up as well. I totally didn’t think to take a picture of the Soup I sent her, but Gretchen was on the ball and posted a great one over on her blog. Check it out if you have time!

Meanwhile, deep in the heart of the country, I am fast at work crocheting sweet flower girl dresses, making other wedding essentials, and dreaming up great wire-work ideas that I jot down in my sketchbook. I have a few new items that I will hopefully be posting in the next few days, and I hope you all love them as much as I do!  =^..^=

Crafty Weekend Update!

Crafty Weekend Update!

This weekend was a whirlwind of activity! L came to stay the weekend and we crafted up a storm in Mama’s Craft Room! Part of my See one, Do one, Teach one, I showed her the ins and outs of metal stamping, metal embossing, and using alcohol inks on metal to the best of my ability. Great fun was had all around and this was the one piece we completed, after all the experimenting:

Isn’t she lovely?! Shh.. don’t tell her I posted her pic on the interwebz.. 😉

We also spent an evening on our annual pilgrimage to Cafe Monet! We were a few months behind, and ended up being a tad rushed, but I cannot WAIT to see how our tiles and my platter turn out! Every year for the past four years we have been going, and it’s so fun to see the dramatic changes in the pottery after it’s been fired. It’s also great fun to bring home and collect these tiles that I plan to turn into a table top! Adler was not a team player, however, and ended up only “helping” me with my platter, and didn’t actually make his own.. which I kind of regret now, since Valerie was his age the first time SHE made one.. ah well. Maybe we will have to make a second trip sometime soon.. I will share them with you after we pick them up Thursday.

Also over the weekend, I finally started and FINISHED an idea that has been morphing deep within the recesses of my brain since the beginning of July. I’m on a Wire Working Etsy team, and they were having a monthly contest: Bugs! So for the entire month of July, I have been pondering, forming and growing this dragonfly in my head, waiting for just the right moment for it to hatch:

I call it “Dragonfly in July” and the tune of Reading Rainbow floats through my head every time I type it!I took a few pictures in different light qualities, so you can see just how awesome it looks no matter how bright or dim. This would look great on a chain or leather cord, or even if you just wanted a sun catcher in the window! The head and tail are gold sheen obsidian, with a labradorite and lapis body, flanked by wings in apatite, amethyst, green aventurine, and quartz, wrapped with love in copper. The labradorite has a nice flash, as you can see in one (or two..?) of the pictures. Flash is hard to catch in a photo!  As per my usual, I procrastinated just enough to light a gentle fire under my arse to meet the July 31st deadline, and I am very excited and pleased with the results. Ok, it was a roaring bonfire, but who’s askin??  I do have to say, working with those tiny apatite chips was horrid. I kept smashing them with my tools. I think I will keep the rest and set them in resin….. yea….. I can see it now…………………………*daydream*

Ahem.. anyway. I have many more new items that will be coming out soon. It has been an incredible balancing act between jewelry making up in my Craft Room during the day time, and after the kids are in bed, crocheting my fingers off to get the flower girl dresses done for the upcoming wedding!! I exagerate. They are crocheting up quickly, and I only restarted Valerie’s dress three times before I got the top looking right, and then only redid the arm holes four times until it was just right =D  But that’s why I did Valerie’s first, to check the gauge, yadda yadda. I am going to try and squeeze in a little bitty dress, too, for baby E! Hopefully, I will have plenty of time. If not, it’s a LOOOOOONG drive to Oregon, so I’m sure I’ll get it done before the wedding 😉

Well, until next time, keep on keepin’ on! =^..^=