Category Archives: Jewelry Making

Jewelry, Fiber and TDF, Oh My!

Jewelry, Fiber and TDF, Oh My!

I promise, I haven’t been slacking around. I have actually done a few things since I’ve last posted!! I’ve been wanting to post for quite some time now, but I get sidetracked every time I sit down for five seconds!
I will keep this post short. I’m going to post pictures and brief captions, plus I really, really want to talk about my very first ever Tour De Fleece! *SO EXCITED*!!!

Who would have thought that the image on the left would end up the picture on the right? It was an experiment, and in the end, I followed where they went and though unexpected, really like them. Grade A garnets on woven copper, they are surprisingly light weight and are just a hair over two inches long from the top of the ear wires to the bottom of that lowest little curl.

Little garnet clusters, these make me think of grapes. Nice weight to them without being horribly heavy, they measure just a tad over two inches from top of the ear wires to the very bottom of the dangle.

I made this AYE-mazing yarn that I just LOVE, and called Lush Garden, and learned a hard lesson-never dye less than eight ounces. This is a small skein, so I am kicking myself for not dyeing more at the time. It’s a little hard to repeat spontaneous hand-painting! This is so soft, semi-worsted merino/alpaca/tencel, next to skin soft.

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I have started knitting up my new series of Mountain Men hats. Earthy tones, thick and warm, the gents on the Muscle’s forums expressed great interest in them!

We attended the Yellow Rose Fiber Fiesta this year!! I was luck to have been joined by some of my favorite framily people and V and I snapped up some raw long locks that were being sold by a nice lady named Tracy Ross of South Texas Angora Goats. I opted for the 50% teeswater/BFL cross locks and V brought home some awesome 50% teeswater/Wenslydale locks. We had a Fiber Day here at the Ranch, and together skirted/washed a good half pound of locks. V hasn’t dyed hers yet, but I couldn’t wait! I laid them out in a pan and dyed them in the oven using Jacquard Acid dyes I painted on. Success!! These locks are an average of nine inches, with some being around 6 but most closer to 9-10.

Now these are mohair locks from my wether, Henry. I love that goat. He is two years old and has the silky soft lustrous locks of a kid. I haven’t done any tail or lock spinning yet-so I decided to practice with Henry’s locks before diving into the teeswater/BFL locks. And OH MYYYYYYYYY!!! I am just blown away at how silky these are!!

V and I both found some wonderful BFL roving! We dyed together, V’s first time! (Hers on the left) I was so proud of her! I also gave her a drop spindle demo (so glad the Muscle has handy like that-he whipped one up right quick while we did the fiber prep!) I can’t wait to see it all spun up!

cormoblue cormohibiscus
So… all this dyeing-what am I leading up to? If you guessed something to do with the 2014 Tour de Fleece, you guessed right! I had heard of this last year, but I felt I didn’t know enough, didn’t have the skills or experience to join the Big Kids in this event. I still feel like I lack the skills, experience and really have no idea what I’m doing half the time, though I fake it well-I decided I would join this year! I teamed up with an awesome group-Team Nevermore- and they are an awesome bunch. Totally My Kind Of People. They all seem like a bunch of people I’d love hanging out with In Real Life. Why does the world have to be so big, scattering birds of a feather so far from each other? Anyhoo-Tour de Fleece is a spinning event that coincides with the Tour de France-basically, you spin every day that they riders ride. Makes sense, right? Different groups have their own little “challenges” or goals within them, and everyone is encouraged to have their own goals-mine is to fill a bobbin a day! With my wimpy small bobbins, hopefully that will be a goal easily achieved. At the end of the Tour, I hope to have some wonderfully squishy soft amazing skeins of yarn for sale, or to be knit up in a variety of sellables. Here’s the official logo:

image courtesy of StarAthena,

image courtesy of StarAthena,

I forgot to mention my escapades with silk brick. If you haven’t yet reached the conclusion-I absolutely love dyeing fibers. So I decided silk bricks werew next on my list. Silk bricks are approximately four ounce rolls of 100% A grade mulberry silk. I cannot even begin to describe how silky (heh.. silk is silky, go figure………..) this stuff is, and how incredibly soft and SHINY!!! After a false start, I was finally able to dye a brick a beautiful swirly mix of blues and purples. My first attempt was a little…. sad. I tortured the poor silk, causing it to form a texture on itself-while is is still incredibly, wonderfully soft and even shiny, it isn’t as smooth as it should be. So that has become an add-in for blending with other fibers.
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See? Shiny! I took some of the abused silk and blended it with Cormo wool (yummy, next to skin soft!) blending with my hand cards first, making a little rolag. Then I blended it using my combs the Muscle made for me, and made a little mini-batt. I honestly think I prefer the mini-batt to the rolags. I plan to do some core-spinning with these! The blue/purpley brick however will not be blended. If I don’t sell it as is, I will be spinning the silk alone. Have I mentioned how hard it is to photograph bright colors without having them look crazy over saturated or just plain washed out?? No happy balance here, I’m afraid. I got the pics as close as I could to reality.

Well, I think that’s all for now. Whew!!! I know I’ve done a few more things-camping, more jewelry, more yarns spun, but these are the highlights and I really felt the need to document them! I will be posting more during TDF to share my little victories, and I have more jewelry in the works-stay tuned! Til then, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses… =^..^=
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And Bearded Iris.

BSBP #8!!

BSBP #8!!

Whew! This post is LONG overdue! It has been crazy busy around here with shearing, lambing, and just plain old regular household and farming duties, that I haven’t had a chance til now to sit down and write about the upcoming 8th Annual Bead Soup Blog Party, hosted by the amazing and wonderful Lori Anderson of Pretty Things Blog!! Lori is such a strong, inspirational woman, and despite the hardships of slowly healing from devastating health problems, she still manages to trudge on! She has an amazingly supportive husband, and a wonderfully helpful, handsome young man of a son, and together with the support of her friends in the online community, she bravely faces her illness head on, and doesn’t let it change what makes Lori, well, LORI! Please take a moment with me, and send some warm thoughts out her way…

This is my third year participating in the BSBP, and I’m excited! I have been partnered with wonderful artist, Heather Richter of Desert Jewelry Designs. Heather creates all sorts of beautiful jewelry pieces, and is an awesome seed bead artist! I just love her cute little owls!!

I may not work with seed beads much, if ever, but I was very excited to learn that Heather is also into mixed media. I hope she enjoys the soup I sent and cannot wait to see what she creates with it! Here’s the soup I received from Heather:

A sweet, natural agate slice, bone beads, brass flower toggle clasp, a pair of glass beads and beading cord! I knew immediately what I was going to do! I have already started working, and am looking forward to our reveal date of May 3rd! Make sure you check back then to see what I have come up with! Til then, keep calm, and enjoy life! =^..^=

BSBP #7, Final Reveal!!

BSBP #7, Final Reveal!!

At long last, the final reveal of the biggest, best BSBP hosted by the fantastic Lori Anderson of Lori Anderson Designs! My partner for this Bead Soup Blog Party was a talented lampwork artist, Elizabeth Bunn of Elizabeth Beads. To remind you of the Soup Liz sent me, take a peak here:

I love a challenge, and some of these pieces presented a bit of a challenge for me. I don’t typically work with much glass, as my favorite medium to work with is copper wire and stones-glass usually worries me as I’m afraid I will break it!
But Liz did a great job with a nice solid focal (I may or may not have had it fly out of my hands once.. or twice..) and the rondelles she made are absolutely delightful with little swirls of aurora borealis seen when you hold it in the right light. The accenting bead mix played off of various aspects of the focal, from the sparkly faceted Topaz Swarovskis that picked up the glittery gold shimmer in the focal, to the little peacock rondelles and the even the rectangular pearls. The trouble I had was… how to make these all work with wire.

First, I spent many hours trying to decide how the focal should lay: horizontal or vertical. I wanted to present it in a way that I hadn’t really seen this type of lampwork bead used before, and as a result, I started weaving. Then, I start wrapping, and twisting, and bending wire, until I decided it was done. I added a handmade chain-my new favorite kind to make (so watch out for it on many future necklaces) as the weight of the chain was perfect proportion to the weight of the pendant. A nice LOS sauna, and I called it a day. (ok, it took weeks, as I took the wire work apart many times before I was satisfied!)

Next, I tried to design a piece around the clasp Liz sent. I don’t work in silver color much, and I really wanted to make sure I got the requirements out of the way (using the focal and clasp) first, before I let myself play with the rest of the soup. But no matter how hard I tried, Liz’s sweet little rondelles kept calling to me. You see I did use two in the necklace, but I had set the rest aside for something neat. I wanted to use them in a bracelet, so I could look down at them and lose myself in the swirls of colors they hold. As you can see, it co-ordinates very nicely with the necklace:

Finally, I had to use the clasp. The Topaz Swarovski crystals called as well. Since the clasp is smaller, I decided it needed to be a bracelet clasp. I thought the crystals would go well with the clasp as they were flashy and dressy. I added blackstone heishi beads, and had a cute little bracelet that would look great with a little black dress!

I decided not to model it, because my hands do this really weird thing when I do, and the camera adds ten pounds! But I am pleased with how it turned out.

Though the final reveal was extended, I didn’t get to play more with my soup. Lots of crazy things going on around here lately, but I have them set aside, and will find ways to use them! Thank you for stopping by my blog and checking out my soup. Please head over to Liz’s blog and see what awesome things she made with the Soup I sent her! And then, kick back with a cuppa, and browse through the list of 200 participants in this final reveal! Yes, 200. Out of over 500!!
Many thanks to our gracious hostess, Lori Anderson. Lori, may you find a ray of sunshine every day that makes you smile. And to Liz, thank you for the great soup!  Until next time, my friends, bead on.  =^..^=

Adlinah Kamsir
Agi Kiss
Alenka Obid
Alison Sachs
Amanda Tibbetts
Amy Sims
Ana Cravidao
Andra Marasteanu
Andria Poole
Angela Perkins
Anja Schultz
Ann Sherwood
Anna Nordeman
Annita Wilson
Arlene Dean
Astrid Boyce
Barb Fernald
Betty James Hoppensteadt
Birgit Klughardt
Bonnie Coursolle
Brandy Thomason McNair
Brenda Sigafoos
Carmen Lau
Carol Wilson
Caroline Dewison
Cassie Donlen
Catharine Temaluru
Catherine Turrell
Cheri Reed
Cherrie Warzocha
Christa Murphy
Christina Hickman
Christina Stofmeel
Christine Hansen
Christine Stonefield
Cilla Watkins
Cindy Cima Edwards
Claire Lockwood
Colleen Vinthagen
Dagmar Liebisch
Dana Fowler
Danielle Kelley
Deb Fortin
Dee Elgie
Denise Milward
Diah Anggreni
Diana Gonzalez
Diane Valasek
Dita Basu
Donetta Farrington
Doris Stumpf
Elizabeth Bunn
Elizabeth Drake
Elizabeth Jones
Elizabeth Stolarczyk
Ema Kilroy
Erin Kenny
Evelyn Duberry
Fay Wolfenden
Francesca Watson
Gen Smith
Ginger Davis Allman
Giorgia Rossini
Hannah Annear
Heather Otto
Heidi Kingman
Ildiko JaraiInge von Roos
Iveth Caruso
Jackie Locantore
Jacqueline Keller
Jane Pranata Lim
Jennifer Davis
Jennifer Tough
Jenny Vidberg
Jessica Klaaren Http://
Joanna Matuszczyk
Joyce Becker
Judith Johnston
Judy Riley
JuLee Wolfe
June Butt
Karen Mitchell
Kari Asbury
Karin King
Karin von Hoeren
Karla Morgan
Kathrin Lembke
Kathy Stemke
Katja Benevol Gabrijelcic
Katy Heider
Kay Thomerson
Kelley Fogle
Keren Panthaki
Kimberly Idalski
Kirsi Loponen
Klaudia Tóth
Krista Quantrill
Kristina Hahn Eleniak
Kristina Johansson
Laney Mead
Lara Lutrick
Laura Guenther
Lauren Potts
Laurie Vyselaar
Leah Tees
Lena Adams
Lesley Watt
Leslie Wayment
Linda Kropp
Linda Newnham
Linda Younkman
Lisa Boucher
Lizzie Clarke
Lora Bright
Lorelle McIntyre
Lori Anderson
Lori Finney
Lucie Bouvier
Malin de Koning
Marina Dobrynina
Marina Kosovic
Marion Simmons
Marita Suominen
Marjolein Trewavas
Marsela Schroth
Martha Aleo
Mary Govaars
Mary K McGraw
Maybeline Tay
Mea-B. Uebler
Melissa Trudinger
Menka Gupta
Merja Sundström
Merja Syrjämäki
Michelle Buettner
Michelle Escano
Michelle Wigginton
Milla Hope
Miranda AckerelyMischelle FanucchiMowse Doyle www.mirandack.com
Mrs M Makes
Nan Smith
Natalie Davidson
Natalie Moten
Natascha Marty
Nikki Banham-Hall
Noemi Baena
Norma Turvey
Pam DeBoer
Pam Hurst
Patti Pruhs
Penny Houghton
Penny Mills
Rachel Van-Walsh
Rebecca Sirevaag
Regina Santerre
Regina Wood
Roberta Fauntroy
Rosanagh WatsonRose Johnson
Rosemary Cheslock
Rossana De Gaspari
Sabine Dittrich
Sam Waghorn
Sandi James
Sandra McGriff
Sandra Wollberg
Sandra Young
Shai Williams
Sharon Palac
Sierra Barrett
Silke Gröber
Siobhán Keogh
Stefanie Teufel
Stephanie Stamper
Sue Hamel
Sue Rennie
Susan Kennedy
Susan McClelland
Susanna Lehto
Suse Stelljes
Susie Hibdon
Suzann Sladcik Wilson
Tara Plote
Terri G.
Terry Carter
Terry Matuszyk
Theresa Frank
Tina Bosh
Tina Noonan
Toltec Jewels
Facebook Participants
Audrey Allen
Cindy Wimmer Muse
Cynthia O’Toole
Deb Floros
Debbie Jensen
Erin Honeycutt
Kaushambi Shah
Lisa Lloyd Harrison
Mary Jane Tanner
Valerie Tilghman

Soup Has Arrived

Soup Has Arrived

I’m finally sitting down to post!! We have had a whirlwind of activity lately with the arrival of our new pets farm animals-goats, sheep, and coming soon to a plot near you-llamas and lapacas! Whew! Ok, enough of my excuses. I have been partnered for the 7th Bead Soup Blog Hop with a wonderful lampwork artist, Elizabeth Bunn of Confessions of a Lampworkaholic and Elizabeth Beads on Etsy! I was very excited, and just knew I would receive a wonderfully delicious soup after visiting both her blog and Etsy shop. Sure enough, a package arrived with a stunning lampwork focal and huge rondelles, nifty rectangular pearls, little peacock rondelles, sparkly faceted topaz Swarovski crystal and a sweet pearl clasp!


I have SO many ideas!! Fortunately, we are in the final reveal, April 14th, which will give me plenty of time to come up with all sorts of fun designs that I truly hope does the gorgeous lampwork justice. The funny thing about the soup I received, is that it is a very similar color scheme I chose to work with when creating a soup for Liz. Blue is the color often believed to soothe and calm, instilling serenity and peace. It has been known to lower blood pressure and pulse.  It also conveys confidence and stability. Lately, I have been more confident, finding peace with a few troubling decisions I have been mulling over, and have allowed myself to relax and let go of some fears I had been clinging to. With that in mind, I made the unconscious choice of many blues in my soup to Liz:


A copper infused soup, indeed. I wire-wrapped a donut, and hand made two clasps and jumprings. Not everyone works with copper, so I wanted to help provide anything Liz might need. I oxidized all the coppers beads, tubes, clasps and the pendant with LOS and buffed away. I can’t wait to see what Liz creates!!

Participating in blog hops is just one of the things I love to do to connect with other artists, other people who create from the heart, and have not only found their passion but harnessed it and learned to run free with it. They provide a feel of camaraderie, a sense of being part of something so much bigger then me. A feeling that sometimes, we can find like-minded people in the world who all share a love of beautiful things, and a love of creating. I hope you have found your passion, too. And if not, please don’t ever stop looking for it. =^..^=

Happy New Year and Let’s Get This Party Started!

Happy New Year and Let’s Get This Party Started!

Well, after quite a bit of a break here, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. That said, I most definitely have not been sitting around idle since my last blog post. Oh no! In fact, I feel like we have been SO busy, that I just couldn’t quite find the time to sit down and put fingers to keyboard. (Get it? Instead of pen to paper?? yea…)

I will catch up with all the fun I’ve been up to-and as soon as I have finally delivered all the presents I made to all the good girls I know, I will share a special blog post about the holidays and the joy I had creating personalized gifts for some of my favorite women in my life that I am lucky to call friends. But until then, I want to share something I am incredibly excited about.

Two weeks ago, I received an email from Bill Zhang of ZnetShows, Inc. informing me that he knows Lori Anderson of Pretty Things Blog and is a fan of Bead Soup groups online, and he had seen my website and loved some of the pieces I created.  He wanted to know if I would be interested in joining their design team for their new cultured sea glass items. And if I was interested, I would receive beads from them, and anything I made would be shared on their Facebook page, their blog, and website, and a link to MY website on their testimonial page! Whew! Hmm, lemme think about that a minute…. Yes, PLEASE!  I wonder if Bill knew had me at “we can ship you a few pieces of our newest sea glass items”. I love the chance to play with different, new and fun materials! Not that I ever met a boring bead, but I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re nodding your head right A few days later, I received a dense package in the mail and couldn’t stop grinning when I ripped the box open.

beadsoup*********Don’t forget to click the pics to enlarge!**********
Does this mix not just scream Valentine’s Day?! It was the very first thing I thought of when I took in all the luscious reds, dainty pinks, and sparkly crystal! And the Glitz Factor X10!! Right away I knew there would be several pieces that were perhaps not meant for beach wear………….Sorry guys, but I had to go with my heart on this one! Before I share my favorite piece(s?), I will go over the rest. I loved everything I made. I had a blast with it all! It was almost sensory overload at times! Jk.. but red is a very stimulating color, and I really felt my creative synapses firing up a storm.

Since the main focus was the new cultured sea glass-that is, sea glass that didn’t take it’s time being made by lavishing around in a great body of water, letting the waves and sands of time gently polish its edges smooth and its surfaces matte-no, this sea glass is cultured, sipping wine on a Tuscany veranda watching the sunset over the orchard. No, really, it’s man-made, and it is awesome. The free form shapes have great little details like the ridges one might see on a piece of sea glass that came from the bottom of a glass bottle and very abstract shapes. The shaped pieces were fun to use, being the perfect size, not too big as to add too much weight, but big enough that it can be seen! I made two “sets” if you will. Two necklaces, each with coordinating earrings, and one with a bracelet as well. I also made random earrings as the inspiration struck me. First up is my “Boho Beach” necklace and earrings, made with the cultured sea glass, hemp, brass and bronze wire, and brass chain, complete with hand crafted ear wires and hand made clasp.

I had a heck of a time with my so-called light box-only one of the three lamps I intended on using were working, so I took it outside and instead had to fight gale force winds threatening to blow everything into the next county! A new home-made light box is going to be an upcoming featured post soon, so stay tuned. But I digress. Here are a couple pairs of earrings I was inspired to make:
These were fun, spur of the moment pieces I whipped up, because I just LOVE the sparkles! (They will also go PURRRfectly with my second necklace!)
And finally, here is my favorite part. My “Sweet Valentine” necklace, earrings and two bracelets:
I LOVE the necklace and wrap bracelet. And the toggle bracelet. And the earrings. Ok, I love it all. And I’m not usually a sparkly, girly-girl. Not usually. But every once in awhile, She creeps out. Maybe it’s because Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day right around the corner? Who knows.

All in all, I had fun working with the sweet glass beads from ZnetShows, and I hope you enjoyed my designs as much as I enjoyed making them. If any of my pieces are selected by the staff at ZnetShows, they will be mailed off to Tuscon, where ZnetShows will be exhibiting at Gem Mall at the G&LW Tucson Gem Show, one of the largest wholesale shows in the US! Cross your fingers for me, and until next time, play nice, and try something new. =^..^=