Friday, December 18, 2009

Operation Warmheart

I wish to announce some exciting news. I belong to the Sun City Grand Art Club, as well as to one of their sub-groups called Grand Artist Jewelry. This Grand Artist Jewelry group has taken on a holiday service project to raise money for Operation Warmheart. This is a charity sponsored by the Luke Air Force Base First Sergeants, they raise money to assist deployed military and their families. This includes providing food, emergency shelter, airline tickets for the family of a severely injured airman, and many other worthy services.

As artisan jewelers, we have offered many hand-made pieces for sale today, Friday the 18th, at the Concierge desk at Sun City Grand's Sonoran Plaza. This sale will run from 8:00-4:00 today. The Concierge desk is across from Zuni's, where you will find lovely pieces of hand-wrought jewelry. There will be pieces that will be for sale, with 100% going to this worthy charity and others with percentages of the sales going to Operation Warmheart.

After today's fund drive with jewelry sales, I will also be involved in an ArtChix sale at the Sun City Grand Art Club. I will carry over my participation in today's sale benefiting Operation Warmheart where I will have designated pieces available for sale at my table at the sale. I will also accept donation to the cause.

I offer credit card convenience at my table, so if you would like to leave a donation it would be appreciated by so many!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Turquoise and Copper Necklace

I found this beautiful copper chain at A 2 Z Beads last week and knew it would be perfect for this necklace. It is beautiful, with three-strand, fine chain segments between copper loops. Since this may be a heavier-than-normal "pendant", I thought the clasp might be uncomfortable on the back of the neck so decided to attach the chain to the pendant with pure copper lobster clasps on both ends of the chain (accommodating either right or left-hand user). I think this will be more convenient and comfortable.

I am pleased with this necklace, as well as being pleased to have finished it! This took more patience than I normally have, but it feels like more of an accomplishment that way.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Newest Project

I recently bought Sharilyn Miller's new book on contemporary copper jewelry. In this book, she invited other jewelry designers to contribute designs for using copper. This one was by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong and for some reason it just spoke to me. I don't know if it is something I would wear, but I sure like the looks of it at this point.

You begin with a free-form wire support which is work hardened and hammered for permanence. Then, you create cages with smaller gauge copper wire to hold the turquoise stones (not drilled beads, but chunks of turquoise) and then wire them onto the frame along with thousands (don't know that for sure, but it sure seemed like it!) of tiny beads.

I will next either buy or make the links for a copper chain to hold make this into a necklace. At the sides are two loops for attaching the chain so I am still thinking about whether to make my own links or see if I can find some that I like for this piece.

I worked on this both days of our ArtChix sale last weekend when I wasn't talking to customers. It sure involved a lot of wrapping!

Beading Session

When I found out that Aubrey and her parents would be here for the Thanksgiving holiday, she and I planned on painting and beading together. Here, you can see her excellent skill in threading beads onto memory wire for a bracelet. Note the proper placement of the tongue to make that bead go onto the wire!

I held the wire for her so it would not spring back at her and she placed beads, very carefully, and in the suggested alternating color pattern, onto the wire. As it was almost completed, she announced "I am making this bracelet for you, Grandma"! I was so touched, I thought she was making it for herself. I will cherish it forever. Our step-granddaughter, Destiny, was making one for Aubrey so she got one, too. It was a fun day of painting and beading with my fav peeps.

Now, back to lone beading, it won't be the same! But, wait until you see what I am working on now...a necklace that will be more like a breastplate and will not be for the demure and dainty!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is a bracelet/necklace set I made with beads found on my first visit (I will return!) to a local bead store. I loved the rich Fall colors of these dyed stone beads and added a few interesting wooden beads I had. I like the look.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Tribal Set

While at my favorite Las Cruces bead store, I found these very tribal-looking beads and bought three strands of them that I thought would look good together. Yesterday was the day I made them into this set.

I am moving away from the pastel colors into the more Fall/Winter colors now that it is finally cooling off here on the desert.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I have been making lots of jewelry but it seems I am not taking the photos of them. Well, today was a day of experimentation so I will show this selection now. I have been working a lot in copper and these are a few pieces I tested out aging in Liver of Sulfur (I know, a disgusting sound for a simple solution). I will next do some more polishing of these, but I do like the aged look of them, especially for the pieces with lots of nooks and crannies for the dark to settle into.

I'll get the camera out more frequently now and keep up with the blog better, I promise.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Here is my latest piece, created from stone beads that I believe are dyed quartz. I do love creating these bead units that link the components together. I think this would look good with a tan turtle neck this winter.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oktoberfest Art Sale

Thanks to Jim Greenwald, one of the art club's photographers, for supplying this photo of me at the art sale. I was manning, along with Sue Bulgrin, the artisan jewelry table in the art club. I also had paintings for sale, but this crowd was apparently not buying much, especially of paintings. But, a few bought jewelry. As an artist who participates in sales, I always hope to sell more than I do, but in this case I feel grateful that I did as well as I did.

I truly was not wearing all of those necklaces...they were on black velvet busts on a day when I was wearing a black top! Oh well, won't do that again! Anyway, the necklace (please click on the photo to see a better detail version) that I was the most happy to sell and sorry to lose was the one that was at my right lower chest. I had taken apart lots of vintage pearl necklaces and a silver brooch and hooked the clasps from these necklaces onto the triangle-shaped brooch. A lady, who was approaching her sixtieth birthday, saw that and just had to have it. She said when her husband got there he would make up the difference and she would consider this her sixtieth birthday present! I told her that the price, then, would match her birthday years and held it for her husband's return. They both came back, she put the necklace on, they paid me for it and she was one happy person. She told me that several people had noticed ti on the way out of the room and she was so proud to have this. I am always happy to have my time and materials covered when I sell something, but then sometimes the rewards of matching a customer's wishes trumps that and the warm/fuzzy feeling that comes from pleasing someone with a design makes it more worthwhile than the money.

Since this necklace was a one-of-a-kind and never-to-be repeated design I would not have minded keeping it for myself, but if I am going to be in the business of selling jewelry I cannot let sentiment rule the day. So, I am happy it went to a happy home.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Contemprary Copper Jewelry

I really must post here about my newest jewelry book I received from Amazon yesterday! I have been following the wonderful designs by Sharilyn Miller on her blog for a few months. She makes jewelry that speaks to me like no other...she loves copper and found object pieces and is so innovative with how she mixes her materials. The book title is Contemporary Copper Jewelry and just scanning through it last night had me drooling and wishing I could reach for my pliers. Alas, I was too tired after a very long day, but today I will try one of the more simple designs she offers. I am so pleased about having this book!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Soapstone Necklace

In addition to wanting to share with you my latest necklace design, I am trying to experiment with jewelry photography and effects to do that better. This is a baby step toward that. I like the diffused light but will position the bust differently next time. Always something to learn!

This is a necklace designed after finding these soapstone beads at Western Traders when I was last in Las Cruces. They are of such an architectural design that I did not want to overdo the use of them, so decided to separate them in bead units of copper beads and copper wire. I like the effect! I had planned on showing earrings to match but found, when I "roadtested" them that they were a bit too heavy and uncomfortable when they bumped against my neck. That is why I always roadtest prototype designs before trying to sell them.

This, along with many other of my pieces will be available at the Sun City Grand Oktoberfest. I will have my jewelry in the Art Club as well as another artisan and I will be sharing a table in the Chaparell Center. Stop by and see us!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Red Jasper Set

When I was in Las Cruces, NM several months ago I found these red jasper beads at my fav bead store - Western Traders. I made two pairs of earrings from some of that strand and hoarded the rest for myself. I immediately sold both pairs of earrings so I thought others must like them as much as I.

When we returned to this store on our way back home to Phoenix from Chama a few weeks ago, we stopped by this store and he had sold every strand of this red jasper but one. He stated he could not get any more of them, so I decided to be really greedy and grab the last one for myself. I am so glad I did that. I decided to make a set of these for display and, hopefully, sales. However, if they don't sell, I think they look perfectly fabulous on me! I still have about six beads left, so I will really go into hoarding mode if these sell!

For a design, I wanted to wrap them somehow, but did not want to do a heavy or ornate wrap since I believe these wonderful beads can stand on their own in the beauty department. I like this simple design and think it lends itself to the beads. As usual, for a better view of detail you can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Copper Rings

I had not gotten into making rings at all up to this point; no reason, I even have a ring mandrel; I guess I was just having so much fun making everything else that I neglected to start making rings. My artisan friend, Carol, showed me some of her rings yesterday and I decided to make some for our jewelry sale table we are sharing for community Oktoberfest show we will be participating in. Hers are very delicate, tiny and fine; mine are much chunkier, larger and made of copper (my fav metal to work with). I have had these two dark glass beads for awhile, but since I only had two and they were a bit much for earrings I wasn't sure where I would use these. Well, they called out loudly to me when I was looking for beads to incorporate into this design.

I used a design for the rosette rings from a tutorial by Wendy Sue. They were such fun I decided to incorporate some beads into the design and make a few changes. I like them all!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lookee, Lookee!

These are the stones I finally finished tumbling and polishing. This was a five-week process and I am not a patient person! But, it brings such a feeling of accomplishment to have these made jewelry-ready all by myself....from the finding the stones off a mining road near Deming, NM (thanks to Tom for driving me back there in 4WD and helping me find these!), to tumbling them and then polishing I said...all my own labor and love. I have some ideas in my mind about how to wrap some of these and make pendants for necklaces. Stay tuned for anything that comes about from those ideas.

I am sorry that the true reds and yellows don't show in the photos. I took photos in full sun but the cast shadows were too distracting and then in the shade they don't show the true colors. Most of these are red jasper and yellow jasper, with a few rhyolyte with jasper inclusions and a few pieces of rose quartz. My fav's are the yellow jasper with red jasper inclusions, I can hardly wait to work with those!

Auntie's Earrings 2

This is the second pair of clip-on earrings I have made as a choice for a gift for a friend's aunt. It is hard to wrap my mind around earrings other than for pierced ears! Unlike my other earrings I make to sell, I cannot try these on and road test them since my ears are pierced and these are uncomfortable when clipped over my earlobe. I hope they are comfortable for non-pierced ears!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Jewelry

These are the medical bracelets I worked on while in Chama. They each have "lobster claw" clasps on each end to make it easy to attach them to the wearer's medical alert emblem. I plan on making many more of these, both for men and women. My husband is road testing several prototypes currently to see what works best for men.

This necklace and earring set is made up of bead units I made with silver color wire and Unikite tube beads. They are a natural stone and since they are separated by wire they are not too heavy to be comfortable when wearing.


I loved these bead when I saw them at Western Traders! They looked so Autumnal. They are natural stones and such fun to wear. The bracelet is made on memory wire.


These earrings were commissioned as a gift for a customer's aunt, who does not have pierced ears and prefers clip-on earrings. I love the turquoise tube beads!


Long Time No See

While on our five-week trip to northern New Mexico, I made so much jewelry that I didn't want to take the time to photograph it. So, here is a sampling of what I have made. While staying in our favorite RV park in Chama, NM I was offered the opportunity to display and sell my jewelry in the RV park office. This set me to making more and more pieces as I sold them. What great fun!

These are silver-color dangles made from beads purchased from my favorite bead store in Las Cruces, NM....Western Traders. I always find such interesting beads and findings there.

This is a rework of one of the retainer ring necklaces I did earlier. I wanted more motion in the dangles and also needed to change my wrapping pattern so there would be no loose ends to stick anyone when wearing this. I've have "road tested" this myself and have to say it is very comfortable to wear.

This is a twisted copper cuff bracelet I made for a man, but liked it enough to keep it for myself. I am going to try some torch techniques to bring out the colors in the copper, I have read about how to do this and will try it on this bracelet. My husband helped me twist long lengths of 12-gauge copper wire and I then bent/twisted/struggled/shaped this into a cuff bracelet. When road testing this one I was asked if I wore it because I had arthritis, I replied that after working with 12-gauge wire I certainly would have arthritis! That stuff is something else to bend!

This is a memory wire bracelet made with magnetic hematite beads and silver-color findings. It really is magnetic!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This is a medical bracelet I made for my husband's medical emblem. I wanted something that looked more ruggedly masculine than just beads and he suggested copper links. I hammered very heavy copper wire into "dino bone" links and drilled holes to hold the connecting jump rings. That was a lot of hammering! I had thought of making enough links to make a necklace for myself but after doing just enough links for this bracelet thought better of that idea! I love the look of copper, even after it oxidizes it still looks so richly warm in color.

Swarovski Crystal Medical Bracelet

Several members of my family, as well as many of my friends, wear the medical bracelets to alert medical personnel of their medical problems. I discovered a way to make these bracelets more attractive, as well as easier to remove and put on. This is one I made for my friend and fellow artisan jeweler, Carol. It contains Swarovski crystals and is easily attached to her gold medical emblem. I even guessed correctly her size and it fits well, and really improves the look of her bracelet now without losing any of its vital functionality.

I have many more ideas for great designs for these and will begin working on more of them.

The Blogging Gods are not allowing Carol to comment on this post this morning so I will post her comment she e-mailed to me mainly because it warms my heart to hear it and also validates that these are a great idea!

I'm the totally lucky recipient of this beautiful bracelet link for my medical bracelet. So many of us have allergies and other issues that require us to wear a Medical Alert bracelet. Many of my friends agree that it feels like you have been "branded" and the world believes you have a hideous disease instead of an allergy to penicillin. The addition of Susan's wonderful crystal bracelet makes such a difference. I now see my alert bracelet as a piece of jewelry and wear it proudly instead of trying to hide it under my watch.
Thank you so much Susan... what a difference !!!!

Hematite Heart

This necklace/earrings set was made from some hematite beads I found in Albuquerque. The heart pendant I wired from a hematite heart found locally. This was an interesting material to work with as they are truly magnetic. I had beads stuck to every jeweler's pliers on my worktable and the earrings stuck together when placed too closely to each other! They make a fun set if you want something dark but not jet black in color.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Red Necklace for Kristi

A friend commissioned me to make a necklace for her, the only stipulation was it had to have red in it. I chose these red branch coral beads because I love their deep red color and the interesting shapes and textures of each bead. I hand-made the beaded clasp. She loved the necklace and wore it well.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hammered Copper

A few days ago I read on a blog I follow by Sharilyn Miller about using copper washers found at Harbor Freight to make interesting copper bracelets. I just happened to have found these, on my own, at the Las Cruces Harbor Freight store while we were there and bought them just because they were so pretty and so interesting. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but I could not leave them there! As we returned home, there was this daily entry to Sharilyn's blog explaining how to make this bracelet from the copper washers found at Harbor Freight! This one was meant for me, I am sure!

I hand-hammered these washers and made the wire components, including the toggle bar, for the closure. This sure was a fun one and such an interesting design. I love working in copper since it is such a warm color.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Industrial Chic

I was inspired by some designs using found objects by Tara. Since then I have been on the look-out for objects to mix with the beads I have and have had fun creating some of them. The earrings here are some I used from hardware store finds and some of the copper pieces are from there, as well. The orange bead bracelet is one I made for myself to match a necklace and earring set I have of the orange beads.

By the way, I spoke with my favorite jewelry store guy in Las Cruces (Western Traders) and he said these brown and turquoise beads are calcilikite. Who knew?

I started tumbling some of the many rocks found on our recent New Mexico jaunt. Even just rinsing them off to prepare for the tumbler revealed their beauty, so I am hoping for spectacular results with these. For all the sweat and effort my husband and I put into gathering these, they had better be spectacular! Rockhounding is a tiring hobbby!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Watch Band

I wanted a watchband for this spare watch that was light and airy for summer. I made this in the size of a bracelet to fit rather loosely. I used a random assortment of gold beads and had a fun time creating.

June Earrings

I found myself in the mood to make some fun earrings this morning. I made these, I think they look light and summery, especially the shell ones!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Woven Wire and Beads

This is a new technique I am learning, weaving wire. It is great fun and I foresee many projects using this. I will try this in smaller beads and wire, etc. in the future...lots of possibilities here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mystery Beads

I finished this set this morning. While I have vowed to learn more about gem and mineral identification for the beads I have, the farthest I have come is "oh...those are pretty"! Such is the case with these beads. The beads are various shades of brown with turquoise inclusions in them of varying shades of blue and green. The beads are 18 mm size and so attractive! They were purchased at Western Traders in Las Cruces, NM. The owner of this store saw me peeking in the windows of the store an hour before opening time and offered to open the store for me! How is that for customer service? While I was not that desperate for beads, it certainly added a lot of convenience to our day to not have to return during regular store hours. Needless to say, he probably felt I made it worth his effort. He had wonderful beads inside the rather large store! I will return to his store on our next trip through Las Cruces.

The coiled copper components are a nice complementary color to the blues and lighten the weight of this longer, natural stone necklace quite a bit. Copper jewelry has such an inner warmth, I think.

I made the necklace long enough to slip easily over one's head and I like the look!

After more research, I have come to the conclusion that these are either natural Chinese Turquoise or natural "enhanced" Chinese Turquoise stone beads. There seems to be some controversy by beaders about the value of enhanced over genuine, as-is, stones. Since I don't know which these are, all I will say is it goes back to what I said in the beginning, "these are pretty beads"!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First Cabochon

I am including this here to keep myself honest. Today, I for the first time wrapped a cabochon. The tutorial called for square wire either 22 g or 20 g but I decided to go with 18 g because I thought it needed to be stronger than the lighter wires. Wronnnngggg! It needs to be lighter to hug the shape of irregular cabs....duh! I also chose round craft wire since I did not want to chance ruining the more expensive square silver or gold for my first try at this.

At any rate, this taught me to follow directions, as directed, as well as the basic techniques needed to wrap cabs. I bought some lovely ones and interesting ones in Las Cruces so it is important for me to learn to wrap them properly for pendants. I even have a cab that is of "landscape jasper" that I think will be gorgeous.

I am embarrassed about the flaws in the overworked front wraps, but it was an enjoyable, though hard-on-the-hands effort today. I will continue on with my quest to do this properly, but make better wire choices next time. Onward!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bracelets for Aubrey

I made two stretchy little bracelets for my granddaughter, Aubrey, and sent them to her in a package with some goodies we found for her on our recent trip. She models one of these bracelets here. I guess she was pretty excited to get them and even recognized it was her package since it had her personalized pink address label with the bear on it, so it was from Grandma. Cool.

Even more cool is the fact that after opening the package and rifling through the contents, she asked if when Daddy gets home they could Skype Grandma and talk to her. A true child of the millennium! This is so cool being a grandparent in this age of easy communication with those who don't live close to you, they are but a mouse click away!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

These were a fun group of bracelets to make. The beads for the two china bead bracelets were imported from....well....China! They really are delicate and lovely beads.

The gold bracelet on the left was made by drawing elastic bracelet thread through links of hardware store chain and gathering them together in these super little bundles, interspersed with lightweight gold beads. I am next going to try this method using regular beading wire and see if that will work, also.

The charm bracelet started with a chain made of interlocked swivel hooks...yup, got them in the fishing department! The real work came in making all of those dangles and then installing them on the swivels. Each dangle has a slightly different wire wrap design and all are made with clear beads for maximum sparkle. How cool is this?!

While on a recent trip through New Mexico I "happened" upon a "few" bead shops. Okay, I planned on stopping at many bead shops there. I found wonderful beads shops in Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The beads for the two silver Bali bead bracelets to the left here were found in a large store in Las Cruces. I like the upper left one so well that I am keeping that one for myself, as well as the earrings that I made to go with them. I also found in this store these wonderful orange stone beads that perfectly matched several of my summer tops so I will keep this one, also. Hmmmm, I see a trend starting here!

I had enough time to bead while DH was on the dialysis machine and enjoyed the relaxation of beading and bending wire in the motorhome.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

B/W Necklace

I found the large, striped beads and knew I wanted to create dangles with them for a necklace. This was so much fun I have started a bracelet which will have 50 dangles connected to chain, of course they will be made from smaller beads.

This is a shorter length necklace that would look good with a round or V-neck top.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Patty's Pearl Pendant

This is a pendant made to hang from a silver omega, requested by a friend to make for her using her shell. I loved the graceful swirl of holes down the right side of this one. Shells make beautiful jewelry, I will start looking through my small collection, hmm......

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Heritage Necklace

While disassembling a lot of the family pieces to refurbish and reuse I was struck by the beauty of the oldest clasps and chains that were used years ago to finish and secure necklaces. I had this brooch we removed the soldered pin from, the triangular filigree centerpiece of the pendant, and decided to hang an assortment of these great clasps from the pendant. I like pendants with lots of motion and this one has that! I used some antique silver beads, mixed with my late mother-in-law's Swarovski crystal beads and made this necklace. Since it is comprised of family pieces, I will proudly wear this one myself so it won't be for sale. However, if it gives anyone an idea to do something similar with their older pieces, I thought I would show it here. I would be happy to redesign someone's treasures like this into something more updated yet charming, sentimental yet fun.


Friday, May 1, 2009

These are my latest designs. I have ordered more beads and findings and am waiting, anxiously, for them to be delivered. Kinda like Christmas!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Red and Crystal

The centerpiece of this pendant was refurbished from an antique brooch I have had for many years. I bought it to wear on jacket lapels and always enjoyed it. After leaving it in a drawer for quite awhile, I decide to bring it back to life in a newly-styled necklace pendant. The necklace is below.

The beads used in this necklace and pendant are Swarovski crystal beads and gold beads. I have no idea of the center stone in the former brooch. I am quite sure it is a rhinestone, but may also be a lab-created ruby. I do know that the filigree surrounding the stone is well-designed and nice metal.

I often have wondered about who these belonged to and how they wound up for sale in an antique store on Whiskey Road in Prescott, AZ where I purchased a few of these pieces.

Blue and Silver

The necklace at the left is made from silver beads and blue jewelry wire. The blue coiled "beads" were hand coiled by yours truly over a two-day period. The term "handcrafted" truly comes into play with this one!

For a close-up of the centerpiece pendant detail, please see the macro shot to the right.

C Earrings

This grouping of earrings includes more detail, higher-priced beads and Swarovski crystals beads. Most of these will match any color you are wearing and would look just as good with denim as dressy.

B Earrings

This grouping of earrings has a bit more wire wrap detail and/or some semiprecious stones included. The purple ones have amethyst stones, the turquoise have (what else?) turquoise stones.

A Earrings

These are some of the fun earrings I have made. They are bright and bouncy, some on studs and most on French wires.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Concho Belt Reborn

This is a necklace and earring set I made for myself. The silver pieces that are in the pendant and earrings were reclaimed from a concho belt that had been in my late mother-in-law's family. I believe it was her belt but am unsure of that, it could have been her mother's. I am taking it apart link-by-link and cleaning it up and making jewelry for myself from it. I think Mom would have been very happy to see how this is being used!

Most people (including me!) have drawers with old costume and good jewelry that has not been worn for quite awhile. I am taking a lot of this apart and refurbishing it, designing it into more modern and fashionable pieces. This is great fun and so far has been profitable. I will not be selling any of the jewelry I make with the silver pieces shown here since they are from old family pieces. I cherish things that were treasured by prior generations.

First Creations

This is a close-up photo to show detail of some of the pieces shown below. The copper bracelet and pendant on the omega were sold during the recent ArtChix sale. I debated about keeping the bracelet for myself but decided to put it out for the display and gauge the reaction to something like this. It garnered enough admiration and did sell, so I think I will have to start coiling more wire soon!