Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good Times

I had a fun weekend, celebrating my sister in laws 21st birthday! She had never heard of Leslie Hall and the gem sweater museum. Check out Leslie Hall's Craft Talk video.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Columbus Ohio Blues

I'm headed to Columbus today and wanted to share some Columbus Ohio handcrafts in the theme of blue. Above is a hand painted and sewn Sapphire Marrakesh Napkin.

I'm loving this Cobalt Peacock Cuff by Dirty Story. Peacock feathers are mesmerizing.

I love this Open Ocean Yarn by Yarn Chef. There is always something comforting about yarn.

I love this Playground Photo - Blue Corkscrew, the swirls remind me I need to sketch vines for my homework!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Homework for this week

This week my sketching homework is vines and I just had to share this gorgeous vine/leaf/lotus flower. I found it at Ai Jewelry and my jaw dropped at the simplicity and beauty of the piece.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Handmade Presents

My sister Kelly's birthday was January 16th. I ordered this scarf for her from a trucksandpearls a seller on etsy. It is beautiful and reminded me of an Elizabethan collar.

SNAG Raffle Tickets

I just found out about the SNAG going to Extremes Raffle. You don't have to be at the conference to buy a ticket or win. There are only 500 tickets and the money goes to support the SNAG Educational Endowment Fund. So even if you don't win the money goes to a good cause. There are 10 great prizes and only 500 tickets, your odds are far better than the lottery!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I love Ring A Day!

I've been following the Ring A Day Challenge on Flickr, and am really inspired. I love this ring by Maria Apostolou, it is made of sterling silver and wet felted marion wool.

Sunday's Party!

I meant to post this on Sunday but I've just been tired! Sunday night we had a party for a group of Joe's coworkers at our house. Above is the spread, mostly made by me!

On the left we had the tower of chocolate. Brownies with peanut butter chips, chocolate covered strawberries and Oreo Candies.
I just use a box mix, threw in half a bag of peanut butter chips and they were delicious!
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
First rinse the strawberries and dry them well, then put part of a bag of chocolate morsels in a microwaveable bowl (with a couple of tea spoons of oil). Microwave the chocolate for two minutes, stir it and then microwave it until it's completely melted. Dip the strawberries in and lay on wax paper to harden. Once they've hardened keep them in the fridge.
Oreo Candies
Take a whole bag of oreos and grind them up (in a food processor), then cut up a block of cream cheese and mix that in by hand until you've created a ball. Refrigerate for an hour, then by hand make small balls and dip in melted chocolate. Also keep these refrigerated.
In the upper left corner we have pretzels and dill dip, to the right chips and Hamburger Cheese dip, far right is the veges and cream cheese dip. In front the pretzels are the bacon breadsticks, then deviled eggs in the front and out of the picture to the right are cheese and crackers.

Dill Dip
1 Tbs. dill weed
1 Tbs. dry chopped onion
1 Tbs. dry parsley
1/2 teas. season salt
1/2 teas. garlic powder
Mix with 1 cup mayo and 1 cup sour cream (make the night before)
Hamburger Cheese Dip
One large block Velveeta Cheese
1 jar salsa (12 to 15 oz)
1 to 1 1/2 pounds cooked hamburger
Cook hamburger in skillet. Break up into small pieces. Drain fat. Cut up velveeta and melt on low heat. Add salsa & cooked hamburger.
Serve war with Tortia Chips.
Vege Cream Cheese Dip
1 block of cream cheese
1 Tbls. sugar
1 pakce of zesty italian salad dressing
Mix all three together the night before.

Bacon Bread Sticks
1 package of plan Stella Dora Bread Sticks
1 lb. Bacon
Brown Sugar
Mix brown sugar with water and heat on stove to form a syrupy liquid. Let cool.
Line a cookie sheet (with sides) with aluminum foil. Eaither put folding in the aluminum foil or use a baking rack to keep the bread sticks off the surface.
Break the bread sticks in half and cut the bacon in half. Wrap each break stick with a 1/2 piece of bacon stretching the baon as you pull it around the break stick. Use tongs to dip the bread stick in the brown sugar syrup.
Bake at 350 degrees unwil the backin looks done. 25-35 minutes
These are best the same day. Serve at room temperature.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ohio Jewelry and Metal Arts Guild Meeting

We had a wonderful meeting of the Ohio Jewelry and Metal Arts Guild in my Studio Today. Nineteen people attended the meeting.

Linda spoke about taxes, getting a business license and much more.

Melissa and I demonstrated patinas. I even broke out a small torch! It was a lot of fun, thanks for coming and we always welcome new members.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Saving Money

I've been trying to be frugal, like my Mom, and wanted to share some of the things I've been doing to achieve that goal. If you've been watching my blog you've seen me do repairs on my house, buy used furniture and do a custom paint job and much more.
Yesterday I went to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and got this fantastic play stand somebody donated for only $35, new it had to cost at least $300. I washed it in the shower, let it dry, put it on a folding table on top of an old plastic shower curtain (to catch droppings). Here is a picture of Bentley checking out his new jungle gym!
Other frugal things I've been doing that may help you:
I've been following several blogs: Simpler Living, Frugillionaire, and The Non-Consumer Advocate. All three blogs have great advice and ways to help you save and not collect clutter! Clutter, disorganization and messiness kill my creativity so I'm striving to keep our possessions to a minimum (except for jewelry making tools).
Joe and I also have a budget, we have input our expenses and bills into an accounting program to keep track of where our money is going. We also decided that we each get a $100 allowance to spend a month. Now food, gas, and presents for others don't come out of that. This way we are very focused on paying off our debts and staying debt free.

We don't receive a weekly paper (we read our news on the Internet), thus I can't clip coupons. I found this website where I can print the coupons called The last time we went to the grocery store we saved $6, and I only print coupons of things I would buy normally.

My Mom told me that we you receive your weekly ads from the grocery stores, the front page of each stores ads are the items that are the biggest sales. So focus on that front page.
Then this week we received one of those Value Pack's of coupons and I found a one day free pass to BJ's. I had always wondered if you really save enough money and more to make the $45 membership fee worthwhile. Well we (Joe and I) walked through BJ's and took notes, then the next day Joe went to our local grocery store and took notes on the same items.

Apparently no one does school projects in grocery stores, 4 people thought he worked there. I had typed up a nice excel spreadsheet of what we bought, the ounces/gallons/rolls/cans etc., and the cost. Joe had to fill in the rest for our local grocery store. We divided the cost of items by unit of measurement since many things at BJ's are in larger packaging. That would be the only major draw back I saw. Some things were just too big to buy there and fit in my 1 refrigerator.

We compared items such as cheese, eggs, meats, vegetables, cereals, bread, tissues, milk, garlic, jelly, cream cheese, extra sharp cheddar cheese, tissues, pie crust, gingerale, diet cola, trash bags, paper towels, beer, butter, soap and so on. When comparing our list of 32 items we would have saved $49.24 by shopping at BJ's. (This doesn't include the slight discounts you get when having a 'store card' at a grocery store. One thing I didn't realize is that BJ's doesn't have a store brand like grocery stores, so we were comparing name brand products.)
So to surmise I'd say a BJ's card is definitely worth the price. One of my Grandma's told me today that BJ's also accepts coupons and sends out coupons of their own, so that's fantastic to know!
I hope you found this post helpful! Let's save our money for the things we really want! (Hint: jewelry making tools!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Enjoying the ice & snow

I took this picture today, apparently a little birdie decided to hop around on the freshly fallen snow on my driveway. The tracks are so darn cute, I think I'm going to have to make two little stamps of his feet to make tracks on some of my jewelry!

A couple of weeks ago I found this tutorial on how to make an ice lantern. Well my first one didn't turn out so great but my second one turned out really well by accident. The second one is pictured above, I put a five gallon bucket of water outside and left it to freeze, well it didn't freeze all the way. Only the top and sides froze leaving a hollow cylinder shape in the middle. Perfect for a candel to fit inside!

You can see inside, and my tiny candle.

Here is the first ice lantern to the right, the second one to the left.

Here is the second one lit at night, you can see some of the cool cracks in the ice. I've had the lantern outside (not lit) for 5 days and it's lasting in the weather. I hope to make more! It's a fun nearly free project.

Chris Boland

Last week when I was reading through my daily Orchid email I came across the work of Chris Boland, this is his Silver Laticce Brooch, I love the precision!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Heck Family Portrait

A great quote my mil found about the Artists' Role:

"The Artists' role is to do what is honest for them. So if you're in New York and everyone is looking at the floor, you can look up. It's not your role to follow the others. It's your role to go to the center and then reflect that, not just to be a mirror to what's happening."
James Hubbell

I really liked this quote and it reminded me of the Heck Family Portrait my sister (she's in the middle) took of us. We pressed our faces against a piece of clear plexiglas to make it look as though we were pushing out of a framed portrait. It was a lot of fun! We had some good laughs looking at all the terrible photos of ourselves.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stone & Honey

This brooch my stone & honey is just captivating. No wonder piercing is one of my favorite techniques.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Creating a Stone to Set

I love this ring by Kathi Roussel, she created her own stone to bezel set. Go see the rest of her jewelry, she has a distinctive style.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sweet Circle Pendant

This Sweet Circle Pendant by Bezhu rocks! I've made pieces where I've pierced and pushed up or down the pieces, it's a great way to add dimension.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Snow & Ice

I wanted to show some pictures of the snow and ice. Above is my front yard, you can see part of my car. That big mound of snow next to my car is from where I snow-blowed and shoveled snow off the driveway many times. This picture is from last week, though most of the snow is till here, it doesn't really seem to melt too much.
I also have icicles outside my kitchen window. Probably because the insulation over the kitchen was removed when the previous owners put in inset lights. I'm not sure if I can put the insulation back over those. I need to research.

Here are the worst icicles, I do not recommend walking around the back of my house.

MarMar Jewels

I'm in love with this green cloissone belt buckle! It looks more 3-D than it is, love the technique! Go check out the rest of the artists' work, Martha A. Andrew.

The Ultimate Design Contest

I came across this new jewelry competition today where you have to draw and then make your piece of jewelry is 7 weeks if your drawing is selected. Then if you win you'll have your piece featured on the cover of Instore Magazine! Pretty cool! By the way your sketch is due by January 29th, get moving!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ring combo style!

Today I've been admiring the work of Colleen Baran. This ring is beautiful!
Even better you can arrange the individual components yourself!

Cool find!

I found on David Geller's website there is a section where you can find tools, displays and more for sale! Also you can post things you want to buy. Sounds like a good resource to me!

I'm trying to accomplish things this week, it seems to be happening slowly. Going to work on the Ohio JMAG Newsletter now then I'll work on unpacking more of the studio!

Have a great day!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Inspiration Vines

So for this weeks sketching homework the inspiration is vines. I found this bracelet on Natasha Wozniak's blog. She is inspired by metal work (gates and fences), though to me it also looks very much like vines intertwining.

I also love this piece by Natasha Wozniak.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I love the faces in Ling-Yen's jewelry. She has really interesting work, and apparently there are surprises on the back of the jewelry. Go to her website to find out more!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

I found these wonderful photos of the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. This event has been going on for 26 years in China, everything is built out of ice and snow. Enjoy!

Before & After

The other day I was touching up some of the office paint and decided and write directions on the unfinished wall (down the stairs to the basement) so you know how to get to my studio.

My mother in law gave me this piece of furniture that's been sitting in the garage since we moved in. I decided to repaint it and use it in the studio. I used some off white paint that the previous owners of the house left behind. And then I had some fun with polka dots!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Word Clouds

My mother in law found this really neat website called Worlde for making beautiful word clouds. You can put in words, or something you wrote, or a link to your blog. The words can be put in many shapes, directions, colors, and fonts. I played with it for over an hour and got this great word cloud that I framed (you can also see it here). I love how right under Breath it says Delight. 'Breath Delight', that sounds like Serenity to me! I've put this on my bench and copies around my house for inspiration. You can also look in their gallery section to see what others have come up with.

Luana Coonen

I just rejoined Crafthaus, I had been a member but with all that went on in 2009 I lost track of many things. I'm hoping to reconnect with some artists and be inspired by what others post. I found the work of Luana Coonen on Crafthaus. I then went to her website and nearly fell out of my chair. She is brilliant! Just look at the tiara below...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ring a day challenge

Etsy metal is having a ring a day challenge for the month of January. The members need to make a ring a day it can take minutes or hours and be made out of anything, even food! The ring above was made by Sara Westermark. I've been really enjoying what everyone has created. Such awesome diversity!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Kimberley Morris

This piece I've been meaning to post, it's by Kimberley Morris. I believe the purple color was done by colored pencils on metal. My favorite part is the stitching up the middle, almost like the piece of jewelry was injured and had to get stitches.

Dawes Design

This lovely piece is from Dawes Design Drape Series. The shape caught my eye, looks like a bugs wings in action.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Finishing up some projects...

It's been snowing here in the great north for like a week! I love looking at the snow on the conifers outside, and my tree that fell and missed the house. I've been moving furniture, repainting another piece of furniture, starting to unpack and set up my studio, using the snow blower, cleaning the attic and the garage, adding insulation to the attic and...

I've been working on putting up a pot rack. We ordered this pot rack a while ago and turns out where the holes in the metal are, there are no studs in my wall. So I had to buy a piece of wood that we cut into three pieces and screw the pieces of wood into the wall where there are studs. I then did two coats of paint on them so they blend in. The next day I screwed in the pot rack.

Here is the pot rack full of pots. It really cleared out a cabinet and used up an odd empty space in the kitchen! Tonight I made chicken salad, Joe made bread and cinnamon buns! Yum!

The Last Lecture

Yesterday I read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. You can actually watch his last lecture here. I watched the Lecture before he died, it really makes you think.

The book covered a little more than the lecture. Some of the points I liked:

What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

Whatever my accomplishments, all of the things I loved were rooted in the dreams and goals I had as a child.

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let them do it. It'll be OK.

Your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better.

I don't believe in the no win scenario.

The brick walls are there for a reason. They're not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.

Live in the moment.

Are you spending your time on the right things?

Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I've always believed that if you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out.

When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it's really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.

Hard work is like compounded interest in the bank. The rewards build faster.

Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

Each of us must decide: Am I a fun-loving Tigger or am I a sad-sack Eeyore?

As I see it, a parent's job is to encourage kids to develop a joy for life and a great urge to follow their own dreams. The best we can do is to help them develop a personal set of tools for the task.
I want you to become what you want to become.

It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It's about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

This book was a fast, enjoyable read. I definitely recommend adding this book to your reading list.