Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm so Finished

Okay, so finished is so final, but I can say that I am finished with competing with gem trees. I made my "Masters" at the Regional and National level and that was my goal. I updated my gem tree blog, so if you want to see the picture of me with my display and ribbon you can check it out HERE. I've included just a picture of my tree display on this blog. Several of the trees were some I competed with last year with 2 new ones. The palm tree I wanted to finish just wasn't up to competition standards, but I'll get the design down and include it in the next book.

This week has just been flying by. You wouldn't have known it the past couple of nights as I was stressing over my tree display and whether I would qualify. No more worries for now. I am selling books and teaching the next few afternoons here in Montana and that will be fun.

Next week I'll get back on my regular blog posting schedule so you'll see some new feature artists and fun new jewelry designs...hopefully.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Traveling Tuesday to Montana

We left this morning at 5:30 AM for Montana. Our first night we are staying in Butte and then the remainder of the week we will be in Billings for the AFMS/NFMS Gem and Mineral Show.

Odd weather from 90's to 70's here in Butte and raining. We did make a little pit stop just before reaching Missoula and found a stream bed and took Buddy our spaniel for a little swim. The water was a little swift so we kept him on a leash, but he loved it just the same. Now both dogs are tuckered out and fast asleep with one on the bed and the other at my feet. I think it will be an early night for us as well.

I'll keep you posted as we continue our travels and how the show turns out. If you live in the Billings area and want to see a great show, come to the Holiday Inn Trade Center this weekend. Oh and if you want to learn how to make a gem tree, I'll be giving workshops Friday-Sunday, just ask at registration.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crochet Bracelet has this great little tutorial for creating this crochet bracelet with beads. I love to crochet and most of you know I love jewelry, so I might have to give this a try. I can see this made with vintage beads and a vintage button. Check out blog HERE and give it a try.

Supplies Needed

Crochet Cotton Thread
48 beads
1 button
big-holed needle
size C (2 or 2.75mm) crochet hook

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What Have I Been Doing?

Yes, for the past few days I have been at a Gem and Mineral Show demonstrating gem trees and selling my book. Now I have to concentrate on getting everything together for our trip to Montana and the NFMS/AFMS annual show. This is the show where I will be competing with my gem trees for "Master" and teaching some gem tree workshops. If you haven't checked out my GemTree blog, you can find it HERE.

In all the commotion of getting ready for the show this weekend, I haven't had a lot of time to make new jewelry items, but this is one I did make this week. It is leather with leather fringe and a mix of gemstone beads. Something fun and funky. My husband thinks it is odd, but I tell you what, every time I wear it, I get more compliments then anything else I've made. Amazing. I'll write a tutorial about it when I get back from Montana.

I will still be posting some blogs while I'm gone, but will put my website on VACATION so that no sells will come through and just sit there. I hate to miss out on sales since they just started picking up with the book and tutorials, but I don't have a choice at this point and I don't want customers waiting around for me to get back to mail their purchase.

I'll post some pics of Montana and all the trouble we get into this coming week along with my competition case.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Featured Artist - Antiquity Gamecrafters

Do you like games? Then you will love the games that Antiquity Gamecrafters has available on their 1000 Markets shop. All games are handcrafted at the time you purchase.
Antiquity Gamecrafters is the brain child of Brian and Jennifer Kooshian. Here is their story.
Brian grew up in a family that played games....lots of games. But of particular note are two games that were played because Brian's father was Armenian; Tovli (backgammon) and Fertgal (Nine Man's Morris).

When we lived in the Middle East we had the privilege to visit Damascus and purchase a beautiful Tovli board inlaid with Mother of Pearl which looked very similar to the one Brian's grandparents had owned. However, when it came to teaching games to our children, he realized that we had no Fertgal board, so he decided to make one. That was our first handcrafted game board.

We homeschool our family and as we began to study the history of ancient civilizations we learned about several games that were played in those civilizations. Brian began making some of those games for us to play as a supplement to school; usually as a Christmas gift to the kids. I thought they were so beautiful that Brian should consider selling them. Well, he really didn't take me seriously until we took some to an indoor 'garage' sale at a homeschool co-op. He sold more of those games than I did any of my 'stuff' and everyone that walked by simply raved about how beautiful and unique they were.

And so Antiquity Gamecrafters was born....
I've always had a love of games and the games the Gary makes reminds me of one that I played while in High School and College called Pente. It also is an ancient game remade for the modern world. I don't believe that stores carry this came any longer, but I did find it on Amazon.
Visit Antiquity Gamecrafters site and let them know what you think of their games. I think they are spectacular.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wig Jig Bracelet Design

Have you ever used a wig jig? I have one but don't use it very often, but may have to try this bracelet design. Looks simple and would be great using sterling silver or copper wire with gemstones as shown.
The instructions for this pattern are found on on this page HERE.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Too Busy This Week

Today was supposed to be all about my new designs that I have been working on this week. Unfortunately for me I haven't been working on jewelry this week, but getting my book listed on several web sites and creating tutorials. Check out my gem tree blog for more info on the new tutorials that I just listed for sale.

With my gem tree competition and the workshops coming up on Montana, I have been concentrating my effort on getting all that organized. I finally found the foam that I needed to recover my riser in my display case today at Home Depot. Who would have thought of using foam insulation for a display case. Now I just have to have my husband get out his saw and cut the darn thing to size and then I can cover it with the fabric.

By the way if you are looking for tutorials to make your own crafty item or gift, check out Etsy and ArtFire....just seach for Tutorials and you will come up with all kinds of fun things to make. If you would prefer kits that include the tutorial, just search for Kits. It's a fun way to learn something new.

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Wrap Up

Well I made my first sale on-line of my book today, yea, and I only had it listed now for a couple of days. This is a good sign. I'm hoping that more people will find the value of making these little gem trees for themselves and for gifts. So, I'm excited.

I spent the morning finishing a tutorial to put out on my Etsy and ArtFire shops of the Standard Gem tree, so it is complete and ready to go. Those not wanting to purchase the whole book with 8 tree designs can just purchase the tutorial and I'll e-mail them the .pdf file. Simple for me and great for them as it is the same instruction as what is in the book plus a few color photos vs. the B&W.

This afternoon my husband and I took the boy to see the new Harry Potter movie. It was good. It had been awhile since I read the book and it seemed that there were parts missing....maybe I need to re-read the book. After that it was back to the house, where the boy spend a good 30 minutes playing with our dog Buddy and the water hose....I kind of forgot to have him change into his swim trunks. Oh, well, both dog and boy dry well.

Speaking of the boy, we went to the waterfront a couple of days ago with the dogs and I snapped a couple of shots to share with you.

Hope you all had a great week and I look forward to what the future holds.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Featured Artist - Get Personal Art

I'm always on the look out for new and exciting designs especially in jewelry. Sadly, I don't have the equipment to create such wonderful works of art that Alysia creates with her laser cut acrylic. She has some amazing items in her 1000 markets shop HERE. Check it out. I love her city skylines, but of those pictured here the fish are my favorite.

Here is a little bit about Alysia and the art she creates:

I have been hand etching on monuments and memorials for over 15 years. Working on monuments has been rewarding on many levels. Recently I bought a laser system to laser etch portraits on granite tiles to be installed into monuments. Once I learned the computer design program and how to operate the laser, I came up with the jewelry. I had the love for jewelry, but lacked the money for it with the new laser payments. So I decided to make it myself. The items in the above photos are a few things I have created, pencil portraits, glass sandblasting with glue chipping, hand etching on granite, and laser on acrylic. (The dogs are hand etched.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Recipes, where do they come from?

My answer to that question is this old cookbook from my grandmother. My great-gran had one also, with lots of hand written notes, but my mom has that one. So, this is what I have to show you. Yes, the Banana Cake and the Cherry Blossom Dessert that I shared in an earlier post came from this book. If not typed in the book then on a scrap of paper as you can see.
The recipe that I'm going to be sharing today came from a friend of mine in Oklahoma. It's Olen's Pasta Salad and I only changed one thing. It calls for 1/4 tesp. of Accent which is MSG and I left that out. It's still good.
Cook 1 lb macaroni and cool

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tesp garlic powder
1 tesp dry mustard
1 Tbls parsley
3/4 tesp pepper
1/2 tesp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Mix with Pasta - Set aside

Chop the following and add to the pasta mixture.
1 large cucumber
1 large tomato
1 bell pepper
1 red onion
This is a great salad to take to a picnic as it has no mayo to spoil and it gets better the second day of refridgeration.
Here are a few other pictures of the pages in my recipe book. Enjoy! The first is my grandmothers custard pie recipe...I really should re-type or scan this. The second is for Prune Cake....sounds interesting and it is from my Aunt Rachel. I didn't even know I had an Aunt Rachel...must be my grandmother's aunt due to the date of 1937. The third recipe is my favorite Banana Cake recipe and the fourth is the Cherry Blossom Dessert.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Tunes - Celtic Journey

Take a journey and listen to some wonderful women singing some of the most beloved and beautiful songs. I found several songs by Celtic Woman on Mixpod and posted them here for you to enjoy right along with me this week.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tassel Chain Necklace

In looking through my Lucky magazine I found that tassels and fringe are all the rage right now in fashion. To prove that point "love Meagan" has created a how to on making your own tassel chain necklace. Very inexpensive and right in fashion now.
Most all the supplies can be purchased at a craft store or fabric store such as Joanne's Fabrics.

Make them long and wrap them several times for a multi strand necklace and tie them at the center if you prefer to leaving them loose.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Inspiration Sunday

Well I was inspired last night to make a couple of necklaces while my husband and son watched a shoot em up movie. So the pictures are those necklaces...for some reason I'm really into neutral colors right now hence the fossilized coral and smokey quartz.

Another item on our agenda this weekend to get completed was to dig our competition display case out of the garage and set it up so that I could get the liners completed before we go to Montana at the end of the month for my gem tree competition. See pic of hubby setting it up. I'll take another pic later of the process of setting up a competition display.

(Please excuse the messy desk)
Hopefully you all have accomplished all your chores for the weekend or just had a great relaxing time.

Come back tomorrow when I'll share a new tutorial on a hot new fashion trend.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Chores

Today was chore day or maybe a little late Spring cleaning. I started vacuuming the living room due to all the dogs bringing in leaves and twigs and then moved to the kitchen. That's pretty much were I stayed all day. It was a disaster area that really hadn't been organized or deep cleaned since we painted. So, out went all the items on the counter tops that never got used, cabinets were washed, pot and pan cabinet was cleaned out as well as the cabinet over the stove..yuk all that greasy build up. Then I moved onto the corner window with the plants and thinned those out before moving to the bar area which is a catch all for everything when we come home at night. So far it's looking pretty good, not sure when I'll get to the dining room, but my goal is to de-clutter the entire house while I'm off work. I would show you a before and after shot of the kitchen, but I didn't take a before and you might not be impressed with the after, but I am, and right now that's all that matters.

I wasn't very productive this week with the 11 yo in tow, but I did get one of my competition trees completed for Montana. I just have to glue it to a rock. Marketing items such as business cards and postcards were worked out with the printer, so hopefully I'll get a final proof early this week. My copies of the BOOK "Gem Tree Sculptures" should be in this week also. I'm sure it will be a busy week. I'll try to get some jewelry designs completed and pictures taken for next weeks post.

Friday, July 10, 2009

TGIF - You Gotta Love This Day

I know everybody loves when Friday comes along and their work week stops and the weekend begins, but what about those that work on the weekends and those that don't work at all? How does that affect their Friday? Do they see it the same way?

I personally love Friday's and I'm sure it has to do with being in the Corporate world for so long and working that 8-5 job M-F. Now that I'm not working at that job full time, still can't get over the feeling of a week completed and fun to start on the weekend. I'm sure it will be different at retirement when both my husband and I are off all days....then everyday is a weekend day..or at least that's what I'm hoping.

Right now it's keeping an 11 yo entertained during the day and this morning it is a Harry Potter movie and popcorn. Yes, I know it is early for popcorn, but hey it is fiber and really not that bad for him. So far it's been pretty easy with him, we paint, take the dogs for walks or he rides his bike, grocery shop, take my mother in law to the doctor, plays the Wii or watches movies.

This morning I promised him we would go to the bookstore and then to Red Robin for hamburgers, so something else to look forward to.

I have a feeling I'll have to do some special things with him every once in a while since we will be spending quite a bit of time taking my mother in law to doctor appointments. He's pretty good as long as there is a TV or he has his book.

So for now, I will continue to love Fridays as the end of a week and the start of the weekend since there will be no 11 yo to watch or doctor appointments on the weekend.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Featured Artist - Swizzlestix

Just look at these retro prints. Don't you just love the colors and how they make you happy. Another 1000 Markets Artist, Swizzlestix is the print art of Marcia Copeland. She has been in graphic design for 12 years and in 2003 ventured into a greeting card line. She has now developed an array of home decor products including pillows, tea towels, aprons, placemats and coasters. Check out her 1000 Markets Site HERE or her web site HERE.

I may just have to have that White Paisley Apron or the Retro Romp Apron. I love aprons and especially love these prints.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wicked Wednesday - Cocktail Time is publishing the recipes for cocktails from the 1940's-2009. They are up to the 1960's and I have chosen those drinks that I have at least tasted. There are some interesting combinations that I never would have thought of and some that I would really like to try like the Mary Pickford from the 1940's. You choose your favorites and have some fun this Summer and be careful of that Zombie from the 1950's.

Of the three drinks pictured the Whiskey Sour is from the 1940's, Grasshopper from the 1950's (not my favorite drink) and the Sangria from the 1960's (sounds good now).

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tuesdays Tunes - Escape

Wouldn't you just love to be in someplace tropical like Hawaii or Jamaica? I have a friend that will be flying off to Jamaica next week, so that reminded me that I had created this mix of music one rainy, cold day to remind me of a place warm with soft breezes and the scent of tropical flowers.

Enjoy the tunes this week because as you know next week they will be gone. You just can't beat Bob Marley.

Come back tomorrow for some great drink recipes to make your Summer party sizzle.

Monday, July 06, 2009

How to Make - Leather Chain Necklace

This is a great idea for not only leather, but imitation leather or nice felt....where ever your imagination takes you. I for one love the look of the white leather and can see this as a bracelet also. All you need to make the necklace is leather and scrap will do, an x-acto knife, cutting mat, scissors, needle and thread..oh and the template of course.

Tutorial is curtsey of Britt McMaster over at Cumbersome. Check out her web site for complete instructions and the template. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Never Ending Journey

Back from fun at the Beach. We finally purchased an air bed for the trailer so now we can sleep better and also a more comfortable chair. We have been putting off going to the beach property because we haven't been comfortable sleeping. Problem solved. We had a great few days, made it back for the 4th here at home since the dogs don't like fireworks. The beach is just one giant bang on the 4th as we have witnessed the past several years, so to give the dogs a break we came home early. Hopefully everyone remained safe through the 4th of July holiday.

We've been relaxing today along with doing upteen loads of laundry and I finally started on one of my competition gem trees that needs to be completed by the end of this month. It's not going as planned as the briolettes holes are too small for the tree wire, so now I'm rethinking what to do. If I remake the tree using smaller gauge wire then it will be too droopy. My husband suggested making loops on the ends of the tree branches and then dangling the gems off by wrapping them with smaller gauge wire....hummm, this might work, but not what I had envisioned. I guess I'll give it some more thought.
I just found a message from my publisher of the BOOK that they have finished the 2nd version, now back available on their web site and now hopefully this will be the last version until I have some major edits. I also received an e-mail from FedEx that a package had been sent to me from Morriss Printing, so yea this may be my proof and I can finally get these dang things printed. The last proof I reviewed had printer errors, so sent it back. What a run around that was.....note to self publishers everywhere, be prepared to review everything at least 3 times and then have someone else review it for you.

On another note, I'm glad everyone liked my featured artist (Bedazzled of Oregon) last Thursday, she is an amazing artist. If you haven't read that post, be sure to check it out HERE.
Here are a couple of pics from our few days at the beach. Me with Leo and Paul walking on the foggy beach one morning with dogs.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Featured Artist - Bedazzled of Oregon

In roaming through the products on 1000 Markets, I came across this wonderful bead artist. I can appreciate beadwork as I don't have the patience for it. These are truly works of art. Here is Dini's story about how she got started.

I have been a multi-media artist forever. Specializing in years gone by in weaving, quilting, macrame (from monumental size to macro-mini), painting, card making, but it wasn't until I found those little beads that I really became an addict. I took my first and only few classes at the Navajo Center in Arizona about 8 years ago now ~ and the rest is history. I never could follow a pattern or a kit; part way through I would take off on a tangent and end up doing my own thing.

Year after year I'd put my bead woven jewelry in a plastic box under my bed and go on to the next piece; creations came tumbling out of my head faster than I could bring them to life. As we traveled across the country, and Canada and Mexico year after year, I would get inspired by the scenery, the people, the cultures, the colors and textures and life.

From a hobby into a business.... Early last summer ('08) it became apparent that I was going to have to have hand reconstruction if I was to continue to be able to use my hands at all. Now, 3 hand reconstructions later and 6 months in casts, in order to remain productive, I have taken this "down time" to establish my electronic world existence; my shops, Facebook exposure, gallery and group memberships, etc. Everything happens for a reason!

So, the big plastic bin has been reduced to carefully numbered zip locks with a beaded jewelry item in each one. The photography tent is set up on the pool table (perfect height and I rarely played pool anyway!) and signs of a small business pop up throughout the house; so this is retirement?!

...onward.... The last cast comes off and pins come out within the next month; this time the doctor left enough fingers exposed that I was able to figure out how to bead again so I have not been completely dead in the water since surgery #3! Looking forward to hearing from other 1000 Markets members and I hope you enjoy meandering through Beadazzled of Oregon. Each piece is a unique, one-of-a-kind creation and made with the zest of spirit and heart.

Enjoy! Dini

I find that in Dini's struggles with the reconstruction of her hands, we have all benefited in her art and are grateful to have at least been able to see what beauty can be made of beads. Take a look in her SHOP on 1000 Markets and be completely amazed.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wicked Wednesday - Banana Cake

Okay, if I'm going to eat cake it can't be good for you, but at least this one has fruit. That should count for something. For every major holiday that I have to bake, this is the one dessert that is always great to take to those gatherings. You don't have to wait for the fruit to be in season as bananas are always available.

½ c Shortening
1 1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Flour
¼ tsp Salt
1 tsp Soda
1 cup Banana pulp (3 small or 2 large)
½ cup Buttermilk or Sour milk
Optional: ½ cup chopped nuts

Cream shortening and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add milk and banana pulp alternately with the sifted dry ingredients. Beat well after each addition. Bake in 2 - 8 inch pans or 1 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

¼ lb Butter
1 lb Powdered sugar
1 Banana
Optional: ¼ cup nuts

Mix well and pour over cooled cake.

If you would rather use cream cheese frosting, which is yummy, here is that recipe.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 stick butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar (1 lb.)
2 tsp. vanilla extract


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