Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ready to Go!

Now that the holidays are coming to a close, how did you all fair? I did pretty good with getting items made for gifts even though I didn't start until December. Note for next year, start making gifts early. Maybe that will be one of my New Year's Resolutions. I had the most trouble with the guys in the family and the teens. The teens I just had to break down and buy them something so they got a sweatshirt and money (they are boys...really hard to buy for or even make something for that they will appreciate). Some of the other guys got quilted placemats and I made one an apron. Now they all want aprons....go figure, so that's what they will get for next year. The ladies received aprons and a diary from the Project Diary 2011 that I participated in. Both the aprons and the diary's were a big hit. If you want to know what the diary's are all about there is a link on the right hand side.

Now I'm thinking about next year, can't do the aprons again for the ladies so I'll have to come up with something else to make them. I can always fall back on jewelry or gem trees but I think I've given them plenty of that in years past. Maybe I'll take up crochet again, there are some great free patterns out on the internet these days. I did see a pattern for a fleece shawl/scarf but they didn't have it in stock when I went to purchase it so maybe if I hit the store early enough I'll find that again and make those. They looked warm and cozy.

So, did anybody else have a handmade holiday? What did you make a give? I would love more ideas.

I'll leave you today with one of my favorite photos of my little Leo taken a couple of days ago.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm sure there aren't too many people reading blogs on Thanksgiving but just in case I want to wish you a very happy day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Creating Art While Traveling

Today I created a travel bag of art supplies to take on trips that involve planes and cruise ships. It needed to be something small that would pack easily and yet contain all the necessary stuff I know I will need want. I found a 5 x 7 zippered bag from some other storage system I have and just started cramming stuff inside.

I really think that someone needs to create  a travel kit for people to take with them on trips so that they don't have to dig in their stash to try to put something together. I know that have small sets for painting but I haven't seen anything for paper crafts, collage or art journaling. Here is what I ended up with in my zippered bag.

Set of colored pens, scrapbook paper cut to size, mixed media white paper cut to size, several ATC size cards, a small journal type book, various brads, cut outs, ink pen, scissors, small zip baggies, glue stick and double stick tape.

It was really hard to not pack in some watercolors or acrylic paints, brushes and paper or some gem tree making supplies but I decided I probably had enough to keep me busy when bored. I'll be testing it out soon so I'll let you know how it turns out.

Today was create day #20. Are you still creating?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Art Charms All Finished

Finally finished up all my art charms for the swap I'm in this month. The theme was Blue, Silver, White/Clear. This wasn't too hard for me but I did sign up to do 2 sets like a dummy, so instead of only having to do 36 charms I did almost 80. That was quite an undertaking especially since I decided to use what I already had or could find around the house in found objects.

There are a couple that I really love, one is the crystal ladder charm and the other is the bullet charm. I had some steel bullet casings that I cleaned the primer out of and they worked perfectly. The crystal ladder charm is one of my own can find the tutorial HERE.

Today I created all the tags and tied them to each charm so that the person receiving them will know who made it.

Some of the other found objects I used were some old sales tax tokens from Washington State and some Transit token. I used what I had and I like them so well I ordered more from Ebay so that I would have more to use in a future swap. Other objects came out of my sewing box like safety pins, buttons and snaps. The snaps were fun to work with and they already have holes in them for the jump rings or to dangle other beads.
Another unusual piece I used was a glass fuse that I wrapped wire around (you can just see it in the basket). I played with wire creating my sun wrap, crystal ladder and butterfly as well as wire wrapping some beach glass.

This was a learning experience for me to not go out and just buy all the supplies I would need and instead reuse and re-purpose. That seems to be the new mantra these days. I know that my mother would probably say that is the way they used to make things and we are now just coming back around full circle.

Today was create day #18. Are you still creating?

BTW if you are interested in joining an Art Charm group to learn and swap charms here is the link to the one I belong to on Yahoo Groups.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Playing with Customer Special Orders

I've been playing with beads the past couple of days and have sent pictures of sample necklaces, earrings and pendants to customers for decisions. I have fun creating for others and I go through different design processes depending upon what the request is for. In this picture the customer asked for the Prehnite beads strung with a pendant in the was the pendant I was having trouble with, so I found a couple set in sterling silver and then I had some tumbled stones that I could wire wrap in gold.

In this case the customer chose one of the loose stones for me to wire wrap in gold. I also always provide an estimate of what the piece would cost.

Here is sample of earrings for another customer. She had already chosen the ear ring studs and had indicated she wanted grey or silvery pearls.

The choice now was what color of silver pearls and whether she wants them long or short. I'm sure she will get back to me tomorrow. I actually prefer the longer set with the two tones of grey.

This next set was an example of what type of necklaces and how many could be made with some left over beads. I'm sure that we will be lots of back and forth on this one still to come.

Sometimes I'll do a sketch but most of the time I like to actually make a sample of what the necklace or earrings would look like using dummy wire or extra stringing wire and then picture it and sent it to the customer for their opinion.

So, do you create special orders for customers? How do you communicate choices?

This was Create Every Day #16, are you still creating?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Whew, Glad That is Over

Just finished up a 3 day show at the Puyallup Fair Grounds. My fingers are now tired of making gem trees but I did get a few done for a special order that needs to be mailed after the first of the year. This was a good time to get started on them with the holiday's fast approaching. I sold several books to folks wanting to make trees for holiday gifts which is a great idea. The picture above is just a portion of my table. By the time we started packing up we had a full forest of colorful trees. I should probably list some for sale on my Etsy or ArtFire studio in case someone wants one for a gift but does not want to make one.

Today was Create Day 14...I'm really not having any trouble creating every day especially when I do demonstrations or teach. This week we will be getting ready for an upcoming trip so not sure how much creating I'll be able to do....humm might be a good time to start writing again on the book, that qualifies.

I do have a question for all you crafty people out there. Do you craft or take your art with you when you travel? If you do, how and what do you take?

Don't forget to hop on over to visit the other bloggers who are participating in Create Every Day. Links are on the right.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Little of This and a Little of That

Create Day 10. This has been one heck of a busy week.  Here are a few items I've been working on. The purse I made for my mother for her birthday. Mom if you are reading this act surprised. The necklace pendant I found on-sale at Michaels and I added some art charms (some I made and some were from a charm swap). The tree is one of many that I have now glued on base rocks as I am getting ready for a show this coming weekend. The wrapped tumbled stones are some that I've been working on. These will go with me to the show this weekend and most likely I'll give them out to the kids or hang them from one of the trees. If you follow my blog you might remember the picture tutorial from Sunday on my wrapped beach glass. Well you can wrap tumbled stones the same way.

Are you being creative this week?

If you are in the Western Washington area this weekend, come visit the Sound Sound Gem, Opal and Mineral show at the Puyallup Fair Grounds. We will be there Friday through Sunday demonstrating gem trees and I'll also be signing copies of my book.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Picture Tutorial - Wrapped Beach Glass

If you were wondering how I made those beach glass pendant/charms, here is a picture tutorial. The wire I used was 24 gauge silver craft wire (copper core) or you could just use 24 gauge copper wire. It is best if you are using soft wire.

I used 2 pieces cut to 12" each and wrapped them side by side for a double wrap. Every piece of my beach glass turns out differently depending upon the glass. A simple wrapped loop at the top (short wires were cut off flush with the wraps and tucked in) longer wires were wrapped around to the back and secured.

My advise is don't make this harder than it is. You could probably wrap a piece of pottery shard or a tumbled stone the same way. Humm, maybe I'll try the stones as we have quite a few.

This was Create Day 7 and I did make more charms for my charm swap along with making this funky picture frame wire structure to hang charms from. I think I'll paint the back board cream or white or maybe glue paper to it.

Have a good evening.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A Little Creating and Making New Friends

Today was my Demonstration and Book signing at Shipwreck Beads in Lacey. Usually these things can be pretty boring if you don't have a lot of people dropping by to check out what you are doing. I actually was able to make 3 gem trees and promote the classes that I'll be teaching there.

Other than making trees and talking to customers today was an exceptional day as I was scheduled at the same time as another author for her book signing. What fun! I was able to meet Christine Hansen, author of Mixed Media Art Charms & Jewelry. If you haven't checked out her book that she co-wrote with Peggy Krzyzewski then you need to, lots of fun charms to make.

Here is a picture of one of my trees...taken with my cell phone camera so it isn't very good.

Here is a picture of Christine making her first charm tree. If you like this tree, I have a tutorial so that you can make your own. Here is the link Jewelry/Earring Tree.

Speaking of trees, my brother made this tree with my Tree of Hope and Life instructions. He used more bead dangle charms vs. some of the ribbons I use but I love how he put it in a dish with sand and made a zen garden.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Tutorial - Crystal Ladder Charm or Pendant

Here is my tutorial for November. I made one of these in September while playing around and received several compliments that I decided to share the instructions with you. If you find any problems with the instructions or have questions, be sure to ask as I took the photos over a week ago and am just now getting to writing them down and I might have missed something. If you see in the instructions that I have indicated soft wire it was to make it easier on myself in making this charm. You could try aluminum wire as it is also easy to work with. I always use copper as my practice wire as it is so much cheaper than sterling.

Crystal Ladder Charm

Supplies Needed:
  • 24 gauge wire (soft such as copper or sterling or fine silver)
  • 18 gauge wire (soft such as copper or sterling or fine silver)
  • Wire cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Jewelry hammer
  • Stainless steel block or another hard surface for hardening and flattening your wire
  • Ruler
  • 3mm beads
  • Metal file (not shown)

  1. Gather all your supplies prior to starting
  2. Cut 5 to 6” of your 18 gauge wire
  3. Fold your wire in half making your folded end pretty small but not flat against each other
  4. Curl the ends of your wire around and back through the folded end (Larks Head knot)
  5. Using your round nose pliers making your loop smaller by pulling the ends of your wire through the loop tighter
  6. Continue making the loop smaller
  7. Even smaller loop…note mangled wires…not to worry we will be flattening and straightening them
  8. Using the flat part of your hammer lightly pound the end wires to straighten them
  9. You may also use your flat nose pliers to straighten the wire even more

10. Cut a 12” length of 24 gauge wire. Start wrapping with one end of your small gauge wire around your wire form
11. Make about 4 to 5 wraps
12. Move the wraps up to the top of your wire piece, leave the tail as we will trim it later
13. Add one bead on the longest end of your 24 gauge wire and center in the middle of your charm
14. Wrap the loose end of your wire around the opposite charm leg
15. Continue wrapping about 4 or 5 times
16. Turn your wire charm over and add another bead holding the heavier wire together against the bead
17. Wrap your wire on the opposite charm leg as you did previously
18. Trim the extra wire from the top of the charm and tuck the end in tight to the middle

19. Continue turning the charm over and adding beads until you have your desired length
20. To finish off on your last bead wrap, loop the end wire back through the middle of the charm and to the top of the last beads wraps
21. Wrap two or three times to secure
22. One side of your wraps will be longer than the other side…this is okay
23. Trim close to your wraps on the longest side then match it with the other side
24. File your end wires so they are not sharp
25. All finished except for your jump ring
26. Side view reminds me of a ladder
27. These can be any length you choose. Try a longer one with 4 to 5mm beads for a pendant

I hope you enjoy this tutorial. These can be a little tedious to make but once you get your charm form completed adding the beads is a snap. You can also darken your copper by putting it in a solution of Liver of Sulfur and then using a polishing cloth or pad to take some of the dark off leaving it only in the crevasses.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Calmness Created

My goal today was to clean and organize my craft room. I was just feeling stifled in there with the mess. When I get into a project, everything comes out and ends up on the floor, on the table top and sometimes hanging from the cabinet handles. It didn't help that I had been working on several projects at once. Most of the table top was cleaned off, boxes on the floor are more organized even though they are still on the floor...must get those in the cabinet tomorrow, all the stray bits of fabric, paper and wire have been thrown away and most importantly the glue and paint have been scraped and cleaned off my table top (I even had to clean some paint off my sewing machine...don't know how that got there). I feel so much better that I actually was able to get some pictures taken of the art charms I received from the previous swap and make some bullet charms.

Here is my wire tree with all the art charms. Amazing when you see them all together.

Now....drum roll please.......the bullet charms. This was my first attempt and they are so addictive. I had made 10 in no time flat. Problem with these silver tone ones is they don't have the same chime as the brass.

I need to redo the one with the crystal on top as the plastic is too large and detracts from the piece, so I'll remove it and put it all back together. Maybe I'll continue going through the stash to find some that tinkle instead of going thud when the bead in the middle hits the casing.

To close out the day here is Buddy on his new Snuggie pillow with his toy.

Have a good night all.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's a Struggle

We all have our ups and downs and now more than ever with the holidays coming up we need to be focused....okay maybe not you but I do. This is day 3 of the Create Every Day and it seems all I did in my craft room was create a mess today. I don't think that qualifies, but I did fix 3 bracelets for a customer and make a necklace for me, so I guess I did get some creative time in there. I have all these ideas for things to make but just can't seem to get it out. I think I really need to clean up my craft room so that I can find those things I want to make. Maybe that will be my focus tomorrow is to create a cleaner craft room.

Here is my new necklace (the blue is AAA grade Kyanite that I had been saving that I purchased at the Tucson Gem Show...I don't know what I was saving it for and the other two briolettes are pink amethyst). 

This photo is of some more charms for a charm swap. I'm especially liking the mini tree of life charm and the long glass tube is a glass fuse. 

I seem to pull this piece out every once in a while. It is a concept piece that I call Imagination. I have created a button tree and mounted it on a base of collage. Truly mixed media. What I did yesterday was add the fabric around the outside edges.

Here are a couple of holiday themed Artist Trading Cards. I'll probably be posting these on my ATC group for a swap.

I did have time yesterday to go through one of my new books I had ordered. This one is called A Charming Exchange by Kelly Snelling and Ruth Rae. I was really looking forward to getting this book as I love my Mixed Media Art Charm book. If you need ideas then this book has it. There are several tutorials throughout the book which are very well written and appear to be easy to follow. I love how there are several artists featured in the book as it does give you a variety of styles and different points of view. If you are looking for a new book to give you inspiration or maybe to take your jewelry design in a new direction then the book is well worth checking out.

Well besides cleaning up my craft room tomorrow I should probably do some laundry, then we will see what I have time to create. If you haven't had a chance to visit the blogs of folks that are creating every day, take a moment and check them out. The links are on the right hand side of this blog.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Beach Glass Anyone?

It was a rainy cold day here in Western Washington and after going to my exercise class this morning I decided to spend a little time in my craft room. I had been wanting to use some of my stash of beach glass in pendants or charms so I grabbed my jar and dumped the contents on the table. I started out looking for blue and white pieces for a charm swap I'm in but unfortunately that wonderful shade of blue beach glass was elusive today and I only found one piece. I did find some white, green and brown. These were so much fun to make. Most are large enough for a pendant but the smaller ones I'll save for a charm bracelet or a different swap. My favorite is the light green with the silver wrap with the brown piece coming in a close second.

Since I have so many, maybe I'll list a few for sale or save them as Christmas gifts for family and friends.

Well today was my first day of Creating Every Day Challenge and I found it very easy. I still have yet to "create" a newsletter tonight for the gem and mineral club I belong to and tomorrow will be to write up the tutorial I promised. Hopefully the rest of the month will be as easy to "Create" as these first few days of the month.

If you are taking the challenge, let me know by leaving me a comment and I'll add your blog to the blog list located in the right hand column.

Now go Create!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Charming Sunday

Today I explored my inner muse. Sometimes she does come out to play so I set aside today just for her. I have a charm swap I'm participating in for November and decided to make charms using only the items I have in my craft room. The theme is blue, white/clear and silver. Most of mine are blue and silver with a few that have some white pearls mixed in but I did try my hand at using some of my found objects in my designs. Here is a sample...yes charmsters these are actual charms that I will be sending in my swap so this is your preview.

For those of you interested, the crystal ladder charm will be featured here on my blog in the next couple of days. Photos have been taken and now I have to write it up. As you can see with some of the other charms, I dug in my sewing box and found some large snaps, safety pins and buttons that I used as well as finding a few Washington State Tax tokens. I had so much fun playing and trying out new designs. Now to get into hubby's tool box and see what kind of cool items I can find out there. He did mention that he might have some old glass fuses. I bet I could wire wrap those into a charm.

I'm off to make some crab cakes for dinner. Have a great evening.

P.S. If you want to participate in the blog hop for November with your commitment to Create Every Day, just send me an e-mail or comment here on my blog and I'll add you to the list.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Committed to Creating Every Day

Yes, I'm going to take up the challenge. For the month of November I commit to create every day. I figure I have charms to make, gem trees, jewelry, artist trading cards, books, sewing jewelry bags and creating items for holiday presents that this should be a no brainer. I will be posting my progress here on my blog if not everyday but every few days to show you what I have accomplished.

This idea came about from Peggy Krzyzewski, author of "Making Mixed Media Art Charms and Jewelry" and her blog post titled Commitment Issues. I have started a link of those bloggers that will be taking up the challenge so if you want to join in, leave me a comment or send me an e-mail with your blog address and I'll add your blog to the list so people can follow our progress.

This doesn't mean you have to create a tangible item each day but devote a block of time to creating. I know some days all I do is create my card background for my ATC's and not finish any of them and other days I finish quite a bit as I have more time.

I know Jenn, Editor of Cloth Paper Scissors left a comment on my blog yesterday about the Cloth Paper Scissors Gift issue and yes I have it. There are some great ideas for creating and gift giving. I especially love the Wrap It section of the magazine as there are some great ideas that you can use anytime and not just for the holidays. Check out the Interweave store or click the link to get your copy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Path of Discovery

Have you ever gone on a journey and not known where it would take you? Well, I am classifying my life these past several months as my path of discovery. We all know that I make and sell jewelry and gem trees but did you know that I also paint. I started painting some 13 years ago when I was laid off work with nothing to do. I did several things during that time but painting stayed with me if not in my active life then always in my mind and on my walls so there was no hiding it, not that family would ever let me forget it.

My path the past few months has been on how can I get back to that place where art is important and I make an effort to create art if not daily then more often than not at all. My first thought was to take up acrylic painting vs. the watercolor I was used to and try a new medium and that was fun but just didn't spark anything in me. Then I found I really like mixed media works which combine painting, collage, wire work, beading, sewing and everything else you can think of. So I started buying magazines like Cloth Paper Scissors and some of the Somerset Studio and Memories. At this point my husband is amused and wondering what in the world I am doing but as long as I'm entertained he doesn't care.

I'm really loving some of the activities and things they do in the magazines and want to try them all but I need more hubby starts to get nervous. Obviously, I need more paper and things like different tools but not only that I have to have a second set of stuff for the motor home in my art box. Wow, this could get expensive. So, I start with essentials like good paper and pens, some fun chipboard images, old magazines from the antique stores, and other bits and pieces from around the house which I call found objects. Even my husband looks for them now instead of throwing them away.

So I have all this stuff the tools and supplies ready but what to make. I decided to make an art journal but after I start I realized that was probably a much larger project than what I could do for my first time. Then I found Artist Trading Cards. These are little (2.5 x 3.5) works of art that you make and trade with other people. Perfect size that I could paint, collage, stamp, sew and experiment my way through all those new techniques in the magazines. I've mentioned them before here on my blog but you also might know them as ACEO's (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) which are the ones sold vs. traded.

I made a few cards and then didn't know what to do with them, so I joined a group. For those of you new to any art medium or hobby, groups are a good way to get started and the members help you answer some of those questions that arise such as how do I use a Crop-a-dile. The Yahoo group I belong to also does swaps so I've started participating in about 2 swaps a month. Here are my latest ones mailed off just yesterday. The first one is called best friends and the other is brown, orange and yellow.

The dilemma now is what to do with all these cards that I make and get back. I want to be able to look at them and enjoy them. Now I know this post is getting long but here is where more discovery starts. I'm in a paper store getting some card stock and they have all these cool kits and one of them was book making. I never really considered making my own book but was intrigued. No, I did not buy the kit but it did get me thinking that I could put my cards together in some sort of book that I could add to. Here is my first attempt.

I didn't want to glue the cards down on the pages so instead used eyelet to secure them and yes I did get to use my new Crop-a-dile to set the eyelets.

There is so much more to do and explore in this new found world of art. Gel medium, encaustic, metal embossing, I want to try them all. Have I gone a little crazy in this world of discovery or is this passion for art? Will I find myself in here eventually? I certainly hope so but I'm going to enjoy getting there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's New With You?

Yes, I really would like to know. If you don't regularly blog then here is your opportunity to tell me and the world something about yourself. I can't believe you wouldn't want to tell the world what you are doing right now or what's new in your life. I seem to be lacking in that area lately, and I am sorry for that but I really have been busy.

I do have big news. I'm going to start teaching gem tree design at Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, WA starting in December. I have 5 classes scheduled for that month in hopes that people will want to make some holiday gifts. Here are the dates and times:

Holiday tree classes will be: 12/5 10am-1PM 14CS1210-A and 12/18 10am-1pm 14CS1210-C. 

The Standard Tree: 12/5 2pm-5pm 14CS1210-B and 12/18 2pm-5pm 14CS1210-D. 

Kid's class: 12/21 1pm-3pm: 14CS1210-E

The number after the time is the product or class number so that if you want to take the class you can call the store (1-800-950-4232and reserve your spot. This is so new they don't have them up on their web site yet.

I've also been busy with an upcoming benefit dinner auction called Harvest of Hope which benefits Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. The event is Saturday night but we have a lot of set up to do on the day of the event and previously we had all the planning, procuring of items and selling of tickets. Hopefully it will be a fun and profitable event.

I haven't been making much jewelry lately but have been making art charms and artist trading cards. I'm sure I have shared the link to my art charms group before but if you are interested in making little charms for bracelets or a necklace out of beads or found objects this is the group for you. We have a lot of fun and learn from each other daily. We just finished our first swap and are starting a new one for November.

Here is my first swap....we made over 30 bead dangles. The charm in the upper right was a hostess gift. Tutorial will be coming soon for those that want to learn to make it.

The other group I belong to is an artist trading card or ATC group on Yahoo. We create art 2.5 x 3.5 inches and swap, sometimes with themes, with other artists. This is such a diverse group and contains some really wonderful artists. Imagine being able to own small original works of art. You don't have to be a good artist just have the desire to create art on a small scale. Painting, collage, mixed media, pen and ink, digital, photography you name it, it all works.

I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I'm off to work on a new project that hopefully I can share with you later this week.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

October Tutorial Swirl and Curl Chain

I'm finally getting caught up. No one is putting pressure on me to create these tutorials but myself but it was one of my New Years resolutions. How are your resolutions coming or did they go out the window say about June? I've been at least trying to keep this one but it is gets in the way sometimes and at the beginning of the year we think we can accomplish so much that it won't be a problem. Okay like that is ever the case. So, here is October's tutorial the Swirl and Curl Chain.

Playing with wire in my craft room one day I came up with these links that could be joined together with jump rings to create a chain. I’ve worn the bracelet and necklace now everyday in testing and it is very comfortable and doesn’t come apart. Here’s how to do it.

Supplies Needed:
  • Stainless Steel block
  • Hammer
  • 16 or 18 gauge soft wire. I used copper and soft sterling. The brass was hard so I only used it a couple of times.
  • Jump rings that are 6mm or 7mm in size
  • Toggle clasp or a clasp of your choosing
  • Wire cutters
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  1. Cut 3 2.5” pieces of wire to make the swirls as shown in the middle of the bracelet
  2. Make a loop with your round nose pliers at one end of one piece of wire, make sure that your loop is large enough that your jump rings will not slip through. You may have to slide a jump ring on to test it out.
  3. Make a loop going the opposite direction at the other end of the wire
  4. Holding the wire in the middle with your chain nose pliers, insert the round nose pliers in the loop on one side and curl towards the center.
  5. Turn your wire piece around and do the same thing to the opposite side until you have swirls curling inward as pictured in the top row of pictures.
  6. Make 2 more of these swirls.
  7. Cut 4 2” pieces of wire to make the curls
  8. Make a loop with your round nose pliers at one end of a piece of wire.
  9. Make another loop on the opposite side of that wire curling it in the same direction. These do not have to be perfect.
  10. Make 3 more of these curls.
  11. Slightly hammer your curls and swirl links on the stainless steel block to harden the wire and shape them flat.
  12. Open a jump ring and insert two of your links.
  13. Close the jump ring.
  14. Continue adding jump rings and links in your desired pattern.
  15. Add a jump ring at the end of each side of your bracelet and add your clasp.
  16. There you go a beautiful bracelet that you fashioned yourself.
My advice is to practice with copper wire and then move onto sterling if you want. If you like the tri color effect, then you would use copper, brass or 14kt gold filled and sterling silver wire. If you like the look of the necklace then you would continue making curl and swirl links until you have achieved the length you need.

Recycling Trash into Treasure???

I've run across some great ideas for recycling used old items into usable items again and then there are those that really should just go in the trash. I'm all for recycling but really, do we need to use an old yogurt container for a vase. Do you not have a vase you can use for those beautiful flowers from your garden or hubby? I just think somethings go to the tacky side. Recycling clothing is a great idea as well as any textile, leather, or paper book/magazine but when you use real trash that has held food, that verges on the yuk factor.

Here is a great web site that has all kinds of recycling and green living ideas as well as tons of tutorials and e-books. If you like to crochet and knit, they have it there as well as sewing and kids crafts.

I do have another tutorial that I'll be writing up this weekend and hopefully will get it published by Monday for you. I call it the Swirl Chain and can be made into a necklace or bracelet. Fun, fun to make especially if you like to hammer and make some noise or just get your frustrations out on something other than the dog or hubby.

I belong to a art charm group on Yahoo and we are just completing our first charm swap. So much fun making these little dangles that can go on a bracelet or a charm necklace. There were 31 of us so we each made 31 charms. I can't imagine all the different charm dangles I'll be receiving. Here is a picture of what I created and sent.

If you want to join in on the fun in learning some new techniques...I think we will be soldering, making paper beads, resin, etc, then head on over to this Yahoo group and take a look.

The group is run by Peggy Krzyzewski and Chris Hansen authors of the book "Making Mixed Media Art Charms and Jewelry". The book has some great ideas. Here is the link to the book on  

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Long Overdue Tutorial - Dangle Chain Earrings

Finally finished this tutorial yesterday and am on a roll as I've started another one today. These earrings are so fun to make. I saw something similar made by a high end designer and now I can't find them to even show them to you.  Oh, well here they are.  Enjoy!

Supplies Needed:
  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Flush Wire Cutters
  • Flat Nose or Needle Nose Pliers
  • 6” of 20 gauge sterling silver wire
  • 2” of spare sterling silver chain
  • Various beads
  • Ruler
  • Hammer (optional)
  • Stainless Steel Block (optional)


  1. Gather all your supplies
  2. Cut wire into 2 – 3” pieces
  3. Fold one wire in half equally
  4. Insert your Round Nose pliers at the center
  5. Twist the wire 2 times as shown
  6. Remove your pliers and straighten out your end wires a bit
  7. Make a second one to match
  8. Even up the ends and trim if necessary
  9. Make a small loop with your Round nose pliers at the end of each wire
  10. Continue with the second wire piece
  11. Insert your chain on one side of your wire by opening a bit the loop and then closing
  12. Insert the other end of the chain on the loop of the other side and repeat with your second wire
 You may leave as is and finish off by adding your ear wire or continue by adding beads.

13.  Making a wrapped loop with your center bead
14.  Find the center of your chain and insert your half loop
15.  Wrap the wire around to finish the wrapped loop
16.  Trim excess wire
17.  Add your center bead to the other earring component
18.  Continue adding beads as desired to the links in the chain
19.  Finished earring components
20.  Handmade ear wires finish off the earrings

Lovely aren't they. Tutorial on the handmade ear wires will be coming soon.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Life Does Get Busy

I never thought that I would be able to keep so busy and not work. If it isn't one thing than it is another. Well this week was no exception. We don't really have planned days but take things as they come. I do no shopping on the weekends anymore as the stores are just packed with people trying to get in and out and in a mad rush to get everything done on their list in a short weekend time frame, so we shop during the week. The one thing we did do this week was get new phones. I've been wanting a new phone for awhile and when they came out with the Android with a 3G mobile hot spot that was the thing we had been waiting for. It is perfect, when traveling we can still check e-mail or my on-line stores on my netbook via my cool is that. I know you are probably saying that this has been around forever, but I am just now catching up. So, now you want to know which of the Droid phones I got...well it was the new Samsung Fascinate by Verizon. I love this phone and they had a special going on in September to buy this phone and get another phone free, so hubby got the Droid X and so far he is loving it too.

Needless to say we have been playing and learning all the new apps with our phones all week which has taken up quite a bit of time now that I think about it. Hubby is now excited to find bar coding. I find him in the kitchen scanning items from the pantry and marveling at how it enters all the information in his phone. Now he has found another type of bar code that looks like a square and he set one up that has all my info in it. I guess I'll be putting it out here and on my web site soon. So, if you have a smartphone that does bar scanning you'll be able to scan my code and have all my contact and web site info. Technology is a wonder sometimes.

I have been playing with jewelry and yesterday was so much fun as a friend of mine wants an Emerald necklace with a twist. She wants vintage chain and lots of it along with a strand of Emeralds mixed in. So, I got to play by digging out all my vintage jewelry and boy did I find a lot. I never realized there was so much stuff there that I could remake. I'm sure you now know where this is going.....maybe a new line of jewelry from Dana's Jewelry Design...LOL. Here are a few of pictures of what I was playing around with. I haven't taken any of them apart yet as I was having a hard time deciding...maybe I just have too many options.

Have a great rest of your weekend and I'll post the final product when we have all the elements narrowed down.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What to do at the Fair, Eat of Course!

Today was our last volunteer day at the fair in the Hobby Hall. This time I remembered to take the camera and now you can enjoy the fair with me.

It was a rainy day but it didn't stop us from walking around and eating some of the treats they had to offer.

Enjoy your evening, I'm off to enjoy a little TV for the night.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Creating Art

Have you ever felt in just one of those moods? I haven't been in the mood to make jewelry lately..I know it will come again and I made so many gem trees in the last month that I don't want to see them for a little while. So, now I go to my studio (you notice that when I create art I now call it my studio) and paint, collage, cut and ultimately just make a mess but sometimes I do end up with Art.

I joined an Artists Trading Card group to get me back into art and painting and so far love, love, love it. When I join a swap, it forces me to create. I know a lot of people can't create that way but sometimes I need the little push. The first swap was called "Tiki Party", how appropriate for the end of Summer and I just finished today my "Native American Design" cards. All of these cards are original paintings, watercolor pencil or pen/ink. Now to get them all in the mail to the swap host. I'll share the cards I get in return from the swap when they arrive in October.

6/6 "Tiki Party" swap cards

3/3 "Native American Design" swap cards (the large circle one is not part of the swap)
I did make a couple other cards just for fun today.

Since my studio is such a mess, maybe I'll make more art later this week. No reason to clean it up if I'm just going to get it messy again.

Tomorrow we are off to the Western Washington State Fair to volunteer for a few hours in the Hobby Hall for the gem and mineral club we belong to. If you live in Washington and you haven't been to the fair yet, you really need to go soon as Sunday is the last day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What a Show

Just back from demonstrating at a rock and mineral show in Castle Rock, Washington. Fun time even though it rained buckets and we had a few worries about whether or not we would be able to get the bus out of the muddy lot where we parked for the weekend. We made it out fine and even came out a little ahead in money we took in. Here is a picture of my little space in the demonstrators room. I had one table for hubby and me to demonstrate and another one to show/sell trees and supplies.

The best thing about demonstrating at the gem and mineral shows is meeting all the wonderful people and sharing your love of the hobby.  As a demonstrator we are not charged for our table space as we are required to demonstrate and teach over the weekend and in turn we get to sell what we make. What a deal and what fun. The other hobbies being demonstrated were wire wrapping, silversmithing, faceting, cabbing and mineral identification. My next gem and mineral show demonstration for gem trees will be at the Bellevue Gem Show next month. I'll share more about that later.

In other news, I mentioned this Summer that I was involved in the Diary 2011 Project and now that project is almost ready and they are taking orders for the diaries. I still have yet to get my order in but I know what my friends and family are getting for Christmas presents. Here is where you can check it out and order if you wish.

I have lots more to share but this night is getting along and I'm ready for a rest after such a busy weekend. Until tomorrow.


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