Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Giveaway by Casto Creations

If you follow my blog then you'll remember that I had a giveaway of several pieces of Copper jewelry not too long ago. Well if you liked that jewelry you will love this as it is the exact same set. I sent a set to Megan of Casto Creations for a review and now she is going to give it to one lucky winner. I'm sure that all of you would like another try at winning this great set, so head on over to Megan's blog Casto Creations Jewelry and enter.

The set includes a Swirl pendent on chain, Charm earrings, bangle bracelet, cluster ring and the jewelry pouch. It's a fun set that you could use or give as a gift.

As part of my reorganization of priorities, I actually finished a special order yesterday. I like being able to finish a project. Now to just finish all those gem trees that I have to mail on the 31st.

Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter....right hand column to get the coupon codes to purchase my book Gem Tree Sculptures at a $10 price vs. $17.99 and a special offer on any gem tree supplies or kits.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh, What to do Now!

I think I have created a monster. Yes, that is me. Being off work (forced retirement) has it's advantages and disadvantages. The best for me is being able to make jewelry, gem trees and sew whenever I want. Now you are probably wondering what is the disadvantage about that....well one of the obvious is less money to buy the supplies needed to make all those wonderful things and the other is that I am terribly disorganized and tend to work on my little projects and not my special orders. I'm also accumulating things faster than I am selling them.

The one new thing is my purses. I've made three now and learned something new on each one, so none of them are of a standard I would sell, but maybe the next one, hence the accumulation. I also have way too many ideas for projects that I just can't get to and have found myself working on several all in the same day and not finishing any of them. Okay, I finished a purse yesterday but I have gem trees to make and still don't have all of them finished.

When I was working I was able to focus on what was important (like special orders) get those completed and then work on my little projects. Now I get up in the morning and feel that I have all the time in the world (no job to go to) and sometimes just putter the day away doing my little projects. LOL, I think I need to focus. Maybe start a list each morning of those things I really need to accomplish (like laundry today and gem trees) and tackle those first and then if I have time left over, work on my other projects.

If you have any ideas, please let me know, other than go back to work that is.

BTW, my March newsletter is out and in it is a coupon to purchase my book "Gem Tree Sculptures" for $10.00 vs. $17.99. This offer is only good until 4/1/10, so sign up today (right hand column) and I'll send you the newsletter with the coupon in it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Cabachon Finding

Yesterday was my day to attend a class versus teach a class at the gem and mineral club I belong to and I had a great time. It was a silversmithing class that was to explore creating a new finding for cabachons for beginners. I didn't have any sterling silver 16 gauge wire so I used some of my fine silver....okay to work with but next time I'll use sterling so it won't get out of shape. Easy technique using only the wire vs. sterling sheet and bezel wire so for beginners this is perfect. It also shows off the stone really well. Perfect for me since I'm not good at silversmithing.

I have one cab mounted already as you can see (isn't it pretty) and the second one needs to be thrown in the tumbler and polished up before I can mount the cab.

BTW, have you signed up for my newsletter yet? My Gem Tree Sculptures book will be on sale for a limited time as well as gem tree supplies, so sign up now to find out how to get your discount. If you sign up after tomorrow and the newsletter has already been published, I'll e-mail it to you so that you will get the information as well as the new tutorial which has not been published yet.

Cheers, Dana

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wine Tasting Notes Booklet Tutorial

I have a new tutorial for my newsletter readers. It will be published next Monday, so if you haven’t signed up to receive it yet, do so now. I won’t be publishing that tutorial anywhere else except in the newsletter and it is a fun one.

Now for more fun. Since we just got back from Napa, I still have wine on the brain. Next month is Spring Barrel tasting in the Yakima Valley and we always go to that and after tasting wine at a couple of wineries I usually forget what I liked and didn’t like, so I’m making a bunch of these to take over so that everyone in our party can have one to keep track of the wine they taste. My inserted sheets are wine tasting notes, but you could use blank paper and just use it as a note pad. I’m sure there are instructions for these all over the internet, but this is my version. This is also a good way to recycle greeting cards if you make a smaller version.

Wine Tasting Notes Booklet

We will be making a note pad in the shape and style of a matchbook.

 Card Stock or Scrapbook Card Stock
 Ruler
 Pencil
 Scissors
 Stapler
 Clip Art or your own art (optional)
 Tasting Notes template for inside pages
 Household white glue or Scrapbooking glue
 Flat nose pliers


1. Gather materials
2. Using the ruler draw template on the backside of your cardstock for the outside of the book 3” wide x 9” tall.
3. Cut out your cover.
4. Pre-fold your lines on the card stock as indicated in the picture with the small bottom fold at ¾” and the top fold at 4”.
5. Make sure your top fold doesn’t go all the way to the bottom fold.
6. Print your inside pages using the template at the size indicated. I was able to get 6 on one 8 ½ x 11” sheet of paper by changing my paper to landscape and adding 3 at the top and then 3 at the bottom as a mirror image as I didn’t care of the Comment area was cut off a bit by the computer printer margins.
7. Cut pages out using scissors or a paper cutter.
8. Insert 18 cut pages inside the bottom fold, you can use more or less depending upon what you will be using the book for.
9. Staple all pages into the bottom fold close to the bottom but high enough to capture all the pages well.
10. Flatten the staple on the back side with your flat nose pliers so that the ends do not poke you.
11. Fold the top fold down and into the bottom fold as you would a matchbook cover.
12. Now just embellish as desired with clip art, paint, crystals, whatever.

Here is another picture of some smaller ones I made using scrap paper and an old greeting card.
If you want the Wine Tasting Note template I used for my pages here is that. Just right click to save to your computer then size as needed.
I hope everyone is having a great week. It's been beautiful here today and now I have to get back to my house cleaning.  LOL you would think it was Spring or something.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rambling Thoughts

Do you know how first thing in the morning and then at night when you are trying to go to sleep you have all these great ideas? Well on our trip to Napa I had all this down time just sitting in a car or mind when wild with ideas for crafting and tutorials. I was kind of wanting a break from all the creativity stuff but nooo my mind just wouldn't stop. So, I now have an outline for another book along with all the tutorials that I need to write for it. Yea, like the world needs another craft book, that will be the day. It seems that everyone is writing a book these days. Maybe I'll be a little different and only offer it as an e-book or something like that vs. a paperback published book. Oh and did I tell you I had already started on a Gem Tree book 2? I think I need a shrink or my husband just needs to take me on vacation where I don't have a computer available and I have to think about other things. Those that know me, know this probably won't work. I'll just find scratch paper and write everything down or like I did this time, use my phone's note application to jot down my rambling thoughts.

Driving through the Redwood Forest in Northern Califonia ....can you see them as we fly by? I guess if I really want a picture of one I'll have to buy a postcard.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Napa Style

Well my creativity break involved hubby and I taking a road trip to the Napa Valley. Yes, we are still drinking wine and enjoying the sunshine. It was a nice break but we are missing the dogs now after being gone for a week. We will be home in a couple of days and back to the daily grind so we will enjoy our remaining days. This trip we invited my brother and his girlfriend along and we rented a two bedroom condo vs. the 1 bed we usually get. It's been a fun trip having others along to enjoy it with you. If you have never been to Napa, California, then it is worth a trip, rolling green hills and tons of grape vines. We usually come in March for our anniversary so the vines aren't leafed out yet, but we love it anyway. It doesn't hurt that there is an abundance of wineries to visit.

Here are a few pics from our trip to enjoy and I hope you have a great weekend.

Lavender and grape vines at Frances Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville.

Barrel room at Sterling Winery.

Elaine and I shopping in Yountville.

Friday, March 05, 2010

A Wedding Set

I don't get too many special requests for wedding jewelry so this one is especially exciting. The bride has certain ideas and a feeling about what she wants her jewelry to evoke and I respect that, I only hope I can do it justice. So here is my first draft. Necklace is just temporarily strung so that I can change the design or crystals, pearls, briolettes etc. after she sees it.

One more thing to share with you today and that is a new purse. As you might have noticed I love pink and I wanted a pink purse, so this is the latest. I carried it to a meeting a couple of days ago and had several ladies comment on it and actually want one.  Humm, go figure.

This time I added a pocket on the outside and one on the inside and didn't add the magnetic closure as I wanted to be able to reverse it. I'm still debating whether that was a good idea.

Well, it is time for a creativity break as we drink some wine in the Napa Valley. I'll post pics. Have a good weekend.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Winner of the Copper Jewelry Giveaway

Congratulations to Deborah!  

Deborah has been notified via e-mail.

Thank you to all who participated!  For those of you who didn't win, know that I will be giving away something else real soon.

Have a wonderful night!

- Dana

Branch Earring Tutorial

I love to create these little fun dangle earrings and you can make them as casual or as dressy as you like by the type of gemstones or pearls you use. For the tutorial I used Spring colors that matched the shirt I was wearing that day. Enjoy and feel free to ask questions if the pictures and instructions are not clear enough.

Don't forget about the Copper Jewelry giveaway that ends tonight.

Supplies Needed:

Gemstone, pearls, or what ever beads you want to use.
24 inches of 26 gauge wire (I used sterling but you could use craft wire)
Wire cutters
Needle Nose Pliers or Chain Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers
Earring Findings


1. Cut wire in half so that you have 2 pieces of wire 12” each
2. Insert bead on wire and fold in half with the bead at the bottom
3. Twist wires around bead 5 times
4. Add 2nd bead on one end wire, folding in half as indicated about ¼ to ½” away from the twisted wire
5. Twist wires until they meet at the center
6. Add 3rd bead on the other wire, folding in half as indicated about ¼ to ½” away and twist together
7. Add 5 twists to create the body of the earring
8. Add 2 more beads, one on each side like you did for bead 2 and 3
9. Twist the body wires 5 times
10. Create your second earring the same as the first stopping after step 7 to make sure they are the same length
11. Add your 3rd and 4th bead and your final body twists and measure again, make any adjustments as needed
12. Cut one wire off close to the twists on each earring
13. Make a wrapped loop at the top
14. Add your earring finding
15. Finished earring to enjoy

Here are some other examples of this same style of dangle. In the bottom picture, the garnet one was made by creating loops versus twisting the stones on the wire then I just made wrapped loops on the briolettes dangling them off the loops. I also twisted more small stones around the twisted wires.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Imagine the Possibilities

I finally came up with my next tutorial just to document it and put all the steps down for you. To give you a little hint…. It will be an earring design that you could expand into a necklace. In fact, I have shown that design here on my blog last year, but I don’t think I’ll tell you which post it was. You will just have to wait until tomorrow.

REMINDER Enter to win all this Copper jewelry here on my blog. Easy to enter and there aren’t a slew of entries yet so you have a very good chance of winning. Click HERE to go to that post.

Until tomorrow friends, have a great and beautiful day.

The signs of Spring are here.
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