Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Private Teaching

As some of you know I teach at Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, WA gem tree design, well as DH and I were supposed to be in Arizona for Jan.-Mar. I didn't schedule any classes until April. Unfortunately, when DH had his surgery and complications that put the cabaush on leaving which left me lots of time. So what's a person to do, well if you are asked you teach private lessons. I really didn't think I would ever teach privately in other people's homes but it has been a rewarding experience for them and me. They get 1 on 1 teaching and I get more time to discover who they are and their goals.

What did I teach? Well gem trees for one and the other was a request for wire wrap techniques. I teach gem trees all the time so this wasn't a problem but I have never taught any of my wire wrap. So I made up a few samples to figure out all the supplies needed. Normally when I do a wire wrap cabachon like this one,
I use square wire and half round wire but knowing my student to be a beginner, she wouldn't have square wire so I had to improvise and use round. Not my favorite as it doesn't lay against the stone well but it is what it is, Here are the samples that I taught that day.

She really wanted to learn how to wrap crystal pointers but to get to that point you need to have more of the basics down so we did several different stones including beads. The abalone with crystals is my favorite along with the coil wrapped bottle, humm okay I like the beach glass wrap also. Well they are all so different but once you have the process down, you can wrap just about anything.

She did a great job on all her pieces except her first try and that was fully expected. I imagine she has now taken that one apart and re-wrapped it by now with her new found skills.

If you are interested in a private class, I am available otherwise you can check out all my classes that will be starting on April 7th at Shipwreck Beads.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Featured in Collections on ArtFire

Wow, I have been blessed this week to be featured in two collections on ArtFire. This first one was curated by Dancing Wind Designs and features Larimar jewelry pieces. Love the color of this stone and it so reminds me of the turquoise blue water of the caribbean.

This next collection was curated by Linda of Steider Studios and features some great Pacific Northwest artists. She featured my triple strand Aurora Borealis necklace.

To view any of the items, just click on the button that says "View this collection". Each item picture will take you to the shop offering that item for sale.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Design Opportunity

Had to post this exciting opportunity. Suburban Girl Studio's is looking for 4 more design team members, so I threw my name in the hat. Sometimes I need a jump start to designing and this would definitely push me to do more design work and not just hoard play with all my beads... lol. The first challenge would be to make something one of these wonderful flower pendants. I'm thinking an orange-turquoise mix with bronze chain or findings.

If you would like to throw you name in the hat, so to speak, jaunt on over to Suburban Girl Studio's blog and leave your witty comment. She will pick on Wednesday the 22nd.

Today I ventured out to the mall. Now if you know me, you know I don't just go to the mall to shop that often and especially not on a Friday. So I did have lunch with a friend today at Panera Bread and since I was there thought I would stroll around. Okay now I remember why I don't go to the mall on a Friday. Really does anyone work on Friday anymore? There were more people there then I have seen in a long time... not including Christmas season. I decided I needed to replace my mixer and have been stumped as to what type of mixer to buy or to get one of those immersion blenders. I can not believe the cr@p I saw for mixers. Cheap, cheap, cheap plastic and if it wasn't the cheap plastic 3 speed then it was the overpriced 7 speed. Really $70 for a hand mixer.

I've been using my hand mixer for blending my lotion blends and the last batch I found some of the metal plating chipped off in the lotion. I was able to pick it out but what if that had been in a cake mix or something... yuk. I'm thinking the immersion blender would be better for mixing the lotion but not for making mashed potatoes or cake mixes but have you seen those? Okay, same reaction to these as the hand mixers. I did find one that had all these handy dandy attachments but I don't think so for $99.

So, I'm in a quandary. What should I do, get a cheap version of both, or a more expensive mixer or immersion blender? What do you use and do you love it?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Experimenting Again

This time my kitchen experiment was to make a face cream. DD was wanting something for her face so I figured I had all the stuff, why not try to make something. Not sure I got it right but I'm testing it now. I wanted it to be more of a daily moisturizing lotion but it turned out to be a cream. Probably okay for during the day, especially if you have dry to normal skin but wonderful at night.

Even though it is pretty thick it doesn't feel too heavy. It is about 68% water where my other lotions are usually around 78%. I may try again and increase the water to 70% just to see the difference. Most of the time my water phase is just that filtered or spring water but this time I used a combo of aloe vera juice and chamomile tea. Needless to say I'm testing this one thoroughly on myself before giving to anyone else. I also started using a paraben free preservative at .5% by weight so we will see how this holds up with the added juice and tea.

Because I didn't have enough to do, I started another blog. This one is called Basically ART and will pretty much deal with my other artistic side. I know I've used this blog for everything including the kitchen sink as you can tell from my kitchen experiment but I really wanted to have a separate forum for those that just want to follow me and are interested in painting and journaling. So head on over there now and you can get a peak at what I'm working on.

Have a great day and if you are interested in the recipe for the face cream, leave me a comment with your e-mail or just e-mail me and I'll send it to you.

Cheers, Dana

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Delightful Bangles, a tutorial

I was inspired today to make a bracelet, so I made 3... ha ha. My fingers do hurt now but I did take pictures and write up a quick little tutorial if you want to give it a try. I got the inspiration from a Pin on Pinterest of this Bangle but it didn't have enough pictures for me so decided to make one for myself and do lots of pictures for you. This one is easy if you have all the supplies and you do not need any soldering equipment. So let's get started.

Supplies Needed:

  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Flush wire cutters
  • Bracelet Mandrel
  • Hammer
  • Stainless Steel Block
  • 12 or 14 gauge wire (for bracelet)
  • 24 or 26 gauge wire (for wrapping)
  • 3mm stones or crystals


  1. Gather all your supplies before you start and make sure the stones you choose will slide on the wrapping wire.
  2. Cut 10” of your bracelet wire which is either 12 gauge or 14 gauge.
  3. Make a loose curl on one end of the cut wire with your round nose pliers.
  4. Form your wire around the bracelet mandrel inserting the straight end through the curled end. As you can see I have marked on my mandrel the size I want my bracelet to be. Mine is 8”.
  5. With your round nose pliers curve the straight end of the wire around to tighten.
  6. Make a loop with the curved wire.
  7. Hammer the wire on the bracelet mandrel all the way around… hammer more.
  8. Hammer on the stainless steel block. Switch between the mandrel and the block, hammering to harden the wire.
  9. When it is the shape you want, nice and round and lays flat you are ready to begin to add your stones.

  1. Cut about 36” of your wrapping wire which is either 24 gauge or 26 gauge and start wrapping on your bracelet at the coiled end.
  2. Wrap the tail of the wire until you just have about 1/4 “ left.
  3. String a stone on the long end of the wire.
  4. Bring the stone down tight against the bracelet.
  5. Hold the stone in place and start wrapping the wire around the bracelet.
  6. Continue wrapping about 3 or 4 times, add another stone.
  7. More wrapping.
  8. Continue wrapping and adding stones until you get to the end of your wire.
  9. Cut the wire at the top of the bracelet and flatten with your flat nose pliers.
  10. Cut another length of wrapping wire (not as much) and start wrapping around the bracelet. I like to start wrapping behind the stone and then wrap around to the front. I cut the tail off on top of the bracelet and flatten it with my pliers.
  11. Continue wrapping and adding stones until you get back to the beginning. Clip tails and flatten them on top of the bracelet. Always cut the wire on the top or sides otherwise it will scratch your wrist underneath.
  12. Enjoy your bracelet.
If you have any questions, please be sure to ask.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Lazy Sunday

Sunday's always tend to be lazy around our house... okay that is most days but especially true on the weekends as we don't like to get out and go shopping on Saturday or Sunday due to the traffic and amount of people in the stores. Don't get me wrong, I'm not phobic about crowds but it does get tiresome when you are trying to shop and there are long lines and impatient people. We just go during the week and it is much calmer. We will go to my mother's today (first time for DH to be out around people since surgery) for snacks and football, so that should be a welcome change for a little while. I'm sure most the country will be watching the game, now who is it that is playing again.... lol, can you tell I don't watch football... I just watch it for the commercials.

One of the projects I mentioned last post was my little bags for the kids in the oncology department at the local children's hospital. Well here is a picture of the first batch ready to be delivered.

They could be drawstring or snap close but not buttons as they were afraid the buttons would come off, so I did a mix of both. My kid theme fabric was sorely lacking but I think this is a good start. If you would like to donate little bags (mine are 4 x 5 and smaller) or material, please contact me. You would get a donation receipt for tax purposes. You can contact me via the e-mail me button on the left hand column or leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I'll contact you for specifics.

In getting back in the swing of things, I volunteered to host an art charm swap. This one has a Zentangle theme. Oh, what fun will these be. I have only done Zentangles on paper but wanted to try to do some on pieces of wood that I could make into a charm so I found these small "Z's". I'll drill a small hole at the top and insert an eye pin so that they can hang. I think I'll have to get more of these as they were really fun.

This is the front.

The back.

As you can tell I did the front and back as well as three of them around the edges. If you like Zentangles and want to find out more about them or how to make them, then visit www.zentangle.com. There are also a ton of books available that are a great inspiration.

I love making things, as if you couldn't tell that already, and for the holidays I made homemade hand lotion and cream. Well now I'm developing my own recipe (I used someone else's before). The first batch didn't turn out quite the way I wanted and felt a little gritty in the liquid state but was fine after you rubbed it in but I still didn't like that feeling. The second batch turned out much better with just a few modifications and additions. I did try to fix the first batch this morning, hopefully the gritty feeling will be gone once it cools.

Second batch, cooled lotion.

I also made some cuticle cream and have a recipe that I love. I added a touch of lemon and lavender essential oils and it smells really good. It would also be good on rough scaly heels and feet.

All of the lotions I'm making have a paraben free preservative, so I feel much better about using them and giving them as gifts. DH asked me last night if I was doing this as a hobby or if I intended on selling them and I'm still asking myself that question but my first answer is that I want this as a hobby to use the products for myself and give as gifts. If those friends and family start coming back to me for more between gift giving then I might consider taking money to help offset the cost of materials, but right now I'm having too much fun playing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

New Projects

I finally finished my rag quilt yesterday and DH has been using it ever since. I got the idea to make one from my sister-in-law who has one and I fell in love with it when visiting during the holidays. Hers was a bit different as it had squares and rectangles and I just used squares. The next one I may do some rectangles or triangles, who knows, but I wanted to do one and finish it before I started something else.

Rag quilts are made with flannel, squares are quilted and then sewn together with the seam out on the front side. The seam is clipped just up to the sewing line all around. When you wash and dry, it will get softer and the seams will fray and get all cool looking. It is just a cozy quilt to curl up with on a Winter's night.

Since I finished the quilt, I started working on some art charms for a swap I'm in. I've talked about this Art Charm group here before but for those of you that don't know, it is a Yahoo group formed by the authors of the book "Making Mixed Media Art Charms and Jewelry", Christine Hansen and Peg Krzyzewski. I have a button on the right hand column if you are interested in checking it out. We have a ton of fun. This swap has an Ancient Egyptian theme, so I've been researching symbols on the internet. If you have any ideas, I'd love for you to leave me a comment.

I chose to use copper wire and turquoise for my stones. I like how the little stone charms with swirls turned out but not so sure about the lotus flower... looks more like a lobster to me in the heavier gauge wire. LOL The pyramids aren't bad but the rectangle with the wavy lines is the symbol for "pool of water" and I like that one the best. Too bad it takes the most time to create. I need to make 20 of these puppies. I may end up with a mixture of different charms but I think the lotus flower is out.

Just because I didn't have enough to do, I volunteered to work on a project for the Orthopedic Association for the children who are patients in the Oncology Department at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. The kids get tokens when they get poked or a dressing change and then they can turn those in for a prize but they needed something to keep their tokens in. So, I'll be making little drawstring and snap baggies for the kids. I went through my stash of cotton material and found some that was kid themed and started cutting and sewing.  As I told the organizer of this project that I wanted it to be on-going, I probably will be needing more material. If you have any kiddie cotton that you want to donate to the cause, I would love to take it off your hands. I'll post a picture when I get a few of them completed so you can see what they look like.

Cheers, and have a great week.


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