Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy - Artiste Edition

1. Final Draft 3, 2. VALERIA Y LA OTRA (detalle), 3. con el coraz√≥n en la mano (work in progress), 4. Anders Zorn, etching portrait, 5. Da Vinci -, 6. girl with shawl, 7. that thing that exploded still seems to be burning, 8. in the studio, 9. Girl and her Cat., 10. I found you by chance, 11. Julian Beever 3D Chalk Drawings, 12. redstitch&peepholes-detail        
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I've always wanted to be a fine art kind of artist. One to whom sketching and drawing and dare I even think it... painting is not a complete struggle with many erasures and re-do's. I'm so glad to have discovered that I have a talent for working with my fingers and that it translated so easily from make-up to metal clay. But still there are moments when I wish I were what I am not.

Do you ever wish for something more? Ever long for a gift not given? For some reason during this past week, in which we are guided to look at the gifts we DO have, I can't help but glance the other way. Don't worry, it's only fleeting, but a wistful look none the less.

Instead I can find joy in the work of other artists. These are just a few of the talented hands that are my favorites.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Come One, Come All...

What could be better than finding unique studio jewelry under the tree or beside the Menorah? I'm working on refreshing my Etsy shop and wanna make room for some lovely new designs, so Lora Hart Jewels is having a sale! Take 10% off any single item and 20% off multiple orders. As a special treat for my loyal readers around the world, just type Et In Terra Pax in the comments to seller for free shipping.  That's Latin for Peace on Earth.  I won't mind if you if you can only remember the English. ;- )

Let the fun begin!!!! 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thoughts for a Happy Life

Felt Play Food Set by Sprtizysis

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. 

It turns what we have into enough, and more. 

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... 

It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.  

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates vision for tomorrow."

~ Melodie Beattie ~

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tweet, Tweet - Tweedle Dee ....

Sweet Tweet Bird Soaps by LoveLee Soaps

Just call me Rockin' Robin now. I've fallen into the great big nest. I belong to Twitter

It baffled me for a while. I joined and then since I didn't have an e-mail account through one of their preferred partners, couldn't figure out how I was gonna find people to follow.  And since I don't use a cell phone and don't have text messaging capabilities, I couldn't figure out how I was gonna know if someone I was following tweeted. So I let it lay. Forgot about it. Ignored Twitters very existence.

But I just can't give up once I get something into my head. I was in the Virtual Labs at Etsy yesterday and before the meeting started I mentioned that I just didn't get it. Noadi, one of the other attendees sent me a great link to a Squidoo Lens that she wrote on the ins and outs of Twitter!!! Eureka!  

The Lens has so much great information on it and I really learned a lot. I finally understood how to get others to follow me - but still couldn't figure out the following thing. How do I know when I got a tweet without constantly having to go to Twitter myself. I e-mailed Noadi (whose real name is Sheryl) and she e-mailed me right back with a web site designed to work with Mac/Apple computers.

I downloaded the relatively easy (for me) to understand application from Twhirl and was on my way. So, do you Twitter? Has it helped your business? Helped you to find new friends? Has it been entertaining or annoying? Inquiring minds (mine) want to know all about your experience in the bird cage.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Joe's O's (Trader Joe's version of Cherrios) and pomegranate seeds with soy milk.  The breakfast of hedonists.

I'm Becoming A Techno Wizard!

Computer Code Baby Bib by Colby Lane Designs

Oh My gosh!  I just learned how to do the coolest thing.  If you scroll down past my blog roll, you'll see a new Drop Down menu for the Blog Carnival Archives! I wanted to make finding Etsy MetalClay team member interviews easier on our team blog and searched for a tutorial on Google. It was really easy to do after a couple of mistyped commands. I found the full tutorial here. Not sure if this is for Blogger blogs only, but it's worth a try on your own server.  I'm not gonna re type all the HTML here, but if you follow the directions - you'll master it in no time! Here's a little tip though - the word select in between the < / and > (can't type it in order - it'll be working code!) goes at the very end of your list. No where else. And be careful to note where the quote marks go. Getting those in the wrong place or forgetting them entirely changes everything.

I'm thinking of doing a drop down for my various link lists/blog rolls.  But even I have fun clicking through them every day.  I might not like the rhythm of the drop down. What do YOU think?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another New Beginning

Happy Monday Everyone!  I had such the productive weekend. Not particularly fun, but very satisfying none the less.

BronzClay earrings by Paige Liftin. Dapped after firing to achieve an engraved/roller printed appearance.

Not only did I clean up my neverendingly messy desk, but I went through every paper, every loose bead, every scrap of used sandpaper, my unusable desk drawer (the one with pens, paperclips, tape and all kinds of things that shouldn't have been in there in the first place) and cleaned everything up, put things in their places, tossed stuff that should have gone into the circular file years ago. I feel totally unfettered and alive! Oh, and I also re-read a bit of Harry Potter. Perfect for the cozy overcast day we had on Saturday.

This morning while listening to David Russell's gorgeous classical guitar on iTunes I totted up and paid my sales taxes.  Two weeks late, but better now than tomorrow.  E-filing is soooo easy. And since it's only 9:30 am, I have the rest of the day to myself. Now I have to decide if I'll start on a couple of handmade xmas gifts, finish something for my friend Catherine's new zine or re-take some photos for Etsy.  

Brooch by Michelle Ross, Copper and Polymer Clay.  Pierced, forged, riveted, patinated.

And speaking of gifts, aren't these b-day prezzies from Paige and Michelle so wonderful?  I love them.  I have nice (and talented) friends for sure.

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

YouTube with Bling!!! is a jewelry website mostly developed for traditional metalsmiths, although many metal clay jewel-ers love it too. Including moi. Especially the Orchid Forums, their answer to our own Yahoo MetalClay forum.

Recently they've developed a terrific spinoff called BenchTube. It's a video tutorial sharing site much like YouTube, but for jewelers. There are lots of great instructional videos for metalsmithing - some that metal clayer's would find really interesting, but there are also four short clips from Tim McCreight's videos for beginners. Hopefully someday soon, there will be more!

This site is well worth a look and a bookmark. Take some time this weekend to peruse the knowledge.

I also discovered that Charles Lewton Brain has written a new Keum Boo book. I loooove Celie Fago's book, but you can never have too much knowledge and Charles just might have another take on the process.

Lot's of good learnin' in the works.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Welcome to the Carnival!

The Queen of the Carnivale by A Fanciful Twist

Step right this way... Each month a group of jewelry artists use their blogs to get together online and answer the same question - each in their own way.  The topic this month is:

Gratitude - pure and simple

It's Thanksgiving in America and a time for reflection, taking a moment to turn inward and reach into your heart, to look beyond your own ego and reach out to your fellow man (no feminism here thank you), to eat mass quantities of delicious food with family and friends - to be grateful for our gifts.  

I've been thinking about how I've been doing every thing I can to focus on the half full glass for a while now.  I even wrote a post about Thanks Giving last month. And I don't have much to add to the inspiration behind that post.

I'm grateful for this blog and the window that it opened in my life.  Grateful for new friends, grateful for old ones grown closer. Grateful for inspiration. Grateful for exploration.  Grateful for new works and new paths to wander down.

I'm beginning to think that this is too narrow a reflection, after all this is a jewelry blog and should be a jewelry related post - but gratitude is all encompassing and comes full circle. 

As far as jewelry is concerned I am so grateful that I'm able to make my living doing something that I love. Teach.  Who'd a thunk it!  Ten years ago I never would have imagined myself doing what I do.  And now I can't imagine myself doing anything else.  I know she probably won't ever see this, but I have to thank Elaine Bastajian  for encouraging me to pursue teaching in the first place. This is the best job I've ever had. And I'm so grateful to have the opportunities that I do, to have the wonderful students that I do, to have the respect of my peers that I do, to have the support of my friends that I do.

Most of all I'm grateful to live in circumstances that allow the reflection, that encourage me to acknowledge the good things in my life.  And I'm grateful for your enjoyment of my blog, my silly thoughts, my smart aleck word play. 

Happy Thanksgiving - whether this is a national holiday for you, or an opportunistic nudge to indulge in some peaceful reflection.

Be sure to visit the other Carny's to read their thoughts about gratitude.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Morning After

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who commented and sent personal e-mails on my birthday.  I had a grand time. 

Went to see "The Changling" which was very good.  Angelina can actually act! (rude) and the art direction was phenomenal. L.A. has never looked that good in a period film.

Before I left to go the movies, I had to meet Danielle to get Moderator status for a team meeting today and told her it was my b-day and to look at the sale in my shop (which is still going on by the way - until 5 this afternoon Pacific time) and she liked my new bronze earrings so much that she put them in the Gift Guides!  They were one of the featured three of the Nostalgic Whimsy in the Hot List section all day yesterday and are on the first page now.  How fun is that!

And as I was walking to my car, I noticed a sale in a cute boutique and snapped up a great pair of burgundy heavy linen pants.  It doesn't get reaalllly cold until January or February here (I hate that - don't all you folks on the East coast complain) so I'll get lots of wear out of them.

Hope you all had a great day too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Put Another Candle on the Birthday Cake....

Image via TwiddeStix

To Me!!!  Let's play "52 Pick Up". ;- )  Anyone remember that awful game?  My brother Tom (who is 8 years older than I) used to love to tease me. I, of course, would always want to play with my much older brothers and they, of course, were mostly bothered by their little sister. So when Tom offered to play a game of cards - I almost always said yes.

We'd get the deck out of it's paper case and he'd start to shuffle. He played poker in the garage with his high school friends and was a master shuffler. Then he'd give me a special look and...... throw the whole deck into the air, laugh and walk out the door.  :- {  That's it. That's the game. Pick up all of the 52 cards in the deck. And I fell for it over and over. At least that's how I remember it. Although my memory is faulty. After all... it's 52 years old. Today! Huzzah!

And in honor of my day, I'm going to have a last minute sale in my shop. 15% off absolutely everything. Just put "52 Pick Up" in the notes to seller and wait for a revised invoice. The sale ends Thursday at 5:00 pm sharp. Pacific Time.

I'm going to take myself to the movies and take another walk on the beach and maybe have a fattening Starbucks coffee. Happy Birthday to you too. In advance. Unless today is your birthday too! Wouldn't that be fun?!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beauty Begets Beauty

I like to make my own texture plates.  One of my favorite techniques is to etch a piece of copper with an original, hand drawn design.  Well Miss Paige recently came up with the best idea ever! Last week she, Michelle and I drew designs with Painter's Pens all over some thin copper tubing and threw 'em in the acid for a few hours.  After we were done oogling and ahhing we rolled each one over some polymer clay and baked them.

Now we not only have a copper rolling texture tool, but copies of each others designs as well! Paige sawed some of her copper tubes into pieces and made the cutest dang earrings.  I might follow suit. I'm a copier if you didn't know it before.  ;-)

Made from a polymer clay tile imprinted with one of Paige's designs

I'm really loving this idea and will teach it next summer at San Gabriel Bead Company.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy - BronzClay Edition

1. bronze, 2. Bird, 3. Bronzclay :), 4. Bronze Fence Bracelet, 5. Celtic Cross, 6. Blue Bronze Pendant, 7. Long Bronze Fern Fossil Pendant, 8. Bronze Rings, 9. Bronzclay Leaf Earrings, 10. Patched Tablet Ring, 11. Bronz:turqDetailBeads3, 12. Koi- bronze

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Interesting how the bronze really lends itself to tribal or ancient designs. And just because you'll all be wondering, the blue was achieved by ammonia fuming. There's a description of the process in the comments of the photo on Flickr.

Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Autumn Tree Mosaic by HerleyMosaics

Has fall finally hit the left coast?  I woke up this morning and had to reach over and close the window immediately.  Then put on socks, then added a bathrobe, then put a sweater under the robe and I even thought about turing on the wall furnace for the first time.  Did I say it was chilly when I woke up?  Of course it was 5:00 in the morning, but still.  

Cashmere Handwarmers by TrendyKnitting

I love cold weather.  I love sweaters and scarves.  I actually love coats and own about five, but that's just wishful thinking.  I only wore a coat about 3 nights last year.  And never during the day. I wish I could wear cute little knitted caps, but I get realllllly bad hat hair. Besides, my face is too pudgy.

Hug Me Sweater by DesignByNihan

It's a beautifully clear day in Los Angeles and I'm going to take a walk on the chilly beach!  Go out and have a great day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Did'ja See?

Over there on the right?  A new link to a great blog? Debbie Gootter not only has a super shop on Etsy, but she loves Etsy shop owners so much that she created a great blog to tell their stories.

She recently did a post on Jennifer Smith-Righter, a wonderful metal clay artist and a member of the Etsy MetalClay team.

Debbie's also featured other great crafter's such as: Lynette Andreasen, a Flickr contact of mine and a wonderful jewelry artist

Erika Kern of My Imaginary Boyfriend - I soooo love her faux log pillows

And the talented creators of Dali Decals - whimsical, removable tattoos for your walls.

It's really fun to be able to have a little peak into the lives of the artist's whose work we lust after.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy - Mixed Media Edition

1. Flammarion Vieira, 2. Union Ring, 3. eco-necklace - fused plastic necklace silk cord, 4. Red Dropper Necklace, 5. Kate Cusak, 6. Plan tranquilo, 7. IMG_3510, 8. Charm Swap 2, 9. paper wings, 10. Untitled, 11. Ball Bearing Transfiguration, 12. jigsaw necklace

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Look at all the interesting things these artists used to create jewelry. I love silver and mixed media. Such a lot of inspiration here. Enjoy! And have a creatively wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Get The Word Out!

It's really important to find creative and entertaining ways to promote your work, if you want to sell it that is.  The other day I read about a great giveaway idea in Beth Cyr's blog. Bookmarks! Simple, but genius. Print photos of your work, text from a poem you wrote or jewelry care information and of course your web site address.

MOO Cards

Moo Stickers

I already have some MOO cards and stickers.  I use the cards as little hang tags on the satin pouches I wrap my jewelry in, and put three stickers on the outside of the shipping envelope or box. Just a little tease of what's hidden inside.  The cool thing about these products is that if you order 100 stickers or cards, you can have 100 different images on them!

I like the idea of the bookmarks though. Everybody reads and everybody has to keep track of where they are in the pages without turning over a corner or breaking the spine of the book. So to have your name, work and contact information at the fingertips of your clients during a time when they're relaxed and enjoying themselves is a brilliant marketing tactic.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All Done!

And it couldn't have been easier!  The entire wait was less than ten minutes! And when I made it into the polling building I was delighted to find that my little neighborhood church was outfitted with the same old punch card equipment that we've been using for decades.  I get such pleasure from piercing the paper with that stylus, hearing the paper pop, feeling the resistance. And I made sure that there would be none of those silly hanging chads that changed the path of our country 8 years ago.

I brought my booklet with me, matched the numbers of my choices to the numbers on the ballot and inserted the stylus into the correct hole.  I was done in moments and back out the door before I knew it.  I was so excited that the experience was so seamless, that I left my keys and purse in the cubicle and had to go back for them. Silly bear.

Whatever the outcome, I'm really proud of our country.  Voters have come out in record numbers to assert their right to choose the leaders of the land. I know what I want to be talking about in the morning, but even if I'm not so pleasantly surprised, I can rest assured that I took an active part in this historic contest.

Kaizen Update

This was a tube bead made for a class on mirror finishing. I inserted a ball of wet felted wool made by my friend Jacqui, needle felted a small blue detail, sewed on a single matte pink bead and hung it on a piece of 14 gauge wire that I forged and soldered.  I then decided to forge the edges of the bead to add a bit more interest and texture.

My Kaizen Project is going really well.  I've made headway with my bits and pieces almost every day.  Some days I finish and fire greenware, and some days I make actual jewelry. Imagine that! 

This project is letting me be creative with materials that are already in my environment, forcing me to problem solve and allowing me to complete work that is a bit more straight forward than I might otherwise have designed.

These were two tiny beads made using a toothpick as a place holder, then embellished by water etching a scroll design onto the dry greenware.  I caught a fleeting glance of a great pair of earrings in the movie "The Duchess" and used them as my inspiration.  A single length of wire was inserted into the bead and bent until the ends met the holes in the lemon quartz beads.  A wire was then riveted to hold the assembly together.  Posts are soldered onto the back of the beads.  
~ Now available for sale in my Etsy Shop ~

I've made a Flickr folder for those of you who would like to follow along.  I fully intend to embrace the philosophy of making simple changes, completing small tasks, moving forward step by step until the project reaches a natural end.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chaos Theory

How does this happen?! I swear my desk/bench top was neat and clean on Thursday afternoon. Then Saturday morning I awoke to a disaster area. The governator really should have sent in Fima. I'm fully convinced it's the work of the same evil shop gnomes that steal sparkly things that fall to the floor and hide your tools just when you were reaching for them.

It took over two hours to get things back to a workable condition. But I guess there were some bits that really did need to be sorted and put away. I uncovered a teacup saucer that the gnomes had filled to the brim with dropped beads, jump rings, wire snippings, drill bits and other flotsam. I used a tweezer to separate everything into piles and then actually put each element away in it's designated container. Ephemera was either thrown out, filed or otherwise dealt with and books were put back on the shelf.

It's a joy just to walk in here now.  Perhaps I should leave a little toast and Brie out for those mischievous gnomes.  They deserve a little treat for *facilitating* the clean up.  Don 't they? Or will it just encourage them to future destruction? Hmmm.....