Tuesday, June 30, 2009


So much to tell! You may remember that I injured my foot last year, had surgery and couldn't walk on it for three months. Well, just try getting onto your couch after crawling about on the floor. I managed to devise a way to sort of catapult myself up, and broke the frame of said 14 year old couch into the bargain. I've been sitting on that broken, decrepit thing for the past year and finally took the plunge to... buy a new couch!!!

And on sale too. ;-) It'll be delivered tomorrow morning. So excited! The thing I like best is that I'll be able to change the look any time I want. In a Shabby Chic mood? Sew some slip covers. Want to create a Moroccan boudoir? New slip covers! Celebrating the 4th of July? Slip a flag around those white pillows. I'm a woman of many moods and this was the perfect find.

In more news, Saint Paige is having the most wonderful giveaway on her blog! Have you ever visited a professional blog that displays magical ever changing ads? They remind me of the portraits at Hogwarts. Well, they're relatively complicated to make if you don't know html and expensive to buy if you hire someone else to do it for you. But now you can have one for your own little shop to upload to any site you want to advertise on! The rules are really simple, so hurry on over and try for your chance at an animated ad of your very own!

Here's an example. There will be 6 different designs to choose from!

I also want to remind you that Holly Gage is looking for images for the 2010 edition of her Metal Clay calendar. The deadline is August 15. Seems like a long time off, but it will be here before you know it. And you want to give yourself enough time to take some really beautiful shots of your work. Or hire a pro to do it for you.

The Saul Bell Award committee has sent out a call for entries too. So there are lots of things to do to get your work noticed. I'll submit if you do. Whaddya say? 

Monday, June 29, 2009

Time Warp

2000 BC meets the Roaring Twenties! At least in my version of the One A Week challenge.

I arranged BronzeClay disks with my fingers to imitate the draped fabric that ancient Greeks used in their togas. Some are textured, some are not. I like the un textured ones best and am thinking about designing a line called LinenFold using the design.

Then I wired coral beads to symbolize the wheels of a gladiator's chariot.The reference to Flapper is in the style of necklace itself. I wanted to do a really long one, but frankly my fingers got tired of wrapping the 16g steel wire. next time I'll use silver.

I could swear that there was something else I wanted to tell you, but I can't remember what it was. If I think of it, I'll re post later this afternoon. I'll also do the links to the other challenge particiapants later. I have to run to the vet now. 
(edit.) If you go to Alisa's blog, she has photos and links. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting to know me..

I've been tagged, and amazingly I'm in the mood for a good tagging. I've been contacted before with lovely blog awards and other silly questionnaires and I just don't like these things, but I woke up in a mood and have been working on this for hours (seems like). Anyway.. Here's a look into my madness.

What is your current obsession?
Anything old, decrepit, peeling, rusty, weather worn...  I'm really looking at all kinds of textures at the moment. Plants, walls, earth, skin... I love it all.

What is your weirdest obsession?
I *have* to have dry, clean hands. So when I'm washing the dishes, preparing a meal of some kind (wash lettuce - wash hands; cut chicken - wash hands; toss salad with a fork and one hand - wash hands etc) or anything else with steps - I'm continually rinsing and drying my hands. Even if I get them dirty again within a minute. The first things to get dried after a shower are my hands too. Is that so wrong?

What are you wearing today?
Right now? Jammies from Lane Giant. Cute grey and black flowers on a field of cream and an off the shoulder black t shirt.

What would you eat for your last meal?
Ooh, 3 way tie. Yummy sushi of almost any kind, poached salmon with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes or some sort of game steak from Saddlepeak Lodge. Mmmm!!!

What's the last thing you bought?
Probably Blue Potato Chips from Trader Joes! Oh, no - Coffee by the grassy knoll. (not Dallas)

What are you listening to right now?
Blessed silence.

What is your favorite ice-cream flavour?
Toss up between Ben And Jerry's Cherry Garcia and almost anything with chocolate. The chocolate hazelnut gelato from the new shop on Abbot Kinney is lovely!

What do you think of the person who tagged you?
Christine inspires me so much. She was a student, who became a friend and is doing so well making and selling her lovely jewelry. She's really found her niche.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Well, if anyone were to drop a house on my head I suppose I'd like it to be right here in Venice. There are some really wonderful craftsman's around here. If I were well off enough to get my own house, then I assume I'd also be well off enough to not have to worry about making a living. In which case I might move to Maine (love the coastline) or Scotland (love the green) or maybe Portland (love the weather). Not that I've been to any of those locations.

The Scottish Coast

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
1/2 hour in Brittany and 1/2 hour in Melbourne. Not much time for tea in a half hour though. :* { Someone REALLY needs to invent a transporter. Stat!

What is your favorite colour?
Oh, green. Definitely green. Pea soup green to be exact. Or maybe chartreuse. Or perhaps pale, pale  dusty aqua. But I'm thinking of doing my bedroom red!

Which language do you want to learn?
French. I took it twice in high school and it never stuck. Although I can still recite an entire 'conversation' verbatim (Tu connais Michele?). And I still have the textbook, covered in the dust jacket to my Mother's "La Rousse Gastronomique" cook book. Got in big trouble for that one.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
I just got a lovely designer t-shirt at the Contemporary Crafts Market last month by Jane Mohr of Dress To Kill. I'd like to have an entire wardrobe of her pieces. Lottery? Anyone?

See that white shirt sticking out of the jacket? Mine's like that only slate blue with a floral twining vine design. Love the trailing sides.

What's your favourite magazine?
I found something called "Big Style - 100 decorating ideas for small rooms" a million years ago at the grocery store and have never seen it since. Shame. I also love American Craft.

Favorite Blog?
At the moment I'm obsessed with The Paris Apartment. I want to move into it's "pages".

Favorite genre of book?
Definitely historical novels. More of my "fly on the wall" fantasy. I don't REALLY want to go back in time though. Need my modern conveniences if you get my drift.

If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
Either a down payment on a new printer that does beautiful photgraphs or disk cutters.

Favorite artist/s?
Just discovered Kathleen McCloud last night while doing a search for floating world. I wanna go to Santa Fe to see her work in person I love it so much. This would look fabulous over my couch.

Origin of Bees via Santa Fe Poetry

What's your favorite season and why?
For a native Los Angelean it's amazing how much I do *not* like the heat! So winter is my favorite season. I crave thunder storms and wind and overcast days. I spent a week in Boston during a blizzard once and had the best time!

Describe your personal style?
Comfy. Sleek. Unfussy. Leaning towards classic. But I wanna start verging towards artsy and overblown. I wanna be an eccentric old lady.

What are you going to do after this?
Have breakfast and do the damn dishes!

What are your favourite movies?
West Side Story for the wonderful Bernstein music and Jerrome Robbins choreography (sorry Sondheim lovers - the lyrics are totally beside the point with me) and Lion In Winter. Kate Hepburn never looked so good (love her hair down). The perfect dysfunctional family story. This is my favorite scene. (...but you'd shock the children)

What's your favourite fruit?
I love watermelon, Fuji apples, Kiwi and Blackberries. 

What inspires you?
Like Christine - other peoples enthusiasm. And unexpected discoveries.

What music do you like this week?
I've blogged about her before, but I'm still liking fado singer Mariza. And I was recently reminded that I can download Podcasts of Morning Becomes Eclectic which is great alternative music. Unfortunately I don't know any of the younger set's popular favorites, so NPR is a great way to stay current.

What is your dream job?
I think I have my dream job. ;-)

What are you working on right now?
Nothing. I'm blocked. : {

What is stopping you?
The only thing that ever stops me is my own dysfunctional brain. 

If you could change something in the world to make it a better place what would that be?
Again, I think Christine got it right. Tolerance. People need to learn how *not* to sweat the small stuff. Choose your battles people. 

What do you have planned for tomorrow?
No Plans. Take it as it comes.

The rules :
1. Respond and rework; answer the question on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add one more question of your own.
2. Tag eight other people.

I'm Tagging:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

OAW - Splash...

... From the past. This week's PR challenge is imported from Canada! Specifically Season 1, episode 8. The designers were given the task of creating a swim suit inspired by Geisha, Marie Antoinette, Gypsy, Punk or Flapper fashion. They also not only had to design for their usual models, but for the plus size market too! Score one for the big girls. ;-)

Not my idea of punk, but one of the better plus size suits.

To see the whole show go here and scroll to find Project Runway Canada Season 1 Episode 8 part 1 of 5. Then move on to parts 2 though 5. Much too much fun!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


There's got to be a morning after, right? Well - sad to say, my little fox tail earrings lost their winter coat. I wore them to my interview, grocery shopping, out for a two hour coffee and after all that they finally had to give up the ghost.

But they brought me luck! I'll be teaching at the Creative Arts Group starting in October. So if all you Los Angeleans could please spread the good news, I'd appreciate it. I'll be posting the classes on my blog later this morning. Hope to see some of you there! And I don't think I announced that I'll also be teaching at The Beading Place in Orange County (Tustin to be exact) beginning this summer! Schedule already posted.

This gorgeous whistle is by my lovely friend Donna Penoyer!

In other swell news, photos of my work were chosen for the 3rd edition of the PMC Guild Annual. The third edition and my third time in it!!! So exciting. Saint Paige will also have some of her gorgeous jewelry in it (thanks go to our wonderful Photog) along with four other members of the Etsy MetalClay team. Celie Fago, Jennifer Smith-Righter, Ruth Baille and Liz Hall. Congratulations to all of the wonderful artists whose work will be featured! Look here to see all the artists. Can't wait till August to see the book!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Flower Power!

What a lovely morning I've had so far!! And it's only 7:30. Nice. ;-)

This week's challenge was "Flower Power". Visit a flower market or shop and find materials to make a piece of jewelry. I just visited my neighbor's yards. Anything that stuck out past the fence I considered fair game! 

I finished my One a Week project and took photos. I love the way these turned out. I'm going to wear them to an interview! Think they'll think I'm a little nuts?

Each of these components was just so lush that I had to use them both. The grass looks like the tail of a red fox. I petted it the whole way home. And the purple flowers are so velvety. I can totally see them adorning a fabulous Fin de Siecle hat on it's way to a garden party.

The little silver caps are of course metal clay festooned with flowers and vines. Be sure to visit Alisa, Rachel, Mike and new player's Victoria and Nina to see what fabulous things they came up with.

While I was uploading the photos onto Flickr, Susan Dilger FB'd to tell me my Woodland Altar was featured on Metal Clay Magic,  a wonderful new blog by Wendy McManus dedicated to metal clay. Such a sweet surprise.

My interview later this morning is at Creative Arts Group in Sierra Madre California. Wish me luck. I'd love to teach there. A great facility, with an especially tempting gift shop. Gotta love it.

Wonder what the afternoon will bring. It has a lot to live up to. Have yourself a lovely day as well.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Tribal Edition

Inspiration from the timeless present.  

Do look at The Ornamentalist, Hammer, Stitch, Burn and Chocolate and Steel to see what inspiration lurks in their worlds. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Welcome To The Carnival!

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:

Who or what is your most influential historical metalsmith or metalsmithing tradition?

Well, I hardly think that anyone who has ever viewed my work can miss the fact that I'm highly influenced by ancient cultures and traditions. I love history. The romantic side of history at least (the political bits I can do without). I love the clothes and the furniture and the architecture and would love to be a fly on the wall if "they" ever invent a time travel machine. I've been known to watch a "Secrets of the Dead" marathon on PBS because I'm just fascinated by the lives of the subjects.  I'm sort of a cross between an anthropologist, archaeologist and psychologist wanna be.

About 15 years ago I began to design my own gothic alphabet and started a pillow business using Illuminated Manuscript art that I hand painted onto gessoed linen. I actually sold three of them! Not everyone was as enraptured as I was evidently. 

So it was no big surprise when I started making jewelry that I used themes from the past. In my quest to simplify my life, I've also been trying to simplify my decor and jewelry style. But I'm failing miserably. The walls in my house could compete with any Victorian parlor and I can't help adding "just one more little detail" to my designs. Oh well. Learning to be happy with one's foible's is the secret of a successful life isn't it?!

Be sure to visit the other Carney's to see what makes them tick.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Little Time Wasting Gift To you!

We love Etsy. We love blogs. We love silly products that make us smile. Now we can find all three in one convenient location! Kraftomatic was conceived by Marion Lizzie the editor in chief of Perigee Books. Gotta love an exec with a sense of humor. The commentary alone will keep you in (crochet) stitches.

Many thanks to Marthe Le Van of Lark Books for her hi-lar-ious post this morning on Facebook! I'll be smiling all day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Natural Woman

Well, my nature themed Eye Candy must have been prophetic. This week's OAW challenge is from season 2, episode 9. Flower Power. Perfect for this old hippie wanna be. ;-)

The PR designers were turned loose in the flower district to gather their raw materials, I think I'll scope out some of my neighbors garden's. No... I'll be good and go to the farmer's market... or Ralphs. The grocery store has flowers, right? So hard to find nature in a city made of cement.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Use Your Imagination...

Well, Paige used the wide angle lens by mistake and stood too close while snapping the shutter, so unfortunately the pic is  out of focus - but at least you can see just how creative my guild chapter is! 

Top row: the red one in the upper left is completely covered in seed beads, the larger blue one with the heart has a wooden top, kind of like the false roofline fronts on buildings in the old west, the pink one has a naked flapper lady and was embellished with big rhinestones "borrowed" from the costumers from Dancing With The Stars, the animal print one was made by a member who owns more animal print than Tarzan. ;-)

Second row: The first one was a really intricate collage, the second in this row had five sides covered with polymer clay caning so the inner box operated like a little drawer complete with handle, the daisy one was made using a Cuttlebug embossing machine and had a Swarovski "drawer pull", another collage embellished with beads and snakes if I remember correctly, I loved the feathers on the next one, and the one on the very bottom was mine. Made with a piece of very thin etched copper that I bought on Etsy and a piece cut from a die cut greeting card.

The insides and walls of the inner boxes were all decorated and covered too. Some of the little trinkets were wrapped in tissue and were all so lovely. I really liked this trade and hope we do another one soon.

I'm gonna play with some CopprClay today. Planning on doin' a little sketchin' too. Imagine that. Designing a piece with some forethought. The times, they are a changin'. ;-) 

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Never Ending Organizer

Yesterday was our local PMC Guild meeting. Sooo fun. We each decorated a match box and stashed little surprises inside to trade. People were so creative! Paige took a pic and I'll see if she can send it to me so I can show you.
We also all brought odds and ends of supplies, trash, treasures, just stuff we didn't appreciate in hopes that someone else would discover their worth. Marsha brought a beautiful wooden file cabinet that her Mother was donating to GoodWill and I took it home! Score.

Unfortunately it didn't fit in either of the small spaces I had hoped to house it in. I tried it under my desk, but it was just 1/2 inch too tall! I had actually decided to re gift it myself, when I remembered that my desk is on adjustable legs from Ikea. But the thought of clearing off my desk top, moving two bookcases and denuding the floor of my studiolo was too daunting and I let the whole matter rest for a couple of hours before picking my lazy butt off the couch and tackling the mess. 

Excellent work out! I highly recommend moving all your furniture about all by yourself. Better than hiring those trainer people on the NBC torture show (Biggest Loser). Seriously. I haven't sweated that much in years.

But it was totally worth it, even if it *is* a tight fit. Why I didn't move the computer slider over an inch while I had the desk on its side is beyond me. Lord knows I'm not taking everything apart again. I'll just live with it. And be really mindful when I want to use the laptop.

Now I just have to put away all the little piddly bits and pieces, sort out about 30 individual beads that I discovered buried in the rug and re arrange the tools on my desk top before I can get to the fun part. I just love organizing files, putting things in boxes and containers and making objects line up perfectly.

Then I hope to get to some serious metal clay play. But then the armoir needs to be cleaned out and there's a big pile for the Salvation Army at the door, and really my bathroom could stand a cleaning and...... Arrgh. It's just never ending isn't it.    ;-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Nature's Inspiration Edition

Inspiration comes from many sources, but I bet they all can be traced back to good old Mother Nature. Most of these are pretty literal, but try tracing an outline and breaking it apart, cutting it up to re arrange it, flip it back to front, mix it with another tracing... Instant modern art. What are your favorite sources of inspiration?

Let's see what Paige, Christine and Michelle have been inspired by this week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Famous Last Words

Well, I don't know about the "famous" part, and the"last" is debatable. ;-) But here are some "words" - to be sure.

My beautiful new Eric Silva earrings

Just doing the Contemporary Crafts Market was inspiring. Putting together my booth, gathering up my existing jewelry, seeing it all together in one place... So inspiring that I've closed my Etsy shop and am going to work on some new ideas in preparation of a grand re opening later this summer. 

Since I've considered myself a teacher and not necessarily a maker, I realized a few key things that are important to effective selling. 

• People like pieces that go together. If I use blue stones on a necklace, but red stones on the "matching" earrings, they're not really matching are they? 
• Many pieces with a uniting theme create a "line". Each of my jewels are simpatico with the others, but it wasn't really a cohesive table of goods.
• I can create a unique line that is comprised entirely of one offs (if I so desire).
• Numbers count. I had just enough work to fill my tiny space (5' x 6'), but only about three extra necklaces and 6 pairs of earrings to re stock what sold. Next time I'll figure out exactly how much I need to lay out at the beginning of the show and make sure I have at least half again as much for back stock. Maybe even double.
• Creative re arranging worked really well by the third day of the show. Re arranging the table each day not only changes the look, but it invited me to take a look at my "show stoppers" in a new light. I actually liked my set up on Sunday more than the one I started with on Friday. And there are those patrons who might come to a show multiple times. If the table has been altered they may see things that they missed the first time around.

I did a few things that I really liked and think definitely worked for my booth.

Yes, it's laying on my unmade bed. So?

• I used an under mount computer keyboard slider to hold a drawer that I stocked with pens, tissue, bags, sales slips, knuckle buster, calculator etc. Didn't have to turn my back on a customer (or potential thief) to ring up or wrap up the sale.

• I took a "quick and dirty" picture of every piece of jewelry that I brought and printed them out on a contact sheet along with the coordinating inventory number and price. That way if a price tag got lost Paige or Ellen (who spelled me for a couple of hours on Friday) would know how much to charge. We also crossed out the picture when the item sold. Easy visual inventory tactic.
• Customers looooved the Moo Cards! Thought they were so cute, they took two. Great publicity - even if they didn't buy. Maybe they'll put them up on the fridge and will be encouraged to buy something in November.
• My booth neighbor printed her postcards with two images side by side and positioned the printing on the back to one side and the other. Then cut them down the middle to make two smaller postcards. Great for the "cute" factor - great for the wallet. I'm sooo stealing this idea for my next show.
• I remembered to bring pliers "just in case". When the ear nuts on a pair of post earrings kept falling off, I was able to tighten them. And a friend was able to change out a clasp for a customer. She came all the way over to my booth to borrow the pliers because "I knew you would have them. You're a teacher". No, just a girl scout. Always prepared.

• Thought I was really clever by using "today's menu" clips from a restaurant supply to hold thin wood pieces from Jo Ann's to display earrings. You can get them in black and silver. I might spray paint them with chalkboard paint to dull the shine. 
• Since I wasn't allowed to put tape on the wood paneled wall behind my booth, I was pretty chuffed to have thought to hang photos on the wrought iron, 3 paneled screen from my bedroom. Next time I want to figure out a way to fit it into risers so the photos are higher up on the wall.

• Loved that the 14" wide laminated photos printed at Staples were only about $20.00 for three! Thanks for the tip Christine.
• Museum putty was soooo my friend. 

So now I'm just working on getting my life back to normal, take care of everyday business that I neglected and am looking forward to my time back at the bench with all my new found enthusiasm. I'll post what I'm working on soon enough. Hope to see you at the Grand Re Opening!

Booth Me Baby!

The first morning of the show, I got to the Civic Center early so I could walk around and see all the naked booths. They were all sooo different. Some really elaborate, some really simple.

Keennon / Shaw Designs

Love the oriental rugs and flowers out front. Makes it look so inviting.

Any fabric used in a display must be treated with fire proofing. Too much muss and fuss for me.

I really like the simple booths the best I think. My current creative crush - Eric Silva - had the simplest of them all. Unfortunately I neglected to take a pic. It was just a door from Home Depot, with what I thought was white butcher paper covering it. He laid the jewelry pieces flat on it and wrote the price next to them in pencil. He made each piece stand out by slipping a piece of thin wood veneer underneath. Earrings were on a home made fixture. I'm thinking it might have been the round side of a bamboo steamer with a dowel fixed through the upper third. So inventive. So cost effective! 

Here's what I came up with. Saint Paige cobbled the high table together for me using 1x6 planks from HD and Ikea legs. The two scrolley iron side tables were nipped from my living room as was the screen which displays my photos. All the wood tablets are from Michael's and the lovely earring display is from Moxie Metal on Etsy.



I obviously have to get another light for the short table. And as much as I love the look of the metal side table supports, I think I'd like to raise them up to the level of the 6 foot table. Might have to get in touch with some old contacts to steal me a couple of apple boxes (movie industry term). All in all, I had a great time and will definitely be sending in my application for the November show later this week.