Friday, 28 February 2014

Clean-up Challenge

I want to thank Sharyl of  Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections for hosting this hop.

What an interesting concept it is - cleaning up a work space! Who knew what a great feeling it would be to succeed? For a list of other participants, please go here.

I am lucky enough to split my life between Canada and Mexico and that means that I have two work spaces. The only "problem" I have is that, in Mexico, my work space is very limited. I use a small table in my bedroom, to lay out my tools and materials, rather than my large dining room table. This means that I will always have a place to eat, but it also challenges me to keep my work table productive. My life is also somewhat complicated by my downstairs neighbour who does not enjoy listening to the sound of me hammering before noon.

I signed up for this challenge while I was home in Canada, not even considering that I might be away for the reveal. My spacious home workshop (five large tables - round, square and rectangular) is still in the process of a major clean-up, but there is always lots of surface space to spread out my tools and my materials. Due to a flood last summer, my basement was completely gutted and I am slowly working through the sorting and the cleanup. That is my work space situation in Canada.

But cleaning my work space in Mexico is another story. In a much smaller space, I must be able to access my tools and supplies, but I must still be able to occupy my bedroom (having somewhere to sleep is just as important to me as having an organized work space and I have been known to lay out a project on my bed --- my husband is not always impressed  -  with the condition of the bed I am sure and not my jewellery).

I have always been a naturally messy worker, but my life saver happens to be Ziploc bags and a sharpie marker. Everything goes into a bag and is identified. (cost, supplier, etc....) And - I try to put things away after I complete each project. This is very hard for me to achieve, but it is a very important element of being successful. I think that is the single most important tip I subscribe to. It is important to be both disciplined and to have a clean work space!



Only a few feet away from my work space, I have a large chest of four drawers that has served as a night table by my bed. It has now been requisitioned to hold many of my tools and supplies that are not in regular use. (And my Ziploc bag collection - of course.)
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge: Week Two

I entered the Earrings Everyday "We're All Ears" challenge for the first week of this multi-week Mojo challenge --- Click my post "We're All Ears Hop: February" for Week One of this Mojo challenge to learn more.


For week two - To quote Heather, the brains behind this wonderful multi-week challenge;

"Your Assignment:
Find a little stash of bead soup and make something with it.

Now, I would keep it simple and let the beads do the talking - remember the challenge is to get you making something - so don't think too hard about this.

There aren't any hard and fast rules for the challenge this week - just use what is in your bead stash."

Check out Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge for more details.
I want to thank Heather Powers of  Humblebeads for hosting this challenge.
I used the colour green as my unifying theme for this challenge. I have never intentionally made a bead soup so this was a new experience - I have been sorting my "spare" beads into bags by colour to try to get a handle on my stash. In addition to using the contents of my 'green' bag, I also pulled some of my gold coloured spacers and a pendant that I created some time ago. (It also had green as its predominant colour.).
It was difficult to use my self-restraint (since I have so little) and restrict myself to using the beads in the bag. After a few failed attempts (I kept running out of beads for my planned pattern) I achieved success. It felt good to finally be able to make this 'something' piece, while staying within the parameters of the challenge. I am happy with it --- hope you like it too.
Have a great day and good luck with the rest of the weeks in this challenge.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Tuesday Again ........

Welcome to Tuesday (and eye candy) - how do you keep up with social media and still find time to actually create? I am only trying to use Facebook, Pinterest and this blog - It seems that I get one going and the other 2 fall by the wayside. How about you?

I am beginning to like this space, but I am finding I spend more time here than I do actually making things that I wish to share with everyone. I can be somewhat compulsive (somewhat?) and that can be both good and bad.

"They" say social media is now necessary in today's world to succeed. I guess we all need to work on defining our meaning of success and figure what our definition actually looks like. I am still working on that, but for now I will go with the fact I find jewellery completely relaxing. I enjoy the challenge of learning and creating new things. And with this blog, I get the added enjoyment of sharing. How great is that? Maybe I am already successful - and just haven't realized it yet?

Here is your eye candy for Tuesday.......

Hi, all!

Have a great Tuesday. Enjoy!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Monday Monday .....

(click me if you wish to hear the song by the Mamas And The Papas)

There are no musical bones in my body - but I do like music. Way back when, I played the trombone and the glockenspiel in the junior high band. Since then, I have not created anything other than bad shower music (and yes, songs to my kids -  but they have to love your voice right? Right!)

I have this habit of remembering a line from a song and then using it to emphasize what I am saying (like the line 'Can't Stand that Day' when sung by the Mommas And The Papas). That is a good thing, because I rarely know more than one or two lines. Well enough rambling. And the link above? It does not have much of anything to do with this post, the song has just been in my head all day.

I have had the most incredible last few weeks. The feedback that I have received both here, on facebook, and in person, has been truly amazing. I feel a little bit like Sally Field must have felt like when she won her second Oscar at the Academy Awards - 'You like me. You really like me'. The positive vibe fairies must be flying overtime. I really appreciate all the good thoughts coming my way... but like everyone who experiences some success - this has created an issue for me - where do I go from here? There is so much I want to do, but choosing what I should do first, and then do second, well, you get the idea.

When I have so many ideas flying around in my head, it is hard for me to wrangle them into some semblance of order, So I am trying my very best to create a list of them, in an effort to make sure that none of my ideas slip  away.

And now the fun starts --- sawing shapes  ---  picking the ones I will move forward with.

There are old techniques that I already know, and many new ways to use them - like wire wrapping ends on kumihimo, maybe using kumihimo in wire or maybe adding beads. Oh, did I forget to mention that my crochet chain in wire is almost done ---  turn that into a necklace - or enhance it by adding beads. Oh my, I think I need another day or two in my week.

I want to work some more on hammered and formed pieces, on bezels (both plain and enhanced), on patinas too, and electroforming ideas are jumbled in there as well! And new materials, like fibre, intrigue me. Oh, how does all this work together? I really can visualize the final look - I just need to sit down, take a deep breath, and figure out how to make all of it. There are just so many finished pieces that are possible - but I do realize that I will need to take baby steps to get there.

Someone once told me that Rome wasn't built in a day. And they are probably right. Doing it right will take some time. Even though it's not very likely, I am still kind of hoping that I can find enough time to do everything that I can visualize, during this week, or perhaps next week at the very latest. I wish to do it all right now - today! Why does Monday have to end so soon? - Can't Trust That Day.

Here are some photos. Enjoy!

stick coral

simple clasp

gratuitous earring

And some of the metal shapes at various stages of completion...

shapes to saw and file

neck piece at back
earrings in front

the beginning of a chain


ready for enamel?
Thanks for visiting.....

Friday, 21 February 2014

We're All Ears Hop: February

Earrings Everyday is hosting a hop today inspired by this photo.......

Damselflies in Love
Photo credit: National Geographic, Yeo Weng Sang

I had intended to just watch this one from the sidelines, but after seeing some of the pieces, I decided to give it a try. I have been sawing and hammering copper lately, so thought I could work this into the challenge as well ----

Being a very literal minded person at times, my interpretation is a pair of wings ....

Just need to patina them in liver of sulfur to bring out the hammer marks (veining) and voila! a pair of wings fit for any bug (or ear).

Thursday, 20 February 2014

More Earrings

Here is another group of earrings - I like them better if I make most of the components (or at least intervene in their creation) --- I also seem to like shorter pairs since I do like over the top necklaces --- if I am not wearing a necklace I think the longer or larger earrings are more wearable.

(as if it were not obvious I have not added ear wires to all these pieces yet - some may have posts added instead - haven't decided yet)

oil pastel on copper

silver and resin

hammered copper

silver and green glass


glass on hammered headpin

silver and stone
Your feedback is always welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Editing Photos

I thought you might enjoy some photos I am editing.....  I am considering moving to Photoshop - what is your tool of choice for an editor?

wood, faux amber, bone, ....

multi strand sea shells and pearls

vintage bone

sea urchins and vintage faux amber

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

If Its Tuesday It Must Be Time For... "Eye Candy"

Working really hard at establishing a routine on my blog - I know it is important to post consistently but is regular content also important? - by that I mean publishing an entry every Monday on the same topic, for example--- I am not sure but I do like eye candy on Tuesday --- it is fun to look through my old pictures and find a few interesting pieces to show you. It will usually spark something in me and then I build another new piece or two using the photo as inspiration.

If you have been reading here for awhile (or even on my Facebook page), you might know that I am not a big fan of earrings (making not wearing) - I have made a few attempts at trying to improve my negative attitude, but I still don't seem to enjoy the process of making them.

So, I have decided to try to change my attitude by simply making lots of earrings, until I learn to enjoy making them as much as I enjoy making necklaces! Perhaps lots of practise will improve my attitude and with that goal in mind, I have decided to make a progression in styles. The first group (below) consists of simple wrapped loops --- the next group will consist of a hammered or balled head pin, and on and on and on...... At some point, multi dangles will appear, as will more complicated styles. By this using this approach, I hope to see the styles I really like to make and also learn what is not so appealing to me.

Here is my first group of simple wrapped loops;

In case you were curious, the backdrop used for these earrings was one of my shirts. Although I welcome your thoughts about using a shirt as a backdrop, I am much more interested in learning what you think of these earrings. I hope you enjoyed viewing these. More groups to follow!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Three Simple Pieces Plus One

I have been scanning through my posted photos and - surprise - I am pretty sure that most of my posts have been about "statement" pieces.

But what do I wear when I want to go to the grocery store? I could always wear a "statement" piece (you never know who you will meet in the vegetable aisle. Don't they even have singles nights at some supermarkets? Oh, but I digress.) --- but on days when I feel more calm, one of these will work just fine.

A single strand of beads with a pendant can look terrific (but still classy)!
These types of necklaces require some thought to look just right but they are so easy to wear. Just hook the clasp and go. Currently, I am hard at work learning new techniques that will allow me to make my own pendants. It is very satisfying to imagine a pendant, to design it and then be able to create it by applying chemical patinas or heat to change colours, or by using developing formfolding skills and even forging to hammer materials into new shapes.
I am really enjoying creating more of my own component pieces - commercial components are lovely and I will continue to use them, but I think jewellery has more heart when you put more of yourself into it.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Cleaning My Closet

I am almost certain that someone has been shopping, (and putting their clothes in my closet,) when I am not looking. I see things in there that I swear I have never seen before. Who would ever need six black pairs of pants? Apparently I do. LOL

Does anyone else have a tendency to unknowingly buy the same clothes over and over, just because? With my faulty memory, I do not intend for this outcome - but it happens.

I do not believe in the possibility that when I go shopping, that I might already own clothes like these at home. So, I am shocked when I open my closet doors and discover that I have duplicates, already there. Perhaps that could be the real reason why I swear someone is shopping and putting their stuff in my closet. But I do like what they buy.

This situation does not happen as often in other areas of my life! As you can likely tell, I make jewellery. A lot of jewellery. And as anyone with a crafting hobby will attest, you can never have too many beads, or too much fabric, or too much paint - you get the idea. The only problem, if you even admit to actually having a problem, is that you haven't had enough time to turn all your inventory into truly interesting, marvellous jewellery creations. Not enough time may be a problem, but having too many duplicate components is never a concern of mine. Or for that matter, is it  a concern for  any other jewellery maker that I know? This topic just never seems to surface as a problem for anyone making jewellery (or any other crafter for that matter.)

Well my closets have been sorted - now on to the jewellery supplies. Wish me luck!


Well, OK, maybe I still need to do some purging.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Taz, The Working Girl

I made this necklace for my daughter some time ago - it is made of turquoise and amethyst stones put together with a simple loop. - I really like this combination - more importantly RC likes it as well. She and I have very different taste in jewellery, so it is always a pleasure when she will actually wear a piece of my jewellery. RC always gives me great advice, and whenever I design to her specs, the piece is wonderful - and sometimes I even like it! Oh, by the way, this necklace can be taken apart and both sides can be worn separately.

I really try, when making jewellery, to make it as versatile as possible. I like to wear my jewellery in more than one way, so I just assume anyone wearing my jewellery will want the same thing.

"I think I need a rest"
One more shot
(sorry about the stylists hands)

Taz had a busy day sniffing things in the snow, chewing doggie biscuits, being scratched, and sleeping. So, modelling was not something she was terribly interested in when she got to "work". But she was a trooper.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Eye Candy

I am going to try this for a few weeks ---- I have had many positive comments so I think it bears repeating for awhile.

brooch, or pin,
originally used in Greek and Roman dress for fastening garments
(from the Encyclopedia Britannica)






Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

My Week With Robert Dancik

This past week has been an amazing experience. I spent the past 5 days with 6 terrific ladies plus a gracious gentleman and our instructor - Robert Dancik. Robert taught the eight of us how to use old (or not so old in some cases) materials in a new way and learn techniques to apply these materials to jewellery.

We spent the week exploring alternative materials and cold connections at the beautiful  Hacienda Mosaico, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Our hostess, Sam Leonard, took very good care of all of us. After devouring the tasty meals she served, with Robert's instruction and help, we experimented, designed and created some tremendous jewellery and components.

We also had time to leave Hacienda Mosaico and visit a local hardware store and a second-hand shop, where we collected some interesting "stuff" (rusty nails and rusty faces of the sun, moon, flowers and leaves made out of cast iron), which we put to good use during the week.

Day One, began with an explanation of what we needed to learn about using concrete as well as making solderless boxes.

concrete in a solderless box

natural concrete / dyed with shoe polish

Day Two, we worked with paper mache, epoxy putty and did some form folding of copper, but the techniques will work with any metal.

paper mache with epoxy putty

paper mache wrapped in polymer clay then faceted

Day Three, we focused on epoxy resin and faux bone. I used a torch that heated the faux bone which allowed me to change the white colour to various shades of brown.

faux bone
real bone in solderless copper half-box
Day Four, we used plexi-glass to make beads by doming 2 halves and then joining them together to fashion the bead. Even bike reflector pieces were incorporated into making lentil beads that actually would remind you of little flying saucers. (sorry no photos)

Day Five, was our chance to make creations using the materials and techniques that Robert shared with all of us! We set stones with tabs, worked with polymer clay and silver clay, learned how to do tube settings and how to create silicon molds. I did not complete any jewellery, but I am working on even more components. So, I will have finished pieces to show you in a few weeks. The beginning of three choices.... (Any suggestions?)



I want to thank Robert for his willingness to share so much info. I could not have asked for more. The best part of this amazing week, for me, was that we laughed, a lot, until our faces hurt. And for this I will be forever grateful. Next year can't come soon enough. I want to do it all again!