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Friday, December 31, 2010

Hearts Of Love For Valentines

I've been bending wire again.  This time I've been busy creating hearts.  These will be oxidized to look aged and to add depth, then polished, and work hardened.  Once they are completed they will be included in some necklace designs. I'll post more pictures of the hearts as the jewelry is completed.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Copper Earrings In My Etsy Shop $24.00

My last post showed you a picture of copper hoop earrings that were still incomplete.  Here is a picture of both pairs that I made, before the final steps.

Yesterday, they were dunked into a bath of liver of sulphur.  They sure turn black.

Then fine steel wool was used to restore some of the beauty of the copper color, but left the oxidization in the nooks and crannys to add depth.  Finally, they took a ride in the tumbler to remove any sharp edges, harden the metal so they will retain their shape and added a pretty shine.

The larger pair measures 2 1/2" in length from the top of the ear wire and 1 1/4" in diameter.  These are now in my Etsy shop so someone can add them to their collection of hand crafted jewelry.  The other pair are spoken for.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Photography Studio and Unoxidized Copper Earrings

Today, I finally made time to test my new Cowboy photography studio.  It came complete with several colors of background cloths, each with there own set of creases.  I went searching for my iron and ironing board, figured out how to set the board up and dusted it off.  Do people still iron?  Well, those creases were very stubborn.  Since the background cloths are plastic I decided it would be wise to put a kitchen towel on top.  But the creases were still there. Grrrr.  So, I took a couple layers of wet paper towels and laid them on top of the kitchen towel.  The first attempt failed, the second attempt showed progress and finally the background cloth was acceptable. I win! 

No adjustments from my PC

Light adjusted from my PC

I set the table top studio on my student table and placed the lights around the outside.  Then tried to figure out how to set up the funky easel that came with the studio and then attached my camera.  I set the settings on close up and turned off the flash.

I have been working on some hoop earrings, so I have used them for my first experiment.  The earrings are not complete.  I still need to file some ends, give them a bath in liver of sulphur, polish with steel wool and give them a ride in the tumbler.  For now the picture shows 16 ga copper that was hammered and textured and wrapped around a 7/8" wooden dowel, with handcrafted earwires and jump rings.  I'll post a picture of the completed earrings as soon as they are ready.

In the picture below I used a piece of scrapbook paper as the back ground.  I love the blues with copper.

No adjustments from my PC

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

On the eve of the birth of a remarkable Child I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, filled with joy and hope and miracles.  Watch, accept and embrace, as the children around you and the child within you overflow with the special gifts of love, happiness and prosperity.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Free Wire Wrapped Leather Ends Tutorial From Erin Siegel

I'm so excited!  One of my blogging buddies, Erin Siegel has posted a  free wire wrapped leather ends tutorial.  This tutorial is very clearly written with lots of excellent pictures to follow.  All you will need is a desire to learn, some wire and a piece of leather and you will be able to make this fantastic necklace cord, or shorten it for a bracelet.  Then add a charm or a pendant and 'tah dah!'  you'll have a piece of hand crafted jewelry. Hmmm, I think I have some purple leather in my stash...ideas, ideas!

Erin and Lorelei  are in a creating frenzy.  They each have their own blog, but now they have jointly created a new blog called Jewelry Accord  and it is fab-you-lus!  I know that I will be reading it on a regular basis and I won't be missing any of their posts.

Oh, and here's some more exciting news from Erin  "We will be doing a giveaway coming up this week! thank you!"  Now, that got my attention!  How about you?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Photo Kit Held Hostage

My new Cowboy Studio table top photography kit is being held hostage at UPS.  According to the voice on the phone, the ransom note, err postcard with release information was mailed to me.

Now think about this, I said to the voice on the phone.  If the package can't be delivered because the address is incorrect, how is the post card going to be delivered?  Geeish!  Where were they when they handed out common sense?  The voice said a verbal change of address isn't an 'option' without the reference number on the card.  I repeated to the voice; 'You mean the card that was mailed to the incorrect address?'  A quite 'oh' came from the voice.

Breathe!  It will all work out I said to myself.  But the little kid inside of me wants her photo kit NOW!    I am certain that the good folks at Cowboy Studios will make a call and agree to the terms on the ransom note, err postcard and get my photo kit delivered to my studio safely.  I really want to get some pictures taken so I can post my new pieces for you all to check out.  There's still way too much snow outside for me to venture out for a decent photo session.  Burrrr.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ice Resin My New Material and Approach for 2011

Recently, I read a blog post from Create Tucker titled 'Whats New With You?  They raised the question to artists and artisans “What new material or approach are you planning to explore in 2011?”  Well, that made me think that perhaps its time to explore an art medium outside of my wire and metal box.  I love to experiment, especially with jewelry.

I love to look at other jewelry artists creations and the materials that they use.  I have become inspired with the resin pieces some of my wonderful colleagues are creating.  They are truly beautiful.  It gave me the thought of incorporating my wire designs with resin pieces.  The ideas seem endless.

The DVD "Exploring Resin Jewelry Making" with Susan Lenart Kazmer is excellent!  Susan explains and shows all the details needed to work with Ice Resin.  This DVD has many techniques and left me feeling confident that I could achieve unique and positive results with this medium.  You can order this DVD from Fundametals.net.

The book 'Beyond the Bead' by Margot Potter has been in my library for over a year.  And the cover pair of earrings has inspired me.  Margot uses Diamond Glaze to coat and protect her image that is placed on chipboard.  However, I have been reading the blog  Something Sublime by Deryn Mentock.  Who by the way does breath taking jewelry.  Deryn uses Ice Resin for her work.  She has a video tutorial on how to use it on her blog a http://somethingsublime.typepad.com/something_sublime_from_th/2010/11/ice-chips-ice-resin-1-ounce-application.html

Of course, I have ordered ice resin from Fundametals.net and it is now sitting patiently in my studio.  This morning I ordered some chipboard disks from The Moon Glade Garden on Etsy.  As soon as I receive them I'll have what I need to start to play and see how I like the new medium.  As my experiments unfold, I'll post pictures, with my successes and yes my blunders, here on my blog.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Decision for a Table Top Photography Kit

Boy, it was a challenge trying to actually order a table top photography kit.  I finally made my decision based on an easy checkout process and of course the cost.  Oh, yeah and I love the name, it's a  Cowboy Studio.  I think it's fun.  I play an accountant in real life, so deciding on a purchase based on it's name is not logical.  But, other common sense information did factor into my decision. 

Through my time spent researching on the internet, I found what appears to be the exact same setup sold under several different names.  Cowboy Studio, LS, Sunpak, Square Perfect and Digital Concepts kits look the same to me.  The difference varies with the price, some descriptions are vague, and the shipping costs can be expensive.  Some were less expensive than the Cowboy Studio, but when I added the shipping fees to the other places there were often some expensive surprises.  I was getting more and more frustrated with each web site.  Finally at Cowboy Studio, the price for the product was a bit higher, but the shipping was lower and the deciding factor for me was the ease with checkout.  I just loved it when I saw they accepted Paypal.  Whenever someone buys my jewelry, their purchase money goes into my Paypal account and then I use that money for most of my purchases.

The kit comes with a soft tent (box), 2 lights, a device to hold my camera and a carrying case. I did decide on the smaller 16" x 16" table top photo kit for $48.23.  Since I will be using it for jewelry, I really don't need anything larger.  Plus this size will cost me less money.  When I receive my new photography kit I'll test it out and post some results.  I will no longer need to go outside to my snow covered porch to take picture...ahhhh.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Learning To Photograph Jewelry

I found this video on jewelry photography on YouTube.  It's terrific!  There's a part 2 that I haven't down loaded, because I'm technically challenged, but you can find it on http://www.youtube.com/ by searching jewelry photography, or search table top photography.  I am in the very early stage of learning and thought I would write about my learning curve here in blog land. Maybe, someone else would benefit from my quest. And so I have found http://www.youtube.com/ to be a terrific place for free tutorials on photography. They are of course trying to sell their products and I'm not here to endorse. In fact I think there are less expensive table top photo studios out there for sale.  I will write about the prices I find later, as well as the one I will eventually purchase. So look for more posts on this subject during the next few weeks. I'm planning on a Christmas gift of a table top photo studio from me to me.   Just a hint of prices, I'm heading for less than $50 for a complete setup that includes the lights. I've seen similar setups for several hundred dollars. I figure I'll go with the less expensive, especially during my initial learning adventure.  Years ago, I bought a table top photo box.  It worked pretty well.  Then I packed up my world and moved.  Somewhere, somehow, my table top box didn't make the move. So my quest for more knowlege and equipment is on my goal list.

If you've looked at my pictures here on my blog or on my on line shop, you may have thought 'not bad', or perhaps 'not so good'. That's because I'm not a professional photographer. The whole process mystifies me. I've often wondered why the background of a picture is blue when I shot the piece of jewelry on a white table cloth.

When I moved to my new home and studio here in the Appalachian mountains I was delighted to see how well my pictures were turning out. They were taken outside on my covered porch with natural light. I thought I hit the lottery. Until.....the snow started to come down and down and down. So outside photography became very wet and very cold. And so I began to think, perhaps I needed to learn more about photography. As Olivia age 3, my great niece would say '"I don't want to!".   I have no real interest other than capturing memories and happy moments and of course pictures of my jewelry to show to you and to those who buy my jewelry. So it now has become a necessity.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Artyzen License Plate & How I Named My Studio

A few weeks ago I finally registered my vehicle for my new home state of West Virginia.  Since I had a vanity tag in Virginia I decided to do the same here.  I was given a 'loaner' tag to use until my official tag arrived.  I finally received my new tag.  I am thrilled.

I came up with the name for my tag and studio a few years ago.  I had wanted a vanity tag for years, but nothing felt right.  One day I was leaving my work and Zen popped into my thoughts.  I thought 'hey, that's a good word for the end of a word, because it sounds like 'san'.  So for days  I played with words that had that sound on the end.  Then driving down the road it came to me 'artisan'.  Of course!  It's so logical.  How could I not have thought of it?  Why did it take so long?  

So I ordered a tag when I lived in Virginia, but it had a hyphen.  Now in West Virginia there isn't a hyphen.  I think it's very symbolic.  It's as if the hyphen said  'almost'.  The Art and the Zen being sorta' connected. Now my physical creative self is connected to my spiritual self.  It says 'complete and ready'.

Monday, December 6, 2010

You Can Now Subscribe To My Blog

You can now subscribe to my blog and the latest post will come to you automatically.  No more needing to take the time to go to the blog, it will come to you.  Too cool.  Each day I learn something new about blogging.  I don't really understand how it works, but I'm grateful for those brilliant techies out there who are making our lives easier. 

If you want to subscribe, it's easy.  Just click on the button 'posts' next to this icon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Art Fairs and 2011 Schedule

Now is the time to get my calendar setup for next year for the art fairs that I want to participate.  This is a huge deal because there are applications, jewelry to submit to their jury panels, in-order to be accepted and then all the planning, organizing and of course inventory to make.

A Booth at the Buckwheat Festival
Last Sunday I went to Buckhannon, WV to scope out the fair at the National Guard Armory.  My sister, niece and I piled into my vehicle for a road trip and a girl day.  You know...shopping and eating.   I was happily surprised at the size of the fair and for the full parking lot.  As we walked around looking at so much eye candy, I was doing a bit more than shopping.  I wanted to see if their were tons of jewelry vendors and if they did wire and metal.  There were 2 jewelry vendors and our styles are very different.  This is fantastic news.  I spoke with folks running 3 different booths.  Or I should say they spoke with me.  When I mentioned  that I would be having a booth next year they welcomed me with open arms.  I felt like I was immediately part of their extended family.  They all volunteered information of the successful fairs in the area, like the Buckwheat Festival and the Appalachian Festival.  One lovely lady told me about a terrific shop that would take my items on consignment. 

Appalachian Festival

When I got on the internet to check out their leads I was thrilled with what I found.  There is this fantastic list of fairs in this area.  So now to get busy and start collecting applications.  Over the next few months I'll keep you up to date on my progress and on the jewelry I'll make for these shows.

Appalachian Festival

Appalachian Festival
On our way home we were laughing so much that I didn't slow down when the speed limit changed, while coming into town. There was this mysterious flashing light off to the side of the road. You guessed it! They got me. For some reason we gals kept laughing, as I pulled over. He wasn't a local county police officer. He was the State police. Yikes! These guys are so darn serious. Good news! My sister knew him (It's a very small town). He turned out to be very nice and asked if he should give me a breathalyzer test. I think because we were laughing. Most folks would typically be serious.  No I didn't get a test, but he did give me a warning ticket. Whew! He said I was going a little hot! So now I can say I got a ticket for speeding on a mountain road. Dah! I won't do that again.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My House Christmas Lights At Night

I took Sadie out for her walk before bed.  Since this is my first Christmas in my home here in the mountains I thought I'd take some pictures.   Burrr it's cold out there.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snow, Santa and Sadie

Yesterday, I finished the Christmas touches on the outside and inside of the house.  My first Christmas here in the mountains.

My studio door is to the left.  If you look outside you'll see the beginnings of a snow storm.

What a beautiful and perfect day!  It's snowing! The weather dude says 2" to 4".  It's time for my snow boots and for the long handled brush to go into my vehicle.

Sadie is not thrilled about getting her feet wet and cold.

Here's a picture of the outside Christmas decorations.  The wreaths, bushes, gutters, coil trees light up.  That makes me happy.

There's Sadie looking at the snow flakes coming down. 
Right now the snow is really coming down. I just came back inside from walking Sadie. Only 5 minutes ago there were only a few flakes. Whew! Perfect timing!  Sorry I don't have a picture of the current big flakes, but it's cold out there, but it's really pretty to watch from inside where it's warm and cozy.