Friday, July 31, 2009

Coffee with Russ and bronze metal clay

It was quiet yesterday around these parts. I was busy working most of the day in the studio. When it's quiet, I start to think and realized I hadn't had a conversation with Russ lately and I hadn't updated you on the money

This morning, I made a cup of coffee and Russ and I went out onto the back patio just outside my studio to check out the new grass.

Ok, so watching grass grow isn't very exciting but after the mud and sink holes, I DO find it exciting.

I know, I need to get a life!

So, with all that excitement, what's a girl and Russ to do? Get back into the studio and be creative!

Yesterday, I worked with the bronze metal clay while Russ watched, cheering me on in his laid-back-ponytail-way.

So, I've finished off the coffee, time to get back to the bronze metal pieces. What are you up to in your studio? Have you seen Russ lately?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Giveaway: Summer 2009 issue of Step by Step Wire and Earrings

Since I'm in this month's Step by Step Wire, I'm going to give away a copy of the magazine and a set of the post earrings I made for the photo shoot. The earrings are petite, 21mm in length (approximately 3/4 inch) and made of 20 gauge wire. The step by step directions on how to make them are in the magazine. A quick and easy project!

Here's a picture of one of the earrings I took while I was shooting photos for the magazine. It's made of my favorite bronze colored wire!

Tell me why you think you should get a copy of Step by Step Wire - maybe you live in a place that doesn't carry it or maybe you're learning wire or would like to learn wire techniques or you love the earrings and want to make them!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rings of Summer: Frosted Pear

I created up this bracelet using my Frost Links in Pear and used plain wire links made of bronze colored wire to link them together. It's called the Rings of Summer because the green and bronze color remind me of the lush greens of trees and bushes. It's about 6 and 3/4 inch long and has a handmade clasp. I've been wearing it around the house to make sure it wears well and is very comfortable. It is. It's not a bracelet that hangs down - it fits right to the wrist.

I've put a buy it now button with the picture because it's ready to put up on my website but I won't have time to do it this morning. The buy it now button is quicker and if you like it, you can buy it where you see it.

What do you think of putting up a link to purchase right off the blog? Especially since I usually don't put items up very quickly on my website (good intentions but it takes always longer than I expect.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Secrets Revealed: Stamped Glass Nuggets

I'm revealing all my secrets with the Black Bird Reflections necklace. Last Friday, I showed you how to make the glass nuggets charms. You can use the same technique on larger sized nuggets and make a pendant. But to add interest to a pendant sized nugget, I stamped the blackbird design onto it using Pebo Markers from Markers Supply.

The simple steps to making the pendant are:

1. Choose a favorite rubber stamp.

2. Cover the stamp with enamel using the Pebo marker.

3. Stamp onto the flat part of the glass nugget.

4. Bake at recommended temperature in a kiln or oven as directed on the Pebo marker.

Tip: Grind the groove into the glass nugget before you do the enamel stamping.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Silly Saturday and Sensational Links - Giveaway Winner!

Happy Saturday! Before the Saturday Silly (joke), I'm announcing the giveawy winner:

Sharon! Congratulations!!!

Send me an email with your postal address, Sharon and I'll send you the Glyph Inspired beads!

Thank you thank you thank you All for commenting and reading the blog
smiley graffiti i love you

Watch for another giveaway next week!

Enjoy the joke and the great jewelry related links below!
Happy Hour Survival Guide - Maria Bamford: Office Enemy
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

A Bead A Day
The new Swarovski Air Blue crystals are perfect for summertime jewelry making. Lisa has used them to represent a "happy day" in this ring and necklace set. Jewelry Making
Rock clubs rock, literally, when you are looking for inexpensive, local jwelry making classes.

Art Bead Scene
Tired of your liver of sulfur going bad? Check out this - Patina Gel!

Beading Arts
The second part of Cyndi's tutorial on using CopprClay to create a necklace.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi introduces a vintage walnut to rhinestsones.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy takes on heavy metal in the studio. No, you won't need to cover your ears - just your hands!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie takes some time to show off a few new resin and brass collage pendants!

Jean Campbell
Jean visited Chicago and discovered a new beading technique using pleather and Conso.

Katie's Beading Blog
Take a sneak peek at Katie's newest beading book!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei makes a fun Owl swap with a blog friend.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is wowed by Denise Peck's recent earring book, 101 Step by Step Wire Earrings! Get it and make some for YOURSELF!

Strands of Beads
Melissa curls up with a few good books from Rings & Things

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
After cleaning the studio, Andrew finds (and finishes) a long-lost PMC Floral Link Bracelet.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How to Make Glass Nugget Charms- Free Tutorial

Here are a few of the glass nuggets charms I made using a bag of glass nuggets for flower vases I picked up at a craft store going out of business. I bought the clear with an iridescent finish on them but you can pick up a variety of colors at Delphi. The clear nuggets are like small magnifying glasses and can be added here and there to just about any piece of jewelry.

You'll need a glass grinder and a special router bit for grinding a groove into the side of the glass nugget.

Make sure you wear your safety glasses while grinding the glass nuggets - they're not very big and they can slip out of your hand or the glass can chip. You don't want anything to fly into your eyes!

Plan on doing a few test nuggets to make sure you've got your grinder bit adjusted to the right height. If you've never worked with a glass grinder before, take a moment to look at thestorefinder's tips.

Here's one of the nuggets with the groove. I don't try to polish this down to a mirror finish because I'm putting wire into the groove.

Here's my new favorite wire color for wire wrapping - bronze colored Vintaj 20 gauge wire!

Pretty isn't it?!

I used my trusty tools, the shears to cut the wire and the stepped pliers to get consistent loops. I always have the chainnose pliers around because I usually need them for something. I don't think I did this time around but had them at the ready!

The actual steps to making the charms are quick:

I made the loop first and then wrapped around the nugget in the groove. I wound the wire around the loop to secure it onto the nugget. I made a pretty spiral at the top and then cut the wire with the shears.


You can add these to your Steampunk style jewelry, victorian style jewelry or just about anything! What would you add a few glass nugget charms to?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Comments on the Comments, Black Bird Reflections and Bones

Blowing Kiss (Lg) Smiley Pictures, Images and Photos

Thanks to everyone who commented on the stamp books and the watch parts I found at the flea market. Such great stories especially with the stamp books! The vendors at a flea market always inflate the first price they offer. You have to be willing to negotiate and walk away if you truly feel it's too much. Some of the watch cases are 10K gold so I'm willing to pay a little bit more for them. You're better off going to a vendor who is ready and willing to sell what s/he and move the merchandise - some view themselves as antique dealers and you'll never get a good price from them. Know the vendor! That's my flea market tip for today, folks!

Over the past few months, I've experimented with different techniques. A couple are pretty quick and are included in this necklace I'm calling "Black Bird Reflections." The glass nuggets are picked up at a local craft store going out of business. They were purchased for a song (yuck yuck!) Birds sing songs get it? Ok Ok, I'll stop trying to be funny when I'm not ;-)

Anyways, I'm writing up the tutorial which I'll post tomorrow. It's just taking me longer than expected. Mostly because I ditzed last night and watched one extra episode of Bones.

Bones always has what The Teen and I call "gratuitous grossness." That's where they show the decomposed body or burned up body and the audience goes "EWWWWWW!" It's not necessary to the plot really but is an attention getter and maybe appeals to The Horror Genre Fan.

Despite the gratuitous grossness, I love the quirky characters (you know how I love quirkiness) and the jewelry that "Tempie" and "Angela" wear. What bead-obsessed person wouldn't love a show full of fab jewelry?

So while I finish the tutorial - is there a show you love to watch and it has fabulous jewelry and/or fashion?

(Thank you to Starplus for the photo and Photobucket for the smiley love.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Small works of art

Before I went to the flea market on Sunday, I was reading a blog on inchies. I love the idea of such lovely art created on a small canvas - duh - isn't that what beadmakers do? Yes! But paper artists love small canvases too. So while I was at the flea market, a couple of vintage stamp collector books caught my eye.

I'm not a stamp collector. Never have been. I don't know what caused me to open up these books but I did. When I did, I found small works of art like these....

...graphic representations of the stamps in black and white. Two books full of them! I thought they'd be wonderfully reproducible for mixed media jewelry.

There were even some real stamps in excellent condition....

In one of the books, a piece of newspaper fell out revealing a small collection of stamps that hadn't made it into the album yet.

The newspaper was a local paper gone out of business now. Christmas 1958 - before I was born but such colorful stamps!

I spent a few hours going through the stamp books after I got home on Sunday - dreaming of which I would reproduce first and what kind of mixed media jewelry I could make.

If you had been with me, would you have bought these books or set them back down again and gone on to the next thing?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Flea Market Finds: Watch backs as pre-made bezels

I made a trip to the flea market early Sunday morning. I make one or two trips per season to see if I can find vintage pieces to combine with the metal work I'm doing. I was on a mission to find watch parts. I can use them in all sorts of ways but I'm becoming particularly fond of the backs as ready-made bezels. I could pour resin in them or drill a hole and attach a jump ring.

Do you have a favorite "found object" for your craft or jewelry?

Monday, July 20, 2009

This Week's Giveaway - They're baaaccckkkkk!!

This set of giveaway beads went unclaimed for two weeks. Staying true to my word, they're back to be given away to another lucky person who leaves a comment. As a reminder, here are the simple rules:

1. Make a comment between today and Friday, July 24th.

2. I'll put all the names in a hat and draw a random winner on Saturday morning, July

3. Check my blog to see if you've won.

4. If you're the winner, send an email to me with your postal address.

5. If you don't claim your beads by sending an email to me within two weeks, the beads return to be given away to another lucky person.

Think my rules are too harsh? Give me a "yay" or a "nay" and it will be the shortest comment you ever had to make to enter - hee hee! I believe in making it as easy as possible!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Silly Saturday and Sensational Links - This Week's Winner

The winner for this week's giveaway is Katie! Send me your postal address, Katie and you'll get this week's giveaway beads!

Silly Saturday's funny is Jon Stewart busting on the economy. Sensational links follow.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Pyramid Economy
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

A Bead A Day
Can a piece of jewelry create a feeling of calm and happiness? Check out Lisa's starry bracelet made with "new jade" stones. Jewelry Making
How has your web store experience been? Are there too many 3rd party sites to sell or buy jewelry these days? Take the poll as a sell or buyer.

Art Bead Scene
ABS Editor Heather is on the road. Check out her quick project!

Barbe Saint John
Barbe reviews Simply Gemstones book.

Beading Arts
Cyndi shows you the steps to making a simple but sparkling necklace from CopprClay!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Rub-ons and leather - a cool combination for this cuff sample.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Check out Cindy's new project in the summer edition of Step by Step Wire!

Drawing Dilemma
Jean asks her friends about what drawing programs they use for beading illustrations.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Lights, Camera, Action! Melanie tells a tale of her Beads, Baubles, and Jewels televison taping experience.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei is giving away a necklace and a copy of Creative Jewelry!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean discusses finishing up the challenge "Use the Muse II" which was thought up by Scarlett Lanson, Rainbows of and She enjoyed it very much, particularly because it made her think!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off a new variation of her lunar phases toggle.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Busier than a bee, Andrew shares fifteen new jewelry designs.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cosmic Bling Link Earrings

I've been on a earrings kick lately - whipping up earrings as fast as I can. Artbeads is carrying Swarovski Crystallized Cosmic Ovals that pair nicely with my Bling and Glass Links. I chose colors from the Volcano Cosmic Oval, pink, blue, orange, silver. I wanted the oval to hang in an usual way so I wove 26 gauge Artistic Wire in Rose to hold the Silvered Sky Bling Link to the Volcano Cosmic Oval. The weaving was a variation on the technique I used with the Lava and Ivory Links earrings. The gauge was smaller so I wove more wire in order to hold the oval. The pink echoes the color in the oval as does the golden jump ring and sterling silver hand formed ear wire. The lovely colors of the Volcano didn't show through in my photograph so I've borrowed one from where I got the oval from:

Pretty, huh? I've got a couple other Cosmic Ovals I'm working into another project. The ovals work very well with all of my Bling, Frost and Glass Links. I love them and!

Oh, and by the way, the white ceramic coffee cup makes a nice canvas don't you think?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Earrings Rings n Things Style (Free Project!)

I got a little package from Dave of Rings n Things showing off some Swarovski cubes. Ooooo! What kind of quick earrings could I make? Since I'm stuck on gunmetal lately, I used R&T gunmetal findings and leverbacks, paired them with bali silver beadcaps and had a quick pair of pretty summer earrings.

Easy enough but if you'd like to make them yourself, here's the materials list:

Two 8mm Swarovski crystal cubes in any color you love

Two, 1.5 inch gunmetal headpins

Two 3mm or 4mm crystals in accenting color to the cube crystal

Two bali or bali style sterling beadcaps (here are some very similar to mine from

Optional - two 3mm or 4mm crystals in accenting color to the cube and other crystals listed above.

Tools Needed:

round nose pliers

chainnose pliers

flush cutters


String onto the headpin in this order, small crystal, beadcap, crystal cube and if you want, another small crystal.

Make loop at top using the round nose pliers (trim length if necessary with flush cutters).

Use chainnose pliers to open the loop you just made and attach to the leverback earring finding.


I like these quick projects. It uses up my stash and it can add to a summer outfit. Have you made a quick fashion project lately? Something to accent your wardrobe or update your jewelry?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yup, I'm a Geek....

Yup, I was one of the millions at the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. The Teen and I have gone to see all the movies and we went to all the midnight releases of all the books. How could I miss it? I'm a geek!

I'm trying to get some extra sleep this morning since the movie ended at 3 am. So, you'll forgive my short post. I admit to being an Alan Rickman, errr Snape fan (what a tortured soul!) He's so over the top evil and campy in the movies - check out the Wizard Rock song, Snape vs Snape by the Ministry of Magic.

That seals it! Are you a geek?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Winner of the Bronze Charm is...

...Erin of TesoriTrovati! Congratulations, Erin! You've the winner of the bronze metal flower charm. Send me an email with your address and I'll send it right out to you!

In keeping with the theme on Art Bead Scene this month and due to the fact that I make alot of beads with this kind of flavor, I'm offering up another set of giveaway beads this week. This week's beads feature two goddess beads. I've complemented the goddesses with my "rice" beads, African beads, furnace glass beads and some pewter accent beads.

You know how to enter - make a comment between now and Friday, July 17. I'll draw a random name and announce the winner on Saturday.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bronze Metal Clay Journey: Patina, Polish, Black Fingernails and Bronze Charm Giveaway!

I've finally gotten to the patina stage and used the awesome new Patina Gel from Cool Tools. Before using any chemical, I always check to see how to dispose of it. These days, I'm concerned about the impact on the environment. The Patina Gel is "eco-friendly" that is, easy to dispose of. If you leave it on your bench until it become white, it becomes a commonly used fertilizer for your garden! Love it when the chemicals you use in your studio are not harmful to the environment.

Back to the process of patina-ing. Before I could dip the bronze charms into the patina solution, I had to rid them of any oils and fingerprints. So, the biggest pain was cleaning each small piece with a toothbrush. Remember I said these were charms and every piece is pretty small, about 12mm. A baby sized toothbrush is about 25mm so you can get the piece lost in the brush making it difficult to clean. I needed a smaller brush but didn't have one.

After I scrubbed each piece, I strung it on a piece of wire so I could lay the pieces all at once in the patina solution. I followed the directions on how to use the Patina Gel on the Cool Tools website and made just enough solution to cover the charms.

I left them in just long enough to get a chocolate brown patina. Polished each one with a micro mesh sanding pad. I picked up wth micro mesh locally at a woodworkers store. It was the same place I picked up Renaissance Wax. I used Renaissance Wax as a final polish to seal the patina.

I love the way the pendant below came out. The patina on it is really nice - just what I was looking for. This pendant is a "salvaged" piece. When it was in the leather hard stage, the corner broke while sanding. I thought it looked like an old artifact one would find on an archeological dig so I sanded the edges to make it look more worn and went with it. I like how it turned out. Pretty good for a first go.

Here are a couple of the small (12mm) charms. I like this little rose, I think it will make a nice little addition to a bracelet or a pair of earrings or even hanging from the end of a pendant.

I wanted to show you how I worked with the bronze metal clay from beginning to end. The very end - to the final polish. I have to work on improving parts of the process but I'm satisfied how this first complete run went.

Here's an important tip I learned the hard way - Remember to coat your hands with olive oil or Gloves in a Bottle before you start to sand off the patina to highlight the relief in your piece. I have black fingernails and cuticles from forgetting to do it!

So, I'm going to take my black fingernails off the keyboard and go to my studio but before I go for today, tell me how you liked the series on bronze clay and or how you think the pieces turned out.

I'll select a random comment from today's comments to receive one (1) of the bronze rose flower charms. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

Look forward to your comments. I'm off to try to clean my black fingernails now!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Photo

"Kitty Dog" aka Twinkie caught in mid-yawn. He's tired from all that sleeping he does!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Silly Saturday and Sensational Links!

I forget where I saw this originally but it made me spit out my coffee laughing when I watched it. It mocks Twitter - which I love BTW - I was an early adopter :-) I have to laugh because Steven Colbert can barely take himself seriously most of the time when he's spouting whatever satire he's spouting. Makes me laugh out loud. A nice laugh to take you through the sensational links I'm sharing after it.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jeff Goldblum Will Be Missed
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJeff Goldblum

A Bead A Day
Lisa’s “Swarovski Summer Picnic” project is progressing. The only thing missing are the crystally butterflies!! Jewelry Making
School's out for summer, but is it really? Nope, not when you can take one of these free jewelry making e-courses.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge painting for July is the Lascaux Cave Paintings. Get your stash of beads out in ivory, red and brown to match the color palette of these ancient drawings.

Beading Arts
Wonderful wonderful wonderful new CopprClay! Cyndi is so excited about this new material that she can't stop playing with it!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi attempts to create a necklace after a resin pouring disaster.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy shows off some new chain and realizes one should never shop for jeans on her lunch hour.

Check out the 2009 Bead Cruise design contest winners!

Jean Campbell Ink: Eureka!
Jean Campbell finished off her new LeTemps Necklace design which marries bling to grunge. Hurray!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei has busted out of the studio and into the Museum of Art for a trunk show.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a different, colorful, and inspiring book called Glass, by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett

Strands of Beads
Melissa talks about where to find reliable information on copyrights - the U.S. Copyright Office, of course!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Challenging himself with a smaller scale, Andrew tackles doll jewelry. Check out five new designs with dolls in mind!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bronze Metal Clay - The Journey continues - Clean and Tumble

The bronze metal clay journey continues. Today I'm posting a picture of the bronze charms after they've been tumble polished.

I just put them into a Lortone tumbler with some plastic pony beads (to bring the container up to at least a 1/4 full), stainless steel shot, a 1/2 cap of Woolite and water. The liquid should just be touching the bottom of the contents of the container - if it goes over, the contents won't polish.

If I want to finish the bronze now, it's alot harder than before it's been fired (sintered). So it's really really really important to take the time to clean and smooth your pieces before you fire them. I took alot of time smoothing these with a nail file. They're ready for a patina to highlight the stamp.

A few comments have said the readers might be trying out the bronze metal clay. Here are a few of the resources I read/watched before I put my hands in the mud so to speak:

I read Laura Bracken's exploits on bronze and copper metal clay. Go to her archives and read May's postings. I found her comments honest and open. Many of the blogs only show pieces after the blogger has perfected the techniques and say how much fun they've had. Bronze clay wasn't fun at first, it was frustrating and Laura's blog is a nice journey from frustration to success.

Laura took classes from Hadar. Although I had the already mixed bronze metal clay, I ended up kneading and wedging my clay wrapped in plastic wrap similiar to how she shows to mix her dry clay. After I use up the supply I have, I think I'm going to try Hadar's clay.

One thing I wanted but didn't find was a video I could play and follow along while I was first preparing the clay and working with it. There are videos but there is so much talking (sorry, no insult intended to anyone) and pausing that you can't work along with any of them.

So, I'm off to work on patina today and a few other things. Leave me a comment about the tips and/or your own experience with the bronze metal clay.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Bronze Metal Clay: Frustration, Design and Success!

I'm going to be honest - working with the bronze metal clay was frustrating! Right out of the packaging, you have to work and "wedge it" to get it to a consistency where you can make something from it. If you've worked with poly clay or with pmc, and/or ceramic clay, you'll be more familiar with this than I am.

Remember I told you I wasn't good at clay.

I tried to work it in my hands like in the videos available on YouTube. It was an absolute mess! I needed more moisture and adding distilled water and lavendar oil created mud in my hands. It was frustrating. But I stuck with it and eventually worked out a solution for me.

I put it between plastic wrap. Yup, that's it. I could feel it and keep the muddy mess in check. I did the final "wedging" in my palm. Once that trauma was over, I rolled it out and cut out some very basic shapes. I didn't want the first try to be anything too complicated.

So here are some of the basic shapes I rolled out and stamped. I mentioned my favorite tool yesterday when working with the bronze metal clay. In the picture above, the clay is at the "leather hard" stage and I'm learning how important this stage really is. The pieces above are pretty rough, unclean edges, backs - they need to be smoothed out. More about that later. Right now, I want to talk about the designs.

A couple of years ago, I went to a flea market where a vendor was selling vintage metal stamps used in newspaper ads. Many of them were very large and had "sale!" on them. I managed to find a couple small graphics without any type and bought them.

I knew they would be perfect to use with the metal clay. So away I went, stamping out a couple of pendant sized pieces. Not too many since this was a test run. The little nails holding the metal stamp to the wood block create small circles I didn't really pay attention to until after the pieces were fired. More about those later too.

Below is a leather hard (pre-fired) piece on the right and on the left is the fired pendant right from the kiln without any finishing or polishing. Bronze clay is supposed to shrink approximately 20%, so this gives you a good idea of what that looks like.

Here is the entire run right out of the kiln....

All of the pieces are pretty small and not over 5mm thick. I ran the basic recommended firing schedule and buried the pieces in the charcoal. I've got three glass kilns and I just put the stainless container on kiln posts. I wasn't really fazed by the firing schedule - it felt like glass fusing with the ramp and hold and slow cool down.

So everything came out intact. I expected failure after reading how so many other people would get broken pieces. Beginner's luck? Or is it because the pieces are very small?

I'm glad nothing fell apart and the metal sintered together fully. Will I continue working with the bronze metal clay?


If you're thinking about working with bronze metal clay, here are tips that worked for me:

1. Knead the clay in plastic wrap

2. Use up the entire lump of metal clay, don't store it.

3. Cut up an old shower curtain to use as the surface for rolling and working with the clay. You can write on it, oil it, whatever and you've recycled and re-used!

Stay tuned tomorrow - the bronze clay adventure isn't over yet! :-)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Trying out new things....

Several months back, I ordered some Bronze metal clay - BronzClay. I love the look of bronze metal and I was in the middle of trying out the metalworking techniques of Susan Lenart-Kazmer. The BronzClay was brand new and I wanted to try it out.

I finally got around to working with it. I've got a bunch of used clay tools - but this one is my favorite. I'm sure there's a technical name for it, but I've got no idea since I rescued the tools from the trash.

I don't consider myself to be very good at working with clay. I've tried making some ceramic beads (a disaster) and some polyclay handles for crochet hooks (ugly) and I just can't seem to get the hang of it. But I really want to make some charms to go with the wire and glass I'm making soooo I wanted to have a go with the bronze metal clay.

Have you tried something new lately? What prompted you to try it out?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

When a rabbit gives you a gift what do you do with it?

You make it into a necklace! Remember I showed you the ceramic components I got from awesome Nancy of The Rabbit Muse? I used the gunmental chain I got from the R&T Bead Tour to make this quick necklace. I use a grass jump ring to pull out the green in the blue-green oval. I've hung a pewter charm with my favorite mantra "be" in the middle. It reminds me to to let go and just "be."

Do you have jewelry that reminds you of something or someone?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Step by Step Wire Jewelry

I've got a easy wire project in the summer 2009 edition of Wire Jewelry - "Easy Loop Post Earrings." I was working on the pictures for this issue back in January. Six months later, the finished product! It's a quick project on the back page.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday's Photo and time to add the links....

Album cover for The Teen's new CD. The Teen as an anime musician - I love the name he's using "Sleepyhead" - it's sooooo him!

I have to admit to a brain malfunction. Yup. Sunday's Photo will now include a bunch of linky love from my other bead blogger colleagues.

It's time to add the links.

I write a Sunday column for Art Bead Scene and for today only, I'm going to cross post it here (hmmmm maybe I need to re-think that?) - I've spent alot of time writing a nice interesting post around the links so if you haven't read them yet over on ABS, you can read them here....

Melissa Lee gets the prize this week for the most outrageous beads - check out her blog to see what they are:

Strands of Beads
Melissa wants to know what outrageous materials are in your beading stash?

Well, was it "ewww?" or "cool?" Let us know by leaving a comment :-)

The alchemist is coming out in several of our beady bloggers - Copper metal clay is all the rage for Cyndi and Tammy. Andrew is pressing coins in Bronze metal clay.
Beading Arts
Cyndi reports on her experiences with firing and finishing CopprClay pieces. This stuff rocks! Jewelry Making
Heard about copper clay or coppr clay? Find out more about this great new metal clay product and check out some new metal clay projects too.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Stop by and say hello to Andrew in Charlotte, NC this weekend. Check out his new designs and some delicious new metal clay coins!
(Andrew's coins are pictured below - picture courtesy of his blog)

Carmi, Cindy and Lorelei are trying out something new:

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi tries Ice Resin and upcycles a greeting card into a necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy learns to make murrini and deals with mud. (Russ likes the murrini - photo courtesy of Cindy's blog)

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Instead of continuing on with the tried and true techniques of jewelry design, Lorelei is finally ready to take the leap and try something new.

New designs and projects....
A Bead A Day
Do you love Swarovski Crystals? Inspired by talented jewelry designer, Lillian Chen, Lisa creates a Swarovski “sculpture” ring.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Sometimes you need to have a jewelry makeover.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Even without a lot of time on her hands, Melanie finishes a clockwork themed bracelet using Swarovski faceted rings from

Jean Campbell Ink: Eureka!
Jean gives a sneak peek of her next Beadwork magazine piece.

Katie's Beading Blog
Check out Katie's wire-wrapped dragonfly!

Heather of Humblebeads shares her Bead and Button buys....
Bead & Button stash and Heather's inspired creations.

Jean and ABS get creative...
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean gets her cool stash from Use the Muse II, and muses about it.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene gets creative with the "Best of ABS."

Read any good beady news? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th and Giveaway Winner

Happy 4th! Just a quick post to announce the winner of this week's Giveaway, The Glyph Inspired Bead:


Hope your sister the jewelry maker enjoys them!

Send me an email with your postal address and I'll send the beads out to you after the holiday!

I'm giving away beads all month in celebration of my wedding anniversary. Next week, a new set of beads to giveaway!

Whee!!! Enjoy the 4th!

Friday, July 03, 2009

This Week's Giveaway, Sgraffito and More Giveaways

Today is the last day I'm taking comments for this week's giveaway. Any comment made on any blogpost since Tuesday will be entered for the drawing of the Glyph Inspired Beads.

Which reminds me, there's more giveaways to be had. I'm one of the sponsors for this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge - The Lascaux Horses.

The Glyph Series is inspired by cave paintings and petroglyhs. I'm working on new Glyph beads this summer so I'm clearing out my inventory to make room. I'm offering up these to the winner of the ABS July Challenge:

I'm intrigued by the symbolism and meaning of the cave paintings. They could mean nothing other than what they represent or they could have been an expression of something deeper. So use your imagination to come up with something that expresses your thoughts, straightforward or cryptic. You could win more free beads!

I've experiemented with the Glyph Series before. A couple of years ago, I was working on a sgraffito technique using enamels. According to, the word sgraffito comes from the Italian word which means "to scratch." More widely done in ceramics, I created a prototype bead where I painted enamel onto glass and scratched out a glyph design. I'm adverse to sifting enamels and releasing the fine glass particles into the air where I could potentially inhale them. (To the safety experts - yes I have good ventilation but no powder booth). When the enamels are suspended in a binder or liquid, I don't need to worry about shaking them. But after painting, I wasn't able to get a fine line with the tool I was using and the enamel came off in clumps rather than the fine line you see in the link.

Not satisfied with how this looked and after several other failed attempts, I turned to another technique which you see in the ABS July Challenge beads.

Do you think I should revisit the sgraffito style Glyph bead?