Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Reveling in the Holiday Spirit

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hubby and I took a little trip after Thanksgiving and headed down South to New Orleans to take a couple of cruises out of their port. I think I was more impressed with New Orleans than the cruises but we had a great time even though it took away from my holiday creating and planning. 

Here we are on Grand Cayman which was our second stop on Royal Caribbean.

We loved the Royal Caribbean ship. It had a central promenade with windows from upper cabins that looked down over it. Reminded us of a little city.

You can see a little bit better here how there were shops and pubs throughout the central core of the ship.

We were able to take one excursion at Costa Maya (our first stop on the Norwegian cruise) and visited the Chacchoben Mayan ruins there. They were amazing.

Here we are nice, hot and tired in Roatan, Honduras on the West side.

An Iguana Farm where there were hundreds just walking around.

Another local wild life park in Roatan where we saw Capuchin monkeys and exotic birds.

In New Orleans we took time out for a cooking demonstration at the New Orleans School of Cooking. We learned to make Gumbo, Jumbalaya and Pralines.

Another highlight was eating the beignets at Cafe de Monde.

I think one of the hardest parts of the trip was seeing all the houses that still need renovating in the part of New Orleans that flooded. I just love the history and the architecture of the buildings from the French side to the American side. Amazing old buildings that they have kept and preserved.

The holiday with family was of course the best it could be and we hope to see all of them again next year. 

Coming up for me is more art and jewelry designs along with classes that will be new for 2013. I'll be teaching my Hammered Pendant along with my other two jewelry type classes (Simply Findings and Falling Leaves) at Shipwreck this coming year and I may sneak a new gem tree design in.... who knows.

Have a great New Year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Finished for the Year

We are finally finished with all our demonstrating at gem and mineral shows for the year. Since we will be traveling so much we don't have anymore scheduled until the first weekend in June. Quite a big break for us as we usually do one in April and one in May. I think 2013 will be our mega travel year with a long extended vacation to Italy. I'll definitely be blogging more about that as we get closer.

I worked on some metal pieces this weekend along with some bullet charm/pendants. Both are selling well and I have a class scheduled at the gem and mineral show this coming Saturday to teach this technique. Funny, I have more men in my class than women. Since it involves a lot of hammering, I would have thought that would have appealed to women wanting to get out their aggressions...I know I do. It really does make for a better marriage if he can handle all the noise. ha

So here are a few pieces from this weekend.

I did four Mexican Fire Opals (second photo) in copper, the Ammonite in copper, Tiger Eye in brass and the unknown lovely blue stone (may be Shattuckite but definitely a copper mineral) with copper flecks mounted in copper. My favorite is the Tiger Eye in brass even though the brass was a bear to work with even when I annealed it using the torch.

Here is an example of the bullets with Mexican Fire Opal glued inside the bezel. They've been cleaned up a bit since I took this photo this weekend and the lighter one sold as well as one I made as a special order for Johnny of Tipps Gems who brought me over this wonderful faceted opal and wanted it mounted in one of the bullets. It turned out great but unfortunately I didn't get a photo of it. Since it was a trade for services, I did receive a faceted sunstone, faceted citrine and a piece of faceted red glass....all will look great mounted in the bullets.

Faceted stones look great mounted.

I'll be sure to take some photos of my class this weekend and their creations...I'm sure they will be great.

Cheers, Dana

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spooky Bracelet and a Blog Hop

As promised yesterday here is my Halloween bracelet I made with the charm swap hosted by Thespa at Vintiquities Workshop.  This first picture is of my pendant. I had charms left over so I fashioned the word "Boo" from wire and then attached the charms at the bottom. Now I just have to add my chain. The charms were all awesome and creative. Thanks to Thespa for organizing.

Now if you would like to see all the others bracelets created by the participants click HERE. She also has some fun Halloween printables that would be fun to play with.

Happy Halloween everyone and let us all remember the folks affected by the huge storm Sandy on the East coast. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Are you Ready?

For Halloween that is.....

Such a spooky time with all the kiddies out and trick or treating and all the houses decorated. There are some that even get the dogs involved now with costumes. We haven't but I have thought about it. Well I will have a special post tomorrow with my spooky Halloween charm bracelet and a blog hop hosted by Thespa over at Vintiquities Workshop. We had some really fun and spooky charms created by all the participants.

Here is a look at some of the charms I have created for Halloween this year.

I had fun creating the word art with the copper wire. I know it's hard to tell but the top charm is a skull bead with a hammered piece of copper wire and crystals with handmade head pins. Lots of cool charms to come.

We were traveling for 3 weeks in the motor home so being home has been nice although I'm still not caught up with cleaning and laundry.

I was able to capture some deer photos as they roamed the campground we were at. They were almost tame as they really didn't care if you were there or not. I stayed my distance as I have heard that they can get pretty mean if they are used to getting fed by people and you don't feed them.

Our last little trip was to Oregon's wine country and to go to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum. It was a great week. I don't think I have ever tasted so much Pinot Noir in my life, some good and some not so good.

These were taken by my husband with a little point and shoot and they turned out really well.

At the Space Museum the Titan 2

One of the very first passenger planes.

It's hard to imagine how large this plane is. It is the Spruce Goose the largest wooden float plane. It is massive.

Fun trip but yes we are glad to be home.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Wrapped and Tabbed

I can't believe it's been a whole month since I posted here. Wow, it has been busy. I did post on my Art blog so you can always find me there if I'm not here. In fact, follow them both and then you'll find out everything that is going on in my artsy little world.

This week has been all about pendants. It started as a desire to create a tutorial for the newsletter of a gem and mineral club I belong to and has morphed. I found a picture of a Linda Larson pendant that doesn't use solder and thought that would be perfect for those not wanting to learn to solder or afraid of using a torch.

My first design was to just use 12 gauge wire and hammer the dickens out of it and then punch holes and use wire to sort of wire wrap the stone in place. Fun, fun, fun. I love hammering. So, I've now made several with a couple of different wrap designs and think I have a good handle on the tutorial part as I try to streamline the process.

My second design I just finished today and was inspired by one of Linda's can view it HERE. It is a piece of copper sheet, cut and then tabbed to hold the cabachon. It's really my favorite but does take some time to cut, shape, file, hammer and fit the cab.

Well, I will be taking a break from working with wire tomorrow as we are headed to the beach for the day. Maybe I'll even remember to take my camera and get the dogs in action on the beach.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Death of a Schoolgirl, a Book Review

I recently had the opportunity to pre-read the newest book by Joanna Campbell Slan this past week and boy was it good. Joanna writes the wonderful Kiki Lowenstien Scrap-N-Craft Mysteries.

This is a great Summer read. Here is my review.

Death of a Schoolgirl by Joanna Campbell Slan

The classic story of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte continues in this new book by Joanna Campbell Slan. The story starts out with Jane and Edward Rochester living happily with their newborn son set in 1820 which is just a little after where the original Jane Eyre stopped. Things appear to be going well until they get a disturbing letter from Edward’s ward who was sent to a girls boarding school in London. With Edward not able to travel, Jane sets out for London to check on the girl. In route, Jane runs into all kinds of problems and they don’t stop when she finally reaches London. Her first visit to the boarding house has her embroiled in a murder mystery that she can not help but try to solve.

In classic Jane Eyre fashion, Joanna has spun a story that will keep you turning the page to find out what will happen and who did it. The book is so well written that you could have just read the original Jane Eyre and then picked up Death of a Schoolgirl and continued with her story and not lost a beat. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the continued escapades of Jane.

Please note that I was not compensated for reviewing this book but I did get a free Ebook copy to read.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bead Soup Reveal...yea

It's the day of the official Bead Soup Blog Party hosted by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things. Now for the reveal of our creations that we sent our partners earlier this month. If you want to see what I received here is the link to that post.

The rules are simple, we are to use the focal and clasp in our design(s), which can be all in one piece or a couple, we don't have to use all the beads our partner sent and we can add some of our own.

As soon as I saw what my partner Cheryl sent I knew I had to use the pink and the little silver purse for my niece who is a Miche representative. I used the clasp in this piece as the findings were sterling and that is what she wears most often. I struggled with this piece as I first thought I wanted to do a stretchy bracelet and then the clasp called to me and I decided she would wear a strung one more often. I love how it turned out. Most of these beads are Cheryl's with the lampwork and sterling bead caps of mine thrown in.

This next piece has the lovely enamel pieces that Cheryl them, so I used the largest as my focal, along with some copper washers that I hit with my torch and then hammered, green garnet that Cheryl sent, blue lapis and some jade that I had. Cheryl also sent the chain I used. This piece doesn't have a clasp as it is long enough to slip over the head and I love the sari silk at the back.

I hope everyone is enjoying the hop. Be sure to check out my partners creations from the beads I sent her at  If you are just stopping my and haven't seen the other participants creations, here is the link to some wonderful blogs to check out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Mad Hatter

I just don't know what I'm going to do with myself. I started out on a quest to made the perfect little charm for an Alice in Wonderland swap and here I am making Mad Hatter Hats. Please note these are too large to be used for a charm or pendant. Ugg. Now I'm addicted to making these things.

They are pretty cute but what do you do with them besides just look and admire. Are the sellable? If so, then I can keep making them. LOL Otherwise I'll just end up with a ton of these little hats. The crushed velvet is my favorite and obviously it's going to be my most recent one with the burgundy and gold sari silk and hand made crystal hat pin. I just don't know what to do with them at this point. They might be pretty cool for a Bridal shower as table decor, maybe a Steampunk themed party or Halloween.

So, if you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.

Just a little tidbit about how the "Mad Hatter" name came about. It really is inspired by the phrase "mad as a hatter". Mercury used to be used in curing the felt for hats, making it impossible for hatters to avoid inhaling the Mercury fumes. Mercury poisoning causes neurological damage as well as confused speech and distorted vision.  

Explains a lot about how I'm feeling...oh wait, I didn't use any felt. I guess I don't have an excuse.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

The 6th Bead Soup Party

It is that time of year again for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party hop. See link on the right hand column if you want to check it out. I am in the first reveal (7/28) ooh, that's coming up fast, and my awesome partner is Cheryl McCloud... here is her about a wonderful artist.

There are so many of us in this blog hop that Lori has separated it into 3 different reveal dates so we have time to visit everyone's blog and see what wonderful jewelry creations they made with their partners beads.

The rules of play are that you must have a blog and you must use the focal and the clasp that your partner sends you. You don't have to use both focal and clasp in one piece. We post pictures showing the pieces we made on the reveal date and then hop around to all the other blogs. Fun right.

Well I received this wonderful soup from my partner.

See those lovely enameled pieces in the bottom left, well those Cheryl made herself. I think I will have to use that large one as my focal. So many choices. The color palette is perfect. I'm going to have to get started.

If you follow me on Facebook then you have seen these photos before but just in case you haven't, I made these two necklaces yesterday.

Both of these necklaces are longish and feature all vintage pieces like chandelier crystals, old buttons, old pins, old bottle (top photo), crystals from an old necklace, sari silk and on the last one a silver piece off a watch chain. All the chain is new. I had one other one but when I wore it to lunch with a friend she took it right off my neck claiming she needed to take it to Paris with her...LOL. I kind of figured she would like that necklace. It was similar in design to the bottom picture with the crystal point as the centerpiece.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Art and Soul Retreat - Porland, OR

If you have never been to an art retreat you are missing out especially if you love art and various crafts. This year I'll be teaching at the Portland retreat my Bonsai Gem Tree class, Friday, October 5th. It is a full day class so you will have time to make not only a little bit larger tree than normal but learn all my secrets to a great tree design. You will complete a tree in class all ready for you to take home.

This is the style we will be making.

Come join me in this adventure of sculpting wire and gemstones to form a tree.

Also, if you find you want to learn this tree style and can't make the Art & Soul Retreat, I also teach at Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, WA a various of classes. Feel free to check out what they have to offer. Please note that the class at Shipwreck is only 3 hours in length and you will make a tree but it will be smaller in size.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Little Peace

Sometimes we all need a little peace but I found a deeper meaning to this earring and necklace set I created yesterday. I'm not sure what drove me to adding the peace charm at the bottom of the pendant but it seemed to balance out the oddness of using bullet casings for jewelry. Sorry folks, this set is already going to a good home tomorrow but if you want a set, just let me know.

I also have been busy making little drawstring baggies. I usually make them to use when someone buys a piece of jewelry or lately I've been making about 20 a month for the children in the oncology department at Mary Bridge Children's hospital. These were a special order for a Mary Kay representative who just happens to be my niece Shelby. She is really into the pink.

Last week hubby, my mom and both my niece and nephew and their spouses took a couple of day trips. Our first trip was to the ocean (Pacific) at Grayland beach. It started out cloudy with a few rain showers going but once we got there...nice and sunny. Such a treat. The dogs even got a good run in. We love going this time of year and during the week as there aren't very many people on the beach.

I like this shot as you can see Buddy the spaniel running in the distance, hubby keeping a watchful eye on him and Leo thinking he just found some food. We are always catching him with crab shells or something in his mouth.
My nephew and his wife just having a bit of fun. Oh to have that much energy.

My niece and her husband and I can just hear her saying "just one more shell".

The next day we headed up to Seattle to Pike Place Market then to the Seattle Center to view the new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit and the Space Needle. We packed a lot into one day and our feet were sure tired at the end of it but we all had a great time and have the pictures to prove it. I highly recommend the glass worth it.

 My mom with my niece and her husband at Pike Place Market.

 You just can't imagine the beauty of this exhibit unless you go to it. My pictures certainly don't do it justice.

Here we are at the top of the Space Needle. It definitely was a picture taking day.

After a couple of days of high activity, I was glad to get back to our normal routine and just a little peace.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin