Friday, December 30, 2011

Another Sea Urchin

  I had no idea there was so much variety of design in a sea urchin.There is a wealth of creative inspiration in the uniqueness of each one.

  Also I am enjoying making squashy balls:))

This is steel, silver fill, gold plate over sterling, and gold plate over brass. 2.5Inch in diameter

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sea Urchin

  My first try at a sea urchin shell. It looks better in person because the eye does not pick up as many distracting details as the camera does.

  It's made of steel and silver fill wire with gold fill beads.

  I also wrapped a rock found in my driveway with steel wire. Very much a Lynne Merchant inspired design.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sea Shells

  I'm completely out of the wire zone as I haven't made anything for about 5 weeks now.

I decided I wanted to make sea shells. A curious choice on my part since I have never been particularly drawn to them. But OK, that's what the muse wants.....that's what she gets:)

 I also bought some steel wire and worked with that for the first time. I think it makes a lovely shell

  These were challenging to make and I grew quite frustrated because the grace God put into the original shell spiral could not be equaled by me. Once I realized I could never reach so high a mark I was able to try one last time with more realistic expectations. To see the Masters work look here:

There were lots of sad failures before I hit on something I could live with:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christines Twining

  So far I have one brave taker to my offer to post your work to my blog. Thank you Christine!

  Christine has made some beautiful garden designs using twining. I am especially fond of her 'garden gate' concept. She made it for the musical challenge at the Jewelry Makers Forum and you can read more about it over here:

She has also worked a cuff. Isn't the overlay of leaves on top of the twining wonderful? I'm a sucker for bare wire paired with wrapped wire:)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I've Got Nothing...

  The past few years I tend to slow down on Blog posts over the month of December. It looks like I'm headed in that direction again. I may or may not making anything in the coming month.

 I do want to finish Year of Jewelry Project, but if I do I may just make some silly earrings to say 'Ha! I did it!!

  If you don't hear from me, you can be sure I will return in January as always.

  If you have purchased the Twining Lesson from me and you want to share your work, email me a picture and I will share it on this blog. If you have a link to a website I will include that along with your work. This offer is for the month of December only.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting for the Sunrise Tapestry

 This tapestry was inspired by a song written and sung by my nephew. It was also part of a challenge over at the Jewelry Makers Forum.

here is the cut and paste of what I wrote for the forum challenge.

The music this design is inspired by is written and sung by my nephew, It's called "Waiting for the Sunrise" and you can listen to it here

The song fills me with longing, and that longing was channeled into a wish to express it and its beauty with my hands by weaving a tapestry. I love the mystery in the songs theme and wanted to capture that in my design.

I feel the strength and courage of the writer to see things through to completion and wait for hope to rise even when it looks dark and appears to be long in coming.

I had no idea how to do a 'tapestry like' weave and did not have a clue how it should look, so I borrowed loosely from the song itself and wove a somewhat stylized sun rising along with a stylized mysterious type sky.

  I am very happy with it for a first try:) Also, the grey looking button at the bottom of the tapestry is actually blue and the same color as the kyanite, but sometimes plastics don't photograph well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lapis Bangle

  This is the last of 4 bangles custom ordered for 4 sisters. Each sister has her own personal charm.

The sister this bangle is made for is a dancer. I told my client there was no way I could make a ballerina, that sculptural work is not my strength. She convinced me to do one anyway. The bangle is gorgeous. The charm is not, but it is easily removed and my client wanted it anyway.

 Client happy, that is all that matters:))

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pressed for Time

  My plate is very full with family events, a promised custom order, a job so busy I may need to work overtime, and filling in my spare time with the twining lesson.

  I'm a little sad because I was making such wonderful things and now I can't really focus on that:(

  I may be quiet but I'm working hard over here:)

  This necklace was made last week

Monday, October 24, 2011

Twining Lesson

   There is a lot of interest to learn twining right now. For those who don't know, the book "Fabulous Woven Jewelry" by Mary Hettmansperger teaches the twining weave. Also the book "Jewelry: Concepts and Techniques" by Oppi Untracht teaches the weave and gives multiple start methods for beginning round twining or weaving of all sorts. Some of these methods I have used and some I have not.

  I have drawn from all of these sources and closely studying the works of someone like Mary Lee Hu, or other fabulous weavers out there, including basket artists, and have developed my own methods through self study.

  If you read my blog you know that I am reluctant to teach in any official capacity. Recently I have been rethinking my reluctance. It began when I decided that I would write a free tutorial for the blog on Twining like I did with the Trinket Box. I very much enjoyed writing and teaching on that subject. But, I also felt free to teach in my own style because I did not charge anyone any money for it.

 The wire work community has developed a certain expectation about how information is to be transferred and shared. It is expected that a step by step type project will be taught and all wire lengths given. I really do not want to teach in that style, but I am interested in empowering wire workers and giving them tools to help them grow.

  So, I recently decided to take a risk and sell a lesson/guide on the subject of Close Flat Twining. I hope to share info as to wire choices, how to wrap on and off, how to do the twining weave (I use a revised method, not the one in Mary Hetts Book), how to twine closely, offer lots of options to encourage inspiration and design, pitfalls to avoid, and give you an idea how to approach your own project.

  I am going to offer this lesson for a low fee of 4$. With such a low fee the wire work community can try out a new method of information exchange with only a small risk if you don't like it.

  I'm a bit nervous about how this will go over or whether I will only be offering information that isn't already obvious to all. I hope everybody will at least gain one new skill from it.

  I don't have enough material to discuss round twining at this moment. However I will include one basket start in the lesson for those who want to play around with round twining;.

  I have never merged pics and text in a word processor before so it's a steep learning curve for me. Also there is lot's of details to discuss and pictures to take and it's taking longer to write than I thought. I hope to be done in two weeks or less.

  Than we shall all find out together whether this was a good idea or not!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Striped Agate Necklace

I'm so amazed at my own work lately. Like someone who dreams, I feel I will wake up and find the wire fairy has abandoned me. She will say "Ooops, I sprinkled the wrong wire artist, this magic dust was meant for someone else" and than she will take it back:)

I begin to think that all the scratching and clawing and hard work and failed projects have brought me to this very moment. All that suffering wasn't wasted after all:)

  Well it's past my bedtime and I have nothing fascinating to say. Good Night!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Deep Sigh...

....of satisfaction:))

  I have longed to do beautiful layers of interesting wire but I always felt I fell short of 3D work most of the time. Eventually, I told myself to stop worrying about it and let it happen on it's own. Today it really happened!!

  I'm so satisfied and proud of myself over this design!! I couldn't help but think back to my very first ever twined project over a year ago.

 At that time I remember being mystified as to how I would ever deal with all those spoke wires. I never thought I would ever have a solution!!

  Most of this year 2011, I have felt like I was always in learning mode. I've worked on improving my skills and problem solving things that I believed held me back. But, I haven't felt for a long time that there has been any sort of break through for all my effort.

Until this week:)


  I've said this before..... maybe you paid attention, maybe you didn't, maybe you didn't care....

  If you are going to work in 3D get a brass brush. Many wire artists choose to leave the wire black when they work in 3D with multiple wire layers. I've seen tons of work out there that was not left black but was hardly adequately polished.

  If it is the intent of the artist to leave their work half polished, that is certainly a design option. Personally I think it shows a lack of care and attention to detail or they simply don't know what to do.

Here is a link to the brush I used from RioGrande

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Twined Flower Vase

  This project was all about warp wires for me. I treated my double weaving wires like a bundle and allowed them to cross however they pleased. I didn't want to be distracted by my perfectionism  over the weaving.

 Expanding, shaping, reducing, and being creative with warp wires was the number one goal here. In the future hopefully all skills with begin to come together in one design.

  It's about 3 inches tall. The two tendrils at the top right were an accident, in that I had not counted my warp wires correctly and so had some spares. However I think the design is much better with the happy accident, as opposed to the perfect ring of petals I had originally planned. Yay for accidents!!

  As for the finish, I took a torch to it and had the most wonderful colors of purple, reds and golds. It looked awesome!! I coated it with Protectaclear hoping to seal in the colors but it all turned into the same hue:( Maybe renaissance wax would have been a better choice?

  On the side view, you can see the vase shape I made a bit better.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vessel Artists

  Just stumbled on this website and had to share with you all

Amazing artistic vessels!!!

I am struck in particular by the twined bird made by Ann Coddington Rast. I'm very tempted to copy that design to learn from it

I googled a few of the artsits from that website and found more wonderful things!!

Nancy Moore Bess

Ann Coddington Rast


I'm working on a little twined basket right now, should be finished in the next few days. My basket is so very sad looking when held up next to the works of these amazing artists, still I love it:)

I wonder often lately, how does one become such an amazing artist with such skill and such a body of work?  Is it a matter of time put in? Years they have worked their craft? Where does such skill come from?

I'd love to do amazing works like that and I would love to do gallery quality work. I just have no idea how one even get's that good!!

Love to hear your thoughts on that!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Moving Forward

  So many good things have happened to me lately. I was able to sell quite a lot of work in the last few weeks, both online and off. I was able to sell even more than I told you about in a recent blog post. I've sold at least double that much in the last week.

  I also had a really good idea for a possible project to submit for Bead Dreams. The other project I began last Spring is still ongoing, it's so enormous I can't face it very often. I learn a lot when I work on it though:) I have to get something done by April if I want to try and submit for the contest. I love my new idea even more than the original project and it's a bit more doable.

  All these wonderful things have happened and my response to it? Initially happiness, and than I collapsed into self pity and depression. All these ideas, this talent and hard work, I feel I can do nothing about it. It sits in front of me like a tease. I feel hopeless to solve the dilemma of my time problems and managing the different areas of my life in a balanced way.

  My daughter and I have made some changes this year. We have been eating healthier food  and we even both lost some weight. I've been spending regular time reading my Bible and I want to add some exercise into my weekly routine. The problem with all these wonderful things is that I have to cut back on wire time.

  For the last 6 months I have known that if I want to have a healthier and more balanced approach to my life I have to let go of this creative life I want so much. Or give it a teeny tiny space in my life. When I think about this problem and how to solve it I slip into day dreams of being rich, or married and not working, or winning the lottery:) Or I slip into depression.

  This morning I just realized... my needs HAVE been provided for. In my self pity, I never noticed that there is MONEY in the bank, thanks to all of my customers. I can afford to hire a service to clean my home and maintain it for at least 6 months. I can move some of this load off my shoulders finally!! Big SIGH of relief!! I can maintain my creative life and dreams. I can take another step down this road in a healthy way. This is the first time I have felt any true hope on this long standing problem.

  Rejoice with me friends!!! And thanks to everyone who purchased in the last few weeks!! You've saved my life and lifted my soul!!


  A while back I told you I made a mistake on the Moroccan necklace. This is the mistake part. It was supposed to be 6 wires thick and it's only 5. Perfectly useful mistake but it was not a matching mate for that other necklace.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Twined Button Cuff

  I blogged about this cuff almost an entire year ago.

  I was ready to deal with all the problems it gave me last time.

Embellishing was really tricky, every gemstone bead or stick pearl I tried to embellish with made it look cheap and contrived. When ready to give up I thought of my button box. I'm so glad my original ideas failed, because these buttons really rock it!

  Copper wire, plastic buttons, red suede leather, jasper drop

  And just like last time I have a blister;)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Buyer Scams

   Something you friends don't know about me, is that I used to sell vintage costume jewelry and vintage beads on Ebay about 10 years ago. I have over 1000 internet Ebay sales under my belt. I was only scammed once.

  Since I have been selling on Etsy, I have about 80 sales total between two shops I have, and I have been scammed twice.

  I fell for the latest scam hook, line, and sinker, so I want to warn other shop owners. I received an email from Paypal, or so I thought... that I had received money from an item that sold in my shop. I believed it and I did not check my paypal account.

  I saw that the buyer had many excellent feedbacks to her name and I saw nothing suspicious about the transaction. Nor do I look to Etsy itself to tell me whether or not an item is paid for. So I sent it and left feedback for her.

 As soon as I left feedback she convos me to say she needs to cancel the order. I said no problem, return the item and I will refund you. I still don't see anything strange going on! At worst I expected her to try and withdraw her transaction on paypal. Blind woman that I am, it finally gets through my head that she never paid me at all!!

  So be careful and double check that you have received cash.


The other scam I have fallen for is to send the item, leave feedback, and than the buyer withdraws their payment on paypal claiming that I cheated them. If I haven't saved my receipt proving shipment, I have no hope to prove myself to paypal.

I since save all my post office receipts for a year after the sale.


I know many of you readers are savvy women who don't need to be told these things, but a reminder and some information can't hurt.

I've got a cool bracelet in the works, should be done today or tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Eye Opening Experience

  I had an experience today which makes me stop and think. I showed my jewelry, almost the entire stock, to some beaders. I've never showed my jewelry 'in person' before. Where people can touch it and try it on and see it with their own eyes.  I sold a lot of jewelry today. And I was invited back to show it again next week to even more people.

  I'm amazed at the reception I recieved. I've grown accustomed to people loving my work but not actually purchasing any of it. It's good, but not good enough to own I guess. But I see now that's a mistaken understanding on my part.

  It has always been my greatest wish to sell over the internet to the whole world as my market. That has never worked very well. Many of my Etsy sales were from people that I brought to Etsy with me, not people Etsy brought to me. Also, I think that people have a different reaction when they can see and touch and have a more immediate experience with my designs.

  An attractive young woman tried on one of my older designs. I always thought that design needed some vague improvement. But, when I saw it around this woman's neck I realize with shock it was perfect as is. It was so gratifying to see the excitement in her eyes when she bought it. And she was even happier when I told her I had matching earrings at home and would give them to her next time I came. I hadn't really expected to sell anything you see;) I thought it would only be a show and tell.

  The whole experience really gave me hope that I can sell if I find the right situation for myself. My stock is pretty small since I usually only make 1 piece a week or sometimes even just 2 designs a month. I've always felt challenged about doing shows with so few pieces of jewelry to offer.

  I'll be thinking about this day from now on and be more open minded about what and where I might best display my work.


Here is the weeks work:
Sterling and tourmaline twined brooch. I expect it will become a pendant one day. I'm going to set it aside and see how it develops in my mind over time.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Twined Coin Pearl Necklace

  I started this weave about 6 weeks ago. It's one of my many 'big ideas'. Disappointment is always a threat when working with 'big ideas', because too many things can go wrong when designing outside of your skill level.

  I tossed this weave aside because it was not perfectly centered and I knew in my heart that that would ruin it for me. What I did not realize was that once the entire weave was in place, the small off center issue would disappear, because the eye cannot make the same tiny spatial assessment once the weave had filled in all the air gaps.

This came out way better than I hoped it would! I love how the weave goes right up to the edge of the frame. It has an excellent feel of luxury and expensiveness due to the weight of all the silver in the pendant.

  It gives me hope for some of my other 'big ideas'  :))

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mystery Labradorite

  This is my old and well loved 'roots' themed design in a new form. The end goal being, if one day I can use the roots at any time and in any shape or form I want. This is a step in the right direction I think.

  I showed it to my daughter and she called it 'confusing' ..  LOL!!  I said 'Let's call it mysterious instead"  :)

Double sided pendant.

OH, and I updated the Etsy shop for the first time in 6 months. You might enjoy looking.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crayon Designs

  I've been stringing necklaces all week. Using up supplies from the bottom of the bead barrel.   You know, the stuff you don't like as much as the beads at the top:)

  It's been such an interesting challenge to turn something I don't really love into something that I actually care for as an end product.

 I began doing this because I have an intense desire to declutter at the moment. Also, because I feel so creatively empty lately. When I look inside myself I just see gray nothingness... or rather I did at the beginning. Stringing these necklaces has primed the pump so that I feel I'm creatively coming back to life.

  I only had two rules for myself. Whatever strand of beads I chose, I had to stick with that strand until I had accomplished a design. All of these strands took at least two hours to design them into something cool and interesting. Assembly did not take nearly as long.

  The second rule was that there were no rules as far as the mixing of components and materials. There is base metal mixed with sterling, and vintage buttons mixed with plastic buttons and gemstones. Hemp and or silk or chain is used on any and all of them.

  I call them my 'Crayon Designs' due to the fun and playful factor and not really coloring in the lines:)  Here they are in order of creation.

Reconstituted turquoise, carved wood, hematite,  and hemp.

Banded agate, vintage glass, plastic button, hemp, seed beads

Snowflake obsidian, plastic buttons both vintage and modern, sterling, silver base metal, vintage glass, hemp. Can be worn long or doubled.

TIP: When the back of the button is unattractive, just add a second button to the flip side of the component.

Vintage cobalt glass, wood beads, brass, and hemp

This last one was supposed to be a strand of opalite. Took forever for me to design it and at some point I realized I had designed the opalite right out of the necklace lol

Bone, copper, gorgeous rare vintage glass pearls, vintage mop buttons. base metal chain, vintage venetian glass bead. The pink vintage mop buttons on this are a stunning fuchsia, but alas they didn't photograph well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Copper Torque Necklace

  A fairly simple project finished in one evening. The most exciting thing about this project is not the design itself, which I find boring. But it's this....

  If you look closely at the braided part, you will see it is very lightly hammered. The hammering of the braid gives it a lovely spring and strength for curling around the neck and keeping it's shape over time. This made me very happy:)

  Now I just need to come up with a more interesting design. I'm flush out of ideas at the moment.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Brief Detour

   I have been redecorating my bedroom all week. Over the years the changes in furniture has caused my room to be a mismatched horror of white wicker, dark woods and now a new/used bed in maple.

  I woke up one morning and decided I had had enough and launched myself into a rather big project which has taken me away from wire for a short time.

  I found a gorgeous spray paint called 'Oil Rubbed Bronze". Doesn't that sounds cool? And it really looks cool too, and so all my furniture is getting painted and that takes awhile.

  I've always played it safe decorating with very neutral colors, but now that I have been at this creative life for more than two years.... I find the old ways no longer satisfy:) I find I want more red and orange and bright colors in my home and I'm doing alot of shopping to find some bargains to add color to my room. It's definitely a budget redo:)

  In the meantime my friends, I have found two more wonderful artists who work with copper metals and wire to make lovely vessels or sculptures. I'm sure that you will enjoy them!

Eventually I will get back to my own wire projects.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Abalone Button Brooch

  Experimental design. Meaning that I did not plan out, or know what it was going to look like, before I began the project. ****shudder*****

  Not my favorite way to design but I think it's important to break out and try different methods sometimes. You never know how it might affect your future work.

  When my sister-in-law reads this blog post she will email me privately and say "Why did you put a nipple ring in the center? "  LOL!!  I'm so sure:)

  What do you guys think? Should I change the center dangle appearance?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Twined Carnelian Necklace

  Another design that was 'not as planned'. I'll be doing another necklace soon that will include the mistake part of this design:)

  I didn't want to redo the other component so I changed my design to something easier. I think maybe it turned out better this way:)

  My photography is pretty bad, I know, but I'm too lazy to fix it. Sorry!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not What I Wanted

 I'm being less controlling this month. I'm not trying to get my way about everything. I let my other needs and living my life get in the way of my wire agenda more often.

  In some ways I am more content, even though my longing to do more wire has not lessened. I am trying to make peace with my life as it is, and I have been successful.
  So I don't get much done:)

  And I have begun a strange, for me, way of working. Which is to have multiple projects going at once. I flit like a butterfly from one idea to the next but that method gets nothing done also.

So I guess this brooch is a good example of my frame of mind. This design was "not the plan". Very far off from the original plan in fact. I usually recycle the work that falls too far from the design idea.

I just couldn't stand to not rescue this design and get something done. So this is me, not getting my way but rescuing the situation:) It's growing on me. I like it's whimsical quirkiness.

The vintage abalone button is much nicer and shinier than it appears in my photo work.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Victorian Jewelry

  It's very busy at the office right now and I am not making any jewelry at the moment. I'll try to do something simple over the weekend so that I can submit to Year of Jewelry.

  If you need some inspiration, I recommend this video by Mona Hair on Victorian Jewelry. I had a lot of ideas when I watched it a few weeks back.

  She doesn't really get started until about 10 minutes into the video, you can scroll it forward a bit.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Coral Sterling Necklace

    The first challenge I had to overcome to make this necklace was simply to remove my frugality from the design process. Once that was out of the way it all moved along at a good clip until I got to the beaded bead:

  It took me 4 evenings to get it done and work out all the details. Should I make it in wire? Or thread? Do I tumble it? or assemble later? Will it be a round ball or a link?   Do I even have wire small enough to weave 2mm coral beads? Do I have thread small enough? No I don't.

  The beaded coral components used up an entire strand of 2mm coral beads and than I had to search my local bead stores for a somewhat close match to finish it. It was a good reminder that bead weaving takes longer than wire weaving. My hat is off to all those bead weavers who make such extravagant works!

Now that I have the supplies and the know how I really want to make another link.  I used 'right angle weave' to made the bead and 32 gauge wire. I think the wire is steel or some sort of base metal. But the rest of the necklace is sterling.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This and That

  I didn't get any finished pieces of jewelry done this week. One of my designs did not turn out as I hoped. Here are the remains:
  It looks better on camera than it does in person. It has no strong focal and the light bounces off at myriad places and the eye get's confused. It will eventually get unwound for some future project.
  My 26ga weaving wire keeps breaking on me and between that and the sad project above I discovered a renewed interest in house cleaning:) It was a good way to avoid the wire:) Have clean home now:)
  I did make a tiny 1.25" diameter practice basket. It's perfectly useful if you are a Barbie doll. I practiced the starting method, and also tested out what 30ga double twined wire looks like.
  This is what the 30ga looks like:
  I am perfectly pleased with myself for getting 20 whole spokes in that little basket!!

  Here is something you will really like!!  Here is a link to a gallery of Berlin Iron and Silesian Wirework Jewelry.  Be sure to scroll all the way down the page to see all the wirework they have. 
  All these jewelry pieces were made during the early 1800's, possibly by the same company. There doesn't seem to be any clear history available regarding the wirework especially.
  The Germans actually traded in their gold for these pieces of iron jewelry in order to help their country pay for the war with Napoleon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Moroccan Double Twined Earrings

 Another double twined weave.Very pleasurable to create, even though I took great care with every turn of the wire.

  I only wish you could touch it for yourself, the texture is amazing!!

Yummy carnelians!!

Oh and, I bought new glasses:) Eye sight being such an important tool:))

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jewelry: Concepts and Techniques Book

   I just purchased this book,  "Jewelry:Concepts and Techniques", and it arrived two days ago. It is absolutely wonderful and inspiring and full of information about wire that I have never seen in any other book. It's very expensive but you can search around and get a used copy like I did.

  You can search through the book if you want to have a look and see if it is for you. Go here:

Roughly pages 160-225 are all about wire, and the chapter after that is about chain mail. There are lots of examples of wire techniques being shown by Mary Lee Hu.

The entire book is stuffed with gorgeous jewelry and valuable information, and did I say inspiring?  Yes, Very!!!


  This is the first time I have tried twining with double wire.

 I hope to do an earring design using this weave over the weekend. I love the double weave and I hope I can get through an entire weave without twisting my wires on the earring pair. Crossing my fingers.

  Errr... probably I will go buy new glasses first, I'm struggling again with my eyes going blurry from the's maddening!!!!