Friday, January 31, 2014

The Pics Are In!!

                                                                                              by Kelli Pope

On January 3rd, I blogged about "Biting the Bullet"  and finally getting professional photographs taken to download to Zapplication.     I am SO very happy with the results.   I've applied to some of the bigger shows over the last couple of years, and have been turned down.  Fingers crossed, it was the photos and not the jewelry.  Come March, when the invitations/denials start rolling in, I guess I will finally know for sure. 

For comparison, here are some pictures I'd previously taken and downloaded to Zapplication.

And, here are a couple of the AMAZING photos taken by Larry Sanders.    He did a really great job! 

Better???      I think so.   Hope the jurors do, too!   
What are you doing this year to up YOUR game? 

As always, thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting and promoting handmade, handcrafted! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

What is going on around here?

by Staci Smith

I was going to do another Boot Camp re-cap, but I will have to do it later this week, as I totally got behind on it!

So I thought I'd give you guys a little update on some new directions we are taking the group this year.

Our group is smaller now- but its good, we have a great core group of artists!  We will not be posting daily in 2014.  We know everyone is busy; us, too busy to be blogging as much as we'd like, and you guys, too busy to be reading blogs all the time.  So we'd rather leave posts up a day or two, and give everyone more of a chance to read them.

We are doing Boot Camp again this year- it will start in February and be each Monday for 2 months with a blog hop at the end.  So look for that to start next week.

We are also hoping to have some random theme posts- like Tool Time, and Polymer and Ceramic Tips, ect. 

All of us here love sharing with you guys.  We love sharing our success's and failures.  We enjoying seeing you guys try new things.  We hope that this year will be another wonderful year of getting to know you guys, and moving forward in our experience of art and jewelry!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

mary jane dodd

loving fully - mjd 2014
upon my last breath
may i know fully
that i have given all 
my heart could give,

loving fully - mjd 2014

that the chips 
and cracks
incurred along the way
served not to weaken it
but allowed the light
to enter
and made it all the stronger.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Making your own copper beads....

MaryAnn Carroll "Nonnie"
Recently on impulse, while in my studio, I decided I would try to make some copper beads. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. It was more about experimenting and teaching myself something I had been curious about.

This is how they turned out.

I tried a few different methods, the first being using enamel to hold them together. After 1/2 hour or so I finally got one to hold together. I am not sure I would use this in any jewelry I am selling since I am not sure the enamel will be strong enough to keep it together if bumped.

Then I used my copper solder and heated them. Some worked out better than others. The seams are pretty obvious and they have yet to be tumbled. I did clean two by hand and applied a patina that I purchased from Shannon LeVart of MissFickleMedia. Those still need to be sealed with a product that I also purchased from Shannon.

So, after playing around, I then decided that there might be a tutorial. Yes, that is me, I typically put together the product and THEN take out the directions when it isn't quite working out!

I found a tutorial on I was on the right track in the beginning, but could have made things work out a little better with sanding, so they would fit together flush and I should have used mesh and a tripod when I torched.

These are the first two pictures from that tutorial.

So, my goal is to go back to this tutorial and try again. I might adjust a couple of things to make it work for me. If you are interested in seeing the rest of this very simple lentil bead tutorial,

click HERE.  

As always, thank-you for supporting artists who create handmade with handmade,



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Beads Beads and More Beads

by Staci L. Smith

It is that time of year again, where I make beads non-stop for a month or so in preparation for the Berks Bead Baazar.  

Berks Bead Bazaar is such a wonderful little bead show.  Yes, it's little, BUT the vendors there are top quality.  You can go there and get everything you need, and cut out the 600 other people you have to walk by to get to them (like at larger bead shows).  
Here is a great post about the show from Joan Miller last year:  The Little Show that Could

It was the first bead show I attended (where I fell in love with art beads), and the first bead show I sold my beads at as well.  So, its special to me.  The artists are top notch- plus they are plain old fun to hang around with too.  

This year B.B.B. has made a blog and a Facebook page.  You can follow along as us beady gals and guys prep.  You can get previews of what you may find there, and there may even be some artist interviews.  

I hope you can stop by if you are in the Reading PA area the first weekend of March.  I also hope you don't mind the million pictures of beads I may, (most likely will) bombard you with.

So, these are some of my newer style beads.  I am having fun adding color back into the mix.  I kinda took a break last year, and really dug into my earthy, dirty and ancient muse.  This year, there will still be ancient- but I was missing color.

I am also trying to make some new hearts this year- I get bored easily, and didn't look forward to making more hearts.  However this style with the black and colors really worked well to intrigue me enough to make more hearts!  I am smitten with them.

I also made some new owls.  I wasn't going to do the owl thing, I really wasn't........but then I challenged myself to make owls that were still my style.  So I made some tribal ones last year, and these are my newest ones.

I have also been obsessed with making earring pairs in polymer.  I began doing them for me- so that I have some easy earring assembly down the road, but I am making more then I can use, so to the show they will come!

I leave you with the view from my back porch.  We have had the snowiest winter this year in the north east.  Its wonderful, (except I hate driving in it)....but it makes for good bead production.

I am off to paint more beads, and bake more beads and paint more get the picture.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ice Storm Dec. 2013 Pictures

This is what our road looked like at the time of the ice storm. No traffic at all due to the ban on all travel except for emergencies. Below are pictures I took during the ice storm.  

Iced Hay Rake  Below Iced Berries


Iced Small Blue Spruce Trees

Iced Brussel Sprouts

Arch of Ice   Bent over Birch Tree
Iced Maple Tree Branches bent down and touching the ground

Iced Birch Catkins

Iced Maple Leaves

Iced Sunflowers and Netting for Peas

Iced Netting close up

Iced Grape Vines

After 5 days of temperatures above freezing, the  thick coat of ice has finally melted from the roofs.  All of the bent over trees popped back upright as soon as the ice fell over their branches. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Pandora Charms - Spring is almost here!

Thank-you for voting for your favorite new spring charm.
Come by and pre-order for the bracelet promotion.  
Open Monday - Wednesday 10:00 - 5:00
Thursday and Friday 10:00 to 6:00, and Saturday 10:00 to 5:00.  
We look forward to seeing you! 

Free bracelet with purchase of $100. worth of Pandora Jewelry, 
March 20th - 24th.  Mark your calendar and pre-order now.

New Spring line
Available March 17th

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Its not too early to begin thinking about Valentine's Day!

Sterling Heart Earrings by Southern Gates $69.

Southern Gates jewelry make wonderful Valentine Gifts.  Originating in the romantic town of Charleston SC, Southern Gates Jewelry pulls at the heartstrings, bringing back a bit of yesteryear.
Modeled after the many hand wrought gates that decorate the quaint streets of Charleston these lovely pieces are sure to delight!

More Southern Gates Jewelry Designs:
Round Oak Tree Earring $49.95
Teardrop earrings $89.95

 Come in and browse around there are many more designs to choose from in lovely Sterling Silver.
Small Scroll Pendant 89.95
Link bracelet $229., Double Pendant $39.95
Small Tree Earring $49.95

Pineapple Pendant $89.95, Round $69.95, Triangle $64.95

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Inspired by Reading Book Club Bridge of Birds and Journey to the East Blog Hop

Today is the reveal for the November and December selections for  Andrew Thornton's Inspired by Reading Book Club.  Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart and Journey to the East by Herman Hesse.
We are doing the two months together due to the two major Holidays that came during that time and our lack of time to fit them in sooner.
I no sooner began to read Bride of Birds than I became quite taken over by the idea of making a necklace focused on the central theme of the book:  a quest to find the Great Root of Power.  I spent quite a bit of time looking into what the ginseng root looks like and than proceeded to build one out of polymer clay.  It enchanted me.  The Great Root took hold of my mind and guided me into making a larger than life necklace of charms that bespeak of  magic, love and the unspeakable!!

Once I made the Great Root (see below)
The Great Ginseng Root by Mary Harding

I began on the chain of all chains--from Cindy Wimmer's book The Missing Link.  I spent countless hours bending wire, trying to figure out how to use the stepped pliers and finally tumbling it for half an afternoon  to wash away my many wire working mistakes.  
The chain is magnificent.

chain made from Cindy Wimmer's sliding rings link in her book The Missing Link: part before patina and part with a Liver of Sulfur patina

It was some weeks later that the Great Root lead me to discover the charms I needed to make .

Magnolia bud charm

Love charm

Magical Leaf Charms

Dragonlike charm

Jade Green bead charm

And when I was exhausted from all this creating and making I collected up the Great Root, the magnificent chain and the large polymer charms and put them all together into the
Bridge of Birds Magical Charm Necklace

Bridge of Birds Magical Charm Necklace by Mary Harding

A special thank you to Christine Damm for teaching me how to use polymer clay and for helping me find my inner polymer child.  I am having so much fun!!!  Another special thank you to Andrew Thronton for hosting the Inspired by Reading Book Club and giving  us this forum to display our inspirations and creations.
I hope you will check out what others have made.  Clicking  HERE will take you there.