Monday, October 24, 2016

Bracelet Giveaway Winner!

Last week was oh-so-special to me!  I spent the week at Miracle Horse Rescue - and created memories that I will hold dearly for the rest of my life!  Many, many heartfelt thank-yous to Stephanie and Rob for sharing their home, 6 dogs, 3 goats, and all those glorious horses with me! I will blog more about that later! :)

Today, I am announcing the winner of this bracelet, created with an Artisan Lampwork focal faceted fluorite beads, and handmade sterling silver bead caps.

Many thank-yous for all of the lovely comments - I truly appreciate it!

The winner is...

Sue Pompetti

Sue - please email me ( and I will mail out your bracelet via snail mail! :)

Thanks for stopping by today!!



Saturday, October 15, 2016

Grrr....and a Giveaway!

I had the most beautiful artisan-made lampwork focal bead and I cannot for the life of me figure out the maker! I have a bit of OCD when it comes to organization (that would be an understatement), so I am a bit mad at myself for misplacing the artist's card.

I have a hard time designing with this shape bead - too many options! I could easily see it hanging vertically as a necklace focal, with a tassel of beads or chain, or simply strung in a necklace (horizontal) with like beads. But, I was in the mood to make a bracelet.

I dug forever (truly) to find beads that went with the beautiful colors in this focal.  I found the TINIEST faceted Fluorite beads - purchased back in the day when I thought  2 mm was more like 1/2 an inch! :) The beautiful pinks, purples, and greens of the lampwork worked perfectly with these gemstones.

I carefully cut and forged two sizes of bead caps from both plain and etched sterling, soldered together some extender chain jump rings, and tumbled the silver, oxidized, buffed, and tumbled again. I then spent quite some time stringing three strands of these teeny beads (oh my eyes!!) to make a multi strand bracelet. 

The focal bead is complete with "stringers" of clear glass wrapped around the bead added for texture. It was not until I was editing the photos that I saw the problem... and I cried a little. This is where the "Grrr" comes in from my title of this blog post!

Can you see the issue? I cannot see it with my naked eye - I had to put on my Optivisor's, and even then, I could not see it.  But the camera does not lie!

One of those "stringer strands" of glass has chipped. The bead is not sharp anywhere - but it is there, and I cannot sell it knowing there is a flaw. As I have had this focal bead forever, I don't know when it became chipped. The chip on the exterior of the glass does not impede its purpose - it looks fabulous...even on my freckle-filled arm! And, well, I spent hours on this bracelet - I just do not have the heart to take it apart!

So, I am going to give it away!

  • Bracelet measures 8 1/2" in length
  • Adjustable to fit wrist diameter from 6 1/4" to 7 1/4"
  • Genuine faceted Fluorite Gemstone Beads (triple strand)
  • All metals used are sterling silver
  • Handmade bead caps and chain
  • Sterling Silver Lobster Clasp
  • Sterling silver beads and wire guards
How Enter - 2 Chances to Win

1) Leave a comment on this blog - equals 1 entry.

2) Share this blog post on Face book - COME BACK HERE and leave a second comment on this blog post - equals 1 entry.

I am traveling out of town from Monday - Friday of next week and will pick a winner when I return.

I sure hope someone out there wants to give this bracelet some love!! Thanks so very much for stopping by!  


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Supporting Handmade

Boy...have I been neglecting this little blog.  Sigh.  I also contribute to the Love My Art Jewelry blog every two weeks, and I think I spend more time thinking about that post than my own little space right here.  I must do something about that!

When I shop (whether online or in person), I truly try to find products that are "Made in the USA" - they are hard to find, but they are out there. It is not that I harbor any ill-will to Countries outside the USA that manufacture products, I simply prefer to buy "local", for lack of a better word. I am also a huge supporter of handmade - not just jewelry - for many reasons. I know I am helping someone support themselves or their family, and, the quality of handmade is typically much better than mass produced. When I was growing up, when I was not wearing my uniform for Catholic school, I was wearing some article of clothing that my mother had made. And, whether I liked the dress or not (sorry Mom!), it was the quality that mattered the most.

When I buy beads or handmade supplies online, I am thrilled when an artist includes "freebies". Many lampwork bead artists have slipped in a pair or two of earring-pair beads, or a focal, and it does not just make my day - it makes my week! I mean...what an act of kindness!

As a jewelry designer, I cannot include "freebie" beads in my packages - especially if the customer does not make jewelry. But, I want my customer to know how much I appreciate their purchase.  I donate 100% of my sales to Miracle Horse Rescue - the more I sell - the more the Rescue receives. Having a sale motivates me to create more - and this creative outlet is a necessity for my own peace of mind. I want my customers to know how much I appreciate that sale.

So, lately, I have been including a Sunshine Polishing Cloth in my sales (similar to this one). I slap my label on the package, and I typed up a quick little note on how to properly use the cloth. I have had a good response from my customers - similar to when I receive free beads! 

While I still include the polishing cloth, I have added something new to my packages. I began using handmade soap and lotions - my skin is so dry - and I have seen an improvement in the texture and elasticity in my old skin. Specifically, I buy my soaps and lotions from this shop: The Bathing Goddess. Wholesome ingredients that work. The shop owner - Catherine Pruitt - is a fellow jewelry designer (I own several of her pieces, as well)!  Cat and I have become "friends" on Face Book and one night, during one of our Face Book Chats, we were discussing her Solid Lotion Melts. There is nothing quite like these rounds of softness - I have a jar on hand at all times. Just a few rubs of the solid lotion between your palms, and BAM - instant softness! I told her that I purchased --- years ago --- a tin of single solid lotion melts that I kept in my purse. Well, Cat took that to heart, and came up with a purse pack size of these wonderful lotions!

So, I purchased a bunch of these Solid Lotion Melts, and I also purchased some Lip Balms. I love that I can pronounce the ingredients and they truly work! 

I typed up a little note...

And wrapped either a Solid Lotion Melt or a Lip Balm in a little cellophane envelope to include with my sales.

Yes - I appreciate every single sale from either of my shops - and I am supporting handmade the best way I know how.

Thanks so much for stopping by today - I promise to do better at blogging! :)

Have a great day!!



Friday, September 2, 2016

Labor Day!

I cannot wait for this Summer to be over.  Yesterday I read that it was the hottest (or second hottest) Summer on record for the Washington DC area.  Yuck.

So....I am celebrating!

Have a wonderful --- and safe --- Labor Day Holiday weekend!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I love experiments!

One of my "bucket-list" techniques to learn was how to reticulate sterling silver. There are lots of videos and how-to's for this technique, but it basically entails heating the sterling silver sheet until it glows light pink - hold it at this temperature for 2 minutes, and carefully drop it in your heated pickle. This stage of the process is called depletion gilding, whereby a layer of fine silver is created at the surface of the silver sheet.  Repeat this heat/pickle process 3 times, until the surface of the silver turns frosty white (and it really did turn frosty white - I was excited)!

The next stage of torching involves focusing the heat slowly over the surface of the sheet until it turns a dull red.  As you move your flame away, the surface layer crinkles and folds and creates my favorite thing in the whole world - texture!.

While my first try at this process was not what I would call stellar, there is some texture going on here! Of course I forgot to take a picture of my entire sheet (I was excited to use it), but as you can see, there is lots of missed opportunity for texture on my sheet below.

But, I was able to use a few areas of this reticulated sheet and I made a few far.

First up, I had these gorgeous porcelain drops from Scorched Earth with a glaze called Hematite Shimmer.  I swear, in natural light (not under my photo lights, unfortunately), they ooze glitter!  I even took the earrings outside to photograph, but as soon as I opened the door, I was accosted by the insane humidity and turned right back around.  

Next up, some handmade porcelain charms by Carol Dekle of TerraRusticaStudio.  These are such a pretty light blue..almost turquoise color. 

I love using porcelain beads/charms - they are so lightweight and easy-peasy to wear. 

The next pair also feature porcelain charms by Carol - pretty texture and a lovely Evergreen color.  I paired these with two itty bitty sterling silver hollow beads that I made.

My favorite pair of earrings feature Carol's Tree of Life porcelain charms. In researching its origin, I read so many interpretations of this ancient symbol...these are my favorites:

  • A Cosmic Family tree, telling ancient stories of shared roots that link to the past, showing connected struggles and aspirations, and desires to reach for the light.
  • Similar to a Family Tree, the symbol illustrates roots and branches where one has both diverged and joined.  It shows where we come from and who comes from us.
  • It also carries the meaning that we are all related to the Cosmos - humans, animals, earth family, beyond earth family, etc.  All of these Cosmos are inter-connected ...DNA and chemicals link us and it is this link where we find compassion and tolerance.

I paired these charms with tiny copper beads that I textured and rolled, along with some sterling silver because...come on...MIXED METAL!  Yum!

Carol also gave me several porcelain cabochons to play with.  I used the first one to make a ring.

What I love about this cab is that she has cut facets into the sides...which are NOT symmetrical.  I hand stamped the back plate, and was successful with my second split shank!

The split shank is fast becoming my favorite!  It looks substantial, but unlike a wide band ring, it is so comfortable to wear!

I started cutting some silver for cuffs, with the intention of stamping some designs.  That will have to wait until tomorrow!

Thanks so much for stopping by..I truly appreciate it!