Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let your ears do the talking

The fashion magazines have a lot to say about earrings this spring. In fact, the earrings themselves are speaking, and they're making a huge statement. Biiiig, long earrings are the "it" thing this season and they can take many forms. Whether they are mega hoops, or long dangles, they can be a perfect complement to your outfit and make a statement at the same time. 

One of the trends in jewelry for this season is "art school" earrings: 

Image from Vogue.
Possibly a bit too far out there but this trend is evident in some tamer offerings from Etsy shops as well, such as these sculptural beauties from GitasJewelryShop:

And these super fun, colorful ones from :

And these fan-style numbers from

I personally love a long, chain-styled dangle like these from :

Unsure how to work these kinds of bold pieces into your wardrobe? Here's 5 tips to get you started:

1. Wear all black, or even just a black top, to let your earrings get all of the attention.
2. Tie your hair back or up, to shine the spotlinght on the full splendor that is your ear candy. 
3. Wear all white, for a similar effect to #1.
4. Pick one solid color from your colorful statement earrings to wear on the top, and let the harmony begin!
5. Go super casual (e.g. torn jeans and a t-shirt), to put all of the focus on your magnificent, oversized earrings. 

I've been working on some bolder earring designs of my own for this season, and have learned so much in the process.  I am *so* excited about how these came together, in harmony with my nature-oriented theme, yet still kind of... out there.  Let's just say a little birdie told me...

I'll be rolling out my newest collection of statement earrings next week, and I hope you'll be here for the big reveal. Stay tuned for more on that!


Saturday, February 18, 2017

New work for Stitches West 2017 - Glass buttons!

Since I got home from the Sonoran Glass Art Show in Tucson I've resumed my prep for my first appearance at the Stitches West Marketplace in Santa Clara next week.  I'm so excited to show my work in this vibrant venue, and hope you will stop by my booth (1137) and say "hi".

Here are some of the shank style buttons I've been making lately.

These delicately coloreds ones are difficult to photograph.

 See you at Stitches West! The show opens with a Marketplace Preview on Thursday, 2/23 from 5-8pm, and goes through Sunday at 5pm.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

New - Snap Jewelry Supplies!

Have you heard about the snap jewelry trend? It started in the Netherlands and has spread to the U.S. This interchangeable jewelry system allows you to create your own unique look every time you wear the jewelry. Remember the Pandora and Troll bracelet craze? Well, it's kind of like that. The base jewelry items are readily available on the internet (look for items that say "compatible with Noosa or Ginger Snaps jewelry", and include everything from earrings, simple pendants, to leather bracelets and more, each with varying numbers of snap settings into which you can click your favorite artisan snap charms. Of course, the ones I'm most fond of are made from hot glass. It's quite addictive, and I find that customers new to this idea want to spend lots of time in my booth choosing from my selection of snap charms to make their own one of a kind jewelry pieces.

I have started teaching the ins and outs of making jewelry in this way, and I am offering supplies to make them in my new Big Cartel shop.  There you can find the 15mm cabochon mandrels that I have specially made for my own use and in my classes, snap bezels (into which you epoxy the glass cabochons), and findings to create your own styles of snap jewelry. I'll be adding more findings soon, so please visit often.
 Interchangeable snap jewelry necklace collaboration with Stephanie Sersich, from the recent Hands of the Maker II Exhibit, on display at the Rhino Gallery in New Orleans. The magnetic clasp is behind the flower focal.

Summer snap jewelry bracelets.
Black and white silver 5-snap bracelet.
The cabochons are quite fun (and fast, at 15mm across) to make, and you'll soon find yourself hopelessly addicted to making these tiny works of art. It's also fun to hear the distinctive "click" sound as you pop the "charm of the day" into your own unique piece of jewelry. And the possibilities for making pieces that are truly unique to your style are expanding, as the findings are amenable to your own unique spin on materials, such as leather, fiber, or metal, as you can see in the collaborative piece above.
Magnetic clasp leather snap necklace.
Putting it on and taking it off is simple!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Class and Show uppdate

Summer appears to be steamrolling right along as she normally does, and it's almost September. Time for massive vegetable harvests, preserving the bounty, last minute summer vacations, and fall show preparations.  I have added some new offerings to my show and class schedules this year, trying to mix it up a little bit.  I'd love to have you come and play in my beautiful studio!

First here's the class rundown:

Mad Science:  Electroforming to enhance your lampwork  *New Date*  September 10-11, 2016   9-5pm  $500
In this 2 day class you will learn how to use electricity and scrap copper to enhance your lampwork beads.  I will cover how to properly seal and electroform natural materials such as acorns, twigs, and leaves, as well as synthetic materials such as polymer clay and glass.  I will also share techniques for making pendant-style beads off the end of the mandrel with beautiful electroformed bead caps.  Students will bring several of their own beads to class to be electroformed, as well as any glass colors that they want to work with, didymiums, tools.  To purchase and save your seat in this class click HERE.  If you prefer to pay by check or cash, just send me an email to save your spot.

Mini Workshop: Striped Cane and Twisties    Tuesday, Oct 4, 2016     6:30 - 9p     $85

We will explore multiple ways to make and apply professional looking striped or twisted cane every time. Application on round, pressed, and disc beads will be covered, as well as reactive twisties that give your beads a tie dyed look.  Students should bring flameworking tools (to include a graphite marver) and didymiums.  To purchase and save your seat in this class click HERE.  If you prefer to pay by check or cash, just send me an email to save your spot.

One Day Workshop: Headpins 2.0  Saturday, October 8, 2016  9a - 5p  $200

Tired of your failed attempts at keeping a blob of hot glass on the end of a tiny little wire? Or maybe you have the hang but gravity and chance have the most say in how they look.  This in-depth one day class will have you making beautiful, intricate headpin elements perfect for earrings or focal pendants.  We will start with simple floral designs and end with some like those in the picture to the left.  Students should bring their didymiums, tweezers, a sharp poking / raking tool, parallel mashers (small), rod cutters, and a razor tool. To purchase and save your seat in this class click HERE. If you prefer to pay by check or cash, just send me an email to save your spot.

Mini Workshop: Hand Shaping        Tuesday, Nov 8, 2016     6:30 - 9p     $85

Does the thought of a neatly hand-shaped bicone scare you? It shouldn't. This class will teach you some tricks to get a centered bead into a perfect shape, whether it's round,  a cylinder, a bicone, or a tear drop.  Students should bring flameworking tools (to include a graphite marver) and didymiums.  To purchase and save your seat in this class click HERE.  If you prefer to pay by check or cash, just send me an email to save your spot.

I've added a new show to my fall lineup this year - the North State Quilting Jamboree in Red Bluff, CA.  I'll be there with my very talented quilter friend Heidi, with some fabulous new jewelry and some special new products for quilters. 

I hope your summer is winding up on a high note, and I'd love to see you at one of my upcoming classes or shows, whether you're a flameworker or "just" a glass fan. I could not do what I do without either of you! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Solstice Straw Bale Garden Update

Solstice morning in the garden.
Happy Solstice! I'm determined to eek every ounce of productive time out of this longest day of the year, so what better task to add to the list than a garden update?  It's been about a month since I planted our 12 bales, and things are looking pretty good.  I applied some worm compost (poop from red wiggler composting worms) at planting time, and have  been using E.B. Stone Organic Tomato and Vegetable fertilizer, plus every week or two I apply some aerated worm compost tea that incorporates fish emulsion and kelp. There's not much for nutrients inside the bales so the plants appreciate frequent feedings. I wish things were farther along, but our season up here in the coastal range is about 30 days behind everywhere else, and our spring finished rather cool this year. Patience is a virtue, I guess.

These rudbeckias might be the first to use the trellis. These are in a pot of the humus left over from last season's bales.
The potatoes seem to like their new home.

Nothing is growing on our trellis yet, except for an unidentified squash that is about to leap. The green bean plants I bought for the first round were supposed to be the pole variety but I think they were mislabeled bush beans. The second round I planted in the ground next to the bales disappeared, and I'm guessing it was either a mole/gopher, or the chicken manure compost (too hot) that did them in - they never emerged. Yesterday I planted another round of seeds, this time in the bales.

Strawberries. Still not planted in the STRAW bales.
Tomatoes and basil. The tomatoes are a couple of feet tall now, except the Siletz variety (beefsteak), which is only about a foot tall.

Beans and radishes.
So what am I growing this year?  Here's the list:

Flamme Heirloom
Gold Medal Heirloom
Green Zebra
Sweet 100
And one other whose tag is lost

Early Sunsation
Iko Iko Pepper Lavender Bell
Italian Long Pepper
Jalapeno Gigante

Winter Speckled Round
Green Tiger Zucchini
Butternut Squash
Sunburst Patty Pan

Bright Lights Swiss Chard
Nobel Spinach (bolted immediately)
Romaine Lettuce
Roma II Italian Flat Beans
French Pole Beans
Emerite Pole Bean
Garlic (different varieties, from a friend)
Potatoes (Yukon Gold and Red)
Persian Cucumber
Pickling Cucumber
American Flag Leeks
Kyoto Japanese Eggplant
Italian Basil
Heavenly Hybrid Sweet Corn (white)

The corn is new this year, and it's an experiment. I had one extra bale (the 13th), and despite all advice from the interwebs, I turned this bale on its side and planted corn in it. Maybe it's my midwestern roots showing, definitely my stubbornness, but I'm determined to give it a go. The baling technique used by my supplier is not standard - the cut ends of the straw are not opposite the twine, they are on the same side of the twine. For this reason, plus the extra surface area, I decided to turn this bale on its side. It's not a lot of corn, and it's planted far closer together than advised, but we will see what happens. I'm sure I'll have to put up some kind of staking system so it won't fall over.

Still, as when I first started this garden a couple of years ago, my favorite thing is to wander out there as the early morning sun hits the rows, and just drink it all in. I love the smell, the sight of the new growth, and the birds, and it fills my tank.

I'm loving these interesting flower buds on this unidentified member of the squash family (acorn?).
Green Tiger Zucchini. I chose this one because it was pretty. It's doing much better so far than my zukes have in prior years.
Finally, remember that huge pile of spent straw I hauled out of the garden this spring? I've been composting it next to the garden enclosure in anticipation of putting a bed for corn in next year, on some soil that has never been planted.  I stole some of it yesterday to put on top of another bed that has been redone - it will be a great soil conditioner combined with some alpaca manure I got from a friend. I can't wait to see what that bed does.

Spent straw used as a feeding mulch on an ornamental bed. In the fall I'll take the iris out and divide them, and then amend the poor soil where they were growing.
What's new in your garden?


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