Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gratitude, Rose Petals and Mud Balls

Hello all,
I know this is a busy week as well as a time of reflection for many.

I have found that for me, reflecting on my experiences, even those that are sad or painful, is good for me.  To sort it all out and really think about how something has affected my life, helps me to either appreciate the great aspects of an event or if it's something sad, it helps with the healing process.  I have had such a busy year that I haven't done as much of that as I should have.  Which of course means that I find myself doing it now.  Bear with me, please.  I know that I seldom write about personal stuff.  Just not my style. Well, other than grill wrestling and fossil wrangling.  And I may rethink and delete all of this, but for now, here goes.....

These are my reflections of the last few weeks.  As I think back on my year of transition in a new state, a new home, with everyone I meet being a new acquaintance, new places and completely unknown to me-cultural references, I find myself longing for familiar places and people.  I'm certainly not meaning to diminish the many wonderful things and people I've discovered here in Texas.  Especially lately, though, each time I walk into the room which would have been my dad's room when he came to stay with us, as was planned, my heart aches anew.  I don't believe I've mentioned that one of the main reasons we chose this particular house,  is because there is a room here perfectly suited to his needs.  And the reason we're in the state of Texas, (as opposed to choosing the other option we had at the time) is because my dad lived just a few hours away.  So that we could be close.  How easy to transition him into his inviting room with a sunny sitting area where he could have watched the birds flitting about.  The perfect window to catch a glimpse of the hummingbirds and butterflies on their favorite bushes right outside those windows.  It would have been ideal for him in so many ways.   As the year anniversary of my father's passing approaches this Thursday,  I think more often of the whirlwind of activities a year ago.  How hopeful and excited we were at the prospect of finally living near him again.  The mad race to get the house painted and ready so that we could move in.   The enormous exhaustion we felt at the thought of unpacking all of our boxes and setting everything up.  That morning, on our way to the house, we had stopped at the store to pick up milk so we would have something to drink at the house as we unpacked.  While we were at the store, that's when we got the call.  Sadly, my dad never saw this house.  It seemed such a cruel twist that he passed away the very next day after we got all of the boxes and stuff to the house.  Before we had a chance to get it ready for him.  As the days of this week take me back to this same time a year ago, the sheer missing those that I've lost, creeps in at unexpected moments.   I am thankfully, reminded of one of my favorite sayings.

"Pain and suffering are inevitable.  Misery is a choice"

 I don't know who wrote these wise words but I often repeat them to myself when the feelings of sadness invade.   We all have a story about when our personal heartbreaks happened.  We all have mountains we are climbing in our own lives.  Big hurdles.  Whatever our mountains are, they are situations that challenge us.  I continue as many of us strive to do, to live a life of gratitude each and every day, despite the problems I may encounter.  To focus on the blessings and not the struggles or losses.  To choose happiness and by so doing, to squeeze every bit of beauty that I can out of a day.  Because each day of life is truly a gift.  It might not always turn out as I expected, but it can still be the best joy-filled life I can imagine.  A wonderful and amazing life filled with hope no matter what surprises I encounter along the way.  So my friends, whatever hand life deals to you, my sincere hope is that your happiness will be abundant and your sorrows few.

Whoa...didn't mean to go waxing poetic on you.    See what happens when I reflect?!  Ack!

I know, I know, you came for pretty pictures.  Hahahahaha.  They're coming.  Lots of pictures- though you'll have to decide if you think they are pretty or not.
So this week, I'm sneaking in a quick (yeah right) post.   Shall I get to it?

Hmmm let's see...what's new since last post?  Alot!  Autumn (winter?)  has arrived in Texas.

There might be a few blossoms stubbornly clinging to the rose bushes, but not many.  
We did have ice pellets yesterday, after all.  
Which don't compare to the "dagger-like drops of rain" that accompany hurricanes in Florida.  
Right Bond Girl?  You know what I'm talking about.  
ALL the weathermen tell you to "hunker down"
during the storm and then get all dramatic about the dangerous rain drops.  
You know they do. Part of the job description, I think.

A few people have sent me pictures of the castings they've made using the technique outlined in my 
Metal Casting tutorial.
I am delighted when you guys take the time to do this.

By Cheeky Magpie
why yes, that is a cast hummingbird skull.  Too cool!
You'll see my version a bit later.  They look quite different.
If you prefer a nice smooth finish like she has achieved here,
do what she does...
you can ever so quickly polish your castings with a quick kiss of the flame from a torch.
Gotta be quick or at best you'll lose detail and at worst, you might melt your casting.

These are by the talented Kristi Bowman.
Urchins and ammonites....her trademark and favs of mine too!
Notice the casting that looks like she foldformed it?
So very clever!

The next ones are by Melinda from Bees on Pie.

Oh my goodness....Fleur de lis, hands, roses, birds...
she achieved amazing detail and all of the castings she made are wonderful!!


It's always exciting to see what you make.
Even more so when I see that you guys seem to enjoy the same designs as much as I do,
yet all of our work is uniquely our own..
Thank you for sharing your photos with us.

Speaking of tutes, by now you are probably all aware of pipnmolly's new tutorial.
In case you aren't.....

Hmmm, don't know why the title got cut off.
It all about soldering tin to make those beautiful tin beads Tracy uses in some of her earrings.
And tin bangles, and tin components.
So if you ever wondered how she does it or wanted to know how to make them yourself..
grab yourself this fabulous tutorial.
Lots of helpful tips and step by step photos.
So many design possibilities and it looks like fun!

I also ran across these interesting things the other day....

 From the etsy shop- EJR Beads.
They dissolve.  Then they disappear.
Scratching your head wondering why you would want to dissolve beads you just paid for?
Here's why...
They are used to form hollow poly clay beads around the dissolvable form.  
After making and baking your poly clay beads, 
you soak them and pull out the little bits of fiber that might remain.
Viola!  Hollow beads.
How cool is that?!

and now
here's what I've been up to....

My oldest daughter has done such a beautiful job creating her own website,
as well as editing and formatting my tutorials, 
that we decided to see what she could do about updating my website.

All I can say is 
 I am beyond delighted with what she's done.
Complete with moving pictures. .I Know!!!
Well lacking Flash, they don't actually move in their nifty slideshow on my ipad or iphone, 
so there's also some still photos for those gadgets.
Yes, you're absolutely correct.
She didn't get her tech skills from me.
But boy, she has some impressive tech skills ....links and everything!
It doesn't just look great, it's fully functional.
As in, I can update it myself!  
Happy dance.
Please check it out and let us know what you think.

 and finally....
here's those pictures I promised earlier.
Most appear without what has become my usual listing descriptions, 
because that monumental task hasn't been done yet.....
and because I'm feeling too lazy to do the copying and pasting for those that are already listed.

No, no ,no.
What am I saying?
NOT lazy. It's exhaustion from all this making.

Bluhealer lampwork beads and Scorched Earth beauties

Sterling and Bluhealer beads

 Numinosity uber long headpins, Havana Beads headpins, 
Debbie Sanders lampwork, fossil mammoth bone, tektite

Roller printed aluminum, soldered wreaths, sterling and apatite nuggets

Roller printed aluminum, Bluhealer, Scorched Earth

Kingman turquoise, Bluhealer, Scorched Earth

Bison teeth,  glass eye headpins and upcycled tin shields

Vintage mother of pearl, silver embellished coin purse, rhinestones, vintage components
and various pretty black and white stones necklace.

The coin purse opens to a striking red leather (?) interior.

My version of a cast hummingbird skull paired with faceted rubies, a vintage buckle, vintage tintype,
coin pearls, rhinestones, vintage mesh beads and sterling.

Foldformed focal piece with Bluhealer ammonite beads, and stone beads.

Roman glass, Bluhealer, copper barbells and sterling

Vintage mother of pearl buttons, hand connectors, vintage mesh beads and
vintage silver filigree.

Hessonite, turquoise, coral, chrysocolla and Scorched Earth

Assemblage, secret compartment necklace.  You name it, it's in here....
a vintage bird brooch,  a wire bird nest, freshwater pearl eggs, mother of pearl blossoms,
a lampwork blossom by Victorian House, czech glass, hand-dyed silk, rhinestones...
what am I forgetting?

a cold enamel bird, rosary style quartz chain.....

The art deco style secret compartment.
This is how it opens so you can hide your tiniest treasures inside.

Watchhands, Scorched Earth, hand-dyed silk ribbon wrapped metal wreaths.

Scorched Earth red and black hearts from her "Alice" series, 
bullet casings, hand-dyed silk ribbon, ivory acrylic roses

Kingman turquoise and Scorched Earth

I've re-worked these lace and Scorched Earth nail earrings.
I added lustrous mother of pearl teardrops, faceted crystals and smoky grey teardrops.

Vintage etched brass with patinated brass stampings, 
Scorched Earth droplets glazed in wonderful mottled green,
vintage green headpins, hand-dyed silk ribbon and czech glass.

Vintage carved peach pit baskets (I love these charming bits of folk art),
vintage silver filigree, Bluhealer lampwork beads.
One basket is a bit larger than the other so let's call these assymetrical, shall we?

Stamped and oxidized brass, Scorched Earth spikes in scrumptious shades of greyish blue,
Lampwork beads by Bluhealer and hand-dyed silk ribbon.

Sterling silver, etched and oxidized copper, roller printed aluminum
and porcelain, platinum glazed droplets by Scorched Earth.

Incised spikes by Scorched Earth dangling from
hammered and soldered copper rings.

Vintage patterned brass with hints of red and green,
with a croc glazed spike from Scorched Earth hanging beneath an arc of
raw brass.  They look to me like they have a bit of an ancient vibe.

Stamped and oxidized brass, patinated brass stamping, a copper barbell
and red, black and white sticks from Scorched Earth.

Vintage sewing bobbins embellished with text, glass eye headpins,
ceramic discs and vintage metal vessel beads.

Mercury glass, lampwork discs by Debbie Sanders and mismatched headpins by Havana Beads.

The most gorgeous keishi pearls I have been able to get my hands on.  These have an
amazing luster and the sweetest cupped shape.
Paired with sterling silver and wee soft white freshwater pearls.
Oxidized to a soft matte greyish-black to compliment the white luster of the pearls.

Simple and rustic.  Roman glass paired with porcelain pods by Scorched Earth.

This picture doesn't do justice to the colors in these earrings.  
Multi hued ceramic drops by Scorched Earth, textured aluminum with a streak of multi metal foiling 
that compliments the colors of the drops, all framed by multi wire hoops.
Adorned by a single butterscotch rhinestone.
Oxidized to a deep brownish-black and sealed.

Yummy faceted ruby teardrops, roman glass and sterling.

From rubies to.....

Septarian nodules (fossilized mud balls with crystals formed in cracks within),
magnesite teeth beads in multi wire hoops.

and a necklace to match...

This larger nodule sports a drop embellished with a fossil mammoth bone bead.
The double strand brass chain fastens in the front with a vintage mother of pearl clip.

Like so.......

Last but not least.....

Treasure necklace.
Brass filigree, vintage lace, hand-dyed silk ribbon, rhinestone wreaths,
a vintage rhinestone embellished button, onyx teardrop,
lampwork headpin by Havana Beads, vintage twisty pearls,
a double peanut pearl with a soft blush of subtle pink.........

with a small metal receptacle for your precious treasures.

Almost forgot to mention that I'm having a sale in the Attic.
15% off anything over $8.00 until December 8, 2013.
Just apply this discount code at checkout: (all capital letters)
And that brings us to the conclusion of this going and going and just keeps on going, 
seems like it will never end post.
Yeah, I know, if I didn't let so many weeks go by between posts.....
They could be more manageable.
Naw....don't you remember?
I'd still fill it with pictures.
Lots and lots of pictures.
It would just be more often.

Hoping you all have a wonderful few weeks until we meet again.

("enjoy" in French)


  1. Nice to hear from you again, Anvil Janet!
    Another tender memory of your father--so personal that it touches the universal. Thank you.
    And for all the beauty you share, thank you also.
    Have a lovely Turkey Day of eating and remembering--my best to you and yours,
    Willow Janet

    1. Your kind words mean so much. Thank you! I appreciate your thoughtfulness more than you can know.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful, inspirational blog. It has made my day!

  3. Wow! Was it supposed to be a quick post? Oh my! So many beautiful and ingenious things!!! I'm going to feast on them for several days! and bravo for the website, clear and crisp!

    1. Thank you much, Lucie! Hahahaha, you know, I can't actually do a quick post, try as I might.

  4. Oh Janet, such a poignant start to another epic blog. Really - a whole year has passed?? I can only hope that over the next one, that your new home, will really start to feel like a home. xo
    Wonderful to see the pieces people have made using your ingenious metal casting technique - I'm looking forward to having a go over the holidays.
    Wow - you've been busy!! Stunning new pieces. Thank you Soooooo much for making my tiddlers look so wonderful as always - I love seeing the ingenious ways you find to use them, and am very honoured to see them paired with those beautiful Bluhealer beads. I'm in love with your silver discs!! Absolutely bowled over by your extraordinary mud balls too - they're incredible, and perfectly paired with mammoth's choppers!
    Oh - and well done both of you, on your website - beautifully done.
    I'm off now to sniff out that Pippy toot!!
    xoxoxoxo :O)

    1. Yes, unbelievably, a whole year! Petra, thank you for all of the many kind words you've shared over this past year. It has been a tremendous help.
      It's amazing to me how easily your beauties work with all of the other talented artists components I've paired them with. Your work inspires me.

  5. It still catches me out missing my dad and it's been 7 years, keep reaching for the warm memories. Still desperately trying to find time to use your amazing tute. Loving the mighty stash of new lovelies, especially the sewing bobbins and the fossil ones. Off to nose around your new site. xx

    1. Aww my sympathies about your dad, Marcia. You've had your hands a bit full as of late with wonderful wedding preparation, eh? Before you know it, you'll find yourself with just a bit of time to explore new techniques again. A good reward for all that hard work you've been doing!

  6. Whoa,whoa, whoa, WHOA! Ya dunnit again and knocked my socks off with wonderment. First of all, thanks so much for sharing your personal story about your year, I feel as though I didn't properly absorb the facts somehow and you put it in concise perspective for me as to the impact of your Dad's passing. Dear o'l Dad's... we lost a couple of good ones this year didn't we.

    And your earrings and combos of some of my favorite component makers, you have such a knack. Do you know bluhealer used to live in Alaska and her husband gave me some tips way early on about selling online? Of course I didn't go right out and do it, that was even before Etsy but he showed me how they used a scanner. That was way before professional grade photos for every bead you try to sell too. Anyways, you are an inspiration as always and I feel as though I just got a boot in the butt to make some jewelry soon. I have an AnvilJanet inspired/ Petra piece earring on my bench from last year just waiting for its partner. I find that attempting that fancy wire work you do that the first one comes out great and the second one will give me fits!
    When I carve out some time I just may have to absorb your tute. All this travel and then trying to keep my shop filled seems to take up all my time. Thanks for being there and for all of the sharing that you do.

    1. Thank you so much, Kim. We sure did, our dear cribbage playing dads. When we finally to get to meet, we'll have to play a game in their honor, eh?
      Nope, didn't know that, but I'm beginning to suspect you know EVERYBODY! lol. Thank you for sharing that wonderful tidbit about your knowing Bluhealer. You're a world traveler in more than the obvious ways. You know I live vicariously through you, right? You are my adventurer hero.
      I'm glad to know that trying to keep your shop filled is keeping you busy, as well it should. You make amazing stuff!

  7. You are very inspirational to all of us Janet, in so many ways. Virtual hugs. Love your new pieces and those septarian nodules... who knew an old mud ball could be that gorgeous. Thanks for the mention too.

    1. As are you Tracy. Oh wait you already know that because my "Inspiration" board on Pinterest is chock full of your fabulous work. Thank you!! Thanks for the hug too. I am so enjoying your tute. As suspected, making tin beads is a blast! And your next tute will be about....???? I ask with baited breath.

  8. Hi AA - I'm exhausted just reading and scrolling through your post. Amazed at the amount of stuff you haste produced and the vibrance and outrageousness of some of the pieces. Love what you have done roiling through the press - great stuff. Go well. B

    1. hmmmm, that's an interesting and generous comment coming from you, the man who produces so many incredible and intricate things that it makes my head spin. Don't think I can even begin to grasp just how many forged leaves, metal book necklaces, bowls, ladles, sculptures, etc..you create with such grace and speed. But I gratefully accept your kind words and heartily thank you.

  9. Another visually stunning post... I love all of your new work. You truly are my hero.

    Wishing you peace and happiness in the coming year.

    Much Love,

    1. Thank you so very much, Melinda. Sadly, we have both had much to contend with this last year. Isn't it wonderful to be part of such a supportive and kind group of fellow artisans to help ease each other through the ups and downs, whether it is art related or heart related?

  10. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. It's been 29 years since my Dad passed and he's still beside me.

    All of your new jewels are breathtaking to say the least. I'm still having heart palpitations!

    My last hurricane was Gloria in 1985! Both times we have been in Florida have been hurricane free. The nor'easters hit New England with us living in Florida. When we lived in Connecticut is when Florida was hit with all the big ones... which you seem to have experienced. We always watched them on tv.

    Enjoy this day with your family,
    Bond Girl

    1. I'm sure sorry to hear that about your dad. It doesn't seem to matter how long they're gone, does it? It's been about that long since both my brother and mother passed. Once in our hearts, always in our hearts.
      hmmmm sounding like it might be good to have you around so the bad weather will avoid the area. Think you can avert this ice storm that's upon us? hahahaha

    2. Oh and I misquoted the hurricane weatherman warning. It's actually "daggerlike droplets of rain". A bit more flavor to heighten the drama. LOL

  11. Every thing is fabulous!!! I had to read this post in two sittings so I could soak it all in. It's been just over two years since my mom passed and I think about her every day. I'm sure your dad would have loved the place you fixed for him.

    1. Thank you for those kind words, Alice. Sympathies about your mom. Sigh. Yup, me too after 29 years. I hope that the memories fill you with warm feelings more and more and sad loss, less and less.

  12. THIRTY FOUR new pieces. Your work is beautiful and inspiring. Did I mention that I counted THIRTY FOUR new pieces in that post. WOW!! Beauties all!

    1. hahahahahaha. Yeah, but did you count how many weeks it took me to make all those things? um, not so impressive now, eh? Thanks much for your kind words, Lela.

  13. so much to absorb in this post. my sister passed over 2 years ago and i've yet to absorb it. life is weird. but jayzuz im in love with those cast things!!!! why cant i ever think of stuff to cast? i have to have me a good think on that.
    and yer joolz are just bursting with creative energy as always. sending big hugs and sloppy kisses.

  14. Awww Marina. I'm so very sorry about the passing of your sister. Losing a sibling at a young age is a loss like no other. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. Big hugs right back to you.


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