Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Long Time Ago in a Land Far Far Away.....

Hello all,

Remember me?  Well, if not-I'm a blast from your past.  It has been a ridiculously long time since I last posted.  Seems that it's been a rough winter from one end of the US to the other.  I know that some of you who live in the southern hemisphere haven't completely escaped natures drama either.  For many it's been the weather, for others it's been illness, for me, it's been feeling under the weather this winter for way too much of the time.  Hoping that people are feeling better, digging out from under the mountains of snow and otherwise conquering whatever obstacles they might be facing.  And if no obstacles have been in your path, I hope that you've thoroughly enjoyed yourselves!

There's so much I have to share, but I'll try to keep this post a manageable size.
Famous last words, right?  

I mentioned in the last post that my wonderful imaginary friend Kathy
and her equally wonderful husband were coming for a visit.  Well they sure did!  

Kathy decided that she's rather fond of the mysterious air being imaginary has given her.  
So let me introduce to you, my imaginary friend Kathy.
And her photobombing hubs Steve.
Since Kathy wants to continue being imaginary,
 she bought me a "Kathy stand in" to share with you.

Please meet Pseudo Kathy.

You'll have to trust me on this,
Imaginary Kathy's face has much more character.
And is much more beautiful.
But Pseudo Kathy will have to do-
for now.

You might remember that Kat and Steve are our rockhounding/fossilhunting buds.
Usually it's Steve who goes where no-one has gone before and discovers "The Great Find".
This time the honor goes to Kathy,
who didn't even have to wander off into unchartered territory.
Here is her itty bitty hand holding the best find of the trip....
that she found just strolling along, I might add.

We aren't sure but out research suggests this might be a Therapod tooth!
How cool is that?!

a little Therapod info for those of you who might be wondering....

These are Therapod tracks. 
With the extreme drought that Texas has been experiencing,
people have been finding all sorts of fabulous fossils on their properties in this area,
 though this is not where she found the tooth.

We had a blast exploring and junking.

We stumbled upon this BIG FOOT track.
NOT a track of someone's big foot, but an actual Big Foot track.
Two totally separate things.
Doesn't it look just like a Big Foot track to you?
Sorry, just an imprint, folks.  No grainy, wobbly video to share with you.
For those of you skeptics who think this looks like a simple, everyday dino track,
well, believe what you will.

We also saw some beautiful sights...

and some not so beautiful...

we found some interesting treasures..

This is my mini fossil hoard.
If you look closely, you can see a bit of sparkling drusy on the white shell in the center right.
Kathy found a couple of shells with an impressive amount of drusy, but
I neglected to get a picture of them.
That woman has an eagle eye for spotting cool stuff.

While junking, I found this cool cobblers anvil.
It can be turned to use any of the three shapes.
Stands level and stable for hammering on each side.
Bonus- it has a slightly rough texture on the surface.

This will of course be cannibalized for it's parts.
No pun intended.

I found these wonderful carved bone beads as well as this lovely display hand.

And a new display torso to transform.

While all of that was wonderful,
the highlight of the trip was being able to attend
"Kathy's Cajun Cooking School".

You might remember from a previous post, that I have been awarded a well deserved
"Can't Cook Demerit Badge".
So as you can imagine, this was a rare treat.
Kathy is originally from Louisiana
and can make plain boiled water taste delicious.
So just think what she does with actual food ingredients.
Yes- she makes things that are so incredibly delicious,
 it's hard to comprehend that they are homemade!
First, she taught me how to make this...

One of my all time favorites-
Crawfish Etoufee

Complete with hushpuppies!
Yes, indeed- I was in hog heaven!
But gets even better.....

Cajun Shrimp Fettucini.
A whole BIG pot full.

Needless to say, I gained 135 pounds during my cooking class sessions.
So worth it!
We ran out of time for me to learn how to make Creme Brûlée
 and a few other assorted edible amazements,
which might not be a bad thing, all things (meaning calories) considered.
Sounds to me like she just might need to come back for Cooking School Part Duex.

And to Steve, of course.
We always have such a wonderful time with them.
The visits just go by way too fast.

Since I haven't been feeling great this winter, that is the sum total of my adventuring.
Sad, I know.
But you know what that means, right?
Besides the fact that I didn't feel chatty and neglected my blog.
Why yes!
Lots of time at the work table.
I will spare you the lengthy descriptions.
If you are so inclined, here's the link to my shop where you can read all about the materials, inspirations and pertinent info for these pieces

This bracelet was created using one of the vintage metal pieces I have available in the
Attic shop.
Quite a difference from it's bright shiny former self.
I'll show you pictures of these and some of the other vintage components available in my shop
later on in this post.

More foldforming.
This time adorned with Numinosity and Scorched Earth goodies.....

Chrysophrase and sunstone.

Tektite cufflinks
with lamp work glass eyes from Nightside Studios.

Boho Gypsy Chic
So many goodies in these...
Pipnmolly tin beads and AtLoganSquare drops.

Sunset Over the Bay

Desert Landscape

Desert Sun

Treasures of Earth and Sea

Abandoned Windows

Ripples Upon the Desert Floor


Indeed, you are correct!
These necklace focals are the very ones I showed you from the last post,
 all finished up and ready to wear.

Sunset Over the Savannah

Wonders of the Past

Dance of the Wild Tropics

Keepers-yes I am keeping these.
They were made with beautiful stones that Kathy gifted me.

Calypso Duex
I finally found another one of these scrumptious vintage turquoise tins.
You know it-There will be more earrings made from it.

The Bohemian Caravan

Sunset Around the Campfire

Ancient adornment

Mystic Blue Meets Rustic Fringe


Sunset Ablaze

I made a new batch of Turkoman Goes Modern Earrings....

Whitewater On the Colorado

Swirls in Gold

White Sand Shoreline



Venetian Splendor

and bracelets.....

Spinner Bangle Stack

The Edgy Roller Coaster


Fossil Coral

Swirling Waters

Bangle Stack, Spinner Bracelets

Oval Bangle Stack

Bangle with Vintage Oranges

Stacked Bangle Spinner Bracelets, Oval

Exotic Garden
With @LoganSquare's exotic polymer leaves.

Venetian Market

Dying Embers

Peonies in Aubergine

Ancient Shores

Larimar and Sterling Hoops

The Descent of Stars and Clouds

The Molten Earth

Green Kyanite and Black Tourmaline
with carved black vessels and hands

The Sweet Gothic Rose

Using more of the same black vintage rose components...

Rose In Hand

Tanzanite with Ethiopian Opals and Rubies
Squiggle Earrings

Blue Wave
Roller printed sand dollar, mixed metal earrings

Home is Where Our Heart Is

One of Petra's sweet hearts nestled inside

Fruit Salad

Forget Me Not

The Cottage Garden

Swirls Along the Riverbed

In Orbit Above the Canyon Walls

Larimar Squiggle Earrings

Boho Chic Hoop Earrings

That's it for the new jewels.
You may have noticed the unusual use of color.
I have no explanation for that.
Fever? Delusions? Color therapy?
Seriously I have no idea.
Compensating for gray skies, perhaps.

Here are the vintage metal components I've recently listed in the Attic
Some of them are quite fancy and others are minimal and while being from the early to mid 1900's,
they seem almost modern in design.

The above Art Deco style links expand ever so slightly on the sides.
A really clever construction method.

The following is the link I used for the first bracelet in this post.
Looks great bright or oxidized!

Trumpet flowers?

This profile is so beautiful.

I adore these links featuring a sweet bird in flight.

There are other links listed as well.

I don't know if I just get bored with my photos or what but
every new year I like to update and refresh the displays I use in my shops.
I've had this white hand laying around just begging for a paint treatment.
My aim was to make it look it look like an old garden statue.
Not sure if I managed that, but I like it just the same.
When I need a grayish hand instead of a flesh toned,
black or white hand for a photo-
it's just perfect!

I made a bunch more molds and metal castings using the technique in my
Metal Casting Tutorial

I wanted this batch to look old and grungy and they sure do!

I also felt like playing with my enamels and frit
that have pretty much been neglected since well before the move to Texas.
Other than the occasional enameled headpins, that is.
I thought if I cut out all of these unusual shapes, that the look would be very different
from the shapes Numinosity Kim uses for her gorgeous matchsticks.
No matter how hard I tried to keep my frit encrusted enameled bits from looking like
hers, they still resemble them.
That's quite a feat to have such a strong signature look, Kim!
I'll continue experimenting with these materials from time to time because I have them,
but Kim will always be the unequivocal master of enameled matchsticks.

I also experimented with embedding some of my micro fossils and emerald chips in resin.

I like the look.

I also ran across this antler/malachite WIP.
It cracks me up to look at it.
Many years ago, one of my brothers made my dad a really wonderful belt buckle and a bolo tie
utilizing this type of setting.
He did such a beautiful job.  I wish I had a picture of his work to share with you.
I think my dad wore that belt and buckle every single day.  He treasured it.
Anyway, years and years ago, I started working on this for my brother.
He's one of those guys that puts a lot of thought into and always finds the perfect gift for others.
So I thought it would be nice to make this for him as he didn't make one for himself as far as I know.
I don't even know how I got this far as I didn't have a Dremel or flex shaft
at the time I was working on this.
Yes, that long ago.
This WIP was squirreled away and completely forgotten.
Hmmm, maybe he needs a paperweight?

And last but not least from my work bench is the following...

Possibly one or two of you have seen my Pinterest Board
"What I Wish I Could Do".
It's filled with extraordinary handmade lace,
glass work, carvings of all sorts
and this...

Here's the
to this carved shell in case you would like to further check it out.
you can see why I was so inspired by this beauty.
Well, when Kathy and I were walking along the lake shore, we found some
shells with a lovely mother of pearl iridescence.
So, it seemed like a good idea to give carving MOP a try....
I picked out a shard and marked a design on it.

Nice simple pattern.
Should be easy enough, right?
(excuse the blurr please, forgot to turn Macro setting back on)

Progress after a second pass with an electric engraver with a diamond tipped burr.

Then I switched to the flex shaft with a larger diamond tipped burr
 and went over the design a couple more times..
Looks like much more practice is in order.
And this my friends, is why that particular Pinterest board of mine is aptly titled-
"What I Wish I Could Do"-
because clearly, it is something I can not do currently.
This makes me even more in awe of the carvings that Tracy Dipiazza does.
She makes it look so easy.

Changing directions now....

I have met and gotten to know a lovely fellow jewelry maker
who also happens to live just down the road from me.
She's given me a very warm Texas welcome
and invites me to join her for the local bead shows, which has been a lot of fun.
Our style of work is dissimilar enough that we haven't had to wrestle each other to the ground fighting over a strand of gemstones.
(Not to worry-She's no bigger than a minute so I think I can take her if it comes to that.)
Even though she's had an Etsy shop for awhile,
she's just recently been focusing on adding inventory to her shop
as she's very busy stocking her local venues and doing trunk showings.
Please stop by if you get a chance and say hello to Dawn.

Here's a link to her shop
The Elegance of Jewelry

and a picture of one of her beautiful creations.

We've almost come to the end of this post.
How did I do with keeping this manageable?
Eh? Eh?

Instead of sharing my usual picture of some random critter,
in the last blog post I promised to share further adventures of this big spider....

She built her web across one of our windows

I took this photo from the outside of the house.
The shadow from her and her mate reflecting on the window
makes it look like a whole bunch of spiders, but it's just the two of them.

It was fascinating and admittedly creepy to watch her catch and
package her food from the safety of the other side of the glass.
The first few days she got nervous about us being so close and would scamper off.
Then she got used to us and put on quite a show.
Notice her hubs patiently waiting in the upper left hand corner of the photo.

Here he seems to be losing his patience and moving in for his dinner.
Not so fast buddy!
She holds him at bay with almost no effort at all.

Then one day, he was gone.

She was about three inches long.
I tried to show scale from inside the window but she looked tiny
from this angle compared to reality.

Saying that I am no fan of spiders is an understatement.
I must admit however, that watching this spider day by day was fascinating
and I'm glad I had the opportunity to do so.
Then one day, she too was simply gone.

Spring is right around the corner and no doubt, there will be many more spiders to take her place.

Until then, I hope that the rest of this winter will be kind to all of you
who have suffered through it so far.
And for everybody else-

Thanks for stopping by!
(a Latin goodbye to you all)


  1. Hi Janet! Glad to see you again! Your creations are fabulous, and your end of post creepy crawlers, extra creepy. You have been missed :)

  2. Hi Estella! Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate your kind comment. Yes, there's no shortage of extra creepy crawlers hanging around here. As long as they stay outside, it's all good. :)

  3. Wow! talk about some stellar stuff!! you knock it out of the park with your killer skills...thanks so much for visiting my blog...your comment has entered you in The Greater Good $50 giveaway....good luck! Cynthia @ Beatnheart

    1. Thank you , Cynthia for your generous compliment and for entering me in your giveaway. That's a nice bonus- I thought I needed to go to their site to enter. Thanks for visiting! BTW, your pearl ring on your blog sidebar is beyond fantastic! Absolutely gorgeous!

  4. Sigh .... I'm looking forward to my PC playing ball, so that I can see all your pictures - there's FOOD and I can't see any of it!!! What torture is this??????
    I shall return! XXX

    1. Awww again?! I hope your computer cooperates better for you. Kathy's food is amazing-even just in pictures! Thanks much for stopping in, Petra. Please do try again. But you're forewarned, I'm pretty sure there are calories consumed just by viewing that food. ;)

  5. WOW!! Gorgeous jewelry, perfect names, stunning photography, beautiful you, creeeeeeeeeepy spider!!! Hope you're feeling better and that spring finds you soon! xoxoxox

  6. How nice of you to stop in and leave such a lovely comment. Thank you, Kathy! Hoping spring finds you soon too. I can't imagine the winter you've already had and now there's another 10 inches of snow heading your way! Yikes! Really really sorry to hear that. Wishing you a cozy warm spot to work on your luscious jewels and patterns.

  7. As always your post is an adventure, it was worth waiting! there's even food ;-) and such vivid colors, awesome new pieces! I admit I passed rapidly over thoses creepy spiders...

    1. Thank you for stopping in, Lucie! I wish we had flavor-vision on Blogger so you all could have a taste of that yumminess. I agree with your approach completely, I wish I could pass rapidly over the real spiders too. :)

  8. Hi AA aka J - sop good to read your blog again - as you say been a while - but then of course you make up for lost time by the sheer volume you share. You have been very busy making stuff - well done you. I particular;y liked Desert L:landscape and Sun - simple elegance. It must be the season for spiders. I spent the best part of 3 hours totally cobwebing and spraying the outside of our house. Stay safe and warm and may you sell heaps of stuff. B

    1. I'm chuckling as I read this, Barry. Speaking of sheer volume, yowza! I enjoyed your most recent blog. You know the one, where you not only shored up your retaining wall by attaching it to your foundation (gulp), worked on your art and I can't even begin to remember everything else you accomplished! You always amaze me with how much you get done each and every week. To top that off- complete spider annihilation?! Way to go Barry! Thanks much for visiting.

  9. Ohhh at LAST!!!! Well worth the wait too, to finally be able to gaze at all your wonders here! With the exception of those leggy brutes!
    Ha ha, I can see how you gained a few pounds now - looks like it was wildly pleasurable!
    Ohh, and all your amazing new pieces - abandoned windows makes me giddy. Can't go wrong with a piece of genius Tracy metalwork! Ahh, and you know exactly how much I adore your Mystic Blues - as they dangle from my lobes right now!!!
    Wonderful, bountiful post, as always!


I love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.