Wednesday, March 16, 2016

More DIY Displays and an Ancient Octopus Perhaps?

Hello hello,

Hoping you've all had the best possible winter and are now able to start thinking about Spring.  Our trees are filled with flocks of happy chirping birds to brighten our sunny days even more.  The weeks keep on flying by.  Try as I might to get back to my blog a bit sooner and not write another mega post, well here I am again.  Progress has been made, though, instead of months it's been weeks.  Ok, it's more than a few weeks, but I'm sliding in just under the wire for the months designation.  So I have a mini-mega post for you this time.

I have a couple new things to share with you.  One of my goals for 2016 is to make a bit of time for creative experimentation.  It is so easy to focus on cranking out the work and not take time to enjoy the creative process.  So I have revisited a few techniques that I enjoy but sorely neglect.

First off, working er, playing with my enamels.  I absolutely adore what so many amazing enamel artists have been doing the last few years.  Before deciding what I wanted to do, I spent some time perusing their work in the hopes that my own new enamel work wouldn't look similar to theirs.  Even though I made a concerted effort to avoid using the same shapes, color combos and murrini placement as these artists do, after seeing my finished results, I now think that this style of enamel work is just going to have the same flavor.
One thing I did differently on some of these pieces, is I tried out Susan Lenart-Kazmer's technique of applying resin on the back side instead of counter enamel.  I affixed text from a vintage French dictionary, then aged it and applied resin over that.  Then I sanded it back for an aged effect.  I'm happy with the results.
I also finally tried torch firing decals onto the enamels.  (how many months did that end up taking me Petra?)  Here's my recent results from playing with powdered glass and a torch.  Yeah yeah, I know I have that dinosaur of a kiln sitting out in the garage that I could fire up.  But what's the fun in that?

Please excuse the weird lighting in this picture.
It's one I took with the iPad for an Etsy shop update photo.
I've learned that getting the lighting right
even with an iPad's improved camera is not a given.

Let the parade of jewels begin...

Bohemian Dreams

See those wee green barrel beads?
Those are new-old-stock jade.
More on that in a bit.

Red Blooms

Party at the Beach

Those swirling murrinis remind me of beach umbrellas.

The Humble Bee

Delicious new-old-stock amber and wooden beads!!

Coral Reef

The Ancient Hoard Series, Hot Glass

Being in the mind frame of all things enamel,
I finally assembled these components into earrings.
I made these frit bits a while back.
Quite awhile back.

Red Rose

These beautiful lampwork rosebuds just had to live with these tin roses.

All of the artisan made components are credited
in the individual listings in the shop.
I resisted listing all of the materials here
for the sake of brevity.
You know, because I like to keep these posts short and sweet.

Cobalt Spikes

Asymmetrical rustic inverted shields are a nice counterpoint
to these elegant lampwork headpins and discs.

Blossoms Pods

I adore these ceramic pods, 
which have been a bit of a theme lately.

I also played around with coloring some polymer goodies.
I got these looking exactly how I wanted them.
and then...
I sealed them.
Why oh why is matte never as matte as I want it to be?
Sadly, the colors were somewhat subdued after sealing.
Well that'll teach me to ignore working with polymer for a long time.
 How long?
Too long.
For me, polymer is one of those things that if I don't use it-I lose it.
Yup, I forget all the tricks and best techniques.

I love these deep flowing colors before I sealed them!

They are still perfectly nice...
however, the fire within them is now just a smoldering pile of embers
instead of an intense lava flow.

The Ancient Hoard Series, Smoldering Embers

Lookit those headpins!

Lime Pinwheels

Um yes, I'm rather fond of these nubby lampwork discs too.
Ok, I'm ALOT fond of them!

(Because I'm awesome at coming up with unique imaginative names for my jewelry)

The Festival

Pink Tourmaline in Quartz

I also spent a little time experimenting with surface treatments on metal...

Do these next earrings look like they endured a hot raging fire
and then years upon years 
of being buried before being excavated?
That was my intention.

Ancient Shield Deux

Desert Breeze

One of Petra's shards paired with an agatized fossil gastropod and
graduated matte amazonite with landscape jasper discs.
I love this soothing color combo.

I have something exciting to share with you...
Well, exciting for me anyway.
I had the opportunity to obtain some
stone and wood beads, amber, pearls
and turquoise!
The quality of these beads is impressive.

I quit buying turquoise a few years ago
after paying real turquoise prices for what turned out not to be.
Same thing with amber.  I'm very careful where I buy it.

What a happy day this was for me.
I was contacted by a very reputable dealer
who had acquired some fabulous new-old-stock.
 I felt completely comfortable buying turquoise and amber from her. 
I scored a couple strands of Sleeping Beauty beads.
I also got some Hubei teardrop beads.
One of the beads was broken so I could verify it's the real thing. 
This is what I got....

Look at that Italian pink coral!

Carnelian agate in...wait for it...
a MATTE, but not frosted finish!
Look at the color of this deep rich purple amethyst.....

I see a full blown Wilma Flintstone chunky rock necklace ahead for this amethyst.

You'll be seeing those goodies in my upcoming work.

This bracelet has vintage carved bone blossoms and one of the 
vintage bracelet focals that I sell in the Attic
I paired it with chainmaille to give it a bit of an edge.

Sterling necklace with phantom quartz, black tourmaline,
tourmalinated quartz and coin pearls.

Mixed media, ancient style

Raw Ruby Shield earrings

The Caverns

Mixed metal Ginko

Tribal Shields with natural aged patina

The Grand Rose

It's hard to see, but there's a brass rose in the center of the filigree.

The Ancient Shield Series- Abacus
(Tracy's abacus components-yum)

The Pod

I made these fun reversible tin bead earring drops that are easy to remove and reverse,
 and that can also be switched out with other earring drops
 on a snazzy pair of interchangable ear wires.

But did I remember to put the ear wires in the picture?
Oh yay, something to photograph for next time.


Unnamed but they look like Flotsam,
so whadya think?
Flotsam Deux?

Ancient Treasure Found

with Numi Kim's wonderful cobalt edged criffles.



and more Daggers.
Did you notice these cool matte jasper dagger beads?


are your eyes playing tricks on you?
Um, yeah, it's more daggers.
But with black arches.
See they're all different.

And here's some of the new old beads paired together..

turquoise, amber AND pearls.

Pearl With a Girl Earrings

That name seemed appropriate somehow.

Desert Wanderings

Unnamed amber and torched frit bits and lampwork headpins

Woodland Pods

These fantastic pods remind me of the pods from 
the old Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
The black and white version.

Raw Ruby earrings
Yet another fun name, eh?

Stone Pods

Do you guys like these carnelian agate beads as much as I do?
Paired with aquamarine, amazonite, landscape jasper
and more of these wonderful pods.

The Dark Rose

These wonderful raspberry colored stones are a newly discovered mineral
that one of my other regular stone dealers recently acquired.
The name is
They look like sparkling raspberry drusy flecked with rich deep green.

Spring Fever

This is not my usual palette, but I really like how fresh and happy these colors seem.

Rocker Glam

The iridescent patina on the silk textured silver came out perfectly and 
harmonizes nicely with the same effect on the frit
edged lampwork discs.
I paired them with crystal nuggets of black tourmaline and rhinestones
for a bit of rocker glam.


The luster on these new-old-stock pearls is lovely.
Paired them with black spinel and victorian glass bullet beads.

The materials are elegant but I wanted these earrings to be wearable for everyday.
So after carefully finishing up the wire wrapping,
I gently hammered the wrapped wires just a bit to add an imperfect, rustic effect
to balance the gorgeous materials for everyday wear.

Stars of Pompeii

A sprinkling of pyrite across the top of these beautiful lapis lazuli teardrops
reminds me of the Milky Way.
The soft white in the stone looks like billowy clouds
against the deep blue sky.
Night and day stones.
I wanted these to have an aged imperfection, like that found on ancient, relic jewelry.

The Lovely View

And that is the finale of the parade of jewelry.

Now on to other things...

You didn't really think that was the end of this post, did you?
Oh you optimistic thinkers!

I wanted to see if I could get an interesting sea urchin effect on leather.
I haven't assembled these bits into anything yet but I like the results.
Please excuse yet another late night, bad lighting photo.

As the year is young, I'm still working on displays.
I did take some sandpaper to a velvet display as I 
pondered doing last post.

Here are the results...

Good grief, 
how do these things manage to attract every single bit of dust in the entire studio?
The above photo is before I did anything to it.
Just dust.
Lots and lots of dust.

I started off with a fine, well used sanding block.
It didn't do much so I switched to a coarse grit sanding block.

Well, that apparently worked...

I recommend you wear gloves and a dust mask if you try this.
I did the sanding outside.  It still made a mess.

It was difficult getting wear that looked natural.
Sheets of sandpaper may have been a wiser choice than a sanding block.

I had no bleach in the house so I figured if peroxide bleaches natural fibers,
maybe just maybe it'll work on this display.


Maybe some Oxi Clean...


This is what I ended up with.
And this is how it looks with jewelry on it...

hmmmm.  Meh

This is ok

And this is better.
Apparently, this display will look best with 
elegant, vintage style necklaces. 

Oh no, we're not done yet...

This is my favorite display so far.
I was going for an aged, stained concrete effect....

I like the results.
Lots of chalk paint, layered on a white velvet display.

This next one is the same technique
(different colors of paint)
on a black velvet display.

I wanted a dirty, decayed, old, slightly rusted effect.
Here's a close up.

Next is the black display I showed you on the last post.
It had tissue paper and lots of black paint with lighter accents dry brushed on.
Now I added some crackle paint and additional shades of paint.

Now that's more like it.

This next one is grunged up with some tissue paper (printed with text)
decoupaged onto it.
The paper edges could be camouflaged or blended in a little bit better.
Maybe next time I drag the paints out....

And the following one is just grungy.
As if it was found in the back room of an old, long forgotten mercantile.

Now let's see if they are effective as photo props...

Yes, I like it.
The scale is wrong but the effect compliments the stones.

I used the same necklace on different displays in the next few photos...

It's interesting how the tonal colors shift on the different displays.

Next is another display that I thought might be fun..
Again, please don't mind the terrible lighting.
It ought to work with the right earrings.
I found this fabric and just stretched it onto a frame.

Well that's it with jewels and displays.
So much for a mini-mega post.


I almost forgot to mention and had to come back and add this in,
If you would like to get the heads up when I have new things to list,
there's a handy dandy place on the right side bar where you can sign up
to get notified via email.
Now for those of you who are familiar with my tech skills,
 try not to snicker too loud or long.
I chose the "classic" style for the form,
which looks like the
sign up form that ate my blog.
It's rather huge.
But it's there and it works so for the time being, it'll stay.
I suppose I'll have to do something about that before too long though, eh?


Please bear with me-
Just a couple more things you might enjoy seeing.

And a quick story about Mr. Wonderful being not so wonderful, 
just in case you're sick of hearing about him building mini Texas snowmen, etc.
(Helen, I know you'll appreciate this story)

A few years ago we were out and about
 hitting a few garage sales.
Which is not something the Mr. especially enjoys,
so it's a rare occasion when we actually seek them out.
I happened upon a sale that had an 
absolutely gorgeous old solid oak library card case for sale.
It was so beautiful.
One of those old ones with fancy legs and a million drawers.
There it was in this guys garage just begging me to take it home.

Well, all righty then!


Ok, now guess how much the guy wanted for it...

Yes, I said
That was the fastest ten dollars I ever spent!
Bought and paid for..
a fantastic drawer catalog for the unbelievably low price of 
ten dollars.
Talk about being thrilled with a find.

And then the "wonderful" instantaneously disappeared.
Mr. Not-So-Wonderful that day, decided he didn't want to
go through the hassle of moving the thing.


Granted, it was heavy, but c'mon.
Did I mention- ten dollars?!

We let the guy keep the ten dollars for his trouble
and off we went. 
Without the unbelievably beautiful, amazingly affordable, 
fantastically storage filled utopia of card case wonder.

Sniff sniff.

I hadn't thought much about it until one day not too long ago we were out looking
for a particular replacement part for something that I can't remember right now
and I stumbled upon this....

Yes, you can imagine how much I enjoyed showing
 Mr. Usually Wonderful
this beauty...

and then showing him

Just think of the supplies you could stash away in a cabinet like that!
All the while looking good while it's earning its keep, 
providing practical and ever so important studio support.

Of course I reminded him of that when showing him the cabinet above and its price.

Yes, he did have another good laugh at my feeble attempts at convincing him that
the $10.00 wonder was "THE one that got away".

Yeah, I warned him that I was going to publicly shame him with this story.
(He doesn't feel the least bit ashamed I might add)
Mostly because I think you guys will understand
and sympathize with the 
utter disappointment of walking away from that amazing find.

c'est la vie

On that note, we have finally come to the end of my medium-mini-mega post.
I'll leave you with this beautiful sunset,
which turned everything delightful shades of pink and yellow.

Instead of my usual interesting animal photo for you,
here's a shot of a cool fossil I found last time we went fossil hunting.
After washing it off, this is what we found...

A spider perhaps?

A miniature octopus?

 Any ideas what it might be?

Thanks so much for stopping in and sharing part of your day with me.
I hope you enjoyed some of the sights or stories.
Till next time...



(until we see each other again-Italian)


  1. WowWOW wowWOOOWW whoa WOW whooahhhhhh! and so on, I can't even begin to remark upon this treasure trove of a blog post. missed you a lot I think. thanks for all this goodness.
    xo Kim

  2. Hi Kim-GREAT to hear from you! So glad you stopped in to say hello. You've been missed as well. Hope you've been enjoying a wonderful winter in sunny Arizona. Almost time to head back to the land of the midnight sun, eh? Wherever you are-ENJOY!

  3. Your work is so inspiring. Love your enameled pieces, they came out gorgeous!!
    Laura xo

  4. Thank you Laura for your very nice comment and welcome! I was really happy with the results as well. It's a blast to see what the heat reveals as the flame melts the enamels.

  5. Oopsie. I was half way through this post and my head simply *exploded*! BOOM!
    So many pretties! Do you ever sleep? ;)

    1. Too funny, Lela. The answer is "not as well as I would like". Hope you enjoyed the pretties enough to compensate for that headache. ;). Thanks so much for stopping in and saying hello.

  6. Hi AA - great to read your stuff again - you have been very productive. Enjoyed the enamel work; and the ginkgo; but had a good laugh when I saw the pearls with a girl earrings - nice touch. And yeas sad when some of those margins pass us by. Go well. B

    1. Many thanks Barry! This sad library cabinet story explains why I was so delighted when I saw that beautiful cabinet Fiona recently acquired on your blog post. So happy that one didn't get away. Enjoy!

  7. Whoooopeee, another belter!!! Your enamelling pieces are gorgeous, and well done on finally torching up those decals! It still amazes me that it's possible. Ohhh boy, just LOVING your busts - ooer missus! Such amazing finishes you achieved on those - the concrete-y one is incredible. Aaah, there truly is no end to your many, many talents! As for Mr Wonderful, and the tale of the one that got away - all I can say is, your tolerance is mind-blowing!
    Gorgeous posting as always XOXOXOXOOX :O)<3

    1. It was truly amazing to watch the image emerge through the torch flame with those decals. Thank you for encouraging me to just do it! (I say shame-faced that it took me so long. Lol). Such a fun element to add to the enamels-what was I waiting for?! Thank you too for your always generous comments. They and you are much appreciated! :)

  8. How could I have missed this post!!? Well, if this is a mini... how mega will be the next, Ha??
    And what a treat! What an explosion of colors! Your experiments with enamels might induce me to make some of my own as I've been storing some enamels and a kiln I have been given, yes, given!
    Beautiful, awesome earrings! I must say your experiments with the necklaces displays are surprising and I was doubting seing them empty but I'm convinced when the necklace is on, absolutely!
    And about this adventure with this oak library card case, you're extremely tolerant, I would have put on a tantrum and refuse to leave the place without it!

  9. Hi there Lucie- can't wait to see the amazing results when you work with enamels! That will be a treat. How nice to be gifted a kiln. There's nothing you won't be able to do now!
    You can bet that throwing a tantrum was a very tempting possibility! hahahaha. Thanks so much for stopping in to say hello. Always great to hear from you!

  10. OMG!!! every time I come here I feel absolutely diminished!! you crazy gorgeous talented productive human of planet earth!!

  11. Thank you for the kind compliment but that is seriously hilarious, Luthien. As if your amazing self could be diminished by anything! Certainly not by anything I do. Your new class looks fab, btw.

  12. What a feast of gorgeousness!!! I had to look away for a while fearing that my eyes would explode. LOVING all the colorful earrings. I wish I liked to wear colorful earrings.

    And all that work on the displays. UGH. I know you didn't ask, but I really think that your gorgeous jewels show off better on something white. Boring, I know, but it just seems (to me) that your gorgeous work goes a little flat on the grungy, dark background. OK, I'll shut up now. EXCEPT for the story about the cabinet!! WAH!!!

    1. Hey there Lela! Thanks for stopping in and for the kind words about all the color in this post. I've been making a real concerted effort to break out of my usual nuetral color schemes. I very much appreciate your input about the displays as well. Always good to get feedback. Thank you!

    2. Sheesh- where's autocorrect when you want it? Hahaha. Neutral color schemes. Neutral. I can spell, sorta kinda. ;)


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