Friday, December 5, 2008

An Amazing Trip to Africa

Kim Miles is a greatly respected Lampwork Artist who has just returned from a trip to Africa where she was participating in the Hope Bracelet Project. Her tales are amazing and an education.

I love her beads, but more special is what she gives to people of herself. It is very appropriate that she is known for her hearts!

Go read it starting from here : Kim Miles - Home from Africa

Free Shipping in my Etsy Shop - now till Christmas!

Above are some of the latest items added to my Etsy shop, and there is no charge for shipping!

I will be adding new items every day, especially earrings, and sending out everything in a box with festive ribbons and a gift tag... to make it easier for you to get ready for the holidays!

Take the handmade pledge this year, and support the crafts. The internet makes it easy to do so, and is a great place to search for something unique. Visit to take the pledge.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Opening a Brand New Store on Etsy!

Aren't these just the most beautiful, exquisite beads? They are by Corina Tettinger, a remarkably gifted glass artist. I have had this set for a couple of years, and I am about to use them in some jewelry even though I don't want to part with a single one of them.

Now, what does that have to do with my new Etsy store? Well, this is just one example of some of the goodies I will be offering shortly in my new venue. Etsy is just for handmade, and many of the lampwork artists that I have bought beads from in the past have opened stores there. When I checked them out I found that there were also many creative jewelry artists there... WOW! I even bought from some of them. Then the next thing I knew, they started asking me why I wasn't on Etsy. Well, I thought, why not? And so I am now opening my shop, starting out with some of my latest PMC - fine silver with which I hand make all sorts of things, and branching out shortly to more of my gemstone and lampwork jewelry.

The other fun thing is that to get things rolling the first five (5) DAYS of my Etsy shop you will receive 20% off the entire purchase! I hope this entices you to hop on over and check it out. Just click on any of the pictures in the Etsy shop to the right of this post. And I hope you will send me any comments on what you like ( and don't ) and suggestions for future stuff.

Thanks, and Enjoy!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Back to Basics

This type of simple yet exotic jewelry is the original reason I got into jewelry design. I love the elemental richness of large beads of carnelian, jasper, silver, and carved bone or coral. Their organic, natural colorings are subtle and easy to wear with many of today's clothes, from basic jeans to dressy black evening outfits. Carved beads are from China, jasper and bone probably also - Bali sterling silver, and I made the PMC fine silver beads in the necklace. Beautifully made lampwork in the bracelet is by Joanne Zekowski.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Light Hearted Jewelry

I know that summer's almost over, but today is still in the low 90s and light jewelry is so appealing. It's fun and easy to make with little dangles made of PMC, some pearls, some beach glass. And blue is a color that can be worn year round. The necklace on the right uses Czech pressed glass in a matte finish along with blue quartz and silver dagger beads. Just the thing to look cool on the last hot days of summer!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bracelets, bracelets!!

Slinky, sexy, silvery bracelets - yes, I have been going bracelet crazy in the last couple of days. I love the rich colors of natural gemstones - fluorite, deep red carnelian, blue opals, and natural carnelian which ranges from palest of yellows to dark rust. I love to combine the gems with the little silver daisy spacer beads and use a silver magnetic clasp with a guard chain and a dangle. So delightful to wear, combining them with most other bracelets or colors is easy to do. Try the purple amethyst (not shown but available) and either fluorite or natural carnelian. Or, combine the two different carnelians - gorgeous, slinky fun!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Purple Heart

A dear friend of mine loves purple. Her bedroom is painted purple with purple carpeting. Over the years I have made purple earrings, purple necklaces and purple bracelets for her, and even given her a purple linen blouse. Now I have decided she needs a purple heart. Why? Because of her amazing gift of herself to help the orphaned children of Zambia. She has just returned from spending 2 weeks in Zambia with the group Mothers Without Borders. While she was there, she celebrated her 72nd birthday, building housing and working in the fields to make bricks with a pickax! Way to go, Jo! If you are interested in seeing what these wonderful people are doing to help with the one million orphaned children due to AIDS, check out

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Organics and Silver

Combining sterling silver beads with artisan lampwork is very basic, and usually the resulting piece is worth a good price. When working with natural organic materials such as shells it can be trickier to produce a piece that makes an impact and is worth a good price. These beautiful fossilized coral pieces are hand carved and very dramatic - perfect for the focal point. Thai silver shells and lampwork beads set it off. But for big impact, the vintage ostrich eggshell really makes the necklace. Vintage ostrich eggshell such as this is no longer available, the standard ostrich egg shell is very thick and rather mottled looking - but this older version is slinky and elegant and sets off the fossilized coral in a subtle way. Additional Thai silver woven beads and silver chunky beads add to the natural effect. I enjoy combining natural and artisan made objects like this.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wirework Bangles

Recently a friend of many, many years (from my childhood) found my website and started purchasing some jewelry from me. She picked my favorite bangle bracelets - which I had made about 2-3 years ago and was holding in my private collection, so I had to go back to basics and come up with some new ones.
Connie Fox has a wonderful website ( ) where she has great tutorials and it is from those that I learned how to do wirework bangles. Connie's bangles are awe inspiring, and she is the best teacher. I was also able to purchase beads for the bangles on her site, namely those of Donna Struther which are in the above bracelet. All the metal is sterling silver, but now I have also incorporated fine silver (PMC) dangles that I made recently. I am definitely going to make more bangles!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tasha - the Ruler

Let me start this off by stating that Tasha is only 15 pounds and 11 years old. She rules our household. And she is very curious about anything that moves, including sea grape leaves and palm fronds on the ground. So, after Tasha sounds the wakeup alarm at 6:15 a.m. each morning, we go for a walk. Or to put it correctly she allows me to accompany her as she scouts the neighborhood for life. Yes, I am pulling on the leash in the picture - just a little - she won't move until she is satisfied with viewing whatever it is, and ready to move the next 10 steps.

My favorite spot to relax is at one end of the living room -

but Tasha must be stationed at the other end, checking for movement -

It is good to have a watch dog.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fine Silver Lentil Pendant

I am so delighted with a new construction I learned to make from Susan Lewis in a workshop at the Miami Bead Fest last April.
It is a hollow lentil that is dry built - putting the two halves (which have been allowed to dry over a half ball shape) together with PMC paste or slip.
Attach a bale or carve holes at the top and bottom to enable it to hang. Here are two different pieces that I've made. The top piece is patterned in a French wallpaper design, the other is a croc pattern. Both have a cubic zirconia stone embedded in fine silver in the center. I love the slender, elegant feel - romantic or modern!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Very Special Jade Pendant

Many months ago my sister-in-law sent me a jade piece that was very old and asked if I could do anything with it. It sat in a special box among all the beads and strands that I want to make into something special. But I had no idea what until recently when I attended the Miami Bead Fest and saw a strand of old jade in exactly the same shades, or at least I hoped so as I didn't have the pendant with me.
I have been using quite a bit of fused silver links with the PMC clasps I make and decided to try making an asymmetrical necklace with them. The result was pretty funky, so much so that my husband who doesn't ordinarily express too strong an opinion told me that Jennifer (his sister) would never wear it. He suggested to make it simpler and symmetrical. So much for my "arty" attempt, I redid it in a compromised style, and I even liked it better!

See if you agree!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Texture in Fine Silver Earrings

Texturing fine silver clay (PMC3) and then pushing it around to do a little bit more such as these earrings is part of the thrill of using the medium. After cutting out the square shape, simply push on the sides gently until it humps up in the middle. Let it dry in that form, and then fire it in a saucer of vermiculite in the kiln. On this particular pair of earrings, I have patinaed them with liver of sulphur to the dark golden stage. And then put them in the tumbler for an hour or so. Fine silver earwires (made by fusing the ends of fine silver wire and then forming around a mandrel) are perfect complements to the textured silver.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bead on a Wire - with PMC3 of course!

Ok, I'm back at it again - making jewelry of course!  After 3 weeks of a nasty virus cold, and even more time spent than I'd like working on finishing our house addition, I had to take out my kiln and get some new silver objects going.  One of the little things I love to make with PMC and fine silver wire  is a headpin with rolled silver clay in an interesting shape.  The bottom of these earrings are long "dagger" shapes made that way.  Just roll it around on the board, making one end come to a point, stick in a 2.5 inch length of 20 gauge fine silver wire and fire in the kiln.  I always try to make at least 2 of the same shape so that if I decide to make earrings I have a pair of headpins to work with.  Of course these are especially fun with the wonderful lampwork of Corina ( to top them off.  I love these - may have to keep them for myself! 

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bead in a Frame

Here's something a little different to make with PMC3 - a picture frame that holds a bead. All you have to do is to set two fine silver wires into the inside of the frame at the top and bottom. Make sure that they don't quite meet. Do this while the clay is still wet, before you fire it. Then after it is polished insert the bead, bending the wires out a little to insert them into the bead. A lentil bead works best, but you could use almost anything - stones, pearls, crystals. I think it works especially well when you have an interesting bead you want to showcase.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fun Stretchies from Michael's beads

Yes, I did it again! Trying something new to me, but old to everyone else crafting bracelets. Just curious about what I could make after a trip to Michael's Craft Store to get stretch cord to repair a customer's bracelet as a favor. Well, I just had to look around, and of course try some of the beads available there - shells, matte glass with copper, black and white ceramic. I used my own stash of Bali sterling spacer beads, and put a silver crimp cover bead on the knot. They are fun to wear, nothing serious, but with the jingle of my little PMC dangles added, they feel very seashore-y!!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Disk Beads - African Safari Style

Lampwork "disk" shaped beads are an intriguingly different and challenging shape, but how to show them off properly in a jewelry piece is something that I am still attempting to work out. These exquisite beads, done in African and animal patterns, need to be seen on all sides for their rich and complex designs. I tried this necklace design using a cord of ultrasuede, knotting it between the beads, and then stringing sterling silver chain between the knots going up the sides. For a closure, I knotted the ultrasuede around a sterling silver "S" hook clasp. I love its lively African safari look.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Design Enhancement

The necklace from Tuesday was just a little too 'simple' so I decided to make a few changes... a single chain was doubled. But that presented problems as it didn't want to lay nicely and so I went to the torch and fused five ovals of fine silver to be the links at the bottom, and for the second strand I added a heavy link chain. I like it better now... what do you think?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Natural gemstones, too!

It seems all I have been showing is either PMC - pure silver - or Lampwork, but I really started into this jewelry career by wanting and then loving to work with natural stones - which used to be called semi-precious gemstones. Today I used some large nuggets of natural chrsyoprase which have been faceted as the focal in a necklace with Bali sterling silver and rondelle beads of natural fluorite, two of my favorite gemstones because of their color - a rich blue-green. Peruvian blue opals also have that same color, and below is a necklace with those beads in a slightly elongated round shape. To show off their beauty, I simply put Bali beadcaps around them and made them as a link between delicate sterling chain.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fine Silver (PMC3) Rings with Lampwork

I thought I'd show something else today that can be made with Precious Metal Clay - rings! I took a course in PMC last spring with Kate McKinnon where she taught many different things to make, and one that I have found to be very useful was how to make rings. Since I love lampwork beads I used the methods to create the rings shown holding lampwork beads by some of my favorite artists. A fine silver post is imbedded in the band for three of the rings. I epoxied a small cabochon on top of the flattened post to cover the hole of the bead. Silver disks or other beads or stones with large holes could also be used. Below is a different shape lampwork bead that is very comfortable to wear.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bejeweled Lampwork Bracelet

While looking through my recent pictures of things I have made, I realized that I hadn't taken a photo of the lovely bracelet of Lampwork "jewels" by Carrie Hamilton of Edmonton, BC, Canada. Carrie's beads are little jewels, and I wanted to try to capture this in the sunlight. I know that shadows in pictures makes it a little confusing, but how else to get those colors and details to show? Well, I decided to try again, and this is what I came up with -

In regular bright light indoors it looks more muted. I love the complexity, the richness of detail and design that Carrie puts into her beads, they each deserve their own photo. In this bracelet I combined them with very finely detailed Bali sterling silver beads, and simple lampwork spacer beads of the plum color. You feel like royalty when you wear this!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pure Silver Leaf

Yes, this leaf is really made of fine silver (99.99% pure)... PMC3 of course! I found some kind of leaf in the back yard and pressed it into the Precious Metal Clay, and then cut around the edges in what I thought looked like a leaf shape. Into the kiln for 2 hours, then when cooled, dipped into liver of sulfur to give it a patina - and LOOK at the colors that popped up! I love the natural glowing colors - as if I found it in the fall (and was visiting New England).

For the chain I used sterling silver daisy spacers ( a hundred or more I think!) and some matte carnelian beads. The clasp and bale are fine silver that I fused and hammered. The necklace has a nice weight to it and sets off the leaf with the same tone of fall. But I love its neutral, wear with anything, anywhere look!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kim Miles Heart

Kim Miles is a fascinating person - I read her blog 'Greetings from Taos' for the enjoyment of her humor, and the inspiration she shares. She is also a great artist - a lampwork bead artist, or "beadist" as she puts it. Recently I have been lucky to be able to purchase a couple of her beads, and yesterday I received the newest one - a spectacular Heart bead.

I made a simple sterling silver chain - from the Argentium silver jump rings that Urban Maille sells (simply the best quality available! ) and linked it with a fine silver wire through the heart bead. Kim's beads need nothing more - the statement they make is sufficient.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Time Speeds On

Yes, originally I meant to try to do this everyday! Somehow day 2 ran right by me. Most of the time I am in my studio, but yesterday was spent looking for pendant lights, wood stain & filler, and other little things having to do with the room addition we are building on our house.

So, today hopefully will be spent back in the studio. I have just finished a batch of PMC3 objects that I am interested in turning into jewelry pieces. First are a pair of earrings that I made the earwires for them of fine silver in a slightly elongated shape. I love the design in the "leaves" - it is from a rubber stamp of an Egyptian-like painting. I gave them a rich patina of gold tones, but polished the silver a bit on the edges. Oh, how I wish PMC didn't cost so much - I would make things in it every day!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I am in my studio for the 10th hour today... as usual... listening for my dog Tasha's barking on her "internal clock" schedule telling me to come out - that it is time for her dinner.

I just talked with my grandson Will in South Carolina... and created this blog slide show for him of the pictures when I visited there just before Christmas!

Did I come up with something new - we won't consider how good it is just now - in design today? Well, yes and no. New for me - the wonder of stainless steel in a memory wire - a bracelet of fluorite nuggets. No, because I am sure there have been hundreds if not thousands of these made by others.

What fun to simply pile on the beads, along with simple Bali silver spacers, and glue on silver end cap beads, and Voila! A bracelet of dazzling fluorite shards glowing in their rainbow of colors!