Wednesday 26 August 2015

The Generosity of the Jewellery Community

On different sites, blogs and Facebook pages, I have often read about the generosity of the jewellery community. Whether it’s giving advice, offering encouragement, donating goods or time, many have stepped up to help.

When “one of ours” is hurting, the community is there. Sometimes it feels like a physical ache that can only be soothed by stepping up. I have both bid and offered goods to be bid on in past auctions, and been grateful to contribute in my small way.

Right now, I’m aware of 3 fundraising events, set up by the organizers to help a loved one or a friend. These are all auction based, though there are all also separate funding campaigns for anyone who wishes to contribute. Each of these causes has their own heartbreak.

I am certain there are more in the community that I’m not aware of, and, there are also so many for other deserving people. The reality though is we are all limited in what we can offer. I thought I’d tell you about the 3 I’m currently following closely, both bidding and contributing. Should you choose to check them out you may find the perfect item for yourself or for a gift for someone special to you.

1) For Genea Crivello

I'm organizing an auction event at for Genea Crivello. She's got the rug pulled out from her and could use help. Genea Beads and I go way back...she was one of my Cup of Bead Soup sponsors.
Here's how it will work:
Post a photo of a piece of jewelry or bead(s), name a BIN (or buy it now price) or an auction start price. A comment upping the auction by at least a dollar keeps you in the running. When the person wins, you post "so and so won" and message them to invoice them. Message ME for Genea's paypal.
The other way to help is buy from her site,  or

You may have to join the group in order to bid. You can always leave again after the auction.

2) For Aundrea Lansdown-Powers

Here At HighArt Destash, we're all about helping each other - Whether destashing Seymour's Horde or my own, educating ourselves & each other, or simply sending positivity to friends & members who need some...
Along those lines, maybe some of you could help our member 
Aundrea Lansdown-Powers, the daughter of another member, Lee Lansdown, as she struggles to fight Cancer & keep body & soul together...
I've already donated 3 necklaces & a pair of earrings, to help get the ball rolling...
*******Auctions for Aundrea********
Aundrea Lansdown-Powers is battling a very rare form of cancer. You can read her full story on our Auction page here:
Auctions to benefit Aundrea will be held beginning on September 12. We will conduct 48-hour-long auctions with five items being auctioned at a time. Auctions will be run consecutively until we have sold all donated items.

3) For Mark Harner

Many of you may or may not know, my brother Mark is battling bone cancer.
To my online friends: I will be hosting an online Jewelry Auction Benefit for them on Sept 13th- 15th. I will be posting BIN (Buy It Now) and Auction options.
- If you are interested in attending to purchase Handmade Artisan jewelry or know others that would, you can join or invite them to our event here, The Auction will take place here as well.
- If you would like to donate a design for this event, my family and I would be forever thankful. Please message me for mailing details.
To all my local friends, we would love for you to join us in this benefit for he and his wife Brenda Harner. He hasn't been able to work and bills are beginning to be overwhelming. To learn more about the event time & place or making a donation, click the link below.
If you know my brother, you know what a kind soul & giving heart he has. Until I was married, he was my fixer. Never asking for anything in return. Always there and giving. This is just devastating to our family and I hope you will join us in some capacity to help them through this journey.

Monday 24 August 2015

Beads, Beads, and more Beads

It feels like all I am doing these days is sorting and moving beads. Sorting by type and by colour. Moving from my Ikea drawer unit, to my bench for organizing, then to their new location. The new cabinet is working out well, but boy am I tired of sorting and moving beads.

The empty slot in this photo marks the spot I’m working on. Everything below is done. Two of the drawers above the slot are also finished and stocked. These hold the precious art beads that I have fallen in love with this year.

For most of the drawers I had to make the separators. It took me a few tries to figure out the best way to do this. Here’s one of the first drawers I made separators for, full of metal and lucite beads. There’s lots of wasted space here.

This one, with glass beads, is a little further along in the process. You can see that the dividers have straighter sides, and there’s no unused space. There’s also no room to expand either, which may be a good thing – no bead lover said ever.

And here’s the last drawer I just made dividers for and stocked up. These are part of my gemstones collection, umm I mean inventory. I prefer to keep the gemstones in plastic tube like containers because I find that I can see them more easily than when they’re in the bags. Of course I would then have to have a lot more containers to do this for all the gemstones, so it’s a compromise. Some in tubes, some in bags.

The dividers for the last drawer are better designed, sturdier and made specifically to fit the longer shape of the tubes. Somehow I’ve been able to fit more beads in a smaller space too. Something is working right here and I for one am happy about it.

Now, to just finish putting the rest away and get back to creating and working on my business.
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.

Thursday 20 August 2015

We’re All Ears August Challenge

Every month the Earrings Everyday blog hosts a design challenge based on a theme. This month the challenge…was a challenge in itself. It is one of the least accessible and most photographed vistas in the American Southwest, Antelope Canyon in northern Arizona, home to some magnificent slot canyons.

I spent a lot of time studying the photos, thinking “what am I going to do with these?”

The first thing to grab my attention were the strong vertical lines in the soft sandstone rock walls, the striations made by the compression forces that created the sandstone, exposed in their amazing glory by water pouring through from flash floods.

Going back to the photos again and again I began to be drawn to the play of light and dark, in particular how the striations changed appearance in bright light and darkest shadow. Then I began gathering the beads that “felt right” and I hoped would honour this amazing place. I ended up making 4 pair of earrings, each inspired by a different photo.

This photo was the muse for the first pair.

The colours of the rock, from a golden glowing orange to a deep rust were the key.

I used some gorgeous translucent golden and some opaque rusty orange mini beads from Sue Kennedy of SueBeads. Both sets of beads have silver dots trailing across them. These dots seem to mimic some both the striations and some of the little depressions in the darker rock face.

I added square antiqued copper plated spacers, waxed linen from Lorelei Eurto’s Jewelry Accord store, round copper beads, jump rings and leverback ear wires, all antiqued.

God Spots Earrings

The next pair to be made were actually the first design that came to mind. I guess I just needed to let it sit for a bit until it was right. The design is based on this photo.

"Upper antelope 2 md" by User:Moondigger - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

The contrast between the pale creamy sky, mirrored by the bit of sand with tumbleweed at the bottom, and the darkness of the underneath of the lower spike in the photo seemed to fit these earrings.

The round earthenware discs were created by Leslie Watt of Thea Elements, both the creamy large ones and the smaller copper coloured discs. The lovely, slightly curved copper feathers were created by Kristi Bowman of Kristi Bowman Design. I used more antiqued copper to finish the earrings with.

Terra Cotta Earrings

For the third pair of earrings I drew inspiration from this photo.

"USA Antelope-Canyon" by Lucas Löffler - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

That very bright spot of light and the bronze glow of stone through the beam of light resulted in this set. This is the one pair of earrings where I wandered away from the golden and orange glow of copper.

The ivory Lampwork pillow beads with the black & silvery webbing are from Robyn Kirkman of FireSong Creations, down in Queensland Australia. I had been hoarding the bronze teardrop charms from Leslie Watt of Thea Elements for quite a while and this seemed the perfect design for them. Sitting between the two are some iridescent Lampwork rondelles from Unicorne Beads. To finish the earrings I used gunmetal wire and leverback ear wires to bring in the darkest colours from the deepest corners of the cave.

Where Water Rushes Earrings

Finally I couldn’t end without honouring this cavern.

"Lower antelope 1 md" by User:Moondigger - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

The undulation of these passages, carved by the raw force of water, is amazing to behold. Their form inspired this pair of earrings.

The shape of the rock is interpreted in the three shades of borosilicate glass teardrop beads from Unicorne Beads. They sit on top of lucite beads wrapped in a bright copper look chain. Tiny seed beads and flat square copper plated spacers keep everything on the antiqued copper wires. Antiqued copper ear wires were used once again.

Twist and Shift Earrings

Please check out what everyone else has made too.

 Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Monday 17 August 2015

My Kempenfest Story

Back on the first weekend in August, a long weekend in Ontario, I had a booth at Kempenfest, a huge show near me in Barrie. This was my 4th year of participation. Except for the first one, every year has had its spell of bad weather. Last year’s was the worst, with a torrential downpour that flooded out many tents on the Sunday. Until this year that is….

Here are some photos of my setup on Saturday, corners opened up to let the refreshing breezes through on a hot, hot day.

I’ve been thinking about updating my booth layout and displays. Mother Nature decided she’d lend a helping hand on Saturday night. The storm kicked in full force before I left and ripped open the zipper of the doorway. I found myself trying to zip it back up with the full force of the storm and rain lashing me in the face, eventually succeeding. Given that everything in the tent was now soaking wet I gave up on further effort to put things away and went home, after securing one corner of the canopy that was sliding up that is.

In the morning I came back to a tent that was soaking wet on the inside. That darn corner had let go again and the rain had come pouring in. It probably saved me though. My tent stayed up and everything stayed inside even though it was very wet.

This was my neighbours’ site, more than halfway through clean up.

Their tent was demolished and all the displays destroyed. They rescued what could be saved and headed home. Further down, some tents were in the middle of clean up. Others survived just fine.

My first task was to try and dry everything out. I had actually planned ahead and brought freshly laundered sheets, you know, just in case everything was wet. All the trays had to be emptied of water and dried out, necklace display covers also dried out, and all table covers replaced. Everything was up and running again by 10:30, though still a little damp. The breezes throughout the rest of the day helped dry out the mannequins, display cards and price tags.

Of course every piece of paper needs to be replaced, what with ink running and cards twisting as they dried. I have a few months to work on that though. My next show is not until Christmas selling season.

I’ve decided to look at this as an opportunity for that booth rethink I mentioned earlier.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.

Thursday 13 August 2015

You do know it’s my studio right?

First off, I’m sorry about the MIA posts. My schedule fell apart the last couple of weeks as I had something important I needed to deal with and it took me away from home base.

One of the blogs I follow is Metal Clay Artist Magazine, both the blog and Facebook versions. There is a studio clean up theme running through the posts for the last while. Some of the progress posts and comments are hilarious to read.

There are also a few contests on the go including one for studio mascots, all designed to encourage and inspire everyone in their studio clean up quests. I thought I’d show you my main studio mascot, Lucky.

This guy is about 14 years old. His coat was a dark charcoal grey when he first came home with us. Over time it has been lightening to the paler grey you see here. His muzzle is working its way to white.

Despite the serious expression you see here he is a sweetie. And, here’s where he keeps telling me “his” studio spot is.

Apparently, it’s a great napping spot

We have the discussion about who the studio belongs to regularly, and yes, he still challenges me for ownership

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.