Friday 29 June 2012

5-Strand Turquoise Blue Seed Bead Necklace

I'm still not sure why I've been so obsessed lately with making seed bead necklaces, but here is my latest: 38" long, 5-strands, turquoise blue and multiple different yellow-orange through red seed beads, bundled into base metal cones and fastened with a large silver-plated lobster claw clasp. Plus a picture of Max at the end to round things off -- literally. Look at that round little -- large! -- belly he has.

But he sure is a lot cooler and more comfortable with all that hair gone. He has the most gorgeous brown eyes and scrawny little freckled legs. And he's now on a diet.

I will be soon... as soon as I finish with the vat of lemon chicken I just got. IS the long weekend... and it IS Max's birthday.

Necklace is $55, shipping extra, please email for details. Max is NFS.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday 28 June 2012

Chinese crested pot-bellied dawg........... HAPPEEEEE BIRTHDAY, MAX!!!

Weeeellll, he LOOKS like a Chinese crested... or a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. Old age sure sucks, don't it, Max?

He's definitely a lot happier with all his hair gone. I assume it's much like skinny-dipping in the cool air for him now.

I left him with a little dignity fore and aft.

The glory days... only two years ago:

He's closing in on 14 now. No idea when his actual birthday is, just that it's the end of June-beginning of July-ish. July 1st works for me. As of around 27 September 1998, we began our life together. Big happy birthday to my fuzzy little guy who I love more than anything in the world.

Sunday 24 June 2012

A simply great Saturday at the market and how my garden grows on Sunday...

Just saw this... This is how I want the interior of my (as yet unbought, let alone found) RV to look. Sigh......... 

I had a great day at the market yesterday. I sold my first Kingman turquoise heishi necklace.

As well as an adjustable pipestone choker and bracelet.

These beads were from Titan Beads and yet again I only bought the one string, and a half-string at that. Ditto the pewter saucer beads. I'm almost or completely out of all of the metal beads I bought there in the spring and they don't appear on their website. I have to remember to email them, see if they have any lurking or will be able to get more in. I believe I got the round beads from Arton, my go-to people for so many things. I cannot get over how useful all these metal beads are mixed in with semi-precious beads and the rough-looking beads in particular. The character changes constantly as they're combined and recombined, hence the riffs on just one bead of the previous few weeks. I would have done more variations of this set, but I have no more of the pipestone.

I'm finally remembering to bring my camera every week to the market as a lot of things I make while I'm sitting waiting for customers for some reason will sell on the spot before even hitting the table. I'll show what I'm working on to anybody that stops, "Hey, check this out. What do you think?" and very often they tell me they'll take it. I still find that totally amazing.

I was so pleased with my sales yesterday that I bought three more baskets of flowers from Boris. I now have ten and so far they've managed to survive being drowned in monsoons, sauteed in the humidity and baked every day in the sun, although there is a lot of shadow cast by the building throughout the morning and end up in direct sun for only a few hours until the big maple tree to the west casts its long shadow over all, which helps as well to keep the living room fairly cool if there's no humidity. Humidity is the killer but with the tree blocking the sun I still rarely have my fan on at more than low speed. I am scrupulous about keeping the plants watered multiple times per day this year. I tried to have plants outside the porch door but it's far too hot there with direct sun all day after 10 a.m. or so.

I just went out to take pictures of the deck, got one photo and of course the camera batteries are now out of juice.

...half an hour later...

Max shaking his head over the folly of having so many plants.

Oh, well, I guess She Who Feeds Me could have ten cats instead...

One of the first planters I bought. The wave petunias are really taking off...

The new and super lushly planted wave petunia basket...

Time to get to work and finish another long 7-strand seed bead necklace, this time in turquoise blue with yellowy-oranges and red splotches. I've just discovered that I can't get any more opaque yellow-orange seed beads, or at least no store I've been to in this region carries them. This particular yellow-orange colour was from a 25-plus-year-old stash of seed beads. Ain't it always the case, the most useful item in your arsenal is always guaranteed to be out of stock, if not permanently out of production.

Thanks for looking, and if you want to commission similar items to what I've shown here or elsewhere, please email me.

Tuesday 19 June 2012


Went to the Grand River Bead Society meeting last night in Guelph and the demo/workshop, taught by Caroline Andrews of Metal-Artz, was about riveting. I overheard many participants marvelling at how simple this process turned out to be, many of us coming into this believing it required some type of heavy-duty, complicated equipment. Basically, after punching a couple of holes in a piece of sheet metal, texturing if desired, and stacking up a couple of components on a copper nail which is then snipped to 1mm, it's all about gently, gently almost stroking that little bit of nail sticking up with a ballpeen hammer, alternating the ball side with the flat, to moosh it down and out to extend past the holes in the doodads and metal piece and make them fit nice and tight. What could be easier?

This was what I ended up with:

...which looks kind of like a cracker... or is that just because I haven't had dinner yet?

Thanks for looking!

Sunday 17 June 2012

Max in Paradise, Freezer Jam, New Chokers & Cleaning Up My Market Table

I bought two more hanging baskets of gorgeous flowers yesterday at the market. I suppose I really should stop but why? I love flowers and these are stunning. I will remember to get the name of Boris's greenhouse in the Niagara area one of these days... but everyone who's bought anything from him, including cut flowers, has raved about their lushness, health and longevity.

'Tis also my favourite season beginning last Thursday: the first local strawberries arrived at the Thursday downtown outdoor market (I don't do that market anymore, but I happened to be in town so I dropped by). I got to the market late and only got one pint of berries. I ate some and made two jars of freezer jam with them. Last Saturday, the strawberries weren't too nice, but made jam anyway, and last night I made a batch of four jars that were sweet and succulent. I am addicted to this stuff. I now make 100 or more jars or more every summer, strawberry, rhubarb, cherry and black raspberry. If people invite me for dinner I usually take a few jars, and I give them to my friends, too. I make it with lots of lemon juice, very little sugar (1-1/2 to a scant 3 soup spoons' worth) and powdered low-sugar pectin. I have a small black raspberry patch growing wild by the door here, about 2' x 6' and last year I got way more than 25 jars of jam out of it with plenty to eat with yogourt and on cereal. 

The bushes are situated in a heat trap. We've had rain at just the right times this spring and recently and this is the lushest I've seen these berries.

Black raspberry bushes...

Four of this year's strawberry jam jars...

Max waiting patiently for his cookies -- yikes, I'm 45 minutes late with them...

And now back to work...
Here are the choker and bracelet I made and sold yesterday at the market:

Matte jet heishi, copper beads and "Tibetan Silver"-style silver-plated beads threaded onto 1.5mm black Greek leather. I never made it to Toronto on Friday after all -- cripes, I'm swamped all of a sudden with typing that will keep me pounding the keyboard until the end of June, if not into July -- and I must go back to Arton after the beginning of July because these silver-plated ones are great-looking beads, particularly those small ones, and I am now already pretty much out of them. I bought one skein of 1.5mm black Greek leather from Bamiyan when I was there, and I am finding it tremendously useful. My customer said that the chokers sit very nicely without being bulky or stiff, like the 2mm does, and the bracelet has a nice firmness to it, not floppy the way cheap leather behaves.

Now to my table. I'm in the midst of a major tweak and tidying up with the help of Lynn from Imogene's, a genius at merchandising. I've always been impressed by the way she displays my stuff in the store, and asked if she would help rearrange my table to maximum effect.

The main problem being where I am -- in a farmer's market -- is the visual "noise" of the background competing with the visual mayhem residing on my table. I have things hanging from the grid, but there's so much light coming through and what with being able to see all the other stuff going on, it's definitely very confusing. Unfortunately, I can't drape a cloth behind the grid to set off the stones and necklaces because I need to be able to see what's going on on the table. I already feel like I'm in a cage, but it's such a useful thing to have, especially since I don't have a back wall I could use.

This is the left half of the table top, what it "really" looks like:

A more dramatically lit view of the left side of the table top:

The right side of the table top, regular lighting:

The right side, dramatically lit:

New centre display that will feature sale items each week:

Centre display, to better show the colours: 

Cleaning up the back grid, the pewter has been moved to the top, and the seed bead necklaces are now hanging from a curtain rod. I can see what's starting to jump out and look interesting, and what's just a jumble. The plan is to get more hangers that stick out like the one where all the long seed bead necklaces are hanging from on the left, and I'll be able to display way more items such that they can all be seen easily, rather than as they are now, hanging undifferentiated along the grid on the rods.

Closeup of the seedbead necklaces on the rods -- they almost completely disappear.

I've ordered new display boards and they will all be about 6 inches taller and some will be a bit wider. That will be the next project to tackle -- rearranging in a more logical fashion all the pendants and earrings that are currently displayed on boards.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday 12 June 2012

The Jewel in My Crown & A Chakra Necklace...

My jewel, aka Max, in our moveable garden...

Been busy today, finally got around to making this chakra necklace that I've been meaning to do for a while. It's based on a free design from Mama's Minerals, an online store based in New Mexico.

Chakra Necklace:

From the centre, the beads are garnet (also the focal), carnelian, citrine, peridot, turquoise, iolite, amethyst and moonstone, with a sterling silver lobster clasp, "Tibetan silver" beads, 21 inches long. I can add a sterling extender chain or doeskin ties to lengthen this, $5.

$70 (plus $5 for extender) plus $5 shipping and handling. Please email me for availability, or for a different configuration of beads. I have many beautiful focal stones that would look great in the centre.

I have many more stones of all sizes and qualities, particularly if you are interested in something tailored more to your needs or related, for example, to your zodiac sign. Mama's Minerals has an interesting chart showing some of the many different stones associated with each chakra. I spent a couple of days last year going through all my books to compile an Excel spreadsheet cross-referencing stones with zodiac signs. Email me for a copy.

Thanks for looking!

Monday 11 June 2012

Chakra & Turquoise & Amethyst Stretchy Bracelets

Something I've been working on -- a way to quickly experiment with colour and texture and which is also entertaining in a mindless sort of way. I've said before that colour is not my forte.

Chakra or Rainbow Stretchy Bracelet:

Cherry quartz, citrine, peridot, blue apatite and amethyst chips, elastic, about 6-1/2 inches

Amethyst & Chinese Turquoise Chip Bracelet:

Amethyst, Chinese turquoise chips, pewter beads, elastic, about 6-1/2"

Two Bracelets:
The chips are larger and that makes for heavier bracelets than others I've looked at. 

I believe I will be off to Toronto on Friday and I will be getting more colours from Bamiyan, ditto more stringing wire which I'm just about out of, and Arton has some new base metal and/or pewter beads that I got a couple of weeks and reeeeeally like, so I will stock up on those... if they still have them. I recently bought some very cool pewter saucer beads from somewhere and do you think I can remember the company? Phhht.

Thanks for looking!

Friday 8 June 2012

More guy chokers, a wooden skull & a moonstone wrap bracelet

More guy chokers for the market tomorrow, variations on a theme...

I always find it interesting how much the character of something changes depending on what surrounds it. I guess that goes for people as well as things. 

Also, I finally put a button on this poor neglected moonstone wrap bracelet.

I'd originally made this on 2mm black Greek leather by default, if only because the wholesaler didn't have any 1.5mm at the time I bought the 2mm. I just got some of the 1.5mm and I really prefer it. It's got enough body w/o being too bulky. I will be making a pile more bracelets now.

The bracelet is about 7-1/2". I'll have to double-check tomorrow. The moonstones have more colour than shows in the photos.

The chokers vary from $8 to $15 (I'll post the prices tomorrow of what doesn't sell -- thinking positively at the moment here), the bracelet is $35, shipping/handling is $5 pretty much to anywhere in Canada and the US.

Thanks for looking!

Pewter Koi Earrings...

...and a couple of really cool websites.

Some of you may be aware that I'm looking for a new vehicle -- of course I'm looking now that the ancient Blazer is finally running well and I could derive some benefit from the six grand I put into it last year. I suppose it might be worth something to sell or as a trade-in. For now, I am reading everything RV I can find and watching videos about stealthy living; as well, the teensification of interior design is of great interest at the moment. Check this out...

It doesn't escape me, the irony around stealth camping and how everyone blabs about it nonstop, including details of their current location.

And for eye candy, there's this... My latest discovery -- there are beautiful photos here throughout the blog. Check out the jewellery layering and those crocheted slippers in today's listing. Drool. I just may get back into crocheting this winter. Unfortunately, I can't do anything about rolling back the clock far too many years and looking like any of the models here, but I can definitely get the jewellery look.

After a morning spent typing and downloading files in preparation for a Sunday typing marathon, I've finally finished these earrings. I spent far too much time fiddling with them, but I guess they sorta kinda look interesting...

Pewter koi (from The Bead Boutique in Kitchener), blue silver-lined seed beads, silver-plated earwires. $35. The s/p earwires can be swapped out for sterling silver for an extra $5. Shipping and handling on request.

Thanks for looking!