Thursday 19 February 2015

Gearing Up for the March Gem Expo...

Remember this necklace I had displayed in July? I sold out of the bone birds during the show...

I'll have lots of new beads including... bird fetish beads in both bone and clamshell, big fat chevrons, plus 1/0 picasso glass beads in rich, saturated colours...

The March edition of The Gem Expo, Hyatt Regency Hotel on King in Toronto, March 13th, 14th and 15th. See you there!

Monday 16 February 2015

Sea & Beach Glass... & Roman Glass...

While sea and beach glass beads are items I don't carry or use, mainly because I don't have a good source for them -- 20+ years of diligent and dedicated recycling took care of Free Store stock -- I'm still fascinated by it. One of my clearest memories from childhood is sitting in the sun on a pebbly Lake Ontario beach collecting buckets of precious gems, aka sea -- or, more correctly, beach -- glass back in the era when cities dumped their garbage in the Great Lakes. I can still hear the distinct sound made by our feet sinking deep into the fine pebbles as we walked along. And I remember how heartbroken we always were to get home and find our once glittering treasures when dried had become pale frosted shadows.

Just as an FYI, here is a great description of sea and beach glass, lore, legends and links to other sites:

On the other hand, if it's Roman glass you're looking for...

...come and see me and some really luscious beads at The Gem Expo in Toronto at the Hyatt Regency on March 13th, 14th and 15th. I'll have lots and lots with me in full strings, as well as available by the each. Meanwhile, I'll have Roman glass and other collectible beads with me at the Nostalgia Show and Sale Sunday, March 8th in Woodstock at the Fairgrounds on Nellis Street. Seven days a week there is a good selection of strings on display in Showcase 800 at the One of a Kind Antique Mall in Woodstock, Ontario -- with 10% off during the Cabin Fever Sale all through February.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday 15 February 2015

Saturday Market Chokers & Bracelet...

Saturday was a good market for some reason. The place was packed right from 7:00 a.m. until noon. Valentine's Day? Phhht. Around here, come holidays, people buy their flowers, chocolates and good eats to throw on the grill and then vamoose to the malls and big box stores. I did overhear people talking about the price of roses, everything from $100+ for a dozen roses from a "real" flower store to $20+ from Wally-World and its ilk for roses of dubious quality. I think somehow the word got out about the crazy good price for roses at the Woodstock Farmer's Market, which could explain why so many new people were at the market. The Floral Express sells roses as well as all kinds of mixed flowers, your choice, 3 bunches for $10 with baby's breath. Not to mention, as I mentioned a post or two ago, with care the roses in particular will last up to ten days. Even I, with my notorious black thumb, can keep 'em going for ten days.

Remember the budding paperwhites: look at us NOW!!!

Note: It's about -40C today with the windchill, but sure looks like spring in here. I don't know how my poor truck started in that obscene cold this morning, but it did. AND the heater worked!

Meanwhile, back at the market, there was one lady very pleased to have finally tracked me down. A while ago, she'd bought some very distinctive earrings from a store which suddenly went out of business (wow, was I surprised!) and for a year and a half she's been looking for me. Told me she was talking about the earrings to a friend just the other day and now she's found me again. Bought another pair of the same style of earrings, took my card this time and promised to be back.

In between lots of customers and pals stopping by to chat, I made these four chokers and an adjustable bracelet, all which are currently out on approval:

This particular customer has very specific likes and dislikes, and the easiest way to make things he will like is to as much as possible narrow down a selection of beads he does like out of all the new ones I get in and then riff on various combinations thereof. He didn't like any of the multiple skull designs I made last week, so this week I used only one skull.

Something else is coming up: another big move for me at the One of a Kind Antique Mall. You know the tired old mantra, "location, location, location"? Of course you do -- and like all cliches it sucks that it's so true. When I first started selling at the Antique Mall, my showcase was right up by the front door and sales were pleasantly steady. In a long overdue expansion from one to three computerised cash stations, I was turfed out to make way for a wrapping station, and ended up just a few feet around the corner lost amongst at least a dozen other showcases -- and where my sales have tanked bigtime.

May 1st, though, I will be in this shiny white showcase right next to the cash desk. Yes, when the place is particularly busy on weekends people will be lining up right in front of and blocking the showcase to anyone walking by, but every single customer in that store will be standing in line there for a few seconds to one, two, five, ten, maybe even fifteen minutes with nothing better to do than to look at Nancy's and my jewellery, collectible beads, antiques and junque.

Every. Single. Customer. Talk about location. Same vendor number: 800. Nancy's is 847.

I'm standing to take this picture just inside the front door of the mall right where my old showcase used to be.

To the right of and just past that guy walking down the aisle
is Booth 800/847, which is mine and Nancy's.

John and Jack, the two owners of the Antique Mall. 

Dapper Jack behind my new showcase, 800

(No, the rifle is a reproduction)

Don't forget, The Gem Expo is coming up in Toronto at the Hyatt Regency in the middle of March, the weekend of the 13th, 14th and 15th. PLUS... for the first time, I will be selling Nancy's and my antiques and junque and Roman glass and collectible beads at the Woodstock Nostalgia Show and Sale on Sunday, March 8 at the Fairgrounds on Nellis Street.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday 8 February 2015

Crunchy, crispy, bouncing rain outside... perfect white paperwhites inside...

'Nuff said:

Groceries have been brought in and I'm permaparked to sit out the duration of the freezing rain currently sitting on top of us. I am so very, very tired of winter and looking forward to turning this little cottage into an even bigger bower of flowers this summer. Meanwhile, I content myself with watching my little shelf garden of paperwhites from the market go nutso next to the french doors.

Since supervising flowers blooming is as productive as staring at and willing water to boil, I'm currently watching a YouTube video which goes into painstaking detail how to layer wire-weaving right from the very beginning of the design. Living in the middle of nowhere it can be difficult to get to classes particularly in the winter, and you gotta love YT. (Which is sortakinda funny, because jewellery-maker yukonreddy is -- duh -- from the Yukon.)

I'm totally in love with that sinuous, hammered and bead-layered look that so many people on Pinterest make look so easy.

...except now, digging through my stash, I find that almost none of the silver or copper wire I've accumulated over the years is the correct temper for wire-weaving. Sheesh. I could've sworn I had some 26 gauge in dead soft temper.

Go check the link out, and if you've found other good wire-weaving/layering tuts I can to add to my stash please let me know.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday 7 February 2015

A Pyrite, Brass & Skull Choker...

Managed to get a few things made while at the market today. This is one of them, a variation on the choker I made and posted two weeks ago.

Thanks for looking!

Monday 2 February 2015

1,800-year-old Roman coin wrapped in "Gallery Bezel Wire"...

Go read this first...

Marina of Fanciful Devices has been my go-to for sublime creativeness for a long time now. I can't even approach some of the things on this blog. Learning about the existence of "gallery bezel wire" kick-started my lazy self into thinking of things to wrap to mix with my Roman glass beads.

Coin Guy across from me at the Woodstock Farmer's Market sells -- duh -- coins, and he sells reeeeally old coins along with the usual commemoratives and out-of-circulation bills and coins like you find in hoards and under couch cushions and floorboards. Fascinating. And we all have our own stashes of coins that were given to us kids as souvenirs when parents came home from mysterious trips to faraway places and then later on added to as we wandered to our own far places.

Meet Licinius I, 308-324 AD (Thessalonica Mint):

Here is my first effort at using this wire. Marina advised to make the wrap tight. Definitely necessary. Do not ignore. Unfortunately there was an 1,800-year-old lump on the side of my coin that I thought I could ignore, and I didn't want to file it off in case it damaged any value the coin has. NOTE: This wire does stretch. This is soft, bendy, pliable stuff and I will have to redo it, but as is, it sure looks cool. I also need to acquire some thicker brass headpins on my next trip to Toronto. If the coin were silver (it's actually patinaed brass), then mixing the metals wouldn't be so stark. But the wire itself is cool stuff, all lacy and perforated the way it is.

Oh, and yeah, straighten the coin out before locking it into place!!!

Thanks for looking!