Saturday 27 June 2015

1951 Jenny Wren Farthing Earrings...

Way back at the end of April, I wrote about my vintage bracelet score -- made of British Jenny Wren farthing coins.

I had the greatest of intentions to make some earrings, but the Great Purge intervened along with an immense amount of typing this past week or two, and also I lost the little bag of coins. I found them last night, and this morning at the market, I made these:

I have enough coins to make several pairs of earrings. Silver-plated brass farthings, sterling silver leverbacks with baroque pearl dangles: $35 plus shipping. Please email me for availability and/or to order different beads on the bottom. 

Thanks for looking!

Sunday 21 June 2015

A Busy Weekend With Lots of Sales!!!

Wheeeee, finally a great Saturday at the market for everyone, which is so gratifying. I sold several brand new items including a couple that I didn't get a chance to photograph. The blue picasso bracelet with the pewter bird, turtle, horse and feather (I call it the "Four Corners") sold right away, right out of the gate. Lady came by, picked it up, examined it... "Uh, where's the clasp?" "It rolls on." Sold.

Definitely must make more of these.

I also sold the aqua terra and crab agate necklace on the right (the necklace on the left sold quite a while ago) yesterday, matched perfectly with sterling, turquoise and sponge coral earrings. They accompanied my customer and her brand new dress to a girls' night out Beatles tribute show last night.

I went to an estate sale this morning and here are a few of my treasures. We're doing a Nostalgia show at the fairgrounds on September 13th, I think it is, so I'm buying with that in mind. Some pieces will go to our booth at the Antique Mall (Booth 800/847 if you're planning a trip our way).

Aaaaand it's jam-making season. The first strawberries are starting to come in from the fields. There were mountains of them at the market yesterday. For some reason the local grocery store has decided not to carry my favourite low-sugar no-cook gelling powder this year, so my pal George brought me 20 packages from the big city on Tuesday, which I swap for jam. 

What's the name of that Pinterest site? Pinterest Fails -- or similar, anyway. Here's my latest entry in the Pinterest Fail... well, it was a success but SO SLOW! Give me my paring knife any day.

My handy-dandy strawberry hulling setup. The mosquitoes arrived shortly after and settled in to feast on me. 

Putting the straw in strawberries...

Poke the straw through from the bottom...

Pull the core out of the straw...

And you have a neat little hole to fill with chocolate...

This doesn't show how full the bowl was, but it was ten 250ml jars' worth of strawberries mounded up.

Unfortunately, the monsoon rains we had early in the week made this batch of strawberries awfully watery, but a titch extra sugar and lots and lots of lemon juice brings out the flavour nicely. Peaches will be coming along soon. I can hardly wait. There's a type of early peach that is soooooo good as jam. Summer in a jar, especially in the dead of winter.

Thanks for looking!

Monday 15 June 2015

Two More Stretch Bracelets...

Last night, I fixed a couple of bracelets that were bugging me and made these two new ones.

Silver-plated feather and pewter birds and flower bead, copper jump rings and small black glass pony beads,

Pewter cross and flower beads, copper jump rings and small black and blue picasso pony beads.

Prices are as shown, shipping extra depending on where you live and your need for speed. I take PayPal and Square and, in Canada, bank eTransfer. Email me for availability, to request a different size or to order something unique for you.

They're really starting to add up, aren't they?

Thanks for looking!

Saturday 13 June 2015

Father's Day Gift Bracelets...

...well, bought by a guy, at any rate.

These stretch bracelets are consuming me. I made several more while at the farmers market today. The first two sold immediately (yippeee!!), but I can make more and/or variations on these or any others I've posted in the past. These glass beads I've been using are terrific. I've seen them labelled as small pony beads; I think they're 2/0 seed beads. But what's really cool is they have a great hole -- easy to thread onto 1.5mm leather cord. Just about any of these bracelets can be made into adjustable chokers or regular necklaces. I can also make them larger to be worn as ankle bracelets.

Black glass beads, etched 2-eye agate bead, copper skulls, copper jump ring spacers and coil. 

Black glass beads, copper jump ring spacers and an etched 9-eye carnelian dZi-style bead.

This bracelet is made with dark dusty blue Picasso 2/0 seed beads (small pony beads) with a silver-plated feather and spacers and a pewter horse, bird and turtle.

These all fit kind of loose medium to large. I got a guy pal to try one on and he said it was very comfortable. Prices are as marked, shipping is extra depending on where you live and your need for speed. I take PayPal and Square, and within Canada bank eTransfer. Email me for information on these or to make a special request.

Thanks for looking!

Friday 12 June 2015

Thrift Sale-ing...

It's late spring here and the lawn and garage sales are in full swing. I've furnished and unfurnished my own apartments across Canada and in Italy at lawn and apartment sales, the Goodwill, Sally Ann, Value Village, junque stores and their ilk for too many years to count. Thanks to friends, I'm currently amassing quite a collection of old wooden mug trees which are really, really handy for displaying bracelets at the market.

Like a lot of you, I scan the jewellery tables for overlooked treasures. I'm not very good at seeing the potential of some things -- I've always been strangely resistant to the idea of taking perfectly good (albeit totally useless) things apart, but I'm getting there.

These are my two latest finds: a sterling silver amber ring and a dragon, phoenix and butterfly pendant. What is more interesting to me than The Great Score is what I can learn. The first thing I learned was that I MUST start carrying with me at all times a small and powerful flashlight and a loupe because of what treasures I can miss.

I almost passed on buying both the almost black and gungy "amber" ring and the "glass" pendant.

I examined the inside of the ring and saw no .925 stamp, which made me suspicious about the "amber". Was it just plastic? It wasn't heavy enough to be glass. I held it under the lamp at the sale. Because I noticed the sheen and also that the high dome wasn't slick and polished like glass or even plastic would be, that there were tiny old, smoothed-over nicks and gouges in the surface, I figured, mmmm, mebbe, mebbe not. But at the very least, it's pretty, and I bought it.

Good thing, because when I got it home and started polishing the band, lookee what showed up invisible under the black gunge:

The .925 stamp was on the outside of the band. I called a friend of mine who buys a lot of estate jewellery and she immediately told me that a .925 stamp on the outside of the band indicates it's made in Poland, and therefore it would be genuine Baltic amber.

My second score was this pendant that I thought was glass and who knows what metal but I kinda thought silver...

But yet again, under the poor light at the sale, I was convinced it must be green glass, and in the end I only bought it because of the dragon and phoenix: I was born under the sign of the dragon, and I'd read many years ago that the phoenix is the dragon's most auspicious partner sign.

I also bought it because it was double-sided and it looked cobbled together and I prefer wonky, handmade things to slick, commercially produced items, no matter what they are. The dragon and phoenix were cast, and I'm presuming likely Chinese because of the tiny cloud that binds their feet at the top (their hands are touching at the bottom and they're looking at each other) and were very obviously cut from some other larger design. They're of a completely style than the butterflies, which are twisted wire and are possibly Bali or Indian silver?

Once I got home and under good light, I clearly saw the banding deep inside the green, meaning this is a huge lump of uniformly milky agate. Dyed, according to what I found online, but oh well. It's still a very beautiful colour and it's not splotchy like a lot of dyed stones are these days.

I'm intensely curious about where this came from. All the metal bits look to be silver, polishes up nicely, but there are great lumps of solder everywhere, and as I said above, it's definitely been cobbled together from many different cut-up pieces. There are what I think are called sprues still poking out here and there that were never filed down. The entire soldered-together medallion on both sides is domed over crossed flat metal strapping over the agate that's also been soldered into place. 

I'm currently looking up the symbolism of the different parts of the medallion. If anyone has come across something like this, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday 4 June 2015

Studio Space...

... but studio for what? Typing? Jewellery-making? Collectibles storage and pricing? Drawing?

Remember this back in December?

It became this a couple of weeks ago. I added a second shelf to the table.

It turned into this yesterday. The mess of weird items are destined for the antique mall later today when they've been priced.

Trust me, the front room was packed -- and I mean jam-packed -- and stacked halfway up the walls with dusty boxes spilling their contents, untouched since I moved here mid-December 2013. There was barely a path down the middle wide enough to walk, and still I had to step over boxes and bags.

The front room mostly cleared out.

Where did all the boxes and bags go? Here:

Already it's looking better:

Now this. I walk in and breathe.

I'm afraid to start doing anything in here because it WILL turn back into a giant mess again.

All that mess in the living room above now looks like this:

The next goal is to get all the assorted beads and findings sorted into those labelled bins on the shelf in the front room and take that table down. The bin system has been in operation and working well since Lynn M and Nancy Mac helped me sort beads over two years ago. I can't remember how many carloads of recycling, donations and consignment store items they hauled away for me, but it was quite a few!

So, yes -- grab a friend to help. Huge thanks this time to Brenda. Having someone who isn't emotionally involved in making toss/keep decisions or getting lost in, "Oh, look, a 5-year old magazine! I must read it right now," is absolutely critical, and makes it so much easier and faster to sort/toss/give away.

Yes, it's gonna hurt. Yes, it's a shock to the system realising just how much money I wasted over the years. Yes, it's profoundly embarrassing to realise how many empty bins and containers I have and how I keep buying more and bigger/better storage systems. We all have our little secrets. But it's got to be done.

As all the decluttering sites advise, completely clear out the room/closet first. Then have a designated garbage bag (bags plural in my case -- FIVE of 'em went out to the highway this morning), recycling bags/bins, eWaste bin, charity bin, consignment bin ready. You need only make one decision for each item: keep it, and you now have a magically clear space for it, or toss it into the appropriate bin/bag.

Hey! I'm done!!!!

Well... not so fast. There's also the bedroom... and those boxes and boxes of books under the bed.