Monday 17 August 2015


On Saturday, I got Debbie Benninger's book from my mailbox on the way to the market. Wheeeeee... so many mysteries solved! Not so wheeee is that my first effort kinda sucks. But the things I was able to learn... Things like:
... how much wire this eats up so buy by the ounce, pound if you can;
... always cut extra wire;
... do NOT let it kink;
... don't hammer too hard where wires cross or they will break.

For my first piece, I wasn't intending to make a heart. I cut two pieces of wire and started wrapping about one third in. I just wanted to play, to see what changing weaves would do, which is why the heart that the two pieces of wire became is so... scruffy. There's no other word. The silver-coloured wire is 20 gauge tinned copper. Next time, I would use 18 gauge. Even doubled up on the right side, it's very flimsy and bendy. Those mean little curls at the base of the bail are a result of cutting the wire pieces too short.



While I was making the above, I took a little detour and made this. What I really, really like to do is hammer and I love the way that flat hammered bit wrapping around the neck of the bail looks.

Then in between both of the above, I worked on this -- ideas come so fast, I have to stop what I'm doing and start another so I don't forget my idea. Kind of a mish-mash of techniques and still learning how to do wraps -- but this time, keeping them tight together, as Debbie reminds in the book.

The day's production:

Hydro, in its infinite wisdom, decided to cut the power out along the highway from 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. without telling us, and so I was forced to work outside. No biggie, it was something I had been thinking about for a long time, and now had no choice. It was LOVELY. Cool breeze all day, no humidity, no baking in the heat like all my pals were doing north of me in town. Hah!  

On the wildlife front, Friday morning after the rain I happened to wander over by the sliding door and saw what I thought was a bit of stick or leaf. That's funny, because there was no wind. I looked closer and the stick had legs.

Picture taken through the screen from inside my house:

Picture taken from outside:

Yesterday morning around 8:00 I was outside wandering around and my eye was caught by bright sky blue moving on my windshield. I could not capture the blue -- it was a more sky blue than the sticker on the windshield, point being I have never ever seen a butterfly this colour here in southern Ontario (nor a stick insect like the above, either).

It looked like it had maybe just hatched and was drying its wings in the sunlight.

Where it's white along the outer edge of the wing span was an intense light blue.

I've seen a hummingbird twice here in the past couple of days. Even while I'm sitting on the deck reading he'll come by to check out my hanging baskets. I've only ever seen a real hummingbird once before in my life.

Contact Debbie Benninger here or here.
I buy dead soft copper wire from Robert Hall Originals in St. George. You can also get dead soft sterling silver wire there, as well.

Thanks for looking and, if you're ever in the area, bring your beads and come and play in my outdoor studio!

Thursday 13 August 2015

My New Van...

Other than a white-knuckle creep to the market every Saturday, I have otherwise been without a vehicle for the past four or five months and relying on the kindness -- and cars -- of friends to do everyday shopping, errands, doc visits, etc. Somehow, despite a broken engine mount and other broken bits and bobs, my ancient Blazer manages to get me and my beads and jewellery to the market and home each week. Amazingly enough, it even started perfectly every bitter cold morning this past winter. Nothing wrong with the engine, but everything else has gone kaflooey.

Yesterday, I plunked down a deposit on a 2009 Pontiac Montana SV6. Currently being safetied and eTested, soon I will be coming to a bead show or market near you...

...and there may even be an epic road trip in our future.

I acquired this beauty from Empire Leasing & Auto Sales in Bright, Ontario. They sure have some purty cars, pickups and SUVs there, and they're so nice to deal with.

The anticipation is like Christmas, a couple of birthdays and a trip to Italy all rolled into one. Yikes. I can hardly wait!

Saturday 8 August 2015

Good Market Today & New Chakra Bracelets...

...and a new score: I found this cone-cut carnelian and glass necklace at a junque store last week. Probably paid too much for it, but I couldn't resist.

Then I was playing with other toys and I'm still wondering if this is a stoopid combination.

Finally got around to making more chakra-style items, and made these two bracelets yesterday. I'm trying to play with brighter colours, and yes, several of these beads are dyed, but the very brightest were deemed today to not really work, in particular that orange jelly bean horror. Better to tone it all down with carnelian instead... Except it's pretty. Maybe these size beads would work better as a necklace.

I've been doing a lot of restringing for Liane the Vintage Lady at the market. She buys bins of miscellaneous jewellery at auctions and has no idea what's she's got until she starts going through it -- at which point lot of the strung items disintegrate at that point. I swap interesting doodads in exchange for the restringing. Today I restrung a double strand graduated fire-polished crystal choker into a single strand because even with the extender it was chokingly tiny. Some of the vintage jewellery looks like it was for dolls, not humans. I'll try to remember to photograph it next Saturday. It came out quite nicely. Some of the beads were missing so I made a pair of drop earrings with the extra beads.

After the farmers market I went downtown to Streetfest and visited with a lapidary pal. Scored some beautiful semi-precious skulls -- and I picked some weird ones. Woweeeee... I've been looking everywhere online for decent skulls other than the dyed howlite ones and he can get me as many as I want.

Another view of the onyx skull to highlight the druzy swoop:

I reeeeally went to Streetfest to get myself a treat from Let's Eat Cake. Make that two treats: a fresh peach cheesecake square and a small tub of Rene's killer pasta salad.

Thanks for looking!