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Sunday, September 1, 2013

My last great adventure!

Hi readers. Yes this is a creative journey blog, but once in awhile you have to mix it up a little. I was looking over pics and videos of my life and adventures and fondly stumbled upon this video of my trip to the Grand Tetons last September.  Along with hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping we couldn't resist trying paragliding. This is a video of my tandem flight with Matt of Jackson Hole Paragliding. And yes.... Matt looks exactly like Dr. McDreamy of Grey's Anatomy Patrick Dempsey. And he seems to be having as much - if not more fun than I am! What a job! My legs were trembling as they suited me up....palms sweating....but once my little rain deer feet left the earth and we were lifted gently by the mountain breeze.... I felt nothing but pure joy!  Well I may have still been a little nervous.... the way I was chomping on my chewing gum.... sorry about that mom!


Can't wait to try it again in some other amazing part of God's beautiful creation- this earth.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My first online sale!

Just a quick note. I made my first online sale in my Etsy shop! Yay! Ok, it's true that I promoted myself and my shop on my Facebook page.... and the person who bought my item went to high school with me.... but hey, you gotta start somewhere! Just a quick thanks to Lori. I can't wait to see a picture of you wearing my pieces.

One of a kind up-cycled, vintage, brass fish pin turned necklace

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bead Fest Fun!

Yippee! Bead Fest Fun!

I’m on my way home from my 3rd Beadfest Philadelphia. My personal chauffer (er umm…. Frank, my husband) is at the helm and I’ve got 2 hours to go until we arrive home.  I thought this would be a good time to reflect on the past two days and share all of my wonderful experiences with my readers.

I signed up this year to take Kathleen Robinson-Young's  beginning lampworking class. (Click her name to see her Etsy shop) First…. I loved Kathleen’s relaxed, “no worries” approach to teaching.  What a nice lady and oh so talented!  

One of the many amazing flower designs by Kathleen Robinson-Young
Second…. I LOVE PLAYING WITH FIRE!  Every time I take one of these classes where torches are used, I marvel that they actually LET US play with fire!  There were probably 40 torches going just in the area of the expo center where the lampwork was being taught. You should have seen the set up! Huge tanks of propane and oxygen set up outside the building with hoses going in every direction to the partitioned work rooms and ultimately into each individual torch.

For those who may not know what lampworking is all about, it is turning thin rods of colored glass into beads or baubles for jewelry.  While Kathleen makes it look easy…. You know, you just melt the glass, turn the mandrel, make it round and decorate it….. and voila it’s a bead……. it is an art that is going to take a lot of practice. Hot glass is always moving….with gravity….. so you have to pay attention to it  constantly.  I’m trying to think of something comparable to molten glass….it’s somewhere between  honey and a jolly rancher candy.  And everywhere in between. 

The downside to this class and all of the others I’ve taken as workshops is that there is just not enough time to practice the techniques that you learn. I know that the teachers are trying to give you enough information to take home with you to hone your skills…..but I just don’t have the workspace to have a lampworking studio along with everything else I do!  I’d like to try my hand at it in someone else's studio for a while longer before I invest in the whole shebang. Hey instructors.... how about having an "open workshop" where students come and work "where they are" in their journey....with your tools....and you standing by to help with whatever they need?  I'd sign up for 16 hours of that! 

Anyway, here are the pics of my first lampworked beads…. suprisingly round for a first attempt.

My favorite "end of the day" bead. It reminds me of SCUBA bubbles in the Caribbean sea.... on a night dive....with a full moon....looking up from the sea floor.

And here is what I aspire to. The artist is Sheila CheckowayThese are some of the treasures I bought at Bead Fest. Sheila hand makes each bead out of glass. These are etched to make the glass look almost like stone. She was kind enough to look at my first beads and was very encouraging. She also taught me how to get the etched look on any of the other soft glass beads I may have at home. (Click her name above to see her Etsy shop)

Look for my next blog to see what other treasures I found! And please.... if you enjoyed this blog, click the button to follow me by email. BECOME A FOLLOWER! :)  Until next time.... create happily.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The mermaid house.

On another note, which is also a work of art, I wanted to show off the icing to the cake of my home renovation. The fireplace! My husband and I (it's still weird to say that word) have been working for over 2 years at remodeling my house. I bought the hand painted tile almost 2 years ago from the talented Marlene of Water Spider Designs. I live in a water town. I wanted my house to have a beach cottage feel to it. So when I saw this beauty I knew she would be the crowning touch to our project.  I have always loved the water, water sports, SCUBA diving.... and I feel a kinship with the mermaid. I am fascinated with mermaid lore. Anyway, I am very pleased with the house. Sadly, now that it is finished, we are going to put it on the market to sell. It is just too small to house our artistic hobbies. Frank wasn't sure about putting up the mermaid tile. He was afraid it wasn't generic enough for buyers of houses who want to do their own thing.... not everyone likes mermaids after all....and he was afraid that it would end up being torn down. And he asked if I wanted to bring her with us to our new home? But she belongs here. This is the mermaid house. Whoever buys it will buy it in part BECAUSE of her.   And our new home will be... different. It will be a new artistic project with a feel of it's own.

Hand painted tile by Water Spider Designs -  mermaid series.

My antique fireplace mantle found at an auction. It is covered with generations of paint. Beneath lies beautiful tiger striped oak. Too big a project for me to refinish... so I just repainted.

My living room. Ahhhhh. Yes. 

I hate mass production!

I spent the entire day making holiday dangle earrings for the craft show I'm participating in come November. While I liked the idea at first.... all that sparkle and bling that comes with Swarovski crystals... by mid-day I had had enough.  I made 22 pairs of gold and silver ear wires. Then I cut 22 pairs tiny gauge sterling and gold filled chains in varying lengths. Then I made 22 pairs of pave crystal ball bobbles..... exhausting.... and BORING!  I much prefer making one of a kind pieces.  But alas, a wise person I met at a metal smithing class told me that you have to make a lot of THAT (to sell) so that you can DO WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO DO!  (hopefully to sell) 

THAT (below)

Swarovski crystal pave holiday ball dangle earrings.

A day's work.


One of a kind silk wrapped choker and earrings.

Glass beads and Catholic medallion.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bangles and more bangles.

I went into hibernation this weekend. My hubby was away. I got to baby sit my best friend's puppy while she was away. So it was just me, the bird, and the dog. It was also in the 90s here this weekend and..... humid weather makes me cranky. So we stayed in only leaving the cool confines of home to take care of doggy business. It is amazing how much you can get done in the studio with no one around to distract you. No phone calls, no television.... just a short nap.

Last week I tried to silk wrap some bangles. I was really pleased with the boho chic look so I decided to make some more for the show.

I didn't think I was going to like this one because of the bright brass wire wrapping. But in the end it was my favorite. It has a summery gypsy style.

And look how good it looks paired up with the fresh water pearl wrap bracelet.

In all- 4 bangle sets completed.
I found out the craft show isn't until the second week in November. Which is good. Jeanne who has set up this show for 27 years says that the mistake that newcomers always make is that they don't have enough to sell. So from now until then..... more time in the studio.... more stuff to sell!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Busy in the studio. Getting ready for my first craft show.

Hi everyone! It's been a long time since I've written anything because I've been hard at work in my studio getting ready for the fall craft show I'm going to be participating in at Baldwin Hall in October. I've also been busy working 2 jobs that I would like to give up to make jewelry full time. But alas, my husband says no..... I need to fund my retirement account.  :(   For now I can't quit my "day jobs." But a girl can dream.  Anyway below are some of the things I've been working on. 
Set of 3 tribal silk wrapped bangle bracelets. The big bead was one of my first attempts at enameling copper.  The  enable cracked off in some places....which is bad....but I liked the way it looked anyway.  It looks rustic and tribal.

Silk wrapped bangles with copper wire and beads.  I'm thinking about selling the set for  $35. I will be making more of these for the show.  This was my first set. My prototype.

This is a set I made a while back. I love working with leather and suede.  The length on the pendant is adjustable because of the sliding knots. It is shown at choker length, but can be opened up to a full length pendant that falls to the belly button or any place in between.
 I found this glass focal and the accessory glass beads at the Philadelphia Bead Fest last year. I am going to be taking a glass bead making class at that  event this year in August. Hopefully one day I will be making my own glass focal beads in the future.

Here's the matching earrings for the set.

Here's a set I just made today. I used layers of soft grey suede and gun metal leaf chain embellished with grey fresh water pearls. The focal pendant is carved shell. Details show better in the picture below. Matching earrings.
Detail of carved shell flower and gun metal leaf chain.

One of many layered wrapped bracelets I've made for the show. I particularly love the colors and the fresh water pearls. The center is a purple leather link with accent bead.

And last but not etched copper Peace bracelet. I love etching. I need to do more of it. Ahhh. So many things to do and so little time.
Well that's it for now. I hope everyone is having a wonderful Independence Day. Picnics. Bar-B-Q. Fireworks. Family. Friends. I'll be spending my weekend in the studio. So many things I've started that I need to complete. So many ideas for new things. Can't wait!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

7th Bead Soup Blog Party

The 7th Bead Soup Blog Party.

I touched on this fabulous online creative event in my first blog entry. This is the whole reason I started blogging. What is it? Well..... Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is the genius behind this event. Here's how it works.....

1. You have to have a blog.  (that's why I'm here)

2. You sign up.

3. Lori matches you up with partner.  (At this point, it could be anyone/anywhere. This is an international affaire.)

4. You swap beads with your partner. You send a focal piece, a clasp, and some coordinating spacers or beads. The items don't have to be hand made by you....but they should be hand made by an artisan. I don't think beads from Michaels or A.C. Moore are appropriate for this party.

5. The idea is to use the pieces your partner sends you with beads from your own stash and create something "outside" of your box or comfort zone.

6. You post pictures of what you sent your partner, what she sent you, and what you both made out of the swap on your blog.

7. Then Lori posts all of the blog addresses on her website (so do all of the bloggers involved) so everyone can hop around and see what everyone else did!

8. Then if you want, you can enter your items in a contest judged by Lori's invited guests who are in the jewelry making business.

9. If you are lucky..... she may choose your design to be published in her next book!

You should check out the following links if you are interested in knowing more.

Lori Anderson's blog   Pretty Things.

The Pinterest Page for the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party participants to be judged.  

Bead Soup Cafe on Facebook

Lori's Book   Bead Soup: 32 Projects Show What Happens When 26 Beaders Swap Their Stash

As I said before......I was too late to participate in this one......but I WANT TO PLAY TOO! So next time....I'm set up with a blog and I will be on top of it. Look for it!

Here is a pic of one of my favorite creations from the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party by Doris Stumpf. I'm not sure who sent her the beads. But there are soooooo very many talented artists on this site. I have no idea how they can possibly choose just a few winners.

Bracelet by Doris Stumpf and entered in the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My talented mom.

My parents were childhood friends and sweethearts. They married right out of high school and my dad joined the United States Air Force at 18 years of age. My mom became a "military wife." She stayed at home and raised her kids while my dad jetted around the world keeping our country safe.  I have nothing but the happiest of memories of my childhood.  And my mom is largely responsible for that.

My mom is a very talented crafter/artist. She was sewing and knitting and crocheting for as long as I can remember.  She knitted my Barbie's wardrobe.....chic and modern for her time in the 1960s. And my nieces, her grand daughters,  dress their Barbies in gorgeous detailed victorian gowns and hats created by my mom.

Halloween was probably my favorite holiday...beating out Christmas and Easter by a nose. But it was so much fun to dress up in funny costumes and go door to door begging for candy. Candy! I loved the stuff. Anyway.... my mom always sewed my costumes.... and they were awesome......albeit not very scary......  this is the year I was a clown! 

Trick or treat! Give me candy or I'll make you die laughing!

My mom always had us doing artsy crafty things at holidays.  Of course we decorated Easter eggs. Made Easter baskets. We decorated Christmas cookies and home-made Christmas ornaments.  We decorated shoe boxes for Valentines day.  I had paint sets and crayons in every color. And she proudly hung my artwork on the refrigerator. 

My mother sews, knits, crochets, does macramé. She does very intricate needlework. Cross stitch, pulled threads, hardanger. Tatting. She has painted. Taught painting. My dad built her a workshop in the garage where she taught friends and ladies from the neighborhood step by step. For awhile she was making some money stenciling and painting decorative scenes on the walls of homes. 

It's because of my mom that I now truly appreciate all things hand-made. And I believe I got my creative gene from her.  And I just wanted to take this special day when we all honor our mothers, to thank her. For all the fun times we spent together creating.  And for all of her love.

Aren't my parents cute!?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Back from Soldering Boot Camp...Next stop Daytona Beach

Hi everybody. I have to keep this short because I am getting married in 4 days! Bead Fest was great. I did notice that it was about half the size of the one I went to last August. Kate Richbourg was a great teacher. She had a lot to teach us in a short amount of time, but she was well organized and I got to try a lot of different soldering techniques.  I really enjoyed her personality as well. Positive, friendly, and funny.  I can't wait to get back home and into my studio to practice what I learned.  Below is a pic of my bead show stash. I bought lots of solid copper because now that it's spring and I can open a window (for the all important "proper" ventilation while using MAPP gas) I am going to start enameling. Enamel is colored powdered glass that you use to coat molten glowing hot metal. When the metal cools, the glass hardens on to it.  I bought some gorgeous hand made glass beads to use as focal for pendants and earrings, beads I need to make my "bead people" to sell at the fall craft show, pink opal beads for my breast cancer awareness bracelets, and lots of copper chain. While I was there I ordered some new tools as well. This is a tool intensive hobby folks! Frank has asked me many times...  "How many pliers/hammers do you NEED?!" And I always say "just one more."
Bead Fest Stash
My next class will be at ArtBliss.  I'll be taking another one of Stacie Florer's metals classes. Check out her blog/shop. She is fabulous! She makes gorgeous jewelry, she is a talented writer, and has a lovely perspective on life.

The ring pillow I made for my upcoming nuptials.
Below are some of my bead people. Kids love them! I sold a lot of them to co-workers over Christmas. Going to make them to sell at the Bay Country Craft Show this fall.

Signing off for a few days! Next time I post I will be Leslie Angiolelli. My goodness that's a lot of syllables!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Philadelphia....Here I come!

Tomorrow at the crack of dawn I am off to Philly for the Spring Bead Fest where I will find over 150 jewelry making supply vendors selling their wares. Beads of course! But also tools, metals, findings, cords, leathers, silks..... treasures!  This spring they offered over 100 in-depth workshops presented by well know jewelry designers and teachers. I am signed up for the soldering boot camp Saturday with Kate Richbourg author of Simple Soldering. A Beginner's Guide to Jewelry Making.  Check out her blog spot We Can Make That at Home. shop shop tomorrow and Saturday I'll  be firing up the torch playing with fire and manipulating metals for nearly 8 hours.   Yahoo! If anyone is interested the Philadelphia Bead Fest in August is even bigger!

This is kind of a boho/hippie set I made recently. I found the lovely, artist signed, handmade flower pendant focal at the D.C. Big Flea.  It was in a big box of estate jewelry and the woman selling told me to pick out anything I wanted that she would give me a great deal. She did!  I came out with a pile of beads and baubles for 15 dollars. This pendant alone was worth it to me. Anyway I attached some leather cord and with adjustable sliding knots so it can be worn as a long pendant or as short as a choker. 

Can you believe I had all of these beads that match the pendant so well in my stash!  I made the clasp out of the same leather cord.

Matching dangling earrings. This was my first attempt at enameling. I made the headpins myself using copper wire and blue opaque enamel.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Recent Chan Luu Style Wrap Bracelet and some comments about Fleetwood Mac

We went to see Fleetwood Mac in concert at the Verizon Center in Washington D. C. last night. I paid A LOT of money for good seats because they are my all time favorite band. The last time I saw them in concert was the late 1970s. I was a little disappointed after the first 3 songs they played.  They seemed bored! Imagine these people have been singing these songs together.... the same fabulous songs we have come to know by heart and love....for 35-40 years! I guess I can understand how it would become boring to them. I was getting a little concerned about the lack of energy and enthusiasm but after their dull performance of Dreams,  Lindsay Buckingham started talking to us about how in the music business it pays to take a good thing and run with it....take it as far as it can it into the ground....and then move on.  But as ARTISTS it not a good thing.  What he was about to say was that they were going to play NEW music. Groan. The arena full of mid-lifers came to hear them play their old stuff.  But when they played their new song called Sad Angel they changed. You could see it in their faces (if you had binoculars like me.) They were getting into it. Their energy level rose. And rose. And rose. They were "creating." And it made them happy. After they played that song they did not disappoint. They played all of our favorites with a few new twists.....but they were on fire from there on out! They played and sang the "heck" out of every performance. I don't see how Lindsay Buckingham has any skin left on his fingers by the way he played his guitar. By far it was the best concert I have been to since I saw Billy Joel at the Celebrity Theatre in 1977! They played for 2 1/2 hours and came back for two encores!  And too bad for all of those people who left for their cars to beat the traffic.... they saved the best for last. World Turning, Don't Stop, Silver Springs and especially Say sweet I got teary eyed. Stevie Nicks as beautiful as ever. And Lindsay B. is a sexy 60 something! GO TO THIS CONCERT!

And speaking of creating...... here is a bracelet I made recently in the Chan Luu wrap style. If you like it, you can learn to make it yourself by going to The Bead Shop Tutorials page.  Or you can buy it from me at GreenBirdStudios my Etsy shop.

5 wrap leather, pearls, silk, hand made/forged copper beads.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Today it all hit the fan!

Today it hit the fan because everyone found out by way of Facebook that Frank and I are getting married.  It's not exactly the way we were going to tell our friends and family about our nuptials, but I wrote about in my new blog because I had just made the bracelet and I was excited to share it. I was playing around with with the google blogger buttons.....hit the one that said share your new blog with your FB  friends...and voila!  Big announcement!  Hey! I'm new to this! Needless to say that my fiancé....Frank.... was none too happy when all of his family started calling around asking why we had been keeping this a secret.  So, if my future in-laws are reading....please forgive me. We were not trying to keep it a secret from you, we just wanted to get married without all the hoopla of a big wedding.  It was kind of a spur-of-the moment decision to do this while we were down visiting with his/your mom/grand mom. And.....if you want to join in you are invited to attend.  April 18th. 6pm. Daytona Beach. Lighthouse park.  Or if you can't make the trip...there will be photos!

Now about this blog thing.... I never thought anyone would even be interested but apparently 4 people in Germany looked at my site at least one time!  Cool!

An early digital painting created on my iPad using the app Brushes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Today I made a wristlet/corsage/bracelet for my upcoming beach wedding.

My wedding outfit will be white linen baggy, beachy pants with a drawstring waist. I found a 3/4 sleeve tee type shirt with a draped neckline also in white.  I intend to color it up with flowers. First the wrist bracelet shown below.... and possibly a head band/crown/halo made of flowers as well.  We'll probably be barefoot on the beach.  My fiancé, Frank is going to wear some off white linen shorts and a beachy/tropical/ Tommy Bahama kind of shirt that we haven't found yet. His colors will set the tone for the flowers in my hair.  So here it is! I'm making progress. Wedding is in about 2 weeks.

Silk flowers. Peonies I think. 6 strands of pearls. Starfish and shells

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hi. If there is anyone out there actually reading this crazy totally unexpected idea of mine to start a blog and you are interested in knowing more about the Bead Soup Blog Parties....which is why I started blogging... here is a link to explore further. Thanks to Lori Anderson for such a fun idea! Unfortunately I missed the deadline to enter the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party by 2 days!  But you can bet I will be up and ready for the next one.    Bead Soup Blog Party

Here is an image of a copper disc I etched using a rubber stamp and ink resist and ferric chloride. Then I used a little liver of sulphur followed by verdigris guilder's paste to give it an aged looked. Attached a few "dingle bobs" and a length of soft leather and it made a beautiful pendant. There were matching earrings made of three etched discs linked together with copper jump rings each descending in size but I forgot to get a picture before giving the set away as a Christmas gift.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

This is something I never thought I would do.

I never thought I would have a blog. I'm not even sure why I need one. I make jewelry. I want to participate in the Bead Soup events. Therefore I have to have a place to post pics of my jewelry. So here it is. Not that anyone is reading....or cares about my jewelry for that matter. But what the hey! Here goes nothing....maybe one day, someone will be interested in my endeavors.

A little bit about myself....I guess would be a good start. I am 54. I'm a flight attendant and a dental hygienist....weird combo I know....there's a bit of a story there. I am about to marry my forever guy in a quickie wedding on the beach in Florida with his mother in attendance.  We've been together almost  9 years.  I feel pretty confident in my decision to keep him forever.

I love nature. I love animals. I love being outdoors. I garden. I'm good at decorating. I love hiking, kayaking, camping, biking....if you can do it outdoors and get a little physical....I probably will at least like it! Oh yeah.  I love God.  (not necessarily in the above order)

I have always been crafty. I knit. I discovered jewelry making about a year ago after I discovered Pinterest.  I kept seeing the Chan Luu style leather and bead style wrap bracelets. I thought.....I can make that! I looked online and found a YouTube tutorial...sorry I don't remember which one...and made the bracelet.  That lead me to my local bead shop..... The Twisted Bead in Edgewater Maryland...and to more beading...then to metal smithing....and enameling....and glass lamp work...and fiber beads....and.....well I am still learning.  I haven't quite found "my thing" yet.  I have found that I love to create.  And I have discovered at this late date....that I might just be an artist.

One of the first sets I sold to a coworker. I like to work with copper and carved bone.