Sunday, April 16, 2017


I keep telling myself, "You can't make anything new until you've finished all your old projects!!" Does anyone else have that same problem? So that's my goal for the next few days. Yesterday I smelled up my kitchen with liver of sulphur and added patina to my copper pieces. Today I'm working on ear wires. Only two pairs of earrings done ... quite a few to go ...

My finished earrings .... These were made with skeleton leaves run through the rolling mill.
These were textured using a brass plate run through the rolling mill.
Quite a few more earrings waiting for ear wires.
I also have two pendants that have sat around collecting dust ... They need chains. And a few very cute hoops that were stretched using the rolling mill. They will turn into earrings, maybe with some dangles.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


My newest leather bracelet is made from 5x2mm light brown Indian 3-braid leather. It's a double-wrap bracelet and has a great feather slider that fits over both leather straps. And I love that SW design magnetic clasp and the rest of the sliders. It fits a 6-7 inch wrist. A definite winner!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Years ago my friend gave me a small oval electric kiln FREE. I'm using it today in my raku firing experiment! I made several clay whistles and small heart pendants several years ago and they have been sitting around, collectimg dust, waiting for me to fire them.

My smaller gas kiln outside that I use for raku seemed like an overkill for these small pieces. But my biggest hesitation/delay was making a cage for firing. I've made cages before using metal parts, nuts and bolts from the hardware store, and they lasted a few firings. This kiln is so small, I could not find the right pieces.

My friend Ellinor visited a couple days ago. We always share our latest projects and ideas, and it's always so much fun to visit each other. Well, she had the GREATEST idea for my "cage"!!!!! If you do any enameling, you probably have the square heavy-duty steel trivet. It was a bit too wide for my narrow kiln. It just fit, but would have been a bit tricky to lift out of the kiln without hitting the sides ..... and the cut-off part that you see in one of the photos below. I used the Sawszall with a metal blade to cut it a bit narrower. Then twisted a couple pieces of high temp nichrome wire to use for the handles. It's perfect!

I glazed everything yesterday and am firing as I type this.

Here are my first pieces in the kiln.

The first firing. The pendants had a little red, but no reds on the whistles.

The second firing. Still no reds. Darn!

The third firing. The pendants had a little color, especially the copper wire, but none on the pendant. Everything looks good, the backs are nice and black like they should be. Just kind of disappointing to not have the reds. Maybe the glaze is too old ... and it IS old. Maybe adding a little touch of copper carbonate? I might try that ... then brush a little more glaze on a few whistles and try again tomorrow. If I succeed, you'll be the first to know!! One good thing is that the enameling trivet and nichrome wire "cage" worked so well.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


It's been a long time since I last posted. We went through an unbelievable period (weeks!) of rain and cold weather ... and this is Southern California??!!!! Now it's unusual to see no rain predicted for the next week or two. I finally turned on the sprinklers.

During that time I found myself working inside finishing old projects, weaving, and making a few new leather wrap bracelets. I love them!

Here are a few I just listed in my Etsy shop. This is one of the first leather bracelets I made for myself that I wear just about every day! I love it. Isn't the magnetic clasp wonderful?

This one is made with the same Spanish light brown leather that is my favorite ... with heart sliders.

This leather is a bit darker with 2mm silver studs. It has a Southwestern feel with the great feather and magnetic clasp.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


I've been thinking about homemade bread for a while now. My go-to bread is the simple artisan bread that you make in a Dutch oven ... So easy and wonderful, like this one:

A local bakery makes a wonderful Black Forest bread like my mother used to make. She also made Swedish Limpa. Every time I go to the market, I look for rye flour so I can be ready, but my favorite store never has it. Yesterday I went to Sprout's Market and was excited to find dark rye flour. So this morning I made Swedish Limpa for the first time.

Instead of using my Kitchenaid mixer and the dough hook, I decided to follow the recipe and mix and knead by hand. Luckily my right shoulder has somewhat healed! It's a messy business.

But I did get through the kneading part, and got the dough into the greased bowl to rise.

After punching it down and transferring to a pan to rise again, it baked and cooled for a very short time before I sliced it in half. It smells so good. And tastes wonderful! The outside is so crusty, the inside so tender ..... You can definitely taste the orange zest. It's on the sweet side and I love the flavor of the fennel and caraway seeds. This bread is a winner. I'll try my mixer and dough hook the next time.

Unfortunately my printed recipe does not have a website link, as I had to reduce it in size and screen print it. But, just for you, I will retype it.

Hand mix:
1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. warm tap water

1-1/4 cups warm tap water
1 tbsp. soft butter
1/2 tbsp. table salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. caraway seed
Zest of one orange
1-1/2 cups bread flour
1-1/2 cups rye flour
Up to about 1 more cup flour, as needed

In small bowl, proof yeast with sugar and 1 tbsp. warm water. (If it doesn't bubble up, the yeast is dead and you'll need to repeat this step with new yeast.)

In a large mixing bowl, mix water, 1 tbsp. butter, salt, honey, brown sugar, fennel, caraway and orange zest with wooden spoon. Gently stir in 1 cup flour and proofed yeast. Add remaining bread flour and rye flour until combined, then knead for 5 minutes, adding bread flour as needed.

Transfer to greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place til double. With a fist, gently deflate the dough. Form into a round loaf, transfer to a greased loaf pan, cover and let rise in a warm place until double.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake loaf for 35-45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, remove from pan, brush top with butter, finish cooling.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


I've had lots of time to work on projects indoors .... since it's been so cold in my garage work studio. One good thing is that we've had so much rain in the past few weeks and it looks like more at the end of next week.

Anyway .... I just finished this bracelet that has two strips of leather and beautiful sliders. It wraps around the wrist twice. I love this bracelet. I love the magnetic clasp. It's called "Trail Ride", and you can order the supplies from (Find the project under Projects, then Prairie Leather Wrap, then Trail Ride).

This shop has a live Wednesday morning Facebook broadcast with a different project each week. It's hosted by the owner, Janice Parsons, and someone you probably know, Kate Richbourg. I should say, Kate will be at the upcoming bead show in Tucson, so she will be live from there Sunday the 29th at 10:30 a.m. PST (instead of next Wednesday). I really should stop watching their broadcasts, as it has become rather expensive! I must tell you, has the BEST customer service. They are called the "Customer Happiness Team".

Then there's the other bracelet I finished on my new loom a few days ago. This one is a bracelet kit from called "Queen Nefertiti". Actually, the kit makes two bracelets, one 1" wide and the other 3/4" wide. It uses 11/0 delica beads. Crazy??? Yes! My daughter could not believe I was making it. The instructions were great, the beads labeled A, B, C, D, E and F. So I had six piles with a sticker label for each. I enlarged the pattern on my iPad and followed it row by row. There were about 74 rows! And now you know I AM crazy.

I have to decide if I want to leave the bracelet like it is or weave beads on the edges like the photo below.

Monday, January 2, 2017


A little late, but I wish you a wonderful year ahead! Stay healthy ... don't trip over your dog like I did last year on New Year's Day. I'm so thankful to be back to working on projects again and being active.

My new Mirrix loom has been a JOY! I just finished this wrapped bracelet made with seed beads. It's about 1/2" wide and 14" long and wraps around the wrist twice. I tried to take a photo of it wrapped around my wrist, but that wasn't possible! But I love it! I added a few of my own lampwork beads at the ends.

I showed you the first tapestry and bead bracelet I made in my post a few weeks ago. I've worn it many times, and it has received many OOOHs and AAAHs. Here are a few more similar ones made with the dyed silk thread ... I just listed them in my Etsy shop. There will be a loud scream and wonderful celebration if one ever sells!

Now I need to get back to my Cowboys and Indians jewelry class with Leslie Kail Villarreal which ends in a couple weeks. It focuses on using metal stamps and creating individual components that can be attached to each other, creating a beautiful necklace. Here is one of her examples. I'm not sure how mine will look, but am waiting for more metal stamps that are not available now. And am also waiting for warmer weather to work out in the garage! Need to use my hydraulic press, as well as a 3 lb. hammer and a solid working surface.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


I've always been interested in weaving, which probably dates back to the time my mother made rag rugs on a huge loom in my grandfather's barn! I never wanted to make anything THAT size and certainly don't have an extra room ... which you'd need for a loom that size! But over the years I've made small pieces, like mug rugs, coasters, and, as shown in a recent post, woven pendants.

A few months ago I purchased a class from Craftsy called Bead & Tapestry Cuff with Claudia Chase .... and was hooked! I dreamt about the Mirrix loom she was using, but the cost was just a little (a LOT!) on the high side. Incidentally, Claudia Chase is the founder of Mirrix Looms and her story of starting the company is interesting ... if you have time to go to their website and browse.

Anyway, on the past Black Friday weekend they had a sale and Rose Mary ordered her 12" Little Guy Mirrix Loom! It arrived a few days ago. I first had to do all the errands on my list so I would have uninterrupted days to explore my early Christmas gift! Yesterday I started viewing the videos again for warping the loom. It took several tries, but I finally understood the method. Anything is easy when you do it correctly!

So late last night I took a few photos of my project. Here is the loom shown full size with my "affinity" bracelet. The bracelet is 3/4" wide and I'll weave until it's 4-1/2" long. I have an inch to go! The loom looks huge, doesn't it, compared to the bracelet? But it's only 11-1/2" wide and 17-1/2" high.

And here is a close-up photo.

I have a choice of keeping the warp ends long. And after finishing the threads by braiding and knotting, you can tie it on your wrist or weave a peyote slider that goes on the long cords and slides to loosen or tighten the bracelet .... OR .... I could weave it longer to fit my wrist .... OR ......

Here's another photo of the first bracelet I made after viewing the Craftsy video.

It was made on a Jewel Loom. I tried to make the peyote slider with 11/0 seed beads, but found it just tooooo frustrating. Claudia Chase said the first two rows are the most difficult ... and I never got past that point, but will try again. Maybe today. For this bracelet, I finished the bracelet by knotting the threads close to the beads at both ends, cutting the threads, then applying glue to both ends and finally attaching the metal links. Then I added the chain extender and lobster clasp. I love this bracelet. However, I noticed when wearing it that some of my thread ends are showing. I think it is because there wasn't enough tension on the loom. We'll see how this next one turns out, as the warp threads could be strummed like a banjo before I started! According to the video, after taking the bracelet off the loom and letting it relax for a bit, it should shrink about a half inch .... that will definitely make it more difficult for those ends to loosen!

I debated about which loom to buy ... the 12" or 16" loom. There are smaller ones and larger ones. This 12" will weave 9" across and 24" long, which is plenty big for any of my projects. The great thing is, I could weave a bracelet on the left side and the right side at the same time! Maybe another one down the middle!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


I'm sure you've seen those articles about growing new vegetables from their own cuttings. Here's one I saved to my Facebook page --
I didn't see it in this article, but saw another that showed slicing a tomato, then covering the slices lightly with potting mix. New tomato plants should start in a week or so. Well, I had to try this, of course!

The summer heat really fried a few of my tomatoes. They weren't pretty, but tasted wonderful ... so I sliced one to see how easily this would work. This photo shows the little plants after two weeks. I used three slices, but none grew from the third slice on the right. Now I'll have to thin out a few and select two or three plants for winter tomatoes.

The poor plants had to fight their way up through the terrible soil I used! A little Miracle Gro should help them.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


I found two more classes on Skillshare that really excited me ... Weaving pendants on a small loom. I ordered one of the looms instead of making one. You can get a small wooden picture frame and use nails equally spaced 1/4" apart on the top and bottom ... or even use cardboard, create your warp and then tape the ends of your yarn to the back. But this beautiful loom was only $20. It's made by Jim Hokett and measures 4" x 7". Larger ones are also available. I ordered the Cottolin yarn used in one of the classes and the loom from The Woolery. But the possibilities are endless ... using other materials and textures, beads ...

Here are photos of two pendants that are finished with chain.
I added one of my keys to this one.

Here the weaving is attached to a piece of nubby palm flower stem.

Here is a photo of the loom with the warp added and two of my first pendants.

This photo shows the back of one of the pendants ... all those loose ends have to be woven in and snipped.

Weaving is so much fun! When I was very young and we lived on a farm in upper Michigan, my mother had a huge loom in my grandfather's barn where she made rag rugs. Friends and neighbors saved old clothes that she cut into strips and then rolled into balls. I so regret not being older then so I could have joined her.