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.

Friday, September 23, 2016


It's been much cooler the past few days, so have had a chance to work in the garage. I wanted to make a couple more spinner rings ... I love them. These have a scalloped edge and really look great.

And finished another pair of earrings using the laser cut patterns from Rolling Mill Resource. I managed to roll two pair from the same pattern (way to go!). The other pair is in an earlier post.

I've also been slumping wine bottles for the last few days. In the past, I've fired each bottle twice, once flat and then slumped it in the mold. I found a schedule from Creative Paradise for doing the complete firing directly in the mold which saves a lot of time. This mold has raised sides and the bottles have been firing beautifully. I also have four flat decorative molds which will work out great for flat trays.

Just as an interesting side note, I only plan to do a dozen or two of these for my Etsy inventory and for a local craft show in November. My blogging and Facebook friend, Deborah Read, has a goal to fire up to 70 bottles. I think she has already slumped 50 or so! GO, DEBORAH!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Yesterday I had the privilege of being invited to a Chinese calligraphy class at the Nan Rae Art Studio .... in the hills high above Burbank. What a view from a beautiful home! It was taught by Chinese Zen Calligrapher, Shantien Tom Chow. He was so kind to me, not too critical. I found this YouTube video of him demonstrating at the Nan Rae Art Studio.

Are you curious to see one of my attempts at Chinese calligraphy yesterday? Is it frameable? Is it upside down? It was so much fun, and I'd certainly want to take a few more classes.


I finally had the time to shape and finish the ear wires on my new earrings. Remember, these were made from my sterling silver "scraps". I love them and the good feeling that I created something out of "nothing"!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016


I have quite a selection of laser cut textures from Rolling Mill Resource on Etsy. This Etsy shop designs low relief laser cut patterns to be used in the rolling mill. The sheets are very inexpensive and are for one-time use. Actually I got a good impression the second time too! They have a wonderful selection of earring shapes ... and I have also ordered textures for ring bands. Can't wait to try them.

Here are two pairs of earrings I recently made.


I recently subscribed to a site called Skillshare to see if I would like it. So far so good. One of the jewelry artists had a couple videos showing how she used her scrap sterling silver to make earrings. I have a lot of scrap, some roll printed, some etched, but really never thought any of the pieces were big enough for earrings. Little did I know! Some people don't like big dangly earrings. The ones I am now making are really cute, so unlike any I've made before. And I love the way the ear wires look.

Here are a couple photos of ones I soldered this morning, just out of the tumbler. The wires still have to be formed and finished.

Here is a photo of one pair with the ear wires bent and finished. I love them!

I'm having a hard time photographing these shiny earrings. Have tried so many settings, changed the white balance. I'd like a whiter background. Anyone have any suggestions?

Sunday, August 14, 2016


I got out my button box and found a combination of matching buttons to make a pair of earrings ... to replace a pair that just sold in my Etsy shop. What fun! Copper disks. Sterling silver wire wrapping and handmade ear wires. They measure 2-1/4" long.

Here are photos of the front and back. Or the back and front. They are reversible!

But it always takes such a long time to find the matching buttons as there are SO MANY sizes and colors to weed through. I need to get them separated into groups. Another project to add to my TO-DO LIST!

Thursday, August 11, 2016


In one of my last posts, I mentioned loving the concho that was on the back of my Boheme ring from Leslie Kail Villarreal's class ... and why didn't I make rings using that concho on the front side? Well, I finally made two rings, and I love them! They both are so comfortable to wear ... 15mm wide, size 8 (in case you are interested!). Maybe I'll part with one and put it in my Etsy shop soon.

And best of all, I textured them with my new Pepetools rolling mill. I didn't really need a new rolling mill, but you have to give yourself a present once in a while for being a good girl, right? Actually, I have given myself too many presents lately and it has to stop! But considering I had a bad start to the year ... tripping over Charlie, spending a month in rehab, shoulder surgery, still in physical therapy ....

The reason for this present is: I have an economy mill that has really been a workhorse for many years. Recently I tried to roll a texture that had a straight edge, not an overall design. The texture curved. It got so frustrating that I decided to start looking at my options for a new mill. Both Melissa Muir and Nancy L.T. Hamilton reviewed the NEW Pepetools rolling mills, and they had very good things to say about them. I decided on the 130mm Ultra Series Combo and found the best price at A&A Jewelry Supply in downtown Los Angeles. When I first started making jewelry, it was my place to go. But this time because I'm older and wiser, instead of driving the 30 minutes and paying for parking, I had them ship it. It arrived at 10:00 a.m. the next day!

Have you ever wanted to try something new ... but kept putting it off? I've had patterns and designs that are laser cut for the rolling mill from Rolling Mill Resources on Etsy and have never tried them. Yesterday was the day. Cooler weather, cooler in the garage. Yay! I was really excited as I tried a couple of the earring designs on sterling silver and got wonderful impressions. I'll show you my new earrings soon!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Finishing my spinner ring yesterday inspired me to work into the night and set the stone in the Boheme ring. This ring was a challenge. Leslie said you could make one in a day or two .... and so many of her students have. How about a week or two? To start with, I think my bezel was too small for the stone. Why didn't I just cut out a new bezel strip and start over? No, I guess I would rather just fiddle and fiddle with it, lose sleep, swear a lot ....

Anyway, I have set the stone. This ring is finished. On to my next project.

The front.

The back.

I love the back! How about a new ring with that concho?!!! WINNER!

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Leslie Kail Villarreal has a new BOHEME Ring class. Unfortunately I have not been able to complete one yet ... I'm having trouble with pushing the bezel over the top of the stone. Ouch! It's my hands ... and remember my right shoulder and recent rotator cuff surgery. Yesterday I received the Foredom H.15 Hammer Handpiece and a set of tips, which hopefully will do the job. But will have to practice first. I'm guessing it's like a mini jack hammer!

In the meantime ... I made a spinner ring which also uses the anticlastic shape of the Boheme Ring. I started by rolling out a pattern on sterling silver using the rolling mill. Then formed and soldered three rings to loosely fit the ring.

Then after annealing again, used a doming punch and hammer to carefully shape both edges of the ring. That's pretty scary, because if your seam is not properly soldered it will split.

Everything worked out well and I made my first spinner ring! It's so comfortable and so cute.

My friend was over and used copper to make her ring. She also used three sterling silver spinners. This is as far as she got, as the seam split after three taps with the hammer. Things happen ... but we had so much fun! Another attempt today or tomorrow to fix the seam.

Monday, June 27, 2016


I just finished a 2-1/2 day Powder Printing class with the awesome Stacy Lynn Smith at the new Bullseye Resource Center in South Pasadena. So much information, such a great teacher. It was intense. We learned how to turn a colored photograph into a black and white image using Photoshop (a 14-page handout!!!). We learned how to apply emulsion to a screen, print our photos onto positive film, expose the films to the prepared screen, and how to use powders with the screen. Doesn't that sound exciting? I'd like to jump right into the process, but first I need an exposure unit! The instructor promised to email notes on making one, as well as a link for buying one.

The first day we did four pieces with the same patterns and powders. They were fired at different temperatures so we could understand how heatwork affects the texture and colors. Those pieces look basically the same, but since you cannot FEEL the textures, I won't post the photos.

Then we printed an image onto glass (two feathers). That was fired to a full fuse. The next day we printed an image over the piece (mission), and this time it was fired at a lower temperature so the top image still had texture.

The next project .... The glass was covered with powder through a clean screen. Then we used our image and added powder to the top. In my case I used two different blues to make a gradient. I love this effect!

Then we made a wafer. First we had to make a template out of black paper, which was printed on the positive film just like any photo. This would be the bottom layer of the wafer. It was exposed to the screen we made earlier, along with the image I wanted for my wafer. We made this project directly onto a primed kiln shelf. My bottom layer of powder was applied to a thickness of around 1/4". Then the top layer. Off it went into the kiln and low fired. The last day of class, Stacy showed us how to glue the wafer (it was sooo delicate) onto a piece of steel that was provided for each of us. It makes a beautiful presentation!

An image I have on my screen is an old photo I scanned of myself (on the left), my sister and father with our accordions. I completely forgot about it and did the project with the four feathers and the gradient technique instead. Since it has been exposed to my screen, I can make tons of pieces with it. This will be so much fun!

One of the last things Stacy showed us was how to clean your screen using emulsion remover. In my case, I wanted to keep my images so I could reuse them. If I ever get an exposure unit, then I could clean my screens and keep reusing them since the images are safely on positive film.

Monday, June 13, 2016


I DID IT! This is the cuff I started in December and yesterday finished!! It's beautiful. I had come home from OSH on New Year's Day after buying a trailer ball hitch to form the cuff ... opened the gate, out charged the dogs, and that's when I tripped over dear Charlie. But all is well ... physical therapy is twice a week, and there is continuous improvement. I have a second cuff to work on, plus a couple of pendants. And just signed up for the new RINGS BOHEME class with Leslie Kail Villarreal.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I have been accumulating an assortment of metal dies that you can use with either a hammer or the hydraulic press. Some are for impressing a pattern on thick wire to then form into a bracelet. Some are shot plates that use a formed metal ball stuck into the impression, then hammered. These become embellishments soldered to your jewelry projects. I recently ordered a lovely brass Indian die from Ebay and wondered how I could use it with the hydraulic press.

Richard Sweetman in his DVD "Crushed Metal Cuff and Hydraulic Press", showed how to use pieces of bicycle inner tubing to press into the form. I had an inner tube I had picked up last year from the local bike shop and wanted to give that a try. I cut five round pieces, the same size as the metal die. Scotch tape held together my little package of die, annealed metal and five pieces of inner tubing. The result was a wonderful impression! I was so excited! I have to tell you I woke up at 3:00 in the morning remembering this part of the DVD, and was dressed in no time and preparing the stack to try with the hydraulic press. Here's the die with impressions in both copper and sterling silver.

Those inner tube pieces were destroyed!

Yesterday I visited the local bike shop again and came home with a lifetime supply! I'll be sure to post more photos of my impressions soon. Can't wait! For those of you without a hydraulic press, the video also showed the same method of impressing metal using a vise.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Physical therapy has really helped my arm get stronger, and I've been able to get back to doing some jewelry projects. I signed up for Leslie Kail Villarreal's Boho Pendant class, not knowing if I could complete one of the projects. I CAN DO IT! I CAN DO IT!

Here's a photo of my pendant so far. It actually looks better "in person". I still need to clean up the imperfections. Let me tell you, this one was a really hard project for me. Making the bezels to fit the tiny tiny stones was challenging. Will they fall out? Time will tell .....

My next pendant will be simpler. I have four oval turquoise pieces with the high domed center piece. It should be easier. The one after that has the ovals and teardrop shapes ....

Two more weeks before the cuff class starts. Remember that I was working on my cuff ... went to OSH on January 1st to buy the trailer ball hitch for shaping the cuff when Charlie and I met each other in the driveway. I tripped over him and I fell. Not his fault, as he was so happy to see me! Have you ever met Charlie? He is so sweet, a rescue dog I've had for about three years. He's a Tibetan terrier. Check out his front teeth and smile! HA.

Monday, May 9, 2016


It's been a long time since my last post. I had rotator cuff surgery on March 2, wore a sling for six weeks, then started physical therapy. Improvement finally showed during the last couple weeks where I could start working on a few easy jewelry projects.

Leslie Kail Villarreal offered a new on-line pendant class which I am now working on. Very frustrating, but so much fun at the same time! Here is a photo of HER pendant below. We are learning how to make oval and teardrop-shaped bezels, as well as tube settings, and then setting the stones in them. These are TINY TINY stones ... 6x8mm ovals, 6x9mm teardrop shapes and 5mm rounds. Luckily there is a product called "sticky wax" that picks up these stones easier than using your clumsy fingers!

I have my pendant shape etched and filed ... actually I have four of them. I've soldered on a center accent piece, and have spent the last four days working on the four bezel shapes. Holy Moley! They look right, but are they? I'm going to give them a try and solder them to the pendant this afternoon. It's only SILVER ($$$), right! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


My last post was on January 1st wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Right after that post I drove to OSH to buy a trailer ball hitch for my cuff class. Came home, set my purse and bag down, opened the gate for the dogs to come out ... and immediately tripped over Charlie and fell onto the driveway. Luckily I was able to scoot over to my purse and call my neighbor. I had fallen on my right side and my right arm was useless. Her friend helped me up, got me into the car and off we went to the ER. Fortunately I remembered my kiln was on with those broken bottle plates, so my neighbor was able to turn it off.

What a start to the new year! I had fractured my pelvis in a couple places, so it took almost three weeks before I could walk without pain. After staying in the hospital for a few days, I was transferred to a rehab facility where I had the best care and physical therapy. And finally got home on January 24th!

Yesterday I got those two plates from New Year's Day fired in their slump molds ... they are gorgeous!

Unfortunately I had an MRI last week on my right shoulder and the results were really bad ... so I am waiting for the doctor's office to call with a surgery date. In the meantime I have done everything I can think of to make my life after surgery easier. I'll have to wear a sling for six weeks, then start physical therapy.

I don't know about typing and using the mouse with my left hand .... so it may be a while before my next post!!

Friday, January 1, 2016


Hope you are having a relaxing New Year's Day. Are you watching the Rose Bowl Parade? It's about 10 minutes from where I live and it is COLD here! The forecast for today is 60 degrees, so that's an improvement, and the sun is shining brightly. Can't imagine how cold those people were last night who slept on the parade route!!

I started my new Cuff class with Leslie Kail Villarreal a few days ago. Have done everything I can while working inside the house. The garage has been in the 40's, so it's much too cold to work out there. I tried my little heater and even borrowed another from a friend, but they had no "poop" in warming the garage. I know how effective my big Skutt electric kiln is once it reaches temperature (around 1500 deg. F.) and you prop open the lid with a small post. So yesterday I prepared two glass projects, fired the kiln, and once it finished I had a warm and toasty garage and was able to start soldering elements to my cuff.

But, back to warming up the garage .... and the projects I fired in the kiln.

Here's what I did. I broke two mineral water bottles that my friend supplied me, arranged the pieces on thin fire paper on the kiln shelf. Here's a photo of one of them, and a photo of the leftover pieces of the bottle I didn't use. The pieces were arranged in a 6-1/2" square.

So yesterday was a WIN-WIN day. I got two glass pieces fused and was also able to work on my cuff. Today or tomorrow, I'll slump the two glass pieces in molds and have another warm place to work. I love them!