Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Charmed Ice Age Saga

Long ago, after the dinosaur charms had succumbed to environmental changes, wooly mammoth charms walked the earth.



They had long tusks which worked like ice picks to split large chunks of sea glass and fiberoptic glass ice.


Their large feet helped them balance on fire polish rondelles.


Though mammals in the textbooks, these charm wooly mammoths were more like cold blooded creatures. Their sterling silver constitution took on the temperatures of their environment.

And they always came with matching earrings.


They can still be found right here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kitties and Cream... or Kitties and Gemstones and Pearls

I am a junkie when it comes to sterling silver charms, and especially when it comes to sterling cat charms. When I find a new or unusual one, however, I have a habit of hoarding it, as I did with the charms on this bracelet.

One is a tiny kitty with pearls for his belly and face. It has been in my secret stash for years and I am finally letting it out, to mix with other kitty charms.


Another is a filigree kitty I found on a bracelet. I've used some of these before, but this is the last of them so I've kept it on a very short (sterling) leash. She is finally out in the open, but I've attached a freshwater pearl to her tail (and several in a cluster above her head) to slow her down.


The third I bought as a vintage charm. Though I am not sure of its provenance, I am pretty sure it's an unusual charm, and thus subject to my packrat hoarding. I've dolled this one up with more freshwater pearls.


The color of Gracie's eyes was the inspiration for the color scheme of this bracelet. They are a haunting amber.


To match those colors, I used gemstones and freshwater pearls for the bead charms. There are polished nuggets of Yellow Jade, Citrine nuggets, and Chalcedony disks. Vintage Czech seed beads and Swarovski crystals set them all off.

I love the colors on this one, and think you will, too. Especially if they match YOUR kitty's eyes.

It's right here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Garnet Treasures to Battle Economic Recession Blues

Here's the next in the series of bracelets and matching earrings for vanquishing economic recession. Why?

Because hand-made is simply better than mass produced.

It encourages a sense of aesthetic.

It shows you thought about your purchase.

It helps support artists.

It's really, really pretty. See?




These bracelets are priced at $39.99, with free shipping. It barely covers the cost of materials, and certainly not the cost of labor or design, but it keeps the good karma going.

There are, of course, matching earrings. These are made with garnet rounds. The flowers, of Czech glass and Swarovski crystals, hang beneath the garnets.


Just one question. When we see the light at the end of the recession tunnel, will it be beaded?

Friday, July 24, 2009

You Can Never Be Too Rich, Too Thin, or Have Too Many Cats

That being said, and my lost cat story of yesterday being told, here's a bookmark I made, with five black cats.


One of the EHAG artists came across an old English charm that I liked:

"Black cat, cross my path,
Good fortune bring to home and hearth
When I am away from home,
Bring me luck wherever I roam."

But sometimes you can't find a black cat to cross your path. That's when a bookmark will have to do. The pewter bookmark has several cavorting cats, as well. Beacuse, well, you can never be too rich, too think, or have too many cats. (And yes, I AM in training to be a Crazy Cat Lady when I reach the appropriate age.)

The bookmark is right here.

Where's Waldo... and Eugene?

Yesterday one of my kitties went missing. I had my list of all the things I needed to do but I was just a wreck. Eugene (brother of Gilda, wannabe Siamese rescue kitty) didn’t come home Wednesday night and was still out there somewhere by noon Thursday.


Eugene ALWAYS comes in at night, and periodically during the day to sit on the newspaper while I’m reading it or to sit on my lap with his chin on the laptop while I’m working. Much of the rest of the time he sits on top of the aviary tormenting the finches, or climbing it doing his Godzilla impression for them. He also likes to play Tag, You're It with Esmeralda.


And sometimes he goes in the upstairs bedroom window to torment Gracie (my little snippy tuxedo girl), whose private domain that is. He likes to steal her food. He also likes to steal Rhino and George’s food in the study. During the day, after the door to the study is open, I set their dish on top of the TV so the dogs can’t steal it. Eugene is agile enough to leap up there, balance, and chow down. (George is far too fat to do that.)

The few times he hasn’t come in at night, it’s because he was locked up somewhere: under the house, in the tool shed, in the closet. But I checked all those spaces at least ten times and he wasn't there.

The neighborhood coyotes have been quite bold of late and, undoubtedly, very hungry. He’s a bit large to be a coyote morsel, but still I worried. I checked the street and there were no fallen kitties lying there.

I was hoping he had wandered into someone’s cool garage and accidentally been trapped there overnight. Surely when they heard him, they would let him out. I lit a candle in the window to guide him home and went to the front, back, and side of the house and part-way up and down the block calling him.

Finally, around 1:00, as I was making a general fool of myself calling his name, "EUGEEEEEEENE! EUGENIE! EUGENIO! CUCHIE, CUCHIE!" Josh emerged from his bedroom and told me to cool my jets, so to speak.

The evening before, it was very hot and Josh had left his window open. Eugene, who likes to stroll through the alley, saw it and jumped in. He then found himself in an alien space where he had never been. He freaked out, dived under the bed, and hid there until 1:00 the following afternoon, when Josh dragged him out.

At least, we THINK that's what happened. Either that or he was ringing up charges on my credit card for Kitty Club Mud.

So Eugene is back. Wishing you all a lovely day. Oh yeah... and lock up and felines with wanderlust… or without it, for that matter.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Banishing the Economy Blues in Red

Here's the next in the series of bracelets and matching earrings for vanquishing economic recession. The philosophy is this: wouldn't it be better to give an inexpensive handmade gift to yourself or to someone you care about than mass-produced bling at the same price? It's a chance to own something artisan-crafted.

These bracelets are priced at $39.99, with free shipping. It barely covers the cost of materials, and certainly not the cost of labor or design, but it keeps the good karma going.

I just finished this set in red.



And there are matching earrings.


They're in my ebay store.

I am currently building a shrine to appease the evil eBay gods. It couldn't hurt. What shall we chant before it?

The Bella Sinclair Award

I am thrilled and honored to have received the Bella Sinclair Award from Marie from Art from My Heart. Marie is an extremely gifted artist and a friend to bloggers.

Bella Sinclair Award

"I designed this award to celebrate art in the blogs and to honor the value of friendship, sisterhood, sharing and caring. It is to be awarded to the gifted, accomplished, eloquent and talented blogger whose friendship and influence inspire us to do our best. That I named it after Bella Sinclair is because she epitomizes all of these things. She is an inspiration to many of us."

Thank you, Marie.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Make Way for Arachnophiles!

I started playing with making spiders this last weekend. Not sure where I'm going with this, but I'm having fun.

Here are the three debutante spiders. I'm pretty sure they'll be spinning webs and laying eggs, producing lots more spiders next week.

Green and black, with a lampwork bead:


A topaz-y kind of spider:


Faceted hematite and hematite:


Wouldn't they make lovely hair ornaments?

Monday, July 20, 2009

And the Name I Am Called is Rumpelstiltskin... or Bob

Long ago, a miller wanted to appear important in front of the king, so he lied and said that his daughter could spin straw into gold. The king was intrigued. He ordered that the girl be shut locked in a tower with only straw and a spinning wheel. He demanded that, for three nights, she spin straw into gold. If she could not, she would be executed. (On the bracelet you will find a tiny sterling spinning wheel and bunches of straw, made from Czech glass bugle beads.)


The daughter was sure she was doomed until a dwarf appeared in the tower. (On the bracelet he bears a striking resemblance to a sterling yard gnome.)


The first night, in exchange for her necklace, he spun straw into gold. (The gold on the bracelet is pyrite, also known as “fool’s gold.” Kind of appropriate, given the dysfunctionality of the girl’s father.) The king was delighted, and the next night again locked her in the tower with more straw.

The miller’s daughter began to weep. What were the odds of a strange gold-spinning dwarf appearing twice? But appear, he did. This time, in exchange for the girl’s ring, he again spun straw into gold. The king was thrilled. This was better than that goose that laid golden eggs!

By the third night, the girl was desperate. When the dwarf appeared, she had nothing left with which she could barter. But her life was at stake. In exchange for the dwarf’s magical spinning, the dwarf demanded that, when she was queen, she would give him her first-born child.

Sure that the odds of that happening were slim to none, the miller’s daughter agreed. When the king saw the new pile of gold, he was so impressed that he married the miller’s daughter, though this wasn’t what his mother had in mind when she told him to marry well. (You will find a little sterling crown on the bracelet, for the miller’s daughter was now a queen.)


All went well, considering that she had just married a man who had earlier threatened to have her executed. Soon the queen (formerly known as the miller’s daughter) gave birth to a child. (This child can be seen as a baby in a basket. The sterling charm is moveable; the top of the basket opens to reveal the baby.)


The dwarf returned to claim his payment. "Now give me what you promised!” he demanded. The queen offered to give him all her wealth if he would let her keep her child. The dwarf refused. A deal, after all, is a deal. “But,” he told her, “I will give up my claim if you can guess my name. You have three nights.”

The queen sent a messenger out into the world to learn the identity of the little man. Each night the dwarf came to her and she guessed at names. Was he Algernon? Bertram? Catheter? The dwarf danced with glee; she would never guess his name.

The next night the messenger had not yet returned, and the queen guessed again. Was the dwarf’s name Mortimer? Nixon? Opossum?

But before the final night, the messenger returned. Deep in the forest and high on a mountaintop, he had found the dwarf’s cottage. Inside the dwarf sang with glee:

"Today do I bake, tomorrow I brew,

The day after that the queen's child comes in;

And oh! I am glad that nobody knew

That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin!”

When the dwarf returned on the third night, the queen again guessed at his name. Yanov? Xavier? Zachary?

The dwarf was ready to seize the baby when the queen gave her last best guess. “Is your name, perchance, Rumpelstiltskin?”

The dwarf flew into a rage and, in various versions of the story:

1) Ran way and never came

2) Stomped his foot so hard he drove it into the earth and then, in a rage, tore himself in two

3) Flew out the window on a cooking ladle.

None of these endings is pictured on the bracelet. You shall have to decide which you prefer. It is right here.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Just the Bat Facts, Ma’am

Did you know that a single brown bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in an hour? Or that bats are very clean, and groom themselves almost constantly when they're not eating or sleeping? Or that they actually have very good eyesight along with excellent echolocation skills?

Of course you did! That's why you're eyeing (and perhaps echolocating) this bat charm bracelet.


It has a sterling silver bat at the center and bats carved of hematite. The bead charms are gemstones: onyx and hematite.

More bat facts. Did you know that nearly 40% of American bat species are in severe decline, or already listed as endangered or threatened? Yet these night-flying mammals eat thousands of insects, including mosquitoes, and pollinate and fertilize many plat species.

And the hematite bat on this dark garden necklace doesn’t eat any. What a lazy slacker!


The hematite bats on these earrings hang from onyx instead of belfries.


They just flew off of eBay and into my etsy shop. They aren’t eating any insects there, either, but they might in your home.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright

I found some wonderful pieces of tiger’s eye in Albuquerque, and couldn’t resist playing with them. You can look into these pieces and see so many colors. There’s fire lurking in there… and luminescence… and so much more.

tigers eye

tigers eye

I just moved both of these to my etsy shop. They languished on ebay and they need to be out in sunlight, being worn and seen.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

~William Blake

Gilda does her own stalking tiger impression. She could listen to William Blake being read to her 24 hours a day. At least when she’s not running from the dog.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Halloween in July

A lot of the jewelry designers are pushing a Christmas in July theme. I think they have forgotten the most important holiday of all. Halloween.

I, of course, did not forget. Nope. Not for one minute. I had candy corn beads burning a hole in my bead box, skeletons waiting to dance, witches and black cats ready to cast spells.


I used them all.



When it comes to Halloween, I have no shame.


As ET said, "I'll be right here."

Coot Update

The coot baby at Echo Park lake is getting bigger and bigger. Yesterday, when we reached the usual spot on the lake, the coots were nowhere to be seen. It was just me and a few hungry ducks.


But suddenly there was mom, making a beeline for me from the island. She came over to say hi (and eat). And pretty soon along came Coot Jr., also chugging along from the island.


They gave the ducks a run for their money on the cracker crumbs.


Esmeralda considered the outing a success.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Banishing the Economy Blues

Oops. I forgot to show you the first of the Econo Bracelets. I made this one in blues. My thought was that people should be able to purchase affordable hand-crafted wearable art. Just because we're struggling doesn't mean we have to resort to mass-produced questionable metal jewelry from China. So I've decided that, each week, I'll make a super-full hand-crafted piece, always with sterling silver chain and findings, for our hardscrabble economic days. This was the first of the bracelets, which is listed in my ebay shop.


It has beads of lampwork and millefiore, Czech glass and crystal, African trade beads and wood.


There are, of course, matching earrings.


Gilda is not included.

Banishing the Economy Purples

In keeping with my vow to create affordable bling during these tough times, I made another bead box treasure charm bracelet, also a Hearts and Flowers charm bracelet. This one is in lavenders and shades of purple, and just as full as the last.


There's lampwork glass and Czech glass, crystals and cat's eye, millefiore and gemstones.


And of course, there are earrings.



Now the question is where to list it. Ebay's been dead as dead can be, and etsy, friendly as it is, doesn't seem to be a bustling marketplace.

Time to toss a coin... or a bead.