Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rockhound at heart?

I think all jewelers have a little rockhound in them, or at least a little Magpie. I stopped by my local rock shop today with the intention of quickly picking up one or two stones for an upcoming project. It's kind of out of the way, but any drive up here is pretty beautiful, so I didn't really mind. 

Two hours later I left with these:

And that was without going into either of the two gallery rooms or asking them to pull out any of the cabochon trays. I think I touched about half of the other rocks in the place. Aside from the two smaller cabochons these are all destined for some tab settings.

My friend Sarah (you can check out her awesome work at her new shop Lily Cobra) just invited me to go to the HUGE Tucson Gem and Mineral Show with her early next year. I'd say I'm a definite maybe.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 6, 2013

2013 Gift Guide: #HandmadeHour

Here's to supporting small business and the artisan community this year by shopping handmade! This is the latest in a series of gift guides featuring works from makers on Etsy. These artists also hangout on Twitter for #HandmadeHour.

I'm relatively newish to Twitter. I've had an account for years, but I rarely use it. Mostly because I'm already juggling a FB page, blog, Website, Pinterest, etc. and the idea of one more social network to keep up with was... well you know. Also, Twitter moves fast. Even with the lists and hash-tags the variety of content can be overwhelming. Then I found #HandmadeHour! It's fast paced, but in a good way. Most of the artists/makers are from Europe, but they welcome makers from everywhere. It's like a mini vacation via the internet!

My Top 5 from #HandmadeHour

1. Upcycled bullet brooches from Lucy Ann Smethurst of ChangeTheRecord. Love these! 

Upcycled brass bullet brooch pin with real bird feathers- duck, pheasant- unisex buttonhole winter wedding groom

2. Aileen Clarke of AileenClarkeCrafts creates colorful textile art from her cabin in Fife incorporating hand-spun and dyed wool from Scottish Islands featuring Scottish landscapes. She also sells prints, mugs and calendars featuring her original works.

4. How about a pin from Farah Shah of Fawa1 to stuff in that stocking? Bright illustrations created using colored pencils on shrink plastic. 


3. Louise Jenkins of illustratorlou creates fantastic water color paper cuts inspired by the English countryside.  

Paper Cut Wall Fine Art Piece of "Hogg & Ewe" Sheep/ Made to Order

5. TheOriginalThread has just the thing to trim tree this year. Two handmade Christmas robins from an original pattern. So Sweet!

Two Handmade Christmas Robin Hanging Decoration

I love that all of these pieces are inspired by the natural world. There were so many great items to choose from over at #Handmadehour it seems kind of silly to label these my top five, but I guess that's been true of this entire series. So much creativity out there!

Check out my other 2013 Holiday Gift Guides: 
For the Host/Hostess
For the Jewelry Lover 
For the Kids 

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Belle Armoire Jewelry

I'm very excited to announce that I have two articles in the Winter issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry! If you've ever wondered how I make the Eyelet Lace or Beach Pottery pieces you can take a sneak peek of the issue on their website or pick up a copy for a more detailed look.


Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

2013 Gift Guide: For the Sports Lovers

It's Small Business Saturday! Here's to supporting small business and the artisan community this year by shopping handmade! This is the latest in a series of gift guides featuring works from makers on Etsy. This guide is all about finding the perfect something for the athletic people in your life. The people who spend their weekends in the park, on the trail, or at the stadium.

My top 5 for the Sports Lovers

1. A little something for the bicyclist. Winona Johnson of ArtByWinona is a metalsmith from Portland, Oregon who recently started creating bike badges. Her badges come in a variety of designs for guys and gals, from mermaids, to zombies, to regional landmarks, she's got something for everyone's ride! 

PDX Love - bicycle head badge, Portlandia, Portland, Oregon, Heart, bicycle gear, Etched copper, bicycle accessories

2.  For all the people on your list that eat, sleep, and dive. Stacey over at IceCreamTees has the perfect graphic t-shirt for your special scuba diver.  As well as a large collection of t-shirts and hoodies for other sports enthusiasts. She's also got a sweet buy three shirts get the forth one free deal going on right now with the very appropriate coupon code: Awesome.
  Eat Sleep Scuba Dive Screen Printed T-Shirt Mens Ladies Womens Youth Funny Geek Travel Swim Ocean Sports 
3. For the hardcore fishermen and women out there, MatlockWoodworks out of Matlock, WA creates fishing pole racks using local wood from the Pacific Northwest at really great prices. They also create wall mounted varieties.

Mobile Free Standing Fishing Pole Rack - 24 Freshwater **SALE**
 4. For the baseball enthusiast consider an up-cycled wallet created from an old baseball glove. ReMitt also creates coin purses and key chains that are sure to bring back memories of the field with every use.

5. These coasters by Jason and Katie of ApocalypseFab are perfect for the skier or snowboarder on your list. From beginners to experts this set has you covered.

Ski and Snowboard Slope Coaster Set of 4, Circle, Square, Diamond, Double Diamond

And now for a little self promotion! How about a golf ball marker for the golfers on your list? I've got this clip art golfer listed in my Etsy shop now!

Check out my other 2013 Holiday Gift Guides:

For the Host/Hostess

For the Jewelry Lover 

For the Kids

Happy Holidays and thanks for reading! 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

2013 Gift Guide: For the Kids

Tis the season! Here's to supporting small business and the artisan community this year by shopping handmade! To make it easy I've be putting together a series of gift guides featuring works from makers on Etsy. Next up, something special for the people who bring wonder to the holidays. The ones that tear off the paper, open their eyes wide, and squeal with delight.

My top 5 for the Kids

 1. Stuff the stockings of the movers and shakers with a personalized hand kite from CakeInTheMorn. Bright, fun, and finished with a homemade, organic beeswax sealant. They offer price breaks on larger orders, gift wrap for an additional fee, and will even let you pick and choose the ribbon colors. What's not to love!
2. For the aspiring artist wrap up a set of Eco-friendly crayons from ivylanedesigns. Cast away bits of old crayons are transformed into something new and super fun! From fortune cookies, to unicorns, to the Eiffel tower, they've got a crayon to suit most any personality.
Kids' DINOSAUR CRAYONS - Coloring Party Favors - Set of Six (6) - Eco-Friendly Toys in Assorted Colors - Free Gift Box

3. For the high energy competitive types think jump rope. Jump rope? Ya, jump rope. This 100% cotton, hand spliced and dyed skipping rope from jupiterschild is the perfect rope to get started. And who knows, after exhausting all the skipping songs and games in the back yard, maybe they'll want to move on to jump rope camp or competing in national or international competitions! Wow. There's a lot more to jumping rope than meets the eye. Check out the Wiki skipping rope entry for a crash course or visit the American Heart Associations website for a great list of Jump Rope Skills!

4. Have a curios kiddo? Then Jennifer from the theideaboxkids has just the thing: boxes of ideas. This particular box is full of science experiments and ideas, but she's got a box for just about everything. There's a Masking Tape Box, a Teachers Time-Filler Box, a Winter Activities Box,  a Story Box, an Airplane box... there's even a Wiggle Box. It's all about "child-led, play-based learning" and I think it's one of the best ideas I've ever seen. Love it!

Science, Simple Science Experiments for Kids, Science Party, Homeschool Science, Preschool Science, Science for Kids, Kids Science

5. How about something for the little chef? CreationByM has some of the best felted food I've ever seen. Ice cream, Sushi, Dim Sum, Banana Pancakes and more. I'm getting hungry just looking at it!

Man, that was fun. I could browse the handmade toys on Etsy all day. Such creative makers out there supporting active and creative kids. Kinda makes me wish I'd get a time machine this year.

Alright, now for the shameless plug. I too have been working on some imagination makers in the form of shadow puppets. Forest Creatures, Aliens, and Robots have made their debut in my Etsy shop and I might be having a little too much fun with them. But I guess that depends on who you ask and whether or not they have a fantastic robot voice.

Handcut Brass Shadow Puppet, Robot #1

Check out my other 2013 Holiday Gift Guides:

For the Host/Hostess

For the Jewelry Lover

Happy Holidays and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2013 Gift Guide: For the Jewelry Lover

Welcome to the second installment of gift ideas that feature handmade and small business. I'm hoping everyone will consider supporting the artisan community this year and to make the search a little easier I've been putting together a series of gift guides featuring works from makers on Etsy. Don't forget to stop by your local craft fairs and small businesses to support them as well this year!

My top 5 for the Jewelry Lovers

1. For the Labradorite lovers. Sara at sarawestermark knows how to display these incredible stones in a way that allows them to speak for themselves. Using recycled silver and traditional metalsmithing techniques Sara is creating one of a kind pieces that are worthy of being passed down. 

green aqua faceted labradorite necklace OOAK recycled silver eco friendly round

2. For the those who are into something a little more edgy check out these resin and silver pieces by Andi Cavanagh of studiomess. Wood grain with nuts and bolts cast in pink resin and set in sterling silver?! This piece is perfect. That's all there is to say.

urban pink necklace with silver chain - cast resin woodgrain with nuts and bolts - urban industrial resin jewelry

3. If your special someone is a little more nature oriented Maggie Joynt of MaggieJs has an incredible collection featuring the simple pebble. As an avid collector of natures treasures myself I am drawn to the simplicity of these pieces that transform the often overlooked pebble into something much more elegant and precious.

4. Bright, bold, and so much fun. Any of the plants, animals or insects created by Dafni of are pretty much guaranteed to brighten up the day of anyone who wears or sees them! 

5. Looking for something big, bold, and elegant? Nikki Rees of NRjewellerydesign has it covered. Her pieces feature colorful stones set in sterling silver with simple details that really make them stand out.

turquoise amber sterling silver ring - turquoise ring - amber ring - sterling silver ring - unique ring

 I usually enjoy saving the best for last (are you shocked that jewelry is what I consider to be the best!?  No, not you. You've figured me out). However, many jewelers have early deadlines for holiday shopping especially on orders that may need sizing, so I'm bumping them up. Make sure to look for holiday shipping and ordering deadlines! If in doubt send them a message. They are a friendly bunch.

OK, time for the shameless plug! The Eyelet Lace Collection has been the most popular in my Etsy shop this year and it's one of my favorites as well. A little childhood nostalgia presented in sophisticated manner.

Still not sure what to get the jewelry lover in your life? Don't worry, Etsy has your back. Give them a Gift Card and let them find the perfect piece.

Check out my other 2013 Holiday Gift Guides:

Happy Holidays and thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

2013 Gift Guide - For the Host/Hostess

Tis the season! I hope everyone will consider supporting the artisan community this year by shopping handmade. To make it a bit easier I'll be putting together a series of gift guides featuring works from makers on Etsy (as well as a shameless plug for myself at the bottom). First up, a little something for the people who make the holidays a destination. Those few who work extra hard to spread around the holiday cheer.

My top 5 for the Host/Hostess! 

1. They love to entertain, so give them something to use at their next soiree. A fantastic cake stand perhaps? This one from Jeanette Zeis of vesselsandwares is the perfect gift for the host/hostess that goes the extra mile and offers a room to the weary travelers. Not quite right? Vesselsandwares has more color options, styles, and products available like salt cellars, cream and sugar bowls, platters, and more.
Cake Stand - Lace - 7" - MADE TO ORDER

2. Headed to a cocktail party? Give them something fun they can use at the event with a set of letterpress coasters. This set from powerandlight states the obvious and offers up a pun opportunity when accompanied with some holiday spirits. I see what you did there.

3.  They sent out the invitations, cleaned their place from top to bottom,  set out a huge spread, remembered all the food allergies, had vegetarian options, and maybe even strategically invited a sweet co-worker and a funny college friend that might just be perfect for each other... they are tired. Let them know you appreciate the thought and hard work. Give them something to help them relax. This organic DIY Chai Tea set from purposedesign may require a bit of extra work, but the pay off from that perfect cup will be well worth it.

4.  Help them get ahead of the game with a variety of herbs to season their next holiday meal. This collection from SmartSeeds includes 7 heirloom and GMO free seed varieties perfect for a sunny indoor window ledge. Add a set of handmade planters for a really fantastic gift.

5.  Contribute to their holiday decor with ornaments that will be hung for years to come. This sweet trio from SlashofBlue is well made, affordable, and simply adorable. I should know, I purchased a set for my yearly ornament last year. 

Speaking of ornaments (heads up, shameless plug ahead), every year I create a new ornament for my own Etsy shop. This year I went with something minimal in copper with a bright green dyed Aventurine bead.

Not as organized as your holiday host this year? Don't fret. Etsy offers gift cards that can be emailed or printed right away. So if you're reading this from the couch while enjoying the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and feeling a little bit bad that you didn't bring a side dish or six pack, head on over to Etsy and surprise the cook with a great big thank you!

Check out my other 2013 Holiday Gift Guides: 

Happy Holidays and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On the Bench

My inner procrastinator (OK, maybe it's my inner slug) has been getting the best of me lately and once again I've put the blog on the bottom of my list. Lets be honest, I haven't even been making lists! What I have been doing is starting a bunch of new work (hmmm... maybe I'm not such a slug after all). The finishing is coming along a little more slowly (yep, definitely falls under procrastinator). So I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I've got started on my bench as well as the pieces I've recently finished. Who knows, maybe this will motivate me to get more of them moving along!

First off, I had the opportunity to visit the Los Angeles Jewelry District this summer, I found a great deal on cabochons at a bead shop while visiting some family, my local bead shop had a huge sale, and I discovered a seller on Etsy (TigerBeadStore) that is local, so I'm swimming in great material! These are the beauties I scored in LA:
I also discovered that I love making cuff bracelets and started using them as a bench warm up, which resulted in this:
And that's not even all of them! Luckily I had the time and discipline to sit down and actually finish some a while back:

I've also been sending work out to galleries and such here and there and my favorite collections (I know, I know, a mother shouldn't play favorites, but what can I say) have been dwindling on Etsy. So, I started some new eyelet lace pieces:

OK, a lot of new eyelet pieces! Some of which I finished!

On another note, this year marks my 5 year anniversary! Yep, it's been five years since I discovered that metalsmithing was my passion and decided to continue my journey. To celebrate that I was able to find my dream job I'm having a big sale in my Etsy shop. Many of the finished pieces above are available and I'll continue to add anything new that comes off the bench! There is no way I could continue to work in this field without the support of so many of you. So hooray for the jewelry and Art lovers out there!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Brooch A Week Update: Beach Pottery

Brooch A Week continues even though my resolve to blog has fizzled out a bit, and some new designs have been developing that I am really excited about!

BAW 19
Beach Pottery and Silver

This brooch is composed of beach pottery that was given to me years ago by my mother and fine silver bezel that I created in a class last summer. I've been itching to use both the pottery and the bezel since I first laid eyes on/created them, but nothing was really coming together. A few weeks ago that all changed and these unusual pieces with alternative bezels and found objects have been consuming my creative life for several weeks now. I think it's a good thing!

BAW 17: Silver, Beach Pottery
After I completed the brooch I immediately moved on to pendants. The partial bezels and handmade tabs were joined with riveted bails and handmade clasps.
City Scape Beach Pottery Necklace

Looking to add some simplicity to the collection I created some additional pendants with tabs only.
Beach Pottery Necklaces
Then I returned to the brooch for this week. Hand twisted copper and silver wire form the tabs for its setting and this brooch can also be worn as a necklace!

BAW 23
Copper, Silver, Beach Pottery

BAW 23: Copper, Silver, Beach Pottery

My sketch book has several more pages of pieces to come, including more elaborate necklaces with multiple pieces of pottery!

For a look at all the brooches I've skipped on the blog check out my Flickr Set for BAW and follow me on Facebook for the weekly brooch reveal! Many of these pieces are available in my Etsy Shop in the Brooch A Week and Beach Pottery sections.

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Catching Up: BAW and the Charm Swap

I procrastinated myself into a corner this week thanks to a yucky illness last week and the Etsy Metal Charm Swap 11 deadline sneaking up on me. OK, it didn't really sneak up on me. It more like gave me plenty of time while I ignored it until the last minute. At any rate, I finally came up with an idea (that I liked) for my charm based on last weeks Brooch, purchased supplies, and started on Friday!
Brooch 11 (from last week)

Yep, Charms were due Saturday and I started Friday! I'm the queen of procrastination. By Saturday afternoon I had all my parts and pieces ready to go! Jump rings made, tubing for rivets cut, tubing for spacers cut, texture applied to ovals, and holes drilled! 

Charm Swap 11 parts

Next, I applied a patina, distressed the patina, waxed each part, riveted them together, made a new batch of jump rings because the first was to small, and walla:

Charm Swap 11 Finished Charms

I love all the possibilities for this charm! I even made a few extra to put in my Etsy Shop.

Charm Swap 11 Finished Charm!
About half way through the day yesterday I realized that I also needed to make this week's brooch, so I utilized a couple of the extras:

Brooch a Week #12

You can learn more about the Etsy Metal Charm Swap at the Etsy Metal Blog and check out what the 19 other participants are making! For more on the Brooch A Week project head over to Flickr!

Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Behind The Redwood Curtain

I live in an area that is commonly referred to as "Behind The Redwood Curtain". In some ways, I live on an island composed of prehistoric terrain and incredible coastal expanses.

King Salmon

About 250 miles north of San Fransisco nestled in a temperate rain forest and edged by a fierce and majestic coast lies Humboldt County. Isolated from the rest of California, Humboldt County contains a wealth of lifestyles. It was originally solely inhabited by the Yurok, Karuk, Wiyot, Chilula, Whilkut and Hupa tribes, and later "discovered" by fur traders (many looking for the Northwest Passage),  prospectors, and loggers. As you can imagine, the community that remains is diverse.

Clam Beach

As an outsider (I'm originally from southern California, but have been in Humboldt for 16 years) I was stuck by the sense of community, interesting politics, and amusing characters, as well as the incredibly beautiful landscape. People go green here and they take it to the extreme and Humboldt State University is the seat of many of the green initiatives in the community. Hot topics in the area include salmon, crab, land use, timber, environmentalism, and marijuana. There are more artists in Humboldt County per capita that any other county in California.

Hammond Trail

Yearly events include the Kinetic Sculpture Race, The Oyster Festival, The Tour of The Unknown Coast, The Perilous Plunge, A Taste of Main Street, The Redwood Coast Jazz Festival, Reggae on the River, North Coast Open Studios, The Fortuna Rodeo and many more.

Mouth of the Mad River

But the thing that engages and amazes most everyone is the trees.

Redwood Park

This post was part of an Etsy Metal Blog Carnival that asked: "Where do you live"? Follow the Carnival to find out where other Etsy Metal member live!

 Laura Jane Bouton: http://laurajanebouton.blogspot.it/ 
Rebecca Bogan: http://adobesol.wordpress.com/category/ ... -carnival/
Deborah Lee Taylor http://www.e5jewelryblog.com