Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Heart Macro

It's time once again for I heart macro over at Studio Waterstone

While taking the pics this week for the virtual blog book tour I couldn't help but see algae bloom underwater in this enameled piece.

Fall sweetness- we got raspberries on the bushes that survived this first year,
not enough to make jam but it's a start

When I looked at this shot, I saw a tapestry of sorts over to the right so I copied and cropped it out

Good inspiration, sort of impressionistic for artwork and jewelry dontchathink?

For even more inspiration, head on over to Lori's to see more macro goodness

Friday, October 21, 2011

Torch Fired Enamel Jewelry Blog Book Tour

Welcome to Day 14 of the Torch Fired Enamel Jewelry Virtual Book Tour!

It was back on April 27th of 2010 that I first met Barbara.
I happened across one of the many Etsy treasuries featuring Barbara's beautiful enameled beads and clicked to find out more.
I found her tutorial in her shop and immediately purchased it, printed it and read it through.
From there I found her blog and Painting With Fire Ning group which I joined on April 28th.
On April 29th I came back and bought the bead pulling station.
I remember writing to Barbara full of excitement over this newfound medium and in so doing found that we had a lot of things in common, one of which was our background in clay.

What initially drew me to this process was it's simplicity and the immediacy of results, the colors and textures you could obtain and the sheer beauty of the finished beads.
I was hooked! Or as Barbara likes to say, I have gone to the dark side!

You can read about my first PWF workshop with Barbara in Oct. of 2010 here and the second one this past July 2011 here.

It was a joy to follow along with her on the road to creating her book and I am thrilled and honored that she invited me to participate in this book tour to celebrate it's release.
Thank you Barbara for your confidence.
Now let's fire it up!

When I first received my copy of the book, knowing that i would be reviewing it for this post, I sat and read it from the beginning as if the process was new to me to see how well it could be followed along for someone who was totally new to the medium.
Barbara has done an excellent job at really starting at the beginning from explaining the process, setting up your studio, sections on tools, tips, techniques ( including etching copper sheet) and basic jewelry skills, terms and basic troubleshooting.  The first page I dog-earred was the one with the drill bits demystified which translates drill bit sizes to wire gauge sizes and mm and inches. Priceless!

There are so many projects in here to get your creative juices flowing but the one that I knew immediately I had to try was the  No Solder Bezel - Of Space and Time.

I followed Barbara's directions for making the domed copper cabochon blank and bezel and ended up with 5 sets to play with in one sitting.
The above shot shows all 5 sets, firescale and all.

I ended up enameling 4 sets, each trying something different.
The top piece has an enameled cab set in a bezel enameled in clear to showcase the copper.
The middle one has an enameled cab set in just a heat patinaed copper bezel.
The bottom one has an etched and antiqued cab set in a bezel enameled with transparent copper.
All of the cabs are enameled in place using the method described in the book.
The 4th piece is also an etched and antiqued domed cab set in an enameled bezel using several layers of opaque and transparent enamels which I used for my completed piece.
There were so many ways I could have gone with this one piece, more organic with leather and silks and other natural elements but in the end I chose to work with copper wire, beads, components and chain along with blue crazy lace agates, carved turquoise beads (which i have been hoarding for just such an occasion) and lampwork rounds by Julsbeads.
While I was working with these bezels so many ideas for filling them came to mind that i know I will be playing with these for some time to come!

Barbara will be doing a no solder bezels workshop at Art and Soul Virginia Beach in March 2012 and you can always check her website for all other upcoming workshops.

Now for the Giveaway!
Barbara is going to be giving away these enameled porcelain beads, yes ceramic beads, (a new way to play with torch fired enamels)  How cool or should I say hot is that?

Here's how to enter-  
1. Leave a comment on this post and become a follower = 1 chance
2. Tweeting, facebook or blogging about the giveaway and leaving a comment at the original Virtual Book Tour Post= 1 additional chance
3. While you're at Barbara's Blog, become a follower or saying that you already are a follower in your comment = 1 additional chance

You can earn up to 3 chances per giveaway. A winner will be selected by 10 p.m. eastern time and announced the following day.
You can check at Barbara's blog or here at mine for the name of the winner.

But wait- there's more!
To thank you for following along, we will have a BONUS PRIZE at the end of the book tour! All of the entries will be included in the drawing for a kit containing all the elements of "Floral Cascade," one of the projects in the book. You'll receive everything you need to make the necklace, including the chain, jump rings, clasp, enamel beads, and head pins!

For a chance to win the Grand Prize - a Torch-Firing Kit (or $110 shopping experience at - please leave a review at by November 24. Remember, leave an honest review... the book must stand on its own.
P.S. Unfortunately, we have to restrict the giveaways to U.S. residents. Winners should contact Barbara with their name and address through her author website: so that you can receive your prizes!

There are still 3 more days to travel along on this book tour, don't miss any of these great stops!

October 6, Mary Jane Dodd,

October 7, Gaea Cannaday,

October 10, Andrew Thornton,

October 12, Diane Cook,

October 13, Lori Anderson,

October 15, Jen Judd Velasquez,

October 17, Melissa Meman,

October 18, Lisa Crone,

October 20, Cindy Wimmer,

October 21, Laura Twiford, *you are here*

October 22, Erin Prais-Hintz,

October 24, Jennifer Cameron,

October 25, Sharilyn Miller,

Thank you for visiting!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Little Catchup Please?

(Photo of boardwalk style handcut fries from our restaurant and yes, i know how to spell ketchup)

This past month has been so full of good things, but I admit, i haven't taken the time to download my pics and process to blog about it all until this morning!
I will try my best to keep it in chronological order and to the point.

Sept. 19th- Son left for Norway for work again
Sept. 21st- went out to lunch for our 31st anniversary and Ray had these gorgeous roses waiting for me at our table -top left( he's a keeper!)
Sept. 22nd- left for Artbliss for 4 glorious days
Sept.25th- returned home to the bouquet on the upper right, a tradition Ray does for my return when away ( even though i told him not to after the roses) Bottom right , when i returned the roses had opened fully and I have to say were some of the prettiest roses I have ever seen!
Also while away, the tuberose FINALLY started to open and bloom. The buds had been there for, I kid you not, over a month!
What you don't see written here is all the prep and gathering that takes place to be able to go away for 4 days between work and tools and charm swaps and packing etc.

Speaking of charm swaps, Anne was our hostess for this years' swap and did such a fantastic job i told her she probably would have the job for life!
She made up bags for us with our names and a checklist on the back to check off who we gave to and received a charm from, so organized!
She had her charm and gift bag attached to the bag with a bracelet blank also for us to be able to attach the charms if we wanted.
I created my charms for the swap from an original collage of mine under glass with attached czech glass beads and matching envelope.
I chose to photograph the charms for you here in their packaging as so much time and care goes into each one, the packaging is just as special!
We all enjoyed swapping and eating pizza and then Jenn, provided all the supplies and taught us all how to make a box out of scrapbook papers! It was so cool, I can't wait to make more! She said she would post the tute on her blog also.

This is the best part of the retreat. Look at all those happy smiling faces, full of Bliss!
The top shows the instructors along with Cindy and Jeanette and  assistants. They all put on an amazing retreat and if you can you need to start planning to attend next year. The caliber of instructors coupled with the great venue and attention to details which Cindy and Jeanette are so good at makes this a premier retreat in my book. This was my second year attending and I'm already looking forward to next year!

The fire alarm went off at one point and we all had to evacuate our classrooms until the fire company appeared and gave the all clear. I joked that they came to put out Bette's smokin hot credit card!

Wax on with Deryn Mentock was our first class on friday and we all had the best time in there discovering the secrets the bezels held! It was my first foray into encaustics and I'm hooked!  I really think we all could have stayed and just played and made more and more! 
Saturday night we also took the Boho Hoops class with Deryn
I had 2 classes with the fabulous Richard Salley.
The first was Lasting Impressions where we created our own etched copper stamps which we then used to stamp into hot solder and bezel set a stone for pendants and earrings.
The last class i had was on sunday called Watch This and while I was most excited to take this class, i left after lunch before finishing my piece as I was getting really tired and knew I had a 4 hour drive home and bad weather ahead. I'll post pics when I get to finish it.
(L-R, Jennifer Davies-Reazor, Heather, Carol, Richard, Bette, myself)

One of the best things about retreats is the after hours visiting with friends old and new, laughing until the wee hours and sharing stories and lives.  I miss you all.

Clockwise from top left-  Wax on pendant, BoHo Bliss Hoops still awaiting their danglie stones, Lasting impressions pendant with carnelian, and origami box.

Oct 6th I celebrated another birthday, (my husband's is today, and we will celebrate together tomorrow at our daughter's) and my daughter had us over for a special dinner and this custom cake complete with dragonflies, butterflies and lillies! ( she's a keeper too!)

Then I was asked to go on a field trip (literally) with my granddaughters class to a farmstand complete with pumpkin picking, hay rides, corn maze and all kinds of fun things for them to play with. We learned all the different types of pumpkins and gourds and I even came home with a neck pumpkin as they told us they were the best for cooking as the whole neck of the pumpkin is seedless flesh that isn't stringy and makes the best desserst. I plan to try to make pumpkin butter with her one day this week and if it turns out well, will share the recipe.
It's been a long time since I was on a school bus and I can testify that the ride has not improved.
 Not. One. Little. Bit.
That same week was grandparents day at their school and we went to share that fun too!

Also, a lot has gone on behind the scenes that i can't share with you yet. I have the blog book tour reveal on friday and have been working on those pieces, I am involved in a round robin and can't show that yet either and I have also been trying to catchup around the house after the busy summer, excavating my bead table and workbench and various surfaces in my house. I am also taking a couple online classes which I will leave for another post.

It is all what i enjoy most about this time of year, settling back in, getting domestic, enjoying family times and the wonderful weather, clear October skies and slower pace.
Hoping you all are enjoying the same!  See you friday!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Heart Macro

It's I heart macro sunday over at Lori's, won't you join us?

For this weeks' shot I didn't actually have my macro lens, i was taking jewelry pics outside and i think I actually may have put my tile down where this little guy was sitting because he shot me this glance when i realized he was there. I can only imagine what he's muttering.
Hop on over and see what everyone else is sharing today!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Painting With Fire Blog Book Tour!

Today marks the beginning of the blog book tour to celebrate the release of  Barbara Lewis' new book,  "Torch Fired Enamel Jewelry, a Workshop in Painting With Fire"
All month long, 16 different artists of all persuasions, will  post on their blogs different applications for using the painting with fire methods and host giveaways along with some wonderful giveaways from our host, Barbara. Just look at this lineup!

October 6, Mary Jane Dodd,

October 7, Gaea Cannaday,

October 10, Andrew Thornton,

October 12, Diane Cook,

October 13, Lori Anderson, http://

October 15, Jen Judd Velasque,

October 17, Melissa Meman,

October 18, Lisa Crone,

October 20, Cindy Wimmer,

October 21, Laura Twiford,  ***Me***

October 22, Erin Prais-Hintz,

October 24, Jennifer Cameron,

I am so honored that Barbara thought to include me in this wonderful lineup of artists!
You can head on over to Barbara's blog now to start the tour and get all the details for the incredible giveaway's she has planned ! While there you can pick up a signed copy of her book!
Don't forget to mark your calendars and hop back here on the 21st!

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