Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Summer Clearance Sale

My first ever Clearance Sale. Items in both my on-line store and my Etsy.com shop are on clearance. These are just three of the many items you will find marked down:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My first (and likely last) modeling attempt ☺

I don't normally model my own jewelry or even like to take publicity photos for my business, but when Lucy of mummumscrafts, who is a fellow Etsy.com seller and makes the most wonderful mineral makeup, asked for entries of real women wearing her products, I submitted a few photos of me in her 3-in-1 "coral flush" mineral face color. I am wearing it on my cheeks and lips in the photos.

I wish the photos (and the model) were better. Photography is not my best thing and it was a glaringly hot and bright day so I photographed these in my courtyard in the shade. They turned out a little grey and don't show how truly pretty the coral flush color is.

I'm holding the camera at arm's length to take these--not the most conducive pose for natural looking shots . . .

The earrings I am modeling are available here.

Take a look at Lucy's shop:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Featured Artist: TC of Totally Crosses

wire cross magnet

TC Cunningham of Totally Crosses is a team mate of mine on CAST (Christian Artists Street Team) on Etsy.com. Her unique wire work crosses are simply fascinating. She makes them in a diverse range of styles and accepts custom orders. She's also a super sweet person and wonderful to work with.

TC began sculpting her crosses after the death of a friend's son. She says:

"After attending the funeral, I came home and just sat alone with God praying for the comfort of my friend and his family. I reached for a spool of wire and started sculpting it into a cross without much thought of what I was doing. I then got some of my jewelry beads and added them. I gave that first cross to my friend.

You see, this spool of wire had been lying around our house for months before I did anything with it besides just bending it and flexing it. When I was young, my dad had this type of wire in his work room because he worked in electronics. I loved messing with it because of it's flexibility and feel. Unfortunately, if you messed with it too much, it would break, so I was discouraged from playing with it. But sometimes I just couldn't help it.

One day while in a hardware store I saw a spool of this wire and the memories of my childhood experiences came back. I bought a spool of it knowing that I could make something out of it sometime, I just didn't know what.

One of TC's rustic nail crosses.

After seeing that first cross, my husband, Les, encouraged me to make others. He believed they were truly inspirational and that others would love to have one. He took them to a local gift shop, and was immediately encouraged because the shop owner bought several of the crosses he had with him and ordered more.

Our family and friends kept us busy for months. Meanwhile, during this time, Les designed a manufacturing mechanism enabling him to wrap the crosses (still by hand) but in a way that speeds up the process before I do the final sculpturing. It still takes a long time to produce a cross, but that helped tremendously.

So now we have a small business that keeps us both very busy. We have been blessed most of all by our family and friends that are still encouraging and supporting us as we grow our business. . . God bless all of you!

And I thank God for allowing me to use my artistic gift in a way that glorifies Him, supplements our income, and allows me to work out of our home while our youngest son is still in school."

The cross on the right above is a cross that TC custom made especially for me with a crazy horse stone bead in the center. It's unique and lovely. TC's style of twisted wire is fascinating and reminds me of grapevines.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What colors will you be wearing this summer?

What color will you be wearing this summer? When you think of long, hot summer days what wardrobe and jewelry color pops into your mind first?

Do you gravitate toward those warm bright colors to reflect the season? Do you like to keep a cool countenance with sand, surf and sky tones? Are you a nature girl preferring forest greens and browns? Do you like a touch of the dramatic and opt for black? Or do you prefer classic, breezy white?

Vote in my summer color poll in the column to the right -->

Becky from SimplySweetShoppe on Etsy.com let me use the image above to illustrate this post. Check out the adorable tutus, hair accessories and other items in her shop.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


My son and his friends were playing in our backyard collecting pinecones out of the mulch. We recently finished the desert landscaping in the backyard with a lot of small river rocks.

This is what they came up with. I think it is very beautiful.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Studio

I've been meaning to do this for a while. Seems like people are often interested in seeing the studio spaces of artists and crafts people. So I tidied mine up and took a few shots. Being a military family, we move a lot. Therefore my studio space doesn't have as much style as one might expect from an artist. There just doesn't seem to be enough time in between moves to settle in. Looks like I should at least hang one of my art quilts on the wall.

Above: Even though the storage boxes above aren't particularly convenient, they are the best way for me to separate out my supplies and to not have a huge stack of brown cardboard mystery boxes to sort through whenever we move. The movers will just tape these up and throw them on the truck. No, these aren't all jewelry making supplies. There are several boxes of quilting fabrics, stained glass and basketry supplies, soap making supplies, paper craft, knitting, drawing, painting and tatting supplies and the list goes on. You can just see the closet door. I'm not photographing the inside of that closet! It's mostly full of winter clothes anyway ☺

Above: This is where I create my jewelry. It is also not very exciting. It's usually not this tidy either. On the floor is one of the many carpets my husband got while being stationed in Turkey.

Above: I have a small TV to keep me company here in my second storey studio. I usually watch HGTV while I work. My sewing machine sits under the table in case I get the urge to do some quilting.

Above: My photography area for jewelry. I have a light box set up on a tabletop with my camera tripod. Photography is my least favorite part of my job. I am slowly getting better at it though. On the floor along the wall you can see some of fabric covered backgrounds that I use to set up my shots. To the left is my garment steamer which I love and use all the time (not on jewelry). I've saved a spot next to it for the dress form I hope to get soon to use for jewelry photography. There is an ironing board hanging behind the door (not pictured) that I set up in this space when I need it.

Above: A necklace set ready to photograph. I just moved this set-up over by the window to get more natural light. Maybe my photographs will be better for it. I made my own neutral grey velvet backdrop for the light box.

Above: Props I use for photography. Most of my fabric backgrounds and props have a natural or Asian influence just like my jewelry designs.

Above: The view from my second storey studio window of about half of our small backyard. When we bought the house there was no landscaping and we just finished it this spring doing all the work ourselves. I'm very proud of the flagstone bench that my husband made for me and have been using it as a surface to photograph on lately. It makes a nice backdrop for jewelry. You can see a little of the apricot tree I also use to photograph earrings in the bottom left corner. Since we are in the desert, there is not a lot of green, but the things we planted should be getting established and starting to fill in--about the time we get ready to move again . . .

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tacy's Soup

It's good to have a few of those tried and true recipes that can be whipped up for a family meal in no time. This Southwestern style, hearty soup was invented by our friend, Tacy. Everything in it is a pantry staple in our home so I can make it any time. It has a creamy/cheesy tasting base that actually has NO cheese in it (shhhh, don't tell your family--they'll never guess).

2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
3 cups chicken broth
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded or chunked (canned or leftover works well)
7 oz can chopped green chiles (or two smaller cans)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
chili powder to taste
salt to taste (you won't need any unless you used low sodium products)
black pepper to taste

Saute onion in olive oil. Add condensed soup (do not thin with water), stir. Slowly whisk in chicken broth. Add tomatoes, chicken, green chile and spices. Heat through.

Serves 8. This makes a large pot of soup and is great for leftovers. Serve with tortilla chips for a little crunch.

This is also something that I make when camping as nothing in it needs to be refrigerated if you use canned chicken.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Photos

The other day I was on Facebook chatting with my best friend when she mentioned that she really liked the earrings photos I took this spring of earrings hanging on a branch of our blossoming purple leaf plum tree. That got me thinking. This past year we planted a nice apricot tree and the fruit is nearly ripe. It's the perfect time to get some new earring photos. Here are the first few:

The first pair of earrings are in my Etsy.com store, the others are on my website.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


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Discounted  shipping for Insured, Worldwide and Priority Mail.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Homefront Team Summer Give-A-Way

My Homefront Team (military spouses) on Etsy.com is having a summer give-a-way of 11 hand-crafted items.  All you have to do is go the Homefront Blog and leave a comment on what you plan to do this summer.  One name will be chosen on June 10th from all those who comment.  Even the shipping is FREE!