Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from Sue Runyon Designs

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last Day for Christmas Delivery

The United States Postal Service gives tomorrow (Thursday) as the last day for sending First Class mail for Christmas delivery.  That's means items should be ordered today at the latest or upgraded to Priority Mail.

It has been my experience this year that even the Priority Mail has been running quite late so get your final orders in with all on-line vendors just as soon as you can.

International ships dates have already passed.

That probably means I should mail those Christmas letters . . .


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Craft Show Christmas Tree Display

I just wanted to share with you all the fabulous Christmas tree display that my father made me to use for craft shows.  No, he won't make one for you.  Be very jealous.

I wanted a Christmas tree display for my handmade dragonfly ornaments that would be simple and open to suit the style of my craft show displays and keep from blocking my view when I'm behind my tables and from blocking the precious light needed on my items like an artificial tabletop tree would.  It also needed to be compact and flat so it doesn't take up a lot of precious table surface space, but sturdy enough to not be knocked over.  And my one big request was that it break down to pack away and be of the dimensions that would allow me to fit it in the totes I use for shows.

Unfinished wood tree.  My dad made it so that the finial on top can be switched out with others. I like the bare wood and was sad to have to paint it, but I needed a whitewashed look to go with my table displays.
I don't know if you can see in the photo, but my dad made the ends of the dowels and the holes they fit into on the center pole threaded so they screw firmly into place. I painted the parts and then went over them with steel wool to get a whitewashed look before I sealed them with clear sealant.
This worked beautifully at my last show. There are 50-60 ornaments displayed on this one tree.
I think this might come out of my craft show storage to be used in my house this Christmas
I sewed a couple of fluffy fleece drawstring bags to protect the pieces.  Inside the pieces are further protected by being wrapped in sheets of fleece.  These worked out so well I sewed fleece bags for some other displays to help protect them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Craft Show Fitted Table Cover Tutorial

I just completed my first craft show using my newly made fitted table covers.  They worked out so well that I wanted to share how I made them.

Notice where the panels overlap to allow easy access to the under table space

When it came to covers I had a long list of must have features. I use 5 foot folding tables instead of 6 foot because I can fit them better in different size booth spaces.  Because I sell jewelry, I raise all the tables up 9 inches by putting bed risers under each foot which brings them up closer to eye level. This means that my tables need non-standard size covers to fit and reach all the way to the floor. I wanted them to be fitted so that I could quickly slip them over the tables at shows and not have to fuss with getting them on straight or pinning them. Additionally, I knew that I wanted them to be made with panels that would allow me access to the under table space from either end of the table or the back so I can access my storage totes easily.  I knew I would be pinning a banner to the front of the tables at most shows so I needed a way to do that without damaging the fabric over time.  Furthermore, I needed them to be made with a washable fabric that didn't wrinkle.  And, most of all, they needed to be a neutral color that looked somewhat upscale, but not so posh that people would walk right by thinking my items were not affordable. The price for the fabric had to be right as I would need 20 yards of it to cover 3 tables. I could either spend a fortune having them custom made or I could make them myself. Thankfully, I have basic sewing skills.

After much consideration I chose to buy two bolts (20 yards) of "silver" color panne velvet. Panne is simply that widely available, inexpensive, synthetic crushed velvet that people use for costumes a lot of the time. It has several benefits.  It has a low knap which makes it look a bit like suede and therefore less fancy than other velvets. It comes in a wide range of colors including the silver which is a very neutral grey color and fit perfectly with my displays. Because it has a crushed velvet look you can simply fold it away and put it in a plastic shopping bag or bin for storage.  When you are ready to use it, it looks pretty much like it did when you stored it away. And the price was right.  In stores it normally runs around $7 per yard.  On sale you can find it for half that.  There are a few potential drawbacks with the panne.  It's not thick so light will show through when it is back lit.  I don't think that it will hold up well to very heavy use, It's not something I would use for outdoor shows because it's not something you would want to wash after each show.  Also, it is quite stretchy so I knew I would have to take some extra steps to make it work for me.

Because of the stretch in the fabric, I knew I would have to line the tabletop section with a non-stretchy woven fabric so the covers would keep their shape. I chose inexpensive muslin and pre-washed and dried it so it would shrink as much as it was going to. I did not pre-wash the panne.

I placed some of the panne right side down on the floor and spread it out as much as I could and then covered it with the muslin.  I used the table itself as a pattern to trace the tabletop section.  Then I cut the top out of both layers at the same time leaving a generous seam allowance.

My sewing room is also my exercise room.  The cushy mats come in handy for crawling around on the floor

Because the panne is so stretchy, while pinning both pieces together along their edges, I pulled the panne out about 1/2 inch on all sides to further stretch it.  I would rather have it nice and tight across the tabletop than wrinkled. Once pinned, I transferred the whole thing to my sewing machine and used a long stitch to baste all the edges through the middle of the seam allowance to hold them together and allow me to remove the pins.

I then carefully measured the skirt length I would need by setting up the table on the bed risers. I figured where I wanted each panel break and allowed an extra 4 inches on each side of each panel so they would overlap and not leave a gap. I figured for 1/2 inch seam allowances and simple one inch hems on three sides of each panel section. I added an extra 4 inches wherever the panels would wrap around the corner of the table because I wanted to gather the fabric slightly at the corners to allow some extra fullness for the bed risers where they stick out a little. I left the rest of the skirt un-gathered for a more tailored look. I used a sturdy straight stitch while sewing the skirt panels to the tabletop section, but I used a zigzag stitch for hemming the panels because a zigzag stitch will allow for stretch. I trimmed the seam allowances down to about 1/4 inch with pinking shears after sewing all the skirt sections to the top.

Two tables in an "L" shape
The one other feature that I added to my table covers is a panel of muslin along the front of each cover under the panne that allows me to pin through to the non-stretchy muslin when pinning my banner in place. This is just a panel that I layered in and sewed right into the seam while sewing the front skirt section on. It hangs loose about one foot from the top across the entire front so I can position the banner where I want it.

 The covers were a great success at my show.  The other vendors were crazy about them and the customers noticed the jewelry as the covers were a nice neutral backdrop. After being stored for a few weeks before the show I pulled them out and they looked unwrinkled and slipped on and off in a minute for quick set up and take down.

Look for a new blog post soon on the incredible ornament display my dad made for me.  Also, I'll be working on ways to get a few more pops of my signature turquoise color into my display.  If you have any ideas, leave a comment.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Latest Culinary Adventure: Artisan Bread

I've been hearing great things about a cook book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I finally purchased it and gave it a try.  The loaf below is for the most basic recipe and I can tell you it was a big hit with my family.  There wasn't a crumb left 20 minutes after we sliced into it with dinner and there is only three of us.

My loaf - Looks Great!
The concept of the book is very simple.  Instead of taking a few hours to make a loaf of bread in your home from scratch, this book simplifies everything. The results seem to be even better than what you get when you go to all the work of kneading and rising and resting and so forth.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg MD and Zoe Francois
The dough is a light, wet dough so you can simply mix it up with a wooden spoon.  There is no kneading. Instead of letting it rise in a warm place and coming back to check on it, you pop it in the frig and leave it.  A day or even two weeks later you come back and cut off a portion of the dough, quickly shape it (in your hands--you don't even need to get your counter messy), let it rise on a pizza peel, cut a pretty pattern into the loaf and then pop it into your oven on a hot baking stone.  You pour some hot tap water into a broiler pan for steam and let it bake.  You get a loaf that is crusty on the outside and luscious and flavorful on the inside. And the lovely thing is the longer you leave the dough the more it develops a sourdough flavor.

Dough quickly formed and resting on the pizza peel
The book says 5 minutes a day minus the time the bread is rising and baking and doing it's own thing.  I'm not even sure it took that long.  The 5 minutes must include the small amount of clean up time or time to add the extra ingredients or rolling out time needed in some of the more complex recipes.  They allow 15 minutes on the day you mix the dough--several loaves worth at a time to bake as needed.  I think that only took me about 5 minutes.  I can't wait to try some of the other recipes.  Commercial loaves of rye bread never have enough caraway seeds for my taste.  I'm going to load my artisan rye down with caraway seeds.

There was a little mishap with the first loaf.  My old pizza stone cracked.  For any fan of Dr. Who reading this you'll see that the Crack in the Universe came to my house.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Easy bracelet display tutorial

I've been meaning to figure out how to make one of these for a while so I've been saving cardboard tubes that are approximately wrist size to do it. But I hadn't figured out how to cap the ends to make them look finished and professional. Then it occurred to me that mailing tubes already are the right size and already have end caps.  This couldn't be easier. I used a scrap of fabric that resembles white Dupioni silk to match my other displays.


* Mailing tube that is wrist size (this one was 7 inches in circumference)
* Thin fabric of your choice (too thick and the end caps won't go on later)
* Matching thread


Cut a piece of fabric to cover the mailing tube.  Measure carefully so that the fabric is just 5/8 inch wider than the circumference of your mailing tube and at least two inches longer.  With right sides together sew the fabric into a long tube with a 1/4 inch seam. I used pinking sheers after sewing to trim the seam and keep the fabric from fraying.  Press seam open using just the tip of the iron.  Turn fabric tube right side out and slip over the mailing tube. It should fit very tightly if you measured correctly. Tuck the raw ends into the tube and slide the end caps on. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What is your summer project?

For a change we are sticking close to home this summer.  So I thought I'd get out a big project that I've had planned for years and get to work on it. I'm scanning all our old print photos to digital.  This will also allow me to get rid of several shelves full of ring binder albums that are taking up space.
Me with my brothers 1969

My husband and his little sister
I expect this will take me months, if not years, to do. So far I've scanned all of my own photos and my husband's photos up to right before our wedding in 1989.  It's a trip down memory lane.

My husband, June 1968
Poor kitty
School I attended until 7th grade
What is your summer project?  Gardening? Landscaping? Organizing your recipe file? Garage sale? Cleaning out closets?  Leave a comment and let me know what it is.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Homemade Facial Scrub Recipe

my homemade facial scrub powder
Some of you know that I make my own lip balms, soap, skin care products and non-toxic cleaning products.  In making non-toxic products I've realized that most of these products that I make are actually far superior to those products that I've been spending a lot of money on for years and they are so much more cost effective. Some of my best recipes are available on my website.

Buying skin products over the counter comes with some risks. Most contain preservatives and fragrances which can be irritating if not downright toxic. And most also contain a host of ingredients that really haven't been tested over time.  One example is retinol. It's a form of vitamin A touted for it's wrinkle fighting properties, but it's been in the news lately as it has been found to cause birth defects even when used topically. And if it can cause birth defects how good can it really be for anyone? Retinols are found in a majority of the anti-aging skin moisturizers.

One of my new favorite products is my own facial scrub.  It's made with natural ingredients and no fragrances or preservatives at all. All ingredients it contains have been used for centuries for skin care products with no ill effects. It has a very mild texture that will leave your skin silky smooth, but is not as harsh as micro-dermabrasion scrubs. What is the downside?  Well, it doesn't come in a convenient tube or bottle and it's a little bit messy as it contains clay powder, but it's not nearly as messy as a typical facial mask as it is a light scrub. The addition of baking soda makes it easier to rinse off. I use this once a day.


2 tablespoons baking soda
2 1/2 tablespoons french green clay powder (or other clay powder of your choice)
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or more if desired
1 teaspoon green tea powder, optional
2 capsules olive leaf, broken apart (toss the gelatin capsule and use the powder), optional

1.    Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix together. 
2.    Place in a sealed container and store where it won't get wet.  I use a small demitasse coffee spoon to portion it out, but any spoon will do--even a plastic one.
3.    To use: place a small amount in your palm and mix with a tiny bit of water to form a paste.  Apply to wet skin and gently massage in with fingertips.  Rinse off.  You may also leave it on for a while as a facial mask to get the full benefits.  Alternately you can mix some of the powder into a paste using honey or Dr. Bronners liquid baby soap and store in a small container for use. Honey has many beneficial properties and Dr. Bronners liquid baby soap will make this more of a facial wash.  Mix up just enough for one week at a time and store at room temperature.

Cumin is high in vitamin E and has great antiseptic, anti-inflamatory and anti-oxidant properties.  Ground, it also has a nice texture for a facial scrub. Women in India have been using cumin on their faces for centuries, but, yes, it does smell like food. You can leave the cumin out of the recipe if you don't care for the scent. You can find ground cumin in the spice section at your grocery store. Olive leaf and green tea are well know for their many benefits for skin, but they do not contribute to the grainy texture needed for a good scrub like the cumin does. Olive leaf capsules are available at health food stores. Green tea powder is available at tea shops, health food stores and gourmet stores. It's the type of green tea used for Japanese tea ceremonies. Matcha is one type. If you only intend to use this as a facial scrub and not leave it on for a little while, there is no need to include the olive leaf and green tea.

You can use any type of cosmetic grade powdered clay for this. Some clays are more absorbent than others and are therefore better for different skin types.  I prefer French green clay for it's natural herbal scent and mildly absorbent properties and color. You may be able to find clay powders at your local health food store.  I purchase them from Majestic Mountain Sage on-line.

The baking soda makes a finely textured scrub and the clay powder gives a silky texture. You can customize this by adding other ingredients such as ground oatmeal or a few drops of tea tree oil.

As this is a dry mix, you can easily put a little in a small sealed container to take with you when you travel without worrying about leaks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New line of satin necklace cords

I have to admit to being frustrated with commercial choices in necklace cords.  Not only is it nearly impossible to find any over 20 inches long to use for displaying pretty gemstone donuts as pendants, but so many also have sliding knot ends that come untied or crimp ends that pull off. I wanted a simple, affordable satin necklace cord with easy lobster claw clasps in different metals to display pendants. This satin cord is 1.5mm wide. It is slimmer than the standard 2mm cord so that it doesn't overpower your pendants. I currently can make these in three different satin cord colors.

My black satin necklace cord comes in many lengths and three different clasps metals so you can get just what you need. $6

Silvery grey cord necklace with shell donut  $12.50

Brown cord with turquoise donut  $15.50

I can make these in copper plated, gold plated or silver plated

Since I make these myself, I can do custom lengths
Get just the right length for you. Any length $6.
I heat seal each end, loop it over and sew it with strong thread and then cover it with hand wrapped wire coils turning the ends of the coils down to anchor them in the satin cord.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One Bride's Story . . .

Meet Kristine.  Though I work with many brides to design their bridal jewelry, I rarely see the wedding photos. This time I had the pleasure of attending the wedding and taking photos as the lovely bride is my niece.

Kristine planned an outdoor country club wedding with black satin bridesmaids' dresses and lemon and lime accent colors. Tables were beautifully decorated with black linen runners and real lemons and limes in clear vases with water.  Working with me, she chose Swarovski crystal heart pendants to accent all the jewelry. Her necklace set also contains sparkling sterling chain with white freshwater pearls and crystals. The bridesmaids are wearing glowing hand knotted lime green Swarovksi crystal pearls.

Hannah, Kristine and Morgan

We chose a "Y" shaped necklace and heart shaped pendant to compliment the sweetheart neckline of her dress

Bridal earrings with smaller matching Swarovski hearts. Bridemaid's earrings used the lime pearls instead of the white

Lime green Swarovski crystal pearls hand knotted by me

Each necklace has a matching Swarovski heart dangle at the clasp

Bridemaid's earrings used the lime pearls instead of the white

An everyday necklace set allows the bride to carry the memories of her special day any time she likes.

Earrings for the everyday set

Keepsake Christmas ornaments for the bridesmaids and close family members use the largest size of matching Swarovski hearts
Something blue anklet with clear Swarovski crystals and one little blue crystal

Pretty coral flowers decorate this necklace that I designed for the grandmother of the bride

I designed and wore this set to Kristine's wedding

Monday, May 7, 2012

Meet Kelly Bermudez watercolor artist

One of the joys of selling my jewelry designs on-line is that I get to meet a great community of other on-line artists.  Once in a while I like to share some of the talented people that I meet with you.

Meet Kelly Bermudez.  I met Kelly through my Christian Artists Street Team on Etsy.  Kelly does absolutely charming watercolor paintings.  I'd like to share a few of those with you today, but also go on by and browse her Etsy shop kellybermudez.  Here are some of my favorites:

Fawn 8x10 Watercolor Print

Together/Wren Watercolor print/brown/8x10

Contour Feathers/ Black, White, Grey/8x10 Watercolor Print

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Evening of the Arts

Evening of the Arts at Plew Elementary in Niceville, FL is next week Thursday, April 26.  Mrs. Seebaldt's class has been busy preparing.  Take a look at what the kids have done!  Keep scrolling down.

These dragonfly ornaments / suncatchers are my own unique design which I sell for $12 each. The kids all helped to make 38 of these that will be available for only $5 each in the Gallery Store in a temporary building at EOA. These are perfect Mother's Day gifts (Mother's Day is May 13).

The kids hammered the wings and tails of the dragonflies on an anvil (with safety glasses) and learned a little about the properties of copper at the same time. About 1/2 of the dragonflies made are ornaments/suncatchers and the remaining have been made into pendant necklaces or hairpins. Check out the Gallery Store early for the best selection.

Handmade dragonfly ornament/suncatcher in orange and blue.  There are some in garnet and gold too.

Some of the colors available. The wings can be bent into a "V" shape if desired
Some of the dragonflies the kids made have been turned into hairpins or necklaces
The kids made watercolor pencil art to use as display cards for the dragonflies.  Cut off the white part on top and you have a beautiful little artwork--two art pieces in one purchase! Look for a tri-fold display board in the Gallery Store.
Mr and Mrs Hendricks designed this incredible magnet board that will be available to bid on in the Live Auction in the cafeteria at EOA. The kids helped paint the frame and made all the alphabet magnets. The frame is affixed to a piece of metal which is covered with polka dot print fabric.

Large magnet board to be auctioned at the Live Auction

And don't forget that many smaller items donated by the community will be available at the Silent Auction in the Plew Media Center.  I'll have these too jewelry sets available to bid on there:

Freshwater pearl, Swarovski crystals and gold filled bracelet and earring set

Freshwater pearl, Swarovski crystal and gold filled earring and pendant set