Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Update on Puppies

As you can see by the pictures the puppies are doing quite well. They are growing by leaps and bounds. They are about 2 1/2 weeks old now and their eyes are starting to open and they are starting to toddle. Some of them are starting to bark and growl (which is hilarious coming out of something so small!).
As you can see, after eating it is nap time. Pure bliss if you are a puppy in a pile on a pillow! We have finally named them all (okay my fourteen year old daughter named them all) so I will try and take individual pics the next time and let everyone know
their names. As you can see it is hard work taking care of puppies and hard work for the puppies to grow so here is Libby and one of the pups napping together. And yes we spend way too much time loving on these puppies but who can resist warm fuzzy cute things to play with? Will have another update soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Edition Three of My Favorite Etsy Artists

Well it's time to check out some more great Etsy artists. The more time I spend in the forums and browsing the treasury, showcase and time machine, the more wonderful work I see. I have a feeling that there are going to many more editions featuring Etsy artists. Here is this weeks list.

Cassandra makes the most beautiful hair ornaments using a Japanese technique called TSUMAMI KANZASHI. Tsumami is the technique of using squares of silk to make flowers, birds or butterflies and is apparently a very old technique. I think the bright colors of the silk and the delicate petals are very unique and charming. These would make a wonderful gift for the holidays so go check her out.

Jared In Kansas
Jared is a multi-talented guy. Not only does he do original drawings and paintings he also takes beautiful photos. (more on those in a minute). I am totally drawn to the simplicity <---and passion and the use of color in these pieces of art. Then there is the photo side of the equation ha ha(read his profile you'll get it) which also rocks. Two sides of the same coin equal some really great talent in both the paint and pencil arena and the photography arena. Definitely worth the look.

Those are my two artists for this week. You can check out there shops by following the links on the right side of my blog. I think I will keep this to two or three artists a week instead of aiming for four or five due to the holidays rapidly approaching. I will have an update on the puppies in the next couple of days.

Monday, October 22, 2007

How To Cut Rocks (Step Two)

The second step to making a cabochon from raw rock is to use a template and decide which portion of the rock you want to use for your finished masterpiece. This particular template is two-sided which I prefer as I like to make my mark on both sides. I then mark a "b" on the side that is the back with a magnesium wire. That way I don't make any mistakes when I am forming the stone. Sometimes the back and the front can be very similar and as much work as goes into forming these cabochons, I don't want to make a mistake on which side I am working on. Templates com in mm sizes and you can also get squares, hearts, crosses and many more. I am still a beginner so I generally use the medium sized oval. At this point it is time to fire up the trim saw. Make sure that you wear safety glasses at all times because I can guarantee small pieces of rocks are going to chip off and go flying. Basically the idea here is to trim as close to your oval (or square or whatever you choose) as possible without going over the line. There are of course rules for using this kind of equipment safely. Cut slabs only, not chunks or nodules, Cut straight lines only, let the saw do the work, forcing the saw tears out the diamonds (this is bad. The blades are expensive). If saw is running dry add oil (duh, but you'd be surprised), If the you see sparks STOP! your pushing too hard or the saw needs more oil. (see rule number three and four). Clean up after yourself. So to the right is a picture of Ohio flint (beautiful rock by the way. As you can see flint is not necessarily all grey). You can see the magnesium template mark and you can also see that I got a hair too close to the line and also managed to ship a corner off. (What can I say it was my first attempt.) I am saving this for when I have practiced a bit more so I can salvage it because this is one beautiful piece of rock. That pretty much covers step number two. I will post again next week on step number three.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another Edition of Etsy Artists

Well I am a bit behind this week due to the puppies being born. I am quite tired so I haven't got as much done as I would have liked. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the two artists I have picked this week.

I purchased a bar of her vegan soap in a scent called Goddess.
I also purchased a jar of the sugar scrub in the same scents. Can I
tell you how pleased I was!?! It came packaged in a beautiful green box and she sent a sample of another fragrance with the order. The soap is very creamy, smells divine and left my skin feeling super soft. The sugar scrub was also a big hit and I think I am going to have to hide it from my fourteen year old daughter. (or buy her her own lol). Smelled great and between the soap and the scrub I did not have to use any lotion or perfume. Needless to say I will be a repeat customer as finances permit and look forward to trying some more of the scents and goodies in her shop. Pamper someone you love with a gift of hand made soap.


This artists work is on my wish list! She hand paints all of her scarves with watercolors and they are truly wearable works of art. She does go into some detail in her profile as to materials (silk charmeuse) and how she makes these lovely scarves. She also is dedicated to making her scarves affordable for every day people so her prices for this kind of item are quite low. Here's a hint from her profile about washing this type of art! Wash in lukewarm water with shampoo and rinse with creme rinse. She states that silk is an animal fiber and this works the best. I didn't you could wash silk with shampoo and creme rinse and I bet you didn't either! Check out her shop for some really elegant Christmas gifts for that special someone.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Puppies are Finally Here!

Well, the puppies have finally arrived. Quite frankly I was pretty sure that they were never going to get here! We have a total of eight puppies. Two are blue
merles (the speckled ones) and six are black and tans. We have six boys and two girls. She had the first one at 3:45 am and the last one at about 8:30 am. They are all healthy and doing well.
As you can see Liberty is being a good mommy. We keep the puppies in a box with a heating pad when she is not nursing and cleaning them. Since we have two other dogs and not enough room to just keep them separate this works the best for us. Although Liberty is a pretty laid back dog she has decided that she really doesn't want Blackjack around the babies. (This is actually a bit amusing as he is terrified of the babies and runs whenever we show him one) So he is hiding out under the computer desk at the moment until she calms down a little.
She doesn't seem to have as much of a problem with Ella being around the pups as long as one of us is close by. As you can see Ella is making the acquaintance of one of her siblings. She is very interested and VERY cautious. Fortunately she has had experience with a prior batch of siblings so she is not totally freaked out. Well I will be posting an update on the pups next week and probably every week until they go to their new homes.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

How to Cut Rocks (The first step to making a cabochan)

Okay so I have joined my local lapidary club also know as the Summit County Lapidary and Gem Society. (in conjunction with the Akron Mineral Society they are holding a huge rock and gem show the last weekend in October. If you are in town and interested in this kind of thing you should definitely check it out. Just leave me a comment and I will be happy to give the details. If I have time I will blog the details sometime next week This is in Akron, Ohio)

Anyway I am learning to take the raw form of the rock and turn
it into a finished cabochon. This is what you start out with. Actually first you have to go to the quarry or mine (This one is quartz from a quarry about 20 minutes from my house) and find the stones that you want to use. Be prepared, bring LOTS of water, not only is it hot, thirsty work but you need several bottles of water to squirt on your rocks to get rid of dirt and see what they might look like when they have a shine.

This particular stone on the left is a fossil stone that one of the more experienced rock club members pointed out to me. (Okay he pretty much gave it to me because I would have stepped right over it even with him giving me lots of hints lol!) Any way I am pretty excited about this one and hope to get many good pieces to work with out of it.
So once you have your stones (did I mention how heavy they are to carry back to the car? I ended up with a laundry basket full of them) you need to wash them off and decide which ones to start with. Then it is time to start cutting them up. This is one
of the slabbers at the rock club. Pretty simple to use. You do have to make sure that the rock is clamped down extremely well because it would be a VERY BAD THING if one came loose while being sawed. They have templates that allow you to measure how thick you want each piece (not computerized or anything you hold the template up to the saw and move the rock over to match lol). Any way you set your chain so it stops automatically and you close the lid and turn it on. That's all there is to it. Oh and you want to wear old clothes and a full body vinyl or plastic apron. Did I mention how much oil these machines use? Never, never open the lid until the saw stops spinning! So once it stops spinning and you give it a couple of minutes to let all of the oil drip back down to the bottom (you do this as many times as you need
to slab all of your rock and this is what you end up with. After you
clean the oil off (kitty litter works great for this) and then you wash them thoroughly.
As you can see we still have some work to do to make these slabs of rock into something pretty and interesting to wear. I am going to continue with this next week at some point and show you what the next step is.
Can you see the possibilities?!
P.S No puppies yet. She looks like she is going to explode poor thing. Will update as we go.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More of My Favorite Etsy Artists

More Etsy Artists!

I ordered a bar of doggy soap from HelloCraftya couple of weeks ago and
LOVED it! Not only was the soap really easy to apply (way better than the liquid shampoo) it smelled great, was really easyto rinse out (I have dogs that have a heavy undercoat so this is a real plus!), but our oldest has skin issues and after using this on him he didn't scratch for a couple of days. (miracles DO happen lol). It also left their coats super soft. I was really pleased with this product and will most definitely purchase more. I will also be purchasing some soap for myself!

I found this shop while I was in the forums (I actually find a lot of really cool shops and people in the forums). I just loved the color and pattern choices that Christie chooses for her pillow covers. Particularly the one on the left. I really like the idea of pillow covers. They are washable and easy to change if you decide to switch color schemes or if you change things out for the holidays.

Lauren makes the most beautiful, elegant and fun hairpieces that I have seen in a long time. Anyone have a wedding coming up? Talk to Lauren, I bet you'll have the most beautiful hair pieces in town. Mardi Gras or Halloween or maybe just a fancy piece for going to the opera or out on the town this is the shop to check out.

Hilary and her husband Asher make the cutest embroidered
t-shirts and onesies for little ones. I believe Asher is responsible for the original artwork and Hilary is responsible for converting the design into the finished, embroidered piece.They have a large selection to choose from and every time I check out their shop I wish mine were still little enough to let me dress them lol! I guess I will just have to wait for grandkids although I have them marked if I need a baby shower gift.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Metal Weaving

Well I wanted to share a new technique that I learned last week at my local labidary club. I took a class on metal weaving (yes just like weaving with wool with a few adjustments I imagine, I don't know how to weave with yarn or wool). I thought the end result was quite nice and now have a head full of plans to adapt, change and challenge myself to come up with new designs using this technique.
As you can see you do need some type of vise to hold the ends firmly in place. I use masking tape to protect the wire from being damaged by the vise. You also need to tape the wires at the bottom in order to keep them together and to mark which side is the front. Because you have to lower the pattern into the vice at least every other time you weave it is important to know which way is the front and which is the back. (trust me on this I am speaking from experience. While you can make an interesting pattern by swithching front to back if you aren't doing it on purpose it is a disaster!)
So once you get to the desired length you cut off the ends and take your frame wire and attach them together with more wire. This can be kind of tricky and does take some practice. Not too tight and not too loose. I will be practicng this with copper and plated metals until I have the technique down well. I actually find the
weaving part to be the easiest of the entire design. So from this point it is just a matter of wrapping and forming into the actual bracelet shape. You can of course make or attach any type of clasp that you wish. All in all it was two, well-spent Saturday mornings to learn this technique. It took about three hours to do the actual weaving and another three to finish it completely. I am hoping that with experience I will get just a wee bit quicker at it. I would also like to come up with some ways to embelish and play with it. Well that's it for now.

I will be posting another blog on some more of my favorite Etsy artists later this week and hopefully will have an update on our puppies (who haven't arrived yet by the way)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Puppies On The Way (Any Day Now!)

Well, we have three Australian Shephards. Blackjack (9), Liberty (3), and Ella (2). Ella is a pup from Libby's first litter. I absolutely adore this breed and my three in particular. Blackjack and Ella are both blue merle's and have ghost eyes (bright, light blue eyes). Libby is a black and tan. Ella got her eyebrows and brown points from Libby and her gorgeous coat and eyes from Blackjack.

I origianally wanted a Sheltie (you know something that fits on your lap and doesn't take up the whole couch kind of dog.) We went and looked at Aussie pups because we didn't know what kind of dog it was and we were curious. One look at that speckled ball of fur was all it took and our love of Aussies was born. We like him so much that we decided after about 6 1/2 years that we wanted another one.


Libby is affectionately called moo cow in our house. Not because she is fat, although she is big for her breed, ( and in this pic taken today she is very, very pregnant, and we could quite possibly have pups tonite.) but because of her completely placid nature. She is the most mellow, loving, and lovable dog ever.

Last but not least is Ella. Also know as Miss Ella, Ella Bella and Twit. Happy go lucky and hyper with loads of personality, she is the only one allowed to sleep with us. (The other two sleep on the floor next to the bed.) She was born in our house and is totally and completely spoiled beyond belief. Now all Aussie's have a high activity level and are extremely smart but she really is a bit hyper. She also is quite nearsighted which makes going to the park a real adventure. Because she can't see far away she usually hears people and other dogs before she can see them. We have been working hard to make her trips a little easier on her and I think she is getting more calm as she gets older. All I can say is thank goodness we have a fenced yard so that can work off some of that energy chasing each other around the yard
I will be posting an update on the puppy watch and will update on them once a week until they go to their new homes in December. Hopefully we will get some more that look just like this.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

My Favorite Etsy Artists

I will be writing some short notes on some of my favorite artists on once a week. Etsy is an online marketplace for handrafted items. It is NOT and auction site and everything except for the supplies and vintage section are hand made. They have some fabulous artists on this site and I will writing about some of them regularly. I have added four to my list of links today.


She makes some truly awesome lamp work beads.As you
can see from this example the detail work on her beads make them trueworks of art. I am looking forward to making some purchases from her shop soon!


Please check out her awesome wire work at her other shop on

I know her best thru her glittercritter shop (see below) but I am totally blown away by the the creativity and the amount of time it must have taken to perfect this kind of technique. I do a little bit of wire wrapping myself but am just a beginner. Examples like this inspire me to work harder an keep practicing so that some day I too will have work that is this awesome.

She has some beautiful supplies and sells some really cool do-it-yourself tutorials for the beginning wire worker. These can be found in her glittercritter shop. I highly recommend that any one who is thinking about learning to wrap wire or just wants to see what it is like to make something with this technique, to purchase one of her tutorials. Also, she has always been very willing to help out all of the newbies on site with their questions for which I, for one, am grateful. Her prices are great on her supplies and I am hoping to snag the one in the picture when my self imposed "you can't buy any more supplies til you use some of what you have" is done.

Jadelaine Designs

Beautiful photographs and prints. She also has some outstanding

original artwork. Definately worth taking the time to check out! I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.


Ed makes the most beautiful cabachons from raw rock. This is something that I am also learning to do so I know how many hours of sawing and shaping and grinding and polishing this really takes! Each stone is unique and whether it is a subtle pattern or a bold explosion of color, it always amazes me that something as common as a rock can be turned into something so beautiful.

Well that is my list of favorites this week. Look for a new list once a week from now until whenever I run out of great artists to feature. (Don't count on that happening any time soon, last time I checked there were over 80,000 sellers on etsy, most of whom do lovely work)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Well I finally broke down and decided to start a blog. Since I have joined the ETSY community (THE best place to find hand crafted items from all over the world) everyone says one of the best ways to promote your business is with a blog. So here I am.

The whole jewelry thing began in August of 2006, when I bought a beading kit and a book on how to make jewelry for my almost thirteen year old daughter. While she made a couple of things with it, it turned out to not really be her thing (although they just did a macrame jewelry project in art class and she has approached me about making her own line of jewelry and putting it in my shop. We will see how that goes. Talk about irony lol!) So I was bored one nite (I bore easily) and picked up her beading kit and as the saying goes, that was all she wrote. Obviously, I don't actually bead a lot. I am more drawn to the wire wrapping, metal working, and lapidary aspects. I am pretty much totally self taught but am looking to expand my horizons. (Like I said, I bore easily.) So I have joined my local lapidary and gem society where I will be able to learn how to take the raw form of the stones and turn them into finished cabochons and gemstones. I will also be able to learn how to metal smith and do various other techniques using wire, metal and stones. I will be doing another post soon (as soon as I take some pics to go with it) on the metal weaving class that I just took and also of the first cabochon I learned to make last week.

Any way the gist of the story is that the fourteen dollar beading kit I bought my daughter has totally transformed my life and given me the gift of self expression. Hopefully in the future it will turn into the gift of self employment and become a full time business for me.