to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Fretz large planishing hammer has been on my wishlist for quite some time. I have the mini but sometimes you just need a bigger hammer to bang things with....you know?
Lucky me, Otto Frei is offering just the hammer I've been lusting after...in Fretz's Collectors Edition. And...it's on clearance! Can life get any better? The Collectors Edition is a special production run of Fretz hammers with fully polished heads (on the regular Fretz hammers, the work surface only is polished.) So, they're really, really pretty.
If you've been nice this year, I bet Santa would be happy to stick one of these babies in your stocking...
Oh...one more thing... If you're addicted to hammers, like I am, let me direct you to Rio Grande's blog and a post done by Bill Fretz entitled "A Tour of Fretz Hammers." This will give you a good introduction on what to do with that brand new planishing hammer and show you, among other things, what a mushroom stake looks like.
Yes, indeed! It is that time of year, once again, my friends! Christmas is coming...it's practically here. So, I compiled a list of things for those of you who have been nice...the better to leave a bug in Santa's ear!
Ok...so, I hope this doesn't seem self-serving but, I'm going to suggest my brand new book for your wish list. I've finally received my advance copy and it's a pretty, pretty thing! Plus, it's loaded with how-to's as well as tons of teaching on design and info on using found objects.
Care for a little peek? These were some of the photos that didn't make the book but show the flavor of it all...
A fun fact about the book: I did almost all of the photography. Yeah!
You can pre-order the book from me, here, if you'd like an autographed copy. Or, you can pre-order from Amazon (not autographed.)
The Winged Sentry Benchtop Fume Extractor, Model 200, from Sentry Air Systems. Yes, this item is a little more expensive but it's worth every single penny. I have one and it's saving my lungs from all of those nasty fumes and particles produced by soldering. If you do any soldering, at all, you really should have one of these. Not only does it draw the fumes away from your face but it filters out all the bad stuff. Most lesser brands simply draw the fumes away and spit them out the back, back into the air you're breathing...that's not enough!
If you do contact Sentry, please mention that I sent you. I don't get anything from them but I've come to know the nice folks who work there and it's fun for me to see how many of you are contacting them, through me. :)
Fretz hammers...any of them! These jewelry maker's hammers are a pleasure to touch and a joy to use. This one is my chasing hammer...the HMR-17, from Otto Frei...
...however, I have a whole boat-load of these hammers and I love and adore every single one of them.
Revere pliers...oh, yes. Years ago, I switched to these lovely pliers and never looked back. Quality tools really do make a difference in your work and if you're going to be making a lot of jewelry, these are a great investment. I have the set of four but I rarely use the forming plier. I would suggest the threesome.
Tooltron Diagonal Cutter...so inexpensive and yet so fine! There's no reason to spend $40 or $50 or more on a flush cutter when this $8.99 job will do the trick. I absolutely love this cutter for it's nice, flush cut...as well as the price. It will cut through even 16 gauge steel wire and when it gets dull, I throw it out and get another.
Fun fact: Hobby Lobby has 40% off coupons and if you forget to clip it, you can go to their site, on your smart phone, and show it to the check out gal. LOVE Hobby Lobby!
Bench pillows from The Antique Palette, on Etsy, are my absolute favorite. You must have one, if you want to hammer...it will save your ears. Suzie offers sand filled, shot filled, large, small and in between. She'll even do a custom pillow for you, if you like. One of my custom orders from her involved a large, shot filled pillow, flat on the bottom and rounded on the top, so I can prop my mandrels up. Love it.
A Foredom flex shaft tool is a must have for jewelry makers. Yes, you can use a Dremel but, the Foredom gives you so much more control...and a bazillion accessory options with endless burs, brushes, bristles, wheels and what-nots. I have the hot pink handset which is just downright fun.
If you make your own ear wires (and you should be!) get yourself some cup burs to go with that Foredom flex shaft. Or, at the very least, ask Santa for a wire rounder. If you know me at all, you know that sharp, pointy ear wires are my biggest pet peeve (well, maybe after spitting in public and talking with a full mouth.) These little darlings are basically a tiny cup, filled with ittsy, bittsy, knife-like edges that file down those nasty ear wire ends into smooth goodness. Try here for info on what size to order.
For hardening and shaping metal, without marring it, I love and adore my rubber deadblow hammer. There are other options like a rawhide mallet or nylon hammer, but I like my deadblow the best. Although I believe mine is an 8 oz., the 10 oz. should work like a charm.
Ice Resin...I use it, I love it, I can't say enough good about it. Period.
If you work with resin, you'll love the crystal clear, jewelry grade finish of Ice. Also, big plus...it doesn't smell. You'll be inspired to make all kinds of groovy pieces with it...I promise!
Well, there you have it..my top ten christmas wish list items. If it's looking empty under your tree, give Santa a nudge!
now available for pre-order from
Hello, my friends! I'm so excited for the release of my very first book! I've finally been able to set up pre-orders. The release date is January 1, 2014. If you'd like a copy, autographed by yours truly, check out the info posted below (or you can click on my book in the right sidebar of this blog.) Once I receive my shipment of books, I'll be signing them and shipping them out, as fast as I can. Won't you join me in doing a little happy dance?!
This is the jewelry making book you've been waiting for!
The Jewelry Maker's Design Book will show you how to combine excellent technique with brilliant design, to create gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces of found object jewelry.
You'll be guided through the design process with plenty of step-by-step technical instruction and big, beautiful photographs. Unlike other jewelry making books, this book will instruct you in the nuances of outstanding jewelry design. The Jewelry Maker's Design Book covers the elements and principles of design that you need to create unique and fascinating pieces. Also included are lots of technique, and tips and tricks for finding, storing and using beads, stones and found objects as well as how and why to keep a jewelry journal. This book will inspire your designs to a new level of quality and creativity and show you the alchemy of using found objects in your work.
Find your inspiration, while developing amazing design skills with The Jewelry Maker's Design Book: An Alchemy of Objects!
Pre-order your autographed copy
Order your copy now and receive a book signed by me!
The book is set for release Jan. 1, 2014. Signed copies that have been pre-ordered will be sent out after that date.
$24.99 + $5 shipping
$24 + $25 shipping
I recently had the privilege to teach at a wonderful venue in Stamford, Ct...Art is You. I had a fabulous, creative group of students (love you guys!) and Connecticut is a lovely place to be, in the fall.
One of my longtime dreams has been to visit Maine...so, Wife Whisperer and I took the opportunity to take a little side trip. I've got some amazing photos to show you but, for now, I want to introduce you to someone...
On our way from Portland to the Maine North Woods, we stopped at a little antique shop and I found this little lovely. She's all handmade, from her pretty painted face to her wonderful dolly clothing.
Just look at this face! I wonder who painted her. I can only imagine how excited some little girl was to receive this amazing doll.
Her legs have been lost, somewhere along the way but her clothes are pretty amazing. Her dress is hand sewn from black silk with an embroidered pinafore atop. Underneath, she's got several layers of eyelet and lace petticoats and tiny little bloomers. She's a sweetheart and I love how much care was put into her making.
The metal box you see, above, was another find from that same shop. In it, I've kept my finds from the trail...we did a little hiking, even though the weather was cold and rainy. Fun stuff!
Stay tuned for more photos...
Up next...I'm going to the gem show! Hey...you wanna come with me?
I've never been to the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show and I finally have the chance, not only to shop the show, but also to teach there. I'm so excited!
I'm offering three brand spanking new, fabulous, teaching-for-the-first-time-in-Tuscon classes for Vivi Magoo Presents...at Art Retreat in the Desert. Barb Solem is the creative force behind Vivi Magoo which included Art Retreat at The Prairie...one of my very favorite venues. I have no doubt that The Desert will be equally as inspiring!
I'm thrilled to kick of my 2014 in-person class schedule with this amazing event. I know there are lots of class choices during the gem show so I was shooting to offer something fresh and inventive. I think I've hit the mark...I hope you think so, too! Warning: I'm accepting a limited number of students in these classes so, if you're interested, don't wait to sign up. I believe a few of these are almost full. :)
My Eruption Cuff is fold formed, hammered, shaped and totally cold connected. I love the look of the stone "erupting" from the surface of the metal. It reminds me of this...
There will be lots of dapping and soldering in my Bench Beads class. This bead was inspired by traditional Native American, handmade silver beads. These beads, also known as Navajo pearls, were strung alone, often in graduated sizes...or used with stones and handmade elements such as squash blossoms. Each one is handcrafted, step-by-step, and I'll show you how it's done...with my own technique and texture twists. We'll also be creating a fabulous coin clasp, using a genuine Indian head nickel.
Last one is my wildly popular Prairie Pearl Pod Pendant. Tuscon will be the first place I offer this class but I've been wearing this pendant and have already sold all of my class samples but one. I created it to be a double wrap so it's versatile, as well as beautiful. Lots of annealing and forming in this class...I know you'll love it.
Barb has planned a shopping field trip for our group so, if you're feeling a little overwhelmed by the humongous, enormity of the gem show, Barb is going to take us to her favorite shopping spots. Nice!
Alrighty...I'd love to see you in Tuscon, my friends. As always, I'm looking forward to seeing your lovely faces in person. Be there or be square!
Just a quickie post to let you know I'm still here! I've been traveling and just come back from an incredible trip to Art is You, in Stamford, Connecticut...such a fabulous event! I was able to make a long time dream come true and squeeze in a short trip to Maine...so danged beautiful. I've got lots of photos to show you...once I return from...
The Prairie! I'm had a terrific time at Art is You and am ready for another wonderful time of teaching and sharing, right here in my own state.
Much as I love this venue, this is the last time I'll be teaching it for quite some time, so I hope you'll join me.
We'll be forging, torching, filing and wrapping our way through hoops, closures and a lovely, whimsical Maker of Saints Santos Necklace.
I know I've said it before, and I'll say it again: this is one of my very favorite venues to teach. The place is just gorgeous, the atmosphere is extremely creative and the students are Texas-friendly...we're like one, big, happy family! Oh, yeah...and the food is excellent. Very important.
I'm so happy to be going back...can't wait to see the prairie pearl gals!
Last chance to join me here! For registration info, click here. The fun begins in just a couple of days!
Love and blessings to you...
It's that time, again. Don't you love it when the heat of summer finally starts to fade and you get that crispy wood-smoke-in-the-air kinda feeling?
The other day, I visited The Great Pumpkin patch, Charlie, and it was...well...great.
If I ignored the fact that it was 93 degrees with 93 percent humidity, it seemed just like fall.
The sheer variety of pumpkins is pretty amazing. These blue beauties were my favorites.
The dusty orange was a close second.
Just look at these yummy, creamy colored things.
Some of these are technically squash and maybe some folks consider the pumpkin a squash but that's a discussion for another time.
We love our squashy friends...warts and all.
I just wanted to take every one of them home but I'll be leaving, soon, for the wilds of Connecticut where I'll be teaching at the fabulous Art is You event...Oct. 10-14. I can't wait to teach here! There may be a couple of spots left in my classes.
It's a doubly whammy as I'll almost immediately leave for The Prairie...Oct. 16-20.
There are spots left, at The Prairie and I'll be teaching Hoop-La, probably for the last time, in person. So, if you've wanted to take it, now's the time! Also, I've got two new classes for you: The Art of Closure, which is a one time gig, and Maker of Saints.
Got some fun stuff in store for you in the Closure class:
And the Maker of Saints class is brand spanking new one:
I'll show you how to make this sweet caged santos doll necklace. You'll love her...I promise.
I'm so looking forward to the incredible, creative Prairie atmosphere and chillaxin' with my Prairie gals. The weather will be gorgeous, by then.
Here's a little peek at my next online offering...BoHo Bliss. Registration is open for this class and I know some of you have been waiting, patiently, for it.
I've got lots of terrific techniques and styles lined up for you, in this one!
Class begins in just a couple of days...Sept. 20. I can't believe it's time, already.
I won't be offering this one again, for quite a while. I'm working on some new online classes and will be cycling those into the schedule so this one will get pushed to the back of the line.
What I'm saying is...now's the time! It's your chance to get into one of my favorite classes. I love teaching this one...the results are always stunning. Drop over to my Jewelry Works blog to see what some of my amazing past students have done, in this workshop.
I know that some of you have been waiting for quite a long time, for this class. Today is the day...
It's the first day of registration for my online workshop, BoHo Bliss.
I originally created this class to run in the summertime because I was convinced that these hoops would be the perfect summer accessory. Well, it's still summer, here in Houston! Walking across my deck is like walking across hot coals. I kid you not.
Anyhow, turns out these hoops are terrific for any time of year.
This class is chock-a-block...chock-a-block, I tell you...full of good stuff . That means all kinds of techniques and tips to add to your jewelry making stash of knowledge and skills. That kind of knowledge will help you grow as a jewelry maker and as a designer.
knowledge + practice = beautiful handmade jewelry
Plus, I'll be showing you how to make perfect ear wires in different styles. If you're not already making your own ear wires...may I ask, why not?! Once you learn how, you'll be able to add variation and versatility to your earring designs that you didn't have before.
All the info for this class can be found, right here.
Quickie note: for those of you taking my Hoop-La class (and for those of you thinking about taking it!) at The Prairie, in October...BoHo Bliss is not the same class. Hoop-La consists of all new designs and a bunch of different techniques than BoHo.
So, imho...I really think that if you're considering both classes, then dive right in! You'll get twice the technique training! Also, I'd love to see your shining faces at The Prairie.
In the process of getting my BoHo Bliss class up and ready, felt that my Jewelry Works blog was in need of a little updating. I'm so much happier with the cleaner look of it, now, as well as the symmetry with my Something Sublime site. Yay. Click the link to get a much bigger view of the new JW look.
Have a blessed day and I hope to see you in class!