Friday, May 29, 2009

Bead & Button Show

Are you coming to the show? I'll be signing books at the Meet the Teachers reception on Wednesday night (8-11pm) and again on the show floor at the Kalmbach booth on Saturday from 2-3pm. Stop by and say hi.

I'll be back to regular blogging in about a week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Virtual Book Signing

First, I'd like to thank all of you who've purchased my books, written reviews, or just given me a "thumbs up." It means so much to me :)

In honor of the nearly 1-year anniversary of my publication dates, I'm re-inviting all of you to my virtual book signing. Here's how it works: If you purchase Mostly Metals or Altered You! online, send me a quick e-mail or comment on this blog and I'll mail you a signed book plate. Also, if you've made any projects from the books, send me a pic -- I love to see what you're working on!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I heart Mondays

I love to take jewelry making classes. Actually, I love to take all kinds of classes. I think learning from someone else, and having to follow their directions, opens your mind and helps you bring new ideas to your original work. Several years ago, I took a class at the Bead & Button show with Louise Duhamel. We made this great bracelet (I added the heart dangle to cover an "oops" of mine -- I made the bracelet a little too big, so I had to take up some wire with an extra loop. If I were to make another, I think I'd repeat my mistake, since I like the solution so much).

Bead & Button is less than a month away. There are still spaces left in many classes. Go here to find out more about the show, and let me know if you're coming to Milwaukee!

This year I'm so excited to be taking a workshop with Kim St. Jean. I'm looking forward to learning about soldering, and to expand my metalworking skills.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Two of 26,000

Well, we made it! I must say, it was a really fun experience. It's the kind of thing you can't try to understand, or even agree with, you just have to go with it and enjoy the moment. Here are some pictures from our day:

The main gate, going in:
The hype:
The crowd:
Our view consisted of the backs of signs and the backs of heads:
My girl:
Finally, what we came for:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Are you an idle American?

By that, I mean have you been on your couch for 90 minutes a week for the last umpteen weeks watching the contestants drift away one by one? I must admit I've been swept into the frenzy this year. I think Allison would have made the perfect American Idol, even if she wasn't the strongest contestant. She had energy, spunk (no matter what Simon said) and she could really sing. Of the remaining three, I'm not sure any of them fit what I imagine the American Idol persona should be. I think they are excellent performers, but are they right for the bubble-gum set? Not sure.

Personally, I've had a soft spot all along for our home-town boy, Danny Gokey.

If he wins, I think he'll take the opportunity his fame presents to him and do some real good with it. I admire Adam for everything he's done, and think his professional career should be completely different than Idol. I mean, he's already acting like he's head and shoulders above it, and I think he is. I'm sure he'd hate to be tied to the contractual obligations that come with the job. My real favorite is Chris, although I'm not sure he'd be the best Idol, either. I just want to watch him sing.

Because I'm a Mom Who Can't Say No, I'll be forging through the crowds tomorrow with my 14-year-old, trying to get a glimpse of Danny and at least hear some of his performance. I'll have to let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Spring!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I heart Mondays

I can always recognize a lilac tree by its heart shaped leaves.

We're lucky to have several varieties on our property and they could be quite old.

Although most of you are well into Spring, we've only just begun around here. The daffodils are still out, and we're just beginning to get tulips. The leaves are just beginning to leaf.

When we lived in Rochester, N.Y., the Highlad Park Lilac Festival was always a favorite outing, especially because it coincided with our wedding anniversary. If you're anywhere near the area, make a special trip to Highland Park. With or without the festival, the lilacs put on a tremendous show of their own.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Crimp your style

The smallest part of your necklace is the most important: Without a secure crimp, your risk losing everything, literally. It's important to use a good-quality crimp tube, and double-check your work to see that the crimp you've made is secure.

I usually use sterling silver components for my jewelry. Sure I could save a little money with plated or base metal head pins, crimps, or clasps, but I like knowing that everything down to the tiny crimp tube is of the highest quality. When I first started out, I made an investment in crimp tubes. I can't remember how many I bought, but this film canister was nearly full.

Lately, I've been branching out from sterling silver and using more copper and other metals in my work, such as when I made this necklace for my mom. Introducing copper accents means a copper clasp and copper crimps -- not exactly easy to find, and not something I keep on hand.
That's why I was happy to find this little sampler kit from Beadalon. It contains four vials of crimps in silver plate, gold plate, copper, and gunmetal. Each vial has 150 crimps -- plenty for experimenting. And the containers themselves are so cute, I'm sure I'll upcycle them into something when I've used up the crimps.