Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY!

That's right folk!  I'm hosting a giveaway for another artist: Jon Fine!  I've featured Jon's work previously on my blog as well.  He's asked If I would host a giveaway promotion for him on my blog and I said I'd be most happy to. 
Jon makes wonderful woodwork creations.  He is 55 and currently lives and creates in south New Jersey.  His creations are truly wonders to the eyes.  He makes a little of everything from coat hangers to door frame decorations, picture frames to clocks.  And this month, he has been gracious enough to donate not one, not two but THREE items for a giveaway to you, my loyal readers!

Here's how it works: each time you do one of the following things you will be given "chances", meaning your name will go in my "hat".  To make certain that I am fair in drawing a name from the hat, I will have my dear BF do so and will make sure to take pictures.  That way you will all know it was fairly drawn.
Ways to enter
Leave a comment on this blog~ 1 entry
Follow this blog~ 1 entry
Follow Jon's blog~ 2 entries (http://finewoodcrafts.blogspot.com/)
Become a follower of Jon's blog~ 2 entries
Follow Jon on Twitter~ 1 entry (http://twitter.com/JonPSU77)
Tweet about this giveaway~ 2 entries
Make a purchase from either of Jon's shops~ 5 entries

Please notify me either in your comments on this blog or by email (divapixie25@gmail.com)  proof that you have done one or more of these things for entries.  Links to your tweets, purchases, comments etc. will be enough proof. 
And NOW.... the fabulous gifts!  One prize will be awarded each week for the next 3 weeks.  The prize for this week's giveaway is..... a wonderful wine bottle and glass holder!
This prize will be given away on September 7th, a week from today!  Now, get out there and enter!  Free stuff.... you just can not go wrong.


Today is the LAST DAY to get 25% off everything in my studio!  Take advantage and purchase that jewelry piece you've been eyeing of those destah beads for that special project today before the prices go back up. 
LOTS of great items to choose from.  Remember, prices go up at midnight tonight!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Moonstone is certainly an intriguing stone.  Whether it's the opalescent grey moonstone, the white whine with the blue flash of rainbow moonstone or the soothing smooth color of peach moonstone, it's certain to catch the eye and entrance you.
I first became interested in this stone in high school.  I had a strange dream one night about being trapped in a cave made of some kind of opalescent stone with hints of blue.  I wasn't sure what it was but I was fascinated by it.  The following weekend, I found a pendant at a local festival made of the same stone as the cave in my dream!  I was absolutely in love and purchased the stone at once.  I still have that necklace (and matching earrings I purchased later) to this day.
My new found fascination led me to research the stone further.  I discovered that moonstone is supposedly a stone of dreams.  It brings peaceful, restful sleep if placed under a pillow.  It's a stone of divination and psychism.  This is because it is associated with the Moon Goddess.  It is a sacred stone in many religions.
Moonstone is also thought to be a protective stone.  People wear or carry moonstone with them on long journeys, especially over water. 
Moonstone also comes in different color varieties.  Rainbow moonstone is a beautiful white stone that have a shimmer like mother of pearl.  It also has a flash of light blue when the light hits it just right, much like labradorite.   Peach moonstone also has this mother of pearl like shimmer but is a much more smooth shade of peach or light orange.  Grey moonstone has a quality like trapped fog.  It almost seems to swirl in the light.
Whatever your reasons, I hope you will add this stone to your jewelry repetoire.  It is definitely a stone with wearing and working with!

Friday, August 27, 2010

AJG August Challenge

I am a member of the Artisan Jeweler Guild on Artfire and we just put up our August challenge blog this morning.  I have a piece entered in the challenge but there are MANY wonderful choices.  The theme this month was Artist's Choice... so we each chose one of our favorite pieces to be entered.  Please go check it out and vote for your favorite!
Here's the piece I entered.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Piece in progress....

... but now I need help.  I need some input about what to make this piece into.  A pendant?  Necklace?  Brooch?  Something else?
Any ideas out there in blogger land?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A new piece in progress

So, I haven't done a piece in progress post in a while.  And now I have a piece in progress to share.
A friend of mine from back in MN was looking over one of my recent steampunk pieces and remarked that it was lovely.  She then lamented that she has longed to see a steampunk necklace, pendant or brooch that has a skull and cross bones and wings.  Her Steampunk costume persona is that of an airship pirate.  I decided that day to order some brass embellishments and get after that idea. 
I started with an old vintage rhinestone buckle.  A lot of the rhinestones are missing but it still has a lot of shine to it.  I then wired swarovski crystals around the oustide.  I added the brass charms and am now about halfway through adding cogs and other watch parts to it.  I haven't decided yet if it should be a pendant or a brooch.  I also think it needs some additional wire work and perhaps some more beads....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Recycled Vintage piece

I took care of my sick bf all weekend.  But in between fetching him water and making meals I did manage to create another new piece.  This one is made around a piece of broken vintage costume jewelry.  I simply took the rhinestone encrusted piece and did some wire magic around it adding various crystals and beads.  Then I added some antiqued brass chain and voila!  More vintage bling.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Steampunk/vintage inspired offering

I sat down last night and created this lovely bit from a great copper filigree setting with a large rootbeer rhinestone and LOTS of wire, cogs and other beads.  Steampunk meets vintage bling! 
This piece has been listed in my Artfire Studio and is also on sale, like everything else, for 25% off!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

One more time for the cheap seats in the back!

I want to remind everyone that there is a HUGE SALE in my Artfire Studio happening right now.  EVERYTHING in my studio (right now and those things that will be listed as the weeks wear on) is a whopping 25% OFF!  This will also include CUSTOM ORDERS.  That's right.... got an idea for a piece you just can't work out on your own?  Let me help you!  25% OFF!
Stop in and see what I can do for you. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New "steamy" pieces to come

I have had a longing to find some new way to steampunk out my wire wrapping... create some kind of new pieces for my shop.  I tried my hand at one this week and the result is now listed in my Artfire studio.  I am hoping to take and expand on these ideas and designs in the near future.  It feels like it's been AGES since I created something new.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jam, Jelly and Fruit Butter. What on earth are the differences?

I've heard this alot since I started making all three this summer.  People are curious to know what makes a fruit spread a jam and how is that different from a jelly or a fruit butter.  I didn't know the answer to this question until June.
When I was younger and living with my parents, I used to go and pick wild berries with my father.  We would then bring them home and he would "juice" them.  This entailed boiling them in just enough water to cover them and then straining the juice through cheeseclothe or a pillowcase.   The pulp was discarded and my mother would then take the juice and turn it into jelly.  So, I knew what jelly was.  And that was essentially all we used in our house for a long time.
One day I asked my mother what the difference between jam and jelly.  She told me that jam have the seeds left in it.  I thought that was a terrible idea.  Who on earth would want to pick all those raspberry seeds out of their teeth?
Many years later, I discovered the wonders of strawberry jam and learned that the whole fruit was included.  What a happy development for me!  So, when I started canning jellies this summer I decided to try my hand at making apricot jam as well. 
All the recipes I see call for fruit to be cut very finely for jams.  I do not believe in this.  I wanted big hunk of fruit to survive in my jams.  So, I cut fruit accordingly.  I soon discovered that fruit floats to the top of the jars.... a bummer to be sure unless you want to constantly stir your jam before spreading it.
I went on making jam and jelly until.... I found my old Blue Ball Book of Preserving hanging about in my kitchen.  Hmmmmmmm.... I flipped through to see what their jelly and jam recipes said.  Low and behold, I stumbled across a recipe for Apricot Butter.  Curious I read on to discover that fruit butter does NOT contain any dairy product.  Fruit butters are merely fruit, skinned and pitted and food processed to a smooth pulp and then cooked down to a thick state. 
And so I made apricot and peach butter as well as the traditional apple and pear butters. 
There you have it.  Jelly is made from fruit juice, jam from cut up bits of fruit and fruit butter is processed fruit pulp that has been thickened.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I am having a HUGE sale in my Artfire Studio. I need to raise some funds so that I can buy some new clothes for school.  Kids aren't the only ones who need to update their wardrobes ya know... teachers need it too!
From now until September 1st EVERYTHING in my studio is 25% OFF!  Yes, everything.  So, get in there and purchase that piece you've been coveting. ;)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I've been up to this summer

In case any of you out there have wondered if I fell off the face of the earth.... the answer is no.  Well, then what on earth HAVE I been doing to keep me from my diligent blogging?  Glad you asked!

Let me tell you something I learned this summer.  There are literally dozens of fruit trees in the city where I live.  They are growing in people's back, front and side yards.  And most of them are over producing this season due to large spells of heavy rain and hot humid temperatures.  Wanna know why this is important?  Most of these people.... don't even PICK the fruit from them.  So, I have been picking fruit all summer and putting it up in jars. 
I'm talking preserving folks.  That's right, the art of preserving fruits and veggies in jars and now freezer vessels for later use.  The list of fruits I have had or will have access to this season are apricots, cherries, apples (many varieties), peaches, mulberries, strawberries and sandhill plums.  My veggie garden and my bf's garden have also yielded MANY peppers and soon will be heavy with tomatoes so the canning continues.  We've also had a bumper crop of herbs... when we can pick them before the grasshoppers eat them. 
Jams, jellies, preserves, fruit butters and pie fillings have emerged from my humble kitchen in record numbers.  And I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I've also put up a couple of jars of pickled peppers and am going to be making marinara sauce this evening. 
I also became a member of my local farmer's market.  I bring all my wares, jewelry included, down to the local market every Saturday morning from 7am-noon and have made some extra $$$ selling things.  Anywhere from leftover produce I could not get put up in time to the canned goods I've been turning out lightning fast. 
I will be blogging in more depth about these things in my upcoming entries.  Keep you eyes here for more information about canning, preserving and the sometimes ellusive and coveted Kansas Sandhill Plum.
Are you curious now?  Good!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm back...

... things in my life got a little crazy and I decided to take on a new venture this summer: The Farmer's Market.
I have a pretty good little garden... and have helped establish an awesome garden at my bf's place.  I also have great friends who have contacted me this season  and stated they have fruit trees absolutely loaded with fruit they can not use.  I hurried my butt over there and got as much as I could pick, process, jam, jelly and cook.  So, I decided to join the farmer's market and sell produce, jams and jellies.  So far it has been an EXCELLENT venture.  I am also allowed to set up sell my jewelry since it is handmade.  Double bonus points for me. 
Now, compound to that the annual Dodge City Days Arts and Crafts Show this upcoming weekend.... and hopefully I'll have less jewelry, jams and jellies to hock by the end of this week. 

So... there you have it.... I am back and will get back to featured stones, metals, articles about my jewelry making and designs, featured Artfire artisans and everything else that my blog is for.  Sorry I was gone for so long... life gets in the way sometimes.