Sunday, May 29, 2011

Arty Jewelry III Sneak Peek: Silver Swirl Stickpin

I'm getting ready for my next Wild Wire Women retreat, which begins on Thursday evening, but in the meantime I've finished the step-by-step photography for the latest jewelry piece that will appear in my next ebook, Arty Jewelry III.
The bead-and-pearl embellished Silver Swirl Stickpin is really fun to make and presents all sorts of creative possibilities. You could fashion your pin using gold, copper, brass, or bronze wire instead of the sterling silver wire that I used, and your design will depend largely on which beads and/or pearls you use to embellish your pin. I took 44 closeup shots of the step-by-step process to show you how to make a Silver Swirl Stickpin of your own... Look for Arty Jewelry III this summer on and!
You can still download Arty Jewelry and Arty Jewelry II for just $9.99 each through the same outlets. I provide several jewelry projects in each ebook and they are all clearly stepped out with closeup color photographs and detailed instructions (hundreds of photos per book). If you'd like to see the actual projects offered in each ebook, just click on the links above.
Soon I need to put the photo equipment away and start organizing the studio to welcome four ladies to my next Wild Wire Women retreat. I'm really looking forward to this one, because they've chosen some beautiful and challenging jewelry projects to make. I hope you'll follow us next weekend as we have a great time in Idyllwild!
Happy wrapping,

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wild Wire Women Retreat: Days 2-3

It's the last evening of our retreat, and we have just eaten a lovely meal over at the Gastronome restaurant. Now I have some time to upload the photos I took during our retreat yesterday and today. Above you can see Laurel hard at work, and in the photo below you can see Marie. Both students are incredibly hard working and very talented. It was so much fun spending time with them!
Yesterday it was all about the Green Goddess necklace... which took an entire day to make. The necklace below is my sample made over the course of a day. We even had time to use liver of sulfur and polish and tumble our finished pieces.
Laurel's version of the Green Goddess necklace is pictured below. She loves to make big, bold spirals!
Here's a photo of Marie, taking a photo of her jewelry using my Ez Cube system from Table Top Studio. We spent the second half of our workshop today in photography, which was a bit challenging because setting up a propped shot takes time, and the jewelry is slippery and doesn't always cooperate!
Here's Marie's Green Goddess necklace:
And earrings by Laurel... We spent our entire first day making four pair of earrings, which doesn't sound like much of a challenge but these are all rather detailed pieces that took lots of time to wrap, coil, spiral, and assemble.
Here's a photo of Marie's earrings:
And mine:
Laurel's pins are pictured below. We spent the first half of today's workshop time making three different pin styles: Ripple pins (from Arty Jewelry II), Fabulous Fibulas (from Bead on a Wire), and Spiral Top Fibulas (from Arty Jewelry).
Marie's pins are pictured below:
And here are a couple of mine. You can learn how to make the Spiral-Top fibula from Arty Jewelry and the Ripple Pin from Arty Jewelry II, both available as downloads from
We're exhausted but very happy campers, ready to call it a night but thrilled with all the progress we made. My next Wild Wire Women retreat starts in about 10 days!
Happy wrapping,

Friday, May 20, 2011

WWW Retreat, Day 1...

Our Wild Wire Women retreat began today with a lesson in the kitchen: making ball-headed head-pins with a micro torch. Laurel (on the left) is getting ready to try it, while Marie waits her turn. After making tons of headpins, we removed the fire scale using a simple acid solution. We were off to a good start...
Our first project of the day was the most complicated: Angel's Earrings (from Wire Art Jewelry Workshop), which includes lots of coiling with fine-gauge wire and spiraling, wrapped eye-pin loops, and handmade ear wires. We finished just before lunch.
Here's Marie, showing off her lovely earrings! Our lunch today was a potato bar with sweet and russet potatoes, chili, cheese, guacamole, green salad, jicama, and all the fixin's. Yummo!
Back in the studio, we made a pair of Ripple Earrings (from Arty Jewelry II). I took photos of our progress but they're just studio pix, not taken under very good lighting. We'll artificially age our jewelry tomorrow and start taking good photos of everything on Sunday, so stay tuned for better pix.
Ivy kept us company in the studio while we...
... made Squiggle Earrings (from Wire Art Jewelry Workshop). Every single earring comes out different, which is why I love them so much.
We had a gorgeous, sunny day and the view was quite distracting while we worked. I had the windows open for a fresh breeze and we listened to the quail and the grey squirrels chattering away.
Our final earring project of the day, Snake Vertebra Earrings (from Wire Art Jewelry Workshop), was a nice wrap-up for our intensive workshop. I'm just amazed at how much we all accomplished in such a short time. It was fun but we're ready to take it easy now. Laurel and Marie went out for dinner while I stayed behind to clean up the kitchen and get prepped for tomorrow's activities. We're making the Green Goddess necklace!
Happy wrapping,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Retreat starts tonight! And another Arty Jewelry III sneak peek...

My next Wild Wire Women retreat begins tonight with a welcome dinner at our favorite restaurant, Cafe Aroma! I have reserved a table for three, hoping that we get Casey Abrams' couch seat in the back. It's been a favorite spot of my family's for years, so my fingers are crossed.
It's challenging for me to blog each day during a retreat because I work so hard and every night I'm just beat. BUT, if I can, I will! I like having you read along as we pursue our passion for jewelry making with wire, beads, and metals. Check back here tomorrow through Sunday and I will post at least once, if not every day.
We're making the Green Goddess necklace, having a Day of Earrings, and finishing with Fibulas and Spiral-Top pins, with (time permitting) my newest design, the Ripple Pin that is featured in my new eBook, Arty Jewelry II.
My students arrive in just a few hours, so I'd better get back to work. In the meantime, I'm leaving you with a couple pictures from the eBook I'm currently at work on: Arty Jewelry III. Pictured above you see my Embellished Copper Washer bracelet with big washers from Harbor Freight that have been textured several different ways. I took 55 step-by-step close-up photos conveying all the information I wanted to provide, including several photos showing some of my favorite ways to texture metal:
I'm really getting into this and LOVING metal. Just purchased a big box of copper sheet in gauges 20-28, and exploring ways to alter it with forging, folding, striking, cutting, dapping, and torching. It sounds like torture, but the results are amazing. I love it.
Happy wrapping,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sneak Peek into Arty Jewelry III: Fleur-De-Link Bracelet

So if you enjoy making intricate links of coiled and spiraled wire, you will love my new Fleur-De-Link bracelet. It's featured in my upcoming ebook, Arty Jewelry III.
The bracelet pictured is made in copper wire, but it also looks great in sterling or fine silver. Or you could try brass wire, but I don't recommend it because it's just too hard. Maybe your hands are stronger than mine...
This is a fun bracelet with a unique clasp that sort of disappears into the design, but I like it. I love creating new findings instead of relying on the old standbys like S-hooks and toggles, which do have their place, but are starting to get old for me.
Anyway, enjoy! I hope to have Arty Jewelry III available for download by next month, but it's not quite ready yet. In the meantime, check out Arty Jewelry and Arty Jewelry II, available on and
Happy wrapping,

Friday, May 13, 2011

Savings on Groceries: The Treasure Box

June 2011 Protein Box JPG
I just heard about this wonderful program at my local church and had to tell you about it. It's called The Treasure Box, a division of Good Source Solutions (a food-distribution company).
Basically it's set up to help families get through this dratted recession by providing boxes of grocery items at a greatly reduced rate. They offer boxes of prepared frozen meals, the protein box for grilling (that's the one I ordered), a breakfast box, one called "simply enough," and more. Each month the menu changes a bit, so you have to look it over carefully before you order. I'm not big on breakfast items or prepared TV dinners, so I just went with the simple protein box which is ideal for summer grilling.
Here's a link to the June menu offerings: MENU
I'm only paying $32 for a box of grilling meats that would normally cost $60 or even more (especially in Idyllwild, where grocery items are expensive). I think that's a great deal. You don't have to be "poor" to use the Treasure Box system, but you do have to find a social organization (such as a church or synagogue, or something similar) in your area that's set up to provide distribution of the boxes on designated dates. You can order a box online here. Or you can order through your social organization's team of volunteers.
I hope you find this information helpful. I think it's a great program, especially for growing families on tight budgets, but it's great for single people and seniors who don't like to prepare big meals. It's a way to save money during very difficult and stressful times, and I'm all for that!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Crazy-Daisy Pin

Here's another project from my upcoming ebook, Arty Jewelry III: the "Crazy-Daisy" pin. It takes some effort to make, but it sure is worth it! I love making these, using either copper (pictured above) or sterling silver wire.
What fun! And if you don't care to wear your daisy as a pin, you can easily change it into a pendant:
Arty Jewelry III will be coming out this summer. In the meantime, you can download Arty Jewelry and Arty Jewelry II at or Each ebook has tons of tutorials, and they retail for just $9.99.
Happy wrapping,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Arty Jewelry III: Sneak Peek!

Now that Arty Jewelry and Arty Jewelry II are both available ebooks on and, I'm hard at work on my next ebook: Arty Jewelry III.
I thought it might be fun to give you a sneak-peek into the contents of this book as I work on it; currently it's designed to offer 10 wire jewelry projects, including the Double Spiral Heart pin pictured above. This pin looks great in sterling silver (pictured) or copper wire, and it's elegant enough to wear on most open-weave fabrics.
It's one of the easiest projects in the book, too. Believe me, I'm providing some rather complicated designs as well as a few simple pieces in my next ebook. I hope you like them!
If you don't have Amazon's kindle, you can download the software app that turns your phone, computer, etc. into a kindle reader device. It's a free app, available here.
If you don't have Barnes & Noble's nook, you can download the software app that turns your phone, computer, etc. into a nook reader device. It's a free app, available here.
Happy wrapping,

Friday, May 6, 2011

More Fun in the Studio!

Have any of you tried using an engraver on metal? I have a Dremel® engraver that I just love for practical purposes such as engraving my name on my tools (works on the wooden handle or the metal tool itself) but lately I pondered, wouldn't be FUN to use an engraver on metal for decorative purposes?
For the leaf bangle above, I drew a simple leaf shape in copper sheet and sawed it out. Then I did lots of filing and polishing to smooth the edges, hammered the edges with various texturing hammers (Fretz being my favorite brand) and thought, what's next?
So I freehand drew some simple shapes in the leaf using a Sharpie, and then experimented with my Dremel® engraver. It's a great little tool and not too expensive (under $20), lots of fun to use but I do suggest earplugs! The vibrating noise is horrific, and you have to get really close up to it to see what you're doing.
I think I'll be using my engraver a lot more now, for fun as well as practical projects!
Happy wrapping,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fun in the Studio

I had fun in the studio today and thought I'd post the fruit of my efforts. It's so much fun working with sheet metal, especially copper. For one thing, there are no worries about the cost because copper is a very inexpensive metal to work with—at least compared to silver. And it's available in so many different gauges, you're sure to find something that you enjoy handling.
I especially enjoyed designing a freeform flower (don't ask me which species it is, as I have no idea!), sawing it out, and making it come to life with lots of hammering and texturing. Using one of my favorite vintage metal buttons in the design was also a treat. I hope you had fun in your studio today... I sure did!
Happy wrapping,