Friday, July 26, 2013

New Pendant Sets in Etsy!

I just uploaded some brand-new pendant sets to my etsy store, so I thought I'd share some of them with you here.
Each pendant set includes three (sometimes four) handmade stoneware pendants that I made here in my mountain studio in Idyllwild, California. I hand-stamp and texture each pendant, and after bisque firing them I hand-paint them with layers of glaze.
All of my pendants are high-fired to full vitrification, making them very durable. They are not glazed on the backside, but I go over them carefully to make sure they are smooth and comfortable against your skin and won't snag on fabrics.
Included in each bead kit is a set of three or four pendants plus a variety of pretty beads with large holes; some are handmade glass, bottle-glass beads from Africa, wooden beads in unusual shapes, small ceramic beads, and a large gemstone focal bead.
Included in your kit is a copy of my Tribal Treasures Bracelet Workshop DVD. This DVD normally retains for $29.95, but if you buy one of my kits in my etsy shop you get the DVD with a set of beads and pendants for $39.95.
I had a lot of fun making these, but once they're sold, they will not be available in these designs and colors again. I don't like to make too many duplicates of my pieces, because it's more fun to experiment with new designs and color combinations.
The beads I selected to accompany my handmade pendants are from my personal stash. Each bead has a large hole and would work well in an "ethnic style" jewelry piece, whether you use copper or silver wire. Using the instructions from my DVD, you'll be able to make at least two to three individual necklaces.
My bead kits have sold out quickly in the past, so if you're interested I suggest heading on over to my shop soon!
Happy wrapping,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

THANK YOU Idyllwild Fire Fighters!!!

Tonight we attended a free concert in the park in the center of Idyllwild, and a highlight of the evening took place when a group of sheriffs and firemen took the stage so we could thank them for their services. It seemed like we just couldn't applaud them enough; we stood and clapped for a very long time, cheered, shrieked, and saluted these wonderful, brave service people who risked their lives to save our town.
The "Mountain" fire made national news last week, and although it never actually touched the town of Idyllwild, for a while there it was very close. We could have lost everything, and it's a miracle that we did not. We are all extremely grateful and thankful to everyone who worked so hard to save our town!
God bless fire fighters, police, and sheriffs everywhere in our nation, who risk their lives and work so hard to keep us all safe from harm. We can never thank them enough.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Buttons for Sale @ Monica's store in Palm Desert

Yesterday I drove down the east side of the mountain to deliver a fresh batch of brand-new ceramic buttons to Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations in Palm Desert. Monica has sold lots of my handmade pendants in the past few months, so I thought she might be interested in carrying my buttons as well.
I was so glad that she agreed to try these out! My buttons are all handmade from the highest quality ceramic (stoneware and porcelain) clay, hand-stamped and textured individually by me (I don't use push-molds), and hand-painted with glaze, so each is a unique little work of art. There are similarities between some of the buttons, but none of them are exactly the same.
My buttons range in size from about 1-1/2 inches in diameter (sold in sets of two for $20) to up to 2-3/4 inches in diameter (retailing for $20 each). They are all high-fired to full vitrification, making them very durable.
The buttons shown here are just a few of what I have to offer at Monica's store, and some may be sold already, so my best advice is to head on down to her store as soon as you can to get first-pick of your favorites. Monica is hosting a quilting retreat this weekend, so it's likely that many of these buttons will be snatched up soon!
I'll be making lots more in the future because it is SO much fun, and now I have an electric kiln of my own, so I can truly unleash my creativity with ceramics. I love the idea of making miniature works of art that other fabric and fiber artists can use in their handmade creations. My buttons are very big, so they're not what I would call "practical" because they require huge buttonholes! But they make beautiful embellishments suitable for crocheted, knitted, felted, quilted, and embroidered handbags, scarves, shawls, quilts, and other fiber/fabric arts.
I'll post more pix of my creations from time to time. Right now, I'm very busy making more buttons!
Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations is located at 77780 Country Club Drive, Palm Desert CA 92211.
Phone: 760.772.2400
Happy creating,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mom Models Pure-Knit Shawl with My New Handmade Buttons!

Last week I ordered one of those gorgeous PURE knit shawls that are so popular right now, as a gift for my mom. At 80 years old, she's more sensitive to the cold, especially around her neck and shoulders. So when I saw these beautiful shawls online, I had to purchase one for her right away.
But I confess, I had another motivation! "Mom, how would you like to be a model?" I asked her this morning. Like a good sport, she went along with my plan. You see, I've been taking a very intensive ceramics workshop at Idyllwild Arts for the past two weeks with Greg Kennedy and David Delgado. During the workshop, while the other students made beautiful bowls, teapots, mugs, vases, and other large decorative items, I worked almost exclusively on my new line of ceramic buttons and pendants.
I wanted to show them off, and it seemed only natural to alter Mom's new knit shawl with my own handmade buttons! Hence the modeling job. I put Mom to work! Here she is, showing another way to wear the shawl wrapped more closely around the shoulders:
Doesn't she look great for 80, and NO makeup—except a little lipstick. Go Mom! Here's a picture of the third button on her shawl (it comes with plain coconut buttons, which are cute enough, but it's more fun to embellish clothing with your own wearable art):
So I thought I'd share a few photos of some of my other buttons that came out of the kiln last week. Here's a trio of 2-inch diameter buttons in blue/brown glaze:
More hearts; they measure about 2-1/4 inches in diameter:
Some funky round buttons that measure about 2-1/2 inches in diameter:
Gotta love these square ones! But they're big, about 2-1/4 inches in diameter:
More square buttons of about the same size; I love the glaze combinations (I did lots of layering):
Earthy designs make these squares pop out:
Although I prefer the dark, grungy look, I can also work in lighter colors:
Back to grungy! I just love these two:
This photo gives you a closeup view and a better idea of just how large these buttons are. They are big and bold, heavy, and decorative more than functional. Definitely not practical; my buttons are much more suitable for sewing onto knit or crocheted items like handbags, scarves, hats, shawls, big bulky sweaters, and the like.
This morning I talked with Monica over at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations (Palm Desert) and she's considering taking on some of my buttons in her store on a commission basis. I hope to get them down to the desert this Thursday so she can have a look, but I'm not sure if I'll make it due to the firefighting efforts taking place right now in the forest just below Idyllwild. Our firefighters are the best in the world, so I have no doubt they'll have this thing under control within a couple of days. For now, the highway is closed so everyone's staying in town. I'll keep you updated and if Monica decides to sell my buttons in her store, I'll let you know right away!