Sunday, May 31, 2009

New items . . .

. . . in the new Etsy shop. My new shop is komponents, created to separate pieces and parts from the finished jewelry in my Palm Coast Art shop. Since way back when we first started exhibiting my jewelry in Florida art shows I have had many requests to sell my handmade charms separately.

Well I have finally gotten around to having a few of them cast in bronze and they are now available at komponents. I'm gradually building my inventory so stop by when you can and take a look!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Young Artists

We were blessed with visitors this Memorial Day weekend; daughter Kris, her husband Dave, grandsons Cade and Cole and canine grand-daughter Lucy. After a car tour of the area we parked down along the Illinois River and went for a walk. It was a long walk with disappointment at the end when, hot and thirsty, we found nothing open but Hooters and considered it inappropriate to take the young boys there. Back to the car and over the bridge to the Texas Roadhouse for cold beverages and hot food!

Lucy and Peanut were happy to welcome us home and the boys were itching to try out the hot tub. Sadly, they are now old enough to refuse being photographed during baths but I assure you they enjoyed the bubbles!

Memorial Day was gray and rainy but that was good for us. Following donuts and another car tour, this time of Grandpa Jim's jobsite, the boys and I went off to the studio for some art time. It's so interesting to note the difference between brothers. Cole immediately knew what he wanted to create and didn't stop until his clay ship with three cannons was complete. Cade, on the other hand, seemed overwhelmed by the choices of medium much like I am on some days. He learned to make a wire armature and decorated it with a clay skull and cheesecloth gown. After that it was on to jewelry. Yes, guys can wear necklaces of Greek leather with a simple guitar pick dangling.

Progressing to resin, Cade found a bezel and some Chinese coins that fit just right. We added our resin and, once cured, attached the pendant to more leather. It turned out so well that he made another for his good friend Wyatt. Cole, decisive once again, immediately chose a miniature gravestone from which he would not be deterred. His vessel of choice was a bottle cap and after curing the resin we attached a bail and strung his creation. "Art time" was a success!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Really good things . . .

. . . come in small packages. On Friday our mail carrier knocked to let me know she had a small package for me. It's not unusual for me to forget that I've ordered something, so I immediately looked at the return address; it was from jewelry artist Deryn Mentock. I love, love, love her work! If you're not familiar with Deryn you can check out her blog or her Etsy shop. Chances are any current, or past, issue of a Somerset magazine will feature either her jewelry or mixed media art. And if that's not enough for you, have a look at some of her photography. She's also hosted a jewelry challenge over the past year or so that I've participated in.

Back to the package. I have had a project in mind for some time and knew I'd seen one like it somewhere a long time ago and I needed some information on where to get some of the materials. After contacting what I thought was the obvious source and being wrong, it occurred to me that I had seen a photo of this project attributed to Deryn. Yes, I'm being secretive about the specifics of the project for now but you'll see it eventually here on my blog.

Anyway, I emailed Deryn to ask about where to get a ring binder assembly like she had used in the original project. These are apparently quite difficult to find unless you are willing to purchase a couple hundred of them. Deryn couldn't remember where she got her assemblies -- she emailed me that she had one lying around somewhere, asked for my address and
said she would send it to me.

When I opened the package I found she had sent me two of the binder assemblies and -- surprise! -- a bonus package of great beads. It's almost as if she knew of my obsession with skulls.

The binder assemblies that I desperately needed and cool handcarved bone beads! Thank you, Deryn, for your kindness and sharing! And the rest of you: send someone something! It doesn't have to be large or expensive, just send it and make someone's day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And she's off . . .

. . . her rocker, that is. Thought it was about time to venture outside with the new outdoor roller skates. I looked pretty cool, didn't I, sitting on the toilet wearing my gear in a previous post? Yeah, yeah, I'm cool. And it was pretty nifty skating around the house on the hardwood floors that one day a couple weeks ago. After all, my dad was a professional roller skater and my mom and sister nearly so.

I am back home now (obviously) safe but no more sound than when I left. I would say my first outdoor skating experience lasted about, oh let's say, maybe ten minutes. Keep in mind that I NEVER skated outdoors as a child and haven't been on skates in a rink in probably over thirty years.

I'm happy to say that there weren't many people out there to view my performance and not a single driver hurtled off the bridge above me while gawking. I also have my first fall behind (get it?) me. Nothing serious, just went down on my left hip while nearly standing still. As always before, I continue to be a bit unbalanced.

Thought I'd share with you a few of the thoughts I had in the course of the event:

"I know Heather said rocks could be deadly but I didn't think that included sizes less than four millimeters."

"Didn't realize last week when I walked this route with Peanut that some is blacktop and some is sidewalk and THEY ARE DIFFERENT. And, hey, the sidewalk has CRACKS."

"Whoa, this part didn't LOOK like it went downhill!"

And afterword:
"Who'd have thought elbows could sweat this much?"

After getting back to the car and stripping off the gear I realized that I was yawning almost non-stop. Possibly because I had held my breath the entire time I had the skates on.

And one final thought:
No matter whether your sister, mom or aunt tells you otherwise, it isn't like riding a bike and outside is never going to be the same as a nice, wooden rink floor.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art and Prayers . . .

. . . can certainly go together. Recently my fine knitter of a sister introduced me to the "prayer shawl" movement. She and a group of her knitter friends get together regularly to create shawls and throws which, once finished, are blessed by the church and delivered to those in need. Some are taken to patients in the hopitals, others to nursing homes. They are freely given to the sick, healing and grieving among us.

Although my limited understanding of the history of this movement is that it is of Christian origin, certainly the shawls are not limited to those followers. My interpretation is that anyone who wishes to can knit, crochet, weave or otherwise create a comforting blanket of fiber while instilling his or her positive prayers, thoughts and/or energy. As an artist, I believe strongly that a bit of the energy and intention of the creator of any piece of art lives within that piece forevermore.

I'm now on my third shawl, having sent the first to a friend who is fighting cancer. It was knit in Homespun "Quartz."


The second went to an aunt in her 80s and was knit in Homespun "Tudor."


It looked exactly like the one of the cover of this first book. I have been using Lion Brand Homespun yarn which knits up into a soft and cuddly shawl and, by the way, comes in no less than 66 colors. If you are interested in taking up needle or hook, here are the books I recommend as a start.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, you can click on them in the "carousel" in the bottom left column of this blog and you will be taken right to to make your purchase. The prices for these books, in order, are $9.37, $9.37 and $13.57. Happy knitting!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The fruits . . .

. . . of my loins. Er, that sounds kind of gross. And they really aren't fruits anyway, they are peoples. My children.

The photo above is one of four I received in my email on Mother's Day. All are equally lovely but I thought this one captured their smiles the best. Initially I thought the photos were taken and sent to me in response to the following video which I received last week from a friend in Florida. Thanks, Ceil!

My daughter assures me, however, that my kids had the idea first (although they thoroughly enjoyed the video). She further assures me also that no one was harmed in the taking of the photos.

If you read my Mother's Day post, I want to say here that I received a comment on it from my son which read:

"I could think of one I'd like to thank for everything...I love you, momma. Thank you for everything...I'd be nothing without you. (insert pic of momma and I here that this thing won't let me copy into)Happy Mother's DayI love you "

I'm taking the liberty of choosing and inserting said photo below.

In addition, I recently answered a batch of questions posted on Denise's blog with regard to parenting. In further response to those questions, namely about what I might have done differently, I found this message which I assumed was sent for me directly from the universe yesterday at If you don't know about Post Secret, I urge you to take a look there. Since it is too late to redo the past, I'm taking this as a sign of what I need to do in my future parenting (moms my age know it NEVER ends).

And thanks to everyone who emailed me with feedback about my Mother's Day post!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day . . .

. . .to all good mothers everywhere and especially to the particularly wonderful moms I know personally. Here are just a handful of them in no particular order.




Sue and Grandma Marge

Susan Grandma Gene


I only wish I had photos of all the moms I'd like to honor today. Those who did their best and those still doing it. Moms who have passed, especially Jeanette, my mother Bernice, Tess (my surrogate Mom), my beautiful godmother Robbie, Aunt Caroline . . .

Moms who are my friends like Alice, Sally, Rosemary, Cathy, Cherie . . .

My Aunt May, cousins Nancy, Jean and Alice . . .

Moms who made the beds today and those who didn't . . .

Moms who work in offices, factories, hospitals and schools or at home; moms who drive the school bus and the car pools . . .

Moms who always know right where to find a bandaid but can't find their car keys . . .

Last, but not least, I want to honor the moms who have stood through the worst imaginable experience -- the loss of a child.

Let's honor them all today, think about where we'd be without them (we wouldn't!) and send them all our thoughts of love and peace.

Happy Mother's Day

New items, old Etsy shop . . .

. . . old items, new Etsy shop. I really enjoy making jewelry components and wanted to offer some of them for sale so quite a while ago I began selling my handmade headpins and pipe bezels on my Etsy shop, After a sleepless night I decided at 4:00 am this morning that I needed to create another shop to separate components and destash items from my jewelry shop. It took me a while to come up with a name for the new shop, to make my banner and avatar and get it set up. Here it is:

komponents Not too many items listed so far, just headpins and bezels that I moved from my other shop. If you're wondering what in the world "destash" is, it is just what it sounds like -- items from my "stash" that I no longer wish to hold on to.To visit the new shop click here or on the screen shot above:

Meanwhile, I've added a few new items to Palmcoastart and here they are.

A bracelet made with copper, mother of pearl, green and purple amethysts:

A pair of earrings, vintage acrylic beads and antiqued brass -- I wouldn't mind hanging on to these myself:

And another bracelet completely made of fused fine silver:

Click on any of the photos to get the details.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Here it is . . .

. . Monday again! Where did the time go? Had a great visit with Heather; a week wasn't long enough. Thanks so much to Stephen for the transportation. What did we do all week? Walked on the track at the club. Went to Wal-Mart too many times. Made jewelry? Not enough. Ate? Too much. Yummy olives!Slept. Again, too much. Watched TV and movies -- Doubt, Milk, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Roller skated in the house. It rained every day!

This afternoon Peanut and I took a walk to see where the path that passes the Riverplex ends up and whether it would be good for skating. Wow! You can skate all the way along the river to Hooters (yippie.)! I don't consider Hooters a destination but before you get there you have passed: my yoga studio, The Rhythm Kitchen, Contemporary Arts Center, the Antique Center, the riverboat dock (for rides on the river), Joe's Crab Shack, Old Chicago (good beer selection), Tilley's (pricey restaurant), Martinis on Water and Johnny's Hideaway.
A plus - at the end, at Hooters, there is a nicely graded railroad crossing and only one more block to the Water Street Cafe and Kelleher's. Can't wait!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We are Skype-ready!

If you haven't heard of "Skype" what rock have you been hiding under? Probably the one I was under until recently. Skype is a free service on the internet. One that is worth paying for BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO! Run, don't walk, to your nearest electronics store (we went to Best Buy) and pick up a webcam with integral microphone. You can get them anywhere from about $35 up. We're happy with our HP. Just check the system requirements against your PC to be sure you can run it. You'll get a CD for installation, plug the camera in and GO! Jim installed ours the same day Denise installed hers and here's one of the screens:
What prompted this? We were looking for a way to open birthday gifts in the presence of family living hundreds of miles away. Just think, you can get together with distant friends and family on birthdays, Christmas, Arbor Day!

Later on Heather got to Skype with Denise, Anya and their mystery visitor. The photo below is a screen shot.
What a great way to keep in touch! Check in with the kids, watch the grandchildren and puppies grow, I can't say enough about how cool this is.