Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wanna make a sample??

WOW! Thanks so much for your enthusiastic response to my Vine Ring Kit. I am super excited that so many of you ordered it and can't wait to see how they come out.

I have been busy working on my next kit. It will be available in my Etsy store soon.

It's called "Rustic Shield Pendant". It features a pressed silhouette shape and metal sheet in copper, leather and micro screws. I really love it. Since I am such a busy gal lately I need some sample makers so I have some fantastic examples to show what you can make out of it.

This is where you come in. I need three people willing make samples from the kit.  I'll send you enough supplies, templates and instructions to make two shield charms. One is for you to keep and one is to send back to me. The kit is for the pendant only. How you use it in a finished piece is left to your imagination. 

Think of the kit as a starting point and feel free to put your own design stamp on the piece.  I am going to use the samples that you return to me as examples to show customers what can be done with the kit so they will be pictured online and taken to shows. You can return just the completed charm or make a simple completed piece, either way works for me.

If you're interested leave a message in the comments below. I'll choose three replies and contact you to get your mailing info. The kits will go out next week with the samples back to me two weeks after that. So let's say around December 1.

You'll need the following tools:
Chasing or texture hammer
Bench block
Metal shears
1.5-1.8mm hole punch
Two pair chain nose pliers
Half round metal file
Torch for flame patina
Liver of Sulpur
Fine tip permanent marker
Metal Stamps (optional) or a medium-sized nail or screw

Thanks so much! I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NEW!!! Class in a Kit

Over the years, I have had requests from students for kits from my classes. It's always been on my  to-do list and I am so excited to offer the first one.

 Vine Stack Rings
The kit features beautiful sterling silver wire that I have patterned and annealed. I have included copper practice wire in the kit so you can hone your skills before jumping in to the sterling silver.

You can find them in my Etsy store at this link. Kit includes the wire and detailed step-by-step instructions with photos. You supply the tools. It's perfect for the advanced beginner. New to soldering or want to learn more? Grab my book Simple Soldering, also listed in my shop.

Hope you like it and stay tuned... more kits are coming soon!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Playing With Beads

I love metal. Soldering is my thing. But like many of you I started as a beader. The simple act of putting beads on a string is so relaxing, plus you get the added bonus of a necklace to wear at the end of it all.

I have not made a necklace in a while and inspiration arrived in the form of this wonderful post over at the blog, about their employee beading day. It was a walk down memory lane for me, as this is where I got my start in the bead biz back in 1992. Owner Janice Parsons is one of the most gifted bead artists I know. She started beading many years ago at her mother's antique store. That store evolved into The Bead Shop of Palo Alto, CA and the rest is history. Now the legacy of The Bead Shop lives on online at

Back in the day as an employee of The Bead Shop I lived and breathed beads. Every day there was a new challenge, a new necklace to string or earring to wire wrap. We had such BEAUTIFUL beads. Vintage, semi-precious, tribal, handmade... you name it, we strung it. I learned a lot from Janice, my fellow employees and our wonderful customers. That experience started me on my beaded career path.

So... seeing the great bead combinations that JP and her gang put together on their team beading day made me want to get out the beads and create. And that's just what I did. I took photos along the way to share my process. This is a photo-heavy post. To see the pictures in more detail, click on each to enlarge.

I wanted to create a piece that was reminiscent of my early beading days. The first beads I loved had a tribal/ethnic feel to them. I poked around in my bead stash and put this mix together. I really didn't have a finished design in mind other than I knew I wanted to make a multi-strand piece strung in a random style.

Metal  spacers are a MUST! That strand of copper heishi dates from my early Bead Shop days. I used to put that bead in everything I made.

I added some seed beads to the mix. Tiny beads are a must in a random multi-strand design. These great beads came from Baubles and Beads in Berkeley, CA (another great local-to-me bead store.)

Aren't these AMAZING!!! Czech glass picasso beads, also from Baubles and Beads. I threw those in the mix (even though I wanted to hoard them.)

I got this clasp from Saki Silver at BeadFest this past August. The cones are from Tierra Cast. Cones are perfect for closing multi-strands.

I cut 5 long strands of nylon bead thread and began to string. Random pattern. Stringing each strand a bit before passing over to the next so they grow at an even pace.

Added in a turquoise disc for interest. Divided and passed the threads through the center hole. At this point I felt that I needed an additional strand, so I untied the knot I made at the beginning, added another thread and strung it to this point.

Added beads so they covered the thread over the disc. Knotted everything to hold it together under the disc and kept going.

And going.

And going.

Until I reached the end.

To close, I tied all of the strands together in an overhand knot like the one I made at the beginning. I added a drop of Hypo Cement to each knot and let dry. Then I cut the thread just above the knots.

To attach the cones, I cut a piece of 18-gauge wire and made a loop at the end to capture the strands and wire wrapped the loop closed.

I slid the cone down and wire wrapped the clasp to the end and did the same for the other side.

And that's it! The necklace is ready to wear.

This project is a great way to work with beads in your stash. Thanks for the inspiration, Bead Shop team!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Got You, BABE!!

Fall is about many things... baseball (Go Giants!), pumpkin spiced everything, scarves, brilliant sunsets, and falling leaves. It's one of my favorite times of the year.

You know what it's also time for? That fall classic... the BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza) show in Oakland, CA. It's a shopping and class mecca.  Two days of shopping, Saturday and Sunday November 15-16 and THREE days of classes, November 14-16.

I have three classes up on the roster...

Make beautiful beads with cold connections...

Hone your soldering skills using copper, brass and sterling silver...
Twist and forge metal to make chain, components and bracelets...

Won't you join me? The host hotel The Oakland Marriot City Center is offering a great rate and there are so many great restaurants nearby. Plus you get to bead and shop and take classes all weekend! Treat yourself before the holiday rush and do something creative. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Live from Knoxville, it's JTV!

Hi everybody!
Just a quick post from the soundstage at JTV. I am in Knoxville at their annual customer appreciation days and that means classes and an appearance on-air.

If you get JTV on your cable system tune in today at 10AM Eastern 7AM Pacific or live on They also post past shows on their YouTube channel so you can check it out there.

Honestly. I love doing live tv and this time we have a studio audience in attendance. Who knows what will happen! The spontaneity is super fun and really energizing.

Sorry about the lack of photos for this post. My wifi signal is a bit weak, so behind the scene snaps will have to wait 'til a later post.

Now it's off to reapply some lipstick and grab another cuppa coffee. Lights. Camera. Action.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Trunk Show, classes and the 20 things I've been doing since I last posted...

Okay. I know it's a long title. It's been a long year, so I think it's appropriate for this post. It's August in like a second and the days are seeming just a bit shorter. Do you feel like you were just making your New Year's resolutions? Yeah, me too.

So I have some things to share. Events, classes, travel...

But first here is a list of 20 things that I have been doing since March 23 and the last time I wrote a blog post:
1. Got married to the best guy in the world.
2. Worked on a ready made jewelry line that is now selling nationally.
3. Taught classes at BeadFest Texas.
4. Drove across Texas with Jessica Gaston a la Thema and Louise. (Except for the Brad Pitt part and that driving off the cliff thing.)
5. Discovered the Warrington, Round Top, Marberger Antique Shows in south Texas.
6. Worked on my wax carving skills with Bob Burkett.
7. Spent some time by the sea.
8. Had an interesting job interview.
9. Said goodbye to a family member.
10. Met the best handyman in San Francisco for hauling all kinds of crap away.
11. Went to a great concert.
12. Rocked the Dallas Gift Show.
13. Flew 30,000 miles so far.
14. Met 60 new family members.
15. Culled my shoe collection.
16. Grew out my hair.
17. Planned a vacation.
18. Bought a hydraulic press for my studio.
19. Rounded out my wine cellar (okay, it the wine rack in the closet, but still).
20. Did I mention that I got married to the best guy in the world?

Whew. So as my friend Mary says. "Well, that happened."

So now with August upon us, I have dusted out the studio, polished up my tools and am throwing open the doors on Friday evening, August 1st (4-7 PM) and Saturday, August 2 (10-3) and hosting my friend Ava Motherwell and her fantastic bead collection for a fabulous trunk show.

Aren't they luscious?
(Insert a brief story here. I met Ava back in 1992. That was twentymumblesomething years ago. I loved her beads at first sight and I know you will too. Glass beads are really my first love in the bead world, and her collection is outstanding.)

I also have sat down with my calendar and scheduled a couple of classes in the studio for the fall. You can learn how to use the hydraulic press to make all kinds of cool metal components for your jewelry and/or learn a metal manipulation technique to make bangles, cuffs and chain. Sign up at my Etsy store or in person this weekend.

 I also have some classes coming up at BeadFest Philly in a couple of weeks after I rock the New Orleans gift show. If you are around either of what-I-am-sure-are-to-be-super-fun-events stop by and say hello.

I promise not to be so silent the rest of this year. Either that or look for another long list recaping the second half of this year in December. Hope to see you this weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

BeadFest I come!


I am packing my bags and headin' south to Arlington, Texas this weekend!

It's BeadFest Texas time and I have a couple of classes on the schedule with a few openings. I am really excited about teaching my new(-ish) Tube Setting Class.

Here are  samples from the tube setting class I taught a few weeks ago in my studio. You'll make rings and a pendant in class, and learn to set a lovely stone in a simple tube setting. Perfect for the beginning metalsmith who wants to expand their horizons!

I also have a session of my most popular class EVER...Simple Soldering Boot Camp. Perfect for the beginner who wants to jump into soldering.

Find the enrollment link here. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winners! 'Cause I am crazy like that!

Thanks so much for your kind words on the preceding Dakota Stones post. The random number generator chose rhealeanne as the lucky winner. But you know what? Since I had nine more nice folks commenting, and since I have some nice beads to share, I am going to send each of my commentors a little giftie.

If you commented on the last post, send me an email through the "contact me" link on this blog with your mailing address and I'll send it out to you when I get back from my gift show trip after January 20th.

Have a great week everyone! And just a quick reminder, if you are going to the Tucson Gem Shows, I'll be teaching some great classes at JOGS at JewelryTools' Education Center. Check them all out here: and use the following coupon codes to save when you enroll!
  • Buy 1 class, get $20 off: KR1420
  • Buy 3 classes, get $75 off: KR1475
  • Buy 6 classes, get $175 off: KR14175 
Congrats to my commentors and hope to see some of my blog readers in Tucson. More info on other classes that I am teaching this year is coming up soon.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Featured Designer for Dakota Stones this Month and a Giveaway!

Comments are closed! Check the next post for the winner!
What an honor! The lovely bead purveyor Dakota Stones contacted me a couple of months ago and asked if I would be a featured designer for their monthly blog series. Would I? A chance to design some jewelry using stones from one of my favorite suppliers? Sign me up.

It was a really fun project to do. Stringing beads is my first love. (I know I wrote the book on how to solder, but beads were my gateway drug.) So I grabbed my Soft Flex beading wire and went to work. (Okay, there is SOME metal and soldering in there, but mostly it's BEADS!!)

Here is a teaser picture of one of the projects. To see the rest, hop on over and read the entire post on their blog.
Like I mentioned before, I love to string beads! If you have not beaded for a while, I urge you to jump in and string up a quick project. Soft Flex beading wire (.019 original silver color is my favorite) makes it fast and easy. Brush up on your stringing skills with my FREE class from


It has a running time of 50 minutes and shows you all of the basic skills you need to string a sturdy necklace. Plus I am wearing a sassy red dress in the video.

I also have a little kit of treasures to give away to one lucky reader. I have a lovely centerpiece (like the one I used in one of my blog designs) a variety of semi-precious beads and a mini-spool of Soft Flex. Just add a few beads from your stash to round things out, and voila! You'll be on your way to stringing. Comments will be open through this Sunday, January 12. I'll pick a winner on Monday and send your packet out after I get back from my adventures on the 20th (more about what I am doing coming up this week!)

Happy commenting and good luck!