Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day!

Came home from Tucson to a little snow.  It made me happy to experience two ends of the spectrum in one day.  We had a really fun, frenetic and productive time.  I got lots of wonderful new goodies and tools that I can't wait to use (I'll post about all that soon).  I met lots of new people who will be in my memory for a long time.  Paul and I met 2 men from California who are jade divers at Big Sur.  I spent a long time talking to Dana Suess a computer engineer who creates apps for smart phones that make keyboards easier to use.  Dana is the son of Miland Suess, who makes some of the best jewelry tools around.  I met a man from Morocco who imports giant slabs of fossils to be used as counter tops for kitchens.  I talked with a man from Haiti who sells beautiful metal wall art made from discarded oil drums.  I watched geodes being cracked open to the delight of the young and old at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society Show.  I had a long talk with a guy who sells meteorites from all over the world (and bought a couple from Siberia).  Who knew there was so much to know about meteorites?  I met an American, living in Bali who in search of a simpler life, now makes jewelry from things he collects on the beaches there. I went to the GJX show just to buy stones from Gary Wilson, who cuts cabochons in the most interesting, distinctive way that I've seen.  Ask Gary about a specific stone, and he always has a wealth of information about it.  I've learned so much from him. I went to another show to see Ebrima Sillah, who I know from the Bead and Button show.  My friend Gail introduced me to Ebrima and his wife Ruth a few years ago.  Ruth has a wonderful bead store in Oberlin, Ohio called Bead Paradise. Ebrima sells beautiful, old African beads and is eager to share what he knows.  On my last day in Tucson, a few miles south of all of the sparkly things at all of the shows, I saw people living a much slower and simpler life on the Tohono O'odham Nation.  Afterwards, we stood alone in the desert, listening to the silent, ancient saguaro cacti and looking up at the clear, blue sky.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


After I return from Tucson, I'll be opening a new Etsy store (in addition to my jewelry and findings shop).  It will be a tool shop.  You all know how much I love tools!  I will have many of the tools that I use everyday.  Many of the tools that I commonly use in my classes will be available in my new shop, including riveting hammers, chasing hammers, saws, bench pins, French shears, bench blocks and much more.   I'll post here again when it's up and running.

Friday, February 3, 2012



Jewelry Haiku Generator

Fretz Goldsmith Hammer
lovely, strong, powerful....mine
Oh, how I love thee
by: silverschmidt


Jewelry Haiku Generator

Why do people say
"Dumb as a bag of hammers"?
Hammers are my friends
by: joolie

Rio Grande has a fun random haiku generator on their blog right now.  I tried it twice and these were the first poems that I got.  Kinda says it all, doesn't it?  It's fun, go try it here.


 Slide Tubes on a rubber cord bracelet.

 PMC Toggle

 Zig Zag Scallop Necklace taught by Julie Campbell (designed by Sheryl Yanagi).

 Sidewinder bracelet taught by Jeanne Craine.

Wire-Wrapped beads taught by Jeanne Craine.  

Cindi from Bead Haven will be hosting February classes at the Fairfax Center on Saturday, February 25.  I'll be teaching 2 PMC classes that day.  In the morning we'll be making fine silver tube beads which are perfect on a bracelet or on a chain and in the afternoon we'll learn how to make our own toggles.  Julie Campbell and Jeanne Craine will also be teaching classes that day (see the photos above).  Jeanne is teaching a third class that day, but I couldn't get the picture to load!  See that picture on the Bead Haven website.  Cindi Slater will also be teaching 2 free sessions of how to crimp and make wire wrapped loops for earrings.  These are 2 of the basics of jewelry making, so if you've always wanted to learn, now's your chance (and for free!).  It should be a fun day filled with a lot of laughs and learning.  See all of the details on the Bead Haven website.


Valentine is located in downtown Iowa City, next to Herteen and Stocker.

 Some of the Valentine inspired earrings that I took to Valentine today.

Bronze Heart Pendants

Iowa City has a new pop up store called Valentine.  I took some work there today.  It's a very cute store filled with lots of fun handmade gifts.  I love the pop up concept.  If you don't know, pop up stores are retail spaces set up for a limited amount of time after which they close.  Often, they're in store fronts that would otherwise be vacant.  There have been Halloween pop ups around for a long time in our area, but the gift pop up is a fairly recent thing here.  It's a fresh, fun way to shop and a really nice way for artists to get work out into their own community, which isn't always easy.  Go check it out if you have a chance or visit their Facebook page here.