Sunday, 21 December 2014

New Bracelets going into the One of a Kind Antique Mall, Woodstock, TODAY...

Apologies for not posting more, but I have been doing nothing but typing for almost three weeks, and it has NOT stopped coming in. That's good, right? Well... not when I'm having to turn work down, it ain't.

Meanwhile, I'm having great fun with Stretch Magic, my new fave material. Remember those stretch crystal bracelets I posted a few weeks ago? They're almost all gone. 

These bead soup bracelets, along with some necklaces, are all going into the Antique Mall (showcase 800 over in the showcase area to the right of the cash desk) in Woodstock, Ontario, later this morning. (FYI, the Antmall will be closed December 25th and 26th.) They are all one of a kind. If you see something you like, I can drive there and get it (if it hasn't been sold in the meantime). I can't guarantee that it will arrive before Christmas, but... between Canada Post overnight service at megabucks per package, ya never know. (Or you can pretend you're Italian and you have until January 6th to give gifts!). Please email me for availability and handling/shipping costs. Right now, it's ***around*** $5 regular surface mail in Canada and ***around*** $10-$15 to the US for small thick envelopes and/or parcels. 

As an FYI on shipping costs, if it's shipped in a flat bubble wrap pack and fits through that plexi "mail slot" gadget they have at the post office, it's not too expensive to ship, $3-ish for Canada, BUT it ends up being "automatically" sorted which means it goes through umpteen rollers in the mail plant, so fragile beads or wire-wrapped work could get squashed. Upgrade to a thicker wrapping or flat box, and you're in the $10-$15 range for regular shipping, but the parcel is hand-sorted and you might have to drive to your local post office to pick it up. My price to mail includes the cost of the envelope/appropriate packaging, and trust me on this -- it often takes as much time if not longer to pack and drive a purchase to the post office than to make the item in the first place. Each time I see "$25 shipping" even for a tiny package of beads coming from the US, oh, man, it hurts so, so much! -- but I do appreciate all the work that goes into packing items and getting them to the post office, often within hours of me clicking on "Buy Now". 

This is so pretty. 

Note that the citrine is not that richly yellow. It's just my crappy photography.

Roman glass with aquamarine and pewter daisy spacers.

Brilliant peacock blue titantium-coated hematite:

These bracelets are comfortably loose on me, so would fit about a 7-7.5" wrist. As always, if you see anything you like but you need a custom size or want to commission a custom piece, please don't hesitate to email me. 

On other fronts I've signed up for The Gem Expo coming up on March 13th-15th and booked my hotel. I WILL be there this time with lots and lots of new turquoise including some beautiful hand-carved skulls and buttons. I'll have a great selection of Roman glass, matte lapis and really nice hand-cut carnelian in unusual colours: yellows through yellowy-oranges and reds to almost chocolate purple colours from Afghanistan, plus different sizes and shapes of old chevron beads from Nepal and some great Dzi-style beads. If you have anything on your wish list, I will try to find it for you and bring it to the show. 

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Prototype Leather Cage-Wrapped Skull...

This was a fun project. Like, not. Eeesh. This very slippery carved skull of wood or something -- but very nicely done -- has two holes at the jawbone, but if I tried to put wire or leather through that, the skull would of course hang upside down.

My customer is very, very particular. Doesn't like frou-frou-ey stuff, doesn't like shiny, doesn't like large. But he does like a backstory. While I was first playing with the skull and test-wrapping various wires and leather around it it reminded me of those medieval cages that criminals and such were hung in to starve and get their eyes picked out by ravens; essentially to be rendered down to a facsimile of what I was holding in my hand. Hey, I get up at 3:30 in the morning to go to the market. I'm allowed.

Here is the prototype. He can play with this and try to make the skull fall out, and then when/if the design is approved I'll probably redo it a little more tidily.

I hammered the 1.5mm Greek leather to flatten it... keep the three layers of leather as flat as possible, which I then wrapped with 24 gauge copper wire. I probably would've used 26 gauge, but I didn't have any, and if I do this again I will make that weaving a few rows larger. It looks pretty cool.

This is the back of the skull, again, should've used 26 gauge. Even though this is dead soft wire, it sure hardens fast. The resulting lumpiness kinda reminds me of brains. And I really like the self-bail, how that turned out.

I mentioned my customer doesn't like shiny: this wire will tarnish very nicely after a while. After I took the picture, I used my pliers to make waves in the wire and tighten them up a bit.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, 5 December 2014

It took me two days...

This is the mess I've managed to create in just two days. I spent several hours yesterday sorting tax receipts into quarters, and then my pal Brenda arrived to learn some wire-wrapping techniques, so the receipt piles all got shoved to the back against the wall. Who knows how long they'll remain there as I just got a pile of typing in.

This is the pendant I wrapped with dead soft copper wire and which will be going on my market table tomorrow morning. No idea what the stone is. Reminds me of snowflake obsidian, but this doesn't have the opacity, and it's dyed. Most of the beads on the table in the above picture will end up wrapped. You can get some really cool examples of beads on multi-strings for next to nothing. I got mine from Arton in Toronto a year or two ago.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Buh-bye, faithful fuzzy green couch...

Max's old "dog bed" just left to go to its new owners Quincy and Brenda, thereby making way for MORE space to pile beads.

Any bets on how long it will take to pile this table high?

New scores destined for Booth 800 at the One of a Kind Antique Mall in Woodstock:

A bone china teacup and saucer, hand-painted in a lily of the valley design, Nippon. I've never seen that style of foot -- is that what it's called? -- on a teacup, and look at the translucency!

Anne of Green Gables doll sitting in a wicker rocking chair...

Two sets of custom/gallery-made gold-painted wooden frames...

...aaaand a shaggy puppy cement doorstop/garden ornament.

Email me if you're interested in any of the foregoing items (except for Quincy; he's definitely NFS). Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Disaster Struck... I won't be at the Gem Expo this weekend...

I'm so very, very sorry, but a lethal combination of no work for a month plus a dodgy truck caused me on Monday night to have to pull out of The Gem Expo coming up this weekend. A zillion apologies to anyone who goes to the show looking for me. You can always email me if you're looking for particular beads and I can ship them out asap. I'm 99% sure Ruth and I will be there in March, though.

Meanwhile, the truck is now okay, but it takes being in low 4 to get out of here. I do love 4x4ing. Work? Ewchh. That's very troubling and a whole 'nother story. Keeping my toes and eyes firmly crossed that something comes flying over the digital transom sooner than soon.

Stay tuned. New goodies arriving shortly.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Nephrite Jade, Carnelian & Black Cinnabar Necklace & Earrings...

Hah -- with reference to a discussion with Lisa Yang two posts ago, I had to take apart old jewellery to get one more carnelian bead for the necklace and then, while I was at it, tore apart an unsold bracelet to get two 6mm beads for the earrings. I figured I should make earrings now because the long bicone shape of the jade will be difficult to ever find again and typical customers in my mind's eye do like earrings.

'Scuse also the bad colour -- these really are a dark and dullish jade on the yellow side of the spectrum and the carnelian is a deep orange: not this Christmassy. I will try rephotographing tomorrow.

Necklace is 25.5" long. $125 for the necklace and earrings. I take PayPal and Square. Shipping and handling extra. Please email me for availability.

The inspiration to make this necklace was pure procrastination -- a highly underrated tool, at least in my creative arsenal -- and which came about as I was restringing and pricing bead strands for The Gem Expo. Hard to believe, in seven days I will be packing my truck for the show, and one week tomorrow, unless the forecast changes, I will be driving through snow and whatnot to get to Toronto. I'm really looking forward to being in Toronto. The drive? Mmmm, not so much.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Last of My Flowers...

...still budding and blooming. I picked the last few stems off this morning before storing the planters for the winter. Each morning I think I'll have woken up to a white world. Figured picking and bringing them inside would give them a little longer chance of survival. I've never ever had flowers last this long. Maybe my eternal black thumb has finally turned green. Does that mean I'm officially old now?

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Necklace Design Evolution...

...from a serendipitous combination of beads, through the design and finding a buyer, and then altering it a couple of times to fit.

Back in July, while gathering up beads for the Gem Expo, these beads - hand-carved matte Afghanistan jade, dyed serpentine lotus flowers and watermelon tourmaline slices -- magically came together almost by themselves.

I finally got around to making the necklace in late September. Part of my internal debate was whether to go with gold or silver/pewter spacers and clasp, but I dunno, the greens are all on the cool side and I use very little gold and/or brass in my jewellery anyway.

I sold the necklace within weeks. However, it needed radical shortening because the new owner is so tiny -- quite apart from the overall length of the necklace, she was drowning in all the large beads. I lopped off two of the watermelon tourmaline slices and used them in the earrings which, silly bobo me, I forgot to photograph.

I also noticed when Gizella tried on what ended up being a too-short necklace that those narrow spacer beads weren't working between the tourmaline slices. There was such a sharp curve at the bottom of the necklace that the coin slices weren't able to lie flat. I needed to use round spacer beads for the wire to transition more curvily between each of the tourmaline slices.

Something else to consider with this particular design was Gizella's delicate bone structure. Because her collarbones are quite prominent I had to figure out where the longer beads would lie, both structurally and for comfort.

Here is the finished necklace, the second restringing with round spacers. I recommended she wear it a couple of times and different necklines to see if the necklace is now too long.

Speaking of The Gem Expo -- it's ONLY ELEVEN DAYS AWAY! See you there!

Something really cool I just heard about: Chris McGyver, owner of Honeytree Apiaries in Burgessville (aka B-ville), Ontario, just won Grand Champion Honey plus other awards for his honey and beeswax at this year's Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Chris sells his honey and beeswax candles every Saturday at the Woodstock Farmer's Market and Sundays at the Stratford Slow Food Market.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Beautiful Carnelian from Afghanistan...

Just got these in this morning from Afghanistan, first photos...

18-inch strands of mixed carnelian beads ranging in colour from white, yellow and orange through to deep carnelian reds and browns to black. These strands are mostly rounded tube-ish shapes from 7mm wide x 7-10mm long. There are a couple of strings of oval beads,10-12mm wide x 12-15mm long. Plus there are six strands of matte bicones, 10mm wide x 8mm in length, pale orange to medium red-orange.

Online blog price each: $60 plus shipping. Email me and I will send you a picture of exactly the string(s) you will be getting.

Note that I will have these at The Gem Expo in Toronto at the Hyatt Regency on November 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Get your discount admission tickets by subscribing to their emails.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Another New Table Setup...

'Tis the season: today all the vendors came in from the cold... except it was really balmy and mild out this morning, looming black clouds not only holding off on a massive dump, they eventually blew away, and it's now a gorgeous sunny late Saturday afternoon/early evening. Almost springlike. My flowers are budding away -- snapdragons, geraniums, bacopa and pansies. Just hope the first hard frost holds off for a few more weeks.

More seasonal disruptions: I'm doing a two day craft show in Vittoria on November 15th and 16th and then the following Friday the Gem Expo opens in Toronto. Both will mean new table setups on the fly.

Here is my new setup at the farmer's market where I'm a little jammed up. Started out with two 8-foot tables, but they left me no room to leave my little nest to help customers, nor for customers and friends to come in and sit for a while and play with beads. Had to drop down to two 6-foot tables and an 8-footer and ended up with one table along the railing on the ramp, which is actually kinda cool, being able to stand leaning on that, observing and commenting on items on the table from a lofty/ier perch.

Doesn't look so bad from this angle...

BUT there's barely 12 or 14 inches of space between the vegetable display and my table.

The market manager stole two 6-foot tables from another vendor (they'll never notice). Let's see how this works out.

It makes it faster to set up, knowing how the table cloths work. I started out with the riser at the back, but then nobody would be able to look at the earrings and pendant boards way in the back.

Moved the riser back to its usual position, with the earring carousels and boards. These are all my inexpensive items and I figured to continue keeping them up front and centre, if only because this is mostly a cash-only market and I get a lot of kids -- and grownups -- who will have a spare $5 or $10 or $20 in their pocket, but not $100 or $200.

Front and centre, all the usual suspects -- skull bracelets and necklaces, crystal, seed bead and semi-precious bracelets, sterling pendants...

On the table along the railing are all my better necklaces and pendants.

Next week for sure: LIGHTS!

Thanks for looking!