Monday, 17 August 2015


On Saturday, I got Debbie Benninger's book from my mailbox on the way to the market. Wheeeeee... so many mysteries solved! Not so wheeee is that my first effort kinda sucks. But the things I was able to learn... Things like:
... how much wire this eats up so buy by the ounce, pound if you can;
... always cut extra wire;
... do NOT let it kink;
... don't hammer too hard where wires cross or they will break.

For my first piece, I wasn't intending to make a heart. I cut two pieces of wire and started wrapping about one third in. I just wanted to play, to see what changing weaves would do, which is why the heart that the two pieces of wire became is so... scruffy. There's no other word. The silver-coloured wire is 20 gauge tinned copper. Next time, I would use 18 gauge. Even doubled up on the right side, it's very flimsy and bendy. Those mean little curls at the base of the bail are a result of cutting the wire pieces too short.



While I was making the above, I took a little detour and made this. What I really, really like to do is hammer and I love the way that flat hammered bit wrapping around the neck of the bail looks.

Then in between both of the above, I worked on this -- ideas come so fast, I have to stop what I'm doing and start another so I don't forget my idea. Kind of a mish-mash of techniques and still learning how to do wraps -- but this time, keeping them tight together, as Debbie reminds in the book.

The day's production:

Hydro, in its infinite wisdom, decided to cut the power out along the highway from 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. without telling us, and so I was forced to work outside. No biggie, it was something I had been thinking about for a long time, and now had no choice. It was LOVELY. Cool breeze all day, no humidity, no baking in the heat like all my pals were doing north of me in town. Hah!  

On the wildlife front, Friday morning after the rain I happened to wander over by the sliding door and saw what I thought was a bit of stick or leaf. That's funny, because there was no wind. I looked closer and the stick had legs.

Picture taken through the screen from inside my house:

Picture taken from outside:

Yesterday morning around 8:00 I was outside wandering around and my eye was caught by bright sky blue moving on my windshield. I could not capture the blue -- it was a more sky blue than the sticker on the windshield, point being I have never ever seen a butterfly this colour here in southern Ontario (nor a stick insect like the above, either).

It looked like it had maybe just hatched and was drying its wings in the sunlight.

Where it's white along the outer edge of the wing span was an intense light blue.

I've seen a hummingbird twice here in the past couple of days. Even while I'm sitting on the deck reading he'll come by to check out my hanging baskets. I've only ever seen a real hummingbird once before in my life.

Contact Debbie Benninger here or here.
I buy dead soft copper wire from Robert Hall Originals in St. George. You can also get dead soft sterling silver wire there, as well.

Thanks for looking and, if you're ever in the area, bring your beads and come and play in my outdoor studio!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

My New Van...

Other than a white-knuckle creep to the market every Saturday, I have otherwise been without a vehicle for the past four or five months and relying on the kindness -- and cars -- of friends to do everyday shopping, errands, doc visits, etc. Somehow, despite a broken engine mount and other broken bits and bobs, my ancient Blazer manages to get me and my beads and jewellery to the market and home each week. Amazingly enough, it even started perfectly every bitter cold morning this past winter. Nothing wrong with the engine, but everything else has gone kaflooey.

Yesterday, I plunked down a deposit on a 2009 Pontiac Montana SV6. Currently being safetied and eTested, soon I will be coming to a bead show or market near you...

...and there may even be an epic road trip in our future.

I acquired this beauty from Empire Leasing & Auto Sales in Bright, Ontario. They sure have some purty cars, pickups and SUVs there, and they're so nice to deal with.

The anticipation is like Christmas, a couple of birthdays and a trip to Italy all rolled into one. Yikes. I can hardly wait!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Good Market Today & New Chakra Bracelets...

...and a new score: I found this cone-cut carnelian and glass necklace at a junque store last week. Probably paid too much for it, but I couldn't resist.

Then I was playing with other toys and I'm still wondering if this is a stoopid combination.

Finally got around to making more chakra-style items, and made these two bracelets yesterday. I'm trying to play with brighter colours, and yes, several of these beads are dyed, but the very brightest were deemed today to not really work, in particular that orange jelly bean horror. Better to tone it all down with carnelian instead... Except it's pretty. Maybe these size beads would work better as a necklace.

I've been doing a lot of restringing for Liane the Vintage Lady at the market. She buys bins of miscellaneous jewellery at auctions and has no idea what's she's got until she starts going through it -- at which point lot of the strung items disintegrate at that point. I swap interesting doodads in exchange for the restringing. Today I restrung a double strand graduated fire-polished crystal choker into a single strand because even with the extender it was chokingly tiny. Some of the vintage jewellery looks like it was for dolls, not humans. I'll try to remember to photograph it next Saturday. It came out quite nicely. Some of the beads were missing so I made a pair of drop earrings with the extra beads.

After the farmers market I went downtown to Streetfest and visited with a lapidary pal. Scored some beautiful semi-precious skulls -- and I picked some weird ones. Woweeeee... I've been looking everywhere online for decent skulls other than the dyed howlite ones and he can get me as many as I want.

Another view of the onyx skull to highlight the druzy swoop:

I reeeeally went to Streetfest to get myself a treat from Let's Eat Cake. Make that two treats: a fresh peach cheesecake square and a small tub of Rene's killer pasta salad.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, 24 July 2015

My truck is almost dead...

...hence I've had to miss The Gem Expo that started today in Toronto at the Hyatt Regency on King Street. I held off as long as possible before finally having to cancel. There are personal things taking up time, as well as non-stop typing for three or so weeks (= 1/2 a new vehicle!!!). Between white-knuckling it to the market and back once a week in the truck and twice-weekly grocery and library runs thanks to generous friends, I'm managing.

Meanwhile, I've been making jewellery at the market and then promptly selling it without taking photos. I'm also dipping a toe into the world of estate jewellery and any other doodads that catch my eye.

Case in point. This was my haul a couple of weeks ago:

A tiny engraved, sterling silver baby's bracelet in the style of a belt. I had no idea what this was when I first saw it, it was so small. 

The two eating implements are a toddler's first spoon and a "food pusher", often sold as a christening gift.

This is a circa 1920s or '30s??? brass watch chain with a still working compass. I am still boggled by the beauty of this piece. That's goldstone in the long link, invented in Venice in the 17th century and worth reading about. I knew goldstone was glass and manmade, but I'd only ever seen beads. I also assumed that it was a fairly modern material. Unfortunately, the 2nd piece is long gone. I ran this by a vintage jewellery pal and she said it looks like something that would've been given to or worn an engineer or some type of train person, perhaps? If anyone out there has an idea, please let me know.

This, on the other hand, is I think an old pewter whistle, possibly a dog whistle, but I can get a bit of a toot out of it.

These items will be for sale at the Nostalgia Show, Woodstock Fairgrounds on Nellis Street, Sunday 13 September, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Nancy and I will be located across from the snack bar (great food, as I discovered back in March!). We are hoarding all of our best collectibles and antiques for this show so please come and see us.

Here are a few pictures of the latest iteration of Showcase 800 and Booth 800/847 at the One of a Kind Antique Mall on Wilson St.

Showcase top...

Inside the showcase...

See anything you like? Send me an email.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

1951 Jenny Wren Farthing Earrings...

Way back at the end of April, I wrote about my vintage bracelet score -- made of British Jenny Wren farthing coins.

I had the greatest of intentions to make some earrings, but the Great Purge intervened along with an immense amount of typing this past week or two, and also I lost the little bag of coins. I found them last night, and this morning at the market, I made these:

I have enough coins to make several pairs of earrings. Silver-plated brass farthings, sterling silver leverbacks with baroque pearl dangles: $35 plus shipping. Please email me for availability and/or to order different beads on the bottom. 

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

A Busy Weekend With Lots of Sales!!!

Wheeeee, finally a great Saturday at the market for everyone, which is so gratifying. I sold several brand new items including a couple that I didn't get a chance to photograph. The blue picasso bracelet with the pewter bird, turtle, horse and feather (I call it the "Four Corners") sold right away, right out of the gate. Lady came by, picked it up, examined it... "Uh, where's the clasp?" "It rolls on." Sold.

Definitely must make more of these.

I also sold the aqua terra and crab agate necklace on the right (the necklace on the left sold quite a while ago) yesterday, matched perfectly with sterling, turquoise and sponge coral earrings. They accompanied my customer and her brand new dress to a girls' night out Beatles tribute show last night.

I went to an estate sale this morning and here are a few of my treasures. We're doing a Nostalgia show at the fairgrounds on September 13th, I think it is, so I'm buying with that in mind. Some pieces will go to our booth at the Antique Mall (Booth 800/847 if you're planning a trip our way).

Aaaaand it's jam-making season. The first strawberries are starting to come in from the fields. There were mountains of them at the market yesterday. For some reason the local grocery store has decided not to carry my favourite low-sugar no-cook gelling powder this year, so my pal George brought me 20 packages from the big city on Tuesday, which I swap for jam. 

What's the name of that Pinterest site? Pinterest Fails -- or similar, anyway. Here's my latest entry in the Pinterest Fail... well, it was a success but SO SLOW! Give me my paring knife any day.

My handy-dandy strawberry hulling setup. The mosquitoes arrived shortly after and settled in to feast on me. 

Putting the straw in strawberries...

Poke the straw through from the bottom...

Pull the core out of the straw...

And you have a neat little hole to fill with chocolate...

This doesn't show how full the bowl was, but it was ten 250ml jars' worth of strawberries mounded up.

Unfortunately, the monsoon rains we had early in the week made this batch of strawberries awfully watery, but a titch extra sugar and lots and lots of lemon juice brings out the flavour nicely. Peaches will be coming along soon. I can hardly wait. There's a type of early peach that is soooooo good as jam. Summer in a jar, especially in the dead of winter.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Two More Stretch Bracelets...

Last night, I fixed a couple of bracelets that were bugging me and made these two new ones.

Silver-plated feather and pewter birds and flower bead, copper jump rings and small black glass pony beads,

Pewter cross and flower beads, copper jump rings and small black and blue picasso pony beads.

Prices are as shown, shipping extra depending on where you live and your need for speed. I take PayPal and Square and, in Canada, bank eTransfer. Email me for availability, to request a different size or to order something unique for you.

They're really starting to add up, aren't they?

Thanks for looking!