Friday, August 29, 2008

New Charms Added to Website

I have added three new charms (one may be seen to the right) to my website. Two more charms are "in the works" and may be added tomorrow evening. I am also working on a pendant, a brooch, and another lampshade. The lampshade is almost done as well. Please check them out for yourself...and thank you for doing so!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Little Bite in the Air

It's not a big one...just a little bite! Today I've noticed for the first time a tiny--ever so tiny--bite of autumn in the air. The air was dry, the sky clear, and the temperature was quite comfortable. Winter is pretty; spring is invigorating; and summer is exciting;...but autumn...ah, autumn is warm and mellow and has to be my favorite time of year. The reds, golds, and oranges of the season are gorgeous. It is neither cold nor hot. Sweaters are just right to wear and having a cup of tea during the day somehow seems more refreshing and desirable with a little crispness in the air. Despite the ragweed floating around (sniffle, sniffle), the end of August and month of September, I am convinced, is the best time to be in Wisconsin. Wisconsin shows its true beauty in the fall. Okay, I won't hurry the inevitable arrival of fall just yet. I shall enjoy my rose bushes (now that those Japanese Beetles have finally exited them for the year) and pansies while I can, but rest assured more on autumn will be said in the next few weeks!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rubies, Diamonds, and Pearls--Inspiration for a Crown Brooch

Of all the gemstones that exist I enjoy rubies the most. I love the color green and am amazed that emeralds aren't my favorite gem. Emeralds are warm and green and beautiful. However, for some reason rubies are my favorites. Rubies are talked about in the Bible and had great value in Bible times. Job 28: 18 says, "...for the price of wisdom is above rubies." Proverbs 8:11 says, " For wisdom is better than rubies..." Proverbs 20:15 says, "There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel." And the verse that comes to mind most often when I think of rubies is Proverbs 31:10 "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." As much as I enjoy rubies and think they are the prettiest gems...wisdom and knowledge and virtue are all BETTER than rubies and are more important to gain than any ruby in existence!

Perhaps it was my mother's gold and ruby-red class ring that first inspired me. I remember as a child just wishing for a ruby ring. Though March is my birthday month and aquamarine my birthstone, July's rubies were hands down my favorite. My great-grandmother gave me one in a fuzzy box--the only memory I have of her giving me anything. I do not believe it was a "real" ruby, and very sadly the box and the ring have long disappeared. But I remember how enamored I was realizing that I actually had a "ruby" ring! As the years passed, my parents sweetly bought me a "just because" ring--a ring that had a circle of rubies with a diamond center. It looks like a flower. When I graduated from high school, they bought me the matching pendant and earrings. I cherish the set to this day. My husband took up the torch and bought me a ring with a small marquis cut ruby surrounded by two small diamonds for our anniversary one year. He was a full-time college student, and I was working to help put him through. We were broke, but somehow he managed that ring. I was sick when years later I lost the ruby out of it.

Rubies (real ones--no manufactured rubies for this gal!) are warm and rich in color and are offset best with yellow gold. Of course, diamonds set off any gemstone and naturally enhance the gorgeous color of rubies. When I found the small gold-toned crown setting above, I just had to embellish it with "ruby" glass beads and "diamond" glass beads and a few "pearl" glass beads. Some inspiration came from research I did on the "oriental circlet tiara" in Queen Elizabeth's set ( see The diamond and ruby jewels are breathtaking! Regardless, the color combination for my latest brooch came naturally to me. We who make handmade things really do put a little of ourselves into them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Photographs

Well, I finally did it...I made myself a light box and took all new photos of my handmade jewelry. The new photos are already up on the eCrater site (see site address at the right) if you'd like to take a look. I thought the jewelry lacked "sparkle", and let's face just CANNOT lack sparkle! The jewelry looks better, is clearer, has fewer shadows, and has a more consistent background. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Handmade Things Have More Charm

Of course, this would be a popular subject with me--handmade things having more charm. My mother made crafts and things ever since I can remember, selling them in shops and in craft shows. I tend to look at handmade items a little closer over something saying "Made in China" on the bottom because I appreciate and respect the time and effort that went into thinking up, planning, then creating something. Those who create things tend to put a little bit of themselves and even some love into what they do. I know I do!
Years ago when my husband and I went on our whirlwind trip to Paris, we ended up in a little tiny shop. I couldn't tell you what the shop's name was or where it was exactly, but the shop was adorable and the lady was very, very kind--one of the nicest people we met in Paris. Her tiny shop had all hand-made things from local artisans/crafts people. Talk about wonderful! I bought a thimble hand-painted locally and the little French shoe seen in the pictures above. It looked so "French", I couldn't resist buying it. The thought of someone locally hand decorating this little shoe captured my admiration. It has since sat on my dresser among all of my "lovelies" as a reminder of that trip and how something hand-made can impress and positively influence the recipient no matter what it's size may be.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Business Card

There is nothing worse than a boring business card. At the basic level a business card should say who you are, what you do, and how to get a hold of you. Well, for the sake of beauty and class, I decided to write my card so that one may know what I use to create (glass beads), and what the end products must be (mostly floral themed things), and what to do with the products (the products embellish somehow). Also, I hope that people's interests are stirred enough to investigate further. If they do this, they will know how to find me (e-mail address on web site). Also, I have a scalloped circular sticker on the back that has the same decoration which has my blog address. I don't believe this card is boring and hope all who see it like it and are interested enough to look further at my "treasures." What do you think?

Plant Pot "Stickers"

As you know, I love stained glass in just about any form or manner. Yes, when my husband and I visited Notre Dame (just to see it!) in France, we were awed by the magnificent stained glass windows there. I look for stained glass windows in houses whenever we pass through neighborhoods unfamiliar to us...then once a window has been spotted, I have to be certain look whenever we go past again. The beauty of stained glass inspired my glass bead business causing me to use no other types of colored beads than specifically glass (or glass crystal) beads. Sunlight shining through colored glass is stunning and brings out the richness of the glass's color. Unlike plastic, glass will not fade in the sun which ensures the longevity of the item's beauty. I found this pretty stained glass "pot sticker" at a hobby store this past summer. Certainly there MUST be a more eloquent name for these than "pot stickers", but I suppose it will have to do for now. This little stained glass hummingbird wrapped in copper adds color, sparkle, and a tiny spot of yet more beauty to my plant pot full of posies. That is one of the things about stained and colored glass that is most adds a little splash of color and sparkle and beauty to wherever it is placed whether on your lapel, your house, or in a pot full of posies!

Monday, August 4, 2008

More Roses

Roses are such lovely flowers in their scents, colors, and shapes. Two of my plants didn't make it this year. They succumbed to the caterpillars and other blights that threaten them. But, through my kind Mom "just because" and my husband and children when I was sick, I thankfully acquired a few more plants this year as well. The Japanese Beetles have arrived in full force. They certainly have voracious appetites as does some other little caterpillar I've just noticed. Ugh! I am trying to take care of my bushes and rid them of these pests the best I can...sometimes it feels like a losing game...but persistence and TLC can do wonders sometimes. I was hanging out laundry, and the scents of roses and fresh laundry sailing to my nose on a gentle breeze were most invigorating. How blessed we are that the Lord created roses!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Door County, Wisconsin

Just got back from a few days of R&R in Door County, Wisconsin--the tip-of-the-peninsula county that juts into Lake Michigan. We camped at Peninsula State Park (the price is right, the location is perfect, the showers are hot, and the toilets flush) which is by Fish Creek. I would recommend a stay in Door County to anyone. It is almost as if we cross the county line and the stresses of normal life simply drop there at the "Door County" sign. Life is slower there, less complicated. If you aren't into camping, rest assured there are many quaint inns and motels to stay at. Thankfully there are no big box places above Sturgeon Bay. Some say that the atmosphere and look of the area is similar to the coast of New England. Sail boats bounce on the waves of Lake Michigan (Green Bay side!). Flowers bloomed everywhere in every color of the rainbow. The cedar trees gave off their subtle scents. The sunsets are spectacular. The shops, oh the shops...antique shops, gift shops, specialty shops,! A very yummy place in Door County is Grandma's Bakery at the Wagon Trail Resort which has THE most fabulous sticky cinnamon rolls (see picture above). Best I've ever had. The recipe unfortunately is a secret. My hands down most favorite shop though is the Door County Coffee and Tea Company in Carlsville. They have a beautiful store where half of the store is a tea room, and the other half contains garden accessories, home decor, tea books, in-house specialty coffee beans, curds and jellies, and lots of beautiful, elegant tea cups, pots, pretty napkins, and accessories. Fabulous and a "must stop" if you are driving through!