Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Local Flavor Swap

Gifts from the Land of Corn and Cows: IOWA

While touring the blogosphere a few weeks ago I tripped upon something new dedicated entirely to "SWAPS".  The blog is called Chaotic Goddess and is run by two wonderful ladies, Beth from Seattle and Angie from Salt Lake City. They happened to be running one called the Local Flavor Swap and I thought hey, bead swaps have always looked fun so why not try this? All I had to do was put together a gift package of items less than $30 including postage that were representative of my state, Arizona, and send it off to a pre-assigned partner. And that is truly when the fun began.

My assigned partner is wonderful lady by the name of Jolene who I got a chance to know by exchanging a few emails. I was thrilled to learn she was from Iowa City, since I had lived not far from there as a student many years ago. We return periodically to visit family and ride RAGBRAI, the week long bicycle trip, but had not been back in quite some time.  And as it turned out, she lived and worked not very far away from some of the places I had known best in eastern Iowa. So is that amazing or what? And I guess I should just get on with it and show you all of these wonderful gifts and mementos of one of my favorite places, Iowa:

Jolene included in the package a very sweet note describing the contents of the package which I will do my best to summarize:

  • Fresh Sweet Corn -  Iowa is known for corn and cows and I could not fit a cow in here.

  • Framed Photographs of Cornell College - Iowa is known for education and I thought you would like to see a picture of your old school.

  • Scarf - Represents our long cold winters.

  • Honey - Local from the farmers' market.

  • Soap - Picked it up in Amana Iowa.

  • Apple Butter - Made by me from apples I picked at Olson's Orchard.

  • Hot Salsa -Made from tomatoes, onions and peppers from our garden.


Now if you would like to see a few flavors of Arizona that I sent to Jolene be sure to click over to her blog here.
And click the icon here for the rest of the swap party:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Inspiration Updates From Florida

Florida is fabulous. It's fun exploring new places with lots of interesting things to do. From vibrant coastal cities like Miami with exciting night life to the quite slow moving rivers and bays where manatees can be found. Florida can be seen as a place of many contrasts and great beauty. The name Florida, actually means "feast of flowers" from Spanish and their lushness can be found everywhere. It is also the water; the beaches, oceans, hurricane clouds and everglades that make this place awesome, unique and so visually appealing.

Are you ready for some scuba diving down by the Keys? Check out this YouTube video by
Ryan Lawrence who  kindly agreed to let me post it on my blog:

(Turn on the volume for this one!)

Such beautiful underwater video photography and what a fantastic source of inspiration for making jewelry. Our friends over at Cousin asked me and the rest of the new Creative Circle Ambassadors to design a piece of jewelry around the theme of Florida.  Here is the necklace I made with all glass beads, gemstone bead components and findings available at Prima Bead, the online retailer for Cousin. I think I am going to call this necklace:
Diving Off the Keys.
Jellyfish Beaded End Caps
Do you want to know how I made them? A simple variation of circular peyote stitch.
For more details, drop me a note.

And this is how it sits. Beautiful treasure from under the sea!


By the Way, Did You Know?

Moonstones are the Official State Gem of Florida.
Cousin Corporation is headquartered in Largo FL, not too far from Tampa.

Ten Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded to writers who lived on Key West, including
Ernest Hemingway.

The U.S. city with the highest rate of lightning strikes per capita is Clearwater FL.
Taxes are relatively low here, the state constitution prohibits income tax.

Additional Sources:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Muse

Precious Water

Fountain Hills Arizona
This fountain, surrounded by a man-made lake, is capable of shooting water over 500 feet into the air. At the time it was built, 1970, it was the tallest fountain in the world. Amazing:

Stop by A Rural Journal for More Great Photos:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Okawa Bead Bracelet

Here is a flame colorized wire work bracelet I made with Okawa beads. You can find out more about where the beads came from by stopping here, Work of Our Hands.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Art Jewelry Boot Camp #4 - Jewelry Clasps

Welcome to the 4th Jewelry Makers' Blog Hop sponsored by Love My Art Jewelry. This month's assignment was to construct our own clasps. For this challenge I decided to make a few standard wire work "S" clasps as well as work with some new textures and shapes I had not tried before using copper sheet.

To start here is a version of the classic wire "S" I made recently and like to use with copper wired bead bracelets. They are fairly easy to make using needle nose pliers and a steel mandrel. The copper wire has been patinated with liver of sulphur and then hand polished.

Here is another variation of the classic "S" clasp hammered flat.

The next piece was an experiment in bending a small rectangular strip of copper sheet to form a hook and hinge and then wrapping it with copper wire to secure the ends.

For the fourth clasp, I tried cutting out shapes from textured copper sheet made for a previous boot camp. It took a hammer, texture materials, jeweler's saw, drill bit; as well as a needle file and sandpaper to smooth all the rough edges after they were cut.

Here is what it looks like closed.

Now all I have to do is make some jewelry to go with these clasps. I have a few ideas... ;)

Click the Love My Art Jewelry Boot Camp button to see more beautiful
handmade clasps:
Love My Art Jewelry: Art Jewelry Boot Camp

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Piney Lake

Summer break! Took a short trip to Colorado. Enjoyed the cool temperature and mild rains.

Piney Lake Colorado

Another cell phone shot!
Stop by Weekly Top Shots at The View from Right Here for more great photos:

Weekly Top Shot #95

Monday, August 5, 2013

Miscellany Monday

Great Sign.

This shot was taken with my cell phone just outside the student union at ASU Polytechnic
in Mesa Arizona.

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