Archives for December 2014



So 2014 is coming to a close.

First of all thanks to all of my wonderful clients who have supported my enthusiasm for creating jewelry.  And thanks to my family and friends for their support in making 2014 a wonderful year.

Lots of things to be thankful for and the collage above highlights just a few of my life reflections.

Business Reflections

….. to move forward it’s good to know what you have already done…..

So here are a few things that helped me grow my business last year

1.  Surround yourself with like minded souls. I am blessed to have friends that kindle my creative energy even though we don’t live close by…..friends

2.  Organization and de-cluttering sounds boring, but it helps me stay on trackorganization


3.  projectBreak down that project into small doable steps.

4.  Embrace social media


5.  Learn from those mistakes mistakes

6. maids Get help with those chores

7.  educatekeep on learning

8.  Carve out “ME” time


Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve….  and I’ll see you all NEXT YEAR!

creating the desert in glass and metal

Turn off the Pickle


What is Pickle?

Pickle is a mixture that you heat and use to remove oxides from metal which are produced after soldering.

Back in the middle ages, the most widely used solution for removing copper oxides from metal was alum.  This is also what cucumbers are soaking in to make “pickles” like we eat.  It was probably some medieval jeweler, who, as a joke, called the alum solution for removing copper oxides “pickle”, and the joke is still around hundreds of years later.  (thanks you Lexi Erickson)

There are a lot of commercial “pickles” out there.  I mix my pickle and put it in a crock pot to warm.  I usually turn the pickle pot  when I go in to the studio to work; and on most good days I turn the pot off when I am done for the day.  BUT  every once in a while I forget to turn it off and there is a big mess the next day – like today.

So I found my little jar of German pickle ornaments and one is now hanging on the door of my studio – a cutesy reminder to turn off the pickle pot.

I wonder why pickle ornaments are popular in Germany?

If you want a pickle ornament try here

English Trifle

picture of English Trifle

English Trifle and Memories

I just made dessert for our Christmas Eve dinner with our youngest daughter Jody and her husband tonight.  It’s an English trifle – but a little different this year.  I used pound cake, but I slathered it with lemon curd; and used peaches and raspberries this year (instead of strawberries).  This recipe did not call for a custard sauce; but I added that myself (or else hubby would be mad).  Later I will make the raspberry whipped cream.  My trifle bowl broke last year so instead I used this beautiful cut crystal bowl – from England.

I was first introduced to English trifle at a friend’s home during the Christmas holidays some 30 years ago.  We lived in Chicago at the time.  Our husbands worked together at the University of Chicago.  She had 2 boys around the same age as my 2 girls.  She was from England – new to Chicago.  And we had moved to Chicago for work.  So Chicago was new to me too.  It was the first time I lived in an inner city.  The area we lived in was Hyde Park and it was a small community surrounding the University on the edge of Lake Michigan.  Dee and I became fast friends.  We coffeed while our children played together at local parks.  We went swimming at the Lake in the summer and in the indoor pool at her high rise apartment building in the winter.  We exercised together.  We would take the train downtown for a day’s shopping or for a visit to Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Salon – to help with our sanity.  We both “tolerated” Hyde Park  and the cold and snow of Chicago.  Our friendship helped.

But then they moved to California and a year or so later we moved to Nevada.  We still keep in touch but it’s not the same.  And Dee’s husband died a little over a year ago.  But the trifle tonight will bring back those days.  And funny –  I can’t really remember that biting cold or mounds of snow, or howling wind.  Or the dirty inner city streets of Chicago.  I remember being blessed to have such a wonderful friendship.  Blessed for those years that helped to form me as I am today.  All that and dessert too.  Merry Christmas.




Corona – an aura that surrounds the sun……………..

Corona pendant

New Series

Fresh from the studio a sterling silver pendant with mystic topaz and a handmade lampworked bead.  The awesome patina is on the front and I have left the back a satin finish.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Chain – Hand Made

I am always striving to make my jewelry stand out and be special.  One of the ways I accomplish that is to make my own chain.  I think a handcrafted glass bead on a hand fabricated chain is really awesome.  So I am slowly teaching myself how to make different patterns of chain.

Early on I discovered that precision at times is important.  To make chain you have to cut your wire and then sometimes you have to mark off points where you will bend the wire.  I tried to rush the process and the chain just didn’t look good.  I didn’t think a millimeter here or a millimeter there would make a difference.  Plus I like jewelry that is more organic in appearance.  But for some patterns you just have to measure.

making chain

Precision counts…. sometimes

So what do jewelers use to measure accurately?  They use dividers – Dividers are used for measuring off distances.  Dividers look a lot like a compass —- remember drawing all those circles in school?….  It took me awhile to get used to using the dividers, but now I love them.  You measure your distance with the divider and then scribe the metal to mark the distance you need.  So you measure just once. You can see a divider in the photo above as well as some wire that was just cut and more wire that was then bent.  You make each component and then slowly join them together and the chain comes to life.  This pattern is not complicated, but calls for precision.  And it elegant

Here’s the finished bracelet with a dark patina.


chain on wrist


creating the desert in glass and metal