Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lucky 2013

I was reflecting on this past year and thinking about new goals for 2014. I don't know if I'm ready to say goodbye to 2013 yet, it has been such an amazing year for me! It was so much better than 2012 and 2011 which I was definitely ready to say buh-bye to!

I learned so much about myself this year. The biggest is to grasp my God given talent and put myself out there and not worry "what if I'm not good enough". Because I put my fear aside, I filled out an application to be a part of a design team that I have admired from afar. I still could not believe it, even after I read the email that I was chosen, oh, probably 20 times. (Be sure to look for my first project on the ICE QUEEN ZINE blog on New Year's Day!)

Something else I am getting better at is being fully present when I am talking with someone, especially my family. I'm certainly not perfect yet, but I am working on it.

I think though, one of my proudest moments is Aiden creating his own art and wanting to do shows with me. He has done his first 3 this year and has been so successful. He is also understanding the meaning of being an entrepreneur, saving money and being careful what to spend it on.  He is starting to understand how he can be and do anything he wants as long as he works at it and is true to himself.

As the last day of the year dwindles down, I will continue to think about the New Year and will be sure to write down my goals and what I want to achieve and manifest by December 31st, 2014. This past year will be tough to top, but I'm sure it will be quite exciting and will have a lot in store for me because I will be dreaming even bigger!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Eucharisteo...thanksgiving...always precedes the miracle.

I love to read and a friend of mine from church was reading a book one day at the pool this summer,  "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" by Ann Voskamp. Kathy told me a little bit about it and mentioned it was a book they were reading in their book club. I could not make the Monday evening get togethers, so I purchased the book on Amazon and read it pretty quickly.

Ann, the author of the book writes about "How do we find joy in the midst of deadline, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?" She discovered, in giving thanks for the life she already had, she found the life she'd always wanted. She kept a notebook and wrote down her daily thanks as she came across them in the moment. 

Now, I also love to make jewelry and I am usually inspired by what I am reading at the time. I happened to be taking a webinar "Windows to My Heart" by Diane Cook at the same time and the image popped into my head what I had to make.

I really enjoyed the book and it opened a "Window to My Heart", so to speak and I translated this into my bracelet.
The base of the cuff and the heart are both nickel silver and the band in between the two is copper. On the heart I etched "Grace, thanksgiving, joy" and "Eucharisteo".

The copper band reads "The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live...He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.
The image under the mica is part of the painting "Supper at Emmaus" by Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio. In "1000 Gifts", Ann travels to Paris with a friend and sees a Rembrandt of strangers at Emmaus eating with Christ. Everything she wrote about came together and was so clear to her at this moment. I googled Rembrandt's painting and was in awe of Caravaggio's painting and had to use it in my piece instead of the Rembrandt. Don't get me wrong, I do love Rembrandt!

"When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him" (Luke 24"30-31 NIV).

I had to finish the back with sheet music of "Joy to The World" - it just seemed so appropriate to me.

"Thank You, God, for the bread of now...
for Your Son and sacrifice...
for the love song You keep singing, the gift of Yourself that You keep giving...
for the wild wonder of You in this moment."

Friday, July 26, 2013

Stacking Ring Class at Eva's

Last Friday, in the 90+ degree heat, 3 of us took a class at Grand River Bead Studio with Kristina Malcom. It was fantastic! It was like getting in a hot yoga class at the same time! I think the hardest part was walking up 3 flights of stairs with such humid air.

I have to say, heat aside, I really enjoyed the class along with the two others, Claudia and Marilyn, and all of our rings turned out beautifully.

I ended up coming home, ordering a bunch of supplies, which just came in the mail a couple days ago. I can't wait to fill up my fingers with stacking rings!

Kristina and Claudia polishing away

Marilyn busy shaping her rings

My rings soldered, pickled and ready to set!

Group shot from left: Marilyn, Krisina, Mine, Claudia

Close up of my rings with a 6mm Labradorite, copper band with silver ball and a 4mm Alexandrite

Friday, June 28, 2013

Copper and Leather and ICE Resin, oh my!

Here I go again, resin crazy, both Aiden and I are filling everything we can get our hands on!

I am hooked on combining copper and leather, I really like the look. Here, I've made some bezels out of copper tubing from the hardware store, soldered on a back and micro fastened them onto the leather. In the bezels, I've included handmade paper with skeleton leaves and some rhinestone chain that is oxidized and cut into individual pieces. And of course, some text out of a thesaurus distressed with ink.

I love working with Susan Lenart Kazmer's ICE Resin®; It mixes so clear with virtually no bubbles.  You'll have to check out her site for some of her newer products and bezels, very fun! I'll be sure to share some pieces soon with her new Iced Enamels®!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Little Artist

Here is a picture from Art by the Falls this month with my 7 year old son's work. He has the crafting bug! Everyone in the family has been saving bottle caps for him to use and his most popular item at the show was his resin filled bottle caps. I really love the look when he squirts in different glitter glue and then lets it dry. When it dries, it shrivels up and makes very interesting patterns.

We signed up to do another show, Art on the Hill in Mantua on July 13th and we're pouring resin on a regular basis :o)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

And the Winners Are......

I am so happy! Out of all the entrants, my Believe necklace was picked as a runner up for the 7th Bead Soup Challenge! You can see all of the winners here.

First of all, thank you so much to Lori Anderson who organized this event, it was my first time entering and I really enjoyed making everything from my "Soup".  Thank you to all of the sponsors: - BeaducationKalmbach PublishingFusion BeadsNina DesignsLima Beadsand PJ Tool Jewelry & Craft for their time and contributions.

A special thank you to my Bead Soup Partner, Jennifer Davies-Reazor, I was thrilled to be partnered with you and to receive such amazing pieces to work with - I am so happy to have made a new jewelry friend and am in total awe of your work!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Faux Bone with Becky

 What a fantastic day I spent with Becky. Her boyfriend, Harry, a good friend of mine, bought her a class to take from me as a Christmas present. She chose to spend a day exploring faux bone and what a fabulous outcome she had with her first piece! For those of you who aren't familiar with the substrate, it was founded by artist Robert Dancik. It is a completely non-toxic, high grade rigid PVC that does not outgas (produce fumes) when heated properly. Because it is malleable at just below 250 degrees it can be heat formed into just about any shape. You can learn more about it at Crackerdog Design.

Becky teaches African Dance and just a little over a year ago travelled to Africa, so, that was the inspiration for her creation!

 First, she learned how to use a jeweler's saw - talk about picking that up quickly, look how great her shape turned out!
Here is Becky cutting out a couple discs to possibly use on her piece. After the texture was added to both sides, she applied acrylic paints and shoe polish.


Becky decided to put "location markers" with tube set cz's in the countries she went to when she visited Africa. She decided to put the copper disc she cut with an etched image of a butterfly wing on the back.

 Here are the finished creations with chain. She will be stopping back at Bead Paradise in the near future to pick out a couple African Trade Beads to add a splash of color to the chain.
Thanks again Becky! How much fun it was to hang with you for the day!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bead Soup Blog Party 2013 - drumroll please....

This was my first time involved in the BSBP and how much fun I had. There are over 541 people participating! Thank you Lori Anderson for putting this together, I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog!

I was paired up with a fabulous artist, Jennifer Davies-Reazor. She makes beautiful ceramic pieces inspired by myth and ritual. She is also inspired by found objects which, to me was a perfect person to be paired up with! I couldn't be happier with my final pieces.

I was challenged by the soups she sent me, mainly because I have never used ceramics in my work, but some of the pieces were very tribal looking to me, which is right up my alley!

If you recall Jennifer sent me 2 beautiful "soups" in 2 separate pouches. The Brown Pouch, as I referred to it was easier for me to work with:

The very first piece I made immediately was a bracelet using the Jen's stoneware bracelet bar:

I have been on a roll etching metals and had a hunk of etched copper just waiting to be used. I cut a piece of that and used micro fastneners to attach it to the leather. I added chain and attached some of the pearls and vintage buttons as dangles. I used some crystals from my stash with the buttons to add just a tiny bit of bling.  I love the clasp she sent me from the other soup, I thought it went perfect with the colors and feel of the piece. I had to use a couple pieces of turquoise, well, because I love turquoise and wanted that little bit of color in the clasp to be picked up.

Right away, the discs by Marsha Neal Studio called out to me, they are just fabulous! I fused some copper wire (that my husband stripped for me while working on our kitchen electrical), pounded it out and textured with my hammer. I disc cut 2 circles from the same piece of copper I used for the bracelet and voila, matching earrings.

And last but not least in this group is the necklace:

The copper medallion by Andrew Thronton arrived to me shiny. I had to oxidize it right away and it really brought out the texture of stars. I thought it would be perfect to pair it with the crystal Jen sent me. I also used a couple of the brown pearls and a brown bead she sent me along with some of my own stash of turquoise and vintage beads from broken necklaces my Gram gave me long ago. I was struggling with the perfect chain for this and found in one of my bins some copper links I made into bracelets. I took 2 of the bracelets apart and used it for the chain on this piece. I am planning on putting together the perfect outfit to wear this set tonight to a function I am attending!

Now, for my challenging soup

The focal was the biggest challenge to me. I stared at it numerous times before coming up with an idea. 

I still have a lot of pieces from this soup to use and mainly strung a colorful array of beads, pearls, crystals and spacers from my stash to pick up all of the colors in the Believe pendant.
Again, I steered toward a tribal/talisman look, that's just my thing. 

I hope I made Jennifer proud! Again, I had so much fun doing this and cannot wait to find the time to visit the blogs of all the participants - the full list of links can be found here. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bead Soup is Cooking!

I received my soup from Jennifer Davies-Reazor about a week and a half ago and it's been sitting on my desk in 2 cute little bags. Her pieces are absolutely beautiful and my mind has been going crazy with ideas on what to create. I finally pulled everything out to photograph so I can show the before pictures. I love the color schemes and the feel of the pieces are nice and primitive for me. As you probably know, I am not a shiny kind of gal!
Here are the components from one package - love the Jen's stoneware maze piece!

Here are the components from the other package - more of Jen's earthenware!

Here is the pic of what I sent Jen 

Now....gotta get to work!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Featured Artist - Lori Paximadis

I feel the need to share with all of my friends and contacts some of the wonderfully, talented artists we have here in NE Ohio. I have made it my goal to interview an artist every couple weeks and feature them - it is so important to buy local, but what a double bonus to buy local AND handmade!

Please, a warm welcome to my very first Featured Artist, Lori Paximadis of Alchemary. Lori primarily makes jewelry with mixed metals, beads and enamels, but has been expanding into other areas that she is not quite ready to release to the public yet.

Lori was so kind to be my guinea pig and give me my very first interview....EVER!

Lori, is jewelry making your full time job or do you do something else?
My full-time job is a book editor and I have done some writing as well. I am a co-author of a book that came out in 2009, "Cat Lover's Daily Companion: 365 Days of Insight and Guidance for Living a Joyful Life with Your Cat". Creative stuff is kind of on the side, I try to schedule an afternoon a week to work on stuff but I'm trying to increase that.

Who or What is your inspiration?
I am a nature girl, but don't confuse that for outdoorsy though. I love to garden and dig into the dirt. We have a couple acres here in Fairview Park and in the summer, I am usually outside every day. You can see the colors I use in my work, I lean towards the blues and greens.

What is your first memory of making jewelry or being creative?
One of my earliest memories of being an artist at heart is when I was 3, I remember crayons, markers and paper. I loved to draw at the kitchen table instead of eating my dinner; my mother actually encouraged it. 

One of my first projects I remember was when I was in the second grade and it involved tearing up construction paper. I layered it and made a robin in a nest. My teacher entered it into a contest and I ended up winning 2nd place. 

Please describe your style of work and how it is expressed in your work.
I love layering. Almost everything I do moves into that direction. For instance, my enamels are things on top of things on top of things. I love the layers, textures and movement. 

Back in 1996 I moved to Hawaii. I lived close to a community center and they had a ceramics studio. I ended up going 2 nights a week and went nuts with it! We moved back to the Cleveland area in 2002. I looked for a setup like the one in Hawaii, but couldn't find a program that fit my wants. I happened into Bead Paradise (which we all love). I found out about a clay that had silver in it. At the time, they weren't offering that class, but they were offering a metals class. It ended up being a cold connection class with Susan Lenart Kazmer. Talk about a first jewelry class! I found my niche and went crazy with it. I took a couple more classes with Susan as well as a couple different classes here and there. It really opened my eyes to every day objects and how you can transform them. I started looking at things in new ways.
Do you have an all time favorite creation?
Good question. I have a couple favorites. From my ceramic days, I have a favorite bowl that I made that I use almost every day. It has 3 chips in it but I still use it. As for jewelry, I have a layered necklace that I made about 5 years ago. It started as a mistake from doing a custom metal steamed order. I screwed it up and ended up taking my shears to it and I cut out the word. I put in on my trivet and ended up over firing it, it got all ripply and folded over on itself. I layered it up with an old coin with a nice green patina and a piece of mother of pearl. It's held together with a wire and I wear it all the time. I like the layers, the aging and it just feels right; it's smooth, it's heavy and has presence to it. It's one of the first layered pendants I made, there's something about it that works really well for me. 

When did you know this was more than a hobby?
In 2003, I took my first class. My mom works in a salon and would ask for my jewelry. She would wear it to work and her clients would ask about it. I started making pieces for her clients. I did my first show that fall of 2003 and did really well. I sold a ton of earrings, they are my most popular item, people loved them. They are still my best sellers, plus they're fun to make!

Describe your workspace.
My studio is in my home on the second floor, we call that room a bonus room. It's a weird house with a funky layout. It has a high ceiling and a walk out deck. It's always a horrible mess! I have a hand-me-down pressboard desk and a wobbly chair. My great love is my favorite piece of furniture, it's a 50 drawer wood card catalog that I got at a ridiculously low price. I keep going on ebay looking at old printer cabinets. I dream to get one someday. My goal is to make the space more efficient. 

What is your favorite tool and why?
My favorite tools are my Lindstrom pliers and cutters, they are the best things I own. I have a lot of tools, but these are my workhorse. It was worth investing money in super awesome tools.

Do you have other artistic talents?
Jewelry is super competitive. I have done really well with my custom stamped jewelry, but I tend to get a little bored with it. I started working with enamels about 3-4 years ago. I have been selling this work steadily, but I feel this is a little trendy, there's a lot more enamel out there than there used to be. I keep it different though by layering it. I have been thinking about how I can use techniques that I have learned about jewelry making and apply them to other things. I took an awesome class last summer with Tracy Moore, who is very well known for his photography and hand bound books. The books have metal covers with leather binding which are stunningly beautiful! He uses a lot of found objects, but I'm not intuitive with found objects. I feel it is artificial when I attempt to do it, it's not organic. I have been experimenting with those techniques but less focused on found objects. I am doing some etching, creating windows, tool work, doing some rivets and putting a twist on what I learned in the class. I'm having a lot of fun with it, but the down side is I don't think most people will want to pay what it's worth, bit I'm exploring it for my own enjoyment. I am also playing with some things for the home, little knick-knacky baskets and boxes, kind of interesting stuff. Nothing is really ready yet though.

Tell us something about you that we might be surprised to learn.
I admit that I'm kind of shy. I'm petrified of talking to people I do not know. When I go into a room full of people, like at a party and I don't know many people I get really jittery. I don't have a hard time doing shows at all, but I feel that it has to do with the table separating them, I have my own space. I am also ok with what people feel about my work, my feelings don't get hurt if they don't like my stuff. I do love people though and love to hear their stories.

Please tell me how you are involved in Cleveland Handmade Group.
Etsy started in 2004/2005. I signed up in 2006. I didn't do much at first, but that fall I started poking around in the Etsy forums. I located a thread that someone had posted "Hey, I'm in the Cleveland area, who else out there is from the Cleveland area?". There were about a dozen of us or so that started on the thread and started talking back and forth. 

There was a Crocker Park Farmer's market. At that time I lived right down the street from there. A couple people mentioned they were going to be selling their work there. I decided I was going to go down and introduce myself and that's how I met Ramona and Kathy that day. The following year we did a get together and soon thereafter Etsy come out with the team concept. In short, Kathy and Lori, the co-founders, started the Cleveland Handmade Team on Etsy. To date, there are 600 people who are part of Etsy in the group with more requests coming through on a daily basis. Cleveland Handmade is in the process of becoming an official legal business and is in the middle of a big transition. We are working on others being able to join the group even if they don't sell on Etsy. There is Cleveland Handmade Markets which is an LLC that does the shows for the Cleveland Handmade members. 

Lori, where can we find your work?
I sell my work as Alchemary on Etsy. I also sell my work at various shops and galleries which are posted on my blog VirtualLori.com