Thursday, August 26, 2010


Just got some great news. After 14 months of being laid off from my teaching job, I have been recalled!! I am really excited about returning to the classroom. Don't know what grade level or subject I will be teaching. I can teach elementary and middle school, language arts, social studies or reading. Keeping my fingers crossed for a great spot, but I'll roll with whatever position I get. School starts after Labor Day here but regular teachers go back today. Now I'll get to haul all my teacher stuff out  of the bins in the basement to their next home. I've learned a lot about myself while being off and also about the plight of unemployment plaguing our nation during these time. My prayers and hopes go to others in the same situation! Stay tuned as I update my blog with my news and a few jewelry pieces thrown in.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sneak Peak

Here's a sneak peak at a turquoise pendant that will be featured in my retooled Etsy shop in September. I got the stone from gemcutter on Etsy. He does the most beautiful cabochons.

Photos of the 50's and 60's

Check out this SlideShare Presentation: *On a side note, you will notice all the people in this video are of one ethnic and economic group . Contrary to the beliefs of this time, people of color(I am African American) were not featured in most media advertising. We had the same experiences and things that these people pictured had. Just had to add this side note. Have fun viewing!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No Cable, Internet and Phone/Living Like the 1950's & 60's

For the last two days we have been without cable, internet and phone service. Finally the cable company arrived today and restored the power. Seems someone knocked loose my connection on the outside of our building.

Being without these has been a bit**h for both Ken and I. We're both kids of the 1950's when you only had four tv stations, transistor radios abounded and celluar service was unheard of . Seems our society becomes more and more dependent of these amnetites as the days pass. Growing up in the 50's and 60's was sooo different from today. See if you recognize any of these from your youth. I apologize in advance as I searched for these I couldn't resist This list is long and feel free to add your own.
drive ins

bubble gum cigars

Mr. Ed

bell bottom pants

I Love Lucy

The Twist(dance)

Mad Magazine


TV trays

American Bandstand


Capt Kangaroo

smiley faces

hula hoops

Purple People Eater

penny candy


platform shoes

saddle shoes


Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys


playing jacks

white sidewall tires

juke boxes

stuffing a phone booth

stuffing a VW

sit ins

Cold War

riding ing the car w/o seatbelts

laying in the back window of the car


Howdy Doody

Romper Room

sock hops

Sherri Lewis and Lambchop

fins and chrome on cars

57 Chevy

The Lone Ranger

go go boots

dressing up to go to church

drinking from the garden hose


petticoats that scratch

Being gone all day playing somewhere on your street

Red Rover

Lava Lamps

White Castle Hamburgers

Aqua Net

Evening in Paris cologne

beers that required an opener

MD 40/40

putting a ballon on your bike tires to sound like a motorcycle

Whew! What a list. Please add your own memories to this list in the comment section and keep the list going!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


If you love looking at unusal jewelry, you may have found a material called Fordite and wondered what the heck this stuff is. Multcolored in various colors it is strikingly beautiful. Lately I have been both fascinated and been looking for and buying Fordite. Some of this material can be pricey because of its limited availability. Since I grew up in Detroit, memories of the automobile plants will always be a part of my memories. Several relatives spent a large part of their lives working for Ford Motor Company. I still live in a suburb of Detroit and have witnessed first hand the effects of the decline the loss of our auto factories have had on our state.

Fordite, aka Motor Agate, aka Detroit Agate is not a mineral or a stone. It is the material formed by over spray in the paint booths where they used to paint cars. An electrostatic method is now used in painting cars in which the paint is electosatically magnetized to the car body. This over spray accumulated in thin layers of various colors as they changed colors on the assembly line. The enamel was then baked over and over the create a very hard and light material.

Some very clever people discovered that this material called slag could be harvested from the paint booths then cut into smaller pieces and worked on a lapidary like a rock or gem.

The material comes from the British Daggenheim factory, in the Detroit plants, and the Ohio plants . I haven't been lucky enough to grab some from Detroit. All of mine come from England., but I'm still looking.

Light weight, colorful resembling wood grain patterns of multi colors this stuff is truly beautiful!Here are some pics of my personal stash of Fordite which will be jewelry pieces soon.

A fordite necklace I completed for the Ann Arbor Art Fair that will be for sale on my Etsy store this fall.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Custom Order Completed

Just finished the custom order of the two rings I posted in my previous post. Here are the completed rings. I'm really happy how they turned out. One is for a 40th birthday present.

I am really pleased how they came out. Just wish my friend had another cabochon I could get for myself.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Custom Jewelry Orders

I enjoy doing custom jewelry orders. When my internet and face to face sales are low, many times a custom order comes my way. I'm very fortunate to say that all of my custom work has be a positive experience for me and my buyers.

Here are some tips to prevent misunderstanding between the artist and the customer.

Beginning the Custom Order

When someone requests a piece have as much conversation as posible regarding what they expect. Don't be afraid to make suggestions as improvements to their idea.

Once the design has been decided, don't give a price quote immediately. Take time to research the materials cost and availibility. Figure approximately how much time you spend making the piece. Final prices higher than orignal quotes do not make happy customers. Wait, research and get back to them.

Be sure to include price of shipping any supplies to you that you don't already have on hand.

Rush jobs cost more. Make sure you relay any additonal costs to the buyer.

Once the price is developed get back quickly to the customer.

Write a Work Agreement

This can come in the form of an email or a single written plan. Do one and prevent problems and headaches later!

The agreement should include:

The date.

Your name and contact info.

The customers name and contact info.

A description of the work the customer expects. A sketch of the finished piece may be included.

Your price quote.

The date you expect to deliver the finished piece.

Your terms. As a protection for yourself, your terms should state that a non-refundable 50% of the total payment must be received before any supplies are ordered and any work begins and the balance is due when the piece is finished-at the time you deliver.

Your guarante policy

Deliver the Custom Jewerly

When the piece is complete contact the customer and arrange to delivery. Be sure to remind them the final payment is due upon delivery. Mail a photo of the finished piece to online shoppers.For online orders, have the customer pay in full before shipping. I can't stress this enough. I've seen many online sellers complain about sending an order before final payment and not receiving it. Email the customer once the piece has shipped and the expected arrival date if possible. A handwritten thank you note with the package is always appreciated. Finally take photos of the piece to show other potential customers what you can do!

Ok, back to me. I'm currently doing a custom order of two rings for an artist friend who is mainly a beader. Two large rings with vintage glass cabochons. Here are pics of the rings in progress.

After I complete them this weekend I will post pics of the completed rings.

Don't forget, I have a 30% off sale on most items in my Etsy shop. Check them out at

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Huge 30% off sale in my Etsy shop.

For the next 3-4 weeks I will be have a 30% off sale of my jewelry in my Etsy store.

As my skill sets have been improving by taking classes, experimenting and networking with many other metalsmiths and jewelry people, I will be posting more detailed, larger and more complex pieces as I retool my shop. Yes, in order to do this I need to move some inventory and of course make some money. In the meantime while I work in my studio take advantage of some great jewelry at 30% off.

As a tease to what's coming I would like to show anew pieces that will be for sale.

Sonoran Sunrise beauty

30% of at

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ann Arbor Art Fair
OMG we made it through one of the most challenging art fairs I've every done. The Ann Arbor Art Fair is actually four fairs in one. It ocurs the third week of July for four days. It is the grand daddy and oldest art fair around. Starting in 1960 it has grown by leaps and bounds. I was a part of the Michigan Silversmith Guild booth. It was a two booth space with nine artist and various demo artists throughout the days.

Day one started out well but the temps hit the high eighties and low nineties, with high humidity. We drank H2O all day and rairly went to the little girls room! Everyone was hot and sweatly. Day two, Thursday brought a large storm ,rains and a tornado moving across our state. Day 3 was the killer. Luckily I was off, but in the afternoon another storm blew in during the late afternoon. The fair organizers called the show for the day about 4:00pm. There was 4-6 inches in our and other booths. My booth mates championed the cause, removed everything except the displays and got out of Dodge. Day 4 was the best. Light sprinkles during the day, the temps went down and the humidity subsided.

Overall, even though the weather was a challenge and the foot traffic was also down we perservered. My thanks to all the Michigan Silversmith Guild for job well done, you deserve it !

Here are some pics from fellow members and me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

New Piece

I just completed this mutton jade and sterling piece. Very pleased how it turned out.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just listed!!

This vintage glass cabochon necklace was just listed in my Zibbet store at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cleaning Copper and Brass

When I do shows I am often asked, "How can I keep copper or brass shiny?" or "How can I clean copper or brass. There are many commercial products on the market to do this, but many kitchens already contain foodsafe, non toxic methods to clean these metals. Here are some of my favorites.

Equal parts salt and vinegar or salt and lemon juice

Mix together and put piece in.

Remove item from solution and wash in warm soapy water.
Dry thoroughly

You can use also soy sauce. I save the little packets you get with chinese food and put them in a small bowl.

Lastly, Mary a close friend I do shows with swears by ketchup.

All of the above methods are safe and can be put down the drain after use. Happy cleaning!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What is Zibbet?

At the end of last year I joined Zibbet, the latest entry into selling venues online. Even though I have not had any sales I really am liking this site. It is beautiful and easy to navigate as a seller. As most new sites that are in the beta stage they have many kinks to work out. Communication with the owners brings a quick personal response. It is growing and I am a premium seller who is committed to helping to make it grow.

Just finished this white vintage glass and sterling necklace yesterday. Features a pressed glass cabochon from the 1940's from Japan. I will be listing it in my Etsy store today.

Studio Reorganization

Ok, I've been working on getting my studio cleaned up and organized during the winter months. This included many trips to the dumpster and some serious cleaning. My studio shares my basement with the washer and dryer plus storage in in and every spot that is available. Finally got some shots of both the studio and how I organized my work area and supplies. Here is a before and after look at what my huge box of sterling, copper and brass wire and sheet looked like before and after the reorganization.

Before Shots

After Reorganization

Sterling Storage

Brass and Copper Storage

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