Torching it!

My son took this short video of me in my (embarrassingly messy!) studio a few days ago so I could show you part of what is involved in the enamel work that I’ve been doing.  Metal beads are placed on a stainless steel mandrel and then held in a flame until they are glowing red, once red each bead is dipped into enamel powder at least 3 times and reheated after every coating.  The beads are moved from the mandrel into a cooling “station” of vermiculite.  The method of enameling that I do is called Torch-fired enamel and I learned this technique a few years ago under the instruction of Barbara Lewis.  I signed up for the class upon the suggestion of a fellow beader at BeadFest in Philadelphia and have been experimenting with color and flame and metal beads ever since.  The flowers across the website banner are torch-fired enamel using vintage jewelry components and have been a really popular design…that is until I ran out of a few of the pieces and haven’t been able to find more!

 

Torch fired enamel

 

Here are a few more samples of my torch-fired enamel beads.

tfe necklace

 

torch fired enamel beads

torch fired enamel beads

 

tfe braceletsThanks for stopping by and ladeDAH!

Brimfield, not so brimming

Isn't this display the BEST!  I have to remember this if I ever get that studio of my dreams.

Isn’t this display the BEST! I have to remember this if I ever get that studio of my dreams.

Lots of good finds in here, but nothing I could justify buying even though I loved it all!

Lots of good finds in here, but nothing I could justify buying even though I loved it all!

I typically love the July Brimfield.  It’s warm out, much less crowded, and usually the selection is as good as the May and September shows.  Not this time.  I arrived early wanting to beat the heat and also get home early to get some things done.  I hadn’t been able to convince anyone to join me due to the heat, but the heat doesn’t really bother me, so I headed out alone.  I love the drive to Brimfield from my house in CT.  My path takes me by lots of cute New England houses, farms, cute little burgs with general stores and tiny post offices.  I travel along two lakes and its a relaxing winding road.  Of course I started the day with a Faddy’s donut.  Just one.  They are NOT gluten free and my foot seems to know when I’ve been good or bad in the carb and gluten free department.  Parking was a cinch and for the first hour or so, it was so quiet there at Quaker Acres that I thought maybe I was there on the wrong day.  Not really, but it was sooooo quiet.  There were many open booth spaces and several booths still draped in tarps or with tent sides down at 9 am!  Unheard of.  So long story short(ish), it was a disappointment.  I did find a few things to buy (2 butter pat pyrex dishes with lids in turquoise and white and 3 brooches for repurposing).  But that’s it.  Only one trip to the car.  No need for the cart.  To make up for my disappointment, I did have a BBQ pork with slaw “stroller”.  Yes, food was the highlight of the day…although I am pretty happy about my new pyrex.

So here’s a taste of what I did see…and liked, but couldn’t bring home.  Oh yeah, and that map of Rhode Island that I didn’t bring home.  I hope the woman who got it appreciates it as much as I would of.  If only I hadn’t stopped at the port-o-let, I might have had it in my hand first.  No matter what- I love my Brimfield days.

I have one of these tubs...I need to fill it with flowers in the summer.  It gets filled with wood in the winter and placed by the fireplace.

I have one of these tubs…I need to fill it with flowers in the summer. It gets filled with wood in the winter and placed by the fireplace.

Everyone should have one of these. With flashing lights.  Very royal.

Everyone should have one of these. With flashing lights. Very royal.

Another piece for the someday maybe studio.  Hey, that's a great name for a studio.  Someday, maybe.

Another piece for the someday maybe studio. Hey, that’s a great name for a studio. Someday, maybe.

Traveling Spectacular.  Love this banner, it pulled me right in.  Lots of vintage men's clothing.

Traveling Spectacular. Love this banner, it pulled me right in. Lots of vintage men’s clothing.

A beach wedding

This past weekend, my son, Ian and I drove (well, he drove and I rode) to Delaware to attend my brother’s wedding.  It was a quick trip, but full of joy and family and new friends and new family. This was the first beach wedding I’ve ever been to and it was so much fun.  Casual, unrehearsed, sandy, and very special.

Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Pre wedding relaxation.

Pre wedding relaxation.

Not your traditional walk down the aisle.

Not your traditional walk down the aisle.

Mr and Mrs.  And a lovely necklace, don't you think?  ladeDAH! of course!

Mr and Mrs. And a lovely necklace, don’t you think? ladeDAH! of course!

Happy 4th of July!  On the GWB as we head back home.

Happy 4th of July! On the GWB as we head back home.

Feelin’ beachy

beachy-1It’s finally here!  This past Monday was a beautiful, sunny-and-85-degrees day and I was giddy with excitement that summer has arrived at last.  Summer makes me happy for lots of reasons.  Shedding layers of clothes, opening windows, the smell of low tide at our little beach house, wearing flip flops, the smell of sunscreen,  and gin and tonics while watching the sunset.  Ahhhhh.    So to honor the beginning of summer, I put together this vintage and new combination of a Monet gold tone starfish brooch and some of the most gorgeous labradorite I’ve ever seen.  These stones look like the ocean.  They have the glimmer, the blues, the greens, the murkiness, and the clarity.  A perfect combo.  AND the starfish is detachable so you can wear this 5 strand glammy ocean summeriness in at least 3 different ways.  
beachy-4 beachy-5 beachy-6 beachy-7So here’s to summer.  To sand, sun, and summer fun.

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Perfect day.

Today was a nearly perfect day.  I didn’t run out of gas even though my gas gauge needle was way below E.  I got a parking spot at my favorite field even though the sign said “LOT FULL”.  I found oodles of fun stuff for my jewelry making endeavors.  Hot donuts were rolling out of the donut machine just as I got to the Faddy’s window.  No, they are not gluten free but I did say a “nearly” perfect day.  Does it get any better?  It does.  I was at Brimfield all. day. long.  I think my obituary should read, “She loved Brimfield”.

So many vignettes.

So many vignettes.

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Love this window/mirror.

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Where else do you see a 4 foot rusty rooster being transported parade-style down the road?

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Its one-stop shopping for a whole collection of something.

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Lunch in the back of the car with my treasures spread out for inspection.

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The too tall dresser that would have been perfect otherwise.

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Fire King handled bowls for my friend, Nancy.

Waiting for spring

Its been such a loooong winter, but today it is spring!  Such a beautiful day that I decided to start the “show season” prep by painting these ladders and shelves. photo 2 photo 5 photo 3

I also put a coat of Annie Sloan on the little carry-all I picked up for $2 at G Dub this week.  Love these little things.  If you are familiar with AS paint, you know how wonderful it is…NO priming, goes on easy, water clean-up, and this milky, chalky old-as-great-grandma’s-table finish.  LOVE it.

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Here’s another one that I did last year using the same paint and also a cup rack that I AS’ed so I could turn it in to a bracelet rack for shows.

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And on another note, look at this

DSCF0421Is she gorgeous or what?  And the best thing about her?  Zero dollars.  Free.  From the lovely ladies at Frock Shoppe in Chester, CT  www.frockshoppe.com.  Fabulous shop where all the clothes are made by hand.  Thank you, Donna for the heads up that these ladies were looking to unload TWO dress forms.

The other one is perfect for photography and I’ve already bought her a lovely new black chemise.  Very photogenic, she is.

photo-75Sorry for the fuzzy, shadowy pic.  I was excited and in a hurry to have you meet her.

I had this gal already.  She’s from Brimfield.  Quite pretty.  Ziggy adores her as you can see.

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Sadly, unless the ladies can transport themselves to shows, I think they’ll be staying pretty close to home for now.

So any who, it has been a productive day.  I will leave you with my new favorite song from a CD that my sweet sister in Oregon sent me.  She finds the best gifts.  But that’s a story for another day.

ladeDAH!

 

 

Not very eggcited.

2b4ea61f66a31bb1bc19f7205dd73676I’ve been trying to cut back on gluten and carbs to see if I can reduce inflammation in my foot and wrists/hands.  Its really hard.  I am a gluten lover from waaaay back.  I’ve always been a very moderate person when it comes to food, but I do love my chips and salsa, a gooey chocolate chip cookie (or 4), a toasted whole grain english muffin loaded with peanut butter and homemade raspberry jelly, and you get the idea.  So, in some ways going low carb and gluten free hasn’t been that big of a change.  Lots of protein and veggies, I can do that.  But breakfast has been a huge challenge.  Eggs, eggs, eggs, and when you’re sick of eggs, well, you can have another egg.  Udi’s makes a great gf granola, but its all carbs, so that’s a once a week treat.  Grapefruit has become my go to breakfast, with an egg of course.  I came across this little gem on pinterest and gave it a try.  Its good and its easy.  I like that.

I’ve started a board on my pinterest page here about gluten free eating, but I don’t have many pins on there yet.

Low-Carb-HotcakesThese look delicious.  Made from almond flour and flaxseed.  I think I’ll give them a try.  Could they possibly taste as good as they look???

Baked-Egg-AvocadoI love avocados, but baked?  Hmmm.  I’ll get back to you on that.

So check out my pinterest board: Gluten free for all. You can link to all the recipes there.  And please email me with your own ideas for gluten free breakfasts- with links to recipes, preferably!   I’ve got at least a couple more weeks before I give up on this whole notion!

twenty fourteen

Happy New Year!  I’m not sure where my days go, but I’ve been meaning to post since before Christmas, I really have.  It seems that I get so jacked up over the first few weeks of December with shows and shopping and baking and partying (!), that once Christmas comes and goes, I need about a month to recover!  In addition to recovering, I’ve been spending some time with friends and family and just doing regular stuff, like starting to paint our poor little beach bungalow that was flooded by Sandy.  Its the tiniest little house which makes it a much less daunting task than it would be if it were a “real” house.  Not to mention that it is ALL the SAME COLOR.  White.  Its supposed to be white, its a beach house, right?  Last weekend was the beginning of the painting project and since the electricity hasn’t been fully re-installed (do you install electricity? no, but I can’t think of how to say it), we painted on Saturday til it began to get dark, but Sunday was a dark and dreary day (like seems to be the weather theme of the new year), so the painting was slow and had many stops and starts.  Our friend and neighbor helped us install (right word, this time) the new tub which is deep and nice and perfect for soaking off a day of sand from our someday grandchildren.  Its so good to see the little house slowly returning to its beach house self.  The dog even seems to relax better there.  IMG_2706IMG_2707 IMG_2708Another little project that I’m working on is learning to use my NEW CAMERA!  In addition to the camera, Santa brought me some very fancy lighting that if I ever learn to use it, will be very helpful in photographing jewelry.  I’ve got a soft box, a grip head, an extension arm, a booster extension cable, and a bunch of other stuff I know nothing about. Sooo, if anyone nearby is interested in free steakhouse or Mexican food or some lovely jewelry,  I could certainly use a few lessons in apertures and soft boxes and grip heads…you’ll be looking fine and eating well.  Call me. Soon.  I’ve had a very frustrating day.

Up and running again!

Ian, my unimaginably patient website doctor, has the site back up and running after a week or so of darkness!  It seems that a small little change of email addresses can put an entire website and all its fancy plug-ins and settings completely out of commission.  The situation only got more and more complicated as the days went on…confusion with hosting, passwords no longer working, and hours and hours on hold and in conversation with GoDaddy.  So happy we both are, that this little tiny blog is back in the game!  Thank you, Ian.  You really are a good, good son!

The website begin down didn’t keep me from working though and I thought I’d show you what I’ve been working on this morning.  It came out even better than I’d pictured.  When I bought these antique-y looking silver grey quartz stones. I was envisioning something with shells and pearls and beachy.  But, this morning when I sat down to work, I saw something completely different.  I’ve been hoarding saving this big, mod flower for a few years now and its specialness has grown due to the fact that these overgrown Thai silver flowers are harder and harder to come by, so I knew when I finally used it, it would need to be in a pretty wonderful arrangement.  I am so happy with this statement necklace that is such a juxtaposition of texture and sentiment—big mod flower meets antique silver grey chunks of sparkling quartz.  There’s big milky stick pearls, aurora borealis chalcedony rondelles, a few sandy colored pearls for a little spice, and even some white sapphires.  Gor.geous.  Even if I do say so myself.  I’ll be bringing this new piece and lots of other new work to the upcoming road shows starting this Friday and going through next Tuesday.  I hope I see you at one of them…

 

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Digging for it

My friend Kaye and I met in the city last week to do a little bead shopping.  Our first stop was on 36th st at a vintage bead warehouse.  I sort of had a picture in my mind of what the place would look like based on another shopping trip I’d done to a warehouse in RI.  Kaye, on the other hand, was a little shocked I think to see the mess situation inside.  Needless to say, we got our hands dirty.  Thankfully, I’d brought my trusty “life is good” roller bag so we could make a quick getaway with our 20+ lbs of goods.  Life is good. IMG_2343This was not for the weak-spirited.  There were boxes on top of boxes on top of piles of who knows what was under some of that stuff.  We literally walked across chain, beads, findings, crazy stuff to get to boxes out of our immediate reach.  We must have washed our hands 5 times before we left.  It takes a lot of digging to get to the truly good stuff.  IMG_2346 We found some great stuff, mostly vintage czech beads, but not much in the way of the metal findings that I was looking for to use with my torch-fired pieces.  Oh well.  IMG_2347I don’t really know why I felt the need to take this shot.  No one would be surprised that there’d be a turquoise phone.  Off the hook.

IMG_2426These are the favorite-ist beads we found.  A gorgeous shade of purple, a really vintage-y color, faceted teardrop czech glass.  Divine. We bought a few pounds worth!  I was hoping they would look good with the beautiful vintage rhinestone clasp I’d gotten at Brimfield in Sept.  And THEY DO!  This picture doesn’t really show the fabulous color of the beads, but trust me on this.  They are so BEEAUTiful.  IMG_2427IMG_2430We had such a great day.  Sometimes you really need a fresh set of eyes to see the things you might otherwise miss.  Thanks, Kaye!

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