Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Featured Artisan

Today's Feature Etsy artisan is new to our Etsy West Michigan Team.


A bit about Wendy Beth Creations from their Etsy shop:

"At the prodding of my family and friends that treasure the gifts I have made them over the years, I am here on Etsy.

This year I started making hair ornaments, which have been featured on under 'Elegant Art & Fantasty' & 'Beauty Shots' I developed a passion for working with silk flowers while very young. When I was a child, my mom used to do flowers for weddings and I would 'help' her. Since then I have always enjoyed working with silk flowers."

This is only a small selection of the items WendyBethCreations offers. Please visit her shop to see more.

Items in this post:
1. Black Ice Earrings
2. Blue Antiquita Hair Ornament/Fascinator
3. Harvest Feminity Chandelier Earrings

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Featured Artisan

Today's featured artisan is Moonlit Herbals
Moonlit Herbals is one of my teammates from the Pagans of Etsy Team

Here is a bit of info about Moonlit Herbals from their Etsy shop:
"Moonlit Herbals is a small, family owned business located in the beautiful and diverse city of Olympia, Washington. We started making our organic bath and body products for family and friends as a way to break free from the harsh chemical products that we had all become accustomed to using. We had received such great reviews that we decided to offer our products to anyone seeking a more natural way to treat their mind, body and soul.

Moonlit Herbals was created out of our love for nature and the wonderful gifts it has to offer all of us.

We take great pride in doing business in an ethical and ecological way toward preserving and protecting the earth, of which we are all a part of and believe that this energy flows through all that we do.

We make all of your products in small batches with love and integrity from the finest natural ingredients ensuring the quality and freshness you deserve. Our products are made with certified organic and ethically wild-harvested herbs that are grown without pesticides and herbicides. We support small businesses so our herbs are purchased from wonderful, local farms and natural stores that take as much pride in their product as we do.

Our products range from bath and body to ritual items and hand-crafted gifts and candles. In this day and age it is impossible to separate ourselves from all the toxins and pollution that we are forced to live with on a daily basis; so our products is our way of getting back in touch with nature, the way it should be."

This is a very small sample of what is offered by Moonlit Herbals. Please visit their shop to see the other wonderful items I could not fit in this post!

Items in this post:
1: Prosperity Gemstone Perfume Oil Wear
2: Yule/Winter Solstice Icicle Charm Filled with herbs, crystals, and resin
3: Lunar Goddess Magickal Herbal Sachet

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Featured Artisan

One of the greatest things about being a part of, especially being part of a team, is to see the works of other artisans. Today I would like to share with you the work of Kendra from the Etsy West Michigan Team.

Kendra's shop is Delighted Hands ThirtyOne Thirteen. She makes beautiful crochet items by hand for warmth, style, and a splash of color in any decor.

A bit about Kendra from her shop bio:

"My mom taught me to crochet when I was 4 years old. Knitting is a more recent skill, one that I have quickly come to enjoy.

I especially enjoy rich colors, exquisitely textured yarns, detailed patterns, and subtle sparkle.

Pretty and unique items of superior quality are my goal. I love designing new patterns, working with deep colors, and always have more ideas waiting to begin."

This is only a taste of the items from Please browse her shop for more handmade goodness.

Items in this post:
1. Plum Cherry cluster Cotton Alpaca Wool Scarf
2. Purple Multi Layer Long Beaded Garland Necklace
3. Oatmeal and Sweet Cream Set of 5 Hand Crocheted Nesting Bowls

Friday, October 30, 2009

Copper Cuffs

It has taken a while to get back my blog but I am here now. As promised here is a photo of the copper cuffs I was working on when I last blogged...

They turned out quite well. And even though the hammering alone took 2 sessions over 2 days I still say hand hammering is still better than using a machine to do the hammering for me. It is just a matter of pacing so as not to completely wear our the muscles ;) These cuffs took longer than usual because they are much larger than I usually make. They were a custom order and measure 2" wide by 11" long. Usually the largest cuffs I make are 1" wide by 7" long.

After hammering, the stage that was shown in my last blog post, I sanded the cuffs by hand and hammered them into their cuff form. The last step before photographing and shipping was to polish them to a high shine.

In the time it has taken me to get this post together I have made quite a few new pieces along with working on listings for my Etsy site. The new design for my animal line is the ferret. They turned out beautifully.

This is one of the ferrets in copper. In about 2 weeks time I made 9 of these total in copper, nickel, red brass, and yellow brass.

The other custom piece I had was a copper version of an engineers guild ring. It is to be a special present.

I like how it turned out and am quite happy I was able to figure out how to make the design from a photograph.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hand Power or Machine Power?

As I sat beating a piece of copper into submission my arms began to tire. The hammer seemed to increase in weight with each strike. And then I thought 'there is probably a machine that can put all these little diviets into the metal without wearing so much on the muscles.' I continued striking the blank for an extra wide copper cuff with the ball-peen hammer and continued thinking...

I have seen a machine used to shape and smooth a fender for a bike on one of the chopper shows which would make this task quicker and easier. But being a machine each strike would be the same depth with the same amount of pressure. The resulting texture would not be as rich as hand hammering, as the strength and angle of each strike varies. It also wouldn't have the same energy. The time and physical energy put to hand hammering adds an unseen energy and feel to the metal as it is worked that shows through in the final piece. I have also found a greater sense of accomplishment working in older methods with my stubborn refusal to turn every part of my work over to complex machines. I admit I love my flex shaft for polishing and I would get far less pieces completed if I polished everything by hand from start to finish, but there is just something enriching and fulfilling about using a hand held hammer over a machine or hand saw over a laser cutter and I think that shows through in my work when the pieces are finished. So although I will acquiesce to using some mechanized processes I don't think I will ever give up the fun, frustration, and weariness that comes from working by my own physical power.

The 2 extra large (2" x 11") copper cuffs I am currently working on complete with hammer I am using, resting on my pounding block.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday Treasury

I just created this treasury for the Pagans of Etsy Team. Please click on the picture and have a look at the great magical items this team creates :)

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A bit of my older work

I has been a while since I have gone through my portfolio so I decided to take a look and share some of my other art work.

These digital images were done for one of my design classes in 2002. The astrology images were done using Illustrator and Phtoshop and the angel was created with Illustrator using the gradient mesh tool.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I decided to check out Ety's pounce function today and took a look at the undiscovered section. After only 2 pounces I was captivated by the pieces Tuavus Design offers. Each piece they have in their shop is made from reclaimed wood. Beautiful, functional, eco-friendly lighting products!

"Tuavus design is a small design studio and workshop situated in north London, England. The company was founded by two designers with the concept of creating functional pieces of sculpture from solid reclaimed timber. We like to think that through simple but considered styling, our design work creates an interesting juxtaposition between the natural materials, metal and plastic, while also allowing the natural beauty of the wood to speak for itself."
- Tuavus Design

Monday, June 15, 2009


I have decided to do a bit of playing (trial and error work) with forging. It is something that I have been wanting to do for a while now but just haven't gotten to. Partially because the 4 rings I have forged from scrap sterling I heated with a torch instead of having a proper fire. We have an old stove outside that seems will be very good for making a proper fire but it was in bad need of cleaning before any actual work could be done.

The other day I started playing with a necklace for myself. It will be a torque style with a lot of hammering. Looking at the piece after I started I realized I either needed to clean out the stove and get some good coals going or I would go through a lot of map gas with a torch. So I set about cleaning the remains of previous burns from the stove.

After I pulled out some of the burned matter with a garden trowel I looked deeper into the stove and was surprised to find plants growing. It seems that nature will find its way. I really didn't expect to find anything growing in the stove because I didn't think there would be enough light. However, these little plants, I believe they are rose a sharon, decided there was enough of everything they needed right there.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Handmade Registry

Have you ever thought :
"I wish I could REGISTER for a HANDMADE WISH LIST to send to my friends and family for birthdays, holidays, and special occasions!"? is a networking site for buyers and sellers to find and share their favorite handmade items. This site is a place where everyone can create a personal page with a list of their favorite items from only HANDMADE RETAILERS! There are also groups within the community for expectant parents, a house-warming group to share decorating tips on a budget and find that special accent piece, and one for the $5000 handmade wedding. You can find more information about what inspired Dorana of a Dorana Design and ddots to create here.

With the sharing of information and handmade items that goes on in this site you can often find those special handmade items you have been looking for at a fraction of the cost you would pay at the big chain stores. It is also a great place to see what special things other people have discovered. Each day they feature a member's wish list on their front page.

I found out about this site this morning when I received a convo through letting me know one of my rings was in todays featured wish list. I will be signing up for this site myself. I know I am one of those hard to shop for people who can never remember the things that I want when someone asks "what do you want for your birthday." This will be a great solution to that issue once I have created my wish list. Not only will family be able to see what I have been wanting but it will also support the handmade community.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I think we've been adopted

Last Saturday my husband and I went out back to work a bit in what will be our garden. Our next door neighbor informed us that a baby squirrel had fallen out of the tree in our front yard not long before we came out. At that point the little squirrel was in her yard so we got some peanut butter and bread. It wasn't long before the squirrel began to much. We left the squirrel alone and began to work on raking out the garden aria. A while later my husband noticed that the baby squirrel had come into our back yard and was sitting on our stump. He sat down indian style a little way away from the stump and the little squirrel ran over and climbed over his legs and just made itself comfortable. The squirrel didn't seem to want to leave so we sat for a while then my husband carefully moved his legs so he could stand up without startling or hurting the baby squirrel. He tried putting the squirrel back on the tree it had fallen from but as we walked away the squirrel followed.
For the rest of the afternoon the squirrel followed my husband around the yard making noises the whole time and trying to climb up his leg every time he stopped.

At one point I was sitting on the back steps and the squirrel came up for some more peanut butter, ate a little bit and then climbed onto my lap for a while. After giving him some water my husband put his gloves on and put the squirrel back on the tree it fell from and we quickly went back to the back yard. Yesterday our neighbor, who often has food out for the birds and squirrels, said it came out of our tree and headed over there for a bite to eat.

Since we don't know if the mother is still around and its sibling who fell with it didn't survive, we will be keeping an eye out for this cute little guy throughout the spring and summer and it's sibling will have a good resting place in our garden.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Woven Sterling Bracelet

This bracelet was hand woven from 22 gauge sterling silver wire. When finished its diameter is about 3mm (0.1181 inches). Once the wire was woven it was "drawn" to make the weaving more uniform and tighten the weave. Drawing is the process of pulling the wire through an appropriate size hole in a metal plate. Once the woven wire is "drawn" it is cut to the proper length and end caps are soldered on to accommodate a jump ring and lobster claw. The wire for this bracelet was cut to 6.5 inches once the end caps and clasp were put on it was a finished length of 7 inches.

Interesting fact:
It takes about 1 foot of wire to make 1 inch of woven bracelet.

Behind the scenes:
These are the tools I use in the weaving process. The whole thing begins with a spool of 'dead soft' wire. The wire is cut into 1-2 foot lengths for weaving. If the wire lengths were any longer they would become difficult to use because of a process called 'work hardening' which is where the wire gets harder and stiffer as its molecules align from being worked with. The wire cutters are an obvious choice of tools as something is needed to cut the spooled wire into shorter lengths ;) The ice pic is used to form the wire into each loop as it is pulled through a previously made loop. The jaws of the pliers are smooth so that they will not mar or pinch the wire as they are used to pull the wire through the weaving proces. I have found the glove to be a very important part of making woven wire. I only wear the left of my winter gloves as that is the hand that I use to hold the wire while weaving. It is not absolutely necessary to wear a glove while weaving but when I don't my pointer and thumb fingers get very tender from the pressure of holding the wire while weaving.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Sarah has created a great look with these recycled beverage tabs.

The 'scales' for these purses came from the quasi evil yet environmentally conscientious Soda Dragon. In a daring venture Sarah has struck a bargain with this horrid inflictor of calories and sugar. Risking life and limb she entered its cooler offering a way for it to recycle its ever mounting sheded scales. In gratitude the Soda Dragon has agreed to lessen its infliction of calories and sugars upon the fine people of the land.

Well that is my take on it anyway ;)

Here is the "real" story from Sara's Shop...

"My pop tab purses and accessories are made from 100% post-consumer aluminum beverage can tabs that have been thoroughly washed prior to assembly. I use other recycled materials when possible but new materials when necessary to ensure quality and durability."

"My smallest size purse (excluding the coin purse) is composed of over 400 post-consumer recycled aluminum beverage can pull tabs, which are purchased from a local recycling facility. Various charities, such as the Ronald McDonald house, collect the tabs and sell them to the facility as a fundraiser."

"After being double-washed in antibacterial soap and sorted for uniformity, the tabs are bound together to form a chainmail-type mesh, and a purse is born. I have five standard styles, but often make one-of-a-kind purses that are designed as I go along."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Not much to say today so here are some pictures of pretty things :)
The 'stone' in this ring is Blue Paua Shell. The ring is sterling silver with a half round band for comfort.

Anam Ogham Necklace
Anam is Irish Gaelic for Soul. This one was hand cut in copper. That is one of my gargoyle friends peeking out in the background.

Encircled Moon Phase Necklace.
So often in moon phase jewelry the new moon is left out. I feel the new moon is an important phase as well so made sure to include it when working up this design. It is also hand cut in copper. This is also the first of the smaller size for this design at 1" rather than 2".

Hammered Ring with a Twist
This design was actually one of my happy accidents. I was making sterling braided rings out of 16 gauge wire and mis-measured when cutting the stock wire into 3 equal parts for braiding. I ended up with one piece that was much shorter than the other two. So having 2 pieces of 4 inch wire I thought what would happen if I twisted them together, made a ring, and hammered it out. Well this was the result. I am very pleased with it and have continued making them on purpose.

Well I guess I had more to say than I thought!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Newest additions to the growing list...

Yesterday was a very productive day. I finished off and sent out 3 Ogham pendants, 2 which are entirely new for my line, and the chain mail necktie I mentioned earlier.

Gaol Buan (Unfailing Love)
This started as a custom piece. She liked both the "permanent" and "love" pendant but were looking for something to mean unconditional love. Since the word for unconditional in Gaelic is too long for a pendant she stayed with permanent (Buan) for its many meanings.
This one gave me a bit of a headache in the translating and figuring out which word should be written first. Though Gaelic is used in both Ireland and Scotland there are differences in the meanings of words. For example Goal in Scottish Gaelic translates as love, fondness, a beloved object; in Irish Gaelic Goal translates as relation, relative. In Scottish Gaelic Buan means lasting, durable, long and in Irish Gaelic Buan means lasting, permanent, (effort) sustained, unfailing. With all of those meanings I was able to create a pendant that was perfect for what she wanted and a great new design for my line! This one was cut in Sterling Silver

Coisricthe (Holy)
Also a custom piece this one has a much shorter story but is beautiful none the less. It is Irish Gaelic and simply means Holy. It was cut in copper.

Firinn (Truth)
This was already in my stock of words but is one of my favorites because of a little philosophical quirk. In the original Ogham alphabet there is no letter F so the F had to be phonetically approximated with the letter V. It is a pendant, that to me, demonstrates the slippery nature of truth when filtered through our perseption.

I do not have the Ogham necklaces on my website yet but as I finish pieces I have been listing them for sale at

Gold Chain Mail Necktie
This is the aforementioned gold necktie I was working on. The picture is a bit washed out on my screen as true colors are so hard to capture and adjust but it gives a good idea of the gorgeous color. The rings are actually a bit darker and although they are anodized gold there is a silver sheen to them in certain light from the aluminum shining through the anodizing. I will definitely be ordering more links in this color!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Haven't disappeared, just been working

Its been a busy odd week so far. I spent the weekend working on orders and stock while taking breaks playing Tomb Raider Underworld. I have actually managed to not get completely sucked into the game! Beside the work I had 2 old friends from high school contact me. It is really cool to catch up with people I haven't talked to since about 1996!

Most of what I have been working on has not been finished but I do have a few finished photos to share today...
I had a custom order for 5 Ogham pendants.
Left to right they are: Siachari , Dreoilin, Sionnach, Deglan, and Ruadh.

Other than those I have been cutting some of the Ogham pieces I prepared for stock along with some orders and a chain mail necktie. The necktie is a beautiful gold, I will have to post pictures of it when it is finished.

I also managed to slip in 2 bear totem pieces.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I feel like sharing...

...the beautiful work of an Etsy West Michigan team member.
Her shop is julie and co. japanese temari.

Temari is the ancient Japanese folk art of silk embroidered thread balls, originally made by noble women with silken threads pulled from old kimonos. Used originally for child's play, today the art of temari is becoming more regarded around the world.

These are only a few of the amazing temari Julie makes. Her shop has a wide variety of colors and designs, all of which are beautiful!