Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Do you remember the old joke where the out of towner stops a NYC cabbie and says, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The answer is "Practice, practice, practice."

That's the quip that was on my mind when I decided I could make myself some new summer jewelry. I used some of the jewelry techniques I had been reading about in O'Briens Metal Craft Discovery Workshop and Kelly Snelling and Ruth Rae's A Charming Exchange . I have been collecting tools and findings for awhile and I finally got the nerve to try my hand with them.

This necklace I cut from a lemon cookie tin. I used my new tin snips and made the fleur-de-lis and then filed the edges with tiny metal files. I used my new metal hole punch to make a tiny hole in the top and put a jump ring to attach it to the necklace. I made a few other metal charms from works on the same tin and attached them to the necklace. Since I had never used a crimp bead before, I had a few false starts in getting the necklace all put together. In the end I tied tiny bits of purple tulle in between a few of the beads which took up the extra space left by my clumsy attempts with the crimp beads. (Yes, she said, I begin to understand why they say that necessity is the mother of invention.)

For the second necklace, I cut little bits of wire, stung a green or gold textured bead on each and then bent the wire on each end and attached the bead together as I went. On a few of the gold textured beads, I covered them in old dark green veil from an old hat I tore apart for its millinery flowers and secured the netting to the bead with little bits of light green tulle. At the end of the strand of these beads, I attached to each size an old rhinestone button from my stash and strung a length of different colored rhinestone beads between the two buttons and attached the strand to the buttons with fine wire I wove around the spokes in the buttons.

For the third necklace, I made a little bird's nest by wrapping silver wire in the shape. I painted a little birdie brown and blue (to match the robin's egg opal beads) and glued it to the nest with E-6000. I also included some dark teal crystal beads for interest. (Sorry my little birdie is so blurry!)
Even though my work may be a little rough, I have been happy in the designing process. I caught the green on something getting out of the car and had to climb around and gather the bead that broke, but I was able to restring and start again. I plan to practice some more so that maybe I can make some as Christmas gifts this year. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Wow! I can't believe that its been so-o-o-o long since my last blog post. Please know that I have been working away despite a little sickness last week and that I miss each and every one of you! When I am not visiting your blogs my own inspiration often wanes. I had a little sore throat that seemed to turn into the croup - thank goodness not the swine flu! I seem to be on the mend and I no longer feel like I am walking through pudding just to make my way around.
Last month a fortuitous blend of new "toys" led me to make this fairy house. I had a little board book I had bought some time ago at Dee's for $1.99 with no plans for it. When I saw the lovely little fairy stamps in the $1.00 bin at Michael's, I knew they would be just perfect for this little fairy house. The little stamp on the front of the book - "fairies live here" was all the inspiration I needed and this book was put together in no time from stuff I already had on hand. When I reduce photographs I always make a whole page of little postage size stamps and save the rest for later projects. Many of my previous projects came together into this one little package. And if, like me, you wonder how it all comes together, I'll try to give you the chain of events that led to this book:

I covered each of the little house pages with scrapbook papers. As I was working, I decided to make the book travel through the seasons of the year so I picked the papers for my "seasons" accordingly.

I love the Ranger Distress inks and embossing powders and I used the Distress Ink (old paper) to age the scrapbook papers and the peeled paint embossing powder gave the edges a look and texture of moss. Occasionally I used a white wash of water and white acrylic paint on part of the background to dull it a bit and pop the rest of the page.

I used some diamond glaze sparingly on the flower "tree" and the roof of the mushroom "house" to give the page an extra pop.

I had little images of this little girl with her dress already painted bright orange and green from a bookmark project last year in which I dressed her up as a pumpkin. I reduced a piece from Sandra Evertson's great book : Families. I also already had a little bag of the leaves which were punched for another project and edges with Ranger sepia brown ink.

The tree is part of a rubber stamp image I had saved from another project as well. The little silhouette fairy is from one of the new $1 sets from Michael's.

This winter page is my favorite. I made a path for the two children with white acrylic paint and then made "snow" on both sides with glue and fine glitter. I am so in love with how this path turned out that I may use it as my Christmas card this year. The photograph is one I have used again and again and is one that my business partner's mother graciously loaned me for any use. It is of her mother and uncle as children. I think the path and snow would be really pretty on a larger card. I could make the path curl around behind them. I made another rubber stamp image of the same tree from the last page (except this time with Versafine Ink) and put it on the other side of the page. I made some falling snow with dots of glue and glitter and put a large snowflake from a paper punch. I only glued the large snowflake in the middle so that the edges are loose. The little fairy is from another $1 set.

I already had this tiny image of boys playing in the snow from an ATC swap last Christmas and I covered the page with more glue and fine glitter. I found this quote on the Internet to complement the pages.

This is the only season I had planned out when I began this book: April Showers bring May Flowers. I made rain with white blobs and diamond glaze.

This was the first time I had used the new Ranger Distress stickles and I just love them. They are the texture at the top of this page. Lots of texture, but no shine! Perfect! I had a little page of German die-cut angel heads and that nest I had stamped from a friend's set of rubber stamps. I used another fairy in silhouette and left her wings free. The greenery are rub-ons.

I had picked a paper for the summer pages that already had butterfly wings on the page so I positioned one of the little fairies to look like she was driving that butterfly. Then I stamped the other two butterflies and fairies from the Michael's stamps. I found this near perfect quote by searching the Internet: Then followed that beautiful season...Summer... Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light." I white washed parts of the page and then used my Stardust gel pin to add scribbles of tiny glitter to the rest of the page.

I used part of another image from Sandra Evertson's book and made a little fence from some trim and rhinestones. The quote on the back was from a page I had torn out of a magazine years ago and saved for just the right occasion such as this: No winter last forever - no spring skips its turn. How true!
Happy Spring to each of you!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Yesterday I painted the flower above at a free demo at a local craft store. I have always love the colored enamel charms I've seen for sale and thought it would be great to find out what paints they used to make them. I was assuming it would be some special hobby enamel paint like they use to paint model cars. Turned out it was even easier than I expected.

Here's the formula:
Cover any metal charm with one drop of acrylic paint mixed with three drops of Diamond Glaze. Paint the entire charm with one color and let dry (about 3 minutes). After that coat you can paint the acrylic paint directly onto the charm. When you're done with all the painting just seal the charm with a final coat of pure Diamond Glaze and let it set overnight to cure.
Above is the flower charm I made for free. I can't wait to try this at home on some other charms. Enjoy and let me know if you try this technique too!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


A shape...a color...even a delicate butterfly's wing - all can convey the spirit of romance in the hands of the right artist. In December I announced my Romancing the Charm Swap in which artists/crafters/brave souls who signed up here would each make a "romantic" charm for each player and mail them all to me. Then I would send a complete set of them out to each participant so that each player would receive enough charms by Valentine's Day to make their own piece of jewelry. Many of us had trouble getting our charms done by the due date, myself included. Overall, I think the swap was a great success and I want to share the results with you.

There were almost as many different mediums represented as there were participants.

Wendy made a charm with wire, beads and silver charms:

Linda made ones from beads and wire harvested from deconstructed necklaces:

Michele used a silver bezel, cloth and beads to make a 3-D charm of tiny pink flowers:

Melissa made a charm with pink rhinestone, little silver hearts and tiny pink and pearl beads:

Amy made little silver charms to which she added cloth and words:

Kelley and I both constructed charms from bottle caps. Kelley filled her bottle caps with sparkly stuff and a rhinestone heart:

I folded over the sides of each bottle cap and then pounded them flat. It took a lot more pounding than I had anticipated. I smeared each bottle cap with black textile paint and silver lumiere and then wiped some of it off. On the inside I glued a little rose reproduced from a bit of a vintage postcard (as a signature for "The Tattered Rose"). On the outside, I glued various paper images reduced from vintage postcards, photographs and bridge tallies. I even made my Sis, also in the swap, a little charm with a tiny colorized pic of our parents and the word "Valentine:" I used Sparkles to accent the charms. After they were good and dry, I covered each side (letting one side dry overnight before going on to the next side) with a generous helping of Diamond Glaze.

Jessica and Pat both made charms from Polymer Clay. Jessica made hers into a tiny little valentine stamp with a tiny red bead at the end and presented it on a shipping tag wound with loads of laces and ribbon for future projects:

Pat made her heart charms from red and white clay that look good enough to eat:

Wanda made a clever little charm from a little glass bottle containing little pearls, glitter, and pink and white sequins attached to a tiny frame containing the words "No. 9". I confess it took me a moment to figure out it was Love Potion #9!:

My sister Sharon and my friend Marianne both made felted charms. Sharon felted little red and pink hearts and decorated them with little beads, buttons and rhinestones:

Marianne made dangle with two tone pink beads and attached them to little glittered and cloth hearts:

Holly hand painted little love birds on shrink plastic: and built them up with different paints:

Susan made a quilted heart and added colorful little heart shaped buttons:

Corrine made micro-macrame charms into which she wove little silver hearts and beads:

Bobbi G. carved little hearts from gourds and hand painted them red with little squiggly designs and the word Love:

Barb trapped little bits of butterfly wings between glass and soldered a charm:

I made everyone a little card stock charm of the swap from the original vintage postcard I used to announce the swap. I admit that I had numerous troubles with this little baby as it was my first time trying to use the new Melt Pot I bought myself for Christmas. I covered the little card stock images by dipping them into molten UTEE. I made myself send them out even though they were not as perfect as I would have like just so everyone could see how simple a medium (and inexpensive) a design could be.

I truly hope that everyone who participated had a great time and that posting our results here may encourage others to try their hand at charm making. It was a great pleasure to give myself permission to experiment in a new medium and an even greater pleasure to see how everyone else rose to the challenge. It has made my Valentine's Day all the merrier and I hope that everyone who participated enjoyed making and receiving their charms. My great gratitude goes out to each and every one of you for making this a great charm swap! Please stay in touch and I hope all of this year's participants and anyone else who is interested will consider signing up next year for "Romancing the Charm Swap - The Sequel. Watch for the announcement in December 2009.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

The Tattered Rose

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Last February 1, 2008, Odeana Raven left home on a mission trip that was scheduled to cover 3 countries and 2 continents. She wished to become a more rounded crow and to have adventures so that she would have stories that could compete with her two brothers. She left behind a very distraught boyfriend, Homer Crow, who was very much in love with Odeana. When Homer's worst fears were realized and Odeana was never heard from after her first scheduled stop on her trip, Homer left home last June in search of her. He left with wearing his black cloak of mourning and carrying his diary. He expected that his scheduled travels in 3 countries and 2 continents would change him very much and he wanted to record his adventures so that he could share them when he returned.

Since Homer left here, I had the occasional report of his travels - a brief message here or there that he had landed somewhere or that he was on the wing again. By the end of December I knew that he would be returning home soon and I waited with bated breath to see what progress he had made in finding Odeana and how his travels had changed him.

Last week Homer returned. His diary now carries a "Miami Vice" button on the outside. No doubt somewhere along the way, he consulted that police department for aid in locating his beloved Odeana, though his diary does not contain this account.

As per the instructions of his last host, Robin, I read his journal before opening the other packages. I could tell by the journal that he had been the guest of many gracious hosts:

Cheri drew this picture in his diary so that he could remember the lovely waters where he searched from tree to tree for Odeana. She even recorded this ballad:

Homer the Crow

Has no place to go

but to explore a stream

and Oak tress between

Every perch every branch

Scowled for Odeana, perch

for a Scout in a black shadowed cowl.

Homer will find love in his clouds above

with the watergypsy he will glide thermaltypsy

With the Melody of Wind on Merlin's Crag he will find.

Alderly edge over cheshire basin

And there a true love find.

Always, Always Homer clung to his last photograph of Odeana Raven - the last one taken before she was lost - so young - so inexperienced - and so alone:

Always hoping, against hope that she could be found. Homer's story, as documented in his diary recount his untiring efforts to find his one true love. Felicia took him to the beach to take his mind off his troubles. But he soon took back to the air and redoubled his efforts in Canada when he visited Gail. I couldn't believe him when I saw him, he left home a boy, but he came home a man! The story recorded in his diary by the many kind hosts who gave him shelter and assistance in his search, is very compelling. Thanks so much to all who helped Homer along his way!

Terry kindly made him a necklace with his True Love's name:

Cheri, Lee, Felicia, Gail and Lee gave him many garments and other additions and he returned home like this:

Isn't he splendid! I can't believe what they have all done with him. I love the way someone tied up his black tulle coat of mourning with a ribbon with silver stars and adorned it with rhinestones. They gave him a great Geri curl, eyes of amber, a red beak and feet and lavished him with a silver heart and angel necklace.

But wait...there was another package! Here's the story as Robin recorded it in the diary in Homer's own words:
"I flew off and headed west. It started to get dark and then I saw a strange Blue Glow. So I went down to see what it was. I discovered this wonderful magical place in the woods - in a Valley of beautiful pines. There was a brook and trees. In the middle of this place was a village of these magical creatures. I was met by an old grandmother crow. She told me this was the magical place of Acadia Blue. The Queen of Red dog. She said that she watches over this magical place and rules it with peace and love and all are welcome. So I explained my journey to her and who I was looking for. She said, 'Ah..yes, come down and warm yourself and have some food. ' Awhile later after I had eaten and warmed, Grandmother Crow came into the fire circle. She said, 'Homer, the Crow, come with me. I have someone you should meet. ' We went into the deep pines and to a large oak tree. The tree was a home, her home, and we went inside. I couldn't believe my eyes - sitting by the fire was my Odeana.'
Odeana was even lovelier than I remembered her. She was now dressed in a lovely lace gown and had lovely wings of blue and a long blue scarf. But there was no mistaking her - she was my Odeana!
She looked up and our eyes met. We had found each other again!"

This is the last entry in Homer's diary, but I have been able to spend many happy hours with the couple since the day they arrived here. Everyone who meets them is much taken with the couple and can't believe there harrowing tale of how they lost each other and reconnected. There is talk of a June wedding. Also, though Homer is afraid to talk of this yet, they have been contacted by Paramount Studio about the possibility of a major motion picture to tell their story.

Thanks so much to all at Altered Art of Visions and Dreams who participated in this round robin. I loved this round robin and I will remember it always. I loved working on each of your crows and i hope that you love them as much as I love Odeana and Homer.

Special thanks to Robin for making me a replacement Odeana! It was so sweet of you and I really appreciate it! You're a doll!

Friday, January 2, 2009


I confess! I can't stop making snow people. I stayed home on New Year's Day and worked on three new ones most of the day. I had already given a few as Christmas gifts, but now I really think I'm getting a system for making them. There are 4 more undecorated ones curing on my counter at home. I think I love them so because I can dig through my stash and use up all kinds of little incidental items I've collected. They are kind of like a 3-D collage because I don't realize the reason for the embellishments I give them until after I am finished with them. After I finished making this one:

And had already added the little rhinestone 4 on the key she was carrying, I realized, duh, she was the 4 of wands from the Tarot deck. (!) Traditionally, if I remember correctly, that card has a celebration going on (a wedding or other celebration of some sort) and the people on the card are often depicted with wreaths on their heads. The key is clearly her wand and the 4 (well, I added that one last) just looked right to me.

I think this snow angel is my personal favorite:

She is made from an old Log Cabin Syrup bottle I bought for $1.50 at a local antique store. She was marked $3.00, but when I told the clerk what I was going to do with her she generously slashed the price in half. I love how the little handles near the top of her bottle make her look like she is wearing a long full skirt and is standing with her hands behind her back. I used silver ground glass glitter on the letter J-O-Y so they will oxide over time and become almost black as they age. I used a bit of gold bouillon for her crown. I bought a couple stems of this stuff at the rubber stamp convention I attended last year and if anyone knows where I can buy some more, please leave me a post. I'm sorry for the glare, she is hard to get a pic of because of all the glitter, but I thought she still might give some of you an idea or two.

Here's the remaining snow girl in yesterday's trio. She was made from an old pink tinted pearl tree rope and a glass ketchup bottle which I also bought at a flea market for $1. I wasn't sure that I would like this shape, but once I had started constructing my little village, it was nice to have bottles in different shapes.

It is just as well that I am almost out of bottles because I need to get busy with my plans for the Romancing the Charm swap. I have a few little surprises in store for my players if I can just get them to come out right! Happy New Year and Happy arting, everyone. I hope you have all made new art resolutions for the coming year.

Please leave me a comment. I love hearing from all of you.

Cheers, Trish G.