Monday, July 23, 2012

Mary's Giveaway

Hello dear friends,

I love to browse all types of blogs.. most of them are arts or crafts related.
Some time ago I came across Mary's blog, Try, Try Again.
I was immediately captivated by her art.. Mary makes gorgeous, one-of-a-kind miniature books, always with a nature-inspired theme. ( she also makes interesting seahorses, too!)

At the moment, she is having a giveaway on her blog and asks that you help her out by nominating your favourite choice of picture from one of NINE pictures of a hedgehog that she will be including in some forthcoming books.

I have only ever seen a hedgehog once in my life and that was in New Zealand... ( our Australian Echidnas look totally different!) he was totally so cute... Mary's pictures are adorable.. please do check them out.

Hedgehog by Mary

There is a lovely treat as a giveaway... but you will have to look at her blog to see what that is.. I can't give that surprise away... go and see for yourself, she is a very talented girl!


Friday, July 20, 2012

From the studio..this week

Hello my friends,

I have been having a lot of fun in my little green shed/studio this week.. polishing up my soldering skills, teaching myself patience and trying something new. I know that chain making is a nemesis for some, but I don't mind it... I am finding repetition is a good teacher.
Here are a few photos of this week's results.

 Soldered and textured necklace. This was a lot of soldering.. every link is soldered. I added a slight texture on both sides of the larger link with a riveting hammer and matched the design on the toggle clasp.

It's a little hard to see, but there are hammered lines on bar and ring. Soldering the small rings are indeed teaching me patience! 

This is a bracelet with alternating oval and round links, all soldered.. I have added a pearl at the moment but am thinking I will also add something else as well. It is quite dainty.. so the addition has to be not too big... I will look at some gemstones tonight that might be o.k.

 Hammered sterling rings (well the Olympics are approaching!)

My first "spinner"ring. It is a bit of an illusion because of the photo angle, but the sides are both curved equally, although it does not look so here. Can anyone tell me how to get rid of silver solder on copper?
There is not a lot there, but it annoys me. I tried dabbing it with used copper pickle and steel wool with no result. I am going to darken this with Liver of Sulphur and then brush it up again. Hopefully it will look all right. This ring has taught me quite a lot! But I love doing it and will make more using different styles.

This (too dark) photo is a copper cut out of a Miniature Schnauzer.. which is the type of dog we have here at home. I was quite thrilled with this little piece as it is the first real 'cut out' I have done using the jewellers saw. I soldered a ring on, but unfortunately, he hangs crookedly. I replaced the jump ring up higher.. but still no go. Obviously he has more metal weight on the head end. I will have to re-cut and somehow make it more even. I am determined to make this work as I think it could make quite a sweet little pendant. Any ideas would be appreciated!

Some of these will be going in to my ArtFire shop, Jennibead Studio, this weekend after I take some better photos!

Hope you all have a great weekend,

Monday, July 16, 2012

From Virginia to Victoria.. bead soup arrival.

Hello my friends,

Well actually, it's from Tania  to Jenni!
I was getting just a tad worried.. but my soup arrived today and what a lovely surprise to see that yellow package arrive.. and yes, on my well timed Tania!

So, here we go... some eye candy for you!

Beautiful box and card.. don't you just love the colours and that stunning butterfly!

Some people are so good at organisation!

The whole beautiful mixed soup. Tania you have been so generous, thank you so much.

One of the gorgeous polymer clay focals with it's support beads. I am in totally in love with this.

Tania has spoilt me rotten and sent two stunning focals and their matching beads. This focal is attached to a delicate patinated filigree and is just so beautifully made.. I am in awe of the workmanship on this piece. Polymer rounds, amazonite and pink coral in the background.

Wrapped beads and clasp with connector.. these are so me!

And just for fun, I thought I would show you the amazing little lenses that attach to an husband got these for my birthday... such fun. There is a 2-in-1 Wide Angle/Macro lens, a 2x Telephoto lens and a Fisheye lens. They attach with a magnetic ring and have little magnetic caps. You do have to take off your phone cover to use them.

This photo was taken with my little macro iPhone lens. Pretty good close up I think! I think those might be cubic zirconias in the floral centre, although just guessing here...or crystals? The bead is not as red as this though.

Also taken with the iPhone macro lens... quite fabulous for a tiny thing like that! I can see I am going to get quite a bit of use from this little lens. (only problem is any dust or hair is visible.. got to remember to clean before taking a photo!)

And now the fun begins....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fabry's Disease and my family.

Hello friends,

Just to warn you, this will be a bit of a long post tonight.

As some of you may have noticed, I have opened an Artfire shop recently.
I have nominated 10% of all my sales to go to Fabry Australia. 
Fabry Australia is the shortname for the Fabry Support Group of Australia -   “A not-for profit organisation (and listed charity) whose primary concern is to share information about Fabry’s disease.”

Fabry’s disease came into my family’s life nearly 20 years ago when my oldest brother, David, was diagnosed with it after suffering a stroke at the age of 48.
Let me tell you a little about Fabry’s disease.

Fabry’s disease is a rare inherited disease, arising when a person is lacking a certain enzyme. This enzyme, called alpha A, is needed to remove a different enzyme, GL-3, from the body. Because this elimination does not happen, GL-3 slowly builds up in the body with resultant damage to blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, heart and eyes.

Once thought to only affect men, further research has shown it can affect men, women and children.

Both my brothers, David and Robin, suffered from the long term effects of Fabry’s disease. Their particular form of damage was to the cardio-vascular system. They both died young, in their 50’s, from cardiac and vascular complications.

These days, in Australia, there is an enzyme replacement therapy treatment available to people who have Fabry’s disease. It does not cure the disease, but rather reduces the likelihood of serious damage to organs (and consequently prolongs life) as well as reducing the occurrence and severity of the debilitating symptoms. The treatment was not given to David or Robin as the replacement enzyme therapy was not available in Australia before they died.

Both my brothers were not diagnosed until their 40’s. This was not for want of trying. As a child, David had quite severe symptoms. My Mother took him to various Doctors who really did not know what was the underlying cause of his problems, due to the rarity of the disease. At one stage, she was told he was  “just putting it on and to take him to a psychiatrist!”

David did the rounds of both conventional and alternative treatments when he was a young man, but still no one could diagnose the reason for his unusual series of symptoms.

I remember when I was about 9 or 10 years of age, I would go to the local shop for a cooling ice-cream for him as his feet and hands were so painful he could not walk. It was mid-summer and his hands were freezing cold and quite greyish in appearance. He clearly had significant damage by this age. He was about 19 or 20 years old then.

Robin, fortunately, did not suffer with quite as extreme pain, but it was apparent that he did have the same symptoms. Both of the brothers used to get very badly swollen ankles from fluid retention - a sign of poor circulation. They would often have difficulty doing up their shoes, particularly in the hot weather.

Not long after David was diagnosed, his wife, Margaret, and my father wrote an article for the Australian Women’s Weekly (an Australian magazine) about David and his recovery after suffering from a stroke.
The story stuck a chord with a number of readers - it seemed that there were quite a few other people in Australia suffering from Fabry’s disease or who had been experiencing similar symptoms and thought they might have the illness or knew a family member who had those symptoms without a diagnosis.
A support group was started. Funds were raised from craft stalls. Craft, cakes and coat hangers were sold at every opportunity! Enough money was raised to fund a research student for a year. A clinic commenced and a data-base of sufferers and their different types of family presentation was instituted in combination with specialist Doctors. This, of course did not happen overnight, but took years to get to this stage.

Eventually, an American pharmaceutical company came to Australia to help.
Studies were done and eventually, enzyme replacement trials began in early 2000.  Government approval and funding for the Enzyme replacement therapy followed in 2004. 

By this stage, both my brothers had died. Personally, it was a very difficult time.
The boys had died 4 months apart and, sadly, just before the enzyme trials began. I knew that David’s disease process was just too advanced, but I did have such high hopes that treatment may have been useful to prolong Robin’s life, but it just was not meant to be. 

Unfortunately, way too many people with Fabry’s disease are still not diagnosed until later in life, when all too often, a lot of damage has already been done to their health.   

The Fabry support group and network has grown… over the years it has become very active with a newsletter to its members, a website and a Facebook page and does an amazing effort in keeping abreast of the latest treatments and information both here in Australia and worldwide.

The group has been managed by a dedicated group of volunteers all this time and it is only this year that a paid assistant is helping with the office work.

As with any charitable organization, there is always the task of fundraising to pay for ongoing costs.
I thought if I did manage to sell anything in my Artfire shop, it would be a good idea to make a small contribution to the support group.

If you wish to read more about Fabry’s disease, the Fabry Australia logo on my blog sidebar will take you to their website or just click here!

If you have read all this way, thank you!


                        David.                                                                                      Robin
               17.2.44 - 8.11.99                                                                     6.1.48 - 13.3.00

Make sure you hug your loved ones tonight,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Patina Experiments no. 2 -"Swellegant" Products

Hello my friends,

It seems to me that a lot of people are loving the aged look on their jewellery pieces. To get that overall appearance to a piece, it often becomes necessary to age the elements and make them look older than they really are.
Most of us do not have the time or frankly, the inclination to wait for them to age naturally.. in fact this could take weeks, months or even years in some cases.

On my previous patina post, I wrote how simple products like salt, vinegar and ammonia could create great effects on copper ( Copper was the only metal I did the experiments on at the time. )

This time around, I have had a bit of fun playing with a commercial 'ageing' product called 'Swellegant' by Christie Friesen.

This time, I applied the products to both copper and brass and I must say, it worked equally as beautifully on both metals.
I originally came across this product via a YouTube video made by  B'sues Boutiques.

There are quite a few products in the range. The following photo shows the ones I purchased in Australia, from The Whimsical Bead .

Here are a few results..

These are the products I purchased. One is a metal coating ( Bronze). There are more base coats in the range but I chose the bronze one. The other containers are patina colours that are applied on top of the base metal (bronze) coating layer. The smallest jar is a clear sealant.

These 3applications are on copper bases. 
Left: Two thin coats of base coat, gold-green verdigris patina applied on top.
The top third has no base just the patina applied directly to the copper.

Middle.. Base coat of bronze and darkening patina, top third straight to copper, bottom has a few dabs of Tiffany green/Rust. (where is the rust!!)

Right :The last piece has Tiffany Green/Rust straight to copper and the lower section applied on top of the bronze undercoat. I love the pretty, intense aqua reaction on the bare copper.

Left: Darkening patina on top of Bronze metal base on copper, lower section a dab of darkening patina straight to the copper.

Right:  Tiffany Green /Rust on top of Bronze metal base, lower part applied directly to copper.

All leaves are made from brass and have the base bronze metal coat applied. From Left to right... Left:Tiffany gold/rust patina, Centre: Gold-green Verdigris on top of two heavy coats of the base.

Right: Darkening patina followed by Tiffany Green/Rust as well. I should have applied everything a little more carefully to the edges of the leaves!

Base coat of bronze follow by a coat of Tiffany Green/Rust on a brass filigree piece.

I do have to say, I am loving the gorgeous colour reactions. The only disappointment  ( to me ) has been that the patina named Tiffany Green/Rust possibly did not live up to it's name.  (In saying that, the filigree piece does have a rusty look to it.. just not the  'rust' colour which I had anticipated) I was expecting  a rusty-reddish looking colour to be there as well...perhaps it might react with a different base metal coating. I will certainly get a few more to try.

I believe the patinas are meant to be applied on top of a base metal coating (in the range) not just to straight metal, however these pictures clearly show they do have a decent reaction without the base metal product application. I cannot say if the product will stay adhered to the metal that was not given the base coat  application on it...  time will tell!

There is also a clear coat product which can be painted on sparingly after the items have dried fully. It is recommended to wait until completely dried..6-12 hours, or better still, overnight before application of the sealant.

Well that's it for me today,

Hope you are enjoying yours..

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bead Soup sent.. and received

Hello friends,

Well, my friend over at Moobie Grace Designs has received the Bead Soup I sent her.
So, now I can show a few photos. ( Although I think Tania's are SO much better than mine) No hair for starters!

Lampwork beads, sari silk, dyed coral, faceted labradorite, handmade copper chain, links and clasp.
Handmade bezel with coloured resin focal. (sorry about the hair.. aargh!)

Handmade lamp work beads...they look a bit like stone or agate ... but are glass. Actually the glass is called Light Lace Agate (by Effetre) so there you go!

Tania's photos of the soup I sent are arty and very sparkly... I am going to have to pick up my game when the beads from her come to me! Hurry up Mr. Postie!

And just to let you know, I have opened up a little Artfire shop. Still very early days.. only two items listed!
I am still trying to work out the editing/posting process. And as much as I have read and re-read how to get a nice crisp WHITE background, it still is not happening.... I have spent the better part of today and I don't know HOW many photos practising what seems to be a an illusive task! Still only a lighter shade of gray...

Any tips, anyone?

So, it's back to the drawing board..err, computer.

I hope you are all having a more exciting day than me..!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sneak Peek - beads I sent.

Hello dear friends,

It's early days I know. I am participating in the Sixth Bead Soup Blog Hop as I mentioned in this previous post.

Tania from Moobie Grace Designs has sent my goodies off today. I think ( fingers crossed) she should be expecting delivery of the ones I sent to her any day now.

I thought I would test you and Tania with this strange and blurry photo. See if you can figure this out, Tania.
Let's hope not.... "Chuckle, chuckle"
My partner will just have to wait.. as shall I (sigh!) for that little package in our letter-boxes!

We have a bit more time up our sleeves as the reveal day for the two of us is not until the 11th of August.
Time to receive the beads and (hopefully) work a little magic!

Meantime, the first reveal is getting closer. It will be on the 28th of July so please keep a lookout for it.

It looks like there are black beads in here doesn't it....? Not true.

Time for me to say,

"Goodnight" to all,

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's a Beginning!

Hello my friends,

I am sure you all know the tale about these two little guys!
I am feeling slower than slow, and truthfully, am not too sure about crossing that finish line.... however, at least I can say I have started!

Yes, I have opened a little shop on Artfire. And, at the moment I have the great amount of ONE item listed... but, hey.. it's a beginning!!
I did not realise just how long setting everything up would take me..... so, things can only improve and hopefully, become a little more expedient from here. Please tell me this is so?

If you click on my little Blue Wren logo on the upper left of the blog side-bar, it will take you straight to my Artfire shop for a look, if you so desire.

Phew! It's been a long day...

So, it's goodnight for me.. time for Downtown Abbey and time to get off this computer... much as I love you all!


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