Saturday, August 29, 2009

Magpie Like me

Magpie ( mag' pi ) One who compulsively collects or hoards small objects.

Are you a picker upper? Do you walk along the shore eyes searching the sand for a perfect shell or softly glowing bit of sea glass? Are your eyes caught by the gleam of sun shining on bright metal when you walk the dog? Must you bend over and investigate that rusty old washer? Do you call that rust "patina"? Do you enjoy searching through other peoples junk, the older the better? Do you call that junk "salvage"? Are you a magpie like me?
I have always enjoyed picking up bits and pieces of flotsam. My house boasts buckets of sea shells, champagne flutes filled with sea glass, colorful flat rocks from the Great Lakes lined up on windowsills, and a printers drawer hanging on the wall...each tiny compartment filled with some bit of detritus I couldn't leave behind.
A love for jewelry design has given me a way to make wearable art out of these treasures that I find so fascinating. Beach glass pieces from the shores of the Rose island Lighthouse are now necklaces enjoyed by many. Pieces of fossil coral broken and polished smooth by the rocks and waves of the Florida Keys are purchased as gifts for lucky beach lovers. Watch springs and old washers are rings. Cabinet hardware is the base for dramatic pendants. Old spoons are hammered flat stamped with a message and enjoyed as jewelry.
I confess that my odd habit makes people crazy. My Mother despairs of my love for "other peoples junk". My husband laughs and says that I will get a sore neck from looking down at the sand while we walk the beach. Even my 2 year old grandson Freddy calls them "dirt".
Hi my name is Bonnie,
I am a magpie!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Flock of New Birdhouses

While on vacation last week I took the opportunity to paint more gourd birdhouses. This time cardinals and American Goldfinches joined the flock as they are some of our favorite year round visitors.

Northern Cardinals are some of the most brilliant birds at our feeders. Two nesting pair live in the thicket at the front of the lawn. They most often feed together one watching over the other as it feeds. They chirp continuously so we always know when to look for them.

The American Goldfinches are like little bits of sunshine. They travel in small flocks. Sometimes I wonder how one thistle feeder can hold them all. They are often called wild canaries while wearing their bright summer plumage. They fade to a dull olive color for the colder months.

Fred and I also made birdhouses out of some vintage Cuckoo clocks that we found At The Warehouse. The mechanisms were beyond repair so we gutted the machinery and made new backs for the soon to be houses. There were ready made holes in the side once the clock innards were gone. We brightened up the clocks with a little Guilders paste and sealed them with the same marine quality Spar Varnish that we use on our gourds.

You can see all of the birdhouses in our etsy store or by visiting us weekends 10-4 At The Warehouse 20 Learned St. Albany NY.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shiny Adornments

"My goal is to create wearable items for work and play that offer an interesting statement about the women who wear them." says the artisan owner of Shiny Adornments.
ShinyAdornments is the name of an etsy storefront full of handcrafted artisan jewelry creations. The work is made in a studio in Wichita, Kansas and it's appeal is universal.
A visit to Shiny Adornments will turn up bracelets and bangles for your wrist, earrings that hoop and dangle, necklaces and the loveliest hair sticks. Makes me wish I had long hair again just so I could wear some!
You will see gemstones, lamp work and other glass beads, and polymer clay all strung together with sterling silver wire and findings. My particular favorite is a black and white bracelet accompanied by sterling silver wire that has been named No Doubt.
The Artist's bio states that she finds "inspiration in the wildflowers I drove past this morning on the way to work or the suit I just bought that needs the perfect accessory or the strange dream I had last night...the materials depend on my mood..."
Shiny Adornments was kind enough to include Bonnie's vintage Lucite earrings in her recent etsy Treasury "Citrus Summer"
Thank You Shiny Adornments. We are proud to be included in your work of art.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Noahs Ark Collection

NoahsArkCollection is a wonderful etsy store full of animal themed items. While not quite lined up two by two animal charms and beads are present in multitude. You will find dogs and sea creatures, birds and wild things, and even a fantastical Pegasus!

The shop boasts a large variety of animal charms in sterling silver , some of them enhanced with gemstones and crystals. There are rustic animal beads and focals carved from bone and fanciful ones made of ceramic and glass.

NoahsArkCollection also offers finished jewelry-all animal related of course.

Take time to look at the animal shaped jewelry boxes. Could there be a better way to present a gift from NoahsArkCollection?

Your visit won't be complete until you look through the shop sections for beautiful silk paintings and colorful animal sculptures. They are sure to make you smile and all have been handcrafted by the talented artisan-owner of NoahsArkCollection.

TheFamiLeeJewels are currently featured in a treasury curated by NoahsArkCollection. Thank you for including us in your wonderful collection CIO-Crafters in Operation.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Book Reviw...Jewelry Studio: Wire Wrapping

Jewelry Studio: Wire Wrapping

Linda Chandler and Christine Ritchey
Interweave Press 2008
ISBN-13 978-1-59668-059-3

Wire Wrapping is advertised as a book that will teach you to "create stunning wire jewelry designs, no experience required"

By the time I received this book as a gift in 2009 I had been wire wrapping for 3 years. When I read the book I did so from cover to cover and I believe the publishers claim to be true.
Jewelry Studio: Wire Wrapping begins with the very basics a chapter devoted to tools and materials with clear pictures and easily understandable descriptions. Chapter 2 discusses modifying pliers and handling wire. There can be found the obligatory safety rules and instructions for making jump rings and a basic bracelet clasp.
The remaining chapters are devoted to projects basic and more advanced.
The first is a very basic wire wrapped bangle bracelet, the type that becomes a wardrobe staple. The next several projects are variations on the basic design-all with clear photographs and detailed instructions. These projects are intended to develop your wire handling skills and to encourage you to take a basic design and make it your own.
The book also includes instructions for a basic ring wire wrapped ring and a basic cabochon wrap.
Jewelry Studio: Wire Wrapping does not present any new or cutting edge designs. What it does very well is teach you the basic skills and techniques necessary to wire wrapping.
Master these 4 chapters and let your imaginations soar!