Sunday, December 27, 2009

My first keum-boo jewelry piece ... a Twilight tribute

I came late to the Twilight fan party, but I'm definitely here and can't wait for the next film in the series, Eclipse.  (Team Edward here!)

So ... once I was booked into a keum-boo class and knew I had to create a jewelry piece as pre-work for the class, the Twilight series was the first thing that came to mind.

My tribute to Twilight is a round box bead strung on a sterling silver ball chain.  The texture, although so subtle as to hardly be recognizable, is a forest of evergreen trees over which a full moon shines.  The moon is a bezel-set rainbow topaz cabochon, and the 24-karat gold foil keum boo burnished onto the surface is a cloud drifting across the sky.  All around the rim of the bead are the words Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse.

I was able to achieve some amazing oxidation colors on this piece ... it looks like the bead is about to burst into flame with the bright coppers, purples and blues, especially on the back.  I polished up the text to highlight it.  Next will come a coat of Renaissance Wax  to protect the patina, which would be heartbreaking to lose.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

... And the award for Most Beautiful Holiday Cocktail goes to ...

The Winter White Cosmopolitan served by Bonefish Grill in Bonita Springs, Florida.  What a feast for the eyes ... as well as the palate!

Ingredients:  Stoli Cranberry Vodka, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and white cranberry juice -- garnished with floating cranberries.  (Almost) too lovely to drink, although I did force myself.  :)

Thin excuse for a blog post, I freely admit.  Just looking for one more excuse to say Merry Christmas!  And may all your winter cocktails be white.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Classes and glasses!

Although I've got some new metal clay pieces in the works, I seem to be having a problem these days finding time to finish them ... so I've turned back to glass cabs again.  I found a stash of unlisted pairs and put them online this evening.  Hope you like them!

Took two wonderful classes recently ... textures with Barbara Becker Simon, and keum-boo with Mary Ann Devos.  I am about a finish a keum-boo box bead with a Twilight theme; I just need to oxidize it.  I learned how to make tear-away textures, photopolymer plates, and hand-carve with the proper tools on the proper materials.  Fun -- and I can't wait to get going on all these new options right after the holidays!

Speaking of holidays, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all the happiest, healthiest and most peaceful of holiday seasons ever.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog ... I appreciate it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Steampunk + Resin = Something new and different!

Wow, I see it's been quite a while since I posted a blog update.  High time!

Speaking of time, I really wanted to try another steampunk jewelry piece.  I also wanted to experiment with UV resin.  So I combined both into my latest piece which I had so much fun making, I'm thinking of turning it into the first of a series!

I've called this Slow Growth.  It represents the passage of time while a botanical goes through its life cycle.  The frame of this piece probably speaks for itself, as do the assorted watch innards gracing the center of the pendant.  What may be harder to identify in my photo is the gold-colored skeleton of a leaf under the watch parts.

I'm really loving embedding items in resin.  It speaks to my background as a miniaturist.  Things embedded in liquids have always held a strange fascination for me.  In my dollhouse days, it might have been faux ice cubes embedded in a tiny glass of faux iced tea.  So many parallels between two such contrasting crafts ...

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's all about the view ...

I took this photo early this morning -- just after sunrise -- from our lanai looking west/southwest.  The quality of the light shining on the mangrove swamp was just stunning with a cloudless blue sky.  The backwaters are Upper Clam Pass, with the Gulf of Mexico in the background.  The sun was not yet high enough to reflect the glorious turquoise waters so often seen down here.  As I look out the window now, the Gulf is a thousand different shades of aqua.

All the vegetation you see in this photo is mangrove swamp and part of the protected wetlands of Pelican Bay, the community we live in.  There's a wide boardwalk that snakes through the mangroves to the beach.  As I walked to the beach this morning, I recalled with some amusement that while walking through this area with a friend, she was annoyed that I pointed out the hundreds of very large, colorful spiders that cling to their webs overhead and on both sides of the boardwalk between the mangrove branches.  These grow to be as much as three inches long and have yellow bodies and black-and-white legs.  "Gee," she said, warily looking up; "Did you have to mention that?  I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't said anything.  Now I'll never be able to walk through here again!"

Sometimes, truthfully, I'm also reluctant to look up and around while walking through.  Spiders kind of freak me out, too.  But then I might miss seeing the egrets, blue herons, storks, crabs, ibis and assorted other creatures that make this area their home.  And that would be a shame. 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Southern Floridians, come and say hi!

I've juried into my first outstanding show in Southwest Florida ... The Estero Fine Art Show, to be held February 27 and 28, 2010, outdoors at Miromar Outlets, just off I-75 at the Corkscrew Road exit in Estero, Florida (just north of Naples/Bonita Beach and just south of Ft. Myers).  Fabulous fine art, beautiful handmade high-end crafts, live music and fabulous food.  Not to mention outstanding outlet shopping right next door.  Come on down and say hi!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back to the beach!

Our bags are packed, my loaded car is on its way south, and by this time tomorrow we'll be at the airport ready to board our flight to Southwest Florida International Airport in Ft. Myers.  The temperatures on the Cape are about to plummet with talk of a few snow flurries later this week, so I'm thinking our timing is pretty good this year.

Looking forward now to feeling the warm sand between my toes and hearing those Gulf Shore waves rolling onto the beach.

Next post will be from sunny Florida!

A pair of ibis forage for breakfast on Vanderbilt Beach

Sunday, October 25, 2009

An off-season love letter to Cape Cod

My beloved Cape Cod:

I adore you always, but never so much as during the off-season.  After the crowds have gone home; after the leaves have finally begun to turn yellow and orange and red; after the traffic is gone and the cranberries have been harvested and the sounds of motor boats on the lake have quieted and all that remains is the sound of a lone seagull circling high above the waves ... and you're mine again.

Here is a loving pictorial tribute to our neighborhood and one of my favorite places on earth, taken during a sunny, brisk early Cape morning.  As we pack our bags and prepare to leave you for the winter months, please know you have my heart and I'll yearn to return to you in the spring.

The Captain Freeman House on Route 6A in Brewster

The Brewster Ladies Library, where I've spent many pleasant hours.

The Stony Brook Grist Mill atop the Brewster Herring Run.  There is actually a sign here asking visitors not to touch, pick up or play with the herring.  :)

The legendary Brewster Store, reproduced in hundreds of paintings and prints.  A favorite spot for the local townsmen to grab a cup of coffee and chat early in the morning.  In fact, if you squint, you can see a few of them sitting on a bench next to the entrance!

Chillingsworth, quite possibly the finest restaurant on the Cape

All has gone quiet on our lake.  This photo was taken from the western shore facing east; we live high atop the lake on the northeastern side.

A well-known landmark in our lakes region, the Pleasant Lake General Store.  During the summer months the parking lot is swamped with cars and bikes.  Just about everyone stops here for ice cream, water or a sandwich as they tour the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 15-mile-long bike path that runs from Dennis to Wellfleet.

Fall foliage arrives at last in our own front yard.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Creative ways to display a small collection ...

I've enthusiastically begun collecting miniature whimsical hand-painted cat plates thanks to my friend Barb Plevan ( -- Barb and I go way back together from my days as a miniaturist, and I just love her bold, bright, confident folk art painting.

Not satisfied with hiding these wonderful plates in my dollhouse where they're difficult for family and friends to see and admire, I decided to mount them on a wall instead.  Here's what I did:  I bought a color-coordinated 5 x 7 easel-style frame and replaced the glass with a sheet of textured paper.  I then removed the easel mount and replaced it with a wall hanger.  I carefully glued each plate onto the paper backing which, in turn, is glued securely to the frame back.

I love the fact that this display idea allows viewers to enjoy these tiny works of art not only from a visual, but also a tactile, viewpoint.  Who wouldn't want to reach out and caress these adorable kitties and feel the tiny raised bumps of the stitches on their sweaters?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Loading the car ...

We're in the process of loading the car with my show gear to set up tonight.  Finally, an indoor show, so no worries about the weather!   I'm excited about some of the pieces I've created since my last show.  Sneak preview:

Tribal Coral Box Bead Necklace

Seahorse II



The Artisans' Guild of Cape Cod Show runs two days -- Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Indoors at the Nauset Middle School, Route 28, Orleans, Mass. on beautiful Cape Cod.  Just a short walk to the Left Bank Gallery at 8 Cove Street, where you can see more of my work!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Here it is ... my Etsy MetalClay Team charm bracelet!

Wow.  Just wow!  The charm swap package arrived and I couldn't wait to assemble my bracelet.  I used some bulk sterling silver chunky byzantine chain which I oxidized and added a great big lobster claw clasp for security.  It took me hours to arrange the charms so that the finished bracelet would look balanced in terms of sizes, colors, shapes and textures ... but here it is!  (My own charm, round in shape with a texture of waves and a seashell showing, is at approximately 5 o'clock in the final photo.)

What a fabulously talented group of women!  Just look at the amazing creativity and works of art represented here.  I will cherish this bracelet for the rest of my life.  Two additional bracelets are being assembled for donation to worthy charities.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends on the Etsy MetalClay Team!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Etsy MetalClay Charm Swap (Spoiler Alert!!)

These are a few of the fine silver charms I made for the very first Etsy MetalClay Team charm swap.  The charms are currently in the hands of our charm swap coordinator, Teresa Boland, who will be mailing the charms to the swap participants early in the week.  Two extra bracelets are also being donated to carefully seleced charities.  Thanks, Teresa, for all your hard work coordinating this wonderful project!  I can't wait to get mine and assemble my charm bracelet!

Each charm features two very detailed spiral button shells -- a large one and a smaller one -- fused onto a background texture of foaming surf.  The reverse side has the same texture plus my hallmark, stamped .999.  I oxidized the charms and polished off only the high spots, leaving interesting hints of color on the charms.  Although the design is the same on each charm, because of the placement of the texture and individual molding of the seashells, each charm is slightly different and has its own unique character.

My goal here was to create a charm that would be recognizable to my team members as my creation based on its resemblance to my signature body of work -- three-dimensional seashells floating on waves -- without the need to check my initials on the reverse side.  Hopefully this goal has been accomplished!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Okay, on to the next thing ... :)

I've now spent the better part of a week cutting and fusing glass, and I think I've finally gotten it out of my system ... at least for now!  Here are the last two projects completed in glass ... two channel pendants.  Over and out.  Back to my silver work!  I still want to roam around town taking pictures of the landmarks in my neighborhood and post a mini-travelogue.  On my to-do list!

Monday, September 7, 2009

I've got glass pains!

It had been a very long time since I sat down and replenished my supply of dichroic glass cabochons.  Well, I went through my inventory and was aghast at how small the stash had become ... so for the past few days, I've been hunkered down in my workshop cutting glass and fusing.  So far I've already made hundreds of new dichroic cabs, but it only seems to have sharpened (pun intended) my appetite for glass, glass, glass!!

So I took a short break from cutting and fusing to order more glass in ever more interesting colors and patterns.  Where will it all end?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mango Tango Designs now at Left Bank Gallery!

I'm very pleased and proud to announce that selected pieces of my work will now be available for purchase at the wonderful Left Bank Gallery on Cape Cod. Every lover of fine art on the Cape and Islands is familiar with Left Bank -- the work they carry and the artists they represent are legendary, and I'm so honored to be a part of this outstanding new opportunity!
If you're planning a trip to the Cape or if you're in the neighborhood, please stop by any one of the three beautiful Left Bank locations in Orleans and Wellfleet:
These photos are just a sampling of the pieces I have at the gallery ...

Friday, July 24, 2009

The copper binge continues ...

It seems once I take the plunge, I tend to do it in a fairly major way. I've been immersed in copper. Bathing in it, drinking it, eating it, dancing with it ...

Well, perhaps not literally ... but somehow the colors and textures speak to me in a major way and I can't get enough, especially once I held a torch to a finished piece and saw the magnificent patinas I was able to achieve. And I'm having way too much fun with copper chain, findings, and beads.
Here's a newly finished piece (no torch patina here ... it's a floating pendant and the contact with the chain would cause too much friction, I think). Another firing will take place early tomorrow morning, and from that batch I hope to have a nice large pendant, lots of leaf earrings and some starfish. I'm going to have to shop for some extra butane at this rate ...

Monday, July 20, 2009

... And now, on to copper!

I finally mustered the courage to open my first package of CopprClay and begin dabbling. Thought it wise to play my first outing conservatively in case the firing didn't go well, so I didn't make any pieces so elaborate that I felt they were non-expendable.

Fortunately my concerns vanished when I opened the lid of my firing sink and scooped out some wonderful little jewelry components. Naturally, I wished I had taken more of a risk and gotten some major pieces made! You know what they say about hindsight ... but it could easily have gone the other way. Next batch: Watch out! I like this material. Very workable and it takes texture very well.

Here are my first copper earrings.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nose back to the grindstone!

I see it's been ages since I added to my blog -- the show went reasonably well; met lots of wonderful people and networked quite a bit. I sold my bronze lion's paw shell necklace to a dear couple who were buying it as a birthday gift for their daughter. The setup was easier than we imagined (practice makes perfect!), and we were able to break down the tent, pack up and leave within 50 minutes -- a real feat!

Since then, I've been catching up with real life by spending lots of quality time with my family and friends. These past few days I'm back in my studio filling custom orders in bronze and silver. I can't wait to open my first package of copper and plunge into it! Nothing like a new adventure to invigorate one's creativity!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

First set-up of my show booth ...

Here's what we came up with on our first 'dress rehearsal'. Additional -- taller -- display items will be added to take up more height inside the cases. Little glitches here and there, and it took us too long (we timed it), but the first time is bound to be the toughest. Now that we can see where improvements can be made, I think we're going to be okay.

Weather permitting, we will remove at least half a wall to make our display accessible from the front and side rather than just the front.

Fingers crossed for us for Friday! My first show. I can't believe it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My first show is only a week away (gulp!)

The remaining days 'til my first show are running down and now I'm getting frantic. Although we've set up the various components of my outdoor tent on my lawn, in my basement and in the garage, the weather has been so bad it's been impossible to set up the entire display inside and out. The forecast is for better weather tomorrow, so hopefully we can get this done! I think it's going to look great.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up the last of the new pieces I'll be exhibiting. I need to devote an entire day to pricing each piece. This is soooooo exciting!

Here's the latest in my By the Sea series of pendants. This one, in addition to various tiny shells, has a subtle patina as well as a beautiful sterling silver wire-wrapped blue flash labradorite briolette.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New work in BronzClay

Wow, it's been nearly two weeks since I've posted ... I can't believe it! We're settled back into our Cape Cod home and I'm thrilled to be reunited with all my jewelry-making supplies and equipment.
The rainy weather lately has allowed me plenty of time to get re-acquainted with the BronzClay I left behind. Here are some photos of my newest pieces.
The first photo shows four pendants immediately after firing in coal-based carbon in my kiln. Managed to get some nice orange and pink coloration, BUT ... check out the patina I was able to achieve by selectively torching some areas of the pendants. I love these! I'll have some of these in my Etsy shop, on my own website, and at the Artisans' Guild of Cape Cod Show in Orleans on Independence Day weekend.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Closed for the Season

The colors of this photo perfectly illustrate all that I love about Southern Florida, the Keys and the Caribbean ... the happy, upbeat palette of colors everywhere you look. Who can possibly feel down when one is surrounded by such joy and so much artistic freedom?

It's closing time here yet again. Tomorrow we fly back up north for the summer and fall months. This photo with its sign on the door reading CLOSED FOR SEASON kind of sums it all up.

My next blog post will be written from Cape Cod in a few days. Happy trails!

Friday, May 29, 2009

A new milestone achieved ...

I'm proud to announce that I achieved my Level 2 Certification in PMC on May 27, 2009. It was an intense but fun two days creating four jewelry pieces incorporating a variety of interesting techniques including a decorative fine silver hook and eye clasp; a pendant incorporating enamel and 22 kt. gold vermeil; a multi-texture pendant with a brass inlay and a mirror finish; and a textured ring with a pink tourmaline cabochon in a bezel setting. I'll post photos of these pieces after I'm back on Cape Cod and unpacked. :D

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Do this; don't do that. Can't you read the sign?

Ever notice there are signs everywhere? We're so used to seeing them that sometimes we don't see them anymore. Positive messages; negative messages. Messages that make no sense. Warnings, restrictions, invitations. Here's just a sampling of some of the signs I see every day during my four-mile beach walk.

I've never seen an alligator anywhere near this 'Do Not Feed the Alligators' sign. Not in four years. Still waiting.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Last jewelry piece of the Florida season ...

As we begin the daunting task of packing up all our goodies for the semi-annual trek back to Cape Cod for the summer and fall seasons, I've had to box up all my jewelry-making supplies and equipment for the trip ... so no more hammering, firing, burnishing or oxidizing for me until early June. :(

It will certainly be a challenge for me not to be able to scratch my creative itch for the next few weeks (although I've somehow managed to book myself into yet another jewelry class on Wednesday ... the last one of the season here! ... the only way to retain what's left of my sanity).

I might have to resort to reading a book on the beach, something many other normal people down here do on a daily basis.

In the meantime, I just finished this rather festive and colorful copper and borosilicate bead bracelet which I've named Calypso. You can find this on my personal website, ...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


While I was taking my daily walk on the beach early this morning, a stranger came up to me as I was crouched down picking up a seashell and said:

"Remember that every shell you pick up was meant for you to have, and it's been waiting for you for a thousand years."

I don't know that his statement was true, but it does provide some food for thought about fate.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Latest enameled pieces ...

Here are photos of my two newest enameled pieces. In the first, in a necklace I've named The Deep, two of my favorite seashells, a scotch bonnet and a horse conch, have been rendered in fine silver and framed in a textured, rounded triangle of fine silver to which I've added many layers of translucent enamel. The colors range from a light mint to a deep blue-green, mimicking the depths of the sea.
The second necklace is a three-dimensional fine silver turtle coated in several layers of deep beige and accented with jewel green highlights. The back has a hidden loop bail, and the pendant has been strung on a necklace of peridot beads.

Monday, May 4, 2009


We had a blast yesterday sampling food from some of Naples, Florida's top restaurants at Taste of Collier, an annual event at Bayfront on Naples Bay. You buy a wristband to gain entrance and then tickets for food samples at $1 each. All the mini-dishes cost between $2 and $5, and each of the participating restaurants has a tent where they sell tastings from their menu. Live music, too.

The weather was glorious and we had a blast, though we ate too much (of course) ... everything from Kobe beef sliders to shrimp and scallops on skewers with wasabe sauce and Cuban sandwiches. It was heaven. My photo does a good job of NOT showing how crowded it was ... literally choked with people eating, walking, and listening to music. FUN!