Thursday, December 26, 2013

Etching Attempts - Pleasing the Muse

So, I have emerged (briefly) from my Creative Exile (aka taking care of a HUGE puppy!) and decided to plunge into trying some etching (pun fully intended).  My 1st attempt was this simple copper marker I etched the word "Sisters" on and some extra whirly-gigs to give it a little extra oomph. I learned two lessons; 1) careful of the amount of "oomph" you add, it can overwhelm what you're trying to do and, 2) remember to marker the sides of your piece so the etchant doesn't eat away at it. (whoops!)
"Sisters" etched copper, high-
lighted with alchohol ink and
the high points sanded.
My 2nd attempt was with some brass casings I have. I learned another lesson here; small spaces such as this need less detail to really stand out. Still, I like what's there. Now I just need to bring out the detail and finish them up (earrings, of course!). I'll post some pics as soon as I have 'em finished.

Here's hoping I can continue to get into my craft room for even some small sessions. My Muse is threatening to go into hiding if I don't do more!

Brass shell casings etched - learning process in action
...and, suddenly, puppy!

Staring at my Mom eating waffles. He
didn't want to chance missing the offer
of some peanutbutter... notice how his
eye level is above the counter top?

Helping his Momma feel better on a sick day

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Different Kind of Art

Today, I did something I haven't done in a long, long while. And it felt good. No, not jewelry. This has been an even longer lapse by the Muse specifically for writers. I'm not a "Published Author" (said in a snobby, upper crust British accent) per se (unless you count college publications and two very short stories entered in the local paper's Halloween contest over the years) but I do like to write. I have a very fertile imagination. Saner Sister has often called me Crazy Creative (hence the blog's name).

What (finally) inspired this bout of writing was Dr. Brassy's Sightmares. Dr. Brassy is a Steampunk designer/maker and I thoroughly enjoy her posts on facebook. She also has some awesome wares for sale on Etsy if you want to check her work. Anyway, it was a comment she made some time back about the Sightmares having a "back story" that made me decide to write this (although, for the life of me, I can't find the original comment she made) and I gave it to her as a gift. Well, it's copywrited to me, but she'll get to use it if/as she wants. Still, I thought I'd share my burst of creativity with all of you. Please enjoy.

Deep in the verdant forest sat a cottage of finely burnish wood and metals. The slated roof, covered in deep green moss, was slanted just enough to allow any rain to run off into the catch barrels placed strategically at each corner. Windows, now covered by shutters of a complementary wood and latched by patinaed copper forms, faced both North and South – a most auspicious placement for a Maker.

Within the cottage a Makeress sat before a Makers Fire concentrating on a gold nugget that floated in the air before her. Eyes the blue of a winter’s lake glowed with an inner fire of their own as an unfelt wind caressed her deep auburn curls while she studied the nugget. To her left sat a small tower made of Zebra wood and fine leather dyed a rich burgundy. Copper, brass, and steel gears showed through the glass encased sides of the tower but no clock face or other obvious reason for the gears was in evidence, yet the wear and grease on the cogs and teeth showed their constant use.
To her right was a table with glass bottles of various sizes all holding a multi-hued assortment of liquids. Some carried a seal warning of their dangerous nature. Some had different pieces of metal hanging in their liquids which bubbled and frothed. Some had an extremely pungent aroma.

The Makeress gracefully lifted her right hand and cupped it just under the floating bit of gold without actually touching it. With her left hand she reached up to the leather band around her forehead and adjusted an eye piece, much like a jeweler’s loupe, down in front of her eye. It began to glow a luminous blue as she leaned forward to carefully examine the gold in detail. Satisfied, she nodded to herself and pushed the loupe away as the glow faded.
Still graceful, she gestured with her left hand and the gold floated into the Makers Fire. The flames parted to accept the gold, closing about it and, at the Makeress’s further gesture, the flames turned from gold, to silver, to blue, before they settled to a deep, sunset orange with hints of red and black.

Chanting softly, the Makeress recited the Words of Calling with careful precision even as her hands sketched the Signs of Binding in the air between her and the Fire. To her left, the gears in the wood and glass tower began to move with smooth, silent efficiency. To her right, a beaker half filled with red liquid, and another with a burnished gold liquid, began to bubble with vigor. Still in her soft voice, she spoke the final words, gently made the final gesture, and a bell’s tones seemed to peel from the gear tower. At its musical, sustained tone the liquids bubbling within the two beakers shot out and into the Makers Fire.

A roar resounded from the Fires depths, filling the room and rattling the glass on the table and in the tower before it faded away. She gestured again and the Fires parted to reveal a transformed piece of gold. It now resembled a nobleman’s pocket watch except there seemed to be a deep hole in its center. Another gesture from her and a tongue of the Makers Fire gently bore it forward to leave it hanging before her eyes once more. The hole now showed what seemed to be a closed eye through it. 
With a satisfied smile the Makeress whispered.


The eyelid, a deep burnished orange, slowly blinked open and a red and black iris appeared. The pupil, slit like a cat’s eye – or a dragon’s – seemed to fluctuate before focusing on her, then a voice spoke.

“Who has Called me?”
The voice was at once a deep, rich bass and a musically ringing soprano. So rich its tones seemed to vibrate in the Makeress’s very bones. The Makeress smiled again.

“I have, Ancient One. Our need is great and you are summoned to aide us in this time.”
The eye examined the woman. “Only me? The need is not so great, then, and you are foolish to waken me.”

“No, Ancient One. Not you, alone. Many of your brothers and sisters have already been Called and I will Call many more. Will you aide us?”

“The choice is not mine to make.” The voice rumbled aggressively. “You have made the Calling and created the Binding. I must Answer.”
“Nay. I hold none against their will. Look. Look deep within and you will see those who chose to aide and those who refused.”

There was silence as the eye seemed to look inward for many long moments, then it focused on her once more with slightly less suspicion.
“I can refuse?”

She nodded. “With no consequences to you or yours, Ancient One. There is a war coming. Not all can help, or even are willing to do so. I respect that. I only ask you hear before you decide.”
The eye considered her again before it replied. “Speak, then. Though I offer no great hope. This portal is too small for such as I to Pass Through.”

“You are not required in your Entire Being. Only the aide of your Sight is needed, if you will grant it.”
“It would take a strong mind and even stronger will to use the Sight summoned by such as I and my kin. Our visions are rarely a blessing and more of a curse. Nightmares.”

The Makeress’s smile widened. “Sitemares, we call them. Yes, we know. Many are in training to accept what you show and learn to understand and translate what is seen. Only the Wild Ancients have this great and terrible Power. We will learn or die.”
The eye appeared to smile. “I believe I like you, Little One. I am known as Orick the Feared. How are you called?”

“I am the Brass Maker.” And the Makeress’s smile filled with satisfaction as she placed the final Binding upon Orick. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Yes, you read that right. But, let me finish; "Villainess Soaps." I found a link to a site called "Gothic Charm School" through another blog I follow and, being of a curious nature, I followed it. Then I started looking through her links! One of her links led me to Villainess Soaps, a small on-line shop that makes their own product. Since I'm always in favor of supporting the local artist (whatever that art may be) I was intrigued. I also loved the fact they put dictionary definitions for "villainess" on their page. One of the definitions for villainess is "an uncanny, articulate woman." Now, how appropriate is that!?

But, this is a site for *Goths!* you say. Pish-tosh! This is a site for ANYone who wants to use well-made products for face and body. Yes, those in the Gothic sub-culture happen to be their main buyers, I'm sure, but that doesn't preclude "non-Goths" from buying from them. So, after reading carefully through their site, and contacting them to ask some questions, (which they cheerfully and fully answered) I ordered their product. It came last night and I was nearly giddy with delight (silly, but I love getting mail!). Since I've only used it the one night, I can't give you a full report, as yet. But, I liked it. And, so far, my skin *does* feel softer today. And, so far, I don't have the "oily" feel along my t-zone that I usually have by now. Ask me again in a week or so and I'll give a more complete report but, at this point in time?, I'd suggest at least going over to her site and looking at her product. I like what I have.

Distinguishing Features: Absolutely smooth, sheer, silken lather.
  Go, check it out. (this is just a sample of what Villainess carries)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gratitude On Veteran's Day

No Greater Love...

As I stare in awe and wonder
         At this flag before my eyes,
I see within it's glowing depths
         Those who fought for Freedom's prize;
                   The heart to win, the will to fight,
                   The choice to stand for God and right.
                   I see the men who knew me not
                   Yet, for my freedom, fiercely fought.
                   Of cold and sickness, fear and pain,
                   Endured all that we might gain.

As I stand in awe and wonder,
         And I think on Freedom's past,
And think of all the battles fought
         That liberty might last;
                   I hear the cry of soldiers lost,
                   To save my life they paid the cost.
                   I hear the thunder, battles fierce,
                   I hear the sobs the heart to pierce.
                   A mother's loss, a country's gain,
                   How hard the heart feels not the pain?

                   As I watch this flag above
                   And think upon a warrior's love,
                   Giving all for Freedom's gain,
                   Counting not the cost or pain.
                   Standing fast tho' heart should break,
                   His friends-at-arms he'll not forsake.
                   The warrior's heart will ne'er give in,
                   For Freedom's sake he'll fight to win.

Proud, this flag shows warrior's love,
         He gave his all for me and you.
It's proof? The stripes of boldest red.
         He fought for those he never knew.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." John 15:13
© Copyright 2003 Pam Sears (UN: condorsfan at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Pam Sears has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Evil"... It's Relative

If you're going to join the Dark Side, don't do it because they have cookies, do it because they have really attractive Villains.

(see what I mean? bwuaaahahahahaaaa!)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Still haven't made anything.... still lurking around the interwebs.... but here's some "Howl-O-Ween" pics to make you smile:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Still Out Of The Loop

Still have a huge puppy to take care of but, I managed to get ONE pair of earrings made a few nights ago. It took me about ten minutes (from idea to completion) but they were already hollering for me to "come get your dog!" before I was half way finished! (~sigh~) I can at least share a pic of the earrings, though. Right?
skull beads from Michael's
I used purple crystal bicones on top
and garnet crystal bicones on bottom

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Puppy Training... Which One Of Us is BEING Trained!?

The last few weeks (okay month and a bit) I've been working with my new puppy, Zackery Tillar. I've put pics of him on this site but they don't show how HUGE this monster of a Weimaraner is getting! He's only 5 months old but his forelegs are already larger than our previous, adult Weimer's were. This is gonna be one huge dog! Right now, though, he's all... I do mean AAAALLLL puppy! And, AAAALLLL boy! Did you know being "all boy" translates across species? It does. It really does! Everything still goes in his mouth or gets dragged off as a new toy (in spite of the numerous toys he already has) and I swear, if he could talk, there'd be sessions of "Hey, Mom! Watch this!" which we ALL know means something stupid is about to occur which will cause us to scream or holler in reaction while they just smirk. Well... he keeps us entertained. (heee) Still, because of this nearly obsessive curiosity of his, I haven't been in my craft room to work (still!) as it's difficult to keep track of beads, wire, fire, puppy, findings, etc. when puppy is wanting to get in the middle of it. We're going to work a little at a time on being quiet when Momma's working (or, as my cyber-friend Dr. Brassy would say, "makering"... I love that!) Anyway, here's a few pics of the Pup (he has many nicknames, mein liebchen & toad are most often used, the latest is "furnado" when he's got a wild hair), enjoy:
On our way to Puppy School (well, you're supPOSed to sit
in the seat, right?)

First Day Of School Picture
(what, don't you ALL take 1st day pics?)

Headed home... not quite as alert as before!
Plumb Tuckered Out from school!
Enjoying a new toy!

Sitting in my dad's lap because he thinks
he's a lap dog... not much lap left!

"What'cha writin', Doc?
p.s., Zackery has his own Twitter page, now. Look for @ZackeryTillar to follow him.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Still Here.....

Yes, I'm still lurking around the 'net.  I'm following the blogs I've got on my stalking list and checking my FB page (with the occasional note) but I've been too busy with the the pup-meister and haven't really been able to create anything.  You try to affix bits and bobs together with a 45lb, 3 1/2 month is old GIANT puppy wanting to play and chewing on everything from your steel wire coil to the pieces that fall off your table so that you have to dive for him, pry his mouth open and remove whatever it is before he swallows it . Which he believes is a game and bounces away the next time you try to grab him causing you to lose your balance and look like a spastic chicken on ice as you work not to fall and nab the little trouble maker at the same time.

I will be back. Eventually. With more creations, I promise. Keep watching.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Of Earrings & Puppy Dogs

Yes, I managed to get back into my Craft Studio for a wee while this weekend. Not long, mind. Three & 1/2 month old puppies don't like being ignored. And when it's time to play (they think) then they'll do whatever it takes to get your attention. Including teething on the roll of 16g steel wire you have on the floor beneath your work table.

So, I managed to get a few pairs of earrings made before Zack-attack decided he'd been ignored enough.  Here they are:

I used red glass "bamboo" and round
black crystals for the body and olive
bicone crystals for the dangles. Took
the shot with my Galaxy S3 phone.

Saw these daisy-like crystal units in
Michael's and they reminded me so
much of my Mimi (maternal g-ma) that
I bought two sets of them and made these
earrings for Saner Sister, Mom, & myself.
Mimi loved the color red and loved this
style of jewelry. I can remember playing
with her costume jewelry whenever we'd
go up to her place to visit.

Got on a red kick, what can I say? But, these beads
also remind me of Mimi. Again, the glass beads are
in a style she would have loved.

These are made from two sets of silver spacers,
some cross-stitch threads, and some double
headed copper pins I made. The larger spacers
just called to mind Japanese lanterns so I
made these earrings. I'm thinking of making more
and tweaking them juuuuust a bit.
  And, because I can't leave without an update on mein liebchen: at his last vet visit (last Monday) he was three and 1/2 months old and weighed in at 39 & a bit pounds. I'm sure he's over 40 lbs by now! It can be hard to remember, as big as he is, that he's still only a baby. When he wants to play, he wants to play! Not to mention... did any of you dog lovers out there know that dogs can back talk? Well, Weimer's can. Believe it!

Our Little Toad after a hard day of making everyone play
with him.  (for you non-German speakers, "mein Liebchen"
does not mean "little toad", that's just one of Zackery's
nicknames. "Mein Liebchen" is "my darling"... which
he is. You can't not love a puppy who loves you first!

What a face, huh? Seriously, how could you
not love this face!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weekend Bangles

This weekend I spent only a short time in the craft room (still have a puppy to take care of!) but I managed to make these memory wire bracelets. I'm not usually a bracelet person so I was a bit surprised at (and pleased with) myself.
moonstone chips, pink & white square beads, one
murani style glass bead (just peaking from under
the moonstone in the center, there) and sea blue
glass beads as accents. I like this one. I'm actually
wearing this right now. 
made with crystal pearls from, silver
spacers from Michael's and a faceted black rondelle
as an accent. Like this one, too, but I let Saner Sister
have it, along with the one below.

black beads, square silver spacers, and one black swirl
glass focal bead. Really, I'm going to have to do this
again.... do I have enough beads? Hmm....

rose quartz chips, pink round beads, hot pink pressed
glass beads and a few glass moonstone beads as
accents (the glass moonstone are also from Znet)

And, suddenly, PUPPY!!

at 12 weeks... He's a Weimaraner (or Weim if you
want to shorten it) Also called the Gray Ghost
because of their coloring and style of hunting
(they're sight hunters)
1st visit to his new vet. He did SO well!

Waiting to see the vet... who came out and said,
"Oh! I see you have a pair of ears with a puppy attached!"
(snork) Yes, Weims usually have huge water absorbers
on either side of their heads.
exhausted from a hard afternoon chewing end tables

Learning that sleeping with Crazier Sister does not mean
IN THE SAME BED as me. Crazy, maybe, but not
insane! He's gonna be over 100lbs one day!!! Train 'em
now in the way you mean to go on! (13 weeks, 36.5 lbs)

And now you know what's keeping me busy!
What about you?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Black & White Challenge Blog Hop

Sally over at The Studio Sublime challenged us to a hop wherein we made jewelry using only the colors of black and white (not counting wire). Y'know, I've got black beads and white beads all over but I've never (except once) sat down with the express purpose of putting them together. So, here's my contribution to her unique (to me, at least) hop challenge:
had some black chiffon that worked beautifully
I'm really getting more into mixing in ribbon or
fabric into my jewelry. Love it.

going for the asymetrical style with this pair
It was really difficult not to add in red. I
wanted to SO badly!

                                           top to bottom: grayish crystals, milky grey/white
pearls trapped in a cage-like finding (Michael's)
and black faceted crystal dangles.

                                              Going for simple with these: the longer pair,
I used some cream/white glass pearls from, the wire is copper that I
heated to ball up and dumped in cold water
to cause that rosy pink coloring. (hope it
still falls within the rules!) I did two pair
because I just wanted simple as well as
simple with a touch more elegance.

                                                 these are major shoulder sweepers! again,
I used material for the lower part, black and
white batik/African style print from a fan
that broke so I salvaged the cloth. It went
perfect with the round black and white beads.

again, top to bottom: cream/white glass pearls
from ZnetShows, white(ish) man-made blister
pearls, cones from Michaels and inside are a
small black bead, white pearl and larger black bead
(to keep things from pulling up too far into the cone)

                                           recycled white glass/sea glass from ZnetShows
strung with a silver finding and black seed bead.

                                          top to bottom: black bead, end caps from a small
set of vials I decided not to use, white glass beads
white man-made "shell" rounds (Michael's again)

So, that's my contribution to this challenge. Thanks, Sally, for the kick in the pants to get the ol' Muse thinking and creating again.  Please visit the other participants to see what they've done!

Sally Russick  (HOSTESS)
Pam Sears  (**YOU ARE HERE**)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Znet Shows Beachy Challenge

Well... I know I work best under the wire but,,, sheesh!  Anyway, I once again am part of the design team for and this time they paired us up. My Beachy Beady Partner is Suzette over at Ellie's Bijoux.  What we were supposed to do was choose beads for our partners! Wow! Talk about mixing it up. I loved what Suzette sent me:  Here's a peek at the scrumptious pile of goodies I received:
Aren't they just awesome?  Gotta tell ya, though, I had an interesting time figuring out how I was going to use those lovely pearls!  BUT!  Here's what I came up with, enjoy:
Chinese Crystal Bling Ball in Olive
BDS1912 (BDS1912-22)
I wasn't sure, at first, how to use those "bling balls" but I remembered I had some cupped glass in my stash that I'd been hording saving and they worked wonderfully. I think they look a lot like artichokes (I'm sorry, I see things a weeeee bit differently) so these are Artichoke Heart earrings.

                                                     1) Cultured Sea Glass center-drilled
                                                       bottle lip-style P28 (P28-B30)
                                                     2) Sponge Coral twig beads
                                                         CB158 (CD158-05)
                                                     3) Glass Pearls BDS1617
                                                     4) Synthetic Calsilica Donut
                                                          BDS1746 (BDS1746-03)

I call these Boat & Buoys. Can you see why?  And I added the sponge coral twigs and glass pearls because they just seemed to work. (that's how I roll!)

                                             1) Base Metal alloy Bead - Twisted Vine
                                                 Wreath Charm M0111 (M0022-AB)
                                             2) Syntheti Calsilica Donuts BDS1746
                                             3) Chinese Turquoise Barrel Beads - bamboo
                                                  shape w/rondelle spacers TQS24 (TQS24-04)

This is Turquoise Skies.  The only part that doesn't come from ZnetShows are the washers in back, there. I hammered the bejabbers out of a couple washers, dabbed them with "Stream" alchol inks and buffed them with Ren-Wax to seal.  I like how these turned out. I am having a hard time not keeping them.  Of course, I have more of these components so I could always make myself a pair!

                                                    used the aforementioned sponge coral
                                                    twigs and Chinese glass pearls for this

Those of you who follow me know I can make earrings all day long and no problem.  But I can never make a necklace and leave it at that. The necklace MUST be accompanied by a pair of earrings.  So, here's a set I call Silver Beaches using the sponge coral and glass pearls.  I wire wrapped the pearls to the coral and hung it and some gorgeous recycled sari ribbon from a washer I hammered. I'd actually worked on the washer for another project but had set it aside. The hammering on it just made me think of a sandy beach (don't ask why.... did I mention I'm not really a beachy person?  I am much more a mountains and forest person... Saner Sister is the beachy person)  Anyway, paired with the ribbon it just all seemed to go well together.  The necklace is approximately 18" long and the earrings not quite 2" long. I also added a blue glass bead from the sea glass to the earrings so it had that touch of blue in the necklace.

And there you have it.  I still have plenty of beads and glass left so I'm sure there will be more stuff coming.  I also finally bought my ferric acid and have plans to try some etching soon (for why I've been absent, check out my previous post here).  To see what my partner in crime, Suzette, did go here and be prepared to ooh and ahh over her jewels!   Also be sure to check out the ZnetShows Blog as they are having a give away! With all the yummy stuff they have available, you'll want to be sure to hop on over and enter as well as see what other pairs have come up with in their challenges.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Loss and a Successor

A few weeks ago we had to put our sweet Weimaraner, Jackson Kramer (yes, there was a good reason to call him Kramer) to sleep.  He hadn't been eating well for a few days, although he'd eat the little treat/snacks we had for him and drink his water, so we took him to the vet. He felt a firm tenderness in Jack's stomach and gave him a shot for pain and said to take him home and watch him. If he still didn't eat that night, call in the morning and let him know. Well, he didn't eat and Doc had us bring him back in for tests and an x-ray. Jack, it turned out, had a fast growing cancer and it was already the size of a grapefruit. It grew so quick, in

Jack letting me practice my macro photography

fact, that what Doc felt as a firm tenderness the day before was now an obvious lump/growth. It was also obviously visible in the x-ray as it pushed his intestines aside. Considering his age and the pain he was experiencing, we made the decision to put him to sleep. A very hard choice to make when you love something that much. But love doesn't mean making it hard on the object of your love.

Well, we found that the house was much too quiet and that we needed a dog in our home. We just have never been without one in our family from the time I was a kid and so began our search for Jack's successor (never replacement!).  We found Von Greyson Weimaraners about two hours away from us (in the backside of just past the middle of nowhere!) and, after asking both him and our vet numerous questions, made the decision to buy one of his pups.  Our vet was impressed with the care William takes of his animals (starts taking them to his vet as soon as they're old enough) and William was impressed by (and glad of) the fact we'd already had a Weim.  (he, apparently, doesn't sell his pups to just anyone who calls... another plus in his favor). 

We travelled the two hours into the back of beyond to meet and, hopefully, retrieve, our newest family member.  I'll tell you this, the man has TWENTY-ONE  Weim's running his place (it's a ranch) and they are great dogs.  Some snarls as Alpha-order is established and defended, but no fighting and all are sweet, healthy, happy animals who love him.  Another plus in his favor.  After an hour in his (and the dogs') company, we came home with our own sweet fella.  May I present our newest family member (and the reason I've not been crafting or blogging for two weeks), Zackery Tillar Sears:

1st day home... who wouldn't love this face!?
But,  look at those PAWS! Only 10 weeks and
already weighing in at 25+ pounds

A week and a 1/2 later. We could almost SEE
him growing!
This was taken at our vet's office just yesterday.
You can see how calm he is. And another glimpse
of those huge paws.  Yesterday (12 weeks of age)
Zackery weighed in at 29.5 pounds.

Yes, he's going to be a monster. William breeds his Weims to the original German standard and his dogs are larger and sturdier than most American lines.  The dam was about 85-90lbs and the sire was well over the 100lb mark.  I don't doubt my little Kraut is going to be a solid 105lbs at least

And now you know what I've been doing and why I've been absent (and may still be sporadic in the blogging and creating until this not-so-little one doesn't have to be so closely watched, the chewing little sneak).