Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What I Did & Didn't Do This Weekend

You know how you lay plans for your day (or weekend, as the case may be) and have every intention of sticking to that plan? Come High Water or Unexpected Guests!!  Well... there comes a time (or three or a dozen) in every creative persons crafty life when they sit down in their studio and all intentions and plans go right out the window and they end up doing something entirely different.

This weekend was one of those times for me. I had every intent of getting to know my new Jewelers Saw (and probably several blades) over the holiday weekend (which, pause... Thank You, again, to all our Service members, past present and future. I truly, deeply appreciate all of you...) but, when I was sitting, doodling in my notebook a day or so before the weekend, an idea for a bracelet I'd been trying to figure out popped into my head. Along with a necklace. I doodled and played and, yes! the idea would definitely work! So, instead of sawing metal, I was clipping wire.

I started by practicing with my 18g steel wire (because, honestly, that's SO much less expensive than my copper wire!) in order to figure out length for each piece and the size of the loops I would need.  The rough wire practice actually worked, so I pulled out the copper in 12 & 14g and went to work. And here are the results of that work:

The bracelet... recycle sari ribbon, yellow crystal rondelles,
and 18g copper wire to hold the ribbon. It's bangle-style.
The "front" of the bangle. This was taken with my iPhone
and Instaframe would not let me put both fish in the picture.
Rest assured, the right side is a mirror image of the left. I
went with bangle instead of cuff or even a catch so that
the wire wouldn't catch on anything.  Curling the tales of
the fish was a epiphany I had while doodling and made it
easy to attach the fish to the bangle but not get in the way.
The necklace! OOOOHHH! I about giggled when this idea
doodled itself out. It has the look of an old-fashioned
fishing net (such as would have been used in Bible times)
and just make the necklace really work. 

Of course, if you follow my blog, you know I can't make
other jewelry without making earrings. I can always make
earrings and stop, but I can never make anything else and
not make earrings. Never have figured out why. Except that
I'm just weird that way ;)

As you can see from both the bracelet & necklace, curling the fish tails in makes attachment to anything else (or each other) relatively simple. I'm keeping this set but I can now make more. I also think the steel wire might look good as the necklace and may try that next.  I'm really liking this so the poor saw may just have to wait a little longer ;)

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Day Of Gratitude

How can we ever thank our soldiers and Veterans enough?  I've tried, over the years and in my own, small way, to let them know of my gratitude for their choice to join the military and defend the freedom of so many. Even the ungrateful. I hope there are more of us that are grateful than ungrateful, today.  I hope our voices of thanks and gratitude are louder than the pinheads who don't have a clue what these brave persons do for them (and us).

One of the ways I try to say thanks (besides shaking the hand of every single Vet I meet) is to write poetry. If you'd like to see some of my poetry showing my gratitude to the military, please go here.  As for today, I'm going to share a monologue I wrote. Please understand, this is my own interpretation of what a Warrior might say to someone with little to no understanding of what it is they do and have done. I would never presume to speak for the Warrior in any way. I also have a feeling there will be those that are offended by this. That's fine. It's not my intent to offend, but I'm also not going to back down from my gratitude to and support of our military. We need them. And we should be grateful they're there.
Think about it.
A Warrior's Voice
Look at me.

No, look me in the eyes.

Don’t pretend you don't see or hear me.

You had a question. I heard you ask it and because of that I’m the one who gets to answer so don’t stand there and ignore me, don’t avert your eyes and don’t pretend to care when you don’t understand what these crosses really stand for.

Not yet, you don’t. But you will.

You wanted to know why we chose to join the military. Why we chose to fight. Why we chose to go to a far away country and, I believe your words were, invade it. That’s what got my attention, what got all our attention.

That one little word.


As if we chose to go to war. As if war is our fault. It isn’t. I don’t care which war you’re asking about, none of the wars were our fault. But, there were actions that required an answer. A firm, decisive, line-drawn-in-the-sand answer. The enemy didn’t quite believe that line was real so he not only stepped over it, he tried to obliterate it, and anyone near it, in the process.

Oh, yes, there’s an enemy and it isn’t me or my fellow Warriors. We’re not the ones who killed women and children in the name of “purification of the human race.” We’re not the ones who strapped bombs to the bodies of our youth and sent them out to kill themselves in the name of some god who hates us because we don’t believe in him.

We’re the ones who kept those killers from these shores.

You watch the news and you see what they want you to but you miss the good things we do.

The toys we hand out.

The medicines we dispense.

The smiles and hugs freely given.

The games played with children who don’t get to play much anymore.

The child cuddled because the Madman shot and killed her entire family and she’s sobbing for a mother she doesn’t understand won’t ever again come to hold her.

That’s what the media doesn’t show you. That’s what we fought and still fight for.

You still don’t get it, do you? Maybe I, we did our jobs a little too well. Because we chose to fight the Madman, we’ve been able to keep him from our shores… well, mostly. You’ve suffered some deprivation, you’ve grieved over lives lost, but you haven’t really suffered. Not really.

Yes, I get to say that to you. I get to say that because I and my fellow Warriors have suffered. Suffered to keep the Madman away from you. In heat, cold, rain, snow, whether we were sick or well, hurt or whole. It didn’t matter. Wherever he was or is we’ll go there to fight him.

But, it’s not just for you we fight. Sure, we want him to stay far, far away from the homes of our loved ones. Even from those who hate us for the job we chose to do. But, we also fight for the innocents. You’re not the only ones who should be free from senseless death and genocide. You’re not the only ones whose children should feel free to run the streets and scream with laughter instead of fear.

Do you see, now? Do you understand, yet?

We didn’t “invade” anywhere for personal gain but, rather, to liberate those under the oppressive heel of tyranny. The places we’ve gone, the lives that were lost, it was a choice we made. One we knew might mean our deaths.

One that did mean my death.

But, it was a choice that needed to be made. One I would make all over again, even knowing the suffering I’ll go through when I’m shot. Even knowing the emotional pain my family will have to live with, I’d make that choice again.

We all would.

You see, because we made that choice, and even though our families grieved and grieve for us still, they are Free.

They cried when they received word that we’d died in battle.

But they received it in Freedom.

They cried and held each other as they watched our coffins lowered into the ground, the graves marked by these simple white crosses.

But they clung together, and in Freedom.

Our families have not been separated and interred in prison camps or forced into slave labor or killed simply because they didn’t fit the Madman’s imagined “perfect” human because we chose to defend that Line-In-The-Sand against the Madman.

It’s a hard choice. It’s made harder still by those who call us “war criminals” simply because we stand up to the school-yard bully. That’s exactly what he is, too. A bully. He runs and hides when we step up to defend that Line. He won’t face us in honest battle. But, instead of crying out against the Madman, we are denigrated for trying to stop him and protect you. It makes a hard job harder still.

Especially for our loved ones.

You certainly don’t want to hear that someone's told your family you are a "tool of the military industrial complex" or a "warmongering psychopath brute," do you? Yet, so many of you do just that to ours. You upset our parents and spouses who already worry about us. You scare our children into thinking we’re blood-thirsty monsters. We’re fighting to keep you free, too, you know.

Instead of calling us names and deriding our choice to defend your freedom, think about what would happen if we weren’t there.

Think about what would happen if the Madman won because we gave up.

Think about the Freedom you have and then imagine it gone if you didn’t have us to defend it.

Defend it with our blood.

Defend it with our very lives.



           Now you can cry.

But, don’t cry for us. We chose this life that we knew might mean death.

No, don’t cry for us.

      Cry for those who still don’t understand these crosses.

           Cry for those who refuse to see we fight because we love you more than ourselves.
© Copyright 2007 Pam Sears (UN: condorsfan at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


YES!  I got my saw and saw blades in the mail! The metal in my Craft Room/Studio all tremble in fear!
As advised by the already experienced metal workers in the Bead Soup Cafe on FaceBook I bought an inexpensive jewelers saw (from Amazon, if you're curious... they can find anything!) along with some extra blades since I was promised that, in the learning process (and even after ~snerk~), I would break the blades. With that in mind, I wanted to be prepared (plus, I didn't know if the saw would actually come with blades.... it does!)

First Saw... I'm so proud (sniff)

Extra blades
even have sizes/grades!

Part of me can't wait to get started. Part of me is scared to death!  I love to play and I learn best from hands-on, but I also want it to be right the first time (when is it ever right the 1st time we do something!?) and not waste metal learning. Some of y'all make it seem so easy that I should be able to do it correctly the first time. Right? Right?

Anyway, I also bought some earplugs for when I'm hammering the b'jabbers out of my metals and my ear canals start twitching (which is a really weird feeling!).

Radians 25 pair of disposable
ear plugs
Click on the link, if you'd like some as well.  Anyway, I'm planning to play around (timidly or boldly, I haven't decided, yet) this weekend.  I'll let you know next week what I managed to accomplish.

Besides breaking saw blades.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Kristi Bowman's Design With My Own Tweak

Kristi Bowman is one of the blogs I enjoy following. I can get so inspired by her work! So imagine my excitement when one of her sets of earrings ended up in and issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine? Her earrings are titled Aladdin's Lamp and I just loved them!  Since they were in the magazine as a tutorial, I know it's ok for me to create these earrings with my own twist, but I give TOTAL credit for the inspiration to Kristi. Here are my two interpretations of her original work:

This pair is called Scheherazade's Dance. I used large hole
purple glass beads, recycled gold sari ribbon and
copper wire. They're a little on the long side, but I
love them!

Another view of Scheherazade's Dance

This pair is called 1,001 Nights. I used a pinky/purply
sari ribbon and the beads are from by
the very talented Russ Powers. I had been hoarding
these beads until I went back and saw Kristi's tutorial
again and knew I had to make these!
View II of 1,001 Nights. Aren't the colors in those
beads just gorgous!?
So that's all I managed to do this weekend. We've been very busy with our church and a Revival meeting we're having the rest of this week.  I highly recommend you follow Kristi for great inspiration (and drool-worthy work) and go check out Java Beads for handblown glass beads that will melt your mind.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Free Advice

This has nothing to do with beads, in particular, and more to do with a pet peeve annoyance of mine.  I, like I'm sure many of you do, get all sorts of Phishing scams in my mail box. That, alone, is annoying but what's even more annoying to me is the number of people who fall for them. 

Let's set aside the Nigerian Bank Scam (and all its incarnations) for a moment and focus on the one that really seems to get people, using myself as an example (but only partially... I don't fall for them myself!).  I just received an email in my Spam Box that declared it was from PayPal and that I had added the email address of to my account (normally I wouldn't publish the email or name, but I figure if it's a phishing scam, it's fair game!)  and I needed to follow up on this through their link.  Here's an excerpt from their email to me:

If you still feel that an unauthorized person has changed your email, click on restore account PayPal and follow the next steps.
Please download the form attached to this email and open it in a web browser.
NOTE: For security reasons, we will record your ip-address, the date and time, Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicated.
Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your account.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
If you choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choice but to temporary suspend your account.

If I download that attached form, one of two things will happen; 1) I'll end up with a computer virus or, worse, 2) I'll end up giving my information to thieves.  It's amazing what they can accomplish today. 

Sadly, many people will follow their instructions thinking it's a legitimate email from PayPal. It has the logo, they have their email address, how could it possibly be a scam!?  Here's clue # 1... they start the email with "Dear Valued Customer" or a variation of that theme.  PayPal (or, really, any on-line site you buy from and have registered with... Amazon, ZnetShows, your bank, etc.) is going to already have most, if not all, of your information.  Including your name.  ANYthing from a legitimate site is going to start with "Dear Pam Sears" rather than calling me "Customer." 

However, if you're worried that it might BE real, here's my best advice delivered in as lawyerly or teacherly a tone as I can manage: (ahem)  do NOT use their link!  Let me repeat that for the hard of hearing: DO NOT USE THEIR LINK!  You probably already have that site on your Favorites List so close your email, click on the site from your Favorites List and open your account.  You will very likely find there have been NO changes made.  If you're still uncertain, you can always change your password at this point or contact the site through their "Contact Us" page and get advice on what to do.

Oh, clue # 2?  Yeah... spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Always a dead give-away. Go reread and see if you can find the mistakes. (I tease Saner Sister about being a Grammar Nazi but it helps to know what should be proper when dealing with these schmucks!)
Be safe. And be wary, folks!

Monday, May 13, 2013

What Did You Do?

Whelp!  I disappeared over the weekend.  I hid out.  Didn't do a THANG!  (well, except some laundry... and having a heart attack over a gopher snake disguised as a rattler.... dang, icky snake!)  I didn't get on the internet, I didn't play with my jewelry, I did not a THANG! a'TAL! 

One thing I did do, I found the photographer, Clarence Alford, who took a photo of my friends and my Alter Ego, Zarqa Habibe, at the So-Cal Ren-Faire a couple of weekends ago.  I never took my own photos but here's a shot Clarence took that Saturday. 

Surrounded by "pirates"... eh, well, at least one has
some character work to do. Don't know of many
pirates that wear fedoras! (she'll learn!)
I tried to get closer to Zarqa just so
you could (maybe/hopefully) see
the tribal jewelry I made for her. I
had to take the carnelian focal off
or it would have been too long but,
otherwise, she loved it.
 Yes, my Alter Ego is very fair skinned, hence the parasol. And sunscreen. She's learned! (you can click on the photos to get a closer look)

So... what DID y'all do over the weekend?? Eh?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Diamonds In The Rough Jewelry Challenge ~ ACCEPTED!

So, as I've mentioned briefly in previous posts, Bill @ ZnetShows asked me to join Round Two of their jewelry design challenge and they called it Diamonds In The Rough.  Don't know if that's aimed at me or not... (kidding!)  Of course, he sent pictures of the Adorable Abby to lure us all in. I mean, really, who could say "no" to that face!?  Not me!  Not to mention the chance to play with more free beads! So, of COURSE, I said "yes" to Round Two. They will be voting on their FB Page so check them out there and vote for your favs (of which I hope I'm one). 
ZnetShows is a wholesale bead-porium and you can click on the link to go take a look at their plethora of gorgeous beads. But, check out their FB page 1st because, I promise, you'll be in bead-porn heaven if you go to their wholesale site first and you'll sit there forEVer before moving on. Not to mention the buying that will happen!
Anyway, here are my entries:

The Beads I started with... aren't they
just SCRUM-dilly-UMPTIOUS!?

Tribal Necklace - coins and chime dangles are from my stash
beads and focal bead are from ZnetShows...
The beads used from ZNetShows for this necklace are:
Freeform, heat treated carnelian pendent (I've lost the item code for this one, I apologize)
Fire agate rondelles in dyed yellow/green color - item code (BDS1593-09)
Tiger's Eye round beads - item code (BDG58-08)

used the tiger's eye and dyed fire agate from ZnetShows
and the chime charms from my own stash

Hidden Tiger
I cut out and filed/sanded the metal forms and used ZnetShows Tiger's Eye beads for the bracelet.
Morrocan Adventure
For these, the chime dangles are from my stash and the squares are from Znet - red square aventurine and their item code is (BDG44-13A)

What can I say? I'm into the tribal style right now.
For these, I hammered out copper pennies and used Znet's red aventurine squares and tiger's eye rounds, then added a touch of radiance by adding in their opalescent glass quartz oval puffed beads and their item code is (BDG46-55)

Jangling Jade
The metal donuts are washers I beat the b'jabbers out of, colored with black permanent marker, sanded to bring out the high points and sealed. The gorgeous olive jade donuts are from Znet and their item code is (BDG118-17D)

Autumn Desire (I know, it's Spring going into Summer,
but I happen to love Autumn!)
The pendent is a washer I treated the same way as the earrings I described above, the light colored rounds are composite marble from Michael's and the heat treated carnelian pendent is from Znet (sorry, as I said, lost the item code for the carnelian *sigh*). The red aventurine squares are also from ZnetShows. The clasp I found/bought at Joanne's from the sewing/button section. Awesome!

Gypsy Fire
Again, hammered the b'jabbers out of copper pennies and the chime dangles are from my stash. The red rectangles are rectangular, aventurine puff beads from Znet - item code (BDG43-13)

As I said, go vote on Znet's FB page and, then, go explore their wholesale bead site. They've got some YUMMY beads that will keep you drooling and checking your pocketbook for spare change!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

After Being Gibbs-Slapped By My Alter Ego....

In my previous post (here) I showed pictures of several pairs of earrings and asked what you thought about which should be worn by my Alter Ego, Zarqa Habiba, to the So-Cal Renaissance Faire.  This is the necklace that she was going to be wearing:
Full view: ended up wearing it without the carnelian
pendent there. It was too long for my neckline and
I'm of a fairly modest persuasion. Still, love the look.
Yellow rondelles are rough, yellow fire agates. Awesome!
A detail look.
Beads from, dangles and coins from
my stash. Bells were reused from a pair of Middle
Eastern chiming anklets.

Another detail shot.

 I was still contemplating which set of aforementioned earrings would work with this necklace when Zarqa gave me a disgusted look and Gibbs-slapped me!  Of COURSE!  Earrings should always match the necklace. DUH! (sigh)  So, I made these (and Zarqa was pleased):

They, and the necklace, chimed sweetly at the Faire and many people liked them.  And, since I was in an earring making mood, I threw in one more pair Because I Could!

Not sure what type, but the stone is agate (I think)
The metal was bought from Michael's pre-stamped
and I just cut out the shape. Bronze 1/2 circles and
copper wire. Warm, dangling goodness.
There will be another post later this week for ZnetShows and the beady goodness they've been letting me play with.  Check back, I'll have pics and links for you to check out. They've got AWEsome stuff!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Working Toward The Faire

I attend the Southern California Renaissance Faire with Friends every year and it's a blast! What makes it even more fun is to come up with what I call an "alter ego" and dress as that character for the day. I've mentioned mine before, Zarqa Habiba (Persian for Blue Eyed Friend) and you can see her here.  Whelp! I've been going over her outfit and re-working it a little bit for this year (still wearing the tats!) and some of that re-work has been her jewelry.  I've been working on a necklace with beads I received from Bill at  It's not done, yet, but it's close (which, it better be since we're going this Saturday!) so here are some pics for you to enjoy.

Beginnings... we all have to start somewhere!

Closer to finished: stamped and colored the metal.
The yellow/green-y rondells are (I'm told by Bill at
Znet) Fire Agate! Who knew they came in yellow/green!?
I always thought they were carnelian/red and white!

Detail shot: the Christian fish symbol, swirls and twirls
I also dangled tiny bells like those worn by Middle
Eastern dancers. A lovely chime-y sound :)

Now we get to the hard part.  The earrings.  I've made a number over the last week and Zarqa is beside herself to choose a new pair for Saturday.  They're all fairly long (juuuuuuust shy of brushing her shoulders, but she doesn't have a long, swan-like neck, either) but they have that tribal feel she's loving.  Take a look and give her your vote?

So, that's it for today. Photos from the Faire Day will make their way on here eventually so you can see which earrings Zarqa finally settled on.