Monday, November 29, 2010

#Cybermonday and December holiday special

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For any of my resin or silver jewelry you purchase between now and December 24, I will gladly gift wrap or gift box at no additional charge.  I can even send it directly to the recipient!  Just let me know in the "special instructions to seller" box when you checkout on Paypal, or let me know when you call to place an order.

Items under $25 are packaged on a card and included in a cellophane bag.  It is then wrapped with tissue paper and finished with a holiday ribbon.  A gift card with your personal message is included as well.

Silver jewelry or Resin jewelry pieces priced at $25 or more will be included in a purple, cardboard gift box.  It is finished with a raffia bow.  A gift card is included with these as well.

I ship all jewelry in a padded envelope (for those placed on cards) or a recycled cardboard box.  All my jewelry pieces ship via U.S. postal service with a package tracking number.  I am happy to ship UPS or FedEx for an additional charge.

Need your package shipped internationally?  No problem!  Please contact me with the destination address and will let you know of the additional postal charges.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner and a pinot noir wine review

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Since my boys are into cooking, I decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Normally, I just get a ready made meal and reheat it in the oven.  I must say, I even impressed myself.

I roasted a turkey with a fresh sage butter and made a traditional stuffing with fresh herbs and cranberries.  I also went with a couple of standbys:  garlic mashed potatoes and the ever traditional green bean casserole.  The meal was finished with a fresh herb gravy and homemade wheat rolls.  I really enjoyed the meal and everything was good, except for the rolls.  Yesterday was one of those days that I wished I had two ovens.  Things were taking longer to cook and the rolls got completely overdone. 

Now, onto the wine review.  First, I have to say I'm a red wine kind of girl.  It was just my husband and kids, so I picked a wine that I wanted.  (Hubby is indifferent on the whole wine scene.)  While I'm sure many of you enjoy a white wine with your turkey dinner, I prefer a pinot noir.  At least for me, it's a great companion to the heaver sauces and side dishes that typically accompany a Thanksgiving dinner. 

One of my little indulgences is wine.  I belong to a monthly wine club of Oregon pinot noir wines and had been saving the 2008 Acrobat pinot noir for this occasion.  Pinot noirs are not for the faint of heart.  There can be a wide range of flavors in this variety, but that's part of the fun for me.  This one has to go down as one of my favorites.  There is a lot of "berry" taste to this wine.  Blueberry, blackberry, and a touch of strawberry immediately hit you.  Maybe a hint of vanilla??  It is a medium bodied wine and had a quick, smooth finish on the palate.  I know part of why I really liked this one is that it paired very well with the cranberries in the dressing.  It also went well with the gouda cheese we had as an appetizer.  Overall, a thumbs up and I would be happy to enjoy this red wine again.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving #foodthanks

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Food doesn’t just happen. It takes an incredible number of caring, thoughtful, hard-working individuals to provide the three square meals we enjoy every day. From farmer to processor to truck driver to chef to retailer, millions work hard to provide our food.

Those people deserve our thanks, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday.

I want to personally thank each and every person for helping to provide the food myself and my family will consume tomorrow for our Thanksgiving meal.  I know there are a lot of hands involved and my thanks go to every one of you.  Thank you for providing a safe, affordable, nutritious product.

Regardless of who produced your food or how it got to you, I hope we can agree that they all deserve our thanks.  As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, please remember to give #foodthanks.

P.S.  For those of you on twitter, #foodthanks is the hashtag to express your gratitude there as well.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Uptown art hop, a festive shopping experience

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Just in case I missed seeing you this past Friday night, I thought I would share some pictures from the Uptown Art Hop.  The art hop is a collection of art related businesses in the 2400 block of northwest 43rd street in Gainesville, Florida, that open their doors once every three months or so for a night or arts and entertainment.  I demonstrated some of my resin jewelry making techniques at Gifts of Avalon (also the same place where I teach classes). 

I took an assortment of the sterling silver and resin jewelry pieces to show.

I also had an assortment of the scrabble tile resin pendants.

This was the first time I also had the acrylic earrings with handmade papers on display.  The price point made them appealing for gifts.

One of the shop owners, Rhonda Bergman, was at the store that night.  The other store owner, Trude Spillane, was in travels to a bead show.

There was a modest assortment of refreshments.

I took some of my molds and resin jewelry pieces in progress to talk about.  I didn't pour resin, but did talk to some people about the specifics of working with it.

Did I mention there was a reggae band?  They played live music just outside the front door during the event.  It made the evening quite festive.

I actually have to share with you that I kicked myself hard when I got to Gifts of Avalon that night because I meant to take my video camera to get a soundtrack for the evening.  Drat!

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to Make Wrap Bracelets

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I'm a jewelry junkie. I love making it, studying it, looking at other people's jewelry...I'm addicted. I was trolling YouTube to find a use for some leather cord I have. I found this video and thought how cool these bracelets look! Ladies, not interested in Thanksgiving Day football? I think this might be a good alternative...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Forged metal earrings jewelry making class pictures

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I taught another jewelry making class this week. It was a new class, but I had the fortune of having 5 of the 6 students as part of my regular, repeat student group. It was a really great class. Not so much because they made great jewelry (which they did), but because we laughed ourselves silly for most of the night. (Come to my next class and you'll meet which ones have concealed weapons licenses.)

Anyway, their creativity astounds me! This is just some random pictures of what went on in class.

Kathy's (there were two in the class) earrings hanging out on the class instruction page.

Judy is pounding out her earrings.

A lot of making these earrings was working them by hand.

Kathy is working her earrings by hand too.

Diana was the only newbie to my class (she's in the blue shirt).  I actually have known her for awhile.  It was good to have her in class.

Diana's getting a nice open "flower" on her copper pieces.

These were Chris' finished earrings.  They look so cool with the pearls hanging in the center.  (Why didn't I think of that??)

Earrings in waiting......  waiting for their pearls that is.

This is Claudia using a propane torch.  To make these earrings, you had to anneal the metal several times.  She was a bit worried about using "fire", but I explained a healthy fear of the torch is good.  Keeps you from doing something stupid.

The other Kathy made several pairs of copper earwires to share with her classmates.

More flowers waiting to be finished.

A little more hand work by Claudia.

It was a great evening and they already have me working on the next class.  I won't be teaching in December, but I will have something ready to go in January.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Brownie making day with my peeps

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In case you're never heard me talk about them, I have 3 boys all aged 3 and younger.  I love them dearly, especially when things go well.  *smile*  One of things as a parent that I want to make sure to do is to empower them to make good decisions and take care of themselves.  I realize at three there shouldn't be much for them to worry about, but I do encourage them to learn about everything around them. 

Since a lot of my time with them involves the kitchen, they are quite interested in helping me.  While the mess is twice as big when were done, I actually want them to help me.  I want them to be able to learn some cooking skills.  I read the blog of Nancy Grossi, a dairy farmer in California.  She recently shared a brownie recipe that my boys and I cooked together.  (The recipe is at the end of this post.)  I'm including a few pictures from our baking experience.

Notice how there are two spoons in the bowl?  Don't expect anyone to share.  *wink*

Cooking with little people has its challenges.  Food safety means nothing to them.  Raw eggs?  Who cares!  It's chocolate, mom!

This makes a big batch of brownies.  I made these in a glass pan, but I prefer a silicone baking pan.  (The silicone pan I have isn't large enough.)

Yes, they were delish with a glass of cold milk.  And the trick to getting them to cut nicely?  Use a plastic knife.  Who knew?

Best Basic Brownie


• 1 cup butter
• 2 cups white sugar
• 4 whole eggs
• 2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 2/3 cup cocoa powder
• 1 cup flour
• ½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. baking powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray non-stick spray on a 9 x 13 pan.
Melt butter. Remove from heat and add ingredients in the order listed, stirring well by hand.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not overbake.
Cut with a plastic knife {best brownie trick}.

In case you want to see Nancy's post about her brownie making experience with her kids, click here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Centerpieces

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I was browsing You Tube this week looking for Thanksgiving crafts to do with my kids. In the process, I found this 4 minute video that not only gives you ideas for Thanksgiving centerpieces, but it also shows you how to fold the napkins. Hooray! (However I fully expect I'm going to need to fold the napkins while I'm in front of the computer screen with the video on slow motion.) What do you usually do for your Thanksgiving table?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Handmade silver and resin jewelry video

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I finally took the plunge into making a "movie" about my resin jewelry. It's been something I've wanted to do, but quite frankly, I just didn't know how to do it. A blogging buddy of mine turned me on to Windows Movie Maker and I used it to create this two minute video about my silver and resin jewelry. While it's not going to win an Academy Award for best short documentary, I think it turned out pretty well. Enjoy!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Setting up an art show booth

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I spent this past Friday afternoon getting ready to sell jewelry at the Gainesville Downtown Festival and Art show. I thought it would be fun to share with blog readers just how an art show booth comes to fruition.

This is the stack of my tent pieces and display boxes.  The tent poles are on the shelf on the top part of the picture.  The wooden boxes in the bottom  part of the picture will serve as display pieces. 

This is our '98 Ford Explorer loaded down with the art show tent and associated materials.  The front passenger seat is also full.  There is only room for the driver (barely).

This is my booth space.  When you set up at an art show, all you get is a space.  The show management doesn't provide you with anything to show your work.  (and yes, it was dark when we got started).

This is the top part of the tent.  In the next step, a canopy was placed over the top and hooked to the frame.

The top has been lifted with polls and hubby is busy putting up the sides of the tent.

The sides are up and the brown boxes have been set up.  We're now in the process of setting up the glass boxes on top of the wooden cases.

This is what the finished booth looks like.  Notice there are also red drapes on the front and a banner hanging from the back.  The jewelry is also in the cases.

It takes about 2 hours to set up the entire booth, with the jewelry, and about an hour and a half to break everything down.

Friday, November 05, 2010

How To Choose the Right Frame For a Picture

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Since I'm busy getting ready for the Downtown Festival and Art show today, I didn't have time to write a good blog post. However, this is a really good video I found when I was searching YouTube trying to get some ideas for framing some pictures.

Enjoy! (P.S. I'll have show pictures up next week.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

My cat Karma

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I've gotten a few emails recently inquiring about my cat Karma.  For those who aren't regular followers of my blog, Karma is "my personal assistant".  She tends to supervise the jewelry making and usually selects the winner for contest drawings.  She is doing well, but I try to keep her away from the resin jewelry making process.  Cat hair in the resin ruins the whole batch.  Yuck.  (and it has happened)

One of Karma's favorite places to sit in my studio is in the window in front of my soldering bench.  The window is almost always up (to allow good ventilation) and she likes to take advantage of it.  While she was sitting there, I went to grab the camera.

By the time I got back, she was doing a "kitty yoga" routine on the floor.  She gets dirty hanging out in the studio, but I like having her there for the company.  She's also a good sport about my kids tormenting her.  She would love to come to the Downtown Festival and Art show this weekend, but, alas, pets aren't allowed.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Tips for art show attendees

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If you're thinking of attending the Downtown Festival and Art show, Gainesville, Florida (or any art show for that matter) this coming weekend, these are a few suggestions I have for anyone that might be attending.

The KMS Designs jewelry art show jewelry booth
1.  If you see something you like and want it, don't wait, buy it.  Artists enjoy making a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces.  I always have a few shoppers that come back by my booth to purchase a piece of jewelry they saw earlier only to be disappointed that it's gone.

2.  Get there early.  Intent on buying a piece of art?  Saturday morning will have the largest selection of art.  I have found the serious shoppers come out early.

3.  Don't get there too early.  Ever planned a dinner party only to have people show up early?  EEK!  This is an artist's version of a dinner party.  Verify when the show officially opens and maybe get there 10 to 15 minutes before it starts, but not earlier.  Many artists are still setting up their booths and their art and need the time to get fully prepared for the day.

4.  Leave the pets at home.  There are way too many smells and people!  I have seen first hand dogs getting upset about all the excitement.  Plus, there is the need for dogs to relieve themselves at some point during the day.  Trust me, they will do it in a art booth.  Yuck!

5.  Be careful about bargaining.  Artists have an emotional attachment to their work.  Many consider asking for a bargain or discount a personal insult.  Instead, go into it with a "win-win" attitude.  Ask if there is a discount for cash.  Will they offer free installation and delivery?

6.  Love a piece but can't afford it as a big lump sum payment?  Ask about layaway.  It has been my experience that many artists will be happy to work with you on a layaway plan.

7.  Unsure how to transport?  Ask about installation.  Get specific!  Are there particular hooks, wall supports, etc needed? 

8.  Ask for care instructions.  This is essential for any piece of art you purchase, from pottery to watercolor paintings. 

9.  Ask about joining the artist's mailing list.  Artists will share their best deals and unveil new art to their customer list first.  Ask if there is the possibility to get on a postal and/or electronic mail list.

10.  Inquire about the return/exchange policy.  Not sure you're going to like that painting hanging over the sofa once you get it up?  Ask the artist if there is return/exchange policy.  Since many people buy from me for Hannukah and Christmas gifts, I would also suggest asking if there is an extended policy for art being purchased for a holiday gift.

Most of all, enjoy the day!  Art shows are a museum all to themselves.  Learn, ask questions, and hopefully, take home something to enrich your life.
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