Wednesday, August 24, 2016


by Patti Vanderbloemen

To recap....I had a custom order request that did not turn out the way the customer wanted. I truly put too much work into this necklace, so I was hoping to turn a bad situation into a happy one by finding someone who would give it just a little bit of love.... and I did!!

The winner of the necklace my giveaway is...

(I have hosted many a giveaway here on my blog and this is the FIRST time Random.Org picked #1 - coolio!)

Congratulations to:

Allison Teague

Allison - please send me your email address ( and I will mail this right out!

From the bottom of my heart, a HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment. I knew this was the best way to deal with a not-very-nice situation!

Thanks so very much for stopping by today!!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Give Away!

Happy Monday!

Last year, I opened up my own website - but I kept my Etsy shop because I still have quite a few customers  that only shop through Etsy. I was recently contacted by a customer to create a custom order necklace for her. Not what I like to do, but I finally agreed.

Well, here it is!  I made her this necklace per her specifications, but, in the end, it was not her cup of tea.  So....I am going to GIVE IT AWAY!!!

The chain is comprised of hand cut and hand riveted solid copper links, graduated in size. The 3 links in front are larger, soldered closed, and each has two wraps of copper along the sides.  I also stamped a tiny little filigree on the 3 focal links. 

I added a series of 5 drops to the center, largest link:  A lovely copper bead by Scorched Earth (link here); two different wrapped links of tiny lampwork beads by Beads and Botanicals (link here); a little copper swirl, and finally, a hollow copper bead that I made (textured..of course!) 

The chain is 24" long and closes with a copper lobster clasp.  I also added a 2" extender chain.

I darkened the copper with liver of sulfur, hand buffed, and tumbled for hours to get this rustic patina that I just love!  I also buffed on a couple of layers of jewelry grade museum wax (Renaissance Wax) to aide in protecting the patina.

How to Win
I sure hope someone else likes this necklace - 'cause it was a solid 2 day effort!  Want to win?? Here's how:

1) Leave a comment on this blog - equals 1 entry.
2) Share this blog post on Face book - COME BACK HERE and leave a second comment on this blog post - equals 1 entry.

I will pick a winner in a few days!

Thanks for stopping by and reading today - and, no more custom orders!  Life is too short my friends!!!



Thursday, August 11, 2016

New for August

What a boring blog title....

Another day...another sweltering heat. Perfect temperature to drive me down to my basement. I have managed to make a few newbies.

First up is the Stone-on-Stone pendant.  The Labradorite cabochon I received a long time ago - completely devoid of any iridescent flash that Labradorite is supposed to be known of the pitfalls of buying online! But the color and veining is truly beautiful --- wish I could capture that in my photos. But, I did add my own flash to this stone.

This is a brand new-to-me technique. The scariest part was drilling a hole in the stone, but again, it was lacking something anyway. I topped it with my latest craze of using tube settings - this is a pretty faceted 6mm CZ. I think the contrast in color and the sparkle from the faceted CZ bring back the flash I was looking for in the Labradorite. In the end, it worked, and I could not be more pleased!

I learned this technique through a video course I purchased from Jeff Fulkerson, who is extremely well-known in the jewelry industry. I do love to take video courses - and this one had no time limit for viewing...another plus!

Next up is a re-do of a design that was just not working.  I had this pretty fossil-looking artisan ceramic cab made by Jenny Davies Reazor.  I know it was years ago that I purchased this cab at Art Bliss. The corners are "wonky" - not perfectly round...which is what drew me to the cabochon in the first place. So, I used a prong setting - kept it simple.

Not my best work! :)  So, I released that tiny cab out of its setting, and decided to try a traditional bezel setting. There is a star motif on that cab - and I wanted to accent that feature.  So, I made 3 little star beads from my shot plate, and this is how the necklace looks now.

Very organic, which I think matches the nature of the cab itself.

It felt like forever since I made earrings.  So, I mosied on over to one of my favorite component-maker shops - Inviciti - and picked up a few of their charms.  These charms feature one of their newest patina's - slightly antiqued, but also polished to a high shine.  They do like sterling silver - love this look! And, the components are so lightweight - absolutely perfect for earrings.

First up is this simple pair of earrings - made special by adding some antique brass beads with a glorious little design. I just love the :X" in these charms - they look "wrapped", you know?! And, I think silver and gold are a classic combination.

Searching for a bead to add to the other Inviciti Charms, I happened upon these beads that I purchased from polymer clay artist Selena Anne 2012!  The age of my bead stash is shameful! :) But, the intricate flower impression, along with the deep magenta color highlighted with gold drew me to her beads.
Photo by Selena Anne Wells
I thought these lovely, lightweight beads would go perfect with the leaves on these Inviciti charms. I continued the silver and gold theme, as well.

These components made earrings that are lighter than air!

My affinity with the Cross symbol continues in this next pair of earrings. And set CZ's once again!  This time, the earrings are post-style.  This makes for a smaller earring - but you cannot deny the flash from the Swarovski CZ's...and the charms dangle - I love to have movement when I wear earrings.

Last April, I experimented in making hollow beads..from tubing. I made what -- for me -- was the smallest beads I could handle in my hand while forming and filing! The ends were textured and I was quite pleased with how they turned out.


I had no idea what to do with these little beads, so that sat on my bench for nearly 5 months waiting for the right design. 

These charms are perfect, I think, and the touch of gold once again -- to me --  symbolizes a classic combination.

Every single pair of earrings is incredibly lightweight - a feat for me!

I am once again truly grateful for the artists who share their creativity with us!

Thanks so very much for stopping by today - enjoy!


Monday, August 1, 2016

Back to Jewelry!

I have made just a few new pieces of jewelry since my return to reality (getting back into the groove after vacation is so hard)!  I have shown these images on Facebook, but for any of you not on social repeats! :) Though, I do go into more details in describing each piece, here on the blog.

First up is this bracelet.  It features a beautiful Ocean Jasper cab, which I set in a copper "princess" or gallery wire -style bezel on sterling silver.

With each piece of jewelry I make of late, I try to improve on my techniques. For instance, this focal features the two connectors soldered to the side of the bezel - instead of soldering half a jump ring to the bottom of the piece.

It sits flat on the wrist and is just a bit more clean-looking, I think anyway.

I paired it with the most beautiful Citrine tablet-shaped gemstones...I am talking crystal clear with a lemon hue! I also added a second strand of Carnelian to the bracelet. These colors in the beads are reflected in the focal. I hope the new Owner enjoys wearing this - it was fun to make!

A few months ago, I purchased a lot of natural, highly faceted sapphires - hand cut and polished in Africa - from Rosy Revolver!  Her jewelry is incomparable, and so is her choice of stones!  I hand stamped--using just a liner stamp--the outer ring, and set a Champagne-colored, sparkly Cubic Zirconia to the top of the pendant.  I love these two colors together! 

I went back and forth on the type of bail.  I, personally hate it when I am wearing a pendant and it flips on me - HATE THAT!  So, I soldered a piece of sterling tubing (I flared the ends just a tad first) to a tiny piece of pattern wire, to which I then soldered to the pendant. The chain slips through the tubing/bail and it sits flat on the chest....and no flipping!

Not happy with my photos - at all.  I took several outside, inside - my camera reflection appears on almost every photo.  It is what it is.  One of these days, I may the get hang of it!

I made two rings right before I left on vacation and finally got some photographs. The first one features a little (10mm) purple Druzy Quartz.  

I took a sterling concho, cut out the middle "pop out section" and hammered it flat. I then did LOTS of filing to fit the bezel into the center of the concho and soldered it to a silver backplate.  Another round of sawing around the edges, and three little sterling granules soldered for added interest. 

I really like how this one turned out, as well.

The last ring to show is very simple, but features a split ring shank - which I have never done before. A pretty Denim Lapis cab and simple gallery wire.

These split shank rings are VERY comfortable to wear - I must make more!

I am a contributing blogger on the Love My Art Jewelry blog. Today, I posted a video tour of my studio.  I thought I would share the video here as well.  It's a bit shaky as it is my first video and boy, do I need practice!

I am lacking in inspiration today...I think it is the heat wave we are experiencing (as well as most of the Country, I am sure).  I hope my muse returns quickly!  Thank you so much for stopping by today!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Back to Reality

I had every intention to blog sooner than today...but...I had a good excuse! About half of my family and I just returned from vacation - a Caribbean Cruise vacation! Though certainly not jewelry related, I thought I would share a few of memories here today.

I planned this vacation well over a year and a half ago. We sailed aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Sea - man this is a huge ship! This was my 5th (I think) cruise and if you ever want to cruise, I highly recommend Royal Caribbean. It is not just the ship and the immense is the superb customer service. Every single crew member greeted me with a smile and salutation worthy of Royalty (no pun intended). That means a lot to me.

We flew to Miami from Dulles International Airport - just a hop, skip, and a drive from my home in Northern Virginia. However, it was a 6 AM flight out, so we stayed at a hotel near the airport the night before, just in case we hit traffic that is infamous to this area.

Upon arrival on the ship, the first place we stopped was Deck 6 - Central Park. really looks like a park! We were "greeted" by a couple who had just said their marriage vows (there were numerous wedding ceremonies this particular week). It was incredibly hot and I felt so sorry for those ladies in those heavy, ornate dresses.

A view below of "Central Park" from Deck 17. Now, there are birds chirping in this park and it really makes you wonder if they are real. However, there were several "real" butterfly sightings...which mesmerized me once we were out to sea.

Our first stop was Cozumel, Mexico.

It was absolutely stunning.  Ninety-nine percent of the "water pictures" were taken from my balcony. The colors were just beautiful!  My mom was one of the family members accompanying us on this cruise. She and I stayed aboard this port, as it was stifling hot (duh...Caribbean in July!). The family went shopping and my sister gifted me with my Senor Frog t-shirt (thank you Lori)!

The next port-of-call was Falmouth, Jamaica. I had not been to Falmouth before.  Apparently, the past 5 years a gorgeous shopping port-of-call was constructed steps from the ship. Over 32,000 acres of shops. Standard fare (jewelry, trinkets, t-shirts) and after a while, each shop looked the same. However, it was gorgeous...and still Hot!

Jimmy Buffet was here...okay...just his trademark, but still...

In the picture below, taken outside of Margaritaville, my niece Sarah is holding her nephew (my great-nephew) Gavin. This poor guy to her right was in full costume making balloon animals for the kids. It had to be at least 90+ degrees and the humidity was off the charts.

Although it looks like a hotel in this picture, that is a partial shot of our ship, Oasis of the Seas, taken from the Centre Square.

I don't partake of alcoholic drinks much anymore. Well, I cannot say that truthfully after this cruise! Between the Gin and Tonic's and this drink...I certainly had my share! It is called a Bailey's Banana Colada and OMG was it smooth! There is a recipe if you follow the link. On the ship, they only used  Banana Liquor - no "real" banana. I have already stocked up on the ingredients and hope to recreate this memory this weekend! :)  Also - if you do try the recipe, add a swirl of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup to the top...just trust me!

The last port-of-call was Labadee, Haiti. This was our 3rd trip here over the years and I think it only just gets better!  Royal Caribbean "owns" this little piece of heaven. 
The approach to Labadee, Haiti
The landscape and paved trails are so lush! We visited a private beach called Barefoot Beach. I rented a couple of cabanas for the day (there are ceiling fans inside!!!) to protect us...especially Gavin...from the heat. The sand is the softest sand of any beach I have ever visited, and so white and pure!

View inside one of the cabanas - hi Mom!)

View looking out from one of the cabanas

I finally got a picture of the entire ship as we returned (Mom and I only lasted about 2 hours due to the heat - but everyone else took full advantage of the sun!)

Royal Caribbean offered a barbecue cookout at Barefoot Beach.  I tell you there is nothing better than a burger, hot dog, or steak charcoal-grilled!  NOTHING!

About 2 hours prior to departure, the skies turned ominous - very cool to hear thunder when you are on water.

The mountains of Labadee in a storm disappear in the storm clouds

Goodbye Labadee!  Until next time!

We returned to Ft. Lauderdale about 5:30/6:00 am.

Back to reality - flight was delayed on the tarmac for over an hour and a half. Barely any a/c. American Airlines stated the delay was due in part because of a "lack of assignment of grounds crew"...and oh yeah "cargo has not been loaded yet".  Pffft.  However, this was our ONE AND ONLY TRAVEL SNAG in the entire trip.

My view for an hour and a half awaiting takeoff
But once we took view improved. 

Miami from the air
Even Virginia looks good from the air - the following photo was taken about 40 miles from Dulles Airport.

I am closing this post with the best picture of the day! We have the most marvelous pet sitter - really a part of our family for the past 12-14 years or so! She not only stayed at our home and took care of our pup Sarge, but also, my nieces' pups Thor (German Shepherd) and Griffin (White Golden Retriever), my sister's pup Klondike (White Husky), and two "regulars" of hers, Sophie and Watson. I swear she is a Dog Whisperer - not sure I could get 6 dogs to pose like this! :)

L-R:  Watson, Sarge, Klondike, Griffin, Thor, and Sophie
Oh - one more picture! I did buy me, myself, and I a little present in Jamaica - and no, not diamonds! I fell in love with this coffee after my first cruise years ago. It is truly the BEST coffee in the world! Going to savor it for sure!

Great memories were made and I feel so blessed to have spent time with my family in these special places.

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I hope you all have/will enjoy some place special this summer as well!