Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My European Touch on Handmade Artists Shops

Monika (Drake) owns and operates a fantastic shop that primarily features her repurposed mosaic artistry.  So, I decided to feature some other things that she does well.  First is a quill and ink drawing of the gate house at a manor in Schleswig Holstein, Germany.  Monika did this drawing way back in the '70s when she lived in Germany.  I was drawn to this picture, then when I read the description, I was reminded that part of my family came from that area.  My grandfather Detlefsen's family came from Denmark and Germany across Schleswig Holstein.  Such a small world.  That was my mother's side of my ancestry.  The Rasmussen family came to the USA from Copenhagen, Denmark.  

Next, I was drawn to here only journal in the shop.  This has a pattern named Scarborough Fair, which is
from England.  My grandmother's (Detlefsen nee Atwell) family is from the Devon area in southwest England.  So I found items to remind me of my ancestry from England also.  So much to enjoy, visit My European Touch and look at all of Monika's work.  And while there, feel free to enjoy the work of the other artisans who display their work on Handmade Artists.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tom's Crafts -- Handmade Artists' Shop

For our blog ring this time, each blogger is selecting an artist/crafter from Handmade Artists Shops whose work intrigues us.  I found Tom's Crafts when I saw a cow mailbox offered.  Our home mailbox is similar, but is a pink pig.  I can't tell you much about Tom, his profile only states that he is passionate about woodworking, and he was born of September 20th.  Here is the cow mailbox:

I was a volunteer firefighter for seventeen years before entering Emergency Medical Services as my career.  So while browsing through Tom's shop, I really liked this fire engine:

Lastly, since we lit our Shabbos candles for the sabbeth last evening, I was intrigued by the very well designed Menorah (for Hannukah).  I am thinking about purchasing this for our celebration this year.  We have a small porcelin Menorah, and I really like this one:

These three items only illustrate the very wide variety of pieces that Tom has made and is offering in his shop on Handmade Artists -- Tom's Crafts.  Just click on the hyperlink to see all the wonderful pieces in his shop.  While visiting Tom's shop, please also feel free to visit the other great shops you will find in Handmade Artists.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Reef Botanicals, A Great Shop

Reef Botanicals -- We are a husband and wife team, Eric and Larissa, who discovered our mutual love for making things from scratch. Between us, we cook, bake, brew, craft, paint, photograph... and that doesn't take into account our other hobbies! We've got one dog, three cats, and four fish. Reef Botanicals was named after our 4th cat, Reef, a feisty, loyal sweetheart who is remembered fondly. 

This description is copied from their profile at their shop.  From personal interaction, I know that Larissa is well educated and has multiple abilities.  I have chosen three items from their shop to show here, but you absolutely need to visit the shop to see all that is available.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Handmade Artists Shops

Handmade Artists Shops is an extension of the original Handmade Artists Forum which was founded (and owned) by Andrew and Kimberly Kitchen of New Jersey.  The Kitchen's had a dream of showcasing all forms of hand made crafts and the artists that create them.  The shops are available to craftspersons/artists who work with their hands and produce unique items.  The large variety of shops and their wares are shown at 

Andrew and Kimberly have their own shops and are active in promoting all the artists and each of the shops.  Andrew works primarily in chain mail.  His shop is titled Chain Maille by MBOI.  Follow the hyperlink to see these and other works that he has produced:

Kimberly (shown second here, but not necessarily so) also runs a website devoted to promoting all hand made creations.  It is titled "It's Better Handmade."  On the Handmade Artists Shops, Kimberly is known as: Makin the Best of It.  The IBH website is not limited to only Handmade Artists Shops, it features any artist on any venue.  Likewise the Handmade Artists Forum is not limited to members of the Shops.  Follow the link to Kimberly's shop to see these and many other wonderful creations:

I would like to personally thank the Kitchens for all that they do.  And for having a venue that I have found to be honest and ethical, so they have my conficence and my shop.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Our grandson, Colton, has spent this weekend with us.  We enjoy his visits very much.  He sits here at the bench and plays with my desktop computer, and looks at the tools and gemstones.  He actually helps me with some tasks when I am working at the bench making jewelry.  He constantly expresses the desire to learn how to do it.  This weekend, he wanted to learn how to cut stones (put that off to next visit as the lapidary machine is under a pile), and then he asked about the anvil.  He told me it was heavy, then asked how to use it.  So I told him about shaping metal with a hammer.  He wanted to try, so I gave him a copper link for a future necklace, that needs some forming.  He proceeded to work with hammer and anvil to flatten the round link.

If you can't tell from the picture, he is five years old.  Never stifle the desires and ambitions of the young.  By letting him hit a piece of copper, he may just become one of his generations great designers or engineers.  We as artists, jewelers, artisans, lapidaries, etc. must pass on our skills to the young.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Precious Beryl

The title Precious Beryl refers to all colors of beryl that are not emerald or aquamarine (previous blogs). Beryl is a high temperature and high pressure metamorphic mineral. The colors in precious beryl are caused by different impurities included in the chemical makeup of the crystal. All forms of precious beryl have the same basic properties:
Color: yellow, gold, yellow-green, pink, red and colorless
Streak Color: white (usually only rough is tested for streak)
Moh's hardness: 7 1/2 to 8
Cleavage: indistinct
Fracture: conchoidal (like the bulls eye in glass when shot by a BB)
Refractive Index: 1.562 - 1.602
These forms are:
Illustration 1: Bixbite/Red Beryl
Bixbite (Red Beryl): probably the rarest gemstone, found in a rasberry red color, the mineral is Bixbite, the gemstone is usually called Red Beryl. Some gemologists include red beryl as being a sub-group of Morganite.
Bixbite photo Bixbite.jpg
Golden Beryl: color varies from lemon to golden yellow; Heliodore is frequently included as a subgroup. Inclusions are rare.
Golden Beryl photo GoldenBeryl.jpg
Goshenite: named after a type locality in Goshen, MA (USA); this is the "white" / colorless variety of beryl. Goshenite can be used as a diamond simulant.
Goshenite photo Goshenite.jpg
Morganite: also called pink beryl, this stone was named after financier J.P. Morgan.
Morganite photo Morganite-1.jpg
Because of the large variety of color, precious beryl can be confused with other colored stones (all gemstones other than diamond are called colored stones). Some greenish beryls can be heated and will change in color to blue (aquamarine).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Slight Change in Direction

After the sale at the Easley Farmer's Market, I remembered that several folk said that they would have purchased one of our necklaces, if we had matching earrings.  Later, I discussed this with Debora, and we decided that this would be a wonderful idea. 

So I removed all the necklaces from the online shop.  Then Debora took each necklace and with her trays of beads matched up the necklace with a set of beads that could be used to make earrings for the necklace.  As she did this she put each necklace and the beads (gem chips) into a quart baggie.  
Then I took the stack of baggies (somewhere around 80) into the shop.  I started fashioning earrings for each necklace.  I had ordered headpins and French ear wires from Rio Grande (ordered arrived in two days from when I called them) as part of selling my silver scrap to them.  Of course, about twenty of our stock of necklaces could not be mated with ear rings.

Now I have the task of taking pictures of each set, and then putting them up in our shop (  This process is time consuming, but in the end we will have a complete group of necklace/earring sets available.  To complete this process, every time in the future that Debora designs a bead necklace, she will also do the ear rings at that time.  I will have to extend this idea to my
  lapidary and silver smithing.  When I cut stones or make a pendant, I will have to make matching earrings also.

This little diversion from out previous creative path will, I hope, make out customers happier.