Stars Aligning…

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I think the stars are aligning for me to finally get this TIG welder. It has taken since spring… I will be traveling to Chicago mid-November to spend a day with Richard Sep learning how to use it. I’m excited to say the least and I have a pile of experimental stuff here to take with me. It’s like buying car for my business so it’s a big investment. I will keep you posted on this adventure. It is really going to be amazing to see metal being joined near and around precious stones with the stones in place…and no heat… The heat is so powerful, intense and localized you can hold the metal with your fingertips while you work ~ I kinda can’t believe it.

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On a business note ~ Thank You ETSY!!!!!!!!!!!!! ETSY came out with a card reader. Why do I care? Why is it any different than using Square? or any other card reader? Well, it’s the same transaction fee (ETSY does not charge their 3% sales fee when you sell in person but a credit card transaction fee is charged of 2.75%, just like everyone else) and every time I sell something in person it is listed in my sold part of my shop and the person can leave feedback, see their receipt, and new shoppers can look up my sold items and see all the things I have sold at art shows that did not before get to be viewed on ETSY. It’s great. I can truly have my ‘Shop’ open to the public face to face and to the internet consumer. Another plus…. all the transactions automatically load into the accounting software that links to ETSY. This software is called OUTRIGHT.com. I highly recommend it. All of your fees, sales, shipping automatically loads and is perfectly kept track off via ETSY or Paypal. In the past when I sold face to face at an art show I had to enter all of that manually into OUTRIGHT.com when I got home. Well, not anymore…tons of tedious data entry done in real time with each transaction. Thank You again ETSY. This has greatly improve the way I work with just a simple thing.

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I have to make a sterling butterfly… I’ve been working on it for a few weeks. I am still not happy with what I have. I am trying to blend these three pics into one interesting bug, hmmmm….. I will keep trying.

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I made this Ocean Jasper about a week ago. Since I made this necklace I have been working on about a dozen or so custom orders. They always all come in at the same time which is Murphy’s Law. I am sure after Christmas I will be sitting here with nothing to do but shovel snow and stoke the fire so I will make hay while the sun is shining.

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Look of strange bewilderment which is what my husband looks like every single time he gets his picture taken. He hates his picture being taken. He usually has his finger in the up position.

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My husband would die if he knew I was putting these pics in here. Well, why am I doing it then? Cuz he’s the best! I have to give him some credit where credit is due. He is cutting a door in this concrete tank that is on our land to make fort for our kids. When your kids ‘fort’ takes a saw like this one in the photo and the use of a backhoe you really have to wonder what will happen next???? Never a dull moment. (My daughter took these pics. Thanks kiddo.)


Last Show…

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Had my last outdoor show in Door Co. over the weekend. It was at Fineline Design Gallery in Ephraim: Townline Art Fair with 40 plus years running now… It’s a beautiful show with about 75-100 artists. This weekend in Door Co. is the busiest of the year with tourism, fall colors at full peak. I went to the show with my daughter and Kate and two other artists: Tammy Rae Wolter and Lissa Flemming. We had a great time. It made the weekend easier as well with tent help, snoring, and Kate our coffee runner….and don’t forget marketing eagle eye. Glad to be done with outdoor shows. It was 32 degrees each morning when we arrived and all of us had on boots, coats and gloves. Tammy even brought a propane heater for her tent. It was pretty sweet. Earrings Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/207157754/calla-lily-earrings-sterling-silver?ref=listing-shop-header-3

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Just randomly tossing pics up of things I made for the show. These earrings I made for a good customer. She actually wants a necklace but I wanted to start small and see if she liked these first before we dive into a huge calla lily necklace.  Earrings Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/207171871/calla-lily-pearl-earrings-sterling?ref=shop_home_active_3

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This labradorite necklace has one of the prettiest labradorites in it I have ever owned. Wow, full stone color flash! I still have it and just posted it on Etsy if you love it! Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/207152182/labradorite-stone-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_9

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Labradorite with more green color flash ~ Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/207164817/labradorite-stone-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_10

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Agate and Garnet Necklace ~ One of a Kind~ Simple Beauty

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/207165817/hills-agate-stone-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_8

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Crazy Lace Agate Riveted Necklace ~ https://www.etsy.com/listing/207167073/crazy-lace-agate-stone-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_7

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Huge Crazy Lace Agate Necklace : https://www.etsy.com/listing/207165106/crazy-lace-agate-stone-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_1

This crazy lace agate is a amazing and my pics of it are terrible. It’s grey not orange/green and it’s huge. I will see if I can take some better pics outside and on a person.

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Rhodolite Garnet Ring with 18K gold accents

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/207155212/rhodolite-garnet-sterling-silver-18k?ref=shop_home_active_7

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Textured Hammered Sterling Band

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/207155612/garnet-sterling-silver-ring-handmade?ref=shop_home_active_6

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Pierced Garnet Ring

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/207155612/garnet-sterling-silver-ring-handmade?ref=shop_home_active_6

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Here we all are on our way out of town. We stopped at my favorite Mexican Restaurant, ‘Hot Tamales’ in Sturgeon Bay. My daughter is taking the pic. Left to right; Lissa, Me, Tammy and Kate.

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This is Friday evening when we just arrived and were setting up. Thanks Door Co. for another great summer, not just for jewelry but for fun, scenery, parks, water, beaches, sunsets, woods and trails. It is a special place.

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Happy Halloween… I make one of these every October. It sold to a tiny little petite lady with two super cute little kids… go figure… she loved it ~ you just never know?

Next show Nov. 30th 9-3pm RedBird Holly Craft Faire in East Depere High School. Inside ~ nice and warm.


Abundance….

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This past weekend I did an art show and there was not very many visitors in attendance…. I was pretty bummed on my way home to have been gone from 5am to 9pm, work hard with little to no reward. I could have been hiking a trail with my kids in the same location instead of manning my art show booth. Well, and then I got to thinking, ‘What a brat!’ I have had a lot of amazingly, surprisingly, unbelievable, successful shows. So, what is this one! that is not!???? They cannot all be stellar. And it was a beautiful day, in a beautiful place… I was with my children and several other really great artists that I actually got to get to know because we all had time on our hands and were free to chat. I got to eat at one of my son and I’s favorite restaurants on the way home, ‘Hot Tamales.’ When I got home I had a stack of orders waiting for me from good customers… So, I put away the loser attitude and chalked up show attendance to a festival in the neighboring town and called it a day. I don’t take a negative attitude too often and I’m not about to start. Then I got to thinking about how blessed I really am ~ great family, lots of great family that would come and get you out of jail no questions asked, great kids, healthy, great hubby, healthy, myself: healthy… I live in a cute, safe, sleepy town and out of my windows and driveway are picture perfect paintings of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. How much more could have have? (Yet, I was whinning.) I have an abundance of love, joy, work, family, friends, dreams and goals. I am so very fortunate….

Here are some people’s emails that made my week to add to my feelings of abundance and that I am truly blessed to work with amazing people and make their vision become something precious that they hold ~ wear ~ and give as a loving gift.

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Tsunami Love Pendant ~Just opened it and I welled up with emotion and almost cried.
It is stunning and beautiful beyond what I can express at the moment!!!
I can not thank you enough for your talent and patience, Joy.
I will forever…Choose Joy!!
Much Love and peace,
Thom

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Custom matching wedding band ~Thank you for creating my perfect (to match my husband’s) engagement ring!  Not sure he shared the story about not having asked me to marry him.  He just, in a matter of fact sort of way in December ’74 said, “I suppose we should get married.”  We got married April 5, 1975 and exchanged simple gold rings.  A couple of years later he gave me a ruby ring (my birthstone) to go with the wedding ring.  Eventually we swapped out the wedding band for a ruby/diamond studded band and finally added a diamond wrap that goes around the ruby.
But, on 9/8/14 he took me for a walk on our favorite country path at dusk, got down on one knee, presented a cute little white box with a black bow and asked me, “If you had it to do all over again, would you marry me?  I’m asking you to marry me.”  I opened the box to find a smaller version of the fantastic ring we bought him this summer.  With tears in my eyes I said, “yes, yes I would.” I’ve been wearing my “engagement” ring ever since.  And it fits perfect!
Thank you.  I love the ring and I love my husband and all he has been for the last 42 years.  Sue~
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Thank you customers. I could not do what I do without you.
Ring shown at the top of the page is another fantastic customer named Jess from Canada. This will be her husbands wedding ring. I have made a custom spinner ring almost weekly for about two years. (Funny because when I made the first one I said, ‘Boy, I am never making one of those again… What a pain.’) I have made them several different ways: probably 8 different ways and I am sure there are more. This is just one way. I am going to try paste solder next time as I have never used that before and I think this might be a good application to try it on. It is an 18K gold spinner with the rest being sterling silver.

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Here’s the materials I used. Everything is 1mm thick/18G. Curved piece is the gold (also 1mm thick) and it’s stamped with a custom saying on it of customers choice. Do any hammering first. You can’t hammer a spinner later. The hammer blows will distort everything. Large wide strip will be the base band- wider the better. You trim the extra off later. Notice that one skinny strip is much longer and one skinny strip is the same as the wide one.

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Measure the band to the appropriate length for the size you prefer. Make one of the skinny bands the same length and solder the skinny band to the wider band (make sure it’s straight and it doesn’t have to be right on the edge) while they are both flat. Use hard solder for every possible step except the very last solder join.

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Make the band that spins (in this case the gold band) 2.75 sizes larger than what the actual ring size is suppose to be. Make the longer skinny band 2 sizes larger than what the actual ring size is suppose to be. Solder all rings together with hard solder.

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Clean all the rings up. File and grind off one end of the ring where the band is soldered on. Check that you don’t have any excess solder anywhere. That is very important so you don’t get the spinner soldered down to the base band of the main ring on accident.

Make sure spinning ring spins freely, for this the bands need to be perfectly round or they will get hung up somewhere. Check the thinner band for a tight, perfect fit. You are just checking things at this point so don’t force it on. You want to be able to remove the gold band.

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Paint any spinning rings with whiteout (sometimes you have multiple spinners). Cover every surface. This will act as a barrier just in case the spinning band wants to solder itself to the main band (like at solder seems).

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Put the last band on the ring and make sure it’s a tight fit. This is where the extra width comes in…Leave a lip of silver hanging out from the wide band. This way you are not trying to get it perfect on a band that is cut to perfect size. You have some space to fit the last band on to the ring and space for solder to flow.

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Soldering this last step is messy because the whiteout is burning off the spinner. Focus your flame on the extra lip of the ring that is hanging over so your solder flows outward not in towards the spinner band. Use a hot flame: get in and get out.

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Make sure the spinner spins…. yippee!!!!!! Spinning freely!!! Saw off the extra lip/edge.

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Saw, Grind, File & Polish

And sent to customer in Canada today :) Happy Wedding Jess….     Link to ring: https://www.etsy.com/listing/205657496/18k-gold-sterling-silver-spinning-band?ref=shop_home_active_1

Moving on…

I have be ramping up for a show in Door Co. Oct 11 &12th. It is the Townline Fine Art Show at the Fineline Gallery in Ephraim WI. It’s busy. I can’t wait! I get to see Lissa Flemming from Silverwaves Jewelry in Bayfield Wisconsin and Tammy Rae, Tammy Rae Glass ~ we are all staying together so I am sure it will be all laughs all the time!!!!!!!! Again hope for good weather. We could freeze in Wisconsin in mid-October.

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Labradorite, sterling and 18K gold necklace

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/205487582/labradorite-stone-sterling-silver-18k?ref=shop_home_active_10

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Barite and Pearl…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/205488630/barite-pearl-sterling-silver-one-of-a?ref=shop_home_active_9

I hope you enjoyed the making of a spinner, and see you in Door County October 11 &12… It’s the busiest weekend of the year up there so if you are driving just for the day, leave early, start at the top of the peninsula and then make your way back. If you start at the bottom of the peninsula with your tourist travels you never get to the top… too much to see, too many festivals, too much traffic. No one is headed the opposite way… clear sailing… Go to the end and then turn around and enjoy meandering your way home.


ETSY Shop Class & Metalsmithing Class Great Success

IMG_2893Great week at Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek Door Co. Two day class, ‘Lauching Your Etsy Shop,’ was a great success. It had in my mind a potential to bomb… I had to rely on technology hooking up to screens and wifi working for every student and students bringing their own computers/ipads: all different with all different programs on them for photos.

Hooray! It was fine. Everyone opened a shop. Everyone edited pics. Everyone made a banner. Everyone worked their way through the site and created listings, shop policy, shipping criteria, etc… It was fun to see every student get a way to sell their work. We all had different artistic backgrounds as well: painter, vintage collector, and jewelry.

Murphy’s Law…. second day of class: ETSY changes the format to about half of the sellers shop pages. ETSY had announced they were going to make some changes months ago and gradually launch the changes…. Ha!!!!!!! Tricks on me :) Half of us had pages that looked very different from the other half…. essentially it was fine. Same content just different look and different icons. I just chucked at the irony that it took place mid-class. This class will be offered again next year. It will be two days from 9-1pm. Not sure on the dates yet. The time (9-1) was perfect because you can only stare at a computer so long.

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Wednesday Thursday Friday: Metalsmithing Class at the same school 

Peninsula School of Art Fish Creek Wisconsin Door County

What a great great great great time :) I now feel have three new good friends. Thank you Joan, Kate and Terri. This is why I teach…. wonderful human connect with these three women. All of us coming from different backgrounds and all of us completely in tune to what we are there to learn: new ways to create with metal. It was one of the best classes I have ever taught. Super energy!

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Kate’s piece without the stone in it…. Hey teacher don’t eat in the studio :) Yes, those are my grapes….

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Ocean Jasper… The back plate of this sterling silver was put through a rolling mill with dried corn husks ~ thanks Joan for bringing them and telling us how great it looks.

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This is Terri… She was in my class last year and was really ready to advance beyond where she felt she was stuck. She wanted to make a birch tree like piece… Well, she did and it was fantastic!

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Her necklace without the stone… it swings on the branch :D Love it Love it Love it. I would buy this from her if she would let me.

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This is a terrible photo but it shows Joans piece…. I wish the pic was better because it was stunning. The rough agate matched these pearls… The pearl components in the chain are double sided so the same cupped square is on the reverse side with a pearl in it. We made these component from scratch and yes, even the pearls have a little tiny post in them. There are five different tiny little soldering jobs to do in one component of that single pearl chain link. (You are awesome Joan and you did it!) When her chain moves around the pearls in the chain are never flipped the wrong way. It’s beautiful all the time. Oh, and Joan hand made every single jump ring in that chain, soldered them all, and hammered them all. By  Friday she was ready to not make any more chains but she knows now that she can…   :)

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Pic off the the far left was just a piece that was just started in the last bit of class time…. we did not want to leave it out.

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A lot of students want to visit my studio. Well, I hate to tell you it’s just not that impressive. This is it. It’s like galley kitchen… narrow with countertop/benches on each side. I have another room with my larger equipment in it in the concrete walled part of our basement (rolling mill, hydraulic press, buffing motor, large anvil ~ this space is even less impressive, downright ugly.) This basement room has windows and it’s where I spend most of my time. But it’s not anything fancy and it’s not what I would call a ‘studio.’ It’s just the space that I have… I try to make it as inspiring as I can with goofy signs… etc…. I would love an inspiring studio separate from my house. I have often joked about this with my husband and tossed the idea around about building some kind of ‘workshop.’ After last winter I cannot image doing that. I cannot imagine heating and shoveling another building. It’s just not realistic in my head…  I would love to have the space to have another person work or students work or clients stop in… but I just don’t think it’s worth the winter time work with maintaining another building. If I had elves it would be doable….

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I have two torching station setups ~ with three torches connected to two propane/oxygen setups. One of them on the bench on the far left will be replaced with my new welder when I finally get it. I have plans to travel to Chicago to a jeweler who is going to spend a day teaching me how to use one. I plan to do that as soon as I can… I haven’t got a date yet. I wish it was today… I’m ready. If you are ready to purchase a torch, my setup is my favorite and I think I have used a lot of different torches and gas sources. I use the Little Smith Torch and the Smith Versa Torch. I have them setup on propane/oxygen tanks with a flashback arrestors and Y-Adaptors. The Little Smith Torch is tiny and very precise especially for gold work. The Versa Torch is my 90% of the time torch but mostly because my jewelry is so big…. That torch melts things fast… heavy ring shank… takes seconds to solder. When I use the schools’ Acetylene without oxygen torches I feel like it takes all day to solder something large, even with the largest tip on the torch. However, it’s just what I am use to. I know a lot of jewelers and they use either or, and seem to love whatever they are use to. It comes down to ‘heat’ … have you got it?? Is your flame hot enough? At home Terri is using a ‘CopperHead Torch’ with propane only. She stated in class there are several things she just cannot do because there is not enough fire power. Same with several hand held torches (butane or propane)… They are cheap and handy but often not versatile enough to do any job.

Terri is taking the picture so she’s not in the photo… Kate, Joan and myself :) at Peninsula School of Art in the Metals Studio working/playing the day away….

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Next show is this Saturday Sept 27th at The Settlements Shops in Fish Creek Door County Wisconsin. It is 10-5 Saturday only… It’s small (only 20 artists) but nice and the Door Peninsula is starting to turn gorgeous with Fall colors.

Huge show after that is October 11th & 12th also in Door County. I will be at the Fine Line Gallery in Ephraim. The show is called ‘Townline Art Fair’ and has been running for almost 50 years. It’s a beautiful show. The Peninsula has several festivals that weekend. It is the busiest weekend of the year for tourism there…. Pumpkin Patch Festival draws 70,000 visitors if it’s good weather. Last year I sold out several items I always have in stock and it’s was raining. I won’t be able to believe the crowd it if it’s good weather…. New post soon with upcoming work. Have a great weekend!


September 11th 2001

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September 11th 2001

~ I will never-never forget that day. My stomach hurts just thinking about it ~ 13 years later.  I was sitting on my living room floor watching Katie, Matt, Al and Ann on the Today Show. I was playing with my infant son on a blanket.  I don’t think I believed what I was seeing on the screen and neither did the news people themselves.  My husband was at the Denver Airport. Called him up, both of us, shocked. He left out of there in his own vehicle, thank God he had driven there to pick up his co-worker and had not been on a plane himself. My brother was downtown Chicago working for a company called ‘7’ in a huge high-rise building – the islamic offices in his building — nice. Myself or his wife could not get a hold of him. He was actually at The McCormick Center at a trade show for work. They evacuated downtown. He said he had never seen such mass exit and it was perfect and civil and amazing. He said the trains just kept coming and hauling people out. I’m tearing up thinking about it. I am not going to post too many pictures. You can look them up yourself. There is an endless stream of them, all striking, shocking, touching, horrible, unbelievable. I encourage you to do that.

Where were you? I am sure you remember.  If you care to comment and post your story of where you were please do.

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This is a photo of the memorial to the people who took down the plane themselves and sacrificed their own lives. Can you imagine?


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Endless waterfall at the 911 memorial ~ 2996 people lost their lives

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Keith and Corrine’s Wedding

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 Had the pleasure of attending a beautiful rustic wedding this weekend. I have known Corrine about 10 years… She had a wedding that was all Wild Prairie Silver style… What a great day! I made her jewelry for her, her husband Keith and her bridesmaids. She has a beautiful diamond engagement ring and I made a white gold comfort fit band to match it. Also Corrine and Keith had sterling bands made with sayings on them. His stating ‘Better Everyday’ on the outside on the inside: ‘Breathe Relax Love.’ Her ring stating Breathe Relax Love on the outside of the band with three little turquoise finishing the wording… Bridesmaids had turquoise earrings and red dresses.

While meeting with Corinne to drop off her jewelry she said that on the morning of her wedding she was going to go and help ‘set up’ at their house. I said, ‘Are you crazy? I’m not doing anything I’ll go and help. You get pretty and worry about your hair and don’t worry about setting up. Well, there was plenty of help, fantastic family and friends of both Keith and Corinne~ and it was a perfect day.

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These are pics of the setting up when we first got there. I had KT come since she is a marketing graduate and now getting her Events Coordinator certificate as well. I thought she might like to see the set up and help with flowers. Corrine grew her own flower supply… It was great to have fresh cut flowers right at your beck and call….

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Getting there… almost ready…. Corrine has a wonderful circle of family and friends all pitching in to get it done.

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It’s hard to see in this photo but the arbor has a ‘Z’ on the top for their new last name. The couple said their vows here in front of these doors.

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What the heck???? These are friends of the groom… They are just practicing with a branding iron that has the couples’ name and wedding date on it. When the couple was done saying their vows they branded a piece of finished wood to hang in their home. This board was just one practice run….

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I thought this was super cute because the cows came to the wedding too. They were curious ~ What’s all the fuss about?’

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Congrats to you both. A perfect day and met several wonderful people. A day to remember for many for years to come.


Happy Summer….

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Happy Summer Everyone… It’s coming to an end here in Wisconsin and I can’t even say it was hot yet. Photo above is in Wyoming ~ last summers road trip. Doesn’t it look wonderful. It’s almost fake looking and the photo is completely unedited.

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This is a customer’s painting. They have asked me to make a pendant from this drawing. Hee Hee Funtimes!!!!!!!! I will keep you posted on the progress as the design for it is ready to go and has customer approval. It should be really fun to make. Heart falling from the wave is going to be a garnet gemstone. Painting is titled: Tsunami Love

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And this is what you do when you are 13 after football practice…. Do you remember?????? I can barely remember summertime when I was 12 and 13 years old…. no job yet, great friends, old enough to be left to some of your own resources, no worries. My best friends were Amy and Shannon. We had a few summers that the three of us were inseparable. Great times, truly.

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A stormy Labor Day weekend… this is the Bay of Green Bay almost to the tip of Door Co. (which is the top of the thumb of the mitten in Wisconsin.) It’s beautiful year around and I really find myself fortunate to live so close I can enjoy it anytime I want to. This was on a hike in Peninsula State Park.

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My daughter…same hike… she’s looking more and more like me everyday. What a great kid.

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Labor Day Cookout: These pies are made by one of my sister in laws, Aunt Diane. They tasted even better…. really, awesome. I couldn’t bake to save my life. She brings pie at a moments notice. I don’t know how she does it? It would take me the entire weekend to make a pie.

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This is a terrible picture but these are two little gemstones that I had cut for me for a custom order. Thanks to Jewelry Point in New York… they had these to me in a few days. They are 5mm stones: Amethyst and Aquamarine… they are checker board faceted on both sides. I will set these in a setting that just holds them around the middle in 14k gold. They are for a ‘mother’s necklace’ so a few links will separate them and then a 14k gold chain, 16 inches for the rest of the necklace. Julie, the mom, can add more stones in the future if she has more children and from the sounds of it that could be a good possibility.

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Thanks for the great summer Wisconsin. We are heading into my favorite time of year… Fall. Sweaters ~ blue jeans ~ boots ~ warm sunsets ~ cool nights ~ enjoying the harvest ~  leaves changing ~ calm before the storm ~ winter can’t be as bad as last year, not possible, right?

(I will take a picture of the above trees when they are in full fall color, gorgeous… )


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