Setting Up Today

See you in Green Bay this weekend at Shopko Hall across from Lambeau Field: Sat 10-5 and Sunday 10-5

I will get to see Katie and Deb who will be helping me out… Thanks Ladies!!!!

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Rare and Gorgeous Casas Grande Agate.. These stones are a small fortune. I only have one left. Just amazing lavender color…. Hand made sterling chain, so heavy it’s a piece of beauty all by itself.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/225073673/sterling-casas-grade-agate-stone?ref=shop_home_active_6

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Eleanor wearing Casas Grande… It looks so nice on her and she is tiny… a very petite woman size 4.

IMG_2800Jasper Citrine Earrings… Crazy Style… sorry folks already sold… didn’t last five minutes online. I love these! Super fun to make so I will make some similar but not the same with all my little Jasper pairs….

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Grandmothers Keys… Solid Sterling Silver just finished several of each style.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/224867436/sterling-silver-skeleton-keys-hand-made?ref=shop_home_active_9

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Pin Drusy Cobaltocalcite

https://www.etsy.com/listing/216136930/pink-drusy-cobaltocalcite-stone-sterling?ref=shop_home_active_13

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Ocean Jasper, Agate, Turquoise, and Lapis Earrings

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Azurite…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/216137416/azurite-specimen-stone-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_4

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5mm Gem Post Earrings: Pearl, Garnet and London Blue Topaz


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Jasper and Garnet Earrings ~ Less Crazy ~ Still Beautiful

https://www.etsy.com/listing/224043025/sterling-silver-jasper-and-garnet?ref=shop_home_active_14

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Going now to hook up my little trailer and work like a pack mule. See you soon I hope and wish me luck if you can’t make it to the show.


Lots Going On… Not Sure I Can Even Cover It All…

It’s been a very busy winter so far which is great and always unexpected after Christmas. I have a lot news to share and it’s all over the place on the spectrum of news…. First off my job as a nurse is ending. The doctor I have worked for years is retiring. I am sad to see it end. I will miss him and his other nurse that I job share with. It’s been a great time, a great education and great work. I cannot thank them both enough for their friendship. We have one week left. I could still work as a nurse in the future but for now I will not be taking another position where I currently work. It is a tough thing for me to think about but I can always go back to it if I miss too much. Wish I could keep doing what I am doing now but that is not going to happen.

Ok, lets talk jewelry because I’ve been busy. Below is a necklace I made today. This was a challenge from another friend and metalsmith… to make a piece of jewelry from something you love… something non-jewelry, and incorporate it into the piece. Well, what could I love more than my daughter? This necklace is settings of her teeth and hair… Yeah, a bit creepy but it works and I love it. Her name is stamped on the back of the pendant.

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Got one of my crosses featured on a blog from a 5th Avenue Jeweler! Wow! Thanks! Check out this link. I had no idea who they were until they sent me a quick email letting me know and it’s pretty cool. So, thanks!!!!! This is the link ~ just scroll down past Lennie Kravitz a couple images and you will see my cross: http://karuschains.com/blogs/news/18707751-from-gold-chains-for-men-to-rosary-necklaces-and-everything-in-between-karus-chains-2015-ultimate-guide-to-men-s-neck-jewelry#crosses

Another huge thank you to Halstead Beads. They ordered one of my Sapphire bracelets and are going to have a pic of it in one of their new catalogs and I will be a featured artist. Thanks Halstead!!!! When the catalog comes out I will post some pics.

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This skull I have been working on for about 10 months. It’s solid sterling silver. It’s new addition and I can’t wait to show it off at my next art show…. which is in a couple of weeks. I have always loved skulls and now I can use this one as my leisure as it’s mine and solid sterling silver. I have made a ring and a necklace. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/222016369/sterling-silver-skull-ring-handmade-wild?ref=shop_home_active_1

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Replace white gold prong on a ring and never removed any of the stones… Go Puk welder Go! I have not had a day yet that I was working in my studio and did not use my welder. It’s been an amazing part of work and repair.

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Made this necklace this week. Gorgeous agate and citrine… completely hand made chain. The stone was so odd… I cannot believe what a pretty piece it made from being such an odd thing… It is really, really pretty and feminine. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/222897255/sterling-agate-stone-citrine-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_6

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This is a crazy lace agate necklace I recently made as well. The chain style I have never made before. It fits perfectly around the neck. I was not sure it would and I love it. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/222019043/sterling-silver-necklace-fairburn-hills?ref=shop_home_active_18

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More images… all from this month. Above Ocean Jasper Bracelet that is completely riveted together, no solder. The clasp is laying in the palm of my hand and simply hooks to the loop. Link:https://www.etsy.com/listing/222333313/ocean-jasper-sterling-silver-bracelet?ref=shop_home_active_14

Other pics are of ‘Purple Heart’necklace, a custom order… and a necklace I made that is booth pendant and brooch…

The bridge: I often take pics of that bridge as it is basically in my backyard. It’s a pretty spot during all times of the year. (Maybe not today because it’s 12 below zero.)

The people, well, that is myself and Joan North ~ Hi Joan!!!! We are discussing something in during class at Peninsula School of Art. The catalog is out so take a peek. For my metalsmithing classes it’s best if you can take them consecutively. They should have been listed consecutively and they were not. So if you are just coming on Friday it will be a little tougher to catch up to speed but we will manage. It’s a great place to learn so take any classes there you can.

Couple weeks to Artigras show in Green Bay… March 7 & 8th at Shopko Hall next to Lambeau Field. It will be nice to do a show. It’s a get out of hibernation show… and maybe I will get to see KT :) Still miss ya Kate. I have even more to share but I don’t have confirmed news on it yet..so it has to wait. Roni I hope you have shoveled out your house… East coast is getting the winter we had last year. I feel for ya! It looks awful. I will keep posting new things being made for the show. Check out new pics daily on instagram. #wildprairiesilver


Making Jump Rings….

Making jump rings…. Why???? Number of reason ~ you just need one. It’s pretty lame to wait for the mail for just one jump ring. Next reason… You make an awesome focal pendant and you add an $10 cord or machine made chain? Ugh! I can’t even stand the thought of it. It happens, but sometimes you just need that handmade look to finish it off just right.

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Cut about 3 feet of whatever gauge you want to use. If you want flat jump rings run a piece of wire through a rolling mill or use rectangular or square wire that you can purchase.

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If you have flat/square wire: coil it like this or it will turn on its side and get all wonky… especially square wire, it turns on its side easily.

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Round wire: does not matter just hold with your fingers.

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Cut the coils off the mandrel. You can use almost anything round for a mandrel ~ like a pencil. I use Pepe brand jump ringer and there are several brands out there to choose from. These coils are 14g and 16g sterling silver.

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This is a saw blade. It fits in a safety housing. I hate the thing because it’s dangerous, it’s expensive to replace, it has to be loaded correctly or it breaks. I’ve had students smoke several of them up in one day at $12 a piece. If you use it properly it’s fine. I’ve had the same three blades for a few years. That being said I don’t use this. Don’t use it… There’s an easier, cheaper way.

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You need need this thing. It holds the coil perfectly. It keeps the cut perfect. What’s it called? I don’t know… I’ll call it a Gizmo…

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Anneal you coils before you cut them… That makes for nice pliable rings without tension in them. It’s much easier now, than when you have a hundred separate rings. Pickle them as well.

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Use this… Cut off wheels available at Home Depot. Put a coil in the Gizmo. Oil oil oil :) or the blade will break and so would the dangerous metal blade. You’ll know if you forget this step… Smoke and breaking blades. I use mineral oil available at your grocery store in the laxative section..(nice, huh?)

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Tighten Gizmo lid… Firm not too loose and not squashing the coil. Cut coil with fast flexshaft motor speed and slow steady hand speed.

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Open up Gizmo: All nice and perfect… Wash with dawn dish soap and hot water rubbing in your hands.

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Now, go make some awesome chain…..

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See you you all soon at Artigras in Green Bay Wisconsin. It’s the first weekend in March and gets us all out of hibernation. Winter has been good to us this year though…. I hope my friend Roni in New Jersey is ok and not snowed in. Being snowed in isn’t all bad though….. Once in awhile. Hope you’re ok Roni!!!!

New Instagram pics, fun app…. #wildprairiesilver


Merry Christmas!

drusy cobalt necklace

Drusy Cobaltocalcite Necklace

Amazing Pink!

drusy necklace sterling silver

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/216136930/pink-drusy-cobaltocalcite-stone-sterling?ref=shop_home_active_4

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Azurite and Aquamarine Necklace

One of the most interesting stones I have ever made into a necklace. It is like a miniature landscape of a mountain and a valley.

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Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/216137416/azurite-specimen-stone-sterling-silver?ref=listing-shop-header-2DSC_0072

Velvet Malachite…

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Link:https://www.etsy.com/listing/216142103/azurite-malachite-drusy-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_2

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Last minute shopping on the go… Good friend and customer wanted a gift so I brought the store to him on the tailgate of our truck in the parking lot of the mall. Honestly, I have done this a lot. I live in ‘Nowheresville’ so I have often brought the store to the customer especially this time of year. I gift wrapped it and everything for him. No different the mall, right? Talk about low overhead. (Well, I guess pickup trucks are not the cheap these days.)

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Cookie Fest 2014

Every year we decorate cookies with the Aunties… The guys don’t really decorate much they just eat and goof off. Notice the ‘mice’ they were really easy and fun to make. Chocolate covered cherry with the stem as the the tail, white striped Herseys kiss face, almond slice ears, on an oreo cookie. If you google Chocolate Cherry Mice the recipe comes right up…. very simple. I am not really a fan of dessert, lucky thing, I would rather eat a steak or drink a cold beer than waste the calorie on a cookie.

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Clay Mathews Christmas Cookie made by Gabrielle ~ for all of you Green Bay Packers Fans ~ The frosting on this one will put anyone over the edge… Blood sugar 1500….

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My son Wyatt having a good time with some goofy antlers of his Aunts on his head.

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This is Aunt Jenny and Aunt Margo, cousin Gabrielle, the awesome neighbor kid Autumn and Savannah my daughter making, making, making….cookies and a mess.

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This is the only way my husband lets his picture be taken. This is an exact replica of my husband Bill. (Ok, he doesn’t wear shirts like that… his shirts are mostly black and have a Harley Davidson something on them ~ and we forgot the boots.)

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C-Fest 2014 (cookie fest) painted on the snowbank while the guys play football, dog plays too. After the cookies are made we head to the Rockin K Ranch in Greenleaf, Wisconsin. This ranch gives sleigh rides (or wagon rides if there is not enough snow) and drops you off in the woods at a bonfire ~every family has their own bonfire in the woods, privately. They pick you up whenever you say so ~ hour or two. We bring popcorn, hot chocolate and some family trivia the kids make up. It’s really fun and a nice way to spend the evening together being festive and getting in the spirit. The Rockin K Ranch does it right. Thanks for another fun night at your farm. If you have little kids or a company party it’s a really fun time doing something simple and little old fashion.

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Terrible pic… sorry it’s all I have…

off we go out to the woods on our horse ride… That is my brother in law standing next to me with his thumb up.

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope you have a peaceful Christmas with friends and family and are happily looking forward to 2015.

Finalized piece from my last post…  The trillion cut stones I could have never set without Gerry Lewy’s stone setting class. Thanks Gerry. I am sure Gerry, sitting up in Toronto Canada, has no idea I use his teachings almost daily. He will be teaching at Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek Door Co. next summer. If you can possibly take the class ~ take it… It’s amazing. Now I need to learn bright setting and engraving from him. If only I could live longer. http://www.peninsulaschoolofart.com

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18K Gold, Sterling, Vista Jasper, London Blue Topaz, Tourmaline….

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/215635351/18k-gold-sterling-silver-stone-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_3


One Week To Go….

gift wrapped jewelry

One week to go before it gets too late to be shipping anything for Christmas… (If I don’t make any sense, sorry. I am a little tired. I will rest in a week.) I have been shipping all over the world and it gets a little scary because someone’s gift usually arrives 8 weeks late…. really, that has happened (but only one time and it was far far away.) As soon as we decided to give up on it ~ it arrived. Christmas time is so busy my shop looks like a war zone. I have an extra table set up just for each project and it’s current stage… with lots and lots of notes. I usually make people write me some kinda note with all of their info on it and that somehow gives me a visual of them and what they want.

This ring was one of the Christmas projects. It was a 5mm diamond ring that was a customers great grandmothers. I used the 18k gold from the ring and diamond to create this ring…. I did not have a single piece of scrap left from the original ring…it’s all in here. I melted the gold down, milled it out and cut out the sun shape. The rest of the gold is the stars… Ring band and moon are sterling silver. Sterling band is oxidized. This is probably the prettiest ring I have ever made and it went to a great lady.

DSC_0002 DSC_0012 DSC_0008 18k gold diamond sun moon stars ring

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This is just beginning… no done yet and probably won’t get done in time for Christmas but maybe?

18k gold pendant

This stone is a favorite of mine. It is Vista Jasper. It has really pretty light blue, green and burnt orange colors all watercolored together. Accent stones are trillion cut london blue topaz and tourmaline. 18K Gold and Sterling Silver. With the exception of wedding rings this will probably be most expensive piece in materials I have ever made.

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What the heck is this? A black tourmaline trapped in a crystal… It’s great. I have another similar stone shown in the next picture but it is just not as refined as this stone. You cannot go surfing in this necklace though…it’s a needs a careful owner. Maggie ~ I know you are out there  and No, You Cannot Go Surfing In Your Jewelry.. I will find you at the beach and repair your jewelry for you.

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Another captured crystal necklace. I put an amethyst setting on top of it with the PUK welder… all stones in place. It’s amazing to be doing that from my stand point.

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Kyanite Necklaces… Made for Stocking Stuffers….a great little gift… Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/214949951/kyanite-stone-necklace-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_6

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Last but not least a Rhodocrosite Ring… I did not list this on Etsy yet but will in a bit. It has a hammered adjustable band able to fit size 7-10

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Thank you to everyone for your continued business. I really appreciate it and love it. I will post a Merry Christmas post, but for now, off to bed. Gotta rest up.

If you would like to visit my online shop please visit: https://www.etsy.com/shop/joykruse?ref=listing-shop-header-item-count


Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!! I am grateful for so many things that my list could go on and on…… I will start here: thank you ArtBeet for helping me get this machine!!!!!! It’s amazing!

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I have attached some pics of my new PUK welder. I traveled to Chicago to get some training on it and here it is set up in my humble little workshop. It makes some very difficult tasks very easy. In the first few moments of use we have realized what a great tool this will be!!! We welded a pile of jump rings in  a few minutes with no solder, no flux, no pickle, no solder seam. We hammered the jump rings… no visible sign of the join at all, amazing. Tomorrow (yes, on Thanksgiving) I am going to try some antique repairs. That is what started my interest in this unit in the first place.

I will have to have my Artist Guild, ‘ArtBeet’, over for a trial and error on the unit ~ show and tell. Because of them it was possible for me to get the machine. I could not have done it without them. I hope to show this machine to other artists and have them see first hand what it can do and open their eyes to the possibilities of how they can create with it.

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This is a picture of the view through the microscope. I took this with my phone…. go iPhone… great pic.

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This is my dragonfly I have been making for years. Why I never made it like this I can’t say? I love it this way best and it never crossed my mind to do this? An old friend in a new form… love it. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/212894427/sterling-silver-dragonfly-necklace-wild?ref=shop_home_active_2

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Rhodocrosite Necklace also new today….Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/212892239/rhodocrosite-stone-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_6

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Feather Cuff Bracelet… new today… It wraps perfectly around half of your wrist and looks beautiful. Link:https://www.etsy.com/listing/212887728/sterling-silver-feather-bracelet-wild?ref=shop_home_active_4

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These are all photos from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. We were tourists a few days after I picked up my welder. These amazing creatures, jellyfish, wild looking little fellows… again photos taken with my iPhone ~ I can’t believe the quality in the photos from a phone. If you have never visited the museums in Chicago they are worth the trip. I could spend an entire weekend at the Field Museum.

Last Show This Saturday 9-3 at East Depere High School ~ 500 Swan Rd

See you there? Happy Thanksgiving everyone and I hope you stay home tomorrow instead of going shopping. Tell those stores they can wait a day.

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Last Show, Custom Work and Artist Meeting

It has been a flurry around here and can’t believe I haven’t posted in such a long time… seems like yesterday I was warming myself in the sun and now it’s snowing out. I still am little gun-shy from last winter. I can still feel it’s scorn. I have PTSD from last winter and I don’t think I am alone in saying that. It was bad. Actually, the worst winter ever recorded in several different ways. My friend Maggie calls it ‘The White Death’ and I am beginning to think the same.

My last show will be Nov 29th in Depere Wisconsin at the East Depere High School ~Holly RedBird Craft Faire. It is the Saturday after Black Friday from 9-3pm. Come early, there is a line to get in and it’s swamped with people the entire time. It is a craft show and there is a lot of Christmas items and homemade goodies… yes, homemade candy, yum… I made this little rack card just for the event. It is a picture of the front and back side and covers all my custom initials, crosses and angels wings that I have made and sold for many years. The initials~ I tried to stop making one year and got a lot complaints so I made more based on the complaining ~ sorry about that!

I have never had a marketing thing like this before and I hope it helps bring it all together? We will see? I made it on Vista Print in about 10 minutes if you are an artist and wondering? Picture is of two cards lying side by side, front and back.

Custom Keepsake Jewelry by Wild Prairie Silver Jewelry Co.

Custom Keepsake Jewelry by Wild Prairie Silver Jewelry Co.

I have been very busy with custom work and that is a good thing. I know a lot of artists that do not do custom work. I feel bad for them as they are really missing an opportunity to connect with a lifelong customer. They are also missing a huge part of a niche income and it is often a great challenge to make things you did not think up, but someone else did. I really enjoy it. It is a large part of my business. This year has not slowed down for me from Christmas time last year. I usually have a lull from Jan-March. I had to make adjustments in work load, scheduling and priorities. I have a helper consistently one day a week and sometimes two days. (I could use her everyday but I can’t afford it, shucks.) Also on the subject of custom ordered work… I am an artist but I also consider myself a jeweler. A jeweler makes things for other people and provides a service. I provide a service and I want a relationship that is lifelong with my customer. An artist can do whatever they want. They don’t have to provide a service. They can make what they want to please themselves. They can sell it, or not and for whatever price they want, or not…. It is two very different things. Blending them together makes a career a little more obtainable. Not all artist want this because it forces them work outside of their art. If you can make it as just an artist and earn a full-time living (a living where you can afford health insurance, a car, braces, new roof on your house) God Bless you and I love you and I wish I could do that. I don’t know many that can.s I really enjoy serving people and making them happy by providing a service doing what I love. That is not for everyone, however. It must be the nurse in me…pleasing people is part of my nature. (I wonder if my husband thinks that??? – Ha!)

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These are 18k white and yellow gold rings I made for a couple’s wedding… Wedding is this coming weekend. I am wishing them the best. They have been together 22 years…. The rings are a surprise as they were not going to get rings but one of them had these made in secret. The interior of the ring is stamped with a custom saying. These rings are made from 2mm thick white gold. I think they could tow a car. I could not have made them without a ring bending vise as the white gold is so tough to bend. You can hit it with a hammer (a big hammer) and nothing happens, super strong.

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Labradorite Cuff… Custom order from Australia.. This is something I would have never made without the customer asking me to make it, so, thanks customer, it was a great project with a beautiful turn out.

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This is a tool that a friend gave me to try this year. It is a foredom hammer hand piece. It connects to your flex shaft. The tip of the tool hammers up and down like a mini jack hammer. It has saved my hands and wrists from fatigue as it sets stones without me using any force. I did not think I would like it and I love it. There are two brands of these hammer hand pieces, foredom and bedacco (spelling?)… the bedacco hammer is a lot more expensive but you can adjust the strength of the hammer, so it might be a better option? Like I said, mine was a gift and I really love it and it is a foredom brand available at any jewelry tool seller.

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Made this today… Jasper Stone and Rose Cut Garnet. link:https://www.etsy.com/listing/210985526/sterling-silver-jasper-garnet-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_1

Also working on a Captured Glass Bead Necklace…. another custom piece.

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Beads will be captured within the links of the chain so they can spin freely… Don’t try this with just any glass bead. These are borosilicate glass which is pyrex glass. They will take the heat ~ and a lot of it, but don’t point your flame directly on the glass, and allow them to cool slowly. Soft glass will break immediately near the flame. All my boro glass comes from http://www.glassbytammyrae.etsy.com

Sideways Sterling Cross

Sideways Cross another custom order from a very good customer. I have made these tiny and huge. This is tastefully a medium size and I like it best. Link to sideways cross: https://www.etsy.com/listing/210551211/sterling-silver-sideways-cross-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_5

See you in Depere… the last Saturday of November for last show…. And wish me luck as I head to Chicago next week for my welder. I am going for one day and leaving at 4am and probably returning at midnight (4 hour drive.) My husband will be holding down the fort with the kids. I will share as much of that experience as I can with you. I can’t wait to see it join sterling, gold, stainless steel next to plastic and or paper and weld a prong on, right next to a stone… I don’t think I believe it. I have to see it.

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This cross is my most popular item. It’s strong, simple and understated. It looks great on men, women and children. The chain is new and improved, super heavy. I am glad I found it because it looks so nice with it. I cut the chain to your specified length and add a large, easy to use, swivel lobster claw clasp. I never purchase chains already made. I always make them to the customers desired length. https://www.etsy.com/listing/174470340/sterling-hammered-cross-pendant-handmade?ref=shop_home_active_24

Extra Event: November 25th 530-730PM ~ I will be doing a presentation in Green Bay at NWTC Artisan Center about artists selling their wares…. A gallery owner will also be there for group discussion. I will be focusing on online sales and art shows.

~Mosaic Arts, has partnered with the NWTC Artisan and Business Center along with the ARTgarge in a series of monthly meetings for artist of all levels and disciplines. Artisan Exchanges features an educational presentation each month and provides an opportunity to network with other creative people. Our November 25th meeting topic is ‘Sell Your Work’ ~ Nov 25th 530-730 informal panel discussion. NWTC Art Center: http://www.nwtc.edu/academics/ProgTeamSites/ArtsAtNWTC/Pages/AbouttheArtisanCenter.aspx~

~ Be Well & Stay warm ~ Hope To See You Soon


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