Category Archives: Christian

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 ūüôā 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

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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

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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 ‚ÄėSell Your Work‚Äô ~ 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


Race‚Ķ. Show This Weekend

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Hey there everyone… ran a half marathon over the weekend with my 13 year old son and it was a beautiful day. I was suppose to run the full  marathon but I was just not ready. I had a leg injury during training and even though my leg is better I was just not confident enough to run the whole thing. I have run 7 other marathons so it was not a huge disappointment and by mile 12 I knew I had made the right decision because my leg would not have held up. My sister in law, Jenny, ran the full marathon, her first one… She did amazingly well and looked like it was a walk in the park right after she finished. Good Job Jen!!!!!!!!!! It was a miserable winter to train so she really deserves a standing ovation.

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This is part of the Green Bay Marathon Course‚Ķ Lambeau Field, Home of the Green Bay Packers Football Team. We are in the stands waiting for Jenny to run by. This is the end of the marathon course and it’s pretty thinned out by this time, not a lot of runners bunched up. Spectators were only allowed in one end zone to cheer and take pics. That is why the stadium appears empty but it’s really not.

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This is a crazy man wishing for someone to trip him while he runs…. He is carrying a Chicago Bears flag through the stadium while he finishes the race. He really is taking his life in his own hands here. Everyone boo-ed the entire time… pretty funny.

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Ring made from 1815 Sterling Knife… The way it curves around your finger is just perfect. I love it. No soldering and the ring will fit almost anyone as it is just curved in a circle with my Pepe Tools ring bender.

Heading to Sturgeon Bay Door County Wisconsin this Saturday and Sunday for the Sturgeon Bay Fine Art Show. It is in Sunset Park right on the Bay of Green Bay. It is a beautiful setting, very kicked back atmosphere and one of my favorite shows of the entire year: 10-5 Sat and 10-4 Sunday Stop in and say Hello.

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What the heck is this? Well, I am sitting in the back of our pickup truck with a pile of steel pipes. My husband made some new soccer goals for our County’s new soccer park: Ryan Park, Kewaunee County. We are hauling them over to the park so they can be installed. The goals are huge. Never realized how huge until I saw these pipes hanging out the back of our truck. This is our driveway and it is finally starting to green up around here after our coldest winter on record.

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Oh so soft Porcelain Jasper Stone‚Ķ I will be wearing this all weekend I think. The chain is really a work in itself. I handmade every single link and soldered it together. Took forever but it’s good mind numbing work.

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Just a little surprise that I will have more pics of later. This is going to be a sculpture for the city of Egg Harbor. It is finished and I am taking there today and installing it. This was just the beginning of it. The ‘see through’ base is perforated stainless steel like the stuff they use in the drain for the soda machine at a gas station‚Ķ That part will be lined with moss and planted with plants‚Ķ More pics to come later as it put in place in Egg Harbor.

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This is my new photography booth from B&H photography. I absolutely love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, it really helps take amazing pictures. I have never been disappointed with anything B&H has sent me. They are very helpful and they always include a DVD on how to’s etc‚Ķ.. Makes something that is difficult for me much easier‚Ķ.

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Ok, I’m off to deliver this Egg Sculpture‚Ķ I will send pics later. Hopefully see you in Sturgeon Bay over Memorial Day Weekend‚Ķ.


Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter! And to celebrate spring here is a Ocean Blue Chrysocolla‚Ķ I have several of these stones brought back from Tucson from a friend of mine. They have been life savers for my eyes from a long dreary winter. I was tired of looking at Earth tone stones. I’m tired in general of grey, wintery, no color landscape I live in and had to breathe a breath of fresh air into things‚Ķ These stones did the trick.

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Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/186669276/chrysocolla-stone-green-amethyst?ref=listing-shop-header-1

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This is a spinner ring sent off now to Montana. I have never made such an elaborate spinner… The band is patterned, stamped with a saying, the edges rolled over and three textured spinning bands on the main band. These rings are fun to make and wear. The first time I made a spinner ring I said I was never making another one. That was about 5 years ago and I have made so many now…. I lost count. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/186636584/sterling-spinner-ring-oxidized-band?ref=listing-shop-header-2

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Another delightfully spring colored Chrysocolla… Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/186673586/chrysocolla-stone-green-amethyst?

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Dripping In Gemstones Bracelet…. This is delicious to just to touch…Sapphires, Emeralds, Rubies, Aquamarine, Turquoise, Citrine, Labradorite, Iolite, Moonstone, Garnet, Peridot…. Sterling Silver

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/186671882/gemstone-three-strand-bracelet-sterling

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Opposite of the Gemstone bracelet.. This bracelet keeps the color to a minimum but it is all shine! Labradorite Bracelet: https://www.etsy.com/listing/186674844/labradorite-three-strand-bracelet

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Custom Order 18K Gold and Sterling Ring sent off to Japan this morning! Wish I could have oxidized it but my customer did not want it that way. I will make another one and oxidize that one and the gold will just be amazing looking again the antiqued silver.

Had a busy week wrapping up custom work. I have not had the typical slow time after Christmas which is a first‚Ķ I won’t hold my breath though. I will just thank God and keep working. Happy Easter everyone. It is a favorite Holiday of mine so I hope you enjoy. I still have a few snow banks here and will be happy to see them melt. The first day the sun is out I will probably enjoy a good sunburn.

Last Picture‚Ķ My daughter was sick of my mannequin being‚Ķ well she is not really naked, but ‘undressed.’ So she fashioned some clothes out of shop rags for the mannequin and pinned them on. It’s pretty stylish with a wrap that goes to the floor, nice job Savannah.

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Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!

Below are pics of custom orders I made though out this season…. Above is a blue spinel, diamond, ruby 18K Gold Ring/Sterling Custom Order

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Roman Glass Ring 14K Gold from clients own melted down jewelry…..

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This piece is Roman Glass as well… 15 diamonds, opal, and garnet from clients own jewelry… I could not have made this piece without my diamond setting class. I would never have tackled it. Set all the stones with out any problems or headaches… thanks again Gerry Lewy.

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Sentimental Choker (necklace top) sent to me via a CustomMade website customer. CustomMade.com is a really neat arts website for custom orders on almost anything. Check it out if you have never heard of it. This customer wanted this necklace re-created in sterling silver. It meant a lot to her and she became allergic to it. The clasp was her own… which I did not have from her.

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This is the necklace completed… handmade chain. Center piece was 10G sterling if you can imagine that! Very heavy.

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Birthstone necklace pretty simple‚ĶThe A and E charms though were the customers own white gold engagement ring‚Ķ the first one he bought his wife. It was sitting in her jewelry box as he upgraded her setting 7 years ago. Well I cut it in half, melted it down and made these two white gold charms from his wifes original engagement ring setting: initials of their children’s names. Hope she loves it. The birthstone pendant is husbands own design. What a thoughtful guy!

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‘Get Sagged Trying,’ Surgical Hardware Necklace‚Ķ this is not done yet‚Ķ I have to get it to it’s owner for a race on Jan 4th‚Ķ She obviously had troubles in her last race but is ready to run again wearing this as a reminder. Surgical hardware is fun to work with as it is ‘unwreckable’ I swear! It doesn’t do anything in a torch flame at all. Nothing hurts it. I am assuming it is titanium but I am not sure.

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Well, here’s to next year! Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.


Thanks To You

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Amazing Labradorite Stone‚Ķ. Sticks and Stones Necklace with hand made ‘sticks’ for a chain.

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Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/171013635/labradorite-sticks-and-stone-sterling?

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Heavy Thick Rings…. Hammered, Carved and Chiseled…

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Saturday Depere Holly Craft Faire at the Depere East High School from 9-3. See you there.

Happy Thanksgiving. Off to walk the Turkey Trot for charity and get a pie at the end!

I hope we are all thankful for all we have. I sure am. The list is endless.

~ Eat lots ~


Teaching A Class and Taking A Class… New News….

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Just a new spin on this ring… been playing with several stones and configurations. I made a multiple stone one as well with several different gemstones on it. Fun and colorful!

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/161744052/turquoise-flaming-heart-ring-sterling

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I’m teaching a class Sept 19, 20, 21st in Door Co. Wisconsin at Peninsula School of Art. The class is almost full. If you want to join us here is the info. It should be a great time. I have some returning students and we are making a different project than the photo. If you have some experience you are usually free to go your own way. Can’t wait!

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I’m taking a class Nov 1, 2, 3 in Green Bay Wisconsin at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. The class is with Gerry Lewy a Master Diamond Setter from Toronto Canada. It is on diamond setting, of course. He just recently made the world’s most expensive poker chip. Wow! Diamond encrusted, amazing. If you can take this class please send me your email and I will get you the information. The class number is not available yet but it will be soon. The class will cost approximately $500 which includes a kit of tools and supplies that cost $285. It’s worth traveling to take the class. There is no home Green Bay Packers Game that weekend so getting a hotel room should be easy and reasonably priced. Again let me know if you are interested: email: joy@joykruse.com

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Not yet done… working on this men’s custom order hinged bracelet. It’s massive and heavy. He is going to love it. It’s not finished but almost.

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This is pencil lead. It was tip to me from another metalsmith. It does not burn and holds small parts like tubing in place for soldering. Thanks metalsmith person of unknown origin – can’t remember who taught me that!

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On a personal note decided to run the Fox Cities Half Marathon. Don’t cry for me. I am use to this. It’s my favorite distance and run it often, 13.1 miles, is like heaven for me. I have run 7 full marathons. On the 6th one I said, ‘Never again.’ I ran another one with a good friend and had a blast. Now, hmmm…. should I run an 8th one??? What do you think??? It would be in May sometime around the 20th. I love running in the winter so I am giving this serious consideration. A marathon though is something that is a great undertaking. It is not the race itself. It’s the training. You have to put in the time, the miles, like stacking bales of hay in the barn. In summer you stack the mow full then in winter you hope you have enough, taking them out one by one when you need them. Every mile is a bale of hay. On race day you start throwing them down out of the haymow ~ Are you going to have enough? Are you going to run short? Or do you have plenty left over? There is no faking it.

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Professional grade garden: Garden Envy! It’s my neighbors garden and she has it just perfect this year. Wow! Amazing job and she is an amazing cook besides.

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Huge Cross with heavy chain links. Made the links completely by hand even pouring the ingot, rolling and drawing the wire. One of my favorite processes!

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/161744536/sterling-hammered-cross-bracelet-heavy

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Last but not least I have been try to make more post earrings. It has been a frequent request. These are 10mm Freshwater Pearls, sterling silver, hinged post earrings. The swirl with the pearl swings back and forth. Nice movement, Classic style but a little different.

Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/161756333/pearl-hinged-post-earrings-sterling-wild

Last but not least Art Show in Fish Creek Door County September 28th 10-5. It’s only one day at the Settlement Shops right before you head into Fish Creek. Stop and say Hi if you can. It is a beautiful time of year to be in Door County. The best time of year as the fall colors will be changing then. Hope to see you soon at class or at a show!


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