Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections From 2011

My father passed on the 6th of January. Leaving me in charge of well, everything. I was rudely thrust into the world of being a responsible, bill paying home and business owner. Not to mention Personal Representative for probate. Which I still am working on
It has been an extremely busy, hectic and sometimes stressful year learning how to juggle my time and money. I have my paper carrier job that is paying the bills and allows me the days to run the family business and my jewelry business. The downside is long days and sometimes what seems like never enough sleep!

I went from having all the time in the world to well, little or none. This job and lifestyle doesn't allow much time for friends and family outside of the shop. Thanks to all my good plurk friends and my real life BFF's and my aunty I'm managing.

In hindsight I've managed to keep my head above the proverbial waters and I haven't done too bad. I like to think 2011 was about learning what I can do. I've learned I CAN make it on my own and support myself and my son. This is something I never thought I could do. I've also learned what I can't do and what I can improve on.

I've also found myself terribly lonely at times. Running da shop by myself is hard and I am grateful that Mike (my ex) has been here to help. Honestly running a small business like this is a job for two people not one. There are times one needs to get OUT and then there are things like appointments (or illness) that are almost impossible to schedule on Mondays all the time.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Winds Of Change Are Blowing, Part Two

I have struggled with the words to describe my "new" jewelry style. So instead I put together this slideshow for your enjoyment. I had originally chosen a different theme, but I liked this one better. The winter scene and the quote make me think of clean slates and new beginnings. And in a sense new beginnings is what I am doing with my jewelry and my store. This is the kind of jewelry I will be making from now on and what I will be keeping in my Willow Walker Designs store on Artfire. After viewing this slideshow I have to admit I even impressed myself. I look at it and still can hardly believe such beautiful and amazing work came from my little ole' hands!

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After watching this slideshow you may be asking yourself why am I still calling this a "new" style? I started finding my style in late August of 2010. Unfortunately most of 2011 was spent dealing with life altering changes after the loss of my father. Probate, inheriting the family stained glass business and all sorts of little day to day tasks took up most of my time.
That and learning how to juggle all these demands on me and my time.

Just for fun what would you call this style? Romantic, elegant, tribal? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Winds Of Change Are Blowing, art One

The Winds Of Change are officially here and blowing out the old as they blow in the new.

I have started moving items to my Glass Goddess shop on Artfire. I am moving out old stuff that I feel doesn't represent the style or quality of jewelry I desire to have in my Willow Walker Designs shop nor does it reflect what I am doing now. This mainly consists of pendants and some matching earrings. These are all older pieces and styles that I am tired of looking at and packing around to shows. I will be selling them as handmade supplies. The pendants and earrings will be listed separately. I will be leaving them at the current prices. I have dropped the prices on these items down to the cost of the materials and I have to have that back. I can kill my labor costs, but not the cost of the materials.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

I just wanted to take a quick moment and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas to all my wonderful friends and fans! So


Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Wire Woven Bead Cap!

Finished this bead cap last night right before I went to sleep. Can I just say that I LOVE it? It is a very well written tutorial with excellent pictures. I had no trouble at all understanding and following the instructions. I already have a pair of earrings in mind where I'll use these lovely bead caps on a pair of yummy pearl drops! Now I just have to decide on the metal color for them. I'm thinking of doing them in 14K gold filled wire to go with a gorgeous pair of gold vermeil headpins.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Tutorials To Learn New Skills With!

I have several new tutorials I am excited to try out! One is Iza Malczyk's Wire Woven Bead Cap Tutorial. My fingers are literally itching to give this one a whirl. First I have to go to the bead store and get some wire to learn this with!

The other is Mary Tucker's Twining With Wire Lesson Tutorial. I've been wanting to apply basketry techniques to my wire wrapping skills for a while. This tutorial should give me a great foundation to get started. I took a basketry workshop 18 years ago and enjoyed myself. (Wowsa, it's really been that long ago?)

These tutorials are the first techniques I'm adding to my repertoire of wire wrapping skills! Also going to learn to solder silver wire into frames, practice headpin making....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Online/Jewelry Design Changes Two

Probably the other biggest change is to how I view my work and myself. I've been calling myself an "artist" for a while and I'm not as comfortable with it as I once was. I think the term "craftsman" is more appropriate, both in my stained glass and my jewelry.

I have touted my jewelry as glass first and wire second. I have decided that my jewelry is about the wire first then the glass and the gems. "Wire, dichroic glass and gems"

I look forward to exploring and learning more wire wrapping, weaving, twining, braiding, coiling, etc; in 2012. The more I learn the more I can do. I forsee a lot more wirework in base metals like copper and bronze.

The picture above is a pair of earrings I made quite a while ago playing with gemstone clusters. This is another idea I look forward to playing more with!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Harvest" Round Stained Glass Panel & Online Shop Plan One

Finished this lovely piece just over a week ago. I never really used to be into fall colors. Then one of my best friend's mentioned her favorite color is orange...Since then I have found myself drawn to a lot more orange. I chose the dark amber jewel in the center and built my colors around it. Unable to find a fifth color that I liked I hit upon the unlikely use of pink-and it worked perfectly!

You've heard me talk about some things I want to do with my on-line jewelry stores. One of the first, biggest and most important change I have planned is the removal of ALL the pieces that I feel do not suit the design style I have settled upon. These are different dichroic techniques and styles I have tried my hand at in my dichroic journey and have decided are not what I want to do. I will be removing the current post earrings, all etched design pieces and the simple wire wrapped bail pendants and all the other pieces that don't suit. These will be moved over to my Glass Goddess shop and sold as supplies until they are gone.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Red Earrings & Ideas For 2012

Here is a pair of my new earring design done in reds and golds.

I have been working on ideas for next year. Where I plan to go with my jewelry, how to improve my blogging and such.

I need to get back on the regular blogging bandwagon and make it a habit again. I am thinking of doing four weekly features. I can research a different gem for one week, two different jewelry design challenges would fill another two weeks and I'm thinking a stained glass challenge for the fourth week. I can show the design sketches, creation along with the finished project.

I have definitely decided to concentrate on making the intricate wire wrapped jewelry designs that I so love doing. I want to challenge myself and setting myself weekly theme challenges would really help with that. I'm thinking one for every month of the year and still debating the other. I was thinking of a "name" challenge, but am not sure.

I miss writing a short sci-fi-fantasy story for my jewelry using my alter ego Willow and am thinking about doing that again. We'll see.

I need to sit back and evaluate how things went at the end of each month. Figure out what is working and what is not.

And I really need to get serious about doing some fancier, higher end shows with my jewelry. I think my stuff is to fancy for a lot of the shows I have been doing. I seem to end up at the window shopping ones anymore courtesy of this lovely economy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Earring Design

I have a new earring design made! I made this pair in rich deep blues with blue crystal dangles! I also think these would look nice without dangles too.

I am debating whether or not to list these new designs now or after the holidays. If you are interested please don't hesitate to let me know!

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Necklace, Sneak Peek!

Here is my newest piece, "Harvest Moon".
I've taken an older piece and reset it. It is wire wrapped in 14K gold filled wire with Hessonite Garnet briolettes. Suspended from a 14k gold filled chain connected with Hessonite links.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Wired Roots, The Beginning

I've often pondered my addiction to glass and wire and jewelry. Understanding the glass and the jewelry part is easy. I was raised in a "stained glass" household and I've always been a girly-girl when it comes to jewelry which my Grandma Lola encouraged. But as for the wire.....

I had a flash of insight the other day as I was working on some stained glass butterflies. As I was soldering on the finishing details-hooks and antennae and my mind wandered back to my childhood watching my father do the same.

I realized my father was probably the first one to interest and teach me with the things one can do with wire. Some of my earliest memories of "wireworking" was how my dad used wire to create fun faces on stained glass suncatchers. He taught me how to make "jump rings" ie wire loops for eyeballs and hooks. Bending wire to make fun smiles on our funny faced critters among other things. He made antennae for butterflies and other bugs. His glass glob, lead came and wire work bugs were cute and fun! He used wire in a wonderfully creative manner to give our stained glass suncatchers life and personality.

So now I don't think it's at all strange that I am so addicted to wire and what one can do with it!

Thank You Dad for these early wirework lessons.

A Thankful Thanksgiving

This year I am thankful for many things. My family, my friends, my companion animals. I am thankful for the roof over my head, warm food to fill my belly and a job to pay for all of it.

I am thankful that I have managed to overcome the many challenges and obstacles that I have faced this past year. May I continue to succeed and get better at all my "new" responsibilities.

I am thankful for the knowledge that makes me a master craftsman, er woman in stained glass. I had forgotten how much I love the colors of stained glass and am enjoying making pretties for the shop.

I am thankful for my clever fingers and my passion for jewelry making. It gives me an amazing sense of satisfaction to finish a piece of jewelry and find it exceeds my imagination.

Monday, November 14, 2011


It's that time again! I'm having a Huge Christmas Sale! I've slashed prices all over.

My post earrings are now $6 a pair, reduced from $10

All $25 dollar earrings are now only $15!

My wire woven bail pendants are now $25 each, reduced from $35 to $54!

My adjustable wire wrapped rings are now $25 reduced from $30-$35!

Necklaces have been reduced! $36 ones are now $25. $64-$69 are now only $35.

Clearance items are now $8-$10 reduced from $10-$15!

All my fancy, high end jewelry has been reduced by $20 or more!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gift For The Holidays-Hunger

I was talking with my aunt yesterday and learned something that I find very, very disturbing. My aunt volunteers for St. Vincent De Paul's. They put together food boxes for the hungry. They do this year round and do the holiday food boxes also. Anyone who has been hungry may know a bit about how these places work. You sign up/register and are eligible to receive ONE food box a month. What you get depends upon what is available.

These places are funded in part by our federal government and private donations. Since Obama has been president the federal funding to these places has been reduced significantly. First the funding was cut by thirty percent. Then it was cut another fifty percent. And they are replacing canned fruits and veggies with fresh. Noble idea but most fresh produce doesn't last a month! As for the private funding many donations have also been reduced or stopped. I know for a fact that my aunt regularly buys cases of foodstuffs to take in to be put into these food boxes.

The amount of foodstuffs that they are able to provide in these boxes has been drastically reduced. What once was enough to feed a family for over a full week is now only enough for a couple of days.

Normally St. Vincent De Paul's where she volunteers makes up between 350 to 400 holiday food boxes. These ones have the goodies to cook a holiday meal. A frozen turkey, cranberry jelly/sauce, canned pumpkin for pie and stuff like that. This year they will only be able to make up 35-40 holiday gift baskets. I find the fact that they will only be able to do 10% off what they normally do very sad, disturbing and extremely frightening.

I guess our government has come up with a way to end joblessness and homelessness-starve these people to death...and on that sarcastic note....

I ask that all of us who do have enough food remember and think of our nation's hungry. Please, please donate to your local food banks! I know I'm buying at least one holiday dinner deal per holiday to give away to someone in need. One of my local stores always has a holiday meal special with all the basics for a very reasonable price.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New! Two Holed Handmade Dichroic Glass Beads Beads

I've added another category to my Artfire Supply shop, The Glass Goddess-Two Holed Dichroic Beads! So far I have only have single bead quantities listed. I will be adding some sets also. Two, three and four bead sets.

I made these several years ago. They started as a request. I had fun with it for a while, but they quickly became a very boring and tedious chore. They required a LOT of grinding and shaping. If I ever get that trim saw that's on my wish list or I am able to put a trim saw blade on my tile saw I think they might be easier to make.

So at this time they are a unique, one of kind, kiln worked bead.

Of course the Grand Opening sale is still going on. Remember to use the coupon code "25%OFFGRANDOPENING" to get the sale prices.

On another note Pearl of the "Beading Gem's Journal" is having another Modahaus Photography Studio give-away! Today is your last chance to win! It sure looks like a neat system.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I'm announcing a GRAND OPENING SALE in my supply shop, The Glass Goddess! Now from Oct, 21 thru Nov 4. 25% off your purchases! Just use the coupon code "25% OFF GRAND OPENING" when you check out!

High quuality fused dichroic glass cabochons, yummy gemstone briolettes and even some agate cabochons!

I will continue to add new items to the store.

So please enjoy my pretties, leave some comments and I really, really hope you'll like what you see!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

About My Supply Store, The Glass Goddess, Part 2

The reasoning behind my supply store,
The Glass Goddess is twofold, well OK threefold.

Reason Two-Stocking gemstone briolettes stems from my frustrations trying to find what I wanted. Seemed like whatever color, size, shape or stone I desired was only available in a full strand. I usually only needed a pair. I couldn't afford more than that nor did I need more...At that time my funds were rather meager. I think part of the problem is that I'm always looking for colors that will stand up against the dichroic glass I want to use them with.

So I have spent the past year and a half purchasing a few strands here and there. I have finally been able to get them broke down into pairs, a few singles and some four and six piece quantities. And now I am getting them photographed and listed!

I am pleased to be able to list gemstone briolettes in small quantities for those who need only a small quantity of stones and may not have the funds for larger quantities. I look forward to more varieties, shapes, sizes and colors!

Did I mention I love gemstones? I also seem to have an eye for the fanciest, highest quality strands! At a bead & Gem show or store I always head straight to the best of the best!

About My Supply Store, The Glass Goddess, Reason #1

The reasoning behind my supply store, The Glass Goddess is twofold, well okay it's threefold.

Here is reason number one-

I've had a lot of people ask me if I sell my dichroic glass cabochons or tell me I that I should.

I have to admit that I have a hard time putting my dichroic cabochons up for sale. I find that when I'm making them I am already creating jewelry with them in my mind! Those that I have definite plans for I put aside for my use. The rest I'm putting up for sale in my supply shop. If I decide I want to use a listed cab I can always drop the listing and use it. Also I have enough cabs to keep me busy for quite a while at the rate I'm (not) using them.

All of my cabochons are made using compatible fusing glass in a digitally controlled kiln. Quite a bit of work goes into the making of these and they are fired a minimum of two times.

I prefer clean, precise shapes in my cabochons. I think growing up in rockhound country has influenced my ideas of what a cabochon should be. Smooth, clean, polished shapes, rounded on the edges.

My cabochons start with me fusing dichroic sheet glass with either a base glass or top it with a clear glass "cap". I call these fused glass pieces "slabs".

I take these slabs and draw the desired cabochon shapes onto the slab. I take my time pondering and agonizing over the best, most efficient use of the glass slab in front of me.

I rough cut the shapes out of the glass slab using a Taurus III ring saw. As these are rough I use a grinder to clean up the shapes. If I think the cabochon is to thick I will use a flat beveling grinder to thin these cabochons. I do this more for earring cabs that pendant cabs to reduce the weight. I also grind a bit of a bevel on the edges to help round them out nicely during the fire polishing cycle. Once I've finished shaping them I switch to a channeling bit on the grinder. It grinds channel or groove that can be used for wire wrapping the cab. After all of this I prep the cabs for another cycle in the kiln. I treat the ground edges with a devitrification solution to ensure a shiny, polished finish. When the solution is dry into the kiln they go for a final fire polishing. When they come out I check them for quality. If I'm not happy another round of grinding, flat grinding and channeling will ensue.

Gorgeous New Chalcedony Briolettes Listed!

I just received these gorgeous new briolettes in the mail. The consistency of their color, shapes, faceting and translucency is amazing!

Hot Pink Chalcedony Faceted Pear Briolettes 10mm x 6mm

AND these rare colored orange beauties!

Fanta Orange Chalcedony Faceted Heart Briolettes 10mm x 8mm

Please check out all my other yummy offerings in my supply store, The Glass Goddess

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More New Goodies

Here's some more new listings and this isn't all of them either!

Here's a link to see all the new finished jewelry in my Artfire store, Willow Walker Designs.

And for all the new dichroic fused glass cabochon listings in my supply store on Artfire, TheGlassGoddess.

I am trying to list several items a day in each store and I am also trying to blog more often. I look forward to blogging daily again.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Goodies Are Listed!

I have been busy getting goodies listed into my supply shop, The Glass Goddess on Artfire. It's starting to look good-like an actual store. I've listed a dozen of my dichroic glass cabochons and about a half dozen gemstone briolette bead pairs!

I have also been getting some more pendants listed in my WillowWalker Designs store on Artfire and have started stocking up my Etsy WWD store also.
I liked how I set up the jewelry categories on Etsy so well that I decided to switch them on my Artfire store. This should make your shopping experience easier and simpler. Everything is now listed by jewelry type, ie. "Bracelets", "Earrings", "Pendants" etc;

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stained Glass Lamp Panels

A picture of the lamp I made six panels for this past week. Here it has two installed. I love how well the colors go together. He chose well!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shades Of Blue For The Fingers

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Clearance Sale 25% to 50%

I did a bit of fall cleaning in my Artfire studio yesterday. I moved and eliminated several categories. The majority went into a new category, Fall Clearance 25%-50% OFF.

This little dichroic glass pendant with a 22K gold decal of a nautilus shell is only one of the items now in the new fall clearance category.

I moved all the Art Deco Collection, the Modern Bold Collection and the Images Collection into the Fall Clearance category. The fancier Etched pieces are now in a category called Dichroic Designs.

I'm trying to clean out my studio as I want the pieces in it to reflect my new, intricately wire wrapped style of jewelry. As I stated in an earlier post I'm only making the intricate wire wrapped pieces from now on.