Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jewelry classes, The holidays and another newspaper article...

With it being so close to the holidays there is so much going on that I have not had time to post very much this month. To catch up all that has been missed I figured I'd put it all in one post so here goes....

The last session of jewelry classes for this year ended on Dec 16th which means I finally have time to get to all of my holiday shopping and party planning before I go back to teaching again in January. 2 of my students, Susan and Kate, finished their projects just in time for the holidays. Susan made herself a beach glass pendant from beach glass she found at the Jersey shore. It is her very first project and her very first piece of hand crafted jewelry made in my class so she (and I) am very proud. Kate made 4 matching bracelets for 4 of her closest friends. This was only Kate's second project that she designed on her own and it wasn't an easy one. Each bracelet came out great and I hope her friends appreciate the time and effort she put into each one.

We also put up our dreaded monster tree multiple times in one week. We get a live tree every year which smells awesome but always turns into a major event. It looks great and is finally standing only because we had to tie it to 2 walls. We broke 2 tree stands trying to put it up and it has already fallen over once right after we decorated it...if it happens again we are just going to leave it on the floor, call it a Christmas bush and put our presents around it! Merry Christmas!

Also, I found out today that there is another article in the Courier Post newspaper featuring an interview with me, an image of my rings and a mention about my classes and my "ladies night out" events. You can see the full article here .
I probably won't get a chance to post much else this week with all the out of town visitors and parties so Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Succulent wife's favorite things..

I made the Shopping Mall Free Holiday Gift Guide on TheSucculentWife.com! To see the list click here. Anne Marie talks about my jewelry and has posted an image of my custom name charms....Now I am off to finish getting ready for the Holiday Show at the Markiem Art Center in Haddonfield, NJ that is tomorrow from noon to 8pm. It is one of the stops on the Holiday House tours which is a big hit in Haddonfield so there should be a good turn out. Now back to work!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A lot of things have happened since my last post...

Thanksgiving came and went. This year for the first time we had Thanksgiving at my house. Originally it wasn't planned that way. We were supposed to eat at Tim's dad house but the Sunday before Thanksgiving they had a house fire and due to the damage to their house they could not entertain there. I offered up my kitchen to them and everything worked out fine. Just the fact that they made it out of the house unhurt and were here to celebrate (and cook for us all) was plenty to be thankful for.

A few days later was the Annual Holiday Artist Trunk Show was held at my house. In all there were 10 artists participating and the place looked great. I took some pics of everyone set up and before the place got too crowded. You can see them below.

Every year the artists hold a free raffle for the shoppers. Each artist donates an item to the raffle and at the end of the show the winners are chosen. This year's winners are:

Linda Norris- bracelet by Peg Jacobskind
Nicki Albertson- stained glass star ornement by Judy Gangemi
Mike Sweeney- mosaic Christmas tree dish by Abbe Gold
Eleanor Witkowski- fused glass hair tie by Ilan Yampolsky
Jo Penza- Package of handmade Christmas Cards by Lydia Land
Jenny Zayschly- mixed media trinket box by Jennifer Mishura
Debby Schwartz- set of 3 magnets by Lisa Kelly
Diane Dressler- 3 handmade soaps by Heather Famine
Deb Celhar- pair of earrings by Michele Grady

Congrats to all of this year's raffle winners and thank you for helping to make this a successful event for the 7th year in a row!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

10 Days To Go, Kate's Bracelet & Christmas Lights?

Well my 7th Annual Holiday Trunk Show is now 10 days away and nothing seems to be getting accomplished in terms of my readiness. This event is held on the Sunday after Thanksgiving every year in my home, which has to be totally rearranged furniture wise to make room for all of the great handcrafted items and their wonderful creators. Needless to say, there is way more stuff in my house than there should be right now. So instead of me trying to figure out what to do with it all I am getting myself and my jewelry ready to take a trip to Pheonixville, PA tonight for a 3 hour Holiday event! I am hoping this will be worth the trip there because I have never done this event before. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

On another note....I wanted to post some pictures of one of my students very first pieces of jewelry. Kate is relatively new to jewelry class (this is only her second session) and she finally finished her very first project which was a malachite and sterling silver bracelet. Kate made the settings, set the stones and then attached the whole thing together. It turned out beautifully and she did a great job! I took these pictures the day she finished her bracelet and I told her I would post them here but then I totally slacked off. I have had these images in my camera for over 2 weeks now! Sorry, Kate!

Kate's bracelet

Kate modeling her very first creation (and hey, that's one of my necklaces too)

And finally ( I just had to add this in).... since when does Christmas come right after Halloween? Why are people putting up Christmas lights on their houses right after they take down the Halloween decorations? And why are the radio stations playing Holiday music all day long in November? Doesn't anyone celebrate Thanksgiving anymore!?!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Handcrafted Women of the Web

Today womenpreneures.info posted their "Handcrafted Women of the Web" winter 2008 edition on their website today. And it just so happens that I am one of the women listed in their guide! The guide is a listing of all handcrafted shops that you can find on the web. The shops sell everything from clothing, jewelry, candles, bath and body, gourmet foods, children items, pet items and other misc handcrafted things! Handcrafted Women of the Web is a great reference if you are looking for any kind of handcrafted items whether it be gifts for the upcoming holidays or custom items you can't find anywhere else. Check it out if you get a chance and support these women owned businesses. You might find something new and different that might just make the perfect holiday gift for someone on your list or even yourself!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SheFinds.com is Featuring My Necklace!

I just found out the other day that SheFinds.com is now featuring my new Custom Name Charms in their "Custom Made Buyers Guide" which is up on their website now! This is the same necklace that I made for sister for her birthday in June. (I only added it to my website and wrote about it on my blog a month ago.) You can wear one or many on the same chain and they can be customized with names, words, stones, etc and they make great gifts for the holidays!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Jewelry Making Workshops

Sabina's "girls night out" was such a hit with all the women that participated that I thought others might enjoy it too. That's how I came up with the new "Memories of Summer" workshop that I added to my 2009 workshop schedule. Not only can sea glass, river rocks or sea shells be used for this project, but any found object from a summer vacation can be turned into a piece of jewelry!

samples of sea glass jewelry that can be made in the new workshop

I also added a few new PMC workshops. PMC (or Precious Metal Clay) is a clay like material made of silver particles, water and a binder that holds everything together. It works like clay until it is fired in a kiln. After firing, it then is worked like metal. During the firing process the binder burns away and you are left with a piece of fine silver. I have had a few requests for different kinds of PMC workshops so I am adding a PMC Rings and PMC Beads workshop to the schedule.

Some rings made from PMC

Hollow beads made from PMC

The other thing I thought would be fun is to teach a workshop that would be perfect for people who like to work with metal but might be a little intimidated by using a torch. This is how I came up with a cold connections workshop. Cold connections is a term used to describe any way of connecting metal without the use of fire. Rivets, nuts & bolts, jump rings, etc are all examples of cold connections. My small reversible heart necklace is a piece that I made and attached together using cold connections. It's also a way to add more detail and decoration to a piece. My friend (and previous student) Holly Priester from Blue Fish Moon Studio uses cold connections for a lot of her work. Below is one of her "Peace Key" necklaces. Check out her website to see more of her work. It's really great!

Peace Key necklace by Holly Priester of Blue Fish Moon Studio

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Annual Holiday Trunk Show

The post cards are finally finished and now they are off to the printer! I am working on organizing my annual holiday trunk show that I hold every November. This is the 7th year I am having the event and it gets better and better every time! This year we have 10 artists exhibiting and there will be fine art & fine crafts galore! So if you are on my mailing list, mark your calendars and keep an eye out in the mail and/or email for your invitation! If you are not on the mailing list and would like to be, contact me and I'll add you to the list!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Beaded Wire Cuff Workshop

I taught another workshop yesterday and this time it was in my teaching studio space at Creative Genius Art Gallery in Medford, NJ. It was a small group of women, one whom was celebrating her 78th birthday by coming to the workshop with her daughter who signed her up as a gift. What a great idea for a gift!

They each created 2 cuff bracelets out of brass, copper and semi precious beads. Each bracelet came out great and everyone had a fun time as well!

We run this workshop at least once every month or so and if you are interested in making these great bracelets you can check out the next workshop date here!

PS.... the workshop photos were taken by Julie Basello-Holt

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Ladies Night Out" Workshop at Sabina's

Last night I taught another "Ladies Night Out" workshop. This time it was at Sabina's house in Medford Lakes. Her and her family have collected LOTS of beach glass over the years and she wanted to learn how to wire wrap it and turn it into jewelry. After contacting me and working out the details she invited 12 of her friends over for a jewelry making party. She served food and wine and all the women sat around her dining room table and worked on their pieces while enjoying Sabina's hospitality. I showed the women, none of whom had ever made jewelry before, how to make wire wrapped pendants, earrings and rings. They all did a great job! Some made Holiday gifts while others made pieces for themselves. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves (including me) and all went home with new jewelry and new skills that they can use to create more wonderful items in the future. I posted some of the pictures I took below....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Custom Charms

I made a necklace for my sister for her birthday that had 2 charms on it. One was stamped the name of her son with his birthstone and the other was her daughter's name and birthstone. Little did I know how much attention it would get! I have had multiple people request the same thing with their children names and the names of their grandchildren. Because of this I have now added the piece to my online store. If you are looking for a unique custom gift, you now know where to get it! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Adding new pieces to collections...

I have been quite the busy bee this past week. I have been a non stop jewelry factory pumping out jewelry for my show this weekend. I have been stocking up on my best selling items and adding a few new pieces to the mix. Here are a few pics of what's new (leave me a comment and let me know what you think). The top 2 pieces are new items for my grapevine collection and the 3rd image is new to my rose collection... you have to come see me at show to see the rest!

The Festival of Fine Craft is this weekend at Wheaton Village in Millville, NJ. It's a great show and you should really check it out. All of the work exhibited there is top quality and it takes place in a great setting. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I finally did it....

Well i finally did it. Not only did I start a blog but I now have a facebook page. If you're on facebook look me up! I still need to add a few things but at least it's a start! It's a great way to network with others and many of my friends are already on facebook. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Just got home last night from a relaxing few days down the shore. It was so nice to be on the beach without the crowds. The weather was great and the sun was warm which makes for a great tan..... too bad it's now fall and getting a little cooler out so no one can see it with jeans and a sweatshirt on! After spending a few days laying around on the beach all day it makes it hard to get back to work! Tonight is the first night of my next session of beginner/intermediate jewelry classes. I love to see all the great things my students come up with. I teach each one of them the exact same thing and everyone adds their own creativity to the mix. The outcome is wonderful! Below are some pictures of some of my students at work and modelling some of their jewelry.... If you want to try this class for yourself you can get more info and sign up here!

Aniko soldering the links in her chain...

Rita working on her pendant....

Amy sawing jump rings...

Mirabel and her new cuff bracelet...

LeLanya modeling her new earrings!

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Jewelry

Today I added some new pieces to my website that I made over the past few days. One is pictured below. Click here to see the rest! I'll be adding them a little at a time (it's not a quick process) and there are a few up already! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rose Necklace

Well I just found out via email this morning that my large rose necklace is going to be in a book! Pretty cool to hear that someone appreciates my work that much! Below is the email I received....

Hi, Michele,

This is Alana Bills. We did a swap last year for Christmas. I just wanted to let you know that I gave my sister (who is an author) the large rose necklace, and she loves it so much, that she's incorporating it into her upcoming vampire book. The heroine wears it! Just thought you would like to know.

You rock!

Alana at NatureWorks Studio

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hannah gets the creative juices flowing....

Well I was supposed to do a craft show today (that I really was not in the mood to do) but due to hurricane Hannah and a tropical storm warning here in NJ the show was postponed until tomorrow. (Not that I really want to go tomorrow either.....I don't like doing shows. It's a lot of hard work setting up & breaking down a booth especially when you have to get up so early). The hurricane wasn't as bad as they predicted but I am glad they decided to postpone the show. It rained all day and this event is outdoors so it would not have been fun. So instead of working outside today I worked inside and made some new jewelry. I still haven't made the pieces I've had scribbled out on a piece of paper since August but at least it's a start! I actually want to stay in my studio all night just to create some of those pieces but if I do, there is no way I'll be getting up at 5:30am to go set up my booth! So it's an early night for me tonight... Hopefully tomorrow will bring sunny weather, lots of customers and maybe even some new ideas!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

So it's been a week....

So it's been a week since my last posting and you would think by now that I would have made some new jewelry from all my new found inspiration that I got while away on vacation last week....think again. Instead I have been working on redecorating my house instead. I usually get into my "redecorating" mood in the winter while I am trapped in the house (I hate the cold weather) where I will repaint a room, rearrange furniture, etc. But for some reason this mood skipped right over me last winter and has hit me full force now at the end of summer!

Some past winter projects have been rearranging and repainting my living room and hallway and another was painting a sky on the ceiling of my 21x14 foot bathroom and finishing it off with crown moulding. (there's 2 sections of ceiling in the bathroom. You can see the other half of the ceiling past the green header). I would never do this again. My neck was sore for days. Now I know how Michelangelo felt!

The past few days I have been working on 2 projects. The first is this piece of furniture which I found for really cheap and is now in my bathroom. Not sure what I am going to use it for but it seems to work in the space.

And the second project is redoing my son's room from top to bottom. He's 19 and his room has been painted white since we moved into this house 14 years ago. His favorite color is orange and I found this cute office furniture online that he wants to use in his bedroom. We ordered this piece and another to match but no luck finding a new bed as of yet. We also are still trying to figure out paint colors to go with the furniture and flooring but when it's done I'll post the finished product for all to see!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Relaxation & Inspiration

My family and I just returned home a few days ago from our Mediterranean cruise and it has taken a few days to recover from the jet lag (which is why I haven't posted earlier!) We had a such a great time. We flew to Rome which is where we were to get on the ship. Before we went to the dock we did a little site seeing. We stopped at the Coliseum (below), the Vatican and Trevi Fountain (below) where we took a break to eat gelati and coronetti (an Italian pastry recommended by my Italian friend who lived in Italy most of her life), and some other sites before we had to get on our ship.

Below is one of my favorite photos that I took of the artwork inside St. Peter's. It is amazing how much detail is in it and it is painted in a dome on the ceiling.

Once on the ship our first stop was Sicily, Italy where we toured the town of Taormina (below).

It's a beautiful old town with lots of shops and the ruins of a very old open air Greek-Roman Theater. the theater is located on a hill where you can see the volcano, Mt. Etna, in the distance. Even though the theater was partially destroyed events are still scheduled there in the theater today. Our tour guide told us how he attended a concert there once when Mt. Etna erupted. How cool that would have been to be watching your favorite band and having red hot lava shooting up over the stage in the background! (The photo below is of the stage with the volcano in the background. You can't really see the top of the volcano that well due to the clouds.)

Our next stop was Athens, Greece. And no stop in Athens would be complete without going to see the Acropolis.

We also saw the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and the first Olympic Stadium called the Panathinaiko Stadium. It was were the very first modern Olympic games took place in 1896. (below)

We also spent a day in Kusadasi, Turkey. There they have the ruins of the City of Ephesus. It is an entire city buried in a bunch of mountains that they have been excavating for about 50 years. And in that time they have only discovered about 15% of what they think is buried there. In the museum they have a lot of the artifacts that they found and one of the items was this necklace.

Did you know that jewelry was the first art? Before people used clay to make vessels to carry water, store wine, etc. they used the clay to make jewelry to decorate themselves. Just a little fact I thought I'd share with you since I am a jewelry artist and all!

We also did some shopping in Turkey. The funniest thing were these signs. Turkey is known for their fake brand name items and it seems like they are very proud of this fact! These signs were everywhere!

Our last port was the Greek island of Crete. We saw the Minoan ruins of the royal palace of Knossos that was destroyed by earthquakes. It was very interesting to see all the "modern amenities" they had. Running water, sewage system, etc. This photo is of the inside of one of the rooms in the palace. The chair against the wall is the king's throne.

All in all it was a great trip and and I was very inspired by all that I saw and experienced. I plan to take some of that inspiration and turn it into new pieces of jewelry in the near future!
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