Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The 10 Day Art Challenge

   Day 1 of the 10 Day Art Challenge

      A group of my artist friends have been participating in a 10 day Art Challenge on Facebook.  The purpose is to promote positivity, passion, and attention to art.  

     I was nominated by Leslie Ready to show one image of my art, my life, my studio, or exhibition for 10 consecutive days. The rules were that no explanation was to be given.  You were also to nominate another Artist every day to do the same. So basically 10 days. 10 images, 10 nominations. 

      On the first day I posted a picture of the bracelet I entered in the Arizona State Fair a few years ago. It was the first (and so far only) time I have entered a juried contest.  I was accepted, but I didn't win any prize.  But my husband and I got to go to an Artist's Reception with my friend Leslie and her husband, both of whom had entered and won awards for their art. It was very exciting and a fun night.

Day 2


      My entry for Day 2 was my Owl Cell Phone Purse. The feather came from a Great Horned Owl that had been living in another friend's tree and frequently dropped feathers on the ground.  I was taking a class on color, and the first assignment was to make something using neutral colors.  I had the little owl face in my stash and the feather, too.  I modified a Simplicity pattern to make the little purse.

 Day 3 

      My choice for Day 3 was a necklace I made from a piece of Quartz with some Amethyst and possibly Citrine in it. My husband cut and polished it from a small slab we had found at a rock show.  I added Swarovski crystals and other beads to make the necklace.  One of my faves.  
       I tried hard to nominate other artist friends to participate, but I struck out. One person wanted to do it but was recovering from a serious illness that I had not known about. A couple of others had projects and activities going on and didn't think they could take time away from them.  Two people couldn't get Facebook to work for them.  After trying six or seven people, I gave up on that part of the challenge.  It's too bad. They are all good artists and it would have been great to see their work.

       In a few days I'll post more of the Challenge pictures. In the meantime, if you've been in a similar challenge or would like to do so, let me know. I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Is Impression Jasper Really Jasper????

     If you ask a geologist if Impression Jasper is really jasper, the answer will most likely be "no". But if you ask a buyer of beads and jewelry, the answer will probably be "yes".  Like many questions, the answer is not as easy as it seems it should be. 

     If you're not familiar with Impression Jasper, you're in for a treat if you like colorful stones. Impression Jasper is an opaque stone that comes in a variety of colors, often mixed together in geometric patters.  You can find blues, greens, reds, purples and more in many rock and bead shops. I found a beautiful set of 9 graduated tear drop purple Impression Jasper cabs at the Tucson Gem Show two years ago. Dakota Stones was selling them.  

    The stones were labeled as composite and dyed, as opposed to natural stones that are frequently only cut and polished. So I was curious about what composites go into Impression Jasper. I'm not sure I found the answer to that question, but I did find some interesting information. 

    The Gemsona Critique Hub website states that Impression Jasper is "actually a hydrated aluminium phosphate mineral called variscite."  On page 159 of Patti Polk's book, Collecting Rocks, Gems, and Minerals, there is a picture and information about Variscite. However, there isn't any information about it being used in this manner.  

     Other sources identify Impression Jasper as a composite, including Dakota Stone.  But it's still beautiful, and Impression Jasper rolls off the tongue easier and sounds much prettier than Variscite.  
    I usually like more natural stones, but I have to admit that Impression Jasper is colorful and striking. I finally made my set into a necklace a few days ago.  The set came with some 4mm Purple Impression Jasper beads, but I added more.  I also added some crystals and some gold spaces.   The clasp is a gold plated lobster claw that didn't make it into the picture.  It's big enough to be easy to use and very secure.  You can see it in my Etsy shop here.

          The crystals are more sparkling than they appear in the picture. They also came from the Tucson Gem Show from a store called Queenly Global.  Queenly Global is one of my favorite shops, and I always make time to shop with them.  

    You might be wondering if Impression Jasper, being a composite, has any healing or metaphysical properties.  According to information found at the website of Crystal Life Technology, Inc. "Impression Jasper (Variscite) is a stone of tranquility and encouragement. This is a stone that unifies lives and reminds people to help one another. Impression Jasper absorbs negative energy, balances yin/yang energy, and aligns the body, mind, and spirit. It is useful for shamanic travel. This stone also aids quick thinking and restores energy after recovering from an illness."

      So if you like colorful jewelry, take a look at Impression Jasper. Ignore its origins if you like the look and feel of this colorful cabochon. 


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Blessings for All

     Blessing Bags or Amulet Bags have interested me for a long time. I have intricate patterns for peyote stitched bags with a Wolf, Eagle, or other wildlife totem on the front. I love to look at them, but I know it would take me months, maybe longer, to stitch even one.  

     I have a small leather bag that I bought somewhere, and another circular leather bag that I made.  Inside I have wolf fur and healing stones.   

     Blessing Bags have been around for centuries and are known by many names. Medicine bags and Possibles bags are the same, or are very similar, to what others call Amulet Bags or Blessing Bags. By any name the idea is the same: Create or acquire a small bag to carry precious, personally important sacred items.  In the case of Possibles, some early explorers and mountain men carried larger bags that could hold gun powder, knives, and other items they needed for survival.   

  This year, with all of the terrible events that are plaguing us, I decided to make a few Blessing Bags to give to special friends.  

    Since I wanted my friends to have their Blessings within this century, I started with Ultrasuede or ribbon.  From there I added beads, fringe, sequins, and whatever else caught my fancy.  I tucked a Moonstone heart into each one to start their collection of amulets.  

     If you're interested in making a Blessing Bag, you can find patterns and info on Pinterest and other sites.  Or write me a comment and I'll send you directions on how I made mine.  

     If you don't want to make your own, there are many Blessing or Amulet bags available on Etsy. I don't sell any in my shop, but there are many available in a wide range of price points.  

      Whether you make or buy one, consider acquiring one of your own. Now is the time when we all need a Blessing Bag. 


Monday, December 2, 2019

A Pomsky Pup for Me

     I've been wanting a dog for a long time.  I had a great Shepherd mix when I was a kid.  But when I married and began working, a cat seemed like a much better fit.  So for years we had cats and even a wonderfully fun ferret, but no dogs.
     For last six or seven years we've been petless.  Our last cat lived a nice long life, but we never got another one.  I've been thinking about a dog for quite a while, and always talking myself out of getting one.  We travel a bit.  I can't handle a large, energetic dog now. And on and on.  Lots of valid, logical reasons to not get a dog. ... But I wanted one.
     Then I discovered a type of dog that I had never known about --- a Pomsky

      A Pomsky is a mix of a Pomeranian and a Siberian Husky.  He has the look of a Husky, but the smaller size of a Pomeranian.  I found out about them while looking for huskies.  I really like their wolf-like appearance and their medium dog size. It looked like a compromise that could work.
      A search on the internet showed me puppies that were available around the U.S.  Interesting, but not practical. Finally I found some in Arizona, about two hours south of Phoenix.  First I contacted the breeder about their newest batch of puppies.  She said she would contact me when they were old enough for visitors.  Then a day or so later I saw a slightly older puppy on her website.  She had named him Nike. He looked adorable.
      All of the research I read advised to not buy a puppy you had not met first.  That seemed smart, although lots of people buy a pup and have it shipped.  I decided we should make a visit first and see how the puppy acted.  I wanted a friendly, happy puppy, and only seeing him in person would let me know if he was the dog for us.
       So last Friday we drove to meet our potential buddy.  I had not puppy proofed the house or bought any of the essentials we would need.  In my mind this was going to be a meet and greet only. If he looked like the dog for us, I planned to put down a deposit and pick him up a few days later after buying supplies and preparing for him properly.
       But fate had other ideas.  It was pretty much love at first sight, on both sides.  He was cute and cuddly and very friendly.  For lots of reasons the seller couldn't keep him until next week. We talked her into keeping him overnight to give us time to buy a few things.  She did better than that.  She was planning a trip to Phoenix the next day and offered to meet us half way.   Super!   
       So that's how we came to bring Tikaan (our name for him) into our lives.  He's a joy.  He's energetic and still needs lots of training.  Kinda like a furry toddler.  If there's something to get into, he'll find it. 
       But I've fallen in love with him.  He keeps us on our toes and makes us laugh. In his quiet moments he gives great puppy kisses and snuggles like a baby.  All in all, it's been a match made in heaven.


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Gift Wrap

     It's only September, but artists and crafters have been thinking about Christmas for weeks. Ideas need to be honed into plans. Supplies have to be ordered. Hands have to get to work.  Art and handcrafted items take time as well as creativity. 

     Getting a hand crafted present at the holidays is always a treat.  But I think it's even better if the package is festive and pretty.  I love to look at gift wrap ideas on Pinterest and in magazines.  A pretty box makes the gift all that more special. 

      So this year I'm trying to improve my gift packaging. It needs to reflect my brand, Desert Dabbler, as well as look festive and fun.  Different items require different size boxes, too.  I have wildlife paper for the larger sized boxes that hold my wildlife necklaces.  But most of my packages are smaller and need a properly sized box.  I've been using gold and white boxes.

I bought labels for the tops of the boxes.  Then I began adding a pretty orchid bow.

This year I'm thinking of replacing the label with a coyote.  What do you think?

Do you like the new gift wrap?  Drop me a comment if you have a preference or idea. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Summer is Ending???

    It's hard to believe that summer will soon be over. Here in the part of Arizona where I live we haven't even had our monsoon rains.  We've had excessive heat warnings for days and days. Our skies should have looked like this:

     Instead its been hot and dry.  For the entire year we've only had 3.70" of rain.
Whether we'll get some rain between now and September 30, the official end of the monsoon, remains to be seen.
    But while the end of September may be the official end of the monsoon, the unofficial end of summer is Labor Day.   And Labor Day is fast approaching.  It's only about 14 days away.  Schools, which used to start right after Labor Day, started here last week.  The calendar does seem to be spinning faster and faster.

     According to Etsy, Labor Day is now a big shopping event. School supplies and new shoes were always bought at our house around this time of year.  But the experts say other items are in demand today.

      To mark the occasion, Etsy is sponsoring a sale event and encouraging shops like mine to participate.  So I am. 

       Beginning August 30 I'm offering 10% off of summer items in my shop.  You'll find summery floral earrings as well as bracelets in bright colors.

     Click on the shop sign on the right to go directly into Desert Dabbler Handcrafted Jewelry.   Hope you'll find something you like!

       In the meantime, send some rain our way.