Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's a Wrap!

      Last Friday I took my first wire wrapping class.   Leslie Ready, who's a very talented artist and member of Grand Stitchers, taught the class.    Here's my first project:

    It was harder to do than I thought it would be.   We used 20 gauge square wire, cut into 3 pieces and "bundled" together.    The bundle was tied and wrapped around the cabochon.    The top ends were then wire wrapped and two of the pieces formed the bail.   The remaining 4 wires made the decorative swirls.    All of this sounds a lot easier than it was.  
       Before I got to make the fun swirls, the cabochon had to be secured.   Here's the back view:
       We started on the back side first so we could get the hang of it.   The top left should have been pulled out more.   It was secured really tight (which is a good thing), and that caused me some problems.   I scratched up the copper wire while trying to pull it out and over the back.  The coating on my tool began to come off.   Now I know to stop, re-do the coating, and wait for it to dry overnight.   A little patience would have made a big difference.   But I was so anxious to finish the project.   Like a kid who can't wait for the cookie to cool, I got burned.    Luckily this was just a practice piece, with copper rather than sterling wire.
The side view shows the middle wire wrapped around the cabochon.
   I really like the way the copper looks on the Red Creek jasper pendant.   I have a lot of jasper, although all of them have pre-drilled holes, like this one.    I'm going to ask Leslie if there's a way to deal with the pre-drilled issue.   Otherwise I might be "forced" to buy more jasper.   LOL         
    In the meantime, I've re-coated my tools.   They dried over night, so I'm ready to do another wrap.  As they say, practice makes perfect!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


         Wild flowers at the Desert Botanical Gardens are beautiful this year.    The butterfly exhibit is open now, too.    We visited there on Wednesday.
                                                                         Zebra Longwing


Pipevine Swallowtail

 Everyone enjoyed the beautiful day.   

      We lunched on the patio at Gertrude's, which was great.  It was the first time we've been to their new restaurant.   As soon as we arrived at the Gardens, we stopped to make reservations.    I'm glad we did, because by noon it was very busy.   
      We were seated near the water feature on the patio, the best seat there I think.   Very pleasant and the food was delicious.     I had the mint pea salad and soup of the day, which was pumpkin.  A perfect choice for a garden restaurant.
       Yesterday was the last Stitcher's Boutique for the season.   There were 12 of us selling everything from art work to purses.   At least four of us make jewelry.  There was only one newcomer in the group.   Some have been doing this since last November.   At least now I'm not the newbie any more.
        The shopping crowd wasn't as large as last month.  The weather was great, but already the winter crowd is thinning.    Still, everyone seemed to have a good time, regardless of how well their items sold.   
       The next Boutique will be sometime in November.   I think all of us are looking forward to a break.  I know I am.   But soon I'll be ready to create some new masterpieces.   
       It took me a couple of hours last night to finish up the paperwork and put everything back in its place.  I had to remove one of my listings from Etsy because it sold at the Boutique.   So that's a good reason to de-list an item.  
         Now my goal is to go through my items and try to build up the Etsy shop for the summer shopping season.   The hardest part about Etsy is taking good pictures.  Next is the challenge of coming up with descriptive words that will lead people to the site.    I have trouble finding my items, and I know what words I used!  I hope to learn the secret to their system soon.
       We'll see how successful my plan works out.


Sunday, April 7, 2013


Grand Stitchers

       The Grand Stitchers (which includes the beading division) is located inside the original sales office for Sun City Grand.    When we were here originally,  picking out tile and cabinets and all of the other hundreds of things that go into a new house, this place produced major anxiety.    So many decisions to make in such little time!    We had never built a house before.   We had no idea how much we had to decide.   We only come for a 3 day weekend-- we had to be back to work on Monday.   Somehow it all got done, but this building was not my favorite place back in 2003.
        Funny how things can change.
        The first group I joined when I retired, and the only one I attend regularly, is Grand Stitchers.    What a great group!   There's something going on there every day through the week.  Plus, for the past few months we've held a boutique on the second Saturday.    
       I didn't take part at first because I didn't have enough skill to make good jewelry.   But I've taken classes and practiced a lot.   Some of the other women have shops on Etsy or their websites.    (I even have a small Etsy shop now.)  A few others place their jewelry in gift shops in their home towns.  
        Since I joined in with the boutique group, I've learned a lot--but there's still so much more to learn.    Currently I'm trying to learn artistic wire wrapping.    I've signed up for a class at the end of this month.  It's an intermediate level class.  Somehow I missed the beginner's class.   Maybe they gave it before I joined.   Or maybe I was gone that week.  
        Anyway, for the past two weeks I've been practicing the basics in order to be able to keep up with the class.   Good thing copper wire isn't too expensive.  I've been turning a lot of it into scrap metal lately.      
        This coming Saturday will also be the last Boutique of the season.    The snowbirds are leaving.   Already there's a noticeable decline in the number of people around.    This is the first summer that I won't be working, and it will seem quiet and empty when the snowbirds are gone. 
       So I'm hoping for a big day on Saturday to end the season in style.