March 31, 2011

spring magnolia

I walked outside my front door this morning and noticed the fragrance of these blossoms in the air. I love my Star Magnolia in spring... It is bursting with white flowers that look like floppy silk daisies, and it smells so wonderful! I wish I could share the smell, but photos will have to do.
These are the first real showy flowers I have in spring. The cherry tree is the neighbors'. (and I'm not counting the weeds.) The tulips are next. What's blooming in your yard?

March 23, 2011

it's a challenge

stormy sky cloud wind swirls handmade silver pendant
On Etsy, I am part of the Metal Clay Heads, a neat bunch of folks who also make jewelry from metal clay. Every other month they have a challenge for group members, and this time I finally got something done to enter. The theme was the four elements (water, fire, wind, earth), and we were required to use clay from a syringe on the design. I chose wind, on a stormy day. For my entry, I designed a cloud shape from a separate piece of clay and added it to the base, and I used the syringe to create the wind. I gave the surface a rustic texture, and the oxidation creates the dark gray of a stormy sky. I accented it with clear, gray, and muted blue Swarovski crystals. Challenges like this stretch and push you as an artist, trying new things, or encourage you to think about subject matter in a different way. It was fun, and I also learned that the syringe is harder to control than I thought! I've used it for creating simple bezel settings cubic zirconia (by building up layers of coils, pushing the CZ down in the center, and smoothing it out), but this is a whole different ball game.

You can check out the other entries on the Metal Clay Heads blog, and vote on your favorite! (public voting is in the panel on right of the blog post)

rustic storm windy cloudy dark sky OOAK artisan fun handmade nature elements fine sterling silver necklace with Swarovski crystals
Stormy Sky by Jennifer Kistler

March 18, 2011

sign of spring

cherry blossom nature photograph
The neighbors behind us have a large ornamental cherry tree, just over our fence. I just love that tree in spring, when it bursts into bloom with it's lovely soft pink blossoms. This week, I observed it from my kitchen window slowly but surely unfolding it's blossoms. You would think it would wait until the sun came out. But here it is, bringing cheer amidst a week of torrential downpours. A welcome sign that spring will indeed come!

Then last night we had an almost full moon, and the sky was actually clear enough to see it. Just some thin, low clouds were quickly passing over the face of the moon, giving each photo a different look as I snapped many frames. Here's one of my favorites.

full moon March 2011 nature photograph

On a more serious note, I am considering donating a portion of jewelry sales to Japan tsunami relief. I just need to learn the proper way to set that up through Etsy, and choose a reliable relief organization. I am planning to do it on specific jewelry items, such as pieces with my new ocean wave design. I have one in my shop right now (shown below, but it's not set up for donating funds yet), and quite a few almost ready. Most are just the wave (without the sun), and include circle pendants, and even a pair of bold earrings. I just had this idea today, and wanted to share. If you like this design, and want to give to a good cause at the same time, stay tuned for new listings in the next week or two!

March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I can't believe I almost forgot to post this today... My tribute to Ireland, a treasury I put together on Etsy. Some great photographs and other items from fellow artisans! Enjoy!

March 5, 2011

a wee bit o' Irish

I love learning about history when it is relevant somehow, like when it relates to my ancestry. Growing up, I was told there was Irish in my heritage somewhere, but I didn't think we could say for sure. Until last year, when I received a family genealogy book and flipped through the pages. My favorite new discovery was that an ancestor named Abraham Pike (described as a brawny red-head) came from Ireland to America to fight with the British in the Revolutionary War. He was injured, and after recovering, he joined with George Washington to fight on the American side. So there it was, proof that I am a wee bit Irish. And maybe that's where my reddish hair came from, too.

As the Irish holiday honoring St. Patrick approaches, everyone is more aware of that part of the world. Celtic knots have been around for many centuries, and make very intriguing design elements. It seems a fitting time of year to offer some new jewelry with celtic knot accents. A while ago I had purchased some petite triangle shaped celtic knot links to make earrings, and this year I put them to use. I made several pair with Swarovski crystal beads, in green of course, and also blue, violet, and red. (Like them, but want a different color? Let me know!). I also have a new celtic knot jade necklace that, while very simple, I am so pleased with how it turned out (shown above). If you like celtic knot designs like I do, be sure to see all my celtic knot jewelry, which is on sale through St. Patty's Day! And I couldn't resist putting together a treasury on Etsy of some other neat celtic knot items by other artisans. Check them out, and don't forget to wear your green! (and I think I'll have to watch Leap Year again for a little fun, romance, and beautiful Irish scenery!)