Friday, July 22, 2011

Vacation Time!!

I will be away on vacation for the next week, with no cell phone service and no Internet.  May be a good thing!  Hopefully it will be cooler there than it is here.  We will be in the beautiful Davis Mountains of west Texas at a place called Paisano Baptist Encampment where I am camp organist.  I hear that they have been getting some rain, so I sure hope that is true.  Just wish we could get some here in north central Texas!  People will cattle and horses in this area are hurting for feed.  There is a limited amount of hay available, so they are desperately trying to find ways to keep those animals fed.  Many are already having to sell off their cattle.  Let's just keep hoping and praying that rain will come soon.

Thanks to all of you who are following this blog.  I hope to get a few pieces made while I'm away and I'll be posting those when I return.  Football season will soon be upon us, so I will be busy making spirit necklaces and keychains.  Be on the lookout for those.  I do take custom order for your favorite team.  Till later . . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The gemstone turquoise has been around for centuries, yet it remains one of the most popular gemstones worn in fashion jewelry today.  Genuine, naturally occuring turquoise is quite expensive and getting rarer every day as known mines are mined out and closed. In fact, only about 25 percent of the once prolific turquoise mines are still in operation the American Southwest. Today, much turquoise comes from China and in general, is inferior in grade, having a more greenish tint than the highly prized Robin Egg blue color.  Much of what we see in jewelry today is of lesser quality and has been treated in one or more of various ways.  Because it is a fairly soft stone, most turquoise is stabilized before it is cut or carved, and often is dyed to enhance the color.  The color can deteriorate if exposed to heat, sunlight, or weak acids, so it is best not to wear it when using hot water or household chemicals.  It can also chip easily, so be careful not to strike or drop it.

Many imitations of turquoise are found in today's jewelry.  The most common is howlite and magnesite.  Both of these stone are naturally white and are dyed to give them their color.  Often they can be found in various colors, such as purple, red, orange, yellow, bright green, black.  Other colored turquoise, which is not really imitation but is dyed, is called chalk turquoise.  This is turquoise infused with resin to stabilize and harden it.  Often the resin is dyed prior to the infusion.  Thus, you may see colors such as lime green or magenta chalk turquoise.

Turquoise is the traditional birthstone for December and is the anniversary gemstone for the 5th year of marriage.  It is believed to be a guard against diseases and to warn the wearer of danger or illness by changing color.  It brings happiness and good fortune to all wearers.

Here are a few of my turquoise pieces.

Turquoise With Copper Bali Style Beads Bracelet

Turquoise and Coral Necklace

Turquoise With Pale Pink Crystals and Stardust Beads Bracelet

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Love Affair with Lampwork Beads

I've done a few pieces in the past with some lampwork beads, but just recently I have discovered some beautiful, and a few very cute, beads made by artisans of the craft.  While I don't have any desire to try that craft (don't like the thought of working with fire!) I am fascinated by the technique and would love to see someone in person working their trade.  While the lampwork bead is not a gemstone, some are so intricate and lovely with their many workings of color and texture, that they deserve their own spot on the stage of beading materials.  The primary tools for these beads are colored glass rods, a mandrel, a torch, and a kiln.  Since the process for making these beads is so detailed and intricate, I am including a link here to a website that explains the process.

Green with Orange and Pink Flower Lampwork Necklace

Orange and Pink Flowers on Green Lampwork Beads Necklace

Green and Yellow Lampwork Necklace
Green Lampwork Bead Earrings

Here are a few of my latest pieces using lampwork beads, and since I've just received a new shipment, more will be in the making soon.  I even have some for Halloween,  Christmas, and some red, white, and blue for patriotic holidays.  These will all be in my Etsy shop, my ArtFire studio, and on my Facebook page.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Texas Gold by chicbychoice on Etsy

Another of my pieces featured in a treasury on Etsy:
Texas Gold by chicbychoice on Etsy

As We Celebrate Our Freedom

Another 4th of July is almost upon us, and since I have family coming in and will be bustling about making preparations, loving on the grandbaby, barbecuing, loving on the grandbaby, sitting on the deck visiting, - oh, and did I mention loving on the grandbaby? - I will hardly have time to even think about blogs.  So here are my thoughts on this celebration, which is one of my favorites.

The 4th of July is all about celebrating our freedom--all the many kinds of freedom--that we enjoy.  America is still truly the greatest nation in the world in spite of the many problems that we have endured and are continuing to endure.  I am proud of our country and I am proud to stand up and say "I am an American."  Sadly, though, we take our freedom and our country for granted.  And how easily that freedom could be taken away from us!  I never shall forget how, following the tragic and frightening events of 9-11, the whole country came together as I had never seen it do before.  Yet, today, ten years later, we seem to be back on our laid-back, lackadaisical path of apathy.  "When will we ever learn?  When will we ever learn?" says the song by Pete Seeger. 
God has blessed this country richly, and I am so thankful to Him for keeping His hand over us and protecting us, even from ourselves.

Yes, like most Americans, I will be joining my community in the local fireworks display, and I will feel overwhelmed by the beauty of the night sky as those rockets burst into beautiful showers of color.  And I hope that we all will hold dear to us the sacrifices that have been made to give us the freedom that we enjoy and that we will carry this pride for our country with us every day so that each day is a celebration of freedom!  Happy Fourth of July to everyone!