Sunday, February 28, 2010

Giveaway Deadline is Approaching

For those of you that missed this post the Copper Giveaway ends on March 3rd, so enter today so you don't miss out. Here is the link.
 You get everything you see pictured including the drawstring bag.

When it rains it pours and in the past week I landed 4 special orders. The first one I completed today which was for two bracelet and earring sets and a pair of charm earrings all in sterling silver. I really like the way the green set turned out especially with Spring on our heels. Now I have to get busy on the next order of 9 gem trees....this one may take me awhile, good thing I have until the end of March to complete them.

Yes, I haven't quit sewing yet. Hubby had a special request for the motor home and that was a knife roll. Having no idea what that was or how to make one, I looked up some commercial ones one the internet to see how they were made. It didn't turn out too bad and it will keep the knives safe in the drawer while we are traveling.

Hopefully everyone is having a wonderful weekend.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Small Spring Time Tote

The other day as I was scanning reading blogs I came across one that was a tutorial for making a fat quarter purse. Well I just had to try and I needed a new Spring bag...don't we all. Mine isn't exactly like hers since I didn't use her tutorial and winged it instead, but turned out pretty good for my first try. You can find the tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew blog.

Of course since I'm a bling bling girl I had to add the pins, which you can remove and put on other purses. Since they are just tie tack backs, I may have to make my own. These were purchased at Joanne Fabric.

What I would change is the bottom, I wanted a contrasting darker color which looks good, but I think next time I'll make it come up the sides a bit more so you can see it. Also, I would add a pocket on the inside and one on the outside in a solid color as the print is pretty busy. The loops for the handles I would make a little bit shorter and I would top stitch around the top of the bag before adding my magnetic closure. Not much just little things to make it more usable. I like the size as it is about 11" across and that I think of it, it is just about the right size for my little net book computer. Too bad I didn't put some quilt batting inside and it could do double duty.

If you like bags or creating bags you might like this one for a tote bag that also uses a fat quarter.

Have a good Friday!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Couple of Book Reviews

Last Summer I was in a funk after being laid off from my job of 12+ years and wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life and needed some inspiration so I bought 4 crafty books. Once I got the books, I thought I would do reviews on them, but never got around to it….until now. A couple are jewelry related and the other two are craft. The craft book reviews will be published on my Crafty News site and the jewelry books on my Dana’s Jewelry Design blog.

I was so excited to get this book. It looked fun and was written by Jennifer Perkins, host of Craft Lab on the DIY Network. Jennifer also has her own with site by the same name

The Naughty Secretary Club
The Working Girl’s Guide to Handmade Jewelry
By Jennifer Perkins

This is a kitchy craft book, so if you are into that you will love this book. Easy project made with everyday materials or materials that are very inexpensive. Lots of color photos and easy instructions would provide the beginning crafter with all they need to know. I do not recommend this book to those who are older, like myself (late 40’s) or have experience with jewelry making. If you like bold colorful jewelry bordering on the gaudy then this book has some great ideas. Did I make anything out of the book? No, but I did enjoy looking through all the projects. There are about 29 projects in the book and if you are a teen or 20 something crafter and want to make some fun funky jewelry cheap, then this is the book for you.

Would I keep this book in my library of craft reference books? No, sorry Jennifer
Would I have bought this book if I had been able to thumb through it first? No
Would I recommend you buy this book? Maybe
Review for Graphics and Photos is 5 stars
Review for Content is 3 stars

When I purchased this group of craft books I was really into altered art and soldering with a soldering iron which is why this book appealed to me.

Semiprecious Salvage
Creating Found-Art Jewelry
By Stephanie Lee

If you like the unusual or want to learn some new techniques for putting found and created objects together, then you will love this book. I like this book although not as attention grabbing as the previous books I have reviewed this one has techniques and ideas that I found interesting. I like the unusual and asymmetrical qualities of the jewelry pieces that she puts together in the book. Instructions are clear and well marked with steps. Some of the materials and tools may need you to branch out a bit in your comfort zone if you are not familiar with metalsmithing techniques. Lots of photos which I find helpful as some people learn by viewing and not reading. There are 25 different projects in the book and even though I haven’t tried any of them yet, I plan to.

Would I keep this book in my library of craft reference books? Yes
Would I have bought this book if I had been able to thumb through it first? Yes
Would I recommend you buy this book? Yes
Review for Graphics and Photos is 5 stars
Review for Content is 4 stars

Obviously both of these books are available at if you want to purchase them. If you want to read my other two craft book reviews go HERE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rings, Antique Buttons and Things

Yes, I have been playing with rings lately. Earlier this month I posted the Love Knot Part 1 and Part 2 the Cluster Ring tutorials for those who would like to make their own ring (they are pictured at the bottom of the photo above). Other rings pictured are the Wave Ring, the Curl Ring, the Solitare, the Spiral Ring and another one that I believe in some circles is called the Bird's Nest although mine doesn't look like one. This past Saturday I offered to teach a ring making class with another gem club member in April, so I have been playing again and trying to find new designs. Since the students will be new to working with wire, I didn't want to start with soldering rings so wire wrapping will work. Last year I found the Spiral Ring tutorial HERE and never tried to make it until today. I think it turned out really cute. I used a lampwork bead for one and the other two I used old buttons. This is a great way to use up some antique buttons or one of a kind lampwork beads.

Since I'm in the market for ring tutorials (free ones), let me know if you find any. I'd like to offer my students a variety of designs to choose from.

I hope everybody is having a great week. Don't forget about my great Copper Jewelry Giveaway I posted about yesterday. Easy to enter.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Plethora of Copper Giveaway

I know you want to win this! A complete wardrobe of Copper jewelry. You will get a copper bangle, cluster ring, energy pendant with chain, charm earrings and one of my new drawstring pouches. This is a whopping $75.00 value, my biggest giveaway yet. The giveaway is only open to U.S. Residents...sorry, next time I'll do one for all my International followers. NOTE: You do not have to do all three below to be entered into the drawing. If you don't have a Twitter account no worries, just leave me a comment for 1 and if you want to have another chance, leave another comment on an interesting fact.

What do you need to do to win this wonderful prize?
1. Leave a comment here on my blog about what you would do with all this jewelry if you won it.
2. Second entry - Tweet about this giveaway or blog (leave your blog link in the comments) about this giveaway. Be sure to use #gemdiva if twittering so that I can find your tweet.
3. Third entry - Tell me an interesting fact about Copper.

The all important deadline will be March 3rd at 10:00 pm PST.

Good luck!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Where are the Trees?

We made it back in the motor home from Arizona on Friday. What a trip! We traveled straight through from Arizona to Washington and it took 3 days. I don't think I want to go back out on the road for a little least until March when we drive to Napa. Wine is always a good thing to look forward to. Anyway, as we were traveling through Arizona there was a sign that said Joshua Tree National Forest. I'm thinking this is the desert and what does a Joshua tree look like. So, I snapped a few photos of the landscape so that I could do some research once home. So first picture is the landscape and second is a stock photo of a Joshua tree. Humm, do you see any there? To find out more about the Joshua Tree here is a link to Wik
I must have missed them. You would think that if it was a NATIONAL FOREST you would find some of these trees. Nope didn't see a one. We did see an amazing wind farm. Windmills as far as the eye could see. This picture was in Southern California before you get into LA.

So that was in Southern California and now for Northern, and that's when we saw Mount Shasta. Now it isn't as large as the Mountains we have here in Washington, but is quite nice.

Yes, that is the buggy windshield of the bus/motor home. I tried to get photos of Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, but the sun was in the wrong place and they all had glare, but those Mountains are quite beautiful also. Last but not least here is a photo of the inside of the bus. I'm sure we will get lots of travel time out of it.

Hopefully you have had a great week while I was gone. No Wi-Fi anywhere we stopped so I was going through internet withdrawals...I'll make up for it today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

And We're Off...

Off to Arizona that is. Hubby bought a motorhome on Ebay. I always wondered who would buy such expensive things like boats, houses, cars, RV's on Ebay without even seeing it and now I is us. Wow, I sure hope it runs. It is a used 1997 Foretravel, 36'. I'm sure I'll be posting pictures of it once we get on the road tomorrow evening. Now we did see pictures of it, but you know how some pictures can be deceiving, so we shall see. Wish us luck. It will take us about 3 days travel to get it back home if hubby we drive 8 hours a day. Here is the picture of the outside that was posted by the dealer.
Yes, I know it looks like a bus and I haven't driven a bus before, but does a Suburban qualify?

In other news, I sewed all day yesterday and now I'm sewn out. New things I made were to re-purpose some material to create passport covers, yes my own bad design, but since we wanted them for this trip, I didn't make them too fancy. Hubby's is the denim made from old jean shorts that didn't fit and mine was from fabric scraps left over from all the drawstring pouches.
My other little experiment came to me when I was trying to sleep the other night. I have tons of vintage hankies and some of them aren't really good for much as they are stained and have holes, so I thought why couldn't I make some drawstring pouches with them. So here is my first attempt. It didn't turn out too bad, but next time I will reinforce between the layers with interfacing or quilt batting. I'll have to test both out to see what works best.
This was so easy as the ends are already finished on the hankies so all you have to do is create the casing for the drawstring.

I'm still working on putting together my February newsletter, but it looks like it won't be out until next week, so you still have time to sign up.

February Giveaway...I haven't forgotten and that will have to be next week also, but I have a huge selection of Copper jewelry that I've made that will all go to one lucky person.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Going Overboard

Anytime I get involved in a new project I tend to go a little bit overboard. Hence my latest endeavor of making drawstring bags for my jewelry. This first started out as the hunt for a small sewing machine and has bloomed into a fabric/bag nightmare. I will soon have way too many bags if I keep this up, so I'll be putting some of them on my ArtFire and 1000 Markets studios for sale.
I am so in love with all the wonderful fabric choices. I haven't sewed in probably 10 years and we didn't have the selection that you do now and I haven't even found the designer fabric section yet....maybe I better stay out of there.

Fabric is 100% cotton and is normally used for quilting but makes wonderful little bags. These are small at 9.25" diameter when laid flat, but when drawn up they are nice and compact. Great for slipping into a purse or tote bag. Some have pockets on the inside and some don't so those without will be about 1/2 the price.

I'm pleased with how they have turned out. I would love to hear what you think.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Sewing Machine Hunt continued

Well today I went to my mothers and scrounged in her storage room to find this little sewing machine. It is larger than the White E-Z Sew and about 100 times heavier but works so much better. From the color yellow I would guess it to be a late 60's or 70's vintage machine. It has fold up sides and a carrying handle. It was made by JC Penney and is called the Swing 'N Sew 3. I really wish I had a manual since I know it hasn't been serviced as long as I have had it and I purchased it used over 20 years ago. Hubby did find a blog where a woman has just the Swing and Sew. I might have to e-mail her to see if her manual indicates how to clean and oil it as I'm sure they are very similar.
Back to the machine features. It has a straight stitch and several different types of zig zag in varying widths. I don't need much more than this. It does have a 4 step button hole stitch, but I couldn't get it to work correctly....probably user error. I guess I won't be looking for another machine for a little while, but I would still like to find one that is lighter weight.

Cute machine isn't it?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Great Sewing Machine Hunt

For days I have been on a sewing kick and wanting to do some sewing. Now, I do have 2 sewing machines in storage (yes, Mom I know they are at your house) but if I remember right one is a big machine and the other is a very old heavy model. So, I went looking for something portable and compact that could travel with us in the motor home. Did you know there isn't such a thing. I did all kinds of Google searches and the best I could find was either a Brother or a Kenmore. Okay, both good brand names but finding them was key. First off I went to Joanne Fabric. They had nothing in the $150 or lower price range that was a smaller unit except for the small White pictured below, which by the way I did purchase for $39.99. I'll get to the review in a minute. Sears did have a Kenmore on sale for $89.99 that was lightweight, but was still a good size machine. Next I went to Walmart as they carry the Brother brand. They had a lot of spots where sewing machines were supposed to be but only two in stock and neither were the model number that received the good reviews. Next up was the Husqvarna/Viking Sewing Center....nothing there small and compact, but the owner indicated that she would sell me a Singer Pixie for $29.99, hummm it didn't get good reviews at all, I think I'll pass.

Okay now back to the White Sew E-Z sewing machine. You do get what you pay for. It is a cute little machine as you can see in the photo and seemly had all the necessary information and parts. It has a two speeds, does only straight stitches, forward and backward and will wind a bobbin (not that I could get that to work).  As you can see, I don't have a lot of room on my crafting table. I had to move my jewelry stuff over to make room for this so I really do need something small. So, after reading the required manual and attempting to wind the bobbin and thread the darn thing, I decided to sew something simple.

The result was a small drawstring baggie, smaller than I wanted, but gave me a good indication that this isn't the machine for me. The thread broke about every 10 stitches and no amount of adjusting the tension or rethreading the machine helped. The best thing about the machine is it's size and weight, oh and it takes batteries so you can sew without electricity which I thought would come in handy on the road when we are dry camping and we aren't running the generator. This machine is going back, already packed in it's box. Maybe someone else will have better luck with it, but I doubt it.
What's next, well I called my mother to see if she could remember where the sewing machines were and she does, so I'll be picking up the smaller of the two and attempt to get it to work for me. Wish me luck and if you know of a small compact, lightweight sewing machine that will do basic stitches, then please let me know, I may still be in the market for one.

To be continued........

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Day for the Dogs

Today the dogs got to go to the spa. They had the full treatment, bath, clipped, teeth brushed, nails filed, the works. Now they are all clean and full of energy. The little one is asserting his dominance, while the spaniel is stealing all the chew bones. I guess we are back to normal. We sure did miss them while we were on vacation. I'm told they were perfect angels while at grandpa's house for the week. It's hard to be away from them for too long, but it looks like we will be again next month when we go to Napa. Buddy the spaniel wasn't too happy that I was taking his picture while he had a chew bone....he didn't even want to look at me for fear I would take it away from him....well it was Leo's bone. Oh and don't you just love the 70's vintage gold carpet. We have yet to remodel our house. That's next on the list.

I just ran across a Creative Blogger friend Marsha's Etsy shop and blog Spinal Fusion. What cool earrings.
I love the funky disk ones in the middle. Check out her Etsy shop for all kinds of goodies at reasonable prices.

Hope you had a good Monday.  Cheers, Dana

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Valentine's Day, Celebrating Love

My hubby and I don't normally celebrate a holiday like Valentine's Day as we feel it is just another one of those Card company promotions. What I do feel is that we should show our love for our spouse every day of the year and not just this one. Sure you can go out and buy your loved one something special on this day and I really wish you would (from me of course), but why not show them how much you care by doing something special for them instead of buying. I know we are all strapped for cash so this year would be the perfect time to start a new tradition. So, how about some of these ideas to get you started.

Make your own chocolate treats, fudge, cookies, candy - I know that for Christmas I made cookies and treats and everyone loved them probably more than if we had purchased fancy chocolates. One of the special items was Chocolate dipped pretzels. I purchased those pretzel rods from the local grocery store and then found the chocolate melts made by Wilton which are very easy to melt in the microwave. I also purchased  Health bits and mixed chopped nuts. Once the pretzels are dipped in the melted chocolate you can then sprinkle on the nuts and candy. What a hit. For Valentines Day I bet you could use the white melts and red sprinkles, so cute and festive.

Handmade Valentine's Day card - This is one of the easiest things to do. Lots of computers have programs that help you create cards, but you could also find a wonderful love poem on-line, type it into your computer using a neat little font, print it on vellum and insert it between a folded piece of red or Valentine printed cardstock. All the supplies you could get at any craft store or scrapbook store for pennies on the dollar of purchasing one of those fancy cards.

Jewelry - Yes you can make it yourself. I have several published tutorials to help you out, but if you want something for your hubby, why not make him a larger version of the Love Knot Ring (forget the cluster of gems). I used 14 gauge wire for my ring, but for one that is larger why not use 12 gauge. It is simple enough that I think a man would wear it, especially in sterling silver.

I'm sure you all have lots of other ideas out there for hand crafting your own Valentine's Day gift but if you don't and would prefer to purchase something for your love, here are a few products that I found interesting.

Fire and Ice Cigar Pen by Turnz-U-A-Round
Sumatra Mandheling Fair Trade Organic coffee by Brainscan
Mint Lip Balm by Venus Candles
Bath Fizzies by Bathgasm
Heart and Crystal Earrings by Letamarie Designs
Funky Valentine's Day cards by Love to Stamp
Ruby Necklace by Dana's Jewelry Design

Most all these items except for mine, Ruby necklace, was found on If you are interested in the Ruby necklace I have it listed in my 1000 Markets shop.

Friday, February 05, 2010

My Legs Hurt

Why? We are in Vegas and walking everywhere, hence the feet, shins, legs all hurt and it is only day two. I think tomorrow we are staying closer to our hotel and not venturing out so far, but Vegas is amazing. The people, buildings, lights, it is a lot to take in. The hubby is flat on his back and watching TV...I had Project Runway on and he isn't even complaining, he must be really tired. I've gotten a few good looks at some of the jewelry in the high end stores here and some of it is just amazing. There was this Ruby necklace at one of the stores in the Bellagio that was to die for, hubby said I could have that or a new house....Yea, hard choice. LOL. This is one of my favorite night time shots we took last night. It's hard to get good night time shots with a little point and shoot camera.

For those interested my arm has ceased to hurt. It is either the fact that my legs hurt so bad that the arm can't compete... ha ha or the Copper is working. I know what some of you will say.  Have a great day.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Copper, Does it Heal?

For the past month I have been having problems with my arm, most likely tendonitis from typing on the computer (dang those FB games) and working with my wire and beads..anyway if I take Motrin, it gets better. So, I'm thinking it is an inflammation of some kind. I had read that Copper would help and I could forgo the drugs when it is acting up, so that is the plan. Now if you believe in Copper healing this is a wonderful solution....I'm not sure that I do or don't but a lot of older folks swear by it for arthritis and wear copper bracelets. Since I do make jewelry, I have a lot of copper chain and wire around so here came the making of the copper bangles this morning. My wire was only 14 gauge and I needed 12, but it works for now. I've been wearing my copper love knot ring, see previous posts and the bracelets today and can actually say that my arm isn't as stiff as yesterday. Maybe it's working. I'll wear them for a week and report back. Here is a little bit more about the healing qualities of Copper that I obtained from the Jewelry Supplier web site.

Healing PropertiesHealers base their belief in Copper’s power to heal the mind and body based on the metal’s energy conducting properties. They believe that it can even facilitate this process and use it for creating crystal wands and other means of transferring the energy of crystals. They also attribute many of the same healing qualities to crystals and minerals that contain Copper traces.

Mental Healing
According to New Age healers, Copper can stimulate the flow of energy and hence move Psychic or Mental energies thereby helping the wearer overcome lethargic tendencies, resulting in a more vitalized person with amplified thoughts. They also attribute powers of communication, channeling, cleansing, purification, increasing self-esteem and freeing the wearer of mental burdens.

Physical Healing
Beginning in the 1970s in the United States, Copper's use as a healing agent began to see an increase. People who believe in its power esteem it as a very powerful assistant with Arthritic and Rheumatic diseases, but also look to it for its healing properties in improving the circulation of blood, increasing energy, detoxification, reducing inflammation, stabilizing metabolism and improving Oxygen use.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Love Knot Cluster Ring - Tutorial Part 2

Here's where we build on what we made yesterday. I have added yesterday's photo as a reminder, but you will need to go back and review those steps as indicated. Please excuse my dry cracked hands and fingers, hazards of working with wire. I was going to put some hand cream on but it is hard to work with wire when your hands are slippery.

This is what we will be making today.

Follow steps 1-8 above.

1. Twist wires on top of ring and curl them flush against themself (this is kind of hard to explain so I would refer to the sample picture.

2. Knot on top of ring should be in a more upright position vs. flat against the ring like in the love knot.
3. Gather additional supplies such as various beads (I use predominately 4-6mm) and head pins. Good way to use up some beads that get separated from your others as you can mix and match if you want. I keep a little jar to throw my extras in when I'm finished with a design.
4. Make sure your beads will fit your head pins (the pearls I had laid out didn’t work so I had to use other ones).
5. String your beads on the head pin start to make a wrapped loop.
6. Insert it onto one of the ring loops
7. Secure the end wire of the wrapped loop for this bead
8. Continue making wrapped loops on your beads and adding them to your ring alternating the sides.
9. Finished ring
10. A few more rings

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial series. I would love to hear your comments and see pictures if you have made any of these rings.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Love Knot Ring - Tutorial Part 1

Just in time for Valentine's Day here is my February tutorial (yes, I am trying to keep my resolutions). This ring is basic but fun when you add the cluster of beads to it (tomorrow's post). Have fun, this tutorial is in 2 parts. Part 1 is the standard love knot and Part 2 is the cluster.

Please excuse my dry cracked hands and fingers, hazards of working with wire. I was going to put some hand cream on but it is hard to work with wire when your hands are slippery.

The following ring design can be made in copper, silver or brass, but I would suggest making it in copper as that metal is cheaper until you get the hang of it.

Supplies Needed:

• Flush cutters
• Flat nose pliers (no ridges)
• Round nose pliers
• Polishing pad or cloth
• Diamond metal file (I found mine at Harbor Freight)
• 14 gauge wire
• Ruler
• Ring Mandrel or a wood dowel the size of ring you want to make.

1. Gather supplies
2. Measure 6” (will make a 7.5 ring) cut a longer piece of wire if you want your ring larger
3. Center the wire on the mandrel or dowel
4. Wrap both sides of the wire around
5. Continue wrapping the wire until the open ends are at the back (or in this case the front now.
6. Take ring off mandrel
7. Cross or twist one wire over the other with the round nose pliers
8. Cross the final wire over the previous wire
9. Both ends of the wire should be on opposite sides of the ring facing downward
10. Tuck the ends up under the ring tightly (this may mar the surface of your ring as you are using your flat nose pliers, but those marks are easily removed.
11. File under the ring ends until they are no longer sharp then polish with cloth, under and on top.
12. Finished ring

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post where we will build upon this principal and add the cluster of beads.


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