Category Archives: Painting Stuff

I present to you the…

Pathetic Lump.


Looks like a creature from the unknown.

Not to be defeated I went on to make a bigger, better, stronger,

Pathetic Lump


So that the first Pathetic Lump would have a friend and not feel so alone in its patheticness.


Little do they know that their friendship cannot last as it’s back to the flames with them.

As soon as I can be bothered to go through the whole process of making yet another mold.

Don’t fret for them my friends as once they stand at the crucible’s edge they will happily sacrifice themselves to the inferno knowing that other forms may come into being.

If the form master can get her act together and figure out how to do the darn thing.

Actually I think I’m close.

It’s just the sprig that needs sorting out is all.

Too much silver is trying to force its way into that little tube and starts to cool before it can fill the mold. I just get too nervous when I’m carving away the sand in case I hit the mold and mess it up.

Obviously I’m nowhere near it and can dig out another centimeter at least.

Onwards and Upwards.

We will never surrender.

In other news.

The painting, or at least one of them, is coming along.


I call it,

‘I can be a little harbour if I want to so leave me alone and get on with your own stuff why don’t you.’

I’m just going to figure out how to make the houses look not so silly and then I do believe I might even say that I have finished it.

I know right!


I bought me a cup.


Ain’t it cool


Off to make the new generation of Pathetic Lumps now.

So the plan was…

That the chunky chain got a home.

Didn’t happen.

Instead I started a new painting.


Yes, I know I said I’d given it up again…

So I got this far and then decided I was bored with it.

So I moved over to the jewelry area and half heartedly played around with some sketches and stones.


And decided on the spider one.


Even though I knew that it really wasn’t ever going to be the same as the drawing.

Just to step it up a bit I used one of my new stamps on it.


And then soldered it onto a back plate that was way too large for it.


That annoyed me as I usually pay a lot of attention to the amount of silver I waste to the point that I often have zero wiggle room to work with which also annoys me because then it’s touch and go that I’ve enough silver around the piece to do what I want with.

Guess the search for a happy medium continues…

Now I will share with you a tip for what to do with all your old pick sticks.

I don’t know about you, but after a while my picks start to loosen from their wooden handle. Even though I try to ignore it for a while they eventually start to swivel in the handle when I’m doing the picking thing with them.

I still try to ignore it, but then it just begins to get ridiculous and I can’t do a thing with them.

That’s when I get excited because I remember that hey! I can just buy a new one.


I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes.

So, not one to be wasteful, (apart from the huge amount of silver waste above), I keep the pick ends and use them to prop up pieces when I’m soldering.



Anyway, long story short, it all looks good here, but the soldering flopped due to the funkness and then I had to go in to make dinner…

Not before I added a bit more to the painting though.


So… that’s it.

In other news, while I was bored with it all and in one of my funks, I bought a new table top to add to the jewelry bench area and now it feels more complete.


I’m telling you, that small Swedish store is a blessing when you need a funk distraction.


Now my jewelry area is fantabulous.


And I feel very fortunate.




And just so the painting side of the studio didn’t feel left out I bought it a new table and drawers also.


That side is still a bit of a mess, but I’m working on it…

But look at all my pastels!

They have a happy home…



AND last, but not least, I have to tell you that I’ve hit another milestone.


Next stop $50,000.

See where I’ve sent it – HERE


I don’t know where I’ve been all week.

It’s just flown by.

I have been a little bored with the jewelry and just can’t seem to be bothered to start anything new.

I finished this for Serina.



And then decided to use up some more of my larimar beads.

IMG_6772 - Version 2

That bead cap needs a little adjusting.


And then I started a new chain.


But apart from that not a lot going on really.

I’ve been watching some BBC videos on artists that I found on Youtube. The series is called, What do Artists do all day? And I’m really enjoying that.

My favourite one so far is the one on John Byrne.

It all started when I stumbled across a series on Youtube called JTV Rock Star Designer because I was too bored to bother going into the studio and needed some inspiration.

I’ve suffered through all six episodes so far, and now have to wait until next week to find out who the two finalists will be. I think the winner gets to design a jewelry line for JTV.

I’m actually very surprised at how horrible the jewelry is and that, in the six hours they’re given to complete a piece, they can’t seem to make something that looks a little more professionally finished, but I suppose they’re under a lot of pressure. Also they’re only given half an hour to come up with an idea. That would be the hardest part for me as I generally make it up as I go along.

They’re also given some pretty gruesome materials to work with.

I’m not particularly impressed with the show, but of course now I have to finish watching it.

Then I discovered the artist videos and I love them.

It makes me want to go back to art school.

I went to Winchester School of Art in the U.K. What I wanted to be was a painter, but somehow I ended up in the sculpture department. I still would like to be a painter, but I’ve never given myself enough time to really get into it and now I just end up making piddly paintings which I enjoy, but which aren’t real paintings in my opinion.

Now these artists are making me a little sad that I never really gave myself to it.

I did love making the sculptures. I especially liked working out how the darn things would actually stand up and not kill someone.

I still think about making a sculpture of a woman sitting with her beautiful legs crossed in her beautiful designer clothes using nothing but used fake finger nails. I mean, what do they do with all of them once they’re done. I imagine that there are bazillions of them, in all shades of lovely, somewhere out there filling land fills and waiting to destroy our world.

Perhaps she could be having drinks with a refugee.

Who knows.

So I got my degree and then, nothing.

Well, there was the marriage part, and then the kids part, so it wasn’t exactly nothing.

Now it’s my part, and I’m really enjoying it.

Problem is that I’d have to get up before yesterday and go to bed after tomorrow, to be able to do all the things I’d like to.

Just pick one laddie!

Anyhow, so while I’ve been away I’ve been dreaming of all the things I started out to be and how I need to start being them.

The time is now people!

We just need to get down and be the people we know we are inside and stop fussing around with all the other stuff.

O.K. Well I do anyway.


Another quickie…

For anyone out there who would like a comprehensive tutorial on prong setting, bezel setting, and flush setting faceted stones, Ann Cahoon has one of the better demonstrations I’ve watched.

You can download it to watch immediately or purchase the dvd.




Actually they have a lot of good dvd’s.

And here’s another piece I’ve just finished because I know you were wondering.


Silver Onyx and Charoite.


I’ve decided that my next pieces will concentrate on finishing and polishing.

Jane I know you asked, but I’m really not that good at it.

For the pieces I make with the leaves I simply buff the hell out of them using one of these




And these.


The bottom two make it easier to reach into the nooks and crevasses.

You can also use fine sandpaper.

I know steel wool will work also, but I threw mine away because it hurts.

All those tiny slithers of steel get into your skin and even if you wear gloves there are still stragglers on your bench etc..

They really hurt.

I know, I’m a weeny.

I actually find it very hard to finish my pieces.

My journey to correct this starts now…

stay tuned.

When I get frustrated I take it out on a perfectly innocent canvas.

Sorry canvas.


As you all may know by now I start a lot of paintings, but rarely finish any of them.

I’ve decided not to let it bother me and just enjoy the flow.

Perhaps I’ll get to  finish this one as I’m pretty sure my acetylene is going to run out at any minute and I won’t be able to replace the tank until later next week.

Will I be able to make it…

dum dum dummm…..

I prefer stone collector to addict…

I’ve spoken about my cabochon habit before, but today I thought I’d fess up.

They do say that admitting it is the first step to recovery.


Ocean Jasper


African Green Opal, Labradorite, Chalcedony, and some strange pieces at the bottom.


A mixture of odd yummies


Some Prudent Man, Ruby things, and other lovelies.


This is the chrysoprase, chrysocolla, gaspeite, and shattuckite page with a few odd ones sneaking in.


Crazy Lace


Things I don’t know what to do with


Serpentine, blue opal, petrified wood and larimar.


Red Creek Jasper, Sonoran Dendrite, and a few of their friends.


The turquoise page, although I think a crysocolla has sneaked in when I wasn’t looking.


Fossilized Coral


And, of course, the brecciated mookite page, with some phoychromed something or others, a couple of willow jaspers?, and two stones that don’t know why I bought them.

Don’t judge me.

They actually are more beautiful that the photo’s give them credit for. The colours didn’t come out well.

I took them so that I could keep an eye on what they’re doing and print them out to design around.

Somehow I’ve got to set them before P sends the van to take me away.

I did make some pieces recently that I didn’t show you.

One of the custom pieces.


Imperial Jasper

Which was followed by his friend who didn’t want to be left out.


The friend

And I started another painting.


In other news.

Spud is causing as much trouble as she possibly can.


Except when she’s so tired she just has to fall asleep wherever she happens to be.



Here she is at the vets


And this is what she thought about it.


I think she’s actually been sent here to cure me of my need for material things as she and Nutmeg continually race back and forth until all my things get broken.

And all my computer and phone wires get chewed through.

And all of my skin gets ripped off.

And my sleep is interrupted by sporadic pounces.

Darn cute kittens…

A hundred days of what?

I came across the 100 day project and thought why not.


Trouble is I didn’t know what I’d want to do for a hundred days.

I’m not usually up for challenges as I believe they are set ups for failure, but I thought, hey, I might give this one a go.

So I decided I could either:

1. Make a piece of jewelry every day, but as I pretty much do that already it kind of seemed a bit like cheating.

2. Clean a little part of the house every day… Nah. Don’t think so.

3. Stop drinking wine for a hundred days.

That would definitely be a set up for failure.

4. Take a photograph.

5. paint a picture.

6. Create a doodle.

Etc., etc., etc…

I could do all of these things, but my dad’s coming to visit within the hundred day period, and my sister, and I don’t want to take up my time with them. It would have to be something I can do that doesn’t mean going into the isolation tank for long periods of time.

And, of course, number 2 would just about do me in and that wouldn’t be fair to my visitors, or to me.

So I chose Cornelius.


My little botanical book?


The Ledgers Ledgend of  Cornelius Audenberry III.

Intrepid Explorer and Royal Botanist to HRH Significanta Regina, Queen of Spry.

I started it when I was creating a run of triffid paintings.


Of which, you can be assured, there are many more.

And of course each triffid begged for a story.

Well, o.k. they didn’t actually beg, but rather was given one whether they liked it or not.

And so began Cornelius’ adventures to document the wildly fantastic flora of the Copstan Islands.

Of course his voyage on the Encumbrance had to be postponed due to his narrator taking all of the time she could be writing making jewelry instead, and whining about the house keeping, so to Cornelius the 100 day project seems to be a brilliant idea.

(Or not)

And one that I can easily do when my dad and sister come.

At first I thought I’d give myself a word or page goal for each day then I realized that I really just needed to write anything and not worry about giving myself rules.

So today is day four.


And I’ve already discovered a new member of the crew.

Who knew!

I usually get caught up in grammar and spelling and reorganizing the words, but this time I am simple writing it down.

One day at a time.

Other news.

Here’s a picture I’m working on because I was getting a little bored with the jewelry.



It’s got nothing to do with Cornelius as this is an entirely different world which he hasn’t discovered yet.

And a necklace.




MIA because…

My MIL is here.

And when your MIL comes 4,846 miles to visit, you close shop.

And when you close shop everything else surrounding it stops.

And when everything else surrounding it stops, you lose touch with normality – if there ever was such a thing.

And when you lose touch with normality.


Everything goes to pot and you don’t know up from down or what the h*#@ you were doing before.

So, all that’s left for me to say is

Merry Crimble

Happy Hols

Holy Medoly

and every other acknowledgment of celebration that it is possible to not be aware of but is important to salute.


Completely lost touch with reality.

So don’t forget about me my cyber friends and virtual realistic visitors.

I’ll see you all on the other side.


I leave you now with The Pot Plant of Joy.


Oh, and The Beatles.

Of course…

A remarkable thing happened earlier in the week.

I came in for lunch, as often happens at lunch time …



and thought I’d watch the news on the t.v. as I ate.


and you might have to prepare yourselves for this,

while I was searching for the news my finger froze on the shopping channel.

Yep, I watched those shopping channel t.v. women flaunt their beautiful hand model hands loaded with rings and bracelets and more rings and bracelets, and chat knowingly and covetously as they took out their rulers and measured their treasures right before our eyes.

It was the jewelry extravaganza experience of all jewelry extravaganza experiences,

and I couldn’t look away.

O.K. I could, but I’m embarrassed to tell you that I didn’t

I was scouting for new ideas and techniques.

Or so I’ll tell anyone who asks.

Anyhow, I can’t actually remember what I learned – except that I’d never make it as a hand model, or be able to sell a product that convincingly, but it did spur me back into the studio, if only to get away from the nice lady and her sales banter.

To shake the images of women hawking rings from my mind I decided to practice my sawing skills.


I had this great plan see.

I was going to cut out a design and then solder it onto another sheet of silver to give it depth.


I planned to use various thicknesses of silver and had a good idea of how all the pieces would fit together to make a beautiful pendent with depth and feeling.

But I kept forgetting the plan, and the sequence of the pieces kept getting muddled, and in the end I had to wing it more than I wanted to.

Those leaves are winged more than I wanted them to be.


Nice stone though.

And that cut out on the back ended up a good few millimeters the wrong side of perfect.

Don’t even mention the loop.


So what with that, and this,


Which I’m having trouble polishing.


I got out of bed this morning and shouted determinedly to P that I had given up making jewelry – again.

He called bull@##* which kind of irritated me as he knows me so well.

But there’s just too much going wrong right now.

Take this.


o.k. so don’t ask me why I bought it

Well it broke.

Not just the corner either, but right down the middle,

and so now it’s this.


See how I tried to give it that special rough/smooth design feature, and there are those leaves again that are more winged than they needed to be.

Don’t ask me about the curlywig either.

I even broke the top of the drop bead and had to rearrange its particles until it could be bezel set.


On the whole I know they didn’t come out too badly, but I get irritated with myself for being just a few steps too many away from getting it right first time.

Finishing the piece is my biggest problem. I’d like to take a class on cleaning and polishing. I get it almost right, but really would like to feel confident with what I’m doing.

I did make a ring though which I’m fairly happy with.

I usually shy away from making them as I’m not sure what size to make them, but yesterday I threw caution to the wind and made one to fit my hand, even though I will never wear it.



It’s a nice piece of turquoise.


And then I took a few old pieces and gave them a little more depth.

This one was very flat before.


And this one was horrible.


But now looks a lot better.


And lastly a painting, which I’m still working on.


I love the colours in this one.

On Saturday I met Penny of Penny’s Treasures.

It was kind of strange meeting someone who I’ve only ‘chatted’ with on this blog, but it was really nice to meet her and see her work at the craft fair she was attending.

Penny, I hope that you had a good day. The weather was perfect, I’d say, although I bet it was a bit chilly for us Houston folk in the morning.


Intermissions, stashings and cunning plans.

I’ve picked up the oil pastels again.


This one will be of the elusive cherry plucking striped warbler.

You know the kind I’m talking about. The ones with the blue breasts and yellow heads. You see them only at dusk after the children are in bed.

They don’t like children as they get to pick all of the cherries first.

It’s a bit of a cherry rivalry thing and you know how that goes.

Best they come out at bedtime really otherwise you never know how it will all end up.

I think I just need a bit of a jewelry break, although last night I admit to having a little moment trying not to buy all of the stones for sale on Etsy.

After a long struggle I managed to get away with buying only fifteen of them.

I didn’t want to buy them.


But they’re all so bootyful…

So I imagine that the painting intermission will be a short one.

Actually I could have retired completely from jewelry making after I nearly charged my first customer at the art fair $9,000 for a necklace and a pair of earrings, but I had to fess up as what would I have done with the hoard of gems I have lurking in the dark corners I stash them so that I don’t have to admit to being a hoarder who stashes gems in dark corners.

Out of sight just waiting for me to stumble across them and get all excited like.

Stumbling means I don’t have to feel guilty as I only find one at a time…

Actually, that’s a lie.

They’re lurking in plain sight.

I have them all in one place, organized onto cards into stone type ready to get out and gaze upon whenever I choose to ponder new designs.

But perhaps the dark corner lurking thing would be a more cunning ploy to prevent P from finding out the extent of my obsession.

By the way.

A note of warning.

If you use that Square thing on your phone to take credit cards at art fairs and the card doesn’t read first off and you have to keep swiping it, pay attention to where your thumb is on your phone so that you don’t inadvertently keep pressing the plus sign on the keyboard, again, and again, and again, until a simple $100 dollar charge ends up at $9,000.

This is not the best way to get repeat customers.

Just saying’.

So I’m off now to the post office where, I won’t admit to you here, that another small parcel should be waiting for me with yet more little beauties ready to be stashed onto cards in orderly loveliness and placed in my special orderly loveliness stashing container.

Send help now…

Or chocolate.

Paintings, jewelry and postcards.

I’ve been working on some older paintings.


And think that they’re almost finished now.


Very colourful don’t you think.

They almost match my black t-shirt dress code.

I think perhaps they are too fussy.

But, who cares, I might start another one today.

I’ve also made a few more jewelry pieces.




amethyst drusy and chrysoprase

But apart from that nothing much else going on.

I’ve been re working some old pieces of jewelry that I feel I can make better now that my skills are improving. I’ve enjoyed doing that. I’m also working on preparing some post cards to thank people who have bought from me over the years.

post card sept 14

Not sure about that though.

Also uploading all of the addresses to vista print means filling in this tiny tiny spreadsheet which I can barely see.

I’ll have to see what I can do about that as I’m sure there’s an easier way to do it.

Usually I have them post them for me as it’s cheaper (I think), but I might just have them sent here and post them myself if I can’t figure out how to upload the addresses.

Also, I don’t really like playing around with people’s addresses and them getting junk mail.

That’s why I’m not sure about it.

I’m also experimenting with varnishing my paintings, those that aren’t still gooey, and I’ve also mounted some prints which I hope to sell at the art fair coming up next month. I think these might sell better than the originals because I can price them lower.

And that’s about it really.

Bit fed up.

Bit tired.

And I’ve just really bored myself.

Oh well.


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