Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Birthstone Meanings

Busy busy weekend around here, as you know the kiddo graduated from college, Mothers Day and the hubs Birthday were all this weekend, it also rained, and stormed and generally made things interesting. We ate too much, or maybe that was me, got soaked, laughed, loved and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Kiddos best friend in the whole world came down and brought her mini man, he was such an angel during the ceremony only getting startled by the cheering twice. All in all it was a good weekend!

I enjoyed last years Birthstone postings and thought this seemed like a really good time to add a little something to them. I found this article on The Farmers Almanac today and thought I'd share it with you here.
The wearing of birthstones is thought to bring good luck and good health. Astrologers long ago attributed supernatural powers to certain gemstones.
The birthstones we associate with certain months now are not necessarily the same ones as in ancient times. Once, color was the most important feature of a stone. Ancients did not distinguish between a ruby and a garnet, for example.
The names used in history may not relate to the stone we think of with that name today.
  • For example, a sapphire in the Bible was probably what we know today as lapis.
  • Diamonds were probably a white sapphire or white topaz.
  • The stones originally assigned to each month related to the stones appearing on the breastplate of a Jewish high priest.

Birthstone Meanings by Month

January's birthstone, the garnet, is thought to keep the wearer safe during travel.
February's birthstone, the amethyst, is said to strengthen relationships and give its wearer courage. At one time, only royalty could wear the gem. Ancient Greeks thought that the amethyst guarded against intoxication. In fact, amethyst comes from amethystos, a Greek word meaning "sober."
March's birthstone, the aquamarine, was thought to cure heart, liver, and stomach diseases—all one had to do was drink the water in which the gem had been soaking. Early sailors believed that aquamarine talismans, etched with the likeness of the sea god Neptune, protected them against ocean dangers.
April's birthstone, the diamond, in addition to being a symbol of everlasting love, was once thought to bring courage. In Sanskrit, the diamond is called "vajra," which also means lightning; in Hindu mythology, vajra was the weapon of Indra, the king of gods.
May's birthstone, the emerald, was one of Cleopatra's favorite gems. It has long been associated with fertility, rebirth, and love. Ancient Romans went so far as to dedicate this stone to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Today, it is thought that emeralds signify wisdom, growth, and patience.
June's birthstone, the pearl, has long been a symbol of purity. The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the hardened tears of joy from Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
July's birthstone, the ruby, was regarded by ancient Hindus as the "king of gems." It was believed to protect its wearer from evil. Today, the ruby's deep-red color signifies love and passion.
August's birthstone, the peridot, symbolizes strength. It is sometimes called the evening emerald for its light green color. It was once believed that the green peridot crystals found in volcanic ashes were the tears of the volcano goddess, Pele. When set in gold, this gem was said to protect the wearer from nightmares.
September's birthstone, the sapphire, was once thought to guard against evil and poisoning. It was believed that a venomous snake would die if placed in a vessel made of sapphire. Traditionally a favorite stone of priests and kings, the sapphire symbolizes purity and wisdom.
October's birthstone, the opal, symbolizes faithfulness and confidence. The word comes from the Latin opalus, meaning "precious jewel." Necklaces with opals set in them were worn to repel evil and to protect eyesight.
November's birthstone, the topaz, symbolizes love and affection. It is believed to give the wearer increased strength and intellect.
December's birthstone, turquoise, is regarded as a love charm. It is also a symbol of good fortune and success, and it is believed to relax the mind and to protect its wearer from harm. Turquoise rings, in particular, are thought to keep away evil spirits.

With the kiddo graduated and started in her new job, and the youngest headed back to college for summer classes things should settle back down again and hopefully I can get caught back up with the Year of Jewelry Project and will have some new pretties to share again soon.......... or a new garden bed or both lol

Thanks for stopping by!
We'll see you next time!

More Birthstone posts:
Oct 28, 2014
As I said this month has two birthstones, Opal and Tourmaline. Prior to 1912 the second stone was not Tourmaline, it was Aquamarine the stone we now have as March birthstone. I find it pretty interesting how many stones got ...
Feb 18, 2014
I enjoyed creating the January birthstone treasury enough I thought I might make it a monthly thing. It gives me a color theme for at least one treasury a month, I get to showcase a couple of my own pieces here, and since I like ...
Mar 18, 2014
Continuing our monthly postings of Birthstones this month we have Aquamarine. It is of a beautiful pale icy blue color quite fitting for this time of year when ice gives way to the first blush of spring. Especially fitting for this year ...
Jun 10, 2014
Pearls are the featured birthstone this month. But as our poem shows that wasn't always the case....... Who comes with summer to this earth, And owes to June her hour of birth, With ring of agate on her hand. Can health ...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Wind Dancer Studios: Inspiration for Graduation Jewelry, #Inspiration
 My Inspiration  

Inspiration comes from many places. I've been talking a lot about inspiration lately I know, probably because my brain has shifted from make to plan mode.

It's been a bit of a whirlwind around here lately, what with awards receptions and end of school year everything. This coming weekend will be a really busy one for our household. My Daughter graduates college and starts a new job, my hubs has a birthday, and we have Mother's Day, boom boom boom just like that.

The kiddo and I are both planning on sewing new dresses for this weekend, which will of course require jewelry. I offered to make her some, but sadly the "trauma" of her high school graduation, and the inability to get off stage because the presenter was so smitten with the necklace I made for her, has made an indelible impression on her memory and she declined. She wants an easy on, thank you and easy off this go around.

I will just be making myself some pretties to wear and she can wear pearls.

So what does a paper bouquet, a spring meadow, polymer roses, a pretty wrapped gift and my daughters best Aladdin face have in common? They're my inspiration for the earrings I'm about to make. I think they're going to do triple duty for me, I'll have something really pretty to wear to the kiddos graduation, they'll do for my entry into the chandelier challenge B'Sues is having, and they'll also do nicely for the About Me entry for Year of Jewelry - see planning mode lol

Oh, you want to know how each is an inspiration? Sure! The paper bouquet inspires a cascade of flowers, the spring meadow brings gorgeous colors (my dress is gray) the polymer flowers are a free tutorial I found on Pinterest, the gift inspires the addition of pearls to the cascading flowers and the kiddo - she's the reason for it all.

Feel free o share your inspirations in the comments below, I'd like to know what inspires you?

See ya next week!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Allow Me A Little Proud Mom Moment

Wind Dancer studios shares a Proud Mama Moment, #ProudMama
My Son at Last Nights Honors Reception

I post a lot about my younger daughter, she graduates college in less than two weeks ... wow time flies! I don't post about my son nearly as often,  I've shared some of his jewelry over the years but  these days he likes to play with bigger pieces of metal and much bigger torches.

Alex is the youngest of my three and has really come into his own in college. I'm very proud of him and the direction he's headed. Last night I had the honor of attending an Honors Reception where the kids were referred to as our family. Students who not only have the intelligence but the grit that is required to become our future leaders and business owners, the people who will shape our future. Does that make a heart swell or what?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my Heart Swells!
See you next time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Inspiration is Everywhere Or I Write a Guest Blog Post

Wind Dancer Studios Inspiration in Every Day Items

I see things a little differently than some people, I see design in everything. I see patterns, and colors, texture and movement. I see the potential to make something pretty, something mine. Like this wonderful photo of a Pariseienne door I found on Etsy. I love the carvings, the floral center, the diamond frame, and the little rosettes. That softly faded green of a natural aged patina. Just gorgeous. 

It immediately brought to mind this wonderful connector over on B'Sues website, with just a little touch of Swelligant or Gilder's Paste that patina could be given life on a really pretty piece of jewelry.  It would make for a truly gorgeous set.

It was the same when I saw the Dolce & Gabanna earrings I write about on B'Sues blog http://bsueboutiques.typepad.com/bsue_boutiques_jewelry_su/2015/04/finding-your-style-in-everyday-inspiration.htmlThe shapes immediately brought me to several of her brass filigrees. I knew how easily they would make up similar earrings.

As I created my inspiration earrings I could see how wonderfully the style would translate in an asymmetrical design.

Wind Dancer Studios, Asymmetrical Design

I loved Coral's earrings from the Build a Line Challenge, she created a beautiful asymmetrical design. Then I remembered this filigree pair from Mia Montgomery she mixes up both size and shapes but the design still balances beautifully.

If you'd like to see the earrings I made hop on over to Brenda's blog to take a peek and see the $800 earrings that inspired them.

Thanks for stopping by!
We'll see you next time!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Li'l Stevie Ray Vaughan For You Tax Day Prep

I had meant to have a post written up for today as tomorrow is tax day here in the US but I got side tracked. I hate to admit it but it does happen.

I am eyeball deep in numbers and forms and calculations today - the numbers aren't adding up the way I think they should be - and I really don't like it when that happens. My old software isn't supported by this computer and this software just won't tell me where it's all been spent at. I think I'm almost ready to go back to hand written journals!!! grrr

So, on that note.......

a little Stevie Ray Vaughn

Happy Tax Day! If you're taxed, smile, it means you have a job and most likely means you earn enough to put food on the table and a roof over your head. That's better than a large portion of the world. We like to complain, and sometimes it's nice to be reminded how good we really have it.

Til next time!
Thanks for stoppin by!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Make Ear Wires or How Lefties Make Them - Me Anyway

hand crafted hollow bead earrings by wind dancer studios on Etsy, ear wire tutorial
Hollow Bead Earrings by Wind Dancer Studios

There are lots of ways to make ear wires and I use several of those methods myself. This is my go to method - it’s very basic and assumes you have some knowledge of working with wire and don’t need me to tell you cutters cut people too, files ruin manicures, and hammers hurt when you smash a thumb or fingernail.

I made a pair of hollow beads for the Year of Jewelry project  and thought hey! why not share how I make the ear wires for these? If my fingers look a little dirty that would be why, that and the glitter nail polish lol So I just grabbed the camera and shot photos as I worked. 

DISCLAIMER!!! I AM A LEFTIE, I use both hands when making jewelry so I don’t always realize when things might look backwards to you - if it looks backwards just mirror it and it should work out just fine! If you’re a leftie HI! isn’t it nice to know there are more of us?!

OK Let’s get started!

Step 1) Cut two pieces of 20 ga wire two inches long.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 1
I use Tronex Razor Flush Cutters I heart my Tronex!

Step 2)  Debur your ends on both ends. You can use a bur cup, fish hook sharpener or a nail file. Just file them smooth, nothing worse than sharp wires poking you in the ears. (ok maybe a few things..but…)

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 2
Deburring with a cup bur
got mine at Fire Mountain Gems

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 2
Demurring with a nail file 180 grit

Step 3) Straighten and work harden your wires. You can use nylon jaw pliers for this or use a bench block but I like rolling the wire between the anvil and an altoids tin or the ruler, whichever is closest at hand. There’s no curve to the wire once you’re done and it has a slight spring to it.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 3
Don't you love my baby anvil! It's so tiny!
Hubs found this one at a yard sale, my other one is 15 lbs
cast and sits on my other desk.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 3
Roll wire between anvil and ruler to straighten and work harden.

Step 4) On one end of each wire form simple loops, this will be where you add your dangle etc.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 4
Form a simple loop on one end.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 4
Simple loops, I didn't center the loops but you could.

Step 5) Take your bail making pliers and wrap both wires around the larger barrel leaving the tail longer.
You can use wood dowelling, a sharpie or a pencil, anything smooth and round.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 5
Forming wires on bail making pliers - large barrel side.
These are Bead Smith pliers.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 5
Form both wires at once so they match.

Step 6) Most people stop there but I like to go one more and slide my wires onto the smaller barrel and tuck the dangle side in for a tighter curl.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 6
Slide both wires onto smaller barrel for a tighter curl on the backside.

Step 7) At this point you can slide a bead onto the wire if you want. I like to add a little matching detail to my wire so they match my earrings.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 7
Adding a bead for color.

Step 8) Now grab the wire just behind the bead and give a little bend to help hold the bead in place. This also balances the wire a little bit so your dangles hang straight down.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 8
Securing the bead in place.
I'm using Wubbers Chain Nose pliers.

Step 9) Place your ear wire on the anvil or bench block and give the backside of the curve a little tap. This hardens the curve and helps it keep its shape. Some people don’t like the flattened wire, especially with a heavy earring, to keep the wire round use a rubber mallet or a leather mallet instead. Both will harden your wire without distorting it’s shape.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 9
Hardening the back edge. I'm using a finish hammer,
it has a slightly domed smooth face with no hard edges.
Sometimes I steal the hubs MAC chasing hammer
for auto body work, it has a much smaller head, great for
precision work!

Step 10)All that’s left is to add your dangle and voila you have just made your own ear wires.

wind dancer studios ear wire tutorial step 10
hand crafted hollow bead earrings by wind dancer studios on Etsy
Hollow Bead Earrings by Wind Dancer Studios

Please excuse the stacked trays in the background, I just realized they were there lol I was using those to keep my components together as I worked on my Muchas Musings Lines. They allowed me to keep components with the sketches so I wasn't constantly looking for where they went. Take out tubs are AWESOME for this, lids and see through.

I hope you enjoyed seeing me make these and if you did please leave a comment. 
Comments will encourage me to retake those photos for the rose tutorial......

Thanks for stopping by!
We'll see you next time!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Art of Business or the Business of Art

There's a discussion on returns happening as I write this in one of my groups on FaceBook. One of the ladies has made a purchase and it arrived broken in half. She had contacted the shop owner who insisted she return before issuing a replacement. Somewhat frazzled as this was a gift she asked opinions on how we would handle it.

The majority stood behind the seller and her return policy.

I personally would be mortified if something I made had arrived broken in half. It's a reflection of me and the quality of my work. I stand behind what I make, while I have had pieces survive being driven over, I can't actually guarantee they will - but they sure shouldn't fall apart in transit or even before wearing.

wind dancer studios hand woven copper cross,
I made a similar Cross (available in my shop) for my son.
The purchased clasp failed and he lost it between the bus stop and our house.
We finally found it sticking out of the dirt road in front of the neighbors house,
months later. It had been driven over countless times with only a single bead lost. 

I was all set to explain even the big boys will replace without question. My customer service has got to be at least to par on that. Then it struck me. Of course they will, it's all machine made, factory mass produced, costing pennies to dollars and it's cheaper to send another than to waste wages on man hours dickering over it.  It's cost effective to just send another.

It really isn't cost effective for the individual artisan, though it is good customer service. If something is broken, replace it. If it's damaged in transit, it may be time to reconsider your packaging. What some call fluff others call protecting the good stuff.  I'd rather protect with fluff than have it arrive damaged. Some might consider it wasteful, but is it?

A protected item takes less packaging than a broken one.

A broken item costs: the original packaging, the return packaging, the replacement packaging. Man hours discussing the problem, offering solutions, and follow through. Not to mention the added stress on both buyer and seller.

Broken items just aren't cost effective to the artisan no matter how you look at it.

So there's your peek into my brain for the day...... the kiddo is learning all this in her final semester of college.
They've written their Artist Statements, created their wares, priced them, curated the exhibit, promoted it and are critiquing their accomplishments today.

She worked well past midnight every night all DURING spring break to prepare for her Senior Exhibit opening today. Kiddo had a minor melt down Sunday when the kiln gods decided to grace her pottery with a different color than her test tiles had shown the glaze to fire at and with only a mere few hours left there was no time to regroup.

So we focused on display and showing things to their best advantage. We pulled some of her older pieces to fill if she needed them and once she set up her display, she realized it wasn't as bad as she thought. She didn't need the older work at all, just a good cry and someone or four to believe in her and tell her it would be OK. Don't we all need that from time to time?

Rtistic Impressions on Etsy, Exhibit @ ATU Arts Center
The Kiddos Cup centered under exhibit :) 

The Kiddo's work can be seen on display at ATU's Arts Center. It is available for purchase and what doesn't sell from the exhibit will be offered again at the Art Sale benefitting the Art Department and from there it will move into her Etsy shop.

I'm proud of her. This last four years has just flown by and I'm not sure I'm ready to have one of my babies graduating from college. But ready or not it's happening.

Hoping your days are stress free!
See ya next time!