Preview earring project

Looking for a simple and fun earring project to get you started working with metal? I have one in Making Metal Jewelry and the North Light Books folks have published online to whet your whistle. Take a look at CreateMixedMedia for the instructions.

Chased earrings by Jen Cushman

Chased earrings by Jen Cushman

2013 classes so far

Cold-Enameled Heart Necklace class. Learn all new enameling techniques for adding color to metal and also advanced resin techniques as well.

Cold-Enameled Heart Necklace class. Learn all new enameling techniques for adding color to metal and also advanced resin techniques as well.

I’m still working on building my new website. My goal is for it to be up and running by Jan. 10. which is the in-store date for Making Metal Jewelry. The site will have a gallery of my work, my class schedule, an option to purchase signed copies of my books, etc. Since I’ve been getting questions on my Facebook wall about next year’s teaching schedule, I thought I better put it on the blog now.

Susan and myself and many of the ICE Resin team will be at the Craft and Hobby Association trade show in Anaheim Jan. 11-15. Susan and Kristen are teaching sold-out workshops during the show and I’ll be in the background helping them TA since the classes are maxed out at 50 people. This trade show is open only to members of the crafts industry and is one of the big shows we do each year to introduce our new products. We have some amazing new things coming out next year and are thrilled for this show to get here.

Then, a mere two weeks after CHA, we’re heading to the Tucson gem show — To Bead True Blue — where the team is teaching lots of interesting workshops. If you love making jewelry and you’ve never managed to get to Tucson in February, I suggest you put it on your bucket list right now and find a way to make it happen. Anything and everything with gems, minerals, beads and unique objects is found and focused on at these shows. I’ll be teaching five classes in Tucson and registration is going on now.

Feb. 28-March 3, I’m excited to be teaching classes at Linda Young’s event Adorn Me in Houston, Texas. There are still spots left in many of the classes, all featuring metalwork and/or mixed-media jewelry with top instructors. Take a peek at the workshops here. A couple of classes, such as  So You Want to Write a Book, are classes I’m only teaching at this event for 2013.

I’m thrilled to be back for my third year at CREATE, hosted by Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine in Orange County, California. I love this show so much because the event organizers always let me teach both straight mixed-media and also mixed-media jewelry classes. I’m thrilled to be doing a journal, as well as some very cool new classes using our brand-new products and techniques that we’re introducing at CHA and Tucson. Registration for this event just opened yesterday, and my journal was featured on the announcement email. So very cool to see as an instructor! I’m in such amazing company at this event and a few of the instructors are my very dear friends. I get a smile on my face every time I realize I’m going to get to see them very soon.

The last event to tell you about for now is the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. This is another one of our annual big shows for ICE Resin. I’ve been at the show the past three years with our company, but this is the first time I’ll be teaching there as an instructor. Honestly, this is an event I never thought I would be instructing since it’s home to many of the best of the best master silversmiths and jewelers. It was kind of a pinch me moment when the acceptance email came in. I’ll be teaching resin, of course. (grin)

There are a couple more events I’ve applied to that haven’t been announced. I’ll be adding those to the calendar as soon as I hear (fingers crossed) that I’ve been accepted. Just a little note on this, I’ll be writing a future column on the teaching application process for those of you who wonder how this all comes to pass. I did write a basic one for CreateMixedMedia last year. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, you can click over to my columns on the website.

For any of you whom are thinking of going to an art retreat for the first time, but are maybe wondering if you can afford it or if it’s worth the time and expense, let me tell you they are! When I fell in love with mixed-media all those years ago, it was these retreats and the amazing, giving and wonderful instructors that set me on my path. It was a journey that’s been life altering for me, and I’ve seen the same story told again and again for many others.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day as you head into the final stretch of the Holiday season.

White Chili recipe…Yum!

A cup of white chili is great on a cold December evening. Extra yummy with homemade cornbread muffins!

A cup of white chili is great on a cold December evening. Extra yummy with homemade cornbread muffins!

As promised to my Facebook friends, here is the very yummy white chili recipe. A few months ago, my mother-in-law invited me to a girls night out green crafting event her church and they served this chili with some crunchy tortilla strips on top. There must have been over 100 ladies there, so I knew this was a good recipe for a crowd of folks and I begged her to get me the recipe.

Since there are no children other than mine on my side of the family, we usually get together for our family holiday party one of the weekend nights before Christmas. We make it casual with a buffet dinner of soup, salad and homemade rolls. My Godmother usually brings a pie from Marie Calendars. We are hosting this little get together at our house this year since we’re back in Phoenix, and I’ll be making this white chili.

There are lots of kids on my husband’s side of the family, so we’ll be doing the big traditional Christmas day dinner of ham, potatoes, etc. I guess we’re back to hosting. It’s been nice for the past 10 years because we came to the Valley for holidays and no one expected me to cook much, even though they all talked about how much they missed it. I really do love cooking. Not the daily grind — the work all day and then figure out how to feed my family cooking, but the artful act of creating tasty food to nourish friends and family at big get-togethers full of laughter and cheer!

Without further ado…

White Chili

1 pound of chicken cubed

1 medium onion chopped

1 clove of garlic, pressed

1 tbs olive oil

12 oz chicken broth

2 cans (15 oz each) of great northern beans drained and rinsed

1 small can of chipped green chilies. (Note: I love green chilies and use 2 cans)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp pepper

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whipping cream (Note: I use half and half)

Directions: Saute chicken and onion and garlic in olive oil. Add beans, chilies, broth and spices. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cream. Top with cheddar cheese and tortilla strips or corn chips. (Note: I also add a little chopped cilantro at the end too).

How a book is born

new metalsmithing book

My new book is now at the F+W warehouse and I’m soooo thrilled. Because we’ve been doing so new much product development for ICE Resin this past year, I had to take a short break from writing my column at CreateMixedMedia.com. I’m back at my columns again and happy to be doing so.

Usually when a book is released, you will hear a lot about it. What you rarely hear is the process authors go through to get a book and then see it to fruition. So that’s what I decided to write about. If you have a moment, click on over to CreateMixedMedia.com and read my column.

I hope your holiday preparations are going beautifully. Here’s wishing you a very Artful day!

Seaside funnies and wrap up

Me and Elena the day before Seaside Soiree began.

Me and Elena the day before Seaside Soiree began.

If there is one thing I have learned over the years making mixed-media jewelry is that my style is definitely not everyone’s cup ‘o tea. While some people truly “get” me and my funky, artsy style there are others — like my very own mother-in-law — who respond to my work with descriptive words such as “interesting” or “nice” or “wow, different”. I admit it, at one time it used to bruise my ego just a tad when I heard these things because I knew it meant they didn’t like my work. I’ve so gotten over this as I continue to make work and grow as an artist. The bottom line is that I have to like my work. No one else. I’ve learned there are, indeed, other souls who view this world through the same quirky glasses I do and, somehow, we seem to find each other.

I bring this up because of Brooke. I met her this past weekend when I was teaching at Seaside Soiree in beautiful La Jolla, California right at the Scripps Institute with gorgeous ocean views. Brooke is a former Marine and a very dear friend of Elena’s. She worked her booty off as a volunteer at the art retreat, setting up decorations and picking up trash and doing her best to keep things running smoothly. Brooke is not a crafter. She doesn’t get the fascination of playing with inks, paints, resin, etc. She swears whatever she tries to do that’s crafty doesn’t work out.

I was so surprised when Brooke came up to me at the end of the night after the ladies had all poured their ICE Resin bezels and asked to make one. She swore up and down hers would be terrible and the resin would be sticky or not come out. I shrugged my shoulders and told her that it’s nearly impossible to mess up ICE Resin. Guess what? I was right. Brooke made a gorgeous collage and glitter bezel in ICE and it turned out perfectly.

Brooke's face says it all...

Brooke’s face says it all…

I saw Brooke again Saturday night at the Seaside dinner and art auction. I was wearing a resin casting ring. I made a mold of a ceramic doll’s head and then painted it to finish it off. I then embedded the head in layers of resin paper and set it into one of our Art Mechanique prong rings. I happen to love my ring and wear it when I dress up. When Brooke saw the cast doll head, her expression said it all. She was so shell-shocked that she couldn’t even come up with the words “nice” or even “fine”. I burst out laughing at her reaction so loudly that Avila, one of the other ladies attending the retreat, snapped a photo.

I had a wonderful time at Seaside. It was my second year volunteering to teach to help Elena raise money for Charity Wings and I think it was even better than last year. About 40 very talented and very creative women participated and gave myself, Danita Art and Jennifer Priest an incredible outpouring of love and respect. I won’t be returning next year, as I have a pretty full teaching schedule for 2013 already, but I will definitely be there for Elena and Charity Wings when they open the doors to their new art center.

Here are a few more Seaside pics…

Me and Jamie and Trish, my roomies for the weekend. Such amazing women!

Carol LaValley, our social media curator for ICE Resin having fun painting her dress form

Carol LaValley, our social media curator for ICE Resin having fun painting her dress form

Pretty collaged and poured ICE Resin bezels and also resin paper for the journal class I taught the next day.

Pretty collaged and poured ICE Resin bezels and also resin paper for the journal class I taught the next day.