Ho Ho Ho Necklace

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Take a peek over on the ICE Resin blog to read the story of how and why I upcycled a Christmas card with a vintage Santa Claus image into a piece of holiday jewelry. I’ve been wearing this necklace a lot during this holiday season. Because it’s a long 36 inch chain, it goes with anything and feels both comfortable and festive.

Be sure to save your favorite cards after this holiday season is over and think about turning them into next year’s jewelry using ICE Resin and Susan Lenart Kazmer products.

I know this is the last weekend before Christmas and everyone is probably hopping and jumping with all the preparations. Me too. I do hope you are able to get a little creative time in the next few days to make something wonderful!

JenSig

Time to think about 2016 classes

My 2016 teaching schedule for the national retreats is 99.9% set. I’m just waiting to hear from one more. If you’re a fan of making mixed media jewelry, please consider taking a workshop from me next year. I’ll be teaching all my favorite stuff — ICE Resin, wire working, chain making, resin layering, mold making and casting, incorporating organics in resin and well…lots more.

Most of what I’m slated to teach is, indeed, jewelry making. Here’s the thing though. What I teach can be used in other mixed-media applications. Before I did jewelry, I was always adding metal elements to my assemblages and collages. Now when I do work in these mediums I find myself  including something jewelry-related into my pieces. Of course, it looks nothing like jewelry, but that always makes me happy. Whenever I’m making art, I strive to naturally incorporate the techniques as organically as possible so what’s most prevalent is the story. Everything I make has a story – real or imagined. That’s just the way I roll.

Speaking of stories, I’m teaching at Art is You for the first time in 2016. I created all new classes for this retreat. If you live on the West Coast or have family to visit in California, come spend a day or two with me. I have some extra tricks up my sleeves for AIY. I had so much fun creating this PeepPie leather journal. It’s the perfect example of some jewelry-making techniques that I sneaked into the instruction but you’d never know it.

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The rest of the year you will find me at the usual places. CHA (trade show only but there are still a handful of spots in my Resin Basics and Beyond 2-hour class) and then a few weeks later the To Bead True Blue show in Tucson. Susan and I are excited because for the first time Ranger Ink (our new business partners) will be manning the booth while we teach. There are some really exciting new products in the Susan Lenart Kazmer line that are debuting at CHA and Tucson. Be sure to stop by if you plan to come to the show. Register for my classes now.

I’ll also be returning to the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee and to Bead Fest Philly. For you Mid westerners and East Coasters, this is the time to find me. Bead and Button registration opens Dec. 15th. Bead Fest Summer should be opening for registration soon too.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you also know that I’m teaching an online class in 2016 too as part of the Art Jewelry Adventure virtual retreat. Registration for this one can be found here.

I have a few other irons in the fire that I’ll be filling in throughout 2016. As always, subscribe to my blog or check out my website under workshops to see the schedule.

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be back from Ohio. Susan and I got together in person for five days to get some art samples made for the ICE Resin booth at CHA. I’m so stoked because Ranger is building a brand new booth and we are going to be adjacent to them for the show. We have LOTS of eye candy planned with all the new SLK line of products. It was amazing to roll up my sleeves with her in her studio and get messy. I came home with a to do list as long as Santa’s naughty or Nice list, but I’m excited to spend some real time in my studio now making art. To that end, I’ll probably be on the quieter side here on my blog in my social media while I do a little extra juggling.

I hope your days counting down to the holidays are not super stressful and that you’re enjoying the extra good things that come with the season.

JenSig

 

 

Final few days to buy my jewelry

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My Handmade Art Market Holiday Pop Up Shop on the H.A.M. Facebook page is only open for a few more days. People have sent me private messages on Facebook saying they don’t quite understand how it all works. I know it’s a pretty new concept – a virtual group store on Facebook — but I think it’s pretty cool stuff. This is my first year participating in it. and only the second year the organizers have done it. The idea is the brainchild of my dear friend and fellow jewelry artist Susan Walls. She and her friend and artist Kelly put a lot of work into the idea. I think we are going to start seeing much more of this type of online selling in the future.

The way this virtual market works is that participating artists each have a storefront shop. Handmade items are up for sale in the shops. The first person to type SOLD in the comments section of the item and provides a valid PayPal address gets it. I will send an invoice and payment is due immediately.  Sorry, shipping only to valid US addresses at this time.

It can be a little tricky to find my shop. You must first be logged into your Facebook account. Then click on the Handmade Holidays Art Market page. If you can’t find it, type Handmade Holidays Art Market in the search field. There are quite a few so be sure to click the one with the icon that looks like a vintage Santa Clause. Next you click the link Photos. Then click the link Albums. You will see my shop logo there (pictured below for reference). Click into that and you can view my jewelry for sale.

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I’ve heard from a few people this year that they really want to shop handmade and support artists. I think it’s an awesome goal. The pop up shop introduced me to new artists I didn’t know and I was thrilled to buy some of their work.

Hope your holidays countdown is going great!

JenSig

For the love of Shelter pets

 

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We made an appointment with the Arizona Humane Society this week for our sweet old boy AJ to say goodbye.  The paperwork asked for my name and relationship to the pet, along with my address, payment information, consent, etc. Standard paperwork questions. On the relationship line I wrote mom. When Heather, the tech, came in to check everything over she very kindly said “I see you wrote mom, but we need you to write owner.” I looked at her in surprise.

The word owner never once came to mind. My husband and I are mom and dad. To our children and our pets. When we bring a life into our house, we just take care of them and they stay. That is until it’s time for them to transition.

AJ passed peacefully and quickly with the two of us petting him and telling him we loved him, along with an incredibly kind vet and sweet tech who did the procedure. It’s been two days without him. It’s too quiet at night. He slept next to my husband on the floor and snored louder than us humans. I keep looking behind me whenever I move my chair back at my desk. He was always there and if I didn’t watch out, I’d push back too quickly and bump into him. He’s not underfoot every time I walk into the kitchen.

We got AJ, a beautiful white-and-brown English Springer Spaniel mix at the Arizona Humane Society 13 years ago. They said he was two years old at the time and that he had been turned in because he wouldn’t stop digging up his owner’s yard. He was never a digger for us. The first weekend we took him to our family cabin, we went for a walk and he saw a squirrel. This particular breed are known bird dogs with soft mouths to fetch and return. AJ (the name he came with) never much cared for birds, but he would spend hours trying to catch a squirrel. His sweet nature would’ve been lost as to what to do with it if he ever did manage to catch one. That first walk, he pulled the leash so hard that it jerked from my hand. He took off like a bullet and was gone. The only thing that stopped us from immediately losing him was a thick patch of brambles where he got cornered in the thorns. My husband went in without hesitation, scratching up his legs and arms, to collect our new dog and bring him home. My husband never complained once about the stings and welts. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

It took many years for AJ to settle down when his nature was to bolt. Eventually with enough time, he learned to walk the woods off leash and hike for 10 miles with my husband, never more than a few inches from his side. He loved those hikes. Just last month, even with a body riddled with large fatty tumors, cataracts, limited hearing and old arthritic joints, he had to join in on a three-mile hike. He slept for a week, but I swear that old dog of mine came home grinning from ear to ear.

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He lived past his life expectancy, as have all our shelter animals. He was a great dog and companion. The hardest part about being a loving pet owner, I believe, is making the decision to euthanize humanely when they are sick and in pain. Many people cannot be there in the end. For us, however, we feel it’s our duty to talk to our animals and love on them even after final breath. The vets say hearing is the last thing to go. The last words our dogs have always heard from us are we love you. See you again!

AJ is now with our other dogs — each one we adopted from the Human Society. While writing this remembrance about AJ today is my way of coping (writing is how I make sense of things and get them out), the take away I’m hoping to leave here is a personal plea that if you’re going to adopt and care for an animal, give a shelter/rescue dog or cat the first shot at your love. There is something about an animal who is given a second chance on life. I swear they know it and give back more than you can ever give them. Also, when it comes time to make donations for causes you believe in, please remember the animal shelters. We give every year to the Arizona Humane Society. Writing that check is always a satisfying experience.

For those of you reading this who have fur babies, give them an extra pat or snuggle today. I have two more shelter dogs in my family. I’ve cried into their collars and been rewarded with compassionate looks and reassuring licks. I know they miss AJ too, but they seem to understand the circle of life way better than we humans do.

JenSig

 

 

Art Jewelry Adventure Incentive

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Time is getting nearer and nearer for the 2016 Art Jewelry Adventure Virtual Retreat. I know I wrote about the event a month or so again when registration first went live, but I thought it was time to remind you that I’m teaching at this awesome online event next year. In fact, I’m one of an entire team of 18 instructors. As such, I’ve been able to see some sneak peeks at the projects that are going to be part of next year’s event. I got pretty excited about some of the new techniques I’ll be able to learn from these talented peers of mine.

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In case you are wondering about Art Jewelry Adventure here’s a few answers to some of the common questions I’ve been asked –

What is it? A virtual art adventure that lasts all year long. You can take classes on your time, in your home and even wearing your pajamas if you wish. You will be able to slow down, stop, freeze and replay the video tutorials at your leisure.

How does it work? Every few weeks a new class is released. When it is released you will have access to a virtual forum where you can interact with other students and also the instructor. You can ask questions, show your work, get clarification on technique or a part in the video where you may need a little extra help or just say hey!

How many total classes are there? 18 instructors and 24 videos.

How much? $99 for the entire year, which comes out to less than $5 per class.

How do I register? Click my instructor link here. As long as you click this link then you will be signed up through me and I would be sooo appreciative!

What are you teaching Jen? I’m teaching a beautiful necklace project using an open-backed bezel, a fun transfer technique for imagery, layering ICE Resin, using organics and also making a wireworked bronze chain with handmade clasp to bring it all together in a 100% unique wearable art necklace. Here’s a pic in case you missed it.

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Who else is teaching? So many cool peeps! Brooke Bock, Ilysa Ginsburg, Kira Slye, Laurie Mika, Cat Kerr, Barbara McGuire just to name a few. You can look at the instructors page here.

And now for a little incentive to sign up. Whoever signs up for AJA Virtual retreat using my link will get a little handmade gift from me. This key chain includes a small resin-filled hobnail heart and a wirewrapped bead dangle attached via jump rings to a key chain. You can use the key chain as is, or pull off the charms and incorporate them into one of your jewelry pieces. Please give me until after CHA and the To Bead True Blue Show in Tucson to get these made and out to you, but I will get them created and mailed. See the photo at top for sample. Offer good only from Nov. 30 – December 31st. 

I hope to see you online in one of the forums soon.

JenSig

H.A.M Pop Up Shop Now Open

My Handmade Art Market Holiday Pop Up Shop is now open over on the H.A.M. Facebook page. I wrote a post the other day that I was planning to offer some of my handmade jewelry for sale. I just loaded up my shop with 32 pieces of wearable art. I hope you get a chance to take a peek. The sale starts midnight Nov. 27 and runs until Dec. 13th. If you’re doing holiday shopping, I suggest you shop early in order to make the shipping in time.

The way this virtual shop works is that participating artists each have a storefront shop. Handmade items are up for sale in the shops. The first person to type SOLD in the comments section of the item and provides a valid Paypal address gets it. I will send an invoice and payment is due immediately.  I promise to send out the piece by USPS within the week. Sorry, shipping only to valid US addresses at this time.

Here is a sneak peek of many of the necklaces available.

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I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to see you on Facebook. Be sure to “Like” my business page if you haven’t already!

JenSig