Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Decorate with Children's Christmas Art - Bring back the warm memories

"Glory to the new born King ..." sings the angel on the Christmas triptych that my autistic son created over a decade ago.  This year, that triptych was the focus of my Christmas decorating -- occupying the place of honor on my family room mantel.

A triptych is a picture on three panels, usually hinged together vertically, and traditionally used as an altarpiece.  When I first saw Tony's triptych portraying the nativity and the accompanying block figures of the Holy Family, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  He was a fifth grader at the time (now he's in college). Always plagued with coordination problems, the three panels are inexpertly carved with wavy edges, and the drawings are very raw, but the expressions on the faces of the simple, cartoon-like characters are priceless and, to me, convey the true joy of Christmas. The blue of the night sky is so rich and deep, and the Star of Bethlehem shines down so brightly, bringing an intense feeling of hope, which to me is what Christmas is all about.

Every year since he created it, I have displayed Tony's nativity triptych, usually tucked away on a corner table in the dining room, or on the lower shelf of a table in the front hall.  But when I pulled it out from storage as I went to decorate this year, it struck me that this piece of children's Christmas art was my most precious and most meaningful symbol of Christmas.  I wanted to place it front and center -- where we could all enjoy it and  be reminded not only of the Truth of what Christmas is all about, but also of the warm family memories of Christmases past.
In the daylight

Merry Christmas to All and may you find Peace in the year to come!
In the evening with the lights twinkling

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shop Small, Shop Handmade - Free Shipping Extended + 10% off

Today is Small Business Saturday.  You can get 10% off any and all items in my Artfire Studio today and tomorrow with coupon code: GOSSALE at checkout.  Free Shipping on orders within the US has also been extended through Monday 11/28.  What could be better?  Free shipping + 10% off.  Have fun!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Black Friday" actually Black Wednesday through Friday at Gossamer Tangles Artfire Studio

Gossamer Tangles is offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders shipped within the US from Wednesday, November 23, 2011 through Friday, November 25, 2011.  Maybe you'll find that unique gift that is perfect for someone on your list ... or maybe give yourself to a little holiday treat.

Hand-Embroidered Jewelry Featuring Handmade Fabrics on Felt

Shimmering and light, but substantial -- this new technique of creating a translucent fabric and then bonding it to felt allows for beautiful, intricate designs that will endure.  Recently, I created fabrics using Angelina fibers, embroidered designs on the fabric using metallic threads, and then bonded it to wool felt.  I then embellished the edges with hand-embroidery as well.  I also added crocheted embellishments in metallic thread to some of the pieces.  Here's the result:

Festive Hand-Embroidered Holly Leaf Earrings with Red Berries

Frosted Purple Ash Leaf Earrings

Hand-Embroidered Holly Leaf Earrings with Red Glass Bead Berries

Similarly, I created fabric by dying a used dryer sheet with alcohol inks and adding metallic acrylic paint accents.  I then took the recycled dryer sheet, embroidered a design using metallic thread and glass beads, and bonded it to wool felt.  I also embroidered the edges with beads and metallic thread to create a round medallion.  It is attached to a braided necklace of organza ribbon and crocheted, beaded chains of metallic threads.

Green and Gold Hand-Embroidered Beaded Medallion Necklace

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gossamer Tangles Participating in Small Business Saturday - November 26

Saturday, November 26,  is a big day for Gossamer Tangles. It’s the second annual Small Business Saturday®, when people across the country come out and shop to support their favorite local businesses.

In celebration of Small Business Saturday, Gossamer Tangles will offer at discount of 10% off on every item in our Artfire Studio for that day only.  You will need to enter the Coupon Code: GOSSALE at checkout to receive the discount.  

Don’t forget to “Like” and recommend us on Facebook at

Visit GossamerTangles' Studio
SAVE 10% Off All Items
Use Coupon Code:
during checkout.
Unique Gifts

Friday, September 9, 2011

Detroit News Columnist, Jocelynn Brown, Features Gossamer Tangles

Finding your name in the newspaper is always exciting, but when it appears in a feature article and it focuses on something you are passionate about, it is  .... well, beyond exciting!  Today, in the Homestyle magazine section of the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, craft columnist, Jocelynn Brown, wrote a feature about me and Gossamer Tangles.  You can read the article here

The article focused on a technique that I use in making some of my jewelry-- crocheting thread or fiber, sometimes with beads, into a metal chain.  Here are some examples:
Baroque and Brass Necklace

Light Among the Leaves Necklace

Glistening Rainbow Necklace

Golden Stripes Necklace and Bracelet

Basically, the technique involves treating the metal chain in the same manner as a base, crocheted yarn chain.  By using different fibers and different types of stitches, you can create many lovely combinations.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What Became of the Blue Recycled Dryer Sheet? Blue Moon Ruffles

Blue Moon Ruffle Earrings! That's the design I came up with for my third recycled dryer sheet.  Utilizing both used dryer sheets and recycled bottle caps, this is an eco-friendly creation.

This was the sheet that I painted using an iridescent/metallic blue acrylic paint.  I used dye on my other sheets.  The pain gives the sheet more body, and like the dye, it permeates through both sides.

I cut four strips from the painted portion of the sheet to use for the earrings -- two for each.  They were each about 1/2 inch wide.  I used a very fine, metallic aqua, filament thread and sewed a tiny running stitch along the top edge of the strips, joining two strips together with the line of stitches.  Next I used a delicate silver metallic thread to make a second line of running stitches just below the first, using those stitches to also secure a row of clear glass, blue-lined beads on both sides.  Finally, I added a row of running stitches in a cobalt metallic filament below the other two.

I flattened two "Blue Moon" Beer bottle caps to use as the base for the earrings.  I painted them with silver metallic acrylic paint and coated them with an acrylic gloss.

I gathered my strips into ruffles and attached them to the edges of the bottle caps with Fusion adhesive.  Then I created a circular, crocheted motif for the center of each earring, using thin silver braid, together with the cobalt and aqua metallic filaments.  I added a row of stitches in silvery-blue thread to the edge of each circle. Tiny blue glass seed beads were crocheted into the design, and a clear crystal disc bead and small iridescent blue tube bead were added to embellish the center.  These circle motifs were attached to the center of the bottle caps/inner edge of the ruffle using the same adhesive.

Finally, I crocheted two short chains using blue nylon-coated beading wire and silver colored copper wire, embellished with clear blue glass beads and the crystal disc beads.  I attached one end of each chain to a silver star earring post and one end  to the bottle cap on the back of ruffle/crochet circle.

That completed the earrings.  They really capture the essence of a star-studded sky on a clear summer night.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hearts, Stitching and Shine in New Recycled Dryer Sheet Earring Design

Yesterday, I finished the second pieces in a new series of jewelry created by recycling old dryer sheets.  For this design, I used the sheet that I died with cranberry-colored ink.

After thinking for a while and looking at available materials in my stash, I decided to go with a heart motif.  I think it was probably the color of the dryer sheet that put that image in my mind.

I decided to use the cranberry as a backdrop for the design and make the heart, almost like an applique, from Angelina fiber.  Choosing gold, deep magenta, a bit of teal, and a bit of transparent iridescent fiber, I used my iron to meld them into a small fabric swatch.

Because of the gold fibers, I decided to go with gold tone findings and chose larger gold hoops (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) to showcase the heart design.  I traced around the outside of the two hoops to define my working surfaces on the dryer sheet.  Then, I was able to cut my hearts to an appropriate size from the Angelina fiber fabric.  I decided to go with 4 hearts and decorate both sides of the earring.  (I kind of hate it when I have to worry about which way my earrings are facing to determine if they look good.)

I used just a dab of Fusion glue to adhere the hearts to both sides of the dryer sheets, in the center of the circles I'd drawn -- lining them up to match front and back.  Then I brushed a decoupage-type gloss over each side of the sheet (allowing time to dry between sides).  This ensured that the hearts were well-adhered to the sheet and provided a more durable finish.

At this point, I debated about whether I wanted to add some type of beaded embroidery to embellish the surfaces, but discarded that idea because of the need for both sides of the surface to look finished and essentially identical.  I decided to use a simple running stitch, done in metallic thread, to achieve a design that would appear on both sides in the same way as I worked.  I chose a variegated thread from my stash that mirrored the colors in the Angelina fibers. I lightly traced a circle border on each surface and covered that in the the running stitch and then did the edge of the heart motifs.  Looking at my work, I felt it still needed a little "something" and chose to add the three tiny red seed beads to the hearts as my finishing touch.

Using my Fusion glue (which I love because it is non-toxic, works to adhere almost any surface very securely, dries clear, and cleans up with water if you catch it before it dries) I cemented the gold hoops to the one side of the dryer sheet, aligning them with my earlier outline tracing. Once the adhesive was thoroughly dry, I trimmed the dryer sheets to the edge of the hoops and added gold ball hook earring wires.

Done!  These are the finished earrings, which you can find for sale in my Artfire studio: Gossamer Glimmers Heart Hoop Earrings -

In this photo, you see both sides of the earrings.
I think one of the best things about using dryer sheets is their translucent quality.  As you can see from the photos below, the light travels through them, giving a very light and airy effect.  You can really see the texture and the way the fibers pick up the color of the dye.

I still have the blue and green/gold sheets to play with.  What can I do that's different? Hmmm......

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Playing Around With Used Dryer Sheets - Again

Back in March of this year, I wrote about recycling used dryer sheets to create jewelry and at that time, I created two pair of earrings.  Both of them sold, so I thought maybe I should try playing around with dryer sheets again -- try to see what other kinds of design ideas I could come up with.

First, I prepared some used dryer sheets by giving them color.
The cranberry and butterscotch sheets with colored by brushing them with alcohol-based inks.  The color saturates both sides of the sheet.  The blue sheet was painted with metallic blue acrylic paint, which also shows through nicely on both sides.  The green sheet was colored with alcohol-based ink in lettuce and then swirls of metallic bronze/gold were added with acrylic paint.

I chose to start with the butterscotch sheet because I came up with an idea for creating sunflower earrings. The color was perfect -- golden and rich.

I cut the sheet into small strips and threaded three strips each onto two pieces of brown copper wire, leaving loops of dryer sheet as I worked.  I then closed the wire into a very small circle and spread the loops around the circle to create a ring of petals.

The centers I created by crocheting 28 gauge, permanently-colored, brown copper wire in a small chain, adding a brown glass seed bead into each stitch.  The chain was formed into a spiral.  I added two centers to each petal loop, one on each side, using adhesive (4 altogether), so that whichever direction the earring is facing, the flower design is evident.

I added antique copper plated, lever back earring wires, attaching them with the copper wire and embellished the juncture with a golden, iridescent bead.

My Sunflower Earrings with Beaded Centers are available for purchase in my Artfire studio for $12.

Stay tuned!  I will be posting my designs for the other dryer sheets I colored over the next week or two.  Please let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Creating "Collections" on Artfire

One of the things I love most about having a studio/shop on Artfire, is the opportunity to look at all of the beautiful work created by other artisans.  There are some amazingly talented and imaginative people out there using their hands and their brains to create wonderful objects.

Making "collections" on Artfire, is one of the features of being a part of that community that I enjoy the most.  I can create themed groupings of creations I see on Artfire.  It is a ton of fun -- another avenue for my creativity! The "search" feature on Artfire, makes it easy, once you've settled on a theme, to browse all the items on Artfire that might fit within your "group", and to choose those items that really strike your fancy.  I've created several collections, which you can view in my studio.

Today, I put together a collection with a theme of "wings" -- creating a group of handmade creations that feature winged creatures.  I enjoyed browsing all the offerings and pulling out some of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy "Artfire Takes Wing"!