Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Volunteering at Crystal Bridges

Hi Everyone!  Following up in summer is more distracting, and since we do not do vacation with my husband's work, we've never followed normal yearly trends so much.

I want to announce a 90 degree turn now, since Greg and I have signed up for  work at Crystal Bridges.  The meeting was exhilarating, since so many opportunities exist to help in our unique museum.  The need for volunteers was addressed  before opening and had has already doubled, as crowds are arriving daily to visit the museum.

There is a sign up for helpers ranging from culinary, to programs for home schoolers, to guides for the actual museum areas, and work in the library, which by itself is impressive.  There are training programs for everyone, some areas requiring more training than others.

We have chosen to begin with home schoolers, since we were very active in that area many years ago as well. (Some 30 years ago).  We are eagerly looking forward to our experience, and have already completed the preliminaries for that.  Please look up Crystal Bridges  for a training experience which will impress you with its comprehensiveness.

Talk to you again soon.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Classes - Jewelry and Publishing - At NWACC


Here is the schedule for Chris:

Jul 11-Aug 11   10:00-12:00   RM 1001 – Making Your Own Wire Art

Here is the schedule for Greg:

Jul 11-Aug 11    10:00-12:00    RM 1004 – Getting Published

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Corundum Family of Gems

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a great summer, be it ever so hot!  We lived in Arizona for 11 years, the temperatures are not so different, just the nights--we are used to lows of 96--one great difference.  Today is just a week before the next class begins.  It will be on Wednesday the 11th.  Wire will include gems, just less than beads.

It  is not easy to procure ruby, or corundum for jewelry making since it is in all colors in sapphire, and has a hardness of 9, second only to diamonds, which is on the mohs scale, a 10.  It lasts longer, can take more wear, hence it is more expensive and rare than most stones.  Rubies are my birthstone, hence my favorite.  I can really appreciate rubies that are more translucent, and have a couple accumulated over years of gifts.  They are very beautiful, inspiring, and since they are known for passion and love, probably next to blue sapphire, which is calming, and also a corundum, best loved.

The color of the ruby is determined by the amount of chromium.  Usually the more chromium, the more valuable the gem.  I have seen many beautiful rubies which are not so saturated.

I will cover sapphires in another installment, since they come in every color.  Corundum can take many elements, hence many colors.

Rubies, then the July birthstone are gorgeous.  Those of us who love color will love most gems, especially in the corundum  family.  I think of a bouquet of flowers--which color is most beautiful?  Each has it's own beauty.  I think of gems as our bouquets in rocks.  God has given us so many beautiful elements to enjoy.

Everyone who loves to make jewelry, tends to love colors and placement.  The attractiveness depends on our mood, and ability to discern the color within. Norma Boeckler, an artist in water color is such an expert, she could discern 10 colors of green, blue in turquoise. I've never observed anyone better at it.  She has painted a Poppy, which she has generously given me a copy of, for my dining room. It is beyond description when one counts, or tries to count colors of red.  Needless to say, it reminds me of rubies, and always lifts my mood, when I look at it.

Let's all take our inspiration from color, nature, and those who translate it into "jewelry" for our eyes.

See you all soon.  Let's all enjoy the color around us!

Varieties of corundum

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Citrine Jewelry and July NWACC Class Starting


Hi everyone!  I love rocks.  Who could not love sunshine in a stone?  Citrine has a wonderful way of making everyone think of sunshine, honey, gold, and even warm orange in it's lightest tones.  Last week I found citrine at All Strung Out.  I immediately made a necklace in gold wire and a pair of earrings.  The strings I bought covered the gamut of colors.  Using natural rocks has always been one of my favorite ways of making jewelry.  

Our recent guest blogger, my husband, has made this hobby possible for me. Loving rocks, and making jewelry has made me very happy.  Colors are so amazing!  Citrine can be found from transparent to almost solid.


The honey colored tones are so interesting and add variety when combined with all  the other shades.  They can be found as cabochons as well as faceted and add so much depth to a necklace or other piece of jewelry.  The variety is amazing.  Our grandson's birthstone is citrine. When Alex was born, I made a necklace that I didn't take off- of birthstones of each grandchild--Aquamarine, Amethyst and citrine.  I also got their names in sterling blocks, and symbols for each in charms. 

What a wonderful addition to my collection!


This citrine globe shows the variety of color and  shades in many of the pieces.


This ring is a gorgeous piece of madeira citrine, probably from Brazil.  I have a pair of earrings in madeira and have yet to find a color it does not complement.  In Scottsdale I found a pair of madeira earrings at a celebrity second hand store for $10.  Perhaps someone was not familiar with the inherent worth of those earrings.  I would love this ring for my collection.  Perhaps, it would buy a car.  Color, clarity, and cut are the main attributes to ascertain the worth.

The love for these stones is addicting.  I love working with the real thing.

Class begins soon, and working with my hobby again will be amazing. I wish you all a wonderful summer, and most of all a hobby that you really love!

Here is the schedule for Chris:

Jul 11-Aug 11   10:00-12:00   RM 1001 – Making Your Own Wire Art

Here is the schedule for Greg:

Jul 11-Aug 11    10:00-12:00    RM 1004 – Getting Published

Monday, June 18, 2012

Guest Blogger Today - Greg Jackson, Writer

Greg Jackson
Jul 11 - Aug 11 10:00-12:00 RM 1004 – Getting Published.

Hello, potential students. If we get some interested parties, I will start a class on getting published on July 11th at The Crossing, NWACC.

I have been publishing in various tabloids, magazines, and books for the last 40 years. That includes around 30 periodicals and a dozen books. I also worked for a time as a writer's agent, getting things published for others.

The class will focus on the various ways an author can get published, which is the main part, the fun part of writing.

We will discuss - 
  1. Traditional book and magazine publishing.
  2. Academic publishing.
  3. Vanity publishing (bad).
  4. Self-publishing with Lulu and Amazon.
  5. Blog and Dropbox publishing.
  6. Website publishing.

Register early so we can get an early count. I will have plenty of resources for you to use.

Greg Jackson

PS - I earned a PhD at Notre Dame, a master's degree from Yale, and a master's degree from UOP in adult education.

Notre Dame's famous golden dome.

Yale's main library.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Next NWACC Class Is Coming Soon

Tsavorite garnet

Hi everyone!  I've been spending time organizing all my accumulated findings and beads.  It's very enlightening, to me at least.  I'd like to go back to a passion of mine which is gem stones--garnet to be exact.  Normally you will find Mozambique red garnet which is a gorgeous luminous red.  However, it  is found in many colors like other natural gems.  

I have recently discovered yellow garnet, known as spessartite.  It comes from Bavaria, which is where I was born.  It is so luminescent the lore is it was used for light in early times.  There was enough light from yellow to read by in the dark, so goes the tale.  I looked up spessartite, and found a beautiful ring from a new line on Jewelry TV known as Stratify.  Luckily an anniversary was coming up and Gregg bought me a beautiful ring. I will wear it to class one day.  It is truly gorgeous.  Gregg and I both love rocks, and at one time Marty, our son had a rock collection from all over the world from his grandmother who traveled everywhere, and brought Marty Rocks from special places.  Echoes of the long..long...trailer? When we moved he gifted the whole collection and explanations to a small religious school.  It was loved by all.


Rocks do become the ultimate inspiration for jewelry, since noble metals are used to encase the best stone to show off the light, and enjoy the color.

Beside spessartite garnet, is tsavorite garnet.  It is more rare than emerald, and was included in the Royal crown of England, now in the news because of Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee.  There is also one in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian rock collection.  It is a museum quite worth seeing, since it houses the blue Hope diamond as well.  Just in case many on you thought rocks were just ordinary.  Hardly!

See you soon.  Chris

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Ideas and Creations

Dear Friends, 
It's been a couple of weeks since classes.  I'm still picking up wire and new ideas.  The next class is wire which you see above you in a bracelet and below you as a braid.  There is such a good feeling when a braid comes out almost perfect.  

It can be a main necklace, and with the right additions, it can look different with every outfit.  

I love combining metals, and the results are very interesting.  They are sturdy and variable, and always ready for a new pendant.  The wire work, when overdone can become painful, but nowadays we are all more aware of repetitive motion problems.