It’s definitely spring here!

16 04 2015

I count my lucky stars every day that I live somewhere that doesn’t get horrendous winter weather (I hate snow!!). We’ve had a really mild winter this year and we’re definitely into a lovely spring season. My spring classes are well under way and I’m really looking forward to all of them! I have a Tuesday evening Advanced Silversmithing class that just started this week and we (the students and I) put our heads together and came up with an exciting game plan for the next 7 more weeks that we’re together! Next week is making and using punches, Viking knit chains, and a continuation of a forged copper bracelet that I started with them this week. If you’re looking to take a class, I have openings in most of my Saturday classes in Chilliwack at UFV. This Saturday is Spinning Rings (always a favorite!) and next week is the insanely popular Drilled Stone Pendant class. These classes are the best value around (only $69 for 4 hours plus a kit fee – $45 for the spinning ring and $50 for the stone pendant class) and be warned that future class prices will be higher. There was a technical glitch when the classes went to print and they posted the wrong price all over the place! Get the good deal while you can! Heh heh! Oh and I have 6 people already signed up for my week long Summer Bootcamp in July! Still a few spaces left there, so if you want to spend an entire week (Monday to Friday 9am-4pm) creating and learning metal work with me, check out the UFV website and sign up! Can’t wait for that one! And while I’m talking classes, I’m putting the summer classes together for Kellie’s Bead Boutique now and hope to have them ready by the end of the month. These ones will start in June. If there’s something specific you want to see, don’t forget to let me know!! For now, I’m off to get the notes for this weekend’s classes ready. This organization thing is new to me – I like it, but it sure is hard! LOL Cheers!!


9 04 2015

No, nothing to do with Easter at all!! It’s just time to resurrect this sadly forgotten blog! I have been reading some of my past posts and realize I miss blogging. So, time to get back at it! I’m going to focus on mostly class stuff as that’s what’s the main focus of life these days, but I’m sure there will be some family drama (ok, fine – critter drama – we don’t have any kids living at home at this time), and I’m sure there will be jewelry pictures. And hopefully I can remember to get back into the habit of blogging. It was fun for a long time. Let’s get this party started!

I’m teaching an etched metal jewelry class this coming Saturday at UFV Chilliwack. It’s $69 for a 4 hour class plus a $35 materials fee (payable to the instructor at the time of the class). There’s still quite a bit of space left, so sign up quick! For those of you who have taken my beginner or bootcamp classes, we start the Advanced Jewelry class on Tuesday nights next week (5:30pm-8:30pm). To register for any of my UFV classes, please clickΒ here for full details (and to register!). Hope to see you at one of my upcoming classes.

One more note – I’m putting together my Summer 2015 classes at Kellie’s Bead Boutique in Maple Ridge and the Fall/Winter 2015 classes at UFV Chilliwack. If you have something specific you’d like to learn, please feel free to email me and let me know!

Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal – Sept 17/11!!

17 09 2011

Welcome! My name is Barrie, and my partner is Lyn Foley – don’t forget to check out her blog! And if you want to spend countless hours tripping around the blogs of some more amazing artists, check out Lori Anderson’s Pretty Things Blog for a complete list of links to all the participants. Without Lori, this little blog party wouldn’t exist!

My name is Barrie, and I joined the BSBP to force myself to work outside the box, so to speak. I do love beads, as evidenced by the bead show that I organize every year here in beautiful British Columbia! But alas, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry! Who wrote that, anyway?? (quick Google check – according to, the saying is adapted from a line in β€œTo a Mouse,” by Robert Burns). Well, back to the point!!! I had the best of plans for all my little beady goodies from Lyn Foley – she sent me some gorgeous lampwork beads she made herself, along with lots of beautiful pearls (clever lady – she didn’t even know I LOVE pearls!!), along with a cute sterling frog clasp. Check these out!! (I definitely can’t do her gorgeous work justice with a camera!!).

Wouldn’t you know it, though, this month has gone to He** in a Handcart (no, I won’t Google that one for you!). Not only do I have my second oldest son, his wife and my 3 yr old grandson suddenly staying with us for a month (heaven help my sanity!!!), but there’s 2 extra dogs in the house, school started back up for my granddaughter (who is here half the time so I can get her to and from school while her dad is at work), I also have the Fraser Valley Bead Show creeping up on me and have students chomping at the bit to get the classes online for registration, vendors need nagging to get their paperwork in and somewhere in all that, I have custom jewelry that needs doing on a regular basis. And if that’s not quite busy enough for you, I’ve spent a couple of weeks going back and forth in negotiations with a new hotel arranging a new bead show (Calgary, Alberta, June 1-2, 2012). So, with all the mayhem and craziness that landed in my lap this month, I’m a little behind in my projects!! BAD ME!!! It’s going to b September 17th for 24 whole hours though, so who knows how many pieces I can finish before the end of the day!!

I will be adding pics of the finished pieces (I know, I’m late – story of my life!), in the next few days. Lori did say that not everyone will make it to all the blogs on the first day or two, so I’m hoping some of you will drop by to see the finished goodies that will be coming very soon!! And if you made it here (and read all this stuff!!), please leave a comment and I’ll put you in the drawing for a pair of earrings I’m working on (pic coming soon of course!).

Thanks for stopping by, hope you get a chance to return to see the finished goodies, won’t be long, I promise! πŸ™‚

Bead Soup!!

24 08 2011

Well, the time has sure gotten away from me the past few days (ok, weeks, who am I kidding!! LOL). Anyway, my partner for the Bead Soup Blog Party is Lyn Foley! If you get a minute, check out her website – she has some gorgeous jewelry in her portfolio. Her husband is a metalsmith and also makes some findings for her beads too. Very cool!! I can’t say what I sent her, as I want it to be a complete surprise but hopefully she can find something to do with the goodies she gets. I hope I chose an okay color – that’s always the hardest part when giving someone you don’t know a gift!! I won’t go into details, because I don’t want to give it away, but needless to say she’ll either love it or hate it! LOL Oh, as per the Bead Soup party organizer, I do get to show you a ‘modified picture’ of the goodies on their way to Lyn! I had fun distorting the heck out of this picture!! It looks nothing like the finished product, I assure you, however, I really like the way this pic turned out!! Modern art baby!! LOL

And if that doesn’t pique your curiosity, maybe this one will!!

Neither one is even remotely indicative of what’s in the package, but it sure looks cool! LOL Hope Lyn enjoys her goodies! πŸ™‚

Bead Soup!!

3 08 2011

What? Me cook? Not likely?! Then what exactly is Bead Soup all about?! I’ve joined the Bead Soup Blog Party! For a complete description (and maybe sign yourself up before August 3/11!!) click on the picture below!!

Bead Soup Blog Party

I decided to join the Bead Soup Blog Party because I need a creative kick in the butt, and this seemed like a great idea to get me thinking outside of the box. I don’t do shows anymore (well, except my own, but that doesn’t count!), and I only sell through one retail location, so I don’t have too many things that force me to do something different than what I usually do. I also don’t make lampwork beads anymore – in fact, I loaned my torch to a friend so couldn’t even if I wanted to! This Bead Soup thing is SO far out of my comfort zone, it should be interesting to see what happens! You’ll have to stay tuned!! In the meantime, here’s a pic of a sterling silver & garnet bead I made a few years ago. I’ll have to come up with something special for this wild and wacky project! Wish me luck!!

Reticulated Sterling Pendant

22 07 2011

Well, imagine that! I managed to get something made this week that isn’t custom work! Yeah me! I have been demonstrating how to reticulate sterling silver for quite a few years, and have all these small pieces of crinkly silver stashed away on my workbench. I decided I wanted a big round pendant and made a square wire circle about and inch and three quarters in diameter. It just so happened that it fell into my bench drawer and landed on one of the bigger pieces of reticulated silver. Aha!! So I cut and filed, and soldered the reticulated piece in place. Then it was time to figure out what stones I wanted to use. I went through everything I have (and I have A LOT of stones!). I finally settled on a set of 5. amethysts in ascending (or descending depending on your perspective) sizes. The largest stone is 5.5mm in diameter, the smallest is 3mm. I did silver-black (antique patina) the textured part, then ran it through the tumbler overnight. It didn’t take long to set the stones, although the 3.7mm one (second smallest) gave me a bit of a workout!). I wore this today on a black leather cord. I think I’ll test drive it for a few weeks – I really like it! πŸ™‚

Hopefully I’ll get more time in the studio this weekend. I do have a very special set of custom rings on the go, so hopefully I’ll be inspired to make more extra goodies!! Hope you have a great weekend!

Some New Updates!

20 07 2011

Hello!! It’s been a while again – let’s see if I can update you on all the goings on. Nothing too exciting, so you can skip this bit if you have more important things to do!! I’m currently working on bead show classes (which entails nagging the instructors to get their info to me!). The fall Fraser Valley Bead Show is creeping up fast – October 21-23 at the Cascades Casino/Convention Center in Langley, BC again. Applications are coming in slowly but surely! I’m working on writing a few jewelry tutorials – with TONS of pictures! There are so many wire working or lampworking tutorials, I figure I should just get cracking and hop on the tutorial bandwagon! They’ll be available on my Etsy site eventually. I’m working on some custom jewelry, really enjoying this right now for some reason! I am still trying to figure out the web cast thing – slowly! My stumbling block has been clearing a space in the disaster zone I call my studio! It’s so messy, I don’t want you guys to see it like that! No, seriously, it’s a MESS!! We’re working on that so I can get the camera set up and secured so I don’t end up knocking things flying, setting things on fire and generally making an a$$ of myself! LOL

I’ve also taken on the entirely strange task of babysitting my son’s dog during the week while he’s at work. We already have 3 dogs – for those of you who haven’t ‘met’ them yet, there’s Jessie (my Shih Tzu/Cairn terrier cross).

Then there’s Bailey – Basset hound/Pointer cross

And of course, Woody – purebred Basset hound

So we’ve now added Grace – Mark’s new dog.

She’s a 1 & a half year old pit bull, tiny (maybe 30 pounds?), adorable, and VERY sweet. She doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body, but boy or boy, can that dog JUMP!! We spent the first two weeks Grace-proofing the fence! At 7ft high, I believe we finally have her beat! She loves the back yard. We have a dog door in the kitchen that opens onto the deck, and of course into the back yard. Thankfully, it’s now hit a point where all four dogs get along great, and pretty much leave me to do my thing during the day. I can finally hit the studio without worrying about them wrecking the upstairs while I’m working. Whew!! Needless to say, it’s been a crazy hectic few weeks getting used to having an extra body around here all day long! LOL

And the final exciting bit of news, I have a new website! Finally! It’s still very much a work in progress, but it’s getting there. I will have lots to add there soon. Oh, I suppose I should include a link! Here you go! All about me!! Let me know what you think!
Now, off to work with me – I mean studio work! And yes, I will take pictures when I’m done!! Have a great day!

June 1 already – it’s almost Christmas!!

2 06 2011

I can’t believe how fast time flies. What’s with that, anyway?? In keeping with my push to spend more time making jewelry and less time contemplating it, here are a few more pieces to show you. I took these to Joye Designs Stone Art Gallery yesterday. Hopefully they find new homes quickly. I’m still working on new jewelry, starting the planning of the fall bead show (that never ends!!), and getting myself organized for teaching more classes. I’ve started the ball rolling to get my studio organized a bit more so I can accommodate students again. It’s gotten way too cluttered and disorganized to comfortably bring students in there (more like totally embarrassing! LOL!). And I haven’t given up on the live video feed thing yet – my son’s been working graveyard shifts and overtime for the past three weeks straight, so I know he’ll be more receptive to assisting me once I let him get a little sleep!! Anyway, here’s the new goodies – sorry for the less than fabulous pictures! I was in an incredible rush when I took them! πŸ™‚

CZ Stud Earrings 1

CZ Stud Earrings 2

CZ Pendant (matches first pair of earrings)

CZ Rings (Top View – Matches pendant & earrings!)

CZ Ring (Side View)

Okay, this next picture is NOT a good one, but the background was HIDEOUS, so I edited it out – but the picture of the ring itself is really clear. Note to self – remember to take pics WAY before you have to run out the door! LOL Sorry!!

Here’s a side view of that ring – the pearl is SO lustrous, it was nearly impossible to get any pictures of it without it totally overwhelming the pic. (and these pictures aren’t great! I know, I said that already! LOL)

And just because he’s so damn cute, here’s a pic of our latest family addition – Woody, the basset hound. He joined us last November. As you can see, he lives a very tough life! ROFL! Crazy mutt! πŸ™‚

That’s it for this week. As I said, more jewelry coming soon!! Have a great week! πŸ™‚

More new goodies!

3 05 2011

Me again!! Yup, I must be on a roll!! First the chit chat (before the eye candy!). I was sitting at my work bench yesterday, wanting to experiment and play, but all I could think of was how high the price of silver is, and what a waste of silver it would be if I messed it up or they didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to! I’ve been making silver jewelry for almost 19 years and I have NEVER thought like that!! Even when the boys (all four of them) were little and the money I made with my jewelry sales had to go a looooooong way to help pay the household bills. Well, I have decided to kick that crazy line of thinking to the curb! Realistically, unless I suddenly decide to make massive quantities of 2 inch wide, heavy gauge sterling cuff bracelets, my little experiments and play projects will NOT break the bank!! Bottom line, even if I sell the successful ones I will more than make back the money I waste messing stuff up. So there, Negativity, take that!! HAH! Now, on with the goodies!!
First is a laser cut mystic topaz set in a simple but pretty setting (my usual stuff! πŸ™‚ )

Okay, this next one is one of my latest favs!! It is SO pretty in person, and I hope it finds a good home fast. It’s WAY too small and WAY too wide for my fat fingers, so I couldn’t keep it for me. But hopefully, someone will love it as much as I do! πŸ™‚

And finally, a simple pair of amethyst earrings, lightweight, fun texture, and sure to catch an eye or two. Oh, and I didn’t keep these because I haven’t worn earrings in months, and it seemed silly to keep them – even though I really like them! LOL

That’s it for today!! Tomorrow is class night, so I won’t get a chance to work in the studio until hopefully Wednesday. I think my son is home that day too and maybe we’ll play with that camera! That would be fun. Anyway, have a great week!! I’m off to find some dinner – time to fire the household chef! Oh wait, that would by my hubby, and if I fire him, he’ll expect me to take over! NOT HAPPENING! lol Fine, I’ll just make my own dinner, just this once! πŸ™‚ Cheers!!

Busy Week’s Work

1 05 2011

Hello again!
I’m getting better at remember to blog these days! Yay! This week, I managed to finish a few pieces though you won’t get to see two of them, as they’ve already gone to their new homes (bling for Naaz!!). But I did get other pieces done, and thought I’d share here before taking them to the gallery. Without further ado, for your viewing pleasure…..
First is a square cubic zirconia ring with silver balls on either side of the stone.

Second is the same style of ring with an oval cubic zirconia.

Next, there’s a beautiful white pearl ring with a single 14k gold ball on either side of the stone.

Here’s another square cubic zirconia ring, but this is one of my ‘Rail Rings’ – dubbed by one of my students (Rail Rings have those wide rounded edges). This actually started out as a ring for Naaz, but somehow we got our signals mixed and she’s NOT a size 7.5 so this ring became stock for the gallery! πŸ™‚ Happy accidents! πŸ™‚

When I was at the last gem show, my friend and I bought a couple of strands of GORGEOUS aquamarine beads. Here’s one of the oval ones, set in a bezel. LOVE the blue in these!!

Now, this one is a beautiful blue chalcedony druzy cab – it’s a very high sided stone, so I had to get a little creative with the edge of the bezel (check out the second picture, shows it in much better detail).

And now for something completely different. I’ve had these two beads on my bench (and in my scrap bucket more often than not!), but an intervention by a couple of friends has saved them from the refinery! First is a huge (and I do mean HUGE) bead – I’m not sure what you’d call this shape (though if you were a lampwork artist, I think the closest bead press would be a Kalera?). It’s textured with my favorite leaf imprint.

(here’s a pic of it in my hand – remember, I have HUGE hands! LOL)

And finally the second bead – much smaller, but still quite substantial.

These beads are what we metal workers call ‘hollow forms’. They are completely fabricated, not cast, and a little tricky to pull off. They’re a challenge, but fun to make.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to the past week and a half (okay, almost two weeks). I have more on the go, but you’ll have to wait for those.
Oh, one more note! No, I have not forgotten about the video streaming. I have the camera, just have to figure out how it works!! Not long now, I don’t think. I’ll be sure to let everyone know when I’m ready to roll!!
Now, off to my studio with my granddaughter – she wants to help me make jewelry. I imagine I’ll spend most of the day practicing the fine art of PATIENCE! πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend everyone!