Sunday, January 29, 2012

What’s On Your Workdesk?


Mine is a MESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

HOW could I create anything if I wanted too?    The finished tassel from my Heart Strings Class with Diane Cook (OK, it was over 6 months ago but, I’ve played with it adding stuff & taking some of the silk strings off to balance “things”)  And there are those wonderful fall colored beads (large reds/browns) for another project…  And the fabulous fall colored pin (for yet a different project) peaking there on the bottom right corner… And that huge pile of BLING on the top right side…………  A MESS!

Tourqouise  collage

There is my beautiful & EXPENSIVE turquoise beads that I finally got strung last week (remember my last post told you about going to Artful Bead & stringing these & the PMC Silve Clay piece I just finished. NOW I need to make silver links & a sterling hook closure to complete this piece. DO YOU HAVE MULTIPLE UNCOMPLETED PIECES LAYING AROUND?  Or am I alone in this malady?


 And do you love these colors?  I went to the Gem Show in Ft. Worth a few weeks back & bought A LOT of these beauties  as I have a project up my sleeve…


Here’s a little tease….


And more magic from Sandy playing with faux tin types…

Faux Tin Types collage

Yes,  my friend Sandy & I are going to teach a Vintage Coin Purse Necklace Class.  After I helped Lisa make her necklace at the Christmas Party (click on the photo below to see that post) the subject of this class has come up many times with different people.  And Sandy & I had been talking about putting something like this together for some time… 

So, I’ll leave with a last little tease while I go put all those beads away so MAYBE I can get something done tomorrow.   And since I did this post I found out there is actually a weekly party (named What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday) to see what is on peoples work desk so click HERE to join others to see what they have PILED UP!

Purse By Sandy

And in the meantime… I’m waiting for Paper Cowgirls Registration to open so I can hop on the classes I want.  AND I wanted to ask you… If you do photo collages what program do you use as Picnik is going to be closing April 19th & that is the program I have been using.  HELP I need to find a new one.  Have a great week my friends.

HUGS!  Charlene

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

PMC Silver Clay Hydrangea Pendant

Best Over All Shot

I wanted to share with you the PMC Silver Clay hydrangea pendant I made for my friend Susan. I made this when I went to visit my sweet friend Janise in Austin last fall. This piece is sooooooooooo hard to photograph because without a flash (the photo up above) the photo is yellow.


With a flash… there is a burn or bright spot on the piece. If any of you are experts in photographing jewelry please give me some tips. But, on with the story of the pendant.

Best Close Up  #1

The clay is a mixture of FINE particles of silver mixed with a binding compound & water. You manipulate the clay to create the piece which is a green ware, fragile, ugly piece placed into a kiln for firing. What comes out is 99% pure silver. I used a stamp (found at Michaels) to create the flower part. I pressed the stamp into the clay & then went outside on Janise’s patio to pick the 2 leaves off her bushes. She showed me how to create the leaves for this pendant. Don’t you love the veins & how they showed up so clearly? Next came the stone…which started out as a beautiful blueish/purple color… Janise made that incredible bezel for the stone & I LOVE the way that turned out. But, this is where it took another turn. In the firing of the piece the stone turned that amber/red color (yes, the stones are CZ’s that are supposed to be fire safe). Was this the piece I thought it would be? NO! I had this more in mind…


With Art/Jewelry sometimes the piece will have a mind of it’s own & you just have to GO WITH IT~

Best Close Up #2

While at the Gem Show in downtown Ft Worth (a couple of weeks ago) Cindy & I looked for just the right beads to go with the new pendant. I am very pleased with the ones I found & then made the decision that for all the jewelry classes I have taken NO ONE has covered stringing beads or the design process of putting all the pieces together with strung beads. Once in the very beginning I had asked Diana Frey & she had shown me quickly how to finish the piece I was playing with but, since then I had strung beads & had “ISSUE’S” with the crimp bead/wire slacking up & creating an ugly space. I went into Ft Worth & visited the gals at The Artful Bead (where I buy a lot of supplies) & had a class on stringing. I was so happy to learn that my biggest problem was using the cheap “base metal” crimp beads from Michaels & that the sterling silver crimps really to mold to the wire & HOLD it much better. And ya gotta LOVE the sterling crimp covers for a much better finish on a piece. So, with it all complete I gave to to my friend Susan (a belated Christmas present) when she was up here for a visit from Houston. SHE LOVED IT! And I had so much fun making it for her. THANK YOU JANISE! YOU ROCK!

Charming Romance

And IF you are interested in learning about PMC Silver Clay my amazing friends Diana Frey & Riki Shumacher are teaching the bracelet shown above. The class will be in Riki’s studio February 18 & 19 in San Luis Obispo, CA. Girls, I can’t tell you how amazing these two teachers are. And how can you resist that bracelet???? Come JOIN US! Click HERE or HERE to go to the link for signing up. YOU WON’T BE SORRY!!!! I can’t wait as my gal pals SANDY NAVARRO & JOY CAMPBELL will be joining me & we are going to have such a great time creating this Valentine Beauty. So, tell YOUR VALENTINE this is what you want & COME PLAY WITH US!

Hugs! Charlene

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chattanooga, Tennessee FUN!


Light shinning in through the beautiful old lobby…


A beautiful ceiling…. Where is this vintage beauty????

Choo Choo collage

It is the beautiful old train station & now hotel of the infamous CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO in Chattanooga, Tennessee. On our Christmas trip (see previous post for Part 1) we also went to visit our friends Jo Ann & Mike that now live in Chattanooga. They took us around to see the sites including the old train station which you can see in the photo above. Along with the engine, & rail cars that are now hotel rooms. Each car has 2 rooms inside. And the silver car is the diner where you can have dinner in the diner!!!! CUTE! Then we piled in the car & took a tour of downtown admiring the old buildings. You KNOW I adore old architecture!

Downtown collage

Leaving downtown behind we went across the bridge, parked & walked across the OLD bridge to view the river & some interesting things down in “The Arts District”.


Walking across you see Look Out Mountain in the distance, the bridge you drive across to come to this side, & that building on the left houses an INDOOR Merry Go Round.


Past that (as we’re walking across the bridge) we see The Delta Queen which used to be an old paddle boat that floated the Mississippi River. She was sold & brought to Chattanooga to become another “destination” style hotel. Do you see those glass peaks in the background? It is the new Aquarium that is touted to be TOP NOTCH & the city is very proud of it.


On the other side of the bridge you can see the columns of a beautiful old home that belonged to the gentleman that bought the recipe from Coca Cola to bottle Coke as we know it today. Originally Coke was used as a medicine but, by adding soda water it became a much loved beverage as it is today. The home was donated & all those modern buildings were added to become the current Art Museum for the city. That Tennessee River is really wide & running fast. NOT like the rivers here in parched/draught ridden Texas.


Now for some history!!! We went up to Look Out Mountain (remember it in the picture above?) & viewed the movie about “The Battle In The Clouds” which was a long & bloody Blue/Grey battle up the side of the mountain.


NOW, this area is a very upscale town that has to traverse a VERY CURY ROAD or use a monorail to get up or down. Can you imagine sending your child to school on the monorail?

DSC05375 How’s this for a view out your back door? The Tennessee River winding through Chattanooga below. Sprawled at your feet… Now, imagine being one of the foot soldiers (in the painting above) fighting your way UP that mountain or one sitting at the top trying to defend her…


The old battle ground now wraps itself around the top ridge of Look Out Mountain with cannons, a monument, & a very real since of the pain of the past.

Fort collage


With reminders sitting in the old fort area or even in people’s front yards (it is historical & you can not move the cannons if it is in your yard as it MUST stay where it was left & MANY of those fancy homes have them in yards both front & back).


Truly a time that was dark days for our nation but, when speaking of wars of today… my Hubby says “Better to fight them on their soil than on ours”. Can you imagine brothers fighting against each other? Americans fighting other Americans???? SAD & I hope we never revisit that time… Now on to a look on the other side of the park.

4 states  collage

From the top of this point they say you can see 4 or 5 different states! Imagine!!!! You sure don’t get that here in Texas (where it can take you over 12 hours to just get out of the state!) THANK YOU Jo Ann & Mike we had so much fun! And I hope you enjoyed this little visit with us.

I’m sorry I am so behind in my posting but, I am trying to get caught up from our trip, close out our company books for the end of the year, & we are looking at property to build a new home (well, not really a home as we want out of the Home Owner’s Association & all that goes with it). We are looking for 2-3 acres where we can build a HUGE Barn to store the toys (RV, Deck Boat with solid top used for a diving platform & stargazing, 4 wheelers…) & to build a beautiful apartment inside with a huge Art Studio/Wood Shop. Click on the photo below (which is of course the concept) & you can see one of my Pinterest Boards of ideas for this type home.


This keeps a girl busy!!!! And away from her creating. I sure do miss it & all my buddies in BLOGLAND!

HUGS! Charlene

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C.


I promised to share with you our Christmas visit to Grove Park Inn. Above is the back of this Grande Dame! She was built from granite boulders hewn from Sunset Mountain, & opened in 1913. It took a crew of 400 men only 12 months to build the majestic landmark, dragging hundreds of tons of boulders up the mountainside with the aid of teams of mules, ropes and pulleys, wagons and a lone steam shovel. They just don’t make architecture like this anymore! Don’t you love the shape of the roofline & the shingles?


The hotel was the vision of E.W. Grove, a St. Louis entrepreneur who made his millions in the 1890s peddling an elixir called Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic There have been many American luminaries to have stayed here, a list that includes F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, George Gershwin, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller and Henry Ford. Not to mention presidents — William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton and Barack H. Obama.


It’s hard to believe today but, there was a time soon after WWII when the only thing that kept the Inn standing was the prohibitive cost of tearing it down. Fortunately, in 1955, the hotel caught the eye of a Dallas businessman named Charles Sammons. Under the stewardship of Sammons and his wife Elaine, the Inn was fully restored and, in 1973, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Mrs. Sammons was a lover of first class spa’s & her dream was to create a 5 star Spa & Resort. SHE DID ACHIEVE THIS! Above you can see one of the two wings added to create the new resort. In the center the stairs lead down to the Spa which is located underground under the glass pyramid.


The photo above is of the Spa seen from our room. A stunning view indeed. Our room was the third one from the end in the photo below.


We were on the Club Floor so we were at the top which gave us a beautiful view of downtown Asheville after overlooking part of the Golf Course.

Downtown collage

Looking out the other direction you would look past the Course to see a beautiful old section of Asheville built in what I would guess to be the early 1900’s to 1930’s or so. And the views of the mountains never fail to make this flat lander sigh with joy.

Mountain collage

The lobby Christmas tree was huge & always had a crowd around it.


Speaking of the lobby… it is decorated in a bit of Frank Loyd Wright style with the furnishings (really the entire Resort has that feel & decor). The fireplace is HUGE! Big enough that this 6 foot tall Texas Gal could have stood inside of it without having to stoop over! And they had a Yule Log burning every hour of the day while we were there.

Lobby collage

Our room also had that feel. Below is our room the first night with our tree glowing in the window. The comfy leather furniture & the inviting fireplace was so lovely.


I’ll leave you with the lights of downtown Asheville twinkling in the sky painted with God’s amazing box of colors.


Did you enjoy this little glimpse of history & some of the photos of this magical place? I hope you’ll come back soon to see some more photos of the spa (my friend Ginger snuck her camera in as you are not supposed to have camera’s or cell phones down there). And I hope you remember this amazing place & if you are ever in the area… GO!!! STAY AT LEAST A DAY OR TWO!

Hugs! Charlene

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