Wednesday, December 9, 2009

she’s making a list, and then not doing anything on it…

I like to have a vague outline for my weekends.  I try not to get too specific, because spontaneity doesn’t like bulleted lists.  My foggy vision of what this past weekend would include was sort of like this:  Friday, spend some time at the bench, and get a couple of loads of laundry thrown in.  Saturday, while Scott is at the Rutgers game, get the house straightened up so that cleaning can happen, so that holiday decorating can happen.   Make three different cookie batters.  Sunday, bake said cookies and celebrate my dear MIL’s milestone birthday. 

Here’s what happened instead:

I made a commissioned piece for a cousin’s wife

IMG_8128 Its a Christmas gift, so I won’t post a picture of the completed necklace until after.  I was uber-pleased with how it came out, I hope she feels the same.

I blew bubbles on the deck

If you, like me take dreadful movies, use a program (I used Microsoft movie maker cuz its free) to edit it and hopefully improve it. I used the auto movie feature, chose a style (I chose old timey), and it does all the cutting/editing etc for you, and you end up with something decent.  I should have cut it a little short, but hey, there is a stop button, you didn’t have to watch the entire thing!


I made some flannel flowers


This picture happens to be the front and back of the same flower that I made into a pin for my MIL.

I made an ass-load of cookies

I celebrated my MIL’s birthday.

Not bad, not bad at all. 

One caveat- Christmas Eve is coming, whether I have my act together or not.  Ummm, welll, uh, yeah.  Did I mention I go to PA next weekend to visit my goddaughter and her family?  Yeah, my time management skills have obviously not improved over this year.  Or maybe I have decided that I need to savor the little joys that are there if you just slow down long enough to blow bubbles on the back deck, you know?

Thanks for checking in-




Tuesday, November 24, 2009

hard to buy for?

I have been told, numerous times, by different people that I am hard to buy gifts for. I have people in my life who I find it difficult to find that perfect gift for as well, and can sympathize. When times are tough, and there may be less cash available to spend on gifts, it is more important than ever to find a gift that will be adored by the recipient. I think I have found a handy little tool that might just ease some gift buying stress out there.

You probably already know about the Amazon Wish List. Well, Amazon has improved upon that. Everything in the world is not available through Amazon (hard to believe, I know), and to remedy this situation, they have created the Universal Wish List button. This creates a button on your browser tool bar that allows you to add any item, from any store on the web to your Amazon Wish List. So, although I don’t have the capability to have a wish list on Pulled Sugar Designs, you could add things from my store to your Amazon list. This also consolidates all of your desires onto one single list, instead of having lists on several different sites. This is so cool. I have added jewelry making equipment, items from favorite Etsy stores, all different things to my own wish list. You can then add a Wish List button to your blog, or send out an email to people looking for gift ideas that includes a link to your wish list.

I prefer it if I am inspired spontaneously to buy a gift for someone. Sometimes inspiration needs a push, and this button may be just the thing.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

what makes YOU happy?


here are a selection of things that have made me happy recently:


this is a crazy little solid perfume I found at Sephora-it’s not only the scent that makes me happy- look at the adorable box it comes in, just too pretty.  I should have snapped a photo of the actual perfume- its like a tiny solid deodorant that rolls up and down.


another thing that makes me happy- Happytape!  This assortment, called oragami, comes in its own diminutive dispenser box. 


The tape is made from japanese washi paper, slightly translucent, and oh so fun!  I use it to package my baubles:


crazy eggs that my friend’s father’s chickens lay (I’m not even sure I got that right)


I didn’t do the greatest job of photographing these eggs so that you can see the differences in them. The front, white egg is an “extra large egg” from Costco, the middle brown egg is another one of Buzzy’s eggs, the last one is the biggest chicken egg I have ever seen.  Here are two close ups:

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The egg is actually all crinkled on top.  I just imagine that chicken trying to force that big old egg out- ouch!

my new work area makes me very happy!

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I haven’t moved everything down yet.  I move something, use it, figure out where to put it, maybe move it again.  The only problem I see is that the wooden potting bench that I am using is not “solid” enough (for lack of a better word) for any real hammering/pounding I may do.  When I punch out circles of metal, for example, I have to put the cutter on the floor because the surface of the table is too “bouncy” (I know there are actual terms for what I am trying to describe, but the vocabulary eludes me).  Anyway, it is very convenient.  Behind me, there is a double basin slop sink, one bay of which is completely stained with etching chemicals.  The other basin is fitted with a stainless steel strainer for my tumbling shot to be drained and rinsed.

The last thing that made me very happy this past week was “Fantasy Thanksgiving”, a holiday I made up so that I could spend time with friends and family who couldn’t possibly all fit around my Thanksgiving table.


Here is my lovely vegetarian  sister-in-law proudly displaying her first ever roast turkey!



IMG_8054 we set up a family portrait area





a family portrait (of family that was around at that moment)




snapped a shot three seconds before that little truck became airborn…




we had a kids activity table, and music and some games.  And FOOD, copious amounts of delicious FOOD, more food than you could imagine.  Throwing a potluck dinner is good fun, I highly recommend it.  I also can’t extole the wonderfullness of making up your own holidays- why should Hallmark get all that fun?  Pick a day, call it what you will, and get as many loved ones together as you can!

So, in honor of Thanksgiving, and what it means, think about what makes you happy, and what and who in you life brings warmth and a smile to your heart, and celebrate those people, places and things!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

new color options available


I really like being able to go down into my workspace and create all by my lonesome.  I also appreciate that many of my projects are portable, so I can bring them up and work while watching television.  It did drive my husband a little batty that I kept digging through my bead bin while V was on last night.  The rustling of all those little baggies was apparently distracting.  Well, we got through it “whew!”, and I have a total of four color combinations to chose from in the large teardrop earrings I have on sale as the Item of the Week in my store.  I hope to have the smaller version of this earring up this weekend.  Here is a self portrait snapped wearing the Garnet and Rose Quartz combination so you get an idea of their size.


As you can see,even though they have presence, they don’t pull on my lobes (which are quite soft and susceptible to “large earring drag”).

I guess that is all for now.  I will also be posting pics of my workbench soon, before it becomes completely submerged in metal and stone!

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

leaves, and onions and shells, oh my

I have to say that the best thing I have done for myself lately is to set up my workshop in the utility room.  Our laundry/utility room is on the lower level of our townhome, is a good size and was being under utilized.  It took a lot of fortitude and trips up and down the stairs, but it has been completely worth the effort . I am not entirely finished.  I made a commitment to myself that I would not rush this process, so I have been bringing things down from my upstairs work area (desk) bit by bit.  I will work on something, bring down the tools/supplies necessary and then decide as I am working where to store it, where on my bench does this tool make sense.  If you are trying to organize any workspace such as this, I can’t recommend this method enough.  I realize it is probably not  feasible for everyone, but if you have the opportunity to do it this way, try it!

So, what are the fruits of these labors, you ask?  I needed more earrings for my site, and I love this bulbous tear shape, and I love to wire wrap, and I am really working on my soldering skills:


they are going up on Pulled Sugar Designs today.  They will start as the item of the week, but then will move into regular stock items, along with additional color combinations and a smaller size as well.  These are pretty large, at least 3 1/2 inches long, but are SO featherweight, really comfy, and swingy and fun.  They will be on sale while they are the item of the week.

I also created this ring:


please ignore my heinous knuckles in this picture- I snapped it quickly before work.  The band is quite wide- 1/4 of an inch.  The leaf is hand forged and pierced from etched copper.  I’ve been wearing it all day today, and am quite pleased with the comfort of this ring.  I did realize why I do not like to make rings.  Earring and necklaces, once you put them on, you don’t really look at them all day long.  A ring however (and to a lesser degree a bracelet)  you can stare at ALL DAY LONG.  It is on your hand, it catches your eye, you wash your hands, etc.  If there is a tiny imperfection, I will stare at that minor scratch/dent/(in this case tiny spot of solder on the bottom of the leaf) and will not be able to concentrate on anything else about the piece.  And so although I try to make all my pieces of jewelry as perfect as possible, a ring to me is the most unforgiving accessory there is.

I also worked on these fun chandelier earrings:


They are near impossible to photograph so that they look as pretty as they are.  They are dyed shell, in little shapes, accented with sparkly faceted glass and sterling wire.  There will be at least one additional color choice with these guys.  They are dangly, but not too long- approximately 2 inches form the ear wire.

Okay, two posts in as many days, kind of scary, I now.

Thanks for checking me out-


Monday, November 9, 2009

new, new, new

Well, with the brainstorming assistance of Janis and Abbi, I have selected a NEW name for my business. I wanted the new name to reflect on my foodie past, and just sound neat-o, so I am pleased to introduce Pulled Sugar Designs.

For the month of November, both sites will feature identical merchandise. After November, Little Epiphany will feature only my Christian inspired designs, and Pulled Sugar Designs will be everything else.

Abbi has offered to rework the Dahlia logo she designed for Little Epiphany to match my new esthetic (so generous, and I am so grateful). That is probably the last non-jewelry production related item to take care of for now. I am however, toying with the idea of splitting my blog in two- having a Pulled Sugar blog, it would cover jewelry and my business, and then keeping Little Epiphany, but focusing on life and everything else over there.

Speaking of jewelry, here is a mixed media piece I donated to the Women Who Care kickoff event held recently in PA. It is copper, etched brass, Idolite nuggets and Shrinky-Dink plastic pieces.


I riveted one of the poly shrink pieces to the etched brass. It was very difficult due to the brittle nature of the poly shrink once it has been baked, but after a couple of failed (broken) attempts, I got it!

Here is another completed piece I have donated to the ECCOTA Gala. African turquoise, serpentine and copper. It is a weighty piece, but very comfortable. I wore it to work during the week (I often do this to make sure a piece is comfortable and or sturdy) and it really perked up an otherwise plain outfit of slacks and jewel-neck black sweater. I think I will offer a similar piece on my website for sale soon.

IMG_7966donationedit IMG_7970donationcupedit

I really enjoyed creating the different copper “cap” elements for the African turquoise beads.

I will be loading up some new items for sale this weekend, and will be offering a special coupon code for black Friday, so get ready to shop from the comfort of your home!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

what day of the month is it?

I don’t know about you, but from August on, the days have just flown by. It is like that cheesy special effect where the wind appears to be blowing pages of the calendar off, clueing us in to the passage of time. It has been a nice summer, and fall is looking just as lovely and twice as busy. Fall for us is second only to the “holidays” in terms of a crowded schedule. I like that, but sometimes you have to stop where you stand and just breathe. So I am taking this moment to breathe, reflect on some stuff, and share it with you.

I just looked back at the last time i posted it here, and it has been almost a month and a half. That is slightly embarrassing. Since that post I have:

  • run through a sprinkler
  • cut up a whole roast pig
  • been to the Rutgers Football home opener
  • been to the Giants home opener (Last in the current stadium)
  • played bunko
  • made copious amounts of jewelry
  • installed a wireless printer-then had to reinstall it with wires which really annoyed me
  • had a tooth extracted partnered with a bone graft with a surprise cavity fill thrown in (why not? I was already there…)
  • blew bubbles on the deck
  • went to a couple of farmers markets
  • had pumpkin pancakes (with chocolate chips)
  • attended my 20th high school reunion
  • went to Phoenix for a week
  • went to the Grand Canyon and Winslow, AZ
  • Celebrated my Dad’s birthday by tailgating at yet another Rutger’s game
  • made several pot roasts

Now that it is all in black and white, it doesn’t look like so much, but then this weekend I will be teaching a jewelry making class with the fabulous and talented Stephanie Distler, at the ECCOTA gallery in Ridgway, PA. We will be teaching a make-n-take workshop, Poly-Shrink pendants.

some samples

IMG_7361tagsforabbi cute- right?IMG_7365shapesforabbi

Basically everyone will get to make a fun and gorgeous Shrinky Dink pendant and necklace to hang it from. It is for ages 10 and up. If you will be in the area, please stop in, you will be able to register that day, but you can also preregister at the ECCOTA website.

Right now it seems that the only consistent thing in my life is the inconsistency. I am trying not to use that as an excuse to act like a whack-a-doodle, but I guess I am. I need to buckle down, and get things in order in my life. I need to retake CONTROL of my life. And, to add a little more weirdness into the mix, I am considering changing the name of my jewelry design business. I will retain Little Epiphany, because I am considering making that a Christian jewelry line. When I picked the name, it seemed so great- I love the word epiphany, and most of my designs are little ideas or epiphanies, that I bring to fruition. But, that word is a huge pain in the tuckus. I myself have misspelled it several times during this entry alone. When I Google it, I finally come up, but always after a massage service. When it came to creating my domain name, little epiphany is awkward- the fact that the second word starts with the last letter of the first word is difficult to deal with. That’s when you start hyphenating and underscoring things. I really didn’t know anything about naming a business except to check with the state of NJ to make sure no one else had it here. I am also TERRIBLE at naming things, just awful. My pets’ names are unusable, but for different reasons. My name is terrible to use, so long, and there are already several famous Jennifer Herberts. My maiden name isn’t much better. So my sister is helping me (along with unsolicited, stream of consciousness ranting from my husband, if he suggested “stinky britches” one more time Sunday night, I would have punched him in the ear). We are trying to get that foodie angle into it. Possibly a play on food and jewelry terms. One that we really liked is taken- so loved it and now we can’t get past it (I won’t even put it here because then you won’t get past it either). We seem now to be attracted to “Pulled Sugar”. Can’t explain it, we just like how it sounds. Before I jump ship from the SS Lil Epiphany, do any of you have any suggestions or thoughts on “Pulled Sugar”? I figure, what the heck, maybe one of you out there have a talent for naming things. If I use your idea, there might even be a little treat in it for you…

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

something new….

I am excited to announce an exciting new venture for me here at little epiphany. As you may have noticed, I’ve got a new masthead here on my blog. I did that so that it would match…..

my new online store!

It took me some time to get my act together, I won’t bore you with those details, but it is done, and I am glad. I have started small, limiting my items, but I have plenty of room to expand, and it is easy enough for me to change my stock, so that I can do it very regularly. In fact, since opening I have decided to add one additional category, “item of the week”. Each week, I will have something fun up for sale, just for that week. It could be a prototype, or a sample, a brooch, a necklace or a bracelet, you won’t know until you check it out!

I want to take a moment now to thank all my friends and family who stand by me, support and encourage me, in all I do. Thank you, thank you, I love you all!

I now I will go back to quietly hyperventilating in my corner- paper bag, please!

Monday, August 17, 2009

back to the real, and a new favorite thing

So, last week was our annual week at the beach (or “down the shore” if yuse from Joisey).  Once again, the weather was quite (if not completely) cooperative, and a lovely time was had.  It was interesting to have such a young spud as an active member of the vacation household (last year he was quite literally as active as a potato, being only a few months old).  I will say this- there is nothing as refreshing as a 15 month-old’s perspective on vacation.  Why?  Because to them every day is vacation, right, so jump to mommy, I want some hummus and no more of that sand, ok?  Hudson is blessed with a sunny disposition, which in turn shone upon us.  Even when he was crabby, he still broke through with a grin as if to say “Hey, I’m having a moment, it’ll pass, after some milk and a nap, okay?”  And it always did.  Never before has our house had so many spontaneous dance parties.  We almost always had music playing, just white noise for the most part, but he would get inspired by a song we hadn’t even noticed, and then before you knew it, even Uncle Ceiling Fan was dancing around with Hudson.  A sample:

Also, two pics that I took this week. 

IMG_7228 IMG_7214

Doesn’t this guy look like Richard Branson of Virgin Records/Airlines fame?

He roamed up and down our beach, with the flippers on and the hand-flipper-glove hybrid-thingies as well, very serious for Beach Haven’s standards.

But anyway, I am back to my sand less, wave less life, which means I am also making some things!  I’ve had some Shrinky Dink stuff banging about my brain, so yesterday I picked up a package and went to town!  I have no memories of ever actually making Shrinky Dinks as a child, weird, huh?  Maybe my mom felt that adding a hot oven to the activity roster of four children was just too much.  Anyway, I got out a whole bunch of crafting tools I ALREADY OWNED- copyright free image book, markers, colored pencils, scissors, shape templates, punches, stamps and inkpads, stuff I had been sorely neglecting.  Here’s a picture of the largest piece I made.  It started out a whopping 6 inches across


The quality of this picture is terrible, but in my defense I took it very early this morning as I was simultaneously making breakfast and crafting and playing with the dog, so photography was going to suffer, for sure.

Here are my finished little guys:


The largest is just over 2” square.  I can’t wait to combine them with my copper and brass dog tags, and some stones. I am also psyched to make some earrings too- I am totally freaked out by earrings that pull the lobes.  I think there are few things as unattractive as a woman whose lobes have been tortured by those huge-ass earrings she insisted wearing in the 80’s, am I right?  I’ll be able to make some substantial earrings that won’t harm the lobes, very cool, yes?  Going back to the fact that I am able to employ those neglected already been bought crafty supplies- I think I will be investing in some fancy watercolor markers.  I think they will enable me to achieve some interesting coloring effects that the pencils are are not.

I would love to see the lovelies others have created from this versatile medium-please feel free to share!  Meanwhile, I’ve got to get back and preheat my oven!

Monday, July 20, 2009

country graffiti

This past Sunday I went to visit my grandma, and on my meandering way home, remembered to stop and take these pictures:


IMG_7053graffiti2 IMG_7054graffiti3

I had seen them a while ago, but hadn’t the time to stop and capture them.  As I approached, I hoped that by putting off photographing them, I hadn’t completely missed my opportunity (maybe they had been painted over, or maybe the silo thingy wasn’t there anymore).  I breathed a sigh of relief and pulled into the drive next to what I will call a silo for expediency.  I didn’t get out of the car because it was private property, and I feel a bit odd when I stop to take photos like this without permission.  Anyway, they are still there, they are still lovely, and fun and I finally have snaps of them.  I think about the kids who painted this.  I feel happy that the subject matter is funky and innocent and playful, things sorely lacking in today’s world.  I will probably find out that this was done like 20 years ago.  If it was, I hope that as parents now themselves, these former “taggers” have encouraged their children to be just the things I see in this graffiti on Charlestown Road.

woohoo, preachification, ended, my Grandpa Myers would have been proud, even though I never mentioned Abraham and Sarah once in this whole post.

oh, and PS, I am working on something that has been along time coming, and I hope to reveal by the end of next week!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Channeling Bob Ross


Has anyone else in the Jersey area noticed the outrageous cloud formations of late? I cannot remember ever seeing these kinds of sky displays in our tiny state. They remind me of pictures you see of big sky country, or Arizona, not our little corner of the world. It is a combination of threatening grey thunder heads, and brilliantly outlined poufy white, and scuttling wispy translucence. Happy little clouds and enormous grumpy clouds, we have them all. I feel compelled to photograph them, but only succeed in flattening them, removing all the dynamic drama of them. (I searched YouTube for quite a while, looking for a clip with Bob Ross discussing his Happy Little Clouds, and could only really find him making a friend tree for a lonely tree, cuz we all need a friend. Amen Bob).

IMG_6698for bob ross1IMG_6699for bob ross2

IMG_6870bob ross3

On a less patient with the note, what is with this parking job?


This exemplifies the driving “idiosyncrasies” of other motorists that I have been witnessing lately. For the past week, people have been incapable of staying in their own lane, or of deciding which lane they want to be in (there is a difference, just think about it for a moment. There, see, you got it!). People on the road: I just want to get back and forth from work safely. I do not speed, I use my turn signals and I want courtesy from you whackadoodles out there sharing the road with me. We can all be happy little clouds out there, sharing our happy little sky, just please look around you!

That is the end of my rant- I think this weather is finally getting to me!

Oh, by the way- two new styles of necklaces up at Jeanne-Maries- take a peek!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Traversing the bridge


I recently had the pleasure of spending a little quality one-on-one time with my 13 month old nephew, Hudson.  It was a lovely Saturday morning, and while his mama got her hair did, we hung out in Raritan.  I was a little nervous about entertaining a toddler by myself, they are very tough audiences, but then I decided to check out the Nevius Street Bridge.


It is an old span bridge that was recently converted into a pedestrian bridge.  It was safe, and clean, and provided just the right amount of interest and structure to keep him occupied.  He rode to the far side in his stroller, then used the railings to crab-walk his way back down.  He had a running commentary the whole way, sticking his arm through the struts and occasionally letting out his trademark “oooooooh!”

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The video ends abruptly, as we happened upon the only spider web on that entire bridge.  I bailed, and grabbed him.  I hate spider webs.  Ever try to walk on the pedestrian walkways on the Clinton Bridge?  The spiders are as big as your thumb, and they leer at you like some kind of Stephen King character in one of his novels, not pretty.  Anyway, try to not listen to my screechy witch voice, and pay attention to the cute baby, ‘kay?

The rest of the day was spent doing other fun things.  We went to a park in Somerville, and took pictures of the peonies…

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Then we froze our butts off at the pool, and he went home before any crankiness could set in (talking about my crankiness, Hudson is a model citizen).  A lovely day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

the evolution of a thing


Memorial weekend was a wonderful time for me to work on some ideas for necklaces that have been banging around in my brain for quite some time.  I enjoy seeing and hearing other peoples processes, so I though I’d share how this all went down, since I can show you how the design evolved.

First of all, I sketch very little.  My rendering skills are terrible, and I only use drawings to capture VERY rough ideas, so that they don’t escape me completely.  Many people detail their designs fully on paper before they move to materials.  As my skill sets become more complex, I will be forced to improve on this.  For now though, I am happy to dive right in and try to figure out how to realize my ideas as I go along.

I became obsessed with vintage Lucite flowers very early on in my travels.  I found my first few in a lovely shop in San Diego (once I remember the name, I will share).  I then found several sellers on eBay that could supply me with these little lovelies.  I started out making sterling silver, wire wrapped pendants using them.  More recently, I’ve been working in copper, and wanted to incorporate the flowers into those designs.

I wanted to do something with a very organic feel, and this is what I came up with.

Utilizing copper tubing, ball chain and wire, the first couple were nice, but I felt they were stuffy, and over-composed

IMG_6477orange-first try

The 18 gauge wire was rather stiff, and I was wrapping it so tightly around the tubing that I was making it difficult for myself to attach the flower and other decorative elements.  I was also experimenting with how to deal with the chain.

IMG_6482orangeback1stcloseup In this version, I dropped the first link or so into holes drilled at either end and then hammered the tubing to distort the holes slightly, using tension to hold the chain in place.

On my next version, I wasn’t happy with how I had wrapped the tubing, so I removed it.  In order to reuse the wire, I annealed it (heated it evenly to redistribute the molecules and soften the metal), and discovered two things- heating had colored the wire in an appealing way, and the wire now had some interesting kinks and twists that made it more natural looking when wrapped onto the tubing.



A mistake I made in the beginning was drilling the holes in the first three tubes right off the bat.  I quickly realized that it was totally worth it to just thread the chain through the tube- those three inches of chain were not worth effort trying to secure the chain some other way.

IMG_6492stack of three

In the bottom example, I figured out to ball the ends of the wire, which creates a bud effect, and solves the problem of where to end the wire wrapping.  The end is now a part of the overall design.

I then decided to take apart the original orange necklace…


I am really happy with these necklaces.  The loose style is a departure for me- I am usually the meticulous wrapper, very anal- which feels very right.  I am also happy to have figured out how to use a bunch of these lovely flowers, which have languished in my bead collection for far too long.