My work

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Life as an Abbott and Costello Skit


On December 26, I fell and cracked my head open. Now you may think this is terrible and it is in many ways but as usual, things turned out to be quite funny.

We arrived at the Kaiser Permanente Emergency about 10:30 PM. No one rushed out and greeted us like they do on TV. Kirk went in and got a wheel chair and wheeled me in to the front where even though I had a bloody towel to my head, no one greeted us or even looked our way. We waited at the yellow line. The one that says: Respect Other's Privacy and Do Not Cross!

After what seemed an eternity, the Triage Nurse came over and we wheeled up to her desk. I started to tell her what happened but she held up a hand to indicate I wasn't to talk until she finished typing.

Nurse, "What happened to your head?" as she eyed my husband, Kirk, suspiciously. Me, "I fell down the stairs." Nurse, "How many stairs?" Me, "Two." Nurse, "Were you unconscious?" Me, "I don't think so." Nurse, "Were you going up or down?" Me, "I was going down." Nurse, "How did you hit the back of your head?" Me, "I was going backwards." Nurse, "Why were you going backwards?" Me, "So I wouldn't fall."

The nurse was now laughing hysterically. I wanted her to lighten up but not that much. "Hey, I'm bleeding here!" I telepathically beamed at her.

The very same conversation was repeated when I got in the room and the Doctor arrived. She too thought it was hilarious. I am so happy that I got to provide them comic relief.


Christmas ornaments made with Dominoes

In my last post I told you that Kirk and I had made lots of Christmas ornaments with dominoes but he had given them away before I photographed them. Good news! He brought two home.

Here's how we made them:

Buy dominoes at a garage sale or the dollar store or online.

Print out photos on glossy photo paper. You can also buy digital art for jewelry making online or at Etsy.

Cover domino on spot side with Mod Podge Matte and trim and place photo. Brush on more Mod Podge and let dry thoroughly.

Mix Ice Resin according to instructions and cover the art work using a tooth pick or a wooden stick.

Add embellishments to wet resin. You can use flat back rhinestones. glitter, small beads or whatever suits your fancy.

It's best to work on parchment paper, an old plastic bag or any non-stick surface. If some spills, wick it up with a paper towel the best you can but don't panic. You can remove spills from the domino after it sets up in 24 hours with a kitchen knife. Remove sticky resin from you hands with baby wipes and nail polish remover.

We found double sided tape worked best for holding the ribbon on the domino. We tried glue first but it turned dark when it wet the ribbon. You can also use a glue on bail and make a pendant.

You can personalize the back with any permanent marker or gel pen.


Have a safe and healthy New Year.
Julie Panusis

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Quick Post Before Christmas

I have been having withdrawal pains from not being able to post. I have been so busy as everyone is this time of year.

Kirk and I made 35 resin ornaments for his office co-workers and some friends. We made them with white dominoes, holiday pictures, resin and ribbon. I was so proud of how they came out and I forgot to photograph them. He is at his office party today and gave them out this morning. Oh well, I will have to find some more dominoes at another garage sale. The fun is in the looking.

I made a couple of gifts that came out quite well. One is a necklace that I designed that I really like. I was on a stone kick for awhile and bought a beautiful Kambaba Jasper pear shaped 45 mm by 45 mm stone. It sat in a box until I went searching for something green for my sister-in-law, Pam.

The Kambaba Jasper is made from petrified blue green algae that is about three billion years old. It is supposed to calm you. I designed the necklace with the clasp in the front to add interest and added my sister-in-laws favorite thing, a palm tree. What could be more relaxing?

I also made some winter earrings for my Mother-in-law, June. She loves silver so they have a ice theme going on.

I also wanted to show you what I did with the pin I made for Kirk's boss. I was having trouble with the brass that I soldered. When I pickled it, the copper in the brass came to the top and gave it an orange tint that I didn't like. I was told to pickle it again with peroxide in the pickle. That helped but it still wasn't what I wanted.

I made the pin in conjunction with the Artisian Whimsy Metal Prong Challenge. The exercise was to see if I could solder pins to brass and I did but it was trial and error so I learned a lot.

I decided to patina it with black and then polish it back to the brass color and I like it a lot better.

The last thing I wanted to share was the mask that Kirk made for his boss, Sunnie. It was quite different and I love it.

Have a wonderful holiday!
Julie Panusis

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Studio Space

My husband, Kirk, and I are very lucky to have our own space in which to work. Kirk is interested in lots of things as am I. They just don't happen to be the same things.

Kirk loves to play music and dabbles in the piano, guitar and drums. I love music and play the radio and the CD player.

Kirk loves to garden and has planted our vegetable plots for the last several years in our front and back yards.

I love fresh vegetables and fruit. I am happy to help pick, wash and cook the food.

I love to make jewelry and took up fused glass to make cabochons and pendants. Kirk got interested in the fused glass and played with fire and glass noodles until he could actually write words with glass. No jewelry for him!

It seems we are the same only different and I think that is why we get along so well. We will celebrate thirty years of marriage next June and I can count the arguments on one hand. Or maybe he is just easy to get along with. LOL

Kirk, Julie and Kim, 1980, picking blueberries in Washington State.
One day I made this loving declaration to him: "You know you don't annoy me half as much as other people do!" His reply: "Thank you, I think." Now that's the basis for true love.

When we bought our house about ten years ago, we both knew that a car would never see the inside of our two car garage.

We finished the walls and made it our shared work space. He got stage left and I got the stage right.

Julie's side of the garage
I went in the other day and started laughing about how different the sides look. My side is organized (most of the time) and Kirk's side is chaos.

My assessment is that he is probably more of an artist than I am. He is able to start a project and focus on it until it is done.

Kirk's work space for his clay sculpture
I find it very difficult to work in chaos and will go out to the studio and spend my time and energy to clean and sort things on my bench before I can work so I don't get much done. It takes me twice as long to do a project.

Is one of us right and one wrong? NO!

We are the same only different.

Happy December!

Julie Panusis





Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Believe in Supporting Other Artists

I have always supported other Artists and Crafts People

There is something so wonderful about an object made by another person's hand. I have always been attracted to that which is hand carved, hand sewn, hand knit or hand made.
My husband and I have fun each year going to the holiday craft fairs and buying lots of hand crafted gifts.
I used to try to make everything but soon I decided it was a win, win to support other craft people. I get less stress and they get more money to feed their craft.
On Black Friday I noticed a Facebook post by my online friend, Heidi Mansfield Kingman of My Bead Therapy that she was having a flash sale on her jewelry. Now I love metalwork and wirework but Heidi is young and can handle the heavy gauge wire that I can't manipulate any more.

I have often drooled over her designs and have purchased one of her wonderful signature bird houses in the past. I jumped at the chance to get a new custom piece from her.
I quickly went to her web site and found the bracelet of my dreams and bought it. I gave her the information to stamp on it and used Paypal to pay. What could be easier?

My biggest surprise is how fast it was made and sent. Heidi has a full time job, a family with children and a dog. I know I could not have made it that fast. But.........I'm not complaining!

Stop by Heidi's blog if you get a chance. She is very generous with her jewelry making information.

So, I am thrilled with my bracelet. I have worn it everyday now since it came in the mail.

Thanks so much, Heidi, for my bracelet and for being you!

Julie Panusis


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Art-is You Retreats International Art Card Swap 2012

In April of this year I got an e-mail from Sallianne McClelland and Ellen Legare, the birth mothers of Art-is You Retreats that outlined an International Art Card Swap and asked if I would like to be the West Coast Coordinator of the Swap. What an honor. Of course I would!

There would be five coordinators:

Julie Panusis from Petaluma, California, for the West Coast, United States

Colleen Peck from Wilmington, Connecticut, for the East Coast, United States

Carol Cantrell for Australia

Margarida Alberty for Portugal

And someone in Kent, England (I'm sorry I didn't get a name)

This is my Crazy Quilt Card

Each person would send six cards to their closest coordinator by August and the coordinators sent everything to Colleen in Connecticut to be swapped. Then after the Art-is You Retreats in September, at Petaluma, CA and in October at Stamford, CT, the cards would be sent to the coordinators to be mailed back. 

I made this lace on my embroidery machine and used my hand made paper.

Last Monday, I received a box with all the cards to mail back to my people. I was so excited. I had 15 people including me that participated and I admit, I looked at all of the cards that we got back before I mailed them out on Tuesday.

Cat Kerr

There was not a bad card in the bunch. I mean they were all so unique and wonderful. I decided to scan a few of my favorites and share with everyone.

Judy Pitts
Vickie Jones

Paula Pike
Child's card from Australia
In Australia they even had a group of children make cards. They are fantastic. If only I could be as free with my art as children are.
This card said "Eddie 2 1/2"
on the back. Wow!

I should tell you that I am partial to the fiber art cards because I come from a background of fiber arts. I even made one that was a crazy quilt. LOL

The Art Retreats are already being planned for next year and the city of Nashville, Tennessee is being added to the US Retreats.

Kirk and I visited Nashville in 2010 and it was a blast. There is so much to do and see.

Best wishes for an artful holiday season,

Julie Panusis

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Documenting My Day

I’m sitting upstairs in my bedroom at my computer looking out the window at the most incredibly beautiful day you can imagine. The sky is a piercing blue with no clouds and there’s green everywhere.
First window on the left
We get this in the bay area in the fall and early winter. That’s when we finally have some rain and within days all the gold turns to green. I’m not talking about the trees that drop their leaves. They are just showing all their glorious colors but everything else is GREEN.
 It’s spectacular and reminds of my beloved Michigan the place of my birth and the most beautiful spot on the planet.

 I often walk through my neighborhood with my camera and do what I call, "documenting my day." I feel it makes me appreciate my surroundings and helps me know how blessed I am.

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the neighbors are having a garage sale. They have had an amazing amount of people stop by. I guess everyone is in the shopping mode as it is Small Business Saturday. You can’t get a much smaller business than a garage sale. What a fantastic idea! I am making a mental note for next year.

We wish you joy in this holiday season.

Be back soon!
Julie Panusis



Thursday, November 22, 2012


We want to wish you a Merry Thanksgiving (to the tune of Merry Christmas)

I love Thanksgiving. It is a time of reflexion about the way things were and what we have now. Believe me, these are the good ole' days.

I am so very thankful for my husband and his family and the fact that we have become reacquainted with my family in the Midwest in the last few years. There are so many good memories that I get to enjoy again and so many good people.

Last week my husband's mom, June and his sister, Pam drove up from Southern California and we had our Thanksgiving meal. It was fun to be together and enjoy their company.

I'm thankful that we got to drive up to Washington this year to see my daughter and her family and to see my sister, Debbie and some of her family.
Which brings me to Facebook. I love the fact that I can talk to family and friends every day of the year with Social Media. I believe that Facebook should be a positive place to go and enjoy each other.
That got me thinking about how wonderful it is to live with a guy that supports everything I do. My husband, Kirk, is a smart guy that is interested in lots of things and is not afraid to try new things.
In March of this year I got interested in ceramics. Not in making dishes but making art and beads. I found a studio that gave classes in hand building so I could learn the basics.
After six weeks, I knew I liked working with clay but quit the classes because a person could only make so many pinch pots and log bowls. The teacher wasn't interested in the same thing that I was so I brought the low fire clay home.
Kirk asked if he could use it. He then started using my clay tools and then studied You tube videos and bought books about sculpture. He studied and practiced and studied some more.
Soon we had masks everywhere, even in the garden. 

I'm so proud of Kirk. He knows that he can do anything if he really wants to and makes me know that I can too.

I took another ceramics class at Art-is-You Retreat in Petaluma and learned how to make clay pendants which was my original goal. (More about that later)

Best Thanksgiving wishes, my friends.

Julie and Kirk Panusis

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Metal Prong Challenge from Artisan Whimsy

Today is the day to reveal our metal prong masterpieces for the Metal Prong Challenge from Artisan Whimsy.

This was a new technique for me so I decided to go simple this time and make a pin. Now that I know how to do it, I will be making pendants. I really like the results.

I made this pin for my husband's boss, Sunnie, who is an attorney. Her friend gave her the sun rock and she wanted it made into a pin to wear on her black suit that she wears to court. She loves gold so I used textured brass and cut out some sun shine. I didn't want it pointed so I made it soft and mellow like she is in real life.

I still have more polishing to do but I didn't want to miss the post deadline. When I pickled the brass it got copper on it. If anyone has any suggestions besides using the flex shaft with various grinders let me know. I have been doing that and I also used Penny Bright.

Thanks for the challenge. It was lots of fun.

Stop by and see what everyone made.
The Beading Yogini,
Caroline Dewison, Blue Berri Beads,
Mary Harding, Mary Harding Jewelry,
Dawn Horner, Northern Adornments,
Gina Hockett, Freestyle Elements,
Heidi Kingman, My Bead Therapy,
Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things,
Melissa Muir, Melissa Muir Jewelry,
Melinda Orr, Melinda Orr Designs,
Staci Louise Smith, Staci Louise Originals,
Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame,
Jo Tinley, Daisy Chain Designs Jewellery,
Francesca Watson, Francesca Watson Designs,
Linda Younkman, Lindy’s Designs,
I will talk to you again soon!
Julie Panusis

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Last Wednesday I was telling you about how much fun I had at the Bay Area Bead Extravaganza in Oakland. I said I would post more tomorrow. Well, tomorrow is here.

The next two people I saw when I went into the hall for lunch was Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley. Janice and Tracy are business partners and often travel together to teach at the different venues.

They are both wonderful teachers and each has a distinctive style. Their website is Wired Arts and tells all about these fabulous gals from the Pacific North West.

Janice and Julie on Halloween at Wire Masters
I first met them at Wire Masters Weekend when I took a class from Janice. The name of the class was Crown Jewels and I am so proud of the piece that I made. I have had many compliments. Unfortunately I can't find it now so I can only show you the example from the Class. Mine looks just like that only different. LOL

That same year I discovered BABE and got to take a class with Tracy. I learned how to work with metal and resin. Boy did I enjoy that. I made a pendant with a shell shaped bezel and filled it with tiny shells and sea weed and then resin. It was like being a kid again, hammering on metal and playing with bits and pieces.

My pendant "She Sells Sea Shells"
Tracy Stanley at BABE

Both gals helped me acquire a love of working with metals, especially copper and I really enjoy working with resin.
They have written an exceptional book and believe me I was one of the first to buy it. It is rated five stars at Amazon. The name of the book is: Making Wire & Bead Jewelry: Artful Wirework Techniques.
Both gals teach in jewelry stores, bead shows and have online classes with Beaducation. Do yourself a favor and check them out.
Well, I'm gone for now. I will see you again tomorrow.
Julie Panusis

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

BABE Comes to Town

Boy have I been busy for the last six days. BABE was here!

What is BABE, you ask?  Why it’s the largest bead show on the west coast, with over 150 artists and exhibitors showing handcrafted, vintage, ethnic or carefully selected beads, gems, stones, findings, jewelry making tools and completed jewelry.
All that combined with beading classes and jewelry-making workshops. BABE has stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metalsmithing, torch enameling, metal clay, polymer clay, glass and more.

Why do I like the Bay Area Bead Extravaganza? Because it’s held at the Oakland Marriott Convention Center which is less than a hour drive from Petaluma. I also get to see my many
friends and take new classes. It’s once a year and a little like a reunion for me.

Last Thursday Judy and I took a Metal Clay class from Christi Anderson.  I will post photos when we finish the project.

Our friend, Catherine Witherell, was assisting.

Catherine is in our Metal Clay Group and we get to see her at lots of events.

Christi had two pieces chosen for Saul Bell finals this year. She won 1st place for her Fairy Queen Castle; Queen of Keys. She has been the recipient of many awards as well as being featured in several magazines.

Anat, always there to help
 On Sunday, I took another wonderful class from Joe Silvera called Fused Sterling Rings.

Who knew you could fuse sterling but I am here to tell you that you can.

The whole idea is to use your sterling scraps. We started out with pristine sterling, textured it, cut it up and put it back together. It was sort of like making a quilt. You take beautiful material, cut it up and make something else beautiful.


I still have to polish, tumble and maybe patina the ring but I am very proud of it. Pretty soon I am going to run out of fingers. Then I will have to make a ring wearing schedule and everything. Oh drat!

As I said, it was old home week for me. The first friend I ran into was Steven James.

Steven is a full-time elementary school teacher, who has made appearances on the DIY and HGTV network and teaches classes in creating at lots of Bead Shows including Bead and Button and BABE. He lives by the mantra - “what are you gonna make today”. He has endless energy and enthusiasm and is a joy to know.

Steven was the first one to teach me that you could enamel with a small torch and I have been stalking , I mean following him, ever since. To learn more about Steven go to his web site:

I will save the rest of the story about my time at BABE for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day. I will see you soon.

Julie Panusis