My work

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tarpon Springs and Textures

My husband is Greek. Well, he is part Greek. His paternal grandfather was from Greece but his grandmother was from Texas. Maybe he's Greektex or Texreek. 

It just so happens that our next door neighbor is also from Greece. Before our trip Kirk and Stelios were talking over the side fence, as they often do, and Stelios was bemoaning the fact that you can't get good Greek feta cheese in California. Then he told Kirk about a Greek settlement in Florida at a place called Tarpon Springs. The Greeks have been sponge fishing there for over 100 years.

Anyway, to make a long story even longer, after our a lovely day with Barbara Lewis in St Petersburg we headed north to Tarpon Springs. The first thing we did was to go to the old town and eat lunch at the Mykonos Restaurant; Greek Salad, Greek fried potatoes and chicken lemon soup, all our favorites.

Then we walked along the water and into the shops where you could buy wonderful things from the sea and food and wine. Kirk bought the best Greek feta for Stelios and we carried it with us for the next eight days. Guys!

We took lots of pictures of Gary the cat, our traveling companion for the last 15 years, and picked through the sponges and shells for the best textures.

Both Kirk and I are now into forms of art that use texture. I am doing metal clay and Kirk is doing ceramic clay.

I never noticed texture before I started doing metal clay and now I see it everywhere.

At the end of the day, before heading out to the Hampton Inn we decided to stop for Greek coffee and a sweet.

I must say, a wonderful day was had by all. Especially Gary as he had his first tiramisu and he loves it. He keeps asking for more.

I hope you are having a fantastic day as well.
Julie Panusis

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge

Today is the First Reveal!

I have joined the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge and today, January 20, 2013, is the first time we are to show what we made so far.

The idea is to make one pair of earrings a week this year. That is great for me as I tend to shy away from earrings. I think it is because you have to make two of the same thing. I have a real hard time duplicating something I have made.

I know, it's practice, practice, practice!

 I made these earrings from steel beads that I opened and enameled using Barbara Lewis' Painting with Fire method. I added black seed beads, 8 mm glass disks and handmade sterling silver ear wires.

I made these earrings with 20 gauge sterling silver wire for the base and the twisted wire bead is 22 gauge sterling. They are great for winter.

Well, Kirk and I are in the Florida Keys now so this post will be short. We got some great photos snorkeling today at Grecian Reef out of Key Largo. I will share them later. 

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Julie Panusis

Friday, January 18, 2013

Barbara Lewis and Painting with Fire

We made it to Florida late Wednesday night

Yesterday, Thursday, Jan. 17, was a fantastic day! Kirk and I spent the day with Barbara Lewis at her Painting with Fire Store in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Barbara is a kind and generous person and a wonderful teacher. 
I fell in love with her enameling method when I took two classes from her in Milwaukee last June at the Bead and Button Show. 

We decided to go to Florida on Vacation this winter so we planned our trip around a visit to Barbara's store.

The business is a family affair. Barbara's husband Jim, who was out of town, is very much involved and is also a great teacher.  

Laura, Barbara's daughter, is extremely organized and has a degree in finance so she is a huge asset to the store.

 Barbara's son David and I were already good friends as he runs the order department and a lot more, I'm sure. 

David gets me and my humor. He is also a very funny guy and easy to be with.

Barbara gave us a custom class. Kirk learned the Painting with Fire enameling method and I learned the "No Solder Bezel."

All I can say is we both had a blast and lost track of time in our cloud of creativity. Fun, fun, fun!

Kirk started enameling steel beads. He caught on right away and began experimenting with colors and layers. He is very at home with a torch and fire. He then started playing with a Christmas tree making an ornament.

I love working with metal so she showed me how to forge a bezel and then a cabochon, put a decal on the cabochon and torch fire them together with enamel. What fun. I made a pair of earrings and a pendant.

The store is very neat and welcoming and I love the studio. I am thoroughly impressed.

I must say, I can't think of a better way to start a vacation.

Barbara will be teaching several class at the LasVegas Glass Craft and Bead Expo on April 3-7, 2013.

She is also teaching again this year in June at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. One of the classes is a No Solder Bezel Bracelet. Believe me it is well worth taking.

Happy Day!
Julie Panusis

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What We Do on a Cold Winter Evening

Many people don't like making New Year's resolutions but I do. Resolutions help get things started but I find they have to be specific goals or nothing gets done.

If the resolution is to use what we have before buying more supplies it wouldn't be specific enough for me. I would rewrite that one to say, use up the leftover knitting yarn stored in the main bedroom walk-in closet by making baby blankets and scarves to give to charity. Now that's more like it. And that's just what we did.

In 1987 I lived north of Seattle and worked in a store named Rumpelstiltskin. I was into the fiber arts then and it was a magical store. We sold yarn from all over the world and ribbons and thread and patterns and notions. I also taught some of the knitting classes.

We were doing well and making over our revenue projection each quarter so you can imagine our surprise when the men that owned the store decided to close it in favor of their home improvement stores. What were they thinking?

Well, I got so much yarn at our close out sale that it filled four large storage bins. I have used some and sold some on EBay but we still have two containers left plus some overflow.

So our resolution came out of the need to get rid of our thirty year plus stash of yarn. I say we, as Kirk waited for me to knit him a sweater back then but soon gave up and asked me to teach him how to knit. Turns out he has a knack for it and has made three or four beautiful sweaters since. The knitting lessons turned out a lot better than the sewing lessons but that's another story.

 The first scarf I made is called a Baktus Scarf. It is wonderful to use up left over yarn. You weigh the yarn then using whatever needle the yarn calls for, you cast on 4. Row 1: Knit 1, YO and knit the rest of the row. Row 2: Knit all. Make sure to knit the YO in the back loop or it will make a hole. Row 3 and 4 knit.
Repeat 1-4 until you use up half your yarn by weight.
Then decrease 1 every 4th row:
Row 1: Knit, knit 2 together through the back loop, knit to the end.
Row 2,3,4: Knit
When you have 4 stitches left, bind off. This is a fantastic scarf to knit in front of the TV and it goes quickly.

 The next pattern I started was a Ruffled Spiral Scarf and it was great fun to work on. It looks complicated but it is made with a simple pattern and some short row knitting. I love the way it came out.

My poor Cindi didn't know what to think when I used her as a scarf model. She looks a little worried don't you think?
I had a lot of cotton yarn in many colors so I talked Kirk into helping me. We drafted a pattern for a baby blanket and he is doing a great job.

I also found a entire bag of left over Sugar and Cream cotton yarn from making wash cloths for everyone for Christmas one year. I decided to make a receiving blanket and I love the way it is working up.

So to answer the question about what we do on a cold winter evening. Well, we knit.

Have a fantastic week!

Julie Panusis

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jewelry Making Challenges

I have signed up for my first Jewelry Making Challenge for 2013.

Art Jewelry Elements has issued an earring challenge that consists of making a pair of earrings each week with hand made beads or elements. You can use other artist's elements as long as you give them credit or you can use your own.

The first fifty people that signed up were given access to an Art Jewelry Elements Pinterest Board to post their creations and every two weeks we will post our earrings on our blog. If you like to look at hand made jewelry, follow the above link.

A jewelry making challenge is a perfect way to get your creative juices flowing and to try something that you might not have done before.

I participated in my first challenge last year sponsored by Fusion Beads. It involved a 30 day daily challenge to make a particular project according to their printed schedule. One of the first things we made was (you guessed it!) a Pinterest Board of our favorite Fusion bead products.   I survived the thirty days and learned a lot of new techniques for jewelry making and how to use Pinterest.

I found the sale bin at Fusion Beads in Seattle
This is a fantastic way for a store to get free advertising and to interest people in their products. We visited our daughter, Kim and family, in April in Marysville, Washington and my sister, Debbie, in Renton and took a side trip to the Fusion Bead Store in Seattle. 

The other Challenge I participated in last year was one I mentioned in my December post, "A Quick Post Before Christmas", the Artisan Whimsy Metal Prong Challenge. I made a pin for my husband's boss, Sunnie. It was brass with a stone that had been given to her with a sun engraved on it. It turned out well and she was very pleased.

I also participated in the Pantone  Bead Exchange last fall organized by Lori Anderson. She matched me with Cheryl McCloud who just happened to live about ninety miles south of me in California. I had the pleasure to meet Cheryl at Art is Petaluma in September and we ended up in class together.  Cheryl is a fun gal and I am so glad we were matched up. Some of the beads that Cheryl sent are under the pin.

With Cheryl and Catherine Witherell at Art-is-Petaluma

So many cats, so little time to see them all

I must go. Have a happy!
Julie Panusis

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


This is the best time of the year

Not only do you get to celebrate the year that is ending by giving thanks on Thanksgiving but you have Christmas which is always festive and a time to think about everything for which you are grateful. Then there is New Years celebrations. It's a time to regroup and start things anew.

We were lucky enough to also have some birthday celebrations mixed in. It doesn't take much of an excuse for me to want to have a party. So I thought I would share a couple we had in December in addition to Christmas.

On December 9, I hosted a Christmas party/hands on class for my Metal Clay Group. We had food and played the gift exchange game and then sat down at the table and made resin pendants. My friend, Judy Pagnusat, showed how to use the UV resin and then I showed how to make pendants with Ice Resin. We had a great time and there were lots of unique pendants made. Fun was had by all. LOL
left to right: Donna, Julie, Mary Neuer Lee, Chris, Marian, 
Catherine, and Judy 

We also had a Play Date on December 22 with four of our friends and celebrated both of the woman's birthdays. Sandy Gecs is a friend I met in Seattle in the 1980's and have kept in touch with. She and her husband, Joe, moved to Morgan Hill and we get to see them a few times a year now. Sandy's birthday is December 14.

Left to right: Judy, Jerry, Kirk, Sandy and Joe

Judy Pagnusat is a friend I met in January of last year through the San Francisco Bay Area Metal Clay Group. Judy and I have been taking classes together and having Studio Play Days since we met. What fun to have someone close that likes the same things you do. Judy and her husband, Jerry, live about six miles from us. Judy's birthday is December 30.

They each got their favorite cake. Judy got cheese cake
and Sandy got chocolate.

We are extremely grateful for our friends.

Happy New Year
Julie Panusis