My work

Friday, March 29, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 13 - Have Faith

Our prompt this week from Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is "Have Faith."

Faith is personal and internal so it is hard to find a photo that conveys the feeling. I looked through my pictures and I came across one that comes close.

A church near Prinsted, England
Whenever we travel, especially overseas, I like to visit old churches and grave yards. I like to look at grave stones and imagine the person who is laid to rest. What were his/her dreams or ambitions? What was their life like?

I have faith that death is not the end but the beginning of a new adventure. I believe we will see our loved ones again and meet our Master.

It feels good to have faith. I can't imagine anything else.

Happy Easter Everyone.

Julie Panusis

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Observe the Curve: Focus on Life, Week 12

Oh my, it happened to me again. I was just starting my blog and had to leave to find a link and I hit publish instead of save. I was way too tired last night to write anything.

I love the prompt sent to us this week by Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime in our 52 week photo challenge: Observe the Curve. The first thing I thought of was boats and sails so off I went in search of the photos I took on our 20th wedding anniversary cruise. We called it our cruise of a life time but since then we have taken two more on this line. It is called the Star Clipper Cruise Line and all three ships are wind driven Clipper Ships.

In the meantime, I asked my husband what he thought of when he heard the prompt. He replied that it was a no brainer, the curves of a woman's body. Yes, I guess that is what a man would think.

Yes, this was ten years ago this year. I can't believe how fast the years have gone. Time flies when you are having fun.

Obviously I didn't take this photo but I love the curves
of the iron work and the table.

We spent a week aboard the Royal Clipper sailing around Southern Italy and then another week on a tour seeing Northern Italy. What a beautiful place.

Kirk and I spent a lot of time in front of the ship in the bow net. It was so exciting to look down at the sea below but also very relaxing. We found out later that the sign in front of me said, "Do not go beyond this sign."

This is the view out of the dinning room at sunset. I love the curve of the port hole and the slight curve of the horizon.
A little Italian sea side village
An arch in Pompeii

 I love the sea and all the creatures in it so this was an exceptional vacation for me.

The second half of the trip was packed with famous cities and sights but if I had it to do again, I would have taken the tour first and then the cruise. On a tour you are up early every day and going all day long. We were exhausted when we got home. The ship was so comfortable and relaxing and yet there was something to do every day.

Now these are curves
Nothing is more beautiful than the curves of a Gondola.
We really liked Florence with beautiful art everywhere but I guess my favorite city that we visited was Venice. I loved that there was water everywhere. I guess the negative ions made me feel happy and secure.
Thanks for letting me take this trip down memory lane. It was so much fun.

Have a wonderful week!
Julie Panusis

Friday, March 22, 2013

Beaducation and Lisa Niven Kelly

This is the post I was going to do on Wednesday but life got in the way. It's only Friday so that's not bad.

Last Saturday my friends Judy, Donna and I took a class at Beaducation in Redwood City, California.

Donna, Lisa, Julie, Judy
Now I have been aware of Beaducation for a long time as a company to buy high quality tools, metal stamps, metal shapes and other supplies. I may have discovered them at Bead Fest or BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza) or Bead and Button but I know when I go to a show and they are there I always come away with some quality supplies.

One of the things about their booth is that they are always busy but NEVER too busy to help you find what you want and show you how to use it.

One of the things I didn't know was they were right here in the bay area and they are starting to offer classes. When my friend Judy e-mailed and said she wanted to take a Spiro Pendant Class from Lisa Niven Kelly, I was right on board.

Spiro Pendant by Lisa Niven Kelly
The class was so much fun and led to a lot of inspirational moments. I now dream of all sorts of metal shapes to be wrapped.

In fact, Lisa brought her beautiful competition necklace from the 2009 Bead and Button Bead Dreams Challenge in Milwaukee for us to touch and drool over.

Original Art Necklace by Lisa Niven Kelly

Lisa is the owner, CEO, teacher and head cook and bottle washer of Beaducation and from what I saw when I was there she deserves her success.

Not only is she a great teacher, from what I could tell by interacting with her staff, she is a great employer. Everyone that was there that day seemed very happy with their job. Happy employees make happy customers.

I just recently found out that Lisa was voted one of the Top 10 Teachers in the United States by the editors and readers of Bead&Button Magazine. I must say that I agree.

Beaducation is also one of the first companies that I was aware of that offered online video classes in jewelry making. The classes are taught by some of my favorite teachers, Tracy Stanley, Steven James, Kate Richbourg, and Janice Berkebile to name a few.

Oh, did I mention Lisa has a great book about stamping on metal called Stamped Metal Jewelry? I owned the book long before I knew who Lisa was and found it is wonderful for beginners and it also gives some great tips for the more experienced jewelry makers.

My sterling silver  Spiro Pendant

All in all, it was a wonderful day. I am very happy with the pendant I made and have lots of plans for more.

 Jennifer Chiou and me winning Tronex flush cutters

I also won one of the door prizes that was given away at the end of the class. It was a Tronex short handled flush cutter which is one of the finest tools that anyone could own.

Have a truly marvelous weekend!

Photo from Life with Dogs on Facebook
Julie Panusis

Monday, March 18, 2013

Earring Challenge Reveal 5 (weeks 9-10/52)

Once again it is time to reveal the earrings that I made in the Art Jewelry Elements Challenge.

I decided to use another artist's components with the first set that I made. I really enjoyed it because it involved shopping, LOL.

I purchased some wonderful Elaine Ray ceramic beads at the Ornamentea shop and combined them with decorated snap jump rings, blue peanut seed beads and some Thai silver beads. Then I wrapped them up with 20 gauge silver wire.

I was very pleased that these were chosen to be one of the earrings  featured on the Art Jewelry Elements site.

 Although I have been making these earrings for quite awhile, I actually finished them this morning.

My idea was to make some fast resin earrings. I purchased the oval masonite  forms from Retro Cafe' Art, online and got the butterfly art online and I was set.

I used gel pens to color the masonite and then printed the pictures on photo papers making sure to flip one. Then I glued the photos on the masonite and sealed it with Modge Podge. That's when I found out that Modge Podge removes gel pen.

After the sealer was dry I reapplied the gold gel pen to the sides of the form and got gold all over the butterflies. My next discovery was that acetone will remove gel pen. This was a good thing. I then carefully applied ICE resin to the butterflies with a tooth pick and let dry for 24 hours.

This morning I drilled holes with my flex shaft. Then I found some dyed ocean jasper beads, gold filled spacers and brass flower beads. I wired everything together with 18 gauge half hard sterling wire because I like mixed metals. To be honest, I don't buy gold filled wire anymore as we need to pay the mortgage. Ha, ha.

And that's how I made my quick resin earrings minus the quick.

Have a warm and fuzzy day.

Julie Panusis 


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Endless Possibilities: Focus on Life, Week 11

When we got the prompt "endless possibilities", from Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime this week for the Focus on Life Photo Challenge, I immediately thought of children.

I have two grandchildren who are very close. Kya, who will be 21 in June and Christian, who will be 11 in August. Even though they are ten years apart they have always enjoyed each others company.


They are lucky to have two artistic and musical parents, our daughter, Kim and her husband Dave so it stands to reason that they would both love music and love to create.


Unfortunately for us, they live north of Seattle so we don't get to see them as often as we would like. Last year at Easter we were able to take a road trip and drive to see Kim and family and my sister Debbie and her family.

Somehow my grand kids got older but I didn't. We got to see Christian open his Easter Eggs which had prizes inside. Maybe candy, maybe money; endless possibilities.
2012 Kya makes some of her own hoops

Kya dyed the back of my hair and she is thinking about studying to be a beautician. She also preformed on the hula hoop for us; endless possibilities.

Grandpa Kirk,  Dave and Christian

My son-in-law teaches guitar and plays gigs with his friends when he can get away from his day job. My daughter teaches people to ride and trains horses for a living; endless possibilities.

L to R:  Daughter, Kim, Sister Debbie
Grandma Julie and Kya in the middle

Before we left to drive home, we got to meet my sister, Debbie's new granddaughter, Addilyn. A life just starting, the possibilities are endless.
Have you thought about your possibilities lately?
Julie Panusis

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Focus on Life Week # 10

It's the weekend and once again I am looking through photos that I have taken to see what to post for Sally Russick's Photo Challenge, Focus on Life.

Her prompt this week was: all wrapped up. At first I was totally stumped. All I could think of was Christmas but as I considered other things more and more ideas began to appear.

This is our Miniature Dachshund, Mollie. We rescued her from Countryside Rescue in Santa Rosa, California in October, 2005 and she is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Mollie was five when we got her but turned six on December 26 of that year. I found her online and we went to the rescue with the intention of taking her home no matter what the cost.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans in 2005
Her previous owners had to give her up after their devastating losses from the hurricane. They signed papers and provided her medical records so that is why I knew her age.

Rescuers from Pasados Safe Haven
photographed by Karen Ducey

 by Karen Ducey
Poor little Mollie (or Millie as her name was then) was born and raised in the Louisiana sun and was very unhappy with our weather, living in a cage at the rescue and not having a home when we met her. She was used to being a princess and couldn't understand her new situation.

We bought her a new fluffy dog bed and as soon as we got her home and put her in the bed, our training began. She got out of the bed and jumped up on the couch then looked around at us like, "Well, what are you going to do about it?"

If you have ever had a Dachshund, you know that they have an unique attitude. They are very much like cats. Things are done on their schedule and to their liking. Fortunately, I had a Dachshund when I was in my teens that looked just like Mollie and I love cats so I fell in love with her immediately.

Mollie will be fourteen this year and she has brought us all, including the other dogs, so much joy. We are all wrapped up in her little paws and we love it. I think she has done a grand job of training us.

photo by
 We are all God's creatures. Thank you Lord, for the people who care.

Julie Panusis

Friday, March 8, 2013

It Could Happen to You

Yesterday turned out to be fun and educational for me.

I have been working on getting healthier so when I found out that my Health Plan, Kaiser Permanente, gave free classes for members I signed up.
Now I live in Petaluma but the class I wanted was held at the Richmond Campus which is about 35 miles from us and you must go on a very large bridge across the bay so I was a little uncomfortable about the commute.

We were to be there at 7:45 am for an 8 am class and that would be traffic time. I decided to leave the house at 6 am because they said they would lock the door on anyone who was late. I was ready to go early as I am a morning person, so I actually left at 5:45 am.

It turned out that there are very few people on the freeway at that time. I was going 60 mph or more the entire way so I got there, parked and was in the building in an hour. I went to the third floor and there was no one at reception so I looked for a class room and parked myself outside the locked door.

I had packed a canvas bag with essentials because it was a four hour class. I had my notebook, my workbook, water bottle, and a banana and orange and my maps. I went to the bathroom to check my face and sat my bag on the sink.
Well, the faucet was the hospital kind that goes up and over to really let you get your hands under for a good scrub. It was also motion activated. I turned around and heard a water noise. When I looked back, my bag was being filled with water. I grabbed the bag as the water turned off and set off the motion detector again. My bag got a second fill. By that time I was laughing so hard I couldn’t see so I poured the contents of my bag, water and all in the sink. Of course, that made the water run again on top of my mushy paper and wet snacks.

I finally escaped the bathroom with lots of paper towels and wet everything. I met another woman wandering around looking for the class so we settled in the chairs and got to know each other.

Soon it was 7:30 am and there was no one else around. We went looking for humans and found out we were in the wrong building.

I am so happy that I made a new friend who was just as lost as I was.

By the way, we got there on time, it was a wonderful class and they didn’t lock anyone out.
What did you do for fun yesterday?
Julie Panusis

Monday, March 4, 2013

Art Jewelry Elements Earring Reveal #4

Once again it's time to reveal the earrings that we have made in the last two weeks for the AJE earring challenge.

I have been experimenting with mismatched earrings because I like the look and it's easier because you don't have to make two of the same thing. However, you have to somehow balance the look so I will let you decide if I have done that our not.

These earrings have a lot of memories for me. I made the copper clay  charms a couple of years ago in a class at the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee with Gordon Uyehara, one of my favorite metal clay artists.

The wire wrap is 20 gauge silver wire and the pearls are wired on with 26 gauge silver.

I bought the string of pearls on a Yangtze River Cruise in China several years ago. Kirk and I and his mother went to China in a group of only ten people and had some wonderful experiences.

These earrings were made with hand made porcelain charms by the gals at Off Center Productions. I combined them with acrylic flowers that I set with silver head pins and findings.
I love how light the earrings are with the porcelain and acrylic.

Have a fantastic week!

Julie Panusis

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Have You Ever Had a Day Like This?

Yesterday, I spent the entire day trying to make a simple pair of earrings and post a photo on my blog. Everything I did turned into a major production.

I would get one thing done and then find it wasn't right so I had to do it over again. Maybe I was being especially OCD or something. LOL. I wrote a few paragraphs in my blog and couldn't find the photo I was going to post. Anyway by the afternoon I decided to give up and finish my blog the next day when I could actually think.

Later in the evening, I was looking at my e-mail and found a comment was posted on my blog by my dear friend, Chris. What? Is she psychic? How did she know what I was going to say? I quickly checked and yes indeed, I had accidentally published my partially finished blog instead of saving it. Technology, you got to love it.

Last Friday, Sally Russick's blog, The Studio Sublime, was delivered to my inbox. I opened it eagerly to see what prompt she would give for our weekly photo challenge.

The prompt was "Knock, knock!" and she showed a picture of a book inside which she found an old Christmas card with a door on it. Well, I was elated. My husband and I love to travel and I take a lot of door and gate photos and house photos. I spent hours looking at photos and frankly I got a little overwhelmed. So I went back and re-read her wonderful post and her story behind the picture. Then I realized it wasn't the knock, knock that was important, it was the "Whose there?" that interested me. The story behind the door.

The old Swensen family farm
I took this photo in August 2007 and is of a small farm house in East Leroy, Michigan. The woman standing at the back door is my Aunt Sonja, my mother's youngest sister and she is asking permission from the owners for me to photograph their home.

The door to this house is the gate way to so many happy memories for so many people and to see it again and have this photo was a precious gift for me.

One story was of an immigrant who came to Battle Creek from his home in Oslo, Norway at age 19, named David Swensen.

It is also the story of a young woman, Nettie Brunt, who met this man when she worked in the laundry at the Battle Creek Sanitarium where he worked in maintenance.

A side story is"The San" was first opened on September 5, 1866 as the Western Health Reform Institute. It once employed a young man named W. K. Kellogg as a bookkeeper. "The San" and Kellogg were lampooned in T. C. Boyle's 1993 novel, The Road to Wellville, and the 1994 film adaptation.

Alma Swensen at the chicken coop beyond the back yard

David and Nettie raised their six children on this farm as well as dogs, cats, chickens, cows, and lots of crops. My mother, Alma, grew up here along with her brothers and sisters. My brother, Bill, began his life here when my father, Edwin (Bill) was away during WW2. And I spent my early years living here when the Army took my dad back to fight in the Korean Conflict in 1950.

Edwin "Bill" Watkins during the war

There used to be a tire swing hanging from a limb of that tree to the right of the photo. And that huge lawn was the center of so many activities from family reunions to my brother, Bill, and I practicing our Circus Acts. We spent hours and hours learning to walk on top of a rolling oil drum all around the yard. Our cousin, Lynnda, on my dad's side had her very own trapeze on which she practiced daily. We could not let her join the Circus without us.

All I can say is, thank you, Sally, for giving that prompt. I truly enjoyed the happy memories behind that door.

David and Nettie Swensen 1979?
Have a warm and fuzzie weekend.

Julie Panusis

Another wonderful internet photo