3 Readymade SteedBeads Rhythm Beads

3 SteedBeads

I recently created the three new sets of readymade SteedBeads Rhythm Beads shown above and posted them for sale on my website. The two on the left are 52″ long and will fit a large size horse. The green one is 50″ long and will fit a slightly larger than average size horse. The purple set has two brass tags flanking the pendant that say “be true” and “follow your heart,” respectively. The green jingle bells have the softest tone of the three sets shown. The purple set’s brass temple bells are next softest. The large round brass temple bells on the brown set are quite loud. Check out all my readymade SteedBeads Rhythm Beads here. Don’t forget to order matching SteedBeads Saddle Dangles and/or Mane Dangles.

Ordering a set of Custom SteedBeads Rhythm Beads is the best way to get exactly what you want in terms of size, pendant type, and bell type and bead colors. Most of my available bell types are shown below. The large round temple bells (first and second in row one) also come in plain brass.

Rhythm Bead Bells

In general, those in the top row are louder and lower pitched than the ones in the bottom row. If you want to hear how the different types of bells sound, give me a call and I’ll jingle some for you!


13 New Protestant Prayer Beads

Colored Prayer Beads

I recently created 15 new sets of Anglican Prayer Beads and posted them for sale on my website. Two of them have already sold! The remaining colored ones are pictured above. The first, fourth, and sixth from the left are long enough to be worn as necklaces for a lovely statement of faith. The third one from the left is a spectacular rainbow set that incorporates iridized glass chevrons as spacers and beautiful faceted rainbow-centered iridescent Cruciform beads.

Rainbow Chevron Prayer Beads

Its specially commissioned dichroic glass cross harmonizes perfectly and is delightful in hand.

5 Neutral Prayer Beads

The new prayer beads above are in reds, browns, and blacks. The one on the right is necklace length. The one on the left is made of iridescent shell disk beads. Its cruciform beads are rainbow foiled faceted clear crystals surrounded by lovely embossed metal cages.

Wire Ring Detail

Check these all out on my website, and snap your faves up soon! Comments below are always appreciated.

Biggest Batch of Decorative Pillboxes Ever

  Pillboxes 1

For the past month or two, I have been working on a huge batch of 28 decorative multi-day pillboxes shown above. This batch is now complete and each is available for sale on my website.

Lately, I have made a lot of pillboxes with mirrored tops. For this new batch, I decided to go back to use of stained glass tops, which resulted in a wide variety of embellishment techniques.

Bllue Pillboxes

The blue pillboxes above took full advantage of some lovely stained glass, such as the dark blue boxes on the upper left and lower right. Blue cat’s eye glass “bubbles” and a swimming fish enhance the effect of moving water on the blue swirled boxes. Iridescent dichroic glass is flanked by rectangular glass cubes on the narrowest vertical box. The same blue stained glass was used on the top pillbox and the two boxes at lower left. The small rectangular box features a glass dome containing free-moving shells, faux pearls, real starfish, and aqua crushed glass. The lace pattern on the top and lower left pillbox is enhanced with blue rhinestones well seated in a protective layer of clear jewelry quality resin.

Green Pillboxes

Several of the green pillboxes above take advantage of resin techniques. The horse is a print of one of my Rainbow Herd horses, encased in resin and then embedded in a layer of clear resin that covers the entire box top. The septagonal pillboxes feature my handmade metal tray bezels with clear windows in them, surrounding their dichroic glass cabochons. I’ve described the lengthy bezel creation process in an earlier post. The peacock feather was created by encasing a glittered fabric peacock feather in resin, then gluing it onto the box shown. The small rectangular pillbox at lower left has a large iridescent dichroic glass cabochon embedded in a layer of jewelry quality resin with green tiger-striped glittered netting also embedded in the resin on transparent green stained glass. The other small rectangle pillbox has the same transparent green stained glass with a steam-punk metal winged heart that has a faceted heart-shaped cabochon with a peacock feather design in its center.

Red Pillboxes

The red, pink, and purple pill organizers above were created using a variety of techniques, all incorporating resin in some way. The two dark purple pillboxes have purple paisley glitter netting embedded in the resin, along with purple and teal glitter and glitter-filled resin cabochons that I made using molds. The pillboxes‘ stained glass is iridized, so it also has a rainbow effect from some viewing angles. The lighter purple pillbox has a similar composition with purple glitter in the resin and cabochon. The red pillbox on the top features glitter and star filled cabochons that I made. The stained glass on the two light pink pillboxes is iridized with a rainbow effect that is quite magical in hand. They each have the same rainbow colored ribbon embedded in a resin layer covering the entire glass surface. The darker pink pillbox appears darker on the left side because its glass is translucent, and it has a pink 7-day strip base pillbox on that side of the box. The 7-day base pillbox on its other (ribboned) side is transparent clear. The red pill dispenser on the right side of the picture features a metal tray bezel in an infinity shape. It is filed with resin, enamel paints, a dichroic glass cabochon, and red and gold glitter. The tray bezel is flanked by two rocks painted gold and red.

Neutral Pillboxes

Even more techniques are featured on the neutral colored pillboxes shown above. To embellish the top left box, I created another glittery tray bezel and flanked it with two large glitter-filled round resin cabochons also made by me. The stained glass has lovely swirled orange and yellow colors. The pillbox to its right has a mirrored top with enamel paint and glitter embedded in a layer of clear resin. This pillbox is an example of the many mirrored pillboxes I made prior to this batch. To its right is a box with five faceted faux opals on its russet brown stained glass top. The big studded metal heart bezel on the center pillbox is filled with yellow and teal acrylic nuggets held in place with clear resin. The heart is surrounded by a layer of resin containing gold paisley glitter netting on creamy stained glass. A similar technique was used on the bottom gray pillbox, using silver glitter netting in a resin layer surrounding a single resin cabochon containing a black and white glass bead that looks a little like a car tire. The same gray stained glass was used on the smaller rectangular pillbox at lower right. I filled the seashell slice with silver glittered resin and glued it onto the stained glass pillbox top.

If you are wondering where the dark brown pillbox went with the two seashells on it, its stained glass top unfortunately broke in half during the glue-curing process, so it had to be scrapped.

I’m quite excited about this batch of decorative pillboxes. Please check them out on my website and do leave a comment below to tell me what you think of my creations!

Elko Centennial Cowboy Boot Project–Stage 3

GBC Boot

Work has continued on my 6′ high Elko, NV, Centennial cowboy boot for Great Basin College (GBC). I added the white letters on top of the previously green letters on the left side of the boot, as shown above. The green lettering didn’t show up well on the green background, so I carefully applied the white lettering over the green letters.

I then added a second clock tower decal with adjacent white letters on the right side of the boot’s foot, as shown below.

I noticed along the way that nowhere in the overall design of the boot did it say the current year, on which Elko’s centennial and the 50-year anniversary of GBC are based. I therefore added the year 2017 in white letters on the heel of the boot. This also makes the words “ELKO 100” more meaningful, as they could otherwise possibly be construed as having some other meaning, such as “this is the 100th boot made in Elko, not the 99th.”

GBC donated all the lettering, decals, and boot plate to the boot project, for which I am very grateful, as this significantly reduced my project expenses and made application of these elements to the boot much easier.

GBC had some beautiful commemorative medallions made to honor GBC’s 50th anniversary this year, so GBC President Mark Curtis provided me with two of them to position in brass bezels at the base of each boot pull. The medallions were slightly too large for the bezels, so President Curtis expertly ground down their back sides to fit the bezels. He also drilled center holes in the bezels and provided flat-head screws and a drill bit for their attachment to the boot. I glued on and screwed in the bezels, and then glued the medallions in place with an industrial strength 2-part epoxy glue.

The 50th anniversary side of the medallion is displayed on the Student Life side of the boot, as shown below.

The other side of the medallion features the GBC seal, which I positioned on the Academic Departments side of the boot at the base of the boot pull.

All of my work on the boot was then complete, so I packaged it up for delivery to Elko Body Shop today.

Wrapped Boot

The GBC building and grounds crew delivered it to the body shop in Elko, where my nephew, Brandon Keller, arranged for and oversaw the application of three automotive clear coats to the boot by the shop owner and one of his painters. These layers were required for the project so it will be protected from the elements in its future outdoor location. My heartfelt thanks go to Brandon and Elko Body Shop for donating their time, expertise, labor, and material to this project. They did a terrific job, and I would highly recommend their work.

The GBC building and grounds crew then picked up the boot at the body shop and delivered it to the GBC campus. The boot is temporarily housed in the foyer of the Greenhaw Technical Arts Building until a cement slab is poured for it in its futured outdoor location on campus.

I was on hand for the delivery so I could see the finished piece and take a few pictures of it, although it was hard to get good shots of it in such tight quarters. GBC President Mark Curtis admires the finished boot in the picture below.

I love how shiny the clear coat made the entire boot, tying the lettering and colors together. Before the clear coat was applied, the gold and green areas were matte finished, and the lettering, decals, and aluminum tape diamonds were shiny. Now the boot looks unified, complete, and very well protected.

President Curtis and his wife, Margaret, also showed Brandon and me today where the boot will be placed on campus.

Future Boot Location

Later this month, a cement slab will be poured in the center of the above triangle so the boot may be mounted on it. In this  location, the boot will be seen (and I hope admired) not only by pedestrians walking by it, but also by those driving by the college on a nearby road. Brandon Keller, President Curtis, and Margaret Curtis are shown in the picture above. My thanks go to them all and the GBC building and grounds crew for their help with this project and their encouragement of me during its progress.

The deadline for the boot’s completion is April 1, 2017, so I am delighted to have finished and delivered it well before that date so it may be in its final home on schedule. I will post pictures of it there when the installation is complete.

For more information about this project, see my blog posts for Stage 1 and Stage 2.

Elko Centennial Cowboy Boot Project–Stage 2

2-21-17 Boot

On Feb. 21, 2017, I completed painting the foot and trim of my Elko centennial cowboy boot for Great Basin College (GBC) in Elko, NV, as shown above. This task took about 2.5 hours.

There was a little overspray when I airbrushed the green paint near the gold paint. I hope it is not very noticeable, as I was not able to fix it. I painted the brown trim by hand, to avoid such problems and be more precise. It was a real trip laying on my stomach to paint the bottom of the boot sole with a sponge brush.

On Feb. 23, I added the lettering and other decals to the boot, as shown below.

2-24-17 Boot-2  2-24-17 Boot-3

Adding the lettering and decals was a challenge, as they did not adhere to the airbrushed surface as tightly as I hoped they would. I am hopeful that the three coats of automotive clear coat will adequately secure these elements in place.

I especially like the way the GBC 50-year logo looks on the front of the boot.

2-24-17 GBC 50 Logo

I am not as happy with the lettering to the left of the GBC clock tower decal on the boot foot, however.

2-24-17 GBC Clock Tower

The words say “WE ARE GBC!”, but the green lettering does not show up on the green background. Therefore, I held off on adding a similar decal to the other side of the boot until this lettering for both sides of the boot is received in a lighter color.

I also added adhesive-backed aluminum to the diamond pattern on the boot toe for a little bling.

2-54-17 Boot Toe

I then drilled holes in the boot heel to add the required Elko centennial plaque that also contains the GBC logo and the names of the boot sponsor and artist.

2-24-17 Boot Heel

All that is left for me to do at this point is to add the other clock tower decal and lighter colored lettering to the boot foot and affix the bezels containing the GBC commemorative coins to the bases of the boot pull straps. I am waiting for a decision on the glue type for the latter. Once those things are completed, I will protectively wrap the boot for transport to a local auto body shop where my nephew will add the required three layers of automotive clear coat to it. Then GBC will transfer the boot to its new home at the college. I am confident that the boot will be completed and in place well before the April 1 deadline.

See my previous boot blog post for earlier pictures and background on this fun project. For the next stage of this project, see this post.

Elko Centennial Cowboy Boot Project

GBC Cowboy Boot-1

I was recently invited by the President of Great Basin College (GBC) to paint one of the big cowboy boots that will be put around town to celebrate Elko Nevada’s Centennial this spring. My boot will be in residence in my studio for awhile, as it must be completed for installation by April 1, 2017. It is six feet tall and weighs 110 lbs! It must be completed for installation by April 1.

Here is one article and another in the Elko Daily Free Press explaining the project.

Approximately 20 cowboy boot statues will be painted by local artists and placed around town, sponsored by local businesses and some individual donors. Business sponsors will place their boots in front of their businesses. Other boots will be located near civic landmarks like the courthouse and the post office.

My boot will be placed on the GBC campus.

The hollow fiberglass boot arrived as shown above, primed for painting. I was particularly daunted by the many folds in the upper portion of the boot, which will make it challenging to paint detailed pictures on those parts of the boot. I wish the boot designers had thought of that when they made the mold!

I therefore opted for a less painterly, graphic-oriented design that will be meaningful to the college community for many years to come. The boot will also commemorate GBC’s 50th anniversary, which will also be celebrated this year.

I made two lists of words/phrases that would represent the GBC faculty and students, respectively. My plan is to place one list on each side of the boot uppers, positioning the lettering on the folds of the boot. This approach will make lemonade out of those lemons, using the folds to my advantage.

Boot Lettering Side 1

Boot Lettering Side 2

The pictures above show the proposed layout and sizes of the lettering, before any painting was done on the boot.

Working closely with GBC President Mark Curtis, the boot’s coloring and other design elements were decided. Here is the approximate mock-up of the colored design that was approved.

Boot Design Mock-up

The college’s colors are green and gold, so those colors were chosen for the boot. The clock tower graphic and “WE ARE GBC” will be placed in the area shown, with mirror-image tilting on the opposite side of the boot. The clock tower is a popular landmark on the campus. The GBC 50th anniversary logo will be placed on the top front of the boot. GBC’s 5oth anniversary commemorative coins will be placed in metal bezels like buttons where shown on the base of the boot pull straps. Each side of the coins will be featured on one side of the boot. The inside of the boot top will be the same dark brown as the boot pull straps. There is a triple-diamond design on the toe of the boot that will be outlined in the dark brown with mirrors inset in the diamond shapes.

The waterproof, UV-resistant, adhesive lettering and graphic decals have been commissioned and received from a company that produces such items for outdoor applications such as on vehicles and boats. These are applied with a rub-off technique that should be easy to position and work with.

The required white heel plate containing “ELKO 100”, the college logo, and the sponsor and artist’s names has been made by and received from a local sign shop. It will be screwed on with white-headed screws.

On Feb. 18, I airbrushed the boot uppers with Gamboge acrylic airbrush paint, feathering the paint to enhance the surface ripples. The 3.5-hour painting process made my airbrush finger a bit numb, so I’m taking a little break in my painting effort.

GBC Boot-2A

The next step will be to airbrush the foot part of the boot green. Then I will add the dark brown accents on the sole, heel, toe, pull straps, dividing scrollwork (between the gold and green colors), and inside the boot top.

Watch for progress reports and photos in future blog posts. I am especially grateful to Dr. Mark Curtis and his wife, Margaret, for their excellent input and help with this literally huge project! Blog posts for Stage 2 and Stage 3 are now available.

Four New Protestant Prayer Beads

4 New Prayer Beads

I recently created the above four sets of Protestant (Anglican) Prayer Beads and am now offering them for sale on my website. The first three are long enough to also be worn as necklaces. The two on the right feature dyed agate pendants, and the one on the right also has dyed green agate Swiss cross Cruciform beads.

Each set is $32.00 plus $7.00 (U.S.) shipping and includes a velour storage bag and 16-page full color booklet by me containing the history and use of Anglican Prayer Beads and sample prayers.

I’ve laid in a new supply of beads and pendants lately, so watch for more prayer bead creations to be made soon!

Open Studio 11/19/16

I opened my Lamoille, NV, studio to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on 11/19/16 and had a great turnout and abundant sales, thank the Lord! Attendees could do their Christmas shopping from my full inventory of creations, including my artwork, note cards, jewelry, decorative multi-dose pillboxes, Protestant prayer beads, sun catchers, and SteedBeads™ (jingling necklaces for horses and model horses).

A friend brought a group of women from her church, and one of those women brought treats to add to my cookies and hot cider refreshments. Another member of that group brought her viola and treated us to Bach background music during her stay. She even went out to our paddocks and serenaded the horses, who considered it a very interesting experience.

Horse Serenade

I had my encaustic (melted wax) tools set up and hot, and demonstrated their use, making tiny landscapes for attendees to take home as souvenirs of the event. Several attendees tried their hands at making melted wax art, inspiring them to do more of such art at home or for their youth groups.

Encaustic Miniatures
Just a sample of the dozens of melted wax miniatures available.

I was so pleased with this event that I will likely make it an annual affair. Many thanks to all who participated and helped out!

Mirrored Splash Pillboxes

Splash Pillboxes

Water marbling lately has been intriguing me, as I could imagine its use on the glass tops of my decorative multi-day pillboxes. The above eight 7- and 14-dose pillboxes are the result of my experimentation, which I will detail in this post.

Traditional water marbling on paper is typically done by creating a gel layer, dripping colored ink or paint onto it, swirling the colors to mix them, dipping paper onto the surface of the liquid, and letting the paper dry.

Other methods employing plain water, instead of the gel, came to my attention via various YouTube videos and other sources. The first method I noticed was floating nail polish on water and dipping fingernails into the paint to color them with marbled effects. I have a ton of various color nail polishes in my stash, so I tried this first.

For my test surfaces, I cut eight mirrored tops for two sizes of pillboxes. I was worried that the paint might fully cover the mirrored surface, so I cut circles, ovals, and rectangles out of clear adhesive-backed shelf liner and stuck them onto the mirrors to mask out areas of the mirrors. I also adhered long strips of clear packing tape lengthwise to the back sides of the mirrors and folded over the ends of the tape to use as handles during the dipping process.

I thought it would be easiest to submerge two of the mirrors in a basin of 3-inch deep water, float the paint on top of the water, and then simply lift the mirrors up to adhere the paint design to them. Unfortunately, while I was floating the nail polish on top of the water, the shelf liner masks detached from the mirrors and floated to the top of the water. Also, some of the drops of nail polish sank like bullets, rather than float. When I finally got some nail polish to float on the surface and pulled the mirrors upward with their tape handles, the nail polish stuck great to the handles, but almost entirely slid off the surface of the mirrors. I gave up on the nail polish idea at this point and cleaned up the mess I’d made!

Next, I tried diluting acrylic paints to float on the water surface, but they didn’t float. More cleanup ensued.

Undaunted, I decided to try my Pebeo Fantasy enamels. I used a pipette to apply the paint to the water surface. These paints did float, but they came out of the pipette in spaghetti-like strings. Some stayed in string-like form, and some spread over the water’s surface. I used three different colors (black, silver, and gold) and stirred them a bit with a wooden skewer, but held off on the stirring when I noticed the paint was covering most of the water’s surface.

I proceeded to dip the mirrors face down into the water. The paint stuck to the mirrors and dragged most of the rest of the paint down with them as the mirrors were submerged fully and then quickly pulled vertically out of the water by one of their two handles. The design was captured on the mirrored surface, but the paint had wrapped around to the mirrors’ backsides, and many water droplets still sat on top of the design. I set the pieces aside to dry on silicone racks. I was afraid to touch the mirrors when the paints were still wet.

After cleaning up the basin’s water and stirring together three more paint colors (black, silver, and blue) on the water’s surface, I dipped three more mirrors in the same manner as before, adding more paint between dippings.

I repeated this process using three different colors together (black, silver, and pinkish red)  on three more mirrors and set all the tops out on silicone drying mats to dry over night.

The next morning, I discovered what I had left to do with these creations. Some of the adhesive masks had curled upward on one edge during the dipping process, so when I pulled them off the glass, one edge of the masked area did not have a clean edge. I pulled the packing tape cleanly off the backs of the mirrors and wished I had used that type of tape for my other masks. The enamel had dried in drips on the back side of the mirrors, so I scraped off the high points with an Exacto knife. Then I cleaned off all the edges of the mirrors, right down to the glass.

Next, I tackled the mirrored surfaces of each piece. I used the Exacto knife and mineral spirits on a Q-tip to clean up the ragged edges and centers of the masked areas. The silver enamel, which I had used on all the mirrors, had spread to leave a thin film on most of the other parts of the mirrors, so I used the Exacto knife and mineral spirits to painstakingly clean off many of the larger areas of thin silver paint to expose the mirrored surface. This was fairly time consuming!

When this work was done, the pieces looked much better, but they still lacked the “wow” factor I strive for in my works. I set them aside to cure for several days while I found and glued on dichoric glass or resin cabochons to enhance each design.

After that glue had cured for a day or so, I strategically added complementary colored glitter to the surface of each mirror and topped that off with a layer of self-doming clear jewelry-quality resin. That layer was needed to float the glitter, protect the enamel layer, and add considerable depth and sparkle to each piece.

When the resin had cured for a few days, I glued the mirrors onto their pillbox bases and let the glue cure for 24 hours. The results had the dazzling beauty I was hoping for, especially when viewed in direct sunlight.

Cross Mirrored Splash Pillbox

I’ve posted these “splash” pillboxes for sale on my website. Just put “splash” in the website’s search box, and you’ll see them all. Given the above-described considerable effort put into their creation, their prices are a real bargain!

I learned a lot via these experiments. I’ll definitely be applying what I’ve learned to future experiments with water marbling, so be on the lookout for more works along these lines. Please leave a comment to tell me what you think of these.

10 New Protestant Prayer Beads

10 Prayer Beads

Ten new sets of Anglican prayer beads are now available on my website. Two of these Protestant prayer beads are necklace length, and four feature agate pendants from China. From left to right, here are links to more info on their respective product pages: