Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sale at PWF, Book No. 2 Pre-orders at Amazon …

Gosh, a lot happened yesterday.  But first let's get to the thing that is time sensitive.  We're having a sale at PWF!  Heck yeah!  We have a lot to be happy about …

A facebook friend called to my attention the fact that Book No. 2 was available for pre-order at Amazon.  Holy cow! 

This is the result of very generous online supporters.  These figures will fluctuate wildly, especially in the beginning, but I'm enjoying the glow of the moment.  Thank you!  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to train employees …

I get lots of email from customers & students asking questions and I almost always send a copy of my responses, for educational purposes, to Laura, David and Rachel, who help me run the business.  My daughter, Laura, is our Business Manager.  While she knows a great deal about the areas of Finance and Business Management, I have her beat on the subject of enameling.

I send these responses to help educate them. So, Laura asked me the other day if I could put "Info" as the subject line of the emails so that she could easily flag them.  She continued, "You know you're not always going to be here."  So, I said, "What if I use "When I'm dead and gone" as the subject line?"  We both cracked up!

The DEAD part we know doesn't leave us with many options, but the GONE part ... I mean, you might find me on a beach in Tahiti!  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Back to school and a neat project!

In January, I went back to school!  Yes, you're never to old to learn.  We have a great vocational program two miles from my house.  It's the Bench Jeweler's Program at Pinellas Technical.  The program is headed by Mr. Do, who's been teaching it for 29 years. I'm amazed at the projects the students are working on.  Of course, since I'm just getting started, I'm working on soldering some small jump rings.  26-gauge, 2mm jump rings are not the easiest things to solder.  It does teach you control of the flame, however.  

Here's my beginning …

Here's Ken's finished chain … 

Let me tell you, his chain represents probably over 400 jump rings.  Soldering small diameter, fine wire jump rings will sure teach you control of your torch!  Ken has just started on his chain with 26-gauge, 1mm jump rings!  Yikes!  

Switching gears a little bit … I'm finishing a Mixed Media Workshop sponsored by the Morean Arts Center.  We worked with resin, patina, enamel, vintage watch crystals.  We made our own jump rings, soldered them, tinted resin with pearl-ex powders and paint.  Here's what Kathy made …

And, here's the lovely Kathy wearing her great necklace!   

We used snippets from a rhinestone chain and a 1934 Montgomery Ward catalog.  It was fun!

Have you been working with some unusual materials lately … or want to?  Which ones?  Please share! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What the heck's been going on at Painting with Fire?

A lot's going on, but you wouldn't know it by my blog!  Facebook seems to have lured me away from my blog, at least temporarily.  You can find me at two facebook groups I started.  The first is "Happy Accidents,"  which is where we share the serendipities of working in the studio.  You know, when things accidentally work in our favor!  Why don't you join me here:

"Painting with Fire: Inspired Enameling" is a new facebook group for those who torch fire enamel using the immersion method but we're happy to have others who share an interest in enameling.  Here's a handy link for your convenience:    You'll also find posts here about where you can find workshops.

There's a great facebook group called "Enamel Jewelry Artists" started by Amy Sanders.  You'll find lots of talk about graphite experiments, decals, resists, etc.  You can find that group here:

Speaking of decals, we'll be discussing them here soon. 

In the meantime, let me announce that I'll be teaching at "Art on the Prairie," sponsored by Vivi Magoo Presents.  There's an interesting story about Rachel Ashwell and her B & B, The Prairie.   I'm looking forward to the event for a number reasons, including the fact that we'll be offering a PWF Teacher Certification program there. 

Here's the Shield of Faith workshop, where we'll explore overfiring of enamel and much more.  The only enamel used in this pendant was 1055 White.  All of this color is a result of overfiring.  I think it's one of the most exciting things about enamel. We'll also do some riveting. 

In the Pop Rocks workshop we'll focus on 6/20 enamel and how to enamel brass, how to shop for it, why is one successfully enameled and another isn't … 

In the PWF Teacher Certification workshop, we'll explore lots of enameling techniques and then we'll talk about how to build your business!

Please visit Barb Solem's outstanding event.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What seemingly impossible task will you tackle in 2014?

Do you sometimes look at others and think, "I could never do that."  I know I did.  It's sad that so many of us believe this.

Is it time for a little pep talk?  No one will hear you … go for it!  What if I made some time for myself today?  What if I put myself first?  What if I started the day with creative work rather than paperwork? What if … what if … what if …

What if I bring that big sofa through the window instead of through the front door?

Remember to practice possibility thinking!  You know, we're all not brain surgeons and yet we manage to do many things well!  Hugs, Barbara


Thursday, December 19, 2013


This video reflects a movement taking place in Ann Arbor, Michigan … and all around the country, including in St. Petersburg.  Keep St. Petersburg Local is a collection of indie business owners supporting the idea of BUYING LOCAL when YOU can.  Look to your local businesses first … you get to meet the guy who "imagines" the stuff,  makes the stuff, sells the stuff.  Keep your community unique, BUY LOCAL! 

Please watch this video!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Atomic Bazaar Craft Show!

I've been looking forward to this craft show since last year when I went to Sarasota to check it out!  It's got a good bit of funk & "oddities" and the show is very lively.  Please stop and say hello.  We'll be in the Bayfront Room, which is conveniently located near a huge parking lot! 

The show will be held at the Sarasota Municipal Building, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236.  This is the building you're looking for …  

Hope to see you at the show! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Working on a commission

I had a customer purchase a bracelet from me the other day.  She wore it over the weekend and called to say it needed to be lengthened by "two safety pins!"  I thought, "Hmm, were they big safety pins or regular safety pins?"  Anyway, when she came in we adjusted the length of the bracelet.

While she was there I pulled out my laptop and showed her the article on Jewelry Making Daily detailing how I made the bracelet.  She had purchased the alternate project that is shown toward the end of the article.   She wrote to me later that day and placed an order for this one, which was the featured project.  

I'm really grateful for the work Tammy Jones did on publishing this project. It will be fun working on it.  Isn't it a great feeling when someone appreciates your work?  Are you working on a special project?  Whether it's for you or a specific person, I'd love to hear about it! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The studio is alive with workshops!

I just experienced my first full year of business in Florida!  Painting with Fire has been open for a little over 18 months and during that time we've expanded the space, I've written another book, and we're deep into the PWF Teacher's Certification Program!

I've also experienced something else very noteworthy ... the seasonal nature of doing business in St. Petersburg!  It's as if someone "turns the faucet off" at the end of April and everyone caravans out of the town.  

Of course, I don't blame those lovely people who come to the land of sunshine where it's 75F from November through April.  I also love it here during those gorgeous days!  However, during the summer, I'm convinced we're living on the sun.  Don't get me wrong, the D. C. Area (which I used to call home) can be pretty miserable in the summer and much hotter than St. Pete, but the "summer" isn't as long! So, I've decided to "get out of Dodge" and travel teach in the summer.  One of my stops will be at the Rocky Mountain Bead Society in August.  Denver in August has to be a lot cooler than Florida.  Right? 

If you're interested in hosting a summer workshop and you live in a place cooler than Florida, please get in touch with me! But this post was supposed to introduce our winter line-up of classes, so let's get started!

Here's what we've got going on  ...

We've got openings in Linda's Sea Glass Jewelry Class on December 14.   If you can find a free hour and a half, we've got the talent and authentic sea glass waiting for you to create gifts or stocking stuffers for the special people in your life.

There's still a chance to get in on Carrie Boucher's jeweler's saw class Saturdays from 1 pm to 4 pm.  You can join Carrie for one of the remaining classes or both. I really couldn't believe how great her students did after the first lesson!  Looking at some of Carrie's work might help you decide!  It's not only gorgeous, but she's knows how to teach it, too!

I've just submitted a great line up to the Morean Arts Center.  I've had a wonderful partnership with them since 2009, except now the classes are held at our studio because we have that great ventilation system. There are new classes and some old favorites with new twists.  For instance, the Floral Cascade Workshop will incorporate enameling juicy transparent enamels on brass, even though we'll still be "cannibalizing" those iron beads! It's just too much fun to tear into them!   In the Susan's Sunset Earrings Class, we'll be etching and otherwise texturing metal to create our own special bead caps. 

But I have some other tricks up my sleeve ...

You can sign up online at the Morean Arts Center or sign up at our store.  Either way, we're glad to have you!  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sea Glass and Jeweler's Saw Workshops

I'm still building a relationship with my camera ... which is really what it feels like.  Laura does such a nice job with the gallery display and  Cindy Townley's scarves are so gorgeous, I couldn't resist grabbing the camera.  Of course, we all know the best way to learn is by doing ...  

We met Cindy through the wonderful Linda Healy.  Linda is a retired social worker from Maryland.  My husband, Jim, worked as a consultant to Linda and her agency for 20 years.  One day Jim appeared at Linda's job wearing a shirt with a tropical design.  Linda had on a dress in the same fabric!  They immediately said, "Saturday Morning Market!"  Jim and Linda had shopped at the same vendor at different times during visits to Florida and were in the same room wearing clothing in the same fabric!  As luck would have it, Linda relocated to Gulfport, which is only a few miles from where we live and work.  Linda works part-time at Painting with Fire and has shown great skill in wire-wrapping sea glass ... of which we have about 100 lbs!  

Linda will be teaching a sea glass wire-wrapping class on Saturday, December 14, 12 pm to 1:30 pm, $25.  You'll be working with authentic sea glass from the Chesapeake Bay. 

Carrie Boucher has openings in her "learning to use the jeweler's saw."  She has two more sessions left, but if your schedule can't accommodate both Saturdays, just take one class.  I was amazed at what her students did last week!  For more details, go here.  Call the studio to register (727) 498-6409.

Before I go, I want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends!  Jim and David have been cooking all day while Laura and I held down the fort at Painting with Fire.  It was a trade I gladly made ... Thank God for the cooks among us!