The choices we make


The first choice I made for the 2016 Build a Line Challenge was my theme-Cowgirl Chic.  On an occasional day when I gotta, I clean up good, but do you see anything cowboy here?  Not so much.  Chic, absolutely, but I am inclined towards flowers and pearls and pretty things.


I do love horses, like this young stallion which we recently “discovered” on a hiking day at the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area.  He is a true descendant of the wild horses (American Mustangs) of the Pryor Mountains, which is adjacent to the Recreation Area  I have spent plenty of time around horses-we used to have 3 of them when we lived in the city, but I was never a “cowgirl” and I didn’t ride western, so this theme has been a challenge for me, and then some!


In the series of classes (modules) between our first blog hop and now, we covered several different topics.  One of those was design influence and another was “artistic generosity” which in my case go hand in hand.  My designs for this line are directly influenced by a new facet of handcrafted artisan goods I want to provide for my customers-artistic generosity suggests that I make more western designs instead of just the pretty things I prefer; that I take into account my customer demographics and allow them to experience my creations in a whole new way.  As you can see from the collection of components against a 1930’s era cowboy themed fabric, above, I had a LOT of options.


My first idea was an epic “FAIL”.  It looks like a hot mess to me and will NOT be a part of my line.  Our class discussed different types of jewelry folk-hobbyists who make things because they enjoy the challenge but typically don’t sell their goods or have no need to sell them.  We examined makers who create jewelry for the purpose of supplementing their income or hoping to earn their whole living with their creations, and production designers who create extensive lines, either to wholesale directly to other companies as finished goods, or for other companies to reproduce in a manufacturing setting.  I tend to be a production-oriented jewelry maker, but I prefer to incorporate vintage items into my designs, just as I do with my other types of handcrafted work.  As a result, I anticipate that I will have various limited edition lines-just a few items that match and some that may coordinate, but never dozens and dozens of identical projects.


Here is a foundation piece for my current line of Cowgirl Chic theme.  I couldn’t possibly add all those pieces shown in the previous picture without going crazy, so I narrowed my components down to just a few.  Though this piece features new components, it will join some upcycled pieces, and you will see the finished line at our next blog hop.  All those other pieces will become different but related limited edition lines throughout the summer.

I do hope you have enjoyed my blog today, and I encourage yo to visit and comment on the blogs of my classmates.  Each of us has a different theme, and the blogs are fun, diverse. and very interesting.


Brenda Sue Lansdowne, Jewelry Making Outside the Box
Diana Buynak, Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio
Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene
Claire Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick
Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not
Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs
Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie
Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time
Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation
Belinda Reed-Ingle, Vogue Rocks
Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry
Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate
Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann
Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs
Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place
Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets
Barbara Kelley, Angels’ Keep
Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks
Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs
Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage
Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles
Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden
Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet
Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry
Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front
Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs
Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels
Mary Deis, The Rose Sword
Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design
Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts
Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens
Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs
Donna Parry, JewelryDonna
Gina-Marie Hammer, Tangles, Twists and Treasures
Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments




Time to Play


It is WINDER time in Cody, Wyoming-the snow flies and the wind blows.  Ya gotta dress warm-in layers-even if it makes ya look kind of silly sometimes.  Bundle up and lets go play outside!


On our way to our favorite hiking and snowshoeing trail yesterday, we saw LOTS of bighorn sheep.  They come down from the high country in the winter and wander all over the road.  After living in this area 14 and 1/2 years, I am still amazed at all the wildlife critters so easily seen-close up-and they aren’t in zoos.  I didn’t use any sort of a telephoto lens to take this picture; they were  that close.  What a privilege!  We don’t pet them either-they appear slow and docile, but when angered, not so much…


This is one big boy!  We called him “Big Daddy“.  He was sure in a hurry to get from here to somewhere else.  Maybe the baby who jumped up to the top of the guardrail, stood there for a moment, and then jumped off scared him.  These wild sheep are less than 1/2 hour drive, between our house and Yellowstone National Park.


One of my favorite bonuses living here is that even on an overcast day, there are layers and layers of mountains.  This vista is just a short distance from the trailhead and look at that one mountain waaay in the background.  No wonder we like to play outside.  It’s like we have the whole world to ourselves.


We always bring lunch with us and Buster is waiting to steal a bit of Robert’s sandwich.  2/3 of the time, he can grab a bite before Robert is able to move it out of the way.  Check out the icicles on the old man’s chin.  The red you see behind them is his collar.


Buster carries his own pack with a pocket on each side that holds snack size plastic containers filled with kibbles.  We discovered if we toss a few out at a time (we call it “chumming”), he will scavenge for a few minutes and not be able to grab a bite of MY sandwich.  Snowshoeing is physical labor and it’s always nice to sit on a log with lunch and enjoy the view, take a rest, then turn around and head home.  Every chance we get, we go, and a good time is always had by all!



Creative Opportunity


It’s almost time for signups for the 2016 Build a line Challenge.  I for one am getting really excited to send in my application for this 3.5 month class that will help me learn to be a better maker of assemblage style jewelry.  Oh, how I do hope I am accepted.  I even got a subscription to Vogue magazine-I who wear jeans and a t-shirt 99% of the time, unless it’s really cold outside.  Then I wear jeans and a sweatshirt.  Follow along and watch my jewelry designs grow and change.

An Introduction to Angels’ Keep

Welcome to my new adventure.  With this blog, I hope to share glimpses of my life as an Innkeeper, photographs of the AWESOME scenery which surrounds us in stunning Cody, Wyoming, some of my foodie interests, and the artisan handcrafted items I create and sell.  I hope you’ll join me as I delve into the different cultures of the people who visit our bed and breakfast, which can be viewed on our website,, hike, bike, snowshoe throughout the year, and cook up adventures galore while creating designs for your person and your home from vintage and upcycled materials.  cropped-akxmas2.jpg