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  • Happy New Year!

    December 31st, 2013 Susan | Posted in About, Jewelry, Seasons | Tags: , | No Comments »

    Winter horse hd wallpaper by Ahmad8Khan

    Photo by Ahmad8Khan

     

    Thank you to Beckett, Wi-Serina, Panther, Charm Boy, Missy and many more (plus their owners and friends) for being part of my 2013. What a great year!

    I hope all of you and your families have a wonderful 2014! Be safe!

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    Holiday Horse Tail Jewelry Orders

    November 20th, 2013 Susan | Posted in About, Horse Hair, Jewelry, News, Seasons, Shop | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

    The Rapitorial Bracelet includes an engraved nameplate. Add you horse’s name, barn name or date of birth to this nameplate. Both the front and the back can be engraved.

     

    I know you’re dreaming about turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, but it’s time to think about holiday shopping, too! What better gift to give the horse lover in your life than a horse hair bracelet made from the tail of your loved one’s favorite horse or horses (I can combine more than one together!)

    Since each item is handmade by me, I need time clean it, braid it, finish it and get a fine piece of jewelry back in your hands for gift giving. Here are this year’s deadlines:

    Horse hair jewelry orders that need to be completed and delivered by Christmas, must be to me by December 10, 2013.

    The horse hair needs to be in my hands with an order form on or (preferably) before December 10 so I can start on your jewelry.

    Orders received December 11 – December 17 that are needed for December 25 gift giving will include a $30 per item rush fee.

    All horse hair must be in my mailbox by December 17 for Christmas delivery. Any orders and horse hair received after December 17 will be delivered after Christmas.

    Your horse hair and order forms can be sent to:
    Red-Tail Designs, LLC
    813 Porter St.
    Easton, PA 18042

    You can send a check along with your order form and horse hair, or I can invoice you when I receive the order so you can pay with PayPal or a credit card over the internet.

    Keep in mind that if you don’t know which jewelry piece to pick, you can always give a gift certificate. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or call me at 610-905-8399.

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    Holiday Jewelry Orders

    November 11th, 2012 Susan | Posted in About, Events, Horse Hair, Jewelry, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

    The top bracelet is a Garden Gala Style bracelet with rectangular sterling silver clasp and pink/red bead mix ($83). The bottom bracelet is the Rapitorial style bracelet, which features an engraved nameplate and sterling silver lobster clasp ($95).

    Well, we survived Hurricane Sandy! That was the worst storm I’ve seen in my many years here in Pennsylvania. Unbelievable, there are still homes in the East without power and many people have lost their homes, cars and other possessions. If you’d like to help these folks donate, contact the American Red Cross.

    A week of kids home from school, no power and bailing out the basement, and I lost complete track of time. Did you know it’s November already?

    That means it’s time to secretly harvest some hair from your friends’ horses and send it me so you can wow them this holiday season with some custom horse hair jewelry. It’s really a showstopping gift that’s perfect for any horse lover.

    Since each item is handmade by me, I need time clean it, braid it, finish it and get a fine piece of jewelry back in your hands for gift giving. So keep these deadlines in mind:

    • Regular deadline for horse hair to be to me is December 1, 2012. It needs to be in my hands with an order form on December 1 so I can start on your order.
    • Orders received December 2 – December 11 that are needed by December 25 will include  a $30 per item rush fee.
    • All horse hair must be in my mailbox by December 11 for Christmas delivery.

    Don’t forget to include the order form! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or call me.

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    Dyeing for a Change

    September 10th, 2012 Susan | Posted in About, Crafts, Fabric, Kids, Tutorial | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

    A little food coloring yields a brand new lunchbox.

    By now you probably heard that I’ve been working on the video podcast Sticks and Stones with my friend Julia of Wee Sheep Knits. We share our creativity with the world by giving insight into projects we’re working on and providing a DIY segment for the folks at home to try.

    In Episode 9, Julia taught us how to dye wool yarn using food coloring. It was right up my alley. (Truth be told: we may have burned out my microwave setting the dye, but it was still a blast.) It’s one of those projects that leaves you hunting around for other objects you can dye. And find something I did: my kid’s lunchbox. I decided to give dyeing whirl beyond the yarn when my daughter and I dyed her lunchbox.

    The original light pink lunchbox that’s about to get a makeover.

    The lunchbox began life as a pink LL Bean nylon lunchbox. My daughter got it when she was in Kindergarten and after 4 years of use it shows no signs of giving up (go LL Bean!).

    The problem is that my now 4th grader is not the pink princess she used to be. We decide to pour on the food coloring and see if we could give it a makeover. I’m happy to report that it was a success! Here’s how we did it.

    Tools:

    • Wilton icing colors, available at craft stores or online
    • Popsicle sticks
    • rubber gloves
    • boiling water
    • towel
    • vinegar
    • heatproof container large enough to hold the lunchbox
    1. Preparing your supplies: Boil the water and have it waiting in the wings for Step 3. Rinse the lunchbox so the nylon is completely saturated.
    2. Dyeing the nylon: Wearing rubber gloves (so you don’t dye your hands), use a Popsicle stick to spread the icing dye across the nylon of the lunchbox. We did this procedure in our kitchen sink to keep the dye contained so it wouldn’t color unsuspecting bystanders like the kitchen counters. We found that rubbing the dye on directly gave a brighter color. You can also dilute the color in water. Sticks and Stones Episode 9 gives more insight into this process.

      My artist painting food coloring on her lunchbox.

    3. Setting the dye:Pour boiling water and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio into the heatproof container and then place the lunch box in the container as well. I used an aluminum cake pan, adding vinegar until the pan was about 1/4 full and then adding hot water until it was 1/2 full. I poured warm water inside the lunch box so it would remain submerged. Put the lid on the cake pan and wrapped the whole thing in a towel so it stays hot longer. Once this mixture cools, I emptied the cake pan and add a new batch of hot water and vinegar to the cake pan and flipped the lunch box over to submerge the lid, as the whole lunchbox didn’t fit in the pan. Again I lidded the cake pan and wrapped it in a towel.
    4. Rinse cycle: Once you’ve set the dye with hot water and the water has cooled, it’s time to rinse out the excess dye with running water. Hang the lunchbox on the washline so it dries completely.
    5. Laundering: Finally, I washed the lunch box in the washing machine with regular detergent to make sure all the excess dye came out.

    I let my daughter apply the colors to the lunchbox. She chose sky blue and leaf green Wilton icing colors. The butterfly patch did not dye at all, but the nylon lunch box did. And laundering the lunchbox removed the bits of dye that got inside the lunchbox. So now I have a happy kid and a few more years before I have to buy new school supplies.

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    Playing with Resin

    June 27th, 2012 Susan | Posted in About, Crafts, Jewelry, Tutorial | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    An Alexander Henry owl and Amy Butler dots preserved beneath resin become stylish necklace pendants.

    My sister-in-law loves fabric, so when I saw a post on Craft about how to use fabric and embroidery in jewelry, I knew I’d found the right birthday gift for her.

    Lisa Pavelka Magic-Glos really is magic when it comes to quickly making a pendant or earrings.

    Instead of using a frame pendant used in the Craft post, I used a double-sided pendant from Hobby Lobby and two single pendant frames from Rio Grande. Then I employed Lisa Pavelka’s Magic-Glos UV Resin. This stuff is so easy to use and it cures in the sun in 5 minutes! Who could ask for more (except for maybe a sunny day).

    On episode 4 of Sticks & Stones, the collaborative video podcast I’ve been working on, I talk about how I created the pendant. Below are the official directions:

    1. I found fabric my sis-in-law loves, in this case Alexander Henry’s Spotted Owls and a classic dot pattern from Amy Butler. Then I embroidered parts of the design with sewing thread and embroidery floss. After experimenting a bit, I found it’s better to  embroider a few areas of the design rather than all of it. The resin mutes the texture of the stitching, but the stitching brightens the pattern a bit. It’s also a good idea to cut a template the size of the inside of the pendant, so you can move it across your fabric to decide which part of the design you want to use.
    2. Iron fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric and then cut the design to the size of the pendant. Use the template you created to cut out the design.
    3. Place the design inside the pendant.
    4. Use Magic-Glos to finish the pendant. Several thin layers of Magic-Glos work better than one thick layer. Cure each layer in the sun before applying the next layer.

    The original owl pendant.

    Truth be told, I messed up the pendant I showed on Sticks & Stones so I had to make another pendant for my sis-in-law’s birthday. I ended up making her two pendants so she can choose which one she wants to slip onto the necklace.

    Magic-Glos covers photos, metal, found objects, just about anything you would want to collage onto a pendant. You can also use it for inclusions, such as sprinkling in glitter between the layers of resin. This maybe be my new go-to birthday present for friends and family.

    See Episode 4 of Sticks and Stones

     

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    I’m a TV Star!

    February 3rd, 2012 Susan | Posted in About, Horse Hair, Jewelry | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

     

    Channel 69 Reporter Melanie Falcon shows off the horse hair bracelet she made with me on live TV this week.

    As a journalism major, I dabbled in all areas of media to see what worked for me. One semester of Havenscope, our university TV show, made me realize broadcast journalism wasn’t for me. This week, I finally got to put to work those few skills I learned from Havenscope when I appeared on Channel 69′s Sunrise news show talking about my horse hair jewelry. I had a great time with reporter Melanie Falcon, as we did three live segments in which we demonstrate the steps to creating a singular piece of jewelry.

    If you didn’t get to see the program you can check it out here.

    Melanie was a whiz creating jewelry on the fly and she headed out of our TV segment with a horse hair bracelet with beads. I’m teaching that class this weekend, February 4, at the Museum of Indian Culture. Melanie and I had a fun time working together and the live TV aspect wasn’t as stressful as I imagined it would be.

    Response due to the television exposure was so great that I scheduled a second horse hair jewelry class for tomorrow afternoon. The power of television is immense! I can’t believe how many folks saw the segments.

    Hanging out at the Museum of Indian Culture with Melanie Falcon between TV segments. The war shirt in the background has horse hair locks hanging off the sleeves.

    We’ll likely run the class again in April, so if you didn’t get to make it this time, you’ll have another chance. Email me to put you on the waiting list and I’ll let you know when the next class will run.

    My kids got a kick out of watching me on TV. When I got home my son wanted to know if I was going to do this job every week. Sorry, buddy, my TV career isn’t happening anytime soon. I’m happy with my 15 minutes and leaving the rest to Melanie.

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    Quillwork Class This Weekend

    January 9th, 2012 Susan | Posted in About | | No Comments »

    Join me this weekend for a Porcupine Quillwork Class at the Museum of Indian Culture. Sunday, January 15, 2012, I will offer Quillwork Part 1 from 10 am to noon and Quillwork Part 2 from 1 pm to 3 pm. Signup is required so contact the Museum or me by Friday, January 13. Snowdate for the class is Sunday, January 29. More information..

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    Horse Hair Jewelry for the Holidays!

    November 7th, 2011 Susan | Posted in About | | No Comments »

    I’ve been getting calls about Christmas gifts since the beginning of October. And as soon as Halloween is gone, it seems like Thanksgiving and the Christmas are here in a flash!

    Check out some fun styles I created this year:

    I just sent this custom piece off last week (can you tell by the pumpkin in the photo?) This mix of purple beads really pops on the black horse hair. I can add any color beads to a Garden Gala style bracelet.

     

     

    I'm one of the few horse hair artists who will work with mane hair. I created this bracelet to accommodate the short pieces that often come with the mane (unless you have a Friesen!) You can add a central bead or have 3 "links" of mane hair.

    I can even add silver beads to a bracelet.

    This Garden Gala Style bracelet is thinner than the usual style, and the pink chain gives it a sweet pop of color.

    Who says wearing a medic alter bracelet has to be boring? Black and red-dyed horse hair make a fun medical ID tag. The back can be engraved with medical information. Herringbone-style braid with sterling silver lobster clasp.

     

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    Horse Hair Bracelet Class

    July 5th, 2011 Susan | Posted in About, Horse Hair, Jewelry | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

    This Saturday, July 9, I will be teaching an Adjustable Horse Hair Bracelet class at The Bead Hive in Coopersburg, PA. Horse Hair will be provided at this class or you can bring your own hair. For more details, check out The Bead Hive. You can also register and pay online. See you Saturday!

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    Strawberry Patch

    May 29th, 2011 Susan | Posted in About, Recipes, Seasons | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

    The first ripe strawberry of the season. The taste tester said, "Success, mom. It's sweet and juicy."

    In Pennsylvania, we know we’re on our way to summer and hot days when the strawberries arrive. Sweet and juicy with that satisfying snap when you pluck them from the plant.

    Our first post-Memorial Day activity is a trek to Trauger’s Farm to pick strawberries. Under the beating sun (because it’s always 95°F the day we decide to go), we fill our buckets upon buckets with strawberry sweetness as we fill our bellies (don’t tell the folks at Traugers, although I think strawberry smeared all over the kids faces give us away).

    My budding chef wrote down our smoothie recipe so I wouldn't forget.

    Our favorite strawberry item is smoothies. We freeze the strawberries so we can have smoothies until next April, when we exhaust our stores of frozen fruit. Strawberry cordial gets me through the dark days of winter. Plus there’s strawberry-rhubarb sauce and strawberries with whipped cream, sometimes jam, and any other concoction we can think of until the blueberries come in and become our new favorite.

    Over the last few years we’ve worked on a strawberry “patch” in our front flowerbed. It began with a novelty hanging strawberry plant. Last year I added a few more plants in tiered barrels so they send runners for new plants into the barrel below.

    For my daughter’s birthday last year we gave strawberry plants as the party favorite. I asked Trauger’s what I needed to do with these tiny plants that looked like no more than scraggly roots. They had very specific directions for caring for these plants. For a Darwinian Gardener like me it seemed very complicated:

    “When the strawberries have flowers, pinch the flowers off so they don’t produce fruit this year. In winter cover with straw and then next year they will produce strawberries.”

    Yum!

    I started off with good intentions, plucking little white flowers. Then, as the plants grew as big as the others, I forgot which were the old plants and which were the new plants. Straw over the plants? I think not. Instead they froze under 3 feet of snow. And unbelievably, we have more strawberries than ever. Further proof that Darwinian gardening works.

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