Category Archives: classes

Fishing for Ideas

If you’ve ever worked with preschoolers, I’ll bet you’ve enjoyed magnet fishing. You put a paper clip on the ends of paper fish and a magnet on the end of a homemade, kid-sized fishing pole and then “attract” fish. My grandson likes to put his fish in a bucket and use it as a fishing pond. We’ve been playing this for over a year and it doesn’t seem to get old.

G fishin

Many times, I end up “fishin” too, but it’s usually not in a bucket. It’s usually in my head when I’m fishing for ideas. I may be looking for something new and different to add to a design or for some way to solve a problem. This week it was the latter.

I’ve been stuck on making birds lately and have explored how to do it with embossing and torch enameling.

torch bird

After making a couple of these, I realized that the two don’t mix real well. For embossing, we need a light gauge metal and for torch enamel a heavier metal. When I use the gauge I need for embossing and then enamel the piece, it curves a bit toward the back. Yesterday, while fishing for ideas, I tried riveting another piece of metal to the embossed one and then enameling. It was NOT a good idea. Much of the heat was lost between the layers and I completed a very rough and ugly bird. No, you cannot see it because it’s in the trash. So, I guess I’m going to need to get my idea fishing pole out and try again.

I did, however, have one bird that turned out well. He/she is a sample piece that combines elements from several of the classes I teach, soldering, riveting, wire wrapping, forging, etc. Although you can’t tell from the photo, I used tube rivets to help the bird stand about 1/4 inch away from the back plate. The bird is mixed metal including copper sheet, 1/10 silver wire and brass wire for the nest. Today’s issue is how to make it smaller.


I asked my spouse if he thought I needed eggs in the bird’s nest, but he didn’t think so. We decided that bird was just too young to mate. After all it did just hatch at Dreamcatcher Designs.

Here’s hoping you catch whatever you are fishing for.

July/August Classes

Please forgive this commercial post. Someone asked me to post a link to my classes and this is my sole format. Metal Mania II – Cold Connections August 18 – 2-4 PM $20       No Prerequisite      Minimum # of Participants: 4, Maximum: 12 Techniques Covered: Lacing/Sewing with Wire and Riveting image image image Metal Mania III – Hot Stuff August 25 – 1-4 PM $35     Prerequisite: Previous work with metal and wire       Minimum 3, Maximum 6 Techniques Introduced: Annealing, Sweat Soldering, Soldering Rings image image Wrapping Cabochons, Rocks and Objects  - Level II $35 Prerequisite: Cabs I or Previous Experience Wrapping Minimum 4, Maximum 7 July 28 1-4 PM Technique/Projects: Prong Wraps and Karen’s Wrap image Wrapping Cabochons, Rocks and Objects  - Level I $35   Prerequisite: Basic Wire Working Skills   Minimum # Participants 4, Maximum 7 TBA Techniques Covered:  Border Wrap and Multistrand Wrapimage   All Classes Held in the Classroom at Hobby Lobby in San Marcos, TX Please email me for enrollment or more information. Thanks!


There are several things you can always count on here at Dreamcatcher Ranch when the month is May. These include Summer weather, Spring pollen and ANTS! It seems no matter how hard we fight them, those ants are more determined than we are and we lose the fight.

Last week, however, I got a new perspective on ants from my three-year-old grandson. He actually seems to like them! At the least, he finds them very interesting. During our visit, we checked out online information and videos and talked about the little critters. I couldn’t help but tell him the story of Two Bad Ants, written by Chris Van Allsburg. It’s one of my favorite books that tells about ants coming into a home. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the book with me, so I just told the story of how a couple of ants lingered behind in the sugar bowl while the other, more disciplined ants, carried their treasure out of the house. The entire story is told from the perspective of the ants and it was difficult to get the real effect without the pictures. Yet, my grandson was intrigued.

Tonight, I decided to dig out that book and take with me on my next grandmotherly expedition. At first I couldn’t find it. That meant I had to dig through the many picture books housed in my closet and that’s when I realized. Those books were my old friends. I touched worn copies of Winnie, the Witch, Roxaboxen, Rabbit and the Moon, The Last Dance and other familiar works. My reaquaintance with them didn’t even require page turning as the memories flooded back from the mere sight of them.

I could tell you that I read these to my own children, but that wouldn’t be right. I read these to teachers and university students in my classes. No workshop with me was complete without story time after lunch. While some thought this was silly, others looked forward to this part of our day. I usually told, rather that read, the story as I showed the pictures. At times I used a prop or two such as the shawl I wore in various ways for The Last Dance. I not only remember the stories, but I remember the people and the situations wherein I used them. Those books are like little capsules of my past that hold more than I ever realized until this evening.

Lest you think I neglected my own children, I should tell you that the pages of other books like Drummer Hoff and Where the Wild Things Are have well worn pages as well from our family sharing. I’ll bet my adult son can still recite most of the verses in Drummer Hoff.

I believe in this new period of publishing where many books are ready electronically, but wonder what will remain from these to help hold the memories of sharing books with others. My hope is that we will always share real copies of picture books and that these will be passed from one generation to the next as treasured gifts, not just relics. For now, I’m just anxious to share with another little person . . . hand-on.

Teach Me

Lately, I’ve once again had a chance to teach others. Although I’ve tried several times to veer into other paths, I seem to always come back to education. It doesn’t seem to matter to me “what”  I’m trying to teach. The important element for me is “how to teach” it.  It’s always been both challenging and fun for me to try to figure out how best to help others learn.

Yesterday, while preparing to teach a leather wrap bracelet class, I went back to pedagogy in designing a teaching aid. The bracelets, which I’ve shown before, are below.


  I had close to the maximum number of people enrolled in the class and wondered how in the world I was going to show everyone how to do the weaving required on this bracelet. For this bracelet, we were using smoke colored Fireline fishing line which it difficult to see and weaving it with beads over and under leather cord. It’s a piece of cake to demonstrate when you can sit right beside someone, but not so easy when the person is across the room from you. Therefore, I went with an enlargement of the technique. I dug in my ribbon stash and found scordome gold cord and some red ribbon. By attaching the cord to my giant clip board, I had my enlarged replica. It looks a bit silly, but it seemed to work and people could see it from across the room. I appreciate the participants who didn’t laugh at my replica.

This happening reminds me of teaching preschool piano classes when I had my father cut large music notes out of wood which we painted black. Then I made a big music staff on heavy white plastic. The children and I sat on the floor to learn concepts. (Those were the days when I could still get up off the floor as quickly as they did!)

One of the best things about teaching is that students inadvertently teach me what works. When I demonstrate something and they don’t get it, I have to figure out what to do next instead of just thinking they were slow to learn. As these difficulties arise, I need to figure out a different way to teach the same thing and make it clearer. Also, when numerous students make the same error, I know it’s because I did something wrong. That’s something I need to fix.

Students also teach me through their questions. A query is often indicative of something I might demonstrate in a better fashion next time. The students teach me through these questions.

I think one of the best parts of teaching is that the process is reciprocal. Both the students and the teacher learn when the environment is risk free.

Jewelry Classes


If you do not live in the San Marcos, TX area, I apologize for this advertising post. Someone asked me to put information up about my jewelry making classes and this is the only venue I have. Please skip this if you have no interest or live outside this area. If you have interest in the times and low costs for these classes, please let me know. I’m just eager to give more people a chance to learn to do what I love.

Learn to Make Your Own Jewelry

Classes from Dreamcatcher Designs

Call or Email to Sign Up 512 751 7307

Classes will be held at the Hobby Lobby classroom in San Marcos.

Class A: Introduction to Jewelry Making

2 Hour Class (Minimum 4 participants, Maximum 10) – For Beginners

Class Includes How to . .

1. String beads & Crimp

2. Make a Wire Closed Loop

3. Make a Wire Wrapped Loop

4. Open and Close Jump Rings

5. Hammer Loops

6. Use Headpins

7. Make a Simple Wire Hook Clasp

Project: Earrings and a Necklace with Handmade Clasp  clip_image004 clip_image002


Class B: Intermediate Wire Jewelry

2 – 2 ½ Hour Class (Minimum 4 participants, Maximum 10)

Class Includes How to . . .

1. Make Jump Rings

2. Make Ear Wires

3. Make Handmade Chain

a. “S” loops with jump rings

b. “S” loops with beaded links

4. Hammer the above

Project: Handmade wire chain necklace with beads links, matching earrings clip_image006 clip_image008 clip_image010


Class C: Introduction to Wire Wrapping for Jewelry  3 Hour Class (Minimum 4 participants, Maximum 10)

Class Includes How to . . .

1. Begin and End a Wrap

2. Attach Beads to an S loop for Earrings or a Necklace

3. Make and Embellish a Wave Bracelet

Projects: S Earrings and Embellished Wave Bracelet clip_image012

Prerequisite: Skills from Class A


Class D: Wrapping Cabachons, Rocks and Objects (2 Classes)

Two 3 Hour Classes

(Minimum 4 participants, Maximum 6)

Prerequisite: Basic Wire Working Skills

Project: Basic Wire Border Wrap (first class), Other Style Wire Wraps (second class)


Class E: Intermediate Wire Weaving for Jewelry (2 classes)

Class Includes How to . . .

1. Work a Zig Zag Wrap and a Two Wire Wrap

Project: Dancing Feet Earrings or Ring, Zig Zag Wrap Necklace or Earrings


Prerequisite: Skill in Beginning Wire Working Techniques

TWO 3 Hour Classes (Minimum 4 participants, Maximum 10)

Leather Wrap Bracelet

2 Hour Class (Minimum 4 participants, Maximum 10)