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This Christmas, I decided to make my gifts handmade. I had fun searching Pinterest for ideas on crafty presents. The few other gifts I purchased were thrifted from Goodwill.  My son’s girlfriend received two vintage purses, in almost mint condition I may add. I also found a couple of albums for my son, an LP and an old 45 by a jazz guitarist that he was not familiar with – and he has a really large collection of New Orleans jazz and blues artists.

My son’s girlfriend got this handstamped NOLA necklace. She is from New Orleans and that girl loves her city. She liked the little crown charm the best.

NOLA necklace

NOLA necklace

My sister received the wire-work camera pendant necklace. She is an avid photographer and is finishing her Graphic Design degree. I added her initials to the top to make it more personal.

Wire camera pendant necklace

Wire camera pendant necklace

Her husband got this handstamped luggage tag.

luggage tag

I made the vanilla brown sugar scrub for a family “dirty santa” get together. Oh, I also used a Pinterest recipe for yummy hot cocoa that was a hit that night.

scrub label

scrub

 

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Lately, I am into shapes in my jewelry designs. I have always loved the quatrefoil shape and have used some metal pendant/links in necklaces and bracelets. I wanted  to find a way to incorporate chevron, triangle, and rectangle shapes into my designs. Since I am not a metalsmith, I decided to use leather instead of metals.

I painted the leather with metallic paints in bronze, gold, and silver colors and then cut them into the various shapes. Using jump rings, I am able to link the shapes together to form patterns. For the cuff and hand bracelets, I embellished them with stones and feathers.  I love how these are turning out.

Single Chevron Silver/Bronze

Single Chevron Silver/Bronze

Chevon Necklace

Chevon Necklace

Triangles with dangles

Triangles with dangles

Chevron Necklace with chain links

Chevron Necklace with chain links

Embellished Cuff Bracelet

Embellished Cuff Bracelet

Hand Bracelet

Hand Bracelet

Chevron Necklace

Chevron Necklace

Earrings Silver Side

Earrings
Silver Side

EarringsBronze Side

Earrings
Bronze Side

Shape of My Heart

Sting

He deals the cards as a meditation
And those he plays never suspect
He doesn’t play for the money he wins
He doesn’t play for the respect
He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart

He may play the jack of diamonds
He may lay the queen of spades
He may conceal a king in his hand
While the memory of it fades

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart
That’s not the shape, the shape of my heart

And if I told you that I loved you
You’d maybe think there’s something wrong
I’m not a man of too many faces
The mask I wear is one
Those who speak know nothing
And find out to their cost
Like those who curse their luck in too many places
And those who smile are lost

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart
That’s not the shape of my heart

My jewelry designs took a lot of twists and turns in 2012, both literally and figuratively. I experimented with a multitude of new media from lace to leather.

Due to the increase in cost of sterling silver and gold-filled wire, I decided to try artistic and craft wire for making earrings and other findings. Since these come in such a wide array of colors, it was fun to mix metallic tones such as hematite, brass, and copper. I was able to twist and hammer the wire, without having to worry so much about the cost if something did not go as planned. Also, I tried my hand at stamping on metal and leather to make custom pieces with monograms, symbols, etc.

Other materials used were vintage lace and leather that I faux metallized by using metallic paints. I really love the way these designs developed. Many non jewelry components such as porcupine quills, spent bullet casings, ribbon and other textiles and of course my favorite, feathers, were used as well.

I am excited for 2013 to see where my designs will go from here and am always ready to be inspired by other jewelry artists, fashion trends, or whatever collected/discarded natural element, stone, or ephemera comes my way.

As a jewelry designer, the necklaces I create alternate between bold and colorful to more dainty and simple. Here are some of my more DELICATE creations.

Sapphire Necklace

Sapphire Necklace

Sea Grass Necklace

Sea Grass Necklace

Cloud Necklace

Cloud Necklace

Sage Brush Necklace

Sage Brush Necklace

At First Blush Necklace

At First Blush Necklace

I recently began taking yoga classes. Yoga was always something I thought I could not do. The most obvious reason…I am so inflexible. When it comes to being able to bend over and touch my toes, it takes effort  just to get to my knee area. So therefore, I thought, yoga was not for me. Well, I am still not as nimble and strong as many of my peers in class but I am becoming more flexible and stronger with each class I attend. Yoga is teaching me many other things as well. For example, how to focus on breathing and to silence my mind (at least for an hour or so). It is helping with my posture and balance and reminds me to keep balance in other parts of my life as well.

One of the aspects of yoga that I am learning is the Chakras, or energy sources in the body. There are seven main Chakras but I have read there are actually 114. They are root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye or brow, and crown and are associated with areas of the body. Many forms of healing work with these energy centers and disturbances in a chakra’s flow of the energy can result in disturbances in a person’s health, emotions, mind, spirit, or life.

There are colors associated with the main chakras, red for root, orange for sacral, yellow for solar plexus, green for heart, light blue for throat, indigo for third eye, and white or violet for crown.

To keep me mindful in my yoga practice…both on and off my mat, I designed a few Chakra necklaces and bracelet. I chose various stones/beads to represent the Chakra colors. Garnet for red/root, carnelian for orange/sacral, citrine for yellow/solar plexus, chrysoprase for green/heart, turquoise for blue/throat, sodalite for indigo/third eye and violet/amethyst for crown. The last one pictured is a handstamped necklace I made for one of my yoga instructors, B, because he is such a patient teacher.

I love the clothing designs of Isabel Marant and her blending of French-girl cool with a bohemian attitude. I first saw her designs in the French clothing catalog La Redoute, which I used to order from faithfully, until they discontinued selling in the US…only to begin again a few years ago. I only found out recently, she began her career as a jewelry designer. Jewelry was her foray into the world of design.

Isabel Marant designs under the label that bears her name as well as Etoile (French for “star” which is the symbol on her logo).

I think what I like about her designs are the simple, casual, tomboyish looks combined with a twist of femininity and flair. Below are some of my favorites from the Fall 2012 line. Also, Marant, is still designing jewelry and accessories. If I were making Santa a list this year, both of these pair of boots would be on it!

I have a wonderful friend who is a collector of vintage pretties. Luckily for me, on more than one occasion, she has shared some of her stock. Yesterday, when I got home, she had left me a goodie box. In it were the following: a slim brass-colored metal box with small floral design – possibly a lipstick case; a coin-style charm bracelet with missing clasp (not sure exactly what is written on the coins – I will have to do some further investigation with a magnifying glass); a funky necklace with a mishmash of beads – kind of whimsical but mostly just ugly; a watch with a white beaded and leather band; a blue bead in the shape of a large strawberry with holes in the bottom (hum?); a gold metal dragon pendant; two vintage clip earrings – not a pair, just a single of each; a goldstone pendant; a cat wearing a rhinestone crown brooch.

Well, needless to say, I immediately got to work taking the necklace apart and there were some really nice components in it that I was able to turn into a pair of earrings with an ethnic flair. I can’t wait to incorporate the other “goodies” into various jewelry designs.

The box was repurposed from Philosophy Cosmetics Amazing Grace line and my boyfriend requested it because he loved the inspirational messages on the cover.

Any suggestions on what the metal case was used for or why the blue bead has holes at the bottom would be appreciated.

Salvaged Earrings

Geometry in jewelry design.

Full Moon Earrings

Modern Art Earrings

Two Peas in A Pod Necklace

Art Deco Necklaces

Turquoise jewelry NEVER goes out of style. Sure, it may be more popular in summer than other seasons and on trend more in some years than others but a turquoise jewelry purchase will stay in your collection for years to come. Even though they are a summer staple, you can still wear turquoise jewelry when the temperature dips. Turquoise is especially beautiful with fall colors such as brown, red, yellow, and orange. This fall, a Southwest-and-Navajo-inspired trend is all the rage, from boots to denim shirts. Turquoise looks lovely with western accents but can also make a conservative blouse, in a solid color such as pink, really pop!

Below are a collection of turquoise jewelry from Archipelago Jewelry by Liz Juneau.  Also, I gathered together a collection on Free People titled “Not So Wild West” with turquoise jewelry and the clothing that accents it so well.

TURQUOISE
by Donovan Leitch
Your  smile beams like sunlight on a gull’s wing
And the leaves dance and play after you
Take my hand and hold it as you would a flower
Take care with my heart, oh darling, she’s made of glass
Your eyes feel like silence resting on me
And the birds cease to sing when you rise
Ride easy your fairy stallion you have mounted
Take care how you fly, my precious, you might fall down
In the pastel skies the sunset I have wandered
With  my eyes and ears and heart strained to the full, I know I tasted the essence in the few days
Take care who you love, my precious, he might not know

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. The weather is usually mild in my area of the country but there is the crispness of fall in the air. We have more and more trick-or-treaters coming through our neighborhood each year and many families and friends have hay rides and come in groups. I usually dress in costume at work and it is just an all around fun day.

I don’t usually make holiday themed jewelry, but I made an exception for Halloween. Here are a few spooky designs.

Spooky ~ Atlanta Rhythm Section

In the cool of the evening
When everything is gettin kind of groovy
I call you up and ask you if you
Want to go with me and see a movie
First you say no, you’ve got some plans for the night
And then you stop, and say, all right
Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you

You always keep me guessin
I never seem to know what you are thinkin
And if a fella looks at you
It’s for sure your little eye will be a-winkin
I get confused, cause I don’t know where I stand
And then you smile, and hold my hand
Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you
Spooky

If you decide someday to stop this little game that you are
playin
I’m gonna tell you all what my heart’s been a-dyin to be sayin
Just like a ghost, you’ve been a-hauntin my dreams
So I’ll propose on Halloween
Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you

Spooky, spooky
Spooky, oh whoa, all right
I said Spooky