November 30, 2009

Word of the Week: Hematite

OK, so I picked this word partially because I thought it sounded like a funny word.  I really had NO IDEA what it meant, only that I'd heard it mentioned in relation to jewelry.  Pitiful, I know.  My status as a novice charm bracelet-making diva could not be more apparent.  Anyway, here goes.......

HEMATITE is a mineral, colored black to steel or silver-gray, brown to reddish brown, or red.  It is mined as the main ore of iron.  It is harder than pure iron, but much more brittle. The name HEMATITE originates from the Greek word for blood, haima. When crushed, HEMATITE will turn water red.

USES: Beyond its use as ore, jewelers appreciate its shiny luster for creating engravings, cameos, cabochons (see my post dated October 3, 2009, Word of the Week: "Cabochon" ) beads and imitation diamonds. HEMATITE'S popularity in the jewelry world was at its highest in Europe during the Victorian era, and has since seen a strong resurgence in North America, especially in the western United States. 

Last but not least, apparently HEMATITE is also known for it's "mystical" properties.  It is said that wearing it will bring about favorable outcomes of petitions and lawsuits, and that it should be considered de rigeur for all attorneys. Oh well, I guess I missed the boat on that one in my other life as a lawyer.  LOL.  Live and learn. 

Time to go make some jewelry.  Ciao.

"When you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else."
- Joseph Campbell

November 26, 2009

Back in Black: multi-strand pearl and wire-wrapped crystal necklace

Back in Black




I finished another multi-strand necklace tonight that I'm loving -- it's the result of self-imposed jewelry challenge number two. I wanted to create something just right for a holiday party I'll be attending next weekend.  Since the plan is to wear black, I thought I'd mix and match black pearls, white pearls and wire-wrapped smoky crystal beads.  Last but not least, an inherited vintage silver multi-strand bracelet became a beautiful add-on to balance out the piece.  I really do love it.  Can't wait for that party.... 







Hope today's holiday was a grate(ful) one for you!

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was 'Thank you,' that would be enough."
- German philosopher Meister Eckhart   






November 22, 2009

Restyled Cascading Multi-Strand Necklace



The necklace muse strikes again -- charm bracelets are on hold for the time being, it seems.  I just can't help myself from designing necklaces right now.  This one is my first multi-strand necklace and I learned a lot while putting it all together.

It's a five-strand gold-plated necklace, the bones of which came to me in the form of a broken vintage costume jewelry multi-strand necklace.  Problem was, the five strands were held together by two multi-ringed findings which were meant to hold three strands of chain each (my chains were jump-ringed together in one set of two chains, another set of two chains and one chain alone, equaling three "chains" altogether).  It worked, but it looked awkward when worn. 

Soooo, I took off the original findings and replaced them with simple gold jump rings.  I then attached the three sets of chains onto the jump rings and added a solitary round gem connector to attach all the chains to the single chain and clasp I added to round out the necklace.  And of course I added the pearls and beads to make it interesting.

 
I feel lucky to have inherited the vintage necklace in the first place.  Little did the original buyer know so many years ago that this style of necklace would become hugely popular in 2009! I can't wait to wear it.  Oh, and it looks great when worn with Soho Nights, my last beaded necklace creation.  They look like they totally belong together.  Now I guess they do.

Do you have any tips or anything to add to my story regarding the creation of multi-strand necklaces?  I could use all the help I can get, here.  Comment and let me know your thoughts about this particular style of necklace as well as the one I created. 

I think my next project will be a multi-strand charm bracelet.  Can't wait to get started.

Well, it's getting late and I need to rest up for the upcoming week with the kids -- apparently Thanksgiving is a five-day affair according to our local school district.  They're also predicting snow for Thanksgiving -- nothing like living in Chicago!  Ciao for now. 

"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." 
-Benjamin Franklin

November 18, 2009

Soho Nights






So much for making charm bracelets......I don't know why but I've really got the urge to create necklaces these days.  This one came out of nowhere, and I love it.  Once again, my love of vintage-inspired jewelry reveals itself. As well as my unabashed love of pearls.   

It's 24" long, toggled.  I alternated glass pearls, citrine glass beads and silver-wire-mesh-coated citrine glass beads.  I added a Jill MacKay silver sphere pendant with sparkling gems as the focal point of the piece.  I really wish that I could take a better picture so that you can truly appreciate the necklace.  One of these days in my spare time (ha) I'll learn how to take a great blog photo with my fancy Sony digital camera.  I promise. 

I'm not sure what will happen next, but when the muse strikes again I'll be sure to post whatever I create.  And hopefully by then I'll be a picture-taking diva as well.  Ciao for now.

"A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life.  It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster.  The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life.  If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl."
-Stephan Hoeller 

November 15, 2009

Jewelry Making Video Library Review

Today's site is www.jewelrylessons.com.  The site is crammed with jewelry-making tutorials ranging in price from around $5.00 to $10.00 per tutorial.  I have to note that even if you don't want to pay for the actual tutorial, each design provides a photo and a materials and tools list so that if you're especially confident you can go ahead and make the jewelry without any help from the actual video.  There are also many tutorial reviews to peruse, as well as a free tutorial entitled "Today's Top Tutorial." 

Interestingly, you can also sell your own tutorials as well as show your work in their "Gallery Projects" section. There are also many articles available that pertain to diverse jewelry-related topics.  I think they're worth checking out. Let me know what you think.  Ciao for now.

"Believe those who seek the truth; doubt those who find it."
- Andre Gide

November 13, 2009

Pave' Challenge Complete!

I can't believe it -- three days and I've completed my first jewelry design challenge.  I have to admit that I was REALLY impatient to see what I would come up with...I pictured a totally different necklace but my muse came up with something else.



I guess my love of vintage-inspired jewelry is apparent here.  It's funny because the design came together in about 15 minutes while I perused a jewelry supply store's wares today.  I picked up two antique brass chains  (one with metal ball charms) and fused them together to make the final product.  I then added the four infamous pave' charms and the piece de resistance -- a double-jeweled charm hanging in the center of it all.  I made it about 26'' so that it can be worn long but it can also be clasped for a shorter length as well.

I even picked up the last four pave' charms they had so that I can create another necklace with them.  At least that's the plan, anyway.  I had to laugh, though, as my five-year-old son saw the necklace and said, "They look like disco balls, Mommy."  And he was right. 

Hope you like the necklace.  Let me know what you think.  Ciao for now.

"The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear."
- Socrates

  

November 10, 2009

November Magazines' Jewelry Picks

POOR GIRLS' PAVE

I am so inspired by the current Pave' craze that I am challenging myself to create a necklace with these four charms as the starting point.



I don't know why I call this November Magazines' Jewelry Picks when, let's be honest, it's really Kathy's Jewelry Picks!  Anyway, I got it all from Lucky Magazine's "The Lucky Fall Jewelry Guide."  The first section on page 147 entitled "colored PAVE'" really rocks.  Three artists I love who are showcased here:

  • Betsey Johnson, www.betseyjohnson.com, for fabulous toggle bracelets
  • the "Grayce" line by Molly Sims, www.hsn.com, for vintage-inspired jewelry
  • Simply Vera Vera Wang, www.kohls.com , for multi-strand necklaces, lariats and a fabulous Pave' jet-tone crystal dome ring ($12.60 on sale!) 
I also love Betsey Johnson's rhinestone and hematite earrings, $55.00, on Lucky's pave' page.  (Molly Sims' "Grayce" line is also featured in the "Celebrity Designer" section of In Style's November issue.)  I love her  "Fireball" necklace for only $30.00.  On her hsn.com site I love the Ball Station graduated 33' necklace, although it's pretty pricey at $98.95.  She also has a fabulous 52' lariat necklace, pricey at $99.95 (a girl can dream, can't she?) 

And Vera Wang's line for Kohl's has not only pave' rings but multi-strand, lariat and ribbon-adorned necklaces for super-reasonable prices.  Check out these sites and peruse the goods.  If nothing else it's a fun time (at least it was for me!)  And inspiration abounds.  

SO, I'm making the challenge public, which should motivate me to find the creative time to get the necklace done.  I'm thinking of a multi-strand necklace, perhaps with some ribbon involvement....wish me luck!

Time for some time without the stressors of the day, hectic schedules, kids, sick kids (yes, again) and  mom responsibilities.  Ciao for now.

"Understanding is the reward of faith.  Therefore seek  not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand."
- St. Augustine
 

November 8, 2009

Sunday's Featured Artist: Lani Kent

Last night I came across the blog of a multi-talented artist named Lani Kent, http://www.artistlanikent.blogspot.com/.  Her blog, entitled "Healing Expressions,"  showcases some of her talents and philosophy.  The keyword here is "healing."  According to her profile, Lani is a Therapeutic Arts Facilitator and Mixed Media Artist.  She tries to help people heal from their ills by creating and sharing her original art that is full of sentiments of hope and healing.


She states that her passion is creating original art in the form of mixed media collage, assemblage, altered books, altered art blocks, altered art dangles, jewelry and other artful surprises.  You can also check out her website at http://www.healingexpressionsbylani.com/.  She has an Ebay store and an Etsy site at http://www.healingexpressions.etsy.com/.  I found all of her art to be inspiring, but I really loved her inspirational charm bracelets.  You should check them out.


On another note, can anyone believe that the stores are full of Christmas music and decorations already?  I figure if they can do it, so can I.  Soooooo, here is my latest Christmas pendant necklace.



This is not the picture I wanted but it's the best I could do.  The square epoxy pendant is on a 24" antiqued brass chain with a toggle clasp.  On the pendant is the picture of a female Santa with angel's wings and she's holding a shining star.  I love the vintage look and feel of it.  I hope to create some charm bracelets with similar, albeit smaller, epoxy Christmas charms.

For now, I've created a more traditional Christmas charm bracelet.  The 7" silver plated bracelet is made up of  14 charms, all with tiny red, green or clear sparkling gems.  I especially love the large red bauble charms.


 
There's also a few Ho-ho-ho's, knit cap, gloves and scarf, reindeer, snowman and the quintessestial Nutcracker.  I had fun putting it together.  Le me know where you get Christmas charms.  Send me some pictures of your Christmas jewelry.  Perhaps a jewelry challenge is in order?  Any ideas for a Christmas charm bracelet challenge?  Please comment and let me know -- I'd love to try!

Time to go and get ready for the week ahead.  Or should I say get the family schedule in order for the week ahead?  There's chess club, third grade book projects, parent/teacher conferences, doctor's appointments, field trips, volunteer time at the kids' schools, Irish dance lessons and religious education. I'm sure that I'm forgetting something.  But that's okay.  It's pretty much all I need for right now.  Ciao.

"We live by faith, not by sight."
- 2 Corinthians 5:7   

November 5, 2009

Jewelry-Making Website Review

Today's site is www.brightlingsbeads.com.  It's a standard jewelry-making website, with the usual offerings -
  • beads including Swarovski crystal beads, gemstone beads and glass beads
  • pendants, chain and wire, tools, bead kits and beading watch faces
  • beading design ideas and jewelry-making videos
Oh, yes, and how could I forget to mention CHARMS?  They have a selection of sterling silver charms in 18 categories, reasonably priced.  I was happy to find a nice sterling silver fairy charm for my Fairy Dust Necklaces, as well as a claddaugh charm and four-leaf clover charm for my Irish dancing charm bracelets.  Some categories include Heart charms, By the Sea charms and Holiday charms.  And for those of us who like to make holiday jewelry, they have many Christmas charms very reasonably priced as well as some Halloween charms.  First class shipping within the U.S. for orders over $25.00 is free. All other orders are $2.50.

The jewelry-making videos I'll save for another day.  Check out the site and tell me what you think. Ciao for now.

"I find that the harder I work the more luck I seem to have."
- Thomas Jefferson

November 3, 2009

Wire Wrap Jewelry



Here's a piece that came to me by way of a friend asking for a favor.  She loved this necklace, but the wire had gotten bent out of shape and she asked me to fix it.  My original reaction was to cringe -- I've only SEEN wire wrapping and it looks like it's hard to do.  So I was fine with skipping it.

But once she asked me I thought, why not?  So I took the tools to the wire and bent it back into shape.  Certainly not perfect but still OK, I thought, for an amateur. (So humor me.)  Maybe this wire-wrapping thing won't be as hard as I thought it would be.   Any inspiratonal stories out there that might give me confidence to pursue this technique?  Send me photos of your wire wrap jewelry and I'll showcase your designs.  Inspire me.  Ciao for now.

"Don't wait for your ship to come in.  Row out to meet it."
- Anonymous

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