December 29, 2009

Victorian Rocker Charm Bracelet

Victorian Rocker









If there were such a thing as a Victorian rocker she would definitely wear this bracelet.  My love of things old and new are so readily apparent here....fleur-de-lis, skull and crossbones, vintage-style key, peace sign....and pearls, of course.  An eclectic mix, I'll admit.  But I like it.  I think a black ribbon woven through the links would be the piece de resistance, but, alas, I don't have the right size ribbon to do it. 


It feels good to have made someting after what seems like a long while.  What with Christmas and working on the blog layout I just haven't had the time to create anything new.  Until now.


I've been reading some great jewelry-making books I'll share with you next time.  Right now I'm loving one about using ribbon and other fabric in your jewelry.  I think I hear a jewelry challenge coming my way.......but since it's vacation tonight is Family Movie Night.  And I'm in charge of popcorn.  Ciao.

"In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

December 27, 2009

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

You may have noticed that I've begun working on revamping the look of my blog. A banner here, a template there....it is truly a work-in-progress and I appreciate your patience as I weave my way through the quagmire that is the Blogosphere!


Good news ~ my husband gave me a professional light box for Christmas for photographing my stuff (yay!). Now all I have to do is figure out how to use it AND get my camera fixed:( Guess it's always something. For now I'll just keep plodding along and hopefully one of these days I can find the time to sit down and make some more jewelry.


Hope you all had a great holiday and are looking forward to 2010. Ciao for now.

 "Art is the only way to run away without leaving home."
~ Twyla Tharp

December 25, 2009

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All





"Christmas, my child, is love in action...when you love someone you give to them, as God gives to us.  The greatest gift He ever gave was the person of His Son."
- Unknown


~~ Merry Christmas Everyone!

December 22, 2009

Charm Bracelet-Making Diva's Go-To Retail Jewelry Website of the Week

I have to admit that I just spent an inordinate amount of time trying to copy a photo from photobucket onto this post and I had the worst time.  Obviously it didn't work.  What I need is a genie who can grant my wish to be computer literate enough to post photos images without a problem.  Heavy sigh.

Anyway, as to the topic at hand (sans photo), I'll get right to it.  Today I visited a retail jewelry site called  www.shopthelook.net.  Most of the jewelry was not my style, i.e., most necklaces were pretty much bubble gum pop types, although I did find a few things I liked:

NECKLACES 
  • Faceted Gem Bib Necklace $20.00
  • Beaded Bauble Necklace $18.00
  • Bobbi Sparkler Ball Pendant Necklace (LOVE IT!) $12.00
BRACELETS (most were pretty basic)
  • Rocker Ultra-Thick Cuff $16.00
Obviously their prices are cheap.  Take a look and let me know what you think.

Snow today, and more tomorrow, and the next and the next.  Nice to look at.  Not so nice to have to clean off the porches, sidewalks and driveways!  Ah, the price we pay for a White Christmas:)!  Ciao.

"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials."
-Chinese proverb  

December 21, 2009

Let It Snow



Here's to all of you on the East Coast (my real home) ~ try and enjoy the beauty of it all lol! 

One Special Story of Giving - Gifts That Give Back: Akawelle Jewelry

Since Christmas is right around the corner, I thought it apropo to share with you a story that I think is very inspirational.  It comes to you via O Magazine's December issue, the article entitled "12 Stories of Giving."  One story in particular really stuck with me.  It's about a young girl named Lovetta Conto.

Lovetta was born in Liberia, West Africa, during the middle of a civil war.  As a result of the strife in her country, she and her father fled to Ghana where they lived in a refugee camp for many years.  Amazingly, despite her dire circumstances, Lovetta always believed there was something bigger, better and more beautiful than the world she was relegated to growing up in.

Her penchant for fashion and jewelry led her to design a very unique necklace, the "Akawelle" necklace.  The word Akawelle is a combination of aka for "also known as" and wel'le which means "love" in Kpelle, Lovetta's tribal language.  The necklace features two charms, or beads if you will, fashioned out of bullets once used in her country's war.  One is a leaf pendant made from the bullet shell, while the other bead is the actual bottom of the shell itself.  The leaf bears the inscription "Life".  She says she chose that word as an indicator to all that "[n]ew life can begin after hardship..."

Her endeavors are sponsored by the Strongheart Fellowship, which you can learn all about by going to her website, www.akawelle.com. A 24" sterling silver ball chain necklace goes for $130.  At first glance the price might seem steep.  But a portion of the proceeds goes to help people like Lovetta realize their dreams of a better life.  Kind of makes it all worth it.     

Fa la la la la la la la la..............

"The world breaks us all and after some are stronger in the broken places."
-Ernest Hemingway

December 18, 2009

Bedazzled

Bedazzled





I finished this necklace tonight.  It should be a nice compliment to my Bauble Jar II bracelet.  It has white and gray pearls, along with silver orbs (large and small) and small pearls.  Even a few wire-wrapped beads.  I used two different silver chains -- one larger than the other -- to create a multi-strand necklace x 4.  Color-wise, my photos do not come close to producing an accurate image, but I'll keep trying.  It's very frustrating for me not to be able to show my finished work accurately.


  


Bedazzled or not, I now have to go about those things that moms do the week before Christmas.  Wrapping, making cookies (and icing them), making gingerbread houses (and eating them when no one is looking), filling stockings, and taking stock of the past year and giving thanks for how blessed we really are.

Six days and counting......ciao.

"The most vivid memories of Christmases past are usually not of gifts given or received, but of the spirit of love....the cherished little habits of the home."
-Lois Rand

December 17, 2009

Charm Bracelet Diva's Word of the Week: Torsade

I was intrigued by this word, and despite six years of studying French, I had no idea what it meant.  So I looked it up.

  • TORSADE:  Torsades or Torsades de pointes is a French term that means literally "twisting of the points." 
  • Essentially it means a necklace of many strands twisted together, typically pearls.
If I were better at this I would post a photo from the web illustrating what I mean, but I think you get the picture.  We've all seen those gorgeous multi-strand twisted pearl necklaces.  Perhaps even coveted them, lol.  I know I have.  And what prompted me to look it up was a Ross-Simons catalog where they had a great deal on a Brown Cultured Pearl Torsade.  I love it!  A 20'' necklace is only $39.95, discounted from $129.95!  It really is gorgeous.  And hugely in style.  You can also find it at Ross-Simons.com.  Perhaps it's not too late to add it to your wishlist?  Oh, and if anyone has any tips on how to create a torsade necklace, please let me know!

On another note, mixed media artist Lani Kent, featured previously by me in another blog post, is having a special Art Blessing Christmas Giveaway.  Two lucky winners will be chosen on Christmas Day.  Check out her blog at www.artistlanikent.blogspot.com for details.  

Time to wrap some gifts....ciao for now.

" If thou wilt be observant and vigilant, thou wilt see at every moment the response to thy action.  Be observant if thou wouldst have a pure heart, for something is born to thee in consequence of every action."
- Rumi


December 16, 2009

Untarnished Silver

I just want to expound (yes, expound) upon my frustration with the whole tarnish thing.  Sterling silver tarnishes, no big, you just clean it.  Silver plate, however, now that's another ball of wax altogether....you're pretty much up a creek when your silver-plated jump rings start to look bad and ruin your whole bracelet/necklace/earrings/whatever.

I recently made a Christmas charm bracelet and used silver-plated charms and jump rings.  I thought it looked pretty good.  Today I go to put the bracelet on and some of the jump rings looked almost copper.  Clearly not in line with the overall look of the bracelet.  I only wore  it like three times and now it pretty much looks like crap.  Is there a better silver-plated jump ring out there or am I relegated to using the sub-par version?  

Miles to go before I sleep.  Only eight  days and counting......Ciao.

"Truth can be stretched but cannot be broken and always gets above falsehood, as oil does above water."
- Miguel de Cervantes 

December 14, 2009

Charm Bracelet-Making Diva's Go-To Jewelry-Making Website of the Week

Okay, could there be any more hyphens in the title of this blog post?  Today I'm going to tell you about a jewelry company called Rio Grande, www.riogrande.com.  A mom at my son's school recently mentioned it to me like Everybody knows about it.  So of course I had to check it out. 

As far as jewelry websites go, it has a few features that may be worth checking out, depending on what you're interested in.  Their "Learning Center" showcased 30 serious jewelry-making topics, from riveting to making your own jump rings.  There were also specific designs represented by both free video and written instructions with supply lists included as well.

They also have a "Tips and Tricks" section, along with a Glossary which is limited to hardcore jewelry-making terminology, i.e., de-ionize.  If you're lucky enough to live in Albuquerque, N.M. where Rio Grande is located, you can attend their upcoming 2010 jewelry-making classes for fees ranging from $85.00 to $375.00.   It appears that they intend to be in other locales in the future, so be on the lookout.

Rio Grande's strong point is most definitely its PRODUCTS!  Their (free) huge catalog is amazing -- all 962 pages of it.  They just have tons of product, it's that simple.  Right now I'm looking at their rondelles, sterling beads, pearls, multi-strand clasps and sterling silver chains.  Price-wise, you'll have to tell me.  I believe they're probably competitive, but I'd love to hear from anyone who can tell me if there really are any bargains in their gargantuan catalog.

With Christmas rapidly approaching there is so much left to do.  Baking, (3) class parties, choir practice for the big night (Christmas Eve), wrapping, shopping (hopefully not too much of that!) and just plain getting into the SPIRIT OF THINGS.   I'd have to say I like the last "chore" the best.  For it really isn't a chore at all.  Especially when you have three kids to drag you along on their wild ride to Christmas morning.  Heaven help me.  Ciao.   

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.  What is essential is invisible to the eye."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  

December 10, 2009

Irish Dance Charm Bracelet Number Three (a.k.a. "Claire")

This one's for Claire






For some reason Blogger is not allowing me to left justify my text so bear with me.  The bracelet is for a friend's daughter.  She Irish dances and hopefully will love it.  I was quite proud of myself when I found the ghillie and Irish dancer charms.  They're perfect.  Here's to Ireland and Irish Dance.  And all the daughters who make it so special, including my own.

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.  Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them -- every day begin the task anew."
- Saint Francis de Sales
 








December 6, 2009

December Magazines' Jewelry Picks

Well, I've got to say that this months' magazines lacked their usual plethora of jewelry picks and websites to go along with.....at least in my book.  

What I did find in In Style's December issue (pages 316-317) was a few gorgeous pieces of jewelry that you might just put on your wishlist.  Fairly reasonably priced were:
  •  Liz Claiborne's brass chain necklace with glass crystals, $85.00, www.lizclaiborne.com
  • gold-plated ring with glass stones (reminiscent of pave') BCBG Max Azria, $25.00, www.bcbg.com  
  • silk chain-link necklace with bead and sequin embroidery, Sachin and Babi for Ankasa, $220.00, at Ankasa New York (212) 861-6800 (my FAVORITE, although pricey!) 
In Style also ran a  ubiquitous advertisment for Ann Taylor featuring Heidi Klum wearing lots of very holiday-glitzy-chunky-playful jewelry and cashmere (what else?) that I absolutely love!  Not so oddly enough the only noteworthy jewelry news I found in December's Lucky magazine was another advertisement for Ann Taylor Loft -- check out:
  • braided chain bracelet, $34.50
  • pearl ribbon necklace, $44.50
  • jeweled cuff, $39.50
I looked for these pieces on the Ann Taylor Loft website but found only a few necklaces there.  I guess for these pieces you have to go into one of their brick and mortar stores. The site also showcased their Multi-colored Bauble Necklace, claimed to be a favorite of O Magazine.  It's sold out online but may be available in the store.  You'll also get 20% off your full-price in-store purchase from now through December 24th if you mention their ad in Lucky.  Sounds like a good deal, no?   

And as far as jewelry making goes, I would love to try making one of those pearl ribbon necklaces.  Anyone have any tips on what's the best way to attach the ribbon?  I haven't seen a tutorial for this technique yet so I'm a bit in the dark as to the best way to do it.  If I could master it I'd be a happy camper.  And an even happier camper if I just looked like Heidi Klum...lol. 

Time to rest up for the week ahead.  Ciao.

"Be a life long or short, its completeness depends on what it was lived for."
-David Starr Jordan

December 3, 2009

Jewelry Making Video Library Review

Tonight I'd like to talk about www.Beaducation.com.  I checked them out a while ago (like three months ago) so I thought I should revisit the site today.  I'm not sure why they're called "Bead"ucation since they really don't have much in the way of beads.  They seem to specialize in various types of wire and metal jewelry designing, stamping and wrapping.  Their products are mainly metal stamping supplies and tools, chains and findings.  Charms are limited.   

They do offer over 50 online jewelry-making video tutorials, for a price.  Beginner classes are around $12.00 per class and Intermediate and Advanced classes are $28.00 per class.  Today I also found 6-10 free classes on their website as well.  I watched a free "Byzantine Chain" tutorial and liked it although I will most definitely have to watch it again simultaneously while I attempt my first byzantine chain.  (Unfortunately, the free tutorials don't come with written instructions and a supply list like the paid-for tutorials do.) 

I did get sucked into buying a a really cool tool carrying case for 40% off, as well as inexpensive and attractive silver-plated fairy charms for my "I Do Believe in Fairies" necklaces.  Shipping is reasonable, so I was happy.  Take a class and comment on it. Let me know what you think.  Ciao.

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply.  Willing is not enough: we must do."
-Goethe









  

December 2, 2009

Mojo Bracelet (Bauble Jar II)


Look familiar?  It's only taken me nearly three months to recreate my most favorite creation thus far -- Bauble Jar.  I have to say that this one is different -- not only do I have a better grip as to what jump rings to use (the right size, not too big and MUCH sturdier), I added some baubly 6-pearl dangle charms/silver orbs here and there to make it even chunkier and shinier.  I love it.  Can't wait to wear it to the holiday gala this weekend along with my necklace, Back in Black.

Time to watch tonight's Tivo'd Glee.  Only two more episodes left this season :)  Ciao.    

"Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines."
- Robert Schuller

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