Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Have a fantastic night and may your 2014 shine!

The words are made of sterling silver bracelets on my studio floor. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jewels by JAR at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

From November 20, 2013 until March 9, 2014, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will exhibit over four hundred pieces of jewelry by Joel A. Rosenthal.  It will be the first retrospective of the designer’s work in America and he will be the first contemporary “gem artist” exhibited at the Met. Above is a diamond bracelet he designed in 2010.

"He is known for his pavĂ© technique—the setting of small stones so close together that they appear as a continuous surface of jewels—and uses subtle gradations of color to create a painterly effect." - the Met

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Shopping...

Last year around this time I ordered a present for myself, a pair of these sterling silver, 14k gold filled bead and fresh water pearl Fuchsia Earrings by Ai Jewelry. I really loved the look, the movement and the craftsmanship! These are earrings I will cherish and pass on to my kids. Hope you're Holiday Shopping is going well. See more of Ai Jewelry here

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thankful for family...

Over Thanksgiving I was happy to deliver this necklace I made to a dear friend. She wanted a necklace with all of her children on it. She provided me with some sentimental beads to add in. It was a great deal of fun to make this piece and I know she will treasure it forever. The necklace is made of sterling silver and I made every link and jump ring from wire and sheet metal. I loved the view above so you could see the children's names, and then behind the names are their birthdays. 

Which piece of jewelry do you treasure most?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fun Finds at the Gemboree

A couple of Sundays ago I went to the Summit Lapidary Club Gemboree where they had all kinds of gemstones, beads, slabs, rocks, fossils, jewelry and fun demonstrations. Above I bought these beautiful blue goldstone beads. Goldstone is actually a type of glittering glass and these reminded me of the night sky full of shimmering stars. I bought those from ARA Imports.

The stone above was a fun cut of Quartz with tourmaline inside. The black lines are the tourmaline which really stood out against the shine of the quartz. I'm not sure who I bought this stone from. Unfortunately almost no one was giving out their business cards, and I had to ask for them even when I bought items. The business card didn't make it in this this stone.

I loved the shape of the black onyx above, it matches the shapes of some of the jewelry I've been designing. I got this from Joseph's Designs, he had beautiful cabochons and a real good eye for cutting the stones.

Last I bought this slice of Geode, the crystals sparkled beautifully.

It was a really fun day, my friend Katie and I spent 3 hours at the Gemboree and didn't realize we'd missed lunch by a couple of hours. It was a blast! I can't wait to turn these into jewelry pieces.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Going to the Azurite Mine

Joe and I went to an azurite mine while in Moab, Utah. We spent half a day hunting for these rich blue stones, they called the round ones blueberries. The picture below is what we found, still very dirty. The picture above is what they look like after I tumbled them.

Here is the different in one picture.

I'm keeping them in a yellow bowl for great contrast.

You can see a few green pieces of malachite. This mine was privately owned so we paid a guide to take us and it was so much fun! This bright color is caused by the weathering of copper ore deposits. On the Mohs scale it is a 3.5 to 4 so it's very soft and fragile. And for centuries it has been used as a pigment.

Friday, October 11, 2013


While on our vacation we came across many rock and mineral shops (thought many many more bike shops)! It was so much fun to come through the different rock shops, it felt like a treasure hunt. I bought this piece of Bismuth, the geometry really spoke to me as well as the color.

Oxidation, in the air, can cause Bismuth to turn pink which is the color in the core of this piece of bismuth. Did you know that is what colors Pepto Bismol? It is also used in cosmetics and pigments.

The many colors are called iridescent oxide tarnish. I wish more metals tarnished so beautifully!

Bismuth is very brittle and this piece is going to sit on my bench as inspiration. I don't plan to use it in a piece of jewelry. In the Earth's crust bismuth is twice as abundant as gold.

Here is a close up, the growth of this metal is just fascinating. It crystallizes in a rhombohedral lattice. What stone or mineral fascinates you?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

And I'm back...

My husband and I went away for two weeks to enjoy the state and national parks of Colorado and Utah! Here you can see my hand next to a dinosaur foot print. We went to Dinosaur Ridge in Colorado.

This pic above is a baby dinosaur foot print.

On this section of rock they have over 300 dinosaur foot prints, they highlight them by painting charcoal water in some of the foot prints. So us regular people can see the foot prints better. It was fantastic to see these fossils. It made me think of the footprints we leave behind. We had a great trip but I'm glad to be home.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thai Inspired Earrings

Some of my fondest memories are of Buddhist temples my husband and I visited in Thailand.  The temples feature beautiful, multi-tiered rooflines that are exquisitely designed. The roofs are filled with bells, whose soft, alluring jingle represents heaven and earth.  

Those traditional Thai temples inspired these earrings. I created a chandelier-like sterling silver earring, longer than any other earring I've made.  I then formed and forged the earring in a three-tiered design like the temple roofs.  Rather than bells, I hung strands of faceted seed beads from the rooflines.  

Materials: Sterling silver, seed beads, silver spacer beads, dyed silk cord, sterling silver ear wires

Earring Length:  4 ¾ inches

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Furniture Before and After

We've been needing a new dresser and I found this beauty at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. I went shopping with my mother-in-law and we always have a good time there! So yes it looks ugly but it's made of real solid wood, so I spent a couple weeks sanding, patching and painting. There are glass doors over the bookshelves and I decided to leave those off, since getting them back in the track might cost of part of the paint job.

Here I am working hard installing the cabinet handles. I was very proud, I didn't drill all the way through either door, so from the inside you can't see the drawer handle screws. And they were both stuck shut so I managed to do that just by feel. 

Here is the finished dresser and bookshelf top. I love it white. It looks so good. We shifted the bookshelf to the right just so our wedding quilt isn't blocked.

I even lined all the drawers and shelves with white contact paper. I love when I finish one of these projects because this piece of furniture can last forever. It never needs to be replaced and I can always give it another coat of paint.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hammer Song Farms Sculpture is hung!

Back in April of this year Joe, his Mom and Dad and I took our annual welding workshop at Hammer Song Farms. To hang the sculpture on the wall I had to take a piece of hard wood and screw it into the studs since the studs didn't line up right for me to hang the sculpture. And I used a level! I am my Grandfather's Granddaughter. 

The sculpture is an eclipse of the moon covering the sun. I thought this was the perfect place to hang it! Next to my ukulele.

Here's a closeup, there are great patinas to make different areas of the sculpture pop. 

We always have so much fun at Hammer Song Farms in Mt. Vernon Ohio, you should check out their class schedule.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Trash to Treasure!

This morning my mother-in-law suggested a facebook page for me to like, ZeroLandfill Cleveland. I liked it and found out today was a day to go pick up stuff they had saved from being thrown away. So I went. And found these awesome vinyl stair treads. Now you're probably thinking those would make ugly jewelry. But while I was there I thought ok none of the materials look like they could become jewelry but what if I pressed the textures of these treads into metal I was working with?

What fun patterns could I add to my jewelry?

Growing up we had a dump that had a shed where you could put things you thought others might like instead of throwing them right out. So have you checked your local dump to see if they have any cool  trash to treasure programs? 

Think outside of the box!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Earring Sketch Progress - Did you know you can dye silk string?

Dyeing pearl stringing silk is easy, I cut up a piece of card board (the purple thing in the middle) and wrap the silk I need dyed around it. Then I put it in a bucket with hot water and black Rit dye (can be found at the grocery store). I'll leave it there overnight for good measure.

I wanted to show you my progression of sketches. It's always good to really flesh out a design in your sketchbook with multiple sketches. You may like your first idea, but as you keep going the ideas get better and better. (Note I cut out images of other artists' jewelry to put in my sketchbook, so I didn't draw those. If you want an artists name just comment below.)

The wispy hanging lines are where the seed beads will be. I draw mostly in pen and take notes of thoughts I have. My idea is to construct the 'frame' out of silver and then suspend the strands of seed beads from that.

Getting more geometric and natural on the same page.

The image above remind me fish hooks and nets.

Playing with more shapes above and below.

The image above is where things start getting good. Besides the fish and the hippo. The earring design on the bottom right has some really nice curves I pulled from a crystal chandelier bead I have.

Continuing to play with the shapes.

And on.

Until we arrive at the image on the right. That earring with a long piece of silver (as in the black area near the ear wire) and then silver schwoopies (yes that's a word) with the beads suspended from them. I really like how this idea came out. Partly inspired by the book below. I started to recognize what I was drawing as a Thai roof line (to a certain degree). 

In the image above I have the chandelier crystal on the sketch, it's black. And a few piece of silver, I started working on elements that will hold the strands of beads. 

Just loving the Thai design!

Does a certain image or sketch pop out to you?

Delicious Summer Time

I had to share this great image of the tomatoes in my vegetable garden. I loved the colors! Thanks to my friend Adrienne, I have tomatoes! 

Sadly my vege garden doesn't get enough sun, I've never had a big crop. But I'm trying to start some raspberry bushes and cherry trees that I figure can stay in that enclosed area until they are big enough to transplant into the yard and woods. We have an overpopulation of humans that are affecting the deer. Or an overpopulation of deer eating anything they can. There are several ways to look at it.

I start my seeds inside with a grow light, and it's so much fun when they start sprouting! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This Weeks Design Challenge

A couple weeks ago my friend Michelle Pajak-Reynolds and I went to Bead Paradise in Oberlin Ohio. I had never been and boy was it hard to not spend a million bucks. There was such a great variety of beads, seed beads, tribal beads, everything in every color. 

I bought these seed beads, an emerald green and a peacock purplish color.

My challenge is to design a pair of earrings, my next post will have the sketches and the next a pair of earrings using these beads. 

Wish me luck.

Do you like small earrings or large statement pieces?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What qualities do you want your jewelry to have?

A while back I went through my image bin (a huge bin of jewelry/art images I save to use as inspiration) and found ones that had qualities and elements that would inspire me when I get stumped on a design. The board started out a mess and then...

It all came together!

Some close up shots, I love perspective and optical illusion in jewelry. You'll notice I write notes on all the images so I remember what caught my eye, this is also how I sketch.

The large emerald cut ring has a crack in the band filled with pave diamonds, definitely nice!

The pair of earrings in the middle of this image have stuck with me, Changing out one stone for a different color really catches the eye!

And most of all have fun with it!

What qualities or elements do you want in your jewelry?