Friday, January 31, 2014

Generations Necklace

Amy is one of my best friends in the whole world.  We were thrown together in college, by chance, sharing our freshman dorm apartment.  We have followed each other going on 24 years!  For most of that time, we have lived across the country from each other.  But we still manage to stay in touch and can even get together every few years or so.  Amy is one of those wonderful and rare friends that "gets me."  You know what I mean?  This necklace is for her mom.  Amy and her dad sent me a simple sketch of what her mom wanted . . .  a stamped necklace with three charms: one for her children and spouses, one for her grandchildren, and one with her favorite scripture found in Doctrine & Covenants 84:88.  I stacked the charms together so that they would lay nicely.  The grandchildren are stamped onto the top piece, the heart outline.

 Next, comes the scripture.  This is the Jesus the Christ speaking:

"I will be on your right hand and on your left,
and my Sprit shall be in your hearts,
and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

And the third layer is her 5 children and their spouses.  An appropriate gift from her husband for her to wear as they approach a new chapter in their lives: serving a church Mission in Australia!

Angel's Wing Necklace

This is one of my favorite necklaces to make.  There are variations, for sure.  It includes a circle LOVE pendant and freshwater pearl, and usually the names of children or a spouse and wedding or birth date.  It's a great "family necklace."  This one was ordered by my lovely friend, Dianna, who is a strong and beautiful, faith-filled grandmother.  It is extra special because it is for a young mom who recently had to say goodbye to her 7 week-old baby girl.  Brilee's parents knew there were complications during the pregnancy and were told that their little angel was not likely to survive birth.  If she was born alive, they only expected to have a couple of hours with her.  Through lots of faith, prayer, and miracles . . . Brilee lived for 7 weeks!  This necklace is kinetic as the charms mix around with movement and gravity.  Sometimes you can see Brilee's name, and sometimes it is covered up by the wing.  To me, it says she is always with us even though we can't see her.

Custom Silver Charm

Danell ordered this beautiful "Grandmother Bracelet" as a Christmas gift for her mom.  There are 17 grandchildren represented here!  The boy initials are in a block type, and the girls are a little curly.  We interspersed it with crystals and pearls to represent her 7 children.  The size of the charms makes this a lovely light-weight, and comfortable keepsake to enjoy for years.

Tracey has been a sweet friend and client for years.  We lived just a block away from each other in Utah, and she has also moved to Southern California.  We got together for lunch a little while back and she ordered a few pieces.  The "loved" charm bracelet is for her daughter, Caitlin.  With a doubled link-style chain, she can gather all kinds of special charms.

Below is a silver stick style necklace for Tracey.  This includes her wedding date, her three daughters, their wedding dates, and three grandchildren.  This is a necklace that will grow as her family grows.

Soft Leather ID Bracelets

It's no secret that my favorite jewelry clients are a group of 3rd grade teachers in Temecula.  Sandy, Michele, and Karen are some of the loveliest people I know.  I kind of wish I was one of the teachers on their team (or a kid in their class) because they are so full of love and warmth.  The highlight of my week is stopping by on their lunch hour to deliver jewelry.  I always come away feeling a little bit taller and like I can conquer whatever curve ball is coming my way next.  These bracelets started out with the one above, a gift that Sandy ordered for Dana, at Christmastime.  Well, guess what . . . they all needed to have one.  I put them together and then met up at lunch to measure their wrists and finish off the clasp.

This is a hand-cut sterling silver oval, gently hammered on the edges and stamped with their name.  It is strung on the softest deer skin leather cord.  The ends are wire-wrapped and finished with a sterling silver clasp and sweet little freshwater pearl.

The bracelet wraps around the wrist 3 - 4 times. (Michele added the words "accept" "faith" and "peace" to hers).  They make everyday lovely.


This sweet peek-a-boo heart pendant is for a friend of mine who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.  In a matter of moments, it seems, she is having to make some really tough decisions.  With major surgery and chemotherapy on the horizon, I just wanted to do something to help her feel special and give her a little boost of love.  I know I can't really do anything to lighten her load or change her circumstances, but making jewelry is one of my special ways of turning anxious energy into something beautiful and positive.

I set out searching the inter webs for an idea to spark my imagination . . . and came across a sweet little heart pendant made by an artist in Slovakia.  This is my version.  It's a pierced copper heart square soldered to a hand-cut sterling silver disc, ever-so-gently-hammered, and layered on top of a larger hand-cut sterling disc that is stamped with a secret message.

I am truly blessed to know my brave friend.  She is such an example of strength and faith to me!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"To the Moon and Back" Necklace

My friend, Jana, wanted me to make her a special necklace to remind her of her grandchildren.  We got together and collaborated and here's what we got . . . quite possibly the cutest necklace I've ever made!  This is a giant (2" x 2") hammered sterling silver heart with her grandchildren's names stamped around the edges.  Their birthstone crystals dangle from the middle.  The sweet moon says "I love you to the moon and back," and the circle charm says "NONNIE."

Custom Jewelry for Christmas!

Here's a look at some of the jewelry I completed this week as part of the show at the school.  First is a necklace for a new dad.  The chain is heavily oxidized and the edges of the name stick are hammered.


Next, a hammered brass heart with "my love" stamped in French.  This heart has a riveted bail and a soft leather cord hand-wrapped in silver wire.  I've used a precious faceted natural ruby and a beautiful pearl to symbolize love and purity.

A hammered circle pendant with a coin pearl.

A mother's necklace accented with a pearl.

"Strength" and "shine" necklaces with copper.

A hammered mother's necklace with a coin pearl.  
These are so fun to make, I love it every time.

Here is another one:

A "shine" pendant with a brass star.  
The leather cord is finished with silver accents.

Another circle pendant, this time for a grandmother.

Here's a bracelet for Kelly.  I made one for her mom a while back.  This shows the names of her kids on the circles, and her husband's and her initials on the square.

On the back are their birth dates and wedding date.

An initial necklace with a pearl.

This is a "family" necklace for Jessica.  It includes her three children and their birth dates, a stick representing her marriage, and a precious pearl.

I love this "shine" pendant and had to snap a photo of all three metals together: copper, silver, and brass.  Each star is hand cut and seems to have it's own personality and movement.  In my mind, the stars are jumping with great enthusiasm!

Here's a great necklace for Susie.  It has the initials of her children and their birth dates wrapped around the edges.  SO cute!

A lovely gift for Tim's wife.  
This is a bracelet with their three kids' names.

Birth dates on back:

And a fun necklace that includes their wedding date.

Handcrafted Jewelry Samples

I was recently invited to do another mini-show at our Elementary School in Temecula.  These are some of my favorite people, and I wanted to display some beautiful samples to give them an idea of what I can make.  Here are a few of the pieces I made for the show:

A gemstone quote bracelet with a pierced heart.

A copper cuff with a silver and bronze hand-cut sun with one of my favorite Roald Dahl Quotes:

"If you have GOOD thoughts
they will SHINE out of your
face like SUNBEAMS and
you will always look BEAUTIFUL"

A lovely silver and bronze heart pendant on a soft leather cord.

Below is a cast silver initial charm with a double strand of London Blue Topaz and white pearl accents:

Here is a sweet mother's pendant with a ruby and pearl.  The ruby stands for love and the pearl symbolizes purity.

Next is a hammered brass heart pendant with a ruby and a soft pink pearl.  The leather cord is hand-wrapped with silver wire.

Another hammered brass heart, but this one has a riveted bail and a larger ruby and champagne pearl.  "Mon ami" means my friend.

Here is a medium silver quote pendant for my favorite science buff.
Accented with swarovski crystal and seed pearls.

This is my own mother's necklace with my three kids' names, including middle names.

A gemstone cluster necklace on soft deerskin leather with silver accents.

Below is my newest everyday necklace.  The front of the charm says "brave," the back says "goddess."  I've wired it into a beautiful silver and mixed gemstone necklace.  This necklace is the perfect reminder of two dear friends, as the charm is from Dianna when I moved away, and the technique is similar to what Tawny would do.  I think of both of them every time I wear it.  It is so versatile!  Just about everything I wear matches it somehow . . .

Friday, November 8, 2013

Come Take a Tour of My Studio . . .

I love to visit art studios.  It is so fascinating for me to see how artists use their space.  Inspiration, their equipment, the whole vibe of their studio space really captures my attention.  I have been spending a lot of time organizing and cleaning my studio so that it is more functional for me to use.  I plan on spending a lot of time here over the next long while.  I am blessed to have an amazing space to use for my studio.  It is considered the office or spare bedroom (although there are no closets) of our rental home.  It is located down the hall just off of the family room on the first floor.


Here's a close-up of the door . . . I just had to hang the hippie sign for you to see.  My dear friends, Tawny and Diana gave it to me when we were all neighbors in Utah.  Back then, I was crazy into tie-dye and I guess they just couldn't resist the hippie sign.  I was also one of those really lucky people to have not just one, but TWO rooms of my own.  I had a fabulous studio (with a sink!) in the basement as well as a spare bedroom on the first floor.  Both rooms were constantly in use for some sort of project or another and the nice thing was that they both had solid (not see-through) doors that you could close when you didn't want to deal with the creative mess.  You can take a little tour of my old studio here.  Here's a close-up of the hippie sign:

Let's just do this methodically . . . I'll start from the wall on the left just as you walk into the room.  This is my "beading station."  I keep all of my beads and findings organized here.  Now that I'm seeing the photo in blog form, I am realizing that I have more cleaning to do!  See that teapot on the top shelf?  A dear friend gave me that hoping that I could do something creative with it.  Wouldn't it be fun to have a necklace made out of copper from an old teapot?  I'm thinking that one through in my head.  If you look to the right of the picture you can see a black tool with a long skinny black handle.  That is my bench blade.  I use it to cut large pieces of sheet metal that I can't cut with my jeweler's saw.  It could cut off your finger!

Next up is my torch table.  We just got this unpacked and hooked up this week!  I am so excited to fire it up . . . I've missed my torch-work.  My torch is mounted right in the middle of the front edge of the table.  Underneath the table is my glass cabinet.  I store all of my glass rods here.  The torch is hooked up to the oxygen and propane tanks in the corner.  That large propane tank is leftover from our old landscaping business.  My husband used to hook it up to a heater for his employees to use while they were laying stone-work in cold weather.  Now, it is mine, and I have never had to re-fill it, it is so big!  The skinny tank is oxygen and it makes the flame nice and hot.  I use more oxygen than propane and will probably have to have it re-filled soon.  Just ignore those moving boxes along the wall . . . one of these days I will see what's inside of them and figure out if it really was useful enough to pack and move with us from house to house.

Here is a shot of my work table.  I just hung that inspiration board on the back wall.  I have good natural light coming in from the window in this spot.  

Here is a close-up of my work table.  It is very clean and organized right now.

Below are my metal alphabet stamps.  I keep them close because they are heavy!  And I use them all the time.

Just to the right of my inspiration board is this lovely contraption.  It is an old dresser that I keep some supplies in.  I have raised it up on stilts to make it a better height because I'm tall.  One day I will take it outside and refinish it, but for now it is just as useful in its ugly old state as it will be in its refinished beautiful state.  I do all of my jewelry gift-wrapping here and that's why my ribbon is in this area.  I attached two curtain rod holders to the wall and strung up all of the ribbon onto a wooden dowel to make it easy to access.  I love the bright pop of color in the room!  The small blue paintings were made by two of my kids in my friend, LeeAnn's summer art class.

This is my soldering station.  You can see a few torches, my pickle pot, a fire brick and a tripod on the table top.  My tumbler is on the lower shelf, and my photography set-up (more about that later) is on the floor.

Not to be forgotten is my cheering section.  My frog obsession started when I was a very young girl.  You will find frogs hidden all over my house.  For several years every birthday or Christmas present had to do with a frog.  Or if a friend was traveling somewhere they always brought me a frog present.  I still have a whole box of frogs from moving 11 years ago that I haven't opened.  You never know when a frog will be useful . . .