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 . . .

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gemstone Bracelets

Today was definitely a bracelet kind of day.  I tend to be a collector of semi-precious stones, and as I was trying to organize my collection I decided it was time to do something useful with them.  
After all, beauty is useful.

Below is a funky charm bracelet including faceted smoky quartz, blue opal, sunstone, a juicy faceted ruby, two kyanite rondells, and another faceted smoky quartz.  The attachments are adorned with seed beads.

Next, is a beautiful triple-strand bracelet made of faceted labradorite, pearls, and various silver beads.

And finally, my favorite!  A lovely mix of aquamarine, citrine, 
natural turquoise, and apatite.

i love you - Pierced Heart Ruby & Pearl Bracelet

I'm getting ready for a mini show in the beginning of November and am putting together samples to display and take orders from.  I've had this lovely hunk of silver cut and shaped, sitting on my workbench just waiting for the perfect thought or quote.  It all started with the heart.  This piece of silver just needed a pierced heart to start things off . . .

The silver is hand cut, shaped, stamped, oxidized, and polished.  Three beautiful strands of wire-wrapped pearls are finished off with a precious faceted ruby (it's real, girls!), and they wrap around to clasp the pierced heart.

I just might be wearing this today (and tomorrow . . . )!

Friday, October 25, 2013

They That Wait Upon the Lord . . .

My friend, Michele, needed an inspirational necklace for her friend who is in the battle of her life with breast cancer.  We talked about different ideas that would reflect the strength and faith that her friend has shown (and needed) while enduring this trial.  In searching for just the right sentiment, we came across this beautiful blessing in Isaiah:
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; 
they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Established Wedding Necklace

Karen asked me to make this wedding necklace as a bridal gift for a special friend.  The larger disc shows the bride and groom's initials along with their last name and their "established" date.  The companion charm says "San Diego Temple" to remind the bride of their special day and the amazing place where they got married and sealed together forever.

You can learn more about this special temple here, and you can read a little about eternal marriage here, and here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Want to play catch . . . up?

Goodness, Gracious!  It's been a crazy, busy whirlwind these past several months!  I am finally back to work in my studio and it feels good!  But before I post any new projects I need to catch up on a couple of really fun ones that I did this past summer.  The first one is a wedding necklace that my friend, Paula, asked me to make.  It is so sweet!  It shows the bride and groom's initials and their "established" date - the date of their wedding!  This is a really fun 3-piece charm collection that hangs nicely and will be a lovely reminder for the bride of their special day.

The next one was requested by Vanessa.  This is a mother's necklace that includes the receiver's boys' names and a circle love charm with a precious pearl.  It is timeless and classy!

Stay tuned . . . I hope to be posting all kinds of goodies in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Piece of My Heart

I just completed my favorite-ever-so-far project for my lovely friend, Karen.  It is a beautiful tribute to the dogs in her life, and I couldn't be happier with how sweet it turned out.  It is too long for my little photography set-up, so I had to take photos with it all bunched together.  Hopefully, these photos will give a sense of the grandeur of this necklace.  This is a mix of silver, brass, and copper, with beautiful Ocean Jasper beads.  The main center piece reads: "While each dog that passes from my life takes a piece of my heart, each new dog gives me a piece of theirs."

The back reads:  "Dogs are not my whole life, they make my life whole."  There are 17 little doggie tags throughout this necklace, one for each of the dogs she has ever had.  Karen even adopted #17 midway through the project, so of course, now I am scheming how to add #18 and so on in the future . . .

Karen approached me a couple of months ago with the idea for this necklace.  She couldn't sleep until she had drawn it out and turned it over to me to work on.  I know that feeling - sometimes that's how creativity works . . . it's like a living thing that needs to be cared for.  This necklace took a certain kind of energy and momentum to build.  I searched out just the right beads to be earthy and tie the three metals together.  Karen knew exactly what she wanted in her head and she drew it out perfectly but it took me a little while and a few "meetings of the minds" for me to really catch her vision for this necklace and how exactly to construct it.  Boy, am I glad I did!

This close-up shot of the pendant shows my favorite kind of attachment.  It is a hammered and riveted wire bail that I learned from Susan Lenart Kazmer's class during the Tucson Gem Show back in 2009.  Karen even agreed to let me take a photo of her wearing her new necklace.  This is headless Karen, standing in my studio: