September 2009


Star and Moon BraceletI’m still working hard to expand my metal skills and this is one of my newest creations.  I remember the early days of learning to saw metal – I could barely cut a straight line at that time.  I couldn’t imagine how people did intricate sawing.  As I work at it, I find myself able to cut smaller and smaller designs. 

When I drew the design for the silver piece on this bracelet, I knew I wanted star and moon images.  I wanted to create them by adding metal, in the case of the moon and two stars, and by removing it with the remaining star and circles.  Maybe the circles are far-away planets.

I didn’t want any single shade of blue to dominate the bracelet, I wanted various shades and tones of blue to play together to thoughts of sky to mind.  The beads I used are sodalite, blue lace agate, glass and crystal.

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"Bing Necklace 1" of Recycled Aluminum Cans ~ 2 of 2 photos by urbanwoodswalker.

Photo courtesy of UrbanWoodsWalker

I love the creative and resourceful people who consider themselves to be trashonistas.  They see such potential in things other people consider to be trash.  One I’ve been noticing for a while is UrbanWoodsWalker.  First of all, how could you not love someone with a screen name that cool.  Then there’s her jewelry which is made out of soda cans and other trash.  My favorite at the moment is this necklace.  She made beautiful choices in the shapes and colors she used.  The necklace also looks to be well put together and she’s backed the charms so they are comfortable on the skin and to give them strength.

UrbanWoodsWalker says “I pick up aluminum cans off the streets, and out of trash bins, bring home and wash throughly. Then I create something of value with them.”  Call it recycling, reuse, or upcycling – I’m calling it beautifully done.

UrbanWoodsWalker is from the Chicago area and you can see more of here work by clicking here.

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EileenEarrings1It’s a fact of life – sterling silver tarnishes or darkens with exposure to air.  Many jewelry designers take advantage of this fact using the darkening in crevices to accentuate a design, but oh how I wish we could stop it there.

I store my sterling silver in small zip-style bags and this really seems to help.  The pieces stay bright and shiny far longer than if stored without the plastic bags.  When my jewelry does need cleaning, I use a silver polishing cloth if it’s a light cleaning job.  For heavy duty situations, I use a silver polish cream.  It’s a little bit of work but the results are always worth it.  Polishing creams like those by Wright’s or 3M leave the tarnish in the crevices and restore a beautiful luster to the silver.  I do not use liquid silver polish where you dip the piece in the liquid.  I find that this type of silver polish also removes the darkening in the crevices where I would like to retain it. 

Question:  Do you avoid sterling silver jewelry because tarnish is a turn-off or have you found ways to manage it?

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ProjectRunwayS6E6I love this dress by Nicolas Putvinski illustrating the science fiction genre with a gorgeous ice queen.  The detailing around the neck is very sculptural and references both earrings and a necklace in its silhouette.  I also love that the dress is curve-hugging at the top and then floats beautifully away from the body at the knee.  I don’t say this often, but this dress can totally stand without any jewelry.

However, if I was going to accessorize it, my choice would be a cuff bracelet in the same metallic leather as the shoe with similar detailing bringing a little bit of hardness at the wrist to contrast with the softness of the shimmering dress.

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I used to hear that if you had a top with a lot of embellishment or ornamentation, you should stick with earrings or a bracelet as accessories.  Or, if you wore a necklace, it needed to be something tiny.  I’m noticing necklaces being worn with embellished tops, and when done the right way, the look is lovely.  The coral colored ruffled top from J Crew is an example.  I love the necklace they have paired with the top.  It makes the outfit far more interesting than it would be without the necklace.

This beautiful top on Joely Fisher looks great with the multiple strand necklace.  It creates interest but does not steal the show from the vibrant color of the top and its embelishment.  I think it’s a very nice and modern combination.

Embellished Tops

I think the collar of  this shirt from Ann Taylor Loft creates a problem for this style of necklace.  It’s a pretty shirt, I would either go the bracelet/earrings route or wear a bold necklace close to the throat.

Pleated Collar Button Front

So, ladies, enjoy both your necklaces and beautiful tops this fall.

Photos courtesy of J Crew, In Style Magazine, and Ann Taylor Loft respectively.

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I realized I had not shared my entry for the Beaded Muse 2 contest or how I did.  The Beaded Muse is a contest where all participants get the same package of beads to use in their creation.  The beads are shown on the website announcing the contest, however, the muse is a mystery item.  Participants don’t know what it is until their package of beads arrives.  In the Beaded Muse 2 contest, the muse was the beautiful etched shell donut by Lillypilly.

My piece did not place, but I enjoyed doing it and would consider it again in the future.  Most important, I accomplished my goals with the piece.  They were to stretch myself, try something new, and make a piece I was proud of. 

I was impressed with all of the different and creative ways people chose to use the muse.  Especially interesting to me were those who cut it into more than one piece.  That never occurred to me.  You can see more about the contest, along with a gallery of winners, and all entries here.

My intent in creating my piece was to honor Lillypilly’s beautiful and quietly intricate shell creation.   The sketch below shows the basic concept I was going with.  I started with a sterling silver bar encasing it with a strip of square stitch.  I added crystals and other beads as embellishments.  A second layer of square stitch was used as a base for creating a loop for stringing the pendant and attaching the muse.  I then made a subtle necklace that reflected the colors in the pendant.

MuseSketch

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HandmadeFallI’m participating in the I Heart Handmade seasonally inspired handcrafted market.  The online show runs from September 19th through October 17th.  As always, it’s a nice show with a variety of crafts persons and artisans.  There’s whimsical art, homemade candy, knitted creations, baby boutique items, and of course, jewelry.  Take a moment and browse the show, it is lovely and everything is handmade.  Here’s the link.

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