October 2009


This Masai wedding necklace is part of my personal collection and it has been a much loved treasure for years.  A professor from a local university traveled to Africa as part of a project she was working on.  While she was there, she purchased this and many other beaded items directly from the women who made them, paying them what she felt was a fair price.  She brought the items back to the US and I was lucky enough to find out about this and purchase this necklace.  I have it hanging in the hallway and love passing by it, seeing it, and when someone brushes past it, hearing it whisper a very pleasing sound.

These necklaces are a great craft project for children.  I helped my nieces make them and they enjoyed it.  You will need to start with some paper plates – the kind that is a little waxy on one side and plain paper on the back.  Cut out the center and punch holes for the beads to be strung at the bottom.  You can also punch a hole at the top and add a bit of ribbon or string to hang it.  The children can then paint the back of the plates and add strands of beads.  You can add little coin, bell or other charms at the ends of the strands.  Three to five strands are a manageable number – you can do more if you have an older child who has the patience.   Children who visit my home are always a bit captivated by this piece.  It is long – about four feet and they just stare up at it.  They loved being able to make their own versions and take them home.

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Paulina Necklace

In my city, there is a little bit of waterfront that yields wonderful treasures.  It’s not really a beach.  It’s more like an area with rocks and tall grasses near some warehouses and office buildings.  Over the years, I’ve managed to collect a few objects that I knew would be beautiful as jewelry.  For a long time, I did not have the skills to do anything with the pieces.  They sat in a box and I would run my hands through them every so often – things worn by the sea can have such a nice feel.

The blue ceramic piece in this necklace was found at this waterfront area.  I loved the color.  I loved the v-shape that is now at the bottom.  I loved that part of it was broken and then smoothed by the water.  Maybe it was a hexagon?  Doesn’t matter – I think I like it better this way.  I set it in sterling silver with four shorter prongs and one really long prong that curves around nestling in the crevices.  I elaborated on the color blue by adding a lapis stone at the top.  Most of the time, I make beaded necklaces for my creations.  This pendant said no – it wanted the simplicity of a chain only.  I said OK.

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I am cold-natured so the first nip in the air sends me running for something warm.  This fall, cardigans seem to be everywhere and I love how well they work with jewelry.  Layering is still a strong trend and cardigans are perfect as the top layer over a shirt or tee, the middle layer with a shirt underneath and a jacket on top, or the bottom layer worn as a shirt.

BR Cardigan

Photo courtesy of Banana Republic

I love this look from Banana Republic.  To me, this outfit is about hard and soft contrasts and subtlety in textures and tones.  The cardigan is very soft in color and the ruffles add more softness.  The jeans add a bit of edge.  They are worn-looking and distressed, adding texture.  The necklace adds hardness and some fluidity.  The length works because it falls clear of the neckline of both the cardigan and shirt underneath.  A very short necklace would also work with this look.  Jewelry could also be used to bring a tiny splash of color.


Photo courtesy of Anthropologie

How beautiful is this outfit from Anthropologie.  It has a vintage feel to it.  I love the colors – everything is soft except for the mustard top peeking out from underneath and the red punch from the signature necklace.  I think this outfit absolutely needs a strong necklace and I like the length of the necklace, falling slightly above the mustard top.  Love it.

GH Cardigan

Photo courtesy of Garnet Hill

A bit dressier and more romantic note is set by this cardigan from Garnet Hill.  The necklace is bold enough to hold its own against the patterned sweater.  Yet, because they are in the same color family, the cardigan and necklace do not fight each other for attention.  She’s wearing a dress underneath.  I could also see this cardigan dressed down with a chocolate brown shirt underneath and jeans.  Warm and pretty.  Sounds perfect for fall.

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Mom and Sister

I was watching TV the other day and saw an actress wearing shoulder duster earrings and I thought to myself – are those coming back again?  I remember in the late-80’s when shoulder duster earrings hit the scene.  They were fun and like all fads and trends, eventually made way for the next new thing.  Fashion is so very cyclical.

I love watching today’s youth discover the trends of the 80’s or 90’s.  It brings to mind something my mother would tell me – “Everything old is new again.”  Meaning that trends from the past come back, sometimes reworked with a modern twist or element.  But that very little was really new.  Of course, every generation thinks it is the first to discover things.  Just part of the natural flow of life.

Here is a picture of my mother from the 50’s.  She is holding my eldest sister.  I’m not sure about the bangs, but I would totally wear the jacket.  My Mom never did pierce her ears.  Of course you know I would have on earrings too.  Love you Mom.

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Crop DSCF79462

The blue/green beads in this necklace and the small teardrop stone in the pendant are the gemstone chrysocolla.  It’s a gemstone I was not familiar with until recent years, but now love using.  It’s a gemstone that is beautiful and relatively affordable.

Chrysocolla is a mineral that is made from hydrated copper silicate and can be found in many parts of the world, including the United States.  It is mostly found with or associated with other types of minerals that include; quartz, azurite, limonite, cuprite and secondary copper minerals.

Folklore and legend has it that Chrysocolla is associated with tranquility and peace, intuition, patience, and unconditional love. It is thought to offer gentle and soothing qualities.

I’ve used black to set off the beautiful colors in the Chrysocolla stones.  The cabuchon in the pendant is black onyx, both it and the Chrysocolla were set in sterling silver.  You cn see this necklace at the design stage in an earlier blog post.  I chose black glass beads to accent the Chrysocolla and then softened the design with crystals in a color named Pacific.

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Glenda DSCF79311

I’m a lefty, and we lefties know we live in a right-handed world.  Growing up, at least at home, that was not the case.  In addition to me, my mother and three of my siblings were left-handed.  Only my father and oldest sister were right-handed.  So, our household leaned a little towards favoring left-handedness in how things were set up.

When it comes to jewelry, I try to keep my left-handedness in mind.  When making a necklace like this green garnet and pearl necklace, it is a factor.  If a necklace has a distinct front and back, then it matters which side I put the clasp on when making it.  Unless I am making a piece for myself (or someone who I know is left-handed), I make it for right-handed people.

Recently, at a jewelry show, a lady wanted to try on one of my necklaces.  She had her hands behind her neck, trying to get it on and said – this is awkward, I can’t work the clasp.  I then realized – oops – I let a left-handed necklace get through.  It doesn’t happen often and I modified the necklace.

The very first bead weaving stitch I learned was brick stitch and left-handedness was a factor.  I tried to learn it by reading an article in a book or magazine.  I remember seeing paragraph after paragraph that talked about doing this with your right hand and that with your left hand – pages of it.  I tried more than once to get through it, and gave up in frustration.  A while later I found a class in the technique and was able to easily learn from the instructor who was right-handed.  Since then, I’ve become better at translating written instructions mentally and don’t have a problem with them.  Thank goodness, since there’s always something new I want to learn.

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Hoop Earrings with Crystals

Hoop earrings have always been fun and I love seeing women showing their flair through hoop earrings and other types of jewelry.  Some women keep it small with their hoop earrings and others take it big.  Still others go super-size with really big hoop earrings, ones that almost touch their shoulders.  All of them are just epressing their style – and I love it.

These hoop earrings are on the moderate side – about 1 1/2″ in diameter.  They are wire-wrapped in warm-toned Swarovski crystals and glass pearls.

Taking a different spin, these earrings feature hand formed and hammered sterling silver hoops, accented with touches of gold in a play of mixed metals.  Amethyst crystals and smaller glass circles in soft purple tones complete the design.

Sterling Hoop Earrings

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