A while back, I wrote about these gorgeous CZ drops and a necklace I made using four of them.  Well, I started out with six CZ teardrops and had two left – one red and the other amber.  I didn’t want to use them together again since I had already done that.  I also thought one of them might look a little sad alone, so I looked for a companion and found this little black glass piece with a red splash.  He said he wanted to play so I said OK.

I love the pairing and I call the piece dash dot.  I realize that technically it’s maybe more of an exclamation point and dot, but at this point the dash dot name has stuck.

I used black beads with white spots and black glass for the main body of the necklace and for some reason, brown crystals seemed right for the front.  A few tiny shell squares and two silver crescent roll beads complete the design.


As an artisan, it’s important to me to continue to grow and develop my skills.  And so I work at it and play at it.  When I returned from Penland School of Craft this past summer, I knew I wanted to expand the type of jewelry I was making to fully capitalize on what I learned in the class.

In the car on the way back from Penland, I started making a list of those things that if I did them would further cement and expand upon what I learned in the class.  When I got home, I typed it up, posted it in a prominent place, and here it is.

Everything on the list is definite and concrete – something that is either done or not done.  There is nothing like – improve sawing skills – which you can never really finish because you can always improve.  Instead I have something like – cut out the details from one coin.

The bright pink marks are things I’ve completed.  Here and there I get pulled by other things a realize I haven’t looked at the list in a while.  When I realize it, I go back to the list and check it.  Sometimes I see that I’ve completed an item or two while doing other things.  Other times, I pick an item and get going.

What I especially like are those things that started out on the list but have now become ingrained in my arsenal of techniques.

Here are some of the things that I still need to do:

  • Make four folded, cut, and hammered leaves
  • Make two pieces with hinges
  • Select a historical piece of jewelry and create a design inspired by it using fragmentation and abstraction

I will get there.  I will.

I’ve been of two minds here lately – on one hand I’ve been making larger, chunkier ethnic eclectic pieces and I am so in love with them.

On the other, I’m equally enamored with a series of pieces based on images from the forest floor – tiny leaves, pods, vines, moss, lichen.

This pair of earrings is from the latter.  I’m working in brass primarily, cutting tiny designs in it, and then adding a second layer of related designs by stamping the metal.  I then add additional interest by darkening the brass, sanding it, and then darkening it again.  The result is darker edges – a small touch, but one that I think matters.

When I first learned to saw metal and was breaking saw blades right and left, I could not have imagined making such tiny cuts.  It’s nice being better with the saw and being able to make some of what is in my imagination.  So far, I’ve done two necklaces and this pair of earrings in the series.  I’m calling it “Secrets from the Forest Floor”.  I’d like to explore it more over the coming months.

Shiny new stuff and things from the past, the sweet simplicity, the deep complexity of walking through life with another person…

These are some of the concepts I tried to capture in this necklace, starting with an old key attached securely to a textured silver-toned metal plate.  That plate is firmly riveted to a second larger plate – this time darkened brass with multiple, random holes.  From the key and metal assembly hangs a shiny new heart – one filled with swirls of color – wondrous and inviting.  The chain – bright, shiny silver hearts, so delicate in contrast to the metal plate but strong enough to carry it.  A few crystals and tiny darkened brass hearts scattered up the chain complete the design.

The glass heart is from Valentine’s Day glass pendants and the silver chain from their collection of Valentine’s Day chain.

Disclaimer:  The glass heart and silver chain were provided to me free of charge as part of Beading for Bloggers program.  All other materials were supplied by me.

I’m still working hard on setting things – gemstone, glass, shell, rocks, you name it.  And, I’m branching out with the settings.  This necklace is one of my newer designs and I just loved putting it together.  I started with the white glass cabochon and wanted to accent the designs in it – they brought to mind twigs and leaves.  So, I cut tiny twigs and leaves out of silver, soldered then onto a silver base, and then soldered on the bezel ring that is holding the glass.  I further embellished the setting with a leaf stamp and random markings also meant to repeat the design reflecting twigs and leaves.

I tend to make beaded necklaces for most of my pendants but this one wanted just a few beads and mostly chain.  I used three dark fresh water pearls on one side and a faceted rhodonite bead and dark ruby crystal on the other and completed the necklace with darkened silver chain.  I even darkened the clasp and added one pearl and one crystal right at the clasp.  Learning to do more with metal has been a gratifying journey for me and I have so much yet to learn.  I care so much about each piece I make and am very involved with each while I am making it – carefully considering each element and its placement, editing and refining as needed.

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I’ve been in a de-cluttering mood lately.  I’m pretty neat, so my clutter situation is not that bad.  But, I do have some boxes with things I could stand to go through and one closet that is on the questionable side.  And I have gotten rid of some stuff.  It helps to just clear it and make some room.  However, some of what has been happening is that I pull out the old boxes, see beads, charms or something from a while ago, and see a different use for it.  That’s part of the story of how this necklace came about.  I’ll get to the other part.

Years ago, a friend asked me to make a bracelet that had some elements that reminded her of Texas.  I bought some brass charms and made a bracelet and earring set that she was happy with.  I had some charms left over and put them in a box and didn’t much think about them.  That is until my recent clearing out phase.  One of the charms was little brass cowboy hats.  I don’t at the present time have a use for little brass cowboy hats, but I did think, hmmm, how else could I use them…

The curve of the brim had a little art nouveau feel to it so I thought if I cut the brim from the crown of the hat, I could turn the brim part sideways, drill holes in the top and bottom, hang pearls from the bottom, attach the tops to a necklace and come up with something pretty.  Sounded like a plan.  So, I cut the hats into two pieces.  I did one or two at a time in between other projects.  Then I went to drill them.  We’re getting to the lemonade part.  Two broken steel twist drills and 20 minutes later, I realized – this was not happening.  I hated to lose all of the work of cutting the hats in half.  So that old saying came to me – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I realized the other part of the hat already had a hole in it and that I should modify my design to use that part.  So, here you see the resulting piece.  I love it.  I used garnet beads in two shapes to separate the little charms and completed the design with blush colored glass pearls.  Sometimes you’ve gotta go with how things are flowing and not fight it.  Here’s a photo of one of the cowboy hat charms before I started.

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I love miniature chairs and have a small collection of them.  Most of my collection is on my fireplace mantel, a few are placed here and there throughout the house.  I always wanted to try to make chair jewelry and as part of my journey to learn to work with metal, I tried making chair earrings.  These are the first design I’ve come up with.

Now, I must tell you, this is the second draft of the first design.  My thought was to do a little retro chair, the kind with a bucket seat that swivels.  I looked at chairs, sketched my design out and made a sample pair of chair earrings.  I asked one friend what she thought and she said they were beautiful butterfly earrings.  Not what I was hoping for.  I asked another friend, she said what cute little hearts, they’re adorable.  So, I went back to the drawing board and hopefully this pair looks more like chairs.  I’d like to play with the idea some more – different chair styles and maybe a bracelet of little chair charms.

Two-dimensional chairs like I’ve done give you more challenges when it comes to design because a level of abstraction is needed.  Three-dimensional ones may have some wearability challenges when it comes to the chair legs.  I still love them all anyway.

There are some other people out there playing with chairs and here are some pieces I like.  This single chair necklace is from Beyond the Valley and I think has a graceful elegance.

Photos courtesy of Beyond the Valley

For a total WOW factor, I love, love this necklace made entirely of chairs.

Photo courtesy of Lost a E Minor

Here’s hoping there is more chair jewelry in my future.

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