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.

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.

I love it when a plan comes together – don’t we all?  In designing this necklace, my goal was to use a bit of tin from a box a friend gave me.  Once people know you can work with tin, old boxes start coming out from everywhere – the attic, garage, that closet – you know the one.  And I’m always happy to receive these treasures and the people who give them to me are happy the tin gets used.

I had this man in the moon charm and it fit so nicely over an area of the tin with a star.  I love the way the two fit together – you can’t tell if the moon is watching over the star or if the star is watching over the moon.  Doesn’t matter – you can tell that there’s a relationship.  And when I found another charm that fit nicely behind both pieces and already had three holes at the bottom for dangles, well, we were cooking with gas, as they say.

I used glass beads and pearls in shades of blue and bronze for the necklace and added bits of chain at the bottom with little star charms and more glass and pearl beads.  Here’s to sweet dreams.

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Gray is a favorite color of mine.  I love it whether it’s soft gray sweaters, furry gray kittens, or beautiful gray beads.  Gray is a sophisticated neutral that makes a statement in a quiet way.  The idea for this necklace came when I saw the gray agate tubes sitting next to the gray fresh water pearls.  It was one of those happy accidents that occur from time to time.  I loved the light and dark gray pearls with the agate tubes and made all the dangle segments, not really sure at the time where I would head with the necklace.  All of the links were made with sterling silver wire that I darkened to a matte finish that I think shows the beads off better than shiny silver would.

When I went to bring the necklace together, I remembered I had these matte finish hematite beads and felt they were just perfect.  They brought another aspect of gray into the design and look wonderful with shiny dark gray pearls interspersed in short intervals.  Given that the necklace was made using a single color – shades of that color, shape, texture, and finish had to bring the visual interest and artistry that I seek to create in each piece of jewelry.

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I had never worked with Cubic Zirconia Beads or components prior to making this piece.  I knew CZ was a less expensive alternative to diamonds and was often seen in settings similar to those you would find for diamonds and precious stones but did not really consider them as something I would use in my jewelry.  So when Artbeads.com asked if I would try designing something with them, I was excited by the challenge.  I quickly realized that CZ beads come in a number of shapes and colors and as soon as I saw these long teardrops, I knew this was what I wanted to use.

They are absolutely gorgeous, sparkly with rich colors and facets that play with the light.  I laid them on a blank piece of paper, took my pencil in hand and started sketching.  I came up with the idea to create squiggles out of wire to separate the CZ teardrops.  After considering silver and copper, I decided on brass and I knew I wanted to darken it to accentuate the golden and red tones of the CZ’s.  I also added crystals in warm colors with the exception of the tiny olive crystals that cool down the heat of so many warm, fiery colors.  Black spacer beads and two lengths of handmade brass chain complete the design.

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Thalia Necklace

This is the first piece I have made from a beer bottle cap and I am loving it.  I enjoyed making it and love the outcome.  I don ‘t drink beer very often, but have friends willing to donate their caps.  They get to drink beer and help a jewelry designer at the same time – a win, win.  This particular bottle cap was given to me while I was at Penland along with some others.  I could not resist the red on orange, I loved the bicycle with its headlight, and so it was the first to be made into jewelry.

Bottle caps are not difficult to work with if you have a few tools.  First you have to snip the fluted sides so the cap will flatten out.  A hammer takes care of getting it flat.  Then you need to boil them for 5-10 minutes to make the plastic liner come out.  Some liners are resistant, others give up without a fight.  At that point, the bottle cap is ready to be cut into the desired shape and set.  I cut two identical squares from brass.  One became the backing.  I cut an opening in the other to make a small square frame for the pendant.  I riveted all three pieces together and drilled holes to hang the key and to attach the necklace.

I suspended a variety of crystals and glass pearls in red, orange, pink, and bronze tones from the brass chain I selected.  I think the key adds the perfect finishing touch.

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Red Jasper Necklace with Picture Frame Part

The inspiration for this necklace came from two things – one was the red jasper cab set in silver at the top of the pendant.  The other is the blue and rust strip that sits at the bottom of the pendant.  It is a piece of painted wood that had an earlier life as a picture frame.  It had broken but I liked the colors and put it in a box to do something with – I wasn’t sure what.  I’m not a pack rat, but as a creative type, I tuck things away here and there that seem interesting.

When I started building the pendant for this necklace, I realized I wanted more dimension that just the copper strip provided.  I started digging in my box of stuff, saw the picture frame, and knew it was the right color.  Problem was, I have no experience working with wood.  Compared to my jeweler’s saw, wood saws look giant and I don’t understand the purpose of the different types of wood saws.  So, I used what I know and tried my jeweler’s saw on the picture frame and it got the job done.  I started by cutting a test strip off the frame.  I tried drilling it to see if the wood wanted to split.  The wood drilled beautifully, so I thought – this is workable.

I then cut the actual piece used here in the pendant.  The copper strip is soldered onto the silver base.  The wood piece is riveted to the metal.  I love the pendant and enjoyed working on it, bringing multiple layers together.  It only wanted a simple necklace in a harmonious soft olive green tone with the tiniest dash of blue crystals.  I obliged.

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