Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Family Jewels

My family and I had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend trip to visit my mother and sister in South Florida. While there, my mother pulled out some extraordinary pieces of jewelry passed down from my great aunt Mary. Since I am now making jewelry, my mother wanted to donate them to my growing collection of vintage finds.

I love cameos, so I am very excited by the two cameo pins in her collection (only one is pictured here). Also, there are stunning, carved flowers and I cannot tell what they are carved from (bone or something faux?).

My great aunt traveled a lot, and purchased jewelry from many of the places she visited. Here is a wonderful Delft brooch pictured below.

One of my favorite pieces is this Limoges pin. I love the way it mimics a portrait plate. I am very much looking forward to using some of these items. Can you all tell how I am itching to put these to use?

Don't forget that there is only one more day to enter my necklace giveaway!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This Memorial Day, I recognize the great sacrifice so many have made in service, and pray for peace.

I will be taking a small break from blogging and return after the long weekend.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Won a Beautiful Rosary!

Earlier this May, I entered the Etsy Rosary Guild Team’s monthly Rosary giveaway. This is one of my favorite giveaway opportunities because of my deep love of Rosaries. I have been entering for quite a while now. They get many, many entries for each giveaway, so I did not expect to win. (Still, it is fun to enter and hope to see your entry number as the winner).

This month’s giveaway featured a stunning handcrafted Rosary by Mary at Faithful Servant Arts shop on Etsy. Her product description of this piece is, “Silver toned rosary with Our Lady of Lourdes image centerpiece w/Sacred Heart on back. A Trinity Crucifix completes this beautiful rosary with clear faceted Ave beads, and ornate glass blue/green/aqua Pater beads with pewter bead caps, wire wrapped for stability.”

Photo from Faithful Servant Arts shop on Etsy

The Rosary honors Our Lady of Lourdes. I read The Miracle Detective, a book on Marian sightings because they fascinate me, and Lourdes is one of my favorite Marian sightings. Lourdes is in Southern France, near the grotto of Massabielle, where Bernadette Soubirous, a young peasant girl who had 18 visions of Mary.

I am so very excited to see this gorgeous Rosary in person when it arrives.

Speaking of giveaways, don't forget to enter my first blog giveaway that ends on June 1!

Monday, May 23, 2011

This Giveaway is Now Closed!

The winner can be found in this post.

This giveaway is now closed. I will announce the winner in a separate post tomorrow, but link to it in this post.

I am excited to announce my first ever blog giveaway! I created a beautiful reclaimed vintage necklace for one of you to win in this giveaway. I converted a vintage flower brooch and added a bead dangle to form the focal piece. Two different, reclaimed chains add visual interest along with a bird and varied rectangle accents add visual interest.

The necklace is 19 ½ inches long (not including the length of floral/bead drop) with a lobster clasp closure.

Please note- due to the use of vintage elements, there may be some natural wear on some pieces.

Mandatory entry -follow my blog and mention this in a comment below. If you already follow my blog, let me know in your comment.

To earn an extra entry, you can do one or more of the following: Tweet about and link to this giveaway, post about it on Facebook,  post about it on your blog, or tell a friend or two about it. Mention which one you have done in your second entry comment.

In your entry comments, please leave an email address so I contact you if you win. You can alter your email address to be a “safe" version of it. For example; jane(dot)doe(at)yahoo.com to avoid spammers and the like.

Giveaway is open to those in the U.S. and Canada and closes at 10 pm ET on June 1. I will use a random number generator (random.org) to determine which entry will win!

The winner will be announced on my blog on Thursday, June 2.

Good luck!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Upcoming Giveaway!

I made another visit to Kudzu Antique Market this past week. They are so friendly and nice there! I was admiring the Rosary parts that one woman had for sale and she told me to try shopgoodwill.com because there are often Rosary and other religious jewelry items being sold. 

While browsing through some of the other items there, I came across several bags of Mahjong tiles. Upon opening the bag to touch them I was filled with the visceral memory of my mother’s Mahjong tiles from when she played with her friends.

I have two projects on my beading table. The first, pictured above, is a bracelet I am working on with influenced by my French Inspired Jewelry book. There are numerous charm bracelets in the book, so I wanted to try creating one. This will be the first charm bracelet I make.  

Keep your eyes peeled this week for my first ever blog giveaway! It will have something to do with the second project I am working on, using some of the pieces pictured below.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Earrings Made to Match

You may recall the necklace I made from a vintage bracelet. This necklace has become one of my favorite items of jewelry to wear. I have been working on matching earrings using a pattern I varied slightly from my Bead Simple book. This is one of my favorite project idea books- it is brimming with wonderful jewelry designs to try.

I made the earrings using the same hot pink beads used in the necklace. I used a slightly larger version of the hot pink beads as my focal bead on the earrings. I had to redo one side several times because I was having a frustrating time doing the wrap around the focal bead. I have no idea why since I did it fine on the other side. Do you like the way these came out?

This afternoon I am also watching an episode of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels. The episode focuses on using vintage items (hmm I am now officially obsessed with all things vintage!).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why I will Love this Book

Is French Inspired Jewelry, a book that merges my love of French Country style with jewelry making? If so, it could it be another book seemingly written especially for me! Author KaariMeng runs a store called French General in Hollywood, CA where she sells vintage jewelry making kits and home accessories.

Anything that hints at French flea market finds and the rustic style of Southern France is right up my alley (toile, anyone??). I am also excited to read this in its entirely because I have a stash of wonderful vintage items I can use in some of her project ideas. Not the more “retro” vintage I have recently been writing about (which I also love), but more romantic vintage items.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Glimpse the Past

One of my jewelry design loves is up-cycled vintage jewelry. Technically, to have the label “vintage” an item must be at least 20 years old. Repurposed vintage jewelry joins both past and present by using some vintage elements along with modern ones. Because vintage items have often become one-of-a-kind the jewelry made from them also tends to be highly unique.

Because of my interest in finding ways to reuse vintage findings, my interest in plastics/resins also took off. I am very interested in learning how to work with resin. I would especially love to read The Art of Resin Jewelry by Sheri Haab. However, I first need to work through the billions of books and DVDs I have marked with ideas to try!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Partially Done

Blogger was down for a bit this past week, hence my lack of posting. Well, that and I was extremely busy doing spring-cleaning and decluttering.

I began working on earrings to go with my Vintage Modern necklace. When I started the project, I assumed I’d finish it today. I am not sure if it was the beautiful spring weather outside beckoning me; or the new class I need to prepare for distracting me, but I was not feeling incredibly creative, and was finding it hard to stay focused.

The earrings remain on my beading table, partially done.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Review of A Charming Exchange

Lately, I have been consuming one jewelry-making book after another. One that stands out as being especially good is A Charming Exchange by Kelly Snelling and Ruth Rae. The book grew around an actual charm exchange the two authors were involved in. The book highlights how to use found objects into jewelry making, as well as more traditional techniques.

Along with beautiful photographs, there are some really intriguing instructions for some very unique links and connections. This book is perfect for someone, like myself, who is at the point where you are ready to move from beginner-level to an intermediate level.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sabbath Time

This is my little altar in our home.

I normally teach public speaking, and my class ended up not getting enough students enrolled in it for me to teach this coming term. Terms at our college are ten weeks long. So for a time, I thought I would have an unexpected ten-week break. I was stressed out and a bit upset at the prospect of not working for ten weeks.

After hanging out in limbo, I began to envision the possibilities of Sabbath time. It was one of those Resurrection moments, when I can envision exactly how God can take a death and bring new life. There have been other times when I have been forced, out of circumstances beyond my control, to slow down and just listen to the Holy Spirit. Times when I have needed to remove my own agenda, and get out of God’s way.

I was ready to see where this Sabbath time might lead when I got a call from my chair, asking if I would be interested in switching courses from Public Speaking to Interpersonal Communication. I was very happy to accept this new opportunity, with a new understanding that, if I allowed myself to walk in faith, I would be okay either way.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Vintage Modern

I finished a project from Bead Simple that I blogged about earlier. I used a vintage bracelet as the main element and then added seed beads along with hot pink, glass beads and repurposed chain to create this necklace.

I like the way this piece came out. It is more delicate than the picture in the book would have you think. I like to wear my pieces several times to see if they need adjustments and how comfortable they are. For example, in this first picture, you can see one element is kind of not lying correctly.

(In this next photo I accidentally placed the necklace upside down!)

I still feel like creating closures that hold strongly is one area where I need more practice. I keep having to rework mine.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Romantic Retro

There is one project I have been itching to try turning this vintage floral bracelet I found at Nacoochee- Antiques  into a necklace. This is actually a project in the Bead Simple book, which also has a few others I’d love to try. 

I am really surprised how much I enjoy using vintage findings and even retro resin in my jewelry. I always considered myself more romantic than retro! I think there is a unique element to the use of vintage- nothing looks quite like it. And I love the way it can be taken apart and paired with contemporary elements to create an eclectic look. Have you found yourself surprised by the items you are attracted to when beading?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One-Act Tragedy

After seeing all my beads and findings my son Liam, who is seven, desperately wanted to try beading something himself. “I love making patterns,” he told me, “So I want to make a pattern with the beads.” I gave him a pack of plastic, arts and crafts beads and an elastic cord to use for his creation. He worked hard on making a symmetrical pattern with the beads on the cord. He was extremely proud of his work. 

Just as I was going to tie it, I accidentally dropped it and the beads went everywhere. I forgot to first tape the ends so the beads would not spill off. I felt downright horrible about it and kept apologizing. A few of my own creations have ended similarly when I forget to secure an end or other part securely. I still feel very guilty about Liam losing his work.

In better news, I am looking forward to having some actual crafting time this week! I have a head exploding with ideas I want to try.