Friday, July 1, 2016

We're All Ears :: July Reveal

Where has the time gone, and what I have I been doing with it? My last blog post and earring inspiration for We're All Ears was in October 2015! 

Well, it has been a weird and busy 9 months. Brutal winter flooding. Escape vacations to bask in the wonderous Redwoods and see friends in Spokane, Washington. Lots of custom jewelry orders. The creation of an exclusive collection of feather-themed jewelry for Sunflower Flats, a lovely shop in Tillamook, Oregon. Some environmental activism related to deforestation and water quality here on the Oregon coast. Pet emergencies. The list continues . . . as does life.

But then, while scrolling through my news feed, this challenge caught my eye. 

On the day I noticed the challenge inspiration on my newsfeed, I had just returned from the nursery with a new favorite perriniel - the balloon flower. What a coincidence! Balloons, it seems, were calling my name. 

Keepin' it simple, I dove into my long-time hoarded, matched gemstone slabs, the balloon-shaped ones. I was inspired to use the yellows, oranges, and reds from the hot-air balloon photo. (As much as I wanted to use purple to represent my flowers, I had no purple-colored slabs.) I love working with these stones because keeping the focus on the stones forces me to keep the design minimal, a departure from my usual style. 

Bumblebee jasper (from Intrinsic Trading), jet, resin, dark annealed steel wire

Cherry creek jasper (from Hampton's Rock Shop), turquoise, antiqued copper
Yea! These are actually right-side up, hot-air balloon orientation!

To see other designs by talented artists, visit this blog post: Earrings Everyday. Thanks, Erin, for your continued inspiration! This challenge got me back into the blogosphere and helped me get motivated to fullfil an order for 15 pairs of gemstone slab earrings for a local shop. Yea!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Chain Gang

While on vacation, I couldn't resist a stop at Heartsong Beads in Seal Rock, Oregon. (Honestly, I did TRY to pass by, but the temptation got the better of me. I mean, really, I had just made a haul at three other bead shops in California, and I already have tons of beads languishing in my studio already, unused and forgotten. I tell you, this bead addiction is a bugger to kick.)

Beautiful lampwork beads, sterling silver findings, art beads, enamel beauties . . . stop me, someone! Well, there were deals - her gorgeous lampwork beads were 40% off and this antiqued brass chain was cheap. Because the links are unsoldered, I wouldn't use this chain in heavy necklaces, but the oval links could be useful. In my shopping bag it went. 

When I arrived home, it was this brass chain that inspired me to experiment. Now I had thousands of brass connecting links to use, so I decided to explore all possible configurations of earring designs using them.

Earring Designs From Simple to Complicated

Often, my earring designs are complicated and time-consuming, so it was refreshing to just make a simple and casual pair at a lower price point. A wrapped glass briolette and a beaded earwire. 

A wrapped magnesite coin bead

A sparkly glass and brass dangle (I don't often do bling, but I love these purply faceted beads.)

A periwinkle glass briolette

A Vintaj-patinated copper shell charm and brass jump ring

An apatite and brass dangle and a blue quartz beaded and wire-wrapped earwire

A Picasso Czech glass dangle with Indonesian glass beaded and wire-wrapped earwire

Oh, and how about double links with acryllic flowers
Getting more complicated now . . .  a triple dangle of glass and beaded earwire
A triple dangle of gemstones - magnesite and coral - and brass

Dreaming of Designs

Often, jewelry ideas float around in my head before I fall asleep. (I've lost a lot of sleep this way. I just have to get up and follow through with the idea.) Since the links were on my mind,  it occurred to me that I could use these them as frames backed with pieces of tin. A little E-6000 did the trick. I'm glad I remembered to punch the hole before I glued the link to the tin. I don't usually create designs in a single color, but I didn't want to detract from the cool tin pattern. Now that I look at this, a light blue accent would have been nice. 

Gotta Love Leather

Another one of those trying-to-get-to-sleep moments when link earring ideas flooded my brain. Use leather! I made a suede leather loop to hold the link. Not liking the exposed hole, I added a brass spacer to hide the hole. (These earrings were difficult to photograph, so I'll include one on an earring card to show how the hole is hidden.)

Recycled glass, carnelian, and brass.
Recycled glass, carved bone, and brass
Czech glass, carved bone, brass

Recycled glass, carved bone, brass
For now, I have satiated my obsession with these links and am ready to move on to another material. I do like the idea of having a ton of oval shaped jump rings at my whim. Great purchase!

Seashells by the Seashore

I have such a weakness for buttons, mother of pearl ones especially. In Trinidad, California I discovered a bead shop that was pure heaven - shell beads and buttons, abalone, trade beads, bone beads, and leather. Shelves and shelves of the exact kind of stuff I love. I bought bags of beautiful mother of pearl buttons in both ivory and pink colors. Now, what to do with them? 

I love the soft and feminine feel of this silver, gray labradorite, and soft pink MOP color pallete. These earrings were so difficult to photograph to capture the flash of the labradorite and the glisten of the button. They look so much more delicate and soft in person. 

And now, pink MOP buttons paired with lavender glass drops and pewter tubes. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


On a recent trip to Northern California, I had the pleasure of shopping at Tailsman Beads in Eureka, where I picked up this colored recycled telephone wire. I almost overlooked these, but on my way to the register they caught my eye. Such cool colors! I wasn't sure what I would actually do with this wire, as I haven't really been attracted to colored wire before. 

When I arrived home and pulled out this cool stash of wire, I immediately knew I would be making wrapped and beaded hoop earrings. Wanting them to have an industrial look, the steel wire I just HAD to have a long time ago seemed like good hoop material. 
Then I noticed my collection of eye shield charms that I cut, embossed, and painted a long time ago seemed to compliment the colors of the wires. Hmmm . . . 

Wrapping that phone wire is such a meditative pleasure - soft on the hands and nicely pliable. The first pair of earrings, in gray, yellow, and black is my favorite pair. I love those gray Indonesian glass beads! 

Next up, white and gray wire with black glass seed beads. 

Love the blue and purple, too!

I just love it when an inspired idea strikes, especially after such a long hiatus from jewelry-making and creative inspiration. Eureka!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Word Tag Pairs

On a recent trip to Michael's, these Tim Holtz word tags caught my eye. I always welcome any opportunity to add text to my jewelry. (It must be the ex-English teacher in me.) 

I had great fun playing with word pairs. Dumping them out on the table, the words seemed to naturally find each other. They sat on my work table, getting knocked about by my curious cats. Fearing that they would lose each other, I tied the pairs with some hemp scraps.

It's often difficult for me to use commercially-made items as is. I needed to somehow alter them to make them my own. Enter my chasing hammer and Vintaj patina. 

Hello, play!

Hello! Play!

Either way it is punctuated, the message is the same. Go play! I certainly played a lot making these earrings. I dimpled them with my chasing hammer and painted them. Much more playful than the original. smile emoticon

I just love the pairing of colors: turquoise and orange always makes me happy.

*magnesite, fire agate, pewter


Wish Noted

It's funny how these two words found each other. I imagine someone making a wish and sharing it with a friend who writes the wish down in a journal, saying "Wish noted." Maybe that wish will eventually come true; maybe it won't, but at least it was noted for future consideration.

*red coral, magnesite, pewter, waxed linen

The piece of waxed linen is a lagniappe, that little something extra that brings a piece full circle. I added it at the last minute.

All You Need is Love

LOVE spoke to me, and it didn't take too much thought to design these. I've been hoarding these red Czech glass teardrop beads forever. Any piece I make with them seems to just design itself. I mean, look at these beauties! 

This time I used black paint to highlight the lettering and then added the red trim. I debated for some time about whether to add the pieces of waxed linen; they looked nice either way. I suppose it would super simple to cut them off if a customer so desired. 

Happy early Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


I am slowly dipping into the collection of gorgeous stones that I have been hoarding since last spring. The owner of one of the shops that carries my jewelry put an order in for some stone earrings, but every time I make a pair, I sell them or want to keep them for myself. What's such fun about working with these stones is that the stones themselves are the star of the show; I only need to add some small accents. 

Last night I cleared off my studio work table of all other projects that might distract me, so I can get focused and serious about designing more stone earrings to take to Angelinas in Nehalem.

Here are the earrings I have made so far:

Fabulous amazonite. The first pair I made. I don't think these can leave home. Ever.  :)

This second pair were made for a challenge at Earrings Everyday, inspired by a photo of a slot canyon in Arizona. Happy accident: my wire wrapping was sloppy, so I wrapped it with waxed linen to cover it up. I quite like that little fix. 

The next pair were a custom order for a dear friend who grew up in New Mexico. They have that kind of NM vibe. My wire-wrapping was better this time, but they looked too plain without the waxed linen accent. A style is born!

I am forcing myself to let go of these lovely jasper stones and send them to Angelinas. I won't believe I am capable of letting them leave home until I am actually handing them over to Lina in her shop. 

Here is my lovingly hoarded stash. I swear these stones are my addiction. I can get stoned just looking at them. :) 

Next project: I can't decide whether to stick with blues or go with a secondary orange accent. Such difficult decisions!