Thursday, January 28, 2016

Let Me Tell You About...

Welcome to my little corner of the  B'Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge Blog Hop! I am participating to learn all about the fascinating history of jewelry, and to create a cohesive line of jewelry using B'Sue Boutiques brass stampings and components.

I began dabbling in jewelry about eight years ago just out of curiosity to see if I could really make something wearable; boy was I surprised when Stringing Magazine accepted my first submission comprised of my own polymer clay focal and wirework necklace. From there, I attended several semesters of community college silversmith classes, and now I'm embarking on a new journey with gorgeous brass stampings, shimmering crystals, and those luscious Miriam Haskell pearls.

As I mentioned in my last post, this is a new genre for me as my past work involves metalwork, wirework, and polymer clay focals:

I have been attracted to sparkly baubles ever since I was five years old, when I became aware of my Hungarian Grandmother's Art Deco, Art Noveau, and trendy 1950's sparklers. I was hooked! Grandma made sure I was decked out every Easter, and my fondest memory was that gorgeous woman dressing me up in a white rabbit fur batwing jacket and matching pillbox hat. My frilly pink and white embroidered dress was not complete without the little gold and pearl duckling brooch with matching cufflinks. I was stylin'! I still have that pillbox hat, reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy. Those were the days.

Brenda Sue has made sure our challenge group is well versed in jewelry history, including such styles as Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco. The stampings used in the challenge originate from vintage and antique dies and are crafted by expert casters. They hail from the historical periods mentioned, so the designs our group creates will have a certain historical flair. Here are a sampling of my components I will use to create my designs, can you guess my theme?
Let me tell you about the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees, and how I will love to put these components together into a romantic and feminine jewelry line. My theme is The Birds and the Bees!  Please join me and the challenge group in our first of four blog hops charting our journey. Click on the links below! Tell us what you think!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Diana Buynak Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio

Irene Hoffman, Heart's Dezire by Irene

Clare Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick

Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not

Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs

Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie

Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time

Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation

Belinda Reed-Ingle, Vogue Rocks

Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry

Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate

Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann

Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs

Susan Bolton, Fern's Place

Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets

Barbara Kelley, Angels' Keep

Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks

Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs

Joan Donovan, Hailey's Cottage

Alison Huie, Ally's Baubles

Sharon Palac, Sharon's Jewelry Garden

Erica Olmos, Beeb's Closet

Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry

Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front

Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs

Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels

Mary Deis, The Rose Sword

Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design

Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts

Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens

Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs

Donna Parry, JewelryDonna

Gina-Marie Hammer, Tangles, Twists and Treasures

Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

B'Sue's Build a Line Challenge Blog Hop!


Hi there, it's been a long time between blog posts, but here I am ready to jump in again through participation in B'Sue's BALC. Why B'Sue? Well, I have been collecting her yummy brass stampings and other delights for a few years now but never did anything with them. I guess you would call me a bead hoarder, right? That's a good thing, as bead hordes are pretty with lots of potential, whereas plain old hoarding is a horse of a different color. We won't go there!

Have you ever seen so much yumminess?

I have been creating some jewelry here and there, but this challenge will give me the proverbial kick in the butt. Keep Calm and Bead On will be my motto! I still love pounding on sterling silver and making my own polymer focals, but the vintage tooled brass stamping siren call beckons me to try my hand at a new jewelry genre, but I will strive to make it uniquely my own. Here are a few pieces that I  crafted recently in silver and poly clay:

I also reconfigured the necklace on the right by removing certain elements and adding a handcrafted solder stamped cross and new chain. Much improved, I think!
In anticipation of the first BALC blog hop commencing on January 29, 2016, here is a list of the participants. Please be sure to join us for the fun!

  1. Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box
  1. Diana Buynak - Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio
  1. Irene Hoffman - Heartsdezirebyirene
  1. Clare Wells Nemeth - Creative Magick
  1. Mary Reckmeyer - Afrayedknot
  1. Marcia Tuzzolino - Aurora Designs
  1. Elizabeth Wilks - Wearable Art by Lizzie
  1. Jeanette Rose Belmont - One Canvas at a time
  1. Lyn Joy Reeve - A Journey from Jewels to Jubilation
  1. Belinda Reed-Ingle - Vogue Rocks
  1. Beth Trubman - The Journey of Jewelry
  1. Carole Carlson - Beadsophisticate
  1. Jann Tague - Clever Designs by Jann
  1. Shari Gardner - SLG Jewelry Designs
  1. Susan Bolton - Fern’s Place
  1. Chris Kemp - NoodlePie Bracelets
  1. Barbara Kelley - Angels' Keep
  1. Susan Bowerman - Woodside WireWorks
  1. Pamela Anger - Novegatti Designs
  1. Joan Donovan - Hailey’s Cottage
23. Alison Huie - Ally’s Baubles
  1. Sharon Palac - Sharon’s Jewelry Garden
  1. Erica Olmos - Beeb's Closet
  1. Erin Whitacre - Shattered Time Jewelry
  1. Fran Sitton - Sitton Up Front
  1. Ginger Hammond - Lynn Leigh Designs

  1. Paula Gaskill - Lovely LaylaBug Jewels

  1. Mary Katherine - The Rose Sword

  1. Renee Webb Allen - Small Stuff Design
  1. Valerie Tilghman- ArtJewelsandGifts
  1. Chris Cravens Vintage Cravens
  1. Leslie Carver
  1. Donna Parry, JewelryDonna
  1. Gina-Marie Hammer - Tangles, Twists and Treasures

37. Kelly Wymer Winged Wisdom Enchantments

Please mark your calendars and join us!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club with Andrew Thorton: October Reveal

With the ghoulish title of My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me,  what's not to love?  This little gem is an anthology of re-told fairy tales edited by Kate Bernheimer, and a perfectly delicious macabre read for the Halloween season chosen by Andrew Thornton, our fearless leader of Inspired by Reading Book Club.

This book brought back memories of my childhood and  my introduction to fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen.  My father would take me to our local library every week to fill my voracious need to read.  One especially cold California winter I happened to choose an old musty leather-bound book of fairy tales by Christensen published in the late 19th century. What  really caught my eye were the grotesque illustrations of demons dancing around an evil mirror in The Snow Queen, quite a shocking sight for an eight year old Catholic school girl who mused "Am I really allowed to read this?"  "Yes, you may." replied  Dad.  What sort of dreadful things would I read and dream of if I read these seemingly forbidden stories?  I thought I had gotten away with a Mortal Sin!

 Hence, my fascination with The Snow Queen, so I saved that story for last in the anthology and wasn't disappointed. The tale was modernized to discuss homelessness, the vagabond lifestyle of brooding creative types, and drug abuse. In the re-told story I could envision how the splinters of the evil demon-created mirror could cause drug abuse and homelessness, as every beautiful thing in the world worth seeing and feeling becomes distorted and ugly.

 I decided to create a necklace that represents the mirror before it became contaminated by evil in my hand made pendant that depicts beautiful flowers.  The wire wrapped crystal represents the shards of broken mirror and the chaos of distorted vision that ensues.


The eerie glow of the labradorite stones represent the demons attempt to reach heaven in their hope to pervert the angels visage. The moss aquamarines represent the demons fall back to Earth, their evil plan eventually destroyed through love and human kindness.

Be sure to read all the participants blogs to see their creations, and Happy Halloween dreams!

Andrew Thornton 
Sharon Palac
Mary K McGraw
Jeanne Steck
Sarajo Wentling
Mary Harding
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Sue Kennedy
Sally Russick
Erin Prais-Hintz
Diana P.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Inspired by Books Reading Club with Andrew Thornton

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik is the featured read for Andrew Thorton's Inspired by Reading Club on Face book.  While Paris is the city of lights, this non-fiction work left me in the dark as I found the author's work tedious.  It did however, spark a memory of Paris in a different era, an era of dark Gothic shadows, a story of unrequited love, and beautiful gypsy girl, and a pitiful hunchback. Yes, Paris is shrouded deeply in its violent past.
The epic tale takes place in the Notre Dame Cathedral, known for its elaborate stonework and eerily watchful gargoyles. I decided to create a necklace that evokes just a bit of that old Gothic feeling, featuring a gargoyle pendant and added Swarovski emeralds for Esmerelda, clear rhinestones for the water she gave Quasimodo when no one else would, and a pearl drop for the purity of the hunchback's sacrifice.
Next month's  A Rumor of Gems promises to be a great read.  Check back next month for the continuing story of Andrew's Book Club.  Viva  Andrew!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Soup's On!

My Bead Soup partner, Patti Pruhs, sent me gorgeous beads of faceted moonstone rounds, onyx, vintage rhinestones, silver spacers and a hammered silver box clasp.  Check out that fabulously huge faceted sea opal focal that Patti soldered, it's stunning!
I really wanted to do this pretty soup justice, so I decided to create a necklace that looks royal and rich, befitting the color combination that Patti chose.  I created an asymetrical scroll sterling bail from which I hung the focal, look how that opal glows!
I created sterling silver curly-q links and wire wrapped the onyx, moonstone, and vintage rhinestone rounds, as well as a few of my own rhinestone spacers.
Thank you Patti for being my partner!  I hope you enjoyed my necklace and please hop on over to our hostess Lori Anderson's blog for the list of  Bead Soup participants. Thanks Lori, you've done it again!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bead Soup on the Menu!

Here is the soup my lovely and talented partner, Patti Pruhs, sent me recently:
I love the color combination of opalite and black onyx. The faceted and soldered opalite focal is to die for, big and beautiful!  I can see several possibilities and can't wait to dig in. I have my spoon and napkin ready! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Wellness Word Challenge Reveal!

Tracy Statler of Make Bracelets Blog challenged jewelry artists to choose a wellness word for 2013 and transform that word into a beautiful piece of jewelry. I decided to play and chose the word "Bloom".

I thought about where my life is today and how I want to grow and blossom.  My hubby Walter and I made a major decision to relocate from the busy megalopolis of Las Vegas to Prescott, AZ, the "other" Mile High City! And what a change it was, slower pace, beautiful mountains, pine trees, deer, eagles...Prescott is a far cry from the generic brown birds and mountains of Vegas!

We did leave family and close friends behind, which is tough, but we do visit from time to time. I confess this last year has been difficult for me creativity-wise.  Feathering your nest can be quite time consuming and sometimes exhausting, with painting, moving furniture around to achieve that perfect aesthetic balance, planting a garden...well, those are creative pursuits but left me little time to set up my workbench.

I decided that I must bloom where I am planted, and that was the genesis for my necklace.  To grow you must tend and nourish new friendships, as well as old.  You must plant roots in your new community and make sure your new found family flourishes.

I created my Bloom necklace using vintage brass chain and fob clasp which represent the past.  I added rough nuggets of moss aquamarine and two vintage faceted Swarovski rounds. My brass bezel contains beautiful pink larkspurs embedded in Diamond Glaze, which represents planting new flowers with the intention of permanency. I hid the secret message "Bloom where you are planted" on the back bezel, close to my heart.

Please celebrate 2013 Wellness with these talented artists, and make sure you bloom and grow wherever you live!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Grandma Emily: Memories and Thanks Blog Hop

My Grandma Emily lives in a very dear nook in my heart.  I say nook because that is where most of our private talks were held, in her ruffley-curtained cozy breakfast nook that offered a glorious view of my Grandpop's prize winning rose garden.  She always served up wisdom, oatmeal walnut chocolate chip cookies, and a big hug.  Grandma Emily had time for just me when others did not, and she influenced my creativity through her own arts, intricate crocheted lace and down home family style cooking, Portuguese style!

Grandpop constructed a smoke house on their property and walking home from school promised those spicy, smokey aromas of linguisa, and if we were really lucky that day, Portuguese sweet bread shaped into doves.  Living with my grandparents were the most loving and unforgettable years of my childhood.  You never knew what wacky thing would happen, like the time I ran into her huge kitchen and observed a large stockpot with chicken legs sprouting from the top... ACK!  Those chickens lived in our backyard!

Grandma Emily taught me to cook, bake, and keep house. She also instilled in me a deep reverence and faith in God and the Virgin Mary. She prayed her rosary every day, and taught me the importance of positive thinking and treating everyone I met with respect and kindness. 

Toward the end of her 89 years, my grandmother quit cooking and crocheting, but found time to create beautiful rosaries for others.  I have her last handmade rosary, the one she died with.  It was entwined in her hands, she prayed until the end. 

In honor of Grandma Emily, I created a simple but significant necklace that I hope she would be proud to wear.  An antiqued bronze cross displaying the Virgin is the focal, accented by vintage Czech cathedral beads in her favorite color, red. I created a copper nest to remind me of her cozy kitchen nook, and added a copper charm that I hand stamped in Latin: Sancta Maria.  Grandma enjoyed a little bling from time to time, so I added vintage Swarovski rhinestones for our sparkly fun times. Thanks, Grandma!

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of my Grandma Emily and her tremendous influence in my life.  A big thanks to Lori Anderson for this creative and memorable blog hop.  You can hop on over to more Thanks and Memories here!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

St. Joan of Arc

I have a fascination and appreciation for Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans.  The fact that the Dauphin allowed Joan to lead an army of men in a time of blatant misogyny is a miracle in itself, but when a woman of strength and faith is called into action, she displays courage and grace and battle those who would oppress and misalign.  The tragedy is that Joan, after displaying extraordinary insight and tenacity in battle, was herself a victim of malignant politics, her life snuffed out at 19.

Joan's undying faith in God, paired with heavenly messages from St. Michael the Archangel, and SS. Margaret and Catherine, was used against her in a series of trials for heresy, even after her military victories saved France and crowned Charles King of France. 
I received 12 years of Catholic education, and I do appreciate that my parents sent me and I do love the traditions and ceremony of Catholicism.  My fascination for the saints led me to study Medievalism in college and specifically hagiography, the study of saints. Some of these venerated people led bizarre lives and their actions seemed born of insanity, but they did achieve great feats in the name of God.

Recently, I have felt the need to create in response to my faith, and to my love of the saints.  I recently took two online metal smith classes from Stephanie Lee and learned to create my own bezels. 

This bezel consists of bronze sheet metal formed into a Gothic arch which holds an image of Joan.  I sealed her with Diamond Glaze, but I didn't cover the image so it picked up a bit of fuzz, so this will be mine to wear.  Next stop: Ice Resin, more bezels and saints...onward and upward!