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!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Roadrunners and New Stuff

Have I told you about the crazy roadrunners that live in the hood?  They strut and wag their very long tail feathers while stretching their necks in contorted positions, searching for that tasty little bird egg, or those prehistoric looking locusts that scare me back into the house from my garden chores. 

It's true.  When I was a teenager, my prankster Uncle Zem would find a juicy, ripe green grasshopper and proceed to chase me with it, all around our property, while my mother locked all the doors and peered nervously out the kitchen window.  Gee...thanks Mom!  I resorted to uprooting a dried up sticker bush (we lived in the Nevada desert) to defend myself with the sticky, sharp spikes.  Didn't work...and I remember the horned toad was placed in my hair unbeknownst to me until it squirmed its way around my head.  Good times. Really.
But back to the roadrunner...I got some good shots this time after that rascally dinosaur-looking bird chased the doves and quail around the mulberry bush, then high-tailed it into the safety of a pine tree. There is never a dull moment in the Palac household.  Walter woke me the other night to the scene of a lovely skunk eating bird seed in our front yard...we named her Daisy and she is quite beautiful, and didn't leave a calling card, bless her stinky little heart.

This week I decided to create something a bit different from my usual reporte, apothecary bottles with vintage Swarovski bling and dried flowers from my garden, lavendar buds and marigold petals.
I added a shimmering silk dupioni ribbon and a few sparkly pink and green tourmalines to the lavendar buds.

I added an oxidized copper ball chain and some glowing amber stones to the marigold petals.
I recently purchased some gorgeous fuscia moonstone nuggets and created a simple necklace perfect for the holidays.

Even Santa's reindeer enjoy bling during the holidays, all available in my Etsy shop!  Happy Creating!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Before the drum roll, I must say thank you for your lovely comments and encouragement, I truly appreciate all of you.  I wish I could send everyone a prize, but without further ado...

Kristi of Curiosities by K is the winner!  Yay Kristi!  Please email your address to

Once again, thank you and please enjoy every page of Bead Soup, you will love it!!