Tag Archives: chain

One Shell of a Necklace

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collection of shell buttons

Collection of Shell Buttons

A friend gave me a small baggie of vintage Mother of Pearl and Shell buttons that she loves to make her a necklace. The first thing I noticed when she handed them to me was the weight. It was so heavy. Buttons are made out of plastic now and are virtually weightless. I was intrigued.

I open the baggie and spread them across my rug. Most buttons were round, but there were oval, rectangle, and square ones.

odd shaped buttons

Odd Shaped Buttons

I also found these beautiful moon shaped buttons that I loved. I had no clue how I would use them on a necklace. I found a heart shaped button. I knew I had to use this one. I’m a sucker for hearts! Another interesting detail to these vintage buttons is the carving. Some were smooth, but the majority of them have intricate carvings on the front of the buttons. It’s strange to think that buttons contributed to the overall aesthetic of a piece of clothing. Nowadays buttons serve almost completely as utilitarian items that close the ends of fabric.
carved buttons

Carved Buttons

close up shell button necklace

Shell Button Necklace Close-Up

I pulled several buttons out that I thought I could work with to make the necklace. The large one with all the holes around would be perfect for the central part of the necklace. I knew I could hang other buttons and charms from it. I built the necklace from there and added a dragon fly charm. I remembered that my friend has a delicate tattoo around her wrist of elephants. I removed the dragon fly and added an Indian brass elephant…PERFECT!

Next, what type of chain do I use? I thought about a beaded chain but it just seemed to ordinary. I found an old brass chain with little flat metal charms attached. This could be it. I loved the metal charms but I feared it would take away from the beautiful center piece I had created. I removed them all but kept one to add to the end of the necklace. I also added a couple of inches of larger old brass chain. Now she has the option to wear the necklace long or as a choker.

LIGHTBULB GOES OFF! The little metal charms hanging off the base chain gave me the idea to attach a few of the moon buttons in a similar way. I arranged them a few times to make sure that the length of the necklace would feature the moon buttons as well as the centerpiece independent of the length she chose to wear the necklace. shellnecklace1

This is my favorite necklace to date. It’s always special when you don’t have to struggle to make something work. Struggle can be good and teaches you. It’s the magic of creating. Your mind directing your hands in a seamless way. That’s what drives an artist. I also made some earrings from two matching buttons. I couldn’t help myself 🙂 Thanks TJ for the experience.

shell button earrings

Shell Button Earrings

Brace Yourself

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Close-up of Peasant bracelet

Life has changed dramatically. I left my permanent job, I’m working with my spouse in real estate, I’m studying to become an agent, and I have more time to work on jewelry. The last part I’m really excited about. It’s been chaotic since I left my job. I still haven’t worked out my routine and I must have a routine. I want next week to have more structure…I know, an artist who wants structure.

With a little more creative time on my hands, I’ve made 2 bracelets and I’m delighted with the outcome. Two principals of design, movement and scale have been the focus of my pieces. Bracelets seem to be the prefect art form for my experiments. They are always moving around the wrist. I’ve found that by using more than one type of chain, I can achieve more motion, play with the scale, and I get the added benefits of dimension and texture.

Close-up of Rouge bracelet

Rouge is typical of my style but with a twist. It’s monochromatic and small and it jingles. I found the bells at BEAD IT! and I had no idea what I would do what them. They just caught my eye. I used three types of brass chain for the base of the bracelet. I added red glass hearts, glass squares, brass colored glass hears and red crystals in groups of 3’s along with the bells. I love the rich, lush color of the bracelet and the added bonus is that it makes a beautiful sound.

Rouge, charm bracelet

I created Peasant from a kooky vintage belt that I found at a garage sale. I love the wooden rings and I added turquoise, vintage brass buttons and green glass beads that I acquired from a vintage pair of chandelier earrings. The bracelet is large but very light weight because of the wooden rings. Honestly, this one is out of my wheelhouse but a divine example of texture and scale. I’ve learned that I don’t have to make beautiful pieces I would wear, I have to make beautiful pieces.

Peasant, charm bracelet

I believe you have to challenge yourself and get out of your creative pigeon hole. You always learn from it, and brace yourself, you could create something that you didn’t know existed within your realm. I’ll leave you with this.

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. — Pablo Picasso

How Daylight Savings Time knocked me off the wagon.

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Daylight Savings Time...or Death by Daylight?

WOW!!! It’s been way too long since I’ve posted. I wish I could say I’ve been busy making jewelry to sale, but I haven’t. I have started several pieces but I have had a serious bout of bad time management. Is it just me, or does everyone try to get more done when there is more light at the end of the day? It’s the same 24 hours but somehow, I’ve managed to add more things to get done just because it doesn’t get dark until 7:30 – 8:00 pm. Arrggg. I’m going to fix it this week. I will rule the Daylight Savings Time demon.

A few positive things have occurred in the past 10+ days despite my DST demon. I created a beautiful charm bracelet for my daughter’s friend Mazzy. Isabelle picked all of the pearls and the crystals and I put it together. I enjoyed collaborating with her.

Mazzy's Bracelet. Her favorite color is green.

I admit that because she is only 9, I don’t give her the credit she deserves for having a great eye for color and design. This experience has made me determined to work with her more and trust her judgement. This is what leads to great artists, someone taking the time to take notice of your abilities and encourage you.

Garage sale finds have also been on the up and up. At one sale I bought a bag of buttons and a bag of beads.

bag of buttons purchased for $1

I wasn’t sure about the beads until I saw the chicken, then I knew I had to have it.

random bag of glass beads

At one sale, I got a great bundle deal for $4. I’ve actually worn one of the necklaces and received several compliments. I wish I would have made it, but I love it none the less. My four dollars bought 4 necklaces, 1 pair of earrings, 2 bracelets, one a copper cuff, a silver decorative key, and a little wooden box with brass sides. I think she was still sleepy when she made the deal. A couple more sales and I acquired two small tackle boxes. They have the see-through top that divides all the little lures, one was 50 cents and I paid a whole dollar for another. Those things are great for storage and much more expensive in a craft store. Did I mention that I really love that chicken!

The infamous chicken charm

Other big news, big to me anyway. I ordered chain, brass, antiqued copper and gun metal from chaingallery.com. They are an awesome wholesaler of chain and I got some great deals. The chain prices are basically half of what you would pay retail. The more you order, the cheaper it gets. I hate to cheat on my beloved bead stores but, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I’m super excited to get it and start creating. As much as I love my g-sales, finding good quality chain is probably the hardest thing to do. Many times people will realize they have sterling. They price it accordingly which is more expensive than I can purchase it from a store. Brass and copper are really hard to come by and they are my favorite to use in my designs. I have found a few nice brass and copper chains at sales, but it’s just not enough. I had to find another outlet for quality chain and that’s one of the things I accomplished.

I guess these 10+ days haven’t been wasted; they just unfolded in ways that I didn’t expect or plan. I’m sure this is a good lesson, but I need a little more order and planning in my life. So now I’m officially back on the creating jewelry and blogging wagon. I find myself armed with my new g-sale finds, chain, and the knowledge of my daughter’s creative abilities.

I will slay that DST demon and grasp just a bit more control over the daylight filled hours. DST lasts until November 4th so the sooner I get a hold of it the more time I will have, or something like that…..

Chained

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The brass chain

Charm bracelets are hard to make. I’ve been working on the same one for several days. I have an idea in my head and I have some awesome charms, buttons and beads to add to it. I just can’t seemed to place the items on the chain in a pattern that suits me.

1 option

Buttons

It’s much easier when you make a beaded bracelet and can make a patten with the beads or just add them randomly using color or size as a guide.

A necklace is simple because their is one focal point, the front of the chest. The catch is almost always in the back so it’s usually not a consideration in the design. Every once in a while you will see a toggle or a lobster claw as part of the “front” of a design.

Another option

A bracelet is in the round so the focal point changes depending on how it’s resting on the wrist. The catch has to be incorporated into the design because it’s always visible.

Honesty, I’ve probably made 10 different bracelets in my attempt to complete this one. I’ve used a lot of metal making connectors. I consider that practice, although I hate to waste supplies. I’ve added and removed buttons and beads so many times I’ve lost count.

Red flat beads

Finishing this bracelet will happen. The labor costs alone on this piece are ridiculous which leaves me no choice. For this reason the labor will now be referred to as “schooling”. I hope my “schooling” paves the way for many new designs that happen a little faster.

Another idea

I’ve never been one to begrudge gaining knowledge through experience. New things take time to learn and it’s not a wasted effort for me. I do know chained is where I’ll be until I find the key, or figure out how to make this damn bracelet work.

Change, nothing stays the same

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It’s time for a change. My etsy store has been up for approximately 3 weeks now and I’ve been working under the name Blue Lizard Designs for several months. I’ve realized that this name doesn’t completely fit my artistic view. What’s in a name anyway? As I continue to make more jewelry, I’ve discovered that I enjoy exploring many different sides of my aesthetic. Sure I can plant flowers and skip, but there’s also a part of me that likes to punch, kick and listen to punk rock. (If you read my bi-polar by design post, you know what I’m talking about.)

Knox, earrings with malachite

After much contemplation, I’ve decided to do a name change. I need something that feels right, describes my point of view and accurately represents the work I do. I love puns but I didn’t want to go too far in that direction. I didn’t want to name it after my own name, that just feels weird. Honestly, I always had a hard time signing my name on the front of a painting or drawing. I never felt that my signature belonged on the idea as a part of the design…I’d just sign the back with a date.

Dangles 1.1, earrings on gunmetal with garnet crystals

The dilemma, what’s a good fit and will continue to represent how I work now as well as in the future…I’ve already made that mistake once! It became more clear to me this week as I was making earrings. I stopped over thinking and just made them. Instead of worrying about how they would fit into a blue lizard design theme, I made them based on what I personally like in a earring.

Rollers, earrings on silver chain with onyx

It’s actually simple. I love dangles with high design and light weight. This is also important to guys if you buy the lady in your life earrings. Heavy earrings are uncomfortable and look unattractive when they are weighting your earlobe down.

In my (what seems to be now) regular fashion of designing happy and light, I also designed dark and edgy. The result is that I’m extremely pleased with everything I made and I believe it all fits my personal vision. Naming that personal vision is tricky. I’m inspired by music, punk, grunge, classic rock, alternative and metal. I’m inspired by Pop artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenburg and Joseph Cornell. I adore pop culture and fashion. I love a good Roller Derby bout, and I never miss Top Chef or Glee. I’ve taken all of this into consideration and it makes me dizzy.

Daisy Chain, earrings with red glass crystals

Dizzy – giddy, bewildered, sensation of whirling. This word completely describes me and it sounds better than crazy. I pondered how I could incorporate this word into a name. I talked it through with Phillip. I mentioned that I wish I would have come up with the name Alice in Chains. I love the band, the name harkens to Alice in Wonderland and it sounds great coming off the lips. He thought for a moment and suggested Dizzy in Chains. Hmm. I marinated over the idea for a while and decided that this was a name I could use. It has meaning now and it will carry me into the future. Dizzy in Chains perfectly characterizes my attitude and my working philosophy. I also get a little pun as a cherry on top.

Daisy Chain 1.1 earrings with pink rhodochrosite

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. ~ Alan Watts

Squares n Dangles, earrings on gunmetal chain

New Year, New Attitude

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Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to this new year opening up all types of new opportunities. Of course I have to make the jewelry, photograph it and market it, BUT I’m very excited about the ideas I have.

I created 3 pieces for Christmas gifts that were extremely well received! YEA!!! I’ve been garage selling and keeping my eyes open to a variety of objects that could be utilized in my jewelry.

The options are endless!!!

I also resolve to blog more and keep everyone/anyone who cares updated. This is the year of the Dragon and I plan to attack everyday as such. There is no denying that when you have a family and a job, things constantly get in the way of pursuing creative endeavors. This year, the fire is lit and I will be breathing it out for the next 353 days left. My Motto, like the Dragon’s, “I REIGN”!

My wish for you this year is to decide what you want and go get it. It’s a New Year, attack it with a New Attitude and don’t stop until you have surpassed your goals and expectations!!!