Tag Archives: necklace

Art is never finished, only abandoned…

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brass pendent

Time Flies

I’ve been working on this piece well over a year. I looked at the date when I first uploaded the picture and it was February 2, 2012. I admit that I was fairly happy with it at the time. I really loved the rustic aeronautical look. I debated what type of chain I would use and ultimately decided to go with leather cord. I was satisfied with my decision, took pictures and put it up on my etsy site.
brass pendent

Time Flies

A few weeks ago, I pulled it out my jewelry box and as I was looking it over, I decided I didn’t like the look of the leather cord and the weight seemed all wrong. I cut off the leather and started experimenting with chain. I altered the top of the pendent and how it was connected to the cord and added jump rings and beads. I believe the heavier chain looks better and the toggle clasp has more purpose.
brass pendent and necklace

Time Flies Revamp

Ultimately, I don’t know…I may just abandon it a while longer or maybe I will destroy it and start completely over.

close of of brass pendent

Time Flies Close Up

Copper Is The New Black

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Copper is my new black. Everything I’ve created recently involves using copper chain, wire, and findings. Usually I’m inspired by a theme or an object. Hearts, birds, watches and buttons have been a few of the items that have driven me to create. I can honestly say that a metal has never been at the center of my creative forces. This is part of growing and evolving as an artist.

leather rose necklace

Leather Rose Necklace

The rose necklace was a labor of love. I found the leather rose at a garage sale. It was stuck all by itself on a matching leather braided cord. It looked so sad and I knew I could give it new life. I struggled creating the pendent. I used leather cord to attach the rose to the wooden bead. The next hurdle was creating the leather bail and using the copper wire to hold it in place. I’m thrilled with the way it turned out. I have various types of copper chain but ultimately, the simple look of the beaded copper chain won. I think it places all the focus on the best part of the necklace, the leather rose.

The cluster ring came about because I wanted to use copper wire to make a ring. My “go tos” are usually silver and brass. I used neutral colored wooden beads (another first for me – I like high contrast). I love the sense of calm and balance the ring has and I also love that only two materials were used to make it, wood and copper.

wood and copper ring

Wood and Copper Ring

chandelier style earring

Chandelier Style Earring

The green beaded earrings were the first project I created with the copper earring wires. I had one copper chandelier earring that I was given at a garage sale because there was no match…I love it when that happens but that’s another blog…I simply cut the chandelier and freed the beautiful vintage green beads and attached them to the earring wire. I adore the simple look and the contrast of the copper with the emerald green beads.
vintage green beaded earrings

Vintage Green Beaded Earrings

celtic cross earrings

Celtic Cross Earrings

The Celtic cross earrings were a little more thought out. I found the Celtic metal charms at Bead It! and knew they would make a great pair. I continued to hunt for something else with copper and I found the awesome black beads with copper on them. At the time I didn’t plan to put the two together. I completed the earrings, the beads were on the table right next to me and I decided to add them.

I’ll be posting the pieces on etsy soon. If you have interest in any them or want more details, please send me a comment. Who knew copper could be so inspiring?

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

Focus

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Focal Swap Clasp

Focus, a condition in which something can be clearly apprehended or perceived. I for one tend to get easily distracted with all that I have going on, work, family, and house chores. Lately, my days have been a blurry haze of the daily grind that is my life.

This changed with my family suffering a surprising loss this past week. Loss makes you realize how short life is and that you have to make the most of every day you have on this earth. In my funk of the last month or so, this poignant moment gave me clarity. I gave notice at my job and registered for real estate classes. I decided to pay more attention to my creative endeavors. This is what makes me feel alive and gives me a purpose.

The red beads with the clasp, brass button and a brass dragonfly charm

I was fortunate enough to sign up for a Vocal Focal Swap. I felt like this would energize and motivate me to create. My swap partner Bonnie, sent me this beautiful clasp created by Melinda Orr. I’ve never really created pieces in which the clasp is the focal point of a necklace so this was an excellent challenge for me. I journeyed to Bead It! one of my favorite local bead shops and found some beautiful red beads.

I had some ideas for my necklace, but I wasn’t excited about any of them. I played with chain and beads and nothing sparked my imagination. I put it all away for a while and decided to marinate on my plan for the clasp. I tried to work on it last week but it seemed selfish to think about anything other than my family and the loss of a loved one.

Finally, the time came to shut down the “stuff” that has clouded my mind for weeks and concentrate on jewelry and completing my swap. Emphasizing the clasp was tough but it changed the way I approach creating and assembling a necklace. It forced me to get out of my design box and ultimately, motivated me to work, even when life is chaotic.

Contemplation, the finished necklace

There are aspects in life over which you have no control. We are human and death seems to be the one thing that makes us contemplate our existence and focus on what is important. My pondering has led me to appreciate life, celebrate my creativity and keep the focus.

Hooked on a feeling

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Last week, I got a taste of what I want for my future and it tasted great! I visited several vintage and thrift stores and found a few items I could use for jewelry.

The jade turtle. I bought this necklace for the turtle

The highlight of my day was visiting a little shop, Blackbird.It’s a small boutique in an up and coming neighborhood. I’ve actually admired the building for years and it’s good to see it finally put to good use.

I spoke with one of the owners about selling my jewelry there. It’s hard for me to talk about myself and my jewelry. I don’t know why. That’s a question for another blog. I was proud that I mustered up the courage to do it this time. Guess what, it paid off. I emailed her the link to my etsy store and received some very nice compliments. If it all goes well, I will be represented at Blackbird in April! WOW!

Days like this compel me to keep creating jewelry and writing. Mixed emotions of excitement and happiness with a little fear and anxiety, all good. It’s not just the memory of this day that stays with me, it’s the feeling I get when I remember this day. Sounds silly, but I smile from the inside out.

Beautiful red mohair yarn I got from a thrift store.

I long for more of these days on a consistent basis. I want to be an artist and freelance writer full-time.
The way I felt that day is how I want to live my life everyday. That taste still lingers. I am hooked on a feeling.

I love hematite, plus the jade turtle. I got this at a vintage store.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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In my garage sale and estate sale adventures, I’ve gained quite a bit of knowledge. I garage sale/estate sale to get about 80% -90% of the items I use in my jewelry making, painting, sculpture and crafting. I would like to share some of my finds and the lessons I’ve learned.

There is an art to getting good stuff at a good price…Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

This past weekend, I bought approximately, 30 tubes of acrylic paint, including some of the larger tubes for $5.00. The seller wanted 25 cents per tube. I took the time to count them all, let him know the total and asked for a bulk discount. I got 33% off and a nice rubbermate container to take them away. Someone’s craft gone bad turned into my painting booty. SCORE!

Acrylic Paints

Lesson: Buy in bulk or bundle. The more you buy, the less the seller has to carry back into their house. When buying 5 or more items, always ask for a price break. On more than one occasion, after I paid for my purchase, the seller would remember another 1 or 2 items that went with what I was buying, find it for me, and give it to me.

A couple of weekends ago, I came across a honeyhole of jewelry. Unfortunately, the seller had lost his Mother and he was selling off all of the items the family did not want. I gathered several sterling charms, chains and complete necklaces along with some quality costume jewelry pieces. I asked him how much for everything and just when I was about to say a price, he said $3. OKAY!!! I was going to offer $5 and go up a bit if I had to.

Broken copper necklace

Broken copper necklace


Lesson: Let the seller offer the first price. You can always negotiate to get the price lower or accept the offer. By speaking first, you put a price in the seller’s head and worse, let them know how much it’s worth to you.

At a flea market, I picked up several necklaces and asked the seller how much? She quoted me anywhere from $5 – $10. I passed on them because all I really wanted was the chain. I kept searching and I came across a gorgeous brass linked chain, no pendent or findings. When I inquired about it, the seller said $1. That was the one piece I bought. I found a beautiful cooper chain with and ugly purse charm at another booth. The chain was broke. I asked the seller how much and when he noticed it was broke, he offered to give it to me. I gave him a quarter for the piece. I was just happy to get it. SMILE!

Brass chain

Lesson: Look for quality items that are broke and or missing a piece. Sellers will always make a deal on them or even give them to you. They feel a little guilty about broken items or items missing parts and this is your advantage. I ALWAYS buy single earrings. Most of the time, they will give it to me because there’s no match. If happens to be sterling or gold, I get it for fifty cents or less.

Sterling single earrings

I bought a perfect, unused wine bottle opener for ten cents last weekend. It was a garage/estate sale and the family members who were running the sale, had everything priced to go. Various candles and glass vases were 5 or 10 cents each.

Lesson: Carry change with you including dimes and nickles. People use the garage sale stickers and those packages includes 5 and 10 cent stickers. If you only have quarters, you are asking the seller to break a quarter or keep the change. The bad is that you buy additional items to use the entire quarter. It’s also good go carry ones and fives so that you can give exact change. It’s just bad karma to give someone a ten to pay when you bargained them down to seven. Twenties suck because you take all of the sellers change, making later sales harder when they have no ones or fives. Again, it’s a karma thing. DO NOT give someone a twenty when your purchase is less than $5.

Rule of Thumb: When you walk up to a sale in which clothing is on hangers and hung from sleeveless to long sleeves, every item including pencil erasers have tags on them, and items are organized on tables according to type and kind…BEWARE. This will be the sale with the highest prices (99% of time). You are buying their beloved items that they have decided to part with and are allowing you to have. There is a surcharge for them being so anal and taking the time to sort and price each perfectly intact individual item. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a deal, but it won’t be easy, proceed with caution.

Estate Sales: Put yourself on their mailing list so you know when they are happening. You also get to preview the items before the sale opens to the public. Keep a mental note of the items you are interested in when you do the walk-thru and only buy the ones you think are super duper special. Go the last day of the sale when everything is 50% – 75% off. That’s the deal day.

Chained, new earrings with brass, garnet and crystals

I wish you much luck and lots of fun when you go out and find your treasures. It doesn’t hurt to have a shopping list so you don’t get distracted by all of the deals you could make. When the sales aren’t all that great, don’t force it and buy something you may regret. Go to your local art supply, jewelry supply or craft store and check out what’s on sale. Window shop and gain inspiration to fuel your next g-sale outing!

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon!

Time is on my side…

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It’s mid week and the 1st of February. This is my reminder that I wanted to accomplish a lot in the month of January. On a scale of 1-10 I would give myself a 7. I still have a goal of 50 completed pieces by the end of February. Luckily it’s leap year and I get one extra day.

It’s difficult to balance work, family, housekeeping and workouts. I’ve now added a new jewelry business which needs a lot of nurturing. I don’t mind putting in the time because I’m passionate about my art. Seriously, finding the time to get everything done on the never-ending “to do” list is overwhelming.

Nautical, metal mixed media pendant

What needs to change? How do I squeeze more time out of the 24 hours in a day to accomplish all that I set out to do? You may say multi-tasking. This is not an option for me. Before long, I’m loading the dishwasher with socks and underwear, and pulling raw chicken out of the oven. I set the timer but forgot to turn on the oven. Multi-tasking is my way to screw up more than one thing at a time.

I’ve tried time blocking. It’s been fairly successful, but I never seemed to block the right amount of time for the job. I’m also (just a tiny bit) OCD and ADD. I get bored with the project I’m doing and move to another task. Guilt sets in and I become obsessed with finishing what I started. This leads to compulsion. How was I so easily lead astray to begin with? All of a sudden, I’m cleaning the bathroom floor with a toothbrush to kill all of the germs.

The fact is, when I’m creating a piece of jewelry or working on another form of art, I get lost. Time and commitments fall away and I focus on solving the artistic question I’ve presented myself. Abandoning it to move to the next thing on the list isn’t an option. I’m there in the moment and I’m intimately involved and consumed. I admit that I’ve missed meals and baths because of art. Nothing gets in the way of passion.

Traveling to Asia, mixed media pendant

I guess that all artists suffer from the inability to put it down and walk away. It seems life would be easier if we could apply the same kind of enthusiasm and focus on the non artistic tasks in our life. It would be easier for me and many others would greatly benefit if I could do this.

Maybe that’s why artists are at their best doing what they do. Nothing drives or interests us like the art we make. It’s distracting to do the other jobs we see as mundane. The million things that need to happen in order to survive annoy, bore and get in the way of what we want to spend our time doing.

Hover, mixed media necklace

This leads me to think, I’m not going to worry or stress about the tasks I’ve defined as mundane. It is a necessary evil to have clean laundry, but it doesn’t need to be scheduled and planned, just done. Focus on your art. Spend the most time doing what you love. The happiness this provides will outshine all the other little things that have to be done. Design your life and time the way you want to live it and make the best of it.

It's all about how you spend your time.