Thursday, October 17, 2013

While I have certainly NOT been busy blogging, I HAVE been busy creating.  In my little apartment in Boston, I have set up a studio and expanded my repertoire of tools, supplies and skills.
I decided to get posting again because of some of my charitable projects. Today, I wrapped up five sets of jewelry to be donated to a fundraiser for Kevin Cellucci, the young father of three who was critically injured when some students flipped their SUV over the median onto Kevin's truck.  Having lived through a serious head-injury crisis in my own family, I want to do some small part for Kevin and Tina and their boys. I will be adding photos of my donations to this post after I get them in the mail and do a few errands.  Please add Kevin to your prayer lists, readers. His wife started a Facebook page to update us on his progress.

Here's a link, and a shout-out to Tina to stay strong.

Photos below
Keep the faith!

This set is autumn jasper nuggets embellished with autumn jasper leaves, rounds, and gold-plated pewter caps & spacers & clasp.  The earrings are gold-coloured brass, 20 gauge, beaten and strung with unakite and jasper rounds, gold-plated rounds and autumn jasper rounds.  I am obviously enjoying my new steel block and hammer.

This set is matte-finished black agate rounds set with polished black and white agates and embellished with pewter rounds, spacers & clasp.

Just look at the beautiful striations in that agate!

This set is dyed shell, strung with aventurine nuggets & larger faux turquoise (probably magnesite)
nuggets, wood squares, & pewter spacers.The earrings are round shell strung on a pewter  ring.

This set is a handmade lampwork focal, strung with cobalt seed beads, separated by hand-made lampwork ovals and pewter findings. I made a number of them in assorted colours; I kept the other blue necklace.
I made the earrings of foiled lampwork also.

But my absolute favourite of the group is this one:
Hand made Venetian glass rounds complemented with garnets, quartz, & Czech crystals, silver-plated filigree rounds & stardust rounds, and seed & bugle beads.  It's definitely feminine and dainty.

I am hoping there are a lot of bids and that these net a good price for the Celucci family!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ongoing, not forgotten

I cannot believe I have let this blog sit for so long without posting. Life has definitely gotten in the way; I've lost a parent, moved, weathered a few parenting crises and had a grandchild. Out of all these life-changing events, I far prefer the grandkid:)
I haven't stopped creating, I have gone full steam ahead and pushed myself out of my own creative box. I took a wire wrap class and now am making some really interesting pieces as my skills have improved. And like any artist, I have sometimes taken apart pieces and remade them with different components that pleased me more. 
In my new digs in my childhood home, I have set up a room dedicated to my jewelry work. I have a great working set-up where everything is in my reach and the cat has a comfy bed near my feet.  I often treat my hard-working and cheerful coworkers with beady treats, and I think things come out much nicer when I make them with a specific person in mind. I call these my JuJuBeads; items designed to give off good juju to peeps who need a karmic boost.
I intend to try and recapture my chronicle. I am also hoping to open an on-line store in the near future.
In the meantime, here's a tempting view of a recent creation.

This is an amethyst set I made February 2012 for a friend's birthday; amethyst is her birthstone. The findings are TerraCast pewter, silver plated and sterling earwires. It's one of my favourite pieces.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Focus Pieces-Turquoise

 So, early this summer my friend and I went to a gem show. It was pretty huge and I had a pretty good time. One interesting thing I found was a string with about seven or nine focal point pieces of all assorted kinds. I thought to myself what a great idea- there's an easy start to a necklace and I can just build components I have around the focal.  I think I got four or five strings.
I had a great sunny afternoon putting them all into groups by color, and then adding strands of filler beads, stone, glass and pearl that looked good.  I have to do it on a sunny day because the true light lets me make color combinations that just don't work when I do it by artificial light at night-the next day I
Then I got busy.
My first bunch of necklaces were based on turquoise. Yeah, I am pretty sure it's what Willis the Beadmeister calls "Faque Turquoise"; dyed magnesite.   Maybe if I had a shop I was selling this stuff in I'd spring for the real thing but not right now.
 This one was a gift for a friend. I loved the pendant. I paired it with some big pewter beads, and blue beads and some turquoise colored large seed beads. I made her some earrings as well.

This one was also a gift set, using the same blue beads. I shook it up by using these different pewter beads. I liked the markings on them-they make me think of waves.

For this one I used chips, separated by Miyuki seed beads, chalcedony faceted beads accented with pewter bead caps, gold-dyed pearls, and gold-dyed mother-of-pearl coins. The gold-colored striations in the focal stones made the gold accents a perfect foil for the gold-colored accents used in this series.


 For the next one, I used rectangular turquoise-colored magnesite and rounds, and bronze-colored pearls to go with the darker striations in the focal piece.
 For this piece, I used chunks of magnesite, rounds, and bronze small and large pearls, pewter accent beads.
At this point, I was getting a little tired or turquoise, so I put a few draft pieces aside and went on to some other colors that I will showcase next.
I set up combinations, put them in a baggie, and piled the baggies in a box.  When I had a few minutes, I would take one out and start playing around.  That made it much easier to keep going and keep myself entertained.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

All About Me (Part 2)

I made a green necklace for St Patrick's Day. Last year, I realized I had very little green in my closet; this has been rectified and now green rivals purple in the closet.  Thus I needed some green pieces to wear with the green duds.  This is dark green aventurine.

It's paired with larger (4mm) agate beads, smaller (3mm) onyx beads, pewter Celtic squares, and sets off my sterling silver triskele ex-earring-turned pendant (lone survivor of a pair).
That's a pewter hook clasp with Celtic-style design.
Here's a close-up, however fuzzy.

So after coming back from the destination wedding (it was a destination for us, not for them!), I set about playing around for myself.  I took an earring that had a long-lost mate, and turned it into the centerpiece for a necklace.  I had planned to use Labradorite; I love its opalescence. Oddly enough, when I lined it up, I ended up useing Prehnite, a pale green African stone.
 No fancy spacers for this; just onyx beads to emphasize the tiny black streaks in the translucent stone, peridot to enhance the green and Miyuki silver-lined seed beads to separate & make them pop.  I had fun making the dangly earrings; they continue to be my favourite pair right now.  Here's a close-up.

Then I just had to make myself something with this yummy faceted lemon quartz. It didn't need much of anything to dress it up, so I just spaced it with Czech crystals & my trademark use of Miyuki  seed beads-this time gold-lined.  Sophisticated is what I was aiming for & I think I got it.

And dangly earrings to complement it; seed bead, cold-colored spacers and crystals.

I know this post is about my own stash, but I had to make something with the lemon quartz for my sister.  I paired it with citrine chips and gold-tone beads. Yeah, and some dangly earrings, too.

Then I used the leftover citrine chips and paired it with some large chips-my friend thinks they're glass, but I think they are dyed quartz or dyed fluorite.  I added jasper and seed beads.

The elementary school my kids went to had art and music as full subjects; when they were setting it up, the teachers all applied for grants.  The art teacher got funding for a kiln.  I have a lot of ceramic pieces the kids made.  Dan made a bunch of beads. I could never figure out what to do with them so I got my friend to string them.  Then I found some huge pewter beads and decided to re-string the set.  I wear it a lot more now.

This is another re-do; I removed the tiny opalite rounds on the back of the neck, added more pewter stars and opalite coins and moonstone spears.  It's a lot more balanced now. I also added a few strands to the earrings.

Here's the close-up.

I did the same with the amethyst squares; took out the smaller rounds on the rear of the necklace and balanced out the piece with square Celtic pewter beads drilled on the diagonal like the amethysts.

Here's a close up.

Did I show you the set I made for my son's wedding? I can't remember, so I'll show it here now.

This is a ceramic focal piece I had for a long time.  I finally decided to pair it with 3mm "fossil" agate, 4 mm howlite and pewter flowers.

Then I finally made the labradorite set. I used a sterling silver dragon that had captivated me as a focal point.  I used labradorite rectangular beads separated by pewter frame beads that contained labradorite ovals.  I used a few onyx beads on the dangling dragon. For separators, I used pyrite; everyone knows a dragon must have gold (however foolish).

Close-up; LOVE that opalescent glow.  I even like the dark specks. My friend hates this stone and thinks it looks dirty. I love the look, the feel, the weight.

So that's my stash. The next few posts will highlight some more stuff I have made for friends, and necklaces I have made just to be making things.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Wedding Jewelry

When I planned my vacation time for the year, I talked my son and his lovely wife into going to Australia with me.  They had been before their wedding to visit their best friends who are living there.  We booked for a week in May, which was all the time the kids could get off.  And then their friends announced- they decided to get married while we were there!
Next thing we know, there is a party of us traveling and a great deal of excitement. 
I asked the bride what she was doing for wedding jewelry, and she replied she didn't know. So I offered to make it for her-and she said yes!
This is a project of incredible magnitude, and great excitement for me.
She emailed me pictures of a few things she liked, and told me the color scheme.
I emailed her photos of all the beads I have (quite overwhelming, I have a lot).
She liked the Venetian glass best.

Around Easter, I had the kids over for dinner with the express idea of picking my daughter-in-law's brain for design- after all, she is close friends with the bride.  And she fell in love with a blue crystal I had hanging around.  We used that as the focus, and slowly build a design from glass bugle beads, sterling beads and Venetian glass.  This is the prototype.

It has silver foil beads, bugle beads, Swarovski crystals, pearls & the center crystal; Meredith designed it. We used the pale blue Venetian glass above.
We Skyped, and she liked it; the design was official.
Next, we designed bracelets for the bridesmaids.

Afterward, I did a few prototype designs for earrings.

I just can't make it not be sideways. Sorry about that.

Anyhow, my only worry was the two blues in the necklace, so I sent her a closeup.

She decided to go with the white Venetian glass instead of the blue.
You can really see the detail- the tiny square silver beads, the large foil silver beads, the Swarovsky AB bicones and the little white pearls. That crystal pendant is real bling.
So I finished the set with a really neat, modern sterling clasp.

 So it ended up looking like this:

I made earrings to go with the bridesmaids' bracelets.  Meredith especially loved the sterling wave clasps.

 My daughter-in-law Meredith loves color, so she designed her bracelet with brighter Venetian beads, and added in some blue glass beads as well.

I also decided to make a bracelet for the bride and groom's mothers, who were also attending.  I wanted them to have a keepsake and I thought having somethings with the same design might add to the sentimental value of it.  I knew the bride's mom was wearing teal, so I made hers with teal Venetian glass.  I guessed on the groom's mom and used blue.  It was a good guess- she wore a lot of blue and wrote me a lovely thank you note when we got home.

This is not the best bridal photo- I have hundreds-but it shows the jewelry off really well, so forgive me, Amanda.  I think that at 2:30 am the bride still looked like she was having a great time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


So this post shows my forays into earring-making, and how that has developed.
I have given away so many earrings that I didn't document by photographing and now I wish I had.
It all started with the pearls, remember?

These are coin pearls in a copper tone, with seed pearls.

The upper left are a maroon oval pearl-somehow I found other pearl rounds that matched.
Upper right is the complement to my own Wilma coral necklace. I can't remember if the findings are pewter or sterling. I think pewter, but am not sure.
Lower left is an early effort- white potato pearls. I used to wear these a lot.
Lower right; I got these semi-frosted glass beads at Vintage Vogue & really liked them. They are paired with Japanese seed beads on the largish size, also from VV, and silver beads.  I made two pairs- my friend Ros and her friend Lynda were staying over here and Lynda loved the purple so much I gave them to her.  She sent me some Celtic knot earrings from Wales as a thank you- and I wear those a lot as well.

Top left is Lapis Lazuli-these go with my Celtic lapis necklace.
Top right is turquoise and chrysocolla to go with my other Celtic necklace.
Bottom right is aventurine, silver, pewter & Czech glass-it goes with my leafy glass necklace & bracelet.
Bottom right is a close up of my carnelian set's earrings.  I just love the striations in that carnelian.

As I got more confident with wire work I started branching out from just a single dangling head pin...

These are aventurine cylindrically-shaped beads paired with cobalt glass beads from VV. I made these to go with an aventurine & cobalt necklace Kate had given me a few years ago.

This is Czech crystal paired with gold-toned beads & Miyuki seed beads lined with gold, strung on gold-tone wire. Sparkly!

You'll see the necklace this goes to later on. It's Prehnite, peridot & black agate with Miyuki seed beads lined in silver.  Look, Ma, no head pins!