Strega Jewellry's Blog

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Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress

One of my favorite books is The Language of Clothes, by Alison Lurie.   It’s an interesting take on what we wear and how our clothes influence the perception others have of us.    According to Ms. Lurie, choosing our clothes is our way of describing ourselves.  People with limited income will have a more limited vocabulary while a fashionista will have thousands of words and statements.  Very casual dress is like using slang words.  Accessories are the adjectives and adverbs you use to describe yourself.

One of the rites of passage for young people is to choose their own clothes, to begin to define themselves on their own terms.  When we wear certain colors, we are actually sending a message to others.   We tell people who we are or what mood we are in when we get dressed.

clothes I’ve been reading a book by the folks at Pantone, those color trendsetters, a book about color palettes and how they influence perception, not just in what we wear, but in advertising.   I find it all very interesting.  So, once a month, I’m going to take a color or a color palette and we’re going to talk about the influence of this color, what messages you send out when you wear it.  AND, I’m going to show you accessories, give you the adjectives and adverbs to show you how to speak clearly.   I’ve also come up with a new line of jewelry that is going to fit right in with these little discussions and I think we will all have some fun.

For the first month, I chose black.   It’s a most basic color and it has a lot of messages.  But first, I know you’re expecting  the mood music.



While black is the traditional color of mourning and can be a sobering color when worn by a priest or a nun those are no longer the first impressions we give when we dress in black.


Black implies sophistication, an acquaintance with the darker side of life.  Depending on the richness of the fabric, it can also send a message of elegance.   Black is dramatic, elegant and  sophisticated.  Wearing a touch of white at the wrist or neck implies an innocence underneath, a purity that remains even though one has tasted the forbidden.   When you wear that “little black dress”, you are saying, in essence that you are classy, stylish and a bit worldly.

Of course, there are other blacks.   Bohemian black comes from outfits worn by dancers:   the black tights, turtlenecks with black slacks or skirts.   This type of outfit is also dramatic but indicates an intellectual side, a sensitive serious outlook of an artist, musician, student, intellectual,  poet or dancer.  After WWII, this look came to be popular in France and spread around the world.


And last, but not least, is dangerous black which came into fashion in the 1940′s and taken from the style of Italian fascists.  It’s motorcycle black:  leather jackets, boots, jeans and t-shirts.   Your grunge and punk styles come from this style also.   Your message can be sent as just a bit dangerous to downright threatening, depending on your style.

Biker Chic

Biker Chic


Let me show you some accessories I’ve chosen from my guild sisters hand made items on Artfire.   You will see all of these items and more at the end of this blog in a collection I made.   If you see something you like, to add to your own “look”, click on the collection then the item and you will be taken right to their shop.

First: a dress, the little black dress:   says you are stylish, classy, and sophisticated.


Wear it with this beautiful bracelet from Ann Beading.


Or this wristlet/purse from Creative Shoppe.





Jewelry Supplies
With all the meanings of colors and color palettes in mind, I’ve come up with a new idea for jewelry.  I’m excited to tell you about it, but it will have to wait until later in the week.   We’ll talk about color and I’ll have a new style to show you, one I think is daring and fun.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Znet Shows Summer Challenge

Znet Shows, a great place to buy beads, has issued a summer challenge to members of it’s design team. We all received cultured sea glass beads and our challenge was to design a set for a Summer Day and one for Summer Nights. Sounds easy doesn’t it?

I had a hard time deciding what to make. I really hate summer now that I’m older. The heat makes me lazy and all I want to do is sit under a shade tree and eat ice cream all day. It wasn’t like that when I was younger so I decided to go back….back to the days when I had more fun.

Those of you who know me, know that I almost always post a song to get my readers in the mood for my design inspirations. I wanted to post Wild Summer Night from the movie, Eddie and the Cruisers but it just wasn’t on You Tube  so I chose Tender Years. It’s a song about innocence, a time before Vietnam, before there were muggings and shootings on the news every day and before people were disenchanted with the government. It was s simpler time.

So, here’s the mood music.  You can listen while you scroll down.








musical interlude

musical interlude



And yes, believe it or not, I was one of those girls who ran around with the “bad boys” with the duck tail haircuts and leather jackets like Fonzi.  And yes, we had drag races at the flats by the river and yes, we swam at the lake all weekend and had beach parties at night with all the cars parked around a big bonfire, radios all tuned to the same station.  The beach played a huge part in our summer fun both day and night.



Our jewelry was simple and quite girlie girl.  This is before the days of Hippie Chic when organic materials and fibers became popular.



I found this great piece of druzy quartz at the rock show.  It was carved into the shape of a shell and I knew I wanted to use that for my daytime piece.  I wanted to keep it simple so I only used 2 of the matte white cultured sea glass beads that Znet sent to me.  I added a couple of freshwater pearls  and made a chain from double infinity links and matte white seed beads.  It’s perfect for jeans and a tank top or “bermuda shorts” which were the thing to wear back then.  The white is perfect to show off that summer tan and makes me think of white hot beach sand.


I think those white sea glass beads really make that druzy pop out, don’t you?  I also hung a sea glass charm from the wire cage a made for the “shell”.


Now, I just need a bracelet to go with this necklace.   I used matte white sea glass drops and dangled them from a chain.  Since charm bracelets were “in” back then,  I added some pewter charms that reminded me of summer, some bare feet, a bird, fish, butterfly.  I made a chain of matte white seed beads and silver tubes from Hill Tribe Silver and used another dainty chain . I made the clasp from a white heart button.


I had some other white dangles that were square (Love them!) so I made some earrings too.   I used the dangles and found some stick pearls that had a bit of a seafoam green tint,  put a chrysoberyle with them and some seafoam green mussel shell drops.  I love these earrings!


This matte white cultured sea glass was my favorite color.   They did send some spring green sea glass leaves.   I used those to make these flower earrings, pastel and girlie girl and perfect to wear with a summery dress.



I think that whether you go to the ocean, a lake or just the city pool, water plays a big part in everyone’s summer.   I was so glad to get these free-form sea glass beads in such a vibrant watery blue.   I used them for my Summer Nights set.  I wanted to capture the essence of “water”, its sparkle and its depth of blueness.   I wired the beads with some tiny silver lined clear seed beads for watery “waves” or shimmer.



Don’t you just love that color?   There were only 4 of them in my package (Wahhh) so I used some beads that I had on hand to fill out the necklace and added a heart locket and chain.   The earrings complete the set.




If you are in need of a set for your own Summer Days or Summer Nights, check these items out in my Artfire studio.   Thanks Znet Shows for sending me this fabulous cultured sea glass beads and letting me join the summer design challenge.   Check out their website and get some of these great cultured sea glass beads yourself!

And a special thanks to Graphic Stock for the cool graphics that helped tell my inspiration story.   Check out Graphic Stock website for all the graphics you can download!  I was lucky to get a sample membership for a limited time and the graphics are mine to use forever just like yours would be if you joined.   You’ll be seeing more of them on my blogs.

Please visit the Znet Shows Blog for a news and sales.  Here is a link to Znet Shows digital magazine , Creative Spark  with designs from the Summer challenge and lots of other goodies.

Creative Spark Summer 2014






And, would you like to visit some of the other design team members and see what they made?

Amy Severino

Andrea Trank



BR Kuhlman











Kay Thomerson



Lee Koopman

Lisa Lodge



Shaiha Williams




July 5, 2014 Posted by | New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mojo Jewelry Challenge Week 10

Our challenge this week in Heather Powers Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge was to find a fashion magazine or store and choose an outfit and create a piece to wear with that outfit.

SIGH……you know me too well. Not satisfied with some off the rack outfit, I went to Simplicity and chose a pattern for a steampunk dress I want to make and wear to the Renn Faire. I do love my steampunk.

Here is the pattern and the material to go with it.

steampunk style

steampunk style


The skirt on the right is for me with a black corset and the jacket to match the skirt.   Woot woot!   I may even make myself a black hat too!  With a huge feather!

Remember that poetic inspiration necklace I made?   That is going to go at the neck of this piece and I sure did need a bracelet.

I made some polymer components in black and used some silver Gilder’s paste on them then cold connected them to some filagree rectangles I got from Fire Mountain, made some jumprings to attach them and here we go.




I don’t think I am done with it yet.   It just looks too plain to me.  I’ve got some Sari silk in deep green, gold and rusty color that I think I’ll use to jazz it up a bit.   It’s fine as it is, but I want a bit more ooomph.


May 24, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, New Age | | 4 Comments

Graphics Mania

Graphic! I love them! I haunt the internet looking for photos I can use. Without fail, the ones I love the best are always on a site that sells stock photos. Some of the prices!!!! OUCH! I’m a struggling indie jewelry maker for gosh sake!

I want to tell you about this great website I found called Graphic Stock. Right now, they have a great offer going on. You can try their site for 7 days for free. Their graphics are terrific! And so many of them! New items are added every day.

Wait, I heard that! Why the heck do you need a subscription to a graphics site? Okay, let me tell you what I do with graphics.

Sometimes, I like to say something special or inspirational to a friend online. Maybe I want to thank them for something they have done for me. Maybe they are going through a rough time and I want to lift their spirits. I can email them something cute or I can post it on Facebook where all their friends can see it. Awww………isn’t that sweet? Look at this little owl. He’s adorable and I found him at Graphic Stock. My grand daughter loves owls and I wanted to let her know how much I appreciated the things she did for me last week. I used him, added some text of my own to personalize him and she was so tickled!

Jessie's owl

Jessie’s owl

If you have a business of your own, you need business cards, flyers for special sales, postcards to advertize special events, jazz up your website or online store, your FB business page or tons of other promotional items. Do you want to use free graphics that everybody and his brother can find on the internet? Or do you want your graphics to be special? Unique? Helllooooo! You already know the answer. I sell jewelry and I found some fantastic graphics of beads and fashion, things I had never seen anywhere else.    And, if you have customers that you value, it never hurts to make a cute bookmark or card to put in their orders.  Who doesn’t love to get freebies? 


Glass Beads



Maybe you do a lot of DIY and craft things with your kids or just for yourself. I’m making resin Christmas ornaments this year, all personalized. Each family member gets an ornament reflecting something they love to do or collect or whatever. Look, my grandson loves to hunt mushrooms. This shot is great! I’ll add some mushroom charms and other stuff in the resin, put Josh’s name on there.  And, I am making the ornaments like snow globes.  Woot woot! You can’t buy things like that at the store!  You would never find a mushroom snow globe ornament.  Never!


Mushrooms Premade Background


Graphic design, Smartphone apps, Motion graphics animations, Video games, Party invitations, Event signs and banners, Presentation slides, Brochures and pamphlets, greeting cards, labels…….endless possibilities.


So, once you try this site out for the 7 day free trial deal, you are going to want to subscribe to that site. A subscription is $49 dollars a month and for that you get UNLIMITED DOWNLOADS! You could stay up all night and download graphics! (Wait! I would never do something line that!) And……drumroll please……….whatever you download is yours to use, for-ev-er. Royalty free! No additional charges! Go compare these rates with other graphic sites.

Yes, even if you cancel your subscription, you still get to use the graphics. Wow! Awesome!
I’ll be blogging about some of the things I make because I am psyched about this site. Oh, did I mention the hundreds of cool Halloween graphics I found? Eh? You know I am Halloween crazy. I usually make purse charms with resins for Halloween           Look!


How cute is this little zombie for someone who is a HUGE Walking Dead fan?


So, what are you waiting for? Go check out Graphic Stock and and you’ll want to take advantage of that great offer, 7 days free.


May 16, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Mojo Challenge Week 9

Our challenge this week was to use an old/antique piece of jewelry as inspiration. I love Celtic jewelry but a lot of it has so many ornate triskeles and whorls and knots that I just didn’t think I could do justice to a piece, plus I do not like doing wire filigree. I found a photo online of a primitive Celtic “money ring”. Sometimes and armband, sometimes a ring, these could be used as currency. I fell in love with the simplicity of the thing and that was my springboard for a necklace.


I created some hand made links using brass wire, forged, then wrapped with more brass wire and used 14KGF beads as my “nubbins”.


Then, I used the same 16 gauge wire to make a focal combining it with some ceramic beads.l



And the whole piece came together like this.   It’s a very simple piece, but quite a bit of hand work.


back clasp

back clasp


I like it.

May 14, 2014 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

8th Annual Bead Soup Blog Party

Every year, Lori Anderson (Pretty Things) hosts a huge bead soup blog party. This year, over 500 people were partnered up and exchanged beads to challenge each other to make something beautiful out of the beads they receive.


This is my first time joining the party and I had a great partner as a mentor. Her name is Laurie Vyselaar of Left Hand Jewelry  Please stop by and see what she made.

This is what I sent to her. Some mookaite beads, agates, sunstones, pearls, and amethyst beads.


She sent me a really colorful ecelectic collection of beads.  I grouped them in the  way I was thinking of using them to create.



Can you see that big blue polymer heart? That was the first piece I worked with. It was so pretty by itself I didn’t want a fancy clasp or a lot of beads to take attention away from it. I made some double infinity links for my chain and added a few bead units in the deep red beads, made myself a heart bale to hold it on the chain and here it is. Says lots of deep blue love, eh?




Check out the beautiful lampwork beads from Carolyns beads. I liked them so much, I checked out her shop and bought a set of different beads to make a necklace for my daughter’s Easter Egg. (oops, I got off track). Anyhow, the crisp white and beautiful green made me think of a Bible verse. YES, I know I am pagan but I have read the Bible, 3 times to be exact, cover to cover and I do know a verse or two. Here’s what I thought of.
Matthew 6:28
“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…

And, yes, I know this is not a lily but it has that same pure white color and frankly, even Solomon in all his glory would have been proud to wear these beads. I made a bracelet using just the green and white beads and some love knots I hand made.




And last, but by no means least, my favorite thing. I want to know how you like it too. First, let me say that I simply fell in love with that fiber Laurie used to tie up my packages and made up my mind that I would use that as part of my soup.

Did you notice that ceramic focal from Captured Moments?   It’s a bright orange and I believe it was called Candy Apple. Well, when I think of orange and food, I think of SPICE, not candy. And when I think of spice, I think of Creole food. When I think of Creole food, I think of African ladies in New Orleans. When I think of African ladies, I think of one of my most favorites, the talented Angelique Kidjo And when I think of her, I think of my favorite song she sings, Zelie (pronounce it Zell…ee…aay). Zelie is a beautiful, raw and colorful song. That’s how I wanted my necklace to look. Spicey, raw colorful and beautiful. I think I got it down.

WAIT!!! Before you look, could you listen to the song?


And now, for the necklace.








Ooops! I forgot to use the clasp, a beautiful clasp she sent. It was too big to use with any of the pieces I made so I had to dream up a piece that would showcase that clasp. I made this gypsy cuff bangle using locker hooking with Sari silk ribbon and some shells and think it does a fine job of focusing on that beautiful clasp.


 Click here to visit Lori’s blog where there is a list of ALL the participants. 





May 9, 2014 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 87 Comments

Mojo Challenge Week 8

This week for Heather Powers Mojo Challenge, we needed to find a color pallette and create a piece from this pallette. Ideally, it should be colors we do not usually use.

I took my inspiration from a painting I really like: Monet’s lily pond.



I created a color pallette at and this is what I came up with.  Noctice, I left out the deep dark blue/black.


Color by COLOURlovers


Lucky for me, I had just bought some beads from Corolyn’s Beads on Etsy.   Here’s what I made.  It’s for my daughter, Dawn.   I love it.









I just love ii and so does she!

May 5, 2014 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pagan Blog Project: Imagination & Inner Sanctum

One tool I find invaluable in practicing my faith is imagination. I could not do active visualization without it. When I want to work on healing, I visualize a walk through a field, climb a hill and discover a hidden cave full of healing crystals.



One of my favorite exercise in visualization was to create an “inner sanctum” in my higher mind, a veritable workshop where I could relax and do spiritual work.  This is an exercise in autohypnosis.  Anyone with imagination and visualization skills can create this inner sanctum, breathing, sitting still, relaxing and relaxing some more. Use all of your sense to visualize, hear, see, touch, taste and smell.

One must first think of their mind as a very tall building, or mountain or house at the top of a mountain.  You want to get as high spiritually as you can go.   Once inside the building/mountain, whatever, you enter an elevator.   Mine is an old fashioned Otis elevator.


Inside this elevator are only 2 buttons.  One for UP and one for DOWN.   You will use the “down” button only once.   Take it to the lower corridor where all your baser instincts reside, where greed, revenge, envy, sloth, the 7 deadly sins, if you will.   Don’t get off the elevator, just let the door open and look down the hallway…..


this is where you do NOT want to be, at the lowest level of your mind.  Hurry and close the elevator doors, tape over that button or smash it with a hammer and vow you will not go back.   Push the UP  button.   Go as far up as you need, relaxing your body as you go.  When you feel calm and ready, let the elevator door open.   You will enter a hallway that is clean and smells of wood polish.  There is a sign that says……to Theta.  (Theta is the deep area of your mind where hypnosis or autohypnosis takes place, where you go when you dream)  Count 10 steps down this hallway, relaxing more and more as you take each step.  At the end of this hallway is a door.  Relax as you stand there.


Once you open the door, you will be inside your highest mind.  The room where you work will be available any time you want to relax.  You can decorate it any way you want to.  With practice, you can go here any time you wish.   I’ll tell you about my room.   Just inside the door is a comfy leather chair that faces a large gothic fireplace.


To the right of my chair is an old rolltop desk where I can write messages if I want.   Sometimes, I like to write a letter to someone who has crossed over to the Otherside, like my dad or my son.  I use a quill pen and parchment paper, then put that message in a bottle and toss it into the Sea of Universal Consciousness.   Sometimes, I write down a blessing or a wish.


There is a curio cabinet, right full of medicines, herbal cures for any and every illness.   There are powders and potions for all kinds of things.


And to my left are glass doors that open on a beautiful beach where there is shining sand and a gorgeous sea…..the Sea of Universal Consciousness.  I can walk down that beach any time that I wish.   Sometimes I write in the sand…..maybe I write to a friend who is far away, just a quick, I love you.   Maybe I write to a sleeping child or a child who is far from my physical realm.   I write in the sand and watch the waves take my message out into the sea.   Somewhere, it is received in the mind of the person to which it is sent.


I always find peace here.



May 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mojo Challenge Week 7

Heather Powers really got me stoked THIS week! Our challenge was to create a series, using the same color but different textures and values. I thought about earrings first because they would be so easy to do. And, I had lots of different beads and findings. BUT, that wasn’t really a challenge to me. It’s something I had done before. So I decided to go outside the box, way outside my comfort zone and use polymer clay because polymer isn’t something I normally work with. I’ve made some bead caps and an Christmas ornament and that’s about it. And, I wanted to make a series of hearts.

Oh right, you say! Hearts! How exciting! Everybody and his brother has done hearts. My inspiration came from this song. It’s an oldie by Great White.




I love this song.  It’s raw.  It’s lowdown bluesy and it’s pain.


I wanted my hearts to have a sort of industrial look and maybe a hint of steampunk in one or two of them.  I chose this blue-grey color clay and liked it okay with some gunmetal accents BUT, I used a deep purple for patina.   I am not quite happy with them so what you see here are prototypes, the raw ideas for my series.   This is my “Broken Love” series and I’ve even drawn designs for a brooch, a bracelet and a choker.   Woot!  Woot!   Talk about being inspired and excited!   I do hope that Heather will give me a tip about color.  She is such a master with the polymer, I know she will be able to steer me in a better direction.  Anyhow, here we go.



this one is a steampunky heasrt.  One side is broken to show the “gears”, the inner workings of the inside.   It’s showing up a lot darker than it really is.  I don’t know why.  My photo skills.   Anyhow, for this one, I’m going to stick to a goldish color clay.  There is a really cool texture on the right side and gears on the left.



This one, I used silver Gilder’s paste on the blue but when I re-do it, I’ll  be using a lighter color for the main heart and am thinking the silver on a lighter color will help it stand out.  That’s screen in the center.



This heart has a “scratchy surface but the next time I do it with the safety pin, I’m using a different texture.  I want something that looks like fabric, not the scratchy surface.  It looks way too cracked for what I wanted.  AND the purple……YUCK!  But, I learned a lot.   There are seed beads down the delta there and I know that the final heart will be brighter and better.


All of them are really this color, just some are showing up much darker.  I still like the idea of blue, just a lighter blue.  These “lace” hole are seed beads and when finished, the laces will be colored wire like the heart is sewn up.



This one has a butterfly stamp on one side and a cluster of beads on the other.  I won’t go with the butterfly but maybe a flower instead.   I’ve been playing with the stamps I made.  I just wanted some contrast and I wanted the one side to be more “broken” than the other.


I really like this one only the next heart will be a light grey with the black screen contrast and the scratchy surface will make it look more like concrete with rebar, really industrial.  And, I’ll stick with a rivet for the hole instead of just a hole.  And that purple REALLY has to go.




And finally, this one has staples.  Just TRY to staple uncooked clay.  I dare you!  Again, the color has to go.   But I like the idea.  I’ll be changing both the texture and the color for this one.   The channel does not show up so well.


Okay, forget about the colors.  These are prototypes.  I may, in fact switch to bronze clay or silver clay which I have used a lot.   I still want to try polyclay though if I can get the color right.   I would love some input on the idea itself.  Even though I might be the only person who would ever actually WANT a broken heart………I’m going to go ahead with my series, just for myself and my own design process.  I’ve decided, as I wrote this, that some of the hearts will need to be metal clay and others will work better with poly clay.  I would LOVE to have feedback on the idea itself.

I know that “cutesy” beads are so popular, but there may be other folks out there who understand loss and pain and who would understand the need for a series like this one.   Broken hearts can heal and make you stronger.  A piece of jewelry with a broken heart could be a milestone marker, a badge of honor.


April 29, 2014 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

pagan blog project: Interweave

So often, we see pictures of gods or goddesses, angels or fairys, all dressed in gossamer clothing and they are always beautiful. Like this tapestry from Medieval times, they are aloof, apart from us.



In truth, your god or goddess is an integral part of your life, part of the interweave of the tapestry of your story.   They are there during good times and bad, they share birthing, problems on your job or with your children, the highs and lows.   Like this tapestry, they are there always in the day to day drudgery.



They are there through broken bones, surgeries, planting and harvest, cleaning the house and getting stuck in traffic.   Your personal diety is not just up on a shelf somewhere, aloof and apart but interwoven tightly into your everyday story.

And while you are living your story, you can’t see the whole picture.  You can see the threads closest to you, the dark or the light………


so you don’t know the whole story but when you see the whole tapestry it’s beautiful.

April 26, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


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