Strega Jewellry's Blog

jewelry, beads, stone lore, music, kids and nature

Be Thankful Blog Hop


Man, seems like I’ve had a bunch of blog hops this month!

Marybeth Rich, of Forest of Jewels challenged us to this one.   We all got the same exact beads.  Each of us has their own style so it’s going to be fun to see what all come up with.   Of course, I forgot to take pictures of the beads when I got them, well DUH……that’s how I rolled this month, what can I say?   The beads were shades of greens and browns, really pretty, looking lots like that last hangers on of summer, you know, when the grass and plants and pods are that muted green?  We have to design a piece about what we are thankful for…  friends? money? fame?  world peace?   So let’s get to it.

hand and dollar tattoo sign reach to the light

I am most thankful for my faith, my spiritual connection.  My life has been like a B movie, one thing after another.  Believe me when I say, in the Great Tarot that is Life, The Tower (a card of catastrophe and chaos) has been prominent.

I am Wiccan.  I became pagan when my firstborn died at 2 weeks old.  I had a hard time accepting phrases like “it’s God’s will” and “she’s an angel now” or “god needed an angel so he took her home”.   I searched for some help and I found it in earth based religion.  Many of you don’t know about pagan religions.  We have a dual god/goddess and are closely connected to earth.  I’m going to focus on the Mother for this hop.


You all know I cannot do a post without some mood music to listen to as you scroll.  This is Wendy Rule’s Circle Song, honoring the Four Directions, the four seasons, the four sections of the Circle of Life.


My faith has seen me through terrible times.  Lisa’s death.  An abusive husband and breakup that left me alone with two little kids.  A new relationship with my soul mate, Alfredo.  That didn’t last long.  We moved to Ohio so he could find work and when times got rough here, he got mixed up with serious drugs.  Years ago, heroin addicts were almost unheard of in the Midwest.  He was one of the first.  I had to ask my soulmate to leave and I was alone in a strange city with the Dope Man knocking on my door wanting money that my husband owed him.  I had no job. My husband had taken the car that was in my name so I had no transportation.   Most days, the only way we had food was because I roamed the river banks and found enough pop bottles to cash in and buy milk, bread and eggs.  I was scared and shaky but I prayed and out of this mess came light.  The Dope Man brought me groceries (some light spilled over into his life I guess).  He helped me find a job.

I struggled with 4 kids but we were never hungry again and we had fun together.  Then my oldest boy was in an accident while I was at work.  He suffered head trauma and was in a coma.  I prayed harder than ever.  He lived but at age 13, now had the mental capabilities of an infant who had to be fed, could not talk, and could barely walk.  My child, who could read before he ever went to school, could not put enough words together to make a sentence.  Through faith, things were sent to me, wonderful teachers who helped me learn how to help him,  steadfast friends,  and always my faith that it would not be like the doctors said, that he would forever and always be 13 years old.   Now he is in his 40’s, has a job he loves and kids who are smart and good.

Years went by.  We have a great family.  All of us help each other.  My daughter has finished police academy and is doing her internship.  In two weeks, she will be a full fledged peace officer after finishing high school and the academy with two young children.  In two weeks, I will be taking 3 finals toward my Bachelor’s degree.  My middle son will be graduating and going into the Marine Corps to start working on his dream to be a marine and an MP.  Ben was found 8 days later, murdered and tossed into the Miami River.   The Tower again, utter and complete chaos, our whole world turned upside down.  Our whole circle of friends crushed  Our family broken and scarred.  Standing in the ashes of our dreams, we begin again.

We survived this.  I never finished my degree.  Believe it or not, I’d still like to do it.  I needed only 9 hours of electives, but I had PTSD and for a long time, could not even remember people’s names, people I had known for years.   It’s been a few years.  Another murder.   The “son of my heart”, my daughter’s husband Tim, robbed and shot to death by five guys who jacked him up at the chicken place where he went to pick up some friend chicken for supper.   Unbelievable!  And we thought we were safe, had paid our dues.  Again, the feelings only homicide survivors can know.  BUT through faith and prayers,  our family got stronger, we kept on going.

Time goes by.  My middle son, who never did go into the Marines, was helping a friend when the parking block they were moving fell off the truck and crushed his foot.  Unable to work, 3 little kids, unable to get any public assistance, do you believe that crap and they took his foot.

I am struggling now with excruciating pain from 4 bulging discs and degenerative disc disorder.  Every day is pain.

All these things, life changing things, hard times and what do I have to be thankful for?  I am so thankful that I have had an abiding faith that helped me be strong, overcome and grow.  Of all my friends, I am the one who has the least, a rackety old falling down house, a beat up car, a crappy job that pays minimum wage BUT I am the richest person I know and probably the happiest.   This is not a pity party people.  Nobody here say “sorry” for your luck.  I am strong, I am happy and surrounded by the most awesome family that knows how to stick together, that loves strongly and deeply.   I have friends.  I have respect.  I have so much love in my life and I am blessed.

Green Floral Cross on white

Okay.  Now you know why I am thankful.  Let me show you what I made.   I took that goddess piece from Bead Freaky and changed up the color just a tad because it was all green.  I used a bit of pinotage Gilder’s Paste and a touch of Inca gold and now it looks richer and matches those earthy green beads.  This piece wanted to be LONG.  I’ve been watching the Borgias and the Tudors and all the old religious pieces from way back in the day seemed to be long and ornate.   I used gold which has always been a symbol of richness, of wealth.  This meant I could not use the copper clasp that was sent as part of the bead kit.  It’s a great clasp, but just not large enough for the heavy hammered bronze chain I forged.

close up of hand forged chain

close up of hand forged chain

It just would not work with these links.  I saved it to use next time I make copper links.




focal from Bead Freaky

focal from Bead Freaky


close up of asymmetrical sides

close up of asymmetrical sides

matching leaf and bud earrings

matching leaf and bud earrings

I call this piece, Root and Stem, Leaf and Bud.  It’s from a prayer.

By root and stem, by leaf and bud, by flower and fruit, by all the Earth, I call to you Great Mother.  I ask for guidance, to live and reflect your generous wisdom, to enrich the lives of all I touch as you have enriched mine.  I ask that I  never forget the bounty you provide, that I never be afraid that my needs will go unfulfilled, that I ever be thankful and that I walk on this earth with  footsteps as gentle as the spring rains you send.  So mote it be.

Please stop by my friend’s blogs and see what they are thankful for.  And may you have as many blessings as I


I hope you had much to be thankful for

I hope you had much to be thankful for

Gina Hockett of Freestyle Elements
Carolyn Lawson of Carolyn’s Creations 
Shaiha Williams of Shaiha’s Ramblings
Lisa Knappenberger of LiRaysa Designs
Bianca Medina of Medibeads
Lee Koopman of Strega Jewellry’s Blog
Mowse Doyle of Mowse Made This
Linda Anderson of From the Bead Board

and, of course, our hostess, Marybeth Rich, of Forest of Jewels who also has a giveaway on her blog.   Be sure to check her out.

Since I could not use the copper clasp, I would like to mention Cobalt and Copper.  Check out her Facebook Page.   I’ll be posting a shot of that clasp as soon as I get my design finished.

Important note:  All these great graphics I used are from Graphic Stock.  If you are in need of great graphics for your blog, web page or crafts, check them out.  Check out their free trial offer.

Oh, one more thing.  I got a really pretty lampwork bead as part of my kit.  It seemed too big with all the smaller beads.  My daughter fell in love with it so I hammered out a bronze neck ring to showcase it all by itself.   She took it home yesterday.   I’m thankful I have such a good daughter and could make her happy with this bead.








November 22, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

2014 Art Charm Swap & Charity Auction

Once again it’s time for the annual Art Charm Swap and Charity Auction. It’s always amazing to see what beautiful charms everyone makes. Each person makes 11 charms, ten to swap and 1 to auction. Beads of Courage is such a great charity. You can read all about it here.

Every year, there is a theme and we design around that theme. This year’s theme word is SOAR.



OMG…..I really had a time with this because SOAR is not the same as FLY but everything I could think of was more of a flyer than a soaring thing. I mean, eagles soar and gliders, but what else. Technical dictionary difference between fly and soar was no help because apparently soaring is higher and “effortless” and seems to have to visible power.

Time for a little mood music here

It was days before I came up with the notion that one humble thing soars (besides prices that is) and that simple thing is a kite. It meets the criteria……so the next step is coming up with a kite charm. I toyed with the idea of resin paper and wire but how was I going to get the wire “sticks” to hold together? I finally settled on polymer clay and I am not going to tell you how many of these things I burned to a crisp before I got the right temperature. Let me just say that I am certainly sure that my smoke detector works.

And I will never admit how much trouble those tiny tails were! Never!

Anyhow, I thought you might like to know a bit about kites before I show you my charm.


Do you know that kites have been a part of history for over 3000 years? They originated in the Orient and Maylasia where they still have colorful kite festivals. Directions to build kites were brought to Europe by Marco Polo in 1295.

They have been used by the military from ancient times when they were used to frighten enemies or scout enemy positions. They have been used in modern military times to carry explosives, and to spy.

They’ve been used for fishing and to observe weather conditions and to study them also.

And kites have been used for fun all through the ages.



Kites come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and many places have kite festivals with unusual kites and contests.



None of these are the reasons I wanted kites to be my charms. One of the uses for kites was to reach God’s ears. Prayers for good crops or good weather or for help through tough situations were tied to kites and the words carried straight to the heavens. Sometimes they were elaborately made with silk and bright paintings. Sometimes, the poorer people made them with simple paper. Whatever the material, the need was the same, to reach high, to soar to the heights and take the message for help and comfort.

I thought of how much courage it takes to face debilitating diseases and how many prayers might be said and how many hopes might be sent high into the heavens.   A kite charm seemed the perfect vehicle to send these prayers. And so, my kite charm was born.  It’s a very simple little thing but it has a lot of meaning attached.’



I wanted to post all of the charms I received BUT, I”m having issues with the camera so I have pictures of three that will be going as gifts this Christmas


these angel wings will be going to a special friend who lost her only son and who will be having a very sad Christmas.



This balloon will be going to another special friend who is mouring a lost son….the third she has lost.



And this joyous little bird will, of course, go to my beautiful daughter who loves all birds!

I will be finding homes for the rest of the charms, never fear!   I’ve made some special charm holders.

Please check out the Art Charm Auction.   there are some beautiful charms from some fantastic artists and the proceeds go to a great cause.


And if you want to visit the other blogs, here is a list of the rest of the participants.










November 16, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , | 6 Comments

15th BNB Challenge: Who Shall be Captain?



I’m excited about this 15th BNB challenge, hosted by Kathy Lindemar.  She chose this painting “Who Will be Captain”? for our inspiration.

Love the colorful pirates on the isolated beach. I can almost feel the heat of the sun, the coarseness of the sand. And, of course, there is a treasure box.

When we think of pirates, we think of booty!


Treasure chest

In many old pirate legends, the captain killed some of the men who went with him to bury the treasure. Dead men tell no tales after all. This painting brought all that to mind. Pirates of old were either great heroes or great villains and legends of treasures lost abound. Johnny Depp and the Pirates of the Carribean have renewed the “hero” aspect of pirates and given us very lovable characters to feed our fantasies.

Before I reveal my pieces I created, I’d like to tell you the story of Lilly Larkin. This is a story I made up for my pirate loving little boys.

young pirates

young pirates


ear, nose, and lip fake pierces

ear, nose, and lip fake pierces



And, yes, I made them jewelry to match the colors in the painting. They love these pierceless earrings and I can show you easily how to make them.  The boys love these.  They take very little wire.  They can go on your ears and you can wear one or twenty one!  They can look like lip or nose piercings (make sure ye don’t mix up your nose and your lip rings……..YUCK).

Lilly’s story was based on a real life “character”, a wonderful modern piratess who lives in merry England right now whose name is Lily Lark of the Pirates of St Piran fame.


Lily Lark and her friends, the rapscallions known as the  Pirates of St. Piran, dress up and do re-enactments of actual battles and sometimes the just dress up and drink grogg and have fun, hiring out for parties, weddings and funerals.   They support some fine charities in merry England like the Childrens Hospice.  Oft times, they dress up and go to schools to teach young ones about pirates.  Anyone who works with and for kids is AOK in my book!    You can read all about this motley crew here,   see pictures and learn some piratical parlance.  And if ye want to hire this bunch of scallywags to dance at yer weddin’ or liven up your party, well, the details are on their page.   OR, you can check out their Facebook page   and see what they are up to. 

As a matter of fact, they have a brand  new CD of sea chanties that  is being released in November.   What a great gift for children and adult children who love pirates. Or, check out one of the older CDs.

Pirates of St Piran

Pirates of St Piran


Now that you have an idea of what our legendary Lilly Lark might have looked like, let’s sit back with a mug of grogg, listen to a chanty while you read and I’ll tell you her story.

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, Lilly was an orphan who loved the sound of the waves and watched the ships and took her first job aboard the Sea Witch when she was 8 years old. She started as a cabin “boy”, wearing tattered pants that were too short for her scrawny legs and a filthy shirt and called herself Larkin.  Captain Morgan, of the Sea Witch took her under his charge and taught her to fight and taught her all about the sea and ships. She could climb the ropes like a monkey and fought like a fierce shark. She learned to swim when she was 11 and a new cabin boy who was jealous of her place on board threw her off the rails in a rage when he found out she was really a girl.  Larke had to swim or drown.

Larke survived by splashing about until she could actually swim. She caught up with the ship, unseen by the crew. She clung desperately to a bit of netting that had become entangled on the anchor chain.

Captain Morgan, who loved Larkin like his own son, was furious when he found out what happened. He whipped the cabin boy and tossed him in the hold. He turned the ship about and sent down a life boat to search for his beloved orphan. They found her almost lifeless, tied in the netting and brought her back aboard. Captain Morgan named her his adopted daughter and the heir to his boat if anything should happen to him.  Her official name became Larke Morgan with this adoption.

This divided the ship. Most of the crew respected and loved their captain for he was a fair man and generous sharing the booty they fought for. The first mate, however, a toothless lout named O’Leary, hated the girl. He thought he should be the one to take over the ship should Morgan die.

When Larke was 16, Morgan was killed by a lunatic commander of Her Majesty’s navy and O’leary took over as Captain. He did so, by saying he was only holding the ship in trust for Lark till she came of age, but she knew that she had to watch her back. He wanted the ship for himself.

Just before her 18th birthday, O’leary and the Sea Witch Crew took a grand haul from a merchant ship. He instructed Lilly to make a map when they landed at a lonely island off the coast of Cornwall. They took a small boat and four crew members plus his first mate, Lilly Larkin and set about to bury the treasure. It was clear to our Larke that when it was time to bury someone with the treasure, it would be her bones that lay there so she was ready when O’Leary threw down. When he came behind her, she quickly turned and buried her dagger in his heart. Pistol in hand, she faced the others. They decided that it was not the day to mutiny and swore allegiance to their new captain.

There are many stories about Larke  and her merry crew, like the time  HMS Constantine took her by surprise and she quickly dressed in fine ladyship clothes and put dresses in the cabin boy and the cook’s helper (who later married each other in a fine ceremony) and convinced the admiral that her father, a prosperous merchant had died at sea and she and her ladies in waiting were traveling to port to sell his cargo. She totally fooled the admiral and with much dancing to the hornpipe, caused him to fall madly in love, promise to maryy her and let her go.

Our Larke once made a fabulous haul with fantastic pirate booty.  The jewels she stole were legendary and only she knew where she buried her loot.  She had the map made into a necklace and no one ever guessed that here were the directions to Faire Lilly’s Booty.

She is my inspiration for this necklace. The focal is made from patined copper I got from Lillypilly designs. It has a topagraphical look to me and made me think of a treasure map.     This particular embossed copper is a color called Enchantment.  The beads are smoky quartz teardrops, tiny faceted garnets,  pressed Czech glass and some weird glass beads that either look black or burgundy, depending on how the lights hit them.   But watch out, if ye wear it.  Some scallywags may want it for themselves.







I Pulled the darker colors from the picture for both the necklace and these bracelets.  I do love bangles.  These are made from steel wire covered with sari silk in the colors from the palette.  I personally like to wear a lot of bangles.  I came up with the idea to make a Bangle Brooch, a pin that would hold them all together and give you a whole new look.   I made two Bangle Brooches, one in plain copper and one that looks a jewel.  Ye’ll look like a saucy wench wearing these bracelets!  And, being made of steel, they’ll help protect your wrist in a swordfight!




Last, but not least, I made an ear wrap and this time focused on some of the lighter colors.   This goes ’round behind your ear.  Notice the key to the treasure box that just naturally becomes part of the jewelry. .  They are perfect if your ears are not pierced OR can be worn along with your favorite ear jewelry.  I’ll be making 3 for my young pirates Christmas stockings.  They went to Comic Con this year and are wanting their very own pirate costumes for that and for the Renn Faire.

So, let’s tip our mugs of ale and celebrate Lilly Larkin, the infamous piratess known as Larke  and her modern day counterpart, the incredible Lily Lark while the hornpipes play the Drunken Sailor. And let us all drink to Faire Lilly’s Booty!!!


AHOY!  Here’s an IMPORTANT NOTE:   All the lovely ladies who took part in this challenge have submitted their designs for a contest.  You can see what they made and vote on what designs you like the best.   Winner gets some great booty from Kathy’s   Etsy shop.    Voting begins on November  11th, that’s tomorrow, and lasts till November 18th and you can come back every day

Arrrrrrrrrrrr……….if ye don’t vote fer me, ye can walk the plank ye scurvy landlubbers……………….VOTE HERE   


You can also visit the other artist’s blogs and see what inspired them.  First, check out Kathy’s blog. 

November 10, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, folklore, Jewelry, Kid Stuff | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Octoberfest Blog Hop

The lovely Rita, of Toltec Jewels is sponsoring this Octoberfest.   We are not limited to post only about jewelry but will share all the things we love about fall.   This is my very favorite time of year, so I will have lots to show you.   Most folks love the foilage and I am not going to post that type of photo.  Rita’s blog button shows that beautifully.


I  LOVE the chilly nights of fall.   We can curl up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and our favorite blankie and watch a movie.   In the summer, when it is so beautiful outside, you can’t do these things without feeling guilty for ignoring the great weather.



APPLES:   I love apples in the fall and ice cold  apple cider.  Apples never taste the same in the summer months as they do when they are fresh off the trees.  They are crisp and tangy and juicy.  AND they are great with that big bowl of popcorn!


juicy apples

juicy apples


The cooler weather always encourages me to break out my knitting needles.  My grand daughter says I am a knitting machine!!  I love to knit.   I do some charity knitting.   There are lots of kids in this poor neighborhood who don’t have warm winter hats or coats.    I usually try to donate at least 10 to the grade school or to the church along with scarves.   I’ve got 8 boys hats made so far and 6 girls.   I love making myself cozy ponchos.  (here’s a pattern).



It’s so much fun to cook in the cooler weather.   After summer’s heat and too many salads, I am ready for hot soups, bowls of chili, plates of spaghetti and some serious beef and beer stew.



   Nicholas loves to bake.   We go out in the morning and gather the eggs from our chickens.   His chicken is the only one who lays white eggs (her name is Chickzilla).   We have to use Chickzilla eggs and bake every day:   muffins, cookies, cake or brownies for our lunch and after school snacks for his brothers.   (did I mention that school starts in the fall?   Yayyy fall!)




002 (2)


And best of all, I love fall for Halloween!   I want to share this light show I found on YouTube.  The theme song is from Nightmare Before Christmas, which we have watched around 2000 times.   Someone else loves Halloween and took a lot of time to set this up.   It is amazing!

Our family is known as the Addams Family.  My house has Halloween stuff all year round and we all love creepy stuff.

Addams Family

Addams Family

It is Addams Family Tradition to make a huge deal of Halloween.   Everyone dresses up and we pass out candy.   One year, my mom and sister were here from Florida and mom, at 89 was still “game up” and dressed as a witch to join in the fun.

My witchmother

My witchmother


Everyone makes something special to eat and we have a big feast!   There are chili dogs, baked beans, salads, nachos with salsa and cheese sauce and plenty of desserts.   One year my grandson won a 120 pound pumpkin by guessing the weight.  That was really special!


Big punkin

Big punkin

monster cupcakes

monster cupcakes

monster cupcakes

witch finger cookies

witch finger cookies

witch finger cookies


We have dummies that we use every year.  Frank and his wife are practically part of the family.   Sometimes Frank is still around at Christmas time.   When the little kids come, it’s not unusual for them to say “Hi Frank” before they say hi Mimi.

Frank and his wife

Frank and his wife


We love Halloween crafts also.   Here is our Frankendoor this year.    Get ideas for your own Monster Door here. 



Nicholas and I made a plate and cup to leave cookies for the Pumpkin King.  (These cool graphics are courtesy of Graphicstock.   If you do a lot of crafting, you might want to check out their site.   You can get a free trial )

for the Pumpkin King

for the Pumpkin King


We made bookmarks to give as treats to our favorite readers.  Great graphics again courtesy of Grapicstock. 




If you would like to join our festivities, post a photo of your own gang on my Strega Jewllery Facebook timeline   I’d love to see it!

And, last but not least, there is Halloween jewelry! Yaaaaay! I’ve been following the Halcraft blog and they are doing a thing they call Macabre Monday. They post a tutorial for creepy seasonal jewelry every Monday. Here is the first one, the Arachnid necklace. I’m going to make all of their pieces! Get your own free tutorial


Here is a little “afternote”.   It’s Saturday and I am spellchcking this when I realized that I posted this tutorial all in good faith that it was going to turn out just fine.  NOT!   I  made 2 of these arachnid necklaces yesterday.  Let me just say this.  The spider legs flop all over the place and instead of laying on your neck gracefully, he flops around and , at times, looked like a squashed cockroach.  I took the spideys off.  The web part of then necklace is just fine.  I’m going to hang another teardrop bead from that center loop.   I have a pattern for a little beaded spider that uses just two beads and I’m going to wire him to one of the corners.   I’ll post that photo on my Faceobook page.  Too late to do it here.  I thnk it will be much better.

Cute little mummy earrings in my shop

mummy earrings

mummy earrings

a cute little witchy purse charm



ghost earrings



I LOVE these cool spidey earrings.  I follow Rena Klingenberg and she always has lots of tutorials in her newsletter.  These are so easy to make I went crazy loco and made a dozen pair plus some larger ones to hang on our Halloween Tree.   This is Rena’s photo so she gets full credit.  Her tutorial is really easy to follow.   I was thinking that I could use these in bright shiny red beads to make Christmas spider ornaments also.  What do you think?

cool spidey earrings

cool spidey earrings


Thank you Rita (Toltec Jewels) for this most excellent hop!   If anyone wants to see what the rest of the hoppers love about fall, here is a list.  Be sure and stop  by  Rita’s blog.  
Toltec Jewels                            Jewel School Friends (hostess)

Dini Bruinsma                 

Marybeth Rich                          http:/

Mary Govaars                 

Mischelle Andrade-Fanucchi

Karin Grosset Grange     

Andrea Zenith Glick        

Nan Smith                      

Linda Anderson                        http://CherryOnTopDesign.Co

Becky Pancake              

Melissa Trudinger           

Lennis Carrier                

Sue Kennedy                 

Kim Dworak                  

Jo-Ann Woolverton        

Jennifer Reno                 

Veralynne Malone          

Lori Schneider                

Shaiha Williams              

Alisa Siceloff                  

Pam Traub                     

Cryss Thain                    

Maria Lourdes Rios       

Kathy Lindemer             

Carolyn Lawson            

Blanca Medina              

Debbie Rasmussen        

Heather Richter             

Kathleen Breeding         

Carol Dillman                

Chris Eisenberg             

Rebecca Sirevaag          

Sam Waghorn                

Sherri Stokey                 

Gina Hockett                 

Michelle McCarthy        

Michelle Buettner           

Dana Hickey                  

Claire Fabian                  

Cynthia Abner                

Renetha Stanziano          

Jami Shipp                     


Gloria Allen                    

Lisa Johnson                   

Marde Lowe                  

Monique Urquhart          

Jill Bradley                      

Toni Gifford                    

Shawnda D’Arcy            

RaMona Woolson          

Esterina Jagiella              

Sandra McGriff              

Mary McGraw               

Alenka Obid                  

Marianne Baxter            

Ann Schroeder              

Inge von Roos                

Robin Reed                    

Suzanne Berk                 

Mowse Doyle                

Diana Miglionico Shiraishi


Andrea Rivers                

Janine Lucas                  

Tanya McGuire              

Anindita Basu                

Mitzie Crider                 

Deb Fortin                     

Cynthia Kent Machata   

Cheri Reed                    

Laurel Hanson               

Ingrid Anderson            

Karla Morgan                

Lori Anderson               

Louise Mccormick-Glazier

Jasvanti Patel                

Susan Kelly                            http://

Lee Koopman              

Carol Briody                

Kathy Lindemer          

Renetha Stanziano      

October 25, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, Kid Stuff | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Save the Date


Once again, I am proud to join a group of artists who support a wonderful organization called Beads of Courage.   

What is the Beads of Courage Program?

The Program is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen children and families coping with serious illness. Through the program children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path.

How it works

Upon enrollment each child is given the Beads of Courage bead color guide with a detachable membership card. Their Beads of Courage journey begins when each child is first given a length of string and beads that spell out their first name. Then, colorful beads, each representing a different treatment milestone are given to the child by their professional health care provider to add to their Beads of Courage collection throughout their treatment as determined by the Beads of Courage Bead Guide (available from Beads of Courage, Inc.)The Beads of Courage® Program is available for the following:

  • Cancer and Blood Disorders
  • Cardiac Conditions
  • Burn injuries
  • Neonatal ICU Families
  • Chronic Illness
All Program bead guides were developed in collaboration with experts in the field (nurses, doctors, child life specialists and social workers) so that each bead guide would reflect meaningful acknowledgment of a child’s treatment journey.
So, what do WE do?  
Each of us designs a hand made, unique art charm according to a theme.   This year’s theme is SOAR.   There should be some very cool charms in this auction.   Save the date!  It’s November 14th.   That’s when we will auction these charms and all proceeds will go to support Beads of Courage.   I’ll remind you again for sure.   You won’t be able to buy the art charms anywhere else.   They are very special.   And YOU will feel very special, helping children and families to cope with serious health issues.

October 14, 2014 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry, Kid Stuff | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gettin’ Down With Brown

I hate to admit it but I could not find any “mood music” to go with this getting down with brown blog so I thought I might just post some James Brown so you can get down while you scroll.


Brown used to be one of the least popular colors in the fashion world.   It was perceived as representing earth in its barren or dormant stage.  It was popular with religious zealots who thought that brighter colors signified pride and lust.  Peasants wore it because the dye was cheap and it did not show the dirt as much.   They could not afford to wash as often as wealthier folk.   So brown became symbolic of piety, poverty or at very least, economy and modest ambitions.


Darker, richer browns came to symbolize a solid, hardworking, reliable individual, somewhat quiet, always reassuring.   Indeed, some shades still represent these qualities.  Look at your UPS uniforms.  What do you think when you see that brown uniform?   You associate it with hard work, dependability and maybe a hint of pleasure (associated with your package delivery)



HI DEE!!!!

HI DEE!!!!


Think back to your deepest, primitive genetic memories.   You felt most secure and safest when in your cave or mud hut and surrounded by earth.   Brown is the ultimate earth color, associated with hearth, home, substance and stability.   The richness of chocolate and flavored coffee drinks and their elevation to status symbols has done a lot to lift dependable old brown to an upscale color.

And tell me, when you think of brown rice, whole grains, brown bread and cereal, don’t you think healthy and wholesome.   And the rich honey brown of male syrup has a richness that cannot be denied.


So it seems that advertising has played an important part in how we perceive browns these days.   Terra cotta and brick with their hints of sensual red and quite upscale now.

So what does this mean for your fashion look?   How will people perceive you when you wear brown?   Well…….let’s take a look at the image you might want to project.

Putting it Together

Want to look down to earth, stable, reliable and stable when you go for that job interview?   Go with rich chocolate brown, nut brown, terracotta and gold.   Or use medium brown with a hint of green in your accessories.  Jasper jewelry and some agates in antique gold settings give an earthy and rich look.


Color by COLOURlovers


Jasper earrings from Pebbles at my Feet Studio.   Perfect blend of green and browns.

Or, this gorgeous necklace from Kat’s All That Studio.


Amber and agate bracelet


What if you want to look successful?  Go with traditional autumn hues.   Wear rich reddish browns, barn reds and rich gold.

Color by COLOURlovers

Carnelian jewelry is perfect. Pretty Gonzo Studio has a beautiful bracelet and earrings of carnelian.



Want to look sensual in your browns?   Wear deep chocolate browns with deep purple and a touch of leaf green.   Amethyst and peridot jewelry are perfect.  If you can’t find an amethyst that is deep purple, check out purple goldstone.  Amber and turquoise are great also.

Color by COLOURlovers


Bracelet from Simply Unwired.

Goldstone necklace.


Wearable Art by Jamie Santellano


Beautiful scarf from Brensan Studio. 


I’ve put together an Artfire collection of brown accessories.   Check it out and Get Down With Brown!</ppp

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Fine Art Paintings

October 1, 2014 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orange Vibrations

According to Pantone’s book, Communicating With Color, orange is the hottest of all colors.  It’s a high arousal color, glowing and very vibrant.    So, before I start talking about how others perceive you when you wear orange, let’s have a little mood music.   How about some salsa mix?  Hot latino music for lovers?   eh?


Orange has all the drama of red but it is tempered by the cheerful vibes or yellow.  In the language of color, orange is an exclamation point.   It’s so vivid, it’s perceived as playful, gregarious, happy and somewhat childlike.  Sometimes it’s hard for people to take you seriously when you wear orange.   Check out this hat  from Purple Berry Studio on Artfire.   Does it not say playful and fun loving?



It’s not a color to wear to a business meeting where you want to be taken seriously.   The most negative vibration that orange projects is “LOUD and BRASH”.   It definitely calls attention to you.

Orange is the perfect match for fall colors, warm browns and golds.  It adds warmth and vitality to the somewhat muted and neutral colors.   Check out these Fall Glow Earrings from my own Artfire studio and see how they combine with antique gold metal and brown beads to add a warm glow to the accessories.   Wearing orange with these colors gives off an earthy vibrations.



The lighter shades of orange, like peach, melon, apricot and coral give off totally different auras.   People who wear peach are seen as people who are eager to communicate and easy to communicate with.   Coral and apricot appear sophisticated and very upscale.   These are nurturing and approachable colors.   This dress, from Perfect Love Dresses on Artfire is sophisticated and beautiful.



Orange is also a great color for ethnic or tribal looks.   Wear it with plum, gold and red for a really native look.


tribal color palette

tribal color palette



tribal necklace Zelie from my Artfire studio



Remember, when you want to appear playful, fun loving and energetic and maybe just a bit outrageous, put your orange with colors like lime green and hot pink, your “salsa” colors.




Strega Jewellry’s Playful Palette You-Nique Earrings


And when you want to appear warm and glowing, use the fall palette.



Fallberry Necklace




Oh, and don’t forget your eyes!!!



Have I got you excited about the color, orange?   Here’s a whole collection of orange accessories I found on Artfire.


Fine Art Paintings

September 12, 2014 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Get Red-dy!

Ooops!   Been really lazy this month with all the heat and humidity.  Spent most of my time curled up in the shade reading books and eating ice cream!  Barely blogged and nearly missed my color of the month blog!   I’ve got it covered however.   This month’s color is RED.   So let’s get some mood music going on so you can listen while I tell you all about the color red and its influences on our perceptions.


Traditionally, red implies strength, vitality and heat.  Psychologically, just the sight of it can cause a rise in blood pressure, respiration and heartbeat.  When we “see red”, our pituitary gland goes into action.    It suggests to the brain that we take physical action!  Yes, even an animal can distinguish this color!  No more mystery why a red cape is used in a bullfight!



Red is associated with both aggression and with desire.  The shade of red has a lot to do with your brain and body associations.   Reds with a lot of orange tend to excite or suggest aggression so if you are planning on using red in your wardrobe today, and it is an orangy red, then pair it up with playful spicy colors to lessen the aggressive impulses.




If you were going to choose this scarf, for instance, you could wear it with any of the colors in the above shot.   It’s available, by the way from Morgan Silk on Artfire.    Even without the other colors, the second color gives it a more playful feel.


If your shade of red is mixed with black or purple, the red takes on a more sensual tone.   With black, there is a hint of danger or risk, or of experience with the darker side.


Take this sassy little purse, for instance, from Angelz Bowz on Artfire,.  There’s just enough black with that deep sensual red to hint at a “dangerous woman”.   Pair it with these red/black earrings from Uniquebeadablesredblkearrings

, a red dress and shoes and watch out guys!

If you really want to give off the danger signals, I’ve got a Vampire Fantasy wrap bracelet in my shop



Back in the day, red with purple used to be considered vulgar or overly sexual but now, purple and red is indicative of a more playful, Bohemian style.   How about this cloche from Barbie’s Corner Crochet Boutique? 



So, ladies, if  you want to get RED-DY, I have a collection of red goodies from my guild sisters on Artfire.  You can find almost anything you need.


Fine Art Paintings

August 30, 2014 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , | Leave a comment

Twice as Nice Bloghop

Welcome! It’s the 14th Bead Soup Café blogger/non blogger challenge and the first one I’ve joined. this one is sponsored by Toltec Jewels. We’ve got 2 palettes to design from for a not so typical Christmas in July hop.   Check them out.  I love both of them!


I’m not crazy about Christmas.  As a pagan, YULE is my winter celebration.   For pagans, Yule is one of the lesser holidays, not at all like Christmas which is a HUGE deal!   Even so, it has a lot of meaning.   Yule celebrates the longest night of the year, a turning point.   We know that even though the coldest part of the winter is yet to come, after Yule, the Long Night,  the nights begin to get shorter and the days begin to get longer, a few minutes every day.  It marks the beginning of the end of the “dark season” and it’s a time of great hope and the promise of spring to come.

In older times, the choicest of the winter stores would be taken out and used for the winter feast as a token of faith that the Lord and Lady would see you through the lean times ahead, a symbol of your belief in the promise of the spring and summer to come, when once again fresh food would be in abundance for all.  Even though your winter stores were getting lower and the game animals were finding it hard to feed themselves and becoming scarcer, that feast would happen.   These days, we don’t have to worry about such things but we still celebrate Yule.  It marks our faith that through any dark times, we will be sustained.   Yule is a happy festival and besides having good food and gathering with good friends, you want to give a special gift to those you care about…….one gift, not a shower of presents like Christmas… gift that means something.

First, how about a little mood music?   Here’s a tune that has been used hundreds of times to represent witchery in all kinds of movies and television scores……Carmina Burana.   The video is pretty cool also.  If you have time to watch and not just listen while you scroll.   It has a joy about it that reflects the season.  It’s a beautiful rendition of Carmina Burana and by far my favorite “Flashmob” video!


I really was drawn to that first palette.   I like that nature theme and while I like the colors in both palettes, the nature theme seems more wintery to me.  I pulled some colors from that first picture for most of my pieces.   I like the fact that is not all red and green like the usual Christmas colors.  There are browns and greys and blues and lots of white/silver for the snow.  And the red and green are more natural, not the glaring brights of the ho ho ho Christmas.   I did take that red color a couple of shades darker but I still think it works.   If you don’t agree…………well there’s plenty of snow to pelt me with a few snowballs.

First up, I made this locker hook bracelet  cuff.   I do love a cuff and the sari silk I had on hand seemed a good match.  I sewed on a a copper filigree then attached a piece of dichroic glass that I made way back when I first learned to make dichroics.  The gold in the sari silk is a bit festive and the copper has an earthy look I love.




Now for a necklace to go with that sari silk.   I had fallen in love with Badger Beads on Artfire.    The artist, Jayne LaRette is a fabulous and friendly lady of great talent.   This beautiful focal bead is the perfect match to the green in that palette AND, it came with 2 matching beads that would give me a pair of earrings.  Woot woot!   I made a faux four-in-one chain, used a copper  disc I hammered out and a bit of sari silk.   The bead can stand alone, it’s so pretty.   I makes a happy little tinkle sound against the disc.


copper necklace

copper necklace


I have to show you the bead up close


and the chain with the sari silk


and let’s not forget the earrings……




I was so excited about the beads I saw in Jayne’s shop, I wrote her a note with the order.  We are guild sisters on Artfire and I like to share my guild sister’s work.   I told her in the note that the bead was going to be my focal and I was so excited about this hop and blabbered on.  I guess I got her excited also because she sent me another bead as a gift and told me to play with it.   PLAY with it!   My favorite words!  And gift!   What a wonderful gesture!   If you get a chance, check out her studio on Artfire or visit her Facebook page and say hello.

This focal bead is such a deep beautiful midnight blue, its perfect to symbolize the Long Night.  I do hope you can see the swirls of antique gold in   I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it until I was listening to some Celtic music that just happened to have a lot of bagpipes.  Well, what is a festival without music and bagpipes?   EH?  (that’s the cue for some more mood music folks, get ready!)


While the colors in this piece are not in this palette, I still needed a Yule gift, so thought I was justified in digressing just a little.   I used antique brwass wire.   Trying to get over my Fear of Fiber, I thought I would add some plaid fabric for a woodsy tartan………just a bit.  This called for a some simple work to really focus on the beauty of the bead.   I almost think this could be a unisex piece with the leather cord.

bagpipe necklace

bagpipe necklace


and let’s take a closer look at that bead with its gorgeous deep blue and swirls of gold and iridescence……woooooot  I’m having fun now!!!




Okay, I’m back to the palette on this next piece.   I pulled out the grey and blue from the wolves and shadows, used a bit of silver for the sparkle of the snow and that woodsy reddish brown.   My little goddess is the focal.   She is Sister Red Star, made from red tiger’s eye and red jasper.   Jasper is a protective and nurturing stone and tiger’s eye helps you make right decisions.   Her energy is the sparkle of a red star in the dark night sky…..a beacon, urging you to forge ahead, the Road is clear.  Trust in the protection of your guides and your instincts.  Her beads are pietersite, a playful stone that helps you pull a childlike quality from deep within.  The energy of the piece is perfect to see you through the rest of a dark cold winter or the dark cold times of your life.



that is a lousy picture of those beautiful beads of brown and bluish grey but it’s too late now…..sigh……

Oh, I’m getting way too deep here, let’s lighten up a bit.    I did want to make something in the second palette with all those beautiful colors.   I found some perfect beads from Spawn of Flame on Artfire.   Look at these beauties!   They are lampwork in that beautiful watery blue green with rivers of silver running through them.   Rosemarie calls them Little Sirona.  Sirona was a Celtic goddess of healing springs who had numerous shrines around sulphur springs and wells .  I thought she would be a perfect “woodsy” goddess for this palette so I created these little “rain chain” earrings.  What a perfect gift for someone in need of healing energy or who wants some bubbly energy from flowing springs.


I think I like the shorter pair the best




Almost as an afterthought, I made these wreaths, pulling only the green and red from the first palette.   They are traditional Christmasy, yes?



Okay, that’s all for me today.   Please stop by and see Rita from Toltec Jewels who is our hostess for this hop!  Thanks Rita fir such a fun challenge!


  1. Toltec Jewels
  2. Renetha Stanziano –
  3. Dini Bruinsma –
  4. Tammy Adams –
  5. Blanca Medina –
  6. Chris Eisenberg –
  7. Krafty Max –
  8. Robin Kae Reed
  9. Kathy Lindemer  – Bay Moon Design
  10. Marde Lowe –
  11. Andrea Glick-
  12. Lee Koopman
  13. Natalie Davidson —
  14. LiliKrist –
  15. Lori Anderson
  16. Tami Norris
  17. Klaudete Koon
  18. Ginger Hammond
  19. Kathleen A Breeding
  20. Veralynne Malone
  21. Shalini Austin –
  22. Sheila Prose-









August 17, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Dare to be Different & A Giveaway

I love making earrings. I make a lot of different earrings. I have one friend who wears only one earring. It’s her trademark style and has been for many years now. I have couple of other customers who love wearing earrings that are asymmetrical or a pair of two totally different earrings though in the same colors.

When I participated in the Bead Soup Blog Hop, I saw a lady who had made up several different earrings as a set in case you lost an earring. I realized that I wasn’t the only one doing different things with earrings, like making different earrings that were not the same. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that aside from my own customers, there might be a market out there for people who wanted to be a bit more daring, who wanted something different. So, I got out Pantone’s book Communicating with Color which has tons of different palettes for different moods.

I got out some paint chip cards and started grouping colors together.  Then I went through all my beads and put all the beads from the same palette into bags.  I with basic black and then  chose some other palettes that I thought would serve a general market sample.   I started making earrings.  I decided to go with 7 different earrings for a set.  That gives you 21, (yes I said twenty one) different pairs.   I won’t go through all the other steps, like finding a graphic for each palette, choosing a name, printing out the packaging, etc.  I’ll just tell you that when I finished my samples, I showed them to some ladies.  Some were on the conservative side, others were a bit more bold.  ALL of them loved the idea of having something so totally unique, so totally theirs.  Without any more writing, I present:

Strega Jewellry’s You-nique Earrings……………………chosen with your personality in mind.



Let’s start with basic black, very Classic, Elegant, Dramatic and Sophisticated.  All-black earrings are not boring.  There’s black with silver, black with gunmetal, black with crystal and more.

Set Number One




Set Number Two




This is my “playful” palette.,  People who wear these colors are energetic, playful, fun and unique.  A pixie attitude.   Does this sound like you?



Playful:  mostly blues




Playful:  brights




How about “Romantic”?  Colors are pastels, muted pinks, yellows, mauves, blues and greens.





Warm and woodsy palette, an elven nature and wardrobe.



Warm Palette #1





Warm Palette #2







Or how about a serene palette?  Cool, calm, soothing, watery, undine.



Cool Palette #1



Cool Palette #2


cool palette #3



I’m working on some other palettes.

So, how about it?  Do you dare to be different?  Be You-nique?   A set of 7 earrings, that’s 21 pair, remember, is only 29.00.   These are listed in my shop right now.  Check them out.  All links go directly to the item listed.


Oh, and by the way………all graphics for my packaging came from Graphic Stock where you get unlimited downloads that are yours to keep and use any time and any  place.

And I’d really like it if you check out my friend’s blog  Adore by Nat.  She makes really cool party decorations and other paper crafts and she is going to feature me on her blog this week and also is having a giveaway. 

And now………………ta da……I’m having a giveaway.   You can win a set, just for yourself.  Just enter the giveaway.  Click on the link below…..
a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 2, 2014 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments


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