Strega Jewellry's Blog

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

Epic Blog Hop


I love Melissa Trudinger’s idea for an “epic” blog hop.  We all got to choose our favorite television series to design some jewelry.   I had no trouble at all choosing my series.   I love The Tudors.   I started watching the series because I love anything where Jonathan Rhys Myers appears.  But history AND fabulous costumes AND Henry VIII who was such a character?   Hands down my favorite!   Yes, there is a lot of sex but Henry was just that kind of guy.   He changed wives and mistresses like most guys change clothes for gosh sake.

I checked out the IMDb page for the Tudors and the show was nominated for 60 awards between the Emmy awards and ASCAP.   It won over 40 of the 60 nominations!  That’s pretty incredible.

Tudors1

They won a lot of awards for costumes.   The costumes and jewelry were so real for the time period it was amazing!  In fact, some of the awards they won were for costume design.

I decided not try to make designs that copied the originals.   They did this in the movie and the pieces were so  beautiful.   Instead, I wanted to design something modern that fit the personality of the characters who were actual people.   I decided to do one piece for each of Henry’s six wives.

tudorsjon

Jonathan Rhys Myers played Henry VIII and did an incredible job of portraying his craziness, his volatile temper, and his aging.   You can see the great costume and awesome jewelry.   I did not design anything for him.   Quite frankly, I’d be happy to see him in nothing but an simple silver earring.

Catherine of Aragon was Henry’s first wife.   This was an arranged marriage to form an alliance between England and Spain.   She was betrothed to Henry’s brother, Arthur first when extremely young.  When Arthur died, Henry’s father still wanted the Spanish alliance so married her to Henry in 1509.   They remained married until 1533.   They had only one child, Mary, no male heirs which probably played a large part in Henry’s decision to divorce her.   Marie Doyle Kennedy played an excellent Catherine, a very pious woman whose religion meant the world to her.  Catherine was very proper and an extremely strong woman who refused to accept divorce and who continued to pray for Henry’s soul after his abominable treatment.

tudorsaragon

For her, I created this piece.   The bead sections are quatre feuille made of faceted black beads with deep red flowers in the center.  I’ve never done quatre feuille before.   The cross is HUGE, showing the depth of her faith and religion.

KatherineA

When the Pope refused to grant Henry an annulment of his marriage to Catherine, he broke with the Catholic Church and made way for the Protestant Reformation.   He faced excummuniction to marry Anne Boleyn in 1533.   Anne was a young girl who had spent a lot of time in the French court.   Her father’s ambition for his family led to her involvement with the King.   Women were used to further family prospects.   He first ordered her sister to attempt to snare the King and when that relationship went down the tubes, he had Anne try to do better.   Anne passed herself off as virginal, insisting that she would not have relations with Henry until she had a ring on her finger.  Natalie Dormer played this Queen of Tarts.   The marriage lasted 3 years.   After giving birth to one daughter, Elizabeth, Anne had a series of miscarriages.  Henry tired of her anxiety and jealous nature and had found another love interest, a true “virgin” so it was said.   He accused Anne of adultery, which for a queen is treason.   She was beheaded in 1536.

tudorsboelyn

Anne wore a lot of pearls, a symbol of chastity and loyalty.   Her most famous piece of jewelry was a pearl and diamond B necklace.  For her, I made these pearl and copper earrings.

AnneB

Jane Seymour was in service to Queen Anne when she first caught Henry’s eye.  She did not reject the advances of a married man and accepted gifts from him.   Also pushed by her family to further their ambitions she was presented by herself and by them as young and inexperienced.   She left the court and retired to her father’s estate when Henry was in the process of trying Anne for treason.   She and Henry were married in 1536, the day after Anne was beheaded, literally dragging her wedding dress through the spilled blood.  Their marriage was short lived.  She died in 1537 just days after the birth of their son.

tudorsseymour

For Jane, I made this “dark angel wing” necklace because she was no angel though her supporters and those of her family certainly presented her in that way.

janetudor

After Jane’s death, Henry’s advisors insisted he needed to find a bride who would be good for military alliance as he was having problems with both France and Spain.   Cromwell and others persuaded him to marry Anne of Cleves (played by Joss Stone in the series).  The marriage took place in early in 1540.   Henry reconsidered the marriage, said she had been misrepresented to him and their marriage was annulled before it was ever consummated.   Apparently, she wasn’t pretty enough for Henry.  To be fair, she was not crazy about him either.   He gave her a generous settlement and she lived in England until she died.

tudorscleves

Though Henry didn’t think Anne pretty enough, I thought she should have a really pretty necklace.   This one is made from silver metal clay and set with red dichroic glass.

AnneC

Henry’s “friends” and advisors introduced him to his next “love”.   Katherine Howard was even younger than his other wives, if not in years, then in maturity.   She was the daughter of a 10th son who had no prospects at all.  Actually, she was a cousin of Anne Boleyn so perhaps this was a family attempt to get back in court favor.   She has been fostered at the home of a prominent duchess who took in wards, both male and female but spent most of her time at court.  Her wards had very little supervision.   She had an affair with her music teacher when she was 13.  After that, she had another affair with one of the other wards and they promised to marry each other.   When she was presented at court in 1542, she immediately caught Henry’s eye and they were married.    Katherine Howard (played by Tamzin Merchant) was flighty, poorly educated and spent most of her time trying on new gowns and jewels and dancing and cavorting.   Very childish, she had no idea of how to act like a queen.   She fell in love with Henry’s secretary, Mr. Culpepper.   She was beheaded for treason before year’s end.

tudorshoward

For her, I designed this dragonfly necklace in painted brass with resin for she is like a dragonfly, carelessly flitting from flower to flower.

CatherineH

The hast of Henry’s wives was Katherine Parr (Joely Richardson).  She was older and a widow who had taken care of her husband until he died.    Katherine and Henry were married in 1543.   She was mature and gathered all of his children into the same household, befriending Mary and Elizabeth both.   She wasn’t afraid to nurse Henry who suffered terribly from a suppurating leg ulcer, a grievous thing that had tormented him for years.

tudorsparr

For her, I made this fibula pin.   I thought of her spending long nights nursing Henry’s leg in a drafty old castle and thought she might use such a thing to hold a warm shawl around her shoulders.

CatherineP

I hope you are going to hop around and visit the other ladies, see what shows they liked and what they made for their characters.

Melissa Trudinger             http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com (Hostess)

Karen Mitchell                   http://www.overthemoon-design.com

Andrea Glick                      http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/

Karen Martinez                 http://fairiesmarket.blogspot.com/

Lennis Carrier                    http://windbent.wordpress.com

Lindsay Starr                      http://phantasmcreation.blogspot.com/

Mona Arnott                      http://bijouxgemsjoy.blogspot.com

Lee Koopman                    https://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Shaiha Williams                 http://ShaihasRamblings.com

Veralynne Malone            http://veradesigns.blogspot.com

Elisabeth Auld                    http://www.beadsforbusygals.com

Kelly Schermerhorn          http://meanderingwithkelly.blogspot.com

Dini Bruinsma                    http://www.angazabychanges.blogspot.nl

Jami Shipp                          http://www.celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com.au/

June 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 18 Comments

Seize the Day


awarenessbloghop

Welcome to Lori Anderson’s Awareness Blog Hop.   Lori gave us a challenge to use a hand made “awareness bead”, a cute polymer clay bead with an awareness ribbon on one side and a mantra on the other.   These beads were each made for us by Heather Millican of Swoondimples who did a fantastic job of creating each bead with the correct color for awareness of that issue.

Lori truly gave us a challenge this time because while most often, we are inspired by nature, art or music, sometimes our muse will not come unless we examine the trials we are facing in our lives, the dark twists and turns that we are stumbling through.  In fact, for many of us, it is these dark times that brought us to embrace our creative side to “save” ourselves.   I know that is how I started.   I took my first jewelry class when I was struggling with the worst challenge of my life.

You will find that each of us has a life altering illness or issue that is our own because we have had experience facing this challenge.  With these beads we are to create a piece, “even if it is only a keychain”  and write about our experience then share the photos of our work.  There will not be a lot of pretty pictures in my blog and if you are looking for an easy read, stop right now.  This will not be an easy and fun blog hop as you journey with us in our struggles while we re-examine our Life Challenges and try to create beauty from the often depressing and devastating paths we follow. Still,  I encourage you to hop along with us.   You may be or might at some time be facing similar issues or challenges and it might help to know how much using your creativity to express yourself helps you grow and change and also, to cope. Making jewelry is sometimes what keeps us sane.

I know that my own post is upsetting and I want readers to know that I am not looking for a pity party here. There are lessons I have learned and strengths I have gained.   I have touched people all over the world who have been through the same thing and found strength in that.   I have a strong faith and encourage that for everyone.   I also encourage looking within and finding something creative, not necessarily making jewelry but using and developing a talent to help you through hard times.

My ribbon is red and black.

carperib

Most of you, who are mothers, have had this experience and can relate.

You are at the mall or a festival/parade/ ball game or somewhere in public, you look around and your child is NOT THERE.   Your stomach clenches, your heart starts racing, your legs become rubbery and the air you are breathing seems too heavy.   You franticly look around while your thoughts are racing……ohmigod, he was RIGHT HERE  I stopped to talk to someone, I wasn’t paying attention   where IS he?  visions of a scruffy pedophile smiling and taking his hand flood your brain and the feeling gets worse while you call his name and other people are looking now and is your heart going to stop or beat right out of your chest and where is he?  and finally………..finally, there he is……..happily engrossed in whatever caught his toddler eye oblivious to the panic in your eyes and voice until you sharply say his name and he lifts up his angel face and says mom?  why are you crying?

benlittle

Months or weeks pass and you forget about it until a newscast comes on with a poster of a missing child  Just for a moment, you relive that day when he disappeared. Your breath gets short and your heart starts thumping and you cannot watch that broadcast without that feeling.   That night, you hug your own a bit harder and remember those feelings and wonder about those poor parents.   Was it the same for them?  Does that feeling lessen or go away while the days go by and they search?   You hug yours closer and thank god that he is safe with you and all is right in your world.

But it is never again all right in the world of a parent with a missing child. That terrible panic……does it go away?

No.  It is there while you search the woods and gets worse when you spy a bit of fabric in the mud and say please god, don’t let that be his shirt in a shallow grave.

It stays while you walk the river banks ……..is that a turtle floating out there or is it him?  Please do not let it be him.

It is there when you approach that dumpster…….please god when I lift that lid, do NOT let him be tossed in there like the trash.

At night, if you can sleep, it goes away.   In the morning, you open your eyes and take that first breath while the sun streams  in the window but as you exhale …….Ben…..his name echoes through your mind and you KNOW he is missing and that feeling comes back and you have to jump out of bed and clean the floor or do the laundry or  something………., anything to keep from thinking.

It is there when someone tells you that you  need to go get something to eat, get out of the house!  It s days later and your friend is trying to be kind and take you away from the phone that won’t ring with his voice at the end.   For a few moments it subsides till you get to Subway and there is the Missing Poster with his face.

It gets worse when the police are walking toward you,  their faces like stone and now it’s time to face a horrible truth.   You know where he is now and he is never coming home again. And even that knowing does not stop it.  Because he is gone and……….. what was it like?

Was he scared?

did he call your name?  Was he in agony?  All of his life you have watched over him and now he has gone somewhere you have never been and no one you know has ever been and no matter what you believe you have NOT been there where he IS!  And he is alone without you.

My awareness ribbon is red and black.   These are the colors for Homicide Awareness.   My mantra on my bead is Carpe Diem.   Seize The Day!   Your days may be consumed by illnesses that no one else understands, or racked with pain.  Maybe your financial state is in chaos  or you hate your job  or the bills are piling up and you do not know what you are going to do….. If your child is alive and you can hug him.   Let that hug sustain you and seize that small bit of joy.  Hold on to it.   Cling to that seemingly small blessing.   SIEZE the DAY!  ……the day that  you have right now.  The hugs you can get right now!   Seize the day.  Say I love you when you walk out that door!   Say it at night and in the morning.  You can’t say it too many times.   In the morning, look for the possible good things that can happen.

My ribbon is red and black. 

My colors are for Homicide Awareness.  And yet, Seize the Day can apply for anyone.   You can lose a child through accidents, disease or suicide.   So when your children  are driving you up a banana tree, seize the day by learning to embrace the  small things.    the simple joys that  can get overwhelmed by  life’s stressors  Never forget that joy can all be snatched away in a moment.   Take time to laugh and time to play.

My necklace is red, black and silver.  Red and black are the colors for the homicide awareness ribbon.   I used silver to represent the memories of my son which are like tiny lights left by him to brighten my own path  into the Stillness beyond.  The beautiful black “book chain” comes from Bsue Boutiques. The bead of course is from Swoondimples.  Thanks Heather for making a “special” red and black for me.  The tiny beaded chain is my own

There is a clock charm because somehow there is never enough timeYou must make time to love and enjoy.  And because time can be snatched away from you in a heartbeat.     It’s better not to waste the time you have.  Seize The Day!  Make the most of the possibilities!

carpedi

I wear this necklace for 3 members of our family all taken  from us suddenly.

Ben Koopman, my son, age 17,  born Father’s Day 1979. 

benbaby

Murdered  on Mothers Day, May 11 1997.

Benguitar

He has taken his light and is gone now……….into a room I cannot find…….but I know he has been here…..by all of the lights he has left behind.

Tim Coffman  my son in law, son of my heart.   Murdered  May 18th 2006.   Carjacked and shot to death by five teen aged boys.

timjessie2006

Katrina Coffman killed in a freak accident May 16th 2007.

katrina51607

If you notice the dates, you will see how appropriate this hop is for me.   The sadness at this time of year engulfs our whole family.  Our family has learned to SEIZE the DAY! 

  .   If you have lost a child, you may find this previous blog post helpful.   It is a very powerful post.

If you nave never lost a child, I pray for you that you never will know the pain.

Again, I encourage you to visit the others in this blog hop and support them in their struggles.   Here is the list of those who wish to share their stories.

Note to my awesome daughter:  thanks for the input on this design.  xoxoxo

Lori

Heather

Anderson

Millican

www.PrettyThingsBlog.com (hostess) www.facebook.com/swoondimples (bead artist)
Candida Castleberry www.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com
mischelle andrade https://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Paige Maxim http://delightfullittlegems.blogspot.com/
Laurie Vyselaar www.lefthandjewelry.wordpress.com
Marybeth Rich http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
Alice Peterson www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com
Kim Dworak http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com/
Audrey Bélanger http://esperianterra.blogspot.ca/
Karen mitchell www.overthemoon-design.com
Joan Williams www.lilrubyjewelry.com
Jean Wells jeanawells.blogspot.com
Ann Schroeder www.beadlove.wordpress.com
Gail Accinelli facebook.com/oregonmadejewelry
Tania Spivey www.moobiegracedesigns.blogspot.com
Mallory Hoffman http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/
Mary K McGraw mkaymac.blogspot.com
Shai Williams www.shaihasramblings.com/
Beth Emery storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com
Catie Doman http://drcatie.blogspot.com
Lorelei Eurto Http://lorelei1141.blogspot.com
Lee Koopman www.stregajewellry.wordpress.com
Tammy Adams www.paisleylizard.com/blog/
Katie Nelson https://www.facebook.com/katiebead
Patty Miller http://pattymillerbeads.blogspot.com
Chris Eisenberg www.wanderware.blogspot.com
Cassi Paslick http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
Charlee Griffith https://www.facebook.com/charlee.griffith
Kelli Nelson www.afamilyaffarekelli.blogspot.com
Catherine King http://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger beadrecipes.wordpress.com
susan Bowie https://susanbowie.wordpress.com
Jennifer Justman www.soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/
Cassi Paslick http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
K Hutchinson http://jumbledhutch.wordpress.com
Veralynne Malone www.veradesigns.blogspot.com
Evie and Beth McCord http://ebbeadandmetalworks.blogspot.com/
Mihaela Georgescu http://michellemaya2005.wordpress.com
Rebecca Anderso Www.songbeads.blogspot.com
Charlene jacka www.clay-space.com
Kim Stevens www.pickingpoppies.blogspot.com
Susan McClelland Mistheword12.wordpress.com
Sally Russick www.sallyrussick.blogspot.com
Gina Hockett www.freestyleelements.blogspot.com
Mona Arnott bijouxgemsjoy.blogspot.ca
Sandi Volpe www.sandivolpe.com
Andrea Glick http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
Janine Lucas http://www.esfera.me/travel/blog/travel-stories
Lori Bowring Michaud www.artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
Christie Murrow Www.charisdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com
B.R. Kuhlman www.mixedmayhemstudios.com
Lupe Meter www.gesmpccorner.blogspot.com
Lucy Bejarano www.lucybejaranojewelry.blogspot.com/
Stephanie Perry www.mustardbeadbystephanieperry.blogspot.com
Elisabeth Auld www.beadsforbusygals.com
Carolyn Lawson www.carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com
Heather Powers www.humblebeads.blogspot.com
Katie Hacker www.katiehacker.blogspot.com
Kepi Rasmussen www.kepirasmussen.blogspot.ca 
Gail Vanderster-Zwang www.angelmoose.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Hodges http://thewhisperingseas.blogspot.com/

May 16, 2015 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop


swapnhopbadgeWhat a great bunch of ladies in my Facebook group, Bead Peeps!   Linda Anderson, organized a bead swap and blog hop for this month.   We each got a partner and swapped some beads then had to get busy and design some pieces with what we received.  This is what I sent my partner, Shaiha Williams.

partner

She sent me a bunch of really cool beads.  You can read about them here.

swap1

My muse took a break and left me after the Build a Line Challenge and I was worried I would never get done!  But, it’s finally time and here’s what I finished!

The first pieces I made were from the gorgeous goddess pieces she sent me.

swap3

I turned this into two necklaces.   I made a short choker type with just that little blue square.   The center hanger is sterling silver and I can reverse this piece and wear it plain.   That focal came from Clay Impressions.

gdsblesscollage

This longer piece can be worn with the above.    I used that awesome little goddess charm and painted her blue and purple sky colors with lumiere paints.  and put her on a charm holder with a tiny spellbook, a candle I made from bone and beadcaps and one of my own bronze charms that says Blessed Be.  The blue glass pony beads have silver bead caps and smokey amethyst faceted crystals.  Silver infinity chain links are handmade by me.   These pieces are mine!  

gddscharmcollage 

Shaiha sent me some little lampwork bows made by Mandrel 2.   Now, the first thing I thought of when I saw those bows was how many “bad hair days” I have.  The least bit of humidity and my head looks like a dandelion gone to seed.  No lie!   So, I made a little polymer lady with “bad hair” as my focal.   I wanted to keep the bead level simple and focus on the bows so only used a few beads, some hunmetal links and chain that Shaiha sent.   I”m not totally happy with the lady’s face.  .  It does not seem to be defined enough.  I got to figure this out.  But she is ready enough to show here.

badhairdaycoll

I had a totally different idea when I started this piece.   Shaiha sent me beautiful magnesite beads and some gorgeous blue butterflies that she painted herself.  I love the colors.  I also love butterflies flying around the flowers in the summer.   I wanted to make a resin piece.  So, using a picture frame bezel I got from B’Sue Boutiques and a picture I got from Graphic Stock, this is what emerged.  One butterfly lurking around the flowers and one emerging from his Hill Tribe Siilver cocoon.   The darker beads are Swarovski glass pearls and the wire and bead caps are copper.  I’m keeping this one too.   LOL

bpbfflycollage

Remember when I said this little elephant from Okawa  Beads was adorable but I do  not do adorable and he would be my biggest challenge?   I sure had a time coming up with an idea.   I researched the significance of the elephant in African lore and Indian lore and came up with dignity and integrity and some other stuffy and honorable traits.    Well, this little guy, with his flowers and happy face was ready to party.      He wanted to prance and parade through the town!  I wanted beads that would bring out his flower colors so I used some ceramic beads I had and some sari silk for a festive look.   I loved the beads Shaiha sent, but these worked better for what I wanted to do.   Don’t you think he looks like a happy little guy?

Short side note to Shaiha:    I have a toddler grandson who loves to work with me.  He was fascinated with this little elephant.  Somehow, the tip of that jaunty little hat was broken when I next took it out of the bag  That is why there is a bead cap on the tip of his hat.  (I expect he might have had a run in with “the Justice League or some Transformers or perhaps a giant anaconda).  With a touch of silver Gilder’s Paste on the trim, it almost looks like it belongs there.

bpelecollage

Because the beads I used for the elephant were so large, I could not incorporate  the little elephant clasp.  And he is so cute!   So I made some sari silk bangles and still thinking about  Africa, I used bright colors.   This is a set and he is perfect for a charm.   I’m going to  put some bells on these bracelets too.

elebraccollage

Anyhow, you can see I had a good time.   Please stop by Shairha’s blog and see what she made with what I sent to her.   Here is a list of the rest of the hoppers.   Check them out.

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop 2015 
Partner List  

 Our Hostess: Linda Anderson from http//:fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com

Linda Anderson http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Marica Zammit http://www.beadlovelies.com
Linda Anderson http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Jessica Hocutt https://faithfamilyandadventure.wordpress.com
Kristina Hahn Eleniak http://www.peacockandlime.wordpress.com
Debbie Jeffries http://wordpress/debrasdivinedesigns/blog.com
Rosantia Petkova http://bairozan.blogspot.com/
Shalini Austin http://jewellerybyshalini.co.uk/my-blog/
Catherine La Vite http://drygulchbeadsandjewelry.blogspot.com
Annica Larsson http://zestyfrog.wordpress.com/
Lori Schneider http://beadaddicted.blogspot.com/
Divya N http://www.jewelsofsayuri.com
Mowse Doyle http://mowsemadethis.blogspot.com
Fay Wolfenden http://torchfairy.blogspot.com
Kathy Lindemer http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Claire Fabian http://saraccino.blogspot.de/
Janice Warden Bergeron http://thejewelryroom.blogspot.ca
Natalie Davidson http://www.northshoredays.com
Deb Fortin http://www.studiok24.blogspot.ca
Inge von Roos http://ingetraud.wordpress.com
Karen Mitchell http://overthemoon-design.com
Robin Reed http://willowdragon.blogspot.com
Marie Covert http://thistledown-and-swaddlings.blogspot.com/
Alicia Marinache http://www.allprettythings.ca
Nan Smith http://www.wirednan.blogspot.ca
Johana Nunez http://artincendi.com
Kelly Hosford Patterson http://travelingsideshow.blogspot.com/
Lori Blanchard http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com
Sue Kennedy http://suebeads.blogspot.com
Shai Williams http://www.shaihasramblings.com
Niky Sayers http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Melissa Trudinger http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Candida Castleberry http://www.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com
Erin Guest http://www.renlish.com
Nicole Rennell http://nicolerennell.com/blog
Ien Temaluru http://ienmaginationsjewelry.wordpress.com
Robin Showstack http://heartsdesiresjewelryforyou.blogspot.com/
Sam Waghorn http://palemooncreation.blogspot.co.uk
Marianne Baxter http://www.simplyseablimejewelry.blogspot.com
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com
Shai Williams http://shaihasramblings.com
Lee Koopman https://stregajewellry.wordpress.com      X (you are here)
Jayne Capps http://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com
Marti Conrad http://marticsclay.blogspot.com
Tina Bosh http://bookbug-somanybookssolittletime.blogspot.com/
Eleanor Thomas http://woolywireetc.blogspot.com
Jeanne Steck http://www.gemsbyjeannemarie.blogspot.com
Gloria Allen http://www.wingsandbeads.blogspot.com
Rachel Mallis http://www.mintmonarch.com/#!blog/c1jlz
Andrea Glick http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
Stephanie Stamper http://skwds.blogspot.com
Chris Haussler http://pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com
Betony Maiden http://www.beadwenches.blogspot.com/
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickjewelrydesign.com/blog/
Jenny Kyrlach http://anafiassa.blogspot.com/
Colleen Foley http://colleenfoleycreations.blogspot.com
Marybeth Rich http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
Marcy Lamberson http://www.StudioMarcy.blogspot.com
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell http://www.deelitefuljewelrycreations.blogspot.com
Ginny Lones http://www.Skippingintotheunknown.blogspot.com
Maria Rosa Sharrow http://willowstreetshops.blogspot.com
Loretta Carstensen http://designsbyloretta.blogspot.com
Dolores Raml http://craftydscreations.wordpress.com
Michelle McCarthy http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com
Louise McCormick-Glazier http://jewelrytreasuresbylouise.blogspot.com/
Heather Richter http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
Tammy Adams http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/
Shirley Moore http://beadsandbread.blogspot.com
Seed Beaders
Susanne Stelljes http://pearlify.blogspot.de
Sheila Prosterman http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com
Pallavi Asher http://kalaabhushan.blogspot.in/
Jami Shipp http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com
Peggy Kosier http://www.kosydesigns.blogspot.ca/
Andra Weber http://andrasjoyfuljourney.blogspot.com
Catherine King http://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
Krafty Max http://kraftymax.com
Sierra Barrett http://giraffecanhas.wordpress.com
Lois Sherwood http://thiznthat5454blog.wordpress.com
Katy Heider http://onthepondcreations.blogspot.com
Rebecca Robertson   (White) http://morganafeycreations.121hub.com/
Heather Richter http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
Brandy Collier http://bhjewelry.wordpress.com
Stephanie Haussler http://www.pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com
Lori Blanchard http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com
Kathleen Breeding http://99bobotw.blogspot.com
Becky Pancake http://beckypancakebeaddesigns.blogspot.com
Renetha Stanziano http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com/
Tami Norris https://jewelrybytami.wordpress.com/
Ginger Bishop http://lilmummylikes.blogspot.com/
Peggy Johnson http://charmbarn.blogspot.com

 

May 2, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Bodacious Bangles


If you checked out my posts about the B’Sue Boutiques class you probably noticed the long list of my classmates at the bottom.  Maybe you did not have time to hop around and see all the beautiful work and their designs.   I love bracelets and I saw some fantastic pieces while I blog hopped and I thought I would bring some of them here.  I’m not going to get wordy, I’m just going to post pictures and links to their blogs.  If you see something you like, stop by and check out the rest of their work and tell them Lee sent you.

Hold on…….how about a little music while you scroll through these beauties.   The name of the song is Bright Lights but the key phrase, the name I call this song is You Gonna Know my Name…..and you are gonna know their names after you see their work!

 

marcia5uzz

Marcia Tuzzolino   Aurora Designs

jantague

Jan Tague  of Clever Designs by Jan

maricazammit

Marica Zammit  of Bead Lovelies

elizabethhildreth

Elizabeth Hildreth   Mad Scientist Designs

cassaday

Monica Cassady of MJ Cassaday Copper Designs

susanbowerman

Susan Bowerman   Woodside Wireworks

reneehong

Renee Hong    Fine & Dandy

nike

Nike Bottalico     of Nike Bottallico

Leilawest

Leila West    Leila Nicole Designs

Loribeek

Lori Beekman    B. Accessorized

erinwhit

Erin Whitaker    Shattered Time

There were a couple more but apparently they were protected so I could not get them to post, Dana Hickey and Kristy Le, sorry.

Last, here is one I made just for fun, to take a break from the men’s stuff I was making.   Hope you saw something you liked and visited my friends.

alice

 

 

 

March 28, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , | 12 Comments

Build a Line Challenge: School’s Out!


 

Bsuebutton

Three months ago, I saw this badge while reading Brenda Lansdowne’s blog and determined to enter this challenge.  Little did I know just how much I would learn and how many cool ladies I would meet!  Over 50 of us entered this class, most with only a small idea of what we would accomplish.   There was much banging of heads, gnashing of teeth but lots of laughs and plenty of learning.

The class was free this time as it was the first time that Brenda Sue Lansdowne, of B’Sue Boutiques has offered such a challenge.  The only condition was that we use visible pieces from her shop, not an unreasonable condition at all.

The challenge was to complete 5 pieces of a cohesive line by the end of the 3 month period.   Sounded very simple, I mean, who could not do 5 pieces in 3 months?

Every time Brenda gave us  class notes, there were tons of questions and plenty of lively discussion.  We learned to research trends and styles even though we thought we were not fashion conscious ourselves, it was important to know what is trending.  We talked about color and its importance, about branding, about developing a cohesive “look” so that anyone who sees our work can tell that we made it.  We talked about pricing pyramids and everything under the sun.  To quote directly from Brenda herself  some of what we covered was

trends, color, using color to compliment customers, the selling pyramid, the diff between a hobby maker and a jewelry designer, the things that are necessary to become a jewelry designer, when lines become collections, pricing, quality components, how to manage manufacturing inventory so you don’t run out, how to pay attention to customer requests to learn how to design future lines….and how to concentrate on keeping looks together so that your style and brand remain cohesive

This was a very real challenge for me.  I had never made jewelry for men before.  I had never done assemblage before like most of the others.  I had never worked with lumiere paints (and they are so much fun I am now addicted).  I had only made OOAK pieces and had a great fear of being bored by reproducing the same pieces over and over.

While I had ordered from B’Sue before, almost none of what I ordered would fit into my line (or so I thought) and I had the challege of deciding what would work.  I ordered things I didn’t need and didn’t order things I could have used.  Most of all, I learned to FOCUS!  I think that was my hardest thing.  I am so easily distracted!  Now that I have focused, I can see many “series” in my lines and uses for so many more B’Sue items.

I learned about the difference between a collection, a line and a series.   What I have is Strega Jewellry’s Men’s Collection. It is called PHOPP and I felt it needed  its own shop and blog and “brand”

Here is my signage for shop, blog, FB page,  website (coming soon) and will be used on my business cards and tags.  Consistancy is important for a cohesive look that is uniquely mine. (I learned that in class)  I also needed a “catch phrase” that would tell something about my line.  I waivered between “gentlemen of esteam” and “esteamed gentlemen”, wanting to point out that this is not fashion/trendy jewelry but for cosplay.  I’m still not decided which is best and would like some thoughts on this.   I have chosen “gentlemanly” colors for “branding” of burgundy and jade green with creamy tans.  Their are reasons for those colors bit I won’t discuss them here.

phopps
For lack of any better names at present, I am calling my lines the Brass Line, the Copper Line and the Silver Line.  Each will have a series. Most chains will be hand made and all chains will be convertable. This stamps the look as MINE.  The focals will be mixed metals, interchangeable within the metals “lines”.   Some focals will be OOAK.

Although I originally intended this to be men’s jewelry only, I believe that many of the pieces will be unisex.  I do know that the collection itself will cater to folks who love cosplay.  I know this is a limited subculture but I am happy doing it right now.

I know……you want pictures.   I have the most done for the Brass Line.  I have other pieces on my table but need minor details before they are finished.  Here is where what we learned about “lead time” came in handy.  My stickpins bases have not arrived nor my cufflink bases, SIGH.   Here is a collage of the Faux Pearls series which includes a chain, focal, cufflinks and cravat pin.  The chain converts to a bracelet and shorter chain.  Chains will be my base pieces and toward the higher end because they are hand made.  Focals will fall into higher end and mid levels on the tier.  Bracelets will be mid level.  The cravat pins and cufflinks will be my lower tier products.

brasscollage

Also offered are a cravat pin (not shown) and a leather bracelet.

clockbrac

This bracelet blank from B’Sue is great for a men’s piece.  I’m not sure if you can see the little beetle under the goggles and leaves but he is there.  Blank, clock face, bug, rhinestone chain and leaves all come from B’Sue.

This focal can also go in the Brass line, the series of Order of the Kraken.  (I’d been reading  the Kraken King right before this challenge)

oklarge3

I fell in love with these Victorian button tops from B’Sue and used them for cufflinks in the Order of the Kraken series.  Aren’t they gorgeous?  So simple but so cool!  I could make dozens of these and not get tired of them!  I saw some other button tops on her site that will work well.

okcuff

These simple pieces are lower tier focals I will use with the brass line using these way cool dragonflies I  found at B’Sue.  I fell in love with these and wish I had a whole BOX of them!  I honed my lumiere skills painting these.

dragfly1

dragfly3

One last focal from the Entomology Series, a mother of pearl blister with one of Brenda’s fab beetle bugs.

mopfoc2

That is more than five pieces for the Brass line, Men’s Collection but I want to add a couple more items.  I do have pieces with natural stones but I am only showing here the pieces that use the most from B’Sue.

Here is a focal that will go in the Silver Line, Aviator Series using one of B’Sue’s balloon charms.  They paint up really nice, I think.  Note:  I used one of her brass gears and keys and the brass shows through on the balloon so this can be also used with the brass line.

balloon2

The Copper Line, I began in the last blog but I’ll put a collage up here just to refresh your memory.

coppercollage

This, again, is  my own chain but I used Brenda’s steampunk hats and gears on the focal and cufflinks and also have a cravat pin with the small hat.  These hats are the only thing I had in mind when I first planned to enter the challenge.  I found SO much more!  My whole line almost went out of control!

And last:  A huge copper focal that only used my own things I made myself with metal clay and dichroic glass.   I just HAD to have one OOAK piece.   This focal goes in the Order of the Kraken series.  It should have one of B’Sue’s little OK charms on it but I lost my last one somewhere on my worktable mess!  I’m going to need a lot of these.

OKfocalibg

So there we have it.  My Men’s Collection which will cater to those who love cosplay.   Series within the lines will be

Faux Pearls series which I showed here

Order of the Kraken (OK guys)

Aviator Series (balloons and propellers)

Entomologist Series (bugs and spiders)

Hat’s Off Series

Privateer Series (wait till you see that big clipper ship focal)

SOBS series (Secret Order of Baleful Snipers)

Paladin Series (western and horses)

It’s About Time Series

Mourning Jewelry Series

and, I’ll be making some pieces for those who love popular series or books, like Outlander or Truebloods  (come on with the bats!)   No Twilight, it’s already overdone.   I have seven costumes to make for the family outing to Comic Con this year and will need pirate jewelry for the Dread Pirate Roberts and his crew (my son and his boys are  going to advertise while they have fun).

Brenda, I definitely want to say thanks for this opportunity!    I’ve muddled along for quite a while, trying this and trying that but I think I have found my muse now with much help from you, your pieces and my classmates. I am honored that I was chosen to participate.   I will still keep a small Strega shop but I believe that PHOPP is going to be my main focus.   I can use all my other skills along with the new ones I acquired.  I can satisfy my desire to do original stuff at the same time.  I can be different even when using components that hundreds of others also use. I feel more focused..  AND, I met some fantastic and interesting people

I hope that some will be curious enough to follow along as I develop my presence, you can follow Liam Mac Steamish’s new blog, PHOPP’s Emporium.   Or “friend” Liam on Facebook.   I’ll annouce the opening of my shop both  there and here.

Here is a list of my classmates blogs.  They are doing some amazing things so check them out for yourself.

 

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques: Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino Aurora Designs

Jann Tague: Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King: Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford: Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott: Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson: Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten: Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit: Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck: VRBrose

Michaele Collie: The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig: Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman: Strega Jewelry X You are here

Erin Whitacre: Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady: MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West: Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson: Howling Dog Jewelry

Leila Belcher: Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen: Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger: Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams: Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara: LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth: MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey: Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo: Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark: Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman: B. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger: Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen: Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed: Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson: Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields: Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam: Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis: The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico: Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman: Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le: Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters: Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider: Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett: Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson: From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton: Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman: The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter: TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer: Smithed Up

Renee Hong: Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris: Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer: Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams: Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier: Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen: Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams: Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens: 1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller: Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard: Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law: ab:coraldesign

 

 

March 20, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, steampunk | , , , , , , | 64 Comments

Swapping Goodies


swapnhopbadge

Saturday was the deadline to send out our beads to our Swap and Hop partners and I barely made it.  Somehow, I lost my first partner but Shaiha Williams stepped up to be my angel and did I ever appreciate it!   Here is what I sent to her (and Shai, I had to use your pictures).   In my haste, I took pictures of what I was sending but when I went to use them they were unfocused and DARK (rainy, gloomy Ohio weather).   She did a great job on her blog so I just stole yours.

partner

On the left are all the beads I sent to match the components plus some little mother of pearl doo dads I picked up at Wonders of the Earth.   Bottom right are two ceramic focals, one from Bead Freaky and one from Glass Addictions.  That lampwork bead is from Covergirl Beads.    Top right is a clasp I made from copper clay and a Bronz Clay bracelet bar I made also.  I don’t have that many bronze pieces as I quit making them and I do not give them away frivolously but she stepped up so I could still be in the hop and took me on as a second partner and I much appreciated it, plus, I felt a kindred spirit after getting acquainted.

Shaila is a great gifter sending all my goodies in organza bags that I got to open one at a time!  Like Yule,  I was worse than a little kid!

swap1

Here are the goodies she sent to me.   Love these Goddess focals and the beautiful blue beads!   They are going to me MINE!  MINE!   MINE!  My grand daughter will covet them but she can wait until the will is read (Ha ha Jessie!)

swap3

 

These lampwork bows are really unusual.   I think I’ve got an idea what I am going to do with them but….you never know how my mind is going to work.  My idea is a little crazy…..ummm…you are not surprised?

swap2
And look at these pretty butterflies she painted to match the gorgeous beads!  I have a plan for these guys!

swap4

The real challenge is going to be this adorable little elephant.   Now, you know, I don’t do adorable.   I will say, aww, isn’t that so cute and go on and make something with spiders, snakes or bats, LOL, but look at him!   He’s so darn cute and look, he has a little elephant clasp to go with him.   Well, she has definitely got me working outside my dark and creepy comfort zone with this little guy.

swap5

Thanks Shaiha!!!    Stop back for the Swap ‘n Hop and see how I make out. Make sure that cutie pie is safe from swooping condors and giant anacondas!

March 18, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Language of Color: Green Vibes


According to Alison Lurie, the author of the Language of Clothes, green is the color for outlaws, fairies and Irishmen.

Pantone’s Communicating with Color states that according to scientific word association tests, most people equate green with nature, the outdoors and growing things.

The deeper shades of green with touches of black, like forest green and pine green give off quiet and traditional vibrations when you wear them.   Old money and prestige are also vibrations of this color.  Classic, classy and timeless are also words that come to mind.   This green can almost be used like a neutral color.  Almost anything will go with it.  This is your green most often used with fairy attire, the dark blends with forest pines and a grey tint gives the green a bit of mystery.

pine

These earrings from Paisley Lizard’s shop are perfect to wear with any color.  Their rich forest green with hints of deep blue  says class and style.

greenpaisleyliz

Emerald green, the lush bright green of the Green Man and Irishmen says, lush, fresh, lively, outdoorsy and connected to nature, very earthy and fertile.  When you add some blue to the emerald, the vibes you give off are soothing and cool, like ocean waves.

emerald

These earrings from Cherry on Top Designs are a perfect example.

greenearrings

or this scarf from Morgansilk

greenscarf

Mint green, or pastel green has cool and soothing vibrations.  when you wear it, you appear fresh and cool and calm.

shaihagreen

Circle Dance from Shaiha Designs.

Lime green says lively and refreshing, bouncy and vibrant, but be careful wearing it.  Wear it as an accent to liven up any outfit!   Too much lime can give you an air that puts people off…..they may think of tart acidic things.    Here is lime with different combinations of color to offset the harshness.

lime

These lime earrings from Steider Studio on Artfire are a perfect happy accent accessory.

greenblog

And this ring from Kelly Hostford Patterson’s shop, Pyxee Styx, is just so much fun, I would wear it with anything.

greenpeapod

Remember what we said about olive green when we talked about neutral colors.  It has such traditional associations with military olive drabs that you need to accent it with gold and russet colors,

So there you go.  Choose your green to suit your mood.   Here is a collection of accessories from my guild sisters on Artfire.     Surely with all these shades, you can find something fun to wear.

Handmade Gifts

March 11, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bead Swap Partner


May 2nd is the First Annual Bead Peeps Swap n Hop!   I know there are over 50 of us.  We get assigned a partner, we send each other beads then we make great jewelry from what our partner sends.

swapnhopbadge

My partner for this fun Swap is Shaiha Williams.   I’m excited about having her as a partner.  We seem to have a lot in common.  She’s an avid reader and from her book reviews, it looks like she is a fan fantasy and sci fi (my own favs).  She has a crew of animals at her house and is very aware of environmental concerns.  We also seem to have the same spiritual beliefs.   I like her already.

She lives in Washington State with her husband and pets and is a book editor.  She has a lively blog.  If you visit, it will be just like sitting down in her kitchen and having a chat.  Everything there seems to come from her heart.  I noticed last week, a mention of Leonard Nimoy (who I was secretly in love with for many years).  I enjoyed her book reviews too.  I’ll be keeping an eye on her blog because I’m always looking for new things to read.   It’s a lively place for sure.  She posts often and always has in interesting blog hop or contest with some beautiful jewelry plus pictures of various critters to liven things up.

I’ve seen Shaiha’s work around the internet.   She is a member of Znet Shows design team and always has really pretty designs in Creative Spark quarterly ezine.

Shaiha has a shop, Shaiha’s Designs.   She has a knack for taking an interesting focal and showcasing it with quality beads in a deceptively simple style that is very classy.  If you stop by, you’ll see some really pretty things.   I’m going to show you my favorites here.

shaihagoddess

I love this Goddess necklace, the colors, the focal and the earthy presentation.

shaihabracelet

She has some really cool bracelets also.  This one, called Clotted Cream is my favorite.

shaihalotus

These lotus earrings are gorgeous!  See what I mean about interesting focals?

And these are my favorite earrings of all.

shaihanevermore

Nevermore

I’m not sure what I’m sending her just yet.  I’ll keep you posted.    I’m excited to have her for a partner.

 

March 9, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | | Leave a comment

Creative Sparks Winter Issue


 

Creative Spark Fall 2014 Winter 2015

I am a proud member of the Znet Shows design team.  This means that, from time to time, I receive some of their beads which I must then use to create original pieces which may or may not be used in their ezine, Creative Spark.

Znet Shows is a wholesale website that has some really beautiful cultured sea glass which I LOVE to work with.   When they sent me beads for the winter issue, I was so happy with the colors and the styles!  THEN I read the enclosed and realized the theme I had to work with was ICY.   ICY!   and sea glass which makes me think of sunny beaches, not snow and ice.  What the heck were they thinking?

I was stumped for a while but one day just got out all my beads and started letting my brain do some mental doodling.   Actually, the colors they sent and the frosty look of sea glass was perfect for the wintery theme.

I’d like you all to go take a look at the winter issue of Creative Spark!  There are some very talented artists who are use other types of beads from Znet Shows so you can get an idea of what else they offer at their site.  There are earring tutorials and there is a great article about Yoga for Beaders.  To see this issue,  you can go to this link.   Enjoy it.  Share it with your friends!

 

I didn’t use all my beads this time.   These beautiful little starfish are going to be perfect for some summer barefoot bracelets!  And there are so many more colors!  I WANT!

starfish

and, I need some of these pretty little shells also though there are so many different colors I can’t decide which.

znetshells

and I have a strand of these beautiful sea blue chips! (Znet calls them pebbles, very apropos).   I see earrings and a bracelet happening!

znetpebbles

and I absolutely must buy some of these delightful fishbone beads.  They will make perfect daggers for a Halloween design I want to make later this year.

znetfishbone

A huge thanks to Hope Smithereen whose hard work is evident in this beautiful issue and to Bill Zhang of Znet shows who is kind and generous and easy to talk to and also runs Graphic Stock.

February 22, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, gemstones, Jewelry, znetshows | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Build a Line Challenge: Progress at Last


nevergiveup

 

Last week, my son posted this on his Facebook page.  I read it and thought how true it was.   He has had so much to struggle with these past years and I am so proud of him and the adversity he has overcome.  I commented on his post, and as I did, I thought……  he learned this from me.

I really needed that, to be put on notice that I should stand by what I taught my children.   I was ready to throw in the towel, to give up on BSue Boutique’s Build a Line Challenge  and resign myself to the fact that I was and always would be a hobbyist, a creator of fun things, one of a kind pieces,  and too scatterbrained to build a cohesive “line” of jewelry.

I had watched a video that Brenda posted to help us out.   In the video, she built the beginnings of a line in a few hours.   I had been struggling for much longer and had far less done.   What was different about me? I mean, what was different other than the fact that she has years of experience and knowledge?  Well, for one thing, Brenda knows every item she has.   I have things scattered all over the place and needed to sit down with a whole table full of different things and play around.   For another, she began with a big beautiful statement piece and took smaller components from that to create other pieces.  This was not exactly something I could do because I had chosen to build a men’s line and most men are not going to buy one of those big necklaces.

For a week after I watched the video I panicked!  I read the posts in class but refrained from commenting.  What exactly could I say?   ARGGHHH!   I can’t do this!   I’m too scatterbrained!  I can get great ideas but can’t follow through!   ARGHHHH.   What business do I have, at 70 years old, trying to fit into a culture like Steampunk?   ARGHHHH   I am the Charlie Brown of the B’Sue Build a Line Challenge!   ARRGHHHH!

Bsuebutton

charlie

 

Here’s where I was at when I watched that video.    I had discovered one thing about men’s jewelry.  SIZE MATTERS!!!!  Stop the snickering ladies and don’t go there!   Men have broader chests and somehow, I think their torsos are longer.   The links I usually make for my chains weren’t working.  They looked too frou frou.  I had torn apart my original links and switched to heavier gauge wire, like 16 instead of 20.  That worked well.   Men also need longer necklaces.   Steamers often wear cravats and vests and even greatcoats and I had to get my focals below the cravat line.   I found that a lot of the things I had ordered for links would not work with my links.

 

from Steampunk Emporium

from Steampunk Emporium

Here is another thing about men of “esteam”.   They do not go to Comic Con every week so the big piece or even the cufflinks or tie tac might not get worn a lot.   I needed something they could also wear for the regular life.  I also realized that this “line” was set to appeal to a smaller subculture.  I needed pieces that would appeal to other men.  Jewelry for men is a smaller subculture all by itself and now I was truly limiting myself.  What the heck do I use that will appeal to men in the mainstream culture at the same time?

Most are not big fans of flowers and glitzy gaud in their jewelry (unless they are a banger or rapper) and most do not go for lime greens and pinks so I wanted to stick with mostly the basics, antique gold, copper and silver with maybe some dark green, black and blue.

AND last:  Most men, given a choice would prefer a sleek convertible to s comfy station wagon.

With these thoughts in mind, I made some decisions.

   Number one:   All of my pieces would be convertibles.   Each chain will come apart and become either two necklaces or a necklace and a bracelet.   One of the necklaces would be more ornate.   The other could be worn with jeans and a tee or with an open neck shirt so that whoever bought them could get more use out of them which should encourage the expenditure of the more significant amount.  Another reason for doing this:  the plainer one would go behind the collar and actually be more comfortable to wear than a chain of all large links.

Number two:  All of my focals would be of mixed metals using all 3 (antique gold, copper and silver) so that any focal could go with any chain.

With these things in mind, I began to work on themes.   Here is what I have come up with.

These are my chains.   The links look like springs and vacuum tubes and in some cases, are gears.   There is one of each metal so far.   I am thinking of combining gunmetal and gold for another basic chain but that is not a given.

antique brass links

antique brass links

copper links

copper links

 

The first lower end items I made came from Brenda’s video on Beerings.    I turned the beer caps into key chain fobs.  My grandson loves to test outlandish beers so he hooked me up with some weird beer caps.  My personal favorite is the Arrogant Bastard beer cap (the black one).   His is the 3 Floyds (with the pink and green).   I added a spring/sprocket link and a clasp so they can be hooked to a key ring   OR…………to one of my chains.   Josh loves his, by the way.   What’s great about these is that someone could custom order one in their favorite beer as long as they mailed me two caps (one in case I mess up) and were willing to wait until I received the caps and made the piece.

beer cap key fobs

beer cap key fobs

 

The first “theme” type things I made used those big pearls from B’Sue Boutiques.  I love them!   I used one in the chain for the bracelet on the gold chain, made a cravat stickpin with another and two for cufflinks.   There is a set now.   You could start with any or all of them.   I had this old vintage brass and mother of pearl button and paired it with a dark jade donut focal for the chain.   I’m setting a precedent here.  All my stone focals will be one of a kind.  A man will not went to see his own focal all over comic con.   Men do have some sense of style after all.   This also allows me some freedom of expression of my own which I really need.  I cannot simply turn out piece after piece that is all the same.

pearls theme

pearls theme

 

I needed a “theme” for the copper and that’s where those cute little steampunkish hats come in.   Notice I used all 3 metals in this one.   This particular focal can be repeated over and over.  The cravat pin and cufflinks will also remain the same.  For a slight extra fee, I can make the focal badkground in different colors of patinaed copper.

basic copper chain

basic copper chain

copper seaparated

copper seaparated

hats focal

hats focal

 

hats set

hats set

 

The “silver” set is not actual silver but tinned copper, which is silver colored copper wire, much more economical and never tarnishes. I used a stone focal for the photos but, of course, that is detachable and any of the focals can be purchased for this set.  I also used some beads in this one.  I think I’ll stick with hematite  beads, a silvery black that is so beautiful.

basic silver set

basic silver set

silver set separated

silver set separated

The plain silver chain, for everyday wear is so simple, but any small charm can be added, a key, a simple gear, a small arrowhead, endless possibilites to express in everday life that you have steamy associations.

 

Where is the assemblage you are asking?   We’ve been busting our butts, painting, gluing and putting things together.   What the heck are YOU doing over there Lee?  Brenda is giving me a sideways look and thinking,……ummm…..Lee, this is supposed to be the B’Sue Build a Line, not Lee’s original chain and stone line.  I want to see more of my product out there.

I’m getting to it.  I’ve had starts and stops and abandoned my original idea and started another so I know I do not have as much done as the rest of you.  BUT, I”m getting there.

Here are some of the focals I’ve worked on this far.   Some are very simple to go with the plainer necklaces.  Some are not.   More are in the works.  Every focal comes with a clasp and can be detached.  A guy could have a whole wardrobe of focals if he wanted!  You go guys!

bugs and leaves

bugs and leaves

Purple Heart medal

Purple Heart medal

058

simple key

simple key

 

I’ve been a wire wrapper for a long time and have plenty of spare wrapped stones.   I’m thinking these wrapped stones would look great with the chains and while they might not be exactly steamy, they are manly.   I have this idea of gluing some of the little charms to them, as you can seen with the  white calcite and the little dragonfly charm.   I’m thinking that I can make up a few with a bug or a dragonfly or bird or key or more on them, then I could offer a selection of the charms and a person could choose which one he wanted on his stone (here I could add some color to match the stone also).

Ohio flint

Ohio flint

arrowhead

arrowhead

stones with charms

stones with charms

 

I have three more themes that I am working on right now, one uses bugs and will be lots of fun if it works out the way I plan.   One uses clocks.   I actually have the focal done but cannot show it yet because it’s getting published in an e-zine that comes out in March and I can’t use it in any blog or facebook page until after that.   I can only say it’s called Frozen in Time.   The cufflinks and cravat pin are not ready yet.  The last one uses those little propellers from B’Sue and while the focal should be fine, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how in the world I can use them for the cufflinks.   I believe they will catch on the jacket cuff and get ruined.   I need some biplanes!  Brenda!!!!!!  Any other ideas?

Anyhow, I’m having fun, lots of fun and am so glad I did not give up on this.  And, I’ve even gotten a reward of sorts already.  My son, Justin, is very sparing with praise.  I had him try on some of the pieces so I could judge if my size estimates were correct.  He actually said “these are actually pretty cool, mom”.    Even if my line never takes off and I sell nothing, I have learned so much from all of you and I am glad I did not throw in the towel.

Why not hop around and see what the rest of the gals in the challenge have made?   Here’s a list for you.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques: Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino Aurora Designs

Jann Tague: Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King: Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford: Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott: Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson: Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten: Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit: Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck: VRBrose

Michaele Collie: The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig: Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman: Strega Jewelry X You are here

Erin Whitacre: Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady: MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West: Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson: Howling Dog Jewelry

Leila Belcher: Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen: Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger: Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams: Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara: LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth: MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey: Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo: Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark: Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman: B. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger: Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen: Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed: Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson: Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields: Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam: Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis: The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico: Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman: Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le: Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters: Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider: Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett: Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson: From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton: Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman: The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter: TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer: Smithed Up

Renee Hong: Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris: Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer: Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams: Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier: Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen: Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams: Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens: 1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller: Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard: Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law: ab:coraldesign

February 20, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, steampunk | , , , , , , | 69 Comments

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