Strega Jewellry's Blog

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

Wheel of the Year: Mabon


Most pagans live their lives by the turning of the year.  We pay attention to nature and attune our bodies and minds to the cycles of the seasons.   I’ll be adding blogs posts all year about the seasonal celebrations we observe.  Some, like Mabon, are lesser observances.   You know Mabon as a solstice or equinox.  Most folk pay no attention at all.  September is the time when kids go back to school.  Stores are full of Halloween and Christmas decorations in an attempt to lure people into spending money.

Pagan “holidays” or celebrations are called esbats and sabbats.  Esbats are the lesser observances, sabbats, the greater celebration.


This is our wheel of the year.

In September, the harvest is our focus.   The abundance of food is slowing down and the focus is on crops of the vine.   Days are warm and nights cool off.   There is plenty of work to do outside during the warm and often windy days.  Brush must be cut and stacked in and around the firepit.   It will be nice and dry and ready for the Halloween bonfires.


Weeds will be pulled a final time and stacked in the compost heap.   My strawberry patch is finally weed free for the runners to grow unencumbered and I have circles the plants with oyster shell for extra calcium to enter the ground over winter.   Clothes can be hung on the line and the winds whip the wrinkle free.   Bed linens are washed and the warmer blankets come out of the cedar chest, filling the house with that subtle scent.  Tomato vines are pulled and the green tomatoes left to ripen in a sunny window.   Herbs are gathered and hung to dry.   The parsley is cut back and the sage, the chives and lemon balm.  Russian sage is cut and put into a glass vase to spread its scent.   Potting soil is mixed with vermiculite and put into a tub for easy  reach when starting seeds in the spring.  The rest of the garden is cleared.

strawberry patch

strawberry patch



ripening tomatoes

ripening tomatoes

It’s also a time for planting.  root vegetable can have a second plating.  Carrots and beets and kale can be planted in early September and grow until the snow flies.   This year I read about “fairy carrots”.   I’m going to try it.   You can plant 3 or 4 carrot seeds in mason jars.  By thanksgiving, you will have baby carrots for your dinner.   This will be great to show the little kids how root vegetables grow.   Some herbs are actually better for having cold winter months to germinate before they pop up in the spring.   This year, I am adding aconite to my plants.  Aconite is better known as wolfsbane, a deterrent to werewolves and I thought the grandboys would get a kick out of planting this.   We whall see what comes up in the spring.

fairy carrots

fairy carrots



I’ve spent a lazy summer sitting in the shade reading books.  The heat just tires me OUT!  This weather energizes me.  I still read outside in the cool evening, enjoying the crickets songs.   The hens will be ready to lay eggs in about 4 weeks.  They go to bed earlier now.  By 7:30, they are in the roost.   My bird friends also go to bed earlier.  Now they are flocking and I can hear so many of them in the trees at night.   They are getting ready tor their long journeys.   Geese fly overhead in formation in the evening hours.  They have practice runs now, also getting ready to fly south.  Their cries mark the official end of summer and the readiness for the cold changes to come.

Yes, I have been incredibly lazy this summer in the stifling heat and humidity.   With the changes, I become energized.   I begin to make links and jumpring rosettes for projects I will work on this winter.

copper links

copper links

jumpring rosettes and chain

jumpring rosettes and chain

I begin to craft some fall jewelry.   Here are some beads I won in a giveaway from Terra Rustica Designs.  Perfect fall colors.   I made them into such a pretty necklace!   Her sandblasted pendants are gorgeous and these beautiful beads with terra cotta color, green and amber remind me of fall’s gorgeous color palette!

Terra Rustica beads and pendant

Terra Rustica beads and pendant\



today, I took some of my new ripe tomatoes and made a big pot of chili.   Every September, when I do this, I think it is the best chili I EVER made!   I can almost taste the sunshine.  I put it in the freezer.   It will be my Mabon feast meal along with home made bread.   And the wheel turns.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Official!

Signups ended and I have a good turnout for the Danse Macabre Blog Hop.   By almost unanimous vote, the official badge is this one.   Please note that this graphic is courtesy of Grapic Stock, modified with Picmonkey of course.


Grab the badge and put it on your own page.  Here’s the link to use

You can put it on your sidebar to direct your readers to the post.

Ladies, we have a small group which makes me happy since this is the first hop I have ever hosted.   It might be small, but there are some great designers here and all have active blogs.   Now, if anything changes, life gets in the way and you can’t participate, please notify me before the hop so we do not have dead links.   A dead link will stop the hopper “dead” in their tracks and we do not want that!  We are dancing after all.  The other good news is that everyone who signed up is a blog hop vet so I don’t think I have to remind you of blog etiquette.   The reveal is August 17th.  Join the dance as soon as possible after posting and be sure to leave comments.   It should not take long to get through this list, just make sure to visit everyone.   It’s part of the fun.   I’ll be having a couple of giveaways too, so you might want to tell a buddy, bring a friend.

Ladies, here is our list of participants.   You should be able to copy it from here and paste it into your own blog.  Don’t forget the list so your readers can see what the rest of the group has made.

Starting, of course with your weird hostess:

Lee Koopman                           Strega Jewellry

Sam Waghorn                           Pale Moon Creations

Dini Bruinsma                            Angaza by Changes

Mowse Doyle                              Mouse Made This

Lori Blanchard                            Alainn Jewelry

Robin Showstack                        Hearts Desire Jewelry for You

Amy Jorgensen                           Hoarders Corner

Nan Smith                                    Wired Nan

Tammy Adams                             Paisley Lizard

Catherine King                              Catherine’s Musings

Michelle McCarthy                         Firefly Designs Studio

Betony Maiden                             Beadwenches Blog

Becca White                                  Morgana Fey Creations

Kim Dworak                                   Cianci Blue

Tami Norris                                   Tamis Creative Spot

Inge Von Roos                               Inge’s Blog

Terry Jeanette Carter                    Tapping Flamingo

Deb Fortin                                       Mohti Studio

Melissa Trudinger                           Bead Recipes

August 30, 2015 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Join the dance!

Lying around all summer, laid up with back problems and suffocating in the heat and humidity in Ohio, I have not posted in months.   I have spent most of the summer reading books and living in some far off world and not creating much of anything.   I’m kicking myself and trying to get back in the dance.   To do so, I believe I’m going to host a blog hop.   It’s something I wanted to do before but had no idea how to accomplish such a thing.   I chose the month of October for this hop to happen and I chose a theme that goes hand in hand with Samhain, or Halloween as you may call it.   My hop is going to be called Danse Macabre.

Oh, right, it’s French, you say, what the heck is that.   Literally, it means the dance of death and the phrase was coined in Medieval times when artistic types used allegories most of the time.   Danse Macabre illustrates the universal aspect of death.   It comes to all, regardless of station in life.  Paintings were created with skeletons dancing their way to the grave, sermons were preached cautioning people that the material side of life was unimportant, death is a fate we must all meet, peasant, pauper, priest, pope or noble.  So, enjoy life, make the most of it for we are all on our way to the same fate.   Life, after all, is a glorious dance with the grave as the finale, dance through it with joy!


1493 medieval painting


from the Creative Life of Bob Sparks on blogspot

It’s also a brilliant classical music composition for violin and piano.   I’m sharing here a modern dance version

Now you want to know what is this blog hop about?   Please, no medieval stuff you say.   Nope.  and we are not going to get morbid either.   We are going to join the dance.  We’re going to have a party.

The challenge?   Pick a spooky or scary or creepy representation from a Halloween type character as your inspiration.   It can be really scary or it can be generic, like “a witch”.  It can be cute, like Mavis, Dracula’s daughter  from Hotel Transylvania.  It can be a zombie or a mummy. It can be Elvira, that Queen of the Night or your favorite vampire.   Make something.  It does not have to be jewelry.   It can be decorations or some other type of craft.  It can be a costume.   Make it, show it off and tell us about it.  How will you celebrate at our dance?

Sign up by commenting on this blog.   Tell me you are IN and leave your name and blog address.  You might want to leave your email address also, especially if you are not in the Bead Peeps Group so I can email you and remind you of the date.    And while you are here, choose one of these pictures for our blog badge.    I simply cannot decide.

one    Please do not sigh up if you do not have an active blog!   I will check links.

Signups are open until August 25th.   On the 31st of August, I’ll have a list of participants here on the blog.  You can copy and paste for your own blog.   And, I will have chosen the official badge for the hop with a link.  




or three?


come on now, you know it’s going to be fun!

August 13, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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    (Hostess)

Karen Mitchell         

Andrea Glick            

Karen Martinez       

Lennis Carrier          

Lindsay Starr            

Mona Arnott            

Lee Koopman          

Shaiha Williams       

Veralynne Malone  

Elisabeth Auld          

Kelly Schermerhorn

Dini Bruinsma          

Jami Shipp                

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

Seize the Day


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.


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?


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 …… 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!


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. 


Murdered  on Mothers Day, May 11 1997.


He has taken his light and is gone now……….into a room I cannot find…….but I know he has been here… 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.


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


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




Millican (hostess) (bead artist)
Candida Castleberry
mischelle andrade
Paige Maxim
Laurie Vyselaar
Marybeth Rich
Alice Peterson
Kim Dworak
Audrey Bélanger
Karen mitchell
Joan Williams
Jean Wells
Ann Schroeder
Gail Accinelli
Tania Spivey
Mallory Hoffman
Mary K McGraw
Shai Williams
Beth Emery
Catie Doman
Lorelei Eurto Http://
Lee Koopman
Tammy Adams
Katie Nelson
Patty Miller
Chris Eisenberg
Cassi Paslick
Charlee Griffith
Kelli Nelson
Catherine King
Melissa Trudinger
susan Bowie
Jennifer Justman
Cassi Paslick
K Hutchinson
Veralynne Malone
Evie and Beth McCord
Mihaela Georgescu
Rebecca Anderso
Charlene jacka
Kim Stevens
Susan McClelland
Sally Russick
Gina Hockett
Mona Arnott
Sandi Volpe
Andrea Glick
Janine Lucas
Lori Bowring Michaud
Christie Murrow
B.R. Kuhlman
Lupe Meter
Lucy Bejarano
Stephanie Perry
Elisabeth Auld
Carolyn Lawson
Heather Powers
Katie Hacker
Kepi Rasmussen 
Gail Vanderster-Zwang
Elizabeth Hodges

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.


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


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.


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.


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!  


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.


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


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.


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.


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//

Linda Anderson
Marica Zammit
Linda Anderson
Jessica Hocutt
Kristina Hahn Eleniak
Debbie Jeffries http://wordpress/debrasdivinedesigns/
Rosantia Petkova
Shalini Austin
Catherine La Vite
Annica Larsson
Lori Schneider
Divya N
Mowse Doyle
Fay Wolfenden
Kathy Lindemer
Claire Fabian
Janice Warden Bergeron
Natalie Davidson
Deb Fortin
Inge von Roos
Karen Mitchell
Robin Reed
Marie Covert
Alicia Marinache
Nan Smith
Johana Nunez
Kelly Hosford Patterson
Lori Blanchard
Sue Kennedy
Shai Williams
Niky Sayers
Melissa Trudinger
Candida Castleberry
Erin Guest
Nicole Rennell
Ien Temaluru
Robin Showstack
Sam Waghorn
Marianne Baxter
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca
Shai Williams
Lee Koopman      X (you are here)
Jayne Capps
Marti Conrad
Tina Bosh
Eleanor Thomas
Jeanne Steck
Gloria Allen
Rachel Mallis!blog/c1jlz
Andrea Glick
Stephanie Stamper
Chris Haussler
Betony Maiden
Kari Asbury
Jenny Kyrlach
Colleen Foley
Marybeth Rich
Marcy Lamberson
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell
Ginny Lones
Maria Rosa Sharrow
Loretta Carstensen
Dolores Raml
Michelle McCarthy
Louise McCormick-Glazier
Heather Richter
Tammy Adams
Shirley Moore
Seed Beaders
Susanne Stelljes
Sheila Prosterman
Pallavi Asher
Jami Shipp
Peggy Kosier
Andra Weber
Catherine King
Krafty Max
Sierra Barrett
Lois Sherwood
Katy Heider
Rebecca Robertson   (White)
Heather Richter
Brandy Collier
Stephanie Haussler
Lori Blanchard
Kathleen Breeding
Becky Pancake
Renetha Stanziano
Tami Norris
Ginger Bishop
Peggy Johnson


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!



Marcia Tuzzolino   Aurora Designs


Jan Tague  of Clever Designs by Jan


Marica Zammit  of Bead Lovelies


Elizabeth Hildreth   Mad Scientist Designs


Monica Cassady of MJ Cassaday Copper Designs


Susan Bowerman   Woodside Wireworks


Renee Hong    Fine & Dandy


Nike Bottalico     of Nike Bottallico


Leila West    Leila Nicole Designs


Lori Beekman    B. Accessorized


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.





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

Build a Line Challenge: School’s Out!



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.

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.


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


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)


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.


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.



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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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!


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!)



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?

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


or this scarf from Morgansilk


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


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.


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


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


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


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