Strega Jewellry's Blog

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Shiba Rescue


For my birthday, I got a business card holder with new business cards from my BFF. Why? She and her husband, Rob, have recently come to run the Tri-State Shiba Inu Rescue. Their friend, Pam founded the organization in 2009, Rob became an officer and Paula was a very active volunteer. Late last year, Pam decided she needed a break from the rescue and wanted to become involved in horse rescue. When my BFF and BFFH (Best Friend Forever Husband) told me they needed a third officer and asked if I would be interested.  What could I say? So, the business cards officially marked my new involvement as secretary for Tri- State.

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What is Tri-State Shiba Inu Rescue? It’s a very small non profit 501.c organization located near Dayton, Ohio, dedicated to rescuing mainly shibas in the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia.

They are a small organization and have no physical facilities. The dogs they rescue are fostered by volunteers. Tri State makes sure that the dogs have all their shots, are tested for heartworm and chipped. Any medical issues the dogs have are addressed by Tri-State. This is a HUGE job because most of the dogs come from kill shleters where dogs have been found abandoned. Many have been neglected or mistreated. Most come from puppy mills where the dogs have had no socialization with other dogs or people. Sometimes, the mills surrender breeders who are of no more use to them.
Before Rob and Paula got involved with rescue work I had no idea what a puppy mill was. I got dogs from neighbors who had pups.  I  never bought one from a pet store in my life.

So, what is a Puppy Mill?
This is a term for a breeder who raises dogs purely for profit. Certainly, all breeders want to cover their expenses in raising champion dogs but mills go to extreme measures. Females are kept in cages their whole lives. In some cases, the cages only allow enough space for the dog to lie down. The dogs are bred, the pups taken at 8 weeks and the females are bred again. They receive little or no medical attention. A female can produce up to 50 pups before she is discarded or killed. The pups are shipped to pet stores. Pups that are not sold are often shipped back and either kept as breeder bitches or killed outright. No one loves these dogs. No one pets these dogs. They never set feet in the grass, run after a ball, romp in the snow or get loving pats and baths. It’s a pitiful excuse for a life.
Photos here are from the LCA website, that is Last Chance for Animals.

These are not shibas but dogs from other breeds. LCA is another non profit,  but it is dedicated to education about puppy mills and investigating breeding practices as well as investigating other animal abuses.   The Humane Society also has information about puppy mills and tries to help animals in need.

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Rescue dogs from the puppy mills are sad cases. It’s a loving mission to give dogs who have had miserable lives some good years.   And, let’s face it, most folks want a cute puppy, not an older dog.   Shibas are typically sturdy dogs and can live 14 to sixteen years, often 18. After years in a mill or in a home where they have been mistreated and abandoned, they certainly deserve a “furever home” where they are loved, the opportunity to play, to be outside and to love in return.
Shibas were originally bred in Japan as hunting dogs. they are a small breed, have short hair and come with cream, red, sesame or black and tan coats. They usually get along well with respectful children and are fiercely independent. They are a proud breed and their stance shows that.

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About Paula and Rob (BFF &BFFH):   Rob has a career working on computer systems. Paula is a full time Fur-Mom. They raise Shiba show dogs of their own, some gorgeous dogs with terrific personalities. They are not a puppy mill by any stretch of the imagination. Their breeder bitches may have one or two litters before they retire and The pups are loved and cared for and get lots of attention. The moms remain part of the household and are cherished.
In addition, they open their home to fosters, which is how they got started with Tri-State. Their own dogs are not treated much differently from their foster babies except that they are trained for shows and participate in shows and fosters are not bred.

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Paula has her hands full, taking time each day to exercise and play with every dog. There is no “dog” smell or institutional smell at their house. Every water bowl shines, every bit of bedding is clean. She keeps a watchful eye on any medical issues the fosters may have and she and Rob both interact with them, teaching them to play and helping them lose their fears to get them ready to go out in the world to their adoptive homes.
They both train their own dogs, preparing them for shows. Both are very involved in the Warren County Kennel Club and with classes at the Warren County Fairgrounds. And, if a dog goes missing near or far, they are both active in dog searches no matter what the weather.  No matter what the work load, an important part of every day is playtime.

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How about a couple of stories about dogs from Tri State? If you want to see more stories and pics, visit Tri-State’s web page

This is Kobi.   He is such a sweetheart that his foster family fell in love with him and decided to adopt him.   He is one lucky guy.  He looks pretty comfy to me in his new home.

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Here is Maude. She is a sweet senior gal who has a lot of medical issues that include seizures from neurological problems. She will never be adopted out and does not have much time left to enjoy her new life, but what little time she does has left will be spent with someone who loves and cares for her.    Tri-State will cover all her medical expenses and care for her until it is time she crosses the Rainbow Bridge.

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Here is Wiley. A shelter in Kentucky contacted Tri-State and offered them the opportunity to take him.  His time was up at the shelter. He was supposed to be a quick turnaround dog, that is, ready for adoption when they took him but when he came to Tri-State he had kennel cough and giardia. Paula and Rob have addressed his medical issues and he should be ready for adoption soon.   Here is an interesting side note about Wiley.  Sometimes, when a rescue is medically cleared and just needs some socialization skills, Paula and Rob may take them to attend one of the classes.   Wiley, being cleared went to the final obedience class with them last week.   To their great surprise, he passed all but the last step that a dog needs for certification!   Someone, at some time must have taught him to sit, shake, stay and so on.   He will be a wonderful adoptee for some lucky family.   norrisdogwiley.jpg

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Running a rescue takes a lot of time and love not to mention a LOT of cash. If you love dogs and want to help, even in a small way, what can you do? Would you want to be a volunteer or help transport dogs? Or you could donate. Tri-State’s web page has a donate button. They also have an address listed there. You could send a gas card. Those are used when volunteers transport dogs from one state to another.

Maybe you would like to foster a rescue.   You could ask about that.  You must, however, have time to give that would help an animal gain the social skills needed to go to a new home.

If you don’t have money to donate and you shop at amazon or Kroger, you can help in a small way just by signing up and doing your regular shopping. Go to Amazon Smiles or this link for Krogers grocery store rewards program  and choose Tri-State Shiba Inu. A few pennies from every dollar you spend will be donated to them. Trust me, those pennies add up. If you want to find out other ways you could help, shoot an email to Tri-State Shiba Inu Rescue.  

My BFF and BFFH spend a lot of their time, not only caring for the dogs but screening volunteers and adoption papers. They want the best possible homes for the dogs and have to ask a lot of questions to make sure the adoption is the right fit for both the adoptive parents and the dogs.
Rob might drive 3 hours to pick up a single rescue or several dogs. These trips are hard on dogs and drivers. Dogs must be crated for their safety and the driver cannot stop for breaks because a dog who has been caged is almost sure to run at the first opportunity and you would be miles from the resources to catch him.

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Paula may spend many days a month at the vet and caring for a dog who has medical issues. Her days are filled with interactions with dogs who may be fearful of going through a door, being outside or dealing with their new found freedom. Everything is new to a puppy mill rescue. Remember, they have not been outside, seen snow, played with toys or socialized with other dogs.
I’m proud to be a even a tiny part of this group.  If you want to know more, visit their web page and for sure, if you are a dog lover “like” their Facebook page.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | animals | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Me and Jesse James


Jesse James Beads has a contest coming up in February and I could use some help deciding what to enter.   First of all, let me tell you about Jesse James Beads.   I’ve bought them a lot.   I’ve always looked for them in stores because they have very cool beads.   If you do any jewelry work, you know you might fall in love with a particular style of bead or color and buy them then spend forever looking for the “right beads” to go with them before you start “making”.  Then you might end up with half a strand here and there that just sit around forever because you have all these extra beads and are bored with them.  We all do it!  I think that is why we de-stash so much, LOL.

That does not happen with Jesse’s beads.   When I find a color or style I like, I just move further down the aisle and can find a mini bundle of beads that go with whatever caught my eye in the first place.  And, it makes it really easy to do what I love best…………create a whole SET of things that go with each other, necklace, bracelet, earrings.

So, getting to the point here, they came out with this fabulous Goddess Collection last month and I was all over the page.   There were 4 different Goddesses represented with appropriate color schemes, charms, tassels, pendants and all the things you would ever need to use.   I had a tough time deciding which set to go with.  There were two Norse Goddesses, an Egyptian and a Hindu.   I loved all of them but ended up choosing the Hindu Goddess, probably because the colors were so bright and happy and I am so ready for spring!   These are the beads I got, big beads, little beads, tiny accent beads and charms and tassels!   Love them!

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I know, I know, I’m talking and you want to see pictures!!!  Getting there.

Anyhow, I have a Hindu friend and when she dresses for weddings and special celebrations, there is always LOTS of color and lots of gold and sari silk so I used gold color wire and just had to use sari silk ribbon in at least one piece

I designed this necklace with some gold wire wrapped in sari ribbon and that fantastic elephant charm plus some tiny beads for accents on the neck piece and those little beauties between the links.   Love it!   It’s such a happy piece.

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Next was the bracelet.  While I was waiting for the beads to come I made up some “wedding ring” links in this gold color textured wire and all I had to do when I got the beads was put on the dangles and the little gold Hamsa charm.

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Then I went nuts with earrings.

Here is a pair with tiny elephant charms and these cute little fabric balls.

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Here is a fancier pair with big gold color pieces, tiny accent beads and gold wire.

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Here are some orange beads that look like balls of string so I dangled little orange tassels from them

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I fell in love with these tiny hearts that have the hole through the side so they sit at an angle when they dangle.   A perfect match for those odd burgundy beads which I almost matched up with the next beads that are burgundy and gold but instead put those with the little lotus flowers.

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And finally, I made some gold spirals and dangles these tiny tassels.

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Here is where I need help.   You can only enter one piece in the contest.   Oh, by the way, you win a shopping spree.   I don’t know for how much.  It really does not matter to me because even 20 bucks would be 20 I didn’t have to spend on beads and they just came out with some really cool beads for Valentine’s Day (WANT!).  Help me choose a piece to enter.   Just message me on Facebook or leave a comment here and I’ll go with popular opinion.

 

I made all these things with just two small “bundles” that I bought and had all these beads left over.   My daughter has her eye on some of them so I plan to come up with gifties for her, LOL.   And there are more earrings and maybe a necklace left in that pile.

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Oh, and last but not least:   they sent me a little free gift with my order, three heart beads that had the cutest design on them.   They reminded me of the little flowers on sugar skulls.

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So I dug up some skulls I had left over from buying someone’s de-stash and some other leftover beads and some gunmetal chain.   Now, I don’t think anything but the hearts are from Jesse James so this cannot go in any contest BUT if I had seen the Valentine beads, they would have been perfect with these little hearts.   I made this Goth girl bracelet and the first person who saw it wanted it!   Made me happy!

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January 26, 2018 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Versatility


Holiday season……….rush , rush, rush!   Some days are so busy it seems like you are on the go from morning till night.   It’s also cold weather season, the switch to warm sweaters and light jackets.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE scarves!   The thing that exasperated me about scarves is that I had to stop wearing necklaces if I had on a scarf to accent my outfit.   I decided to do something about that one.   I have combined some of my favorite scarves with favorite jewelry pieces.

The beauty of these accessories is that I can start out at the grocery with jeans and a jacket and keep the same scarf till night time when I am meeting friends for a show.   Any of these pieces would go well with casual wear when you are shopping and maybe meeting friends for a quick lunch, or to work with a skirt and jacket or dress pants and top.   They go with sweaters, or with a simple dress to wear to a club.

I’m not going to do descriptions just photos.  You can find these and more in my Etsy shop, Studio L

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See how pretty that cameo looks with the scarf?

How about this butterfly focal with a teal scarf.   Showing 3 views, one closeup, one with a jacket and one with a sleeveless top which I did in place of a dress.  I did all photos with black so I did not have to keep changing my model’s clothes.  The “lovely Claudia” my model is quite helpless.

And this one has a gorgeous jasper focal.   The autumn colors are so beautiful.

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This one has a beautiful turquoise donut focal and bright seafoam scarf.

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Here is one just for you witchy women.

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and one for cat lovers

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This one has a fairy and your initial.   The initial L is showing.   I also have J, D, and S.  Could not do the whole alphabet.

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There are more.   Just check out my Etsy shop, Studio L.   

Do you have a favorite scarf of your own?   I can do a custom order:  design a special pendant just for you.   Message me if you are interested and we will talk.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | fashion, holidays, Jewelry, wiccan | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Return


Wow! I’ve sure been away from my blog a long time! I’ve been SO very busy! Went on a great family vacation to upstate New York for a whole week!

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Bought a new house and have I ever had some fun fixing it just the way I wanted! Digging flower beds and transplanting plants from the old house, fixing the inside just the way I want it, unpacking and setting up my workshop in the basement. I have a basement! Researching ideas for my naked back yard (absolutely NO plants in this new yard).
Here is my new Gothic bedroom.

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Here are some things I have planted around the patio

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Here is my ugly “extra” room in the basement, the empty place where nothing is stored, there is no workshop and nothing but space and ugly walls. I cleaned out the area which was no small job. Believe me, I hired help! A drug addict had been sleeping on a mattress in that back corner. UGH! After the walls got a fresh coat of paint, I started a faux brick wall. I had to teach myself how to do this………..read some instructions on the internet and went from there.
This first section took so many hours to do that I knew if I had to pay myself, I could not afford to hire me. Halfway through this first wall, I had the beginnings of a system. By the time I finished the final wall, I had it down pat. I can now do a wall in two four hour days. One to set the work and let it dry and the other to paint. Now I can turn pro! Seriously! One of my friends is buying an new house and thinks he might want his walls done this way. Another friend buys houses and flips them. He said if I could do this kind of work he could hire me and tack on a couple of extra thousand to the selling price. LOL I could start a whole new career! At my age, that’s amazing!
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Anyhow, I’ve settled in. The animals have settled down and love their new home. And I am ready to start working on my crafty things………..well, as soon as the guys get finished installing my new furnace I am. So, I’ll be writing about the progress in my “spare” basement room, about some new things I have learned, about the new Etsy shop I am opening and of course, accessories and more accessories! woot woot! I’m back!

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Jewelry, pagan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Salem Avenue Returns


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A few years back, I started a podcast called Salem Avenue.   It’s a mythical place where pagans live.   The podcast is about how to put a bit of magic into everyday life.  It’s a show for people curious about pagan life and how pagans live, day to day.   The hostess is Athmay la Strange.   She talks about stone, herb and animal lore, pagan holidays, and has a strange sense of humor.

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The neighbors:

Orra Cull, a druidic type young man who knows lots of strange and wonderful facts about animals.

Coriander, a fussy hedge witch who has a little dog named Pixie.pixie2

Boline, a kitchen witch.

The nosey neighbors, Ms. Buttinski and her fiance, Mr. Ogler who think pagans are strange folk who dance naked in the yard and do other weirdness that probably should be reported to the police.

Tonight’s episode, due to unforseen technical difficulties is raw and unedited with no sound effects, intro or outro.  It can only get better.  Learn about apple magic and get a recipe for herbal tea that will help with anxiety and depression and one for Four Thieves Vinegar.   No idea what use you would have for something called Four Thieves?   Listen and find out.   Salem Avenue Podcast

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October 3, 2016 Posted by | metaphysical, New Age, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Size Matters


Whenever you choose jewelry for yourself you need to consider your body size and shape and how the piece you are drawn to will look in proportion to these.  We talked about face shapes and how the earrings you wear can draw attention to features that you want people to notice and how they can help create an illusion, shortening a jaw or minimizing it.   Now, let’s talk about how what you wear can accentuate your best physical features.

Let’s start with some basics.

Petite ladies, we’re talking under 5’2″ and smaller sizes, need to be careful about the size necklace they wear.  This and petite gals do not want large pieces.  Something like this, for instance, would make you look like you were overburdened with too much jewelry.

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I’m not saying don’t go with original styles for gosh sake, you want to be unique, just don’t over do it.   Let’s take two sizes of the same basic design.   These are my new mermaid garden pieces, small mermaids perched on stones.

This style is NOT for a dainty petite woman.

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This one would look much better.   It’s still unusual, but it’s smaller scale and more suited to your body type.  I have this posted in my new shop.

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If you are petite but on the heavier side, wear a piece that is more open, that has dangles that draw the eye up and down to give a slimming illusion.

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or this one……see how the dangles draw the eye up and down?

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Ladies of medium height, between 5’5″ and 5’7″ have more freedom of choice.  Just keep in mind where you want to draw attention to create those illusions.   If you have a long torso and shorter legs, you want to draw the eye up to the shoulders and face, giving the illusion of longer legs.

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Longer legs with a short torso calls for a longer piece to draw the eye down from the face creating the illusion of longer torso length.  This Egyptian style is a great example of that longer length and of a bold piece.

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Tall gals really want to wear bold statement pieces, one of a kind beads and other accessories with a lot of substance like loads of bangle bracelets.   Dainty chains and smaller pieces can get “lost” on tall gals.  So go bold and beautiful!

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or this boho style

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No matter what you height, keep your SHAPE in the forefront of your mind.   Larger women, you want to emphasize your very  best features also.  Don’t think these choices are just for long lean ladies.  You plus size divas are at an advantage here.  You can not only wear bold pieces, you can get away with lots of layers!   Just be cautious HOW you layer those necklaces!

First, do not start with pieces that are too close to your face and that are chunky type stones.   Start with at least 24 inches.   Use oval stones or rectangles, not pieces that have a lot of width, drawing the eye from side to side.

Leave an open area around the face so it shines and your smile makes it a focal!  Then, use layers to take the eye up and down.   A lariat like this one would be great for a woman with large bust and defined waist, drawing attention to the waist.   Add some simple chains or a medium length necklace with an oval pendant then a chain on either side of it with the lariat at the last bottom piece.

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Women of all sizes and shapes have plenty of choices.  Each can be beautiful in her own way.

Any questions?  Just ask.   Next blog is a metaphysical blog about gemstones and their meanings.   Come back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 1, 2016 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: Lammas


 

Whooo-eeee, I sure missed the Lammas post by a mile!   It’s about the busiest time of the year with all the harvest coming in.   Seems that every day I’m picking the must do up the food for storage.   Love the fresh ripe tomatoes the best but crisp green peppers and cucumbers make such great eating.   My daughter stopped by the other day and when she said she was hungry, I went to the garden and picked salad fixin’s fresh right then.  I keep grilled chicken and bacon crumbles handy for summer salads.  Add some burnet out of the herb garden, some fresh parsley and what a meal!

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I’ve been doing a lot of other work also.  Just now opened a new shop on Etsy.  I’ve called it Studio L Jewellry, featuring my own work and that of Liam Mac Steamish.   It’s a fresh start with new things.   I hope you will check it out and “heart” it.   I’ve not too many items yet but it’s a work in progress.

Made some decisions also.   Quite a few folk have messaged me and want to know if I am ever going to do new podcasts.   It’s been years since I started Salem Avenue and I did have a lot of fun doing it.   I am going to try to do my first “new” one on October 1st.   I am, however, moving to a new host, one that has better support and more bandwidth.   I’m excited about it and have projects planned for my Facebook page and blog and for the podcast.   I do believe I’ll start my own webpage on GoDaddy called 1313 Salem Avenue.

I’ve got some fun ideas.   I want to do some “stone readings” so I can tell you what stones you need in your life, a “stone personality” event and I have plans for a mini tarot reading.  You’ll get the mini reading and the cards will tell me what stones you need to wear or carry to help in your situation.

I’ve been doing some jewelry experiments also with “living” wearable art.  My mermaid gardens are way cool.  I have a prototype made and just today made 4 more to sell.  Do not have photos of the new ones but here is the prototype.

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August 18, 2016 Posted by | gemstones, metaphysical, New Age, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Let’s Face It: Oval Faces


This is the final part in my series which looks at face types to help choose jewelry and accessories.   Parts one and two looked at round, square, and heart shaped faces.  Being aware of your face type will help you choose the best accessories to emphasize your better features and the best to minimize attention to any “faults” you may find in your features.  This is also a great gift guide for guys who want to choose jewelry for their girlfriends, moms or sisters.  So, gentlemen, pay attention.

The oval face is probably the most desirable.  Any type of earrings or necklaces can be worn with this type of face.  There are, however, exceptions.  If your oval face also happens to be long, you will want to make it appear shorter and balance out.   I have some good suggestions here for doing just that.

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If your face appears long, you will want to wear necklines and earrings that draw the eye from side to side, giving the illusion of width.

Keep your hairstyle medium or shorter, bringing the eye up and away from the chin.

Wear necklines that emphasize a side to side glance rather than plunging necks that draw the eye downward.

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boat neck

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round scoop neckline

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Earrings should be shorter and not too slim.  Flowers are great for long face, their petals draw the eye sidewise as do stars.

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Just because your earrings are shorter, it does not mean they must be boring.  In fact, the more unique they are, the more the eye is drawn to them and the glance goes away from that up and down sweep that makes your face appear longer.

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YOU are the perfect girl to rock these “big ole hootchie mama” earrings!

Keep your necklaces shorter and close to your face, again, avoiding that up and down sweep and going for the side to side glance.

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These  chunky agates with the scarab are perfect!

Something simple like this pyrite sun slab and a silver collar will give the illusion of width to take away from the reality of length.   The shape of your focal piece can bring  width to the view.

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If you really want to wear a longer necklace, choose an unusual piece that has width, one that has simpler beads which will bring the eye directly downward to the piece itself.

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I hope this series has been helpful.  Remember, if you want to see more pieces for your type of face, check my Facebook page, Strega Jewellry.   I will have an album for each type of face where you can see more choices.

March 20, 2016 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: Ostara


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Gradually warming days, usually with plenty of rain and mud.  The yard looks a mess but you can get out and work on the days without showers.  Birds have returned and fat robins are nesting.  I put out a mesh bag of yarn scraps so they can line their nests.  They are so busy.   I am sure they can use the help.

The moss in my fairy garden turns greener.   It is time to plant peas.  Peas want the cold ground for a good start and this time of year is the best time to plant them.   I got mine in today just before the rain came.   I always soak my peas overnight so they are almost ready to pop open before I put them in the ground.   Yes, it will get chillier again but the peas with thrive in the cold.   Root crops can go in the ground now.   Time to plan where you are going to plant.

My chives stay green even in the ice and snow, but in March they take on a greenier green.  My crocus have all popped out this week and their bright colors give me a lift.  It’s spring for sure.

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I get excited when I spy the soft catkins of the pussy willows.  I always try to bring some branches inside.   The little grey catkins make me smile.   My spirits are uplifted with the warmth and the sun.

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It’s a good time of year to start seeds indoors.  I plant by the moon.   Best time this year is from March 9th until the 22nd when the moon is waxing.  Today I started herbs for the herb garden my son, Mort, built for me last fall.   Horehound will grow every year now and be wonderful in teas for congestion from colds next winter.  Anise will make such great licorice flavored teas for stomach flu.  Burnet is an herbb I’ve never seen in the stores.  I love it in salads with its light cucumber taste.  Parsley, of course and basil are started and summer savory.   I’m going to try  some lemon grass and vanilla grass.  I love their wonderful smells.  And lemon grass, basil and hibiscus make a great tea to give you a mental lift!

Ostara is my second favorite “holiday”. It marks a major change in light and after the equinox, the days are truly noticeably  longer.  More light means more new growth.  Beneath the ground, plants are stirring.  Buds are beginning to form on tree branches.  In our hearts, we are ready to plant new “seeds” also.   We all have projects we look forward to starting.  We have new ideas we want to express.   We begin spring cleaning in our homes.  The windows are open and the pine smell of cleaners replaces the dust and cobwebs of winter.   In our heads and hearts, the dust and cobwebs we have collected over winter are cleared away and we sweep them away to make room for fresh starts.  Getting rid of old angers, fears and habits is the best way to mark the spring.

With increased times of light, the hens begin to lay more eggs.  Did you know that hens lay best when their retina is stimulated by 12 hours of sunlight?   It’s probably one of the reasons  why the ancients used eggs as symbols of fertility at Ostara.   The new layers would begin production when the days grew longer.

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Ancient cultures drew signs and symbols on eggs to aid the sun in gaining strength.  Eggs are still decorated at the Christian Easter but no longer consciously considered fertility symbols.   Pagans drew symbols for prosperity, fertility and protection on the eggs.  Probably the most well known are Pysanky eggs.   These that are most famous are from the Ukraine.

Pysanky eggs designs are drawn on in wax, then the egg is dyed………..lightest color first.  Then the part that is to remain this color is waxed over and the egg enters another dye bath.  The process if repeated over and over.   Designs are animal, vegetable and geometric.  Most have encircling bands that represent the process of life, death and rebirth over and over.   Triangles represent the Triple Goddess, squares, the Earth, ladders represent various planes of existence while pinwheels and 8 pointed stars are ancient sun signs.   Here are some of my favorite designs.  You can understand why these eggs are considered so magical when you realize the amount of time and work that went into their creation.

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You can find a lot more designs on Pinterest.   I think some of the designs would make beautiful beads.

 

 

 

March 10, 2016 Posted by | holidays, metaphysical, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: Imbolg


 

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February 2nd, Imbolg or Candlemas as it is sometimes called is a time of quickening.   Beneath the frozen ground, the seeds and roots of returning plants begin to stir.   They have slept through the “dark time” of the year but now begin to awaken as the first signs of the coming spring appear.  Snows melt, the rains begin and the very top of the ground becomes a muddy mess.   Birds and geese begin to return.  The yowling of cats at night marks the start of mating season.  Last night, I knew for sure that spring was on the way.  I smelled a little skunk, roused from his winter sleep.  Did you know that the males spray when they are sexually excited?   Yep.   It’s officially the mating season when you smell your first skunk of the year.

The sap begins to stir in the trees.  One of my favorite memories of this time of year when I was a girl was of my uncle making maple syrup.    He would tap the maple trees.

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We would ride the tractor and trailer with him the gather the sap from the trees.  We took mason jars and drank it cold from the buckets.   It tasted like sweet water.   At night, the saphouse was a haven of warmth from the fires and the smell of cooking syrup.   I found a video on YouTube if you are interested in the process.   It is an art to make really good maple syrup.

 

One of my favorite treats from this time of year was Jack Wax.  To make it, your pour the fresh syrup, boiling hot, on the last of the winter snow.  We had to go up on the mountain to find clean snow left deep in the woods. My aunt would pack the snow in dishes and we eagerly awaited the time when they syrup was just right to pour into our pans of snow.     The syrup does not totally harden to candy but becomes a soft ball of “wax” and eating it is sheer delight.   We would eat and eat.  I found a recipe for jack wax here at Mother Earth News.  

As the Earth begins to quicken in anticipation of Spring, so do our bodies and spirits.   Seed and flower catalogues arrive in the mail.  I pour over them eagerly and plan what I will plant.   I found a great website for ordering herbs and seeds this year.  Sand Mountain Herbs.   If you love unusual seeds, heirlooms seeds and herbs, check out Larry’s website.   I ordered seeds from him and he takes such care to package each group of seeds.  All instructions are written on the outside of the package, sometimes even handwritten.   He has put a lot of love into his site.   There is advice for when to plant and what different herbs are used for.   His prices are so reasonable you will want to buy a lot!

It is still the dark time of the year however and there is still “work” do be done as we go within ourselves and prepare for our own transitions.   This year, I have had a lot to think about.  After my cataract surgery, I can see perfect 20/20 at a distance, something I have not been able to do since 5th grade!  It’s amazing!  BUT, my close up vision, because of the implants, is terrible.   With simple reading glasses, I  can read and knit very well BUT, my jewelry making is very difficult.   I talked to one of my old instructors about it and she said experiment with creating by touch.  There are blind artists you know.   I fought this for a few days then decided to try it out.   I played with my polymer clay and found that I can do this without so much trouble as working with wire.   This may be the path I must take up at this time.

I have a blogger friend, Nan who does these amazing oracle readings with Goddess amulets.   We had talked, at Samhain, about an idea I had to make small Goddesses to go with her readings.   Initially, I had thought to use polymer clay and stamp designs onto it.   As I experimented with my “touch” method, I realized that my tiny figures would be small “sculptures”.   I want them to look primitive.   I played with colors, the colors of the goddess aspects themselves.   This week, I finished my prototypes.   I made them into beads at first but I think they do not want to be beads, they want to be tiny sculptures to be held in the hand.   I didn’t like the colors.  I found I liked the ones I made that looked like stone.   I have some photos here.  They are terrible of course because the sun refused to come out and  help me. The colors look too dark. Tell me what you think.   Don’t you like the stone goddesses better than the colored ones?   Well, except for the River Goddess.   I think she wants to be mostly blue.   Anyhow, this transition was not easy for me.   I spent 2 months when I could not see at all until my eyes were both done and I could see with 2 eyes then another few weeks fighting to “see” and not “feel”.   I am ready to make my 2nd batch now and have confidence that they will turn out much better.

If you are wondering about your own life and transitions, take a look at Nan’s blog and consider getting a reading for yourself with the Goddess Oracle Amulets.

Here are my awful photos of my prototypes of the amulets.

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February 5, 2016 Posted by | holidays, Jewelry, metaphysical, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments