Strega Jewellry's Blog

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

Wheel of the Year: Yule


wheelyule

We are here on the Wheel.  Again and yet again, it is pointed out that Yule is a lesser “holiday” for pagans and not such a huge deal as the Christian Christmas has become.   There are many websites which will explain all the ways in which pagan traditions were taken to make up the traditions that manifest at Christmas, the tree, the Holly King, the sweets, the mistletoe and more.  I’m not one to repeat all that here.

Yule is important because it marks the longest night of the year.  The days have gradually become shorter until winter arrives and while Winter is nowhere near done, Yule marks the promise that Light will reign again.  From this day forward, each day will become a bit longer, the light will last longer.  It’s  a promise of Spring and Summer that seem so far away.

These days, it’s easy to forget that.  We have electricity and furnaces and food in plenty.  At this time of year, I am always amazed that in older times, people would have such faith in the turning of the seasons that they would feast on the darkest of days. Think about it.

Their homes were drafty and cold.  Even when the harvests were good, they didn’t have the means to store food like we do.  Their lives depended on what they had stored from the harvest and what the men could hunt.  On December 21st, they still had the coldest months of January and February to depend upon their food stores then March before they saw a hint of fresh herbs growing wild.  Game was scarce.  Animals stuck close to their dens and men close to their fires.  Yet, every year, from the humblest of towns

Yulevillage

to the high halls of the lords

yulecastle

(photo from Dreamstime.com)

the lady of the house would take stock of her stores and lay out a feast for Yule.   What faith that must have taken!  To use the best of what you had to celebrate the coming of Light when you could not know if you would have enough to last through the coldest months!

yulefeast

That is the magic of Yule for me, that incredibly enduring Faith.  I am always mindful of it as this season comes.  I wonder that it does not get “lost” in our mad scramble for gifts and decorations.  I try to take time to reflect on what really matters, not what gifts I can buy but what gifts I can give, of my time, my love, stories, food and just sharing good energy.  Call  old friends, forgive someone, laugh with children, share joy and light, the riches you have and have faith that these are things you will not run out of.

Send a card:  If you are looking for pagan cards, I know the perfect place to find them.   Moondragon Cards is based in the UK and has some gorgeous cards for all seasons AND calandars!   Find them on Facebook

Celebrate the birth of the child of Light

 

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December 17, 2015 Posted by | folklore, holidays, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Face It Part I


Have you ever fell in love with a piece of jewelry, bought it, then did not like it when you wore it?   It seemed so right at the shop but when you actually put it on, it looked all wrong?

The type of jewelry you should wear will depend upon your face shape.   I’m going to do a 3 part series of posts about fashion and face shapes.  I’ll give you a face type, tell you what sort of jewelry goes best with that specific face type and show you some examples.

Guys!   this will be a HUGE help when you are trying to decide what to buy for the ladies in your life.  And for everyone else, it’s not just your own shape you should consider, but an aid when choosing gifts for moms, friends, daughters and that Secret Santa gift you need for the job.   I thought this time of year would be a great time to discuss gift giving help but actually, we need gifts all year long.

Let’s start with both round and square shape faces.  We have the same goal with both…..to make the face appear longer, not wider, to draw the eye up and down instead of horizontal.

round face

round face

square face

square face

To draw the glance vertically we want long dangly earrings.  chandelier earrings are great for this.   Triangle shaped earrings are good if the wide part of the triangle is at the top and the slim point is at the bottom.   If you have a curve, make sure it faces inward, not outward.  Long drops, tassels, and dangling chains are good.   Diamond shapes are fine as long as the diamonds are long and thin, not like inverted squares.   It also helps if there is a bead drop from the bottom of the diamond.

earringshapesrnd

acophrtearz3

these brushed copper and glass earl earrings are great for a round face, long and dangly and the heart shape just accents the vertical gaze

rndmnstn

These moonstone dangles are great for a square face, the length draws the eye vertically and the round silver bezels soften the line of the jaw.

Keep the neckline of your clothing in mind when you choose necklaces.   Don’t buy turtlenecks for ladies with short necks or round or square faced.   They crowd the chin and bring the eye right back up topside.  We want it going up and down remember?  You want a neckline that pulls the eye downward toward the bosoms so avoid boat necks which pull the eye side to side.

Scoop necklines are great for pulling the eyes down.   Ladies with square faces look best with a rounded scoop neck.  The curve of the neckline will soften the lines of the jaw.

round scoop neckline

round scoop neckline

square scoop neckline

square scoop neckline

Round faces  seem to have more definition with a square scoop neck.

When choosing necklaces, do not buy pieces that are very short, like chokers or collars.  they crowd the face.   Choose pieces that are over 20 inches long.   Long dangly pendants are best.  They bring the eye downward.   Avoid large chunky beads near the face or layers of chain.   Assemblages pieces are not ideal.  Large amounts of eye interest across the neck will take the eye horizontally again.   The best assemblage pieces will feature  a minimal assembly with dangling charms.

rndonyx

A great piece for either type face but especially square.  The oval shape of the pendant lengthens the face while the feminine ribbon and minimal amount of beads will soften the lines.

 

A half hang necklace with its symmetrical curves which features a beautiful focal is a great addition for both these necklines and these face types.   A round face would want a focal that is not round but oval or rectangular.  Ditto the square face type. Square faces want soft curves  Triangle shapes are also great.  Again, dangles from the focal do no harm.

Cowl necks are also great.   And they are wonderful for displaying long dangly earrings!

cowl neck

cowl neck

acornearz

 

 

Tube tops in summer and strapless dressy dresses are also fine.  Attention is taken from the face and downward.  Wear simple pendants on chain or cord or boho style pieces.

asunmon4

 

V-necks are perfect for both face types, again, focusing the eye downward.   For V-necks, you do not want elaborate pieces but simpler types of beautiful pendants that you want to show off.

V-neck sweater

V-neck sweater

acorn2

Here is one other thing to consider when selecting gifts.  Size matters!   Larger ladies will not look  best in tiny delicate pieces.   The piece will “get lost”, appear too small.   Fuller figured ladies can wear beautiful bold pieces with no problem at all and bold chains and dramatic beads.  Yaaaay

cicada4!

One last thing.   If you “like” my facebook page, you can check out more types of jewelry to get better ideas.   I’ve created special albums for face types with examples of pieces that look well with specific face types.   It will be easier than checking back with this blog when you go shopping.   If you subscribe to this blog and email me that you did, I’ll email you 2 downloadable charts that will help you choose pieces both for yourself and others.

 

 

 

 

 

December 8, 2015 Posted by | fashion, holidays, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Superstition Blog Hop


Tammy Adams of Paisley Lizard designs came up with the terrific idea for a blog hop, the Superstition Hop.

She also created some wonderful black cat beads from polymer clay.  The first 13 people to sign up for her hop won a bead.  Our challenge was to make something with her bead.  We could also take our “favorite” superstition to inspire us to design.   This sounded like SUCH great fun, I rushed to sign up and sure did win one of these adorable little “lucky black cat beads”.

superstition

I’m not a really superstitious person.  I do not think that black cats are unlucky nor the number 13.  I love the number 13, after all, 1313 is the Munster’s address.   I do not avoid walking under ladders (though I do look carefully to make sure there are no tools in danger of falling on my head).

I do, however, toss salt over my shoulder if I spill some, just in case it does bring bad luck.  I do not kill spiders because it is good luck to see one.   At this particular time of year, I should be ROLLING in good fortune with all the spiders trying to move into to the house due to the cold weather.   I don’t kill crickets who come into the house just in case they DO bring good luck.  And, I do let thistles grow in my flower bed because they are supposed to keep thieves away.

Anyhow……….when I got my cute little bead, I looked around to try to find out why black cats were considered unlucky.  Supposedly, if a black cat crosses your path, you will have bad luck.   Hmmmm.   No reason why. ,

I have always, however been fascinated with African “hoodoo” magic, a version of Hatian voodun. Not that I want to practice voodoo, it’s way too complicated for me, but I love the mythos of the loa and stories of Haiti, the colorful alters and the interesting characteristics of the l’wa.

blackcatspell

According to hoodoo or voodoo as it is sometimes called, a black cat bone carried in a mojo bag will bring a lover back to you again and again.  It is very strong magic so they say.  There was even a song written about it.  Black Cat Bone was a song done by many musicians from old bluesmen like Lightening Hopkins to more modern singers like Johnny Winter and  Eric Clapton.  The lyrics tell of a man singing that he believes that his “baby has a black cat bone” because she runs around and cheats on him, is gone all night and has several men but he keeps going back to her.  Maybe that was why the black cats were considered unlucky.  A man would be compelled to go back again and again to a cheating woman who had a black cat bone.

Lore says, a black cat bone was only effective if you boiled a pot of water at midnight on the waning moon and tossed in a live black cat, killing it and boiling the flesh away.  The  bone that floated to the top was the most effective.  EEEUUUUWW!  No WONDER  they came to mean bad luck!   I simply cannot imagine ANY good coming to a person who had a personality that would  DO such a thing!

ANYWAY……….black cat bones were considered such big mojo that a whole line of magical items grew out of this lore.  You can buy black cat incense, black cat oil, black cat candles and black cat powder.  Just for the heck of it, I checked on eBay and you can buy “black cat bones” which are actually (so I have heard) chicken bones splintered and painted black.  I also read that the black cat oil is not actually rendered fat from black cats but mineral oil scented with natural oils.  I would certainly hope so.

Just look at this cute bead I got from Tammy!   How could anybody think he was bad luck!

blackcatbead

I sure did not want to make any jewelry out of black cat bones so I kept looking for inspiration.   I did find a spell and some lore that black cat hair is lucky for gamblers!   hey!   Here I go!   I created this “lucky black cat necklace” with some moon and star charms,  and some funny little beads that look sort of like bones to me, Tammy’s cool bead, a small glass tube with some black cat hair for luck and some stones and herbs that are good for drawing money.   Maybe I will wear it and go to the new casino here in Dayton!  I’ll play the horses!  I’ll play the slots!   It’s going to be my lucky necklace!  I just know it!

blkcat2

I also found this little list of reasons to adopt a black cat.   I’ve had some black cats in my life and I definitely considered myself lucky to have such good friends.

blackcat

I had some fun making this piece and I know Ill have fun wearing it.   It was good fun to look up black cat lore too though the part about black cat bones was nasty!   I hope you’ll have some more fun and visit the other ladies in the hop to see what they made.

Sigh!   I HAD a list of participants.   But Tammy sent us a revised list and I deleted the list.  For some reason, WordPress will not let me paste the list here and because of the eye surgery, I can’t read what they want me to do.  Something about ctrol/cmd whatever that is.  Anyhow.  For a list of the other bloggers, please go to Tammy’s Paisley Lizard blog and see the list.  Sorry.

 
 

November 13, 2015 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry, metaphysical | , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Wheel of the Year: November


October’s brilliant foliage is but a memory, the bright leaves of autumn lie brown and damp on the ground.  The view from my window is bare tree and grey sky most days, the earth damp and brown.

baretrees

Days are long (and mostly wet here in Ohio) and nights come early.   The chill outside makes the nights perfect for curling up with a great book or snuggling with your furry friends.   Nosey loves to perch on the arm of my chair and as soon as I start petting him, Vato puts his head on my lap and wants attention given to his ears.   It’s also perfect weather for a warm fire if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace and for twinkling candles.   It’s the quiet time between wiccan festivals, a time of turning within.  It’s also perfect for fire magic.   Whether warm fireplace embers or candle burning, flames have always been powerfully magical.    Fire enhances visualizations, meditations, divination and spellwork.

candle

I like to get my candles ready after Samhain.   They need to be “dressed” (with the appropriate oil) and stored wrapped in white linen cloth until I want to use them.   I like to make house blessing candles and healing candles for winter “blahs” and negativity and maybe a money or prosperity candle just for that extra increase I need for the season.   A great gift for a friend is a tranquility candle to help with the stresses of the holiday season.   Use a light blue candle and put it on a white dish surrounded by blue chalcedony stones.

Even if you are not pagan, you can empower candles with magical energy.   Magic, after all, is simply enhancing the possibilities.   Choose the right color candle for what you want.

White = purity, truth, spirituality

Red = strength, love, energy, courage, passion

Blue = peace, tranquility, understanding, patience, health

Natural = all purpose, purification

Green = prosperity, fertility, luck

Yellow/Gold = mental clarity, success, concentration

Brown = grounding, centering, neutrality

Pink = affection, romance, friendship

Black = protection, ward off negativity

Purple = meditation, clairvoyance, power

Silver/Gray = cancellation, neutrality, stalemate

Orange = encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, attraction

To “dress” a candle, take olive oil between your thumb and forefinger and rub it on the candle from the middle to the tip, then from the middle to the bottom, visualizing the energy that you want to happen.   Pagans will certainly have natural oils or herbs to add to the olive oil to increase the energy.

When you burn it, be alone, have soft music playing if you want, visualize what you want to happen.   If you want a tranquility candle, for instance, visualize peaceful scenes, a harmonious home, serene scenes.  If you want, you can make up your own little rhyme or mantra, it does not have to be elaborate. When you have done this once, the candle is “charged” and each time you burn it, the energy radiates outward.   Oh, and don’t toss away your candle stubs into the trash.   You can reuse them to make new candles.

The end of November brings the Thanksgiving celebration.  No matter what your religion, you can take one day to gather with friends and family to celebrate the blessings in your life.   For some, this is the start of their shopping season, the mad search for gifts.  For me, it is the end of the gift search.  Mine have been set aside and are ready to be wrapped.

With luck, we may get a soft dusting of snow on Thanksgiving Day.   Where I grew up, in New York, Thanksgiving Day was considered especially blessed if we got an inch of snow.   Hunting season had started and the men would hunt until noon while the women cooked.   The snow made it easier to track.   For those of you who think hunting is but a cruel sport, you have never spent a long winter with very little food except what was brought in from the woods, the gardens and the streams we fished in summer.  There were plenty of times when that venison in the freezer made the difference between something and nothing on our plates.  Winter is sometimes the time of layoffs for people.   Back then, Food Stamps were not an option.   People made do with what they had, what they could hunt and fish and grow.

November is a good time for counting blessings, relaxing and rejuvenating as the Wheel of the Year turns.   Enjoy!

October 28, 2015 Posted by | holidays, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: Samhain


wheelsamhain

Misty mornings, bright, sunny afternoons and crisp cool nights, that’s October.  Then the changes to chill driving rainy days.   It’s the last harvest festival of the year, the final fruits of summer.   Apples, nuts, squash, and pumpkins abound.  The world is filled with glorious fall colors of leaves falling from the trees and smells of dry leaves, bonfires and apples.

fall

All my animals are growing heavier coats.   The grass is brown.   We have plowed the space for next year’s garden and tomorrow, after the rain, I’ll sprinkle the ground with an organic recipe of nutrients that will soak in the soil and enrich it this winter.   A mixture of cola, dish detergent, ammonia, and water will make a great fertilizer for next year’s veggies.

The kitchen smells of hearty soup, a pot of chili or baking on the chilly mornings.   The hens will soon start laying and will give us fresh eggs through the long winter.

All the changes in the weather and the shortening of the days creates subtle changes in our bodies, preparing us for the shorter days of winter.  Our minds shift gears also, from the active mental energy of the spring and summer days to the quieter, more receptive state appropriate to the dark half of the year.   It is a time for divination.   Time to break out the tarot cards, the pendulum, your scrying crystals, whatever you prefer to use to seek answers.

scry

In October is also the great sabbat, Samhain.   For those who are not pagan, it’s just a fun night of the year, a time of frolic and masquerade.  For pagans, it is no small holiday.   It’s actually bigger than your Christmas.
” The word Samhain, comes from the Scots Gaelic word Samhuinn, which litterally translated means “summer’s end.”  In Scotland and Ireland, Halloween is known as Oiche Shamhna, in Wales it’s Nos Calan Gaeaf, or the eve of the winter’s calendar.  With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saint’s Day to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year. So, the night before this celebration became known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve or Hallantide. November 2nd, became All Souls Day, a day when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who departed and those who were awaiting entry to Heaven in Purgatory. Throughout time the Pagan and Christian traditions inevitably became intertwined and celebrations have been known to extend from October 31st through November 5th…”

Samhain is both the end and the beginning of the Celtic year.  First, it is a time of Thanksgiving.  For six days before the 31st, which most call Halloween, it’s a celebration of thanks.   Day 1 begins with a lighting of the first candle and giving thanks for all the plants that have died to give both life and comfort to us, for food, clothing, shelter, medicine and things as commonplace as paper, we have plants to thank.

twocrowsparanormal

Day 2:  Two candles and giving thanks for all the animals who have died to feed, clothes and support us.  Day 3 is for the pets who have brought joy, companionship and love into our lives.

Day 4:  for fallen warriors who have poured their life’s blood for our freedom and safety.  Light a candle to honor poiicemen, firefighters and soldiers.

Day 5:  honor for ancestors whose lifeblood, saint and sinner alike, connects to us.  By learning about them and honoring them, we send thanks for the lessons we have learned from them.

Day 6 is more personal.  This is for friends and family who have gone before us to the Other Side, those whose lives have directly touched ours.

Day 7:  With all the candles blazing, thanks is given for all the lives given for our own, all the LIFE connected to ours.   It’s a celebration of life.

It’s also a time of looking inward.  What has this past year brought?   What needs to be “weeded” from my life and how do I prepare for the seeds I will plant in the coming year?   Have my work and spiritual efforts brought forth the “harvest” I expected?   What do I need to do in the coming year to increase next year’s “harvest”.?

samhain

The “Addams Family”  celebrates with a big feast, plenty of food, treats for the little kids and camaraderie.  We celebrate LIFE and we remember our loved ones.   When everyone has gone home, I fix a plate to leave outside for any spirits who drop by while the veil between the worlds is thin.

It’s a magical time!

samhainmagic
“”

October 27, 2015 Posted by | metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1st Annual Danse Macabre Blog Hop


I am so excited to present the first ever (hosted by me) Danse Macabre Blog Hop.

danse3

Danse Macabre, in case you missed the post about this, is the Dance of Death, the dance we all must make through life on our way to the grave for we all must come to the same end, rich man, poor man, bagger man, thief, priest and pope.  It’s the same end for everyone.  What we do with our lives is more important than what we have or acquire so we should all celebrate life by laughing at death and the fears of “things that go bump in the night”.   Our challenge was to take either a generic term for something macabre, like vampire or ghost or to choose a specific character from television, books or movies and design something for them.   It did not have to be jewelry.  It could be any type of craft.   I had such a talented group of ladies sign up, I cannot wait to see what they all made!

Those of you who know me also know that our whole family is known locally as “The Addams Family”.   We all love Halloween, the spooky, the scary and the weird and wonderful.   I chose my designs for the television Adams Family for whom we are named.

I made this huge sugar skull for my “coffin book case” that my son built for me.   It’s some definite Addams décor.

danseskull

Here is my “pet bird” in his cage.  You can see his tiny skeleton toy and if you look close, there is a tiny ceramic cattle skull in his nest.  I just painted his cage black.  He does not sing much, but I suppose that could be a good thing.   Maybe Morticia can teach him some French.

dansebird

Now for some jewelry.  Morticia Adams is such a classy lady, I designed her this lacy cuff bracelet.

morticiacuff

I also made her some “beerings” with Day of the Dead beer caps and a matching key fob for Gomez.

Dodbeerings2

dodkeyfog

I made Lurch a key fob with a Hobgoblin beer cap.  It sort of looks like Lurch!

paulapic

This bat gargoyle moon necklace has brass stampings and filigree

gargoylemoon1

A pair of bat wing earrings for Morticia’s other black dress

batearz

and, maybe my favorite thing……….this “mummy’s mirror” necklace with such a weird cabochon and brass filigree

mummy3

Yes, I went crazy loco.   I made lots more stuff but will put that on my Facebook page.  For now, I hope you will go visit my friends and see what dances they are doing.

Lee Koopman                           Strega Jewellry

Sam Waghorn                           Pale Moon Creations

Dini Bruinsma                            Angaza by Changes

Mowse Doyle                              Mouse Made This

Robin Showstack                        The Crazy Bead Hoarder

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                                       Mhoti Studio

Melissa Trudinger                           Bead Recipes

October 15, 2015 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Wheel of the Year: Mabon


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.

sabbats

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.

mabonfirepit

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

clothesline

clothesline

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

aconite

aconite

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\

terrarustica3

terrarustica4

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.

danse3

Grab the badge and put it on your own page.  Here’s the link to use  https://stregajewellry.wordpress.com/dansemacabre

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!

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1493 medieval painting

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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.  

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two

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or three?

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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