Strega Jewellry's Blog

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

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!

beadorder

 

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.

hindu1

 

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.

hindu5

 

Then I went nuts with earrings.

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

hindu11

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

hindu6

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

hindu10

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.

hindu7

hindu8

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

hindu9

 

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.

beadleftovr

 

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.

hindu12

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!

hindu14

 

 

 

 

 

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

Let’s Face It Part 2


I started this 3 part series as a gift giving aid and a help for women to suit their jewelry choices to their face shapes.   By making choices that suit the shape of your face, you lower the risk that you will buy something on impulse that does not look right once you get it home and try it on.   Let’s face it, we have all done this.   Also, for men, it’s a great way to help you decide what to buy the women in your life.  You all have sisters, moms and wives or girlfriends, and there are plenty of holidays that call for gifts.   Christmas, birthdays, Valentines Day and Sweetest Day, Mothers Day and oooops, I’m sorry days.   Be sure and check out Part 1 for round and square shaped faces.  In this post, I’m going to talk about heart or diamond shaped faces.

heart shaped face

heart shaped face

Let’s start with earrings.  You think they are an easy gift to choose until you start looking at all the different styles.   For heart shaped faces, you want to look for styles that draw the eye sideways, horizontally to add width to a small and often pointy chin.

earringshapeshrt

Pear shapes and triangles with the wide part at the bottom or fan shapes are the best.   Upside down hearts would also work.

hoopwidags

steampunk

When considering necklaces, think about the necklines that look best with heart shaped faces.  Boat necks are a great choice, drawing the eye from side to side.

boat neck

boat neck

For this neck line the necklace should echo the line of the garment and not crowd the face.  Chunky beads are perfect.   Assemblage pieces draw the eyes out and away from the chin.

sewwhatnecklce

Off the shoulder necklines have the same appeal at boat necks and often look similar.

topoffshoulder

Simple round one strand necklaces are best with this neckline or a simple collar like this one.

collar

If you love cowl necks, go for the higher cowls, not the deep cowl neckline.   You have interest at the neck but are not drawing the eye downward too much.

high cowl neck

high cowl neck

Remember, with any cowl neck, it’s earrings you want to feature, not necklaces.  A brooch is also great with a cowl neck like this.

sprflowrs

 

If you really love V-necks or lower cut round necks you can still wear them.   Just add a light jacket or sweater with wide lapels or other interest to draw the eye outward instead of down.   Again, a simple one strand piece keeps the eye at the neck and holds it there.   A brooch on the lapels is another piece that you can wear that does not draw the eye downward.

 

topvwide

swan1

 

Hopefully, this has been helpful to help you choose holiday gifts.   Remember, if you “like” my facebook page, you can find albums for each type of face with earrings and necklaces that go with each.    And if you subscribe to this blog, contact me and I’ll email you two downloadable pictures with earring and necklace styles for each face type.

January 19, 2016 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , , | 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

Swapping Goodies


swapnhopbadge

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

partner

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

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

swap1

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

swap3

 

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

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

swap4

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

swap5

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

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

Language of Clothes: Getting the Blues


Holidays are often a depressing time.  At the very least, they are stressful.  That’s good reason to “get the blues” this time of year.  The color blue actually lowers blood pressure and respiration.  It has a calming effect.  It’s the color of the sky and the ocean which are always constant.  Landscapes may change, buildings may crumble but the sky never falls and the ocean keeps on rolling.   Blue sends a message of constancy, trust, and dependability.  (this may be why we see a lot of blue used in uniforms)

eye candy

eye candy

(not a fashion statement here, just some eye candy)

The more black you add to blue, the more serious and sober you seem.   Navy blue:   we see it and our brain tells us; dependable, traditional, classic, conservative, professional, confident, quiet but authoritative.   It’s a great color for job interviews, presentations, and speeches.  Wear it when you ask for that raise, reminding your boss he can count on you.

yes sir

yes sir

Okay, I’m done fooling around now.  Let’s move along to sky blue.   It’s calming and cool.  The vibrations you send out will be those of a person who is tranquil, happy, stable, faithful and true.

skyblue

Its also a great color for accessories.  It will add serenity to the dangerous element of black, make white more approachable and turn the passion of purple toward a more spiritual vibe.

skybluears

Light blue is definitely calm and restful.  That’s one of the reasons it’s used in hospitals for scrubs and walls.  It calms the patients and inspires trust.  When you want people to relax around you, trust you and calm them  down, wear light blue.   Initial impressions:  calming, cool, peaceful, clean.   On a hot day, wear a light blue dress and people will be drawn to your cool, watery serenity.

icyblue

Icy blue lanyard necklace

Bright blue sends a different message.  It says happy, energetic, vibrant and it stirs these emotions in others.  It’s a great color to pair with neutral tones to jazz up their traditional stable messages.  Try bright blue with olive and antique gold and you will get the vibrations of stability and tradition plus happy and trustworthy energy.

amber_and_turquoise_earrings_05bf7bf8

Turquoise and amber earrings

Wear bright blue with purple and hot pink and you have happy festive vibes.

sunset_colors_three_strand_bracelet_31bb5eee

Fiesta bracelet

Teal has a whole different meaning of its own.  Wear it and say “I’m unique”!   It has a richness, an expensive upscale quality that says Not only am I unique, I’m darn classy!

tealearrings

tudorneck

Old world style necklace and earring set

So, that’s my story for December.  Go out and get the blues!   And……..if you see something from my shop that you really like, you can get a 25% off code if you “like”  my Strega Jewellry Facebook page.  You’ll save some money.

Here is a collection of blue accessories from my guild sisters on Artfire.

 

 

Handmade Soap

December 10, 2014 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Addictions


lockerhook

 

Just look at these bracelets!   They have a shabby chic, gypsy look that I love!   I stumbled on the tutorial here and was “hooked” on locker hooking before I even tried it.   They use Sari silk ribbon which I find very beautiful but have never tried.   Yes, I love it in jewelry but never actually thought I would use enough of it to justify buying two or three bundles.   I now have the perfect excuse!   Yaaay!

sari silks

sari silks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s going to be a busy month or two for me.   My birthday is coming and my daughter is taking me to a huge bead store in Cinncinati.  The Brukner Gem & Mineral Show is April 26 and 27th.  Woot!  Woot!   Lots of new beads in my future!  And cabochons!

I’ve also joined the design team at Znet Shows, check out their Facebook page.  They have lots of cool beads there!   They send the team a selection of beads and challenge them to design with the beads that are sent, blog about them and share on Facebook AND send photos for their e-zine, Creative Spark!   This will be lots of fun!   Their summer challenge involves sea glass beads and that is all I know so far but I’m psyched!  I’ve been wanting to work with sea glass beads and here is my chance!

 

seaglass

And, of course, I am still working on the Jewelry Mojo Challenge and my Bead Soup for the blog party!   Woot!  Woot!   I see a lot of fun in my future!  AND BEADS!

 

 

 

 

March 28, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Art Charm Auction


Wow! This is the big reveal for the 2013 Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction. It’s my first time ever to participate and I’m so excited. Not only do I get some very cool charms, but hopefully, my own charm will sell and I can help make a little money for Beads of Courage.

If you missed my blog about Beads of Courage, check it out and you will see what a great cause we will be supporting. It’s a wonderful program that uses color, beads and art to support kids with terminal illnesses. You know if it helps kids, I’m all in.

The theme this year was LOVE so the charms we created had to, in some way evoke our feelings when we thought of the word LOVE. Believe me, I struggled with this one. I love my family, my kids and grands, small animals, birds, nature, books and music not even mentioning beads here. So I could not decide what to do until one day, when listening to some old old music, I heard the Troggs belting out WILD THING.

This song has special meaning to me. Remember your first love? You had a song……….it was “your song”? Okay, get out of your past and I’ll take you to mine. When I was dating him, he played in a little garage band called the Swamp Eaters. (YES, I know………sounds like a sci fi horror flick, grade C). Anyhow, he played lead guitar and he was band leader. The Swamp Eaters played at local schools and a few bars in nearby towns. I never gave him an exact time when I would show up but when I did, I would hesitate in the doorway just for a moment. And I would know that he was not watching the gyrating miniskirts on the floor, he was watching for me, because as soon as I appeard…whichever song they were playing stopped….immediately.   There would be a couple of heartbeats of silence and then……….the opening bars of Wild Thing. When they sang Wild Thing, you make my heart sing….I would make my grand entrance. It was quite the feeling, let me tell you, to have all eyes on me and my lead guitar grinning out at only me. Now that’s young love and that is what I wanted my charm to reflect.

I found these crazy varigated color polymer clay hearts at Blue Morning Expressions. It took a while to get the treble cleff just right but it is superimposed over the heart and two tiny wire music notes dangle from the bottom of the cleff sign. Crazy hearts and pure music, that’s young love to me.

Wild Hearts

Wild HeartsWe

We each had to make 11 charms, ten for the exchange and one to be auctioned off.   It was so exciting to anticipate what other charms I would get in the trade.  I want to show you what adorable charms I got.

First, from the talented Lesley Watt of THEA too

If you love them, set them free

If you love them, set them free

, this adorable little bird.  My daughter is just the person who will love this little guy as much as I do and I can hardly wait to make a surprise for her.  (Close your eyes, Dawn, you did not see this).

Here is a very rustic cross in a hammered ring from Artisticaos.   This is perfect for my grand daughter who was just baptized and is full of love and gratitude for her new found faith.i

003

And look at this adorable little glass bird!  DAWN!  You cannot have both birds!   He comes from Carolyn Chenault.  What a wonderful little guy he is!

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And who would not fall in love with Ginger’s tiny beaded flowers?!!  Intricate work like this never ceases to amaze me.  Check Ginger Bishop out here.

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This little tree charm is so darned cute!  That little heart just cries out for my grand daughter Jessie’s initials with her husband, Nick.  This is Linda Haskell’s work.  You can find more here.

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What a cute folksy little heart from Patty Pulliam’s Rustic Studio!

010

Nancy  Dale’s flower amazes me!  All that tiny detail!  What a beauty this charm is!

015

Cory Tompkins of Tealwater Designs has created this delightful little resin heart, reflecting her love of home and hearth.  I know firsthand, from working with resin that a deceptively simple design like this is hard to create.  Her skill just makes it look so easy!

016

And last, but definitely not least, this beautiful and romantic heart from Monique of A Half Baked Notion.   I have a definite plan for this one!  Had just got some beads for a bracelet for Mom and had no focal bead.  This is just perfect, Monique!

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Now, the most important part!    TAAA DAAAA!!!!
You can find all these charms and many many more at the auction for Beads of Courage fundraiser.   PLEASE!   Go there!   Buy one of these wonderful little charms.   Why would you do this?
The charms are beautiful and would make fantastic gifts!

If you make jewelry, one of these handmade art charms would be a perfect component.

Even if you do not make jewelry, one of these charms would make a great stocking stuffer for someone you love.   Tell you what……..if you don’t make beads but fall in love with a charm…..buy it!   I promise to make you something from the charm for only the cost of the beads I use and the postage, my time is a gift to the cause….now you have no excuse not to bid on one of these beauties!!!!

Most important of all………..you would be supporting a wonderful cause!  Beads of Courage benefits kids with terminal illnesses.   What a great gift to give………..a gift from your heart.   Tis the season to open your heart and show your LOVE!   Do it now!    Here is the link to the auction!

Art Charm Exchange Fundraiser Auction

Oh, and before I forget…….a huge thanks to Jen Cameron of Glass Addictions who organizes this whole exchange and give generously of her time and energy, collecting all the charms, stresses with deadlines, sorts and matches and makes sure all participants get their exchange charms on time.   Jen, you are awesome!!!

Here’s a list of all the participants in this Art Charm Exchange.   After you go see what you want to buy at the auction, you can check out thes talented ladies and say hello.

Jen Cameron: http://glassaddictions.com/blog/

Toltec Jewels: http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com

Vanessa Gilkes: http://culturezine.com/blog/

Caroline Dewison: http://blueberribeads.co.uk

Lesley Watt: http://www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com

Susan Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com

Nancy Dale : http://www.nedbeads.blogspot.com

Alicia Marinache: http://www.allprettythings.ca

Cassi Paslick: http://cassisbeads.blogspot.com

Alenka Obid: http://www.pepita-handmade.blogspot.com

Renetha Stanziano: http://www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com

Shelley Graham Turner: http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com

Monique Urquhart: http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.com

Shai Williams: http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com

Lennis Carter: http://windbent.wordpress.com

Cheri Reed: http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com

Moriah Betterly: http://mlbetterly.blogspot.com

Perri Jackson: http://shaktipajdesigns.com/blog/

Mallory Hoffman: http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com

Ginger Bishop: http://lilmummylikes.blogspot.com

Jean Peter: http://jeanpdesigns.blogspot.com

Linda Florian: http://lilysofthevalleyjewelry.blogspot.com

Patricia Pulliam: http://rusticstudio.blogspot.com

Karin Grosset Grange: http://ginkgoetcoquelicot.blogspot.fr

Julie Bowen: http://blog.autochthonous-evolved.com

Susan Delaney: http://ladyflowersbysusan.wordpress.com

Emma Todd: http://www.apolymerpenchant.blogspot.com

Carolyn Chenault : http://carolynchenault.wordpress.com

Terri Del Signore: http://artisticaos.blogspot.com

Cory Tompkins: http://www.tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com

Lee Koopman: https://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Lori Bowring Michaud: http://artfullyornamental.blogspot.com

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

Jacqueline Carlson: http://www.beadgypsy.blogspot.com

Michelle McCarthy: http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Charlene Bausinger Jacka: http://clay-space.com/blog/

Kristi Bowman: http://dreamsomedesigns.blogspot.com

November 15, 2013 Posted by | Jewelry, Kid Stuff, New Age | , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Save This Date


NOVEMBER 15th

Art Charm Auction fundraiser for Beads of Courage

Art Charm Auction fundraiser for Beads of Courage

November 15, 2013 is the date of the fundraiser auction for Beads of Courage.   I’ll tell you all about the Art Charm Exchange later.   Many artists have created art charms……10 to swap and one for the auction.   These works of art will be auctioned off to benefit Beads of Courage.   We want to raise a lot of money for this great organization so I’ll be asking everyone I know to check out the auction.   Right now, I want to tell you about Beads of Courage.

Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage

I’m taking most of this directly from the web pages because they tell the story much better than I can.

Jean Baruch, a pediatric oncology nurse, was good at hanging IV bags and checking vital signs, but she had a harder time helping her young patients deal with the emotional effects of having cancer. “I wanted to encourage them to express their pain and fear, but I didn’t know how,” she says. “It was very frustrating.”

She discovered a solution while working at one of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang summer camps. The camp, which hosts children and families coping with cancer and other serious illnesses, gave Baruch unique insight into how kids play. She noticed that campers of all ages love beading. They spend hours making necklaces and bracelets, then trade or share them with friends and family. “The kids wear the beads for days at a time, even in the shower,” she notes. “It seems to make them feel good.”

Hoping that beads could cheer up young cancer patients in hospitals the same way they do at camp, Baruch founded Beads of Courage in 2004.

Children who participate in the program receive colored beads that represent milestones, procedures, and acts of bravery. For instance, they get a yellow bead for an overnight hospital stay, a white one for chemotherapy, and a glow-in-the-dark bead for radiation treatment. It’s not uncommon for children to amass 10, 20 — even 35 — feet of beads. It helps young patients track and celebrate their progress, but it also gives them a way to get through upcoming procedures, says Gwendolyn Possinger, the coordinator of Children’s Memorial Hospital’s Beads of Courage program in Chicago. “A child facing another needle can look at his beads and realize that he made it through before so he can do it again,” she says.

Today the nonprofit organization supports more than 10,000 children in 60 hospitals in the United States, Japan, New Zealand, and Ireland and is funded exclusively by private donations. With the help of participating hospitals, Beads of Courage is also constantly evolving. Baruch and her team have expanded the program to include many conditions and diseases. They also focus on other ways the arts can help families dealing with a serious illness.

What a wonderful way to use the arts to benefit kids and their families who are going through agonies while their children suffer.   I know first hand how much a simple piece of jewelry can mean to a child who is suffering through numerous treatments and interminable pain.   Read my blog about my young friend, Casey, and how much a simple necklace helped him and you might understand  more about Beads of Courage.   I believe it is a wonderful project.

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November 3, 2013 Posted by | Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charmed, I’m Sure


What have I gotten myself into THIS time?

I signed up for an Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction. Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions, a very talented lampwork artist, is hosting another art charm exchange. What the heck is she talking about now, I hear you thinking?

Here’s how it works. Each of 60 participants creates an art charm, well, actually 11 art charms. We send them to Jennifer. We will receive 10 different charms back (from various others) and one charm is donated to an auction, a charity auction to benefit Beads of Courage.

Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage

You can read all about Beads of Courage here.   It’s a wonderful idea that use art to encourage children who suffer from life threatening illnesses.   Each time a child goes through a step in their treatment, they receive a bead.  I’m going to do another blog, just about Beads of Courage so I won’t tell a lot about it here.

This sounded like so much fun, I had to sign up.   Then, I decided that I should maybe research a little bit about charms before I I even started to dream up an idea for a charm.

Charms have been worn since prehistoric times.   Ancient peoples carved small animals or symbols from bone or stone, maybe to charm the animals to them in a hunt or maybe to protect them from animals.

ancient bird carving

ancient bird carving

Ancient Egyptians refined the art of making gold jewelry with wax casting.  Most of their charms and amulets were created from gold.  They used charms to ward off evil spirits, protect loved ones in the afterlife, enhance fertility, and assure prosperity. As master goldsmiths they were the first to develop the ability to cast gold, using the lost-wax technique which many jewelry manufacturers still use today.

ancient Egyptian gold jewelry

ancient Egyptian gold jewelry

Charms truly became popular through the influence of Queen Victoria of England.  She wore small hearts with portraits of her beloved Albert of locks of his hair.

Victorian charms

Victorian charms

Until the Industrial Revolution, charms were mostly work by affluent people.  They were not affordable for the masses but  were custom-made pieces of jewelry. Only wealthy and affluent citizens had the means to afford such treasures. The machine age introduced the technology to mine precious metals and mass-produce them into affordable jewelry for the growing middle class, both in Europe and the United States

Charm bracelets reached the heights of popularity in the United States after World War II. American soldiers returned home with souvenir charms from the cities they had liberated. Jewelers soon added charms of various metals, styles, and occasions to their lines. Today, charms are as popular as ever. The first piece of fine jewelry a young child receives is typically a charm of faith, such as a cross or religious medallion. People continue to use charms and charm bracelets to tell the story of their life, whether it be a simple heart charm worn around the neck or charm bracelet filled with tiny treasures.

So, what about Art Charms? 

Art Charms are small works of art made to be worn or displayed in a small space. They are high quality one-of-a-kind or limited edition mixed media pieces, usually between ¼” and 4” long. Hand-made and utterly collectible, Art Charms are a compact, fun, and affordable

Our instructions for submission as per Jennifer:   only submit ART CHARMS. What does this mean? Well, it means you have in some way created the charm through some type of manipulation. It does NOT mean you add a jump ring to a purchased charm and call it done, or simply wire wrap a loop onto a craft store bead and call it done.

Here are some art charms submitted for last year’s auction.  

artcharmex1

artcharmex2

artcharmex3

There is a whole book devoted to making art charms:  Making Mixed Media Art Charms and jewelry by Peggy Krzyzewski and Christine Hansen.   Peggy and Christina even have a Yahoo Group for people interested in art charms.   To quote from the purpose of the group…..”Art Charms are small works of art made to be worn or displayed in a small space. They are high quality one-of-a-kind or limited edition mixed media pieces, usually between ¼” and 4” long. Hand-made and utterly collectible, Art Charms are a compact, fun, and affordable”

Anyhow, it sure looks like I need to come up with something special.   Now I have “performance anxiety”.   Some of these women make their own polymer clay or lampwork beads.   I’m really worried that my charm won’t be good enough, or clever enough.  OMG…………what have I got myself into this time?

October 8, 2013 Posted by | Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beads and Superheroes


A good week and weekend in spite of one downpour.   I learned two new things this week.   I’ve been trying to challenge myself and learn something new every week.   I’ve also been trying to learn a bit about polymer clay.   Most folks who are successful sellers also make some type of components of their own.   came up with an idea for a toggle clasp but that’s not going to cut it.   I saw a tutorial to make bead caps with polymer clay so I tried it.   I just wanted to make some steampunk beadcaps and tried them out.   I spent a rainy afternoon getting the hang of it.

Here is a picture of them  just out of the oven.   They have no finish on them.   PITFALLS:   Oh yes, there are pitfalls.   It’s really hard to center the black caps even  though the tutorial said to use black.   It’s also hard to get the hole centered.   So I tried some with some silver colored clay and it was much easier, especially for someone who is inexperienced.   Also, you are supposed to cook them on marbles so they curve, of course.   I had the devil’s own time getting them on the marbles without having the center crack.   I”m going to shoot an email to the lady who sold the tutorial and ask her if she has any tips.   Anyhow, though they do not look professional, I do like the idea and I did learn a few things.

clay bead caps

clay bead caps

 

After the trials of the beadcap tryouts, I decided to learn one other new thing.   I’ve seen lots of Etsy sellers making little birdnest necklaces with 3 eggs in the center.   I found a free tutorial and tried that out.   I put 2 white eggs and one black one.   I think I’ll put a little charm with it that says “cookoo’s nest”   Cookoos leave their eggs in other bird nests.   I’ll give it to my daughter who thinks she works in the cookoo’s nest.

the cookoo's next

the cookoo’s next

 

Sunday, three boys came to spend the afternoon with me while their parents worked.   It was a blast of course!    I had a surprise for them.   I had found an old box of Halloween costumes and one was perfect for the tiny guy who LOVES Batman.   He was in heaven!   The older boys put on capes and other accessories and I had a yard full of superheroes!

 

my very own superheroes

my very own superheroes

 

Later on, I taught my oldest grandson to make the birdnest necklace.   He did a great job!   His nest was perfect!

 

proud jewelry maker

proud jewelry maker

 

 

closeup

closeup

 

Meanwhile, Tiny Batman is focusing on the swing set

 

protecting the teeter swing

protecting the teeter swing

 

My heroes!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 3, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments