Strega Jewellry's Blog

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

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”.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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

1st Annual Danse Macabre Blog Hop

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


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.


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.


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


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



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


This bat gargoyle moon necklace has brass stampings and filigree


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


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


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

It’s Official!

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


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

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

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

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

Starting, of course with your weird hostess:

Lee Koopman                           Strega Jewellry

Sam Waghorn                           Pale Moon Creations

Dini Bruinsma                            Angaza by Changes

Mowse Doyle                              Mouse Made This

Lori Blanchard                            Alainn Jewelry

Robin Showstack                        Hearts Desire Jewelry for You

Amy Jorgensen                           Hoarders Corner

Nan Smith                                    Wired Nan

Tammy Adams                             Paisley Lizard

Catherine King                              Catherine’s Musings

Michelle McCarthy                         Firefly Designs Studio

Betony Maiden                             Beadwenches Blog

Becca White                                  Morgana Fey Creations

Kim Dworak                                   Cianci Blue

Tami Norris                                   Tamis Creative Spot

Inge Von Roos                               Inge’s Blog

Terry Jeanette Carter                    Tapping Flamingo

Deb Fortin                                       Mohti Studio

Melissa Trudinger                           Bead Recipes

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

Join the dance!

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

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


1493 medieval painting


from the Creative Life of Bob Sparks on blogspot

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

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

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

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

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

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




or three?


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

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

Epic Blog Hop

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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Melissa Trudinger    (Hostess)

Karen Mitchell         

Andrea Glick            

Karen Martinez       

Lennis Carrier          

Lindsay Starr            

Mona Arnott            

Lee Koopman          

Shaiha Williams       

Veralynne Malone  

Elisabeth Auld          

Kelly Schermerhorn

Dini Bruinsma          

Jami Shipp                

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

Seize the Day


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

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

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

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

My ribbon is red and black.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was he scared?

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

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

My ribbon is red and black. 

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

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

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


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

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


Murdered  on Mothers Day, May 11 1997.


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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




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

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

Bodacious Bangles

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

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



Marcia Tuzzolino   Aurora Designs


Jan Tague  of Clever Designs by Jan


Marica Zammit  of Bead Lovelies


Elizabeth Hildreth   Mad Scientist Designs


Monica Cassady of MJ Cassaday Copper Designs


Susan Bowerman   Woodside Wireworks


Renee Hong    Fine & Dandy


Nike Bottalico     of Nike Bottallico


Leila West    Leila Nicole Designs


Lori Beekman    B. Accessorized


Erin Whitaker    Shattered Time

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

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





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

Swapping Goodies


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


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

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


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



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

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


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


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

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

AJE Reveal

Every month, Art Jewelry Elements gives away three or four components made by one of their members.  If you are lucky enough to win, you join in the fun as a guest and make a piece with your component.  I was lucky in December and won these great beaded rings from Kristen Stevens studio.  they are made of little seed beads and teenie weenie little beads that are iridescent.  My gosh, I don’t know how she does it! Well, it got to be the second week in January and I still hadn’t received my component so I emailed AJE.  Some glitch in the mail I guess with the holiday season and all.  Anyhow, long story short, I ended up with 2 sets.  So I made 2 different things. For this first piece, I only used one of the rings.  I’m saving the other for a piece that is exactly like it.  when I saw these little brassy colored rings, I thought way back in time to riding a carousel horse.  Who was daring enough to reach all the way out and grab “the brass ring?” Remember the thrill.        stretching all the way out……… carousel My grand daughter, Kelsey, is turning 18 next month and she will graduate in June.  These are steps into the adult world.   I made this necklace with one of Kristen’s rings and one of my own bronze heart charms that says DARE.   I wish, for Kelsey, that she will always be brave enough to reach out and grab that brass ring and follow her dreams all of her life.   The copper chain has a pinkish color and so do those teenie weenie little beads on the ring so I put a hint of pink on the bronze heart.  (It’s Kelsey’s favorite color).  You can’t really see it in these shots though.  My camera batteries were low and somehow, it makes the pictures darker. 039 I wanted a close-up of those little rings to show how beautiful they are. 040   The other set, I made these earrings with copper filigree and “black” glass pearls from Swarovski.  I’m keeping them for myself, LOL. 027   Hop around and see what everyone else made.   It will be fun!

AJE team:

Kristen Stephens

Susan Kennedy

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Lesley Watt

Melissa Meman

Lindsay Starr

Jennifer Cameron

Caroline Dewison

Linda Landig

Guest Participants ( aka winners)

Lee – Strega Jewellry

Shai – Shai’s Ramblings

Samantha- Wescott Jewelry

Kathy – Bay Moon Designs

Nikki – Silver Nik nats

Melissa Trudinger

Becky Pancake

Yvette – Blue Kiln Beads

Karin – Ginko et Coquelicot

Bonus participants!

Sarajo Wentling

Leah Curtis

Susan Delaney

Karen Z

Christine Walker

January 31, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , , , | 15 Comments

B’Sue Build a Line

I’ve discovered a source for components that I really like.  B’Sue Boutiques has fantastic findings in raw brass that I can color, combine and manipulate to enhance my designs.  It’s amazing what a little B’Sue can do.  Here’s a before and after photo of a necklace I made.  Didn’t really like it all that much till I added a bat from B’Sue Boutiques.  The result if worthy of Abby at NCIS.

My beautiful bat necklace

My beautiful bat necklace


Brenda Landsdowne, of B’Sue Boutiques is guiding over 50 designers through a challenge to build a line of jewely.  She will be our fearless guide to creating a new look, a new style, one that is uniquely our own.   For 3 months we will take this class, the first of its kind and hopefully expand our designing horizons, learn a lot and make new friends.


This will be a brand new experience for me.  Those of you who know me also know that I am worse than a little kid when it comes to making jewelry.  I see something, I say “OOOO, I want to learn to make that,” then I learn it and see the next thing and “ooooo, I want to learn that!”  Once I have learned something, I give it my own little twist and its off to the next thing.  I have an ADHD brain that goes flitting from one thing to the next, which makes me a sort of Jack of all trades and master of none.   .

Black Water

Black Water

So how am I going to set myself on a path to make a “line”  and stick to it?   SIGH….I don’t know, but I believe I need that discipline so I am going into this challenge, though I have talked myself out of it twice now   Here is a bead and linked piece with one of my bronze focals.  Below that, a really simple pair of tudor style earrings.   You can see I’m all over the place.



We each had to come up with a theme for our line.  Brenda said think about what we love and what we could get excited about.   I love stories, literature, fantasy and parallel or alternate histories.  I was reading steampunk literature before it was ever called that.  And, I love to embellish stories of my own.   I love Victorian times and histories.  I also love steampunk.

As far as I could see, the world did not need another Steampunk jewelry artisan.  There are masters out there that I could not even begin to compete with!  MASTERS!

Those of you who know me also know that I like to give me reader s bit of “mood music” to listen to while they scroll.  So listen to this steampunk music.  I played this over and over while I thought about my designs.

I looked at lots of Steampunk fashion and poured over steampunk books and what did I see?   Almost NO men’s jewelry!  I’d been toying with the idea of working on men’s jewelry anyhow.  What would be different about Steampunk men’s jewelry?

These fellows wear elaborate costumes and back in the day would have been called dandies or “fops” even.   A “fop” would wear more elaborate styles of jewelry and I could still keep it simple.  *I’m not one for elaborate collage type pieces.)

What would I need for a line of “fop”.  What would Victorian/alternate history types wear?   Cufflinks, cravat pins, vestpins, kilt pins and pins for capes and maybe a “statement piece”, an elaborate necklace just for a man.

I would need leather and chain, not just little wimpy commercial chain but heavy links in brass, copper and gunmetal.  So, I began assembling some links designed to go with suede cord.  Coils are going to be prominent to go with the gears.


I needed some particular charms and findings from B’Sue Boutique so I ordered them.


I would also need a “theme”, a story if you will.  And, I TOLD you I love stories and love making up my own.

My line is called PHOPP.   PHOPP is an anagram for the Peculiar Herioc Order of Picaresque Paladins.   It’s a group formed by a philanthropic organization that would like to honor heroes of the fantasy battles written of by a plethora of authors.   The honorifics are military medals for Picaresque (which means rogueish in fiction) Paladins (leaders)…….gentlemen who have read these fantastic tales have participated in the battles through their imagination, whether they fought in the War of the Worlds or with the Kraken King.  It’s a sort of “secret” gentlemen’s club adminstered by a character of my own called Liam MacSteamish.    I am only the chosen designer.  It’s Liam who will have a FB page and his own shop which will be called  PHOPPS Emporium.  He may even end up with his own blog.  Look for Liam on Facebook.  I am his only friend poor fellow.

Liam MacSteamish

Liam MacSteamish

I’ve lots of ideas but have yet to assemble my first piece.   I’ve begun and that is what is important.  Here are some sketches and some polyclay findings I made.  IDEAS are happening!


Here is a list of the other folks in the class.  Hop around and see what they are up to!  And don’t forget to stop by B’Sue Boutiques.  Brenda is lots of fun and has a ton of  tutorials and a shop full of findings, charms and chains.


Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue BoutiquesJewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino       Aurora Designs

Jann Tague:    Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King:  Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford:  Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott:  Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson:  Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten:  Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit:  Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck:  VRBrose

Michaele Collie:  The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig:  Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman:  Strega Jewelry          X  You are here

Erin Whitacre:  Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady: MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West:  Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson:  Howling Dog Jewelry

Leila Belcher:  Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen:  Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger:  Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams:  Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara:  LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth:  MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey:  Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo:  Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark:  Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman:  B. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger:  Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen:  Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed:  Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson:  Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields:  Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam:  Killam Creative

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

Nike Bottalico:  Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman:  Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le:  Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters:  Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider:  Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett:  Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson:  From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton:  Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman:  The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter:  TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer:  Smithed Up

Renee Hong:  Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris:  Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer:  Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams:  Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier:  Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen:  Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams:  Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens:  1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller:  Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard:  Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law:  ab:coraldesign

January 23, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments