Strega Jewellry's Blog

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Challenge of Music

Erin's Challenge of Music

Erin’s Challenge of Music

Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati has come up with yet another unusual challenge for us. She has done this in part to create awareness for an increedible organization Music & Memories. These folks supply Alzheimers patients with Ipods and playlists. Patients show improved memory function and interactive skills after listening to their favorite tunes. If you visit their webpage, you will see an incredile video featuring a man who barely spoke at all yet after listening to a tape of his old time favorite tunes perked up and chattered away with others.

Music plays such an integral part in our lives. Tunes we hum or sing along with brighten our days. Music can take us back to a happier time, to some crazy memories, it can soothe us when we are sad and calm us when we are angry.

Here’s what we had to do for Erin’s challenge:    Pick a song, one from another year that evokes a memory.  Use that song to inspire us to create a piece of jewelry.

I chose a song that came out in 1977, written by the talented Stevie Wonder.   It’s a song about music and how it plays such a part in our lives.   When this song was popular, I had met Ben and Justin’s father and we fell in crazy  loco love.   We both loved music and loved to dance.   When we danced, we were like that couple in Dirty Dancing, eye to eye, in sync, fancy steps.  Once, when we went out to dinner, my first time out in cool clothes since Justin had been born, we danced to this song.   You know those old corny movies when the cute couple dances and everyone else clears the dance floor then breaks out in applause?   That happened to us.   That’s  the way it was with us.    We would dance in the kitchen, the living room and out on the sidewalk if one of “our songs” came on.   And people loved us!

Here’s the song

Here’s the lyrics, just in case you didn’t get them. ( Sir Duke, by Stevie Wonder).

Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands
But just because a record has a groove
Don’t make it in the groove
But you can tell right away at letter A
When the people start to move

They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people
They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people

Did you feel it?   It’s happy, it’s young, its alive with LIFE!

Here’s my bracelet.   It’s orange and peach and creamy white, young vibrant and happy colors.   The chain and the music notes are gold because gold is rich and warm.   The little charm is one I got from Tealwater Designs in the Art Charm Exchange.   My bracelet is not original or trendy but it has LOTS of beads that will click and shoosh with a percussive sound when I wear it and give a beat to my day as I work or play.


I’m going to keep this bracelet and not put it in the shop.  But, Erin is going to have an auction after this blog hop, to benefit Music and Memories Organization.   So, I wanted to make something to put in the auction.   I made these little earrings, a variation on the art charm I made and my own design so here we go.   I’ll let you know when the auction is held so anyone interested can support this organization.

Earrings for auction.

Earrings for auction.

If you want to see what others have made, check out Erin’s blog.


March 1, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, gemstones, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Staycation Blog Hop: It’s Great in Dayton

Travel Bloghop

Travel Bloghop

Once again, Erin Prais-Hinz of Tesori Trovati jewelry, is hosting a blog hop. Her Challenge was, instead of traveling far away, to write about our own home and tell why it would be a great place to have a “staycation”.

I’ve lived in Dayton, Ohio since 1979 when I moved from upstate New York. I came here from a beautiful place in the Adirondack Park that had gorgeous mountains, awesome lakes and lots of outdoor things to do. Many of my friends were musicians and my life was full of music and beautiful landscape. I loved to hunt and fish and just to walk in the woods to soothe my spirit. I hated Ohio at first. It seemed flat and boring and my beloved mountains were far away. I could not walk across the street and go fishing on a huge lake. I knew no one except my next door neighors.

Today, I have loads of friends and Dayton is no longer boring to me. Let me tell you about this town I live in.

Dayton, much like Detroit, was a motor town. General Motors and Chrysler provided income for so many people and so many smaller businesses depended upon these large factories. Many places made parts, other companies delivered parts, trucking companies, manufacturers, and the fallout extended to the retail stores. Without the generous incomes from the auto plants, people were not making purchases. When GM took away their plants, the town took a nosedive. Dayton is struggling to find its niche.

People who used to have money to travel now looked for entertainment at home. It’s surprising how much there is to do in my city, if you only look around., If you are a fan of the “great outdoors”, as I am, we have beautiful rivers. The Miami and the Little Miami run right through the town. The Five Rivers Metro Parks organization has so many wonderful places to visit that are not only beautiful but educational. There are working farms with exhibits of pioneer farming ways, beautiful gardens, wild life, a butterfly house and acres of land to explore, plus canoeing and for rock hounds, plenty of places to collect fossils.

2nd St. Market
Aullwood Garden
Carriage Hill
Cox Arboretum
Deeds Point
Hills & Dales
Possum Creek
Twin Creek
Wegerzyn Gardens

Dayton has a thriving community of musicians, fine artists in all types of music.  The Ohio Players put Dayton on the music map.  Now we host 3 music festivals, jazz, blues and reggae.   They are free concerts held downtown at Dave Hall Plaza, a small park right in the heart of downtown.

Rasta Reggae Festival

Rasta Reggae Festival

Most of all, I think Dayton is famous for the National Air Force Museum located near Wright Patterson Air Force Base.   Anything you ever wanted to know about planes and aviation history is right here.   The exhibits are fantastic even if you are not really enthusiastic about planes.

Dayton is also proud of its own part in aviation history.   Wilbur and Orville Wright, the fathers of modern air planes, had a several shops here in town.   the Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop was located at1127 West Third Street.  The bicycle business of the Wright brothers, the Wright Cycle Company (originally the Wright Cycle Exchange) occupied five different locations in Dayton, Ohio. The brothers formally published a newspaper through their printing business. Orville and Wilbur Wright began their bicycle repair business in 1892. They also rented and sold bicycles.[3] In 1896 they began manufacturing and selling bicycles of their own design, the Van Cleve and St. Claire, named after their ancestors.The Wrights used the profits from the Wright Cycle Company to finance their aviation experiments. They became obsessed with aerodynamics and built a wind tunnel in the bicycle shop
They conducted pioneering wind tunnel tests on the second floor of their bicycle shop at 1127 West Third St., the last location of their bicycle business.

Wright Cycle Shop on West 3rd Street

Wright Cycle Shop on West 3rd Street

In that building they designed and constructed their gliders and first airplane, the Wright Flyer. It cost under $1,000 to build the Wright Flyer.[ The shop closed in 1909 and they started their aviation company.In In 1937 the building was moved to Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan by Henry Ford with the cooperation of Orville Wright and Wilbur.

So, what did I come up with to represent my town?   I could have done floral or nature themed jewelry, but I decided to focus on the Wright Brothers tie.   Dayton is a home for technological history and in its current economical struggle, is trying to attract more of the newer technologies.   What to use to represent the manufacturing trade and combine it with local aviation history?

Souds like STEAMPUNK to me!

I started with this old fashioned tricycle focal, added some gears and a propeller that actually works (steampunk is all about movement and gears and stuff).   I used a steampunk toggle that I have made myself and handmade coils plus some gears and washers and a few beads.   Ihe focal and some of the gears have a camouglage finish except I used dark blue instead of dark army green, the blue to represent blue skies and aviation.   The few beads are deep blue, not just for blue skies but for my love of blues music (only I will see that symbolism, LOL).

Steampunk Tricycle and toggle

Steampunk Tricycle and toggle

parts all laid out

parts all laid out

Are you ready?   Here is the finished piece:  The Wright Brothers Steampunk Style

Wright Brothers Steampunk Style

Wright Brothers Steampunk Style


I love the little propellers so much that I made some earrings, not to match the piece, but still in the same theme.  The picture in the bezel is a little biplane, similar to the Wright Flyer.   On the back I mod podges the blueprints for the plane.   And, did I tell you, the propellers really work?

Propeller Earrings with a biplane decoupaged on the back.

Propeller Earrings with a biplane decoupaged on the back.

If you ever come to Dayton, shoot me an email and I’ll show you some of my favorite places.  For now, why not head over to Erin’s Blog and visit some of the other women’s hometowns.  Maybe we will all have to add a guest room!

August 29, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

We Got the Funk

Funk: a strong, offensive, musty smell.

Funky: Smelly, musty, offensively stinking.

These are old meanings for the words funk and funky.  Prior to the 1960’s, funk was a bad word.

Funk as a music genre originated in the late ’60’s when musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a new form. Funk music de-emphasizes melody and harmony and emphasizes a strong rythmic groove of electric bass and drums.

It puzzled me how the word changed from a bad word to a good word and I began researching dictionary meanings for funk. I found one reference to suggest the word might have French roots from the dialectic word “funquer”, to give off smoke and one of the old meanings was a strong offensive smokey smell.

Well, that sent  my brain traveling in one of it tangential directions. Many of those older jazz and blues musicians who coined the word and developed the music had a habit of smoking a particular herb which gave off a very strong “funky” odor. It also had the tendency to free up your mind into an altered, creative state. One of the phrases used by these old musicians was “let’s put some STANK on it” meaning let’s free up this music, give it a new twist, alter your perception, do something different, something outside the box.

However the term was meant, funk style, that heavy use of repetititve bass and percussion to create a foot tapping, primitive earthy beat that made you want to get up and get tribal and dance, gave rise to many new genres of music.

You can do a bit of research yourself and find links to over 100 Greatest Funk Artists.    From jazz artists like Miles Davis and Herbie Hanson who helped originate funk, to disco bands like KC and the Sunshine band, to metal rock funk like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine and on to G-funk with gangsta rappers Snoop Dawg and 2Pac.

Or, listen to some funky music like Rick James’ Superfreak, or like the Commodore’s Brick House. Maybe you like a more disco beat like Frantique’s Strut Your Funky Stuff

With the influence of music, the word funk came to mean “having an earthy quality, uncomplicted, natural” according to the Dictionary of Slang. If something is funky, it has an earthy, natural and uncomplicated style, it is modish and unconventional and very original.  Trendy and mod!  FUNKY is now a good thing!

Let me show you some of my favorite “funky” jewelry pieces from JCUIN guild artists.

Pretty  Gonzo’s earrings

funky floral Gonzo style

Sage’s Cupboard

trendy lime green ring from Sage's Cupboard


Epicetera Style

Blue Tina's style

And finally, here is a collection I called Express Yourself from that old funk tune by Charles Wright.   All artists are JCUIN Guild members and you can see that We got the funk!   Visit the shops and buy something and get yourself Fund-de-fied!

Unique Gifts

August 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments