Strega Jewellry's Blog

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

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

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

Wing & A Prayer Steampunk Style

A while back, I did a blog about a jewelry piece I was working on that I called a Wing and a Prayer.  I loved the piece when it was finished and wanted to do one with a steampunk theme.

I took the same bird picture, added some steampunk gears and parts and put them in a heart shaped bezel. I put an aviator helmet on the bird and gave him a metal beak made from a watch part.

Loved the bird, with his metal beak and aviator helmet.   This has to have an aviator’s prayer in the channel bead.  I figured that before I made the actual piece, I should write the prayer.  That would give me a better idea of how the beads should go into the piece.

Our Lady of Gears

Bless the parts of this machine

Bless the hands that fix these parts

and the hands that fly her in Joy

Please bring us safely home.

Well, that being done, I needed a Lady of Gears to go on my channel bead………it was the only thing that made perfect sense.   I had thought to put a diagram/blueprint of a biplane, but changed my mind after I wrote the prayer.

So, I created the Lady of Gears, using a picture of a black robed woman and another picture of some gears, overlaying one and making it transparent.   I love her!    She’s perfect for the bead.

Too many beads are not good, this is a piece that needs gears and metal.  Hmmmm… to use wire wrap beads and chain and maybe some little linky links I have……..I thought I needed some color too, maybe blue for the sky so I tried some blue agates I have………well, blue does not necessarily go with the pinkish bird photo, darn it.  So, I stuck to metal with just one brushed copper bead.

Here is the finished piece.

The day after I finished this, a friend sent me a link to one of the most awesome videos I’ve ever seen.   Please take time to watch it, especially if you love birds.   It’s about an eagle who had her beak shot off and some amazing people who helped her to survive.   These people got a special mention in my prayers.   They are incredible!   This brought tears to my eyes!  this is a dream of how the world should truly be, with people using their god given talents to help each other and to help the creatures that share this world instead of helping themselves to more and more material goods.

Seeing the bird they helped made me immediately think of my aviator bird and his metal beak.  and my piece meant so much more to me.

Beauty and The Beak

August 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Coming Out

I  know I said I didn’t have any resolutions for this year, but I do have a goal for this present time.   A goal is different than a resolution.   And, you can set one at any time, you don’t have to wait for New Year’s.   I set this goal right around Halloween.

Let me take a little detour for a moment and explain that for Wiccans, All Hallows is the end of the yearly cycle.  It’s a celebration of the fruits of the past year’s harvest and it’s also a time to think about future goals.   So it’s a really big deal, lots of reflection and contemplation along with the celebrating that everyday folk do, plus a lot of Thanksgiving for blessings of the year.  We usually try to “clear our fields” (being a nature based religion) and make way for the next year’s “crops”.  That means letting go of and getting rid of ideas or habits that aren’t working.   Staying inside my comfort zone is not working well for me.   I feel the need to push myself into new things that I’ve been hesitant to try or maybe even things I’ve never heard of.

Anyhow, I set myself a goal to creep outside my own box, my comfort zone.   It’s as much a challenge as a goal.   It’s a challenge to become a better me as a designer and as a person because I think that what we do as our hobby/art is a reflection of our personal self.

Okay, let’s not get too deep here, I’ll bore us all to death and that is not my style. Let’s get back to beads and baugles.

I’ve always been a jewelry maker who believed in simple, clean lines.  When I did wire wrap and my other friends started coiling and curling a lot, I stuck to my simple style.   There is something pure and natural about good clean  lines, just following what nature put there in the first place.

Last year, I did some experiments with coiling .   It was a definite challenge.  The biggest hurdle was to coil without getting kinky.   I liked doing the coiling and made some pieces that I had fun with and that accented the jewelry the way I wanted……….BUT……..I found that my natural instincts led me to be more kinky than coily. (Please, no quirky comments, ladies, I AM what I AM).  I do not have the patience to sit for all that time and make components and be happy about it.   I do like what I made, but it is not where I want to be.

I made this little owl bottle necklace for my grandchild, Jessie.  Lots of coils and chain.

A crazy ring I had fun making.

I tried some wire weaving also.

I think this agate bracelet looks so plain and in no way reflects the amount of time to coil and weave all that wire.

My next challenge to myself was to perfect my clay work.     I blogged about my workshop at Zeffers Farm Studio and am in the process of making changes and challenging myself with clay work.   I’m still sticking to simple lines and textures with the clay BUT, I”m trying to come up with ideas that will lead to more complicated pieces.   I used to be satisfied with a clean piece I could put on a chain or cord like this simple textured bead for a man’s necklace.

or maybe a simple textured piece with dichroic glass

Now, I’m working on small charms and pieces with texture and words that I can use on Veda style jewelry.  (More on this style in a future blog).

I”m still not far enough outside the box but now I am pumped!   My head is sticking out there and I’m peering around!

I’ve been watching a TV series (someone who loves me bought me the boxed set) called the Tudors.   I never get tired of looking at the elaborate costumes and the ornate jewelry.   I’ve been wanting to experiment and try some Tudor style pieces but still keep my own “clean lines” style.   Here are some “experiments I made with some filigree, some stones I had in my stash box and some chains.

Not the greatest pictures, but you get the drift.

‘m definitely outside my comfort zone and loving it!

My next plan is to try some gypsy beading.   That will be a challenge.   I have to have the right piece and use just enough beads and chain to use the opulent gypsy beading and still keep  my simplistic style.  I think I may use this bronze pendant that I made during my weekend at Zeffers Farm Studio.   I’m psyched!

I’m also going to try collage jewelry.   I see a lot of that for sale, especially on Etsy.  Some of it is way too much for me, but I’m going to try it and see what I can come up with that reflects my own way of doing things.

Where else am I going?   Steampunkery, here I come!   I’ve been in love with steampunk style and lifestyle for over a year now and scared to try even on a small piece.   I found some steampunk texture stamps at B’Sue Boutique and it looks like a great way to start. I can use them with the metal clay but I think I’ll start with polymer clay and maybe make a pair of earrings at first.   I’m also going to experiment with patinas and have found an awesome product called Gilder’s Paste that looks like SO much fun!!!   You can use it on metal and even on polymer clay.   I’ve got plans to do another weekend at Zeffer’s Farm Studio and play with resin jewelry.   There is no telling where I am going to end up!  I’m out of the box and rarin’ to go!

January 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 7 Comments