Posts filed under ‘One of a kind’

Pearls and Chips

For about a week this December I sat in front of my computer and streamed Stargate SG-1 (one of my favorite shows–I can already hear you saying”Ne-erd!”) and tried to use up an assortment of gemstone chips. All the pieces I’ve tried to put into a theme. I will cover one theme a day until I’ve run out.

Chips; Part 1: With Pearls.

This necklace is made with black gemstone, glass pearls, black jade, and abalone. This is a one-of-a-kind item; the abalone beads used in this necklace are no long available from my source. See matching bracelet and earrings below, also one-of-a-kind items.

The creation below is made with chips from leopard skin jasper and freshwater pearls dyed dark rose. I also found a rose quartz pendant kicking around in my collection. In between the chips are silver-lined seed beads which give the piece an extra sparkle.


December 28, 2010 at 12:49 am Leave a comment

My Ornament Gifts

It is always a challenge to get a gift for someone. I don’t have much time or funds to get everyone the perfect gift.  I do not want to get someone a thing that will gather dust and that they will not appreciate. I usually try to get a gift certificate (always appreciated if a little unimaginative) or something consumable (beer, wine, chocolate, apple butter). A handmade item is often a good idea as well; it shows the recipient you cared to spend time to make them something they will hopefully like. This year, I made ornaments out of memory wire and base metal eyepins. The multicolored beads are acrylic from an assortment. The green and clear beads are Czech pressed glass.

That last one on the bottom right is pretty crazy. Yes, they could be called Christmas ornaments, I suppose, but some might just make nice window decorations. Small, flat and easy to store. I sure hope my friends and family like them. This project helped me reduce my inventory. Yay!

December 25, 2010 at 7:07 pm Leave a comment

Jewelry for my Aunty

At long last, I have returned. Though I am deep in writing my novel right now, I will emerge once a day to catch up the blog on my jewelry happenings.

Aunty Vern's Necklace

My cousin Sheila asked me to make some jewelry for my Aunt Veronica for Christmas. Sheila picked out the design and colors. I made a matching matinee length necklace and bracelet using white button pearls and Swarovski crystals in light pink, green, blue and aqua. I am especially pleased with the clasps, a dainty swirl with a crystal at the center.

The novel update. 30.5K words. 12 more days to reach 50K. I did it last year, and I’ll do it again. I must say, book 2 is going way better than book one. Yay outline!

Thanks for visiting.

November 18, 2010 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

February and March


February is the month when my semi-retirement ends and my 9-month, full-time job begins. My goal was to try and use up some bead inventory while I still had the time. I made two necklaces and a focal piece (I’ll finish it off and feature it in Aprils update). These are both one of a kind items. Many of the beads are no longer available. If I make more of these I’ll have to find substitutions for what I can’t get.

Obsidian and Silver NecklaceThe first piece: gothic black and silver. I used onyx, Swarovski crystals, black Malay jade, obsidian, black agate, Czech glass with aurora borealis finish, twisted silver bugle beads, and sterling silver. I can’t wait to wear it out. It is a great accessory for a costume event.

The second piece: Egyptian and Alexander Calder inspired. Lapis lazuli and turquoise represented the sky and the water to Ancient Eqyptians. A silver alloy was considered very rare to Ancient Egypt jewelers, but since the metal is more reactive (tarnished into dust!) than gold not much silver jewelry survived the 3000-4000 years. It represented moonlight to the Ancient Egyptians. I made and hammered all the spirals myself with sterling silver wire. I also used howlite, sodalite, Swarovski crystals, and blue agate in this necklace.

Meanwhile, Morgan and I were negotiating with our landlord for some improvements in our living space. We wanted to remove the ugly, acoustic ceiling, get laminate floors, and create Morgan’s precious beer, wine and cheese closet. Our landlord added painting to the list. We had to pack up everything and put it in a Portable On Demand Storage unit in our driveway. During the packing I realize, I have too much stuff. Funny how things accumulate So good thing I was trying to use up some inventory, not that it helped all that much in the scheme of things.


I did nothing creative this month unless it was to paint a couple of accent walls. The work on our place started March 1 with the removal of the ceiling. The inside of our house was complete enveloped in plastic like a great cavern of- well, plastic. The drywall expert came in and closed off the new closet and found some extensive damage from a 15-year-old water leak (no wonder it always smelled so musty in our bedroom). That touched off a week of fixing the roof and replacing rotted studs, insulation and drywall. Now on to painting. We had barely any notice we would have to sleep away from the house the first night as they used oil based paint. Morgan nearly asphyxiated trying to get our toiletries and air bed out so we could sleep at a friend’s. Before this, we moved from room to room wherever there was no work. This continued until the floors upstairs were done. Now we’re just waiting for the baseboards downstairs. Very exciting. All we have to do is sell or donate stuff we won’t use anymore and move the rest of the stuff back into the house. I can’t wait to get back to normal life. Hopefully there will be more creative things to report to you next month.

Thanks for visiting!

March 26, 2010 at 3:14 pm 1 comment

For Amber’s Mom on her birthday

Good day friends! I’ve been very busy with my novel, but I did find time to fill a special order for Amber, my guitarist’s awesome mom. Her requirements were simple: green, pink, black, mostly green and beautiful. I’m calling it my homage to Alexander Calder (famous for his mobiles and other sculpture, but I like his jewelry best). Found a fantastic book of it at the library. I highly recommend it.

I finally got to use my hammer and tiny anvil on the spirals for the drops, flattening them out. Stones used: teardrops are chrysoprase, flat rounds are malachite, small black stones are black jade, lighter stone beads are rose quartz. You will also see pink pearls and crystal. A couple black crystals in there, too.

Well, I’m terribly pleased with it. Feel free to let me know what you think!

My NaNoWriMo Progress: 41004 words. 5 days to go! What’s next? NaNoFiMo and NaNoEdMo (National Novel Finishing Month if I need it and National Novel Editing Month). I can’t wait!

November 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Opening new doors

I have just completed a course in jewelry fabrication techniques at Cuesta College called Jewelry I with Linda Lewis and her competent assistant Lee or Leigh or Li. Click on her name and go to her website, which is just as nice as mine. At first her jewelry wasn’t my cup of tea, but after taking this class I have a real appreciation for her work and I like it very much.

Jewelry I earring projectWhat did I learn? Well, how to solder successfully in several different steps for one and finishing (pickling, rinsing, filing, sanding, polishing) for another. We made a pair of earrings which required soldering joints in two separate steps and texturing with forging and ball peen hammers. Mine turned out to be a little abstract because I wanted to experiment with different shapes. We made a pendant with a bezeled stone and bail soldered on. Carnelian and sterling silver pendant from Jewelry IThe stone in the pendant rattles a little, it’s not quite symmetrical and I could have done a better job polishing around the bezel. On the double shank ring with bezeled stone it is really not symmetrical (I think the bezel moved on me a little while I was soldering it and there is a gap between the bezel and base plate. Jewelry I earring projectJewelry I takes four days to get through three projects, but we were so speedy we had time for a fourth, a sterling silver bead. The designs you see on the pendant and ring are made with stamps, much like stamping on leather if you ever did that at summer camp. I tried to do some texturing on the bead, but it all got pounded out while trying to make the disk round. Carnelian and sterling silver pendant from Jewelry IYou can still kinda see the ghost of the design. As I’ve described, these pieces are still a little rough around the edges, but I’m still pleased with the result. I’m learning from those little flaws. Click on the photo for a more detailed shot.

So now I’m gobbling up all the art jewelry books at my public library. One of my new favorites is the Penland Book of Jewelry (scroll down) published in 2005 (though Linda says there are some earlier iterations). One word: INCREDIBLE. This class and all these new ideas have opened another door for me in jewelry, the brave new world I mentioned earlier. I don’t imagine I’ll ever reach the prestige that Linda and the Penlanders have, but the creation process is so rewarding for me. Check out what I’ve made just in time for Mother’s Day.Carnelian and sterling silver pendant with red agate and periodot beads

I’ve gotten so many books at the library about soldering before, so I had all the concept down. I just needed a guide and some practical, hands on knowledge to actually do it right. Oh, and the right equipment (a torch, solder paste and a block just were not cutting it– or joining it, rather). I’m a little overwhelmed by the amount of equipment needed to complete our projects. Some of it is inexpensive and there are some ways you can cut costs, but it all adds up. If I do decide to go full tilt into fabrication, I’ll have to clear some space in the garage and negotiate space with Morgan. I foresee large credit card bills.

And too conclude, I’m addicted to all this learning stuff and will have to take the Casting and Jewelry II (forging) classes when I can.

May 9, 2009 at 12:39 am Leave a comment

Hemp Jewelry

One day last year, Kelly asked me to make him a necklace with hemp and turquoise. For Chris’s birthday (picture on left), he asked for a hemp necklace with bones. Now, thanks to these fellows, I’m going to be able to offer hemp jewelry to you, my clients. I did buy a huge skein of hemp, and I’ll be offering necklaces and bracelets at least until it runs out. I can’t be sure how popular it’s going to be, because hemp is pretty cheap, especially if made in China. I rely on my made-in-America charm to make it worth while to clients. Hemp also allows me to expand my “mad-bead” collection. The first items available will feature bones of the carved and painted variety. The item pictured to the right (links to my website) has bones from an assortment, and it is not likely one I will be able to make an exact copy of. Once this one is gone, you’ll just have to see what else is available if it’s bones you want. To follow will be hemp necklaces featuring turquoise, green adventurine, red agate and blackstone. Stay tuned!

December 1, 2008 at 1:20 am Leave a comment

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