Thursday, December 24, 2009

Slow Day for Self Promotion

 . . .just an update of some of the projects we've been working on. . ...(I know, I know . . it's been awhile).

First up is this beautiful necklace with a large blueberry quartz teardrop focal bead (left). The facets on the focal bead capture the sunlight quite brilliantly (yes, I know, there's a pun). Or even better, the candlelight as you gaze into his eyes over that romantic dinner you have coming up.

Another one that turned out really well is this green and teal combination (below right). Turquoise, amazonite, pale apple and dark African jade beads mixed with Czech glass. This piece reminds me of the warm ocean on a summer's day. All that's needed is the white sand . . . . and a margarita.

One of my favorite things to do when coming up with new jewelry designs is to lay out all my boxes of beads in my studio. Then I take a small glass mixing bowl and start mixing in beads that I think will go well together. A dash of this one, a pinch of that one. Give it a stir and put it all together.

This also means that none of my pieces end up the same. Which is great, because who wants to see the same necklace on someone else when walking down the street. It's nice to own something that's unique and one-of-a-kind. Warning though: if you don't like receiving compliments, then these pieces aren't for you.
 This one (left) features some nice pale moss agate. It has three fantastic carved flower donut-style beads, the center one larger than the other two. Their centers are threaded with very pretty amazonite round beads. Again, I've used Czech glass and Bali silver to accent the focal beads. A very pretty Y shaped drop necklace.

As always, you can find these designs and many others in our online store at

I will also be listing a number of beads as I try to make room for new finds (though I maintain that one can never have too many beads . . .just not enough space)

. . . and so a little bit of self promotion never hurt anyone . . . right?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Perfect Petite Pincushions

I’m sure this has happened to many a sewing phenom who’s had one of those magnetic pin holder contraptions. You know, the yellow oval thing that looks like it could double as a soap dish. Nice for keeping the pins in place . . .not so nice when it drops on the floor late at night and all the pins go scattering across the floor along with the cat who was dozing so nicely under the sewing table. So I have reverted back to a traditional stuffed fabric pincushion.

The uber-common design of a tomato with a funny little strawberry attached was most likely introduced during the Victorian Era. But really . . . a tomato and a strawberry? I mean, the strawberry is kinda cute but the tomato just makes me think of pasta which makes me hungry. According to Tomatoes Are, pins were initially stuck in ripe tomatoes all over Europe. The firmness of the skin with the softness of the inner pulp was ideal for keeping the pins in place. When no ripe tomatoes were abound, housewives and seamstresses made red, tomato-looking cushions for their pins. And since tomatoes and strawberries grow well together . . . voila!
Pincushions are typically filled tightly with stuffing so that the pins are held rigidly in place once poked into the fabric. Traditionally, wool roving (un–spun wool) is used in the tomato in order to prevent rust on the pins. The attached strawberry is typically filled with an abrasive such as emery in order to keep the pins clean and sharp.

So in not wanting to stay with the traditional, in my search I came across a couple different takes on the tomatoes-love-strawberries theme. And I must say, these would make pretty additions to any home, sewing phenom or not. I like the idea of the little strawberries in reds, greens and whites by allthingssmall to decorate a holiday tree. Or a trio of little pumpkins by Sea Pinks for a centerpiece at Thanksgiving. And I adore the sunny yellow flowers on denim blue felt by The Daily Pinchusion, while the yummy cupcake design by Smarmy Pants reminds me to smile and find the whimsy when my sewing isn't quite going as planned.

Sharp, clean pins with no rust that don’t fall all over the floor held by beautiful and charming designs . . .? Genius!

yummy cupcake design by Smarmy Pants
beautiful sunny flower pincushion by The Daily Pincushion
delightful strawberry pincushions by allthingssmall
cheeky pumpkin pincushion by Sea Pinks

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stately Sapphires - The Birthstone for September

I am a Diamond girl. That is to say, I was born in April, thus making my birthstone Diamond. Which really, I have no complaints about. However, if I were to choose a gemstone to pair with my diamonds, it would have to be the wonderfully hued Sapphire, the birthstone for September. This regal corundum mineral is generally thought of as the truest of blue in gemstones. Hence the phrase “Sapphire Blue”. But sapphires can be nearly any color except red (since those are called rubies, which are chemically and structurally the same). Sapphire is also the Zodiac stone for the constellation of Taurus the Bull. (which, being a Taurus, I can appreciate)

The Logan Sapphire from Sri Lanka (right) is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in the world, weighing 422.99 carats. It is currently on display at the Natural Museum of Natural History.

The Hall Sapphire Necklace (below) was designed by Harry Winston, Inc., and features thirty six matched Ceylon sapphires from Sri Lanka, surrounded by four hundred and thirty five white diamonds. The Hall Sapphire Necklace is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's American Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Sapphire is also the traditional gift for a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary. (my advice? instead of celebrating a 25th anniversary with paltry silver, opt to celebrate five times your 5th and receive five sapphires) If somehow you make it to your 65th wedding anniversary, then the traditional gift is the rare and pleasantly peculiar star sapphire. (below right)

Sapphires from Sri Lanka and India are well known, and excellent examples are also found in Tanzania and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. In addition, sapphires are found in many places throughout the world, including North Carolina, Montana, Brazil, and China.

But I think the best place to find them should be in my jewelry box . . .

Paraiba Green Sapphire

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Button, Button . . .Who's got a Button?

I have a fascination with buttons. I think it's partly my Oma's fault. My first memories of my intimate introduction to these little treasures are of sitting on the floor in the living room at Oma's house while my mom had coffee. I was given a large glass jar, the kind that dill pickles used to come in. It was filled with buttons of all shapes and sizes. I think the idea was for me to thread the buttons onto string, thus improving concentration and dexterity in a toddler. However, I had different ideas.

Instead, I sorted the buttons. First, I sorted them by color. Then I sorted them by size. I divided them into shank and no-shank; I divided them into two holes versus four. Then I put them all back in the jar and started over.

Today I buy buttons for no reason other than they tickle something inside of me. Usually, crafters buy notions for an intended purpose. I have scores and scores of buttons that I have no idea what I will use them for. For now, they sit in a series of antique Ball blue glass jars on a shelf in my studio. For now, this is their sole purpose.

To just look interesting and hold all kinds of possibilities.

And that's okay by me.

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