Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pom-Pom Party

These gorgeous flower-like pom-poms look intricate and difficult to make, but they are actually fairly simple. However, they do require an ounce of patience (see step 6). With adult supervision, they would be a fantastic project of a little gal’s birthday party; a beautiful memento for the young princesses to take home and hang in their own palace. Have a bunch of boys? Switch to using bright primary colors along with black and have the tykes create their own far away galaxy of planets.

Made in smaller sizes and hung at a variety of heights, a group of these would make a great mobile for a child’s room or nursery. Make them in a bride’s wedding colors for her bridal shower or in soft pastel colors for a baby shower. Create themes based on the season; black and orange for Hallowe’en or red, white and green for Christmas.

Below are the instructions to get you started


• Tissue paper (20 inches x 30 inches). Choose one to three colors in similar shades of the same color to keep things from looking like an acid circus. Unless that’s the look you’re going for. Local dollar stores usually have a good selection.
• Scissors, either plain ol’ straight edged or a more decorative scalloped or waved edge.
• Monofilament fishing line
• Thin floral wire, white if you can find it.

Here's how:

1. Stack four to eight the sheets of paper on top of one another, depending on how full n’ puffy you want them to be.

2. Now, fold the sheets into 1.5-inch accordion folds, all the way across. Be sure to keep the folds even.

3. Prune the ends of the tissue into round or pointed shapes to give them a petal-like look.

4. Cut about a foot and a half length of floral wire.

5. Wrap the wire around the center of the folded tissue and secure it by twisting. Trim the excess wire.

6. Now the fun part! Pull apart each layer, separating it from the center one piece at a time (here’s where that patience comes in handy).

7. Measure the length you'd like to hang your pom pom from and cut a piece of monofilament accordingly.

8. Knot the monofilament to the floral wire and hang!

9. Try varying the size of the tissue paper and the cut edge to create an array of effects. Repeat until you've created a pom-pom fantasyland. The more, the merrier!

Not in a crafty mood or short on time? (hey, it happens) . . . PomLove, Fiesta Pom Pom and orangekisses all have a spectacular selection of ready to ship pom-poms in a variety of sizes, as well as a custom order option for your special occasion or color pallet.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Silver Spoons: not just for your mouth anymore . . . .

When visiting London in 2008, I had the pleasure of browsing through several vintage flea markets, especially in the prestigious Notting Hill neighborhood. It seemed everything old and British was for sale (well, not quite everything… the Queen was not being offered up for purchase). One of the things I really enjoyed sifting through were the stalls of old silver, which was generally for sale by weight instead of by piece, due to the current value of silver prices.

Always on the hunt for new and interesting jewelry, I found a stall where a young lady was turning antique silverware into wearable art. Forks became bracelets and tie clips, spoons became rings and pendants.

In the seventeenth century, English servants who married began the tradition of crafting wedding rings from stolen bits of silverware, since they couldn't afford a proper ring.

As recent as the late 1960’s and through the 70’s, spoon rings were very popular with the young  and rebellious, who wore them as a symbol of breaking from family traditions and conformity. Nothing says “family revolt” more than chopping up the heirloom silverware. These “repurposed” jewelry pieces were mainly available at flea markets and craft sales, where sellers would offer them inexpensively at a couple dollars per piece. Because of the nature of the ring’s design, these were also easy to resize, as most rings were created in a spiral shape that wrapped around the finger instead of a closed and soldered band.

Still somewhat popular today, these rings are beautiful and reasonably easy to make. Two great websites with detailed instructions on how to make your own silver spoon ring as well as a list of materials and equipment you will need are at Essortment Hobbies and Ehow.

Grandma’s silverware . . .beware!

Not feeling crafty enough to make your own? The photos displayed here are some beautiful examples of the several different patterns for you to purchase by AnneMariesAccessorys and dankartistry

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring . . is in the Bag !

Warm weather, blooming flowers, birds chirping and Easter only a couple days away. . . .

Here are a trio of lovely spring tote bags to brighten you day. These bags all feature roomy interiors with six pockets; some smaller for your cell phone, others larger to secure your water bottle or pocketbook.

These bags can be put to use for a variety of tasks. Use one as a book bag, another as a diaper bag to hold just the things you need for your little one while visiting a friend for coffee. Load one up with flip-flops, a good book & a blanket and head to the beach (just remember the sun screen). I have one for craft projects that holds everything I need (crochet hooks, scissors, balls of yarn, buttons) which I can toss in the car at a moment’s notice if I am heading out to my nephew's cello lesson or to Oma’s house for coffee.

All the totes are handmade and feature many vintage or upcycled fabrics from . . .oh. let's see . . .a grad dress, a full length skirt that I shortened, Italian dupioni silk swatch samples, cushion covers that I tried to make that ended up being too small. Each has its' own character and no two bags are the same. The unique buttons are from either my mom's or my Oma's collections. . . pssst! Mom, see what happens when you innocently ask "Can you use these fabric and buttons for anything?"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Inspirations in Jewelry

I will be the first to admit that there are a lot of jewelry designers out there. And after awhile, some of it starts to look the same (except those designs made by moi, bien sur). But then every once in awhile, I stumble across someone who is designing jewelry so differently, so uniquely, so . . .well, FRESH . . .that it causes my mouth to physically hang open.
Tonight I came across Barbara Macleod Jewellery, (yes, with the European spelling of the craft) or bcm999 as she’s known to fellow Etsians (those of us who sell and spend way too much time on Barbara graduated in 2007 with a first class degree in Jewellery and Metalwork Design from Duncan of Jordanstone Art College in Dundee. Soon after she was awarded a start up grant by the Scottish Arts Council, and returned to her home town of Lochinver, - a small picturesque fishing and crafting village in the northwest Highlands of Scotland to set up her workshop. Since then, she has sold her designs through local and international galleries, major events and her website.

Her designs blend the perfect mixture of modern and classic. Crisp, bold yet intricate silverwork is paired with a soft pallet of rosy pink and ecru, mint green and sky blue. The current collection very much reminds me of delicate Easter egg patterns.

Each piece is wearable for both daily work life and night time glamour. Compliments and curiosity will both be forthcoming when wearing one of these gorgeous designs.

Given the funds, I would be up for purchasing more than one of these, and not just for wearing at Easter.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More Earrings for Spring

Spring is definitely in the air, despite the smattering of snow we received today. The crocus and daffodils are in full force, the cherry blossoms are out on the trees . . .and the buzz of creativity is in the air. All this excitement has turned my thoughts towards new beginnings. New projects, new job . . . .new wardrobe, perhaps?

Here are a few new accessories to inspire the new look of spring:

Pink and mauve are two colors that whisper spring. Here they work together in a pair of pink pearl and mauve blister mother of pearl earrings (left). Delicate blue and pink crystals accent the look. How very sweet. How very spring.
 Another color that heralds spring in green. Here green is presented in a pair of amazonite jade earrings with Bali silver flower accents (right). 

Denim blue is a staple year round. A great pair of earrings to match with your favorite jeans are these Montana Austrian crystal and silver pave earrings (below left).  Or try these navy crystal and ribbed silver bead earrings with pale rose quartz (below right).

Just add a spring floral top and a light sweater, slip on your ballet flats and you're set. Perfect for a Saturday trip to the local market or brunching on a Sunday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A New Look For Hoop Earrings

Here's a quick fix for giving new life to your existing jewelry. These connectors and pendants by EverLuxe are delicate and light enough to be threaded onto silver or gold hoops to add a new dimension to your existing earrings.
Or, you could place them between a stud earring and your ear. Imagine a diamond or colored stone sparkling at the top of these.
They would look great with pearl studs as well. And at such great prices, you can easily create several new looks by changing and swapping the look to extend your jewelry wardrobe.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Under a Canopy of Cherry Blossoms

It is the beginning of March, and as many of you have witnessed, Vancouver has been experiencing some rather warm weather. Last week it was a bit funny to see broadcasts from the Olympic events with daffodils in full bloom as a backdrop.

One of the other markers of spring that has come early this year is the blooming of the cherry trees. Many of the streets in Vancouver are lined with these beautiful and majestic Prunus Cerasus speciosas covered in pale pink puff balls. There are an estimated 36,000 flowering cherry trees in Vancouver. Each year the city holds a Cherry Blossom Festival with several events such as a Haiku contest, a Bikes & Blossoms Tour, and a photo contest taking place around Vancouver. Other cities with large cherry blossom festivals include San Franciso CA, Macon GA, Washington DC, and Honolulu, HI. The largest and most festive celebrations take place thoroughout Japan.

Cherry blossoms figure prominently in Japanese culture. The cherry blossom is seen as a symbol of represents the transience of life; it is a very delicate flower that blooms for a very short time and so reflects the teachings of Buddhism that state all life is short and transitory. A falling cherry blossom represents the beauty of snow or a life taken too soon by battle.

In Japan, the flowers are dried and used to make tea. The leaves (sakura leaf or cherry leaf) are used in cooking and medicine to make 'cherry tree rice cake'
If you are not able to visit the festival, there is another way to bring the cherry blossoms to you. Have a look at these gorgeous painted wooden bangles by amy987.

Each bangle is hand painted and unique, and is painted both inside and out. What a great way to keep the cherry blossoms with you all year round.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Paris Chic meets Dark Espresso

Anyone who has seen my apartment (and not many people have, since it is still in the final stages of renovation.) will note that most of my furniture is dark espresso and fairly contemporary. Bedroom set? dark espresso with black leather insets in the headboard. Dining room chairs? dark espresso with beige ultra suede. Book shelves? You guessed it, dark espresso with pictures in dark espresso or silver frames. Even my crown molding and baseboards are now painted in Behr # 790B-7 Bitter Chocolate Espresso. And I don’t even like coffee.

So I find it a bit interesting that recently I have become drawn to French style occasional furniture. Perhaps it is a reflection back to my stay in Paris in my oh-la-la bed & breakfast.

I like the chipped and peeling antique look of this gorgeous hand carved Louis XIV style dresser from the 1930’s (above).It would look lovely in the same room as this carved mirror (right).

Both are available from Karina Gentinetta

Imagine my surprise when I found myself enamored with this coffee and end table set at a local antique store. Even more surprising was that I bought them, even though they are pretty much the opposite of the rest of my furniture.

But maybe that’s why they work so well. A little bit of French je ne sais quoi in the middle of my living room.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pretty Organza Posies

These organza flowers are absolutely gorgeous. I can just see a bunch of them in cream and pale blues sitting in an ironstone pottery bowl on my dining room table. They would be fantastic pinned into a bridal or prom up-do, attached to a classic headband, or pinned to a lapel to brighten a dark winter’s coat.

The handmade set in red wine by supplier (shown left) would be stunning for a winter wedding.

Handmade Organza Flowers in Red Wine
by supplier

Pin a couple in the bride's hair, one for each of the bride's maids and one for both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom. And at a very reasonable price, you may be able to request larger quantities to outfit the flower girls as well. (how adorable one of these would be pinned at the shoulder of the dress)

Another way to wear these are as clips on a pair of peep toe shoes, as shown by Clark and Diversey (shown right) or by jurgitahandmade (shown below).The clips add new life to the shoes and give them a very sweet and romantic look.

Ivory Bridal Shoe Clips with Rhinestones
by Clark and Diversey

                           "Mary" Ivory Organza Shoe Clips
                           by jurgitahandmade

The addition of pearls and rhinstones to the centers of the flowers give them that extra sparkle and make them oh-so-much-more glamorous.
Hmmm . . .I have a beige pair of heels not unlike the style shown left that would benfit by adding a couple coffee colored concoctions to.

Whether structured like the ones by supplier or David and Diversey, or more flimsy and whimsy like the ones by Reese Dixon or jurgitahandmade, these little beauties are sure to add interest to your existing wardrobe without a huge investment. Just attach . . .  and be prepared for the compliments.

Super crafty and wanna know how to make them yourself? tutorial here by Reese Dixon

oh Chanel, how I adore thee

So I'm browsing on the Chanel website, deciding on my next purchase (ha!). There are the usual suspects: the white gold and diamond rings, the strands of creamy white pearls with the classic double CC. And then I come across this little number. So different, so avant garde . . and yet classic and refined at the same time. Which when you think about it is everything the Chanel brand stands for.

Listed in their Les Intemporelles de Chanel (The Timeless Chanel) collection, the description reads only "Diamonds and white gold necklace". Of course there is no price attached because I think at this point, if one were seriously considering adding this necklace to their collection, the price would be something dismissed with a lofty wave of a well manicured hand.

Now I'm not a big fan of gifts at Valentine's Day, but for this? I would make an exception.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Goodbye Turtlenecks, Hello Open Necklines

With all the warm weather we've been having here in Vancouver (perfect by me, not so perfect for the 2010 Olympic Games), it doesn't seem so far a stretch to begin to think of shedding layers of heavy winter clothing for lighter, more vibrant attire. Can you say, "goodbye turtleneck"?

So with that in mind, I’ve started creating some new pieces for more open necklines. This doesn’t mean of course that you shouldn’t wear them with a classic turtleneck. Indeed, these pieces would be stunning with either a warm & creamy or a rich & dark palette to play off of.

Blue Lace Agate & Hematite Beaded Necklace

I enjoy the contrast of the black and copper banded beads with the pale blue lucite and frosty blue lace agate. The Bali silver textured beads remind me of pomegranates. Still with a hint of winter, but perfect for the opening of a blazer or peaking out from a tailored white dress shirt. Also great with a classic cocktail dress or dare I say it yet . . .flirty little sundress.

Highlights of this necklace include:

~ teardrop shaped blue lace agate focal bead
~ polished blue lace agate nuggets
~ textured Bali silver beads
~ round magnetic hematite beads
~ pale blue faceted lucite beads circa 1950
~ black with copper foil "wedding beads"
~ unique handmade scroll clasp

The necklace measures 18" or 46cm and has a 2" extension (5cm). Upon request, the necklace can have longer extensions added to suit your needs.

Want to add the necklace to your collection? You can find this handmade and one-of-a-kind piece here.

For other unique and interesting pieces, please visit the silverbluedesigns shop on, and stay tuned for other newly created additions.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Regal Amethyst

Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February as well as the Zodiac stone for the constellation of Pisces. A gift of this deep, dark purple prismatic stone is symbolic of protection and the power to overcome difficulty. It is said to strengthen the bond in a love relationship, and is traditionally given as the anniversary gemstone for the 6th year of marriage (just when couples perhaps are in need something with these attributes?).

The ancient Greeks believed that this gemstone held many powers, among them protection against intoxication. In fact, the Greek word "amethystos" basically can be translated as "not drunken." This was due to a belief that amethyst would ward off the effects of alcohol, and it was common practice to serve fermented beverages from amethyst goblets in the belief that this would prevent overindulgence. I am making a mental note to remember to bring my amethyst goblet to next year’s Super Bowl party.

Deposits of this gemstone are found in Brazil, Canada, Australia, India, Madagascar, Namibia, Russia, Sri Lanka; and in the United States (Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Colorado). Defined deep purple stones found in Guerrero, Mexico are some of the most valuable and prized in the world.

In Tibet, amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it.

The color purple is traditionally the color of royalty and amethyst has been used throughout history to adorn the rich and powerful monarchs and rulers. The Royal Orb and Sceptre used in coronation ceremonies in the United Kingdom, Great Britian and Northern Ireland feature amethysts; the Orb (left) contains a large octagonal stone below its 365 diamond cross. One of the world’s largest amethysts is in the Sceptre (right), smack between a diamond encrusted cross and the world’s largest known diamond, the Star of Africa which weighs in at a mere 530 carats.

I think one of the most stunning examples still remaining today of amethyst crown jewelry is the Swedish Amethyst Tiara and Parure (above, clockwise from left: earrings, necklace, regeant dress swag and two brooches), favored by Queen Silvia of Sweden and shown here worn by Crown Princess Victoria towards the front of her head (below left).

Today, due to its widespread availability, amethyst is a lovely and fortunately affordable gemstone that is found in a wide variety of cut and uncut stones that many can all possess and admire; regardless of whether or not it is your particular birthstone. 


~ Find out the grade of the amethyst. Amethysts are often separated into 3 categories: Siberian, Uruguayan or Bahain. Siberian is the highest grade amethyst, Uruguayan falls in the middle and Bahain is the lowest.

~ Examine the color of the gemstone. The deep and rich violet colored stones will be the most expensive while the lighter colors will be more affordable.

~ Inquire if the stone is synthetic. Over 70 percent of amethysts on the market are synthetic.

~ Check the clarity. You want a stone that is clear with few inclusions.

~ Know the terminology. If you are looking for true amethyst jewelry, do not buy a piece labeled as Oriental amethyst. This term actually refers to a sapphire that has the same violet color as an amethyst.

~ Purchase a piece of amethyst jewelry with a clean cut. If the stone is cut well, it will maximize the intensity of the amethyst's color.

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