Last time I posted here, it was winter.

Life changed for me back then.  Not dramatically – at least not outwardly, but I experienced a great shift, a lurch forward and some much-needed new perspective about my future.  Nothing this year has been particularly easy, but I was reassured of the love and closeness of my family, and of the support of my friends.  What matters now is that I have moved into a new home and am slowly but surely finding the strength to develop my own creative business, doing the two things I love – making jewelry and writing.  I am currently writing a variety of projects, some more interesting than others, but all valuable in their own way.  Writing for others is most assuredly not the same thing as writing for myself, but that will come.  I have to keep reminding myself of that.

In the meantime, I am channeling my creative energy into a couple of projects – jewelry and painting.  Looking forward to selling my wares this holiday season, both online and in person.  More to come on both of those in the next couple of days.

Now, here’s the bummer – I can’t post photos of my most recent creations, because they were a set – gifts for a friend to give a spouse.  And the gift hasn’t been given, so . . . . I have to wait. 🙂

But I have new beads and new ideas – check here tomorrow for links!

I’m thinking about Valentine’s Day – about hearts and flowers and stuff that I don’t normally make.  Hmmmmmm. . . .

The sun is shining, which makes my own heart happy, especially because it hasn’t been out much of late.  So here’s the plan.  I’m going to clean up my work space, which is overrun with the effluvia of recent projects.  I’m giving myself two hours of hardcore cleaning/straightening/organizing – then I’m going to work on something heart-y.  :::::groan, groan:::::  Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

After which I have to write, because my deadline of tomorrow morning is looming, even though my brain is not interested in lesson plans at the moment.  Yikes!  Maybe that heart-y creative burst will shake some thoughts loose?  One can only hope . . .

When I designed a new logo for my Etsy shop and to use on business cards, labels, etc., I created a curl out of 16-gauge sterling silver wire to use as a capital ‘C,’ and wrapped it in a smaller copper coil.  I loved the result, but once I’d photographed it, I really had no use for it.

Modified, however, I think it makes a rather lovely pendant.  I reworked the copper, attached it with smaller sterling wire, and polished it in my tumbler.  Rather than hang it from cord, which would have been fine, I tried out a pendant hanger twirled around silk ribbon.  I think it works.  Not sure – thoughts, anyone?  Would a more simple cord be better?

Something about this focal bead just grabbed me when I saw it on ebay.  I love Robin’s work – very sensual beads.  

I did what I usually do when I get a new bead – I held it, stared at it, and thought about it for days before I sat down to do something with it.  I had an idea in my head, put it all together and felt . . . . blah.  Nope.  Didn’t do it justice.  I’d used the same matte-finish black beads I used in the finished piece, but had paired them with square beads that (sort of) mirrored the band of white/black/silver on the yellow.  Somehow, though, the squares overpowered the focal.  It wasn’t right.  I sighed, slid them all off the beading wire and worked on something else while I rolled it around my brain a few more times.  I hadn’t planned on using seed beads; I feared the focal was too strong for that – but all it needed was a few strands.  When I finished, I felt like I’d given this lovely bead, “Wasabi,” as Robin called it, the perfect home.  What do you think?  Does it work?  Matte black, off-white and sterling nuggets that keep that sensual, organic feel in tact.  And the sterling clasp, even though one seller called it “stained glass,” reminds me more of Japanese architecture, a silk and bamboo screen, perhaps  – just right for a bit a Wasabi.

Yesterday, I delivered 24 necklaces and two pairs of earrings to a customer.  I had the pleasure of helping her create a new generation of heirlooms for the women in her family.

In cleaning out her grandmother’s things, S. found the strands of faux pearls and beads her grandmother wore.   Seeing them took her back to her childhood, and that warm feeling inspired her to give a piece of that history to each of the 24 women and girls in the family – her mom, daughter, sisters, nieces and great-nieces.   At an annual family gathering around Mardi Gras, she would present them with something special from the grandmother some of them were too young to remember.

I met with S. and her college-aged daughter, and we talked about what they wanted.  Something simple, something that would appeal to everyone, from 80 to toddlerhood.  Her daughter thought a single pearl on a chain would be best, and S. thought that perhaps a few on the chain might look nice.  I got a good feel for their styles, and off I headed to weigh ideas and gather supplies.  I scoured the Internet for chain, and couldn’t find anything I liked that was both delicate and interesting.  On a trip to my very favorite local beading store, Ladybug Beads, I found the perfect option – long, twisted links made from very fine wire.  I had to order more, and not surprisingly, they had it for me in a week.

I created three designs – one was three faux pearls, the center one larger, strung directly onto the chain with sterling nuggets between them and on the ends.  The second was a drop pendant on a simple headpin with two faux pearls, smaller one on top with a tiny daisy separator between them.  The third was another drop on the same headpin with a daisy underneath and a nugget on top.  I hand-turned the jump-rings and small wire toggle clasps – to make sure the sterling was of high quality and add a personal, handmade touch.

They chose design #1 and #3 for the necklaces.  The first was for the older generations, the second for the younger women and girls.  I turned #2 into a pair of earrings and designed a second very simple pair with a drop and a nugget, made custom earwires and gave those two pairs as gifts to S. and her daughter, for allowing me the privilege of participating in the project.

Hopefully, the rest of the family will also love them.  Hopefully, even though they are simple and not terribly expensive, the thought and love that went into these will warm their hearts and be an ever-present reminder of the strength of the bond of family.

I delivered 16 pieces to Charm today, and while I was there, took a few pictures of the shop. The owner, Kari, is a delightful young woman, and I was thrilled to finally meet her in person. If you’re in St. Louis – or if you visit here – it is worth the trip, full of great stuff by local artists. Can’t wait to take new stuff in before too long, but right now, am working on a couple of new pieces for Etsy.

I also sent a photo of the necklace below with the rings and links to Leah, the artist who made the rings, and she was very happy with the resulting piece. All in all, a good day in my little corner of the jewelry world!

My jewelry is making its debut in the real retail world today!!  A gorgeous boutique in downtown St. Louis will be displaying about 15 pieces – mostly earrings and necklaces.  Charm is a wonderful little corner of accessory heaven, and I am so excited to be a part of it! Here are photos of some of the pieces headed down there –

– I am inspired by their interest, and as I have also committed to showing/selling at several open houses in February, I better get to work on some new things!!

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