Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

The tree is up.  The house is decorated.  The presents are wrapped. The holiday cards and e-greetings have been sent. Is this possible? It's only December 21st.  I must have forgotten something!
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One Free Pair of Holiday Earrings with Every Order!

Hey by the way did I mention? I am still busy making holiday earrings and am giving away one free pair to every customer who buys something at my online etsy shop.  Stop by, do some gift shopping and receive a free surprise for yourself of fun holiday earrings that are sure to go with your favorite sweater. Offer good through 12/20/11 Click: Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

First Fifty Holiday Earrings...Yeah!!! I Made It!

Last month I challenged myself to make 50-100 holiday earrings.  Well, guess what?
I MADE IT!!!! Yeahhhh!!! Here are the first 50:

Spent most of yesterday stamping and punching cardstock... just in time for a show later this week.  Here is my first attempt at cost efficient display. Received the hammered copper tub as part of a gift last year am glad I hung on to it!!! Installed a cardboard shelf with slats into the tub to give the earrings some height and exposure. I am still fine tuning so let me know if you have any suggestions ;)

Still have plenty of time before the holidays and look forward to making more!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Stroll Through the Carefree Fine Art and Wine Festival

Stopped by Carefree Fine Art and Wine Festival today. They had beautiful weather, wish I could say the same for yesterday. This was a juried exhibition and the work on display was stunning.  I saw many beautiful paintings, photographs, sculpture, handcrafted fountains, furniture and jewelry.  If only I had more photos...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Inspriration From Far Places...Tibetan Earrings

Photograph of Tibetan silver earrings taken at Yunnan Museum of Minority Nationalities. The earrings include the finely detailed wings of what appear to be cranes, accented with coral drop beads. The museum located in Kunming China was opened in 1995. It explores the custom and culture of 25 ethnic minorities of this region.

File:Earrings - Yunnan Nationalities Museum - DSC04109.JPG

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Good Old Fashioned Halloween

File:Happy Halloween!.jpg
Photo Courtesy of Cindy
Are you planning to carve up a Jack-O-Lantern this year? It just isn't halloween without the glowing pumpkin, or at least that's the way it used to be... Today the stores are chock full of readymade halloween decorations including plastic, porcelain and yes even felted copies of the original; not to mention the other assorted ghosties and monster characters to keep the trick-or-treat crowd amazed.  But for the traditionalist, nothing will replace the pumpkin carving planning: what kind of face will it be this year: happy or mean and scary? Nothing can out-do the icky squishy feeling of the first fist full of pumpkin pulp and seeds that need to be carefully separated from each other. And finally, who can resist placing the pumpkin outside on the front porch, lighting the candle, replacing the lid and catching the wafting fragrance of toasted pumpkin around the neighborhood.

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Photo Courtesy of Cindy
Save the seeds! Set the oven at 250 and spread the seeds out onto a one inch lipped cookie pan. Cover the seeds in water and sprinkle heavily with cinnamon and sugar. Place the pan in the oven, let the water evaporate and turn the seeds over.  Add more water to the pan covering the seeds again and sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar. Let the water evaporate once again until the seeds dry out but are not too burnt. Sit back, answer the door, admire the costumes and enjoy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fluorite and Silver Bead Bracelet

O.K. so I could not resist. Had to show you what I did with a few of those fluorite beads pictured in my last article. They have been combined with some hollow silver beads I made and are now a part of this lovely bracelet.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fluorite Beads... Here's the Mineral Info:

Fluorite can be made into beautiful beads and focals for handcrafted jewelry. It is a clear to semi-translucent mineral and can be found in a great variety of colors including: purple, blue, green, yellow, brown, pink, black and red-orange. Sometimes a single specimens will contain more than one color. Fluorite can also be fluorescent meaning that it glows in a different color when exposed to certain types of light. In other cases it is phosphorescent, or glowing with its own light. It is found all over the world including North America and the U.S., (Arizona, Connecticut, and North Carolina) in addition to areas of Canada and Mexico.

 Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0
As a mineral it is considered soft having a hardness of 4.  Fluorite was used by the ancient Egyptians for carvings such as scarabs. It has also been used by the Chinese as a carving material for many hundreds of years.  Fluorite has important industrial uses as a flux in producing steel. It also can be found in various applications for pottery, optics and plastic.  The mineral has been used by healers to help cure ulcers and to aid respiratory tract ailments. When used in meditation, it has been said that fluorite helps to energize the body and raise concentration.

What an amazing mineral! Fluorite was even named the official mineral for the state of Illinois. Have you seen it in a jewelry design or do you have some interesting facts to share? Please add your comments.

For more information you can start at this site:

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Great to Recycle! Make Beautiful Jewelry From Leftover Silver Scrap

Artist Profile - Denise Paradis, Diamond K Studio

Denise Paradis, Artist and owner of Diamond K Studio creates one of kind jewelry pieces from fine silver, copper and glass. She is also an art instructor at Creative U located in Carefree Arizona. Denise has been an artist all her life and recalls early experiences of crafting ornaments with her grandmother and mother. Through the years she has worked with many techniques including painting, etched glass and various embellishments for clothing. In 2006 she began to make jewelry and has never looked back.

Her jewelry piece featured in this article is called “Graffiti” and was made by artfully placing sterling silver scraps from previous jewelry projects and fusing them together with a propane torch.

It’s amazing to think what one can do with leftover materials.  Denise teaches the techniques for working with silver scrap along with other introductory to intermediate jewelry metal working classes at Creative U. 

Denise is for the most part a self-taught artist and spent many years refining her techniques. She doesn’t feel strongly influenced by any particular artist; rather it comes from her own unique interests and a supportive family background.  When asked what are the more difficult aspects of an artistic pursuit she states that defining your own style can take time, particularly if you enjoy working in different mediums such as PMC, traditional metalsmithing and glass.  She draws much inspiration from working with clients in the creative and supportive environment of the studio that defines her workplace.  You can find her work available for sale at her website:  Her jewelry is also on display at the gallery of Creative U and sold at Roxie’s Boutique in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sneak Peak at Holiday Give-Aways...

Here is a sneak peak at the first 2 pairs of earrings I made for a few give-aways coming up in November and December.  My plan is to make 50-100 pair of holiday earrings and have challenged myself with making no two pair alike. Will do my best to stick to red, green, gold and silver colors. All earring wires will be hypoallergenic either niobium or gold over stainless steel. Wherever am I going to come up with 98 more designs?? Your suggestions are appreciated.  Let me know, Thanks!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ancient Sinagua Designs

I had an opportunity to visit ancient Sinagua Indian cliff dwellings today at two different sites in north central Arizona.  Our first stop was Montezuma's Castle. It's interesting to note that though Montezuma was never known to travel this far north, the area was given the name by early discoverers. The Sinaguan building ruins are spectacular and built very high into the stone terraces. They can only be seen from a distance. 

The visitor's center displays a number preserved artifacts including stone tools, grass weavings, pottery and textiles.  This decorative arrowhead (?) shape was made with turquoise inlayed over wood, 1100-1400 A.D.
Our next stop was Walnut Canyon, north of Flagstaff.  Here we were able to take a short but steep hike directly to the building ruins. The rock walls of the dwellings are still blackened by smoke from cooking fires. There are a fair number of separate cliff dwellings and you can look out across the small canyon and see more on the other side of the chasm. What an amazing experience!...just like looking out across an ancient high rise apartment complex.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Adding Texture To Peyote Stitches

One easy way to add interest and a little texture/depth to peyote stitch can be accomplished by using different size seed beads in the work.  This tubular peyote stitch necklace was made with even count rows starting with 10 beads alternating between no.11 size seed beads and no. 8 seed beads with each "step up".  I used no. 11 silk finish beads to add extra sparkle.  The first and last row was made with a complete row of 10 size no. 11 beads.  Additional fringe work was added around the closure and main sections leading into the glass lampwork focal bead.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ancient Jewelry

It never hurts to look at ancient artwork and jewelry for inspiration in the things we like to wear today.  I can't help catching myself saying, "hey, I could make that!" ...and hitting the realization that many metalworking and fabrication techniques I am familiar with have lasted through the ages. To say it more clearly, the bronze ages. The ancient Greeks (Mycenaean civilization) used a number of techniques including a process that involved stamping out bead forms from gold sheet using dies. Gold was imported by the early Greeks and used quite prevalently. The beaded gold and cornelian necklace shown in the photo below is known to be Cypriot (island of Cyprus) with a Mycenaean influence from 1400-1200 BC.

                                    Photo by Jastrow

*For more information on ancient jewelry check this link:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Old Saguaro

It was a beautiful fairly cool morning today.  Went on hike into the desert and found the "old bones" of a huge fallen saguaro cactus.  It was truly massive and I have been told saguaros this size live well over 200 years. How inspiring to find something like this completely intact still holding the complete shape of what it looked like when it was alive, cactus arms and all.  The second I saw it I knew I was going to have to try to make something that would always remind me... The shape and flow of the bones that make up the trunk are so undulating and graceful.  So here before me lies a new challenge. I think it will be a pendant or neckpiece from precious metal clay.  Not sure what the final piece will actually turn out to be at this point but I will post it and let you see.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Interesting Beads...

-Found some really great clay beads that I plan to make into earrings or a bracelet and thought I would share them here. I visited Sedona (AZ) last weekend and found them at one of the shops at Tlaquepaque. Yes the spelling is correct -Tlaquepaque is a little village of art galleries and shops featuring southwestern art. Sedona is definately a place to stop if you happen to be in Arizona.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sewing Is A Healing Craft

Thumbnail for version as of 00:28, 15 October 2009So here we all are nearing the 10th anniversary of 911. Much has changed and yet much thankfully has remained the same. I saw an amazing newscast recently about the journey of an American flag and the communities it has touched. This particular flag flew at the World Trade Center before and after the events of 911. During its final days at ground zero, it reached a severe state of disrepair. The flag was eventually removed from where it flew at the side of a damaged building and was put away.

Seven years later the flag found itself among a community of people who took it across the country to be restored stitch by stitch. Local heroes of more recent tragedies were invited to stitch the flag. Its final tour for restoration was completed last month. It will be returned to the site of the World Trade Center to hang in the 911 Memorial Museum scheduled to open next year. Sewing is a healing craft.

photo by Bill Koplitz

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Color Trends For Fall

Time to start incorporating some of those wonderful fall colors -and don't feel limited to the classic browns, rust, and gold. Pantone's fashion report for fall 2011 based on surveys of all the top trend setters includes great luscious colors with my favorites: emberglow17-1547, cedar16-0256, coffee liqueur18-0930 and orchid hush 13-3805. Where do they even get these names from? I think they sound stupendous! Lots of inspiration here for all our new wardrobe and design projects! Want to guess Pantone's readership favorite fall color? So far today, 26% say Deep Teal.  Follow the links to Pantone's Fall Fashion Color Report 2011.
bamboo PANTONE 14-0740emberglow PANTONE 17-1547honeysuckle PANTONE 18-2120phlox PANTONE 19-2820cedar PANTONE 16-0526deep teal PANTONE 19-4914coffee liqueúr PANTONE 18-0930nougat PANTONE 16-1320orchid hush PANTONE 13-3805quarry PANTONE 15-4305

code 9VPZS8Z4F4SD

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Summer Garden

Welcome! Ah, the first day... I would like to make this a place to explore the art, history, recent trends and techniques of all things related to jewelry.  But for now I can only introduce myself with a project completed in July. My "Summer Garden Necklace" was made with glass seed beads using tubular herringbone stitch covered with row upon row of fringe beaded flowers. The necklace is currently on exhibition at Creative U, a teaching art studio located in Carefree Arizona. I hope you like the piece, all comments and questions are welcome.

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