Monday, January 14, 2019

01.14.19 Have jewelry, will travel

Photo credit - Washington Post
Happy belated new year everyone!

2019 got off to a very busy start - so it's taken me until the middle of January to get my first post up.

I'm in DC visiting family - which has been fun, except for the 10+ inches of snow that fell in past 36 hours (give me heat any day!) - and hope to be on my way home this evening.

When I travel, I like to take jewelry with me - and for the longest time I could not find a travel case that made me happy - then, I ordered this one from Sundance, and I like it so much that I've bought several more as gifts.



Let me be clear, this is not an ad or paid endorsement - but I am so tickled with this little leather case that I am writing about it.

I love the size and shape. It's compact (a little over 4 inches in each dimension).

It's efficient. It can hold several pairs of earrings, and comes with 6 zip pouches (3 that are sewn in, and 3 more that you can take out if you have bulkier items that don't need separating).

It comes in lots of fun colors - and you can order it with or without an embossed monogram.


I've already got several trips scheduled for this year - and as you know, I love to collect jewelry souvenirs, so watch this space for what's to come.

Until next time.

Monday, December 24, 2018

12.24.18 Thanks for another great year.

Kinetic Jewelry Projects
When I started this blog, I don't think I really believed that I would still be writing it four years later...but here I am.

- I'm now at 180 posts, and counting...

- I took more great classes at Creative Side Jewelry Academy, and especially loved learning to give my jewelry more movement with De Pastel in her kinetics workshop.

"Arabesque" pendant
Peforma/Dance Art for Good




- Continued to donate Art for Good jewelry - to the Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Performa/Dance, the Capital Area Parkinson's SocietyLASA's Project Graduation and Gilda's Clubhouse












- I am now up to 500+ followers on Instagram (thank you all!) and it has been great for my Etsy shop.

- I participated in my first sales event - the Holiday Trunk Show at Creative Side - and sold some pieces, there, too!

- and you, dear readers, have visited this blog over 19,000 times!

Thank you.

I've got one kiddo home for the holidays (although because she's in grad school it's a shorter visit this year) - but I'll be back in early 2019 with more stories about my journey. I hope you will continue to travel with me.

Until next time.

Monday, December 10, 2018

12.10.18 Shop Local 2018

Thank you to the amazing folks at Creative Side who made the holiday market happen last weekend, and everyone who came out and shopped! I loved seeing the work of all my fellow member - makers  and talking to so many wonderful people.

Photo credit: Blue Genie Art
If you didn't make it to the event - fear not - my Etsy shop is still open - with free upgraded shipping through December 18!

Now, it's time  for my annual shout out to two of my favorite long running local holiday art fairs! Both the Blue Genie Art Bazaar and the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar are open through December 24.

Blue Genie is now in their second year at at 6100 Airport Boulevard - and conveniently located next to the fabulous Brewtorium brewpub.

What started as some creative people deciding to have a little holiday fun has become one of my favorite must shop Austin holiday traditions



According to the history on their website - "The first Blue Genie Art Bazaar was held in 2001 at the Blue Genie Art Industries (BGA) shop, where we mostly sold items made by Blue Genie employees. Without putting much thought into it, we built a few walls, hung up some clip lights, and swept the floor — and then we opened the doors. It was quickly apparent that we had something exciting on our hands. Now, the bazaar features the handmade, unique work of over 130 artists, whom we select from a talented pool of more than 300 applicants. We have spent over a decade refining the bazaar, and we’re quite proud of what it has grown into."


I ALWAYS find something at Blue Genie, and almost always, in addition to gifts for other folks, I usually also end up with something for me...like these great earrings from Metalsgirl (I'd been coveting a pair in this style for a quite some time).

Photo credit: Armadillo Bazaar

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is the oldest and longest running of the fairs.  If you REALLY want to make a day of it - get tickets to Ballet Austin's Nutcracker (which runs through December 23, right next door at the Long Center for the Performing Arts), then stroll over to the Palmer Events Center for a different kind of Texas culture.

With artists from all over the country, it's not just a great place to shop for gifts - but a wonderful way to entertaining out of town friends and family wandering from booth to booth while hearing great Texas music.

In case you can't one or more of these events - or aren't fortunate enough to get to Austin at all - here are links to a few of the Austin-based women I've shopped with over the years:




adaptive reUse - Christine Terrell uses vintage tins to make one of a kind earrings, necklaces, belt buckles and cufflinks.

Amanda Deer - dainty, delicate jewelry for everyday including lots of items that can be personalized.

Dish it Out Jewelry - Holli Brown brakes vintage plates - and turns them into wonderful earrings, pendants and bracelets.

Fail Jewelry - Christine Fail works in gold, silver, brass and gemstones to create beautiful contemporary wearable art

Haley LeBeuf Jewelry - contemporary, sophisticated pieces. I especially love her Austin-inspired Violet Crown line.

Lisa Crowder Jewelry - Lisa Crowder creates distinctive floral and geometric jewelry in silver, gold and enamel.

Metalsgirl - Lisa Gibson combines stones and silver in wonderful, colorful, wearable works of art.

Poppy & Fern - Rachel Pruitt creates tiny embroidered works of art to wear on a chain or hang on the wall.

Happy shopping - and stay tuned for at least one more "shop local" post.

Until next time.

Monday, November 26, 2018

11.26.18 Creative Side Holiday Trunk Show


I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Now that November's most important holiday is behind us, I feel safe telling you it's time to start thinking about holiday shopping!

Mark your calendars for December 9!  Creative Side Jewelry Academy is hosting an open house and trunk show!


Come see my happy place - the Creative Side studio!  While you're there, you can -
  • meet my fellow makers
  • shop for gifts and jewelry tools
  • enter a raffle to win classes 






Lindsay, Hannah and Stephanie








Joining me will be a number of fellow Creative Side members including Jaime Foley, of Reverie Fabrications (who had the original idea for this fabulous event), studio staff artists Lindsay HendricksHannah Wilson and Jason Spencer, and many others.

There will be sips and snacks and lots of holiday cheer.














Hope to see you there!

Until next time.

Monday, November 12, 2018

11.12.18 It's about more than cookies

Being a Girl Scout has been part of my life for almost 50 years.

Fun fact: more than half of the women elected to the 116th Congress were Girl Scouts.

For me, it started as a Brownie, in elementary school (that's me in the third row, in my uniform). I was a troop leader and a cookie mom for years while my daughter was involved in scouting.





I was really delighted when earlier this year, not one, but two local troops asked me to come spend an afternoon and help them earn their jewelry badges.






I took my roll of hand tools, my saw, and some pendants - both finished and unfinished - and spent part of an afternoon talking to them about the art and skill involved in metalsmithing.



They were good listeners, asked great questions and reminded me how eager young people are to learn - especially when you make the teaching relevant.

We talked about the history of jewelry, and that many metal techniques have been around for thousands of years...some of them have changed very little (lost wax casting, for example) and others have been modernized and automated (the use of CAD and 3D printing in design).

I spent some time on stones, too. I explained the difference between precious and semi precious designations; geography and the impacts of mining; that I don't cut my own stones, but rely on lapidary artists for the beautiful cabochons I use.

Not only was it fun, and a little nostalgic, to hang out with these girls and their moms - but it made me think about how important it is to remind our kids (and ourselves) that there is value in creating things that make us happy.

I hope this post will inspire you to do something you enjoy - and find time to you share it with a young person in your life.

Until next time.









Monday, October 29, 2018

10.29.18 May their memory be a blessing.

Ordinarily, this would be the week that I post the latest installment of my blog.  Today this space is dedicated to all those whose lives have been taken by acts of gun violence and hate.  

The lives taken on Saturday morning were members of the American Jewish community, my community, so I share with you my collection of Judaic jewelry - from my mother, her mother and pieces I have acquired over the half century of my life.

For nearly six millennia - from the Babylonians to today's hate filled white nationalists - there have been those who would destroy us, yet we survive and flourish. 

These are the names of those who were slain while observing Shabbat at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.


Joyce Fienberg, 75
Richard Gottfried, 65
Rose Mallinger, 97
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
Cecil Rosenthal , 59
David Rosenthal , 54
Bernice Simon , 84
Sylvan Simon , 87
Daniel Stein , 71
Melvin Wax, 88
Irving Younger, 69

Zekher tzadik livrakha - May the memory of the righteous and holy be a blessing.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

10.15.18 Back to Beading

Like so many jewelers, I started with beading...when we went to the Outer Banks for family vacations, my sister-in-law and I would take our girls to the bead shop and let them pick out glass beads or shells to string together for souvenirs.

On one of those trips, I bought some seaglass, jump rings and earwires and made a pair of simple earrings.  Next thing I knew, I had a couple of pairs of pliers and a tackle box full of beads and findings.



It was fun for a while - I made a lot of earrings; I sold a few on Etsy and I gave them as gifts, but over time, my interest in it waned. For a long time, the beads languished in in the tackle box in my office.  Then, my friend Sarah Gish put out a call for bead donations for a project she was doing with youth in recovery programs...so I sent her pretty much everything I had and she put them to great use.
Fast forward a couple of years...one of my pendants sold at Russell Korman, and the customer wanted a pair of coordinating earrings.  She asked for simple blue glass with a silver leverback...





...I remembered - and went looking for - these earrings, made with vintage Japanese millefiori beads (one of the few beaded pairs I kept). Turns out, they are a great match to my wildflower pendants. I decided in addition to the custom request, I'd make a few more.






After going back to some of my favorite bead sellers, I cut up a lot of 21 and 24 gauge wire to make head pins and earwires (it feels a lot more "smithy" when you make your own findings) and started putting beaded earrings together again.













Because I don't have a jewelry bench or equipment at home (and I don't want to) - I can't do metalsmithing work unless I go the studio.  The nice thing about beading is I can do it at the kitchen table...once I've taken a torch to all those little pieces of wire to ball up the ends.


So look for updates to the Etsy shop that included beaded earrings to coordinate with some of my millefiori and pressed glass wildflower pendants.


Until next time.