Friday, June 18, 2010

Where Bloggers Create II ... Finally here!!

I have been waiting for this day with pure excitement! Thank you my dear friend Karen for CREATING...period! Thanks also for this fabulous party that spans the globe and brings all of us creative junkies into a tighter circle. Who knows? Maybe there's 6 Degrees of Separation in this group. I look forward to our conversations over the next few days and months and to many friendships created at this annual party. No need to dress up to visit in fact, pj's and slippers is the dress code.

We will definitely not all fit in my studio! This is my mother's breakfast nook in Scottsdale, Arizona and we haven't even eaten at this table in 7 months. That is when my dog and I moved into my dear mother's home and took over her house with my jewelry, etc. A few months later, I took over her formal dining table with my sewing project and that leaves us eating on the couch or clearing space for 2 at the table. (I love you Mom). Why is a happily married woman living with her mother? Side story: After our quick stint living and working in Oregon last year my husband was sent to the Middle East to work where he has been for the last 10 months.Our friend has been staying at our house doing renovations so when we moved back to Arizona this was the best possible solution. I cannot wait to move back into our home at the end of the month and to spread out in my studio!! Sorry to have you wait, come on in!

First, I must thank my friend and mentor Marilyn from Ariels Glamourie for teaching me a lot of what I know about jewelry making. It began one night when a few friends got together to celebrate a birthday and there sat Marilyn with this stunningly gorgeous necklace decorating her neck and that is when I lit up like a firefly and I have been buzzing about ever since! I made a deal with her that I would train her and she would teach me (visit my other blog to see what my left brain does during the

I have a lot of passions but this one is different. Put some semi precious stones (I will take precious ones too!) and wire in my hands and even I am amazed. If you want to see giddy then watch me redesign a vintage piece or something someone holds precious but isn't wearing because it isn't their style...yet.

My pendants are my project of choice when I am going on a trip-I will usually string up a few ideas then take these on plane trips. People are so gracious and complimentary. When I am done with a piece I show it to my mom and within 30 seconds she comes up with an appropriate name-like Esmeralda- the pendant above. (also my nickname as a child)

Thank you so much for visiting my little creative corner. Maybe at next years party I will be able to show off a brand new studio!!! I will be coming to your studio next!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Auntie Janice

One of the many reasons why I love designing jewelry is because I can mix old with new and make a truly unique and meaningful piece that will actually be worn instead of hidden away in a drawer. See last week's post on the Memory Chain I made for myself with my grandfather's bracelet. The concept for the Auntie Janice necklace above was born the weekend I went to California to say goodbye to my Gramps before he passed. My aunt Janice showed me the antique etched pin/pendant passed down from her grandmother as well as a graduated pearl necklace that my Gramps had given my Nana and had gifted to my aunt after Nana passed. Both were not being worn and she asked if I could do something with them. Then she says she wants to give me 1/2 the pearl strand so we both have tokens of Nana. Seriously, it has been an emotional few weeks! So, I took the very dainty clasp from the pearl necklace and wired it to her pin and wired it around the aquamarine, pearl, and crystal necklace I made. We both have a thing for aquamarine. I sent it off with a note telling her never to wait for a special occasion to wear it because life passes quickly and we should wear the good stuff anytime!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gramps and the Memory Chain

I just finished this new piece and I knew before I was done that it was going to be my new favorite. My 'Gramps', Clinton T. Chase, died a few weeks ago at the most incredible age of  98 1/2!! As I said in his eulogy, this is a new era for us (the grandchildren) as he was the last remaining grandparent. We are in our 4th and 5th decade of life many with their own children but there is something truly remarkable, different, and so special about grandparents. This man was an anomaly and lead quite a memorable life. In 1931 he sat in on a seminar by Albert Einstein. He was an aerospace engineer and worked on Amelia Earhart's plane, yes, that one. But he was always quick to add that he only worked on the wingtips! He joined the Merchant Marines and sailed all over the South Pacific. He was happiest at sea although he wasn't able to go on a luxury cruise until he was 93 due to the care taking of "his bride" for several years until she passed. We went on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate his 95th birthday (a few years early), then he went on two cruises by himself each year thereafter. Two years ago we did a family cruise to Mexico that makes me smile and cry. The last cruise he wanted to take was to Europe to see all of the brilliant cathedrals and to find out how they were made. It would have been spectacular indeed and I would have loved the look on his face as he studied and photographed each cathedral. Some day we will make his wish a reality.
In the meantime, I will wear this necklace which I have named the Memory Chain. This was his copper bracelet that I added ribbon and cord to as well as a decorative copper toggle. The stones are ivory magnesite with veins of brown. I added the copper lobster clasps so that I could attach them either to the extender chain and have them hang down my back or attach to the toggle in the front for added charm. I have been putting this on first then finding an outfit to go with it. For me, this is how I wear my heart on my sleeve (or neck) and how I will be working on my grief-by wearing my Memory Chain in honor of Gramps. xoxo

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vintage Victoria

Victoria has taken me several months (on and off) to finish. I love the purple in this vintage brooch from my in-laws. I can remember in the 80's and 90's wearing more gold jewelry, then silver became more popular and gold was passe. Isn't it ironic that the price of gold has skyrocketed? I checked into it a few weeks ago: $55 for 1 inch of fine gold wire. Sorry, Victoria, you have been downgraded to vintage brass. I did use gold filled wire, extender chain, and hook clasp. The tiny rhinestone strand is new as well as the high quality faceted amethyst drops from the gem show.(See my previous post on March 9 about the beautiful beads and gems I found at the gem show.) Victoria will soon be posted for sale in my Art Fire shop (price: $99)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where Bloggers Create Party

I just dropped by the fabulous blogsite of my good friend, Karen at Valentine Studio Designs, and picked up my button for her next Where Bloggers Create Party. She must have been thinking about me when she wrote that anyone can join the party even if your 'studio' is a table. So, for the next month I will be working on jewelry for the party and my shop as well as taking pictures of my studio-table for the upcoming party. Hope to see all of you there!

Friday, April 2, 2010

No better time for a remodel!

Still no pictures of new jewelry and this is part of the reason: a home remodel. THANKFULLY, my dog and I have been living at my mother's house for the last several months and our good friend, who is renting our house, is not only doing everything himself (he happens to be a general contractor!) but is dealing with the horrible mess so we don't have to. So, between running to Home Depot, The Great Indoors, checking on-line for faucets, sinks, lights...going to the house to see progress, getting e-mails about faucets, sinks, lights...exchanging e-mails with my husband who is out of the country, I don't get much done. Ok, between that and taxes, certainly NOT getting much done!
This is our ho-hum living room/kitchen wall. We have lived in our Spanish/Southwest style home for over 4 years and are taking advantage of our situation and giving our friend much needed work.

We wanted to open up the space to be able to interact with people in the kitchen (me) and with those in the rest of the house (my husband and the dog). It is definitely open and it is a load-bearing wall. Finally, got rid of the old painted, warped, and ugly cabinets!!!

This just feels more social and I am sooo excited for these new cabinets with pull out drawers! It is not done yet. Our black granite counter tops need to go back on and we are getting a granite bar top, and glass blown pendant lights will hang over the bar.

It won't show up in the following picture, but do you see the entry into the dining room? Since there is an arch theme in the house my husband wanted one framing this entry and it turned out really well (husband is also a builder).

Obviously, much more work to be done...I am a patient person and living with my mom has been a blessing. I have taken over her breakfast table with my jewelry and now her dining table with my sewing project (more to come) so we joke that we will be eating off of T.V. tables in the bedroom. I truly believe that no matter how old a 'child' gets, they always return to the nest at some point.
Enjoy your nest!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Focaccia On My Mind

It's a jewelry blog, right? Yesss. Technically. But a girl has to eat. See my Nov. 20, 2009 blog, Food As Inspiration and you'll gain more insight as to what really makes me tick. I am an amateur baker-bread mostly, but anything home baked...get in my belly! (Goldmember). Right now I am in the mood for focaccia-the olive and rosemary one pictured. The recipe I use comes from Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery. I have been there-it's this little hole in the wall near Hollywood and at most times of the day you stand elbow to elbow waiting your turn, hoping that the person before you doesn't take the last one of the one you are eyeing. She would not let me take a picture (even when I told her I came ALL the way from Arizona). If she only knew that I am extolling the wonders of her breads! Back to the bread, slice this baby (it made 2!) lengthwise and you have the most wonderful surface for gastronomic delight! Heck, just slather pesto on it while it is warm, in hale first, then shove it in. You are probably getting a vile picture of me eating like those hot dog eating contestants. As Julia Child used to say Bon Appetit!

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Vintage Treasures!!

I already know how blessed I am for numerous reasons, now I can add lucky. Or is it luck that the women in my family (grandparents, great-grandparents, etc) were into jewelry? Then I marry into a family whose women love jewelry and voila!, I am the most excited recipient of the above vintage jewelry! And that is only half of it. It took several hours to clean and polish and so worth it-you almost have to squint it's so bright! Triple strands of large faux pearls with lime green crystals in between, triple strands of faceted blue and purple Austrian crystals, strands of faceted square (very unique) clear crystals, ornate rhinestone earrings and brooches just to list but a few. Most of it is in perfect condition and honestly, I will wear as is. The rest will be redesigned into spectacular vintage/modern pieces to sell in my ArtFire shop. I feel LUCKY!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vintage Remade Statement Necklace

My friend Marilyn once said to me, "Make things you love that you want to keep, that way you will be crazy about them and others will be too." So I have adopted that mindset (try explaining that to your husband when you just started your jewelry business). I love it when I have completed an amazing piece and think, "I am going to have to make something like this because I am not letting this one go." Needless to say, I adore this statement necklace! Three strands are vintage necklaces I received from my in-laws that I restrung and 3 plus a bracelet are new pieces also given to me. How lucky am I? VERY! I wore it recently to a fundraiser with a black tiered lace cocktail dress and all the women swooned over it. Last night I wore it to our monthly Bunco night with a pair of white jeans and a black sleeveless top and again all the ladies loved it. Right now The Necklace is on loan to a fellow Bunco Babe and is en route to Las Vegas where she will be modeling it at a wedding this weekend. She asked if someone offered me $10,000 for it would I accept?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Goodies From The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show

These are some of the fabulous goodies Marilyn and I found at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show last month. Take a look at that amethyst and that super pink chalcedony-with such a unique cut that I forget the name of it-, faceted aquamarine, sterling silver cubes and flowers, amazonite, crystals cut like onions and green garnet! We are soo excited to get back to designing some beautiful pieces both for us and for you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Blog Gets A Makeover

So, you have already noticed that my blog got a makeover! I did like the other background design-it was fun and whimsical (thanks to but after a year I was ready for a change to something more elegant to go with my jewelry designs. I have to thank my dear friend Karen Valentine ( for all of this. We completed it during our weekly craft nights at her house-she kept track of 10 open tabs and the job each one had, describing out loud what she was doing, while I sat next to her trying to soak up some of her creativity, insight, and computer agility. We will be adding a finishing touch as soon as we can find what we are looking for. The girl has got some whopping talent. I have known her for over 10 years and have been in her house thousands of times but always find something new she has done or redone and she will always share her techniques. It's like a mini-tutorial every time I come over! Thank you Karen for sharing your time, talent, ideas, and your big heart with me!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Final Statement

Remember the post from Nov. 24 where I wrote about the Coral Sea necklace my friend, Marilyn, and I put together? I said I would get a picture of the finished piece. I decided not to permanently attach the two strands so that I could still wear them independently. Here is the Deep Coral Sea. The turquoise strand was handed down to me by my in-laws and they had it for many years. I love the way this picture came out-hot stuff! (The lava rocks are in my mother's back yard.) This will be my own personal necklace but I can always make something like this for you. This will not be in my ArtFire shop so you will have to contact me for more info.