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Tuesday, May 24th

24 May

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I purchased this in an antique store in Ohio.

Ball chain wrapped with seed beads strung on a spiral of hard wire (a tiny spring, perhaps?) and finished with cones.

Clever.

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Monday, May 23rd

23 May

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Wednesday,May 18th

18 May

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Faceted glass beads, 10 mm, in smokey gray. The color is called Black Diamond, I think.

That’s copper wire and a copper jump ring.

I think I must have made about 500 of this exact necklace.

It was one of my biggest sellers.

Adjustable closure with a hook and extender chain, from 14-17 inches.

I used to wear it way up there, like a choker. Now I prefer it a bit longer.

I think I will write this project up for ornamentea.com.

Tuesday, May 17th

17 May

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Vintage glass buttons glued into cupped bezels.

Copper jump rings.

Vintage abalone tiles purchased from Elliot Silverstein way back in the long ago.

Smirk.

Fuschia shirt dress.

That’s all.

Friday, May 13th

14 May

This choker-style necklace is made of vintage mother-of-pearl buckles linked together with copper jump rings and glass beads. I made it in 1997 or ’98 as a sample for shows but I wore it almost constantly for a year.

I also sold a lot of buckle chokers.

That was the year I purchased $22,000 dollars of vintage buckles and buttons from a Elliot Silverstein in Manhattan. He was closing a hundred-year-old family business to retire. His pearl buttons had been made in factories in New Jersey but plastic buttons and the closing of the NYC garment factories had shut him down too.

I bought boxes and boxes of buckles, pearl infant shirt buttons and the teeniest pearl lingerie buttons from the 1920’s.

The infant shirt buttons came packaged in boxes of 5,000 buttons. Creamy old cardboard stamped on one end with the name and address of the Brooklyn box manufacturer. The other end had very tidy old handwriting “5,000 pearl, 8 ligne”

Sometimes I wish I still had some of those boxes.

(a ligne is 1/40th of an inch and is how buttons are measured. Most men’s dress shirt buttons are 25-30 ligne)

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Wednesday, April 20th

20 Apr

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This necklace is made of paper beads rolled around a wooden skewer and sealed with Diamond Glaze. The paper is cut from maps my husband and I used on trips to the Pacific Northwest years ago. The large wooden bead has map pages lacquered to the outside as well. The beads are strung on red leather cording with a few very old Bali spacers I got from a bead trader in the early 1990’s. This necklace is one of my absolute favorites; it is meaningful to me and looks good with many things I wear.

I often wear this on trips or when I really want to take a trip but can’t.

Those maps…

Way back when my husband and I would travel very lightly and liked to do a lot of aimless walking/hiking on trips. We headed out to the Olympic Peninsula in a rented mini-van with a bag filled with fruit, dried salmon, wine, chocolate and good bread. We used to rent minivans because way back when you could pop the center bench seat out and flip it around. Fully recline all those seats and it is a twin bed. We drove the first day and filled our eyes with the fog, the trees, the beauty. We parked that evening all alone at a rocky beach and prepared to eat a fabulous dinner of fresh plums, smoked salmon, goat cheese, bread and a bottle of wine. Oops, no bottle opener!

The beach was still amazing.

This picture was taken by my friend Jeana who had to take about 40 pictures until I was happy. It was dusk and we were sitting on a deck with friends, laughing and joking…that evening was a bit like a mini-vacation so I am glad I had the necklace on. Jeana would NEVER take a camping trip without a bottle opener; she’s very prepared and thoughtful.

This tutorial shows you how to make similar beads to the large map-covered bead.

Monday, April 18th

19 Apr

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This necklace consists of four strands of fine-gauge copper chain attached to a vintage mother-of-pearl tile with a vintage glass leaf cemented to the tile. The chains are all attached to a copper lobster claw clasp (see it there on the left side of the necklace?) that hooks in the front. This design allows the wearer to choose either an 18″ necklace (as shown) or a 36″ necklace.

I thought I invented this idea.

Really, I did think I invented it. Yeah, now, years later I realize that NOTHING is new. Especially in the world of jewelry.

Back then, I thought I hung the moon. Or more accurately, I was SURE that no one had ever done this. It was MY idea. A convertible necklace! Wahoo! Roll up the limo, I invented the convertible necklace.

Then, a year or so later I picked up a 1930’s Life magazine and was perusing the side-bar ads.

There it was, an ad for a necklace that could be worn ‘long or short as the lady desires.’

Damn. They stole my idea. Well, in reverse, time-machine-using meaning of the word ‘stole’ that is.

Now, older and wiser I know that there is not a new idea. There are just new thinkers who refine the old ideas. Okay, ONCE in a GREAT while there may be an actual new idea but that’s super-duper rare.

Beads around the neck? Been done.

Chain wrapped around the wrist? Check.

Fancy stuff on the earlobes? Yep.

Now this could be thought of as disheartening, but I don’t see it that way at all. I don’t make jewelry to impress YOU or to make you say ‘Wow, she really did something amazing!’ I make jewelry because I enjoy the making process* and I enjoy keeping myself busy with tiny things, sparkly things, shiny little things. It keeps me off the streets and connects me with a primal human urge to decorate myself and others. Plus did I mention the shiny?

The other chief benefit of this mindset is that I am not at all disturbed** by anyone who copycats or get’s inspired by my work. I can’t be. First, because I make a good portion of my living as a craft writer and seller of sparkly, shiny things but also because I don’t get caught up in the idea that I am my ideas.

Let me repeat that; I am not my ideas.

I am me, I have ideas.

My ideas spin off into the world and then perhaps you have them or perhaps someone else has them and changes them and moves them into a different (but not totally new) direction. That’s okay. I’m fine with it.

*Remember, I am the person who can wear a different necklace every day for a year…or at least thinks she can!

**or, more accurately, I am a person who can talk herself down from being disturbed pretty quickly…