Friday, April 11, 2014

One Bracelet -- Five Looks in Black & Brown

A long time favorite of mine – the combo of brown and black. I know…for years we were told not to mix the two; but, I still say, rules be damned. It doesn’t really matter does it? If you like it and it makes you feel good you should wear it, right? When I first found a variety of these gorgeous works of Mother Nature in Tucson many, many, many moons ago, I was immediately drawn to them. Not only are the mother-of-pearl beads lovely to look at – they are so smooth and cool that I think they make great touchstones.

This particular bracelet is not new to the collection – it has become a long-standing favorite with customers around the globe. I do get lots of positive feedback on it and a lot of you are telling me that you mix it up with others from your personal collection. Being your own stylist is what it’s all about, really. I just make one or two components that you work with to create your own individual style.

That being said, here are a few ways I wear this beauty. I have yet to partner it with anything that doesn’t seem to work. Surprisingly, it works well with leopard print pieces, too. I didn't realize that particular mix until I was photographing a pair of earrings made with these same mother-of-pearl beads. But work it does, in an interesting way. Nothing better than that in a piece of jewelry – means you really get your money’s worth – it’s the old cost-per-wearing factor! There may be a few available on the site/shop so if you’re interested hop over there to check it out. If by chance it shows “out of stock” send me an email or note through the “contact” page on the site and I’ll see what we can do to get one to you. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for styling this dream!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Harry Potter Called – He Wants His Glasses Back!

It’s true…I have a thing for eyeglasses. I started wearing them when I was eighteen and it was at that time I decided that if I had to wear them they might as well be fun! It’s been that way ever since. A few years after I got my first pair of glasses, I made a new friend who just happened to be an optometrist who, of course, had an optician and lab onsite. Steven carried every cool manufacturer that was in the vision wear arena and so it was fun to shop once a month and see what was new. Since I was such great advertising for his practice, Steve gave me a “family” discount! So you can imagine just how big my collection was over the years. I guess it would be fair to say that this relationship, friendship aside, was similar to the blogger/influencer/collab relationships we see so prevalent today in social media.

As my vision changed over the years, I had the lenses in old frames switched and continued to add new. I had also added vintage frames that I scrounged around for at the Rose Bowl and Orange County Flea Markets in the day. Steve was pure genius at cutting lenses to fit the varied shapes of all of those frames so basically I was spoiled rotten. This past weekend, I was going through some moving boxes that I hadn’t unpacked since I moved here from NYC ten years ago! I know, it is a bit strange that much of my New York life is still packed away safely in boxes in storage. (Visions, or maybe they are actually nightmares, of Storage Wars and Hoarders pop into my head!)

Pack rat that I am, I saved every pair of glasses that I ever owned even from my teen years (hello Ray Ban). Sadly, at the time of my divorce in the 80s, in some wicked ploy to get even, most of my possessions were “taken” from my then storage spot. (But, no…I don’t harbor a grudge. Bullshit!) The good news is – a few pairs that had been in my personal stuff I moved with me were spared an untimely death. So I'm sharing a few that I found.

Top pair in the selfie is a fun little number by Fiorucci (made in Italy) and are a dark tortoise with brown to peach tinted lenses from the late 70s. I'm currently toying with the idea of having sunglasses lenses cut for these. Thoughts? The second style, in selfie number two, is still one of my favs – from the early 70s. Two layers laminated together, light tortoise on top and clear blue underneath. All of my lenses were tinted to blend with the frames and some even had engravings and small crystals on the lenses. (Oh boy now that's snazzy...or not!) Did you know that glasses are far more than better vision and the frames? The tinting on this tortoise pair was gradient moving from blue on top to peach on the bottom. The light tint made the color of my eyes super bright and the peach color of the lenses gave me a healthy cheeky glow! And, when the sunlight reflected off the blue layer on the frames...well, magic is all I can say. If I had a dime for every complement I got on those glasses over the years I might not be sitting here penning this post!. And, finally, you might recognize these sunnies from my Twitter pix – by Bucci from the late 70s and made in either Hermosa Beach or Manhattan Beach in SoCal. I still have a thing for red glasses and am in the market for just the right pair as we speak.

It is fun to watch the cyclic nature of fashion – with all the sunglasses and glasses I see in the world today via blogs and social media, I am inspired to go on the hunt for more of my old frames and perhaps share them here at some point in the future. Keep your fingers crossed that somewhere I find my 20+ year old Armani pair that I lost several months ago. After all, who doesn’t like a Throwback Thursday post? I’m also working on an addition to my collection, currently making a few decisions on frames from Warby Parker – I love the business model of giving a pair to someone in need for every pair sold. If you are not familiar with the company, go to their site and check it out. And, no, this is not a sponsored spot! I find the “fashion for good” platform admirable and so I strive to support it whenever I can. Curious…do you wear specs or go with contacts these days? If you do go for glasses how many pair are in your collection and are you driven by trends or go for the classics or a little bit of both?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tess Comes to Stay!

The older I get the more I have come to realize just how fragile life can be. We flippantly quip that “life changes on a dime” – in reality, it’s quite true. Last week, our family grew by one. Bea and I opened our home and our hearts to Tess, a friend’s 12-year old Brittany Spaniel. Sadly, just three weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Velma, Tess’s forever mom, left this place. Beatrix and I had made a promise to Velma that Tess would join our family when life changed as we knew it would. Promises made and promises kept.

Tess is not a stranger to us. Seven years ago, Velma rescued her from a damn puppy mill – Tess was a “breeder” and as a five-year old was no longer wanted. I’ll spare you the details of her time at the damn puppy mill – but I will say that she trusted no one, had no real shelter from the elements for all those years and basically lived a life at the end of a four-foot chain and full of fear. Thank goodness, the Brittany Spaniel Rescue group here in the Pacific Northwest took Tess in, working to find a new home for her. When she lived on her houseboat up on the Columbia River many years ago, Velma had a Brittany so she made a decision to bring Tess in to her home. Luckily for us, our properties are separated just by a chain-link fence – so over the years, Beatrix and I were able to help Tess make the adjustment to her forever home. However, there is a fine line between helping her adjust and keeping a distance so she wouldn’t bond with us since we wanted her to bond with Velma. We respected that line over the years never really expecting to cross it as soon as we did.

With rescue dogs, It’s all about trust – and sometimes it comes easy and sometimes, as in Tess’s case, it comes slowly. Over the years, Tess learned to trust Velma, Bea and I but didn’t let go of a lot of her issues and never really felt comfortable with other people on and off the property. Last Friday, Tess spent her first night with Beatrix and I. While they know each other, there is some “dog” stuff that still needs to happen. Tess is really anxious in the house afraid of being locked in – so short bouts that gradually grew longer were the plan. The first pix is the second day indoors. Kind of like two-year old kids who are aware of each other but don’t really play together, right? Over the weekend, I just let them make their own rules – playing musical beds and hammocks, indoors and out. At one point, I saw them sharing the same the same time! The second pix was taken on Sunday, the weather was so lovely here, they both stayed outside most of the day by choice. As you can see, Tess is much more relaxed; in fact, she was sound asleep on the grass lying close to Bea. The last few weeks were really stressful for Tess, lots of people in and out of Velma’s house -- Tess was fully aware of what was going on (dogs do that you know); and now she just needs time, maybe lots of time, to feel comfortable enough to really call this home and understand that Bea and I are her forever family now.

I’d be lying if I said Bea and I were just fine with the new addition. We are both such creatures of habit, our little world has to change and we are dealing with that. I say it all the time, I don’t do well with change, and so this has been a bit of a challenge. Today, I spread a bale of hay – so Tess wouldn’t get in the mud! Yes, a bale of hay in the rain. As you can see, I put up a barricade to protect the birds at the feeder as Tess’s nose just reaches the feeding trays – and she has been known to catch a bird or two in her own yard. Did I mention that I have to climb over the barricade to fill the feeder? And, feeding the two dogs was a bit of a circus the first day – but we figured that out and will slowly adjust so that Tess feels comfortable eating in the same kitchen as Bea. Sometimes I look at Bea and I can see a three-year old child with a new baby sister --- “Mom, I really love her, but can she go home now?” So, you get the idea we are all in the process of change in lots of little ways. I do know that the most important thing right now is that we are going through it all without expectations and just lots of love and total acceptance – after all isn’t that what we all want in life?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

One Bracelet – Five Looks!

Crystal quartz or are those big melting ice cubes dancing around your wrist? Bold crystal quartz gemstones, freshwater pearls and Florentine-finished gold vermeil…lovely to look at and oh so much fun to wear. Of course, when you are channeling a bit of the Grace Kelly character in “Rear Window" you can wear the three-strand bracelet on its own – but look through your existing collection and start counting the ways you can mix it up for really unusual looks. Here are just a few ideas to get your creative juices in gear.

I love the versatility in this design. To date, I have never layered it with anything and said "meh, that's just not working." Personally, I love that -- it means I can really get full use from a single piece without it looking like the same piece every time I wear it. Not only will you get lots of wear with this beauty; you will also never see yourself duplicated! Your personal look is just that -- your personal look! In my book, that's priceless. (Oh dear, did I just quote a MasterCard commercial?) I hope you will share your ideas by commenting below. You guys are the most creative people I know and I love seeing how you make my jewelry designs work with your personal style.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Touching the Lives of Others: In for a Little or a Lot

As odd as it seems – I am totally hooked on YouTube. I know, late to the party as usual, but several years ago, thanks to Laura Geller, a makeup artist in my old NYC neighborhood, I discovered my first beauty YouTuber. A sprite of a young woman, Miss Glamorazzi, who totally charmed me into searching out others like her on YouTube! From there it just snowballed -- beauty, fashion, lifestyle, music. I won’t tell you how many YouTubers I am subscribed to at the moment – somehow, I think it might be more than any other 65-year old woman on the planet. (The good news is there is not one “cat” subscription in the list! Not that I'm judging.) Coming from the world of marketing and advertising, I am pretty sure that YouTube statisticians are scratching their heads – it's highly likely that I am the one viewer that messes with their demographic profile! 

Anyhow, my point in all of this is that two of of the beauty fashion women I follow in England recently made a journey to Ghana to visit with a few different women’s groups supported by a nonprofit organization, Sport Relief. Both women did vlog-style videos highlighting their journey and the time spent with the women and their children in Ghana. I'm sharing the vlogs here as I thought my Kazuri bead readers and collectors would enjoy watching them. (If you are reading this on a mobile device and can’t see the videos here are the direct links for both: Lily Pebbles and Anna at VivannaDoesMakeup)

I do hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch these two videos – they are lovely really. In both of the “downbars” under the videos, you can learn more about the nonprofit Sport Relief and ways in which you can support them, no matter where you live. Feel free to share and pass the videos around to friends and family. Heck, who knows, you might even find yourself with a YouTube subscription list! But, don’t worry, your secret is safe with me!

As you know, I design an ever-changing Kazuri bead collection of jewelry that is available on my site/shop. When I learned the Kazuri story years ago and first held the beads in my hands, I knew they carried a special energy. At that moment, I decided to do all I could to lend support to the women in Kenya in any way possible. If you aren't familiar with Kazuri beads you can read more about them here and you can see the Kazuri Bead Collection on my site here.

So, thanks again to both Lily Pebbles and Anna for sharing your Ghana journey – you are, indeed, special spirits and your enlightened energy shines through in your vlogs. Together, through educating women about owning and running small businesses we are supporting their dream of earning their own money so they can, in turn, support their families. In for a little or in for a lot -- either way we are working to truly change the world – not by giving hand outs but by giving these women a hand up – and that makes my spirit soar.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Inspiration: Craftsmanship, Heritage & Detail

I drive past this house a couple times a week while doing errands. Today I decided to stop for a few minutes, take a few snaps with the iPhone to share with you, and then go about my business. What I didn’t plan on was my getting lost in the glorious details in every square inch of this Queen Anne Victorian home.
As I walked around the building, trying not to be distracted by the barking dog at a neighboring house (was there a strong fence between us?), I was taken back to another time; a time when craftsman worked as apprentices for years to hone their “craft.” In those days, craft was not created by machines; it was created by skilled hands and with heart. The millwork on the house alone must have taken months even years to design and create. I am sure that the craftsmanship in such a splendid home was honestly appreciated by not only those who lived within and outside its walls; but by the people who have passed the house every day since 1892.
Where does all of this fit in with jewelry? Easy peasy – it all comes down to crafting a lot of little pieces which, when put together in just the right way, yield a treasure – one to be admired by both the wearer and observer. I like to think that of each of the pieces in my jewelry line represent my overall respect for craftsmanship, heritage and detail. While not all components are made by hand these days, I do strive to create final designs that are unique – not run-of-the-mill. Each piece is truly a one-, two- or at most five-of-a-kind limited edition – you won’t see thousands of any one piece hanging on a rack or being sold on TV. I appreciate that my long time clients understand my work – it is the thing that keeps them coming back again and again. They want their jewelry to be as unique and stunning as they are and that makes me very happy.
I do hope that you’ll take some time to window shop at my site/shop. You can look for as long as you want and I promise that I won’t spray you with cologne while you are there! Also, I do not launch by season or do seasonal collections. I release as the inspiration hits. This non-seasonal nature means that you will have, wear and enjoy the pieces you add to your collection for years to come – never looking off-trend or out of season. How about that?
If you’d like, you can learn more about the man behind the lovely Settlemier House here – he has a pretty interesting story. Luckily, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1972 the French Prairie Historical Society was formed to help ensure the preservation of this exquisite building and all it has come to represent. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the man, the home and the jewelry.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Nothing to Do With Jewelry -- Yet Everything to Do with Jewelry

I know you are thinking that this post has nothing to do with the making and marketing of jewelry; but in reality it has everything to do with it. Why? It’s true -- passion is the driver of every single moment I spend building and growing the jewelry business. Stumbling upon this GoPro video on YouTube yesterday was pure kismet. I was having one of those days where you just question everything you have done and the ways of life, in general. Everyone has those now and then, right? On top of it all, my fibromyalgia had decided to rear its ugly head so, I’ll admit it, I was having a bit of a pity party. However, in the middle of it all, YouTube and GoPro lead me to this short but powerful video. (If from your iPhone or iPad you can't see the video -- here is the direct link to YouTube. Hope you come back here and finish the read!)

Of course, my first thoughts were of my dad and his passion for guitar making. In case you don’t remember, my dad built his first guitar in 1962 all because someone told him he couldn’t do it. Well, thirty-three guitars later – his passion was proof enough that it could be done. No sophisticated equipment – he built all of those guitars in our garage, using the bathtub to get the wood wet and then warm enough to bend, dozens of clamps and molds that he cut and carved himself – each guitar was fueled by his passion – his passion for the craft and for the music that came from each and every guitar.

Every time I pick up a tool in the studio (or to repair something around the ol' homestead) I thank him for taking the time and energy to share his passions with me. He had three really -- guitar-building and playing (well music in general); model airplane building, flying and competing; and being a ham radio operator, talking to other operators around the world daily via Morse Code. Three pretty intense passions, I would have to say. I know he would really like this YouTube video i"m sharing – it warms my heart to know that he just might be watching over my shoulder. While I can’t see him I do always feel him right behind me – encouraging me to do my best to beat the odds and most importantly – to live my life with passion.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Would You Believe Eight Years?

Wowza! In February 2006, as a way to showcase and sell my jewelry designs, I officially started my blog. At that time technology offering budget-friendly formats that made it possible for little guys like me to have a fully functioning website/online store didn’t exist. Hard to believe, I know; but it’s fact! So I figured that a blog  was the next best thing. Fast forward eight years and not only is my blog still up and running (three hundred and twenty-two posts) but there is a fully functioning very lively separate website and online store highlighting about two hundred jewelry designs along with stories of their inspiration and creation!
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Carnelian & Gold Vermeil Gemstone Bracelet

As you know, I am crazy about rocks, gemstones, jewelry, photography and writing. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision one platform that would make it possible to bring all of my loves together in one place. (We’re talking just those things mentioned above…for the record, men don’t fit into this equation, in case you are wondering! Not that I would want all my “loves” together in one place. That could get a bit weird?)
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Mocha Rose Coin Pearl & Crystal Quartz Gemstone Bracelet

Anyhow, the blog continues to evolve over time. Of course, jewelry still occupies the majority of the space; but I’ve added bits and bobs about my adjustment to country living and Beatrix, my Cairn terrier. I also share my experiences with Cairn terrier rescue in hopes of raising awareness around the joy of adopting a rescue. I also hope that in some tiny way, my rescue effort will help shut down puppy mills and stop the animal abuse that resides in those hellish places. (She steps down from the soap box quietly!)

 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Smoky, Crystal & Rutilated Quartz & Pearl Gemstone Bangle Bracelet

Moving forward with my blog, I am slowly expanding the scope of the editorial content to include a bit more lifestyle and entertaining, fashion, and beauty. As I’ve grown older (yes, way older) I have found the need to change up skincare and makeup routines to make it all work with my ever-changing skin. And, so far, in the blogosphere and YouTube worlds, I find very little that addresses how to adapt products for 60+ year old skin. Of course, my fashion style hasn’t changed much over the years; but living in the country as I do versus life in SoCal, NoCal and New York City, it has been a fun challenge to create looks that work for everyday while still keeping true to my overall style ethic. I’m thinking it will be fun to share all of that with all of you – so, if you’re still a spring chicken, run and tell your grannies; but, I hope you’ll stay around, too! It would be fun to share...wouldn't it?
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Rough & Polished Fluorite & Crystal Quartz Gemstone Necklace

Who knows, there may even be a recipe of two tossed into the mix this year. But one thing I can promise you with those – there will be no kale or Brussels sprouts! I don’t care how old I get – I won’t like them – ever! In most cases the food will be simple, fairly healthy and tasty. To say that I am a picky eater is a gross understatement so if I don’t like it, it won’t make it to my blog. I don't care how damn good it is for you!
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Pietersite & Pearl Necklace

I do hope that you’ll stick around in 2014 – the ride will be so much more enjoyable for me with you along. And, bring your friends – we’ll have a ball with it all; at least I hope that’s what happens. Thanks so much for reading my blog and loving my jewelry enough to want to spend your hard-earned moola on pieces to add to your collection and give as gifts. Your generosity and support over the years mean the world to me and I am over the moon with gratitude for it all. You are the reason I get to continue to do the things I absolutely love – things that fill my life with joy. After all these years, the fact that you are still here makes my heart sing.
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Citrine, Pearl, Crystal Quartz Gemstone Sterling Necklace

I’d love to know what topics you would like to see here. Leave a comment by clicking on the teensy little word “comment” in the copy below. I’d love to answer your questions…if I can! See you soon.
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Eagle Eye Agate Potato Chip Sterling Earrings

Monday, February 24, 2014

Inspiration: Sunshine (Kind of), Clouds & Shades of Gray

 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Gray Skies Collage
I was once asked where I find inspiration for my jewelry designs. My response was quick and rather concise -- “By keeping my eyes open!” It really is that simple. Not quite sure if it is the rockhound in me or just my strange way of thinking; but it seems that when I look at every day things, like the sky, I see gemstone combos. Curious to see how others think, I threw out a little test several months ago on Instagram. I posted a pix of a gorgeous blue sky with big white fluffy clouds with a caption that read “I see chalcedony and pearls. What do you see?” Most responses went something along the lines of “I see a pretty blue sky and white fluffy clouds.” Which, I guess, just goes to show that my brain works in unusual ways – I almost said weird ways; but now that would be not so nice, right?
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Silver Mother-of-Pearl, Rainbow Obsidian, Botswana Agate, Snow Quartz Bangle
Last week I was out doing my regular errands – mailing packages off to you and shopping in the local feed store. Yes, feed store…remember I live in the country so I am not talking about a cute little trendy restaurant du jour in the West Village! I’m talking about an actual feed store where one can buy chicken feed, a bolus or two to medicate your cows and horses, hatching tables and salt licks. The weather was pretty predictable – gray skies and rain. Just as I parked, the sun took its cue, appeared and put on quite a show. The bright light made the dark clouds below look as if they were rimmed in silver. I could see several layers of clouds – each a bit different in color and fluffiness. It was truly magnificent. Look closely – I do believe we also see the moon. At least, this time of year and that time of day, I think it is the moon. If not, please let me know what it is.
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Labradorite & Freshwater Pearl Link Bracelet
As I stood and watched the changing patterns my thoughts went to silver mother-of-pearl, gray baroque pearls, labradorite, rainbow and golden obsidian, Botswana agate and pyrite quartz. I know…it just happens – I can’t help myself. In hopes of opening your mind to the possibilities, why not come by the site/shop when you’ve got a few minutes and take a look at how Mother Nature’s inspiration and gifts turn into wearable art in the form of unusual jewelry? 
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Grey Mother-of-Pearl & Crystal Quartz Bangle
Over the weekend, a friend/jeweler asked me to describe my customer. My response “She’s a bit of a geek like me in that she loves rocks; but she also loves fashion. So, she is thrilled to find a way in which she can wear both of her loves as jewelry.” Does that sound like you? If so, come on over and join the fun. I’ll see you there. I’d love to hear what you see when you look at the sky. Click on the tiny “comment” in the itty-bitty print below and a comment box will pop up. It’s always fun to know what all of you are thinking.
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Pyrite Quartz & Freshwater Pearl Bracelet
 Tanya Lochridge Jewelry Grey Mother-of-Pearl & Freshwater Pearl Sterling Silver Bracelet

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Collars & Chokers & Trends, Oh My

While I love necklaces, I have never been a fan of a collar or choker style that is worn higher on my neck. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not so happy about how my neck looks and the fact that it has never been or ever will be swan-like; or if it’s my general claustrophobic nature kicking in that makes me feel as if I am being strangled when I wear anything tight. Who knows, maybe it’s just the name “choker” that sends me over the edge. Where is Freud when you need him?

The good news is that all of that nonsense doesn’t stop me from wearing big bold necklaces – just a tad longer so I get the statement look without turning blue in the face or breaking out in a cold sweat trying to get the damn thing off my neck! See, I told you I am not normal – but I embrace my “unique” nature! Anyway, there are several necklaces in my site/shop that can be adjusted in length depending on what you are styling that day. Here are just a few to whet your appetite -- jet crystal quartz, mother-of-pearl, pearls of all shapes, colors and sizes, big hunks of smoky quartz, and imperial jasper. Longer and shorter – it all works. And, there is nothing disposable about any of the jewelry pieces you’ll find over there. So long after the choker/collar trend goes, your gemstone necklaces will still be the classics that you reach for again and again for years to come. I think that just makes good sense. You?

I’m curious to know how you feel about choker/collar style pieces. You can comment by clicking on the tiny little word “comment” in the tinier little print at the end of this post. Kudos to you for being able to see that tiny little word and thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

1963: Red, Wrap Skirts & Lloyd Thaxton's Hop

The year was 1963 – the event was Lloyd Thaxton’s Hop (a Los Angeles afternoon program with a format similar to American Bandstand). Kids from local high schools were invited to dance live on the soundstage to recorded popular music. The show was fun – we danced our hearts out to surf bands (think Beach Boys and Beach Boys wannabes) – fast and slow with our boy(s) du jour.  Basically, we were a bunch of silly friends having fun, listening to great music and dancing. Sounds kind of corny these days…but it was a lot of fun.

Outfits? Spoiled brat that I was, I had a new outfit for the shows and each seemed to be an iteration of the one shown in the pix above. Wrap skirt (a style that I still love), collarless long-sleeved top, tucked neatly into the skirt and always flat shoes, which were best for dancing. I loved that red patent pair – actually wish I still had them. Nuts, I know.

Ah, the accessories. Since my clothes were still handmade at this point in life, I always made a matching headband! Quite chic, no? Since it was the early years, my jewelry was a much thinned down version of my charm bracelet. I still have and wear this bracelet – it tells the story of my life during that oh-so fleeting time.

I’m such an old granny – sometimes I think I must be the oldest jewelry, fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger in the whole of the blogosphere! But it is fun to look back and share with those of you who are so quickly moving forward. If nothing more, maybe you’ll share this post with your Nan, she’ll most likely have a story of her own about dances, outfits, jewelry and boys. Won’t it be fun to know her little secrets?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Inspiration: Snow & Pearls

When it comes to jewelry, pearls have always been a long-standing classic, sometimes even accompanied by a bit of mystique. Walk through any legendary art museum and you’ll find portrait after portrait of intriguing women wearing pearls – necklaces, bracelets and earrings – sometimes just one pearl earring (talk about your mystique!) I have had a long time infatuation with all things pearl. I was lucky enough to get my first pearl ring while I was in high school in the 60s. Today, the flat side of the single pearl on that ring stands as a good indicator of the frequent wearing all those years ago. On my wedding day in 1967, I was gifted a single strand of creamy white pearls from someone quite unexpected. Sorry, the details of that gift will remain my little secret…for the time being. She says with a wink! (How’s that for mystique?) I was thrilled to wear that necklace with pearl earrings – both, of which, complemented the seed pearls on my dress perfectly.

All these years later, my passion for pearls still exists. I pretty much use them in all of my designs. Sometimes the design is a “wow, look at these pearls” type; but, more times than not, it has a casual “oh, there are pearls in there” demeanor. It seems that brides still love pearls all these years later. Those who want something unique and unexpected go for my gemstones tossed with pearls looks. This kyanite and pearls necklace shown here had the good fortune to grace the neckline of a lovely bride at water’s edge in Newport, Rhode Island. While it was a beautiful look for the day, the bride has gone on to wear the necklace in her high-powered executive life and I am told it starts many conversations. (Do people still use the term high-powered?) That’s what I love to hear and see. It never made sense to me to buy something that can only be worn one time – so when designing, I keep in mind the variety of styles you can get from just one piece. And, of course, there is the CPW factor, as well. CPW? Yes, cost-per-wearing.

If you like pearls and unique gemstones tossed with unusual designs that you won’t see on other women, you might want to pop on over to the site/shop and take a little look around. There are lots of beauties over there to drool over. Stay tuned, as well. Since I am an indie designer, I really don’t design by season or collection, new pieces come out of the studio daily. So be sure to come back often and stay as long as you want!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Inspiration: Moss & More

My house and studio are designed in such a way that I almost never use my front door. Honestly, the only time I walk on my porch is when I get packages or the mailman can’t squish something in the mailbox so he brings it up to the porch for me. Really can’t remember why I was out there earlier this week; but glad I was. (Wonder if my not being able to remember my reason for roaming is problematic or just a sign of old-age? Stay tuned…as you age you will find yourself asking the same question!) Either way I am glad that I was forced out there; had I not I might have missed how pretty the morning sunlight was playing with the moss. I know, who really looks at moss? Me! I have learned that Mother Nature is about as good of an artist as one can be; and all of this moss is just another perfect example of the wonder of it all.

As I kid I really didn’t like the color green in my clothes. Wait, I’m going to go check my closet right now…be right back. As I expected…I have very few green items of clothing. In fact, I think I can count them on one hand. But it's a whole different story when it comes to my jewelry – both in my collection from other designers and in the designs that come out of my own studio. As an official rockhound, I love all green gemstones. In fact a long-running joke I have with a jewelry design and manufacturing pal centers around my longing for a fourteen carat tsavorite, not unlike the specimen that lives in the Smithsonian! But until I win the lottery…twice, I’ll work with the plethora of outstanding green stones that are available. And, no, I am not just settling for something with all of the green stones I work with – I love them as much as I love tsavorite and, as you can see, I love mixing them in somewhat unexpected combinations. After all, it works for Mother Nature, right? And, remember green is a neutral -- just look around you it's everywhere tossed with every color imaginable.

On a bit of a side note – look closely at the pix in the bottom left corner of the moss collage above. Yes, in the background there are mighty fine hunks of petrified wood, a variety of Oregon jasper and rose quartz. No, I didn’t place them there. When I first looked at this little house, one of the first things I noticed was all of the rocks placed around the property – front and back. Seems the previous owner was a rockhound and collected all of the rocks in various parts of Oregon. Kismet! I immediately knew this was where I would call home. (I am still working toward reaching a point where I love the c. 1964 avocado green appliances and plumbing fixtures in the place! Just taking a bit of time!) One of these days I will do a blog entry highlighting all of her finds; but until then I hope you enjoy ogling at the jewelry. There’s a lot more of it over on my site/shop so hop on over for a little peek at the green.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Anatomy 101: Patterned Agate & Onyx Bracelet

As I “stroll” through the jewelry departments of some of my favorite stores and boutiques, one of the things that I find fascinating is the way in which high end designers toss in a variety of beads and components. I love the juxtaposition of components in unexpected ways – that’s what inspires me. In turn, it makes me so happy when someone looks at my jewelry designs and says “I have never seen those gemstones used together. I would not have thought to mix it up like this.” I always take it as a positive observation and not a criticism.

I challenge myself daily in my designs by looking at the combo of the unexpected. One of my bugaboos about online shopping is the inability to reach out and touch an item in which you are interested. To really look at it close up and ask about it. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to point out the individual components of one piece each week here in the blog so you get a better idea of what it’s all about. Hence, the title of a new series: Anatomy 101. I hope you enjoy it and aren't thrown back to Biology 100 when you had to dissect the cow's eyeball or that damn frog! If you are thrown back...I feel your pain.

I’d love if you shared your thoughts via a comment. To do so, look for the tiny little word “comment” in the small type at the end of this post. Click on that word and you will be able to tell me what you think. (Am I a fool to ask? Oh, I hope not!) I know, right now the comment section is not the easiest of systems but until I figure out a different widget to use in its place, I’ll continue with it for now. Thanks for playing along!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

1956: Aunties, Style & Battles

I am so happy that I uncovered a few pix from my past over the last several months. These two are dated February 1956 and are pretty good examples of the polar opposites in my style choices as a seven year old -- plaid and Levi’s and fluffy organza. The top pix is me with my all time favorite, Auntie Opal. You may remember me talking about her in previous entries – she was the poster gal for girlie-girl in those days; and I loved that about her. I would feign illness just so I could go to Auntie Opal’s instead of school while my mom worked! She’s the one that taught me about nail polish, hair scarves, tabbies and jewelry! Tons of jewelry -- all costume. In my mind, she was the epitome of mid-50s style, even on a family day trip to the Mojave Desert! I loved that woman.

The second pix is of me and my brother. Yes, that is a “shrug aka bolero” that I am wearing over my white organza flouncy dress. I remember the dress so well. It had tiny red polka-dots woven into the fabric and, of course, I was wearing a starched petticoat underneath to make the double layered skirt stick out. Oh, those shoes, I hated those shoes. Somehow my mom had it in her mind that white oxfords were better options for healthy feet – so I wore them until in the sixth grade I kicked up such a fuss that she lightened the sensible shoes rule to every other day! The good news is that by the time I got to sixth grade, oxfords and bobby sox were in vogue – so not really sure who won that style battle!

Looking back, I do think we develop our personal style pretty early on in life. As early as three or so, I knew that I felt more comfortable in Levi’s and shorts and rather plain tops; pretty straight forward and very “Plain Jane” as others teasing me would say. Today I love wearing skirts, sweaters, shirts and jeans and you’d be hard pressed to find anything in my closet with a ruffle or flounce. Oh wait…I have one cardi with a small organza ruffle down the front. This spring I will have to do an OTD while wearing that lone wolf! I guess my question for you today is how early did you start expressing your individual style? And, has that style changed dramatically over the years?