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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Few Of My Favorite Things - Silver Edition

Recently I did my Jewelry Creators Unite In Numbers (JCUIN) collection of handmade jewelry for the month of December, called A Few Of My Favorite Things - Silver Edition.   I thought I would share a few and why I like them.

Amazonite Sterling Handmade Earrings Faceted Stacked OOAK Jewelry
Shadow Dog Designs
These earrings are faceted amazonite beads with sterling silver, by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs.  I love the color of these beads, they make me think of tranquil blue waters of a tropical beach.  Also for Inuyasha fans, they are slightly reminiscent of Kagura's earrings.  I have always intended to make a pair like that.  These are the closest I've seen.

Labradorite Earrings, Cluster Dangles, Sterling Silver, Handmade
Pretty Gonzo

Mary of Pretty Gonzo made these unique labradorite and sterling silver earrings.  First of all, I like them because I like that iridescent sheen that labradorite has.  But I also like the unusual design.  It's common to see little round dangles, but not so much flat ovals.  What is especially different though, is the way she used little wire loops instead of headpins to hold the beads on.

Larimar and Sterling Silver Pendant plarg1930
Lunar Skies

The truth is, I could just about pick anything from Lunar Skies and include it here; I love Quentin's work.  This pendant is larimar and sterling silver.  Once again I love the gorgeous blue color.  It's my understanding that larimar only comes from the Dominican Republic.  This one is a rather abstract bird shape.  Do you see the bird?  

Ethiopian Opal Pendant Sterling Silver Wire Wrapped Circle, Fine Chain
Boho Wire Wrapped
This intricate wire-wrapped pendant on a sterling silver chain is by Magaret of Boho Wire Wrapped.  How can you not love those fiery little opal beads?  Of course, her wire work is stunning in itself, but those opals make this piece a knock out!

Aqua Amazonite Bead Wire Wrap Stud Earrings Fine Silver, Handmade
Crystal Bazaar
Here, once again, we have amazonite earrings paired with silver.  Although in this case, it's fine silver (99.9% silver).  These are made by Crystal Bazaar.  What can I say, I love this color.  That, and the roundness and simplicity of these earrings.  They have a classic beauty.

Snowflake Pendant Necklace, Fine Silver on Sterling Stripe Snake Chain
Shanghai Tai
Lastly, I have included a fine silver metal clay snowflake pendant by me, Roxanne, of Shanghai Tai.  I like the pendant itself, but I especially like it on this sterling silver chain, called a black and white snake chain.  It goes perfectly with the pendant because, as it moves, the contrast between the black and white makes something almost like a sparkle.  It reminds me of the tiny sparkle of a snowflake.  That's why I thought they were so perfect together.

By the way, in case you're wondering why this was the silver edition, it's because I'm leaving the door open for future editions in gold and copper!

Thanks to the talented artists of the JCUIN guild for letting me share these pieces with you!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wedding Reception Place Cards With The Silhouette

Some of you may know that I use the Silhouette, especially since my post about using it to make metal clay bezels.  Usually I use it to make etching templates for my dichroic glass.  But if you know anything about the Silhouette you know that it is primarily intended for making cards and scrapbooks.  I am an amateur photographer, so I also love to scrapbook.  Unfortunately, I don't get to do it as often as I would like.  I did do a project a while ago that I have been meaning to share, and that was the place cards for my daughter's wedding reception.

Photo by Kate Perez

It was a garden themed wedding at the botanical center at the Indianapolis Zoo.  The colors were Wisteria (purple) and green, which by the way, go great together even with a little white mixed in.  I got several sheets of card stock and paper with various textures, some green and some purple, in various shades.  Although they were different shades, and some even had patterns, they all went with the two basic colors.  

To do this you will need whatever card stock you want to use for the place card itself, and various colors of paper for the flower layers and letters. 

3 sizes of flowers and mini paper fastener
 I used little mini painted paper fasteners in pastel to fasten them.  (I think we used to call them "brads".)
I used a design from the Silhouette store called "petal flowers".  They even already have holes in the center, which is probably what gave me the idea in the first place.  You could use any round design that has different sizes.  If they don't have holes in the center, you will need to add them.  (The easiest way to do this would be to copy and paste the holes from the place card template.)  I noticed now there are some 3D flower designs in the Silhouette online store now that would look really cute with this.  

 I made my own place card design, and have uploaded the template.  You can find it by clicking here.  I have a silhouette SD, so I have them 4 up on a 8.5 by 11" page.  The names are cut out, so you just type in the name you want.  (Do this by selecting the name, then right click and choose "edit text".)  Then glue a piece of contrasting paper inside the card so it shows through the name.  

The flowers I used came in three different sizes.  Make sure you get them the sizes you want in relation to the place cards.  You can stack them on the screen to see how they look.  (Just make sure to remove them before you cut the cards!)  Since I had to make about 75 place cards I filled a page with all three sizes of flowers, then cut the flowers out of several different pieces of paper.  As a result, I have several options of colors and patterns in all three sizes.  Stack them from lithe smallest on top to the largest on the bottom, and fasten them onto the place card with the paper fastener.
 Above is a picture showing the inside of the card.  You can see the piece of paper that I glued to the inside, and also the back of the brad that is holding the flowers on.

Here are a few of the finished cards:
A few of the finished place cards

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

In my last post I mentioned why I chose the stone I did for the pendant that I made.  It had a particular sentimental value to me.  Catherine Waterhouse mentioned that she would like to see the pictures, so here are a few.

 It was July 2009 the first time we drove out to Taos.  There are a lot of artists here and we thought it would be a good place to hang out for a couple of days.  I fell in love with this town.  Above is our hotel room.  I like the fact it is very "New Mexico".
 Someone told us that it was worth it to drive west of town to see the Rio Grande Gorge bridge.  In addition, the "earth ships" are only a mile or two further, but that's a story for another time.  Taos seems to have mountains everywhere, and a storm was coming over the mountains from the east.

Above was my first view of the bridge.  Near this spot there were a few vendors selling things.  There was this guy (some would call him a hippie) selling some cabochons, most of which he had cut himself.  I bought a few stones off of him, including the stone that I put in the pendant shown in my previous post.

I started out on the bridge, but it was really scary.  There was just this little railing and when you looked down it was SO far down!  Every time a truck would come by the whole bridge would shake.  It didn't feel very sturdy at all.  The wind was starting to pick up because the storm we had seen was getting close.  I snapped three pictures from the bridge and then turned around and went back.  I did not want to be on that bridge when the storm hit.
 At left is the view looking back towards the vendors and the storm.  You can see how close the storm was getting. 

Here is the view to the north as we left the gorge behind.  You can see some of Taos at the end of the rainbow!

As we got closer to Taos, the sun came out and we kept seeing a brilliant double rainbow.

And then we saw the other end of the rainbow.  If you look closely, you will see it's still a double.

I want to leave you with a shot that I took when we revisited the bridge on a nice day in 2012.  The bridge had been totally redone.  It no longer shook when vehicles went over it (confirms my suspicions it wasn't safe in 2009!) and they had added some bumpouts for pedestrians to stop and enjoy the views.  By the way, the guy I bought the stones from was married to a photographer who took a drop-dead gorgeous shot of the gorge from the bridge.  Last I knew it was being used by the Taos department of tourism.