Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It was a Great Day for a Birthday

Last night, Bea and I packed up and drove over to the Beck Farm to celebrate my birthday with a yummy home-cooked meal of roast "beast" and mashed potatoes. Good stick-to-your-ribs food topped off with a fudge cake. Earlier in the day, I celebrated while I worked in the studio by wearing this stunning combo. Yes, that is one of my red-black lampwork bead three-strand bracelets a bit of an unusual combination. But you know me -- one is never enough. So I added the latest Joan Boyce beauties in black diamond with the beautiful glass cream pearls. I just love the look. Makes me think of the "Twilight" series. For those of you who don't know of Joan Boyce, you can go to HSN.com and check out page after page of really lovely things and the quality of those pieces is beyond compare. And, if you are lucky enough to be in Aspen, you can look at her "real jewels" there. This mix also makes me think of the movie "Kate and Leopold" in the scenes from the early days in NYC. Don't you agree that these pieces would really finish off a little black dress on New Year's Eve? And in a strange but beautiful way, I can see a bride wearing this on that special day. Totally unexpected, but then that's what makes styling so much fun. It all fits with my ever-present thinking -- why does anyone want to wear exactly what someone else is wearing? I love when I get pix from one of you showing me how you styled my designs and made them your own. No one wants to be a sheep -- moving along with the crowd -- unless, of course, you are getting on the 6 train in NYC at 8:00 in the morning. When it comes to jewelry and fashion, the fun part is creating your own style and making and leaving your unique impression.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Turquoise, Rainbow Hickoryite and Assignments

Today I was feeling as if I needed to be a bit grounded. Somehow yesterday got away from me and all the things on my "to do" list just didn't get done. I felt a bit like a hamster on the treadmill -- running as fast as all get out but getting no where even faster. When I see and wear turquoise it always makes me happy -- and the Jay King Mine Finds three-strand beauty shown here with one of my rainbow hickoryite designs makes me feel very happy, relaxed and focused. I first started working with rainbow hickoryite several years ago after discovering it in Tucson; it felt lucky from the get-go. Don't ask me to explain it -- I just get these "funny feelings" at moments in my life that things are on the right path. When I held the beads that day I felt a warmth radiate from them. Maybe because they remind me of my dad for some reason -- he always took me along to buy the exotic woods he used in creating his guitars -- so my love of fine woods was honed at an early age. And, maybe because when I see beautiful stones like these, I am reminded of the greatness of Mother Nature, and I understand the importance of doing her proud with the jewelry I design. While my thinking makes me feel very small -- I understand that no matter my size I still have an important task to tend to while on this planet. I do believe that if I can make one person happy when they see or wear a piece of the jewelry I make then I feel as if I am doing the job that I was assigned. I know, I know -- maybe a bit philosophical for this time of day -- but one of the hazards of working alone -- I spend a lot of time in my own head without interruption or censorship. That can be a blessing or a curse -- today I think it's a blessing.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Life, the DMV and John Lennon

Well, today was the day to renew the driver's license. Yes, it's coming on my birthday (trying not to freak out about that fact but that's another story best left for another day) and that means that my current license was due to expire so I had to bite the bullet and renew. In this part of the world, that means you actually have to take a written test -- well, it is not really written any longer since it is all computerized in this day and age. Good student that I am I got the manual last week and actually read through and studied the contents. I was amazed at how much there is to know about driving a car these days. Now, as you know, I'm not new to the driving world; in fact, I have been driving for more years than many of you have been alive! So why was I so jittery about this darn test? Driving to the DMV office it actually hit me that I hadn't been this nervous about taking a test since the final in that damn (and yes, I am swearing) damn (there I said it again) finance class I hated in B-School. Now that's just nuts, right?

After showing enough documentation to prove that I am indeed a living breathing soul I went to the computer kiosk tryng to ignore my pounding heart. There was no time limit, so that made me feel a bit better and there is a way to skip questions and return to them later...unlike the finance final that was timed with a TICK, TICK, TICK obnoxious timer. I relaxed a bit on the first question -- one of the multi choice answers actually made me laugh out loud. So, okay. someone in the State has a sense of humor. As I completed the final question and was being congratulated on the monitor, I heard John Lennon's Happy Xmas playing on the Muzak (or whatever it is called today) buzzing through the small space. John Lennon singing a song about war being over -- written all those years ago and somehow still very relevant in today's world. Needless to say, I sat there quietly and waited for the song to end. John Lennon lyrics pushed aside for a moment, I finished up the process, had a pix taken, thanked everyone for making it a pleasant experience and walked out of the building.

In the car, where Beatrix was waiting, it hit me...today is December 8th. It was this day, in 1980, that John Lennon left this place. In an act that still makes no sense to me at all -- one of the greatest poets or our time was gone...in a flash. I made the short drive home no longer focused on the silliness of a license to drive -- life is a much bigger thing and we don't know how it all works; but what I have learned in the years I have lived is that it is so important to be kind, loving and sharing every moment of every day because we don't know when that moment will be our last. So friends, remember that kindness, loving and sharing should be a part of who we are, not just during the holiday season, but every day of the year no matter who we are or where we live.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday -- There I Said It!

I couldn't help myself -- I have been hearing all about Black Friday since, let's see sometime in July maybe. I've been telling myself that I am not going to get sucked into all the hype so I made a deliberate effort not to refer to it in my blog or on my jewelry site or in my jewelry e-mail -- but today I just had to blurt it out...once! So, I cracked -- maybe weak from too much pumpkin pie or a bit of tryptophan fallout?

Anyhow, this is my idea of what a real Black Friday, or any day for that matter, should look like, Two of my rope designs, one looking very 20s vintage with it's soutache bead and the other being right on trend with it's glowing gray mother-of-pearl and freshwater pearl beads partying with my latest acquisition from Ms. Joan Boyce who sells her beauties on HSN. The cuff shown here is a lovely black enameled number with sparkling and perfectly set crystals dancing all around. Yes, I am wearing all three as I create this post -- wouldn't you do the same? It's a bit sassy, I say. By now you've got me figured out --- well, that's a gross overstatement but I mean figured out when it comes to styling jewelry. (Just a note -- no one, including me will ever have "me" figured out! And, believe me hordes of people have tried...but to no avail.) But back to the jewelry, I love mixing it up, wearing the unexpected and making it a lot of fun. Here's a perfect example of that. But wait...there is more. I can't wait for the latest Joan Boyce to arrive -- a black diamond and pearl set that I am sure will be just as fabulous as the others I have of hers. And, I have a sneaking suspicion that the new pair will be just as excited to play with some new friends from my collection. So much fun...this jewelry stuff. I just wish I had more wrists!!! But I am thankful that I have two with lots of room between wrist and elbow. I say "stack 'em up and have a ball."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Honor of Disabled Veterans

Today is a day to stop and think about those in our lives who served to help protect our country and our right of freedom. My list is long -- and it starts with my dad who served in the U.S. Navy during WW II stationed on Iwo Jima. The list continues from there with family and friends, both male and female, who did what they could to help support our rights as human beings. When I heard that Diane Musselmann, a lifetime friend and widow of war veteran, Kenny Musselmann, was putting together an awareness and fundraising project in support of the first national memorial dedicated to the disabled veterans from all wars, the American Veteran's Disabled for Life Memorial, I was inspired to help out where and how I could. Diane completed her "Walking for Those Who Can't" venture in October -- walking from the VA Hospital in Long Beach and ending at the VA Hospital in San Diego -- a ninety-mile trek completed in one week all the while pushing Kenny's empty wheelchair. On November 10th, Diane was in Washington, D.C. at the official groundbreaking of the memorial -- something that she and Kenny had envisioned for years.

I created the red, white and blue bracelet, shown layered here with others from my personal collection, as a way of supporting the overall effort. The first bracelet out of the studio is being wrapped and sent to Diane today. I included an "inspire" charm on hers. Why? Kenny and Diane are inspiring people -- their kids and grandkids, I'm sure, would agree. The life they had together and the life that continues is nothing short of inspiring and I want to share that with all of you. In my little way of helping and asking you to join the cause, twenty percent of the retail price of this bracelet will be donated to the American Veteran's Disabled for Life Memorial fund -- and not just for today, or for this month, but for as long as I am able to make them. For more information about the memorial and to read the details of Diane's walk, click here. And, remember to take a bit of time and thank those who served or are serving in order to protect our freedom and not just today, or this month -- they should be remembered and thanked every day of every year. And, when someone asks about the beauty of a bracelet you are wearing, take a few minutes to share the story of the memorial and what it represents. It'll make your heart feel good -- I know it does mine.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Magic of Music

Sitting in the studio this afternoon, enjoying the sun as it streams in the large window and listening to allclassical.org, the classical station here in the Portland area. First, I have to say, the station is without competition...in my book at least. And, yes, it beats the hell out of the station I listened to for 10 years while living in New York City. Sorry, but it's the truth. The station here is member-sponsored and that means no annoying commercials and the breadth and depth of their playlist never ceases to surprise me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's A Glam Thing -- a big THANK YOU!

What a fabulous surprise. Lisa, from itsaglamthing.com, highlighted the All Things Pink! section from my site in her Lisa's Latest Fave Finds section on her web site! So exciting and completely unexpected. Not only did she include a pix of the fabulous pink lampwork heart rope style bracelet shown here, she also mentioned Susan G. 
Komen and Kate's Kids 4 the Cure, the two non-profits who receive donations from every sale of a design from the All Things Pink! section.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thank You weezies.com!

Happy day for me here -- weezies.com included a review of three of my favorite bracelets on their site today. As I write the word favorite -- I had to laugh at myself as I think every piece I make is "my fav!"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sure Signs of Fall

I don't care what the color Gods have to say about it -- to me fall will always mean burnt oranges, browns, deep russet and greens. In jewelry those colors translate as carnelian, red agate, green aventurine, smoky quartz and deep green freshwater pearls. Of course, I have to toss in some glittery Czech glass fire-polished beads to represent the sun as it bounces off the colors of autumn.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Clickity-click -- Sounds From My Past

Today I find myself longing for the unique clickity-click of an old-fashioned push mower. Those of you closer to my age know exactly what I am talking about -- those who are younger, haven't a clue. It's a perfect fall day here -- low 50s, clear blue sky, crisp air, birds right outside my window are gathering their reserves for the winter stay or migrations to warmer parts unknown. I am snuggled in my studio totally engrossed in the creative process, mixing it up with carnelian, smoky quartz and aventurine, windows open, my sweatshirt keeping me toasty.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Color Gods

Yes, the color gods have spoken -- well, in reality, it has been quite some time since they came up with this Fall-Winter 2010-2011 selection; but I thought it would be interesting to post it here for all of you to see. When I hear all the hoopla about the colors of the season I always wonder, if we as women, really are going to run out and buy a kumquat jacket with matching pants.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Strength of Pink

As you know, October is the official Breast Cancer Awareness month. While it is fabulous to spend a month dedicated to this topic; I think it is important to do all we can to raise awareness and educate people about breast cancer during all twelve months of the year. While I never really think of myself as a girly-girl (it just doesn't fit me nor my style), pink has always been and continues to be one of my favorite colors -- so soft and feminine.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Corner of 5th and Zen -- Gone but not Forgotten

I had a wave of sadness hit me when I learned that the fabulous Takashimaya store on Fifth Avenue in New York City had moved out and the building is slated to be the temporary home of Forever 21. While I know little about Forever 21 other than some of the garments they sell are designed and manufactured in Los Angeles (surprising, I know), it just seems that the merchandise and merchandising would be 180 degrees off of Takashimaya.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Cupcakes and Truffles

So, I am creating the copy for my next jewelry newsletter and the subject of cupcakes and truffles popped into my mind and spilled on to the page. Man, oh man, oh man.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Geese, Snow Birds and Flashes of Brilliance

With all the geese flying overhead intermittently throughout the day and night on their migration to parts unknown, I've been wondering why we, as humans, don't do the same. I know that in some parts of the world, people do move with the seasons -- but I was thinking, that in most part, at least in this country, we tend to stay put. I must admit...the more I think about it, my original thought is wrong.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dundee, Cow Poop and Magnificient Mother-of-Pearl

Friday I had the fun of heading out to Dundee to meet up with my friend and hairdresser, Amy. It's about 20 miles, as the crow flies, and a lovely ride through hills and dales of farm land, hazelnut orchards, hops fields and lots of dairy cow and sheep pastures. I must admit, when they "blow" the cow poop from the dairy barns into the fields, it gets pretty stinky.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thinking of those we lost.

Under labradorite skies -- we are thinking of those we lost on September 11th. Our hearts are filled with sadness; the memories and love are always with us.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day and Moments

Yesterday in the late afternoon Beatrix and I decided we had just about enough of the new computer installation party and decided to run over to see all the family and friends who were hanging out at Champoeg Park for the long weekend. Now, that's a real party -- full of fresh air, fun and laughter. I was thinking we would do a little hiking, sit around the fire a bit and then head on back to the Ponderosa here in Dodge!

Friday, August 27, 2010

R.J. Graziano Cozies Up

Yes, it's true, I do shop at both HSN and QVC (gasp!); mostly for items for the house, oh and okay, an occasional piece of jewelry. (Occasional...interesting word choice...thank goodness there is no lightening today.) While, of late, both venues have been offering a lot of "disposable jewelry;" however, if you're astute and really keep your eyes and ears open you can find some interesting and well-made items interspersed throughout.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stack of Starfish

It's hard to believe but we are fast approaching the end of summer. While I am excited about the fall, which I think may be a throwback to back to school...new clothes, new shoes...oh, and new things to learn, I am always a bit sad to see the long days of summer disappear. As a reminder of the beach, the sun and the new boys (maybe?) many of you have asked for more starfish bracelets like the one featured in "The Jewel Box" section of the summer issue of Gladys Magazine.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Good Things Come in Threes

You know the old saying about "things coming in threes." -- well here is a perfect example of three very good things that all came together in the studio this weekend. While I bought the gemstone rectangle cushion cut beads in Tucson 2009 (yes, 2009) the strands have been hanging on my inspiration board ever since; just waiting for something to pop to mind that wasn't ordinary and did them justice.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Era of Disposable Jewelry?

I was "shopping" with my niece last night and we were both amazed at the quantity of what we call "disposable" jewelry flooding the market these days. From what we saw, it seems that if you can make it and sell it for less than $5.00 wholesale, it'll be on the racks at stores and on shopping channels across the country and around the world for $19.95. Now, you all know that I like fun jewelry -- and I frequently bought from street vendors while I lived in NYC.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Flourite & Aquamarine...Dive Right In

Okay, I was so inspired by the kyanite necklace (see my July 26th post) that I just had to work up a design with the fabulous flourite beads I got in Tucson. Since they are so big, I thought that they would be stunning in my signature five-strand necklace.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kyanite -- Wowser, Wowser & Wowser

Yes, wowser -- if you've seen kyanite, then you understand my choice of words. I know, not a very dignified word for such a dignified gemstone; but it is what pops to mind when I see kyanite of this quality. High on my list of favs -- there is something rather mystical about this gemstone.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

National Cowboy Day

So I just read on Carolyn Pollack's FaceBook page that today is National Cowboy Day. So, in honor of all cowboys out there, I am sharing a fabulous photograph taken by my brother. Bob (that would be my brother) has a special gift -- he totally captures the spirit of the moment. I say, anyone can take a picture; but it takes a special talent to evoke an emotion.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sea Breezes and Sunshine

Sometimes I long for the beach. Well, more than sometimes, maybe more like all the time. I think that when you grow up with the beach playing a major role in your life, it becomes a part of who you are so it never quite leaves your soul. Today I am longing for all that is the beach -- salty breezes, pelicans and seagulls, the sound of the waves on the cool wet sand, foghorns and channel bells, the clanking of lines against masts of sailboats, cute boys from other places, Catalina Island off in the distance -- and just the ease of it all.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Once Again...it's the Little Things.

Those of you who know me, know that I am a BIG fan of the oatmeal. Sometimes Bob's Red Mill and sometimes Snoqualmie Falls. Sometimes steel cut and sometimes just the old-fashioned long-cooking type. But never...and I mean never, the microwavable type.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sparkle and Shine

As you know, I love to shake things up by designing jewelry that combines the unexpected. That thinking carries through when I style my look by layering pieces from my collection that play off each other.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Jewelry for the Professional Woman

Today, one of my clients told me that my jewelry was great for the professional woman. She's an attorney in the NYC financial arena -- so her definition of professional might be different than yours. That got me thinking. Scary I know...but thinking, thinking, thinking.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Where the Fairies Live.

Over the long weekend I added a few new plants to my patio containers -- one of which, is this tiny little miniature something. I wish I knew the name; but I picked it up at one of the wholesale nurseries in the farmlands here and it wasn't marked, so I have no idea what it is. What I do know is that it is pure white, lacy and fairy-like. I can just imagine that fairies live tucked underneath it's feathery blossoms. And, when I'm not looking, dragonflies come along to give the fairies rides to other magical places in my little garden. To give you an idea of it's size, the purple flower in the forefront is only about one-inch in diameter.

Let's Hear it for Chrysocolla

Over the weekend I "listened" in to Carolyn Pollack (Carolyn Pollack Sincerely and Relios) on QVC while working in the studio. I was so happy to see that she has a few new pieces built around one of my favorite gemstones, chrysocolla.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Happy 4th!!

I feel the need to hum, well is it really humming? It's more like dah, dah, dah, dah, dah dah and dah -- the opening notes of Stars and Stripes Forever, the well-known John Philip Sousa march, in celebration of Independence Day. Living in Small Town, USA I have learned that long time residents take their holidays seriously -- and that means decorating their homes.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gladys Magazine "Thank You"

The summer issue of Gladys Magazine finally arrived in the mail a few minutes ago. I say finally, because I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival so I could see the editorial coverage of my jewelry.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grey Skies and Inspiration

Yes, all of those clouds and rain actually inspired a few designs this past week. While in Tucson I bought the loveliest large silver-gray mother of pearl beads.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Well, here we are on Father's Day and once again...would you look at the sky? It's 55 degrees out with rain overnight -- so I guess I should be happy that the rain stopped. I wonder what the weather is in Nova Scotia -- do you think they have sunshine?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15 -- Life in the Pacific Northwest

There simply aren't words. That's right, the headline above says June 15th -- JUNE 15th. Oh and I forgot to say...it's 54 degrees. Yup -- 54 -- June 15th.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Victorian Twilight

I just finished playing with some poppy red jasper bricks and some bold black chain. This is the end result. I so wanted to do something different for me this afternoon -- so when I stumbled upon the jasper bricks I immediately thought that they would look interesting just randomly linked with the chain.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Another Ah-Ha Moment

I had another ah-ha moment over the weekend. I spent hours in the studio working on several pieces in this mother-of-pearl collection. The entire time I kept thinking that the pearls were very interesting, the light chocolate brown and black mother-of-pearl beads were exquisite and the gold vermeil beads were a terrific complement to the other beads.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday in Champoeg

Great day yesterday. Beatrix and I ventured out to Champoeg to hang out with family and friends for a few hours. We had a great time of it -- would you believe the sun actually came out for a few hours. While everyone else was camping and "roughing" it in their RVs for the long weekend -- Bea and I drove over and back through hill and dale.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hope in a Ray of Sun

Further proof that the sun does shine here in the Pacific NW. Why just this morning, in fact, it blasted through my bedroom window and was bright enough to actually wake me up.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As I backed the Jeep out of the garage earlier this afternoon -- I caught a glimpse of something I haven't seen in quite some time. Blue skies! Well, a patch of blue sky.

Making Sunshine on a Rainy Day

Maybe it's true what they say -- you know "you've got to make your own sunshine." Well, those aren't the exact words of the proverb or whatever it's called; but today those words are keeping me going. Yes, it is still raining here in the glorious Pacific Northwest -- I know, I know...a bit caustic...but it's how I feel.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

52 and Rainy -- May 23

It's just not right. The rain has been nonstop for the last few weeks and the temperature hasn't crept out of the 50s. And, it is the end of May. Yes, I am whining! Again!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where do you find your inspiration?

Luckily for me, I don't have to go far for inspiration to hit. Sometimes I wish that weren't the case and I could be like other designers who talk about their world trips and how they are inspired when they are globetrotting. Maybe it's the homebody in me...it's true, I am the only person I know who has a hard time being away from home for more than ten minutes...a behavior that usually makes my friends crazy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Fog Has Lifted

It's true -- the web site fog has completely lifted and what is left is a glorious new site perfect for windowshopping, strolling and buying; yes, I said buying. I know, it might be somewhat smug to describe my site as "glorious" but after so much hard work, I have to say it does look splendid.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Lost in A Website Fog

For the last few weeks I have been roaming around in a web site fog. Anyone who has ever taken on the task of building or rebuilding a web site knows exactly what I am saying. Luckily today, we have geniuses who create templates, that with some tweaking, can make things look fabu and allow me to stay reasonably sane!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pink or White?

The dogwoods are out in full force these past few days; it seems you can almost hear them shouting "to hell with the rain, and cold and gloom!" I'm telling you, I am really getting cranky with this weather.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sunset Beach c. 1967

Some exciting events have taken place over the last few weeks with me and I am longing to share my good fortune with a few very special people who have always been so loving and supportive of me but, sadly, are no longer living on this planet; at least not that I am aware of. It's also coming on May -- the used-to-be month of the annual Sunset Beach Art Festival. The very same Sunset Beach Art Festival at which I sold my very first piece of jewelry...that was 1967.