Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gifts From the Sea

In yesterday's post I forgot to show the exquisite gift we all received from Terri ( This beautiful pendant is two-sided and pays homage to the Mermaid's Mercantile (one of my favorite places to shop and browse). Love the sea green colors, rhinestones, and vintage text. There's definitely no better gift a girl could receive than jewelry. Thanks Terri : )

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Making Jewelry With Terri Brush

As you all know by now I am thoroughly enjoying my affaire with jewelry. Feeling it, wearing it, and writing on the subject is one thing, but to really know, understand, and love an art form you have to study it. When you learn how to make something you are taking part in a tradition. You become intimately acquainted with your subject matter. It was time I got to know jewelry on this level.

I'm so grateful to have attended one of Terri Brush's workshops ( I cant tell you how many people have spoken so highly of Terri and so positively of her classes. So on Friday I jetted down to one of my favorite spots, Solana Beach, for an all day workshop on soldering basics.

I have to tell you, although this was a beginning class, I was very nervous. I had heard words like "heat," "flame," and "burn." I didnt want to injure myself. Also, many of the women in the class had taken it before, so they actually did know how to solder, which was kind of intimidating.
But the cool thing about getting a group of women together to make art is that somewhere along the line those insecurities melt away. You become part of a community. You are all united in your common goal to learn to make something from nothing, to beautify the once mundane. The class was small, and everyone was made to feel so welcome. The place settings were adorable. Some familiar faces were in the crowd too. Deb Hodge ( sat next to me and Julie Haymaker Thompson ( sat across from me. Julie drew the houses pictured above and the dress I'm wearing is actually one of Deb's creations.

As the Beatles played on we chose scrapbook paper and began collaging. I of course was drawn to the brightest colors, sparkles, and the houndstooth print. At first, the collaging didnt make sense, but it sure was fun. Julie explained shading techniques with a Stabilo and we began using Stickles and pencils to add dimension to our collages. After they baked in the oven we adhered rhinestones and vintage ribbons. Then it was time to lay our glass over our papers and cut. That's when the magic happened.
The minute you place your glass over the collage is when pendants take shape. You begin to see the majesty in little inky crevices that you did not see before. Words begin to pop out and you find yourself wanting to capture phrases beneath your glass, like catching fireflies in a jar.
After cutting to size you sandwich the papers and the glass and begin wrapping them in copper tape. While I am a pretty good gift wrapper this step was hard due to the thickness of my collages (of course I went rhinestone crazy - those suckers add a lot of volume, making it harder to encase the collage).
After wrapping you get to bring the heat. It is so much fun to actually flux a piece and then go over it with the soldering iron. It is magic. All the copper turns to liquidy silver. The hardest part for me was smoothing the perimeter. My metal came out kind of lumpy, but Terri is a pro at delicately smoothing a side. Its almost soothing to watch the process.
The last step is the hardest, and that is attaching the jump ring. You basically have to hold it with pliers, while holding your pendant with a sponge and sandwich the jump ring between two soldered blobs. I know this isnt technical jargon, but really thats what its like. I lost one jump ring in the process - all in all, not too bad.
My completed pendants show off some things I would expect from me: the female form, bling,
pastel colors, and French iconography; and there are some things shown that I would not expect from me: the unexpected phrase from a torn text, blue and green mixed together, black and white. Since these pendants have two sides it's like showing off different sides of you. While the jewelry maker in me came out for a day, I realized that I cannot completely shut out the editor side of me. While cleaning my pendants off I realized that these were items I would certainly wear, but I dont know that I'd feature them in the magazine. But what I do know (and perhaps what is most important) is that I would solder again, and next time I would bring some of my own papers to collage now that I know what the process is like. Bottom line: you never know until you try. I could definitely see myself being addicted to soldering. And the best part: I didnt burn myself at all! Impressive considering those irons are set at 700 degrees.
Everyone's jewelry turned out amazing. Deb pulled a genius move and used the cover and sping from an old book in her piece. And Terri is the master at adding soldered dots to her pieces for added texture that are oh so elegant. Terri's baubles are immaculate. When I look over her jewelry I am in awe, knowing what it took to get to that finished point. I have even more appreciation for jewelry artists and soldering, and perhaps this is the beginning of a new kind of love affaire for me. I'm actually not completely done with the necklaces as I have some ideas. Stay tuned for the finished project.
My immense thanks to Terri Brush for having me, being patient, and teaching me with such ease, such confidence, such grace. I totally get why women go on these workshops and retreats, because the camaraderie, the laughter, the warmth in the air is welcoming and comforting. Thanks to my fellow classmates for sitting with me, talking to me, having a willingness to learn, and loving jewelry. Thanks to Deb for inviting me, and Dottie for those absolutely insanely delicious brownies. And thanks to everyone who studies the sacred art of making jewelry so that we can all behold the beauty of something made from nothing, the otherwise mundane. And a special thanks to those who believe in teaching the secrets of their trade, in passing down knowledge, so as not to keep it to themselves but to give us all the opportunity to love and learn through art.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What I Wore Today: Layers Upon Layers

When it comes to clothing I am not much of a layerer unless functionality depends on it. But when it comes to jewelry I am a firm believer in the layered look. Coco always said take a piece off, and Rachel Zoe always says add one more piece. But I like to think I am somewhere in between.

When it came to these necklaces I determined the more, the merrier. I like how they all fell together so well. Two of these necklaces are actually belts, but I like long necklaces so I wear them as such. The gold rope chain is vintage, the silver and rhinestone gem is from Coach, and the pearls are ones my mother gave me.
I love this skirt too. Again, layers. Its the only Free People piece I own and I got it years ago. The tiering and mix of tecture is very cool. I love sitting in it because it spreads out all around me, like sitting in a sea of fabric. It's always nice when you start out the day not knowing what to wear and end up with something really cool and really you.
The skirt has a lot of cream and white shades and I wore a slip dress underneath (more white). So the necklaces and their shine were key in making this outfit non-blah. Throw on some Juicy wedges and this summer look is complete.
How do you like to layer?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Experimental Jewelry?

Check these out. Bandana? Scarf? Nope - bib necklace. In an experimental design where fabric meets bead, meets the trendy bib option, these necklaces represent experimental jewelry. Perhaps its postmodern, perhaps its a different take on chunky pieces, and perhaps it's the new statement maker. I love that these designs are made of fabric, have bling, and make onlookers curious. I think if a piece of jewelry intrigues a viewer then mission accomplished. Their headbands are also super chunky and shiny. Perhaps you could cut up a vitnage beaded blouse and have some similar haute headwear. Iamgine all the possibilities. These beaded beauties are by ROARKE New York ( and I can see them having serious style influence. I dare you to experiment and ignite my curiosity for the next Jewelry Affaire deadline (11/15/10). Sometimes it's the most out of the ordinary, unconventional pieces that are the true statement makers and risk takers. Will you take a risk?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lush Las Vegas

I have been away from blogging for a bit. More traveling. More relaxing. More fun. I dont know if anywhere is as fun as Las Vegas. Between the pool, the shopping, the eating, and the excitement it's easy to make the 4 hour drive to escape.

While blogging was far from my mind in Sin City, I did snap some cool pics at Lush ( I have seen these stores with their handmade soaps and goodies before, but I confess, I have never entered. Let me tell you, it is worth going in. Not only does the store smell luscious, but everything looks good enough to eat (especially that Cupcake facial cream). But the sales lady told me these mixures actually dont taste good (does that mean she's tasted them??). Another huge perk is that they do demonstrations on every product in the store, so you get to try before you buy. We bought some cool bath bombs that dissolve in the bath, leaving skin silky and fragrant. You might find yourself lusting after these Lush luxuries with their quirky names, sparkly colors, and touch me textures. They have locations everywhere, not just in Vegas, so indulge away!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Style Notes: Rhinestone Trim

Diamonds are supposedly a girl's best friend. But for those of us who cannot afford the real thing sometimes rhinestones will have to do. To be honest, I rather love a good rhinestone. The trim on this latest line of accessories from Juicy is simple, clean, and still adds a bit of shine. I like how the headband can be wrapped around in layers on your arm for a bracelet. I bought the Daydreamer Tote in pale ash. Just the right amount of bling, like a bracelet for your bag.
I'm reminded of one of my favorite stories, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Everyone should read it. There are many twists I dont want to give away, but one of the most poignant parts of the story is when the protagonist steals what he believes to be diamonds and it turns out they are only rhinestones. It calls into question the entire story because what was perceived as real and valuable may now only be an imitation of wealth. What are the things we assign value to? Why? What makes one thing precious and another an imposter? Be careful my friends. Heavily weigh those things you value. You may find that your true treasures lie elsewhere.
I love that these bags are big enough to pack some summer reading in. While many may value the bag itself, it's what's inside that actually carries the most weight.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Memories

It's funny, people's habits with food. I dont consider myself a foodie, but I am most definitely a cupcake connosieur. I can appreciate, however, the power food holds in bringing people together.

When Lindsay Mason ( and I were planning to meet up in Denver she decided on the Shoppe ( Definitely the best decision for two chocoholics. We indulged on salty caramel cupcakes and I took home this S'more confection for a midnight snack. I cant recommend the Shoppe enough, where you can treat yourself to coffee, hot chocolate, a cereal bar, art by local artists, and vegan cupcakes.
While sweets are quite the indulgence, friendships can be a daily one as well. The people that are brought together over food despite distances apart make for some of the sweetest memories. While I adore a decadent dessert, one thing I have always savored are my friendships. Other than food, fate is the ultimate hand that gently nudges two people together.
How lucky I am to know Lindsay. There's something comforting in chocolatey, moist, cake with frosting, yes. But there is nothing warmer or more comforting than meeting up with a familiar face at a not so familiar place when you are so many miles from home. Thank you Lindsay, for making my trip to Colorado all the more memorable.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What I Bought on Vacation

So we all know the best part about vacation is checking out what stores there have that your stores don't, right? I came across Goldmine Vintage in Boulder and struck gold with this find. Check it out, it's a vitnage rhinestone cocktail ring with blue leaves. So unusual. I needed some blue in my jewelry wardrobe and the shape satisfies my hunger for the unconventional cocktail ring. Definitely check out this store that has great vintage bling, clothes, accessories, and a few new things thrown in for kicks.
Oh yeah and while I was in Boulder I couldnt resist yet another cupcake. So good! Check out this hip eatery, where I found a delicious peanut butter & chocolate confection that I loved almost as much as my ring.