Saturday, November 30, 2013

Winter Flowers

Well, winter is finally here in my neck of the snow, yet...just lots of rain and a few flurries.  I know some you out there have already been weathering huge storms, though, so I thought I would send  you some winter flowers to brighten your day!

It is amazing to me that there are varieties of flowers that actually bloom in winter! The hellebore, sometimes referred to as a Christmas Rose, is one of those. 

Helleborus niger, via Wikipedia

I created these flower earrings with those in mind. These milky, slightly opalescent Czech glass leaves were the perfect petals...woven together with copper wire and embellished with sweet beaded beads by Kristen Stevens. The lampwork beads by Karen Leonardo reminded me of bright blue winter skies, streaked with flecks of golden sun.

Here are some more lovely flowers from our talented team members to brighten your winter days! Oh, and by the way, most of these shops have a holiday sale going on!  Check out this post for particulars!

Melissa Meman
Melismatic Art Jewelry
Art. Life. Love.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Freeform Friday: Black, small, and cyber

The title refers to this weekend of course.
Black Friday.
Small Business Saturday.
Cyber Monday.

And I will be the first to agree that it is of utmost importance to shop local, support artists and craftspeople, and yet honor family and give thanks before the shopping commences.

So I have a three part post for you - inspired by these three days.
Warning: this may be seen as less than serious and a bit irreverent. You have been warned.

Black Friday:  

Special delivery
I admit that after T-day I really get revved up for the rest of the holidays. I start listening to the music, I decorate for Solstice, and winter in general, if you must know. And I make lists and check them, twice, three times...

I am an artist. I make many of the gifts I give. So by NOW if I don't have an idea, haven't started, I panic a little. Add to that that I have to ship things to my family - all scattered across the States... you feeling the panic yet? My plan for Black Friday is to prep for a show I have Sunday (Shop local! Shop handmade!) and start work on presents!!!

If so much of Black Friday is getting more for less, deals, steals, and bargains... I wanted to do the opposite and show you pieces that are more. For more to be sure... but wouldn't you be happy with these in your stocking? ( realistically - some yes. Others... not until after I win the lottery...)

Small Business Saturday: 

I would be remiss if I did not mention sales currently happening at AJE members shops, including mine. And many other small business/sole proprietors I know... 

And I have to mention other friends and "family" having sales... my good friend Marsha who contributes to "Love my Art Jewelry" blog was compiling a list as well!

Cyber Monday: 

Cybermen. I am not going to argue. Resistance is futile - oh wrong Universe....

Have a great weekend! Enjoy the art of giving! Don't let the commercialism taint the true spirit of the upcoming holidays!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

AJE Black Friday Sales

Good morning, I'd like to start by wishing all my friends across the pond a very Happy Thanksgiving. I hope whatever you're doing you're having a wonderful day!

It's not celebrated over here in the UK, so the Christmas shopping spree is in full swing, but not for me! 

I've been blissfully ignoring friends posts on Facebook, about how they have one or two gifts to buy and they're finished, for the last month or so. I naively assumed that I had all the time in the world, but now it seems that suddenly it's just around the corner.

So what better way to start the Season of Goodwill than with a sale? (and maybe a little shopping for yourself to get you in the mood!)

AJE team members are offering brilliant discounts in their shops for Black Friday, and today, I'm going to take you for a virtual browse and share all the details of how to get your hands on beautiful artisan jewellery, beads & components at a great price and just in time for Christmas!

So without further ado... here are some great places to start all that shopping...

Susan Kennedy 

Handmade lampwork & enamel beads & components 

Use code: BLACKFRIDAY for 20% off now until Monday


Diana Ptaszynski 

Handmade ceramic beads, buttons & components 

Use Code: GOBBLE13 - 20% off Friday - Monday


Kristi Bowman-Gruel 

Copper & Polymer components & art jewellery 

Use Code: THANKYOU20 - 20% off Thursday - Monday


Karen Totten 

Handmade ceramic & metal clay beads & components 

Use Code: STARRY30 - 30% off Friday - Monday


Hand spun wooly wire and beads 

Use Code: WOOLY30 - 30% off Friday - Monday


Linda Landig 

Handmade art jewellery 

Use Code: THANKS2013 - 20% off Thursday - Monday


Melissa Allford Meman 

Handmade art jewellery & enamel components 
Use Code:  MELISMATIC20 - 20% off Thursday - Monday


Jenny Davies-Reazor 

Handmade ceramic beads & components, jewellery, tiles & mixed media 

Use Code: GOBBLE13 -20% off Friday - Monday


Lesley Watt 

Handmade bronze & ceramic beads & components 

Use Code: THEA20 - 20% off Friday - Monday


Handmade art jewellery 

Use Code: THEA20 - 20% off Friday - Monday


Rebekah Payne 

Handmade Polymer beads & components 

Use Code: THANKYOU2013 - 20% off Thursday – Monday


Caroline Dewison 

Handmade ceramic beads & components 

Use Code: BLUE20 20% off Friday - Monday


If you're not sure how to apply codes in Etsy, add items to your basket as normal while shopping, then before checking out, click the link to 'Apply shop coupon code' Enter the code for whichever shop you're in and the discount will be applied to your total before checkout. 

I hope you've enjoyed our virtual shopping trip and hope you give handmade this Christmas!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013


No doubt you've all heard about the big storm traveling from Texas to the northeast today and tomorrow.  I personally like snow, at first, when it's all pretty and white and the kids are having fun playing in it! 
 I thought I'd share some eye candy of snowflakes to get you excited about the snow!  These snowflakes are all made by members of the AJE Team!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Stoneware Snowflakes Part 1

Every year I make Christmas ornaments for my family.  This year, I decided to make snowflakes out of speckled brown stoneware.

This first thing I do is make the wire loops for the top and bottom of each snowflake.  One for attaching a ribbon and one for hanging crystals (bling bling!).  I use high-fire wire and the back of a paintbrush to make consistent loops.

  I then condition a chunk of clay and pinch a piece off.  I like to use random-sized pieces so that the snowflakes are all different (just like real ones).  Then I roll the clay into a ball.
I place the ball of clay onto the vintage batik stamp and squish it down using a wood block (the back of a rubber stamp).
Once I remove the clay from the batik stamp, I gently flatten it again with the wood block and then slide the wire loops into place.
After the snowflakes have dried, I apply a tiny bit of water and carve my initials and the year into the back of each piece.
The next step will be to bisque fire all of them.  Then they'll get glazed and fired again.  Once that is complete, I'll cut some pretty ribbon and wire-wrap some crystals to dangle from the bottom.  In a week or so, I'll show you how they look.

Are you making ornaments this year?

Diana P.
Suburban Girl Studio LLC

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Earring Challenge reveal 22 - Weeks 45 & 46/52

Welcome to weeks 45/46 of the Earring challenge.

Hopefully you're not up too early for a Sunday morning. It's going to be a busy week with Thanksgiving and the run up to black Friday. So I think a lazy day of browsing through Pinterest is in order.

We've had some beautiful designs added to the board over the last couple of weeks, here are some of my favourites...

I thought I'd start with this pretty blue set by Kathy Lindemer of Bay Moon Design, featuring ceramics by Marsha Neal. They're ideal for winter with the cool tones of blue.

Next, I've chosen this pair from Kimmy Sayers of Silver NikNats. The lampwork is by Naos Glass and the copper shields are by Kimmy herself. Perfect for this seasons trends of armour inspired jewellery.

And Finally, this gorgeous pair from Kiersten Giles of Lune Designs. You may remember them from Keirsten's guest post where she shared how she created the copper buds, but I don't see any harm in having another look!

Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who's posted their designs for this fortnight's reveal.

The next reveal will be on December 8th. If you'd like to join in for the blog hop, use the linky tool below to link up your blogs.

And don't forget to keep pinning! There are just 3 more challenges before the year is over, so lets finish this off with a bang!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

December Component of the Month Giveaway!

Hey everyone! It's my turn to do the Component of the Month!

Here's what I made for the AJE team and 4 lucky winners…

Rustic speckle beads—each one is hand shaped in polymer clay and painted with dozens of tiny dots.

 Would you like to play along?

Here's how it works (please read carefully)…
  • I will giveaway 1 speckle bead to each of 4 winners selected randomly from those who leave comments below this post by midnight,  Tuesday, November 26th eastern time.
  • Please include your EMAIL address in your comment so that I can contact you ASAP should you win.
  • Please (PLEASE) only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging about it on the reveal date.
  • The names of the 4 winners will be announced on Thursday, November 28, 2013.
  • The blog reveal will be on Tuesday, December 31, 2013.

Good luck!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rene Lalique Jewelry - Lisbon, Portugal

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I have recently returned from Lisbon, Portugal.  One of the most memorable parts of our trip was a visit to the Calouste Gulbenkian MuseumWhile we loved seeing the paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Rousseau, Manet, Dégas, Renoir and Monet, the highlight, for me, was a permanent collection of works by René Lalique (1860-1945). 

Lalique was an extraordinarily prolific and talented French designer, known for his Art Nouveau and Art Deco designs in glass, enamel, jewelry and home decor. Wikipedia states that his name became "synonymous with creativity, beauty and quality".  I pretty much have a major jewelry crush on the man and I'll try to show you why today.

My husband and I took a couple hundred pictures of the Lalique Collection.  So far I've only sorted through about a third of them.  So this will just give you a taste of the scope of the collection.  Perhaps I'll do another post as I finish sorting through the rest of the pictures.
Lalique's works were inspired primarily by what were called The Three Fs: Female (form), Fauna and Flora.
 A careful observer of nature, many of Lalique's works include plants and a variety of animals.
Woodland Scene
He did not consider any animals to be repulsive or out of bounds: snakes, parrots, grasshoppers and beetles are found in both his glass-works and in his jewelry.

I love the swirl of the peacock's tail (see close up in center picture).  The last picture is a drawing Lalique did in planning this piece.
Check out the size of the amethyst in the cockerel's mouth!

This amazing Serpent Pectorial was originally worn with with a strand of pearls draped from each serpent head

Lalique was also inspired by the female form. Much of his work, including his flora and fauna, exhibit the voluptuous curves associated with a woman's body.
Take a look at that mammoth baroque pearl on the left!  Wow!
 The artist pictured women as being gentle and mysterious.  His work featured graceful female nudes whose highly stylized curling hair often swirls sensuously around the object, becoming a design component itself. It is those flowing, graceful, and often asymmetrical lines that so draw me to his work. 

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour.  I look forward to sharing more with you later.