Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hot, Hot, Hot! {Earrings of the Month}

We have been in the middle of an unseasonably hot month. Earlier, D and I spent the day in San Francisco while R was at an all-day seminar in Santa Clara. We hiked four miles, all over San Francisco, up and down from Coit Tower during a record-breaking weekend. It was 107 in the City that day. When we picked up R and his classmate, it was 109 in Santa Clara. Crazy hot.

And, while it has let up some, it's still hot. So, this month, I was inspired by heat and the warm colors of carnelian, amber, garnets, and rough rubies. All of these creations are handwired with sterling silver and hang from sterling silver earwires. I hope my subscribers enjoy these...and I really hope it starts to cool down soon.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Shoulder Dusters {Earrings-of-the-Month}

This month I noticed some earrings at the local market and was intrigued by the long, tassels that hung below the gems and beads. "Shoulder Dusters" they were called. I leaned over to my son and whispered, "I can make those!" And, so, I did. I played with different colors and different chains.

I made several extra pairs and tested how the length affected their wearability. Since they are so light, you barely notice them. So...my subscribers are getting pairs of these shoulder dusters as their selections this month. Most of the gals didn't specify earrings as long as shoulder-length, so these don't quite dust the shoulders. But, you get the idea. I hope they like them.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Love Me Some Lavender {Earrings-of-the-Month}

Lavender is one of my favorite scents and flowers. I wasn't able to attend the Lavender Festival here in town, but my friends did and brought me an armful of stems and other lavender goodies. Thank you!!

I was inspired to create this month's earrings-of-the-month in gems that reminded me of lavender: amethyst. I used both dark and light stones all handwired with sterling silver and hanging from sterling earwires. These are all packaged up and in the mail.

I made one pair asymmetrical. I hope the gal who gets that one enjoys it as much as I do. I know not everyone is good with asymmetry.

This lavender shot [below] was one of my photographs that was displayed during the Flower Power exhibition at the 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles in December 2010. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Garden Glory {Earrings-of-the-Month}

A couple of weekends ago, we were lucky enough to attend an event at the Tor House in Carmel; you can read more about that property here. I haven't been there in at least two (maybe three) decades. While the history of the property, the Hawk Tower, and Robinson Jeffers' poetry were all compelling, I was captivated by the rose bushes that were rife with fragrant, voluminous blooms. So gorgeous!

While the gems, obviously, don't smell like a garden, my hope is that their hues and configuration remind you of a garden in full bloom, a garden in all its glory.

I used faceted briolettes in different shades of quartz and chalcedony...

they are handwired with sterling silver...

and hang from sterling silver ear wires.

While this doesn't really have anything to do with the garden, it is one of my favorite Robinson Jeffers' poems: Song of Quietness.

Drink deep, drink deep of quietness,
And on the margins of the sea
Remember not thine old distress
Nor all the miseries to be.
Calmer than mists, and cold
As they, that fold on fold
Up the dim valley are rolled,
Learn thou to be.

The Past—it was a feverish dream,
A drunken slumber full of tears.
The Future—O what wild wings gleam,
Wheeled in the van of desperate years!
Thou lovedst the evening: dawn
Glimmers; the night is gone:—
What dangers lure thee on,
What dreams more fierce?

But meanwhile, now the east is gray,
The hour is pale, the cocks yet dumb,
Be glad before the birth of day,
Take thy brief rest ere morning come:
Here in the beautiful woods
All night the sea-mist floods,—
Thy last of solitudes,
Thy yearlong home.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Color of Adventure {Earrings of the Month}

This month I was inspired by a week long trip to central Oregon with my boys - husband and two sons - for Spring Break. We've been there before, and had no agenda but to relax, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time as a family. Oh, toss in some snowball fights and brutal hikes and you have my idea of fun!

It seems strange to say, but I love how different the sky looks when I travel. I always notice that the blues seem more blue and there's even a tinge of violet in the high desert.

So, it's with that in mind that I created this month's EcoChic Designs pieces. I started with some glowing blue chalcedony briolettes and paired them with aqua chalcedony, grey labradorite, various shades of amethyst, and faceted citrine. All of those natural colors reminded me of our Oregon adventure. The color of adventure! Do you think adventure has a color? What would that be?

I hope my subscribers enjoy wearing these as much as I enjoyed creating them. ~CMM

Monday, October 24, 2016

International Day of Peace {Jewelry of the Month}

About month ago, D volunteered to be part of the International Day of Peace celebration here in Carmel. He handed out white roses before the service. Here he is with Father Rob, the rector from St. Dunstan's in Carmel Valley.

As an interfaith celebration, there was everything from a haunting kaddish to a Celtic litany and a Gaelic blessing. Father Rob shared thoughts on Dietrick Bonhoeffer's 1934 sermon "The Church and the People of the World"; there was also guided meditation by one of the monks from the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

The afternoon was both calming and invigorating. What a lovely, all-encompassing afternoon.

I was inspired to create jewelry this month that represents peace around the world. I selected stones to represent heaven and earth with the brown from Brown Opal, blue from Turquoise and Apatite, and both blue and brown in Amazonite. Each piece also includes a sterling silver dove and hangs from sterling silver earwires.

Peace I leave you. My peace I give you.
Not as the world gives, I give to you.
Peace I give to you.

Let not your heart be troubled and fear not.
In this world you shall have tribulations.
Take heart! I have overcome the world!

Peace I leave you. My peace I give you.
Not as the world gives, I give to you.
Peace I give to you,
Peace, my peace, my peace I give to you.

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 2016: Fire and Ice {earrings-of-the-month}

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can't remember who to send it to

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

Won't you look down on me, Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
And I won't make it any other way

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

I’ve been walking my mind to an easy time
My back turned towards the sun
Lord knows the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line
To talk about things to come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I'd see you one more time again
There's just a few things coming my way this time around,
Thought I'd see you, thought I'd see you fire and rain, now
Thought I'd see you just one more time again.

"Fire and Rain" ~ James Taylor

Everyone has a 9-11 story. Just as, depending on your age, everyone remembers where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated or where they were when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. As I wrote, everyone has a 9-11 story. Here's mine.

I wrote most of this on the 10th anniversary of that life-changing day.

Flight 77 made an indelible mark on my life. When Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, claiming nearly 200 lives, including the life of Suzanne Calley, I lost a great friend and mentor. I watched her husband, Frank Jensen, grieve. I watched my husband grieve. And I grieved myself.

Jake and I were in Cabo San Lucas with friends for a week-long vacation when we began to see news footage of the Twin Towers in New York burning. Because we were in Mexico, all of the reporting was in Spanish. Later we discovered an English-speaking channel. And, probably, like everyone else in the world, we were glued to the television sets. Day and night. They even had the news playing down at the resort's pool. Cocktails, chlorine, and tragedy are odd bedfellows, but they got us through the week.

With all that coverage - including the victims' names scrolling across the bottom of the screen - you would think that one of us would have seen her name. Suzanne Calley. But, for whatever reason, we never did. The border closed and we were stuck in Mexico for longer than anticipated. The evening entertainment at the resort began to repeat and by the time "Jesus Christ Superstar" started up for the third time, we drew the curtains and the guys poured some more tequila.

When the borders finally opened, tourists trying to get home flooded the airport, but I think we were all leary of getting on a plane. Two plane rides and a shuttle bus later, we opened the door to our townhouse, dropped the bags on the floor, and collapsed on the couch. It was then that we noticed our answering machine blinking. 27 messages. Seriously.

It's all a blur now, but I distinctly remember hearing Frank's voice, strained, holding back sobs. "Where are you guys? Zanne would know where you are. Call me. I need to talk to you." That was the first message...and the fifth...and the fourteenth. All the same but with increasing urgency at each call. All wondering where we were and why we weren't returning his call.

Then the series of messages from other friends made it clear: "I'm watching the news and they said that Suzanne Calley died on 9-11. Is that the Suzanne Calley that we know? Call me." "Cam, are you OK? Can you call me? I saw on the news that Suzanne was on one of the planes. Call me." Everyone wanted me to call them. But my knees buckled and I fell to the floor. All I could do was focus on breathing through my tears. Inhale. Exhale.

I finally did make those calls. I took even more time off work. I went to her memorial in Gilroy. But it wasn't till Jake and I accompanied Frank and other family members to the official memorial at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., that it became real to me that I would never see Suzanne again.

Zanne was an amazing woman in so many ways. Her passions for life, for diving, and for Frank were evident in everything she did. We spent almost every weekend for two years with them, learning to dive ourselves and, then, because we had worked our way up through the certifications, as Frank and Zanne's divemasters. On our non-teaching weekends, we would go up to their home in San Martin, I would cook dinner and we would drink wine, talk, and laugh a lot. We traveled with them. We spent time at their alpine cabin, skiing and building bone-breaking bobsled runs. And it was on the divetrip that they organized off the coast of Venezuela that Jake proposed marriage.

Though joyous events begin to fill the void made by a tragedy such as this, the loss is no less tragic. I now have Riley and Dylan. Riley's due date was June 11th, 2002, a miracle pregnancy after 18 months of infertility. That is another story on its own. But you can do the math and know that I do believe in angels. Frank is remarried to a wonderful gal named Deb. We have celebrated other friends' weddings and births. Life has gone on. And though time has made the pain less sharp, I still miss her.

Well, it's been fifteen years. But I was inspired to create this month's pieces in honor of my friend. Zanne. 

Ladies, I hope you don't see these as a morbid inspiration. My life was better for having known her.

Your one-of-a-kind pieces feature smoky chalcedony, fiery agate, grey labradorite, moonstone, and more. All are handwired with sterling silver and hang from sterling silver earwires.