Sunday, December 30, 2012

Persephone's Passion

For my January EcoChic Designs Earrings-of-the-Month pieces, I found inspiration in this pomegranate pendant. Since the deep red color of the pomegranate arils gave rise to the naming of the garnet - January's birthstone - I handwired garnets galore with sterling silver. Some pieces are garnets alone, other include recycled red glass or watermelon tourmaline. These lovelies are in the mail next week to my members. Enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2012

That's a Wrap!

I just finished creating tags for the January shipment of my earrings-of-the-month creations...well, for current members. I do have three new members - thanks to a generous Christmas elf who doesn't like her friends and family to have naked lobes! - whose style and length preferences I don't yet know. So, those will go out next week.

But this month wraps the first 12 months of this venture, EcoChic Designs' Earrings-of-the-Month club. I've had a lot of fun and look forward to another years of inspired earrings for my members.

January's Pieces are inspired by the pomegranate...

"Ardent for Arils"
Originally from Persia, the pomegranate is one of the oldest cultivated fruits. Ancient Romans used the skins in the process of tanning leather. Perhaps due to the fruit's princely blossom crown, it has gained distinction as a royal fruit. Chaucer, Shakespeare and Homer have all extolled the virtues of the pomegranate in literature. The Moors brought the seedy fruit to Spain where Granada was named for it. The first pomegranate was planted in Britain by King Henry VIII. It reached our shores by way of the Spanish conquistadors.

The deep red color of the pomegranate arils gave rise to the naming of the garnet gemstone, January’s birthstone. So, for this month, garnets galore are handwired with sterling silver and hang from handmade, hammered sterling ear wires.

Photos of the pieces to come....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Earrings-of-the-Month Review

I have just finished up the December creations for my earrings-of-the-month members. And I am thrilled with pieces I've done this year and think the gals who have joined the fun enjoyed draping their lobes in my earrings. One of the husbands who purchased a membership for his wife said, "Your motto should be 'I hate naked lobes!'"

I offer a monthly delivery of a handmade, one-of-a-kind pair of earrings. You tell me your preference of style and length; I create and surprise you, letting you know what inspired me.

 For more information about the club, feel free to email me at constantmotioncamilla at gmail dot com. 
Or check out my Etsy store for the 3, 6, and 12 month options.

Here's what 2012 saw...

February 2012: Piles of Petals

March 2012: Mermaids' Playground

April 2012: Spring Blooms

May 2012: Oh, Honey, Honey!

June 2012: Black Pearls

July 2012: All That Sparkles

August 2012: All the Colors of Alaska

September 2012: OLIVE My Earrings-of-the-Month Members

October 2012: Bushels of Beads

November 2012: Swing from the Chandeliers

December 2012: Keepin' It Spicy (All the Shades of Gingerbread)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Smokin' Hot Earrings and Necklace

Last night we helped one of my best friends welcome in her 40s. Her husband had planned, and executed, a surprise dinner with a few close friends. Complimenti! That's pretty hard to do when we all have very big mouths.

I figured I would commemorate the milestone with - what else? - jewelry. 

I decided to make something with her birthstone, smokey topaz. I thought about trying to squeeze forty stones into the design somehow, but that was a lot of weight since I had gotten large, faceted briolettes.

Instead I handwired a trio of briolettes to a sterling silver chain. The earrings hang from hand-hammered sterling earwires from an artisan I know in San Francisco.

The matching necklace mirrors the briolette cluster with heart-shaped topaz and sterling silver chain making up the rest of the piece. 

She said, " made me jewelry with smokey topaz because I'm smokin' hot?!?" I went with it.

Love you, Pia. Happy 40th!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Swing from the Chandeliers!

I always feel as if I'm in constant motion from Halloween through New Year's Day. So, amid all the chaos that is the holiday season, I was inspired to make earrings for my Earrings of the Month members that remind them to enjoy life, create memories, giggle, and swing from the chandeliers…not literally, but you get the idea.

These one-of-a-kind pieces are made with each recipient in mind using glass, gemstones, and sterling silver. They are all handwired with sterling silver and will ship out later this week.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Ice Cream Orchid

I am easily swayed to make new jewelry. And it's usually spawned by something I'm reading...or eating. Since I just started reading Tim Ecott's Vanilla: Travels in Search of the Ice Cream Orchid, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I wanted an orchid necklace.

Luckily I located a local artisan who handcasts all of his pieces using the lost wax method. Check out Pete Conder's shop on etsy.

I handwired his sterling silver orchid with clear quartz coins and faceted rondelles of golden citrine to create this one-of-a-kind necklace. Then I made coordinated earrings with faceted pear chalcedony briolettes and clear quartz coins.

I'll have to check out more of Pete's pieces. This orchid is eye-catching and gorgeous without being too heavy. It was exactly what I wanted.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bushels of Beads

One of my favorite family activities for this season: picking apples with my boys. Of course I love the jams, pies, tarts, and chutneys that result. But there is something inspiring about the reds and greens of fresh Fall fruits. And it is with winesaps, pippins, and galas in mind that I created my October EcoChic Designs' earrings-of-the-month - Bushels of Beads. Think red chalcedony, green aventurine, Burmese rubies, garnets, and green onyx...all handwired with sterling silver. All one-of-a-kind. All made specifically for each recipient. These went out to my subscribers this week. I hope they enjoy them!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Two of Two

In addition to everything else I have scheduled this weekend, I - happily! - added two bracelets for a dear friend. She wanted some pieces for her girlfriends and described one as a stunning Chumash with black hair and blue eyes. Love that combination. For her I picked a combination of faceted smoky quartz barrels, faceted London blue topaz rondelles, shiny hematite, and a lone recycled blue bead...all handwired with sterling and closing with a sterling hook-and-eye. I hope she likes it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

First of Two

A gal who used to teach at the boys' school and I keep in touch via facebook, but I was still surprised when she asked me to create some bracelets for two of her best friends. She had seen another bracelet I made for a former teacher when she had her baby last Spring. So here's the chain of events to this commission: I mailed a bracelet to Oregon, posted a photo of it on facebook, and, then, a friend in Egypt ordered two and has me sending them out from California. Gotta love the internet.

We chatted, online, about colors. And here's the first one...I've blocked out the name because it's a surprise!

She asked for gold colors and an opulent feel. I went for earthy gemstones with facets. Lots of facets. Facets add that glizty, glam feel. I created this custom piece with faceted golden citrine ovals, faceted lemon quartz nuggets, faceted smoky quartz triangle briolettes, and - of course - a single saffron-hued recycled glass bead. It closes with an oxidized sterling S clasp. Hope she likes it!

Friday, August 31, 2012

OLIVE My Earring Club Members!

It's the end of the month...which means that my next month's creations for the earrings-of-the-month club gals goes in the mail today.

Having won a recipe contest through We Olive, I roped some friends into joining me and my family at the Paso Robles Olive Festival, an all-day celebration of all things olives. We sipped olive oils, bent olive branches into crowns, spooned olive jam onto olive oil crisps, slathered olive oil lotion onto sun-baked skin, and cooled off with olive oil ice cream – topped with balsamic vinegar. What we didn’t do, that I thought we would: taste olives. You know, the actual fruit. I envisioned tubs of green, almond-shaped cerignola; slightly wrinkled, almost midnight gaeta olives; and the green picholine to the purplish liguria all swimming in their pools of delicious brine.

So, while dreaming of olives, I decided to make that the theme for this month’s Earrings-of-the-Month selection: Olives!

The earrings are made with eco-friendly olive-shaped acai seeds handwired with sterling silver, lava beads, and hematite. Here’s what my vendor writes about their acai beads: “Our beads are made in our small workshop in South America. The workshop is clean and workers receive a fair wage so everybody's happy! Plus collecting and selling seeds creates income for the indigenous people. Without this income, the rainforest is often destroyed to provide for a more agrarian society.”

Monday, August 13, 2012

Olive Love

I recently won an olive oil recipe contest - check out my Malfatti di Ricotta e Bietola (dumplings with chard and cheese) - and, as part of my prize, get to attend the Paso Robles Olive Festival this weekend. I get some other fun perks, including access to the We Olive! VIP tent, wine, beer, a gift certificate, and tickets to the growers' dinner! Woohoo. I love olives.

So, naturally, I had to make some jewelry to wear - to the festival, during my interview...and just to get in the olive mood.

I used a sterling silver olive leaf as the focal point, dangling a deep purple, kalamata-shaped recycled glass bead from the finding. Then I handwired rough garnet nuggets - wrinkled like the gaeta olives - with watermelon tourmaline slabs - with colors of green picholine to the purplish liguria.

The matching earrings have garnets and watermelon tourmaline as well. Can't wait till Saturday!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Water Droplet Earrings and Necklace for They Are One

They Are One is a local non-profit raising funds to provide the Cornerstone Children’s Home - an orphanage in southern Sudan - with a supply of fresh, clean water. And since a friend of mine from high school is one of the founders, I am happily donating to their benefit luncheon and auction this week. Read the Off 68 article about the group and their project.

Inspired by their mission of providing water for the orphanage, I used water-colored glass beads and aquamarine chips in the creation of this one-of-a-kind necklace and earring set. A variety of blue milky glass beads are handwired with sterling silver to form water droplets. The earrings hang from hammered artisan-made ear wires and the matching pendant is suspended on a sterling silver chain.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Nice Email

Often I package up my jewelry, send it off, and have no idea what the gal thinks, especially for my earrings-of-the month members. I ask for their preferences (style and length) when they subscribe to my club, then I custom design a pair of earrings - each month - that I think will fit the bill.

It's nice to get some feedback...especially one that tells me that I nailed it!

Hi Camilla, Just wanted to tell you how beautiful the earrings are which you designed.  They have become a "uniform" for me. And, I have received many compliments. Many thanks.

You are welcome!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wine and Chocolate

When I received an email from a friend of my dad, asking for a donation to her fundraising event, I didn't hesitate. Her event - a wine and chocolate soiree for Girls, Inc. - immediately got my creative gears turning. Wine and chocolate. Two of my favorites!

I created a necklace and earring set with small, deep violet pearls that remind me of ripe Pinot Noir grapes, bronzite and a milk chocolate-hued Kazuri bead.

Years ago a friend invited me to a Kazuri bead party. Click here to read the whole story about Kazuri beads. The short version: these are made by women in Kenya, giving them gainful employment through a marketable handicraft. Kazuri, in Swahili, means "small and beautiful."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Inspired by Tracy Arm Fjord

Of all the things we saw and did on our cruise along Alaska's Inside Passage this month - to celebrate my parents' 40th anniversay - I think cruising up the Tracy Arm Fjord topped my list. Yes, I did yank the boys out of bed at 5:30am; yes, we were the only people on deck for several hours while it was drizzling; and yes, it was a loop that we could have seen everything on the way back down. But, you know me...I'm all about the adventure - and being an early bird!

From the vibrant Caribbean blue of the bergy bits to the steely blue-grey waters and the glassy emerald hues around Sawyer Island, the colors along Tracy Arm Fjord were truly amazing and inspiring. And, as usual, that translates to jewelry for me. I created this 'Tracy Arm Fjord' set for myself. I don't buy trinkets on trips, but I do make pieces that I wear to remember great vacations.

This piece is handwired with faceted London blue topaz rondelles, rough neon blue apatite nuggets, a smooth aqua chalcedony nugget, and some rescued sterling silver chain and clasp.

I do have more beads like this, so if you're interested in something similar, let me know. constantmotioncamilla [at] gmail [dot] com.

The Color of Bergy Bits

When we listened to the naturalist on our ship talk about glaciers and icebergs, I think I laughed when he started talking about "growlers" and "bergy bits." Turns out those are technical terms that he did not make up. Whoops.

Growlers are very small chunks of floating ice that rise about 3 feet out of the water.When trapped air escapes as the iceberb melts, it sometimes makes a sound like the growl of an animal.

Bergy bits are small icebergs, rising 3-13 feet out of the water. These may be small icebergs in the latter stages of melting, iceberg fragments, or pieces of floebergs or hummocked ice.

A cruise up the Tracy Arm Fjord, past the growlers and bergy bit, around Sawyer Island all the way to Sawyer Glacier, inspired these beauties - for myself and for my EcoChic Designs Earrings-of-the-Month club members. They'll be in the mail at the end of this week.

Faceted London blue topaz, rough neon blue apatite, milky aquamarine, faceted aquamarine, and crazy blue lace agate all make up the hues of blue that I saw on that trip. I hope the gals enjoy these as much as I enjoyed making them!

Alaskan Forget-Me-Not Necklaces

It used to be a struggle to find souvenirs during our adventures for the boys' friends. Riley and Dylan always wanted to bring home books. Books are great - don't get me wrong - but cumbersome and arduous when your bags are already packed to max capacity.

So, we've resolved that (1) their friends will get postcards while we're away. (2) We will pick up a couple of books - for close friends who are boys - and beads - for close friends who are girls. And, then, (3) I will create something with the beads when we get home. All agreed.

So, while we were in Alaska this month, they bought a couple of books and found these forget-me-not beads in one of the ports. The Forget-Me-Not is Alaska's state flower. I just finished the necklaces last night...

Left: forget-me-not clay bead handwired with glass beads hangs from a trio of green cords
Center: forget-me-not clay bead handwired with an amazonite round hangs from a trio of blue cords
Right: forget-me-not clay bead handwired with a recycled yellow glass bead hangs from a trio of yellow cords

Friday, July 20, 2012

Glaciers, Berries, and Gorgeous Seascapes

I found inspiration for next month's earrings-of-the-month collection during our family vacation to Alaska's Inside Passage. I'm having a blast creating a dozen one-of-a-kind pieces for my earrings-of-the-month club members. Ladies, look for these in your mailboxes in about a week and a half.

Friday, June 29, 2012

July Earrings-of-the-Month: All That Sparkles

For this month's club selections, I wanted to create piece that, like fireworks, sparkle and make people go "oooooooo" and "ahhhhhhh." So, the word for the month is "faceted."

I created one-of-a-kind pieces with lots of facets and many colors - faceted red Swarovski crystals in a loop; faceted pale green praesolite briolettes, dangling in a cluster; a trio of faceted honey quartz onion briolettes; also faceted amethyst, hammered neon blue apatite, and more! Ladies, prepare your lobes for some new bling. These are in the mail today.

And if anyone is interested in finding out more about my earrings-of-the-month club, email me at constantmotioncamilla [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Black Pearls for June

I picked PEARLS as my theme for June because they are the month’s birthstone. And, I just love the international legends I found about pearls. For ancient Chinese, natural black pearls were created in the brains of dragons and fell from the sky when dragons fought. Chinese art often depicts a dragon holding onto the pearl safely between its teeth or paws. An ancient myth from Ceylon portrays a lake of tears created as a result of tears shed by Adam and Eve. From Eve’s tears, white pearls were created whereas from Adam’s tears came black pearls. Since men were thought to shed fewer tears than women, the scarcity of Adam’s tears is used to explain the rarity of black pearls as compared to white ones. The Japarnese equated pearls with tears of mythical nymphs, mermaids and angels. Ancient Greeks believed that pearls were formed when rain or dewdrops haphazardly fell into an oyster. In ancient Greece, pearls symbolized love and marriage; wearing them supposedly promoted marital bliss. And we could all use some of that, right?!? 

These are in the mail to my earrings-of-the-month club members tomorrow!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

MAY EcoChic Designs Earrings-of-the-Month

It's that time again...earrings are packaged up and ready to go, a few days early because my husband's and my birthdays are only a week apart and our next two weekends are jam-packed. It's all fun stuff, to be sure, but it doesn't leave much time for much else, especially not a trip to the post office. So, I am sending the earrings out a little bit early because I will be swamped for the next ten days and don't want to leave earlobes naked for too long.

This month, I picked HONEY as my theme for a couple of reasons - I love honey; I love bees; and I've been reading a book called Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey.

Many countries celebrate women this month. In this country, it's Mothers' Day; in Italy, it's Festa Della Donna (Festival of the Woman). While not all of my club members are mothers, all are women. For my mothers' day/festa della donna offering, I decided to make creations in all the shades of honey because motherhood, for me, has been a sweet - and sometimes sticky - journey. Sticky because, well, I have two boys eighteen months apart.

The pieces were made with faceted honey quartz, lemon quartz, recycled glass in pale and bright yellow, and amber. All one-of-a-kind, all handwired with sterling silver. So, whether the gals are mothers, grandmothers, or beloved aunties - or all of the above - I hope they will wear these and feel celebrated and appreciated.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

For a March Baby Boy...

When a friend had her first baby, a boy, I wanted to create something for her that was both meaningful and useful. I used milky aquamarines since that is his birthstone (meaningful) and added an easy-to-use silver toggle clasp (useful).

In my blissful sleeplessness of new motherhood, I often forgot which side I was supposed to nurse the baby on next.  So, I swapped a ring from one hand to the other.  I figured she could use this as a nursing reminder, just switching it from one arm to the other, if she wished.

This one-of-a-kind bracelet features milky aquamarine nuggets handwired with recycled blue glass and features a sterling silver charm with her sweet boy’s name.  It closes with a sterling silver toggle.

Welcome to the world, Orion!