Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tree Bling {Earrings of the Month}

I love Christmas trees. While not everyone celebrates, I think that everyone can appreciate the beauty of a tree decked out in all its holiday glory. The role of the fir tree in mid-winter celebrations pre-dates Christian times when the tree symbolized nature's triumph over the season’s gloomy darkness. The fir tree also symbolized protection – its thick fir boughs graciously protected delicate birds and provided shelter to other animals in the dense Bavarian forests.

Inspired by glass ornaments, shimmering by candlelight, I have created this month’s pieces with handblown glass beads from an artisan in Rhode Island. Happy holidays!!

Just a few interesting symbols you might find on Christmas trees...

Birds are considered a universal symbol of happiness and joy and are regarded by many to be a necessity on the Christmas tree. Because bird ornaments were difficult to create, few glassblowing families in Germany specialized in the making of these special pieces. Birds represent messengers of love and are the harbingers of good things to come.

Oranges have always been considered a very special treat at Christmas time. Costly and scarce during the winter months many years ago, oranges were highly appreciated and were quite a delicacy. Santa would often leave one of these sweet fruits in the toe of a stocking of good little boys and girls as a delightful reward. Oranges were among the first figural glass ornaments produced.

Acorns have long been thought to be good luck symbols in Germany where oak trees are considered sacred. Acorns are also believed to represent the rebirth of life as witnessed by the coming of the Christ child. Early German Christmas trees were laden with cones, cookies and nuts, most notably the acorn, to commemorate this gift of life and luck. This tradition is celebrated today with the glass acorn ornament.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Color of Gratitude {Earrings-of-the-Month}

THANK YOU! With the holiday season looming, I started to think about how to represent abundance or gratitude. What colors meant 'thank you'? I wondered. I read that brown symbolized stability, reliability, and approachability. And being the color of dirt it's also associated with all things natural and organic. I love that.

In flower symbolism, dark pink roses mean 'thank you.' So, I created pieces this month with those two colors in mind. To me, brown + pink = the color of gratitude

My November 2013 EcoChic Designs' earrings-of-the-month selection feature smoky quartz, smoky topaz, garnet, pink moonstone, hot pink chalcedony, and bronzite. I'm very grateful for my subscribers support of handmade. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Camilla's Pumpkin Patch {Earrings-of-the-Month}

I love pumpkins. No, I don't mean love as in a casual crush. I mean love as in full-blown-lusty-obsession love. I love pumpkins. I once ate so many pumpkins one season that I had an allergic reaction to it. Dead serious. So, I've curtailed my pumpkin creations in recent years and have turned to making jewelry that reminds me of a pumpkin patch instead.

This month's pieces include light carnelian nuggets, dark carved carnelian, recycled orange glass, orange aventurine,and more - all hand-wired with sterling silver to create one-of-a-kind pieces for my subscribers' lobes during October. I hope they like them.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"From the Inky Depths" Choker and Earring Set {Donation}

I’m always happy to support local organizations with donations of EcoChic Designs’ pieces. So, when a friend asked me to donate to a fundraising event for her son's school, I didn't hesitate. This choker - and coordinating earrings - will be up for bid at a fundraising event for MAOS at the end of this month...

From the Inky Depths
A hefty pewter octopus is the focal point of this choker and earring set. Inky purple, deep red, clear, and murky brown recycled glass beads, faceted smoky quartz nuggets, hematite rounds and twisted barrels, bronzite, ocean jasper are hand-wired with the sterling silver to create this one-of-a-kind piece. 

MAOS is an advanced college preparatory academy in a public school setting with over 250 students from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds throughout Monterey County. Some of their collaborating partners include: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Moss Landing Marine Lab, CSU Monterey Bay, Hopkins Marine Lab, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Naval Postgraduate School.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Start of Something...

During a hike in Modoc National Forest, we came across this nest and it got me thinking about fresh starts and new beginnings. So much potential. My eldest son started middle school this school year. Not a lot of change, in that he’s on the same campus with the same classmates and many of the same enrichment teachers, but a change nonetheless. I still see him as this soft, little boy – most of the time – but I’m beginning to see glimmers of his teenage self, with harder edges and a wee bit of tween ‘tude. As I recently told my cousin who is about to have her first baby: enjoy each stage because it passes quickly. So, I’m taking my own advice. I’m facing this growth head on and embracing the person he is becoming. Enjoy!

The Start of Something…
The SEPTEMBER 2013 EcoChic Designs’ Earrings-of-the-Month selections are made in the shades of these eggs, with aquamarines, amazonite, turquoise, smokey topaz, golden pyrite, blue recycled glass and more...all handwired with sterling silver.

These will be in the mail early next week...just after the Labor Day holiday. Hope the gals enjoy!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Inspired by Summertime Adventures {Earrings-of-the-Month}

Every summer my family and I take a 10-day, 1000+ mile jaunt around Northern California, visiting state parks, camping, hiking, and making memories with the boys that will – hopefully – instill in them a love of the outdoors. And it is from this annual adventure that I drew inspiration for this month’s creations. These were photos from years past as I knew an early August return from this year's trip wouldn't leave me enough time to create and get them in the mail on time to my earrings-of-the-month subscribers. But as our route changes only slightly, with us picking different parks at which to camp, I know we will have done a lot of these same things this year.

Some remind me of sifting through sea-tumbled stones and glass on the beach...
inspired by...
Beachcombing at Patrick's Point State Park

Some remind me of looking skyward beneath the redwood giants...

inspired by...
 Redwoods National Park

Some remind me of the hellishly hot, rugged lava beds...
inspired by...
 Spattercone Trail, Lassen National Forest

And some remind me of late-blooming wildflowers...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

'C' is for Charley Liana {Nursing Bracelet}

I can hardly believe that one of my 'baby' cousins is about to become a mother. For goodness sake...I used to change her diapers. But, it's true. M and her husband Justin are preparing to embark on one of the most amazing adventures ever: parenthood. They know they are having a girl; they have named her Charley Liana.
For their baby shower this weekend, I wanted to create something for her that was both meaningful and 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 M could use this bracelet as a nursing reminder, just switching it from one arm to the other, if she wished. Useful.
Here are the meaningful parts...

A sterling silver disc with a 'C' because, well, 'C' is for Charley Liana. That's pretty self-explanatory.

A sterling silver sloth to remind her to take it slow and enjoy the ride. With your first baby, it's always a race to the next milestone. Oh, she can hold her head up...when will she sit up? Oh, she can sit...when will she crawl? Oh, she can crawl...when will she stand? Oh, she can stand...when will she walk? 

Enjoy each phase. they pass quickly. And then you blink and you have a middle schooler. Yes, I say this from experience. As Eric Carle wrote: slowly, slowly goes the sloth. 

A sterling heart with tulips because motherhood makes your heart blossom in ways that you never imagined possible. I know that sounds cliché, but I really didn't understand how much love I would feel for the little person I just created until I held him in my arms. I know you'll feel the same way about Charley.

And a sterling heart with footprints because Charley is a dream come true.

Some people come into our lives
and leave footprints on our hearts
and we are never ever the same.
Some people come into our lives
and quickly go... Some stay for awhile
and embrace our silent dreams.

I also used a sterling hand charm with a heart cut-out of it from the book The Kissing Hand. If you haven't read it, do! I neglected to take a photo of that charm before I wrapped it up. Whoops.

This bracelet was made especially for M and her soon-to-be-born baby girl, Charley Liana. 
The beads are faceted pink chalcedony. 
All of the elements are sterling silver and hand-wired with love. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

July's Pieces - The Silver Lining Earrings

Read about my inspiration for this month's pieces. And....they are all finished, wrapped, and ready to go into the mail early next week to the subscribers of my EcoChic Designs' Earrings-of-the-Month club. Enjoy, ladies!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Finding the Silver Lining...

Most of the time I find inspiration for my pieces in something beautiful or happy. But this month has been full of things bittersweet.

A classmate from high school passed away and some dear friends packed up and left the country for a year in Denmark.

It’s given me pause, forcing me to reflect and process…to grieve…and to – most importantly – find a silver lining in the gloom. So the earrings this month for my earrings-of-the-month subscribers are made with that in mind:

  finding the silver lining!

After Matt’s death, my classmates and I reconnected; we realized how important it was that we spent our awkward, adolescent years together. My boys have delved into the meaning of friendship and decided on ways to keep in touch with their friends who will be on a different continent for a year. There you have it. The darkness and the silver linings.

So the pieces this month are made with jet black obsidian beads and upcycled sterling silver finding. I hope the gals enjoy these. And may it remind them to look for the good in all situations. Photos to come.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Like the Reveil Dijonnais

This month's EcoChic Designs's earrings-of-the-month creations are inspired by June's birth flower: the rose.

But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold. 
~Oliver Wendell Holmes 

Roses are not my favorite flowers. I think it was too many years, working as a florist, bundling up dozens of roses - with baby's breath and ferns. Ugh. Roses were de rigueur; I longed for the customer who said "Oh, just be creative! What are those odd-looking blossoms?"

But I am a sucker for garden roses. Walking through rows of bushes covered in lacy blooms, I inevitably stick my nose into one of them and inhale the heady scent of the rose. Ahhhh...summer! Enjoy these creations, in the colors of my favorite garden rose - Reveil Dijonnais - with its dramatic yellow, orange, and magenta petals. They will be on their way to my earrings-of-the-month subscribers this week.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tahoe Treasures {Earrings-of-the-Month}

For my April earrings-of-the-month selections, I drew inspiration from our recent trip to Lake Tahoe. We spent the first week of the boys' Spring Break sledding, hiking, skiing, and just enjoying the alpine environment. I loved the color of the iced-over Cascade Lake, the almost turquoise waters near Logan Shoals, the various evergreen shades from the Ponderosas to the junipers, and the steely grey of fractured granite.

This month I created one-of-a-kind pieces for my subscribers that mirrored those colors of Tahoe, using recycled blue glass, green onyx, green aventurine, milky moonstones, icy aquamarines, and vibrant peridot.

I hope the gals love their Tahoe Treasures!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

True Blue. Wild 'Bout Hyacinths.

Having worked as a florist in college, flowers and their meanings are important to me. So, when I got married - 13 years ago this month - the flowers I picked were not random. The guys sported boutonnieres featuring grape hyacinth, a flower whose meaning is 'constancy' and 'sincerity.' True blue seemed a fitting flower for a wedding. Besides, it's one of my favorite flowers and one of the first to herald the coming of Spring. In climates where snow falls, it's a dramatic, gorgeous site - that vibrant bluish purple peeking through stark white ground.

I handwired amethyst, purple chalcedony, violet glass, and blue iolite together to form these one-of-a-kind creations. They'll be in the mail tomorrow to my Earrings-of-the-Month members. Hope they like them... Happy Spring!

Monday, February 11, 2013

'A Little Love' Bracelets

I made some bracelets as Valentine presents for my favorite little girls. Upcycled sterling silver chain, sterling heart motif findings and lobster claps came together with faceted chalcedony briolettes, prehnite rounds, and faceted jade. Hope they like them!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oh, Honey, Honey!

These are in the mail this week for my earrings-of-the-month club members. I picked HONEY as my theme for February's EcoChic Designs creations for a couple of reasons: I love honey; and I am currently working on an article about honey and beekeepers. I have always told my boys that their job of learning and stretching their minds never ends. So, I have to live up to that goal as well. Last month I went to a butchery seminar for an article. I have never had any illusions that meat just appears in the grocery store, headless, legless, and wrapped in paper or plastic. Many of my friends are hunters or fisherman, so deliveries of homemade sausages, cuts of wild boar, and whole fishes and crabs are not out of the ordinary. However, until EcoFarm's 2013 Butchery Skills Seminar, last week, I have never seen a whole carcass broken down into saleable cuts.

But this isn't about meat. This is about honey. Sweet, golden, delectable honey.

These earrings are one-of-a-kind creations, inspired by HONEY. Golden chalcedony, faceted citrine, lemon quartz, recycled yellow glass, and amber are handwired with sterling silver for this month's pieces. They hang from hammered sterling earwires.

Fun and Functional: Eyeglass Holders

When a friend from high school contacted me about making some eyeglass holders for her that were both fun and functional, I jumped at the chance to create them. She said, "No pastels and nothing that makes me look like an old lady!" Points taken. ;) Here's what I made...

Rough emeralds, green aventurine, blue freshwater pearls, Burmese rubies, neon blue apatite, yellow jade, amethysts, recycled yellow glass, lemon chalcedony, garnet, moss agate, faceted citrine, faceted blue topaz, amazonite, and orange crystal...all handwired with sterling silver. It closes with two repurposed sterling silver pieces; her eyeglasses can hang from a sterling silver circle in the middle.

I just heard from her. She loves them! And I love having a satisfied customer. Thanks for the order.