Friday, December 5, 2014

All that Twinkles {Earrings-of-the-Month}

For the past three Christmases I have been a Grinch.

What I mean is that we lived in a postage stamp-sized townhouse and I refused to have a Christmas tree (except for the rosemary one that sat on our dining room table). We put a wreath on the door, but I didn’t have Christmas lights strung from the roof or anywhere else for that matter. And I didn't bake any gingerbread.

Here's the last time I was festive: 2010. Yikes.

And, I’ll be honest, I love twinkle lights. They remind me of glitter for the house…except I don’t have to vacuum it up when I’m finished! 

So, this month, in celebration of the fact that we are finally in a real house – where I can hang twinkle lights – my earring selection twinkles, too.

The pieces this month are comprised of sterling silver, diamond-cut sterling chains, sterling stardust beads, and faceted moonstone and champagne topaz…all handwired…and all one-of-a-kind.

May they bring my subscribers joy during this holiday season and beyond. These are in the mail to the gals this weekend. I'll post photos soon!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Swing from the Chandeliers - for Gramma Diane {earrings-of-the-month}

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. Gramma loved lavender!

Sorry for the delay, but I pulled a switch-a-roo and decided to change up the earrings I had originally made for this month. The reason: last week a dear friend's mom joined the ranks of angels - after a year-long battle against liver cancer - and I've been helping to plan her celebration of life.

I wanted to create pieces that honored her memory. She loved the color purple and she loved life.

So, my new November earrings are called 'Swing from the Chandeliers' and feature sterling silver chandelier findings and amethyst. She would want us all to embrace life and swing from the chandeliers! Enjoy...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quince-ssential Fall Earrings

Are you familiar with quince? If not, you’re not alone. It is classified as a rare fruit; but if you have the chance, track one down. It’s magical. 

First, it changes color when it cooks; raw, it’s a pale yellow similar to a non-descript apple. But once it’s poached, it transforms to a vibrant blush. When I interviewed Barbara Ghazarian* (local author, quincephile, and keynote speaker at what she called the ‘Fruit Nerd’ convention this year), she gave me the chemical reason for the color change; she’s a molecular biologist. But I’m just going to stick to – “it’s magic.” Here's a link to the article I wrote about the Queen of Quince for Edible Monterey Bay: here.

Second, it tastes amazing! Here are a few recipes I've made with quince: Quince Butter Thumbprint Cookies, Poached Quince, and Quince Marmalade.
It’s an exotic mixture of roses and fruit. Sort of. It’s unique and delicious. Try it, if you can! So, it’s the color-changing magic inspired this month’s EcoChic Designs pieces.

Remember, each set of earrings is one-of-a-kind but the elements are the same. For these ‘Quince-ssential Fall Earrings’ I handwired a variety of gems and recycled glass beads in shades from yellow to pink with sterling silver. Enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Urchins = Adventure and Fearlessness {Earrings-of-the-Month}

September 2014: I am woefully tardy in posting this. Sorry! I've had a crazier than usual couple of weeks.

This month’s pieces are inspired by sea urchins which have come represent the embodiment of all I want for my children’s palates: adventure and fearlessness. 

If you’ve seen the movie The Hundred Foot Journey you may relate. I took D with me to see the movie on opening night. As we walked out he wanted two things: (1) to buy the DVD and (2) to cook with sea urchin. I was floored. Needless to say, I went in search of urchin. I bought most already prepped, but wanted him to clean one. He did and created an incredible spiced soup with coconut milk and fresh herbs. 

Here's the post from my kitchen blog: How to Clean an Urchin...

Here's his soup: D's Spiced Coconut & Urchin Soup...

So, that was it. Urchin = parenting success in making sure that my kids will eat with purpose and an open mind. Here’s to new things…on your plates and in your ears!

September EcoChic Designs’ Earrings are black and green lampwork glass beads and gemstones handwired with sterling silver findings to create one-of-a-kind pieces just for you! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I Scream, We Scream, We All Scream for...Earrings!

Every family has road trip traditions, right? Ours - finding fun ice cream shoppes along the way. No matter what the season. Here we are, in Sausalito, a couple of years ago. It was Spring Break. It was cold. But that didn't stop us from getting some scoops and enjoying the view of The City!

Ice cream has come a long way since I was a kid. I remember going to Thrifty's when scoops were fifteen cents. Yes, I'm that old! And the flavors from which you could choose were basic: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint chip, and bubblegum. There may have been a few more flavors - butter pecan comes to mind - but not too many. Combinations were had by getting more than one scoop with whatever flavors you wanted to combine. And the ice cream tower teetered precariously on your cone while you ran your tongue from one flavor to the next.  Gone are those days.

Ice cream flavors now are dictated by what's in season and bound only by the creativity of the ice cream maker. Think stawberry-pink peppercorn, wild fennel, roasted barley, and olive oil chocolate sea salt. As far as my boys are concerned, the funkier the flavor, the better. Once I picked up ice cream scoops while the boys were napping in the car. D looked at what I had chosen for him and, with disappointment oozing from his eyes, lamented, "Mommy, I like the creative flavors better." I had gotten him burnt caramel.

Perennial favorites...and definitely our top two picks in the Central California area...

If you're in the East Bay, don't miss Ici in the Elmwood District. That's a strawberry-pink peppercorn and candied blood orange in the photo.

Or, if you're in Santa Cruz, checking out Penny Ice Creamery is a must. They now have two locations. That was the pluot sorbet I had the last time we were there.

So, on our 10-day camping trip, we hit a handful of ice cream spots from Eureka to Santa Rosa. And the colors inspired this month's earrings of the month for my subscribers. Think icy stones and copper cones. I'll post photos soon, but I needed to get this write-up done and out the door. Enjoy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Skies at Blue Lake {Earrings of the Month}

Late, late, late and - hopefully - worth the wait. I had put off my July shipment, hoping that I would master a wire wrapping technique for my subscribers. But, I wasn't happy with the results. Boo. So, I found inspiration in the skies overhead at Modoc National Forest and whipped up some creations that reminded me of those dramatic colors and clouds. Sorry for the delay, ladies!

We take a 10-day camping trip every summer, starting with a few days with my in-laws at Blue Lake. And, though we go every year, I am always astounded by the clouds. I don't know if it's the altitude - or what - but the clouds there are unlike any I have ever seen before.

When I mention it to my husband, every year, he just shrugs. "That's what I grew up with. I don't really know what you mean." Fine. 

This is what I mean: cotton candy clouds. These are the clouds that little kids draw on their papers in kindergarten. They are bulbous and so, so white. We don't have these clouds at the coast. Or, at least, they are very rare. While we kayak or canoe around the lake, I always look up and play I Spy in the formations. 

This year, in addition to the fluffy cotton candy clouds, we also had ominous, grey clouds that were stunning as well. They moved in quickly and blanketed the entire horizon. 

I wasn't too thrilled with the five inches of rain we got in less than twenty-four hours, but the clouds were pretty.

For my catch-up earrings (these should have been for July!) I created one-of-a-kind pieces with freshwater pearls in shades from white to indigo, neon blue apatite, golden pyrite, grey labradorite, and crackly blue matte glass beads. I didn't photograph all of them. I hope the gals enjoy these, despite their tardiness. They'll be in the mail tomorrow!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Reflections of Growth {Earrings of the Month}

The end of the school year almost always brings to me tears with the chaos that ensues from tying up all the loose ends and unfinished projects. But, as my boys were reflecting on their respective school years and finalizing their summative assessments for various teachers, I took some time to pause and look at the tremendous growth we’ve seen this year. No tears, just deep breaths. From their typing skills to their analytical abilities, this school year has taken my kids to new heights. So, on that note, I was inspired to create pieces that – to me – illustrated growth and change. I had some Rhyolite from a trip to Oregon a few years ago and love how the colors remind me of an old growth forest – with its palate of green and brown and I used green onyx for growth and the glittering Golden Pyrite represents success.

Oregon Rhyolite, Golden Pyrite, Hematite, and green onyx are handwired with sterling silver findings to create one-of-a-kind pieces just for my subscribers. Enjoy!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Whispers of Pearls {Earrings of the Month}

"And the music of the pearl drifted to a whisper and disappeared..."

John Steinbeck, The Pearl

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 Japanese 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?

The MAY EcoChic Designs’ Earrings are made with freshwater pearls, icy aquamarine, pale amethyst, and glittering moonstone. All are handwired with sterling silver findings to create one-of-a-kind pieces...and they are in the mail to my subscribers today. I hope they enjoy them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Magical Ice Crystals {Earrings of the Month}

We just returned from seven days in the snow. We headed up to Lake Tahoe for the first week of the boys’ Spring break. 

We skied, threw snowballs, hiked, snow-shoed, read books, played games, and watched Frozen. I had steered clear of it in the movie theatre after a little friend of ours declared it ‘a girls’ movie.’ I figured we could wait till it came out on DVD. And when we were at the grocery store in Tahoe, I spotted it in the RedBox and rented it for the evening. I have to say: we enjoyed it more than the LEGO movie and watched it multiple times before returning it! The patterns of the ice fractals were gorgeous…and we hunted for them during our outings.

Inspired by these ice columns we encountered on a trek to Bill and Flora’s Point near Royal Gorge, I created this month’s earrings…

Magical Ice Crystals
Clear quartz, icy moonstone, pale blue aquamarine, and barely green prehnite are all handwired to create these one-of-a-kind pieces made especially for my subscribers!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

‘Lighting Sun’ Tulip Necklace and Earring Set {Donation}

Inspired by the shades and stature of the Lighting Sun tulips, I created this especially for the York School Auction Gala, April 2014.

Carnelian nuggets, orange recycled glass, and faceted moonstone are all handwired with sterling silver to create this one-of-a-kind necklace and earring set. These pieces feature upcycled sterling findings and chain; the sterling ear wires are handmade by an artisan in the San Francisco bay area.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ravishing, Radiant Rhubarb {Earrings of the Month}

My kitchen and my jewelry are colliding this month. I have a slight obsession with rhubarb. Whenever I see it, I swoop in and buy it by the armful during the two months I can find it; I pine for it the other ten months out of the year! It’s so fresh, so tart, and so pretty. I love the bright crimson stalks and emerald green foliage.

Needless to say, when I saw this...

it's candied rhubarb on top of an ice cream sundae at the Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz, I was inspired to create this month’s Eco-Chic Designs earrings-of-the-month…


This month’s earrings are made with pink and green quartz, pink and green tourmaline, watermelon tourmaline, pink agate, green aventurine, and green onyx - all handwired with sterling silver, hanging from handmade sterling silver earwires. I hope my subscribers enjoy these!

And I'll share a few of my favorite rhubarb recipes as well. These, and more, are all posted at my kitchen blog: Culinary Adventures with Camilla.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Heart of the Matter {Earrings-of-the-Month}

I think my aversion to Valentines’ Day must be thawing because I actually found inspiration in those chalky candy conversation hearts. The messages have been updated; ‘text me’ read one. Whaaat?!!? But I was drawn to the colors and decided to make some EcoChic Designs earrings in those same cheerful hues. I hope my subscribers enjoy these playful, one-of-a-kind earrings made especially with each one of them in mind.

This set is made from glass hearts, vintage glass beads, orange aventurine, handblown glass beads, pale amethyst, and prehnite. They'll be in the mail this week.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gemstones for Healing: TEAM GRAMMA

Right now I have two women in my life who are fighting for their lives. One is battling breast cancer and the other recently discovered that she has a growth on her liver.

Years ago my mom had done a lot of reading into gemstones for healing. I don't know if it helps. But, my attitude: it can't hurt.

Here are some pieces I made for TEAM GRAMMA. Amethyst provides protection and cleansing while smoky quartz teaches that there is light in the dark and provides courage. All are hand-wired with sterling silver and have upcycled sterling findings such as links, chain, and clasps.

Pieces for TEAM LAURA are coming soon. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Earring Therapy

I received this text from one of my earrings-of-the-month subscribers. Made my day!

"I just opened my stormy skies package. I'm home sick with a cold today and was instantly cheered up by the sight of my pretty new earrings. Thank you, Doctor." 


Happy to help. That's a new one...earring therapy. I love it!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Stormy Skies and Peaceful Puddles

I’ve been thinking about rain, or rather about the lack of rain we’re experiencing here on California’s central coast. We need rain. We need water. Badly. So, I was inspired to make some pieces this month – earrings that will do a virtual rain dance, swinging and swaying on ear lobes this month – that I’m calling Stormy Skies and Peaceful Puddles.

This month’s EcoChic Designs earrings-of-the-month pieces are created in shades of blue, grey, and white, using upcycled sterling silver chain, blue labradorite coins and briolettes, moonstone briolettes and faceted rondelles, kyanite pillows, aquamarine rondelles, clear quartz rondelles, and navy blue potato pearls.

Photos to come...I know I'm tardy already.

Enjoy and hope for rain!

by Shel Silverstein

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can't do a handstand--
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said—
I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head.