Thursday, December 3, 2015

Deck the Lobes {earrings-of-the-month}

This month's selections are inspired by my lack of space for holiday decorating. We are in the middle of a major remodel on our house and my husband declared: NO holiday dinner parties and NO big Christmas tree! Boo. 

He has promised, however, to restore water and electricity every evening by the time I get home from work. Okay.

So, instead of spreading tinsel and hanging delicate glass balls over the boughs of a tree, I have decided to deck your lobes!

This month's earrings are made with sterling silver swirls and swoops - just like tinsel - and sparkling micro-faceted gems - just like ornaments. All are handwired with sterling silver and hang from sterling silver earwires. I hope my subscribers enjoy these pieces made just for them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Disco Balls {Earrings-of-the-Month}

Who knew that a novel turned movie about an astronaut stranded on Mars would cause a revival of disco?

If you haven't seen The Martian, the soundtrack is enough to send any disco-lover into orbits of elation. So, the other afternoon, D was looking through our CDs to find good "cookie-baking" music; he found a disco compilation. Yes, I have one!

"Mommy, do you think we should listen to disco while we make cookies?" Yes!

"You have terrible taste in music," deadpanned R, quoting Matt Damon's character.

So, while we baked cookies - here are the Kaffir Lime-Matcha Sugar Cookies we made - we listened to Gloria Gaynor, the BeeGees, and more! I even dug my pink glitter platforms out of the costume bin. It's a good thing people can't see into my kitchen too often!

But while looking at my beads, I decided to completely change direction on the earrings-of-the-month. This month, I made disco balls with microfaceted gems handwired with sterling silver.

I had made a pair of earrings for a friend's birthday and she wrote in her thank you note: "Love the purple disco ball earrings - well, they remind me of disco balls anyway. It's like a party dangling from my ears."

I love it! So, here you go, gals. Disco balls for November's EcoChic Designs' selection. It's like a party dangling from your ears. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2015

For the Love of the Vine {earrings of the month}

This month had me thinking about wine and the grape vines. A few vintner friends were talking about the early harvest due to the warmer-than-usual summer. So, inspired by my love of the vine - and, yes, the ensuing liquid libation that comes from those vines - I created this month's pieces in different shades of wine.

See the wines...

I used lemon quartz, green garnet, deep garnet, dusty Burmese raw rubies, green onyx and more to represent the palest gold of Pinot Grigio to the almost inky black of Negrette.

The last of the packages went into the mail today. I hope the gals enjoy these. Cheers!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rain Dances {Earrings-of-the-Month}

Over eighteen months ago, I made some earrings that were inspired by stormy skies and playful puddles. Well, we haven't had any of those in all that time. It's time for more drastic measures and this month's pieces represent a full-on rain dance! The drought we are experiencing in California is bad. We desperately 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.

This month’s EcoChic Designs earrings-of-the-month pieces are created using upcycled sterling silver chain, rutile quartz teardrops, and faceted grey agate rounds - all handwired with sterling silver wire and hanging from sterling silver earwires.

Enjoy and dance 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.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mustard Seeds {Earrings of the Month}

He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches." - Matthew 13: 31-32

EcoChic Designs’ August Earrings-of-the-Month –


I don’t know what your religious beliefs and affiliations might be, but this month, I was inspired by faith. Not mine. My boys.

I was raised spiritually, but not belonging to any congregation or church. I went to an Episcopalian high school, attended Catholic masses – more as a place of quiet and meditation – throughout my teen years, and my husband and I were married by an Episcopalian minister.  While we don’t have a church, I think it’s fair to say that we are both people of faith.

But my two spend a significant amount of time with my parents who are Catholic, having returned to their faith later in life. My parents used to harangue me about baptizing the boys and rolled their eyes when I told them that Jake and I had already baptized them in the ocean. I think they gave up asking me and set their eyes on making sure their “grandbaby boys” were theists.

My boys attend mass with my parents on a regular basis. And, earlier this summer, both boys asked to be baptized. We found a minister and church that we all liked and, earlier this month, my boys were baptized.

I was inspired by the passage in Matthew that likens the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed.  Small, amber rounds represent those seeds; some pieces have yellow quartz as well. And all are handwired with sterling silver wire and hang from sterling silver ear wires. Whatever my subscribers believe, I hope that they enjoy these warm, sunny-hued pieces made especially for them.

Photos to follow. ~CMM

Friday, June 19, 2015

Wonderful Surprises, Earrings-of-the-Month (June 2015)

I have already gotten reports from some that their June earrings have arrived...and I haven't had a chance to sit down and write a blogpost about my inspiration. So sorry!

This month's theme - WONDERFUL SURPRISES.

You know there are junctions in life when you pause, look back, and are shocked at the changes or growth you didn't notice was happening all along?? That was me this month when I read my boys' projects or summative assessments as they finished up fifth and seventh grades.

I read D's letter to his next year's teacher and was just completely blown away by his skill with a pen (or keyboard). I'm pretty hard to impress and I was impressed. It began...

"Imagine a student who can find fun and enjoyment wherever he is. Imagine a student who could learn wherever he is . Whether he is in a coffee shop, or in an abandoned warehouse. That’s me, I’m a very curious kid who loves science. Anywhere I go, I find how to learn and I enjoy it. These are both things that I like, but one of my most liked things are spices. I try ANY spices I see, then cook with it." 
- excerpt from the letter to his next year's teacher

I proofread R's application to the Broadcom Masters Science Fair - he was invited after he and his partner took first place in their division at the county science fair - and marveled at how he crafted his answers to the questions. So articulate and reflective.

Wonderful surprises all! I am a proud mamma for sure.

In that vein of wonderful surprises, I created this month's pieces with pearls, for the most part, because I think those are wonderful surprises in nature...and they start with a grain of sand. Pieces might include grey pearls, navy blue pearls, and various gems this month.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Colors of the Desert, Earrings-of-the-Month

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Little Prince 

For eight days during Spring Break, we laid low in the desert, exploring, hiking, and enjoying a completely new environment to us central California coasters. I always imagined deserts to be flat-colored. Lots of browns and greys. Certainly there were those shades, but there were also radiant pops of color at almost every turn. From golden poppies to carmine rocks and shocks of magenta. The desert was a surprise and a delight. I even spent hours in a bead shop in Tehachapi!

The selections for my earrings-of-the-month subscribers run the gamut to match my inspiration. Pieces include striped orange agate faceted rondelles, amethyst rondelles, peridot cubes, grey pearls, ruddy ceramic discs, carnelian teardrops and rounds, lime green magnasite, and turquoise all handwired with sterling silver.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

'Food has a story' Necklace and Earring Set {Donation}

I am donating this set to MEarth for their Earth Day Silent Auction fundraiser.

‘Food has a story.’ 

I located an artisan in southern California who was able to turn my handwriting into a pendant. I chose this sentence because I believe it’s something people need to remember and embrace – and it seemed an appropriate connection to MEarth’s FoodConnect programs. “When people gather around a table to share food, magic happens,” I read on MEarth’swebsite. I couldn’t agree more.

A ‘Food has a story’ pendant, in sterling silver, is the focal point of this one-of-a-kind necklace. The pendant is handwired in sterling silver with faceted light and dark smoky quartz rondelles, faceted moonstone rondelles, tiny turquoise nuggets, and an up-cycled sterling silver chain. It closes in the rear with a sterling silver hook-and-eye clasp. 

The coordinating earrings are made with up-cycled sterling findings and faceted pale sapphires they hang from sterling silver earwires.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Toasting Fifteen {earrings-of-the-month}

Fifteen years ago, this month, this happened...

My husband Jake and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage this month. Fifteen years. On one hand that feels like a lifetime; on the other, it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye.

In this past decade and a half, we've had two kids, lived in two states and five different houses, and juggled probably about dozen different jobs between us. We've been to Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona; we've traveled to Italy and Costa Rica. We've SCUBA'd, zip-lined, canoed, and tangoed. It's been an amazing adventure.

But it's also been work. Don't let anyone tell you that marriage is easy. Still, being happily married is a daily choice...and I choose it. Every. Day.

So, I was inspired to create earrings that feature the traditional gift of fifteen years of marriage: crystal. And because pearls symbolize wisdom acquired through experience, I added some of those into the designs, too.

The earrings are combinations of clear genuine crystal quartz and pearls handwired with sterling silver. They hang from sterling silver earwires. Photos to come. I hope all the gals enjoy!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Glistening Petals (Earrings-of-the-Month)

I guess I’ve always loved the look of GLISTENING PETALS – wildflowers on a secluded trail that have been kissed by a thick morning dew. I thought I’d make EcoChic Designs’ February pieces that resembled gem-kissed petals.

I’ve played with different sized wires and different sized gems to achieve the look I wanted. I hope you wear these and enjoy the sparkle.

EcoChic Designs’ February 2015 one-of-a-kind pieces…are glistening petals.

Sterling silver petals are handwired with different faceted gemstones, including rainbow tourmaline, moonstone, amethyst, topaz, and more. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wishes for the Forties: Bliss, Blue Jeans, and Bubbly

As a friend was looking towards her fortieth birthday, she asked me to create a bracelet for her...and to surprise her with a story. So, here goes.

My wishes for her the center of the bracelet is a sterling silver wishbone.

I selected smooth iolite rondelles and faceted rondelles of pale smoky quartz because they reminded me of denim and champagne! Once you hit your forties, you care less about pretense and are more than comfortable popping open an expensive bottle of bubbly in your blue jeans and your favorite t-shirt.

I included a hummingbird because they represent the enjoyment of life and lightness of being; a lotus blossom symbolizes the purity and the love of god; and the owl is sacred to the Greek goddess of knowledge. Life, faith, and knowledge. That is bliss.

Happy 40th, S. Hope you like it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Awesome Arils {earrings of the month}

This month's earrings were inspired by our recent move - we are homeowners once again! - and January's birthstone.

So, we finally were able to get out of our rented postage stamp-sized townhouse and into a real house. Relief. Excitement. All of those things washed over us. We moved to a street called 'Granada.' I was looking at my face cream, a pomegranate cream "for aging skin" (no joke); the bottle included other languages, including French and Spanish. 'Granada' drew my attention. And it dawned on me: we live on a street named for the pomegranate. How cool is that?!

We love pomegranates!

Originally from Persia, pomegranates are 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, the pieces this month are gobs and gobs of garnets handwired with sterling silver. They are going in the mail this weekend! Hope the gals enjoy.