A bit of creativity as I clean

Every once in a while I like to go through the supplies I have on hand and see what I can come up with. Sometimes I can put pieces together with what I have and other times I need a few things to complete my idea. I did this recently and here is my result:

As I went through my supply inventory, I noticed the green beads and I thought they would work well together, but I wasn’t sure how. I also had a 1-inch square of sterling silver. As I finished taking note of what I had on hand, I realized I did not have any chain or clasps. The chain wasn’t as important, but the clasps are almost essential for making bracelets or necklaces.

 

I decided I had a number of square sterling silver pieces, so I cut the square into a circle, still not quite sure what I was going to do with it. Then I thought about those few green beads I had and worked on some ways I could use those. I decided I wanted to combine the sterling silver circle and the green beads somehow with chain. So I went out and bought some chain and a clasp (okay, I bought a few clasps so I could make a few other ideas I had).

 

The trouble with sterling silver is it does not stay shiny very well. It is fairly soft so it can scratch easily and it also shows fingerprints. Because of this, I figured my best bet was to hammer the circle to give it some texture and cover the scratches.

 

I set up various combinations of the beads always keeping the circle in the center as a pendant. Eventually I settled on what I thought worked and went together piecing it together.

 

For using odds and ends materials which I never intended to use together, I think it turned out beautifully. Now I have to make some earrings to match it.

 

I also came up with a few other ideas by piecing together odds and ends I had, but I liked this one the most. Not to say the others aren’t beautiful as well, but I really liked this one.

 

What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!
PS: If you are interested in purchasing this necklace, it is available on my Etsy site here: Sterling Silver and Green Bead Necklace

 

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Holiday Memories

Occasionally I find myself feeling inspired to write something that isn’t jewelry-related. I hope you don’t mind. Life can’t be all about business, right?

Now that Halloween is past, I find myself thinking about Christmas. My husband kindly reminded me not to forget we have Thanksgiving (his favorite holiday) to celebrate first. It’s not that I’m not thankful for things or want to skip Thanksgiving, but there’s something about Christmas that is magical to me. I don’t get caught up in Christmas for the commercial side of the holiday, although I do love decorating for it and preparing gifts for folks, I get caught up it in because of the memories it holds, and those I hope it will create.

So many people out there dread Christmas because it was or is a time of fighting, a time of arguing over whose house the child should go to, and that moment of panic over how to afford the gifts that “need” to be bought. It’s stressful for people who have to make their home look perfect for the most excellent party their friends have ever attended or to impress their family members as they dive into the most incredible ham you have ever tasted. My heart aches for these people. For me, it’s about the little details that bring smiles and happy memories.

For me, Christmas is decorating sandtarts with my siblings while listening to Raffi and Mannheim Steamroller. It’s about opening one present on Christmas Eve while my parents hoped that one would be enough to calm our excitement. It’s about my mother’s homemade sticky buns, which I think I look forward to more than gifts. (I hope she reads this!) It’s about Grandma-bags (handmade bags my grandmother wrapped her gifts in). It’s about the memories and the smiles.

Every year I set a goal to make as many gifts as possible. I might run out of ideas eventually, but not this year. I enjoy starting these projects around Halloween and working on them until Christmas. As I work on each one, I find myself thinking about the person who will receive it and what their reaction will be. I think about how often they might use it or how they might use it. This just adds to the fun of the holiday for me.

As I have grown older, I find myself looking back on the memories of childhood Christmases and I long for some of them. As we’ve grown older and our schedules have become busier, it’s a challenge to do these things. This year, I really want to try to bring some of these things back. Sure, I have gifts I want and I’ve been thinking about writing a letter to Santa, but the idea of decorating cookies with my siblings again or watching Muppet Christmas Carol (and reciting every line by memory) with them just thrills me.

So I leave you with a challenge. Over the next 48 days, reflect upon the things you are thankful for. Look back at the happy memories that the holidays, including Thanksgiving, have placed into your life and think about ways you can create another one or two this year. Let’s do this together! Please feel free to share your memories; I would love to hear them.

One more thing…in case you were wondering, here are some Grandma-bags like I mentioned above. The difference is I made these instead of my grandmother. Perhaps I should continue the tradition.

Thanks for stopping by!

Costume Jewelry…Not Just for Halloween

With Halloween still fresh in our thoughts, I want to explore a term I have been hearing more and more…costume jewelry.

According to Dictionary.com, costume jewelry is “jewelry made of non-precious metals, sometimes gold-plated or silver-plated, often set with imitation or semiprecious stones.”

By this definition, costume jewelry sounds cheap. It sounds like it might look gaudy. However, the reason we’re hearing about it more is because antique (vintage) costume jewelry is becoming a collectable item. Yes, it might be cheap and sometimes the gaudier the better, but it’s still a treasure in the eyes of some people.

The concept of costume jewelry became popular in the 1930s and the pieces were usually designed to match a specific outfit and only be popular for a short period of time. The 1930s were the time of the Great Depression. People were looking for whatever means they could to have fun and enjoy life. Through inexpensive costume jewelry, they were able to look good, but not spend a fortune to do so.  A lot of women went for the big fancy-looking pieces; however, there were a lot of pieces that were designed to look like fine high-end jewelry, but because of the materials they were made from, they were much less expensive.

One interesting fact I found was that during World War II sterling silver came into use in costume jewelry. Until then, most costume jewelry was made with base metals (brass, nickel, steel, etc.) but during the war years, these metals were needed for military use. During that time, sterling silver was relatively inexpensive, so they were able to do this pretty easily. Today, sterling silver is still much less expensive than gold, but it is more often used in fine jewelry.

Why do people collect vintage costume jewelry if it’s cheap and gaudy? Because they think the pieces are fun. A lot of vintage costume jewelry came in bright and bold colors, were chunky, and could really add a lot to an outfit. With my love of vintage, I’ll admit I have a few pieces of plastic (Bakelite) costume jewelry. I think it is simply fun to wear.

Moving into modern times, costume jewelry is as popular as ever. People are constantly on the lookout for inexpensive pieces that look expensive so they can keep up with whatever image they are trying to maintain. With this thought, I give one warning. If the price is low, that can be a reflection of the quality of the materials the piece is made from. Costume jewelry is not designed to last forever; it’s designed to be momentarily en vogue.  The plating may wear off over time. If the beads are coated, the coating may peel. Not to steer you away from anything, but just a word of caution.

So while we might wear costumes for Halloween, costume jewelry can be something you wear for any occasion. The similarity is that it was originally designed to only be worn sparingly just like the Halloween costumes. It’s designed for fun and to add a little “pop” to your everyday wardrobe.

With this on my mind, I think I might dig through some of my vintage costume jewelry. Maybe I can work it into my outfits more often just to see if people notice. I encourage you to go out and have some fun with a piece or two as well! Also, if you have a piece, feel free to share a photo of it!

Thank you for stopping by!