Saturday, November 29, 2014

CRAFT FIX - Sunday, November 30th, Kittery, Maine!

Join me and 19 other local artists and craftspeople at Buoy Gallery in Kittery for the amazing annual Craft Fix!

10am - 5pm 
2 Government Street
(gallery space attached to The Black Birch)

**SAME DAY BONUS: Art on the Hill's open studios, Folk (darling little shop around the corner) anniversary celebration and Doo salon (across the street) Wrong Brain craft fair are all at the same time! 

**WEATHER BONUS: the forecast is 50°!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Handmade Silver Running Jewelry

On the eve of the New York City Marathon, I am very excited to announce my new handmade running necklaces for 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon! These sterling silver necklaces have been on my mind for quite some time, and it seemed appropriate to reveal them just in time for the world's largest marathon.

I've been running pretty regularly for about two and a half years, and each time I hit a new milestone I think about creating a special piece to commemorate my accomplishments. My first 5K and 10K were enormous achievements for me, and really, if I'm being honest, every run is a personal achievement. You see, I used to have a deep hatred for running. I always detested high school gym class, but when we had to run the mile – forget it. It was pretty much my worst nightmare. I would half walk, half limp around the track, practically in tears. My lungs burned, my side ached, my legs itched. Running was the bane of my existence.

Fast forward to a few years ago when my husband got into running and started signing up for races. He loved it and raved about how great he felt, and I thought I should give it another shot as an adult to see what all the hype was about.

Starting slow, I began the Couch to 5K program and ran my first race in the spring of 2012. After a few 5Ks, I ramped up to a 10K, and then soon after signed up for a 10 miler. I haven't yet progressed to a half marathon, but I'm not ruling it out as an option. And I've recently discovered that I love trail fun to go run in the woods, surrounded by nature!
That's me on a recent trail run
Anyway, the point I want to make is that running is HARD. Even after years of training and practice, it's still really hard. Some runs are more difficult than others, but I consider every run – whether a mile or ten, on road or trail – to be a major accomplishment. And no accomplishment should go unrewarded.

Whether you are just starting out or have been running for decades, I hope my handmade running necklaces will serve as a great reminder of your achievements. And if you aren't a runner, but you have runner in your life, these necklaces will make the perfect gift to congratulate them on a race well-run!

BONUS: A percentage of profits from the sale of these necklaces will be donated to Girls on the Run:
Girls on the Run is a transformational physical activity-based youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade. We teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons & running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically & emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health & fitness.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bridal Shower Favors - Succulents in Painted Vintage Wooden Spools

I know, I know...this is supposed to be a jewelry blog. But on occasion, I get a little carried away with other crafty projects and I like to share them. My latest endeavor was inspired by my sister's fabulous wedding color palette, her love of succulents and a Maine yard sale score of 25+ vintage wooden thread spools with great old labels.

I will also admit that I've been slightly obsessed with Best Made Co.'s painted axes for quite a few years, as well as Norquay's (suspiciously similar) gorgeous artisan painted canoe paddles which appeared on the market last summer, so this idea of handpainting something wood with fun, striped colors has been floating around in my head for awhile.

First, I got out my ancient acrylics from art school (amazingly, they're still good!) and mixed colors until I got a perfect match. The wedding colors are inspired by the USA and UK flags (she's American, he's from Liverpool), but toned down a bit. So instead of straight up red and blue, they're closer to poppy and turquoise. The gorgeous invitations were designed and letterpress printed by Paper Parasol Press.

I cut thin strips of masking tape and used them to section off stripes on the wooden spools, then painted areas of red, white and blue. Once the paint dried, I taped new stripes and repeated to achieve the effect of multiple stacked colors. No two spools were exactly alike. Some even started out with really unique forest green wood, so I kept a little of that in for variety. I finished each spool with a clear varnish to seal the wood and protect the paint.

Next, I made my way to a nearby garden center and selected the tiniest succulents I could find, being mindful to select varieties with small root structures so they would fit inside the tiny spools.

After that, I used a drill to enlarge the spool holes slightly (although I had purchased tiny succulents, the roots were still too large for most of the spools). I glued tiny pieces of wooden dowel into the bottom of each spool to act as a stopper. Then I used a chopstick to carefully layer some dirt into each spool, gently nudged the roots down into the holes and filled in the area around each one with more soil. Special thanks to Donni, who blogs at The Magic Onions, for providing some planting tips! I do not have a green thumb at all.

The finished product was too cute for words! I was really happy with the way these turned out. That said, they were a bit underwhelming on a large table...I'd probably recommend placing each on a small plate or printed paper coaster if you have the time and budget.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Whiskey Molecule Necklace - Unique Custom Pendant

I absolutely love custom jewelry requests, so naturally I was excited to receive a creative special request from my longtime friend Jeff. A good friend of his had a birthday approaching and he knew just the thing to make her day, but was without tools and resources to bring his idea to fruition. He asked for my assistance.

The idea: A whiskey molecule necklace for a whiskey-loving gal

The process: We started with some sketches. Jeff sent me a diagram of the chemical structure of whiskey as well as his idea for how it might work as a pendant. He also shared important details about the recipient, such as she's very tall and loves to wear big, bold jewelry. Good to know!

The build: Starting with sterling silver wire, I cut and formed each piece of the molecule. 

I then laid out all the pieces and began soldering them together. 

This was a fairly large piece to heat, so it took a few tries to get solder to flow to all the joints.  

After the whole piece was soldered together, it still looked a little too light and delicate, so I decided to hammer it flat to make it a bit bolder and give the lines more weight. Lastly, I filed the joints smooth and polished the pendant, finalizing it with a brushed, matte finish.

End result: Super awesome lady receives badass, thoughtful, customized gift! Everyone parties and has a great time!

Birthday girl photo courtesy of Jeff

Moral of the story: put some thought into your gift giving and don't be afraid to ask a professional for help. This was a true collaboration and couldn't have turned out better. Contact me for help with your unique idea today!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Music + Jewelry = LOVE

I love a good love story and I also appreciate good music, so when the two come together and I get to participate it's beautiful thing. I recently had the pleasure of creating some one-of-a-kind gifts for a lovely couple who happen to have very good taste in music (and jewelry).

First, there was the ring. This couple loves Ray LaMontagne, has seen him perform live several times, and wanted to incorporate some of his lyrics into the custom ring design.

They selected the lyrics "forever my friend, forever my love" from the song "Forever My Friend" on his 2004 release Trouble.

Later, the husband reached out to me once again to order a custom sterling silver bracelet for his wife – this time with lyrics from another of their favorite musical artists, Brandi Carlile. Her song "Fall Apart Again" from her self-titled album contains this beautiful line: "As long as the day is full of time, there will always be room for your hand in mine."

The lyrics fit absolutely perfectly on this sterling silver cuff bracelet.

Valentine's Day is just two weeks away! But there's still time to order a custom gift for your special someone. I'll be working overtime this coming week to get all your orders shipped on time. What lyrics do you think would be perfect on jewelry for your sweetie? 

Contact me to talk about your gift idea today. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Handcrafted Copper Cuff Bracelets

Now available by popular demand: handcrafted copper cuff bracelets from Lofted Designs!

Back in December, I created 40 of these bracelets as a custom order for holiday gifts at a school. I designed two different sets:  one specifically for teachers and one for the school's administrative and support staff.
These were custom teacher gifts for the holidays
After sharing photos of the custom bracelets on Instagram and Facebook, many people asked how they could purchase one for themselves. I hadn't originally planned to offer them as a regular item in my Etsy shop, but enough people seemed interested that I've decided to list them for purchase.

For just $28, you can select your finish (hammered or smooth) and choose from one of these phrases or suggest your own:

dream  ❤  teach  ❤  inspire
dream  ❤  explore  ❤  inspire 
imagine  ❤  believe  ❤  dream

Please allow up to two weeks for custom orders to be handcrafted, plus shipping time which varies by destination.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Restoring a Family Heirloom

When a friend and long-time jewelry client approached me with a broken family heirloom — a beautiful antique signet ring — I'll admit I was intimidated at first, and for many reasons:

1. The piece had sentimental value.
2. It looked delicate and frail.
3. It was broken in not one, but two places.
4. It was GOLD. As a rule, I never work with gold. Gold intimidates me and it's so costly.

But for some reason, I said yes to the project. Perhaps because she is a friend. Perhaps because I looked at it as a new challenge and a way to break out of my comfort zone. And perhaps also because she told me she would not be devastated if something horrible happened to the ring (i.e., if I accidentally melted it).

This is because the ring's history within her family is a bit fuzzy – the signet ring may have belonged to a great uncle or possibly an aunt. The S seal doesn't match up with any of the family member's last names, therefore its previous owner is unclear. Strangely enough, S is my friend's first name and married name initial so it has now found its rightful owner as far as I'm concerned.

The ring was found in a jewelry box long after anyone familiar with its origins was alive to tell its story. Hopefully now, after some solid restoration work at my soldering bench, it will live on to tell a new story to future generations.