Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's Finally Here! The first volume of my digital magazine.

Well, it certainly has been a labor of love....Today, I have launched the first of a bi-monthly digital magazine.  It's a fresh idea about using recycled, found-object, odds-n-ends, handmade beads and findings to design and create trendy jewelry.  This volume has a new How-To and a few pieces I have designed and created.  Future publications will include jewelry challenges, product testing and opinion, and fresh new ideas.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How to Make a Pair of Earrings Using Found Objects and Repurposed Materials

Earlier, I posted a few new pieces of jewelry I designed using repurposed leather pieces found in an old jar that my daughter bought at an antique store and gifted to me.  I have made a step-by-step how-to for the earrings, not so much for instruction, but perhaps inspiration or as a way to create a new idea.

Select the pieces you are going to use.  To make these earrings, or a pair like them, you will need:

 - 2 recycled leather pieces
 - 2 pcs Denim Blue leather cord at 4" each
 - 6 jump rings at 10mm
 - 6 pewter large-hole heishi
 - 2 rivets - base and cap
 - 2 glass beads at 8mm 
 - 2 pcs of silvertone 26-gauge wire at 5" each.   

Next, take your leather hole punch and punch a hole in each piece, at about the place where the "figure-eight" narrows.  I do not use a leather hole punch, but instead, I use a drill and drill bit.  Then, feed the rivet base through the back of the piece to the front of the piece, place the large hold heishi on the rivet base and then add the cap on top of that.  The cap will not seem to fit perfectly into the heishi, but once you strike it with the hammer it will fit tightly.  Put your piece onto a metal block and strike the cap a few times with a jeweler's hammer until it fits together tightly.

Fold the Denim Blue leather cord in half and feed it through the bottom triangular opening.  
Grab the ends and feed them through the loop and pull it tight.

Add one silvertone large-hole heishi bead.  You can add other large hole beads and variations.

Decide where you would like the heishi to be placed on the leather cord and tie a knot at the end.  

Take one of the 5" silvertone 26 gauge wires and begin wrapping the wire around the leather cord until you get to the desired length you have chose for the drop.  Trim the end of the leather cord as needed. 


Feed the end of the wire through the bead you have selected and wrap it to the bottom of the leather cord as you would a briolette.  Trim excess wire making sure to smooth or sand any sharp edges.  

**Repeat the above steps to the other side.  

Next, add two jump rings to the top opening and then feed the third jump ring through those.  
Attach an ear wire.  

Repeat all the above steps to create the matching earring.

Repurposed Found Objects Get a New Look

A few days ago, my daughter was out antiquing and found a jar of old leather odds and ends and gifted it to me.  In exploring the contents of the jar, it seemed to be filled with old leather belt pieces or purse strap pieces..... I am not really certain.  Some looked rather well-worn, while others looked relatively new.  From some of the pieces, I have made three new pieces of jewelry - a pair of earrings and two bracelets.

The pair of earrings I made start with two matching pieces of leather, some leather cord scraps I had, Tierra Cast rivets and metal heishi, and some really cool frosted AB blue beads.


The first bracelet I made also starts with two leather pieces from the jar, deertan lace from my supplies, Tierra Cast rivets, a rhinestone clasp and a rhinestone studded rhondelle.


The second bracelet is a double wrap bracelet made of a wide leather strap of woven leather pieces - from the jar, wire-wrapping, and Impression Jasper.

Making jewelry from found objects or odds-n-ends is always a challenge I look forward to.  I love to create one-of-a-kind pieces.  In creating the double-wrap bracelet I was inspired by the hook clasp and toggle that I made - well, if one can be inspired by their own But, I was thinking that perhaps the "ring" part of the toggle might look cool as a whole necklace or bracelet of them.  We will see where that leads...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy First Day of Summer! - Flash Sale - Free Shipping Friday at

Happy First Day of Summer!

Coupon Code:  FreeShippingWeek

I went through my Etsy shop "UrsyllaBs" and lowered prices on many items to make way for fresh new summer inventory.  And - I am also having a "Free Shipping" sale today.  Plus, all purchases receive a 25% off e-mail coupon towards future purchases!  Click on the yellow ad and it will link you to UrsyllaBs, otherwise my main home page has a tab that will also direct you there.  Have a great weekend

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Rhinestones and filigree, I love the combination and it never seems to get old.  But, I also love vintage jewelry and old movies.  There is something elegant about the rhinestone jewelry of the 40s and 50s.  Besides, vintage jewelry makes me think of Casablanca, which is one of my all time favorite flicks...  I wish the version I have was in color.  I would love to take a closer look at the rhinestone jewelry Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) was wearing on her suit while she was sitting in "Rick's Place".  I cannot tell if the set is Joseph, Hobe', Julianna or maybe something else.. Eisenberg??....  I had a set similar, made by Hobe', but it is so hard to tell in the movie without a little color and detail.  All you get is the suggestion of a design and a lot of glamorous rhinestone "flash" from the brooch, earrings, and bracelet.   I can only daydream about what it would have been like to be a jewelry designer of that era. 


I have used some of my vintage rhinestones in my latest designs.   Two of the rhinestones are vintage special effects West Germany, by Alfred Weber, and the third is Summer Blush, by Swarovski.  The ovals are 18x13mm and the round is 14mm.

In the first ring I used a vintage special effects floral cabochon, by Alfred Weber, set in an oxidized brass adjustable ring base.  I then formed hammered aluminum around the crown of the setting.  The combination of the brass and silver give the ring an Art Deco look. 

The second ring also uses a vintage special effects rhinestone, by Alfred Weber, set in oxidized brass filigree and then wire wrapped to a filigree adjustable ring base.  There is a silver shadow around the rhinestone edge and the crown of the setting, also incorporating the two metal tones. 

The third ring is a gorgeous Summer Blush rhinestone, by Swarovski, set in a silvertone setting and wire wrapped to a filigree adjustable ring base.  The ring base has been brushed with a silver colored metal coating and lightly sanded.  The rhinestone has been nested in a wire wrapping which has also been brushed with a silver metal coating and lightly sanded.  The light sanding allows the oxidized brass to show through, giving it an Art Deco look and a slight "shabby chic-worn" look. 

I hope you are inspired to make some bling for the summer and maybe watch an old movie...or two.

I have also been working on some new ceramic pieces.  I broke away from the Yixing single-fire clay and have been working with white-stoneware.  I have also been experimenting with some Baroque style designs and trying to see if a matte or a gloss glaze will show the details best.  I will let you know what I have decided and show a few pictures in the days to come. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Art Bead Scene Blog has posted their inspiration for the June Challenge.......

Art Bead Scene Blog has posted another beautiful piece of art, this time it's dear to my heart.  I am unfamiliar with the work of Franklin Carmichael so I did a little more research.  His watercolor paintings are soft and inviting with each form drawing you in to take a closer look.  Franklin's painting reminds me of Grand Marais, MN and the North House Folk School.  His beautiful paintings are inspired by an area known as Carmichael Lake in Canada.

Grand Marais, MN, is a quaint little town filled with all the beautiful things in nature, complete with waterfalls, Boreal forest, wildlife, a harbor, and beautiful rugged shoreline.  It is nestled along the shores of Lake Superior.    The North House campus sits in a niche of the harbor, on the shore of Lake Superior, just as you enter into town.  I was able to find a front view from the Lake and a picture of the north part of the harbor, but not a back view of the campus which resembles the painting a little closer, but with a little imagination I think you will see the similarities. 

"Jackknife Village", Franklin Carmichael, 1926

Grand Marais harbor view
North House Folk School shoreline view

Art Bead Scene Blog June Challenge
The piece I designed for this month's Art Bead Scene Blog challenge revolves around cherished thoughts of my favorite place and the colors and tones in Franklin Carmichael's watercolor "Jackknife Village, 1926".  I used semi-precious stones in the color palate such as jasper, agates, jade, moukaite, amethyst, and freshwater pearls, wire wrapped them together to form the chain.  I selected a special focal for the necklace, a stone called a "heart stone", which I found along the shores of Lake Superior, in Grand Marais, MN.  I believe this particular stone is made up of Basalt.  Heart stones are a rare and highly coveted stone sought after by rock hunters of the north shore.  The ebb and flow of the tide and other natural events shape the stone into the form of a heart.  Generally, after a big lake storm, you will see quite a few people along the shorelines sifting through the rocks looking for treasures.  A few years ago, while walking along the shore, I happened to look down and found one that some unlucky person must have missed.  I have been hanging onto it for quite sometime waiting for its purpose to present itself.  I wire wrapped the heart stone and coil wrapped the drop.  I made the ring clasp from rich green Yixing clay and coil-wraping, and the toggle from freshwater pearls and coil-wrapping.  The necklace is simple and inviting drawing your eye from the heart stone, up through the multicolored beads, and down to the clasp.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Emerging Flora Brings a Fresh New Perspective

My goodness this has been a long dreary spring.  We have had more rain and cloud cover than any one deserves.  Compile that with a creative block - and a few weeks seems like an eternity.  But- Good News! - my garden has finally started to bloom bringing a bit of sunshine and inspiration.  My perennial Bachelor Buttons and Irises are the first to emerge bringing a bit of hope out of this dreary spring.  I have also created a few new summer pieces! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

With the arrival of new supplies, one can hardly not be inspired.  I purchased a few new rhinestones from Etsy and a strand of Opalite gemstones from Artisan Whimsey's Destash Event.  I did not realize at the time how beautiful the gemstones are, as pictures do not do them justice.  After they arrived, I decided to research them a little and discovered that they are an "all around healing stone".  I also discovered that there seems to be two different forms of "Opalite", one is a man-made type, and the other is an actual gemstone that is made up of opalized dolomite and fluorite.  The drops I purchased are gemstones and not man-made glass.  I have made a few pair of earrings from them.  

The first pair I designed with beautiful bright orange rhinestones, wire-wrapped to the Opalite drops and embellished with golden rings.  They remind me of a summer sunset. 
The next pair are wire-wrapped to golden freshwater pearl coins and light Topaz Cubic Zirconia. They remind me of a warm summer day at the beach.
The third pair are wire-wrapped to Swarovski Light Turquoise crystals and drop from delicate silvertone chain.  They remind meof a bright blue sky.      

Next are gorgeous glass rhinestones I found on Etsy.  

The first pair of earrings have a gorgeous pair of Blue Zircon rhinestones with Vintaj drops that are beautifully etched with a floral/vine pattern.  Very elegant....

With the second pair of earrings I used beautiful fuschia rhinestone drops wire-wrapped to bright orange rhinestone, encircled by  turquoise leather.  Creamy white glass pearl drops tie the colors together.  These earrings are so much fun - and beg to be at a summer party.

The third pair of earrings are simple and elegant.  They have beautiful vintage Aqua rhinestones dropped from golden organic form ovals.

The final designs are vintage-boho style with filigree and rhinestones.

This first pair have beautifully detailed floral petal bead caps with AB topaz glass drops peaking out from the tips.  They drop from organic hammered oval forms. 
 These pair have beautifully detailed filigree squares adorned with vintage square rhinestones.  They are very elegant and have a lot of sparkle. 

This pair has layers of antiqued brass detailed botanical drops with rhinestones, glass pearls, and a golden leaf.  They have a Victorian feel to them.

The fourth pair of earrings have vintage filigree drops that have been colored with Vintaj patinas and wire-wrapped with freshwater pearls.  These earrings look aged and rustic.

Well, it certainly feels good to be out from under my creative block.  I hope you will find inspiration in these pieces.  I will be listing them on Etsy at UrsyllaBs sometime tomorrow (6/2).  Have a great weekend!