Monday, December 29, 2008

Yes we do teach classes!

The FamiLee Jewels are frequently asked if we teach the techniques that we use to make our jewelry. The answer is: Yes!

We do teach classes through a home party system. You can host a class in your home or mine.

We teach a minimum of 4 adult students per 2 hour class. The maximum would be 10 students.

The price is $20 per person for the lesson and the supply fee depends on the technique being taught.

We teach beginner classes for those that have never tried jewelry making and project classes for those with some experience. We provide tools, beads, and findings.

Basic bead stringing. supply fee $5.00. This is a perfect class for those with no jewelry making experience or for those just looking for a fun way to spend a couple of hours using your creative spirit.
The student will make a necklace and pair of earrings.
She will learn the techniques of stringing on beading wire, crimping and simple loops.

Multi-strand necklaces. supply fee $10.00.
This class is great for people with some jewelry making experience. It explores the different means of attaching multiple strands of beads.
The student will make a multi strand necklace and pair of double drop earrings.
She will learn the above techniques and the additional skills of wrapped loops and using multi strand findings.

Memory wire. supply fee $10.00.
This class will introduce the student to the wonders of memory wire. This specialty wire has been manufactured in a way that it keeps it's coiled shape allowing the user to create jewelry that does not require clasps.
The student will make a multiple loop memory wire bracelet with charm end, and a memory wire necklace.
She will learn the techniques of simple loops and working with memory wire.

Earrings. supply fee $5.00.
This class explores the many style of simple earrings.
The student will make 5 pair of earrings including drop earrings, double drop earrings and hoop earrings. She will learn the techniques of simple loops, wrapped loops and working with jump rings.

Ankle bracelets. supply fee $10.00.
A great class for girls night out or the beginning of summer, paint your toenails and make a sassy new ankle bracelet for spring.
The student will make 2 ankle bracelets one beaded, one chain.
She will learn the techniques of wrapped loops, bead stringing with beading wire, crimping, and working with jump rings.

Chandelier earrings. supply fee $12.00.
This class explores the possibilities of chandelier earrings from delicate to Bollywood, there is something for everyone.
The student will make 2 pair of chandelier earrings using her choice of styles.
She will learn the techniques of simple loops and wrapped loops.
Watch with interchangeable bands. supply fee $20.00
This is a great class for those that enjoy fashion watches.
The student will make 3 easily interchangeable bands for the same watch face.
She will learn the techniques of bead stringing with beading wire, crimping, wrapped loops and working with jump rings.

Rings. Class fee $10.00
A fast, fun class to make simple bead and wire rings.
The student will make a simple bead ring, a wire spiral ring, and a wire heart ring.
She will learn simple wire wrap techniques.

Charm bracelets. supply fee 10.00.
This class teaches the basics of making a fashionable bead charm bracelet.
The student will learn the techniques of wrapped loops and working with jump rings.

Basic Wire wrap. supply fee $20.00
For those that are drawn to working with wire.
The student will learn how to wrap a cabochon, and make a cord necklace to hang it on.

Embellished Wire Wrap. supply fee $20.00
Once you have mastered the basic wire wrap this class will teach you how to embellish your work with loops, swirls and multiple wires.

We bring all necessary supplies, samples of our work and also offer a selection of kits and tools for sale so that people can continue to make jewelry once class is over.
To book a class or discuss the possibilities contact .

Friday, December 26, 2008


Today there is a new member in our FamiLee. Fred and I have been discussing adopting another dog. We were on Petfinder Tuesday "just looking" to see what animals were available and both of us were drawn to the photo of a Jack Russell mix at the SPCA in Queensbury. We drove up there on Tuesday but an hours worth of Aviation Mall traffic made us too late to get acquainted. We returned today, fell in love, and brought him home. Rascal is a great little dog. He is small. about 25 pounds but sturdily built, lively and affectionate. He already wears a deep scratch on his nose because Bubba didn't want to play.

Rascal had quite the afternoon. He picked out his new person, Fred. He had a long car ride complete with a walk in Beman Park because Bonnie got called in to work on their way home. He has explored the house, chased the cats and now is curled up sleeping in Fred's lap-and he snores!

Welcome to the FamiLee Rascal, it's a crazy life and we hope you will love it.

FamiLee Christmas

The FamiLee Jewels have had a wonderful Christmas full of dear friends, family from near and far, babies, good food, lovingly chosen presents, lots of ripped paper boxes and bows...(yes of course Freddy preferred the boxes), and Wii. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful life.
Christmas Eve was spent at David and Tammy and Ella's house where we were welcomed by their 3 dogs Duke, Duchess and Vanna. Carl was home from Colorado and it was great to see him again. I had chosen Carl's name in the gift scramble and made him 2 sterling silver guitar picks, one inscribed with his name and the other with the name of his band Finding Nowhere, he really liked them! Fred had chosen David's name and made him a pen and pencil set out of scrap cherry wood from the stairs in David's new house. It is nice to be able to create such personal gifts for those we love.
Everyone enjoyed the babies, passing them from person to person, and seeing Freddy run around. It was great to have little ones at Christmas again. We haven't had that much excitement since Josh was about 10 and that was a long time ago.

Christmas morning we drove up to see Becky and Dennis and the boys. Freddy enjoyed his fisher price farm and his wooden puzzle with sounds. Becky made lots of luscious cinnamon rolls and coffee. I think she is living on coffee now with those 3 little ones to keep up with. She looks great though and it's only been 3 weeks since she had Liam and Rory.

We got a little scare when we got to the house though. We had purchased them a Wii game system and when we walked in there was a Wii box in their foyer. Turns out it was a joke from neighbors Kelly and Jeremy who had hidden a Christmas ornament in it for them. So they loved their Wii and all its accessories, I just hope they can find the time to enjoy it. We had a chance to wish Merry Christmas to Sueanne, Jimmy, and Meredith while we were there.
We came home to meet Ella and have a relaxing rest of the day, cooking dinner and playing with Melissa's new Wii. I am not a video gaming person they really never could hold my interest for very long but this is fun. We spent the afternoon bowling in the family room and Ella was the big winner. I hope that Fred didn't mess up his real bowling game trying to Wii bowl.
As I write this I am drinking morning coffee and eating the best biscotti in the entire world made by my sister Donna. I look forward to her biscotti baking frenzy every Christmas and am hard pressed to share it with anyone. I told you my family was wonderful.

So Merry Christmas everyone. I hope your Holidays were filled with joy, love and laughter.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Firetruck Santa Saturday...does Santa look a little familiar?????

Every year on the Saturday before Christmas our local firefighters from the Malta Ridge Volunteer Fire Department delight young and old residents by driving around our neighborhoods, greeting local families, and passing out candy canes all while giving Santa a ride on the top of the truck. Becky and Melissa have not missed a Firetruck Santa Saturday in 22 years.

This year we had planned to have a Holiday brunch with snow tubing, lots of great food and out of town guests but 12 inches of snow and another big storm on the way changed our plans.

Becky still made it down from Glens Falls with her 3 little ones, so we had breakfast and went snow tubing while waiting for Santa.

Freddy J loved the snow, laughing all the way down the hill on his snow tube that was so big he could lay down in it. Liam and Rory were less than thrilled about the cold so Auntie Lissa took them back inside where the 3 of them stayed nice and toasty by the fire.
Finally after much waiting for them we heard the sirens grabbed all 3 boys and ran outside. To find that Pip was helping out Santa. Santa-Pip was on top of the Firetruck Ho-Ho-Ho-ing at the top of his lungs! (Pip does not need a PA system). He was obviously having a great time. The firemen were kind enough to get out and take pictures for us.

Freddy loved the truck and Santa (he saw them last year but I don't think he remembered), the twins were just happy to have full bellies, and Fred, Melissa, Becky and I are happy to have carried on the tradition with a new generation of the FamiLee.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rest in Peace precious Emily

Our beautiful greyhound Emily died last week.She was 14 years young and we have had the pleasure of her company for the last 7 years.

You see Emily was a retired racing greyhound. She was a good racer, retiring at age 5 when she was too old to race any more. She then had several litters of puppies for her racing owners before leaving the Florida panhandle for the great Northeast.

Snow didn't seem to phase her after the first leap off the deck that left her buried in it up to her chest. Once she figured out how to run through it she was fine!

Emily had a kind and gentle soul. She didn't get along well with other dogs (except Harley, Becky and and Dennis' Chiuabrador) but loved people of all ages, demanding attention in the form of pets and ear scritchies from young and old.

She loved taking walks, racing on the track around the apple trees (she built it all by herself) and digging holes in our gardens, but her favorite activity of all was sleeping on the couch stretched waaaay out so that when you shared a seat with her you only got a corner. Then she would put her head in your lap.

She has been a great companion and friend, and we will miss her always.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cassie Your necklaces are ready!!!!

I have been finishing up some special orders this week and one of them was for my girlfriend Cassie.
Cassie went on Vacation this summer and mined for gemstones. She found quite a few including the amethyst and clear quartz "Herkimer diamond" in these 2 necklaces.

Cassie I hope you are having a great time at your concert tonight. Melissa will tell me all about it when she gets home, I'm sure.
I have been working on finishing up some jewelry and I finished your necklaces. I wrapped your amethyst and quartz crystal in sterling silver and put a ring on them. That way you can wear whichever one you want on the sterling silver chain. I hope you like them and I'm sorry it took so long. It has been a long time since you went mining this summer and found them. I have not found any earring findings small enough for your peridot chips but I will keep looking for them.
I hope you like your jewelry. Thank you for asking me to be your jeweler.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sparkles and Ice

Today I broke out the camera and tried my hand at photographing some more jewelry.

It has been a challenge to achieve clear shots with good lighting and accurate color that also have an artistic flair.

While the results are not exactly what I had in mind I was able to capture a couple of pix that show the chandelier crystal jewelry we have been working on.

I like the crystals paired with vintage brass for a more casual look and especially with sterling silver for an icy cool and glamorous look.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Reading is a passion a pleasure and an escape. It is one of my favorite pastimes. Biographies, novels, true crime, history, art books--- there is always a stack of books to be read on the bedside table and a list in my wallet of favorite authors and titles that interest me. Garage sales, library sales and second hand book stores are favorite hunting grounds and (a division of EBAY) has also been a great source of reading material.
In June of this year I was gifted with a Kindle. My incredibly indulgent husband and daughter Fred and Melissa came up with the was inspired.
For those of you not familiar with Kindle it is Amazon.coms version of an electronic reader. It is compact, lightweight, convenient and in my opinion the way of the future---and I am not a gadget person.
Kindle gives you access to over 100,000 books as well as newspapers, magazines, and assorted weblogs. They are available almost immediately over Amazon's cellular data network called Whispernet which is included with the purchase price of Kindle without an additional monthly fee. The Whispernet gives you access to Amazon's Kindle store You can search for, shop for and purchase books and as on the website your personal recommendations will be listed.
Kindle is easy to read. The screen is a grey scale display with no back lighting so it reads like print on paper. There are text sizes from tiny to blind as a bat that accommodate your eyesight.
The controls are easy to use. Large buttons to page forward and back and a scroll wheel to access and navigate the menus.
Kindles battery remains charged for 3-4 days, longer if you only turn on the Whispernet connection when you need it. Recharging takes 2 hours.
Kindle allows me to read more than one book at a time and remembers my place in each book. It also allow me to mark quotes and make notes for future reference.
Despite the fact that Kindle is a high tech device it is easy to forget about it when you are reading. Like reading any good print book, when you become immersed in the story the device "disappears."
I have really only discovered one drawback to Kindle. It is difficult to read in a public place. Kindle is a magnet to the curious. Whether on the train, waiting in a doctors office or in the break room at work I find myself answering questions and giving Kindle demos to people not familiar with the device.
A small price to pay for the convenience.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Our newest Treasures (jewels beyond compare)

The FamiLee Jewels are proud and happy to announce our newest jewels Liam Patrick and Rory Jacob born December 4Th at 9:59 and 10:00 AM respectively.
They arrived a little earlier than their anticipated delivery date of the 8Th but both are healthy and out of the special care nursery.
Becky, Dennis and big brother Freddy are all doing well and enjoying the new arrivals.
Freddy J has been spending lots of quality time with Mim and Pip and Grammy and Pappy.
Below are my favorite pictures of the two so far. Two hours old lying in their isolettes in the special care nursery 6 feet apart in exactly the same position.
Liam Patrick
9:59 AM
19 1/4 inches long
6 lbs 15.6 oz
Rory Jacob
10:00 AM
20 inches
7 Lbs 5.4 oz

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crocus blossom

In another attempt to design a piece of jewelry with intention I have made a Crocus Blossom ring.

The purple and soft warm golden yellow stones in this ring remind me of the early crocus blossoms of Spring. The shank of this ring is woven sterling silver wire to represent the cold ice and snow that these little jewels bloom through.

This is fun. I enjoy sitting down with the beads and wire and letting my imagination soar with the combinations but this seems a more deliberate approach and one that I am trying to train my brain to use. Inspiration, drawing the design, working out the details, and then the production of the piece.

I am off to look at landscape photos for more inspiration. Those coffee table books will come in handy after all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls are considered to be the worlds oldest gem. Their translucent luster is created by multiple layers of nacre formed inside a living organismThroughout history pearls have been treasured and highly valued. In China, Egypt, India and Persia ancient texts refer to pearls as prized possessions.

In ancient Rome they were worn as a symbol of wealth and prestige.

In ancient Greece pearls were worn at weddings as symbols of purity and love.

Native Americans also used pearls for trade and ornamentation. Legends tell of a Native American princess who gifted Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto with furs, copper and fresh water pearls.

By the end of the 19Th century North American and Caribbean pearl supplies were greatly diminished due to over fishing and the uncontrolled pollution associated with industrialization.
Traditionally salt water pearls are grown in oysters and fresh water pearls in mussels.
In modern times pearls are grafted in triangle shell mussels by pearl farmers.
Ironically these mass produced pearl products rival the quality of the most expensive natural pearls ever found.
No longer reserved for royal families and wealthy consumers freshwater pearls are an affordable fashion accessory for everyone.

Pearl is the birthstone for June.

Pearls are said to be calming and centering. They represent purity and promote faith, charity, integrity, truth and loyalty. They help one to connect with the Goddess-the ultimate feminine energy.

Pearls need to be treated with care. They will stay cleaner if you put them on after you have applied your makeup and perfume. Wipe them with a soft cloth when you take them off. If they become soiled you may clean them with mild soap and water. Air dry before putting them away. Never clean pearls in ammonia based cleansers or put them in an ultrasonic cleaner. Store pearls carefully so that they are not scratched by other metal or gemstone jewelry.

The FamiLee Jewels love using pearls in our jewelry designs. Their classic look is a complimentary to gemstones and the sparkle of crystals.

Pearls are the perfect adornment.

Brookside Museum Holiday Shop

The Holiday Shop at The Brookside Museum is open now through December 22ND.

Each year Brookside expands its museum gift shop to include the work of local artists and crafts people.

Shop for unique locally handcrafted gifts including knit wear, candles, cards, jewelry, pottery, kitchen linens, original art work and books of local historical interest.

The FamiLee Jewels are proud to exhibit and sell our wire sculptured jewelry and wood turned items in the company of such talented local artists.
You may meet the artists at the museums annual open house on Friday December 5TH from 6-9pm.

The Brookside Museum was built in 1792 as a resort hotel. On the National Register of Historic Places Brookside is said to be the oldest historical hotel building in the United States still standing. Through the years the building has been used as a boys school, a private residence, a boarding house, a Sanitarium and apartments. In 1970 the Saratoga County Historical Society purchased the building and opened it as the museum. Brookside contains five galleries as well as a hands on history room, research library and the gift shop. Its mission to inspire community memory is carried out through interactive exhibits and programs such as the Victorian Tea Party for kids, A Brookside Harvest, Native New York and Sheep to Shawl. Purchases made at the Holiday Gift Shop support the museums educational mission.
Brookside museum
6 Charlton Street
Ballston Spa, NY
open Monday -Wednesday 10-4
Thursday-Friday 10-6
Saturday 10-4

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rings and Things

Over the course of the last year I have received several inquiries about making rings.

The process seemed daunting to me as I want to keep all of my jewelry pieces wire wrapped and sculpted using only cold joins. This means no soldering or other heat sourced methods are used in the design or production of the ring.

Simple bead rings were the first trial. The first few were "wonky" and it was difficult to make them the intended size. 20 rings later and more confident in the process I moved on to a more intricate design with ornate wire and bead wrapping to capture a larger stone.

My imagination has taken off!
Multi wire shanks, open wire shanks, woven wire shanks, gemstone beads, fossils, dichroic glass, and sharks teeth have been combined to make rings.

The latest and possibly my favorite rings are part of our Salvaged Style Collection. Some are made of rhinestone brooches and some are made out of sterling silver baby spoon and demitasse spoons that have been hammered into a new shape and embellished with encouraging words..

You can see the in our ETSY store and at our weekend kiosk The FamiLee Jewels At The Warehouse, 20 Learned Street , Albany, NY.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Golden Harvest Contest

This month I have entered one of my Vintaj pieces in a contest. I wasn't going to, but Mom really encouraged me to do so. I am very excited to see what people think of my pieces!

If you would like to see my piece and all the others that have been entered, please visit this website: I would LOVE to have your vote!! Voting ends November 14th.

I first started to work with the Vintaj pieces a little over a year ago. I saw one of the sellers at a bead expo who had them and immediately fell in love! I have not come across any brass that has this coloring. I also love the variety and endless possibilities with the filigree and charms!

I hope that you check out the contest!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli is a semiprecious gemstone prized since antiquity for it's intense blue color.

It gets its brilliant blue color from its sulfur content.

Lapis is a rock, not a mineral, mined in northern Afghanistan where deposits have been worked for more than 6000 years. These mines were the source of Lapis for the Egyptians and Mesopotamians and later for the Greek and Roman civilizations.

Secondary deposits in Siberia, Canada, and Chile supplement that supply.

Lapis was among the first gemstones to be worn as jewelry. In ancient Egypt lapis lazuli was a favorite stone for amulets, scarabs and other ornaments. Lapis jewelry has been found in Egyptian excavations and historical legend says that powdered lapis was used as eyeshadow by Cleopatra. It's opaque deep blue color is highly prized-even more so when it has inclusions of golden pyrites that shimmer like tiny stars.

Lapis with a higher quantity of calcite has a lighter blue color and is marketed as denim lapis.

Lapis is said to harmonize your heart and mind as it forges stronger bonds between them. It is regarded by many people around the world as the stone of friendship and truth. The blue stone encourages harmony in relationships and helps it's wearer to be authentic and to give his or her opinion openly.

Lapis takes an excellent polish and can be made into jewelry, carvings, boxes, mosaics, ornaments and vases. It was also ground and processed to make the pigment ultramarine for tempera paint .

Lapis is an alternate birthstone for September.

Because lapis lazuli is rather porous, it should never come in contact with chemicals and solvents. The best way to clean the stone is with mild, warm, soapy water.

The stone is either cut as beads for necklaces or as cabochons for exclusive jewelry. It is especially attractive when set with diamonds or pearls and makes a nice complement to the dark reds of coral. It is equally attractive when set in gold or sterling silver.

Lapis, having only the hardness of 5 to 5.5 should be protected from rubbing and scratching against harder stones and surfaces, such as other jewelry within a jewelry box.

Lapis lazuli is a versatile and popular gemstone which has shown extraordinary stability in the tides of fashion. No wonder, since it has fascinated both men and women for thousands of years with its fabulous colour and those golden points of light formed by pyrites.

The FamiLee Jewels love to use lapis in our designs.

Twins Rock Baby Shower

FamiLee Update:

Yesterday Freddy hosted the baby shower for his twin brothers Liam and Rory scheduled to be delivered on December 8Th, unless Becky's body gets tired from carrying them before that.

At 33 weeks they are 5 pounds and 5 pounds 1 ounce and perfectly healthy according to Dr. Ted.

Freddy was a fine host and made everyone feel right at home. Mom and Dad were very proud of him.

The twins and Freddy were gifted with many necessities from our loving family and friends.
We had wonderful snacks, played jacks, bubbles and sit and spin. Freddy had a chance to play with Cassie, Shayden, and Ethan, some of his favorite friends.

A wonderful time and chocolate frosting were had by all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

More Chandeliers!

As mom stated in an earlier post, I was also working on a chandelier piece. Well, it is finally completed and photographed!

For the pendant I used a Vintaj brass dragonfly and wrapped it around a crystal. I then wire-wrapped four other crystals with Vintaj brass wire. The remaining bead links are made up of rutiliated quartz and Vintaj brass beads. All of the wrapping and bead links were hand-crafted, as were the pendant drop and the hook and loop clasp.

I am really happy with the way that this piece came out, and as with a lot of my jewelry, Mom had to rip it from my hands to put it in the store!! But that is where it will be this weekend, as well as listed on our Etsy store.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Gift from The Garden

I have been trying to put more thought into the composition of jewelry designs and the things that inspire a particular piece.

I am particularly proud of the latest wire wrapped pendant. It is inspired by our backyard gardens and in particular by the flower covered surface of the Koi pond.

The base of the wire sculpture is an agate slice that is deep purple in color with concentric bands that represent the ripples that occur when you drop a pebble into the water. The agate has been wrapped in Sterling silver wire and embellished with beads of deep red, green, yellow and white to represent the flowers that surround the water garden.
A dragonfly floats gently at the top of the agate slice.

The pendant hangs on a handcrafted chain maille necklace in a linked floret pattern. It has 3 flower links worked into the chain. A butterfly of sterling silver dangles from the back of the neck chain.

The garden is cold and the flowers have been cut back for winter but A Gift From The Garden reminds me of the warm and sunny days to come.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Get Your Sparkle On!

Every Girl should have her own Chandelier.....and she should wear it with pride.

Some time ago while walking around At The Warehouse I came upon some Vintage chandelier prisms in multiple sizes. They have been on the top of my work table and swimming around in my head ever since.

I finally decided that they look great with Vintaj brass wire and started working on a necklace. I like the way the dark brass wire allows the crystal prisms to shine but still maintains an old appearance.
I am still tweaking the piece but I love the result and wore it for a while on Sunday to check the balance.
Earrings to match will be coming soon.
I know that Becky has been working with prisms also. I will try to get her to post her pictures soon.
These and other Chandelier prism jewelry pieces will soon be available on the ETSY site and at our weekend kiosk The FamiLee Jewels At The Warehouse.
They are part of the Salvaged Style Collection.