Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jewelry from Junk

This week I wrote a review of a recent favorite book Junk to Jewelry by Brenda Schweder. I share with Brenda a love for finding odd bits and pieces and incorporating them into jewelry. I would like to share some of my jewelry from junk.

The round portion of this brass pendant was a drawer pull in it's former life.

This ring is made up of brass washers and watch parts.

Beach combing in Massachusetts yielded this softly polished piece of white sea glass which has been wrapped in sterling silver.

Whether you call it Junk to Jewelry, Trash to Treasure or Salvaged Style making a beautiful object out of the unappreciated detritus of the world is a fabulous stretch of the imagination. The recycling will make you feel green and virtuous as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Junk to Jewelry.....a review

Junk to Jewelry A step by step guide to using found objects in jewelry you can actually wear.
by Brenda Schweder
Brenda Schweder, author of Junk to Jewelry is a kindred spirit. Her love for found objects, or as my mother refers to them "other peoples trash" , is apparent in her writing and it strikes a chord within me.
Those of us that are pickers, sorters, and scroungers, who walk the beach with our faces to the sand and who enjoy spending an afternoon at the Salvation Army store will appreciate her advice.
Junk to Jewelry begins with a short chapter that discusses found objects both old and new and gives suggestions of where to look for them.
This is followed by the usual lists of tools and basic materials and the obligatory instructions for basic knots and wire and metal techniques.
Then we get to the good stuff!
The 31 projects in Junk to Jewelry range from simple to intermediate in degree of difficulty. They illustrate the use of found objects as obvious as vintage jewelry and as obscure as plumbing hardware.
The projects have supply lists and the detailed instruction for their completion. They are beautifully photographed. The pages are full of highlighted tips and alternatives several of which are worth the price of the book in themselves.
A Word of Warning!
You will not be able to reproduce these projects. The objects in them are unique. The projects and the accompanying gallery of work are meant to spark your creative ideas and to teach you assembly technique so that you may turn your stash of treasure into a wearable work of art.
Brenda speaks to those of us that share her love of finding things:
"That's probably the crux of it for us pickers, isn't it? Seeing the beauty in something so ordinary , so overlooked by the crows of the world who say only the new and shiny is valuable. My heart skips a beat when I see and old painted bit of metal on the sidewalk, a cracked piece of back-up-light reflector on the ground next to the gas pump, or and acorn............................. My brain surges with challenge-how can I turn this lovely bit of beauty into something resurrected, something others can appreciate?"
I encourage you to add Junk to Jewelry to your library and to flip through it frequently as you ponder your "found" treasures.
Happy Hunting!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Bangles are an ancient form of adornment. Bangle bracelets made of shell, copper, gold, bronze and a variety of precious and semi precious stones have been excavated from archaeological sites dating back to 2600 BC. Paintings and other ancient artwork from Egypt and India depict women wearing cascading armfuls of them.
Bangles are traditionally a rigid bracelet with no clasp.

A recent fashion trend has been to accessorize with bangles made of fabric.

The fabric bracelets have appeared in a variety of colors and fabrics in styles that are elegant, funky or bohemian.
Bonnie of The FamiLee Jewels has recently been experimenting with fabrics found in a closet leftover from her daughters quilting projects. She also uses vintage fabrics found at salvage stores, garage sales, and good will stores.
The fabric bangles are very attractive when worn in complementary groupings of three to five bracelets. The fabric is soft and lightweight, making it cool and comfortable to wear.
Accessorize your Summer wardrobe with fabric bangle bracelets by The FamiLee Jewels.

Thank you to Kay Sommers for her generous instruction in this technique and to Melissa for abandoning her scraps.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who us???

"You couldn't be talking about us!" they protest with big innocent brown eyes.

Don't be fooled!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bad Dogs

Fred and I had the wonderful job of spending the weekend minding our grandbabies while their parents Becky and Dennis went to NY to attend the graduation of Dennis' sister Maureen from NYIT.
Way to go Mo!

It was a very busy weekend filled with the delighted giggles of 3 adorable little boys and the antics of 2 bad dogs. The 2 days left us exhausted and in awe of what Becky and Dennis do every day.

My Mom, Ella, Nana to her grandchildren and great grandchildren sums it up succinctly "God knows what He is doing when He gives children to the young."

Some random thoughts about the experience:

*I have never changed so many diapers in such a short period of time in my entire life.

*Watch the dogs!

*A toddler will find and sit in the one pile of dog poo in the entire back yard.

*If you can't find your shoes, a letter of the alphabet, car keys, or the green dinosaur Freddy has probably pushed it through the cat door.
*Watch the dogs!!

*Our toddler has learned that he has 2 hopeful accomplices when he doesn't want to finish his meal. If you hear Freddy saying "sit" in a stern baby voice you can bet that Harley and Rascal are eating pancakes.

*Liam HATES peas despite the fact that his mother told us "The boys are good eaters they will eat any of the baby food just pick one." His tantrum was impressive.

*It is very difficult to take a walk with 1 toddler, twin babies, a Sato and a Jack Russell Terrier. It's like a parade and people want to interact with the circus performers.

*Watch the dogs!!!
*They are eating a dirty diaper!
*Don't let them lick anyone!

*Rory loves to bounce in the Jumperoo and he doesn't like to take turns. Another impressive tantrum.

*Watch the dogs!!!!
*They are stealing Freddy's doughnut!

*Watch the dogs!!!!!
*They are in the sandbox!
*Watch the dogs!!!!!!

No matter how tired you are 2 toothless grins and the giggles of a toddler at the antics of 2 bad dogs make the day brighter.
Bad dogs, bad dogs what you gonna do.....................................?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Emerald-May's Birthstone

Who first beholds the light of day
In Springs sweet flower month of May
and wears an emerald all her life
Will be a loved and loving wife.
Birth stone poem by and unknown author from the Gregorian Calendar, published by Tiffany and Co. in 1870.

Sparkling with a rich grass green color, emeralds are highly valued for their fascinating earthy beauty.
Emeralds are a relatively hard stone at 7.5-8 on the Moh's scale. They are a member of the Beryl family of minerals with their rich color caused by the presence of chromium and iron. Emeralds usually contain inclusions which are not considered flaws.
Quality emeralds are mined in Columbia, India, South Africa, Russia and Afghanistan.
Tradition holds that emeralds enhance the wearers clairvoyant ability.
The strongest time for the powers of the emerald is said to be spring.
They are also worn to promote healing, love and contentment.
Emeralds are considered good for eye ailments. Just gazing at the clear green colored stone is said to ease eye strain and cure headaches.
Emeralds were highly prized in ancient Rome.
They were worn as a talisman by the Roman Goddess Venus to represent faith, goodness and kindness.
Emeralds were Cleopatra's favorite stone. She gifted visitors to her court with an emerald engraved with her likeness.
Egyptian mummies were buried with emeralds engraved with the symbol for foliage to represent eternal youth.
Clean emeralds with a soft cloth and mild solution of soap and water. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners as most emeralds are oil treated for color enhancement.
The FamiLee jewels do not currently sell emerald gemstone jewelry, but we love to wear it! Green is my favorite color and emerald is Melissa's birth stone so I get to wear it in my mother's ring every day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jewelry repair

The FamiLee jewels are frequently asked if we do jewelry repair. The answer is of course!

Bring us your tired and worn jewelry, the string of beads that broke, the earring that you lost one of, that favorite pin that has no clasp, or the rats nest of chains that has been taking up space in your jewelry box.

We can restring and rebuild as long as your project does not require soldering or other heat source methods of repair.

If your item is beyond repair we would love to have a discussion with you about how it could be utilized in a new piece of jewelry. Your single earring can become the centerpice of a ring or pendant. Your pin can be worked into a beautiful bracelet.

Restringing is 10 dollars for a single strand necklace, each additional strand would cost 5 dollars. We string on 49 strand Accuflex stainless steel beading wire with a tensile strength of 14 pounds. We finish the ends with wire guardians and your original clasp. We stand by our work and should breakage occur we will restring at no additional cost to you.

Clasp replacement runs from 5 to 25 dollars depending on the type and value of clasp you desire.

Design and production of a custom piece varies in price. The cost is dependent on the materials used.