Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Blog Carnival: How it Came to Be

I make jewelry out  of salvaged cabinet, electrical and plumbing fixtures.  People often wonder out loud when looking at the jewelry that I make out  found objects and vintage hardware.

Where do you find this stuff?
Why do you see jewelry in it?
How do you get your ideas?

May I show you?
My favorite shopping grounds are salvage yards, garage sales and friends junk drawers.

I love the intricate ornate designs in old brass and reuse them whenever I can in ways that showcase their beauty.

This often means cutting them apart into reasonably sized pieces.  The Dremel tool is a very handy accessory for this purpose.

This is what the  pieces look like before dismanteling.

Afterwards I just clean them with a wire brush and mild soap and water. Nothing too strong, preserve the old patina if at all possible.

These are a few of the finished products.

Free Flight made of vintage watch band and gears.

Hearts Amulet made from an old wrist watch case.

Fleur de Lis made from an antique door knob.
The topic "How it Came to Be" was chosen as the Starving Artists Team's Blog Carnival post for the month of October.  Read how other members felt about the subject.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New from the Shop This Week

This week I dug out a supply of beautiful agate slices to work on.  These organic slabs are cut from a geode and still have the rough rock ringing the outer edge.  They make a lovely background for collage type pendants.
A soft and lovely slab of swirly blue grays became the sky for these swallows.

Cafe au Lait coloring made a great focus for these fossils and antiqued brass elements.

Banded agate is lovely next to a rose and a tiny dragonfly.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October Jewelry Challenge

The Starving Jewelry Artists group that I belong to has decided to respond to a monthly challenge to stimulate the imagination, spur creativity and share ideas. October was a month for do overs. We were each tasked to take a piece of jewelry of our own creation that we were not satisfied with and to give it a makeover.

I chose an old wire wrapped piece. This necklace is about 2 1/2 years old. It consisted of a sterling silver hammered neck ring, a stone donut with wire wrapping and a tumble stone suspended from that. It was a difficult choice to take it apart because of the price of the silver so I devised a way to reuse almost all of it. Attached Image
Problems: I did not like all of the spirals and swirls, the setting was not tight and it just didn't seem balanced in design.
Positives: I did still like the colors, the ocean theme and especially the 2 dolphins swimming in a circle in the center of the donut.
Changes: The neck ring is gone. It was awkward and unappealing and a waste of 16 gauge sterling silver wire. It became the clasp on the bigger necklace and 4 bead links in the chain for it.
The 2 stones were separated and each became its own necklace. The Blue dumortierite donut was enhanced by the addition of small freshwater pearls and a lot of tiny silver beads to give it a more jewel encrusted appearance. I also wove 28 gauge wire into the bail wires to make it look more solid. The new pendant now has a sterling silver chainmaille necklace to hang on.Attached Image
Attached Image
The tumble stone with tropical fish charm was enhanced by the addition of beads and a silk necklace.
Attached Image

Featured Artist: Danagonia

Camilla Vejen Eriksen is a jewelry artist who lives and works in Denmark.
She is a fellow etsy vendor and member of the Starving Jewelry Artists.
Her whimsical feminine designs are dreamed of and created in the enchanted Kingdom of Dragonia, where gnomes and fairies rule and Camilla can make magical jewelry all day.  I have been lucky enough to watch her talent develop through the posts that we share on the forum.
Fairy Cross
Camilla works with copper wire and gemstones. Her jewelry can be recognized by it's swirls and filigree combining those elements in designs that are both strong and feminine.
My current favorite piece in Camilla's etsy shop is Fairy Cross.  Its delightful spirals, gleaming gems, and deep rich color represent everything that I admire about her work.  

The story is a bonus. Camilla's description of Fairy Cross begins " Fairies don't have religions like us humans, but they do carry certain symbols for protection and prosperity. This is one of them, I can't write it's name with our alphabet, so I've decided to just call it The Fairy Cross."

The name of Camilla's shop is Danagonia - Enchanted Jewelry it can be found at .  It offers fantasy inspired hand crafted jewelry and the tutorials that instruct you how to make some of them.. 
Her blog can be found at  where  you will find the story behind the jewelry and the woman.
Camilla comes from a creative family but she is the only jewelry artist among them . Her Mum is  the 4th generation, and Camilla is making sure the 5Th generation continues that tradition.
I asked Camilla what made her work special? She replied "I try to always leave my mark on my work, so that when people see my jewelry, they instantly know it's mine. Plus I try to write a small story for every piece. Most of the time a little fairytale."

When asked about her design process Camilla said  "I tend to work from either a stone or certain beads and create my design from that, or I make sketches and work from those. Sometimes I just make random spirals and see what I get."  She recently wrote a blog post that shared pictures from her sketchbook. It was a wonderful glimpse into her clever imagination.

Beware fairy boys if a fairy girl gives you a birth flower!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Second Annual SATeam Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway

Lush and Loaded Cottage Garden Charm Bracelet waiting to be won.

The Second Annual SATeam Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway has begun!

On a model

The talented members of the Starving Artists team on etsy have collaborated to make a beautiful Flower themed charm bracelet. Our instructions were to create a Flower charm using sterling silver and bright colors. The result is a lush and loaded charm bracelet that looks like a cottage garden.
The charms have all been added to a sterling silver charm bracelet and are ready and waiting to be won. The FamiLee Jewels are proud to have one of their charms on this stunning creation.

Shop early and Shop often.

Between October 17, 2009 and November 28Th, 2010 every  time you purchase an item from The FamiLee Jewels or any of the participating etsy stores your name will be entered into the draw to win this beautiful flower-themed bracelet, bursting with with charms hand-made by members of SATeam.  The winner will be notified on November 30Th.

For Full Details and a list of participating etsy shops visit:

The full bracelet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The FamiLee jewels-now available at Artfire

The FamiLee Jewels have expanded our sales opportunities. Our merchandise is now available at ArtFire as well as Etsy.  ArtFire offers an opportunity for those of you without Etsy accounts to shop without having to create one.

The FamiLee Jewels on ArtFire

Autumn in New York

Monday, October 11, 2010

Goold Orchards

According to one  producer "Apples without cheese
 are like a hug without the squeeze."
 The FamiLee Jewels had a wonderful weekend at Goold Orchards 22nd Annual Apple festival.
The sun was shining and the weather was crisp, and there was frost on the pumpkins Sunday morning. It was perfect Fall weather.
Thank you to our many returning customers and to the new ones we met.
I did some shopping myself and would like to introduce you to some new local businesses that were fellow vendors. Their products are wonderful and they are nice people to boot!

Dirty Girl line by RAD Soap Co
Rad Soap Co keeps it real by making their soaps and lotions by hand, in small batches, with no chemicals or artificial ingredients. It all smells great from the coffee scented line for caffiene junkies to the Cheeks bar made just for the babies in your life. 
Satatoga Herb  from Hummingbird Haven.

Hummingbird Haven Herb Farm is a Galway based  buisiness that creates delicious blends for snacking. The Saratoga Herb blends are delicious.  Try the Taste of Tuscany with hearty crackers for Fall noshing.

Cha Cha for the Cure wine glasses.

Cha Cha ware by Armadillo Meat on a Stick is my latest favorite stemware! Their tagline of "Why walk when you can Cha Cha"  says a lot about the happy attitudes of Lisa, Donna and Marie who create functional art to beautify your life.

It was great to see new vendors and to catch up with old friends. We will see you again next year for the 23rd Annual Apple Festival, Columbus Day weekend at Goold Orchards.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Focus on: Feather the Nest

Anyone that has had even short contact with either Fred or I is aware that we have 3 beautiful grandsons that we dote on.  Our little boys are a precious gift and we love them dearly.
Freddy (age 3) and Liam and Rory (ages almost 2) provide us with immeasurable joy. We started college funds for each of them when they were born and also started Feather the Nest, an etsy shop that offers handpainted gourd birdhouses and copper hooks. The profits from Feather the Nest sales are placed directly into the boys accounts.
Feather the Nest birdhouses are handpainted by Bonnie using acrylic paints and then sealed with high quality satin spar varnish for moisture and UV protection. Each bird house has a hanger crafted of copper wire.


Birdhouse gourds make wonderful gifts for the gardener, birdwatcher, or outdoor decorator on your list. 
Liam and Rory enjoy boat races.