Sunday, June 26, 2011

June Blog Carnival: Using Other's Work

I love using other peoples work in my designs. The Salvage jewelry that I make is a celebration of the artistry of another era. One where fine craftsmanship and attention to detail were prized. I do not know these artists of old but I seek out their work in unlikely places. My favorite shopping and collecting spots are architectural salvage yards, flea markets, garage sales, fossil and mineral shows, piles of "stuff" washed up on the beach, and junk drawers. I have been known to cause a pedestrian traffic jam in the city by stopping to pick up an interesting bit of trash.
The necklace pictured above is made up of the inner gears and plate of a vintage watch. Note the etched detail of the company name on the part itself. That lovely detail was hidden inside the watch case. Only the maker saw it.
Trilobite Fossil wrapped in brass.
Bless the fossil collector that dug this amazing trilobite specimen out of the Wheeler shale formation. I have tried rock collecting with picks and shovels, it's not for me. I am happy to leave it to an expert like my source friend in Utah.
Zipper Hoop earrings

These earrings were made from an old metal garage sale zipper. I have been known to purchase a garment for the appearance of the zipper and/or buttons.

Saints be Praised Bracelet

Old religious medals are some of my favorite components. These little treasures are beautifully made and full of meaning. I love finding them in the bottom of the sale bins or 10 cent buckets at garage sales.

Rhinestone and Pearl Bracelet.
One of my favorite sources of other peoples work is broken vintage jewelry. The rhinestones in this bracelet used to be a shoe clip. Old chains, lonely earrings and broken vintage watches all find their way into the workroom.
Other peoples work, incorporated into my own is a large part of the signature style of The FamiLee Jewels.

To read what other Starving jewelry Artists have to say about the subject visit:
Island Girl
Jewelry Art by Dawn

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Life Lesson Learned?

I have fought a battle with weight all of my adult life.
The pounds crept up and my activity level became more sedate.
I worked long hours often on overnight shift.
I am terrible at portion control.
I have gained and lost enough to make at least 2 of me over the years.

2009 at my heaviest weight
Last year I was forced to admit that my weight was affecting my ability to do the things I wanted to do in life. Theater and Airline seats were tight, and I became short of breath with moderate exertion. 

I made the decision that I needed to do something. Thought about surgery and discarded that idea. Considered going back to Atkins or Weight Watchers but had tried both before, lost weight and then put it all back on again plus more.

Luray Caverns, May 2011
Enter Medifast. I met a neighbor that had lost 60 pounds using it and had become a life coach because she believed so strongly in the product.  BJ gave me the push that I needed to get started. To date I have lost 87 pounds and 10 sizes.

I have energy and exercise tolerance and recently climbed a (small) Adirondack mountain with the family. The effort would have given me a heart attack a year ago.

During the last year I have learned to modify my eating habits. This is not a diet it is a lifestyle. I have learned to think of food as fuel rather than as a source of pleasure and satisfaction.
I will reach my goal of a BMI of 24 in 9 more pounds.
I believe that I have learned enough to successfully navigate transition and maintainence without backsliding. It will take the rest of my lifetime to know for sure.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gettysburg Inspired Jewelry

photograph of napoleon cannons on a sunny afternoon in Gettysburg Virginia
Napoleon cannon at Gettysburg

Fred and I spent several days last month exploring the Civil War battlefields of Pensylvania Maryland and West Virginia.

Gettysburg where  brother fought against brother.
Antietem where  23 thousand soldiers were injured or killed in a 12 hour period.
Harpers Ferry whose strategic location made it a frequent site for skimishes that made the town inhabitable for those who called it home.
Gettysburg Address

During our journey I indulged my passion for making and collecting pressed pennies.
When we got home I turned them into a bracelet.

copper bracelet made with a pressed penny with image of crossed civil war swords
Gettysburg Penny Bracelet

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vacation or how to relax and recharge

The state of North Carolina Monument was sculpted using photographs of
soldiers that fought at Gettysburg.
 Vacation.....I know that I am seriously dating myself but I can't think of the word without picturing Connie Francis singing V A C A T I O the summer sun.
The word itself makes me smile and fills me with excited anticipation. I get almost as much enjoyment out of planning vacations as I do going on them.  Fred and I enjoy traveling and make an effort to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
We had the pleasure last month of attending the wedding of a wonderful young couple in suburban Georgia northwest of Atlanta. We knew it would be a weekend full of love, laughter, family and friends. We received the save the date notice over the winter holidays. It didn't take us long to decide to turn the trip into one of our little adventures.
2011 marks the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Visiting the battlefields of Gettysburg has been on our wanna do list for quite a while. We decided that this was the year to do it.
We spent the early Spring months reading Civil War literature and watching movie series such as Gettysburg and The Blue and the Gray. We had lively discussions about our reading because we studied American history differently. Fred was raised in New York where the focus  of Civil War history was on slavery. I was raised in the South where the focus was on economics!

Brigadier General Gouverneur Kemble Warren

We spent 3 beautiful sunny days in mid May on the battlefields in Gettysburg and Antietam with a side trip to Harpers Ferry. The feeling of standing on those hallowed grounds is indescribable. Our research and the photographs and museum displays that we saw made it personal. The sense of loss is overwhelming. Imagining combatants who a few years earlier were friends, family members and neighbors standing half a cornfield apart and firing weapons at one another brought tears to the eyes. Realizing the tremendous sacrifice that our ancestors experienced to keep our country united was humbling.
V A C A T I O N.  
It doesn't always mean lounging on the beach or camping in the mountains, although I enjoy and highly recommend both of those pursuits. Experiencing a new place and stimulating a different part of my brain are great ways to relax and recharge.
View from the watch tower at Antietam, site of Bloody Lane.