Birthday Weekend at Canton

With my birthday coming up, my Bestie and I decided it was a good excuse to head to Canton for First Monday Trade Days yesterday.  It was REALLY cold in the morning, but as usual we had a blast.  We spent the entire time “under the trees” – that’s where the good “junk” is.  Needless to say we returned home with a ton of treasures that will someday find new life in our jewelry creations.  The best part of the day though had to be all the interesting people we talked to.

There was a delightful gentleman who seemed to talk non-stop about anything and everything.  He told us he’d once been a history teacher and he had stories and advice on everything from how to get a good deal in a pawn shop (go on a rainy Monday with cash in hand) to how Ulysses Grant paid his son-in-law’s debt to Cornelius Vanderbilt with guns and other historical artifacts.  I bought a delicate pink rosary, a tiny salt shaker, and a huge bag of miscellaneous trinkets (each piece carefully rescued from a table literally covered in piles of jewelry).

Then we met a lovely lady who took us on a trip down fashion memory lane recounting jewelry trends from the 20′s to the 80′s.  The best part was when I retrieved a rhinestone encrusted articulated gold panther from a glass asking “What is he?” as my BFF Nikki exclaimed “He’s fabulous!” and we learned he was in fact a brooch that was to be placed over the shoulder (in the 70′s and 80′s).  He really was fabulous but after discussing the trend for a while I decided I was not the one to “bring it back” and would leave that challenge to someone else.

I have to say the highlight of the day was meeting Patty Burns from “Dirty Pearls”.  I immediately fell in love with her creations and once I sat down to talk with her, I realized she was every bit as captivating as her jewelry.  I learned she too was recently published for the first time (Autumn 2012 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry here).  I treated myself to a couple of birthday presents from her shop.  One, a long necklace featuring a beautiful crystal accented watch case with pearl dangles, and the other, a pair of gorgeous earrings made from pieces of a silver plated platter and accented with delicate pearls.  You can visit Patty at the Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival in Natchitoches, Louisiana April 13 – 14.

So, even though my birthday isn’t actually until tomorrow, I’ve already received some of the best gifts I could get – fun times with friends and chatting with a fellow artist, not to mention all that great jewelry-making loot!  Oh, and that’s not even including the Breaking Dawn Part 2 DVD and awesome stereo upgrade for my car that my hubby spent part of the day installing.  Now…I wonder if I can really get him to watch all 5 Twilight DVD’s back to back with me.  Stay tuned!



Finally Published

JA Winter 2013I say “finally”, but it was only 8 months ago that I set the goal to become a published artist before the end of 2012.  I emailed Beth Livesay, then Managing Editor of Jewelry Affaire (my favorite jewelry magazine of all time) and included a few photos of pieces I thought might be worthy of publishing.

To my surprise, Beth replied quickly and asked me to send in the pieces.  One day after the deadline I’d set for myself, my unique jewelry creations were included in the Winter 2013 issue of Jewelry Affaire (it hit newsstands on January 1st).  I’ve since sent in several other pieces to the new Managing Editor, Christine Stephens, many of which have been selected to appear in future issues of Jewelry Affaire.

So if you’ve ever dreamed of being published, go for it!  And be sure to check out my shop on Etsy StrandedInTheCity because I’ll most likely sell a few of the published pieces soon.

Canton First Monday Trade Days

Texas doesn’t know it’s December yet…which is a good thing.  What I mean is, we’ve had amazing weather in the high 70’s.  Breezy and warm, it doesn’t feel like Christmas could possibly be just a few weeks away, but it is.

At any rate, this warm weather made for the perfect day at Canton yesterday.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Canton, it is a world famous open air flea market which begins on the Friday before the first Monday of each month.  It consists of 450 acres of stores, booths, tents, and tables of everything you can imagine.

Due to timing and circumstance yesterday I didn’t visit the “junk” section near the Civic Center which is where I love to scour for mixed media jewelry supplies like keys, watch parts, broken jewelry, etc.  However, I did score some beautiful strands of beads for under $15 total.  If you’ve never been to Canton, Texas for First Monday Trade Days, I encourage you to go.  It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen!


3rd Annual Challenge of Color Reveal!!!

I was torn between the two palettes selected for me, so I decided to use both!  I should note that I challenged myself a bit more by committing to only use beads that I already had on hand.  So I dug through boxes, jars, and bowls of bead soup to find the combinations I wanted.

To represent the Namib Desert palette I created a statement necklace using leopard print beads, silver pearls, and various other types of beads in shades of brown. For the Meighen Island palette, I used watery blue lamp work and other glass beads combined with vibrant green pearls in a 5-strand bracelet with a slide clasp. Both items are for sale in my Etsy shop StrandedInTheCity. You can see a full list of the participants with links to their blogs below. Enjoy!

Click the image above to visit Erin’s blog for the main post!

Erin Prais-Hintz
Rebecca Anderson
Kris Auderer
Chrizette Bayman
Lori Bowring Michaud
Courtney Breul
Lynsey Brooks
Stephanie Buss
Iveth Caruso
Shannon Chomanczuk
Lisa Cone
Cece Cormier
Lori Dorrington
Dawn Doucette
Jeannie Dukic
Kim Dworak
Beth Emery
Janice Everett
Pam Farren
Donetta Farrington
Gloria Ferrer
Cherrie Fick
Therese Frank
Patty Gasparino
Tanya Goodwin
Ambra Gostoli
Jess Green
Denielle Hagerman
Mary Harding
Karla Hartzog
Kim Hora
Brandi Hussey
Emanda Johnson
Jennifer Justman
Sue Kennedy
Ema Kilroy
Lee Koopman
Linda Landig
Kirsi Luostarinen
Cynthia Machata
Alicia Marinache
Beth McCord
Mary K McGraw
Karen Mitchell
Cheri Mitchell-Reed
Aimee Moisa
Karla Morgan
Penny Neville
Becky Pancake
Kashmira Patel
Alice Peterson
Kayla Potega
Debbie Price
Bobbie Rafferty
Caron Reid
Nicole Rennell
Cynthia Riggs
Andrea Ross
Sally Russick
Annie Scherz
Pam Sears
Renetha Stanziano
Sandra Stein
Kristen Stevens
Tracy Stillman
Sherri Stokey
Lola Survillo
Kay Thomerson
Jo Tinley
Emma Todd
Cory Tompkins
Pam Traub
Melissa Trudinger
Michelle Tucker
Shelley Graham Turner
Monique Urquhart
Rachel Van-Walsk
Patti Vanderbloemen
Lesley Watt
Lynn White
Joan Williams

Looking Skinny

As I stood in the Marshall’s fitting room yesterday, trying to decide on a dress for my company’s Fire and Ice Holiday Ball, I was slightly irritated by some children in the fitting room next to mine. I could hear a man in the distance asking “Girls, are you alright?” so I knew they must be fairly young.

Anyway, as I tried on dresses, my mind raced with troublesome thoughts such as “Can I lose 10 pounds in the next 3 weeks?”, “Do body wraps really work?”, and “I wonder if a duct-tape-and-Spanx-combo will help?” the children’s constant chatter stopped being annoying for a moment as I heard one girl ask the other “Do you wike this? I wike it. It makes me wook skinny.”

For a moment I stopped worrying about how I was going to fit into this perfect dress I’d found and it pained me to hear a girl so young (maybe six or seven) thinking about “looking skinny”. While my own thoughts were probably unhealthy for a thirty-something year old woman, it didn’t seem fair that such a young girl would even be aware of “looking skinny”. So as we approach the holidays, and we struggle to balance eating, drinking, and being merry with the constant pressure to “look skinny” while doing it all, I urge women everywhere to think twice about being so tough on ourselves and realize the negative impact we may be having on the next generation of young women.

A Style Altering Moment

Have you ever experienced a moment that changed the way you design?  I had a moment like that in the Spring of 2011 when I discovered Jewelry Affaire magazine.  I hate to really even call it a magazine since it’s much more like a quarterly book.  The photographs overwhelmed me.  The techniques I saw were different from anything I’d ever imagined.  Because of the talented artists featured as well as the efforts of the magazine staff, my mind was opened to a whole new world of jewelry design.

Before picking up this issue (which I’ve probably read dozens of times since) I didn’t realize I was limiting myself by only using new jewelry components.  Once I realized that almost anything could be considered jewelry making media, the possibilities seemed endless.  A large portion of my designs now incorporate vintage jewelry or findings or found objects.  After discovering Jewelry Affaire, I bought both previous back issues (the magazine was new and only published twice a year at that point, but now it’s quarterly) and also bought up the past few years of its sister publication Belle Armoire Jewelry and I’ve bought every issue of both magazine since.

I’m very proud to announce that I will get to join the artists I admire when some of my designs are featured in the next few issues of Jewelry Affaire.  Even if you’ve never made jewelry before, I encourage you to check out the Winter issue on sale January 1st.  Not only will you get to see some of my work, you’re sure to be inspired in your own creative journey.  To see more of my work in the meantime, visit my etsy shop StrandedInTheCity.

My New Assistant

I signed up for Erin Prais-Hintz’s Challenge of Color and while I can’t reveal my results yet, I wanted to share this photo of my cat, Sprinkles, contemplating which beads should be used.  Since she has gotten brave enough to run past the CatScram upstairs in order to access my jewelry studio, Sprinkles has become quite the little helper.  She loves to trot upstairs to partake in some of her favorite activities:

  1. Stare and meow at me for no apparent reason
  2. Roll around like a wiggle worm
  3. Bat at any loose beads laying around
  4. Lay directly on jewelry projects in progress
  5. Take a bath
  6. Settle in for a nap
  7. Look up at the tiny dormer windows anytime a dog or other animal outside makes a noise
  8. Dart out of the room suddenly (again no apparent reason)
  9. Rub her scent on any and everything to ensure the studio is marked as her territory
  10. Continue to be absolutely adorable