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Category Archives: Jewelry

Well I can kind of make a ring now, sort of. Not without a great deal of help from the teacher. We two sisters headed out to a solid 16 hours of introduction to silversmithing classes. Very interesting (and I mean that in many ways) teacher from whom we learned lots of tips and tricks. My ring ended up slightly too big, but today when my hands were warmer it fits. So I guess this gets to be a summer ring?

First Silver Ring

Made by Hand by Me!

Currently Reading: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Up next: The Ambassadors : from ancient Greece to Renaissance Europe, the men who introduced the world to itself

Current DVD: The First Grader is in the queue. Will definitely need tissues at hand.

“We have to learn from our past because we must not forget, and because we must be better.” – Kimani N’gan’ga Maruge


I have typed before of my fondness for thrift stores, especially when hunting for bargains. Sometimes, though, my imagination runs away with me. Or I get so excited by the fact that something is cheap that I don’t stop to wonder, “Do I really need this?”

Introducing $1.50 worth of zipper pulls. No zippers, just the pulls.

zipper pulls

Upcycling anyone?

Because apparently I couldn’t leave them behind at that bargain price. Now I just have to figure out how to turn these into a necklace that someone might want to wear.

“Zippers are primal and modern at the very same time.” – Tom Robbins

After spending the weekend doing nothing else, my three entries for the TACTile Art Show in Louisville are now done. Not sure how they’ll be received, but they are completed and will be delivered this evening.

Tactile 2011

Done, done, & done!

“I love building spaces: architecture, furniture, all of it, probably more than fashion. The development procedure is more tactile. It’s about space and form and it’s something you can share with other people.” – Donna Karan

I have a couple of friends who have immersed themselves in Steampunk. Not the trendy, over-the-top version, but the thoughtful, reclaim and reuse, historical aspects of the movement. I’ve been trying to make one of them a piece of jewelry for about 6 weeks now. I’ve made and ripped apart a necklace for her three times. I’m hoping this fourth time will be the charm.

I’ve been assisted this time around by listening to The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which is putting me in the proper frame of mind. If you’ve read it you’ll probably agree that some part of this story was the basis for the brilliant Pixar movie, UP.

The final necklace is really Steampunk Lite, because I’m finding that too much of the trendy parts of Steampunk are, well, unattractive when stacked all together. The mildly steamy aspects of this work are:
– faceted, smoke-colored crystal beads
– a central pendant made from a piece of hardware from the hardware expedition plus an antique winged shoe clip from the vintage corner at Ornamental Beads
– her nickname and profession are spelled out in the beads and chain in Morse code

Steampunk Lite Necklace

Here’s hoping she likes it! (And if you are reading this and you suspect it is for your upcoming birthday, well, let’s hope you in particular like it.)

“Thanks for the adventure. Now go have one of your own.” – Ellie, from the movie UP

At her recent Rocky Mountain Bead Society Steampunk lecture, Jean Campbell mentioned that she likes digging around her local hardware store for jewelry supplies. A generous member of the audience mentioned their favorite “stuff” store. The shop is Surplus Tools and Commodities at 1411 W. Alameda in Denver, a treasure trove of well, hardware chaos. Piles and tables and boxes of things that can find new repurposed life as Steampunk or hardware jewelry. Earth-friendly, green jewelry.

Hardware Store Glory

They are closed for inventory until July, but once they’re open again, I’ll be back to dig for more bits and bobs.

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist of creating out of void, but out of chaos” – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

I’ve just returned from Jean Campbell‘s steampunk jewelry class from Rocky Mountain Bead Society.

Yes we lucky few spent most of Sunday playing with chain, gears, and rivets making a steampunk cuff. Jean is a great teacher – fun, engaging, and encouraging. The encouraging is very important! Some of us struggled with parts of class and she gently guided us through multiple times to make sure we’d get it right. Check her website to see if she’ll be teaching near you this summer. She’s also going to be teaching classes on so watch for those!

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.” – Henry Ford

We’re both interested in Steampunk, the collision of Victorian style with technology twists. Think Victorian England, Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes, Golden Compass, and the tv show Wild Wild West. There are some remarkable artists out there in the genre, making stunning beads and jewelry pieces.

Two new books to check out:
Steampunk Style Jewelry by Jean Campbell

Steampunkery: Polymer Clay and Mixed Media projects by Christi Friese
Each of her creations is a tiny, detailed sculpture that amuses and amazes.

And Jean Campbell will be in Denver teaching next weekend!

“Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” — Jules Verne (apocryphal but good)