Monday, March 23, 2015

Up to Lately

I've been having some fun in the office lately.

One thing I have been wanting to add to my shop is simple gemstone pendants so the stone is the star! 

These are my first additions including riverstone, rhodonite, black onyx, fancy jasper, white howlite, turquoise howlite (dyed) and mahogany obsidian. They will come with a black cord.
This inspirational necklace was a custom order. The request was for a handstamped Live Your Dream necklace with purple incorporated into it. 

So I dangled amethyst in front of the message with sparkling sterling silver. I love the result and now feel inspired to create more necklaces like this!
I also cooked with coconut oil for the first time. We recently purchased a huge vat of organic coconut oil to use as a moisturizer but then a bloggy friend sent me this recipe from Sweet Potato Soul. It called for coconut oil! 
They are roasted with coconut oil, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Sweet and spicy!!!

Well that's it for now. Still waiting for Spring! Thank you for stopping by and have a great week. ~Val

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Chronicle Appearance and Massachusetts State Symbols

So I got the clip! Unfortunately I couldn't embed it, but it can be found here:

Segment on state rock, mineral, gem and fossil.

An ad plays first (of course) then I come in at about 2:30 on the counter underneath. 

I was happy with how they edited it! 

Massachusetts State Symbols
Massachusetts may be a small state but we are second to Texas with the most state symbols! It was entertaining to learn them all. Yes I have lived in MA my entire life and never knew we had a state gem, let alone all these other symbols!

So many quirky things I learned like Dr. Seuss was from MA (how awesome is that?). That there is a state cat (tabby). The cute little ladybug is our state insect. So much more too as seen below.

designation of residents - Bay Staters

flower - Mayflower
tree - American elm
bird - chickadee
Game Bird - wild turkey (my parents get flocks of them in their yard)
horse - Morgan horse
insect - ladybug 
fish - cod
reptile - garter snake (one of these got in the pool last summer!)
dog - Boston terrier (makes sense)
cat - tabby cat 
marine mammel - right whale (this is a little funny since whales do not live on land in the state)

gem - stone (now I know)
fossil - dinosaur track (interesting)
mineral - babingtonite
historical rock - Plymouth Rock (where the pilgrims landed)
explorer rock - Dighton Rock
rock - Roxbury puddingstone (this is pretty cool looking)
soil - Paxton Soil Series 
shell - New England Neptune
building and monument stone - granite

song - All Hail to Massachusetts by Arthur J Marsh
folk song - Massachusetts by Arlo Guthrie
poem - Blue Hills of Massachusetts
glee club song - The Great State of Massachusetts
polka - Say Hello to Someone from Massachusetts

muffin - corn muffin (love these)
beverage - cranberry juice (we have cranberry bogs)
bean - baked navy bean
berry - cranberry (again, bog city!)
dessert - Boston cream pie (makes sense)
cookie - chocolate ship cookie
donut - Boston cream donut (makes sense)

district tartan  - Bay State Tartan
colors - blue, green and cranberry

sport - basketball
inventor - Benjamin Franklin
children's book - Make Way for Ducklings
children's author and children's illustrator - Theodor Geisel/Dr. Seuss
artist - Norman Rockwell
heroine - Deborah Sampson I probably learned about this woman when I was young but don't remember. What an amazing person!

ceremonial march - The Road to Boston
Patriotic Song - Massachusetts (Because of Your Our Land is Free)
ode - Ode to Massachusetts
folk dance - square dance
folk hero - Johnny Appleseed
blues artist  - Taj Mahal

Vietnam veterans' memorial - Worcester Vietnam Veterans' Memorial
peace statue - orange peace statue
Korean War Memorial - Charlestown Navy Yard Korean War Memorial
Southwest Asia War Veterans' Memorial - Worcester Southwest Asia War Veterans' Memorial
MIA/POW memorial - Massachusetts National Cemetery MIA/POW Memorial

Anyway, this list will surely keep growing. There is currently a push for Aerosmith's Dream On to be a state song. I saw them live while in high school back in the Dude Looks Like A Lady days! 

It appears that if someone feels a symbol is lacking, with enough push, can create a new official symbol! 

I hope you enjoyed seeing our long list of symbols and it inspires you to check out your own local symbols what you may be unaware of! 

Thank you for stopping by and for your continued support! ~Val

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Up to Lately

My television debut is going to be this Wednesday on New England Chronicle! For those of you within range, that is at 7:30pm on channel 5 (ABC). 

I should be able to access a link to the segment online after it airs so I will be sure to post it, embarrassed or not! 

The episode is playfully titled "Keep it Symbol" since it is about the Massachusetts state symbols. 

Mixing Materials
I've had some ideas in my crazy head and had a little time to play around.

I love inspirational items and of course gemstones. So pairing them makes me happy.
Strength Necklace
I finally got to use some of the polymer squiggles I made.
Bold Necklace
Courage in life is so important. I never wanted to be on tv so I really had to channel some courage in order to not pass up such a great opportunity.
Courage Necklace
No rhyme or reason here. Just some pretty stones!
Multi Stone Necklace
I also found this ring base in my stuff. No clue where it came from. So I added a cabochon of white howlite. I love the simplicity and now considering making these for my shop. A perfect complement to my earring studs!

A Custom Order
I was asked to make 10 hand stamped strong charms for a customer who will be making mitochondrial disease awareness key chains. 

Thank you for stopping by. Have a creative, fun week! ~Val

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pink Rhodonite

Pink Rhodonite
In anticipation of the upcoming episode of Massachusetts state symbols, I have been working on more rhodonite pieces.

I was contacted last minute about being involved with the state gemstone segment so I had very little of the stone on hand to show. I maximized as best I could by pairing with other materials.

Black Onyx Rhodonite Bracelet
Black onyx really makes the stone pop!
Black Onyx Rhodonite Necklace
Here it is paired with curly shells which compliment the pink beautifully. The remainder of the strand includes shell, white quartz and glass pearls.
Curly Shell Necklace
It is gorgeous with natural pearls. But then again, what isn't? The bracelet sold within a couple of days of posting.
Pearl and Rhodonite Bracelet
Of course I had to make a necklace too!
Pearl Rhodonite Necklace
These girly earrings have a Swarovski crystal with an AB finish. The bottom bead is pale autumn jasper.
Swarovski Crystal, Autumn Jasper, Rhodonite Earrings
Turquoise is a fun, unexpected pairing with the stone.
Turquoise Rhodonite Earrings
Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you a marvelous day and fulfilling week ahead! ~Val

Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 Oscars Fashion

New Stone in My Shop
This is named tigerskin jasper.
Pictured is a unisex eyeglass chain. I also also made ladies eyeglass chains and lanyards with this beautiful brown stone!

2015 Oscar Fashion
There were many gorgeous gowns this year (and many not so gorgeous but I will keep it positive). 

Here are some of my favorites.

I love this one! Of course this showed up on worst dressed lists. Scarlett Johansson in Versace. 
Reese Witherspoon in Tom Ford.
Behati Prinsloo in Armani Prive. I did not know who this gorgeous lady is but found out she is a Victoria's Secret model so of course she will look great in anything.
So classy is Cate Blanchett in John Galliano.
Always stunning is Lupita Nyong'o. She is wearing Calvin Klein.
Here is Gweneth Paltrow in Ralph & Russo.
I watched most of the nominated movies this year and was excited to see Birdman receive best picture. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel is right up my alley in terms of movies I love so it was great seeing its multiple wins!

Eddie Redmayne (best actor) was phenomenal in The Theory of Everything. I hope we see him in more amazing films in the future. I feel the same about his co-star Felicity Jones.

Julianne Moore (best actress) has always been a favorite is mine. She has been quite a risk taker over the years. Although Still Alice was terribly depressing, she was brilliant!

Thank you so stopping by. Happy movie watching if you are looking to catch up. ~Val

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mary Clare Art

Playing with designs
This did not come out quite as I anticipated which is why I usually don't have a plan when I sit down to play! I wanted to metal stamp the copper round but realized the gauge was too thin and would not take the stamping. 
I was going to combine words with the polymer clay squiggles and the black onyx cabochons. This piece is whimsical though so I will be keeping it for myself! 

Mary Clare Art

Mary Clare is one of my findings customers who creates stunning rosary beads.
handcrafted rosary
Each one is a beauty created with metal, crystal, glass and semi precious gemstones.
handcrafted rosary
Each is designed to be an heirloom piece.
handcrafted rosary
Not only that, but each is one of a kind, never reproduced.
handcrafted rosary
Mary Clare's talent goes beyond this. Please visit her page regarding a children's book written to explain adoption in a spiritual way to young children. She not only wrote the book, but also illustrated it! You may also find her blog here.

Visit Mary Clare Art for your next rosary purchase.

Thank you for stopping by! More to come soon as I may be making my television debut in a couple of weeks! 

Chronicle, which is a Massachusetts program that airs nightly on ABC, stopped by to interview me. The episode will be about the state symbols. I was showing off our official state gemstone which is pink rhodonite. Being a show I have watched for as long as I can remember makes it a bit exciting. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Magic Love Crow

While dealing with the winter blues, I have not been as diligent on Blogger as usual. Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things! Winter has been rough in the Northeast with lots of snow and insanely cold temperatures so I'm really longing for warmth, flowers and sunshine!

Magic Love Crow

A big thank you to Stacy of Magic Love Crow. She sent me this awesome collection of poetry titled The Dragon in the Room by J.K.E. Rose. It is an analogy of love and a dragon. Very unique! 
The back reads "Love is like a dragon in the room; it can lay there sleeping for what seems like a hundreds years then suddenly wake and terrify or seduce. It is powerful and swift, slow and cumbersome. A dragon destroys or protects, just like love."

If you haven't stopped by Stacy's blog before, she is an amazing artist specializing in the beautiful crow!

This is a recently commissioned collection made for a growing family. How beautiful is this? I'm sure it will be cherished!

I love how her work evokes emotions like in this piece.
You're the One
Some crows are very inspiring.
Live Grow Go
As a Game of Thrones fan, I love seeing a dragon included!
Beautiful Creatures
Here is a whimsical crow.
Can't Touch This
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of Stacy's work. Since her crows always make me smile, it was such a pleasure to share! 

Be sure to stop by Magic Love Crow when browsing for your next purchase of art!

Thank you for stopping by! Take care. ~Val

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Working on Lately

I have been working on some new findings for my shop. Since I enjoy banging metal, that have been my focus!

I have been hammering, stamping and antiquing copper pieces that can be used for earrings, necklace charms, sun catchers, dream catchers and other crafts! 
Calm and Serenity Charms
Using affirmation words, I have been listing them in 2 pairs of related words.
Create and Inspire Charms
I have also added handmade sterling silver earring wires to my shop.
Handcrafted Ear Wires
Making little polymer clay findings has been fun too! I need to experiment more here since I'm not super happy with how the gemstones look on the dark clay. So I will have to try some lighter tones or painting the clay. 
Maybe when I try making something with them I will may change my mind in how I feel about them!
Here is a necklace I made for myself with some of the polymer clay components I received from Sharyl's Jewelry.
I love the warmth and chunkiness of the final piece!

Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful, creative week ahead! ~Val

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Earring Studs and A Cheese Bake

For a long time I had only been making earring studs in sets due to time constraints. Now I have time to post single pairs in variety of gemstones! Available in my Etsy shop

Cheese Bake
This was delicious and easy!
It came out looking nothing like the inspiration pin I got the idea from here. It seemed to collapse because the veggies I used shrank when cooked!

It is made in a spring pan so you can hopefully remove it once cooked and have a perfectly shaped delight. That was not exactly how it went for me. I did oil the pan edges first just in case. The oven was preheated at 425F.
Any combo of veggies and cheese can be used for this. 

I started with thinly sliced butternut squash on the bottom as sort of a crust. 
Then added spinach. Then some cheese.
Then yellow bell pepper and portabella mushrooms. Then more cheese (one can never have too much cheese)! 
I also put in a layer of tomatoes and chopped cauliflower in here. The cheeses used were a combo of mozzarella, asiago and shredded Mexican cheese.
It came out collapsed even though I tightly packing the ingredients to the top as I was adding them. That was ok though. Between Jim and I, this only lasted 2 days! 

It tastes a lot like a quiche, but without the eggs. Next time we will try different veggies and maybe different cheeses!

Thank you for stopping by! Stay warm if you are in one of those cold spots. This past week was rough in Massachusetts! ~Val

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Eyeglass Necklaces and Sharyl's Jewelry

New Eyeglass Chains
I'm trying out this necklace style in my shops.
The wearer simply slides 1 eyeglass arm through the ring of the necklace to keep them handy. This earthy piece is available in my etsy shop

Sharyl's Jewelry
Sharyl is a talented jewelry artisan. Besides creating one of a kind jewelry, she also makes findings and beads for us to work with!

I received these polymer clay goodies from Sharyl.

 and wintery stamped metal. 
 It arrived in such beautiful packaging too!
I look forward to incorporating these into my jewelry.

I have a lot of favorites from her shops so it was difficult to choose only a few to show!
Shades of Gray Necklace
I love how she paints findings.
Red Patina Earrings
These copper pieces are really cool.
Copper Findings
This heart has me thinking of the upcoming Valentine's Day!
Heart Pendant
To see more of Sharyl's work, check out:

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed a peek at Sharyl's Jewelry!

Have a great week and a strong start to 2015! ~Val