Mix it up

For some time now, the words “mix it up” have been on my brain. For someone like me – it’s big. You see, I tend to like balance and symmetry. I’ve always drawn in the photo representational style – I decorate with balance – I like things to go together and to me, things that are alike go together. In my earlier jewelry designs, transparent gemstones were put with other transparent gemstones, faceted stones with faceted stones, etc. I don’t know when “mix it up” started in my brain but I’ve been hearing it for a long time now and I’ve been slowly trying to break away from my old familiar patterns. To me, this is a signal of growth and a desire for change.

My mother said it best, “when you pick prints, you tire of them after about 5 years.” She was referring to interior design and at the time, I was skeptical. But I love that print – I’ll never tire of it. Well, guess what? She was right. The same thing happens with jewelry design – after a while, things start to look old.

New Beginnings

Happy New Year! While I never really make New Year’s Resolutions, this year I have vowed to eliminate clutter in my life. By doing so I hope to get more room in the brain for the creative process. In addition to looking forward, I tend to look back – to briefly assess any accomplishments.

This year, my major accomplishment has been to remain a non-smoker. Quitting the habit was something I’d wanted to do for many years. With the exception of quitting for the pregnancy and nursing of my first born, I had been a regular smoker for nearly 25 years with a habit of 1/2 to 1 pack a day depending. How did I do it – and while married to a smoker?
I began by feeling bogged down by the addiction. Yes, you have to tell yourself you hate it and do so over and over again. After you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve had enough of the addiction, go to your doctor for help. My doctor gave me a prescription to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. And while I received this prescription in September of 07, I didn’t start the program because I was taking another medication for a different problem. I waited until I had finished those meds before filling the prescription. Being able to focus on taking only one medication was helpful for me.

What were the meds like? For me, I felt extremely angry all the time. I felt like yelling all the time – and I was yelling alot more than usual. I don’t know for sure if it was the meds or the fact that I was angry for denying myself something my body wanted. Thankfully, it went away after I stopped taking them 2 months later. In addition to taking the meds, to keep from smoking I used a few other tricks.

1) Change your routine. This is really important because it’s a distraction. If you can switch the order in which you do things, it really helps.

2) Identify your triggers. Once you identify your triggers, stay away from them as much as possible. Bars, parties and alchohol were off limits for a while. I still had to drive though so I would distract myself with the radio – singing – lots of singing. Some people hold things like a pen or pencil.

3) Take deep breaths. A friend once told me that smoking was the body’s way of telling you it wants you to breathe. When I felt like smoking I would take a few deep breaths – I think getting the oxygen to the brain probably helped.

4) Prepare yourself mentally – you will be taunted by cigarettes for a long time. I’d drive by the gas station and see ads for cigarettes – ouch. I’d go to a movie and they would be either smoking on the screen or I’d have to walk thru cigarette smoke to get to my car. Eventually, the smell of cigarette smoke became disgusting and that helped but until then you need to find a way to deal with the temptation.

5) Tell yourself and others that you don’t smoke anymore. This was probably the key to my being able to quit. Whenever I was tempted to “light up”, I’d tell myself “I’m a non-smoker now.” The power of the spoken word (or thought).

What has been the most challenging? I used to associate the creative process with smoking. Meaning, when I’d get stumped about a design or needed inspiration, I’d go have a smoke. I won’t belittle that process because I realize for some, the opportunity to break with a smoke yields results. But I will say that by recognizing the smoke break as JUST A BREAK, I was able to eventually get past it.

Even tho I quit over 1 year ago, I still take it 1 day at a time. Sometimes I still say it – “I’m a non-smoker now.” It’s important to accept that you’re human and the possibility of faltering is there and that if it happens, it’s ok.
Have a Happy and Healthy 2009!

Diana 😉

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

When I first saw these Apatite nuggets I was drawn simply to the color. But the more I looked at them the more I loved them for their ancient quality – like something found in an archaeological dig – asymmetrically faceted slabs, they are cracked and pitted in places which give them a unique charm. Even my 9 year old son commented – “These are cool, Mom! I love the cracks!” Indeed. To enforce the museum feel, I’ve enhanced them with 24K gold vermeil and large Faceted Smokey Quartz Rondelles. To modernize the look I incorporated smooth labradorite pebbles. I love the contrast. As you move about, the labradorite beads flash gorgeous shades of blue and olive . . . yummmmm.

The pendant necklace is 24″ long and the bead chain necklace is 20″ long with an extender.  They are designed to be worn layered but look gorgeous on their own. 

Soon to be available in my Etsy store where my seller name is “queeniejewels”. Hope to see you there!

Organic in Nature

‘Round here, we’ve been trying to introduce more whole foods and organic products into our diet. Back to nature is something we’re doing for the health of our body and mind. And it got me thinking about introducing more natural looking beads in my jewelry as well – you know for a more zen feel.

To me, nothing says natural more than these gorgeous agate beads. They remind me of stone collecting when I was a kid; asking my dad for a hammer and breaking open stones to see what was inside. Or skipping stones – growing up in the land of 10,000 lakes we used to look for smooth flat stones just like these.

Botswana Agate – gorgeous circular patterns reminiscent of shells by the sea – shades of grey, taupe, browns, and even orange just for pop. If I were going on holiday this winter it’s what I’d wear with my white linen. For now wear them with a light grey cashmere sweater over charcoal grey or espresso trousers for work. Yes you can mix brown and grey – nature does it beautifully and so can you! I call it effortless.

Time flies!

Much time has passed since my last entry and much has happened. A couple weeks ago my computer had started crashing so I ran spybot, cleaned the disks and defragged. Then Adobe Photoshop no longer worked so I unloaded it and reloaded it – when it asked for the update I went to Adobe and downloaded that and the software still won’t open a photo. So, I found Gimp on the web and have been trying to learn a new photo editing system – not an easy task.

Recently I did a jewelry show. Doing your first jewelry show can be a blog posting in itself but I won’t bore you with the details. It took many hours of preparation, cost about $200, and I sold one necklace. I’ll chalk it up to a good experience and take comfort in knowing that at least now I have everything I need to do another. Here are some display ideas.

 

 

I’ve been working on a consignment for special occasion jewelry – necklace with matching earrings using Smokey Quartz, Chocolate Pearls, and Gold. The look I was going for was romantic yet bold. Romantic because the brocade jacket the customer would be wearing had a lovely portrait collar – reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth. And bold because the jacket had a large portrait collar – what do ya know? Scale is very important. I was lucky to have in my stash some huge heart shaped briollettes.

Last Thursday, I suffered a second degree burn while cooking dinner (don’t worry, I’m not going to post a picture). It’s surprising how fragile we can be. The burn, which is the size of a grapefruit and caused me to seek medical attention, was extremely painful and had I not had Tylenol with codeine, I don’t think I could’ve slept a wink. The next day wasn’t as bad as I’d thought but the next few days . . it was difficult to do many things I take for granted – like taking a shower – didn’t want to get the burn wet; doing household chores or making jewelry – it was painful to do just about everything as the entire burn throbbed most of the time. To end a long story, I’m much more careful about lifting the cover off of a boiling pot on the stove.

Last but not least, I opened an Etsy store. Why have an Etsy store when you already have a website? This will have to be another post.

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog! After much thought I’ve decided to create this blog so I’d have a place to chronicle my work and thoughts. Creating jewelry is my passion and for me it’s as important to collect and find new stones as it is to work with them. While the past years have been spent collecting transparent stones, I now seem to crave more earthy, opaque stones or stones that seem to encase a kind of treasure.

Stones that shimmer or have a pearlescent quality are very appealing – like labradorite, a continued favorite of mine, where blues and greens shimmer within a field of charcoal grey. Sunstone is another pearlescent stone that I love for it’s orange base that shimmers with golden sunlight. I’ve recently collected several other shimmering stones which I’ll get to in future posts.

A new stone for me is Golden Rutile Quartz – within a base of clear (sometimes cloudy) crystal quartz are fine golden needles. This gemstone comes in so many qualities and the best stones are very expensive. I hope to continue to grow my collection and share them with you by way of pendants, bracelets, and earrings – Golden rutile is a must for any rock hound.

Amber is another stone filled with treasures – with it’s bits of nature suspended within a honey, cognac, or deep cherry base. I have some gorgeous amber on order and will post photos as soon as it arrives.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading my blog and will come back often. Thanks for visiting!