Saturday, October 24, 2009

New designs - just listed at

I just put up about 10 new designs at the Etsy shop - - here's a preview!

Swallow earrings - large, smooth green brios under freshwater pearls and dark wooden spears. All findings are sterling.

Winterberry earrings - large antiqued copper leaf silhouettes with intensely colored maroon-purple luster Czech beads.

Ophelia earrings - gorgeous Peruvian opals with small, bright sterling silver on delicate sterling silver earwires.  I am totally in love with the color on these stones and can't wait to design more new pieces with them!

Wedding fever!

I got engaged back in July and am trying to plan our May 15, 2010 wedding in the middle of finishing a monster house flip (small old house, nearly EVERYTHING has been replaced), a demanding job, and my time-consuming Etsy habit. Pair that with the fact that I am slightly obsessive about perfecting every little detail, and you'll find that I'm slowly driving myself nuts...but enjoying every minute. :) So far, we have the date, location, dress, and a general theme. Classy meets vintage-modern meets garden meets nighttime...yeah.

The dress - Harlow by Maggie Sottero. Looking at the Maggie stock pics, there's no way I would have pictured myself in this. I think it's the crazy southern belle monstrous hairstyle....but, I saw another girl trying this on and fell in love with it. Even more so when I tried it on. There were tears, from my mom, my future SIL, and even (a little bit) sarcastic ol' me. :)
This is the Maggie stock pic:

And this is one of me wearing it:

We're having the ceremony at my fiancee's Church, which is a gorgeous old traditional building in a nice older neighborhood of Des Moines. The reception will be at the Sticks furniture workspace/warehouse, which is a beautiful, modern glass and concrete building in a wooded area not far from the church. The architect in me is loving planning the decor and theme for this space. Here are a couple of shots of the reception site:

Just a *few* more decisions to make (and stuff to pay for) and we'll have an entire wedding put together!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall pretties

Just a quickie this morning - I wanted to share a couple of new fall designs that I've made recently. First, I have been dying to do something with the gorgeous shades of dyed freshwater pearls that I've been seeing lately! Something about their soft, luminous surface makes me think about fluffy, cuddly things - totally appropriate for the season and (gulp) upcoming frigid Iowa winter! Anyway, this is my first design using pearls in a "fall" color palette. The design is called Autumn Glow.  The c-shaped earwires are sterling silver.

Second up, Autumn Blossom (seeing a theme here?)  These little guys are made up of a variety of gorgeous Czech glass beads, all suspended from antiqued brass kidney earwires.  I picked up a few different varieties of the little Czech flower beads, so expect to see more of them coming up.  I love the Picasso/luster finish on these!

Lastly, another Czech glass piece.  These are my Jacinda earrings.  I discovered the beauty of fire-polished and picasso finish Czech glass this summer, and am totally hooked!  You can always find new finishes coming out of the factories, and there are also plenty of standbys that are widely available.  I particularly love how the luxurious finishes play nicely with antiqued metals like copper and brass.  Here, I've paired large champagne luster rondelles with smaller, vibrant peach-orange firepolished luster beads.  SO pretty for fall! 

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Designers.

First blog entry. Such pressure! I started with the typical rundown of "me" that seems almost necessary to introduce myself and my blog to the whole world (or the two of you out there whom I've managed to interest thus far) : job, home, pets, significant other, hobbies, peeves, etc. But then I realized that I'm likely the only person who's really interested in the cute thing my cat did yesterday, or why I am generally perturbed by AB finish gemstones.

While I will certainly not deprive you of such fascinating tidbits in future posts, I thought it better to begin with something more broad; a topic that would be of interest to the hordes of people whom I expect will flock to my blog like flies to roadkill: Design.

Stated simply and without a precursor or further designation, "Design" is a hugely broad topic. Furniture design, jewelry design, interior design, graphic design, industrial design, culinary design, software get the picture. Widely varied? For sure.

The Merriam-Webster definition of design is stated as follows:
1 : to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan
2 a : to conceive and plan out in the mind
b : to have as a purpose :
c : to devise for a specific function or end
archaic : to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name
4 a : to make a drawing, pattern, or sketch of
b : to draw the plans for

With these definitions in hand, I think you can start to draw some comparisons between the array of design fields above. I am sure I've attracted only the most enlightened and intelligent of readers to my blog, but if you would indulge me a bit, I'd like to propose my own definition of what it is to be a Designer.
Designers, regardless of their specific expertise, endeavor to complete one primary task - to organize the media particular to their field in new or different formats such that the fruits of their labor are beneficial or enlightening to society in some way. Sometimes this is literal, such as the software designer who is currently hard at work on Mac OS XI: Banana Slug, or the guy (or gal) who gave us bacon flavored chapstick (yes, it is real, and you can find it here).
Other contributions are more esoteric, like Calatrava's
Chicago Spire, a residential high-rise which borrows the layout of its spaces and its outer form from seashells and other regular but organic forms found in nature.

While mainstream, household-name designers and their creations are the cherries on top of the proverbial sundae who provide us with something to aspire to (or at least argue about), I believe there is a larger, more important group of folks who are really the bread and butter of the design community, and embody what it means to be a designer every bit as much as the Calatravas and VanGoghs of the world. These are people like you and me. Many of us probably wouldn't even think of ourselves as designers. These are people like the stay at home mom whose passion is scrapbooking. Or the math teacher who composes original songs for her metal band. Or the accountant who builds the perfect treehouse for his son.
Or me, the architect who finds great joy in sourcing out the perfect materials for one of a kind pieces of jewelry, and then creating said pieces of jewelry for the delight and enjoyment of the Etsy community.
Ok, so I am actually a designer by profession, but this is MY blog and shameless self promotion is my right. :)
P.S., here are some photos of my pets. Also, I hate anything pickled.