Thursday, April 28, 2011

Carriages & Crown Jewels

Are you as excited about tomorrow's Royal Wedding as I am?!  I can remember waking up very early to watch Lady Diana get married to Prince Charles like it was yesterday.  I can remember every detail, the color of her peach going away outfit, the kiss on the balcony...*sigh*.  I know, it ended up a dreadful mess, but still it's fun to see Diana's son, William, marry someone he actually loves.  No "whatever love means" for him.  Kate seems to be a lovely girl, or as my friend Jennifer put it, "a real and accessible beauty."

I have two friends coming over at 4:30 a.m. to watch all of the pomp and circumstance with me and to make another lifelong Royal memory.  I have the scones, silver tea service, sterling flatware, and my Earl Grey and Boston Harbor teas ready to go on a lace tablecloth.  I even have champagne!  It's not too early to drink at 4:30 in the morning, is it?

This is like Ultimate Wedding.  On steroids.  Can you imagine planning your wedding and having everything at your disposal?  The tradition, carriages, old architecture, Heads of State, celebrity, and ceremony are certainly fascinating.  But what I'm going to be looking for are the gowns and the CROWN JEWELS.  No rhinestones there, I suppose.  I wonder if Kate got to go to the Tower of London and pick out which crown and pair of earrings she'll wear?  Hmmmm...Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...



Monday, April 25, 2011

A Friendly Reminder... come see me at Art Fest at the Newport on the Levee this Saturday, April 30th from 11:00-8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 1st from 12:00-6:00 p.m.  There will be over 60 artisans present, so it looks to be a fantastic show. 

I have been very busy (just ask my family!) making countless new pieces to showcase.  In addition, the older pieces will be marked down to make way for the new goodies. A sampling:

Vintage solid brass working lockets with brass filigrees and roses, rhinestone filigrees, and mother of pearl rings

Old World flavor with a modern twist:  vintage lead chandelier crystals, vintage mercury and metal buttons, vintage religious medals, pearls,  Swarovski crystal rhinestone chain, carved bone, mother of pearl rings...
Oh My!

Mother's Day will be here before you know it, let In Small Spectacles help you honor the woman who wiped your nose and loves you unconditionally!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Christmas and Easter

Easter, the holiday in which Christians around the world joyfully celebrate the resurrection of God incarnate, Jesus, thus fulfilling ancient prophecies of a coming savior, his death, and his resurrection.  The death and resurrection of Christ was the purpose of his time here on Earth, and it's our belief in this selfless act that saves our very souls from eternal damnation.  Not quite chocolate bunnies, this is serious stuff. 

For me Easter is the most meaningful holiday to celebrate.  Easter completes the Christmas story.  Without it, Christmas is just another retail-filled time of sparkly lights, Christmas bonuses, and time off from school and work.  Without Easter, Christmas is an empty holiday to celebrate an imposter, a liar.

We often think of Jesus' mother, Mary, only in the context of her being the young mother of God himself.  But do we think about the older woman who watched her firstborn falsely accused and vilified, beaten beyond recognition, and hung on a cross to die a most painful death?  As the mother of boys, my heart can't bear to even think about someone laying one finger on them, let alone what was done to Christ.  Pontius Pilate, Judas, Barabbas, Peter, etc., are all prominent "characters" in the Easter story.  I think Mary's presence at the crucifixion of her son was just as important and resonates with my heart.

I made a line of Madonna and Child pieces of jewelry to commemorate God's incarnation in the form of a little baby, but I think it most appropriate to link it up to Easter as well.  I do hope your Easter is a meaningful time for you as it is for me;  a time of reflection and thanks laced with mercy and grace and all the good and magical stuff of God. 

Now go eat that chocolate bunny's ears off.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Cleaning

You know that phrase "you can never have too much of a good thing?"  I would say that's a correct statement except when your house is systematically being overrun with beads, lockets, glass domes, vintage buttons, jump rings, Chandelier Crystals, Brass Filigrees, WIRE, CHAIN, KEYS, PEWTER CROSSES, ESCUTCHEONS, RHINESTONES, TOGGLE CLASPS....whew!  I suppose technically you can have too much jewelry, but I guess that would depend on your definition of "enough."  I love jewelry, simple as that.   It doesn't have to be expensive or designer, just something I appreciate.  I have enjoyed accessories my entire life.  When we were little, you could tell the difference between me and my twin sister in our pictures by who was wearing the beads-that would be me. 

You know you have a lot when Boy 2 says "Mommy you have so much jewelry, I bet you could wear a new piece everyday and you wouldn't have a repeat for years!"  Now in all fairness to me, let it be said that I save every piece of jewelry I have ever worn, have inherited, been gifted, or have made that hasn't been sold.  And I worked in fine jewelry in college.  That's a boatload after @&-some years.  Let me state for the record, though, that I can in no way be classified as a hoarder.  It may be a lot, but it's an organized lot.  Even Niecy Nash doesn't sort by color.

My attorney husband has thus far been very tolerant of my passion.  He didn't even protest when, in Hitler-in-the-Rhineland fashion, I took over his study and relegated all-things-legal to the basement.  Like Hitler, I would've retreated if France, my husband in this case, took a stand.  But he didn't.  Not.  One.  Word.  However, when I suggested that I run a second Etsy site to serve as a destash, well, he suddenly got very verbal.  "What a great idea!"  "That's a good plan!"  "Do you need me to help sort?"  Things get a little weird when Chatty Cathy is volunteering to sort beads. 

It's true, I do need to make way for new stuff, new designs, new materials.  So I just slashed prices on a ton of older pieces on the Etsy site HERE.  It's most of the shop but I have just as much that I haven't listed.  I'll list those after the Art on the Levee show at the end of April.  I'll also post with the secondary Etsy site information.

Support Spring Cleaning.  Be fruitful and multiply your jewelry collection. 


Monday, April 11, 2011


One of the things I enjoy most in making jewelry is mixing new and different elements together to create a look or a vibe that I haven't made before.  I think it's important to push oneself and try something new;   it increases your skill level in whatever you do and keeps life more interesting and your mind sharp.  My beloved late grandmother always used to say she felt like a 16 year old in an old woman's body.  It was because she never stopping being interested in learning new things.

I will always turn to my old standbys:  aged brass and bronze, czech glass,  Christian medals, vintage objects, and crystal.  But lately I have been drawn to the mixture of earthier and muted elements with those that are shiny, sparkly, blingy. 

The end result makes my heart skip a beat and keeps the joy in creating alive when it can sometimes get stale.  

Keep your mind young.  Challenge yourself and try new things.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

And Another Thing...

...about Etsy:  Their homepage features a collection of 12 items that an Etsy member has assembled according to themes, textures, colors, etc.  This collection, or "Treasury," changes hourly and it is a real coup to have one of your items featured on the Front Page.  I have always wanted one of my items featured on the Front Page as it generates traffic to your store and hopefully, sales.  An employee of Etsy picks the Treasury to be featured, so it really depends on that Treasury collection as a whole instead of an Etsy person just liking your one item.  Once you have an item featured on the Front Page, you can label it as such which is really impressive.  At least I think so. 

This Front Page is so competitive, so important to Etsians, that there is a website, Craft Cult, devoted to the statistics of your page:  How many people "favorited" your store or a particular item, and if a treasury you've created or a treasury featuring one of your items has hit the Front Page.  We Etsy sellers live for the favorites....and the sales.  This site is considerably easier to decipher than Web Analytics and is very helpful as we can't visit Etsy every hour of every day to see if we've made the Front Page.  Well, most of us can't.

I have found that the more prominent your presence in the Treasury realm of Etsy, the more likely you are to get shop traffic and be featured in another's Treasury.  I have made a bunch of Treasuries and been featured in some as well.  Here's the link to them, if you're interested.

I hope you've had a chance to peruse Etsy since my last post, have enjoyed your time exploring the incredible goodies there, and have committed to buying handmade forevermore, never to darken the doorstep of another mall or retail chain without first having searched on Etsy. 

Keep quality and creativity alive.  Shop Etsy.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

For the Love of Etsy

I love Etsy, don't you?  If you don't, you really should.  Etsy is an online marketplace that hosts thousands, literally thousands of "stores" (in addition to mine) where people sell their handmade items, craft and art supplies, and all things vintage.  Something has to have one of those three criteria in order to be sold on Etsy.  The work that artists sell is incredible and I have to practice self-control because there are so many things that I love and one could go absolutely uber-crazy with all the choices available to them.  A Paypal account is great, but it's not a never-ending well;  at least mine's not.

It's amazing the number of different ways a bracelet or necklace can be made using the same componants of beads, metal, wire, glue, paper, fabric, etc.  I find that Etsy increases my drive to be more creative, and to try my hand at different jewelry-making techniques.  It also pushes me to bring something more unique to my pieces to stand out among the throngs of jewelry sellers on Etsy.

I love to promote and celebrate other Etsy artists, so periodically I'm going to feature some of my very favorites that I have had experience purchasing from.  In each of these cases, the items were exactly as described, if not better, very reasonably-priced, and the shipping was quick. 

I'm going to start with Gothic Crow, who's tag line is "Gothic Raven Images... with a touch of odd."  I love odd.  I purchased this picture a couple years ago, framed it in an 8 X 8 black wood frame from Michael's, and it has been hanging in my family room ever since.  I absolutely adore it. 

Take a look-see through Gothic Crow's shop and try and limit your "I love this's" down to a handful.  I don't know how the artist takes these pictures and doctors them up to achieve the end result, but they very beautiful and quite unique.  Now this is the kind of shop that gets me in trouble.  I love everything about the images:  the weathered architecture, the statues, headstones in graveyards, the stark black crows, and the aged patina over the entire picture.  And the price!  Really?  $16?  You couldn't find something as unique with as much quality at a Homegoods, sorry. 

Share the Etsy love and start clicking.