Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm Currently In Love....

....with the new Fossil Fall catalog I just received in the mail.  My word would you look at this beauty.  I love the detailing, the color of the leather, and the hardware, especially the key. 

Who can resist a menswear-inspired shoe?  I've been wearing shoes like this for years, so it's nice to know they are in style.  They give an ensemble a pretty edge and they're easy on your wallet.  Plus they are uber-comfortable to wear.

Ssshhhh....can I tell you a secret?  I saw loads of flat menswear lace up boots in several colors at All Saints a few weeks ago.  Target makes a flat menswear lace up boot that looks exactly like those only way less expensive;  the gray ones looked virtually the same.  I bought them a couple years ago and they still carry them here.  They have them in several colors and I promise that you'd never know they weren't real leather.  I usually buy boots a 1/2 size larger to factor in space for socks in cooler months, but these run large, so stay true to your barefoot size.   

This weekender bag is reason enough to go on a mini trip:

I like a little edge, but I also like a little romance and I can't resist lace or yellow, so this might have to come home with me:

I love the entire look of this:

But you don't care with like.  Go over to Fossil's lookbook and pick out your own favorites!

Happy Wishlisting!


Friday, July 22, 2011

What's In a Name?

I often get asked how I come up with the names for each of my jewelry pieces.  Some of them come from the actual elements in the pieces, e.g. my "Entrance Cuff Bracelet" which is made from a solid brass escutcheon that can be found on doors, hence the word "entrance."  My "Sanctus Josephus" necklace is named after the religious medal of the same name that serves as the focal in this piece. "Phoenix Rising Necklace" is named after the phoenix brass stamping embellishing the carved onyx cross.  The "Wade in the Water" necklace features a swimming medal so it seemed logical to give it that name, which also happens to be a song title. 

Most of my pieces are named after music that I listen to often that evokes feelings or calls to mind special memories.  I listen to a lot of This Mortal Coil, Portishead, and Kate Bush and therefore a lot of the pieces are named from these artists' song titles or portions of their lyrics.  I always think of my twin sister who lives far away when I hear Cocteau Twins, so that's a group that has references in several In Small Spectacles pieces.  I play them at least once a week even though my heart hurts a bit that I don't get to see my sister more than once a year. 

Today I named a necklace after my cousin Abigail, who has always answered to Abby.  She is one of the sweetest people you'll ever come across if you are so lucky.  I don't believe she has a mean bone in her body and she's always very effusive with encouragement and giving of her emotions.  Abby is also a rare "the glass is half full" breed, which is hard to come across these days.  She also lives far away from me, but I'm thankful that technology has allowed us to keep in touch despite the many miles separating us.

The Abby Vintage Locket Necklace is a very sweet and sentimental piece, made from old solid brass beads, hand-aged rhinestones, and a solid brass vintage locket that I embellished with one of my grandmother's montees and hand-aged rhinestone chain.  I think you'll agree this necklace is the perfect embodiment of sweetness and goodness and worthy of carrying it's namesake:


Here's to you, Cousin Abby.  I am thankful for your sweetness and gentle spirit and the encouragement you so readily give!  Love you!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tool Time

UPDATE:  I mentioned below my last resort of trying the 100 proof acetone to remove some gold plating.  I am thrilled to report it worked!  So I etch on.  In the meantime here's a verbal teaser:  Latin + solid brass + old stuff.  Check back soon!

I have always loved hardware stores.  When I was a child, I was the only one in my family who would go with my father to the hardware store.  Even early on I could envision the endless possibilities to make life more clean, neat and tidy, washed with a lovely color, and just plain all-round beautiful.

I refuse to be rushed in a hardware store, even if I have a list.  It is imperative that I systematically go up and down each aisle to insure that I have left no bolt or screw unturned.  Which would stand to reason that I prefer to go to a hardware store alone instead of toting young boys who like to climb every steel shelf and touch everything, including sharp power tools.  It goes without saying that the hardware staff tremble when they see me and my brood cross their threshold.  I don't even like bringing my husband because I think he secretly despises these types of places.  But that's a whole other blog altogether.

One might think hardware stores and jewelry make for strange bedfellows, but I have found that the two really go hand-in-hand.  Behold, I bring you some hardware finds most applicable to the craft of jewelry making:

This makes a wonderful etcher when mixed with peroxide in a specific formula.  Note the word "Danger."  Makes it even more fun.

100 proof, not cosmetic blend.  I picked up some of this today (I had to bring the boys....it was not pretty) to try and remove gold plating off solid brass id plaques before I etch them.  Keep your fingers crossed, because I really, really want to use the plaques for my intended purpose, but am having a difficult time removing the plating. 

Hardware stores have the best prices on tools.  Sorry Michael's and Hobby Lobby!

Wire such as this makes lovely jump rings, if you have the time to make them yourself.  Larger gauge (the higher the number, the thinner the wire) also makes great beading hoops for earrings.  I will be unveiling these very soon!  I like to make them as I watch a movie or the news.
These make great connectors when closed up a bit.  I like to age them before using. 

Solid brass O rings.  Can I get an "Amen?"

Great clasps

I am torn between the smaller, mom and pop stores versus the larger chains like Lowes (I really detest Home Depot) that carry a larger selection.  The Ace Hardware down the street knows me, and I like that, but their prices are a tad higher and they have less to choose from.  The staff is, however, extremely helpful and seem genuinely interested in how I will use something from their store in something so girlie, like jewelry.  And have you ever had to chase down an associate at a Lowes?  There's your daily workout right there.

No matter what you store you choose, large or small, remember this:  Hardware stores are our friends.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Kind of Town

As Sinatra sings, Chi-ca-go is my kind of town.  Actually, it's currently a tie between Chicago and NYC.  NYC is a little edgier and darker and I like that, BUT I've never seen U2, a favorite, in NYC and I have seen them the past two times in Chicago, making for a grand total of 5 times.  So there I was this July 4th holiday celebrating with 60,000+ of my closest friends, watching the coolest band ever blow our minds yet again. 

 I need to practice my guitar so I'll be ready when it's my turn to be a rock star.

Just so you know, U2's 3 "claw" stages are going up for sale.  You'd have to provide your own lighting, sound, roof, and space to accommodate the 29,000 sq. ft. structure, but it's nice to know it's available, isn't it?

Here's a short list of why I like Chicago:
  • The Nordstroms has the best accessories department.
  • Lake Michigan is big enough to help you forget you're in the Midwest and essentially landlocked.  I grew up at the beach and this is important to note.
  • All the good stuff is within walking distance of each other.  I'm all about the walking.
  • Hands down Devon's Seafood has the best tuna tartare.  I could eat it every day.
  • The city's container plants are really quite beautiful.
  • The Affinia Hotel is a little gem off the beaten path and right next door to Gino's Pizza, which always has a huge line for their Chicago-style pizza. 
  • Chicago has two, that's right, TWO Anthropologie stores within 2 miles of each other.  And they have the friendliest staff.  Heaven.
  • Did I mention U2 plays there every tour?  Reason enough to love this town.
I also discovered a new store, All Saints, that is based out of England but hit the US last year.  They currently have 11 American stores and more to follow.  Other than the fact that most of the skirts were taller than me, there wasn't anything about the store I didn't like.  The colors and textures of the clothes were incredible, the accessories were to-die-for, and the music was a perfect backdrop.  The industrial fixtures complimented the gauzy pieces wonderfully. 

Vintage Singer sewing machines

AND there is free shipping!  Can you hear my husband saying "oh dear" in the background?  Nah, I didn't either.

Happy belated July 4th!