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Since Fall

Hi again!  It has been a while since I updated this so thanks for your patience.  It’s not because all my free time is spent on Pinterest, I promise.

Starting in September I rented studio space downtown close to where my kids go to preschool.  It was glorious being able to drop them off and then walk to work, making jewelry for hours on end without the distraction of the computer or housework (ahem) until my alarm told me to go back and pick the kids up.  I showed you a little of my Sedona line, and after that I did a grouping with Swarovski-set components (like this focal) as part of my Facets collection.

I am still working with colored stone briolettes for my Facets collection as well, and I hated to see this pair of cluster earrings go…
Purple, pink, and orange!
Also I can’t get enough of those big honkin’ Chinese crystals, so I did some long necklaces and wire rings featuring those for the holiday season.
But after Christmas change was in the air.  The pedestrian mall was torn up for an infrastructure upgrade and facelift, and it has been interesting to watch all the work going on just outside my studio.
Cutting down “my” tree, piece by piece


Along my commute
I decided not to renew my lease downtown after my spring collection was delivered to the shop, but instead move my tools back home again (for now).

Goodbye, studio

It actually isn’t because of the construction. This is the time of year when I get to focus on other things!  For example, my jewelry friend Judy and I recently played with CopprClay, a copper version of PMC that will likely be paired with turquoise in my Sedona collection in the fall.

I love the torched patina on the left one
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Puffy Hearts

I just delivered a group of Puffy Heart necklaces to the shop downtown.  I weave these together from 73 Swarovski crystals and they are perfect for Valentine’s season or just to add a little bling to an otherwise plain outfit.  I am in love with the top color, Indian Pink 2XAB, an orangey pink with two coatings of Aurora Borealis, or AB.  Basically, gold is held in a flame and the resulting fumes land on the surface of the crystal to make a shimmery rainbow coating.  Clockwise the colors are Indian Pink 2XAB, Light Siam AB, Indian Pink AB, Fuchsia AB (bottom), Rose AB, Crystal AB (off to the left), and Siam AB, with Cyclamen AB in the center.

These take some time to make and I still have to follow the tutorial, but it is fun to see it puff out on the final step, and they are so sparkly in person.  I brought packs of crystals, a spool of illusion cord, and nail clippers with me on vacation last week so I could make hearts on our day at sea or in the airport.  (My husband snapped this shot of me in our stateroom.  The bracelet is by Hope Gibson, a fantastic lampworker I met in St. Croix.) 

My tutorial for the Puffy Heart Pendant is available for download here if you want to give it a go, or you can email me if you want to order a puffy heart in any color ($49 with chain).   Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!

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My Elements collection is well underway, so I’ve moved from production mode to pricing/tagging mode.  Ugh.  Not my favorite part, so the procrastinator in me looks for something fun for distraction.  Another line! 
My Facets collection is next so I’ve been in purchasing mode shopping for faceted stones and chain.  It’s taken me awhile, but I’m embracing gold again.  I’m planning to have both silver and gold and colorful stones like peridot, amethyst, citrine, garnet, and maybe some Swarovski crystal to fill in where nature is either lacking or cost prohibitive.  On Friday I got to visit one of my favorite places, Sparkles Bead Shop in Newark, Delaware.  Connie, the owner and my precious friend, walked me through the new Swarovski colors, and just standing in front of a halogen-lit wall of sparkling facets was so inspiring.

One part of working with color that is not my strong suit is putting different colors together.  When I get dressed in the morning and choose a colorful shirt, I wear neutral pants (or my beloved green capri pants with a neutral shirt).  That’s a color cop-out, especially when I love how other people put bright colors together.  So I’ve learned little tricks that help me out, like looking at a non-jewelry item to get inspiration.  When I go to the fabric store and don’t really need anything, I’ll walk around and look at color combinations used in the fabrics.  Pictured here is pile of picnic blankets I saw in Parents Magazine. (When I joke that I never really leave work, I’m not entirely joking.)     
I do the same in the scrapbooking section because those color combos tend to be a little more contemporary.  Also in that magazine was this ad for lice medication, but here is the part I saw: turquoise, avocado, burnt orange, chocolate, mustard.  I’m drawn to circle motifs, but I’m training myself to be in “color mode” these days.
I’ve had a break and let myself get distracted while still being productive, so now I’ll go back to the grindstone and finish pricing and tagging Elements.  I’m planning to put a gallery page up so people outside the Shenandoah Valley can see what’s new, too.  Will keep you posted!
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Christmas Rest

It worked!  Making an order deadline (and subsequently enforcing it) has created a distinct lack of stress this year, for the first time since I started my business in 2004.  I finally get to enjoy December, hang out with my family and friends at will, and not get burnt out doing custom orders at the last minute.  We figured we won’t bother getting a Christmas tree until Olivia “gets” it (and wouldn’t want to eat it), though.

I’ve been sitting on a set of Twelve Days of Christmas sterling silver charms for a few years now, every year forgetting about them until January.  I hung them from a simple chain bracelet and they, along with the following set of jewelry, are at Simply Charming Boutique in downtown Winchester, VA.  If you don’t live locally and you must have something, just drop me an email and I can see what’s left.  Not pictured is another pair of earrings with the green Swarovski crystals from the necklace.  (Peridot Satin for those Swarovski fans out there.) 

The thing I love about these Christmas lampwork beads is the gold swirls and holly that resemble Lenox china with a subtle nod to the holiday.  I’m not into cutesy reindeer or snowmen lampwork beads.  The necklace is actually a bracelet with an extender that hooks into the other end. You can wear it as either, depending on your outfit or taste.

Have a Merry Christmas!


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On my bench

Okay, it’s been a month since my last confession post and I’m the first to admit I am a delinquent jewelry blogger.  I have so much going on I don’t even post to my family blog all that much.  When all else fails, throw some pictures up there and tell a story or two, right? 
Here’s a piece that graced my pliers yesterday.  A crazy-beautiful Tom Boylan focal, purchased from him in his California studio.  Right now it is sitting on my bench, wired to amethyst and pearl links, 11 inches in total.  Well that’s not long enough for a necklace, is it?  No.  I intend to fasten the ends to lengths of chain, but before I can do that I need to make more of my signature spiral hook clasps so that I can get an accurate length before I cut the chain.  I have the wire & pliers I use to make the clasps all in a bag waiting for the next football game or car ride so I can sit down and make a bunch at once while I’m a captive audience.  The thing is, that hasn’t happened much lately so this project sits, unfinished, until the stars align.
Meanwhile I have been hoarding some Patti Cahill lampwork I purchased a year ago, and finally broke up the set rather than put all the gorgeous eggs into one basket-necklace.  First of all, putting all the special beads into one piece makes it pretty expensive (Patti is one person who has great talent and charges what it is worth).  Secondly, when I break it up it makes for a nice grouping at the shop downtown. 

This fall I am in love with peacock blue, plum purple, and olive green….  TOGETHER!!!  And it’s everywhere, so I figure I’m not the only one who does, so I made a necklace with different shapes of Swarovski crystals in those colors. 

Speaking of following fashion trends, I can’t tell you how many times I have been advised by well-meaning friends to scour fashion magazines to see what “the latest” is and make jewelry like I see in there.  If you’ve met me you’ll know that I don’t necessarily wear what is in style, I wear what I like.  I tend to make jewelry the same way, not chasing trends and being left with dozens of ear threads when the fad fades, and so far that has worked out for me.  If I like what’s in, so be it, but I’m not going to make something just because it’s in.
Up next for this lazy jewelry blogger?  Jewelry tweeting, since I think a lot of my followers found me because of jewelry.  Follow me @annemade or over on my blog sidebar.
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New pieces

Wow, the summer is flying by! I’ve been a busy bee, so that probably has something to do with it.

If you’re looking for new AnneMade jewelry, I hope you live nearby because Simply Charming Boutique has all my newest pieces for fall. And I know this is a good thing, but they have been selling before I can get pictures! Here’s a few I did capture…

Several of these pendants are simple designs made from PMC and accented with faceted stones, pearls, and Swarovski crystals. If you see something you like and you’re in Timbuktu and not the DC area, shoot me an email and I can check on the piece.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
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Tutorials update

I always get a kick out of trying a new technique, and this one lends itself well to a kit so I am *hoping* to be able to offer it in early 2009. I call it the Sparkle Link Bracelet, and the sparkles come from both Swarovski crystal rings and twisted sterling silver rings that catch the light beautifully. (If only we had a sunny day to make it really sparkle on camera!) This bracelet was completed with Tabac-colored Swarovski rings, and I also have a Light Volcano set with springy pastels waiting on my bench.

In other news, I’ve closed my Etsy shop temporarily to give myself a break for baby-wrangling. In the meantime I activated the download links for all of my tutorials on my main website’s Kits & Tutorials Page. (Normally I’m not allowed to cross-list items on Etsy that I sell elsewhere, but with my Etsy store closed the tutorials are currently available in only one location.)

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This bracelet has glazed ceramic and Tibetan agate beads on wrapped-loop links with sterling bead caps. It’s a simple technique, but the look varies widely with the type of beads you choose.

This pin is about 1.5″ across with glazed ceramic, Tibetan agate, freshwater pearls, turquoise, and Swarovski crystals. It looks similar to a mosaic pendant, but these beads are actually stitched onto a screen back so it is borderless and can be attached to fabric.

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Bridesmaid Earrings

The other night I got together with friends who were back in town for the holidays. One of them is living in NYC and needed earrings to wear with a gorgeous deep red strapless Amsale gown in a wedding this weekend. She wanted me to make dangly clips with black Swarovski crystals, and when asked why she still doesn’t have her ears pierced she said it keeps her from buying too many earrings.

Anyway, these are what I call a cluster style, and the crystals are jet, jet with aurora borealis coating, and morion (dark gray). Anneliese put them on immediately and couldn’t keep her head still because – let’s face it – dangly earrings are fun to wear!

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New downloads

Herringbone links

This is a great technique to dress up plain-ish beads. The tutorial also includes detailed instructions on making wrapped loops.


A jointed bangle featuring floating beads, dangles, coiled wire, and a squiggle hook clasp.
Love those raku beads.

Heart links
Work on your open spirals with this not-too-cutesy heart link. Two lightweight and comfortable bracelets and coordinating earrings. I’m not really into hearts, but I like these because of the spirals.

Oh, and I guess the Swarovski Puffy Heart pattern is an okay heart because of all the sparkles. I saw those pendants for sale in Old Town Alexandria over the weekend for $92. Sheesh.

Coming up… a square/diamond pattern similar to the Puffy Heart Pendant. As if you needed a way to use those beautiful crystals!