Friday, March 30, 2007

Fashionable Friday -- Best Foot Forward

Ahhh, warmer weather! Finally it's time to put away the boots and sneakers, say good-bye to socks, and slip into a pair of sandals! As someone who loves to walk around her home barefoot whenever possible, I am always glad when sandal season comes around. And of course, sandal season is also anklet season, and I do love my anklets!

With Spring here and Summer quickly on the way, I'm working on increasing the selection of anklets on my site. I have four anklets in two new styles up, one of which is illustrated above These anklets are of course best worn with a slide or thong that doesn't have an ankle strap, and are perfectly delightful with bare feet.

Of course, you'll need some sandals to wear them with! Store shelves are full of them, but you can also shop on-line. I love mohop's sandals. What could be more stylish than having ribbon straps that are perfectly coordinated with the beads in your anklet? I can just see it now! I also really like these cool Chesapeake Bay sandals that I found on Etsy. I wish the seller had more ephemera sandals, because I think that is just too awesome.

After being cooped up all Winter, your feet may be in need of a little TLC to get them in their best shape for those revealing sandals. As nice as it is to go out for a pedicure, it's also nice to pamper your feet at home! There are many wonderful independent bath and beauty companies on the web who have great foot spa products that you may want to try.

Body Systems has a nice selection, including a salt soak with wasabi in it!

Foster's Creations has several items for your consideration. I love the foot-shaped soaps!

Flower Peddler has a large selection of products, including a Tired Tootsies spray which sounds nice for when your feet need a little pick-me-up and you're too tired for a full pedicure.

Bidwell Botanicals' selection includes a PM foot repair set designed to shape your feet up while you sleep.

Cioccolatina has wonderful-sounding Tingly Foot Butter, and is based in the UK, which may be a plus for any European readers out there!

Lindsay's Candles and Stuff recommends her body butter and sugar scrub for pedicure uses as well.

Tranquil Meadow has an entire line of new foot care products coming soon, so please check back with them in the future!

No matter which of these companies you choose to buy your scrubs, soaks, and creams from, you'll probably want to consider Earthenwood Studios' terra cotta foot scrubbies and smoothies. I've received rave reviews of them and really must purchase some of my own!

Those sandals sure are looking inviting now!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back in the Proverbial Saddle!

I've really got to stop slacking off on this whole blogging thing...

I've spent the past week or so working on some unfinished items from early last year. Just personal stuff of mine that has been cluttering up the beadroom. It's been kind of fun to revisit these old projects. Expect some pics either later this week or early next week.

While working on these "UFOs" (UnFinished Objects), I've been letting my mind wander. It's spent more time wandering into writing territory than beading territory, but I have already figured out what I want to do for my 2008 BFAC project. Hooray! It'll probably be rather time-consuming, which means that the website updates for the next few weeks will mostly contain smaller items like earrings and spiral bracelets.

Speaking of BFAC, today's
Cool Thing is Lora Tobias' Green Man, currently on auction! I'm hoping to win it for my very own, but if you'd like to battle me for it, feel free! There are of course many other great items up on auction this week, and more coming in the following weeks.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Burning and BFAC.

Last night I went out with my brother and a couple of his fire-loving friends to the desert, where we had a bonfire and played with various spinning devices. Oh, and there was much roasting of marshmallows. Although it's been very warm during the day, nights out in the desert are still cool enough that it's nice to put on a long-sleeve shirt and stand next to a fire. Until my brother dumps a ton of lamp oil on it... Then you want to stand about 20 feet away from the fire! There was a bit of wind, so I decided not to do a burn with my fans -- I'm not very good with them yet, so the last thing I needed was a sudden gust to light me on fire -- but I did practice with them unlit. It was nice to be out someplace where we could all play with fire and not worry about disturbing anyone or lighting anything on fire that we didn't mean to -- Because when I say "the desert" I mean a home in the desert, with a nice cleared dirt lot. No brushfires for us!

Last night's "bit of wind" turned into today's constant wind and overcast skies. I'm really hoping for some nice Spring rain, to keep down the dust. Ren Faire this past weekend was terribly dusty... my once-black shoes are now brown.

The Layne's Legacy - Beading For A Cure auctions are doing very well this year. I'm so happy to see all the bids coming in, and I can't wait until my necklace goes up! That should be sometime next month. In the meantime, I've already received my kit for the 2008 project! I am sworn to secrecy until all of the new participants receive their kits as well. As such, I'm going to wait at least a couple of weeks to start on any projects. I'd really like to do a series of "in progress" posts on this blog for this year's BFAC project. I hope you'll all enjoy it!

Today's Cool Thing is these great Wrapped Silver Bracelets. I wish I'd seen these to be included in my most recent Fashionable Friday column! They'd be right at home on the wrist of a dancer at the Faire. They kind of remind me of something that one of the women in "300" would be wearing, too. Very stylish!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Two Really Good Days.

So, yesterday was a good day because we spent it out at Ren Faire. We both had a great time and picked up some nice things. I'm happy because I got to watch some very skilled dancers and think "That's what I'll be when I grow up!" I'm unhappy because the two main places with dance clothes kind of sucked. On the other hand, I did see a costume that would be great for fire spinning, if it was made of something other than mock velvet (gotta use natural fabrics when playing with fire). It was kind of a jester or acrobat outfit -- Tight, probably capri-length pants that laced up the sides, a brief tanktop that laced up the front, and a little vest over it.

The most amazing thing was that I pretty much avoided sunburn. I have a few small places that feel a little tender, but mostly my skin came out unscathed. It helps that Chris bought me this really nice painted umbrella which did a great job of keeping the sun off. Since it was so hot and sunny, but with only the occasional light breeze, umbrellas were very popular out at the Faire! I saw a lot of people carrying them, and one lady near the end of the day asked where I'd purchased mine... After I told her, she said she wished she'd started the day out with one!

In a way, today was even better than yesterday, because Chris finally received a promotion that he's been trying to get for years. We'd both given up hope of him ever receiving it, so it was a very pleasant surprise. To celebrate, we'll be going out to the local dessert spot. Mmmm.

Today's Cool Thing is Cynthia Bicker's BFAC necklace. If you love dragonflies, you will be stunned by this necklace! It's one of my favorite items for this year. And of course, this is my not-so-subtle way of directing you towards this week's BFAC auctions ;)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spring Sale!

I would like to direct you over to my website, where I am having a sale in honor of the upcoming Vernal Equinox! Select Spring-themed items will be discounted until the 23rd! I also have an ongoing clearance sale which you may want to check out.

I am up bright and early in order to go to the Renaissance Faire! It's supposed to be a beautiful day, so it will be very nice to be out seeing shows and shopping. I just have to remember to sunscreen thoroughly, as I am quite pale and will be wearing a midriff-baring choli! After the Faire we will go out for a nice dinner, to celebrate the fact that we've been married for 7 years! WOOHOO!

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to go get all costumed up :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Fashionable Friday -- Faire Garb.

Have I mentioned lately that I'm going to the Renaissance Faire on Sunday? Well, just in case, let me say it again: I'm going to the Faire, weeeee! Oh, wait, I'm supposed to strive for a professional demeanor here, aren't I? I can't help it, I love the Faire! It was one of the first dates that my husband and I ever went on, and we've gone every year since. It's so much fun to wander around, shop, and see all kinds of shows. This year, of course, my big priority is to watch some belly dancers and get some more dance clothes!

The first time I went to Ren Faire, I was really worried that everyone would be dressed up, and that my brown jeans and embroidered Mexican Wedding Shirt (which fell somewhere between Renaissance and Hippie) would look kind of cheezy in comparison. But as it turns out, most people go there in normal street clothes. Now, that's perfectly fine, especially in Arizona, where the forecast is 90 degrees for Sunday, but personally, I love to dress up. I take any excuse to wear a costume, and Renaissance Faire is one of the best excuses in the world, next to Halloween and being in a play.

There are a lot of options open to you for Faire-worthy costumes. Remember that although it's usually called a "Renaissance Festival," Medieval-era clothing is just as acceptable. You'll also tend to see people in fantasy costumes (I was a faerie one year, I kept hitting everyone with my wings!), and maybe even Asian costumes from various eras (my husband and our friend Alex both dressed like Chinese martial artists last year, and I heard tell of a group in another state who went dressed as ninja). Don't ever feel that you have to slavishly adhere to historic accuracy. The most important thing when going to the Faire is to have fun! (please note that some historic recreation groups may require accuracy. This column, however, is geared towards the average person who wants to dress up for an open-to-the-public Faire)

If you're dressing up for the first time, I recommend starting small. Depending on your sense of style, you may even be able to cobble together a fun outfit from the contents of your closet (especially if you're a woman, as I imagine most of my readers are). If not, you can hit the thrift stores and/or resale boutiques. Sometimes, you can even find good things at the mall. You want to look for long, full skirts, poofy blouses, corset-esque tops, tops that lace up, shawls and scarves, that sort of thing. Heck, pair capri pants with the right top and a scarf for your head, and you're a pirate!

You can also use a store-bought Halloween costume for Ren Faire, but those can often look kind of chintzy by the light of day, and do not hold up very well. I do recommend them if your kids want to dress up, though. Kiddies grow up so fast that you don't want to put the money into buying or making a more authentic, durable costume that will just be too small when the next Faire rolls around.

If you're the creative sort, you can also sew your own costume. Most of my Faire wear has been sewn by my talented and generous mother (you rock, Mom!). A quick trip to the pattern book section of your local fabric store will show that there is now a plethora of high-quality historical costume patterns for men, women, and children, drawing from different eras and nations. There are also patterns inspired by Lord of the Rings and Star Wars (Jedi robes would not be out of place at a Faire, but lightsabres would). It's a lot of work, but you can end up with a nice, unique look, and make sure that it fits just right, too! Plus you can accent it with cool stuff, like the ribbons and trims from Realm of Regalia.

And of course, you could just buy a costume from one of the many vendors of medieval, renaissance, and fantasy clothing on the internet. One of my personal favorites is The Renaissance Store, which is based here in Tucson. They have a great selection of high-quality merchandise, and the people who work at their storefront are friendly and helpful. I'm also fond of Crimson Chain Leatherworks; while I don't own any of their clothes, they made my dice bag and it is roomy, attractive, and quite durable. If I hadn't taken up belly dancing and thus decided to dress like a dancer from now on, I would have one of their bodices by now! You can also find attractive clothing at Raspberry Beret and Arcane Lore Designs. Even Mechanical Bunny has some nice clothes that while not authentic, have a renaissance vibe to them, and are often more lightweight and hot-weather friendly.

It's oh-so important to accessorize, of course! Most modern handbags look out of place with a Renaissance costume. You can check some of the above links for leather pouches, or for a more lady-like look, you could buy a beautiful drawstring bag from AP2 Creative Designs. And if you want to add an air of mystery to your costume, you could wear a gorgeous mask from Andrea Adams.

Then of course, you might want some jewelry. Much of my jewelry is designed with the idea that it could be worn with a Renaissance or fantasy costume. I like to add that little touch of fantasy to my daily life, after all. Specifically, I like just about any Woven Collar with a costume. I also love to think that Lady Ghost, Queen of Love and Beauty, or The Moss Spirit might someday be worn to the Faire. My Bluebells anklet would be perfect for a dancer costume. Well-to-do lady costumes would be nicely accented by chandelier earrings, perhaps like Enchantment.

If you're seeking more clothing or accessories for Renaissance costumes, you may want to check the website of your local Renaissance Faire. They often have a vendor list which includes links to any vendors who have a web presence.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bead Museum Trip!

Before I tell you about my fun trip to Phoenix today, I'd like to mention that my website is back up. Apparently there was a problem with it and it had to be transferred manually, so if I had e-mailed them sooner, it would have been up sooner. They were quite quick to fix the problem after I e-mailed them, so I'm happy now... Even though my mail was bouncing back while the site was down. Ugh!

Anyway, on with the trip! My parents and I went to the Phoenix Metrosprawl today, to visit the Bead Museum there. None of us had ever been, but they were having an exhibit by our favorite polymer clay artist, Christi Friesen. Well, as it turns out, the "exhibit" was only one small display case, but she still has some very nice things there. And between the museum's permanent contents, a huge exhibit on African ritual beadwork and the Trajectories exhibit from the ISGB, and the fact that the gift shop is of course a bead store, there was a lot to see. Not enough to really justify a trip to Phoenix, but we all agreed that it was just nice to be out of the house doing something different on a beautiful day.

Of course I had to wear my latest polymer dragon, Sky Dancer. You can see her above. She's a little coatl who likes to flirt. You can see it in the teasing way she glances over her shoulder and the saucy tilt of her wings. And of course she's adorned herself with green pearls, malachite, lapis, and cobalt glass. Making all of those individual feathers was a chore, but sooo worth it!

While we were in Phoenix we also ate In-N-Out burgers (mmmm) and visited a gigantic Bookmans. For those not from Arizona, Bookmans is a huge used bookstore, which like most book stores these days, also sells CDs, DVDs and other forms of entertainment. They are quite possibly my favorite non-bead store in the whole entire world.

Today's Cool Thing is this week's BFAC auctions! They're ending Sunday, so you'd better bid now :D Of course, there will be more beautiful items next week!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Website down

My website is down. My host said they were moving it to a new server and that it would be down for maybe half an hour. It's been down since sometime last night. Needless to say, I am not too happy about this.

My e-mail is also down, since it is tied to my website. Grar! Thank goodness I had the foresight to have my blog here on Blogger, so I could keep people informed about this sort of thing.

Monday, March 12, 2007

From An Eclectic Tribe.

Remember the little strip of beadwork from this post? Now look what it's grown up into! I think this may be the wildest, most eclectic necklace that I've ever made. I cannot wait to wear it to Ren Faire. Even for me, it's a bit much for every-day wear, but I definitely intend to make it a part of my dance garb.

For those who are curious, in addition to the Japanese seed beads, I used: Czech glass, Swarovski crystals, trade beads, vintage glass, coral, turquoise, mother of pearl, freshwater pearls, malachite, lapis lazuli, copper, tagua nut, those weird black beads with rhinestones and metal and stuff stuck on them, some random green stone (maybe a type of serpentine?), wooden skulls, a cowrie shell, a copper bottle, and a button made from a coin. In other words, more different beads than about 5-7 other necklaces put together.

I'd like to add some tribal-themed jewelry to my website stock as well. If I can just stop keeping all the good beads to myself, you might see some within the next month or two.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fashionable Friday: Butterflies Instead

I surprised a friend of mine the other day by telling her how much I'd been drawn to butterflies over the past year or so. I suppose given that my interests tend to lean towards darker things, it doesn't quite fit. But I loved butterflies when I was a little kid, and in recent times, I've just noticed that there are so many beautiful pendants, beads, and artistic things with butterfly motifs. With Spring here, Summer on the way, and a Spring palette for Fall designs, this seems like the perfect time to add butterflies to your look!

Because of this current attraction to butterflies, there's a rather varied selection of jewelry with them on my site. For necklaces, there's Dancing Butterflies (pictured above), Tranquil Butterfly, and On Pastel Wings, which is new for this week! In bracelets, I have Empress of Butterflies and Butterfly Harmony, new this week. And in earrings, I have Flutterby, Imperial Butterflies, and Flying Free, which is also new this week. With all those different styles and colors, there's sure to be something to please almost every butterfly lover!

Many other jewelry artists incorporate butterflies into their work! Chic Cosas has this Mariposa necklace, which I think is just delightful with its earthy colors! And Matilda's Boutique has Butterfly Fling earrings that feature Thai silver butterflies. I just LOVE Thai silver! I also love this Bamboo bracelet! Earthenwood Studio has several style of butterflies, which may be worn on a cord as a pendant, or worked into your own jewelry creations.

Clothing is a wonderful medium for displaying butterflies. This butterfly jacket from Soleil Rouge is simply a knock-out, for instance. I just love that cut, it's so classic! And take a peek at this stunning purple michiyuki jacket on Kimono Momo. Japanese jackets are so very cool, and you can't beat that color. Of course, if you prefer a more casual look, Artwear Tops has this vibrant t-shirt just perfect for Summer!

As it turns out, handbags and butterflies also make a great combination! Becky Oh! offers her Bolsa clutch in a cheery butterfly print. Enamor has a great hand-painted Monarch Handbag which should appeal to anyone who loves orange. Vintage kimono fans like myself may find this purse more to their liking, whereas anime geeks -- also like myself -- may prefer the Miss Butterfly clutch.

You could even accessorize your head with butterflies! I think these Metamorphosis Hairpins, made with Vintage fabric, are just adorable. And there's no denying the 1920s-style appeal of this Lavender Hat, which includes a removable crochet butterfly.

You can have butterflies around the house, too, even if that butterfly bush you planted hasn't been attracting them. Keep your table safe with hand-felted Butterfly Coasters, and decorate your couch, favorite chair, or bed with a rich purple brocade pillow. Hmmm, looking at a lot of these items, it seems that purple and butterflies were made for each other!

Finally, with warmer weather upon us, it's time to socialize! You can involve butterflies here, too! For every-day correspondence, there's cheery notecards from Zuzu's Petals. For a wedding, you could have Plantable wedding favors, which come in a couple of different butterfly designs. I've never heard of these before and I think they're quite cool! And if you've got a little girl on the way, you might be interested in the Flutterby line by Fete!

Whew. That's even almost too many butterflies for me. Almost!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Of Music, Seasons, and More.

Despite it being over a week and a half until the Vernal Equinox, here in Tucson we've had beautiful 80 degree weather all week. It's been very pleasant and I feel so energized. Not only have I been dancing, but I started working out again. This is my favorite sort of weather, and I'm going to enjoy it while I can, because soon enough it will be 100+.

It's odd, but all Winter I was pretty content to work in silence. I only turned on music when I wanted to dance, and I didn't mind that Chris hadn't been playing his iPod all night. But since the weather started warming up, suddenly I've wanted music. I guess it all started when I was thinking about a band I used to listen to a lot, and how I hadn't in a while, and how, come to think of it, there were a lot of bands that I loved, and wasn't listening to. So it's been very musical around here lately. Today alone I'm up to my third CD.

Yesterday I was working on finishing up my new tribal necklace, and I decided I really needed some tribal music to go with it. So first I played some Dead Can Dance. Their "Spiritchaser" album is some of my favorite dance music, so it seemed fitting. Then I broke out the Afro-Celt Soundsystem, which I hadn't listened to in almost a year. WOW! I forgot how much I liked them. I ended up dancing to them later -- the music is so high-energy that it's a lot of fun for dancing, and a great workout, too. I was exhausted when I finished, and that was just a little more than 15 minutes. Of course, I did finish the necklace first, and it looks awesome. I'll share it sometime next week.

The jewelry is all ready for tomorrow's update! Today I was going to do photography, but I have company coming over so I had to clean instead. Bah!

Today's Cool Thing is which has a HUGE selection of pin-back buttons by various artists. Woohoo! I sure do love buttons.

And, of course, the BFAC auctions are still cool! ;)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Earring Overhaul.

Earrings have really taken off for me in the past year or so. They're quickly becoming one of the best sellers on my site, and I have a lot of fun making them. So last week, I decided it was well past time that I tidy up the Earring section of my website. Click Here to see how much nicer it looks now! Somehow I missed taking a new photo of Midnight Waltz, so it will be looking silly until Thursday or Friday.

That's just a taste of what the rest of the sections will look like soon. This week I intend to rephotograph my crystal bracelets and strung necklaces, and replace the photos throughout next week. I've finally reached the point where I've got a photography set-up that I'm happy with, so taking a lot of pictures is not the huge chore that it used to be.

In other news, I already have three items ready for Friday's update, and tomorrow I will make at least two more. I'm pretty happy with them, and I think you will be, too!

Today's Cool Thing is Absinthe Art by Ophelia. True story, the other night I had a dream where I went into McDonald's and they had absinthe as a fountain drink, so I decided "What the heck, I'll try it!" I think it tasted kind of like a sweet, minty green tea, but taste isn't my strongest dream-sense ;) Regardless, I really like Ophelia's vintage-influenced artwork!

By the way: Don't forget to check out the BFAC auctions!

Monday, March 05, 2007

In Progress.

This is another in-progress item. When it is done, it will be similar to the "Moss Strands" necklace displayed over on the side of my blog. For now, it's just several inches of base strip. I really enjoy these multi-strand pieces, as it's so much fun to pick out all the different beads along the same theme, and bring them together. This one will have a very tribal feel, and is intended to go with my outfit for Ren Faire this year.

I spent the weekend working on another little something for myself, a feathered serpent done in polymer clay. I feel that I'm getting a lot better at claywork, but I don't expect that I will be selling it anytime soon. I take so long getting every little detail how I want it that I would just have to charge way too much. I do enjoy making things for myself and as gifts, though.

I have several items planned already for this week's update, plus more page maintenance.

Are you ready for today's Cool Thing? It's my talented friend Deb's 2007 Beading For A Cure necklace! This is my not-so-subtle way of pointing out that HEY! The BFAC auctions are up! After you enjoy Deb's beautiful work, be sure to click "View seller's other items" to see the rest of this week's offerings. And tell all of your friends!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Fashionable Friday -- Oh, I could never wear that...

Recently on the beadwork forum I'm a member of, there's been a bit of talk about how beadwork isn't "in," as well as a discussion about what people are wearing. Now, in my own little world (population: me), beadwork is always "in" and it's appropriate for every occasion. You know, to the point where I say "Oh, I need to go to the grocery store, what necklace shall I wear?" But I also recognize that not everyone feels the same way.

In my experience, there are two basic reasons why people do not purchase and wear beadwork. One is a matter of value, perceived or otherwise. Traditionally, jewelry made of gold and precious gems is well-regarded due to its value. Gold is always worth money, in a pinch you can pawn it, sell it, melt it down, whatever. The cost of fine jewelry comes from the intrinsic value of the materials, as well as the jeweler's time.

Beadwork, on the other hand, does not have as much intrinsic value. To be certain, there are necklaces just dripping with precious stone beads, but they are invariably of a much lower quality gem than you might find set in a ring. More often, the beads are made of glass. The cost of beadwork is not so much in the materials (although some of them can be quite dear), as in the jeweler's time.

The important thing is to realize that jewelry does not have to be an investment. I think of my beadwork and the artist's beads that I collect as art. While some people display their art on the wall or a pedestal, I choose to display mine on my body. You can as well! The added benefit is that when your art is stationary, only people who come into your home can enjoy it with you. When you wear it out into the world, you share it with everyone.

The other basic reason why people do not wear much beadwork is that they seem to feel overwhelmed by it. I often hear people say "Oh, I could never wear that" or "I have no place to wear it" or of course "I have nothing to wear it with!" Excuses all. If you really love something, you'll find an occasion to wear it and an outfit to wear it with.

Remember that not all beadwork is completely over the top and dominating. You can start out with something simple and subtle, with little more substance than a gold chain. I particularly like herringbone twist necklaces like Magic Twist or Shadow Twist for a comfortable "barely there" feeling. Eventually, you may even feel like moving on to something bigger or bolder.

In regards to having no place to wear it, well, that argument always falls flat with me. I'm sitting here in my living room wearing beadwork, after all, and I was wearing even more earlier when I went out thrift-shopping with my family. Although there were once etiquette rules which stated that one saved fine jewelry for the evening, nowadays such things have fallen by the wayside. There's no reason why you can't wear a nice necklace to go out to Wal-Mart in the middle of the day, if that's what you feel like doing. You can even wear it to work!

When it comes to having nothing to wear it with, I'm of the mindset to buy an outfit to go with the jewelry. That's just me, however. Just remember that black goes with everything, so if you buy black jewelry or black clothes, you can wear any color with them. If you buy black jewelry and black clothes, then you'll be a lot like me.

To me, there are three standard approaches one can take to the relationship between clothes and jewelry. The jewelry can accent the clothing, the clothing can be a backdrop for the jewelry, or the jewelry and clothing can be equal partners in helping you feel beautiful. Allow me to give an example of each one.

When the jewelry accents the clothing, it's usually a subtle touch. A single Crystal Bracelet or a simple pair of earrings makes a nice addition to your daily wardrobe, without being in any way overwhelming or too flashy. This is especially nice for casual or very professional settings. It's also nice when your outfit is simply so gorgeous already that you don't want your jewelry to draw attention away from it.

Clothing serves as a backdrop for jewelry when you wear very basic, almost simple clothes with a stunning piece. This works especially well with elaborate necklaces like Queen of Love and Beauty or Lady Ghost. I personally own a lot of black tops and skirts, as I feel that they're perfect for looking elegant without distracting people from the fact that I'm wearing something really nice around my neck. Other neutral or subtle colors also suit themselves well. If you want your clothing to serve as a backdrop, avoid prints or trims. For tops, I enjoy camisoles, v-necks, or turtlenecks, depending on the style of the necklace.

The best of both worlds come together when your outfit and your jewelry perfectly compliment each other in a matching ensemble. Although the best way to achieve this is to have jewelry custom-made to suit your specific outfit, or to go out and buy clothes to match your new jewelry, sometimes you can pull it together with a little less work. I like to pick out color combinations or motifs and use them to match jewelry to clothes. This leads to a very polished look that will have everyone commenting on how stylish you are!

If you have any questions or comments along this vein, I would really love to hear them. Either post in the comments section here on the blog, or drop me an e-mail!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

And now, March.

February is probably my favorite month of the year, being as how gem show happens and I get to see a lot of my friends. But March is a very close second. The weather's very beautiful here in Tucson in March. This is usually the month that we take our trip to Ren Faire. Most importantly, our wedding anniversary is in March! So although I love February, I'm happy to welcome March.

Today I spent some more time linking items together. This was made difficult by the fact that my web hosting keeps acting up! I apologize in advance if you try to visit and find yourself faced with a blank screen. I may have to contact my host and find out what the heck is going on.

I also made a great pair of earrings this afternoon, some really ornate chandeliers. I love how they look, but geesh, making those things is hard on the hands! I doubt I'll ever make more than one pair in a week, unless someone were to order several custom pairs.

Tonight or tomorrow, I will sit down and do some serious photography. I think that since I have new earrings to photograph, I'll go ahead and replace the pictures for most if not all of my old earrings. It may take me some time to get all of the images up, but if I take a whole slew of them in one sitting, I can work on putting them on the site throughout the week, when I'm not making new jewelry.

The update and Fashionable Friday column may be a bit late tomorrow. I have plans to do lunch with my Mom, my grandmother and maybe grandfather, whom I haven't seen in about a year, and my aunt Wendy, whom I haven't seen since, well, sometime before I got married. I'm looking forward to some catching up with family and maybe a little shopping, too!

Your Cool Thing for today is this Branches 6 painting. I love trees and leaves of all sorts, and since a major part of my current novel takes place in a forest full of naked trees, this painting especially speaks to me.