Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pillow Top & A Book Review

Hi friends!  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  I had an absolutely wonderful week & weekend with family & friends.  

I took some time to gather a book, a sewing machine and some colorful fabric.  Pillow Pop by Heather Bostic is a nice collection of pillow patterns from various contributors.  Let me just say that I am a novice sewer hoping to improve my skills so I  think this book is a great start.   

Pillow Pop & Pillow Top

The book is full of nice photos and easy to follow instructions.  There is a handy section with construction techniques and there are several templates too!

I chose fabric from the Block Party Squares by Sandy Gervais for Moda.  I fell in love with this colorful bundle and have had it in my stash for some time.  

I've had the book Pillow Pop for a little while now too so it was time to put the two together and work some magic.  I cut out a small heart to add to the pillow top, an appliqué of sorts.  

The final product is a 14x14 pillow cover.  I'm happy with my rendition of the Life Aquatic pattern in Heather's book.  If you want some inspiration check out Heather's blog, you'll find an explosion of colorful pillows, patterns and tutorials.

Keep Creating, 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Colorful Jasper Gemstones

Fall is upon us once again ladies and gents!  The fall colors are lighting up the landscape in vibrant shades of yellow, red and brown. We've harvested all our crops and now we are ready to celebrate the season!  It's a great time to be creative and make costumes, delicious treats and of course JEWELRY. 

I encourage you to draw inspiration from the beautiful colors you see in nature.  For me these warm colors remind me of the unique gemstone Jasper.  You can find Jasper stones in a variety of colors including black, red, yellow, blue, cream, brown & green.  Rock collectors say that Jasper's unique colors make it irresistible.  There are many different kinds of jasper; picture jasper, ocean jasper, bumblebee jasper, mookaite jasper, dalmatian jasper to name a few.  Jasper is found in many parts of the world.  

Some folks list Jasper as one of the birthstones for March.  Like many stones, jasper is considered to have healing properties and believers say it can protect you from negative energies and stabilize your aura. 

It's the pretty colors of this gemstone that captivate me.  I think one of the stone’s appealing characteristics is the mottled coloring.  Sometimes it looks like spots and bands that show off different colors and shapes in the rock.  It may trick you to believe that these are imperfections in the stone, however these patterns adds to Jasper's unique qualities.

Stone work by Antonio Martinez-107 carats

Take a look at the Bruneau Jasper bead pictured above, Bruneau Jasper comes from Bruneau Canyon in Idaho.  Much of this stone comes in brown with a milky cream color running through the stone.  I’d say, the irregularity of this stone's color will make for a unique jewelry piece, what do you think?. 

I thought I'd share some beautiful jewelry designs that include jasper beads.  Here are some wonderful Pins featuring handmade jewelry items created by talented artisans on Etsy! 

Step out of the box and be creative in your own COLORFUL way! Enjoy the process of crafting and designing using your favorite JASPER stones. Remember, it’s not only about the end product but also about the course of getting creatively busy with your mind, body and soul.  

Don’t forget to share your finished work with us here at Fairies Market!

Keep Creating,


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Turquoise Gemstones


Turquoise has been mined, traded and valued for centuries and is one of the oldest gems recorded. According to the Geological Society of America, mining of turquoise has been recognized across much of the southwest United States and northern Mexico, including as far north as Leadville, Colorado, and as far south as Zacatecas, Mexico.  Archeological findings of this mineral in Northern New Mexico date back to ca. A.D. 1250-1400.  Today turquoise is mined in many desert regions of the world including China, Iran, Persia, Mexico and the United States.

Since its discovery this precious mineral has been used as a valuable commodity for trade.  Turquoise jewelry is still sold and traded in markets around the world.  Each mine produces stones of various qualities and character which contribute to the uniqueness of the stone, making the turquoise more valuable; such as Cerrillos turquoise from the El Morro Valley in New Mexico or Bisbee Blue from the Bisbee Turquoise Mine in Arizona.  Many of the mines where turquoise was discovered include copper, silver and gold mining activities.


Restringing some beautiful turquoise disc beads for a friend. Added this large focal turquoise BEAD by Anthony Martinez lapidary. Stunning!
The use of turquoise in objects and beads shows the versatility of the stone.  Many ancient peoples used turquoise in ceremonial or religious practices while others believe this gemstone holds spiritual value.  Historically turquoise is a favorite stone of jewelry makers and designers, novice and experts alike.  Here are a few cool tidbits about this popular mineral:
  1. In the old world, turquoise was revered as a holy stone, turquoise talismans have been found in grave furnishing in Ancient Egypt as far back as 3000 BCE.  
  2. Persia, now known as Iran, is the earliest turquoise producing region.  Sarabit el-Khadim & Wadi Maghareh are the oldest mines that produced turquoise.  
  3. The Aztecs use turquoise to adorn masks and other sacred ritual paraphernalias. Turquoise are believed to be of great cultural importance to these people.
  4. Turquoise is known to have been mined by Puebloans in what's now New Mexico between A.D. 850 and 1150.
  5. In the modern world, turquoise is one of the December birthstones!

Mask of Xiuhtecuhtli - British Museum

Fairies Market- Blog 2.jpg
Genuine Turquoise Beads

Even today we are still mystified by the beauty of turquoise. These stones come in a variety of colors to include sky blue, blue-green or apple-green, depending on the stone's chemical formula which includes copper aluminum phosphate.  The demand for turquoise has led to the introduction of natural imposters such as dyed howlite, chrysocolla, malachite, variscite and even magnasite so buyer beware because sometimes it's hard to know the difference.

There are tests that can be done but some requires a lab and chemicals  The hardness test may be the easiest for consumers.  A Mohs hardness of 5 to 6 can distinguish turquoise from similar gemstones.  Its hardness can also help identify real turquoise from imitations or synthetic materials.  A harder stone can scratch a stone of lesser hardness.  Quartz has a Mohs hardness of 7, which means that quartz can scratch turquoise.  This is a simple way to determine the genuineness of a stone.  

Greg King Lapidary Arts

Get to know your local lapidary artist, that's what I did.  Greg has been an active participant of the Tucson Gem Show for over 30 years.  He knows his stuff!!  Ask questions about the stones you are interested in.  Dare to incorporate your favorite stones into your creative designs and always KEEP CREATING.  


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall Color Choices

What’s the Perfect Jewelry for Fall 2016

Industry leaders and experts joined together and agreed that for Fall 2016, the Blue Family is on top of the list. You might very well know by now that Pantone announced two colors for the first time as the color of the year. These colors include rose quartz and serenity, both demonstrating this year’s theme that is all about balance and well being. While rose quartz was the start for Spring and Summer, serenity and it’s blue relatives are the heroes of this season.
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Honestly, I love the overall theme of this year’s Pantone, harmony. The inspiration comes from the impending call for a conscious lifestyle and the search for an antidote to alleviate us from the daily stress of a fast paced modern and technological world. The color Blue in particular represents “tranquility, strength and optimism.”  Moreover, according to the color experts, the Blue Family draws a feeling of peace and constancy bringing a sense of connectedness when individuals are exposed to this color.
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Although, the shades of red, spicy mustard yellows, pinkish purples as well the silverish grays are considered the complimentary colors to serenity, riverside and airy blue, JCK Magazine suggests gray as the perfect tone for your jewelry. So if you are planning to update your jewelry collection this season, I strongly suggest you add these three to your wish list!

The Star Metal: Silver or White Copper
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Large Jumble Necklace, Silver Necklace by Lisa Crowder at Artful Home

White Copper

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More handmade white metal components from Kristi Bowman at this link.

Magical Moonstone 

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Moonstone is the most popular gem-quality stone from the feldspar group and also known as the birthstone of June. What I think makes this gem so beautiful is the stone’s adularescence, the “light that across the gem.” Some people also consider moonstone as an amulet for protection, love, prophecy and wisdom.

Gray Diamonds

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Oh yes, apparently there are gray diamonds too, but these colored diamonds are extremely rare. Here’s the good news, even if they are rare, gray diamonds are priced lower than white colorless stones; rough gray diamonds in particular. So if you have the money to spare, add these covetable stones to your jewelry collection.

Alternative to Gray Diamonds....Swarovski Genuine Smoky Quartz

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As you update your wardrobe for Fall, choose handmade jewelry pieces that will complement your overall look. For art bead craftsman & art jewelry designers this season may be the best time to work and experiment with new materials and colors. Add new elements and techniques to your creations and please share your ideas with us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Art Bead Scene - June 2016

Art Bead Scene hosts a monthly blog hop showcasing a work of art as the inspiration for jewelry makers.  This month they are featuring work by Louis Rhead; The Century Magazine for June which was created in 1896.  

According to the Smithsonian American Art Museum Rhead designed nearly 100 posters in the 1890's.   In the U.S. he created posters for a variety of magazines, including The Century, St. Nicholas, Harper's, The Bookman, and Scribner's.  He traveled to London, Paris and New York and his work was published in many countries.

I was especially drawn to the the earth tones in this color palette.  It's similar to the color's I used in April's challenge ... what can I say.  Jewelry makers have already begun sharing their work on the Art Bead Scene's Pinterest page.  You can also find blog posts featuring jewelry inspired by this lovely magazine cover, it's always fun so see what jewelry designers make. 

I incorporated beads from my stash.  I've had some beads much too long and after moving my studio a couple of times many things are not labeled.  As a result I am not 100% sure if the black bovine gemstone beads. Are they basalt, hoplite, onyx or what??  My apologies.

I created three strands of various beads using jade, malachite and the black beads.  I also  
included some lovely teal translucent lampwork beads in a matte finish that were made by Francesca De Caire. The brass bead caps are finished in an antique bronze patina from Vintage Brass Bead. 

The focal bead is an ART BEAD that I made in a lampwork bead making class that I took with Julie De Feo at the Sweeney Gallery in Glorieta, NM.  

The lampwork beads compliment the shades of green of the malachite beads and the light green jade.  The color combination of ivory and turquoise in the focal bead blends nicely with the overall color palette.  

Visit the Art Bead Scene blog to learn from artists who push creativity to new heights; beads, jewelry, components & giveaways are at just a click away.  

Keep Creating,

Friday, June 17, 2016

We're All Ears - June Challenge

Today’s reveal day for the We're All Ears  - June challenge!  This month the theme is strawberries which are very interesting fruit.  Stop by Erin’s blog post to see the list of fun facts about strawberries.  You may learn a thing or two. 

I sorted through my beads and couldn't find anything REAL strawberry-ish but I did find some lovely lampwork beads in a red hue that I think work well with these large ceramic beads.
I incorporated antique brass findings and made some earwires to match. 
Lampworked Boro Beads by Suzie Box (ZB-Beads)
Ceramic Beads by Gaea Handmade 
Keep Creating,


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What Does Quality Mean To YOU?

Producing high quality standards is a major concern for my home based jewelry business.  It is a double edged sword in one respect because I am my toughest critic.  There are times when the components don’t hold up so the product doesn’t meet my quality standards.

R.M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance says quality is neither mind nor matter, but a third entity independent of the two.  Even though quality can’t be defined you know what it is.

Quality means different things to different people and to different industries.  For me quality is being unique and honest, it’s something that you come to recognize through experience.  Have you ever created a beautiful piece of jewelry only to have it fall apart because the crimp bead broke or the clasp didn’t hold up?  Anyone who has a creative outlet or hobby knows that there are some things you just can’t control.  Does that mean you are making an inferior product?  I THINK NOT.  I have found that buying higher quality goods is more expensive and isn’t always a full proof guarantee that something won’t break, crack or bend whether it's tools, beads, wire, etc.

As an artisan I am constantly reminding myself that each consumer has different wants and needs.  The goods that satisfy their desires are looked at as having the highest quality.  This may be a biased view about the quality of goods and services but when sales are involved it makes sense.  Pricing is always a difficult for me because I want to offer great products at affordable prices but again I think often times consumers valuing things in relation to price.  

In a recent review of my work by a juried panel for a local shop I was told that the beads were of poor quality because they were not uniform in shape and size.  Well I purchase and make ART BEADS which are not always uniform in shape, size and color.  These are obviously conflicting views on the quality of certain products.  To me uniformity doesn’t mean superiority and that a product will stand the test of time and wear-ability.  

This feedback sparked my interest in researching what quality means in different aspects of life.  Different cultures, industries and various professions can influence a person's view of what makes a product high-quality. 

Here’s a list of some factors that I use to determine if the components I use in my jewelry making are worthy of being included in a design and if I repurchase the same or like items.  Again, experience weighs heavily on my designs.  It's a very automatic process I choose beads and components based on the following:

1.      Performance
2.      Reliability
3.      Durability
4.      Features
5.      Appearance

While quality can sometimes be measured by a product’s attributes, individual preference plays a role in how we value items.  These different views definitely give me a lot to think about when it comes to familiarizing myself with products and artists.  With the enormous international market readily available at our fingertips finding the “right” product is an enormous undertaking.

Right now I work with a limited number of vendors.  I have found that this provides consistency in my wears and limits my frustration because I'm familiar with their products, return policies, etc.  

The methods you use to determine if an item is of high quality can vary depending on the item you are purchasing, how a particular product makes you feel and if the purchase will satisfy a desire/need.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you determine if a product is of high-quality.  What does QuAliTy mean to you?

Keep Creating,