Monday, July 27, 2009

Button Fetish

Yes, I have a thing for buttons. I've long been fascinated by them and have collected them for a generation. I'm lucky to live in a city where it's easy to acquire the most amazing buttons in one's travels to notions stores and flea markets, and Ebay and Etsy feed my habit, too. I love buying a jar of buttons in an antique store, especially if the buttons still have a clump of thread or fabric attached to them...people threw away old clothes, but they saved the buttons - a thrifty sense of economy that benefits everyone. Once upon a time, buttons were treasured little items, and to me, they still are.

I have a customer who bought a huge cache of vintage pearl buttons on Ebay and poured them into a bowl that she keeps on her dresser so she can run her fingers through them periodically. I think it's a fabulously romantic idea and wish that I could amass a trove like that I would not plunder to make into things. I imagine a pretty glass bowl of luminous buttons on a marble or wood-topped dresser, their etched and worn surfaces glittering in half-light, having once decorated tender little garments in linen and cotton, intimate garments of ladies long lost to time.

I made this vintage button bracelet for a friend from some sensational antique buttons in her stash. She is a fellow costume designer and I recently sorted through her buttons and discovered a number of singletons that would probably never grace a costume again - not enough to to be useful, but too interesting to languish forgotten in a ziploc bag. Now she can wear them all at once, and what a great piece of jewelry for a designer who specializes in period costume.

If you have a box of grandmother's buttons tucked away in a drawer, consider having a bracelet made so that you can proudly wear her treasured collection. I have several pieces on my shop made from buttons and try to make them as quickly as they sell out. I'm happy that others treasure the humble button (some are not so humble - they're downright outrageous) as much as I do.

Here's a variety of button necklaces currently in my shop.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fuzzy Balls

I've had these needle felted wool balls for three years now; they've lain in a drawer while I puzzled over what to do with them. The colors are so bright that they're great for summer and spring as well as fall, so I got them out today and made them into earrings with sterling silver findings. They're little hits of strong color that are so cheerful and playful. At my Etsy shop.

Made by Hand. By ME Treasury

Thanks to Tania Torres, I am in a collection of tea and coffee-inspired goodies from 1000 Markets sellers over at Made By Hand. By Me. Such a cute collection of pieces! I just love coffee, even though I have to limit my consumption for awhile.

Here's a link to the page, where you can click on the lovelies and leave a comment if you like what you see. At Tania's link, you can see where she sells her beautiful sterling silver jewelry!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fit for a Queen

I apologize for another jewelry promo, but I'm about to start a job and things always get crazy just beforehand, so I am at a loss for interesting tidbits to post about. We also had a birthday party for my Dad this weekend, which was lots of fun. He's 93 years young!

I re-configured a necklace that I was never happy with to make this new one, still entitled The Queen's Necklace. The new focal is a ginormous smoke gray chandelier crystal, enhanced by a vintage leaf pearl and rhinestone brooch, Czech glass beads, chandelier octagon crystals and other vintage glass beads in shades of lavender, cream and smoke. It's weighty and important, perfect for a special night's embellishment. Everywhere I turn, chunky necklaces with huge bling are still the rage, even more so than last season, and today on the streets I passed many wonderful, big necklaces worn by adventurous women, which is most heartening. So far our summer in New York City has been tolerable as weather goes, so it's not too hot to wear some impressive neck decor.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I've had this idea for a while and finally last night got my snap box out of the supply closet and found that I had enough of these big whopper poppers to spare to make some jewelry. I love (sewing) hardware, and have always found the designs of these snaps interesting.

I made three - one in black with the huge size (almost an inch), one in silver, and a graduated silver style, which is OOAK as I am now out of the intermediate size. I test-drove them all and they're lightweight and comfortable.

They'll be in my Etsy shop today, and at 1000 Markets.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I was asked by Mod3rnArt Jewelry to submit a photo of my workspace to her blog. She has a cool gallery of studio pictures from a number of Etsy sellers whose work she admires. I love to see what designers' work areas look like, especially if they have to work out of their homes. The challenge is to make the space utile without giving over one's whole environment to one's work. It looks as if some people use a little table in the corner of the living room or maybe even bedroom, while others seem to have a large dedicated space to their craft, with some killer equipment.

I made a collage of various areas that I like. I found a dresser in my basement that once belonged to my next-door neighbor - it was purple (as was her entire apartment, even the ceiling) and I repainted it some bright (some might say ghastly) colors that were inspired by a picture of painted cabinets in an English country cottage. I keep boxes of beads, wrapping supplies and other stuff I need in that dresser, which helps with the visual clutter. My office is a glorious deep red, but the room doesn't get that much light so it reads more like a deeply mysterious and warm tone. I almost never turn on the top light, a hideous fixture that came with the aparment that I covered with organza and glass beads, so it never is as red as in that picture. I work on a drafting table built for me by an old flame from college that has the same Vyco covering that I originally put on it, which gets scrubbed every few years. It's a happy space, if a bit tight, and I am surrounded by my favorite friends, color and texture.

Check out the photo of my pal Talula's space - she has a destash store on Etsy called Covet and Crave. I love her artfully arranged still life of her jewels and supplies. Thanks, MOd3rnArt Jewelry for such a great idea!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Outsider Art at Bergdorf Goodman

Baltimore's American Visionary Museum get a fantastic showcase at Bergdorf Goodman this month. The North and Fifth Avenue windows are simply amazing, filled with gorgeous art and complementary fashion, but the art wins out this time. I went by the other night on my way home from "Phedre" and was glad that I had my camera with me, as night is THE time to take pictures there. It's the perfect combination of retail theater, and if it sells a few dresses and shoes, all the better.

Many many pictures are on my Flickr page in this collection, but I have a few of my favorites here.

Bergdorf Goodman department store is located on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street

Here's a link to the American Visionary
Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. I'll be visiting there on my next trip down there, and I hope it's soon!

And here's a page with photos of past Bergdorf Goodman windows! You can also see lots of pictures of 2007 & 2008 Holiday windows at my Flickr site.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New This Weekend

I've been busy in the last day or so and have entered three of these brightly colored pieces into the shop. The turquoise necklace sold right away, but the other two pieces, a bracelet that was meant to be a companion to the necklace, and the clock face earrings, are available. I'm working on more and will list new pieces here as they are photographed. Tricolor necklace is here.

Michael Jackson at the Plaza Hotel

I happened to be passing by and spied some street performers on Fifth Avenue by the Plaza Hotel Fountain, a group made up of boys of different ages (and some adults), complete with Michael Jackson impersonator, performing to music - Michael's, of course. You can often find performers in this spot, under the trees for shelter. It's a great location, at 59th and Fifth Avenue, across from Bergdorf Goodman department store, the Apple Computer Store, Central Park, and the Plaza. In the winter, my older nephew was captivated by similar street performers on a trip to midtown Manhattan at Christmas.

These boys were good, and the MJ dancer was excellent. Spectators were enthusiastic and generous when the hat was passed. For the record, they performed to "Gonna Be Starting Something".

A few more pix here.

Stay tuned for pictures from spectacular Bergdorf Goodman Windows!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009


I'm offering FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more items to anywhere in the world! You can do your gift and holiday shopping now and save on pesky mailing fees that will be refunded after payment, or, you can let me know what you want in advance and I will alter the listings for you before you pay. This offer is good at Etsy only as I have no way of refunding through Amazon payments at 1000Markets.

Have a great weekend, everyone! The weather in NYC is fan-tastic, so I'll be out there, enjoying the low humidity and cool breezes. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Phedre in New York City - Update

I posted earlier about London's National Theatre experiment of broadcasting plays from their season to theaters in the US. Their first play. "Phedre", by Racine, was shown earlier this month and again last night on the East Side at the City Cinemas. For me, this was a success. I was riveted by the performance of Helen Mirren as Phedre, a queen who has fallen in love with her stepson, Hippolytus, and the carnage that ensues as a result of this passion.

The film opened with Jeremy Irons interviewing director Nicholas Hytner on the terrace of the National Theatre about this project and the four plays that they plan to present. Then we watched designer Bob Crowley explain the concept behind the setting, as well as another man, perhaps the dramaturg? (sorry, can't remember) also offering more valuable pre-show information. I was glad that they kept this short, and presented the play, two hours without intermission (or interval, as they say across the pond) without too much scholarly background. It's such an elemental story that is accessible and quite straightforward; no previous knowledge of Greek Mythology is required in order to enjoy the performance. The translation that they used was by Ted Hughes, and the word imagery was quite beautiful and clearly understandable.

The setting is Ancient and Timeless and textured - a terrace of a palace on the sea, full of angles, textures and heat. There is a sense of air, sea, sky and stone. The cast of 12 play on this one set, during which the light changes gradually and informs much of the play's mood. The costumes, I assume also by Bob Crowley, but supervised by Christine Rowland, with whom I had the pleasure of working on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang here in New York, were a lovely combination of contemporary military (for the men) and timeless elegance. Dame Helen looked sensational: photos are here. Her costumes were simple and elegant, two costumes with additions of a veil and coat in dove grey and plum, with regal jewelry that gradually disappeared as the action unfolded. The clothes were striking without drawing too much attention, quiet and correct. Not seeing the entire set, it's difficult to review it, but there was the sense of oppression from the heavy stone, loss and age from the dead leaves scattered across the stage, and possible escape from it all via the sea and sky. I was happy with most of the performances and the direction, and can't wait for the next chance to see a production from the National in the Fall.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Front Page Sunday

In the wee hours, just happened to be awake and online, checking into, and saw a sudden burst of shop hearts. Curious, I checked the Front Page on Etsy, and there I was in wonderfully witchy-looking assemblage chosen by administrators to s search term of "Black Lace." My recently re-listed Arsenic and Old Lace Necklace, made from vintage celluloid hat "feathers", was chosen. I had dinner the other night with a colleague and was wearing this piece, made from similar "feathers", which he recognized from an ancient trim store that we both frequent. He mentioned that he also had a small cache but had never figured out what to do with them, as they break easily if used on a hat, their original purpose. Well, now I am using them in jewelry, and they're stunning in all of their shiny spikiness.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Wishing everyone a happy, fun and safe holiday weekend. In the NE we have had tons of rain and humidity, but hopefully the weather will cooperate so that a non-soggy fourth can be enjoyed by all.

These holidays make me think of hot dogs, cookouts, sunburns, and bugs. I have no pix of the aforementioned, but bugs I have, so let's hear it for summer bugs! These are the best kind - they won't bite and leave any itchies.

My signature piece - Egyptian Revival Scarab Necklace

Verdigris Butterfly and Teal Freshwater Pearl Necklace

Purple Blue Scarab Necklace

Pink Butterfly and Sterling Silver Necklace

Dragonfly Chandelier Crystal Necklace

Simple Pink Purple Scarab Necklace

Cicada Necklace

Colorful Fiesta Glass Dragonfly Necklace

Verdigris Butterfly and Freshwater Pearl Bracelet

Grand Cicada Necklace

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Video of the Day

I ran across this video today from Perpetuum Jazzile, an accapella Slovenian choir, on YouTube. The song "Africa", begins and ends with a rainstorm that they create themselves. It's truly ingenious. As one who loves the sound of a storm, I love it!

Late NIght Front Page!

Last few minutes of June found a new Front Page that featured my Red Twilight Necklace in the group. I think it was up for 1/2 an hour, and it has over 1000 views now. It's always nice to have a free half hour of publicity on Etsy!