When you check out on Etsy, simply use this code to get %25 off your entire purchase - TG2014.
This coupon is valid until 12/2/2014. Happy shopping!
Modern Mermaid Design Handcrafted Jewelry
It's been a busy time getting ready for the holidays. I'm so thankful for all the support and love I've received for my handmade jewelry. To share the love, I'm giving out a 25% ETSY coupon code to all my online supporters.
When you check out on Etsy, simply use this code to get %25 off your entire purchase - TG2014.
This coupon is valid until 12/2/2014. Happy shopping!
So I’ve been on a blog break lately, but I have a good reason. I added two new members to my family, Lazlo and Huey. Lazlo is an 8 week old tri colored cockapoo - his dad was a poodle and mom was a cocker spaniel. Huey is his buff colored 4 month older brother. Huey is a, F1B buff colored 4 month old cockapoo. This means one parent was a poodle and the other a cockapoo. Both cockapoo pups are the cutest, fluffiest little boys. I affectionately call them mischief and mayhem.
My boyfriend Erik and I drove up to Blackburg, VA last weekend to pick them up from a vet/breeder call Puff and Stuff Cockapoos (yes, it’s super cute because their puppies are super cute.) We drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains to get there. Apparently, our Garmin thought we wanted to take the scenic route and gave us every back road possible. It was pretty, but at the end of the day(and a 6 hour trip through rain) you just want to arrive. We stayed overnight since we had a long ride home.
We originally went to Virginia to pick up Huey, but I fell in love with Lazlo as well. A few “Please, please, please”, and we headed home with our two boys. Yes, I know. Twice the work, but also twice the love and puppy kisses. Look at both their faces and you’ll know why I couldn’t chose one or the other.
So we drove home on a Saturday. The pups were in the back seat enjoying the ride for the first hour or two. How could you not enjoy seeing mountains and driving through clouds?
Then they passed out. Poor Huey woke up a few times due to a sensitive stomach. Poor Lazlo learned not to sleep next to Huey in the car. Luckily, our rest stops are pet friendly and had watering and clean up stations to use.
As we got closer to the beach, the rain started up again. So we got home in time for the pups to enjoy 4 straight days of rain. It wasn’t until the 5th evening with us that our pups got to visit the ocean for the first time. They had such a good time romping in the sand and putting their little paws into the surf. They were finally home where both beach puppies belonged.
After about a month of training and vet visits, we were finally getting in a routine. Then, with Labor Day weekend around the corner, I fell off the porch and sprained my ankle. The pups kept me company until I could get an x-ray. I've been trapped on the couch ever since, beadless and unable to walk. I have lots of ideas for new jewelery, but they will have to wait until I'm able to stand without crutches. What a way to end my summer!
You’ll see more of Huey and Lazlo as they help me with my creative process and jewelry design (if they don't eat my tools first). How do your pets inspire you? Feel free to share!
So I'm planning a trip to the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina July 21-25. The plan is to visit family, rest and relax. The beaches will be packed, but I'm still planning on regular beach treasure hunts to see if I can find any shells, pieces of sea glass, or other items to turn into fantastic, beach inspired jewelry.
The OBX is famous for many things. My favorite are the wild horses. On my last trip, my partner in crime, Erik, and I explored the 4 wheel beach and we were lucky enough to find some horses (see picture). The horses make their home on the beach and sometimes locals will find them squatting in their garages if the doors are open.
What's best about these trips is that I get another perspective. There are different colors, people and impressions that I can work into my designs. Where do you find inspiration? Feel free to share your thoughts!
Mermaids...beautiful, graceful, lovely sirens of the seas. When I imagine a mermaid, I think of long flowing hair and shimmering tails. But what about mermaid style? Here are my top 5 tips to creating a modern mermaid style:
1) Show off your inner mermaid - To me, mermaid style can be literal. There are some gorgeous charms like the mermaid earrings I made above. Images of mermaids can be whimsical, colorful, and fun.
2) Make an impression - Mermaid style can be relative. What do I mean by that? Think about the attributes of the mermaid. I love the image of long flowing hair and shimmering tails flashing in the ocean. Take one attribute of this iconic ocean legend and use it to create a mermaid feeling in your look. For example, drape yourself with long flowing chains to mimic the long flowing locks of hair. Add some subtle sparkle or shimmer to your makeup, outfit, or accessories to reflect the shimmering scales of the mermaid's tail. (just be cautious here; too much sparkle and shimmer can be over the top)
3) Color: Sea - ing is believing - Where do you find mermaids? If your answer included the ocean, sea, water, etc. then you are correct. This lovely lady lives in the sea, so use a watery palette to create your mermaid style. Various shades of cool blues and greens work well together. It doesn't matter if you prefer a minimal or romantic style, color can help you be a modern mermaid.
4) Be Beachy - Shells, sea life (like starfish and sea horses), and other beach items can promote a fun, coastal mermaid style. Whether you love the natural look of shells or the bright colors of man made items like beach balls and umbrellas, think about how to add beachy elements to your look. Since I live at the beach, this is easy for me. I love hunting for things on the beach to turn into jewelry.
5) Materials make the mermaid - When I imagine mermaids, I picture an elegant beautiful figure. So this makes me think about what a mermaid would wear when it comes to her style. You can add instant mermaid style to your look by choosing jewelry and other accessories made of materials that a mermaid could fashion into something beautiful.
Pearls immediately come to mind. Lots and lots of pearls if you're feeling fancy. You can also add sea glass, shells, and surf tumbled stones.
See my jewelry below for some examples of my modern mermaid style:
I love the look of sea glass. When I view my collection, it's like looking at a firework display of color! I've been lucky enough to find many excellent pieces on my own or I've been given some great pieces by friends. Most of my collection comes from various North Carolina beaches.
Sea glass is also called beach glass since that's where it usually washes up. It's also called mermaid tears. Legend has it that mermaids lure sailors into the sea for companionship or more sinister purposes depending on the story. The myth behind mermaid tears is a romantic, sad story of course. One mermaid loved a ship's captain. When that captain fell into the sea during a storm, the mermaid calmed the sea and storm to save him. This was forbidden by Neptune.. As punishment, she was banished to the bottom of the ocean, never again to swim in the sun or see her beloved captain. Her tears are said to wash ashore as beautiful pieces of colorful sea glass gems.
It's a romantic tale for sure, especially if you are drawn to the ocean. Sea glass hunters like me seek out these bits of glass for various reasons. I love finding a piece, feeling their weight, examining their texture and finish, imagining their histories and stories. But the truth is that most sea glass comes from trash.
That's right...most of what you will find comes from broken beer, wine or soda bottles. Sometimes though, you may find sea glass that comes from a shipwreck. This means the glass comes from an older medicine bottle or perfume bottle. This is where you get some rare colors such as blue and pink sea glass. I was lucky enough to find a delicate pink mermaid's tear with a lovely vine pattern.
Hunting for sea glass isn't hard. Simply grab your sunscreen, and hit the beach. What you are looking for is a small piece of glass that has been tumbled in the ocean and sand for while. This process gives the glass a matte finish and rounds off the sharp edges. You can usually tell the difference between genuine sea glass and man made sea glass because genuine sea glass is not perfectly finished. There should be chips, nicks, and texture to the glass. This is why I love to work with sea glass in jewelery. Every piece is unique.
Now, spotting sea glass on sand can be tricky because there may be a lot of things around or, if it's white or brown glass, the sea glass may blend into the beach itself. It's very easy to walk right by these hidden gems. Let's test your sea glass spotting abilities. Below are two photos of sea glass on the beach. Can you spot both pieces?
Great job! Simply look for that matte finish and translucent rounded shaped. If you're lucky, you'll spot a piece of sea glass in a brilliant color. Now what do you do with it? You can save it and decorate with it. I've seen vases and lamps filled with brilliant sea glass. I've also seen beautiful frames for mirrors and pictures covered in sea glass. There are also sea glass mosaics made by some fabulous artists on Etsy. Me? I love making jewelry out of it.
As a jewelry designer, part of the fun with sea glass is finding the right piece and finding the right setting. Smaller pieces work better as earrings. Other larger pieces make better pendants and necklaces or even bracelets. It's all about being creative and letting the sea glass take center stage. I don't like to cover up the sea glass too much. I really want the sea glass to have presence and be a focal point. But I admit, I'm loving pendants the most. Here are some of my current offerings - all available at ModernMermaidDesign.Etsy.com
What have I been working on lately? An earring extravaganza (and some sea glass pendants)! I created all these earrings, which will be offered for sale at Lighthouse Bagels in Corolla, NC (Go OBX!)
With earrings, I love to focus on simple, light, easy to wear designs. Of course, I also like to add some additional visual interest. I love adding color or sparkle to fun elements such as sea shells or charms. Beach style should have a sense of fun and/or whimsy. If you ever feel "stuck in a rut" when making earrings, here are my Top 5 suggestions to get you on a new path:
1. Simplify - if you have a beautiful larger focal, such as a charm or pendant for your earrings, let them take center stage. Here, these gorgeous sea shells really shine. Plus, there are light weight so they're easy to wear.
2. Don't be afraid to make a statement - Statement earrings are really on trend. Go bold with your focal and add some length to your earrings to let them sweep down toward the shoulders. I loved these large lampwork glass starfish. Adding the aquamarine bead really lets them swing and attract attention.
3. Shine baby shine - I'm a sparkle girl, so I love crystals of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, i just need to add a little extra glitter to an already nice element. Take these mermaid earrings. The reversible mermaid charms are really nice. To make them a little more glamorous, I added some Swarovski flat-back crystals to the mermaid's tail. Since I wanted to carry on the mysterious feel that mermaids evoke, I dangled the charms from Swarovski vitrail crystals, which flash with a rainbow of colors.
4. Twins can be fraternal - In other words, don't be afraid to mix and match. Your earrings do not have to be exactly the same. Find a common theme or color to bring it all together. My theme in this example is all about the sea. I paired a seahorse with a sand dollar. As you can see they are also different sizes. No worries, I simply found the right size beads in my color pallet to help even everything out.
5. Going green is gorgeous - I'm big on recycling. One of my favorite weekend events is hitting the beach for treasure hunts. I look for anything and everything that I could recycle into cool jewelry. I'm always fascinated (or disgusted - people leave so much trash on the sand) by what I find. It's always a treat to find sea glass in any shape, size or color. Here, these sea glass earrings are wire wrapped in copper and paired with fresh water pearls. It's organic looking with a lot of warmth.
So, if you're ever at Ft Fisher beach, NC on the weekend, say hello. I'm easy to find. Just look for the lady in the neon pink hat who's carrying some bags and a net.
If you happen to be in the Outer Banks, stop by Light house bagels, say hello to everyone there, and ask for a french toast bagel (that's my fav!)
Below are some more earring examples to enjoy.
Sometime, the hardest thing for me to do is to take excellent photos. I struggle to find the right angle, use the right shutter speed, or determine the right light exposure. I also want to set the right tone for my brand. But I keep trying. :-)
Yuri Hardzei is another member of the Lighthouse Bagel family. (In the OuterBanks of NC? Visit them for some yummy bagels and the best breakfast sammies on the east coast.) He took some excellent photos of some pieces I offer in the store. I love the way he brought out the texture and bright green color of my sea glass pendant.
Visit his website for more examples of his work!
When I was in Arizona, I was like a fish out of water. But the environment, color palette, and natural wonders were so inspiring, I've been working to capture this in my jewelry. Tell me what you think!
I spent the last week in Scottsdale, Arizona 'enjoying' the 110 degree weather. While the hot dry air was not my cup of tea, I did enjoy exploring the area and new sights. The mountain and desert views provided new inspirations with the green cactus, red earth and bright blue skies.
Speaking of inspiration, I was able to visit the MIM (Musical instrument museum) The World’s Only Global Musical Instrument Museum. It houses so many instuments and provides backgrounds and stories about how many of these cultures are influenced in their music. My favorite place was the experience room where you have the chance to try out many different instruments.
Visit the MIM website for more details.
I can't wait to take some of my photos and see what inspired my next handmade jewelry project.
Each week I try to hit the beach. My favorite activity is trolling the beach for any treasures. To me, this means shells, sea glass, and any bits and pieces that catch my fancy.
My favorite spot for a treasure hunt is the 4 wheel drive beach at Ft Fisher. I find more sea glass and bright shells in this location than any other beach in Wilmington, NC.
This week, I found some fun things! Yes, I even found some dinosaurs! :-)
Meet my newest friends Calvin and Hobbes who I rescued this morning. Hopefully, they'll give me some great inspiration.