Sunday, April 28, 2013

Altered Jewelry Displays

I mentioned in a previous post that I was working on some altered jewelry displays.  Well I finally finished them last week and am sharing them with you now.

I started out with a pretty lavender glass vase, a plain white candle holder and two inexpensive plain white lampshades.

Next, I cut the covering from the shade leaving just the metal frame.

Using E-6000 glue, I attached the metal lampshade frame to the lavender glass vase.

The metal frame will be used to hang jewelry from.  But then I thought I could add something to the top of the vase to give more room for hanging more jewelry.  So I added a small clear glass vase using the same E-6000 glue.

This design will allow me to use the wire frame for longer items such as necklaces and the small clear glass for small items such as earrings.  Here it is displaying some of my necklaces:

But after looking at it for a couple of days, I decided it looked a bit plain.  So I decided to embellish it a bit.  I spray painted the lavender vase with Frosted Glass giving it a bit of an old look.  Then I used a cranberry acrylic paint for the clear glass piece ... for this I poured the paint into the glass, swirled it around, then turned it upside down on some newspaper and cardboard to let the excess drain.

Looking better, but still looked unfinished.  So I used twine to wrap around the metal frame giving it a less sterile look, then finished it with some pretty red ribbon bows.  Here's the finished design.

As for the plain white candle holder I showed at the beginning of the post, I sprayed it with a metallic paint in a soft silver color, then finished it much like the piece above with a small glass vase, lampshade frame, and twine.  Here are the two pieces together:

And here is the lavender design holding some of my necklaces:

I also photographed several more of my recently altered glass jewelry displays.  I found some clear glass vases at a local thrift store for $1.00 each and painted one with frosted glass for a vintage look, and the other with a mirror finish for a deco kind of look.  I did not take "before" pictures, but here they are after I painted them along with my other two designs from above.

These designs are now being used to display some of my jewelry at Ruby's Gift in Charlotte, NC.  Hope you will visit if you are in the area!

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Gemstone Drops

Last week I posted photos of some new beads I received and promised to show you what I did with them.  Well, here are the first of a new collection I am calling Gemstone Drops.  This is a collection of pendants and earrings with beautiful gemstones all in vivid bright colors - perfect for spring and summer!

The earring wires for these pieces are all handmade by me in either silver or copper.  I oxidized the silver for a pretty antique appearance and used gunmetal bead caps, chain and findings to compliment the antiqued silver.   I made the copper ear wires using dark copper wire with a beautiful bronzed appearance and added antiqued copper bead caps, chain and findings all with a warm rich glow.

Turquoise Blue Agate Earrings
Handmade Oxidized Silver Earring Wires

Turquoise Agate & Crystal Pendant & Earrings - Silver & Gunmetal

Red Fire Agate Pendant and Earrings - Silver and Gunmetal

Strawberry Quartz Pendant and Earrings - Antiqued Silver & Gunmetal

Strawberry QuartzPendant & Earrings - Antiqued Copper

Red Fire Agate Pendant & Earrings - Antiqued Copper

Green Agate Earrings and Pendant - Antiqued Copper

Turquoise Agate Pendant & Earrings - Antiqued Copper

Ruby Jade Heart Earrings
With Ruby Quartz Rondelles & Ruby Zoisite Beads

These designs are headed for Ruby's Gift (Charlotte, NC) where I sell my designs along with a number of other very talented artisans.  Be sure to visit if you are in the Charlotte area!  I will also soon be making more similar designs to post in my Etsy shop so visit there as well.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New Beads ... New Designs On The Way!

I just love getting a shipment of new beads.  It's always like opening a little treasure chest of goodies!  This week I received my order for a box full of gemstone and glass beads from

The gemstones are a mix of aqua blue fire agate, multi-colored tourmaline, strawberry quartz, and ruby red jade hearts.  The glass beads are pretty faceted rondelles in aqua blue and peach with gold AB finished.  All in all, the beads are spectacular!

Can't wait to get started creating something beautiful!  Am thinking of some of these can make great bold style earrings.  Also will use some of them for a multi-colored necklace .... and maybe an eyeglass chain as well.  Will post pics later of the completed project!

Am also working on some new altered bottle jewelry displays which I will be posting about soon.  Until then...

Thanks for stopping by!
Irene  ❤

Friday, April 12, 2013

This Old Piano

This post has nothing to do with jewelry, but is a story of a very old piano.  This piano is over 100 years old and has been in our family for just about that long!

A couple of years ago I decided to refurbish the inside of this musical instrument.  My youngest son is the musician in the family and is really the only one who plays it.  He had been complaining that it needed to be improved.  One day, the piano will be passed on to him.

The piano has a great deal of sentimental value as it was in my father's home growing up in Pennsylvania.  And while he never played it, two of his sisters did and it was an important item in their home.  Well, a piano is meant to be played and so I decided to make it more playable!

We found a great guy named Hoyt to refurbish the piano.  When Hoyt arrived, he first did an overall survey of the external parts of the piano and told me it was actually a very good one.  It is an Ivers and Pond - no longer in business - but a company that made excellent pianos in their day.  All of the ivories were in perfect shape and he says they look to be the original ivories as well.

He then opened the piano up revealing the "guts" of the piece.  Very interesting!  All kinds of information here.   First, a label with the date it was made July 2, 1910 along with the signatures of the people involved in making it.  Wow - you don't find that kind of pride in workmanship today!  There was also a label documenting the various patents for the mechanical aspects of the piano - some dating back to the 1880's.  And finally a label with the serial number, the Ivers and Pond name, and the city it was made in - Boston.

I truly felt like I was stepping back in time as I examined the inside of this wonderful piece of history.  It took about two months for Hoyt to finish his work which included replacing and refurbishing the "hammers" for the keys.

The end result was that the piano sounds great ... here is a picture of my son playing it.  Even though he is now 24, he still comes home from grad school on a regular basis and enjoys playing it.

Nothing has been done to the outside of the piano - it is still the same finish and has its share of scuffs and scratches.  But I think this adds to the charm and beauty of this piece and I don't plan to do anything at all to the outside.  

P.S.  Linking up with A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson.  Hope you will visit her Blog and join the Share Your Cup link.  Visit at:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Eyeglass Chains Revisited

My eyeglass chains have over the years become one of the more popular jewelry designs I sell in my Etsy shop.  My Signature designs are a necklace style with a loop for holding a pair of eyeglasses such as shown in the designs pictured at left and below:

Rose Pink Glass and Gunmetal Eyeglass Chain

The way you use these eyeglass chains is to fold your eyeglasses and slip one of the ear pieces through the loop.  Very functional.  But over the years, I have had several requests for customizing my eyeglass chains into eyeglass leashes with the traditional rubber or cord ends.  I have also had requests to make them suitable for use as ID-badge lanyards.  

So I will now offer my eyeglass chains with three style options:  Leash, Necklace, or Lanyard.  For example, my Black Pearl Crystal Eyeglass Chain is one of my more popular designs:

Signature Necklace Style

Eyeglass Leash on Left, Necklace with Loop on Right

Here are all five options available for this design:

Options 1 & 2:  Leash style.
  • Offered with traditional black cord grippers in choice of either bright silver balls or black gunmetal corrugated balls.  

Options 3 & 4:  My Signature Necklace style.
  • Offered in either a standard 20mm loop or a larger 25mm loop. 
  • I decided to offer the option for a larger loop based on requests in the past for loops large enough to accomodate extra wide ear pieces found on some eyeglasses and sunglasses.  
  • The loops are a beautiful hammered antiqued silver.

Option 5:  Lanyard style.
  • Similar to the necklace design but with a smaller 16mm loop and a bright silver swivel clip for attaching an ID badge to.
To see all my Eyeglass Chains and Lanyards, visit my Eyeglass Chains & Lanyards section in my Etsy shop!

Thanks for stopping by!