Saturday, August 31, 2013

2nd Annual Challenge of Travel Reveal

When I read about this year's challenge of travel, where designers were challenged to create pieces inspired by their hometowns, I jumped at the opportunity.  I have spent nearly all my life in Wise County, VA, located in the far southwestern corner of the state.  My husband, daughters and I settled in his hometown of Coeburn over 10 years ago.  It's a small, rural area in the Appalachian Mountains, rich with mountain traditions.

Many things came to mind when I thought of this area:  the natural beauty of the land, quilting, bluegrass music, small country churches, tight knit families...but the two things that I kept coming back to were coal and fall leaves.  

Coal is the main industry here, and it's rare to find a family without at least one coal miner (my father is a retired miner), or take a trip to town without seeing men in their mining uniforms.  Fall is my favorite time of year, and the mountains come alive with brilliant yellows, reds, and oranges.  I love the colors, the crisp fall mountain air, and the various festivals that take place in the surrounding towns.  

This is the necklace I created with these two things in mind.

The black stone in the pendant isn't actually coal, but it looks exactly like it.  I added leaves in browns, oranges, and deep reds, then added chips in similar colors to form the chain.  The necklace is simple, much like the way of life in this area.

I hope you've enjoyed a peek into rural southwest Virginia.  If you enjoy mountains, small towns, lakes and creeks, grab a pair of hiking boots and come visit!

Be sure to head back to Erin's blog to see what inspires other bloggers.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I know it's hard to tell with the way I've neglected this blog, but I have been working!  Here are a few of the new pieces I have.  

I'm planning to list these in my etsy shop soon.  

This weekend I'm participating in the 2nd annual Challenge of Travel blog hop, hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz.  I'm getting a bit stressed, though, because I don't have a clear picture of what I plan to do in mind.  I worked up part of idea #1 last night, and it just wasn't what I wanted.  So, back to the drawing board.

Tune in this Saturday to see what I came up with!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

College spirit

A week or two ago, a lady at work asked if I could make a "gaudy" bracelet and earrings set for her in the University of Tennessee colors.  Once I heard the word "gaudy", I knew this little project was for me.  

College football is very popular here, with most folks being fans of the University of Tennessee or Virginia Tech.  We have a few University of Virginia fans floating around (i.e., my husband), but for the most part it's UT or Tech.  Personally, I prefer UT, even though I know next to nothing about football.  

I decided to make a memory wire bracelet, using neon orange beads, crystals, and big crystal coated beads.  Gaudy?  Yes.  But, apparently she liked it because she ordered 3 more sets for friends yesterday.

These aren't the greatest pictures--I took them at my desk right before giving them to her--but you can get the idea.

The only problem is I realized I'm not charging enough.  By the time I buy supplies, I'm barely (and I do mean barely) clearing anything.  Oh well.  Live and learn, I suppose.  At least she's pulling for the right team! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Festival and something new

This past Saturday Travis and I stopped by the Virginia Highlands Festival in nearby Abingdon, VA.  I look forward to this festival each year, even though, unfortunately vendor participation has decreased the past few years.  I only bought one thing this year, but I absolutely fell in love with it.  One of the vendors was selling pendants and earrings made from real acorn caps and beads.  After much deliberation, this is the one I brought home.

I absolutely love it!  I have got to make some of these for myself.  I don't know how many times I've seen little acorn caps lying around, and wondered if there was anything I could do with them.  

I did a little research, and some sites say you need to dry the caps out before you use them, and put them in the oven on a low temp for a while to kill any little worms that might be living in the cap.  Could have done without knowing they might be infested, but...  It looks like there's some kind of coating on the cap to make it somewhat shiny (and I assume more durable).  

This will be so pretty to use in a necklace this fall.  My only wish is that I had bought a few more!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ocean's Gifts

Several years ago I purchased a very large seashell pendant at a local bead store.  I've held onto it for years, not knowing exactly what to do with it.  I finally used it the other day, turning it into this necklace with pearls and blue chip beads, reminiscent of the ocean.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


No major news, so I thought I'd share a few randoms.

  • I made this necklace for a friend's birthday.  This is the picture from the Ornamentea tutorial.  I did her necklace in blue shades, but forgot to snap a picture.
  • I went to the doctor the other day, and she said those vulgar words to me:  diet and exercise.  So, for the past two mornings I've been up early walking.  After this morning's workout, I decided that no matter what doctors tell you, exercise is NOT good for you.
  • Tomorrow is the girls' first day of school.  I can't believe Hannah starts high school, and Katie is in the 6th grade.  Where does time go?
  • I just placed an order at Ornamentea for some Elaine Ray ceramic beads.  Woo hoo!  Can't wait for them to arrive!
  • I'm making a "gaudy" (her request) University of Tennessee bracelet for a lady at work, so I also placed an order for orange beads at Fire Mountain Gems.  
Hope everyone has a good evening!