Friday, September 30, 2011

Saturday Style: Beachwear

Is there anything as enjoyable as spending and ending a day at the beach?

Thinking of friends in the Southern hemisphere and an end of Summer vacation in Ocean City, Maryland have inspired me to celebrate Beachwear this week.
I am taking the flip-flops, tank tops, sundresses and crop pants on one more trip before putting them away for the Winter.
Beach fashion is fun.
It is comfortable.
It is colorful.
And yes it is stylish.

Why stroll the boardwalk in your shorts and a beach tee when you can throw on a beautiful yet comfortable sundress like this one created by etsy seller GoGothic from Toronto Ontario. 

Own the boardwalk in this cornflower blue sundress.
 Perfect for a day in the sand these handcrafted copper sea star earrings by etsy seller RedBirdJewellry of Dorking England will complement your bikini or your sundress.

Don't forget your jewelry like these textured starfish earrings.
Flip flops don't have to be boring shower shoes. Check out the colorful ribbons and flowers on these by etsy seller PetalnPearlBoutique of Worcester, Massachusetts.  

Fun and funky these bright flip flops will make make your feet as happy as the rest of you.

Don't forget the bag to carry all  your beach goodies in. I love this over sized, strong and beautifully styled tote by etsy seller MeilingSketchbook of Moorpark, California.

Pack up your towel, sunscreen and waterbottle. You are ready for a day at the beach.
This fantastic lampwork necklace by etsy seller MelissaBeads of Colorado reminds me of a day at the beach. Looking at these colors I picture beach umbrellas, kites and surfboards dancing in the waves. 

Vibrant and fashionable beach ball necklace.
At the end of the day get ready  for cocktails and a beautiful sunset by adding a cover to your swimsuit. Consider this powder blue wrap by etsy seller SLCSLC of Great Britain. 
Cover your suit and find a deck, a Margarita and a view of the sunset.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Have you ever wondered?

I have been playing a lot with colors lately. As some people might know, I jumped on the bead looming wagon. There is this computer program you can use to make your patterns, Bead Tool. Boy, I tell you it's addicting. It takes me back to the times when I was sitting in school, listening to one or the other lesson, a piece of graph paper in front of me, doodling away or making colorful patterns by filling out the little squares. I found an interesting article from 2009 about the doodle phenomenon.
That's exactly what I'm doing now, only I'm using a computer for it. It makes it more difficult to chew on your writing tool, true, but then again that's an ugly habit anyway.

Oh wow. I wish I could doodle like that!

Rainbow doodle original watercolor painting by Delinquent Unicorn

You can approach the color question very scientifically. You can use a color wheel, our member Camilla wrote about that here. You can put colors next to each other to let your belly decide what he likes best together. You can go tone in tone or absolutely crazy. You can go by the trend or you can pick blind if you are brave. Playing with color is so much fun.
We had a challenge in our team before. Use a color you don't like (here are the results). We should do that more often, may it just be to push our brain off that one track we usually like to take.

Have you ever wondered what the first humanoid felt like when he mixed two colors together and got a new color? Did he stare in disbelief or did he gather all his friends to show them his or her new trick?
Oh my. I have been rambling, haven't I? Let me show you a few examples of splendid color.

Lampwork beads are always a great example. Look at the soft shimmering colors in these lentil beads. Can you see the subtle rainbow?

Golden Sun lampwork beads by Nicole Valentine Studio

What better to show color than an opal? I could drown in this stone and I'd do it happily (yeah, so I'm a nut for opal, sue me!).

Silver koroit opal ring with gold accents by Rio Rita

Red, orange and turquoise. I admit it that's a color combination I probably wouldn't have thought of. I'm glad someone did, it looks stunning.

Bright turquoise and lampwork necklace by Northern Girl Jewelry

Are you ready now to color up your life? If you are afraid, start with an easy experiment ... mix some cherry and banana juice. Nice, eh?

By Cat's Wire

All jewelry items featured above were created by members of the Starving Jewelry Artists Team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current shop owner members can be found at and here on ArtFire.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Important SJA Forum Announcement.

The Starving Jewelry Artist forum is temporarily down. We have outgrown our current hosting plan and without prior notification the hosting company took it down. We are unable to resume service with the current host without a significant increase in hosting fees...30 times more than we have been paying.

Please bear with us while we sort out this situation. We are looking for a reasonably priced host, which may take a little more time. We truly appreciate all the support our members have given us that has enabled our forum to become the "Largest Jewelry Forum" on the internet. Thank you all for your patience.

We have set up a temporary forum... url will be updated to soon so that members checking in will land on the temporary home.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 2011 Blog Carnival

Where has the time gone?  It is already the end of September, which tends to be a busy time of year for many of us.  September often signals a return to routines as students are back in school and summer holidays are over. 

September is a busy time of year for many members of the Starving Artists Team too as many members are gearing up for holiday craft shows (yes, already!). 

Some of our members are taking some time to participate in the team blog carnival this month.  This month's topic is:  What is on your mat/workspace?

To see what our team members are working on, please follow the links below to their personal blogs.

Bead Sophisticate


The FamiLee Jewels

Northern Girl Jewelry

Friday, September 23, 2011

Identifying Gems: Describing Color

I may, or may not, have mentioned at some point that I am a Gemologist. What on earth does that mean? Along with a lot of other things, I learned how to put a gem through a series of tests to determine its identity. Because I earned my degree at the Gemological Institute of America, I will be using their terms and descriptions. Other gem labs may use different terms.

The gem identification process separates gemstones by a combination of eliminating options through positive test results. A gemstone needs, at minimum, three positive results. Some require additional testing.

To begin, I describe the color: hue, tone, and saturation. Pigeon's blood red, cornflower blue, and grass green may evoke pretty pictures, but they fail to describe the characteristics if a color in a scientific manner. For that, I turn to a special color wheel and two scales.

The color wheel provides a range of hues to compare my gem to:

Tone describes how light or dark a gem is.

Saturation describes how strong or weak the hue is.

The color description of this stone color can be parsed two ways: Medium dark, moderately strong, slightly yellowish green (tone, saturation, hue). Or, slyG 6/4 (hue tone/saturation).

Next time: transparency.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Color Report: Nougat

Continuing in our series on Pantone's top 10 colors for Fall 2011we take a look at Nougat, a light, creamy tan-peach color. This neutral hue is a must for any wardrobe regardless of the season, and goes great with pearls and silver.   

All jewelry items featured above were created by members of the Starving Jewelry Artists Team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current shop owner members can be found at and here on ArtFire.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday Style: Scary Version

Vampire Bat Necklace by MCStoneworks on Etsy

Crisp mornings, advertisements featuring cuddly sweaters, and yellow school buses herald the approaching change of seasons. This is a beautiful time of year in the Northeastern United States. Soon our trees will be bright with shades from gold to scarlet, asters will be blooming and the smell of wood fires will once again become part of our environment. All of these things signal to me that Halloween is near. Halloween is one of my favorite Holidays. It brings out the silly child in me. I love the decorations, the costumes and of course the treats!
Dia de los Muertos dress by ChaoticCouture
Consider this romantic Day of the Dead ChaoticCouture22 on Etsy. It's amazing pearl encrusted bodice gives it a sugar skull appearance that is enhanced by the designers use of burnt edges. You will be the most beautiful ghoul at the party.

It even comes with a burned red rose bouquet and black lace mantilla style veil decorated with more red roses of course.

Handmade leather mask by Ken Osborne
Take a look at this handcrafted leather mask in fabulous flame colors by Etsy seller kennosborne.  Each of their masks is a unique work of wearable art and will make a most mysterious statement. 

Kennosborne represents a husband (Ken) and wife (Becky) team of artists whose favorite materials include "anything we can get our hands on."

Skeleton arm warmers by LadyLotus

Wear "dem bones" on the outside with these funky arm warmers/fingerless gloves by LadyLotus.  These arm warmers are made from recycled T shirt fabric, projects that didn't turn out the way the Lady wanted them to.  What a great use of material!

Jewelry is a delightful way to add a little scary to your otherwise sedate work attire.  
Vampire bats in black, antiqued brass and verdigris roost in the shop of MCStoneworks on etsy.  Michelle offers an entire verdigris collection that has a dark and mysterious air.
Marvin the Marvelous mummy resides at Fireball Beads by Islandgirl on etsy. He has friends there too. I found tiny ghost beads and a beautiful black cat there too.

Scary or funky, sexy or bold costumes are a delightful way to celebrate the season. 

Marvin the Marvelous Mummy

Who are you going to be for Halloween this year?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Peel me an orange

I'm one of "those" kids although I'm not even a kid anymore. I love fruit, but you'll have to prepare it for me, put little slices on a plate for me, cut it up like my Mom used to when I was a child. One fruit I pretty much gave up on totally is the orange. Wire crochet fingers don't go well with peeling oranges.
It's a shame really. Just thinking about it I can taste the sweetness on my tongue. An orange is an orange is an orange. Can you tell it's almost 2 am for me right now? Great, no way to get to a store and I'm craving oranges. I'm even wearing an orange t-shirt, that however is coincidence.

What could I do to take my mind off .... whoa, wait. You know what'll come next, don't you? Let's go shopping for oranges my way.

Lampwork earring beads by N Valentine Studio
Hold me back or I'll want to eat these like orange drops. What a gorgeous color!

Leukemia awareness bracelet by J 3 Jewelry
What a personal and lovely way of showing someone you support her in her fight.

#3 Orange cubic zirconia ring by TJR Jewellery
Isn't the contrast between the warm orange and the cool silver striking?

Hmm. My craving hasn't gone away, instead I now have a craving for all those beautiful pieces as well.
And now look what else I found. It's obvious, right? This little oriole (by Gill Gallery) got my orange!
If it weren't so cute .... ;-)

By Cat's Wire

All jewelry items featured above were created by members of the Starving Jewelry Artists Team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current shop owner members can be found at and here on ArtFire.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Story of Diamonds: Cutting a Round Brilliant

First, the planner starts with a diamond crystal. The planner decides what is going to happen with the crystal. One stone, two, three, what shape?

The marker then marks where the diamond needs to be sawn or cleaved.

If the diamond is to be cleaved, a kerf (small groove) is cut into the crystal with a laser. Then, some extremely skilled person gets to whack it with a mallet.

The crystal is more likely to be sawn, these days.

The next step is bruting which rounds out the stones and gives the initial cone shape to the pavilions. In this step, two diamonds are used to shape each other. This can be done by hand or machine.

Next, the diamond is blocked. The table plane is cut, and the pavilion mains and crown facets are placed. The brillianteers then add the remaining facets and do the final polishing.

This video shows most of the process:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Go for it!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain