Jewelry Design That Tells a Story

by admin on May 6, 2013

It’s true what you hear people say about being a Mom. There is no greater joy. You never completely understand your own Mom until you become one yourself and sometimes it’s hard. I’m not going to elaborate on that last one today…

I really just want to recognize and remember all the Moms I’ve been lucky to have in my own life. My own Mom, my Step Mom, my MIL, the 4 Grandmother’s I was blessed with (from my own family) and the one I was blessed with through marriage, the Great grandmothers that I was fortunate to get to know in my childhood years and lastly all of my Mom-friends and even some of their Moms.

In my family, the creative gene goes way back. My blind great-grandmother taught me how to sew by hand. Two of my Grandmother’s were amazing seamstresses and crafters. I had stunning prom dresses, trendy vests and a plethora of projects that I never finished over the years. Now that we have The Craft Shack going, I am enjoying going back and visiting all of the influence these amazing women have had on me.

One of my favorite ‘crafty’ things to do is design jewelry. This piece was a labor of love and still one of my most favorites. It was a special piece I made for my Mother-in-Law. The special part (aside from it being handmade by me) is that most of the charms dangling from the ends were pieces from her Mom. When she passed away after an amazing long life a few years ago, she left behind some special jewelry and some that needed a bit of new life. Miscellaneous charms, broken pearl strands and earrings, etc.

I was so inspired to create this piece and coincidentally sat down and created it on her birthday which was just before Christmas, so I would have a special gift to give to my MIL. The other parameter for creating jewelry for her is that I cannot have any metal touching her skin. The piece is made mostly out of tiny, beautiful seed beads, pearls and Swarovski crystals. It can be worn almost like you would wear a scarf and it’s just stunning.

Re-purposed necklace, charms, pearls
My jewelry making went on a bit of a hiatus for a few years, but now that my daughter is a bit older, I’ve been getting out my supplies, learning new techniques and trying some new ideas. These shadow box style necklaces are the perfect way to tell a story and add a personal touch. They would be another great way to re-purpose some special charms or beads that have sentimental value. Look for more of these on The Craft Shack blog coming soon.

I hope you enjoyed the stories and it inspires you to polish off those old charms and re-purpose them into something new! And take a minute to be thankful for all of the ‘Mom’s’ in your life.


Dwell on Design 2012

by admin on June 24, 2012

Once again this year I attended the Dwell on Design show for it’s opening day, Friday. I had a great time and good company with a friend/former student/recent design school grad (so proud!).

Upon arrival, we walked by a fleet of electric/alt fuel vehicles which was very cool to see. You could even test drive them if you were so inclined. From a purely aesthetic point of view, I was very impressed with the Ford Focus. The Audi was also noteable.  Mercedes pictured below.


We walked the floor rather quickly, stopping to take a closer look at items and displays that peeked our interest most: Airstream trailers, modular homes, a crazy bubble structure and an amazing spa/bathtub. We skipped most of the ‘fixtures’ type booths, like seriously, how many faucets do I need to see at a trade show?  The Kohler booth/shipping container with the tub settees was very cool though!

kohler trade show booth

And I did mention that amazing spa/tub, right? It absolutely belongs on a balcony in Malibu! By Duravit.

My personal favorite area was Dwell Outdoor and the modular homes. I have a dream (fantasy) of one day owning a fabulous modular eco-structure on my land (that I don’t yet own) in Cambria, California. Cambria is an odd place to purchase land if you are not familiar. They only issue a set amount of permits for water/power each year, so you could buy a property but not be able to build on it for like 20 years! Since I probably won’t be able to afford it for 20 years, the chance that it will actually happen is rather a long shot, but I digress…

The ecofabulous  LivingHome Prefab Showhouse was crowded, so no photos but there are plenty online.  There was some amazing furniture and a lot of thought into the products and details.

The ‘mini-home’ by Sustain Design Studio/HMK Prefab Homes was a pefect ‘getaway’ type home. We could envision it at the river or in Cambria. It touted no vinyl, remewable materials, no drywall, energy monitoring, quality construction and optional off-grid systems.

The Airstream Sterling is always dreamy and inspiring. What is there to say really? A timeless classic.


I just had to go into the Inflate home and then I just had to get out. It had a strange smell. It was a cool concept and a compressed air type structure that kept it conditioned. It seemed pricey and I’m not sure I can envision an appropriate place to have this thing. A backyard temporary guest house?

The connect home was another great modular concept with many options. The one that was on display was similar to this plan. And they have a local LA address. That is very cool. You can see a glimpse of it to the right in the photo below.

The G-pod was interesting and I like the name. For the price and overall purpose, I’m not sure what to do with it. From $15-35K. It’s interesting though. Maybe a fun ‘design problem’ for my students to think about.


Some other product highlights were the modern playhouse manufactured in Minnesota and flux junior chair made and designed in Holland– ‘a one piece foldable designer chair for children’.

modern playhouse

Overall a fun and inspiring day seeing some new and innovative products, structures and even a 1 hour CEU on the CAL Green code! I’ll have another post dedicated to that soon.




A Project Completed

June 6, 2012

Another semester comes to an end and we watch many of our students move on. They graduate and find jobs, they transfer and continue their education and find purpose in their acquired knowledge. I’m fortunate and proud to be a part of their journey. A year after my class worked on the design of the […]

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Design Teacher

March 26, 2012

A few years back someone said to me:  “you’re either a teacher or a designer” when I mentioned that I was BOTH.  Sometimes comments like this are just plain ridiculous.  At the time, I was both.  A full time Interior Designer/Associate with a reputable Architecture & Design firm and teaching part time at Orange Coast […]

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March 18, 2012

Need some color inspiration?  Or do you just love to explore color palettes?  This is the resource for you!  I’ve recently discovered and instantly fell in love with Design Seeds. I can think of so many ways to use this site and I’m currently thinking of how I can introduce it to my students and […]

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The Design Process

January 11, 2012

Blending my love for design and learning are truly what I enjoy most about being a teacher. In the Spring 2011 semester, me and my students were given an incredible opportunity to work with a local Archtxture & Design firm on a very real project for Architxture, a new Steelcase Dealership. The concept of working […]

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Food I love – Part 1

January 8, 2012

I‘ve been taking a lot of photos of food lately. Maybe I’ve been cooking more with the holidays ,parties, etc. or maybe I just like playing with the camera and food is a nice, non-moving subject that I can practice on. Either way, I’ve made some delicious eats, so I thought I’d share. Mostly, I […]

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Photoshop & SketchUp – a bit about both

October 9, 2011

This summer I had the opportunity to attend a few presentations put together for IIDA – OC Chapter. It was the 2nd and 3rd Installment of their ‘Survival Tools’ series and featured Photoshop & SketchUp. These are great tools and two of the major pieces of software that I introduce my students to in the […]

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Succulents and the fair…

September 11, 2011

My love of plants began a little too late. When I was young, my grandparents were award winning plant growers: Bromeliads, orchids, etc. They would win ribbons at the fairs and I absolutely loathed going to the fair to look at plants. Well, times have changed…Fast forward 25 years, I love going to the fair, […]

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A Summer Tea Party

August 13, 2011

Photography is something that I’ve always enjoyed. In college, I had a great time shooting with film on a Nikon FG-20 with a fixed 50mm lens. I took that camera with me to New York, England and Holland and have some great memories from the 90’s that I probably need to scan into digital format […]

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