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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

It's been awhile since I updated my blog! I'm not great at this but I'm going to keep working at it!

I have been honing and practicing my silversmithing skills recently! Here is what I've made:

Sterling Silver with New Lander Chalcosiderite stone (sister of turquoise)

Sterling Silver with Native Silver Ore from Canada and Holly Chalcedony from Oregon

Sterling with Fox Turquoise and handmade feathers

Fox Turquoise with Sterling Silver and handmade flowers.

I've got other stuff in the works right now and I haven't lost my love for diamonds. I'm currently working on combining silversmithing with pave diamond beads and components to bring all the jewelry up another level.

Each time I make something I can see that I am improving which is very encouraging. I should take a picture of my throw away pile though. It's quite large! Lol!

My favorite thing to make was the feather pendant with the turquoise. I want to keep working on designs like this but incorporating all different stones.

What do you think I should try?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Crescent Moons

Crescent Moons.

One of the oldest symbols of mankind that has been transformed and adapted to hold significance in many cultures. I have noticed this symbol becoming more predominant in fine jewelry and with "Etsians" in general.

I know that it can be considered a symbol for both Muslims and Catholics and I am sure that it holds significance for those who follow astrology. I can't help but think of the beauty of the actual moon, the cyclical nature of it, and of us, and how it has captured my imagination since childhood.

The moon is a fixed universal point and truth. An object that all humans can see and feel but not touch. It mesmerizes our minds and somehow gives us hope. The moon inspires our imaginations and lets us forget the grind of daily life. It draws our gaze up and holds our attention year after year.

Let the moon inspire you today.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fossilized Gastropod with Crystal Druzy

Fossils are fascinating. Whether they are dinosaur bones, ammonites, or some other extinct creature, they fill our imaginations and connect us to an ancient world. A Gastropod is fancy talk for a snail, slug, or mollusk! In fact there are over 15,000 species of gastropod fossils, as old as 500 million years. Fossilized gastropod sounds so much more appealing than fossilized slug... Nonetheless, the fossilized gastropod that I came across was also covered in crystal druzy. It blew my mind that something as icky as a slug could become something as exquisitely beautiful as this druzy fossil that I had come across.

Here is an amazingly informative article all about gastropods.

So when I first bought this fossil it wasn't drilled. It took me awhile to figure out how I was going to drill it (I'm not much for wire wrapping). Well, I finally figured it out and so I was able to make this pendant necklace.

I kept it simple with 14k gold filled chain and components, a faceted round ruby, and an asymmetrically placed ruby on the chain. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pave Diamond Craze

All the rage these days is the pave diamond set charm and components. I wasn't too sure about them, it seemed like a trend that might fade quickly. I recently went and looked at some components and started offering them in my bead shop at and I decided to start using them in my jewelry. I have done a 180 about pave set diamonds. They are gorgeous! They are also much more affordable way to have luxury jewelry without having to completely break the bank.

Yes, they obviously cost more than crystals, but they look different too. Believe it or not they have more sparkle than crystals and at the same time they look earthier. Maybe that is just my brain kicking in, but I don't think so. I have thought about it a lot.

Today I present to you, sterling silver pave diamond set spikes with lapis lazuli carved skull earrings. I think they are fantastic and I don't think I could have achieved this look without the pave diamond pieces.

I'm interested in your thoughts.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Artist Leslie from Elbows Designs

Leslie Bowes of Elbows Designs

When Leslie from Elbows Designs sits down at her worktable in Littleton, Colorado she fulfills a lifelong need for creativity and self-expression. Early on she expressed herself with mismatched socks and a wild sense of style. Through the years this was cultivated into artistic endeavors including hand painted wedding cards and elaborately decorated mud pies. Leslie has an unrelenting desire to create and to connect with other people. These desires fuel her jewelry designs.

When I first saw Leslie’s jewelry designs on her Etsy shop I was taken aback at the bold colors and funky shapes. I was smitten with an idea (which I had never had before); jewelry could be fun and that I could wear something with a sense of abandonment and humor! Leslie’s style will inspire you to have fun with your accessory choices, to embrace a sense of whimsy, and to live with enthusiasm.


LAJ: How did you get started in Jewelry?

Leslie: I suppose the combination of being an avid jewelry wearer and inherently creative person pretty much always had me fiddling with jewelry making, even as a child. I created mostly beaded things, then I went through a hemp macramé phase in high school... but it wasn't until I randomly found some wire in my messy supply box that I really connected with a material. I just loved that a simple strand could take any turn, with the freedom to become anything my imagination produced. When I discovered how many colors wire comes in, that was the end - totally hooked!     

LAJ: What inspires your jewelry designs?

Leslie: I've actually never given this a thought... but I certainly feel inspired! It must be things within me that drive my design process; aspects of my personality, like the concept of unbridled joy balanced with the peace of organization... I ran across a quote once that describes this dichotomy perfectly: "I adore spontaneity, providing it is carefully planned". I could identify with that immediately, and I think it's present in my wild yet harnessed jewelry as well - thus my tagline "quirky-chic". My inspirations are definitely abstract things, though - nothing concrete (except for that time I was so inspired by a homegrown crookneck squash that I had to whip up a silly little wire version as an ode to its beauty). 

LAJ: What kinds of tools do you use?

Leslie: The vast majority of my pieces are formed with just my 2 hands. I find that even with my lettering, a more freeform/organic style is more appealing to me than precision and perfection would be.

I do have a friendly arsenal of pliers to form the opening and closing loops of each piece, or when attaching hardware. My favorite tool is a silly 99-cent slotted knuckle ring that makes opening and closing jump rings a breeze...Best. Purchase. Ever. 

LAJ: What is the process for you from the start of a design until it ships?

Leslie: The easy and fun part is forming my vision for a piece into reality, but sometimes it takes a few drafts to get it right (especially when I'm trying to match earrings!).

Then on to photography - this involves laying the piece on a large swath of poster board at my desk and shooting away, trying my best to be artsy but also conveying the needed information to the customer. When our schedules allow, I also do shoots with my modeling friend, Lexi.

We always have a blast, and somehow through the silliness we manage to get some usable shots, haha!

Then it's over to my laptop for photo editing - usually with PicMonkey. (On that note, I seriously look forward to getting my first "real" camera soon so I'm not as frustrated during shooting and editing - yay!) Once the piece is listed, I do my promoting via Etsy, Pinterest, and I've recently started to explore Instagram. Once it sells, I enjoy adding in a couple personal touches while assembling the order to let my customers know how much I appreciate them.  

LAJ: Etsy is a great community of artists and art lovers. How has Etsy positively impacted your business? Are there any negatives of having your business on Etsy?

Leslie: Etsy has given me the platform I needed to be able to reach people anywhere - not just the people who happen to see me, or my friends, wearing my jewelry. Yes, it is quite difficult to be "found" in the vast sea of jewelers, but I genuinely enjoy the Etsy experience - getting to "hang out" with fellow artists and enjoying their creations is both fun and inspiring to me. Overall I feel like it's a relatively easy and flexible way to sell things that I'd likely be creating anyway.

LAJ: What advice would you give yourself of 5 years ago?

Leslie: Get a shop on Etsy and start learning how to best use it (I've only had my shop for 3 years). Bite the bullet and get a better camera - it will save you SO much time and frustration. And list items regularly - every day if possible!

LAJ: What do you hope that people see/get from your jewelry designs?

Leslie: I hope people see the whimsy of my personality and the joy that went into creating each piece. And if I could inspire a spark of creativity in someone else to express themselves - whether it be through art, music, dance, or even just speech - that would be wonderful!


I don’t know about you, but I feel inspired to mismatch my socks, wear bold funky jewelry, and feel fabulous!

To shop Leslie’s Jewelry Designs go to her Etsy Shop:

Follow Leslie on Istagram: @elbowsdesigns

Follow Leslie on Pinterest:

Leann Burns
Love Actually Jewelry

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Organization is always one of the most challenging aspects But with jewelry and beads it is imperative to have a system that fosters creativity rather than hinders it. Nothing is worse then knowing what bead you need to finish a project and having to spend 20 minutes searching for it.

We've all been there, "I'm going to put this item here so I'll remember!" Do we ever remember? Well, I don't. So in an effort to be more organized I bought a new jewelry table and I am turning my office upside down and completely re-organizing.

Today I picked up my new jewelry bench and organized all my tools and items that I use for metalwork. Tomorrow I clean out the shelves and closets and the real hurdle will be when I get down to the nitty-gritty and re-organize the beads.

Here is a quick snap of my new bench, I'll try to post my organization as I go so you can kind of see what it looks like.

I bought this table for $199.00. It does not have a catch tray but it came with the peg board and all the hooks for the pegboard, the fluorescent light (which is awesome!) and two drawers. It took me a couple of hours to assemble it, but it was not hard, the directions were very easy to understand. Now all I need is a bench pin and a vice.

How do you stay organized? How did you come up with your system?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Covellite - a new copper mineral that I recently learned about and am officially obsessed with! It is an iridescent midnight blue color with flashes of purple and green, it is truly amazing!

First discovered at Mount Vesuvius by Nicola Covelli (according to Wikipedia). It truly looks like a stone that would come from a volcano.

The cut of this stone is very interesting, a kind of tapered rectangle.

What do you guys think?