Thursday, June 28, 2012

Custom Bead Embroidered Cuff for Anniversary Gift

Do you know how much I LOVE making custom orders, especially when I know the custom beaded jewelry is a special gift for a special person?  

This gift I was asked to custom design was like no other I've done.  The purpose of the gift is to celebrate many years of marriage between a husband & his wife, and the two very special children they've created.

First, celebrating the marriage... the couple has a logo they use for their family business and homestead.  It's a large M in the middle for their last name, with a slightly smaller C and a J for each of their first names on the sides.  So as a focal for the bead embroidered cuff, they wanted me to create something similar to their logo. 

Their two children were born in the months of March and August.  So the color scheme for the beaded cuff needed to correspond with Aquamarine and Peridot.  Where the color scheme got interesting was adding in C & J's birthstones Garnet for January and Sapphire for September.  Initially I was "garnet-challenged" as the deep red wasn't playing well with the peridot and aquamarine.  That was until I used both the garnet and sapphire as accent colors to add that pop of color without overpowering the color pallet.

Indeed, I think that was the right move because now I have faceted garnets and sapphire crystals to represent C & J, but their children who are their entire world are the focus of this beautiful cuff.

As I am out of town this week, at the time of writing this blog post, J has not yet given C her beautiful cuff.  Hopefully when I return home, I'll have an e-mail hearing what she thought about the bracelet.  C is an interior designer, so I really wanted to make a piece that was 100% easy to wear with an artistic flair. 

From idea to clasp this piece was inspired by the love that these two have for each other.  They have a very special relationship that continues to endure the test of time.  Ups & Downs are the path of life and these two together hold each other's hand and embrace the adventure!  Because let's face it, sometimes life takes us off roadin' - it's up to us to drop a gear and get back on track!

Happy Anniversary to C & J!  My wish for you is many more decades of family adventures!~

Designs by Dawn Marie
Dawn Doucette is a jewelry artist in Lake Geneva, WI.  Each piece she makes is one-of-a-kind.  If you are interested in having something special custom designed for yourself or a loved one, e-mail designsbydawnmd (At) gmail (Dot) com.  She specializes in listening to what your dream idea is and turning that into a piece of custom beaded jewelry that will be passed down to future generations in your family.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Are You Tired of Craziness and Chaos from Wearing too Many Hats?

I know I'm not the only one that juggles, balances and goes to extremes to keep the household running (cleaned and fed) as well as managing my business appointments and working on client's commissions.   In a day we wear so many hats that we can get completely immersed in the project at hand only to think... did I eat lunch yet???  Oh well, it's 5:00 somewhere... time to get dinner ready.

And while I enjoy the circus, I myself am not trying out to be a clown that juggles anytime soon!  So why am I telling you this?  Because I've been using a great planner that has really allowed me to organize every aspect of me in one place.  Crazy right?

I'll admit, I'm an office supply junkie... so a trip down the planner aisle at Staples is a bit like crack for me.  Ooooo, ahhhh.... and new pens, don't even get me started.  But really, having all my "stuff" in one spot has always been a challenge.  I've kept a business calendar for my appointments, a fitness tracker to track my workouts, a daily To Do list... and random post-it notes for things that just don't fit anywhere else but I need to remember.  And I don't even have kid schedules like my sister and so many of my friends have!

When my friend Elaine showed me the planner she was using I tried to steal hers... but then realized her to do list wouldn't fit my needs, so I had to get my own. :(

The Ideal Life Planner has been the answer to so many aspects of craziness in my life.  It not only organizes your business, but helps you organize your health and your priorities as well.  What I really appreciate is that the entire planner isn't dated... so you can start it whenever you want.  It also focuses on the positive and gratitude which aligns our hearts and minds to be the best "YOU" you can be!

So what's in this magical planner that I am soooooo in love with? 

  • Monthly & Weekly Inspiration & Motivation
  • Open Calendar Space for started your journey whenever you wish
  • Daily Scheduling pages to keep you organized
  • Extra space for notes and lists
  • An easy to use nutritional & fitness tracking system (This was my missing piece!)
  • Space to identify your priorities - family, personal development, spiritual, business, etc.
  • MY FAVORITE part is a section just for gratitude... "taking a moment to acknowledge and appreciate what you are thankful for brings feelings of hopefulness and joy!"
After I started using the planner and loving it, I wanted to share my experience with the creator Kelly Wagner.  Kelly is one busy, BUSY mom that created this planner as a way to organize her own life.  She has a bazillion (7) kids ranging from 6-16 years old.  With sports, meetings, work and family time she needed to having something to remind her to eat every now and again... and to get in her workout when she could.  Kelly's life is all about coloring outside the lines and being a good role model for her kids.  And until she created her own, she couldn't find a planner that "fit" everything in.

BALANCE that's what this planner gives me! 

This planner has simplified my life so very much.  If you're wearing 87 hats and find that you are sometimes forgetting to take a deep breath and center yourself, then maybe Kelly's planner can help you bring peace to your day!

I love it and I know you will too!  You can get the Ideal Life Planner in Green, Pink or Hot Pink (my fav.)  I will be accessorizing mine with some flatbacked Swarovski crystals, you better believe it! :o)  You have the option of getting the 2012 Ideal Life Planner which is dated for this year - or when you're in the shopping cart, you can add the un-dated 6 month planner to your cart and delete the dated planner.

I hope your day is balance and full of joy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Accessorizing a Grand Wedding Celebration - Grand Finale

Good Luck Little Sis!
What lengths we go to in the name of beauty!
This weekend was such a special weekend for our family.  We celebrated my sister Amy's wedding.  After years of dating, months of planning, dozens of tastings, appointments and fittings Amy & Don officially tied the knot. 

As part of their special day, I was able to add sparkles to so many lady loves in my life.  I started this blog series to document each piece I was able to create for the special day.  Saturday brought so much pride to my heart.  As a big sister, I was sooooo happy to see my little sis so beautiful and so in love.  She was simply glowing and it just touched my heart to no end.  As a jewelry artist, my creative heart beamed... people were complimenting the jewelry without even knowing I had created it.  Amy's photographer was commenting on her accessories and how beautiful they sparkled... it gave her great pride to point at me and say, "My sister made that!"
Copyright Matt Mason Photography

I think I've talked enough... I just want to show and tell now.  I'll let you see Amy in all her glory, shining like the elegant & sophisticated bride that she is!  For a peek at the entire wedding album created by Matt Mason Photography out of Lake Geneva, WI you can visit his Smug Mug profile at:!i=1910263087&k=SHHzrV8
My Beautiful Mom Just Glowing
Copyright Matt Mason Photography

Copyright Matt Mason Photography
Copyright Matt Mason Photography
Copyright Matt Mason Photography
Here's the links to the specific posts featuring pieces of this beautiful wedding that I was able to contribute to:

Yes, there is no jewelry and this picture has no edits, touch-ups or enhancements, but there sure is a lot of love!  It was taken at the salon right after we all had our hair done.  It's the 3 sisters... Left to right, Brenda, Amy & Dawn.  I don't know when the last time was (if ever in our adult life) that we've had a sister picture taken.  This is a picture I'll treasure forever!

It just filled my heart and overflowed my love 'o meter sharing in this weekend.  Making bridal jewelry is really special in itself, but getting to see it walk down the aisle, dance the first dance, toss flower petals and cut the cake are really special moments!

Now it's your turn!  Spread love and joy this week! 

Dawn Doucette, Artisan
For information about affordable bridal jewelry or to discuss having custom wedding jewelry created for you and your wedding party, contact Designs By Dawn Marie at: or on Facebook

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Matchy Matchy Necklace to go with my cuff

While this week is UBER-busy, I'm having a blast balancing it all... that is if you consider a blast looking like a circus clown, riding a unicycle, juggling bowling pins while trying to walk the dog. 

Now that's a picture... and since I'm so short on time (getting ready for my sister's wedding and will post pics after this weekend) I'll just give you a pretty picture to look at.  I made the cuff that was for the EBEG Beadfest that I was going to sell, but then it adopted me and now it's MINE!  So I thought it would like to have a playmate in the jewelry box... enter a pendant I started EONS ago... seriously, it was soooooo 2010 when I started this pendant (said while rolling eyes like a valley girl). 

Anyhoo, I didn't like how the bezel came out and I didn't like how the white background popped (this was one of my early, early attempts at bead embroidery and I had not yet discovered the joy of colored Nicoles Beadbacking).  So I tossed it in the fugly drawer and said "hasta la vista you ugly thing."

Now you see, the lampwork heart wasn't ugly... it was and is really quite stunning (lampwork bead designed by my favorite glass artist Juli Cannon, Studio Juls), but I had done such a crappy bezel around it (before I discovered how important it is to bezel with all the same variety (sort of) of seed beads.  So I had some delicas, some tohos, some czech and thought no problem.  Seriously, we all learn from our mistakes.

So when I felt the need to have a complimentary necklace for that droolworthy cuff (yes, the one with the orange accents) I pulled out the fugly thing determined to turn that Caterpillar into a butterfly.  Bring in some crystal bicone spikes out the top, a pearl and hang it on a ribbon and viola... fugly goes butterfly in a nano-second!

Why do I share this?  Because we all learn from our fugly mistakes and grow... or let them fester in the fugly drawer... either way, we keep on smiling and trying new things!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Extreme Bead Embroidery Takes a Tropical Vacation -Now for the Umbrella Drink Please

From all white on white to extreme contrast with black & white, I decided to take a little journey with my bead embroidery to the tropics.  Somewhere from way out in left feel I was inspired to create something so beyond my "old shoe" comfort zone it's freaky.

I will say... brace yourself... I used orange *gasp*  as in tropical warm, sunshiney, happy ORANGE!  FREAKY again, I know!

Where is all this inspiration coming from?  Not sure exactly, but I'm loving playing with color.  

So this cuff started as an inspiration from the Etsy Bead Embroidery Guild.  The EBEG Beadfest challenge was fairytales... the variety that started as folk lore long ago and have been passed down through storytelling for generations.  My mind immediately thought of the tale of Hansel and Gretl, a German fairy tale told by the Brother's Grimm in 1812!  The tale is about 2 young children that are abondonded twice by their father and horrid step-mother not once but twice in the woods!  After the 2nd time of being abandoned the children get lost in the woods and find a house made of gingerbread and candy.

Being supremely hungry, the children begin to nibble on the candy home until they are invited in by a witch posing to be an old lady.  Suffice it to say the kids eventually trick the witch at her own game, find a stash of jewels she has hidden and with the help of a good storytelling, find their way back to their father.  His wife has mysteriously passed away and they can now live happily ever after thanks to finding the witch's jewels.

The focal of this cuff reminded me of candy.  Honestly it looks good enough to lick!  I added "jewels" in shades of lime both in beads and in the Nicole's beadbacking, aqua and accents of tangerine to create a bright, joyful "path" of treasure to emulate the journey Hansel & Gretl took.

While I'll be out of town while the blog hop takes place for the Fairytale Reveal during Etsy Bead Embroidery Guild's Beadfest on June 30th, I had to share this as it was truly a wonderful journey to create.  You can check out the other members of EBEG on Facebook: I never thought I would use orange - in fact I surprised a really good friend who was shocked I even had any orange in my bead inventory.  I tried the cuff just to capture a picture, and wouldn't you know, it decided to own me.  Yep, this baby is now part of my private jewelry collection!

Hope your day is inspired and your journey is sweet!
Designs by Dawn Marie
Dawn Doucette is a jewelry artist creating OOAK bead embroidered jewelry in Lake Geneva, WI.  Inspired by the beauty around her, each piece is unique and something that can be passed down from generation to generation.  Much like a great painting, Dawn's bead embroidery tells a story and it's translation is very personal to each person that sees it.  Specializing in custom beaded jewelry, Dawn loves turning a personal experience or story of her customers into a OOAK piece of jewelry they will treasure for years to come!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

When You go From Extremes of All White to Black & White Bead Embroidery - Then THIS Happens

So a short bit ago I was working in a white on white color palette for my sister's wedding.  I created her bridal jewelry and veil (with over 100 crystals).  Upon thinking I was in a blizzard (in May) I decided I needed to change things up after that so I went with sheer contrast.

I created this black and white necklace using bead embroidery that helped my eyes re-focus and made me realize indeed, I was not going blind. 

SO with anything in life, there has to be some middle ground... wherein I confess I like having matching sets.  (I'm not going to say is an obsession or my therapist will call me and immediately send me a bill because she could.)  So while I'm working on my next "ah ha" moment, I took a little break and created the perfect pair of matching earrings for the black & white necklace!  Or if you're a free spirit, wear them on their own *gasp* without a necklace!  Whoa.... did I just type that?  Yikes, I best take my head outside for fresh air!

Hope you have a fantastic afternoon!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

If you like Pina Coladas -or Lampwork Glass- and Getting Caught in the Rain

And now find yourself humming the Jimmy Buffet song like a life-long parrothead... then you really ought to check out this uber special sale my dear-friend-almost-sister-except-we-don't-share-any-familial-blood is having in her store.

This was my first "Zit Bead" from Juls - Do you see the imperfection? Neither do I! 
She's collected a whole lotta orphans (and you know I have a thing for lost orphans that don't have a mate in the lampwork world or they aren't perfect) and she's having a lottery with them.  First, let's define orphans.... orphans are those lampwork beads that are leftover from other sets.  Some of them aren't perfect, but none of us are (side note: I've bought many, Many, MANY of Juli's orphans in my time and ALL of them are stunning!) 
Circa 2010- See, Zit Beads turn into beautiful butterflies too! Promise!

She's put some special orphan collections together and is selling them as sets.  When they are sold out, Juli is holding a lottery and refunding one persons all of their money!  So, FREE beads... it's a game worth playing if you love really high quality lampwork glass!

Here's her link... hurry, only 10 sets are left last I heard!

And because I know you're now singing that Jimmy Buffet song and bustin' out the blender for a early morning frozen beverage... here's a treat for you!

Hope your weekend is full of sunshine, fruity happiness and dancing!
Fine Print: Doesn't include coconut bra.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Because Time is Never Ending and We can Never Participate in Enough Challenges - Right?

When I heard Amy Severino from Amybeads had put together a kit for another challenge, I skipped right over to her blog to find out more.  I loved the last challenge kits she put together, but was unable to participate to do life-ous interrupt-ous at that time (moving). 

This challenge however isn't due tomorrow (thank goodness) so I have time to ponder, get inspired and complete it.  I picked up the kit (I felt guilty, it was almost like stealing it was beyond reasonable) and waited patiently (tapping foot, pacing for 5 days) for the mail woman to deliver it. 

When the kit came, I squealed because the pieces of the kit were so beautiful!  The focal is this really beautiful metallic pendant, in pewter, copper and bronze tree of life.  She also sent complimentary pearls, spacers and crystals to really make a knockout piece!  The reveal is sometime in August (which means I have to tell my brain July to make sure I'm not late the to party) and I cannot wait to see what everybody makes, and in the mean time I'm thinking... thinking... and thinking (boy that's rough on the old noggin') about what masterpiece this will turn into. 

From my neck of the woods in Lake Geneva, WI - hope your weekend is filled with Sunshine, Love and Lots of Fun!


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