Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jewelry Repair - From Broken to Beautiful With an Extra dose of WOW added

For people that know I create jewelry, I often get those phone calls, e-mails and pleas for help to fix pieces that they've purchased or been given that have broken. 

Before - Broken Strand of Freshwater Rice Pearls

One jewelry repair I received recently was from a sweetheart of a woman that works with Chris (we'll call her E.J.)  She had a strand of pearls her daughter gave her years ago.  It broke and has been in her jewelry box for a couple of years now.  So she asked if I could shorten it and do "something maybe earrings" with the extra pearls.

The strand was on a cotton thread, so with time anything on cotton thread will wear through.  I did shorten the necklace, used a lobster claw clasp and an extender chain to give her flexibility in the length she wanted to wear the necklace at.

I also made a pendant that could be removed if E.J. wanted to wear just the chain.  The pendant is bead embroidered using a quartz stone I already had, the adding the pearls as embellishment. 

The quartz has a special significance or meaning.  I know some of my dear friends can add on to the description I've found, but I really love the fact it enhances the human energy.

"Crystal is a common stone, but a powerful one. It is mainly used in healing as amplification for the energies of the other working stones. In healing, the crystal point is best and the size can be important.

For meditating the crystal ball or point can be used. As it is a powerful stone the user should experiment with each to find what is best for him. The Quartz Crystal has a similar vibration as humans. This is why using Crystal to meditate and keeping a Crystal helps one to know oneself. It will sometimes not work for a negative person." ~

Because I have a thing about having matching sets, I also used the additional pearls to make a pair of earrings.  Creating a grouping effect, much like a bunch of grapes, I wire wrapped each pearl and attached them to a length of chain.  They dangle perfectly and can be worn as regular, daily jewelry. 

I delivered the set in person yesterday so I could see E.J.s face when she opened them.  To say she was thrilled was an understatement.  Her excitement about something new created from something old was priceless.  I treasure opportunities like this - to breathe life into something so special that it will continue to live on and make people smile!

What's old is new again!  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Beauty Is All Around Us!

Reminder - Take Your Dog to Work Day is June 22nd!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Black and White Classic Bead Embroidery

What's Black and White and Worn All Over... this bead embroidered necklace!

Well it will be worn all over by whomever says they've gotta have it!  I just listed this piece in my Etsy Shop.  After making my sister's wedding veil, I felt like I was staring into a blizzard... which was a bit too much white on white for my eyes.  But since I had all my white seed beads already out... I thought I might as well use them rather than just put the beads away.

I know (insert brilliant Ah Ha! here) I'll use black and white to make something totally dramatic in design.

Available in my Online Store and my Etsy Shop!
And away I did bead.  This necklace worked up beautifully.  The contrast was very striking and the way that each element added a new texture or shape really helped make the pendant something special.

Sometimes found objects make the most interesting impact on the pendant.  See the seashell in the lower right side of the pendant.  We used those as bingo markers for Bridal Bingo at my sisters shower a few weekends back.  It transformed from "Free Space" to "HOLY Cow, I want that in my space!" :o)

I also love the way the glass cabochon is bezeled.  Once I finished the bezel, I pulled out my little 3mm Swarovski Sequins (also known as Lochrosen or #5128 from and used them to embellish the gunmetal delicas.  SO if I were a professional photographer (which I'm not) you would totally see how sparkly this pendant is.  For those that have worked with the Swarovski sequins... I know you're drooling right now!

Classic & Elegant, I'm sure this piece will strike a chord with many.  But only one lucky person can own this beauty... it's a One-of-a-Kind Designs by Dawn Marie original!

Hope you have a fantastic day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bead Embroidered Necklace in Red and Gold

When I saw the bead that I used as the focal for this bead embroidered necklace, I had one person in mind that the reminded me of.  The bead had a slight oriental flair.  The gold foil added a great metallic finish around the edge and in the texture of the bead. 

I don't often work in gold finishes as I personally wear more of the silver family (gunmetal, antique silver) finishes in my jewelry.  But this focal called for gold, so gold it got! 

I finished the custom beaded necklace with a 3mm red crystal picot style edging.  The end project has class, sparkles like the dickens and showcases that metallic gold finish for a pendant that is very versatile!

This weekend I attended a women's retreat at the Geneva Inn in Lake Geneva, WI.  We discussed everything from time management and knowing your true financial picture to dealing with the "stuff" we all carry to making cooking and eating healthier much easier. 

I took a few golden nuggets from the cooking/eating healthier discussion we had with Kristin Arnett, a Holistic Nutrition Consultant .  First, let me preface this by saying I don't dislike vegetables (with the exception of onions for which we share a mutual dislike of each other).  My challenge is A. I don't like to prepare vegetables.... it takes way too much time at meal time when I'm starving and B. I get BORED with vegetables.  I feel like I get the same peas, broccoli, beans and I steam them and it gets old.  I also like salads which are a great way to get good produce into the body... if you make the right choices on dressing. 

But anyhow back to the golden nugget... the nutritionist shared her "secret" to get more vegetables into our diet since on weeknights when our kids are coming home from school, hubbies are coming home from work and we ourselves are wrapping up our business for the day.  She make a vegetable "compote" for lack of a better word with a weeks worth of veggies at one time.  (Her vegetable medley had peppers in all colors, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, kale, onions which I won't use and anything else that is in season.)  Then she keeps it in her fridge and adds it to each dish she's preparing.  She simply sautes the veggies in a little olive oil or grapeseed oil and puts them in a glass dish to hang out in the refrigerator so she can use them scoop by scoop.  Now THAT makes sense to me!

She also does this with her brown rice and quinoa as well.  It takes the 45 minutes out of cooking time it would take to make that brown rice.  Brilliant?  I think so!  I have to do my grocery shopping today so I'm going to give the vegetable medley a try and see how I do for a week.  We received a whole week worth of recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner so I'm excited to try new things.  She even had kale in her vegetable compote and it was delicious. 

The dishes she prepared were fast, delicious and huge portion sizes and under 400 calories per serving because vegetables are low calories.  Now how awesome is that?  If you want to check out her tips her website is currently being developed so she will be adding many more resources and terrific content. She's a gem of a woman, a great mom and she made some awesome HEALTHY food... who would have thought?

I feel more energized this morning than I have in a long time (especially on a Monday) so I'm going to take a walk, work on photos of the black & white piece I started last week and see what this day has in store for me!

Hope your week is fantastic!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Featured in Great Finds Fiesta of Handmade Contest

Chitralekah - Bead Embroidered Necklace
Every week Anne with Made for me by Oaklie puts together a collection (similar to a treasury but it's outside of Etsy) of great artisan created items that match a theme.  This week the theme is "Fiesta for Handmade!" Anne is featuring all different colors of handmade items.

Anne was kind enough to feature my Chitralekah necklace.  You can read more about how I named her Chitralekah in my Etsy store: .  Chitralekah combines turquoise, petrified wood and magnesite with a variety of seed beads in a 3-stone pendant.  It's a beautiful necklace and I'm just tickled to have it featured.  To view all the entries and cast your vote (the poll is on the right side of her blog about 1/2 way down the page) visit:

Thanks for the feature Anne!  I appreciate it!  Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday - It is still Wednesday Right?

Confession... I have a finished piece that I cannot yet show you... because it has not yet arrived at it's destination and it's a super duper surprise.  SOoooo, until I can reveal that piece to you, I can show you another piece I started today.

I was feeling bold... so black and white really struck me!  It'll be interesting to see where this finished piece ends up!  I really like the contrast thus far though!

In other news, I'm so excited to share with you how proud I am of my dear friend Kristen.  She's a phenomenal bead weaver that works magic with Fireline and seedbeads.  She's self-taught, learning from patterns originally.   Once she started to get confident in how the patterns were created she started to modify (or MacGuyver-ize them as I say) to fit her available stash.  As she modified those tutorials and patterns, her beady brain started to go in a completely different direction.  And it began to think of it's own ideas and patterns. 

So with a big, beaming smile, my dear friend Kristen has written and published her first tutorial, Pop Up Pearls.  It is available for sale on her blog.  I've previewed the tutorial and can tell you with 100% certainty, you'll find the step-by-step directions spot on.  You'll get hints and tricks that make starting, finishing and everything in between so much easier.  These are tips that the authors don't share (or forget to write) in Beadwork patterns.  The tutorial is for a bracelet, but you can easily make just one component to create a pair of matching earrings - and you all know how I am about matchy-matchy... :)
If you're a beadweaver, or would love to learn how to use those itty bitty seed beads, Kristen's tutorial is a great place to start!

Hope your hump day has been fabulous!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Accessorizing a Grand Wedding Celebration - Part 3

This last week was a busy one around these parts!  I was putting the final stages together for my sister's bridal shower.  I wanted to make sure she felt like a complete princess.  So with the help of my Aunt Monica, we concocted the perfect party! 

In continuing with preparing Amy's accessories for her wedding, I had blogged about her bracelet a time ago and I had already finished my mom's earrings.  I have Amy's necklace and earrings still to do... and the bridesmaid jewelry too... but what I'm about to share with you is a first for Designs By Dawn Marie.

Amy in her beautiful veil - click to enlarge photo
I created Amy's wedding veil using beautiful, sparkling Swarovski Crystal.  Her ceremony is outdoors, so she didn't want a really long veil, but she did like the layered veil best.  Her dress is very elegant with tons of crystals, sequins, pearls and very beautiful lace appliques.  So I set to work and beaded up the perfect veil. 

The piping is hand-stitched using silver-lined crystal 1.8mm Toho cubes from  Then on the tulle itself, I created a random pattern of sparkle using Swarovski #3128 Lochrosen crystal sequins.  Not too many suppliers carry this style of Swarovski crystal.  I was referred to this style of crystal from Sherry Serafini from a class I took with her back in November and I picked them up from Fusion Beads.  I knew they would be perfect for the veil because they lay flat and provide a ton of sparkle.  SO I got 3mm, 4mm, and 6mm crystal in foil-back and AB finished and created a "snowfall" effect using the smaller crystals near the top and graduating to the larger crystals as I neared the bottom. 

Let me tell you, capturing the picture was a challenge because the crystals sparkle just so darn much.  I stitched over 100 crystals on her veil and it turned out beautifully.  Everybody at the party was just blown away at how perfect it is for Amy!  I know Amy loved it and I cannot wait to see her wearing it on her wedding day... heck I'm already a blubbing big sister crying all over the place here.  Oy...

Can't wait to share more with you, but I have to get back to work! Hope your week is fantastic!
Amy, Grandma and Mom
Corsage made by Frontier Flowers in Fontana, WI
Flower Centerpiece by Frontier Flowers in Fontana, WI 
P.S.  The cake that you see there... well what's left of it anyhow, it was delicious.  I made it using a recipe I saw on the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten on the Food Network of a layered coconut cake.  It was to.die.for (or from if you have an aversion to real butter.)  But let me tell you, it was delicious and so special for her special day!  I toasted my coconut for the top to give it a little nuttier flavor (because my family consists of a lot of nuts) and it was delicious.  Note, we refuse to check the caloric content because it really doesn't matter... LOL

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Purple - Violet - Blue-Violet - Lavendar - Violet-Blue - The One Crayon Color Challenge Blog Hop

Did you ever wonder why Crayola made violet-blue AND blue-violet crayons?  Sounded redundant when I was 3, now 30 years later I get it... more of blue, less of violet... or more violet, less blue.  But through the eyes of men according to a recent photo I saw posted in Facebook, all they see is one color - PURPLE!

I love a good challenge and today we're sharing a challenge put together by the very talented artisan, Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime!  The idea of the One Crayon Color Challenge was to create something using just 1 color... doesn't matter how hard or soft you press on that crayon, you get multiple shades of that color.  The end result a monochromatic work of art!

Alas, I pick.... PURPLE! (If you know me, insert cheesy grin here) ☺

Because I lurve purple so much... I couldn't stop at 1 piece... I did 2 (Fozzy Bear wokka, wokka, wokka!)

I created 2 bead embroidered necklaces.  The first is a necklace made of two components.  The top features a crazy purple agate, and the bottom is an amethyst.  It's a sheer coincidence that both stones start with "A" honestly... my type A part of the brain didn't plan that, for real.  I used Nicole's Bead Backing in dark purple because I wanted everything to be matchy matchy too... yes, that was Mrs. Type A speaking.

The second necklace I made turned out to be like a color canvas.  I wasn't sure what the finished project was going to look like when I started... I just laid all my purples on a cookie sheet and put it together one bead at a time.  The glass cabochon featuring the butterfly was created by my good friend Sandy Spivey with Glass Art Cabochons.  I used black goldstone, amethyst beads, purple magnesite (from Happy Mango Beads) and a funky vintage cabochon.  Using primarily Miyuki 15/0 seed beads I brought in all different shades and finishes of purple to make this monochromatic masterpiece pop!

The necklace itself is comprised of purple magnesite, black goldstone and amethyst beads.  It's finished with chain and a lobster claw clasp for adjustable wear from 19" - 22"!

The Purple Butterfly is Available for Sale.
$200 USD

What a very fun challenge this was!  Like I said, I lurve purple... so any excuse you give me to play with it... I'm in heaven!  Now why don't you slide down the rainbow and stop over to visit many other talented artists!  Have a terrific weekend!


Hosted by:
Sally Russick

Jennifer Judd Velasquez
Dawn Doucette <-- YOU ARE HERE

Alicia Marinache

Jenny Davies Reazor







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