Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lake Geneva Wisconsin - Perfect Place to Visit and Even Better to Live

I'm so excited about this challenge I participated in.  We're so lucky in our artist community to have someone like my dear friend Erin Prais-Hintz who organizes and hosts the most fun challenges!  Erin, from the bottom of my heart I thank you for coordinating this challenge!  I had so much fun!!!!!!  The Challenge of Travel was the theme for this challenge... and yet really it didn't involve traveling at all.  Rather, we were to discover and play in our own backyards on a stay-cation and translate where we live into a creative piece of art.

First, I have to tell you, I love living in Lake Geneva, WI.  I've lived in 5 cities in my life and Lake Geneva is by far my favorite.  Why?  Because there's so much to do, see & feel... yes FEEL!  This city evokes a warmth in my heart that just can't be put into words.  But rather than me going on & on and on... I'll SHOW you just how beautiful my city is!
Top Left: Riviera Ballroom, Top Right:  Expect a Miracle Mansion, Bottom Left:  Stone Manor, Bottom Right:  Standing on the docks at the Riviera.

Lake Geneva is steeped in history!  We have magnificent estates on the water, originally settled by wealthy Chicago businessmen as their summer homes (the Wrigley Chewing Gum Family, the Morton Salt family.)  Today just a handful of those original estates are still standing.  Most of the property has been purchased, had the original houses knocked down and new mansions built in their place.

Part of the history surrounding Lake Geneva is our magnificent family-run company Gage Marine and their line of tour boats, Lake Geneva Cruise Line.  The coolest way to see the previously mentioned estates is from the water.  Gage Marine has several old tour boats that they have lovingly restored and do daily tours on May thorough October (and into November if the snow hasn't flown as some of the boats are covered & heated!)  The Walworth (also called the Mail Boat) runs a marine mail service daily.  This is the only marine mail service still operational in the United States.  Just this summer, Brian Williams and NBC News came to Lake Geneva to film a special about the Mail Boat Tour and it's history on the lake.  Here's their video story:

Fall in Wisconsin offers so much beauty!

We're so lucky... we have world class golf courses designed by PGA legends.  We have world reknown sailing greats and legendary boatworks companies.  Lake Geneva also was the home to Hugh Hefner's first Playboy Resort (now it's Grand Geneva Resort, and the bunnies are all retired).  Lake Geneva was also the home of Dungeons & Dragons founder Gary Gygax.  Many celebrities have owned homes around the lake throughout the years.  We even have a walking path that goes all 23 miles around the perimeter of the lake on the shoreline, allowing us to cut through the yards of the beautiful lake estates, enjoy their views and appreciate their immaculate landscaping!

When trying to decide how to best represent Lake Geneva, I knew I needed to pull in both the water and the land.  So the blues mixing with the greens were the basis for this design.  Because of the rich history and tradition around the lake, I also wanted to pull in accents of rich gold.  The last part I wanted to really bring into play in my design was the unique niche in which real estate around Geneva Lake falls into.  Having such elegant vacation properties really creates a stand-alone dynamic in our market that has helped our small business and boutiques locally to weather the economic storm of years past.  So incorporating a stone grey/brown element was key.  

The gemstone on the top of the pendant is a genuine Labradorite.  The color is a grey/brown but it reflects mangificent hues of golden yellow and blue.  Labradorite is known for stimulating the imagination (I guess that's why it spoke to me!) :) The second stone is an artistic resin cabochon accented with round crystals and the bottom focal is a paua shell.  I selected the beads in a method that allowed the blues and greens to stand out and the gold/grey to flow throughout the pendant.

In the necklace the long bicone bead was actually the jumping off point for the entire necklace.  Created by my very dear friend Juli Cannon of Julsbeads, it embodied everything I wanted this necklace to be.  Blue/Green/Turquoise/Brown all wrapped up on a beautiful glass package.  I chose a complimentary Julsbead on the other side of the necklace to balance off the artistic glass creation.
Lady of the Lake - Inspired by Lake Geneva, WI

I added a mix of crystals, agates, more crystals and some funky, sparkly round beads all the colors dance magically together!  So I call this necklace a balanced asymmetrical look.  And she'll be known as "Lady of the Lake!"
Photo By Chris Kayser - Follow her on FB: Lake Geneva, A Day in the Life of
Visit Lake Geneva ~ We'd love to have you!
Dawn Doucette is the artisan soul behind Bella Amore. Bella = Beautiful, Amore = Love Through all things, Dawn looks for something beautiful and creates each design in the energy of love. Dawn resides with her soulmate Chris, and two fur babies in Lake Geneva, WI. Her inspired designs are created to be cherished and passed down as heirloom jewelry. If you'd like to have Dawn create a one-of-a-kind piece of legacy jewelry exclusively for you, contact her via her Facebook Page:

To view other hometown blogs and see their inspired creations, visit Erin's blog for a master list:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Where the Ocean Meets the Sand - A custom necklace inspired by Florida

Your walking along the shore.  You feel the wet sand under you feet.  Glancing back, you see your footprints leading the way back to where you've been.  Looking ahead all you see is possibilities.  You can go anywhere and your options are endless.  But you're called back to the water...

For my first custom design for Cousin Corporation, our assignment was to create something inspired by Florida because their company is based in Largo, FL.  We could choose anything at all about Florida to use as inspiration, but we had to use only Cousin beads in our creations.  Whether it was flamingos, citrus fruits, Disney, palm trees or something else all together.  I always chose the "something else" path less traveled. 

I created this custom beaded necklace I call Where the Ocean Meets the Sand. I started by laying out everything under the sun that might go into this necklace.  Initially I wasn't sure where my inspiration would take me... but here's what I started to play with.

Personally, I've always been drawn to water.  Sunrise, sunset, walks on the beach... and let's be honest, Florida being a peninsula has a LOT of beaches.  So I thought it was appropriate that my Florida inspired necklace feature the beautiful ocean and beaches.

As a focal, I selected an amber and teal colored geode slice. It's almost the shape of Florida (it's just missing the panhandle).  It paired perfectly with the teal seed bead mix and the amber seed bead mix from Cousin.  The mixes have a combination of bugle beads, 11/0 and 8/0 that worked to give this an organic, funky flow.  To finish the necklace I pulled in beautiful copper accents in bead caps and the toggle clasp, some amber gemstone nuggets and acrylic faceted beads.
A little wire-wrapping makes this necklace reversible

This is one of those pieces that will go perfectly with turquoise outfits all summer and will blend marvelously into the fall earthy tones.  It's artistic and fun.  It's asymmetrical and still balanced.  I think I nailed Florida so perfectly that this piece should take a trip to Florida just for good measures! ;)

And because I needed some instant gratification in the sea of seed beads and all the looping to make this necklace, I created a pair of matching earrings.  The kidney ear wires and copper charms with crystal accents are both Cousin products.  The lampwork glass beads are from Juli Cannon of StudioJuls.  Yet another staple in my array of turquoise and copper... can you say LOVE?!?! 

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