Monday, November 28, 2011

Cameo Appearance

As a long time admirer of the beauty and grace of vintage cameos, I was thrilled when I became the lucky recipient of several gorgeous and unique cameos that had belonged to my grandmothers and my mom. However, many of them were brooches and earrings which I rarely wear. When I set out to find a way to incorporate them into necklaces without compromising the integrity of the original cherished pieces,
I decided to replicate them using polymer clay.

Polymer clay comes in a vast array of colors, is inexpensive, and very easy to work with. The versatility of the clay allowed me to incorporate metal framework within and around the cameo that could be adorned with complimentary crystals, pearls, and charms.

I adore the look of my new collection of cameo jewelry but most importantly, I love the precious memories that come to mind when I wear a piece that was inspired
by a cameo worn by a loved one.

Do you have a family heirloom cameo that you'd like to turn into a necklace, or maybe even make as a gift for a sister, mom, or aunt to remind them of a loved one?

Visit my tutorial here to see how they are made. 

You can also find some of them featured in the Autumn 2010 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry and in the Summer 2011 issue of Belle Armoire.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

a reason to be THANKFUL!

With Thanksgiving only a couple of days away I starting thinking about the things I'm thankful for. Of course, family was the first thing that popped into my head. But, what next? With the weather changing to cold, damp, and rainy, the answer was warm and cozy home to snuggle up in!

My house has not always been warm and cozy. It has been through a couple of addition/remodels. The last one being three years ago. We started with no particular deadline. That immediately changed once we learned we would be hosting our son's wedding in three months! Doing all the work ourselves (mostly Hubby), we didn't have much of a social life that summer.

Hubby demolished three walls opening up
the kitchen area and expanding the dining room.

Wow! Look at all those electrical wires...they all needed to be rerouted!
Luckily, my electrician works cheap!

The really cool step-up architectural feature that Hubby worked so hard to create over the dining room table during our previous addition/remodel project was now in the wrong place! So, after investigating the situation he went to work to fix that issue.

What a mess...cabinets were scattered where ever we could find a place to put them. The sliding glass door in the back ground had to be removed to make way for a stove and microwave. We found a home for it in our newly enlarged dining room.

My youngest son was still living at home and helped out with some of the heavy lifting.

There's Hubby cutting right on top of the counter...doesn't he know
we have a cutting board?

I did help...really! I was the clean up girl and there was always something to clean up. I also did all the plaster work and painting which was challenging at times. As you can see from the photos, I had to texture and paint in random areas here and there working around the mess.

Notice the hideously bright orange dining room wall? Hard to believe but that is
the start of a gorgeous, rich red finish that will have the look of leather.

 Once most the painting was done, Hubby started laying the new flooring.

This is what the place looked like two weeks before the wedding! I was beginning to feel a little panicked and questioned whether we could finish on time. With help from my very generous father-in-law, we were able to wrap it up the day before the wedding which gave me just enough time to whip out all the wedding flowers!

I wouldn't have chosen to take on a major remodel and a wedding at the same time
but you do what you have to do! And, I love the results!

The new kitchen sparkles with stainless steel and glass tiles.

I love this bar area for entertaining! Hubby - nicknamed the mixologist by one of our friends - never leaves this area during a party...he's the perfect bartender!

With much cutting and hammering, Hubby was able to create a beautiful storage area and focal point for the dining room reusing some of the old kitchen cabinets.
I sanded, primed and painted them a soft black to accent the red leather wall finish.

Now that all that hard work is just a fading memory, I'm grateful that I can
just grab a cup of coffee and sit back and relax in my warm and cozy home!

Hubby got his reward too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Aged Copper Wall Treatment

If you're familiar with my jewelry creations, you already know that I love aged copper! It's warm, casual, and depending on the patina, it has an array of colors ranging from light green to deep burgundy flowing through it adding even more texture and interest.

Several years ago (before my life of jewelry) I had a faux finishing business and one of my clients requested a wall of copper so I created this technique. It actually became a popular choice with my clients and I thought it was so cool that I decided to create some walls of copper in my own home.

I also created a focal area on the bedroom ceiling to tie in with the tub area.

I used the Modern Masters line of metallic paints,
a chip brush and a rag to create this effect.

The metallic colors needed are Pale Gold, Copper, Sage, Plum and Smoke. These paints are expensive but they can be purchased in a smaller size which would be plenty for each color except for the Pale Gold and the Copper. It's been awhile since I've looked but as of two years ago Rodda Paint carried this line of paint.

I'm sorry that I don't have step-by-step photos of this process but I did this a couple of years ago when we remodeled our home and at that time I didn't even imagine that I might need them to share on a blog! Faux finishes are quite difficult to explain so I hope that my explanation is more helpful than confusing.

Before I applied the main coat of metallic paint I base coated the walls with a neutral beige color. This is an important step because the Pale Gold is semi-opaque so a neutral paint that is close in color helps give an even look. I mixed extender (also a Modern Masters product) into the Pale Gold and applied two coats with a Modern Masters Metallic Paint Roller (sorry, I don't have a picture of it but it has a really long and ragged nap which makes it easier to apply the paint with an even look).

Next, working in a small area at a time, I used the chip brush to apply Copper in a random swirling fashion. I quickly, patted and lightly rubbed the Copper with a damp rag spreading and blending it out. Metallic paint dries very quickly so I had to work fast. I did this until the entire wall was covered in an overall random fashion. It's best to start light and build each layer as needed - I applied two very light coats of the Copper.

Next, I applied the Sage - in the same manner as the Copper but with far less overall coverage. It is more of an accent color randomly spaced here and there. I repeated this same process using the Plum. Again, I started lightly and applied more as needed.

For the final step, I mixed some glaze with the Smoke. I used a professional grade glaze but glaze purchased from Home Depot would work just fine for this project. I applied the Smoke/glaze mixture in the same manner as the Copper except that I wiped most of it off. This step helps tone down the metallic shine of the paint and gives it that beautiful aged look but be very conservative with this step or the wall will appear dirty and dingy.

The white ceiling medallion and molding where too harsh against the copper so I painted the medallion with some gold spray paint and antiqued it by applying a black glaze and wiping most of it off and I painted the molding with metallic Pale Gold allowing some of the white to show through.

This copper technique can be used to transform other projects as well. I updated a client's old oak kitchen table by painting the legs black and painting the top to look like copper. I sealed the table top with three coats of polyurethane to preserve the finish.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

my new TOY!

I have a new toy! Yes, another reason to play instead of work. Hubby and I had been thinking about investing in an SLR camera for a long time and we finally did it. After much research we settled on the Nikon D7000. Neither of us know how to use it yet but we have to start somewhere. There are so many buttons...I may go crazy! For now I'm sticking with the auto mode (which is still far better than my point and shoot!)

I love my new toy but it does come with a slight drawback...I'm finding it's hard for me to put it down long enough to get any jewelry made or house work done or anything else for that matter!

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Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Night Special,   Craft-O-Maniac Monday Link Party
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