Oct 31, 2013

Oct 30, 2013

October Component of the Month Reveal

I was super lucky this month and won one of the Art Jewelry Elements Components of Month!
It's a sweet Ammonite Focal from Kristi Bowman Design
I just happened to see the AJE post come up in my email inbox on the day it was posted (usually I miss it!) and was super psyched to see one of Kristi's components - hers are some of my favorites - and so I threw my name in the hat and was so excited when she contacted me that I was one of the winners this month!
I actually have a nice little selection of some of her pieces.
I'm known to hoard them.
You can ask her. :-)
Anyway,....I knew right away that I wanted to make a really cool bracelet out of her focal pendant.
However, what I had inside my head and what happened to come out of my hands are nowhere near anything alike at all.  Nope. Not.At.All!
I do think that what I ended up creating is much better than what was floating around in my brain, though.

Where my brain was going with the design,.....

I'd pictured some purple cord with a few dark pearls with purple over-tones and possibly some nice chunky pieces of amethyst I have hoarded stashed away and a few copper beads and a handcrafted copper toggle clasp.  

See?  What's below isn't at all like what I just described, is it?

What actually happened! :-)

Well, in between getting Kristi's focal and having a chance to actually work on it, I was fortunate enough to get Cindy Wimmer's book, The Missing Link, (which is truly fabulous - you MUST get it!) that I had ordered.

I was devouring Cindy's book the weekend after I received it and when I got to page 89 and eyed the Spiral Swirl Link - I let out a little squeal!  I ran into the house and grabbed Kristi's ammonite focal and held it up against the pages in the book and said, "Perfect!"
Since the focal is quite large I was only able to use two perfectly beautiful, dark, freshwater cultured pearls (Bead World - Scottsdale), a few copper beads and two of the Spiral Swirl links I created following the step by step instructions in Cindy's book.  Then, I just 'adlibbed' a bit and made my own spiral hook clasp to complete the look.
I'm so excited! It feels great on and will, coincidentally, go fantastically with one of my outfits I'm wearing up at my sis's cabin over Thanksgiving weekend.  (yippee!)

A huge THANKS to Kristi for sharing her amazing focal pendant and to all the contributors over on the
Art Jewelry Elements Blog - you gals ROCK!
Thanks a bunch for stopping by to check out what I created - I appreciate it.
Now it's time to hop on over to the AJE blog and see what the other winner, Kym Hunter with Kym Hunter Designs and all the regular contributors on the AJE Blog created.  I'm sure you'll be drooling!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Nice Surprises!

Oct 26, 2013

Focus on LifeL Week 43 - In the Shadows

This week's prompt from Sally over at The Studio Sublime for the Focusing on Life: 52 Photos weekly challenge was this:

Week 43 - In The Shadows
"For this week we will be focusing on Light and Shadow!  Capture what you find intriguing about light and shadows." 
What an appropriate prompt with Autumn upon us and Halloween coming up this week.
Although I wasn't able to capture any photos of ghostly shadows or light orbs or anything like that, I did capture these two photos of some shadows.

Shadows produced from light shining through glass objects - always cool!
Hop around today and see what 'shadows' every one else caught a glimpse of, won't you?!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Shadows of Light!

Oct 19, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 42 - All In A Day

This week Sally's prompt for
Focusing On Life: 52 Photos Challenge was this:
Week 42 - All In A Day
"There are many things that can happen in a day. Let's focus on 24 hours and see what goes on during your day!"
Well, all days at the Buettner household are pretty normal (for us!) yet not one of them is actually normal, if you know what I mean. 
Monday was "Fall Break Day" for our son and we had lots of thing scheduled for that day.
First, the soft water system decided to rupture last weekend and spray tons of water all over the garage, the workbench, Mike's old desk and the ceiling (good thing we know a mold guy and he knows how to clean things up - I actually moisture mapped the garage later in the week for training!!) and so Monday our new soft water unit arrived - it's pretty nice. And and I love having my soft water back (my boys hate it - they tolerate it just for me!)

Click any photo to enlarge
Then, Logan's QX4 had the air go out -again- so neither he nor the hubby were happy they had to return it to the shop but Logan "called" the convertible (Our son loves Mike's BMW - even though it's practically as old as he is and he drives it as often as possible!) and so Mike hopped in to the Q and they drove down to the car place to drop it off and then grab a bite to eat on their way home.
I heard tons of sirens no too long after they had left so I texted Logan (Mike was driving them back home) to see if they were okay.  Did you know you can pick GOD up at Taco Bell?  LOL!!  I didn't either! :-)  Auto-correct can be a hoot!

Text between Logan and me
Then there was work stuff, filling an order, afternoon tea, folding laundry, and putting things aside for when I would eventually get the time to create with Kristi Bowman's awesome component for the  AJE October Component of the Month Give-a-Way that I'd been fortunate enough to win. (The reveals is on the 30th,...so plan to stop back by!)
So, just normal stuff around our house. 
What's a typical day look like for you? 
Anything but typical, right?  But it's All In A Day!
Now, hop on over to The Studio Sublime or scroll down to the bottom here and see what everyone else has going on today!
Oh, I almost forgot - TODAY I get to devour Cindy Wimmer's new and ultra-super-cool wire-work book, "The Missing Link"!  (Insert dorky looking happy dance here!)

My joy for Today!

 I can't tell you how excited I am to try out some of the fun links this weekend and play with my wire! (my wire feels a bit neglected because I'm usually playing with cord and pearls!) and then tonight we're having our annual neighborhood Cul-de-Sac party with our ultra-fun and cool neighbors - it's gonna be a super day!!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Having Fun "All Day"

Oct 12, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 41 - Connections

This is week 41 (wow, can you believe it?!)
and Sally's prompt for the


Sally told us, " We have, make and witness connections everyday.  Connecting to one another makes us feel that we are a part of something more, something great!  This week focus on the connections you make, the connections that naturally occur, a connection of things, your connection to your environment, craft or faith."

Wow, how timely.  Again!  I swear, Sally has this uncanny way of honing in on what we're all going through. It's like she has this little crystal ball that has all of our lives on 'speed dial'.
Or maybe, it's because we really are all connected to each other.

Jewelry-world related I've been rather unconnected for the last month or so.  However, business-wise with our environmental business and personally with those around me, I've been more deeply connected.

Aside from answering phones, fielding questions and taking care of the front office work for RespirCare (the company my husband built that we own and run together) I'm becoming educated and trained in the microbial science behind our business and taking a more active role in the strategic marketing and growth aspect of our company. 
This week, I sat in on a two day, hands on training class that my hubby taught.
Mike Teaching one of the sampling courses

It's interesting, but far removed from the likes of pearls, jewelry or the craft world.  However, the links between the two industries are more 'connected' than I imagined.  

I enjoy seeing the light bulb go off in someone when they grasp a concept that was alluding them, or they are able to thoroughly understand a portion of the science behind the business and see how their new found knowledge can further assist them with not only helping their customers, but actually help them to build upon their own business.  
Mike with RespirCare Associate,  Don - Our Canadian "Connection"
It's rather similar to when I'm teaching and I experience a student learn a jewelry technique and how their brain starts seeing all the exciting ways they can incorporate their newly acquired skill and add to their repertoire of designs.

So, these last few weeks have been spent connecting a bit more in-depth with my hubby; with our business, our family, our clients, customers and ourselves. These connections have brought us closer as a family to our future goals, to each other and to those we interact with.
I have to admit though, it's quite challenging to step out of my comfort zone and stretch my knowledge and skill set.  It's cozy, warm and comfy in my comfort zone. I like cozy, warm and comfy,....kinda like some fungi I know.
Sorry, I couldn't resist!! LOL!! ;-)
So, who or what are YOU connecting with these days?  Please connect with all of us this weekend over at The Studio Sublime. You never know where your connections will lead,.....
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Forming and Fostering Connections!

Oct 5, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 40 - Give Us A Smile!

So this week's prompt from Sally over at
The Studio Sublime was, "Give Us A SMILE!"
It really does help to lift the spirits of people when you give them a smile, or you get one in return.
These two are always smiling. 
The "Masked Rider"(Unmasked!) and his sweet and beautiful girlfriend.
Their future's are bright, they are both respectful of each other and those around them, they're funny, smart and all around good 'kids'.  
Seeing them happy, makes me smile
Scroll on down the page here or head over to the Studio Sublime to see who else is smiling and what they're smiling about this week won't you?
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and All Smiles!

Oct 2, 2013

Boring Pearl Info,...Said No One EVER!

Okay, well maybe it has been said, but thankfully I was out of ear-shot because that statement kinda hurts my feelings.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls. Photo: Michelle Buettner
I will admit that while studying Pearls at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the part about the mollusk's reproductive system was probably the least favorite part of my studies. 

From Wikipedia.org

First off, a Natural Pearl is created in nature, by nature, without the help of any human hands what-so-ever and is extremely rare (these days anyway) and very valuable.

Freshwater Cultured Pearl Necklace - MiShel Designs

Cultured Pearls are pearls formed when humans 'assist' or 'help' the process along.

Thank goodness for the science behind Cultured Pearls, because without all of this 'boring stuff' (she whispers softly so as not to offend her pretty little gems!) it would be practically impossible for me to enjoy pearls - using them in my designs all the time - the way I do now.  

Freshwater Cultured Pearls Knotted on Genuine Leather

Yes, it's this 'boring' part (interesting science to others!) about the Mollusk's tiny, delicate, little gonads (and how he's gently sliced open so he can have things inserted into him and then carefully patched back up ) that gives us our beautiful, CULTURED pearls - whether freshwater ones or saltwater ones - and makes them readily available in today's market.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls. Photo: Michelle Buettner
It's basically what allows us to use these gorgeous gems in our own handcrafted jewelry designs.
(Insert happy dance here!!)

Freshwater Cultured Pearl Jewelry Designs - MiShel Designs

Since the Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Hop I hosted back on September 15th, I've had more than the usual number of questions from people asking me about the different kinds of pearls. I've also noticed an unusually high number of articles and snippets mentioning pearls in today's world of jewelry fashion.

(Check out the WWD article about the "Pearl" exhibit that just opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London!)

Freshwater Cultured Pearl and Pewter Cross Bracelet - MiShel Designs

So today I wanted to clarify a few things and give you some additional resources to turn to so you can find more information on our beautiful little friends.

Faceted Freshwater Cultured Pearl Earrings
Copper Component - Kristi Bowman
Earring Design - Michelle Buettner
Quick Facts About Pearls:
(the non-boring, not-so-technical stuff)

There are two types of pearls - Real pearls and Imitation pearls. 

Breaking this down, there are two types of Real Pearls: Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls. 

Natural pearls are: a pearl formed without human assistance. (found in nature, forming on it's own via natural circumstances with out any human intervention)
Cultural pearls are: a pearl formed as the result of human intervention in the formation process.  (pearls formed when humans have intervened and 'helped' the natural process along).  
Under Cultured Pearls there are two typesFreshwater Cultured Pearls and Saltwater Cultured Pearls.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls are cultured in bodies of freshwater such as lakes, etc.
Under Saltwater Cultured Pearls there are three main (most common) types, including Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea, and these are cultured in bodies of saltwater. 

Yes, Cultured pearls, whether Freshwater Cultured or Saltwater Cultured, are real pearlsNot Natural Pearls, but still real pearls.   And they both (freshwater cultured pearls and saltwater cultured pearls) come from Bivalve Mollusks (oysters, mussels, etc.) 
Natural Pearls can be distinguished from Cultured Pearls by an x-ray to reveal their inner components/structure and although I will not go into detail between tissue nucleation vs. bead nucleation or things of this nature today, I have provided links on my pearls page for those of you who are interested in learning more.  

Natural pearls are extremely rare in this day and age and therefore quite expensive, especially compared to their cultured pearl counterparts.  I'd love to be able to hold an entire strand of Natural Pearls in my hands,....oh wow.  Yep, that's on my bucket list!

As far as Imitation pearls go, there are bunches of them.  Anything such as Swarovski Crystal Pearls (awesome colors and cool shapes!), to Resin or Plastic pearls, Majorica/Majorca Pearls, or any pearl that is neither a Natural or a Cultured Pearl is an Imitation. Many people refer to these pearls as 'faux' pearls.  In the industry, we refer to them as Imitation.
For future reference, the above information is available on my "Pearls" page here on my blog.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls. Photo: Michelle Buettner
Also on my Pearls Page are some excellent and trusted resources to turn to for such things as the history of pearls, pearl farming, definitions of various pearls (more thorough and in depth than the ones I have provided) and resources to turn to should you need to have your pearls appraised (I can only grade pearls, not appraise them, because I don't hold an appraiser's license) or to obtain identification or classification reports.

Freshwater Cultured Pearl and Swarovski Crystal Necklace
MiShel Designs

Oh, and then there's the fun stuff like, Famous Pearls!
(I know, I'm such a geek!)

In May 2013, a single strand of natural pearls (pictured above) sold at auction in Geneva
 for nearly $8.5 million setting a world auction record. (source: Forbes Magazine)

I truly hope this small intro into pearls has heightened your awareness of these gorgeous beauties and that they will find their way into your heart like they have mine!

Freshwater Cultured Pearls and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

And, if I don't know the answer, I'll do my best to point you in the direction of someone who does! :-)

Freshwater Cultured Pearl Charm Necklace and Earring Set - MiShel Designs

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and PEARLS, Baby!!