January 17, 2017 § 6 Comments
To say that we are living in “unusual” times would be an understatement. Thankfully, I can tune out, and touch rocks to keep my sanity. Last week I gathered some of my favorite “ruff” stuff, and worked on this talisman.
The combo of raw spessartite garnet (encrusted with pyrite) and the raw orange kyanite (this piece is encrusted with mica) just seemed to kumbaya together, in an earthy but elegant sort of way. They both help with creativity. Adding the grounding black spinel in a pave diamond setting made me feel better too. Pyrite brings self confidence to the mix. Mica has reflective qualities to see flaws without judgement. Ready to layer, with say a deep orange strand of mandarin garnet?
If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll notice that I often refer to my collecting or um, “hoarding” of rocks. This really beautiful hessonite has been in my stash for awhile. I have loved it and gazed upon it for quite some time. It’s ready to go out in the world as a ring. It’s a very unusual cut called “surface cut”, a gorgeous peachy color, and a nice size; over eight carats. Perfect for artists of all kinds: hessonite garnets inspire and bring out the artist even in the seemingly untalented! Hessonite garnets also remove dark thoughts and intensify one’s life.
My other obsession is opal (OK, I have way more than just ONE other obsession). But, I did free a couple from my stash to make these Miss Matched earrings. FYI: Opals offer inspiration and enhance creativity.
Of course, I am gearing up to go get more rock candy in Tucson at the end of January. I’ll post pics of my finds, you can follow me on my Instagram account here: https://www.instagram.com/ledajewelco/
Clicking on a photo will take you to the shop for more info on these pieces.
Happy 2017 to all. It is garnet groove approved!
October 2, 2016 § 1 Comment
This summer after road tripping to Canada, I made a stop in NYC to get a rock fix. There’s a dealer that gets heart stopping stuff and, let me just say, I have a problem. I am a rock addict. I admit it, and apparently I do nothing (except give in). Here’s a tray with some of my stash. Note the green stuff (beryl) towards the right.
A couple of sights on my way to do the deal.
Then I went home, and got to work.
Sometimes, the simple stuff is all you need.
Click on a photo to take you to the shop for more info.
Hope you had fun on YOUR summer vacation!
February 15, 2016 § 1 Comment
Tucson Arizona at the end of January, and beginning of February: Motel rooms become gem shops. Tents spring up all over town overflowing with rocks and minerals. Convention centers bring the world to town with cases and cases of gemstones, fossilized shark teeth and glittery druzy. I am in my element.
This is what I wake up to every morning:
Then I hit the ground running and start the quest. Here are some of the highlights I managed to snag:
Trapiche, taken from the Spanish word meaning “a spoked wheel” used to grind sugar cane. These sapphires resemble the pattern. Found in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Very rare, collectors’ items.
Beautiful raw strand. For self esteem, creativity and positivity.
Rare, rare, rare AND HUGE aquamarine crystal slices (Gem dealers were stalking me for this find!)
Sometimes confused with turquoise; variscite is greener. Brings peace and harmony.
I can never have enough opals in my stash. These are so beautiful, they made me weep.
Rare (there’s that word again!) blue tourmaline crystal slices. Sigh.
Some people have no sense of humor. I was so taken by some of the displays, I broke out into song; specifically the chorus of Itchycoo Park by the Small Faces (“it’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful”), no one joined in. They actually moved away. At least I had fun.
Small Faces aren’t your generation? Have a listen here:
Look out for some new work coming soon, as soon as I stop the drooling and the singing.
For finished pieces to buy, go here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/
January 26, 2014 § 1 Comment
I am just beside myself getting it together to get to my favorite “state of utter fascination” (aka the Tucson gem shows). My bench is cleared, my design table is cleared, and I am sooo ready to discover a new cache of shiny sparkly jewels. As usual, while attempting to clear my work spaces, I got distracted. This time by some “fringe”. Here are the latest pieces off the bench:
I love the “fringe” element on these pieces; they kind of give off a “tribal” vibe!
This next piece doesn’t have “fringe”, per se, but I liked it, and it’s sort of frilly.
Want more info? Clicking on the photo will take you to the shop.
Gotta go pack! Leaving the Big Easy… Next update from Tucson!!
January 25, 2013 § 3 Comments
In the midst of getting clutter and paperwork out of the way before the expedition to Arizona (for shiny, sparkly things) I got distracted, as usual, by a bunch of shiny sparkly things. My jewels are often scattered across table tops and in shelving units. Precariously placed and aligned for my bauble making. Ideas that may or may not hit the bench. They make sense to me, to everyone else (i.e: my Ball&chain), it’s a bunch of rocks cluttering up the place.
I wasn’t planning on making much for my own amusement, I just wanted to clear my orders, then my head, then my table tops for NEW shiny sparkly things. I began, but then I got lost in galaxies of jewels. After I’d been looking at some geodes for a little too long, I made these:
I like the sapphires with the geodes. I decided there needed to be a sapphire stacking ring in the shop:
So very versatile, it looks good with almost anything!
I was hoping to make a “matching” necklace too but I seem to be running out of time. These are the rocks, aligned for the bench. I hope they make it to fruition. I may get distracted…
FYI: This year I’m going to keep the etsy shop open and ship goodies from Tucson. Go shopping here: LEDAJEWELCO!
January 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
While getting psyched for my trek to Tucson for the annual Gem & Mineral Shows (which would happily take me away from the mayhem and madness that is SuperBowlMardiGras here in New Orleans), I was thinking about posting baubles with a Valentine’s Day theme before I hit the road. What I really wanna talk about is love and respect, and WOMEN. Chicks. Babes. Broads. Females. Dames. Ladies. Lasses. Damsels. Or if you’re reading this from the “land down under”, Sheilas. This is my personal love letter to us.
I generally try not to get too political, heated arguments spoil my sunny disposition. However, I was very affected by the death of a young woman in India last month who was gang raped for hours. Her name was Jyoti Singh Pandey and her death needs to matter, and so does remembering her name. I count myself fortunate that I have suffered very little physical violence in my life. Being bullied in school was the closest I ever came to being hurt, and somehow I managed to outrun and/or outwit most of them. I can count five bullies. Four were girls! Sad, but interesting. I can’t remember most peoples names from my school days, but I remember the bullies names, first and last. Also sad, but interesting. The other interesting thing is when men have been inappropriate with me, I was never shy about making a racket. In my youth I was told to “keep quiet”. Like I was the one doing something wrong. “Nice” girls just need to shut up.
For a number of years, I volunteered at the local community radio station here in New Orleans (WWOZ 90.7 on your FM dial). Besides hosting some blues and New Orleans music shows, I would produce something called the “Community Notebook”. Usually it was for neighborhood events, fundraisers etc. When Tulane University submitted a request for a promo of “The Vagina Monologues” on Valentine’s Day, I was told I could not say the word “vagina” on the air!! We did come to a compromise: I was allowed to say the word once, because it’s in the title. (Duh). Since I was single (and couldn’t get a date) I went to see the performance. This play addresses the stigma surrounding rape, abuse and women’s sexuality. The author (Eve Ensler, follow her on Twitter: @eveensler) has incorporated a non-profit charity called “V-Day” and raises money via performances of The Vagina Monologues for female victims of violence and sexual abuse. You can find out more here: http://www.vday.org/home
Now I know this is a jewelry blog, and don’t you worry, I’ll shamelessly flog some trinkets too, but I want to address the “vs” in the title. This non-profit has been criticized for taking the air out of the romantic balloon that is Valentine’s Day, attacking the “romantic” bonds between men and women, for being “misdandrist” (mis´an`drist (mĭs´ăn`drĭst) n. 1. one who hates men). I say PSHAW. I love my husband, he’s good to me. I also know that I’m a woman, and I am outraged by so much that goes on in the world because women are deemed to be less than worthy (Taliban anyone?). Ever hear about the “Sworn Virgins of Albania”? Women (usually young girls) are asked to give up their sexuality and live as celibate males. For honor and respect. You can find out more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_sworn_virgins and find some links to some of the photos by Jill Peters (photo below is hers) who recently brought this story to mainstream media.
I am fortunate that I live in a place that I can celebrate romance, be a “girly girl” AND support violence against women. If each of my 12 followers can go here: http://twibbon.com/support/one-billion-rising-5, get a twibbon, then maybe give a couple of bucks, maybe start something, dance, join a march, see the play, or just send a good thought, I will have done something. Now, how about something pink?
Wishing you an early Happy V/Valentines Day. Go home and kiss someone you love (yourself included).
Clicking on an image takes you to the listing. To see all my “pink” offerings, click here: PINK
March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
I am a food “elitist”. At least that’s what my dean at culinary school called me. I guess it’s true. When I’m on a road trip (like last week, we made a trip to do a show in Austin) I generally shun fast food stops. Often I’ll bring my own fine sandwich or a tupperware container filled with something tasty. This time, since we were going through Lafayette (recently voted best food town in the US), we stopped for lunch. No, not at Prejeans (more on that later), but at a really really great (but not so well known) spot I’d eaten at a couple of years ago. No website, no advertising, no frills. Just really great food. The Creole Lunch House is a little off the beaten track, and looks just like any other house in the neighborhood. It’s in a black neighborhood, but the lunch crowd is both black and white. I love it when good food breaks stupid boundaries. Miss Merline’s claim to fame is “stuffed bread”. Stuffed with meat, sausage, cheese and “just enough” jalapeno spice. It’s so popular, they have a drive through window just for the bread. (Louisiana is famous for their drive through Daiquiri windows too, but we didn’t stop at any of those). There’s a steam table, cafeteria style, offering red beans & rice, baked stuffed chicken, BBQ ribs, mustard greens and a few other items. All beautifully seasoned and delicious. Lunch will set you back less than 10 bucks.
I know this is supposed to be a jewelry blog, but this week was spent doing everything else but making jewelry, and I would like to present myself as a curious, well rounded human being.
But what the hell. Here’s a personal favorite from my new “Wanga” line:
Wanga means “magical charm” or spell in Haitian Creole. There is a huge Morganite, which is a powerful stone for divine love, an Oregon sunstone set in 18K gold which represents protection, healing and success, Labradorite briolettes and beads on the chain which bring power, helps intuition and seeing through illusions. Plus the orthoceras of course. A fossil, that I like to think of as a representation of our ancestors.
The show was actually in suburban Austin. No weirdness here. It was held in a brand new, manufactured neighborhood filled with restaurants and boutiques. All upscale well known chains. Neat, clean and perfect. If you like that kind of thing. I like things a little more messed up and tilted. I would have enjoyed doing the show a little more, if a few more people than my three friends knew about it. Here’s a shot of two of them with my husband:
But the weather was perfect, and there were some wonderful artists, and we made some new friends. Plus I have to share this photograph of Sue. She was one of the organizers of the show, and bought a pair of my earrings and a pendant just to match her blouse. Thanks Sue!
The food in the neighborhood was “meh”. Except for the pizza at North. It was the best pizza I’ve had in a long time. There is no good (never mind “great”) pizza in New Orleans, I don’t care what anyone says. I lived in Toronto for 18 years, I have had great pizza – there is no great pizza or Italian food in New Orleans. Period. End of story.
On our last night we went downtown (hoping for some of that weirdness they’re trying to keep) and met up with our friends Linda & Steven for fancy shmancy cocktails (I ordered a Mustache Gun: Bulleit bourbon, yellow chartreuse, sugar & Fernet Branca) and dinner at a place call “Peche”. Nothing to complain about, it was all good. But nothing to swoon over like Miss Merline’s cooking. Dinner/drinks will set you back way more than 10 bucks.
The next morning, I said to my husband “I want some real authentic Austin food! We need to at least have a breakfast taco before we go”. This is where I love google and yelp. I lucked out. If you are ever in Austin you must go to Mi Madre’s. Must.
I had a breakfast taco called “Barbacoa with pico de gallo”. It was made with beef cheeks and served with a fantastic salsa. It was the best thing I think I’ve ever eaten. Swoon. Plus we had a wonderful waitress, Emily, who was very helpful in menu navigation.
OK, so on the way back we end up at Prejeans. I need to explain: My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Lafayette, and had lunch at Prejeans the next day before we left (this is 6½ years ago, right after the flood and I wasn’t thinking clearly). It was mostly for romantic nostalgia, plus they do make a terrific smoked duck gumbo.
For those who don’t know: Prejeans is perhaps Lafayettes most famous restaurant. It serves busloads of tourists everyday. They have a great menu. Too bad they can’t execute it. All my seafood was overcooked. I know, I know, I could have sent it back, but the wait for the food was already soooo long, and we wanted to go home – we still had a couple of hours of driving to do. Dinner for 2 = $80.
Here’s a shot of a typical table of 30 something people (they do this all day long). We did buy a quart of smoked duck gumbo to go.
Back in New Orleans, I get to cook my own food again. Shrimp & okra were first on the list. I’m almost a Southerner now.