Friday, February 29, 2008

How a Shoe Became Two Necklaces:
Part III

Voila!....Designing for the Long Term

Cathy's shoes are amazing and her colorful necklace and earring ensemble seemed to be exactly the style, shape and color Cathy wanted. Still, what about that little black dress? The basic structure of Cathy's necklace just cried out to be a modern day version of the "Breakfast at Tiffany" look....but the colorful gemstone elements would get in the way of that classic look. Well, the colorful elements WOULD get in the way if this Necklace has been built in one "fixed" style like the Neiman Marcus piece. But that isn't the Just So! way, is it. Of course not, we designed the colorful "Y" portion of the necklace to be detachable. We also created two extra pairs of simple GemDrop earrings- one with petite White Quartz briolettes and one with very significant White Quartz briolettes. Now, Cathy (who already was a fairy tale princess in our minds) can live happily ever after, creating a spark at events that that still doesn't hold a candle to the sparks Cathy sets off all on her own!

Cathy and her family on the day of the Christening!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How a Shoe Became a Necklace: Part II

The Inspiration

Voila! .... the Results

This one really seemed be worth a little suspense before unveiling! Here is Cathy's finished necklace. As you can see, the center "Y" portion features small briolettes of blue chalcedony, peridot and citrine -- picking up the motif and color of the delicate embroidery from Cathy's shoes. Whether a sleek shift dress, cool white linen or the perfect tee-shirt and jeans separate the necklace and the shoes, the shoes and jewelry will be in balance and work as a team. The coordinating colorful briolette dangle earrings repeat the pattern and color.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How A Shoe Became A Necklace: Part I

Cathy, a customer who truly became a part of the Just So! family, came to me with a request: What jewelry could we design as the perfect counterpoint to these amazing shoes?

Custom Design to Suit a Shoe
Cathy wore these shoes to her son's Christening last summer. (I saw the photos: she was a picture-perfect proud new mom, wearing a white eyelet dress and her hair up -- and smiling ear to ear beside her wonderful husband as they beamed at one of the world's most beautiful baby boys.)

Cathy's vision was to pair the shoes with exquisitely classic clothes (everything from the eyelet dress to jeans and a white shirt) and she was hoping to find the perfect jewelry to pull the whole look off. I had an idea of what would complement Cathy's style and she selected this gold and gemstone necklace from Neiman Marcus as having both the volume and "look" she liked.

Struck with inspiration based on the shoes and the Cathy's wishes, it was time to get to work on something that would suit a chic and savvy modern-day Cinderella.

Starting with heavy polished silver chain, rock crystal and white chalcedony, Cathy's necklace began to take shape......

Friday, February 22, 2008

Aisle-to-Isle-to-Rock Concert Style

From the moment my aunt told her (true) story of meeting "Mr. Bono" in Chicago, I became quite fascinated by the notion of a rock star who would seem to be as happy to strike up a conversation with the nice lady crossing the street as to lobby world leaders to fight world poverty and disease -- oh, in between sold-out rock concerts. What a way to live, huh?

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Who'd have thought that our family trip to "U23D" (at the Henry Ford, very nice!) would inspire sparkly jewelry? As U2 fans know, the "CoeXisT" symbol plays a starring role (from light displays to headbands to fan's banners). I know, I know. I should have thought, "What a cool symbol of unity and tolerance". (OK. I did that.) But leave it to me to think: "Wow, what cool TreasureDrops those would make......" (That's just how I'm wired, I guess.)

While I haven't made my final choice and had that "Voila!" moment yet, I am playing around with various designs. Here's a peak at my first few attempts. I'll be wearing one version soon. So, which rock will win out?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Aisle-to-Isle-to-Office Style

Aisle-to-Isle Style:

Office Too!

I have been having so much fun with my GemStrands and illustrating how I envision them complementing everything from denim to party dresses! The pendant is usually the focal point: gemstone briolettes sometimes send a "dressy" message and sterling charms often send a "casual" message. But as today's pretty pairings just go to show, there are no hard and fast rules: when you start with elegantly simple components, your options are always unlimited.

The Inspiration:

Two new outfits in soft blue and navy from my friends, Betsy & Sue's, 2008 Doncaster collection.

The Challenge:

Combine GemStrands and TreasureDrops to strike the perfect balance to accent office & "business casual" clothing looks.

Voila!....The Results

Although sparkly blue topaz often seems so formal, paired with a simple baby bead chain or a chic sterling and lapis pendant, the soft blue is feminine, not too dainty, and every bit as polished as the clothing it complements.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Isle Style

This is why I love working with interchangeable necklace strands!

The same GemStrands™ that are as appropriate for denim as formal party dresses, also combine with feminine flower pendants to become the perfect accent for a tropical trip or a breezy summer print. It's so pretty it almost looks edible. Yum!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Not So Dressy

Easy Style

My last post on "Aisle Style" showed pretty party dresses from Talbot's with our sparkly gemstone strands and gemstone briolettes. (Didn't they look yummy!) The look was very dressy: perfect for proms, weddings and cocktail parties. But, let's face of it, most of us spend our time in easy, comfy, work-a-day clothes. I spent a lot more time in jeans and black skirts and pants than pastel silks (no matter how pretty). I love how the very same GemStrands and briolettes can be mixed and matched with more rugged sterling charms for funky/sophisticated jewelry that is right at home with a denim jacket:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Spring Inspiration

Aisle-to-Isle Style - The Inspiration

I received a new Talbot's catalog and noticed a line of pretty new event dresses. Like J Crew and Ann Taylor, Talbot's has introduced a line of design-you-own dresses (where the customer selects the length, the neckline, a wrap or jacket, etc.). While the choices are not unlimited, I love the idea of women being able to order a dress with just the elements they want. It's very "Just So!", isn't it?

Voila!... The Results

Just last week, I was designing and photographing our new design-your-own GemStrand collection -- which Monica is turning into beautiful web pages to be posted soon. I couldn't help but see an almost perfect, personalized match between the new Talbot's party dresses and our sparking GemStrands -- especially when paired with gemstone briolette TreasureDrops for special events.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Gem Of A Day

The Challenge: Winter Weather Wear

Earlier this week, I had a brief court appearance on a snowy, slushy winter day. After that, I knew I would spend the day working at the shop: I needed to be able to look polished for the morning but be able to roll my sleeves up and still be comfortable for the rest of the workday.

The Solution
I pulled on a favorite long black skirt and boots. Instead of my usual tailored jacket for court, I opted for a green sweater-jacket with princess seams. For jewelry, I grabbed one of my black leather cord necklaces and added TreasureDrops in sterling (an antique wax seal centerpiece with a cherub and lion along with a leaf and an ivy charm on the sides). To bring in the green, I added one single gemstone briolette TreasureDrop in peridot. I was out the door in a flash, comfy and ready to take on the day. That little sparkle of green helped bring a little hit of spring and cheer to a very gray winter morning.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Flowers AND Jewelry for Valentine's Day

We say it all the time. Creating custom designs "on the spot" here at Just So! is a little like "Iron Chef" ("Iron Jewelry Designer"). In creating custom designs for our customers, we often hit upon our next new products. Our customers inspire US all the time!

The Mission

On Monday, a lovely customer wanted something special for each of her four daughters for Valentine's Day. She was attracted to our new carved shell flower pendants. She didn't want the pendants to hang on leather cords or gemstone strands (as we were showing them), but she did like the heavier sterling bead chain. She also liked the way the gemstone briolettes danced off the shell flower pendants on our display.

Voila! The Results.

We put together something special for each her daughters. This ensemble shows how personalized each flower necklace can be. Each gemstone briolette mini TreasureDrop brings a completely different personality to each piece.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Making Impeccable Handmade Jewelry - Why We Do It

For those of us who simply love jewelry making, part of the attraction is that we just enjoy "doing something creative". I also have met a lot of jewelry makers who, like me, enjoy beading because of the almost instant gratification. With so many designs, you can wear your new necklace, bracelet or earrings the same day you start the project. When inspiration seizes hold of you and you create a great-looking new design, you can proudly reply to all those compliments: "Thanks! I made it myself." Now, that's fun!

Then there's the "bargain" aspect. While it's true that most of us can walk into a bead store and spend more than we would spend to buy run-of-the-mill mass-produced jewelry, it is hard to match the thrill of the true bargain. Forget the big sales at the mall after Christmas. My favorite bargain is when you create a handmade jewelry piece that looks like "a million bucks" and you hardly spent a thing. For me, the knowledge that I could produce designs that looked like I purchased them at Neiman Marcus or some high end boutique started an obsession: not only did I want to keep on producing pieces that looked every bit as nice as the pricey ones from upscale magazines and catalogs -- but I wanted to make my own designs part of an interchangeable system.

I hope this blog will help inspire other jewelry enthusiasts and jewelry makers to begin creating their own interchangeable collections. Piece by piece, each new purchase or project will add up to a jewelry wardrobe that gives you unlimited options every day ... and the fun of creativity that doesn't end when you leave the craft table.