Thursday, September 29, 2016

September Art Jewelry Elements Challenge Theme Is Trees

The September Art Jewelry Elements  challenge is to create something using beads, jewelry or make a decorative item inspired by the subject. You could choose felting, polymer clay, ceramics, beads… the media and finished piece is entirely up to you.  Trees is the theme for September. 

I love this theme because I am inspired by nature.  I admire John Muir for his ability to see the beauty in nature and influence others to appreciate it.  

Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.  --John Muir

I also admire Teddy Roosevelt. As president, Roosevelt created five national parks (doubling the previously existing number); signed the landmark Antiquities Act and used its special provisions to unilaterally create 18 national monuments, including the Grand Canyon; set aside 51 federal bird sanctuaries, four national game refuges, and more than 100 million acres' worth of national forests.
Yosemite National Park

I have enjoyed visiting a number of our National Parks and I appreciate what these two men did to insure that some of the best wilderness sites in the United States are preserved for future generations to enjoy.  The above photo above shows the very spot in Yosemite National Park where the two men discussed the notion of creating National Parks.  

Sequoia trees at Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is spectacular.  The sequoia trees in this park are amazing to see. It is hard to comprehend the size of these giant trees.  These trees are earth’s largest and longest-living trees.  

A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.-- John Muir

photo credit --

I used a tree pendant and round blue bead by Brooke Bock to create a copper tree necklace that reminds me of a tree during a snow storm. Along with Bock beads, I added a copper bead to a length of copper to create the loops in this one of a kind focal. I also made the copper clasp. I combined copper chain, blue agate, and white shell beads to give the blue necklace an earthy look. It is available for purchases HERE.

                                                      Tree Necklace by BayMoonDesign

Christmas Tree Earrings by BayMoonDesign

The photo of the winter snow scene brings Christmas to mind.  Awhile ago I bought some rustic ceramic trees by ceramic artist Mary Harding.  I made them into a pair of Christmas tree earrings. Each earring has a handmade ceramic green tree and a red crystal shinning on the top. The ear wires, jump rings and headpins are made from sterling silver.  They are available for purchase HERE.

photo credit--

This challenge also inspired me to try something new.  I was gifted some green paper with a tree on it along with some other prints and I thought this paper would be perfect to cover a cigar box that I had sitting in a closet.  I also had some scrapbook paper that looked like old newsprint that I used to line the inside of the box.  I have never done this before and I am pleased by how it turned out.  I plan to put feet on the box, a knob, and hinges. It is going to be a gift for my son.

Outside Tree cigar box by BayMoonDesign

                                                     inside of Tree Cigar Box by BayMoonDesign

I was so pleased by how well it turned out that I made one for my son-in-law which also needs to have the hardware added.   I have plans to do one for my daughter also.  I really enjoyed working on them.

Thank you Carolyn, for the inspiration behind the necklace and tree box.  Please see what all of the participants were inspired to create.  Kind words are appreciated!

AJE Team

Kathy Lindemer  (here)

Friday, September 16, 2016

We're All Ears September Challenge Sept

[Photo credit :: Lee Aik Soon :: Singapore :: Unsplash]
The September We're All Ears Challenge is to pick one of the spectacular city images from their blog that captures your imagination and make a pair of earrings inspired by the image.  I live in a small-sized town. The tallest building we have might reach up to 3 stories. There are hardly any elevators in the town and no escalators.  We joke that children from here have to go out of the county to experience escalators. 

I love the glitter and large scale of city buildings. Obviously, there are no sky scrapers to be found here in Lewes, Delaware. I was fascinated by all of the photos that were offered as inspiration, but I was drawn to the photo of the city of Singapore.  The orange, grays, and blacks just jump right out. 

City inspired earrings by BayMoonDesign
I captured the colors in the photo with my choice of beads are wires for this pair of modern urban earrings.  These long black earrings have black and gray square Czech beads paired with small orange Chinese crystals, black Czech beads and tiny square metal beads.  I used square beads to mirror the square and rectangular lines in the photo and gunmetal ear ear wires for an industrial look. These earrings are available for purchase HERE.

How do you think I did capturing the spirit and colors of the photo?

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Trip to Savannah and the Midnight Garden of Good and Evil

Front cover art for the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. The book cover art copyright is believed to belong to the publisher, Random House, or the cover artist.--from Wikipedia
This summer, I had the pleasure of reading The Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. This nonfiction book is Berendt's first and was published in 1994. It became a New York Times Best-Seller for 216 weeks following its debut and remains the longest-standing New York Times Best-Seller. The book depicts a wide range of eccentric personalities in and around the city of Savannah, Georgia. The center of the story line is the killing of Danny Hansford, a local male prostitute by an important Savannah socialite, respected antiques dealer Jim Williams. This results in four murder trials of Williams, with the fourth ending in acquittal after the judge finally agreed to a change of venue to move the case away from the Savannah jury pool. The book describes Williams' version of the killing, which is that it was in "self-defense" and not murder, pre-meditated or otherwise. The death occurred in Williams' home, which was originally built by West Point graduate and US Army and CSA Colonel Hugh W. Mercer, grandfather of songwriter and Savannah native Johnny Mercer, and grandson of Hugh Mercer of Pennsylvania, who was a hero of the Battle of Trenton and adjutant to General George Washington of the Continental Army.

The book was made into a movie in 1997. It was based loosely on Berendt's story. Prior to reading the book, I had seen the movie many years ago. I remembered that I liked the movie, but not too much else.

My daughter lives in Atlanta and visits Savannah often. I had never been there, but I have wanted to go. The opportunity came shortly after a conversation with my daughter about this book. She was reading it for the first time and invited me to go with her to Savannah. I jumped at the chance and I began to read the book in preparation for my trip.

I became so engrossed in the book that I made it my mission to visit some of the places in the book.

Bird Gin Statue
I had to go see The famous Bird Gin statue, originally designed both as art and as a birdseed holder.   A Savannah photographer, Jack Leigh, was commissioned to take a photograph for the cover of the book, and the photo subsequently became quite famous, as did the statue. The statue was originally located at Bonaventure Cemetery, in Savannah, but was later moved to its present location in  Jepson Center for the Arts on West York Street, in Savannah.  It had to be moved to avoid the cemetery being disturbed by the number of visitors interested in seeing the statue.
Tree lined path in Bonaventure Cemetery
Bonaventure Cemetery was a must see on my list. The peaceful setting rests on a scenic bluff of the Wilmington River, east of Savannah. The site on a former plantation was purchased for a private cemetery in 1846 and became a public cemetery in 1907. This historic cemetery has been a world famous tourist destination for more than 150 years due to the old tree-lined roadways, the many notable persons interred, the unique cemetery sculpture and architecture, and the folklore associated with the site and the people.

Aiken Grave and Scene of Martini Drinking
A famous spot at the cemetery is the grave of author Conrad Aiken.  There is a scene in the book where 2 characters in the book sit on the bench over Conrad Aiken's grave and drink martinis.
author Conrad Aiken and wife

Wilson's house was built by songwriter and Savannah native Johnny Mercer and he and his family are mentioned throughout the book.  The Mercer family has a plot in Bonaventure. The Mercer family plot became another spot to visit.
Johnny Mercer's grave
The visit to this cemetery made me think about a statement in the book, “But I never think about dead people. Looking at these old graves makes me think how generation after generation of the same family are all gathered together. And that makes me think about how life goes on, but not about dying. I never think about dying.”  ― John BerendtMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story
The title alludes to the voodoo notion of "midnight", the period between the time for good magic (11 pm to midnight) and the time for evil magic (midnight to 1 am), and "the garden of good and evil", which refers to the cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina, where Dr. Buzzard, the husband of Minerva, the voodoo priestess who figures in the story, is buried. It is over his grave that Minerva performed the incantations to provide a more successful result in the retrial for murder of which Jim Williams is accused.

Grave of Little Gracie
There were a number of graves that made me wonder if some of the sights in the cemetery were related to voodoo. A example is the grave of Little Gracie who had all sorts of stones, toys, coins etc. by her grave.

Mercer House
No visit could be complete without a tour of Wilson's house, the Mercer House. The art work and furnishings in it can put the holdings of some small museums to shame.  Wilson had great taste and wealth to create an impressive collection. Wilson also saved many historic homes from ruin in his short life as well.
Olde Pink House Restaurant, Savannah Georgia
One such home that Wilson saved is now the Olde Pink House Restaurant.  No trip to Savannah can be complete without a visit and a meal there.   It is Savannah's only 18th century mansion.  It is famous for memorable dining experiences featuring seafood caught daily in local waters, prime aged beef and traditional southern fare.    

A fountain in Forsyth Park
There is a lot of green space in Savannah.  The city was developed with 4 original squares and as it grew more squares were added.  They are lovely spots to stop and enjoy the views.  There is also a large park called Forsyth Park. It occupies 30 acres in the historic district and it t is close to the Mercer House. These squares and the park are mentioned in the book. 

          Chartreuse green earrings by BayMoonDesign

 These green spaces served as an inspiration for a pair of earrings that I made after returning home.  The variety of greens inspired a charteuse green earrings are made with handmade Ming porcelain beads by artisan Scorched Earth. Sterling silver ear wires are used to compliment the gray in the chartreuse porcelain beads.  I love the rustic look of these handmade boho earrings.


Now, being a beader, I looked for some bead shops while there.  I found lots of jewelry, but not too many beads.  I did manage to locate an interesting shop called Folkorico.  It is an eclectic shop that is full of items from more than 30 different countries. There are artifacts, iconography, accent furniture and wonderful collections of folk, traditional and contemporary art which includes ceramics, pottery, blown glass, textiles and jewelry, and beads.  These are fair trade items which means that artisans are paid a fair living wage, have safe and healthy working conditions, engage in environmentally sustainable practices.  All the items in the shop are either purchased directly by the owners on buying trips or through Fair Trade and socially conscious importers.  “The shop is our way of helping and giving our customers an opportunity to help as well each time they make a purchase.”  I bought some interesting metal beads made from scrapes of metal found on the streets.  I intend to use some in my jewelry.

Fair trade metal beads made in South America

I highly recommend the Pulitzer Prize winning book and a trip to Savannah!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Art Jewelry Elements - Art Headpin Challenge

August's Art Jewelry Elements Challenge is a headpin challenge. This is an opportunity to use art headpins. What is an art headpin? It's a headpin that is handcrafted by an artisan, has been manipulated in a manner that is more than just a ball end, and has the potential to be the centerpiece of a creation rather than just playing a supporting roll.
Acorn Headpins by BayMoonDesign

I saw this as an opportunity to use some acorn headpins that I made in a design. I followed the directions in Beautiful Elements by Heather Powers to create some acorn polymer clay headpins. I made a number of these polymer clay acorn headpins. I mixed my own version of the acorn color. I didn't have the Spanish moss that Heather recommended but I had an emerald green color and yellowish green. I added bronze PearlEx that I had on hand for the caps of the acorn.

Wrapped the dark annealed steel wire 
When making the polymer clay into headpins I used dark annealed steel wire. I formed the wire into a circle and added some Czech crystal flowers to them.

They are suspended from handmade sterling silver ear wires that I created. These are striking chartreuse green earrings with a rustic woodland look to them. I decided to sell some of the headpins in my shop as well as the pair of acorn earrings.
I love acorns.  They are pretty works of art by Mother Nature and found on Oak trees.  When I go on hikes, I like to look for acorns and bring them home and sit them on my crafting table for inspiration.
Acorns are also a source of nutrition for wildlife and people. In the popular, television series The Walking Dead, they are used in a cookie recipe.  After all, while out hunting walkers they have the time and opportunity to scavenge acorns. Here is Carol’s official cookie recipe for a batch of Carol’s Beet and Acorn cookies:

-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup acorn flour
-2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup shortening
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/4 white sugar
-1/4 cup beets, pureed
-1/4 cup water chestnuts, pureed
-1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
-1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prep baking sheets with parchment.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, acorn flour, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the shortening, brown sugar, sugar and beets.
Add the pureed water chestnuts, pureed beets, melted chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until combined.
When the dough forms, roll into golf-ball sized balls of dough, press flat and place two-inches apart on the prepped cookie sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on your oven. Let cool on a wire rack.

Personally, I find some of the ingredients off putting, like the beets and water chestnuts. Would you give these cookies a try? I would rather make jewelry than cookies anyway.  Lot less calories and more fun!

I can't wait to see what everyone else used and created in this challenge. Please stop by and visit the following participants.  We love to hear your comments.


AJE Team Members: