Fresh Beginnings: Springtime and Jewelry

Silver Maple Helicopter NecklaceHello! I’m happy to be making a post here after five months of blog hibernation.

With the official beginning of spring last week, I made a big decision. It is something I could not have done alone (hugs and thank you to my family), but one that feels right: I will now be working on Blue Dot full time, at least for the moment. With more time (and springtime!) ahead, I’m excited to see what I can accomplish.

Supporting myself with jewelry is a milestone I dreamed of reaching, but it was previously difficult to see just when those stars might align. I’m happy and grateful. To each purchaser of my work, and to those who choose to buy the work of any independent artist, I want to say, your choices make a difference! Thank you.

Here are some of the projects I’ve been working on this winter.

This first item was quite special, a custom order of four bronze mandolin bolo ties, the smallest to be a birthday gift for a five year old, with a matching tie for his father, grandfather and great grandfather:

Mandolin Bolo Tie in Silver

Mandolin Bolo Tie in Silver, Modeled

A three dimensional antler necklace:

Silver Antler Necklace, Antiqued

Silver Antler Necklace, Antiqued

A ruby ring, made with a delicate leaf I found in Portland, OR:

Silver Berry Ring, With Ruby

Silver Berry Ring with Ruby

A sputnik urchin necklace, which re-inspired my deep respect for the intricacies of sea life:

Silver Sputnik Urchin Necklace

This little face, made in the likeness of a rabbit named Poe:

Silver Rabbit Necklace

And just recently, this fun commission from my sister for a child she cares for, a three year old girl who loves pink and princesses. That’s a pink sapphire in the center:

Silver Crown Necklace

 

Also, Lee Havlicek on Handful of Salt magazine wrote this thorough and extremely kind profile of Blue Dot Jewelry that tells a bit about how I work and what Blue Dot is about.

Happy spring wishes to you!

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Anniversary Escape to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls by Blue Dot Jewelry

My desire to see Niagara Falls came on rather suddenly. For most of my life, I hadn’t given this natural beauty more than a passing thought. Then one day we talked about it, and I decided I really did want to experience the falls in person.

So for our anniversary we road tripped up to the border, on into Ontario, Canada, and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Like any grand spectacle, there is no substitute for standing there next to Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls. It’s loud and churning and endless.

Everyone was a little wet from the mist but charged enough by some unseen powers that our loose hairs were standing on end, like they’d been rubbed by a balloon. We read that these are the negative ions that are said to alleviate stress and depression. It worked for us… go see for yourself! ;)

It was a broody day and the color of the sky and water changed throughout.

Niagara Falls by Blue Dot Jewelry

This goofball did this. I’m happy to report that we both survived the day. I may worry too much.

Niagara Falls by Blue Dot Jewelry

This was one of my favorite vantage points, seeing the water picking up momentum.

Niagara Falls by Blue Dot Jewelry

After the falls we visited Niagara’s Botanical Gardens. These beds pictured are full of edibles like thyme, mint and lavender. A School of Horticulture building is off to the left, along with beds of kale, artichoke, cabbage and brussels sprouts. I looked for potential jewelry bits and pieces but the end of the growing season is arriving and things were pretty ragged up close. As a garden though, we were so impressed with the care and variety within.

Niagara Falls by Blue Dot Jewelry

On the grounds of the garden is a beautiful Butterfly Conservatory. We settled on this as part of our weekend after reading reviews, and it actually was so fun. There are 45 species of butterflies, clearly well cared for, in a pleasantly landscaped tropical environment with a pond and a waterfall. I chased them with my camera (gracefully and delicately) and managed a few close-ups.

Niagara Falls by Blue Dot Jewelry

Niagara Falls by Blue Dot Jewelry

And I nearly forgot to mention our friend. I’m not sure why I was so excited that this guy wanted to stay and hang out, but I insisted on photos. Must have been the ions.

Niagara Falls by Blue Dot Jewelry

Happy anniversary to my sweet, supportive, kind and generous honey!

Niagara Falls by Blue Dot Jewelry

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A Feature on The Little Koo Blog

Thank you so much to the lovely Rachel at The Little Koo Blog for featuring my Etsy shop today. This is part of her Monday series profiling shops and I was thrilled to be asked by her to participate!

I also want to wish her well because she is due with twins any day now. Sending many happy thoughts, Rachel!

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To read the Q&A, and to learn about other great shops, visit The Little Koo Blog.

Have a great week!

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Custom Orders are the Spice of Life

ab cufflinks and tie clip

That is a bit of an overstatement, truthfully. But I have been quite enjoying the new and varied projects coming across my desk lately.

Custom projects often come with a story, too, and I find that knowing them — where a piece is going, for which ceremony or celebration it will be gifted — adds a little more sentiment and a different kind of meaning to my work.

Some of my recent custom projects have included “firsts” — such as my first tie bar. This set above, with matching cufflinks, will be a wedding gift from a sister to her twin to her brother, who will be married this month.

Below is a tiny pinwheel necklace with a little handle, to be a birthday gift for a 12 year old.

Pinwheel Necklace by Blue Dot Jewelry

A set of single helicopter pendants for the wife and mother of a helicopter pilot. (This design will also now be a permanent item in the shop.)

Single Helicopter Necklace by Blue Dot Jewelry

And cufflinks, which were a gift for a good friend on his 80th birthday.

Custom Cufflinks by Blue Dot Jewelry

If you ever have custom jewelry ideas, I’m happy to hear from you, at bluedotjewelry@gmail.com.

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Hello Fall. Silver Looks Good on You.

Hello! So many things are new at Blue Dot after a summer of making, planning and growing. (See above: making!) I thought I’d stop for a moment to review and share all the changes.

It’s been a big six months. In that time I’ve partnered with stores in two new states — all of them lovely independent boutiques run by creative, interesting and hard working people. One of these states is my native Oregon — an especially proud development because, well, I love Oregon. Each shop is quite different from the others and working with them has been a learning experience and a joy.

Blue Dot is now also in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s gift store, just up the street from us. That was a wonderful full-circle moment because so many of my designs had their start in the garden. Here are a few of those pieces.

Blue Dot at Brooklyn Botanic Garden gift shop.

Blue Dot at Brooklyn Botanic Garden gift shop.

Currently I am gearing up for the Greenport Maritime Festival this weekend. It’s a three-day outdoor party, so I have an eye on the weather predictions, but I think we’ll be warm and dry enough to enjoy seaside treats (scallops for me please!), North Fork vino, live music and the work by all the arts and crafters who will be there. For some reason, too, I have this idea that sea-themed events are implicitly happy, and knowing that is what’s at the end of this week of prep is making me whistle as I work. And knowing that 40,000 visitors attended this event last year is pumping me up. If you’ll be there, look for the Blue Dot table and say hello!

I’m also looking forward to finally visiting a wonderful store I’ve been working with in Greenport called The White Weathered Barn. The proprietor and her husband make a significant amount of their store’s inventory — that’s kind of a dream for me. And they are rocking it. Here is some of my sea-themed silver in their shop.

Blue Dot at The White Weathered Barn

Blue Dot at The White Weathered Barn

I’m also working with a new online shop that I would like to point you to. Their website is beautiful and their company culture seems really nice. Maybe it’s that famous Canadian love? Meet Fairgoods. They did such a nice write up about Blue Dot Jewelry. It also features my face as big as I’ve ever seen it online. Hello!

My face on Fairgoods.

My face on Fairgoods.

I also love being a part of the very southern-and-loving-it Bourbon & Boots. Here are a few of my pieces, as photographed by their talented selves.

Blue Dot at Bourbon & Boots

Blue Dot at Bourbon & Boots

And for good measure, a bunch of post earrings out in La Crosse, Wisconsin, with the shop owner’s sweet note on her Facebook page.

"A sampling of her earrings. I love them all....I may have to buy all of them!"

“A sampling of her earrings. I love them all….I may have to buy all of them!”

I’m so grateful for all of these opportunities. We know that positivity is contagious, and I think in many ways the same goes for the creativity. The people I’ve been meeting are making this jewelry adventure exponentially more rewarding.

This coming Sunday will find me on Main Street in Greenport, so I’ll say now, happy fall, officially, almost! Time for blankets, tea and sweaters.

Excuse me while I go warm up by the heat of my kiln :)

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Crab Claw Necklace: Gifting with Purpose

I’d like to share with you a thoughtful post from The Righteous Knife on giving gifts from the heart, and remembering that it is, ultimately and certainly, the thought that counts.

I’m feeling lucky that the author, Alicia, took a fancy to my crab claw necklace, which she spotted at The White Weathered Barn on the North Fork and mentioned in her post.

We will all need good gift ideas sooner or later, including on a budget. Read Alicia’s post here!

Blue Dot Jewelry’s Crab Claw Necklace, with other gifts for sale in the North Fork area. I have my eye on those custom spreaders.

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A Weekend Away in Scituate

A WEEKEND IN SCITUATE

One thing I love about using my phone as a camera is that my photos are at my fingertips when I’m in the mood to reminisce. I can quickly escape from the subway back to the middle of our last getaway. With the weather suddenly a good bit cooler, I’m already looking back fondly on our well-enjoyed summer.

These are some moments from our melty-hot, stormy and ultimately restful July weekend in the pretty seaside town of Scituate, MA. As with most good weekends, it was spent with friends, and ended with a new jewelry design :)A WEEKEND IN SCITUATE

A WEEKEND IN SCITUATE

A WEEKEND IN SCITUATE

Before the storm, only a few brave souls were out on the beach. In the distance is the town’s very tall wind turbine.

This is a water tower — can you believe it? You can read here about how a millionaire’s wife asked her husband to “do something about” the view from their estate of a 276,000-gallon water tower, and so in 1902, he revealed its transformation into possibly the prettiest water tower in the world. A WEEKEND IN SCITUATE
A WEEKEND IN SCITUATEThis is The Quarter Deck, a shop I remembered fondly since my last visit (in my teens! oy). Its bright windows are full of baskets of starfish, sand dollars and gemstones, so fun to comb through. It’s a little smaller than I remembered, but that isn’t that how memory sometimes works…

A WEEKEND IN SCITUATE

We had a really nice time. We were treated to burgers at the deliciously cheesy Wahlburgers (which has gluten free buns, which will make my day any day) and spent a lot of time catching up with our friends.

Back at home, these are the tiny post earrings I made from my Quarter Deck purchases… fifteen tiny starfish for one dollar, yes please!

A WEEKEND IN SCITUATE

A WEEKEND IN SCITUATE

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Silver Bobcat Claw Pendant

Silver bobcat claw pendant

Silver bobcat claw pendant.

Although I’m careful and consistent about my work, sometimes, because I’m essentially working in clay, the outcome of a new piece is subtly unpredictable. It’s not until I pull it from the kiln, out of glowing orange 1600 degrees, and after I quench and polish it, that I know if I love it enough to make more.

Then there are pieces that I hope will be as striking as I think they can be. Upon pulling these from the steel shot tumbler — often the final step — I can still be thrilled to the core by achieving my creative mission.

This bobcat claw gave me the biggest thrill of all the new designs I created this weekend, following our trip to Portland and my small specimen haul from Paxton Gate. It’s made from the real thing.

Silver bobcat claw pendant coming soon to the Blue Dot Jewelry shop!

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A Summer Visit to Portland

Our week away in Portland has come with the best weather we could have hoped for. Cool mornings give way to 82 degree afternoons, and the plants are happy as always!

We started by stocking up on goodies and groceries at Saturday Market, which seems to have doubled in size since I last was there. It’s full of a delicious assortment of things.

Portland Saturday MarketWhile seeing jazz in the Washington Park Amphitheater we wandered up through the rose garden, a bit stunned to remember that it’s home to 550 different species of the flower. (Some are just numbered but most have entertaining names — Girls Night Out, anyone?)

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose GardenPortland Rose GardenIts full name is the International Test Rose Garden, and it was a great idea implemented in 1917, making it the oldest continuously operated public rose test garden in the US.

I liked this answer to “the most fragrant rose.”

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Our climb back to the car turned into more of an adventure than we’d anticipated, but who can be upset by trees and more trees?20130805-233619.jpgMy favorite shopping trip has been to Paxton Gate – “Treasures and Oddities inspired by the Garden and the Natural sciences.” They have all manner of bones, fossils and taxidermy for sale — not for the squeamish, but a fascinating museum-like place. I found exciting tidbits to use in making jewelry, “coming soon” to the line.

Among the lots of taxidermy is this tiny black pig. I do love a little pig.

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This Bismuth had us all impressed with its size and color. Did you know it is the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol?

Bismuth at Paxton Gate

A happy week to you!Bird in the firs.

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Introducing the Minis: Necklace Charms

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These are little necklace charms. I plan to grow this line as far as makes good sense. I love each charm’s size, and feel, and personality. One or two can be added per chain.

What else would you like to see here? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Additionally I want to thank all of you who voted for my rings in the UncommonGoods design challenge. I did not win, although I was one of the top five final contenders who moved on to the judges round. It was a great experience. My sincere appreciation goes out to all of you who gave your time and support!

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