A Glimpse at Early Beginnings

One of my biggest supporters and motivators is my Mom. She’s been supporting all my creative endeavors for years, and this project is no exception. My Mom has a great eye, and she’s a savvy shopper. Since I started up-cycling costume jewelry, she’s been on the hunt for cool pieces. At first she would call and describe each piece on the phone, until eventually I said “Mom, if the beads are something you would want to wear, buy it. Only buy what you would want to wear.”

The latest of my Mom’s finds were housed in a brightly colored shoebox. I took the beads home, and later found tucked inside a few bracelets from my early days of jewelry making. I started beading during summer vacations as a creative way to pass the time – we didn’t have cable or internet then.

One of my first bracelets, I didn't quiet have the techniques mastered yet.

One of my first bracelets, I didn’t quiet have the techniques mastered yet.

One of the bracelets was from when I first started beading. I made a bracelet using all my favorite stones from “the gem store”. Hematite is the centerpiece of this bracelet; it remains one of my favorite stones today, and in this crazy mix of colors that one stands out as the favorite bead. I had just learned how to crimp the wire to secure the clasp – which explains the large gap between the clasp and the beads.

An unfinished bracelet, a mix of blue beads.

An unfinished bracelet, a mix of blue beads.

Another bracelet using elastic string instead of nylon-coated wire doesn’t have quite the gap, however as a lovely finishing touch the elastic strings were never clipped.

Over time I would become more comfortable with the techniques and come to have a better grasp of colors and patterns. I branched out and tried memory wire and used all kinds of beads.

A more polished bracelet, grasping colors, patterns, unity, and a finished piece.

A more polished bracelet, grasping colors, patterns, unity, and a finished piece.

One of my first experiments using memory wire.

One of my first experiments using memory wire.

Jewelry making remains one of my favorite hobbies, because it allows me to continuously reinvent myself. Coming across these old pieces reminds me of how far I’ve come. No one is perfect when they try something new for the first time, but over time, with practice and patience, we improve. I still have more to learn, but the more I create the more I develop my skills. That’s what makes this hobby so much fun!

Nautical Redesign

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. But if it is broken, why not make it better? This is the basic mantra for up-cycling materials that have seen livelier days.

Necklace and Bracelet made from repurposed vintage beads

Necklace and Bracelet made from repurposed vintage beads

My Grandma is a stylish woman. As a child, I liked to dress up in her costume jewelry. She set aside an old jewelry box of treasures for my cousins and I to play with. She never tossed any jewelry away, even after the strands broke or the clasp came apart. Eventually, a two-gallon bag of broken costume jewelry came my way. Some of the pieces were beyond repair, while time had surpassed the others in style. Grandma gave them to me to recreate, repair, and restore.

The inspiration for this Nautical necklace and bracelet set stems from both my grandparents. The beads are from two of my Grandma’s necklaces, and remind me of summertime when she would wear these with her red, white, and blue outfits. The water is also very near to my family, since my Grandpa is a Navy Veteran.

The blue beads are bold and stand out from the white in a daring way, as if crying out to be noticed. The gold spacer beads on the other hand have the opposite effect and offer a more neutral balance.

The gold spacers give the blue and white a touch of elegance.

The gold spacers give the blue and white a touch of elegance.

A mixture of beads from a few different pieces of costume jewelry.

A mixture of beads from a few different pieces of costume jewelry.

Working with my Grandma’s beads gives me more of an appreciation for the craftsmanship and what people look for in their jewelry. Both my grandmothers want easy-to-wear jewelry. That’s why, though the necklace has a clasp, the bracelet is actually elastic and slides easily onto the wrist.

The result is a set that revitalizes two broken necklaces into fresh new piece ready to take on the world.