The Aristocrat

Sometimes I don’t have exactly the right label for a box, so I make one from various bits of scrap. Here is one I made from a copy of a page from an old costume book.





Peyote Stitch Bags

Many years ago, back in the Jurassic period when I had better eyesight, I used to make these eyeball-killing tiny jewelry-bags. I would graph out the designs on paper first, and then sew row upon row made of individual beads to construct the tiny bag, and then embellish with tons o’ beads and bling decadence.

Autumn1 Autumn2 Autumn3 BeautifulPrecious1 BeautifulPrecious2 BeautifulPrecious3 FirstBag1 FirstBag2 FirstBag3 FirstBag4 Versailles1 Versailles2 Versailles3

Dump Pinterest, save elephants

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 9.33.32 PM

Dump Pinterest, save elephants. That’s the terrible choice I found myself tasked with making.

Here’s something to know about me. I love elephants. I have spent the last couple of years learning about their plight. How they are being poached into near extinction in some places for their ivory so that carving factories in China and elsewhere can make bracelets, objet d’art, and other bric-a-brac that NO ONE on earth could possibly need in the Plastic Age we live in. It’s grotesque and goes against everything I hold and believe in principle. Poaching decimates families, offspring are orphaned (if the poachers allow them to live at all). Many organizations – many, many people – from many countries work tirelessly to end this barbaric practice. Rangers, dedicated heroes who put themselves in the line of fire, have given their LIVES trying to save the elephant. Gunned down in the savannahs, parks and preserves alongside the elephants. In one recent and particularly heinous case, poachers poisoned a water hole with cyanide. Along with 90+ elephants, hundreds of other animals also died. Some estimates put the amount of animals stricken in this case at over 300. Terrorist groups use poaching to fund their operations, which is why the Clinton Global Initiative and other organizations are now becoming actively involved to help stop poaching. Boko Haram, the group most recently known for kidnapping over 200 school girls in Nigeria regularly uses poaching as a funding source.

Among the Internet stores and retailers who clearly don’t “get it”, is Rakuten. Based out of Tokyo, the company’s revenues totaled $4.6 billion with operating profits of about $244 million in 2012. Rakuten’s online Japanese retail outlet has 28,000 entries for ivory items for sale. Conservation groups say that Rakuten is the largest online retailer of elephant ivory. If you consider that over 22,000 elephants were killed in 2012 alone, you begin to see that the species clearly cannot survive indefinitely at these rates. All for a bracelet or a bauble and to fund terrorists. Rakuten might as well give the terrorist poachers loaded weapons.

Yes, I do love elephants. But I also love Pinterest. I was an early user of the site, many years ago when it was by invitation only. I post things that inspire me as an artist as well as use it to promote my own art. I love that it’s dynamic, and I have loved watching its growth over the years. But I cannot continue to support Pinterest after I learned that they took $100M investment from a company that sells elephant tusk ivory and only recently stopped selling whale meat (good God YUCK). Aside from the fact that this investment also heralds an expansion into a retail-driven Pinterest experience, which really goes against my grain, the elephant thing isn’t going to work for me.

All this is a preamble to say that the good folks at WordPress have met my needs and created a theme that allows me to make my own pinboard for my own creative ideas. It will take me a long time, but I hope to get most, if not all, of my pins transported here. It’s a solo experience, being that it is just populated with my “pins”, but I’d love to share my aesthetic with you.

If the whole Pinterest-Rakuten thing bothers you too, there are options out there. Indulgy is also very useful, if you are a heavy Google user. There are others. Just do a websearch on “Pinterest alternatives”. No, none are as prolific, ubiquitous, or as beautiful as Pinterest. But you do have options.

So, here we go… click the little elephant bug below and I’ll see you over there.

Elephant bug square

Rosado Oscuro – minaudiere

RosadoOscuro RosadoOscuro_Inside


A certain young niece of mine turned 15 on March 30th. I thought the occasion deserved a purse. I call this one “Coco” and I gave it to her as a gift.






Jena and her pink flourish


CraigsList Night Stand – Cigar label renovation

Here you can see the “Before”. Nothing special. The paint was a high gloss black, inexpertly applied. It was pretty dinged up and dirty, in some places past the veneer level. I think we paid $20. The piece itself might have been considered quality but affordable furniture back in its day. Sadly, the paint job ruined any value it may have had on its own, and the wood is nothing special. A perfect piece to re-do and put in the guest bedroom.


Painted a satin off-white and applied some subtle paper as a background. Already, it looks better!


And then the fun part!

L’ Invitation

Musical: La Vie en Rose

(No, the above YouTube link is not me.)

L'Invitation - Musical cigar box purse by ChickieLou L'Invitation - Musical cigar box purse by ChickieLou L'Invitation - Musical cigar box purse by ChickieLou L'Invitation - Musical cigar box purse by ChickieLou L'Invitation - Musical cigar box purse by ChickieLou

Cigar Box Purses

untitled-112-Edit untitled-115-Edit

Cigar Box Decoupage


Cedar cigar box – I am told this is called a “coffin style” box for a single cigar.


Base layer of a distressed looking gingham fabric (printed scrapbook paper)


Glamour shots of the final box.

Unfortunately, I did not get “before” shots of the blue one. I should know better. Trust me when I say this was a cigar box.

IMG_1927 IMG_1923 Tryptich_cigarBlue

Hawthorne Bridge, Portland, Oregon

Hawthorne Bridge, Portland, Oregon

Photo for earring design.
Earrings made:

Mom’s Earrings

My Mother-in-Law got her ears pierced. I won’t say how old she is, but let’s just say it is quite the feat to get her ears pierced at this time in her life, and I sure got a kick out of it. Of course, I shipped her some earrings for Mother’s Day.

These are small danglies, really not much bigger than an inch long. For a change, I did not do mirror images. Sometimes, the colors and shape are abstract enough to get away with it. I also swapped out the post settings for fish hook settings so they were easy to get on and off. I hope she loves them.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Earrings for Betty. Photo is a snippet of water droplets on maple leaf. Czech glass beading, sterling silver


Detail of beading.

Photo Slideshow

I thought I would add a slideshow of some images that I plan on making photo jewelry from in the future. As you can see, there is no shortage of color here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enid Collins Purse Collection


The wee collection grows. The “Peacock Bag” is not actually an EC bag, but a collectible kit bag, inspired by EC bags back in the day. My sister had the identical purse. She did all the embellishing, following the instructions to the letter. Every time she and I got into a fight, I would slyly pick one or two of the stones off and throw them out until the purse was destroyed. I could kick myself now for it.

Anyway, about 8 years ago, I was walking around in Petaluma, California where I lived for a time, and there in an antique store was the bag you see here. In all it’s glory, with every stone intact. I bought it along with a genuine Enid Collins bag. I kept the peacock knock off and gave the EC bag to my sister, by way of an apology for being a horrible kid sister.

By the way, I composed and published this post using WordPress for the iPhone. I hope it helps me to be a better and more spontaneous blogger. We will see.