Look no further than local arts and crafts shows, galleries and the websites of local artists.
Your community is home to an amazing number of artists and craftspeople. They create an astonishing array of items including jewelry, original paintings, woodwork, ceramics, glass, clothing and home décor. Each lovingly made by hand with many one-of-a-kind. Prices can range from "oh so affordable" to "sky's the limit."
My holiday booth - check Chic Happenings for this year's show schedule.
A benefit of buying from an artist, either in person or from their website, is learning something about them and how they create their items. You can include a note with your gift telling its story - who made it, how it was made, why you chose it, or where you found it. This makes even a small gift important. A handmade gift with a thoughtful note is a wonderful way to create a special memory.
If you buy early, here's a tip so you don't misplace a gift or forget who it's for. Attach a note to each gift listing who it's for and any information you want to share about it. Then, place the gift in a special holiday box - I use a plastic bin. When it's time to start wrapping, you'll know where all the gifts are. Before I started doing this, some gifts were so well hidden I didn't find them till long after the holidays!
As you know, I really love making jewelry. I get even more pleasure helping someone pick just the right piece to give a friend or family member. The icing on the cake for me is hearing from the customer how much their gift was appreciated. If you can, let the artist know how much their piece was enjoyed. You'll make the artist's day!
This year look locally for unique and interesting items for those on your list and yourself. You'll contribute to a happy holiday for the artists and keep the money in your community. Make handcrafted gifts part of your holiday tradition.
Fall is my favorite time of year. I love its rich, warm colors - rust, ocher, orange, red and brown. These colors influence the stones and metals I choose as I create jewelry. Here are just a few of my current favorites.
Chocolate Jasper - deep browns with just a hint of ocher make this a very versatile stone. It's perfect for every chocoholic - no calories!
For sterling silver, copper, brass, bronze or gold, swish your jewelry in Jewelry Cleaner, let it sit a bit, rinse with warm water, and dry with a soft cloth. For really tarnished pieces, wet the toothbrush, pick up a bit of Tarnish Remover, scrub gently, rinse with warm water, dry with a soft cloth, and your metals will gleam. I use Renaissance Wax on my metal jewelry. It provides a barrier between the metal and your skin as well as retarding oxidation (a.k.a. tarnish). Like any coating, it will eventually wear off. You can use paste wax to provide similar results each time you clean and polish your metal jewelry.
Finally, don't use toothpaste to clean your jewelry. It contains abrasives and may leave scratches.
May your jewelry always shine!
Shop my collections of shiny, sparkly jewelry.
Jasper is colored by oxides of iron and known for its deep earthy tones of red, yellow, brown and green. It also sometimes appears in shades of blue or purple. Jasper may also display bands of color, pictures, or small circular patterns. The colors and patterns are the result of the minerals present in the stone. Jaspers are often named after their patterns or for the places in which they're mined. Here a few of my favorites.
Warm summer days and nights call for light and bright jewelry; pieces that don't weigh you down and colors that reflect summer's beautiful flowers and birds. Jazz up neutral outfits with sunny yellows, radiant reds, cool blues and greens, and outrageous oranges. Offset brightly colored clothes with black, white and metallics.
Jewelry is a great way to make any outfit special. You can experiment with bold colors and unusual designs without a large investment. Use jewelry to lighten and brighten your summer wardrobe.
I've updated my collections to include jewelry in bright colors, classic neutrals and traditional metals, just right for summer wear. Pieces from each of the collections are available on my website, at the Prescott Art Market in the Prescott Gateway Mall, and at select shows.
I am captivated by wire. I love working with it to create one-of-a-kind jewelry. I have three collections - Paddles, Bubbles, and Scribbles - which celebrate wire in all its forms.
The thickness or gauge of the wire determines the look of the finished jewelry - delicate and lacy or heavy and substantial. The type of wire also contributes to the look. Sterling silver, copper and bronze wire are classic choices. However, using color-coated (enameled) copper wire can result in modern, fanciful or unconventional looks.
Pieces from all the collections are on my website and at the Prescott Art Market in the Prescott Gateway Mall.
The diamond is April's gemstone and perhaps the most recognized gem in the world. Diamonds were first mined in India over 3,000 years ago. And while the diamond mines in India have mostly played out, India cuts and polishes over 90% of all diamonds. Today, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Russia are the leading diamond producers.
The popularity of diamonds escalated in the 19th century as a result of an increase in supply, improvements in cutting and polishing techniques, growth in world economy, and innovative advertising campaigns. The most successful and well-known of the advertising campaigns is DeBeers' A Diamond Is Forever, first launched in 1947. This campaign popularized the use of diamonds in engagement rings and fostered a demand for diamonds.
Say "March" and immediately most people think St. Patrick's Day, spring or green. I think of these stunning green and spring-like gemstones.
Add a little spring to your wardrobe with these and other beautiful green gemstones.
Rather than focusing on February's most famous holiday - Valentine's Day - I'm pondering some lesser-known February holidays.
Lynn's musings about all facets of jewelry.