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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Custom Necklace - 4H Memories

4H Leadership
Leading by Example
The caring support of adult volunteers and mentors inspires young people in 4-H to work collaboratively, take the lead on their own projects and set and achieve goals with confidence. 4-H’ers chart their own course, explore important issues and define their place in the world. 4-H’ers stand up for themselves and their communities.
These pivotal experiences build a foundation of leadership and skills for success in their future careers.

Last Fall, one of my customers commissioned me to do a vintage redesign necklace for her Mom as a surprise Christmas gift.  Cassie's Mom, just so happened to be her 4H leader for years when she was a young girl.  Cassie knew that she wanted it to be a memory necklace of this special time in this Mother/Daughter duo's life, and thus she sent me two 4H pins.  She asked that I use the two pins which I used in this necklace, and to design one of them into the focal.  She asked that I use one of my unique found elements as the focal with the pin and use antiqued gold tones.

Details shot of the focal with one of the 4H pins.

Not likely to happen with this heavier focal, but Mimi-Toria's Designs, has a reputation to uphold, that being cutting edge with designs, each one created is one-of-a-kind, details, details, details, and backs of focals are often created two sided in case the piece flips.  Thus, keeping an ugly backside of a piece being seen.  This necklace was no exception and I chose to use this filigree element with the Paris Eiffel Tower for its coloring which worked with this design.
Some of the details here the second 4H pin being used here as the connector between the focal and the chain portion of the necklace.  The ribbon is silk in a two tone shade that compliments the colors used in this necklace.  Th 4H were a rusty brown hue, so I chose to use ivory faux glass vintage pearls and rust toned freshwater pearls for the beads and antiqued gold tone chain sections.

I used a mix of 22g and 24g wire, thus wire-wrapping the 24 g sections and using rosary style loops for the 22g wire sections.

A fun mix of elements create the dangle portion of the necklace flowing freely from the focal portion at the bottom.

I also used some baroque brown toned faux glass vintage pearls in the chain section of the necklace to add another dimension and style as well as color into the mix.

I hand created a clasp for this necklace, as well as stamped a Mimi-Tori's Designs i.d. tag to attach to the piece.  I also wire wrapped a fun little stack of beads and vintage rhinestone roundel to the clasp section of the necklace.

I thought this was such a sweet necklace idea that Cassie came up with to give to her Mom for  Christmas 2010.  Again, I just came upon this file folder on my computer recently while doing some organizing and thought it might be fun to share.

Interesting facts about 4H:

Research shows those children involved in 4H are:

Nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school
Nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college
41 percent less likely to engage in risky behaviors
25 percent more likely to positively contribute to their families and communities.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Story of a Memory Necklace... created by Gretchen

~Here's the Story~

A Mother,
with 2 beloved children...  
A boy, and a girl. 
 Both born in November. 
 The Mother an August birthday.
A tragic accident...

“Be joyful always,
pray continually,
give thanks in 
For this is God’s will
for you in Christ Jesus”

1 Thess 5:16-17

~This Bible verse is one of my favorites and seemed appropriate for this blog post today. ~

It's not easy to be thankful always...but we are called to do so.  I would think as the daughter of this heartbreaking story, the loss of one's Mom in a tragic car accident would be a difficult thing to be thankful for, but we are called to be "thankful in everything".  Wow! He is in control and knows the future of each one of our lives.

This post is about something I'm asked to do more and more in my jewelry design business.  It is a privilege for sure.  However, it's always a huge undertaking.  It's always tough when as a designer you are given treasured pieces of a loved one that has passed on.  To have the vision and to try to create something that the recipient will love and also captures the essence of their deceased loved one is always scary for me. 

You truly don't get paid as much as one would, if you just spent the same time designing jewelry you could create to sell vs. custom creating.  However, to me it isn't always about the almighty money making $ that I do this for, but rather the love I have of designing jewelry, and the reward I obtain while ministering to my customers that brings me rewards through joy.  This is something I find myself doing more and more.  

I believe I have been called by God to use my jewelry design business to minister to my customers on a regular basis.  Whether it be through my designs such as my "Faith/religious jewelry, custom memory jewelry, or designs I create that speak to my customers and minister to their spirit".  This is and has been an unexpected and added gift to me as a jewelry designer.   My hearts desire and goal is to be used by Him in all I do, all I say, all I create, and for Him to ultimately be glorified through it all.

Back to my story...

I'm struggling with blogger, so will post at the bottom of the photos the rest of this story.  Sorry about this.

Last Fall, I was brought a stash of elements that had been owned by a customers deceased mother-in-law.  These precious bits and baubles were now what my customers sister-in-law had left to remember
her beloved Mother by.  You see, this Mom was tragically killed in a car accident, when her daughter, Lori was young.  I was asked by my customer, to create a necklace from these items to be given as a Christmas gift 2010 to her sister-in-law.  It took me several months to look at, think about and than create these pieces with the items I received.  Of course, I also added into the mix my own bits and pieces as I deemed appropriate.
The Mother had a charm bracelet with her daughters name engraved on a Sterling Silver girl silouette, bits of chain, a Sterling Silver cross charm, a Swedish style Sterling Silver filigree pin, etc., as well as a few faux white pearls.  I added the wire and vintage AB Swarovski crystals for some sparkle.
The Mom also had these two tiny gold silouette boy/girl charms, the two November birthstone shoe charms that represented her kids birthdays and the green heart peridot charm representing her month of birth.  I purposely created these pieces in the same area on the necklace to represent the family structure of this Mom.
I added the Mother of Pearl floral button and vintage beads from my stash.

This shot shows the Mothers watch, which was worn in the accident and you can tell it has a damaged crystal, and basically stopped working most like at the time of impact. :(  Time stands still, and two young children had their lives irrevocably changed.  This watch element was requested to be included into the necklace and what a great idea Lori, the daughter had with the inclusion of this time piece.
Note the scratches and damage to the watch crystal.  This necklace surely tells a story of love, as well as a tragic loss of life.
The goal was to create with as many elements as possible of the Mom's and I actually was able to make five different necklaces that could be layered with one another and/or worn separate.  The addition of this necklace being an adjustable style necklace added to its length being short or longer.
Although this close-up of the inside necklace on the photo below is simpler, it is still unique with the use of all of the Mom's jewelry to create it.
This shows two of the necklaces layered together.  I apologize for the poor quality of photos, as these were all taken in the middle of December 2010, on a cloudy day, inside my Minnesota home just before mailing them off to be given as a gift last Christmas.

I just came across these photos and had always meant to do a blog post with them, but didn't realize my photo quality were so poor until now.  Still wanted to share this inspirational memory piece with my readership.

Enjoy your Mom's while you have them.  Life is uncertain, and we should all live our lives like it could be the last, and love our family and those around us as if we may never again see them.  Live with no regrets...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Free to Be Me...

Hello my friends...
I hope this finds you all well and happy.
Yesterday was an interesting day for me,
to say the least.

It started out all warm and cozy here in Minnesota
and we had our first truly warm day
for like 8 months, which then
 ended in massive storms with tornados and hail,
thus chasing our family into the basement.

Photos: Richard Burns
via ~  http://www.allaboutyou.com/

Here's what else came my way.

Many of you may know 
that I've worked an office job
in addition to my jewelry design for 4+ years now.
It was always a juggling act...
further complicated by the fact that
my busy time at the office
which demanded me to work more hours,
correlated to my busiest show times for my 
jewelry which was the Fall each year.

You see my position was created 4 1/2 years ago,
and was considered a permanent part-time position.
So yesterday, I finally heard the news...
after not being called into work for 9 weeks,
I finally contacted my office to see what was up?

Turns out my job was being eliminated.
 Restructuring that has taken place the last two years,
and a lack of large projects and extra work 
that they had needed help with
in the past, was no longer happening.

A relief in many ways...
as my jewelry design business 
consumes my life, 
and I feel like I never have enough time
as it is to get everything 
that I need to do done.

Do you remember my word for 2011?

So, with a tinge of sadness
closing one chapter of my life,
it is with excitement that I am 
now able to do what I feel I've
always been called to do...
and that is to b
an "Artist" full time.

Although this is a bit scary and a change for me,
it really isn't all that new,
but rather I now have a new mindset.
I now accept that I am an Artist
and have confidence
that God is directing my journey.

However, it still feels weird to say this,
but I do at times have self doubts 
brought on by the enemy
often by using those people closest to me, 
 to doubt my worthiness of this label.

~ Redesign ~
It appears the Lord is redesigning my life...
little did I know when I chose this word late in 2010 for 
2011, that this would be part of that redesigning.

So, I will set my eyes on Him,
 the future,
taking one day at a time,
and see where God 
directs my future path,
 my Artisan journey,
and seek my comfort
 and self worth from Him alone.

People may mock me along the way,
for being an Artist,
but I will choose to keep my sight on Him,
as well as what He's doing in my life
and where He chooses to lead me.

You my trusted and loyal friends
may have to occasionally redirect my eyes
to Him and keep me grounded.
I ask you to do that...
and to hold me accountable.

I am with a thankful heart.
I should now be able to
create more freely.
No more concern as to when I have to work,
my schedule is totally mine,
and no further wondering as to when my 
"pesky day job" 
 will be calling me into the office
away from what I  love to do...

I am one of those people that 
truly need to have
a creative outlet in my life,
 or I'm afraid I'd wither up and die.
So excited to be free to be me.

So that's what is happening
in my little corner of the world.
What's new with you?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jewelry For Sale on Blog

The time has come...

to finally list some items on the blog 
which are for sale.
For those of you followers
that have been asking for me to do so,
and/or are from out of state, 
and not able to attend my shows.

You may go directly to the 
 at the top of this page, 
or click here to go to 
this page of items for sale.

Thanks for taking a peek.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Gift...for Mother's Day

 This piece was a labor of love.  I had 5-6 hours of time in its creation.  Jon's parents are in the focal, layered and layered beneath resin.  A multiple timed process of pouring, waiting hours, waiting days, pouring again, waiting hours, pouring again, waiting days, etc. etc., until it finally was totally encased in resin and now had a nice dome on it.
 This photo shows the full view of all of the elements on this necklace.  Each piece was picked out specifically for a reason for the Mother that was to receive it.
The 5 represents the number of children she has, the music represents her love of music and organ/piano playing for years in church, the buttons represent her sewing skills and her job for years as a seamstress, the crosses and bible represent her faith, the bird and floral connector represent her love of gardening and nature, the kisses and xoxo represented her love of family and families love to her, etc. etc.

This mother has sewn all her life and even worked her entire career as a seamstress, so I incorporated as many vintage buttons as possible into the design of this.  The cross is representative of her Christian faith.
 A mother to 5 children, and a lover of flower gardening were just a few of the elements that were gathered to make up this memory necklace.

This mother is always creating something.  She re purposed junk before it was cool to do so, and has continued to do so her entire life.  Always making and giving of her talents.  The create hand stamped charm was a given that it needed to be somewhere in the design to represent this large facet in her life.

I've worked extra much on this all week, to the neglect that I didn't even get the jewelry made for the give away.  Sorry about that.  Will have to get on that soon.  Stay tuned for real.

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Mimi-Toria's Design Jewelry Style