Monday, December 26, 2011

Challenge Week 34

Happy New Year!  This post is a little late because of the holidays.  I hope you all had happy holidays and your new year will be the best yet.

My Christmas was very nice, spending it with family.  My brothers did the cooking this year and the food was so good! I would have liked to be able to eat everything on the table, but then I would pay for it with having to buy bigger size clothes. Leave comments, let me know how your holidays were.

Week 32 is a varriation on another pair of hoop earrings that I did.  These earrings (at left) are for a friend for Christmas, to match a bracelet (below/right) that she had ordered from me.  The large center bead is amethyst color and the edges of the bead are copper coated. I accented the center bead by putting a copper and an amethyst bead on either side of it. I think the earrings go well with the bracelet. Don't you?

The bracelet is similar to the one featured in week 33, using different beads.  I really enjoy making these bracelets, it's so much fun and a refreshing change from the work that I usually do.

In the month of January my goal is to add 30 new items to my website, McLachlan Design Studio, with some of the items featured in my challenge and others that I bring to craft shows which have never made it to my website because they sell faster than I can photograph them.

Have a great week!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Challenge Week 33

This week I have a special treat for the guys in the audience.  I made a masculine bracelet.  Most of my jewelry is for females however, I have made some cufflinks and tie pins.  It surprised me that most of the male jewelry that I made has sold.  One gentleman at a craft fair told me that he didn’t see many things for men and he was disappointed, so that’s what gave me the inspiration to add the cufflinks and tie pins.

One of my co-workers asked me to make him one of the new macramé bracelets that they are showing in the stores.  He wanted all black, so I used black hemp cord and 8 mm black onyx beads.  The bracelet fits an 8 inch wrist and can be adjusted by either pulling on the cords at the end of the bracelet to make it smaller, or pulling the bracelet apart to make it larger.  The piece that keeps  the bracelet closed is also the mechanism used to adjust it. 

I have several new orders for this bracelet so it may be after the first of the year before I put one in my shop.  If you would like to place and order for one I will need to know the size, in inches, of the person’s wrist and the color beads you would like.  It’s too late for Christmas but you can always put a certificate in an envelope letting the person know that their gift has been custom ordered. To place a custom order please send an email to me at and I will get back to you with an expected completion date.

Have a very Happy Holiday season and Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Challenge Week 32

Happy Thanksgiving!  This month, well this year has gone so fast, I can't believe that we're just a week away from December and a month away from Christmas.

For my challenge this week I used a wire that has a design in it and made a cuff bracelet.  It was a custom design for a co-worker Beth and I like it so much that I am going to make more.  The design in the wire is difficult to see because I forgot to take the picture at home before I delivered the bracelet, so I used my mobile phone, and taking detailed pictures is not a good use for it.

The wire is about a half inch wide and has a pretty design in the center and on the edges of it.  I can make the bracelet to custom fit your wrist.  Beth has a 6 inch wrist and she can't find bracelets in the store that will fit the way she wanted it, close fitting so it won't move around a lot.  You can see that it fits her well.

I hope you had a great holiday weekend.  If you need gifts you can find them in my store at

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Challenge Week 31

Hi, welcome back.  Many of my winter clothes are red, I guess because it's such a warm color. With the cold weather coming I was inspired to use some warm red beads - I really love of the color red.

The beads that I used for these earrings are red, but when you look at them they look like they have black highlights. The headpins that I used are tipped with red; I think it look better that just the silver tips on other head pins.  Silver bead caps finish off the earrings, giving them a little sparkle.  You can wear these as little Christmas ear ornaments during the holiday season or just to give you a splash of color after the holidays.

Have a great week and I'll see you back here for week 32.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Challenge Week 30

Halloween has passed and the commercials are in full swing with gift ideas for the holidays.  I received an email today that I thought was a great idea, this is unusual for me because usually I cannot stand getting the forwards and just delete them. However, this email said that we should all buy American for the holidays. This means giving gift certificates for local services like car washes or oil changes or beauty services like hair cuts or manicures. It also suggested buying from local artisans. If I can help you with this in any way let me know, and not just my jewelry, I know people that make all kinds of hand made items from guitars to paintings, photography, t-shirts and sweatshirts, cards, scarves, toys and more. Let's get our economy back on it's feet by buying American and buying local.

Now I will get off of my soap box and get back to the topic at hand, week 30 of the 52 week challenge.  This pair of earrings is a little different from my usual conservative look.  I like the animal print look but rarely wear it because I'm a bit shy when it comes to bold prints.  These earrings bring the animal print in without being too bold. For those of you that aren't afraid of the bold prints I salute you and for those of us that shy away, lets just try something new.  I think that if you wear these with a black  or white sweater and a nice silver chain it could be a very classy look.

The earrings are the size of a quarter, so they aren't too big and they have a nice finish to them.  Each pair will have a little bit different pattern on them so don't expect the exact look of the earrings shown above.  The pattern is quite close though.  I bought these beads in New York on one of my lunch hour walks, it was a short string of beads, so there will be limited quantities.

You can find these and other earrings on my McLachlan Design Studio website.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Challenge Week 29

It has been a while but I am back and on with the challenge.  I thought that it was only going to be a week or 2 that I wouldn't be able to write. The move took longer that I thought, actually it was delayed because of hurricane Irene, then the following 3 weeks I had family obligations.  With the move came the loss of internet connection and on and on.  Finally I'm back, with a great pair of earrings.

 The earrings that I did for this week are hoops. This is my first time making hoops and I am very pleased with how they turned out.  I used sterling plated wires and put Czech glass flowers with silver spacers to create light weight, beautiful earrings. The earrings are easy to put on, just slip one end of the hoop into your ear and then click the end in place.  Simple!

Named after the woman that gave me the idea, I call them Crystal Hoops.  I work with Crystal and she asked me to make hoops for her with clear and silver beads, so I used crystal beads for Crystal. I've also made these earrings in different colors, and you will be able to see them on my website in the near future.

Crystal says that she wears these earrings a lot because they go with everything, so I made a pair for myself and also one for the website. If you have a color that you would like in these earrings let me know and I will custom design a pair just for you.  Contact me at

It's good to be back, I hope you have a great week!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Challenge Week 28

 Hi and happy Sunday.  I'm a day late posting due to an upcoming move; I have been packing boxes.  Next week is the move, so I won't have a post for the challenge.  I'll just have to make it up the following week.

This week I made a version of necklaces that I have seen others wearing.  This necklace is approximately 18 inches long, for the longest strand, and consists of large and small circles. The large circles are both round and oval and the small circles are all round.

My favorite part of this necklace is the clasp, which can be worn in the back or front of the necklace. Why hide it?! It was a close out piece that I got from one of my suppliers.  One side of the clasp is a flower and the other is 3 leaves. It is decorated with crystals and in my humble opinion it is a beautiful clasp. I have been searching for more of these but can't seem to find any.  Jewelry findings are like any other fashion accessory, they are sold for a limited time and then have to go to make room for the new.

On a side note, they do the limited time thing with perfume too and it really bothers me because I get used to a perfume and then the store discontinues it. I read somewhere that men associate you with the perfume that you wear. That can be both good and bad.. think about it. I was wearing Lauren perfume and really didn't think guys noticed, and one year for Christmas I got Lauren from my boss, my Dad and my boyfriend.  They notice! They also notice your nails, makeup and jewelry, even if they won't admit it. Any guys out there that want to comment on this? But I digress.

This necklace will be a great addition to your wardrobe because it will make a little black dress look elegant or dress up a v-neck sweater.  There are also earrings in my shop that will look great with this necklace. It will take a couple of weeks to get this into my shop.  If you can't wait for it just send me an email at and I'll get it out to you asap. There is only one of these so first come first served.

Have a nice afternoon and I'll see you back here in 2 weeks.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Challenge Week 27

 Getting your wardrobe ready for fall and winter in the heat of summer always seemed a little crazy to me. I usually want to buy summer clothes in the summer. Lately, however, I realized that to get the new styles easily, without searching through every store, I have to start the fall and winter clothes shopping early; which leads me to this week's challenge.

This necklace will look great worn with a plain or turtle neck sweater. It is long enough to carry the bulk, yet delicate enough to be feminine. I used turquoise color Czech glass beads, (also used in challenge week 4), chain, and a beautiful medallion that you can see up close in the bottom picture. At first when I looked at this medallion I thought it was 4 little hearts in the center but I think it's a 4 leaf clover. The clasp is beautiful too, it has little Swarovski crystals on it. 

The original design for this necklace was inspired by a customer that wanted a necklace to wear with one of her sweaters, so I had purchased 2 of the medallions. After making her necklace I used different beads and chain to create this one.

Don't get me wrong, this necklace is very flexible and can be worn with a summer top, and even into the fall with a long sleeve blouse and jacket. Since I just made my first sweater purchase I'm in the winter wardrobe mode - not winter weather though.

Have a great week and enjoy the rest of the warm weather, fall is just around the corner.

You can see more of my jewelry on my website.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Challenge Week 26

Week 26... wow, half way through the challenge.  I wasn't sure I was going to make it this far.  In the beginning it was difficult to discipline myself to get the jewelry and blog done. I made sure that the jewelry was done so that Saturday morning I could post it on the blog, and now it's just part of my Saturday routine. Recently I watched the movie Julie and Julia and saw that a weekly challenge was a piece of cake (pun intended) compared to her challenge which was a daily challenge. Although cooking each day using another persons recipes is easier than creating a piece of jewelry. Just to have the stamina to come home from work every day and cook and then write a blog - I give her a lot of credit. She also ended up getting a book deal and a movie out of it so it paid off.

The piece of jewelry that is being used for this week's challenge was actually made last week along with the pendant that I did.  My co-worker asked me to make this ring and another one that is similar, one having her birthstone and the other her daughter's birthstone.  It is from the same book that the pendant was in so I can't claim the design, only the skill of reading the directions and bending the wire.

The ring is called the wave ring and the little waves that go off the ring on either side of the stones really make this unique.  On one side the wires are twisted to give it even more texture.  The ring in the book used smaller stones so there were 3 across the top; I like the larger stones because you can see them better and also it's easier to thread the wire through them.

If you would like a wave ring just send an email to me at - it is a great ring to give as a gift because I can customize it with birthstone colors using crystals and being unique the gift won't be duplicated.

Have a great week and I hope to see you back here next week.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Challenge Week 25

This week's challenge piece was a challenge, a pleasant but difficult one. 

A co-worker had this beautiful purple stone, it looks like an emerald cut to me, and asked if I could put it into a setting for her. I showed her a book with some examples and she chose this orbit pendant setting. I like that one also and had wanted to try it. So when I started to make it I realized that the author wasn't very good at writing directions.  I had not used this book before, I bought it because I liked the wire work in it. It seemed difficult as I was making it, however when I finished it I realized that the way the author described the steps it was just difficult because I was so confused.  Now that I've made it I know what to do and the next one will be easier.

The finished pendant looks beautiful. I used sterling silver wire for the whole piece. I didn't take measurements but it is approximately 2 inches long and sits about an inch high.  The stone is so beautiful that it would enhance any setting.

Thanks for stopping by.  Come back next week for the next challenge.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Challenge Week 24

This week, for challenge 24, I decided to make a piece of jewelry that can be considered as a gift for the July birthday. The stone for July is the Ruby, and can be quite expensive. So I used a stand-in stone, a crystal that is a ruby color.

Red is one of my favorite colors and can be combined nicely with other colors. A popular color combination is red with black and that is what I did with these earrings. The starting point for the earrings is a laser lace silver plated fan, The fan by itself would be nice as earrings with the beautiful swirls and textured triangle at the top of the fan. I added Swarovski crystals in Ruby and Jet hanging from the edges of the fans.  These earrings went together so quickly because it was such a joy to make them, and they look great.

These will be posted in my store and I may make them in other colors too. If you would like a pair in another color just let me know and I can make them for you.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Challenge Week 23

When I first started making jewelry it was for myself, then for family and friends as gifts. Then I started selling jewelry that I made and rarely made anything for myself. Which brings us to this week's challenge.

In my closet is a pink, no iron, oxford shirt that I love to wear. The only problem is that I struggle each time with what jewelry to wear with it. Yes, I make jewelry but don't have anything to wear with an outfit. So this week I decided to make a pair of earrings to wear with my pink shirt.  Swarovski has a lot of faceted rondells that I use to make earrings and I found the perfect color, it's called Vintage Rose. It's beautiful and I'm not sure that my picture does it justice.I only bought the 4 beads because I wanted to be sure they were going to go well with the shirt and if I would be happy with the color. I will buy more of these, they are beautiful!  They are a little on the expensive side because they are Swarovski crystals and they have an Aurora  Borealis finish. They look so pretty, it was worth every penny. The center spacer bead is  antiqued silver, complimenting the vintage rose, it's just enough to highlight the beads without taking away from the crystal. The earrings hang from fancy hooks with completes the look with style.

Similar earrings are on my website in black, red and red & black. I plan to make them in blue and peridot too.  So watch for them.  My website address is

Have a great week, stay cool, and I'll see you here next weekend.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Challenge Week 22

This week a good customer asked me to make a birthstone bracelet for her birthday in August, which made this weeks challenge a pleasure.

The birthstone for August is Peridot, and it's a great color for the summer because it is cool and soothing. Although I am not a lover of the color green, this green is beautiful.  I used round Peridot color Swarovski crystals, mixed with clear bicone and saucer shaped  Swarovski crystals and antiqued silver spacers. The combination is like having sorbet on a hot summer day.

To finish off the bracelet I used an antique silver plated pewter toggle clasp that is in the shape of a leaf. Green just called for a leaf clasp - don't you think?

What is your favorite color for summer?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Don't forget the Christmas in July sale going on in my store. Use code cijs2011 and receive 15% off of your entire purchase. Use the code as many times as you like during the month of July 2011.

Have a great week, and come back Saturday to see another week of the challenge.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Challenge Week 21

Summer is here and it's time to add some color to your wardrobe, so for Week 21 of the jewelry challenge I thought I would use one of the summer colors in this new piece of jewelry.

Way back in week ten I made a pair of gold convertible earrings and decided that this week I would make another pair. These are antique silver star bursts on fluted ear wires. Then the inserts have blue and clear crystals on them. This way, you can wear them 3 different ways: without the beads, with the beads hanging in the front, or with the beads hanging in the back.  The picture on the left shows the beads hanging from the front.  These earrings hang 1 5/8 inches with the beads and 1 3/8 without the beads.

I was tempted to keep this pair of earrings for myself, they look so vintage because of the antique star bursts, but decided to put them on the website and share.  The last pair went fast, so don't wait if you want them.

This month I have a Christmas in July sale, all jewelry is 15% off. Just use code cijs2011 when checking out.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Challenge Week 20

Hi and welcome to Jewelry Challenge Week 20. The Swarovski 12 mm Rivoli crystals are among my favorites when it comes to making jewelry. They come in all different colors and I'm slowly building my stock with them. Just out of curiosity I went into the Swarovski store one day and saw similar earrings there, they don't call the stone a Rivoli but it looks the same. Anyway, when I saw that they were charging well over $100 for the earrings I was very happy that I make my own.

This week I made a pair of earrings with Rivoli crystals called Vitral Light.  This stone is so beautiful because it seems to change color as it moves and different light sources hit it.  As I look at it I see pink, light purple, green, blue and clear and you get the idea. I put them in a plain setting to highlight the stone. A more decorative setting would take away from the beauty of the stone. These earrings can be worn with just about any outfit because of the multitude of colors reflected in the stone. They hang from french hooks and are about 1 1/4 inches long.

This week I also made a pair of earrings with Swarovski Rivoli crystals in a jet black hematite color. Check them out on my website.

Have a great week and come back next Saturday to see another post.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Challenge Week 19

Hello, welcome back to my 52 week Jewelry Challenge. This week I made a pair of earrings that I call Plumb Cute.  There was no big inspiration here, I had placed a jewelry order and when it came in there were some new silver ear wires that I had never used before, so I wanted to try them out. The plumb colored crystal tear drops are from my NY shopping trip of several months ago and I had been waiting to use them. So the two came together to make these plumb cute earrings.

The silver ear wires are different, very stylized, they are 5/8" long and when the beads are added the earring is a total of 1 3/4 inches long. The crystal plumb bead is an inverted tear drop and is topped with a bi-cone clear crystal Aurora Boreas (AB)  bead. The AB coating on the bead gives it more sparkle. The bottom bead is sterling silver and finishes off the earring nicely.

Just received some new beads in peridot, pink, tanzanite and a beautiful chrysolite that is a lighter version of peridot, so watch for some new items on my website.

Thanks for reading, I'll see you next week...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Challenge Week 18

Since June is known as a big wedding month, for Challenge Week 18 I decided to make something for the bride.

This bracelet is great for brides because it is neutral in color, yet elegant and understated. I call it Hugs and Kisses, I know, not a unique theme and certainly has been done before. However, I haven't done it before so it qualifies for my challenge.

Made from antiqued silver plated pewter with clear Swarovski crystals, this bracelet will also be a great anniversary or birthday gift too. The beads are each 10 x 10 mm (about 3/4" wide) and looks and feels great on your wrist. I used stretch bead cording rather that put a clasp on the bracelet because the clasp made the bracelet too awkward and bulky. This means that the bracelet is easy on/easy off.  These beads were discontinued, so this is a unique, one time only design, so get it while it lasts. Here is a link to my website.  I do have beads similar to these that have colored crystals if you want a bracelet to match an outfit.

Have a great week, stay cool, and I'll see you next week.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Challenge Week 17

In honor of Dads and Grand Dads and even male grads, week 17 challenge had to be an item for men so I made some cufflinks. I'm also getting 2 birds with one stone here (pun intended and no birds were harmed), because I'm starting a series in my newsletter on precious stones and their meanings.

First I started off with silver cufflinks with blue paua shells. They came out really nice, and I like the blue of the paua shell. Then I decided to use a tiger eye stone in my newsletter, so I made a gold pair of cuff links with tiger eye stones.

The paua shell is prized for it's beautiful, highly iridescent mother-of-pearl nacre it displays and is sometimes used to create imitation opal. It has a protective epoxy resin top to preserve the beauty of the shell. The origin of the stone that I used is New Zealand.

You can read about Tiger Eye in my newsletter, which will be coming out today. If you would like to subscribe, you can find a subscribe box at the bottom of the Home page on my website. You can also shop for gifts for Dad on my website on the Shop page.

Have a great week!  Enjoy the beautiful weather we are having and I'll see you next week.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Challenge Week 16

As a change from all the black that I have been making I received a special order, which I'm using for my challenge piece, and it just happens not to have any black in it..

For week 16 I've made a ring, similar to another that is in my store. This ring is for a co-worker to give as a birthday gift and is made from campaign color freshwater pearls and sterling silver wire.  These pearls are going to look great on a tanned hand. This is a "wear with everything" piece of jewelry.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend. While you are enjoying your holiday, please remember the people that have fought for our country and for our freedom to enjoy this holiday.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chalenge Week 15

People watching is a great way to pass the time for me. I like to look at how people dress, interact, carry themselves; it is very interesting thing to do. Lately, with my 2 hour commute to work and an hour walking on my lunch hour, exploring NY, then the 2 hour commute home, I get to do a lot of people watching. There is one thing that stood out in all this people watching and that is that people in NY wear black a lot. I had a seat on the subway one day, most days that is an impossibility, and looked out into all the people standing in front of me.  I saw that every single person had on black pants.  Once in a while I see a black skirt and on Fridays the black pants are replaced with jeans. I may be crazy, but that is amazing to me.  People of New York there are other colors you know.

For Week 15 of my challenge I made a pair of Monochromatic Earrings. They are black onyx beads, 12 x 8mm with antiqued corrugated silver beads, on silver french hooks. The earrings are 1 and 1/2 inches long.  Including this week, three weeks in a row of my challenge have included black, EEK is all of my time in NY influencing me! You can see more of my jewelry by clicking here.

In the next few months I am going to start a series of articles in my newsletter about the meanings of precious stones and what the beliefs are about their properties. I learned that it is believed that onyx heals grief.  The newsletter comes out the first week of each month and if you would like to learn more you can sign up on my website. I only use your email address, I never give it/sell it to anyone else. Sign up at McLachlan Design Studio, there is a box at the bottom of the page to enter your email address.

Thanks for stopping by; it would be great if you left a comment, just to let me know someone out there is reading. Tracy from the Tote Trove has been good about leaving comments, thanks Tracy.  You should check out her bags, they are so cute and colorful. Here is a link to her site

See you next week!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Challenge Week 14

This week I made 3 items from the beads that I bought in NYC, just got on a roll and couldn't stop. I made a necklace and 2 pair of earrings to share with you.

This necklace is called Charred Apple because it's inspired by the big apple.  It is made with thunder polished glass crystal roundel beads in red  and black (char) and antiqued silver spacer beads. It measures 17 inches long and has a toggle clasp closure.

The picture doesn't really do it justice because the beads have such a beautiful sparkle. They are 8 x 6 mm and I'm crazy about them.  I made myself a bracelet with the same beads in the same pattern. I have a suit that needs a little sparkle and this red is the perfect color to go with the suit.

Charred Apple earrings

Red Hot Apple earrings
  In addition to the necklace I made 2 pair of earrings. They both can be worn with the necklace, it's a matter of which you prefer and the outfit you are wearing at the time. I made earrings that have 2 black beads too. So you have lots of choices.

Have a great week - see you next time!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Challenge Week 13

Welcome to week 13 of my 52 week challenge. Besides diamonds, black onyx is one of my favorite stones, so this week I made earrings from some black onyx beads. I've seen similar designs in books and magazines, so the design isn't totally unique, however, I put my own spin on it.

These earrings are called Orbit in Black. They are one and a half inches long and the beads are size 6 mm, so they aren't too big or too small. These earrings will go with most outfits. I like the swirl around the beads, gives them a little flair. I have other beads in the same color and may make more. Check out my shop in the future for other colors.  Meanwhile, black goes with most everything.

Check back next week for more from the work room table.  Also, please visit my website at

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Challenge Week 12

This has been a really long week, I started my new job on Monday and with the long commute to NYC and back each day it doesn't give me much time to do anything else. So my post had to wait until now, Sunday evening.  Once I get back into a routine I'll get back to posting on Saturday morning. So, my apologies for being late.

For week 12 of the challenge I made a beautiful pair of copper color crystal earrings, with gold accents. The large focal bead is an 8 mm Swarovski crystal checkerboard in copper color. Then I added gold spacer beads, Xilion bicone 4 mm crystals and 2mm copper beads. They hang from gold french wires.  These earrings have a lot of sparkle  to them.

It's rare that I use all gold, most of the time I either use silver or a mix of silver and gold, so this has been a bit of a challenge.  Also, using the copper color crystals is different for me, I lean towards more the blues, blacks and greens.

I hope you enjoy these earrings and will come back next week.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Challenge Week 11

The challenge this week was not finding a design but getting the earrings made. It seems like everything either got in my way or went wrong. Even taking the  pictures was daunting. May be it's the stress of worrying about starting a new job on Monday, I don't know.  I'm just glad that I didn't give up because I am so pleased at how these earrings came out.

The earrings that I made for Week 11 of my challenge are called Dew Drop earrings. They are made with a pretty blue tear drop glass bead that reminds me of the fresh morning dew of spring. The blue beads are highlighted with silver seed beads and hang from french hooks on stainless steel wire. They hang 3 inches from the ear.

You may be saying, "that's too long for earrings" but these are so light weight and airy that you won't even know they are on your ears until someone compliments you.

You can see more pictures of this earring by going to my website at McLachlan Design Studio.  Now I'm going to take a nap.

Thanks for reading, all comments are welcome. Please stop by next week to see what comes off the work room table. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Challenge Week 10

On Tuesday morning I had an appointment in NY city, and after the appointment I decided to take a walk down to 6th avenue to search for a bead store that I found on the internet. This store had rave reviews, and many of the jewelry makers that I talk to say "You have to go to the city to buy beads, they have beautiful things there."  My little walk (22 blocks) took me to 3 bead stores. I thought I found something close to heaven.

As a result of my trip I found the materials for earrings for Jewelry Challenge Week 10.  These earrings are called Camelion Flowers. They are gold flowers that you can wear alone, or you can add the crystals that are hanging from a bar that goes through the center of the flower.

The crystals are by Swarovski, the colors are clear AB, Indicolite and capri blue, all 4 mm in size.

As a flower by itself the earrings hang 1 1/2 inches. With the crystals attached they are 2 inches long from the ear.

You can wear the crystals so they fall in front of the earring or in the back of the earrings.  They are very versatile and in future I may add extra bars with beads of other colors to make them even more camelion like.

Thanks for stopping by, please come back next week to see what comes off the workroom table. I would love to have your comments on these earrings if you would like to leave one.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Challenge Week 9

Wow, can you believe another week has gone by.  This week I wanted to use April-like stones to make a pair of earrings. I used a piece that I've never used before, the Swarovski crystal drop.

These earrings are the most delicate looking earrings that I've ever made. The drop is clear crystal and then I put a round turquoise and a round clear crystals above the drop, and they are separated by a silver flower spacer. The clear round crystal has an AB coating, so it reflects colors around it. When I was taking pictures of the earrings it was hard to get a picture where the clear crystal actually looked clear, it would look like it was light blue from the reflection of the bead below it.

These earrings are so delicate and spring like, I really want to keep them, but I'll put them in my shop so you can enjoy them.   
Thanks for stopping by, come back next week to see what comes off the work room table.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Challenge Week 8

Ok, I have to admit that it was a little tough this week to get inspired. The reason is, it's my birthday today and I'm a little distracted.  So I went searching through my jewelry supplies to get some inspiration and was getting a lot of ideas when I came across these turquoise beads that I bought at the bead show.  I recently made a necklace with them and thought earring to go with the necklace would be great.  So I made these Love 4 Turquoise earrings.

The beads have a little marbling in them, not too much and the length of the bead is about 3/4 inch. The caps are silver and delicate looking, just enough to finish the bead and give it a little feminine flair.

The overall length of the earring is 1 3/4  inches, a nice length - enough dangle but not too much.

As I mentioned, today is my birthday and in celebration I'm offering a 15% discount on all items in my shop, even this weeks earrings.  Check it out at McLachlan Design Studio

Have a great week and come back next week to see what comes off the work room table.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Challenge Week 7

The week ended on a great note, I went to the Marching Dragons Craft Fair at Brick High School. The morning was a little slow, I think the cold weather kept people away. In the afternoon it got crowded and I had lots of visitors to my booth. So I'm a day late in posting my weekly challenge.

This week for the 7th challenge I made another version of a ring. I'm trying to find a ring format that I like, so if you have a favorite of the ones that I've done so far please let me know. The ring I made (shown left) is a light amethyst Swarovski crystal in a four prong setting. The wire is 20 gauge square sterling silver, wrapped three times to give a nice base to the crystal.

I wanted to try to use the 4 prong setting to make a ring because I thought it would look very formal. I like the way it came out, but it's not my favorite.  I prefer the ring that I made with the 3 round crystals.  I'm going to keep experimenting though, I'll know when I find the right combination of stone, ring and wrap.

Please stay tuned to see what new items come off the work room table.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Challenge Week 6

This week's challenge entry is a little late, I had a very bad case of the flu and couldn't think about making jewelry. So, I'm finally starting to feel better and have made a variation on another piece that I've made before.

For the challenge this week I made a barrette covered in 4mm square flat back crystals. Previously the crystals that I used were round. The way this barrette sparkles reminds me of the old mirror balls used in the discos.

This barrette is great for bridal wear and also for a night on the town. It is 2 inches long and is a little more than a quarter inch wide. It's the perfect little hair jewelry for most occasions.

Check back on Saturday to see what comes off the work room table.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Challenge Week 5

Welcome to Week 5 of my 52 Week Jewelry Challenge. This week I made a beaded bracelet. As I have been trying to stretch my jewelry making style, I included some cube beads into this bracelet.  That's a little stretch because I feel more comfortable with round beads. The cubes are Swarovski crystal elements and the rounds are glass and have both blue and black colors in them.  I really like these beads and I think they blend well with the black cubes.

The cubes were in my beading supplies because I had seen them in a catalog and liked them, also bought some turquoise color cubes, which are still in the package. So this week when I was looking for materials to use I thought this would be a good bead to use to challenge myself.

You can find this bracelet on my website. I hope you like this week's bracelet and will come back next week to see what new item comes off of the work table.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Challenge Week4

This week I used the last of my favorite beads, they are a turquoise color Czech glass, oblong shaped bead. I paired them with white cats eye beads to make a very soothing combination of colors, in a princess length necklace (18 inch).  I have used this combination before in a floating bead necklace that was bought at a craft fair faster than I could put it on the table.  The clasp that I used is an antique finish square that I think compliments the shape of the Czech glass beads.

I have 2 of the Czech beads left and will make a pair of earrings to match the necklace.

Look for more pictures in my shop.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Challenge Week 3

Sometimes I make a piece of jewelry that I really like, but I probably like it because I made it. So I show it to people and they say "Oh, it's nice" and I wonder if they are saying that because they like it or because they don't want to hurt my feelings. My confirmation that it's not just me is when someone actually wants the piece or asks me to make one in a different color.

When I made my first ring people said they liked it. But my confirmation came when a friend's daughter tried it on and didn't want to take it off, it was a perfect fit too. So I literally gave it to her off of my finger. Please excuse my insecurity, I'm an artist, it comes with the territory.

My second attempt wasn't as successful. I used a stone in a setting, rather than a bead. It looked rather clumsy when I was going for elegant.

The challenge for Week 3 was to make a ring that I can put into my store, and I think I found it. It's a simple design inspired by one that I saw in a magazine. I used medium blue Swarovski crystals on sterling silver wire, with antiqued silver spacer beads. I have other color beads that I have already started to make into rings.

This challenge has been so much fun, I'm glad I started it. I have an idea for next week already!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jewelry Challenge - Week 2

This week I did something completely new, I made Hair Jewelry.  Really, that's a fancy way to say barrettes. My friend's daughter is getting married and at the reception she is taking her veil off and wants something to hold her hair in place, so she asked me to come up with something.  I made several pieces of Hair Jewelry for her to choose from.  All of these barrettes can be worn by the bride or her brides maids. I will post the ones that my friend doesn't take to my shop.

Here is a picture of all of them, I also have a picture of each individual barrette below. I made a variety so she could choose or use one as a starting point to make one into exactly what she wanted. She liked the crystal one, far left, and asked me to add a flower. So the flower on the left is a crystal barrette with a flower.

This is the crystal barrette; my sister said it was her favorite and I have to agree, for a gown with all crystals, this would be perfect.

This is the crystal barrette with the flower added, it really looks pretty. I also put a crystal in the center of the flower instead of the pearl that it came with and the little shoots that come off the flower had pearls, so I changed them to crystals.  I used all Swarovski crystals for both barrettes.

 This is my second favorite, I used silver beads that have crystals in the center of each bead.

 Not only would this barrette be good for a bride but also for brides maids.  It's simple yet beautiful.  I can also make it in different colors

Last but not least is the barrette that has pearls with a single flower on it.   See more pictures of all of these barrettes on my website.

Have a good week and I'll see you back here next Saturday for Week 3 of the challenge.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

52 Week Challenge - the beginning

Inspiration is needed here at McLachlan Design Studio. So I decided to give myself a 52 week challenge, to make one new piece of jewelry per week for a year.  It seems like a daunting task but I've decided to go for it. I get into a rut where I don't make anything at all for a long period of time, then inspiration hits and I'll work for several days and make a lot of jewelry, then fizzle out.  So this will keep me on a schedule.

To start the challenge off, I've made something totally different than my usual bracelets and earrings. This is also unusual because my standard materials are crystals or glass beads with silver. 

This necklace is called Love 4 Turquoise; I had to use the love theme considering it's the month of Love.  The center front of the necklace is 4 love knots, made from sterling silver, with a turquoise bead hanging between the center two knots.  The sides/back of the necklace are sections of sterling silver Figaro chain separated by turquoise beads.  The necklace is between 9 1/2 and ten inches long. You can see more pictures of this necklace in my Bonanza Store.

Check back next Saturday for Week 2 of the challenge.  If you would like to challenge me with suggestions of materials or type of jewelry you would like to see, let me know.  I'm up for the challenge and you may even get something if I use your inspiration/idea.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review - The No Asshole Rule

This month’s book review is of the book The No Asshole Rule, Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t by Robert I. Sutton, PhD.  Now, the title may offend some, but please look past the word asshole and, if it does offend you, replace it with the word bully.  Bully mildly covers the type of person that the author is describing and you will see why he uses the word asshole. I’m sure you will be able to relate the description to someone that you have worked with or have met and had to deal with somewhere in your life.

Mr. Sutton gives tips for surviving nasty people and work places and how to deal with them. He tells how to avoid taking a job in a company where there are more jerks than not. He gives advice on how to enforce the Rule in the workplace and to change the culture of the organization so that the behavior is not tolerated.

I smiled when I got to the part where he had a self-test to see if you qualify to be one of the jerks he is writing about in his book.  I guess we all have a little dark side to us, but do we “go over to the dark side” (to borrow a phrase from Star Wars) more often than not?

At the end of the book he gives a great list of additional reading for those who want to learn more about dealing with nasty people.

As I read this book it seemed that he knew some of people that I worked with because he described them exactly. This was a very good book, I really learned a lot from it. Hopefully I won’t have to deal with another asshole, but they are out there….

Please let me know if you agree or disagree with my evaluation of this book. I’m sure that other readers would like to read your opinion too.  Or just make a comment if you want to.