Thursday, December 30, 2010

~*Spotlight on Designer Cheryl Strait!*~

I'd like to introduce you to, ~*CHERYL STRAIT!*~
Before she and I met in person recently, Cheryl and I knew one another's name via the Internet for a couple of years. We had both participated in a One World One Heart blog hop hosted by Lisa Swifka!

I felt an instant rush when I read her name on a sign behind a table she was vending from in Danbury CT. this past fall. 
Instant recognition!

We were both excited to meet one another in person and I really enjoyed viewing and browsing through her array of hand made jewelry offerings.
The selection was so diverse and interesting! She creates a lot of wonderful eye candy!

Cheryl creates mixed media charms too!
Be sure to visit her links so that you can view a wide selection of art to wear that she creates!

Some of Her Handmade Art Charm Collection.

This Is Her Studio!

Enameled Metals

Cheryl, you design a wide array of jewelry and charms. 
How did you get started?
Growing up I was always involved in something creative, be it crafts in girl scouts, , painting and creating signs for the pep club in Middle and High school ,and now Jewelry Making, My husband who was in the Army, always gave me jewelry and after his death in 1997, I thought I would never receive another piece of jewelry from him, after Soul searching and putting my creative wheels in motion, I used my savings to take classes from some of the best instructors I could, and then began working on my jewelry making skills, and growing my business. In essence I feel every time I make a piece of jewelry my husband has a hand in it, and is shining down on me from above.

What are some of your favorite materials to work with and why?
I am a metal and stone girl, I love working with Sterling Silver and gemstones, Sterling has a quality like no other, and using techniques to manipulate this material, is incredibly rewarding.
For stones I like working with Natural gemstones,Turquoise is still my favorite, there is something therapeutic to this stone for me, the colors , veins and textures are amazing.

What is your favorite method of aging metal?
I don't think I have one particular favorite, but I do love hammering on rock stone or concrete to create texture.

Do you feel that you are inspired by nature? 
Yes, I love to sneak away and spend time at the Ocean , desert and Mountains, it brings me back to One, and it does wonders for my Creative Soul.

What types of charms do you collect (if any)
I love handmade charms. 

Do you have any special memories that involve charms?
.....Actually the one that sticks out is when (you) Amber Dawn traded your charms with me at Art is You, in Danbury Ct. This year. It was just so touching , the moment is forever in my heart! 

Thank you SO much for sharing part of your world with us Cheryl!
One of my favorites!!!- UrbanRomantic on Etsy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

~*Cynthia Deis*~ Charming Tutorial & Interview- December Spotlight Feature (#1)

This month I will be shining a spotlight on a few artists and designers. 

~*I'd like to share with you, one of America's great sources for beautiful, stylish & trendy charm making ideas, supplies and components, CYNTHIA! Well, not exactly-. ~*Ornamentea*~ 
The selection of merchandise is wonderful*~

Cynthia Deis is the owner of the famous bead and jewelry shop Ornamentea & one of my Spotlight Features for this month. I met her through a charm swap I hosted & liked her right away.

She has a bright personality and a lot of design ideas to share. I enjoy her blog & tutorials. She is an ornament to the art charm design community & has added a lot of goodness to it. 
Without further ado... 

Interview with Cynthia Deis by, Amber Dawn

Hi Cynthia, would you please introduce yourself?
Hello! I am Cynthia Deis. I am from Ohio, although I am settled in North Carolina. I have been a maker my whole life and was lucky enough to grow up in a family where the expectation of all of us was that we'd be engaged in productive, crafty work most of the time. 

Do you have a charm bracelet? 
If so, what are your favorite charms on it (why?) 
Oh yes! I have several! I love both the idea of charms as tiny bits of wearable art and the idiom of the charm bracelet with the narrative and thematic possibilities it presents. 

I think my favorite of all my bracelets is one that features charms related to my husband and children. It has a variety of charms and hand-made beads that remind me of my family and I wear it every time I travel. My favorite charm of all is on this bracelet. It is a sweet soldered-glass charm that has my daughter's name and the word 'big sister' on it that was made for me by Denita Purser, a good friend and talented artist. Denita actually gave the charm to my daughter when her younger sister was born but I have been 'saving' it for her on my bracelet. I love that the charm has clear glass in it, somehow the heart floating in the clear glass really appeals to me. I think that was also one of the first hand-made charms I was ever given, and so that makes it extra special. On this bracelet I also have a crab charm/bead made by Bob Burkett (my husband is a Cancer, so that's for him), a Green Girl metal-clay charm that I wore when I was pregnant and other things like that. The bracelet also has ribbon and bits of cloth tied along the chain-they are scraps from a baby jumper my mother made for my oldest daughter.

What is your earliest or happiest memory of making jewelry?
My earliest memory is of discovering some brass wire in our garage as a young teen and curving spiral swirls of the wire that opened out into earrings. I hammered the wire on the concrete back porch and left chips in the porch! I made so many pairs of those earrings and sold them to other girls at school. I should have recognized then that I would be a jewelry designer but somehow it took me another 15 years to really get that straight
Some of my happiest memories of making jewelry involve being with other artists around a table. I love the give-and-take of conversation that occurs when you are making something with your hands and eyes. Somehow the heart opens up and the most wonderful connections are made between the artists.

What is it that you love most about designing jewelry?
That it is wearable. It's hard to walk around with your newest painting under your arm but a new bracelet can immediately be taken out and shown to the world. 

How did Ornamentea come to be?
After I finally realized I should be a jewelry designer I started designing and selling my work under the trade name Bedizen Ornaments. I sold to small boutiques and did private-label work for catalogs and better chain stores. I really enjoyed the challenge of designing for different types of specific customers and the pace of designing several large collections a year. The work involved a lot of travel and I was lucky enough to meet and make friends with so many talented designers and store owners from around the country. After several years the company grew to the point where my husband left his corporate job to help me with the business side of the operation. He had the idea to open the store when the neighborhood around our studio began to gentrify and he actually built the very first store, shelf-by-shelf. We opened with a store that sold some of my jewelry, work by some of my friends and lots and lots of beads. I loved having a store and teaching people to create their own jewelry!  As the business grew over the first year I realized that I could stay home more and concentrate on the store and on working with people and helping them with their creative projects. I gave up designing for production clients the week after I taught the first class at our store. It was so much fun to teach people how to make their own jewelry, I wanted to do that every day.

Can you tell us how you have celebrated International Handmade Art Charms Day in the past?
I have participated in swaps but this last year I set upon the perfect way to celebrate. I placed wrapped charms around town that day with a message saying that I was celebrating International Charm Day and letting the person know they had received a gift from me. I put in my blog address, too, in case the recipient wanted to contact me. A few did and it was fun to see that they enjoyed the discovery! I think I will do the same thing this year. I have been saving charms all year for this! I didn't travel anywhere special, just went along on my normal errands to the library, grocery store and shoe repair shop. 

Do you have any favorite jewelry components that you recommend we try?
On of my very favorite things to use for making charms is fold-over or crimp-on ribbon ends. They aren't just for ribbon! I have used these for paper, mica, cloth, chain and just about anything else. I love using them to anchor tiny books. 

Here is a tutorial that Cynthia designed in which she shows us how to use one of her favorite components to make mini book charms with, the  fold-over or crimp-on ribbon ends<---link (you just need to scroll down a little once you click the link to find them)

Reminder Charm
Designer, Cynthia Deis

This tiny charm is composed of dictionary definitions from a French-English dictionary. The words chosen remind the wearer to detortiller, to relax and untwist themselves. Like many of my favorite charms, it addresses a need I have to untwist myself from the daily whirl of activity from time-to-time. I’ve added a safety pin to the charm so that it can easily be pinned to a collar.

1 antique copper crimp-on ribbon end bar, ½ inch
1 antique brass square jump ring, ¼ inch
1 silvertoned safety pin, 1 inch
1 small plastic blossom
dictionary pages

Chain nose pliers
Flat nose pliers

1.Trim the dictionary page into strips ½ inch by 1 ½ inches so that the selected words will show. Allign pages and place them inside the crimp-on ribbon end. Using your flat nose pliers slowly crimp the ribbon end until the pages are secure.
2. Using your chain nose pliers open the jump ring. Feed the ring through the loop on the ribbon end and through the safety pin and blossom. Check the alignment of the blossom and the pin before closing the jump ring securely. 

Choose pages from old maps depicting locations you’d like to visit.
Print images of family members and pin this to your collar before you head out of town on a long trip.
Use fortune-cookie fortunes for the pages.

509 N. West St. Raleigh, NC 27603

Follow her store on twitter, search 
Can't get enough of her? Read Cynthia's blog at 
Read her 
weekly newsletter 
Sign up for a free weekly project idea with the
 Dot Com Dispatch

~*Thank you Cynthia!*~
-Amber Dawn

Friday, October 22, 2010

~*Featured Charm Maker for October, Mandy McDonald!*~

I thought that it would be nice to share with you some of the charm makers that I have and continue to meet from time to time. Some have been swapping with me for years and years while others I have met more recently.

My first spotlight feature happens to be someone whom I met through a charm exchange a couple of years ago.

This is a spotlight on Mandy, she recently joined in another charm swap that I hosted last month. The theme, Birds. I absolutely adored her charm presentation... Please enjoy!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your history with charm design.
I started making jewelry and charms back in 2001 and have been taking classes, reading books, and learning by trial and error ever since.  I love to be creative & I've played around with a lot of different types of mediums. Working with wire, metal & glass tend to be my favorites.  I grew up in a small town in Wyoming, close to a lot of family, my mother, aunts & grandmothers had a great influence on my love of being creative.

What is it that you like about making charms.
I like figuring out how to make common objects on a tiny scale.

Do you have a favorite piece of charm jewelry in your collection? If so, please tell us about it.
My favorite charm is not one that I made nor was made by anyone I know. It is a small sterling starfish charm my sister gave to me as a Maid of Honor gift at her wedding.  I'm a pretty sentimental person, I put the charm on my key chain so that I have it with me every day.  Every time I start my car I think of my little sister.

You participated in a bird theme swap, can you tell us how you came up with your design?
We just moved into a new house and a bird built her nest on our front porch.  Every day I would go out and check on her and there she'd be there just sitting in her nest.  About two weeks after we moved in her babies hatched.  I didn't think about it until you asked me this question, but I think subconsciously that little Mama bird sitting on her eggs in her nest is what inspired this design.

Bird Swap Photos 
Birds are made out of paper clay, acrylic paint and sealed with varnish.  For the package I made a paper mache "Egg" from newspaper, glue, & acrylic paint.

Flower Swap 
I made tiny boxes out of cardboard to be able to keep them small; they are only about 5/8" square.  I used vintage Forget-Me-Not flowers & surrounded them by German Glass Glitter on one side and on the other side words saying Forget-Me-Not cut out of vintage books.

LasVegas Swap 
I found vintage Bingo chips with everyone's lucky number and cut out their lucky number out of vintage bingo cards then soldered around the edges and backs.  For the package I scanned the Bingo cards and made them about the same size as a playing card to hold their new "Lucky Charms".

Romantic Swap 
I took miniature dried roses and covered them with resin.  The resin makes them hard as rocks, I drilled a hole in the stem and then wrapped them with wire to make them into the charms.  I made vintage inspired Valentines Day cards for the packaging.

Wizard Of Oz Swap 
I made a broom out of copper tubing, silver & copper wire.  I cut disks and then used metal stamps to punch the saying onto them.  The packaging is just fabric & ric rac glued onto card stock.

Mandy started a new blog recently, keep an eye out for more of her charm art posts!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Charm day exchange!

Is there interest for a charm day celebration charm exchange?

Friday, October 15, 2010

I started a FaceBook Group for International Charm Day! Please Join!
This link will take you to a new FaceBook group that I started for International Handmade Art Charms Day, International Charm Day for short!
Join in and share your handmade art charm pictures, links and tell us where you are from if you'd like!

#4 is the winner chosen by

Carol, #4... Please send your mailing info!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Video - Tiny Polymer Clay Cupcakes & Sweets on YouTube

CLICK the video 2X to go to YouTube or click the link here-

NEW VIDEO! TINY polymer clay cupcakes & sweets sure to make many, if not all smile at least once while watching! (Gotta watch all 9 minutes to see it all) The fancier cupcakes are towards the end. These are pictures that I have already posted to my Flickr and blog account. I just compiled some  of them and made a video!

PLEASE share this link with all of those who you think might like it, you can even embed it on your website.

PLEASE Subscribe & leave feedback on youtube!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Free charm giveaway ends soon!

It's not too late to enter to win!
All nations are welcome to join, from any part of the world.

Read the details here--->

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Charms made by Colleen Athens & Heather Brauner of NJ

I taught a mixed media charm class a couple of weeks ago and these are some of the students' results.
Colleen and Heather are both very creative and talented doll artists who dabble in various mixed media work.
Original concept designs by, Amber Dawn

~*A Charming Giveaway!*~

If you would like to enter to win a couple of charms and bead dangles, all you have to do is leave a comment telling us how you heard about International Charm Day and if you might be celebrating it on April 28th 2011.

If you do not have a blog, you can leave a message by clicking "anonymous" on the menu when it pops up. Please be sure to include your name and country (state too) so that if you win, you can claim your prize!

~*Wishing you a Charming Day!*~

Thursday, July 8, 2010

An encased abstract rose charm I made with glass and a torch.

This is my favorite charm that I have made for myself a couple of years back.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Miniature cupcake giveaway!- Polymer clay

Come on over to my blog,
Leave a comment on the Tea Party post and enter to win a cupcake!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Another chance to win!

If you *really* wanted to win one, it is not too late to try again!
See the link above and get into the rest of the blog, it is SO entertaining!

And the winner is!...

The winner is Stella (Ex Libris)

#29 as chosen from Random.Org

Please send me your mailing info. It will not be published to the blog if you leave it in the comments section. I moderate the comments.

Amber Dawn

Picking a winner in just a couple of hours! It's not too late to enter to win one!!! 

Monday, June 7, 2010

What Country *Are* *You* Joining Us From?

Please leave a comment and tell us what part of the world you are celebrating Charm Day in!

If you are joining in from the USA, you can just say USA or leave your State name too!

~*Thank you!*~

& be sure to leave a comment on the post below, offering a prize of a handmade polymer clay, Steampunk charm!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Charm Day in South Africa with Elna & Benice was published in Ish. 24 of BEAD Book Magazine.

~*International Charm Day was celebrated in a fun way, down in South Africa and written about in a beautiful looking bead and jewelry magazine!*~

Elna and Benice hosted a workshop on April 28th, Charm Day.
A bunch of people gathered together to create, exchange and wear art charms!
You can read about the event on the "Between Cupcakes & Tea" blog here-

Or if you live in South Africa, perhaps you can read about it here-

~*Thank you for sharing this with us Benice & Elna!*~

Friday, June 4, 2010

~*Steampunk charm giveaway!*~

I designed these as charms for a Steampunk swap which I recently hosted, making double the amount needed, to have extras to use send as gifts.
I would LOVE to share one here too! Giving it away to one winner!

They were each inspired by someone really cool, who's work and personality made me smile, while thinking of them while I made them.
So, no two are alike.

I will pick one from the bunch at random and choose a winner next Friday.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment!

~*Have a GREAT weekend everyone!!!*~

Saturday, May 29, 2010

To see if you are a winner-

You need to scroll through the page and read the title above each photo. It has the name of the winner posted.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Did you check to see if you had won?

Several of you have *not* claimed your prizes. I would hope that if you entered that you would *check* each prize to see if you had won.

Friday, May 14, 2010

~*Beautiful and fun!*~ Tiny miniature charms!

Come and see my newest work on *YOU TUBE!*

My ID is FunFairCreations

Closeups of the charms in the videos can be seen on my Flickr acct.