Monday, October 31, 2011

Colours (Orange)

Keeping on the same tonality as the day's celebration - today's post is about Orange, the colour.

With its bright hue, orange is a colour of benign power. Orange combines the energy of red and the lightness of yellow. Unlike red, which is associated with heat, orange brings to mind the warm sunshine. Through its yellow side it is associated with happiness & joy.

Orange is a dynamic colour: invites one to explore, to create, to find new beginnings. If you ever feel you're stuck - get some orange into your life through jewelry, accessories, clothes, decor - candles are a very quick way to bring colour - and watch your creativity coming back to life.

Orange is thought to increase appetite - if you have a picky eater, try to fill his/her plate with some orange bits. Maybe that's why carrots are such universal snacks; I still have to meet a child who doesn't like carrots at all. If, on the other hand, you're trying to watch your diet - don't use orange (plates, place mats, or food itself).

There are many energies associated with orange: happiness, creativity, enthusiasm, encouragement.

Be aware of the dark hues - having more red than yellow they tend to be more aggressive and dominant.
On the other hand - the gold hue has for centuries associated with prestige, high-quality, even wisdom.

If you're looking to match orange try one of the main 3 scheme:
  • Analogous (colours that are close to each other on the colour wheel). One colour is used as the main one, while its analog is used to enrich the combination.
    • Combine Orange with Red for a very energetic feeling
    • Combine Orange with Yellow for a beautiful sunny feeling
  • Split complementary (main colour + the 2 adjacent to its complementary). The combination provides high-contrast without the tension of the bold complementary scheme (2 opposed colours on the wheel).
    • Combine Orange and Blue or Violet for a 'summer garden' feeling.
  • Triadic (3 colors evenly spaced on the colour wheel). This combination provides perfect balance, while maintaining contrast and providing colour richness
    • Combine Orange with Blue-Green with Violet-Red for a fantasy feeling.
Orange seems to be one colour that you either love or hate - I love it: for me it is the colour of fall, sunset, and sweetness.

What is your relationship with orange?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to clean your silver jewelry

Since all my jewelry has some elements made of Sterling Silver and as they are tons of articles out there about the proper way to do clean your silver jewelry - I felt the best thing to do today is to present you with one of them. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A couple of notes:

Winter wonderland necklace - Sterling silver, quartz, wire wrapped :: All the Pretty Things* I found that using toothpaste or baking soda to clean silver is as good as the store-bought paste. I've been shining my mom's silverware for years with toothpaste (back then you wouldn't dream of finding silver cleaning paste in stores!) and you know for sure it's not as bad chemically as that paste. Just buy the most simple toothpaste (you don't need the fresh-breathing mint strips!) and use a soft toothbrush to gently brush the paste onto the silver. Clean with a soft cloth (experiment with your piece, it might be OK to rinse it with warm water).

* If your jewelry contains pearls or other soft stones - do not use the paste or the dip found in the stores. They contain harsh chemicals which will damage your beads. Clean just the silver with a cloth, if there are only pearls you might use a mild solution of warm water and a mild shampoo to clean the pearls. If you want the whole piece to shine - bring it to a jeweler for professional cleaning. However, if you are able to clean the silver where it's not touching the stones - a little bit of tarnish will give your piece some extra charm.

Cleaning Your Silver Jewelry is Easier Than You Think

By Joshua Martindale

Silver jewelry is incredibly popular today. It has such a clean and cool look to it that many people love to add the shine of silver to their overall style. However, silver jewelry will not remain as shiny and beautiful without proper care. You need to remember that true silver is a soft metal. Additionally, silver tends to tarnish if you do not clean and maintain it properly.

Curves necklace & bracelet set - sterling silver, foiled glass beads :: All the Pretty ThingsPart of keeping your silver jewelry clean and shining is to store it properly. If you store it carefully you will be able to reduce tarnishing of the piece. Many people make the mistake of storing their silver in a wooden jewelry box loose with other pieces. Truthfully you should always keep your silver jewelry in a small plastic zip bag alone. Do not try to jam more than one piece in the bag. Instead, each piece should have its own bag. This will help keep your jewelry safe from scratches, but it will also protect it from the air.
Prolonged exposure to the air is what causes your jewelry made from silver to tarnish quickly. Basically the oxidation and moisture present in the air starts to turn your silver into a gold color, but that gold shifts very quickly to a shade of black.

Regular cleaning will also help to prevent tarnishing. You must remember that any time that you are going to clean your silver you should only use a soft flannel or cotton cloth to do the job. There are also custom silver cleaning cloths on the market for you to buy, and these can be wonderful because they have special ingredients in the cloth that help guard against tarnishing. In fact, these silver cleaning cloths are ideal to keep in your jewelry box for quick day to day cleanings.

If you need to clean your silver a bit more you can use a small bit of liquid soap that has been added to warm water (approximately half a cup). With your soft cloth you will apply this mild soap solution to your silver jewelry and wipe away the dirt. After that you can rinse your piece with warm water and thoroughly dry it. If your jewelry has intricate details that you cannot clean with a cloth you may want to use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean the area.

Infinity: necklace, bracelet, earrings set - Sterling silver, freshwater pearls, wire wrapped :: All the Pretty ThingsUnfortunately, if you have allowed your silver to become tarnished you will need to get a special silver cleaner. You can find these easily in stores, and you will have your choice of a liquid or paste form of silver cleaner. If you choose to use the paste you will need to apply a small scoop onto your cloth. Rub the cloth gently onto the piece, carefully working the paste into any crevices that the item has. Try to rub in a straight line rather than a circular pattern because you do not want to inadvertently scratch the jewelry. Let the paste dry and then use a different soft cloth to rub away any excess paste. If you like you can even rinse your silver jewelry under warm water to fully clean it, but you need to be sure that you completely dry it before putting it away.

The liquid form of silver cleaner is used differently. This liquid cleaner, which is also known as a silver dip, allows you to dip your jewelry into the solution. After you have dipped it in the solution you will take your jewelry out so that you may rinse it off and thoroughly dry it. The great thing about liquid silver cleaner is that you will see results almost immediately. Jewelry is a wonderful gift to give on any occasion. Please visit my site to select from a large selection of fine silver jewelry.
Article Source: Cleaning Your Silver Jewelry is Easier Than You Think

Do you have any tips on cleaning silver? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Winter wonderland

With the winter approaching - well, in fact it already came, my flowers are frozen and my friends in Pennsylvania are under lots of snow! - what other better piece for today than a glamorous party necklace.

Winter wonderland necklace - Sterling silver, quartz, opalite, wire wrapped :: All the Pretty ThingsNot so long ago I was in a 'glamour' mood - most of my jewelry is, in fact, very earthy and well rooted, and my social life is not that full of occasion to display any glitter. However, as a woman I sometimes need to just see and touch beauty - and having just finished a crystal quartz piece for a friend I was having all these quartz chips on my table. They were gleaming wonderful in the light (I have a sky-light right above my work table) and that's when I decided to make myself a very beautiful evening piece.

The chips are paired with silver beads and wrapped in groups of 2-3 crystals, then each individual wrap attached to the silver chain. Being an evening piece - it has 3 strands, all draping you in beautiful crystals. There are two types of crystals in there: an opalite and a natural crystal. The opalite, with its warm milky shade, has a very soft, gentle and soothing effect, while the quartz crystals capture the light and make you glow.

This is the story of my 'Winter wonderland' - the necklace that will make you feel like a Goddess.

Friday, October 28, 2011


I have always been fascinated by combining materials - I am not a beader, I can't really sit down and manage those small seed beads (11 anyone?!) or the impossible peyote (impossible for me, I have great admiration and respect for the ladies & gentlemen who master that!). However, I *love* glass beads - and I figured out I have to make something with the beautiful teal beads I recently came upon.

Easy to say - but what can you do with small glass beads if not string them in some sort of stitch?

Fluidity earrings - sterling silver, Czech glass beads, chainmaille :: All the Pretty ThingsAs I also love long and flexible earrings - I am known to wear them almost to my shoulders... what can I say? I love long earrings :) - one day these earrings came to life. Combining my love for silver and glass - they are as long as one wants them and very fluid (hence their name).

They can be made in absolutely any shade one would prefer them and in any combinations too.

This is the story of my Fluidity earrings - brought to you on a Friday afternoon :)

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Colours (Blue)

Today I am not ready to talk about any of the new pieces made in the past few weeks (mainly because I have no pictures).

So I will talk about colours and I will start, of course, with blue.

As the colour of sky and ocean - blue is perceived as a symbol of depth & stability. It is a calming colour - and has been used as a decor shade for children's rooms. However, use it sparingly and in pale shades, because it is a cold colour (as opposed to yellow, red, or green).

It has been a symbol of masculinity for ages (the pink vs. blue anyone?) and it symbolizes power: check how many corporations have navy or dark blue as their colours. And most likely because of that choice blue came to be associated with trust, knowledge, even expertise. Hence - it is used a lot by marketing companies.

Speaking of marketing - don't use it in ads pertinent to food. Because there are almost no natural blue foods in nature (save blueberries), blue became synonym to 'not-good-for-consumption'. Serve your food on a blue plate and your appetite will decrease dramatically - maybe we should invent a 'blue diet' :)

Because its calming effects on mind and body (apparently it slows down metabolism) blue is considered a colour of tranquility, even sincerity.

It is also a preferred colour for writing on paper - its contrast with white is not that dramatic.

And let's not forget the Royal Blue - one of the most amazing shades I've ever seen. It is said to have been invented about 200 years ago, by a consortium of millers which won a competition to make a dress for a British Queen (by wikipedia).

My #1 colour: calm, powerful, and beautiful.

What is your favourite colour? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top 3 things you should always do

An incident not very long ago made me think about how we do lots of things and we don't always realize some of the consequences - and in the conversation I was having with my hubby we came up with 3 main things we should do. Here they are:

1. Be patient & polite while driving: don't tailgate, don't get in front of a driver and push your breaks, don't make rude comments or gestures etc.

Beside the obvious safety reasons - there is a secondary one. The car is driven by one of your customers: present or future customer, but your customer nonetheless. Imagine yourself rushing to a meeting, cutting the face of a driver or stealing his/her parking spot just to get out of the car and face the driver: your customer coming to the same meeting. Word of mouth can work both ways and it is much harder to erase a bad experience from somebody's memory!

2. Be patient & polite with strangers.

You never know who that might be (remember: they can be your customer) and being nice is always better. For you and for them. Treat everyone with a smile and they will carry the smile further.

3. Be patient & polite with your friends and family.

This one we tend to overlook a lot. Family and friends are supposed to understand we had a bad they, aren't they? Well... yes, they are supposed to be understanding, however it is hardly fair to treat them badly just because we had a bad day. It is much easier to have a shoulder to cry on - and someone to chat with... in a polite manner. Snapping at our friend won't right the wrong; biting off our kid's head won't fix our problem.

Is it hard to be patient & polite? Absolutely! Is it worth it? Absolutely!

What is your take on the subject? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I've always loved enamel pieces - their fresh and bright colours and their joyful presence. Recently, when shopping for other projects (as it usually happens) I stumbled upon some beautiful cloisonné charms. I knew immediately what I can use them for - my mother in law was visiting back home and I was trying to figure out what to send to a few friends. I had the answer for one of my friends, at least :)

Seasons necklace - sterling silver, cloisonee :: All the Pretty ThingsThat's how 'Seasons' was born: it talks about Canada (through the maple leafs) and its beautiful seasons. It talks about Spring through the central charm in its crude green shades. It talks about friendship and beauty.

My friend loved it - I will have to get back to the store soon for more, they had beautiful blue cloisonné charms and I loved their hummingbird and butterfly central charms.

With the holiday season approaching - what better way to freshen one's wardrobe but a set of bright cloisonné jewelry?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I used to love sunrises - and I probably still do... however, I am rarely able to enjoy a sunrise. A sunset, on the other hand, it's a bit easier to stop and watch the colours of the sky changing (it helps that my desk is facing a windows to the west, so I am watching a sunset mostly every day).

Sunset (necklace, bracelet, earrings) - sterling silver, mother of pearl, wire wrapping :: All the Pretty ThingsMy son wanted some beads for one of his projects and they were available only in a bundle. Which bundle contained a bunch of bright orange mother-of-pear beads. At first, I thought it's impossible to make anything decent with them, they seemed way too bright. At the same time I was drawn to them in a very soft way, so I wouldn't just discard them.

You have to be patients with some beads, let your brain form the perfect images. That's what happened with my orange mother of pearl beads: one day I simply knew I had the perfect design for them.

Paired with same-shade cultured pearls and a very delicate silver chain, the design brings on the irresistible shape of the beads, and their beautiful shades graduating from orange to ivory. The necklace has a central shell / pearl area, and a few wire bead clusters strategically placed on the chain. This is a complete set: necklace, earrings, and bracelet - and it is a perfect addition to a summer dress.

It is a bold piece that speaks to one's love of nature. It reminds me of the sunset and makes me smile every time I look at it!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How to make a crochet necklace - technique

Today I will do something new: talking about how to make a crochet necklace.

Sea life necklace - sterling silver, mother of pearl, crochet :: All the Pretty ThingsIf you've never done any crochet in your life it is better to start with an easy to handle material: go to your craft store and buy a soft yet not expandable yarn - a soft cotton yarn will be perfect. While you are there, get a hook too - check on the yarn label for the hook gauge. My advice is to get a hook at least one size larger than indicate on the label, since we are using it for a different purpose than clothing-crochet.

Now that you have the yarn and hook, get some beads out - their hole must be large enough to fit comfortably on the yarn. Having a few types of beads and using them in a complete random order will work best for your first try. Pick up a sufficient number of beads (count like you would simply string them for the length of necklace you want to have) and string them all randomly on the yarn.

Start a chain - check here for a Chain stitch tutorial. Crochet 6-8 stitches with yarn only.
Pick up the first bead and bring it close to the last stitch - hook a loop of yarn over the bead and draw it through. The bead should now be inside the chain stitch. Crochet one stitch with no bead. Repeat stitch with bead, simple stitch until you have the desired length. Crochet 6-8 stitches with no beads and finish the chain off.

The eye of the jungle - tiger eye chips, gold wire, crochet :: All the Pretty ThingsYou now have one beaded chain. There are multiple options: you can make the necklace with this strand only - in that case use the ends to finish the necklace through the desired clasp.

What I enjoy more is to make multiple chains of same length (and assorted beads) and braid them together. To do that - simply crochet 2 more chains and braid all 3 together. Finish the necklace as desired.

1. Yarn length must be 3 times the desired length of the finishing necklace + at least 5" more. Crochet is using about 3 times the length of the actual chain. Keep that in mind when you start using wire to crochet!

Bride and Groom: necklace & bracelet set - sterling silver, freshwater pearls, crochet :: All the Pretty Things2. If you braid multiple chains together make the chains the finished necklace length + 5" (12 cm). Braiding will use extra length; it also depends on the size of beads: the larger the beads, the more chain is used in the braiding. There are no hard rules - experiment to find out what works best for you.

3. If you start wire crochet - make sure you don't over-handle the wire. It will snap and break. That's especially true for the endings, after you braid the chains together: twist the endings together gently.

4. When braiding the chains together - don't pull too much, you want a flexible plait.

5. When making a bead chain stitch - make sure the yarn/wire is not too loose around the bead, you want the bead to stay in place.

The crochet necklace is a perfect project for any irregular beads you might have or for fancy combinations. This is truly a 'the sky is the limit' project - enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Smithsonian - did you know...?

This summer, after a debate of a few days, a child and a dog sick, and a horrible weather forecast we scrapped the planned camping in the bushes and we decided a city with museums will be more appropriate.

Natural History Museum
Easy to say - hard to choose. Lots of city names have been thrown in the conversations, all with beautiful museums and history and what-not. Until I remembered our good friends visiting Washington DC in the winter and telling us something we didn't know before (and we didn't realize it is possible in our current consum society): the entry to all 19 Smithsonian Museums & Galleries (plus the Zoo) in DC is FREE. Not for children under 5, or for seniors over 75 - for every single soul. Did you know they are free?

The Diamond of Hope
I am crazy about museums - and while we get to the ROM or Ontario Science Centre or Buffalo Science Museum a few times each year... the opportunity to see the place was too good to be passed. My mother-in-law was thinking of spending time in the National Art Galleries; my son was dreaming about the Museum of Natural Science; my husband dreamed about visiting the Air and Space Museum - and I was sure I will be a happy clam.

I won't bother you about our adventures in DC - suffice to say it is a beautiful place. And if you ever get there make sure you visit:

African American History and Culture Museum
African Art Museum
Air and Space Museum
Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center
American Art Museum
American History Museum
American Indian Museum
American Indian Museum Heye Center
Anacostia Community Museum
Arts and Industries Building
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Freer Gallery of Art
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
National Zoo
Natural History Museum
Portrait Gallery
Postal Museum
Renwick Gallery
Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution Building, The Castle

Since it's weekend - even if you're not that close to Washington DC, there must be a museum open nearby. Every city has one of those historical houses - and most of them are affordable (even free sometimes). Take your family and enjoy an afternoon of history or art or gardening or...

What kind of museums would you like to visit today?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Message in a bottle

For the same sister-in-law, the one loving beaches - I created another fun gift not so long ago. This one is not only fun to make - it is a splendind piece of decor; and the best part is that it can be made in any colour combination (to match the taste of the recipient, the season, or simply the room design) and the message inside can read anything:
from Happy Birthday! to Congratulations on your Graduation Day!, from Happy Retirement! to Thank you for comming! Or anything that strikes your mood :)

The bottle can be used as a vase (for a single flower) or as a support (for aromatic sticks) or left with the message inside, a fun remider of a beach vacation or maybe a honeymoon. Speaking of honeymoons - this is a wonderful gift for your wedding or party guests.

It is made with my happy medium (polymer clay) in an abstract playfull pattern.

If you were to receive such a gift - what would you like your message to be?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

3 steps - How to deal with (difficult) people

Today's post has nothing to do with my art - just with my life.

I had encountered a few situations this past week and all boiled down to the people & their behaviour. One particular day my son even asked me how am I not getting boiling angry?! (he knows me by now :)) So it made me think - why am I not getting angry? Simply because I kept following 3 simple steps:

1. Smile
No matter what I had on my mind, I kept smiling. I am firm believer in the power of the smile - apparently the scientists have discovered that the smile is first physical and then emotional (as in: the muscles moving your mouth and face into a smile are coming before you're feeling happy or amused). Even if that's not true - if you smile the whole world will look so much better. And the best thing about a smile? It is FREE!

2. Don't take it personally
This is a hard one to achieve, but it can be done. If your boss is just brushing your comments in a somewhat rude manner - don't think it's because you've done something wrong, or he doesn't appreciate you. Maybe he had a rough morning. Maybe someone he cares about is sick or maybe he simply had a bad dream and cannot shake it off. As soon as you imagine the other person being... a person, and not a perfect thing - you might cut yourself some slack too. And as soon as you don't take it personally (and don't react negatively to her comments) you'll see your world changing too. 99% of the people will realize they were rude and they will apologize. This way - instead of having 2 unhappy people - you'll actually do something good: you made the other person feel better too!

3. Don't worry
Well - this one is by far the hardest. However, there is a very simple formula you can practice over and over until you start getting results. And trust me, once you see results, you'll keep going.
What's the formula? You know how they say - a picture is better than a thousand words, so here it is:

Disclaimer: I picked it up from FaceBook, however it is something I've been 'preaching' to my family for over 10 years now :)

Here you have it - 3 steps: Smile, Don't take it personally, and Don't worry. Simple, eh?

It's your turn now: what helps you go through difficult moments?
Please share so we all can make the world better one moment at a time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Autumn (in pictures)

Tip of the day: do you know those Silica packs you find in all your brand-new leather items (like your purse or that new pair of shoes)? Don't throw them away! If you have sterling silver jewelry (or just silver plated) - place a pack in your jewelry box, it will keep the silver from tarnishing.

The weekend of Thanksgiving Day was the last beautiful one, the end of the Indian Summer. Which means instead of cleaning the house or baking too much (I did both quickly Monday morning) we ended up hiking in the neighbourhood.

We are blessed to live in the Niagara Escarpment region - with hills lushly covered by beautiful vegetation and parks that allow everyone to spend some time connecting with the Nature. Well - sometimes the same parks can be too crowded (as it was the case the weekend before last), but you can still get off the trail and take that unused one (which we did, to breath in some silence).

I am mountain person - I like beaches too, but I never could spend too much time on the beach, it is too slow and almost boring for me. Oh, yes, I can go swimming, and I can make sand castles, and I can pick shells... but nothing compares with a good hiking! Going up and down the hills, listening to each sound and trying to find out what animal might be hiding behind it... resting on a rock at the trail side, hearing a creek running through the forest...

Back in Europe I used to go hiking with my mom, mostly in the Spring and Summer. The forest was full of spring flowers and we will always come back with our arms full of wild arrangements that will lighten up our living room for weeks.

Here - we still hike in the Spring (but not as much), some during summer (we are away camping), and a lot during Fall. Especially the last weeks of September, early October - when the foliage is changing - it is an amazing show of colour and light.

I love picking up leaves - I have a huge collection of pressed leaves :) - and acorns alike.

Today's post is just about natural beauty - the does in the bush, the colour of the leaves, the stillness of the forest. I am sharing these autumn pictures with you - maybe it'll bring you some peace in your busy day (and some colour, it is pouring here :().

How do you recharge your batteries?

William's necklace

When I visit the bead store in Toronto I am usually accompanied by my 8 year old son. With a very artsy vein in his soul, he's a delight to take with you, albeit an expensive delight, I must admit. I always encouraged him to express himself and he has a very good eye for colour, even if sometimes his designs can get too busy. Whenever we go to the store he gets his own basket, a budget and goes around picking stuff - the funniest moment this time was how he was calculating how much each thing costs, since there were some discounts (mommy, what's 30% of 18? wait! don't tell me... I pay around 12... not too bad, I'll take it).

Coming back home - I had to work on my stuff while helping him (I am starting / ending his necklaces, he designs and strings them). And boy, were we ever productive! Between the two of us we managed 4 necklaces and 2 pairs of earrings :)

Name necklace: sterling silver, enamel charms :: All the Pretty ThingsThe one I'm presenting today is his name-necklace - for lack of a better... name!

On silver plated chain, with enamel letters and a well-found charm: this is the perfect personalized gift for anybody you know: a child or just a playful person. Or for that man in your life you never know what to give - a personalized bracelet with his name (or the name of a loved one) and some charms.

A mini-contest: who can find out a good name for my son's necklace?

P.S. Yes, it has been designed by him, and he picked his own charms (colour, style, and everything).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ice and fire

With the Holidays fast approaching (yeah, I can't believe it either! we are about 2 months away from Christmas...) today I will present you one of the pieces I love the best for the season.

It all started last winter, I was looking to wear something special for an evening with my dear hubby - and although I am not the glitzy type, I really wanted to glitter. Guess what? All my jewelry was of earthy type: glamorous, but not in the sense I wanted it. You know how the shoemaker doesn't have shoes? That's when I sat down, looked through my stash and decided a trip to the local bead store is needed. I already knew I wanted to use some beautiful crystal chips I had, and being so close to Christmas I was looking to add something red to them. What can be more red than coral?! And to add the glitter - some Swarovski crystals, in various sizes and in a smoky colour (they are, indeed, called 'smoke').

Fire and ice: necklace and earrings set - sterling silver, coral, crystal, quartz, crochet, wire wrapping :: All the Pretty ThingsBack home, get the crochet out, the silver plated wire, spread all the chips & beads and before I knew it I was the owner of my first 'Ice and fire' set (I had to add a pair of earrings, of course).

I loved it from the start: it has the perfect combination of cold and hot - the quartz and Swarovski crystal are definitely wintery, while the warm corals make you think of the next summer vacation. It has the perfect amount of glitter - not too much, not to less; it can actually be worn during the day; maybe not mornings, however I have friends that will not object on wearing it at 8:00 am while sipping the coffee at the office :)

The blend of the crochet into the piece is giving it that bit of unusual (after all, how many crocheted jewelery have you seen in the department store?!) and some mystery too.

Friends have jokingly asked me to name it 'Mrs. Claus' as it evokes her red & white dress. What do you think? Which one is the better name for this beauty?

Monday, October 17, 2011


A figure with curves always offers a lot of interesting angles.~ Wesley Ruggles

Today's piece is about geometry - in its soft version. When I think geometry I usually visualize angles and lines. However, a great deal of it (and a lot of calculus too) is about curves.

Curves: necklace & bracelet set - sterling silver, foilde glass beads :: All the Pretty ThingsWhen I started making jewelry and I discovered the serious bead stores, I was drawn to this little shiny tubes, in various stage of curved lines. And I imagined some soft-looking beads that could be paired with - to make it look like the collar line of a princess in her gown: delicate and ethereal.

Not long after I found the beads for it: a foil glass beads, with a very pale shades of blue-purple-red and that's how 'Curves' was born.

It is a set of necklace and bracelet, hugging your neck & wrist in a warm embrace. Like most of my pieces it is very versatile. You can wear it all day: from office to an afternoon tea with friends, to an evening at the theatre. It can also be the soft and elegant touch to an elaborate wedding dress.

What is the style of jewelry you prefer to wear? Classic? Modern? Chunky? Delicate? What defines you?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

20000 leagues under the sea

Today is my sister-in-law's birthday (Happy Birthday, Dana!)

She is crazy about beaches (and the Black Sea, and the Ocean, and...) so a few years back I was trying to figure out some sea-related gift that I can make her.

I love nature - and although I prefer hiking mountains to watching the waves break, there is one activity I always enjoyed when going to the beach: shell picking. A few years back, on our Florida trip, I found some beautiful ones - I spent hours rummaging the sand and looking for shells.

Getting the shells out on the table - a new idea was born: one of the personalized gel candles. I love all my gel candles, but this one is a really lovely one: the bubbles coming to the surface make you imagine there is a creature somewhere down there, under those perfect shells.

I made them in a blue colour too, but somehow I like the purely transparent one better - it is very easy to use it for decor, as it will match with absolutely everything.

A mysterious gift: what do you think it can hide under the shells?!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pretty dog

Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one. ~ Anonymous

This being a blog about pretty things... I can add a pretty living things, right?

In our household we have 2 dogs (a German Sheppard and a Chocolate Lab), a fish, we are not counting the frogs and bunnies in the backyard, and my son is planning on getting an exotic animal for Christmas. After I positively ruled out snakes the debate is now between frogs and turtles.

I just stumbled a wonderful picture of one of our dogs: Cora, the German Sheppard. She doesn't usually like to pose and a picture like this is a rare thing for us. So I had to share it :)

What is your best-furred-friend?

Friday, October 14, 2011


Life is 'trying things to see if they work' ~ Ray Bradbury

Waterfall pendant - sterling silver, Czech galss beads, chainmaille :: All the Pretty ThingsBy now everyone reading my blog knows I like the colour blue - pretty much in any shade there is. The 2 most loveliest (in my eyes, at least) shades are turquoise and sky-blue.

So there is no surprise to anybody, including myself, that when I enter a store I am drawn to all the blue items. Make that the bead store and I never leave the store without something blue. And before you even think about it: no, not with anything borrowed!

A couple of years back, when I discovered one of the bead stores in Toronto (well, more like the bead street, since at every few doors there is an art / craft / bead store) I also discovered a very pretty blue-sky stone. It looks like the blue lace agate, but I am not sure if it is that, most likely not. I had to had them so I bought them :)

Waterfall: pendant & earrings set - sterling silver, Czech galss beads, chainmaille :: All the Pretty ThingsThey stayed in my stash for quite a long time until early this year when I was looking for something to wear with a shirt I love and all the necklaces were either the wrong length or the wrong colour. This cannot be! so my 'Waterfall' set was born.

It is made with sterling silver (the chain) and silver plated elements (the frame and findings) and Czech beads, a cascade of water droplets with a foamy stone at the drop. I wore it endless times this summer - since my summer dresses and tops are all white or blue (big surprise there, eh?!) and it goes perfectly with pretty much anything: pants, jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses. It can be flirty or quietly elegant and it is a great addition to your attire.

Do you have a preferred piece of jewelry? Does it tell a story?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fairy door

Don’t think: Look! ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

Today I am just going to share a beautiful piece I found browsing the internet for something else - all of the time in my life I stumble upon amazing items when I am not really looking for them :)

I love working with polymer clay - it is such a happy medium for me. It can be as 3D as one wish is it - and I love mixing the colours (especially after I bought myself one miracle tool for working with PMC: the pasta machine). I love the ability to create unique patterns and to make so in very fine details.

From my search today - I am bringing you a lovely door hanger: bright and happy, dreamy and playful. It reminds me of nice fairies playing in the sun - which means it is properly named :)

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with 'AlohaMoe' store and I get no financial gains from sharing the work. I simply liked it.

The original post can be found here (or by clicking on the picture above).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Faith is the subtle chain which binds us to the infinite. ~ Elizabeth O. Smith

I mentioned before both my parents are teachers - one of math, the other of physics. Which means that I am a very logical, precise and mathematical person, of course :)

As an artist I have a special relationship with the circle: the perfect shape, the shape with largest area for the same perimeter, the never-ending shape... and so on.

Infinity: necklace, bracelet, earrings set - sterling silver, freshwater pearls, wire wrapping :: All the Pretty ThingsNot long ago I came upon 3 different sizes of silver plated rings and I knew I had to have them. Getting home, I tried different ideas until I paired them with some fresh-water pearls, very close to the perfect spherical shape and the 'aha' moment arrived.

Born was the 'Infinity' set - an asymmetrical necklace that can be worn to multiple variations of length (the toggle clasp at the end matches perfectly the small-sized rings, so any can be used as the match), with matching bracelet and earrings. Both the bracelet and the earrings incorporate the motif of the necklace pendant: 2 circles with the pearl.

You can think of them as planet orbits, you can think of them as abstract figures. One thing is for sure: the whole set is a perfect blend of simplicity and elegance.

They go perfectly with the LBD or they can be used as that delicate touch for a bridal gown. They are ethereal and eternal!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I never saw an ugly thing in my life. ~ John Constable

I have always been fascinated about the preColombian civilizations (Aztec, Inca, Maya) and a few years back, while travelling through Yucatan Peninsula, we stopped in one the touristic shops on the road. To my complete surprise, the art displayed some rugs that looked identical to the one that has been in my mom's kitchen for ages! Looking more carefully around - I discovered other similarities with parts of our culture in clothing or decorations... and some with a culture we've been intertwined with for a long time: gypsies.

Gypsy: necklace & earrings set - sterling silver, mother of pearl :: All the Pretty ThingsThe dresses of the Mayan ladies and their jewelry brought to mind the colourful, multi-skirt dresses that filled my youth: when I was very young we still had a couple of migrant gypsy families in the valleys surrounding my home city. A couple of years they will pass through the city in a caravan, and I was always fascinated by the beauty of the women, the brightness of their dresses, and the amazing display of gold jewelry. Needless to say one day they disappeared - the communist regime we were under would not allow such immense display of freedom, and obligated them to start living in those ugly grey lifeless match boxes they would call apartment buildings (I have an aversion to apartments to this day!).

A few years later I came upon some shell beads and coins. They had a beautiful shade of green and I fell in love with them. I didn't know what I could create with them, but I bought them nonetheless - not knowing the end result never stopped me from buying something I enjoy :)

Gypsy earrings - sterling silver, mother of pearl :: All the Pretty ThingsThe chance made it to have some friends over one evening and I brought out the album from our Mexican vacation... while browsing through we came upon a picture of one of the Mayan ladies in front of the roadside store. And I knew what my green shell beads will become: the necklace and earring set you see here.

Made with silver plated chain, silver plated findings, sterling silver ear wires and my beloved beads - they are bright and happy. Very lovely with a jeans attire or with your office business one, and amazing with a white beach dress!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! (Canada)

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it" ~ William Arthur Ward

Today is Thanksgiving: a day we explicitly voice our gratefulness and count our many blessings. Implicitly we do it anyhow, but it is with a sense of calm and happiness when we can sit down with our family and thank for the many blessings of our life.

This year we kept is low-key (our best friends were working all weekend, my husband too, and the only part of the family that's on this side of the Ocean left for a well-deserved birthday vacation) - so we found ourselves around a monster (I couldn't find a normal turkey this year, I don't even want to know what did they feed the huge 30 pounders I got!), enumerating what we are thankful for:

First came, of course, family & friends. Followed closely by health, the very food in front of our eyes, shelter, happiness.

What best to describe all of the above than the symbol of the Tree of Life? Not mine, this time, I have one in the works and it's patiently waiting its turn - the one I am presenting here is made by my mom, as a gift for my family. She made a few versions, the one on display is the Quartz one.

Quartz crystals are most common rocks on earth. They can come in many colour, however the purest version is the colourless one - as it contains no impurity (other minerals to change its colour). It can have many meanings - the one I like the most is the symbol of a person, in this case the entire family. The tree's roots remind me where I am coming from and its branches help me to get where I need to go next.

The Tree of Life is a universal symbol: of wisdom, protection, beauty, abundance, strength, and grace. It is a reminder that we must care and nurture all we love if we want to see it grow: a relationship, a child, a flower! It is also a reminder of the inner strength we possess and we rarely use (unless in dire need); like the splendid tree growing on the most remote rock up on the mountain, or like the grass blades coming through the asphalt: we always look for the light and our inner will always know how to get there. We must only trust ourselves.

On this Thanksgiving day I am grateful for our family (close by or far away) and their (tender) love & care, for our friends and their words of encouragement, and for the every-day miracles (small and large).

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, October 9, 2011


In riding a horse we borrow freedom. ~Helen Thomson

I always dreamed about being able to ride horses. Growing up in a semi-industrial city that wasn't an option. I didn't have grandparents living in the rural either - so I kept dreaming like any young girl about princes on (not necesarily white) horses!

Long time ago, knowing my love of outdoors and green grass, a good friend told me: If you want to see really green grass make sure you go to Kentucky. For some strange reason, his words resonated with me and I kept remembering them over the years. No Kentucky in sight, though.

A few years back, by a struck of (what know I can call) fate, we found ourselves in Kentucky. Not for long, we were really just passing by, but you can drive through in a matter of a few hours anyhow. To this day I remember the hills - we came through New York, Pennsylvania and all the South-East coast to Florida, and back through Tennessee. All the hills we've drove through, all the Appalachian forests - nothing compared to the moment when I finally got to see the blue grass hills of Kentucky! I am a slow-poke sometimes, and while we're passing through Renfro Valley I had one of those 'aha' moments: so that's where the Bluegrass (music) comes from!

Of course our journey had to get us into the Horse Park... long story short: I found myself for the first time in my life riding a horse. Words fail to describe the feeling - it was like the world was mine, I was the Queen. The horizon became larger (if that's possible), the Earth became bigger - those few hands above the ground and you're not the same person anymore. Needless to say that my riding experience was too short but when we came back home we 'fixed' that by taking riding lessons; first just the two of us, then our son joined in.

The next year I made a small glass painting - and it still 'lives' on our fireplace mantel. A gentle reminder of dreams that can come true, of moments to be cherished, of huge animals that you must respect and love, and who'll love you in return.


Saturday, October 8, 2011


The season I learned to love the most (especially since moving to our new home, Canada) is autumn. I used to love spring - back in Europe the spring starts late February and ends at the end of May, a proper 3 month season :) The whole nature comes to live slowly; you have tons and tons of flowers, gradually. Here - we manage to fit all that in about 2 weeks in May, and then we start the hot and humid summer. But fall - oh... the colours of the leaves changing (especially the red of the Maple!) and the not-too-hot-and-not-too-cold temperatures, plus the Indian summer days... Fall is now my favourite season.

Autumn bracelet - copper wire, Czech glass, mother of pearl beads, crochet :: All the Pretty ThingsWith that in mind a few years back I was thinking of making something for my mom (whose birthday is in the fall as well) - I know she loves colour and hates dullness. So I took out my stash of beads and accidentally spilled a couple of different beads... you know how best inventions come from accidents? That was me that day - the combination wasn't yet perfect, but gave me a wonderful Idea so I continued to combine various beads until I came to the one you see here.

There is a complete set: a bracelet, necklace & earrings - the bracelet is shown here: crochet cuff with copper wire, and the glass, wood, and shell beads.

It combines two crafts I love the most: crochet & beading. It is also a constant reminder of what a beautiful season we are going through, before winter arrives.

What is your favorite season?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Love & Friendship

Tonight we visited one of our local fairs - extremly famous in the area, and more agricultural-oriented than your usual fair, so the whole family can enjoy the animals and the shows. While wondering through the vendors' line we came upon a rocks & gems booth - and both my son and I were glued to the spot. Not only the lady had gems of all sorts, not only she had some set already (as fine jewelry) - she also displayed fossils and actual rocks. After touching and admiring for what must felt an eternity to my dear husband (he cares neither for the rocks nor for the gems) my son wanted to buy something. I was sure we'll end up with a pyrite piece or maybe some small fossil. And initially he was going for a big pyrite piece.

Ah... but then he spoted the 'magic pouches' and that was it: he's into wizards and magic right now, the Harry Potter vs. Wizard of Waverly Place type of thing. The lady, helpful, invited him to choose the 'Confidence' pouch (so he'll do well in school) or the 'Student' pouch (I forgot what was it good for). Confidence he doesn't lack (and he showed her immediately, she actually said something along the lines of 'yup, you don't need confidence'), besides he had his eye on something else: the 'Health' pouch. The lady started to get confused: why would an 8 yo want Health?! he proceeded to calmly explain that's the best gift you can have along friends and family; at this point she completely stopped making suggestions or comments for that matter. Of course he wanted to see what's inside the pouch and the lady mumbled 'you're supposed to get it by meaning, not by looks' and he responded 'meaning, meaning - but it has to please the eye too!' so she calmly opened the pouch. I forgot what 3 stones were in, but they were ugly as a combination. So the child asked for another pouch, the 'Love and friendship' - as soon as the 3 stones came out his face lit and he declared 'We have a winner!'

With this big preamble we come to the subject of tonight's blog: the 3 stones of Love & Friendship magic pouch.

Of course there is no magic, just the properties and energies of the stones.

The largest one is the Rose Quartz - which is the universal symbol of Love. Incidentally it gives the user confidence, by making him/her feel a sense of self-worth... which in turn will bring the sense of being worth of love. It carries a very gentle and soothing energy - having this beautiful pale translucent pink shade.

Along it 2 smaller stones: a lepidolite and a blue lace agate.

The Lepidolite is also good for confidence, as it encourages independence for setting and attaining goals. It also relieves stress - no wonder, it has such beautiful shades of lavender.

It is said that used with the rose quartz it becomes a stone of reconciliation of love. Hence its use in this pouch. Besides love its energies include power, good luck, and protection - all very useful when one looks for Love & Friendship.

The last one (and my favorite) - the Blue Lace Agate: with beautiful shades of pale blue it brings peace, being a calming, uplifting stone. It brings tranquility and happiness to the one wearing it. Blue lace agate is also considered a stone of communication: helping the user to enhance and to smoothen his/her speech - a good skill for one searching for Love.

Suffice to say the trio looks very nice together and as the evening progressed the pouch was on his wrist. When we were finally leaving the fair he exclaimed: 'See, mama, it actually works, I already gained a new friends!' - and he proudly showed Mr. Kipling, the Angry bird plush toy he won at one of the game booths!

Couldn't agree more with the child :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


My parents are both teachers and when you asked me the magic question 'What do you want to be when you grow up' my answer was always 'a teacher, of course'. Sometime in high-school I changed my mind (the story is more complicated, enough to say that I grew up in a totalitar regime and teachers were not perceived as a need of society, more of a nuisance to be shown 0 respect) and I chose the path that eventually brought me to Canada: a software engineer.

For a brief period of time I tought children computer science; a very daring enterprise: getting grade 1 & 2 kids to use computers almost 20 years ago was most interesting. We are not talking about the PCs as they are today (with amazing user interface and a string of tools and games to captivate the young minds) - we're talking about ancient ugly black-and-white screens, with no graphic interface... try to get the interest of a 7 year old! Enough to say that I had to be really creative in holding their focus for a whole hour :)

Fast-forward to current days - the end of kindergarden era for my son, tryig to come up with a special gift for the teacher. After browsing every store in the city in the hope that something will 'jump' at me and scream 'I am the perfect gift you're looking for!', while making a candle for a friend I realized I had the answer all the time. What's so special about a gel candle? Well - not much... unless you personalize it :)

And that's what I procedeed to do: I printed the class picture, set it in a miniature frame and dropped it in a gel candle. The result? A small piece of art with a great memory for a wonderful teacher.

Where do you get inspiration for your pieces?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hope (fighting for The Cure)

Hope (fighting for The Cure) - sterling silver, enamel charms :: All the Pretty ThingsI just realized this is October and we always try to raise awareness of Breast Cancer and its toll on the women in our lives. Having lost my own grandmother to this disease long before it was recognized as it is today (almost 30 years ago!) the whole month speaks of how precious life is and it is a gentle reminder to love yourself, your family, your friends, and every moment of your days.

With pink everything surrounding us this month - what other piece to choose today than my 'Hope' earrings?

As their name states - they are very classy and delicate hoops (silver plated) with the pink ribbon as a reminder of what we are trying to achieve: to find a cure for the disease once and for all.

Wear pink this month and remind everyone we are still fighting: for our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, and friends – together we can make a difference!

Do you have an inspirational story to share?

P.S. You can find them in the store: Hope; out of each sale $10 is going to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Besides semi-precious stones and crystals and glass beads I like to experiment with other materials. A couple of years back I discovered Polymer Clay - a material that will allow me to go as crazy as I want and to combine colours in a way I couldn't fathom before.

Nautilus pendant - polymer clay :: All the Pretty ThingsWhile I haven't got to the perfection of creating flower petals or butterfly wings, one of the pieces I love most is the Nautilus - which uses a 2-colour palette in a very unusual way. Circled together in one of the most versatile and classic shape (the never ending circle, spiral in this case) the turquoise and purple bring each other to life and they inspire you to laugh and be happy.

Wearing the Nautilus you will feel beautiful and loved, timeless like the shell after which is inspired, and with no worries - you can hear the Ocean singing in your ears and that's all that matters. The turquoise being the expression of feelings & creativity, and violet the one of creativity and wisdom - their combination will make it perfect: wisdom, emotion, expression.

What colours make you feel good?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Elegance (pearls)

Elegance necklace & bracelet set - freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, mother of pearl :: All the Pretty ThingsI picked today's piece from my collection of gifts - this one was made for a very dear friend of mine. You know the type - the one that has everything and you cannot figure out what to give them... If you buy something too expensive you fear they'll think you're showing off; you can’t really buy a trinket; nothing seems to be the perfect gift.

So you decide to make something for them - and that will make it special, even if it's not pure 24K gold or diamonds.

Thus the 'Elegance' piece - strung with freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals: the necklace with a shell cross as a pendant; the bracelet with 3 strands.

This is such an elegant piece - can be worn on a very special occasion: the Swarovski crystals spark beautifully and share the light everywhere. The style is classic - the necklace sits close to the collarbone, the bracelet embraces your arm in a glamorous hug.

Since then I've been thinking to make a set for myself, and add earrings - however, life gets in the way and, on top of that, I couldn't decide on the style of earrings (maybe I'll go without!).

Do you have a piece of jewelry that's dear to you? What makes it special?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Aztec Dream

Aztec Dream necklace - turquoise, Czech glass :: All the Pretty ThingsToday I am going to tell you a story about one piece I love: The Aztec Dream.

I love Turquoise - most of my wardrobe contains pieces in shades of blue and turquoise. For years before I starting creating jewelry I admired the silver and turquoise jewelry wherever I went... once I started making my own jewelry - I kept dreaming about this rich necklace, with a huge turquoise stone. Somehow I kept creating other pieces, never my turquoise one.

One recent day I was browsing my local bead store when I came upon this doughnut turquoise and I knew this is it, this is the day when my necklace will be born. I quickly paired it with the chips, copper Czech glass beads, a mate turquoise Czech bead, along with teal glass beads - and I rushed home.

The 3 strands were beautifully assembled then braided in my Aztec Dream.

This is my dream - I've been wearing it since almost daily :) If you like it - yours will be similar, but never the same. As with all handmade jewelry - they are never 2 pieces identical. And if turquoise is not your stone - just let me know what colour or stone you'd prefer and I will make your dream come true.

Enjoy! The Aztec Dream

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Hello there - and Welcome to the Grand Opening of All the Pretty Things!
This is my first entry and I am busy today trying to put the finishing touches on the eStore. However I would like to welcome everyone - please come in and check all the items we have for sale. They are all made in Canada, with love and with the wish to create beautiful things: for wearing, for displaying, for decorating, for gift giving!

We mostly create jewelry: fun or delicate, elegant or all-day, there is something for everyone. Sometimes we enjoy creating pieces of art - like the glass & polymer clay vases, or the artsy gel candles.

We love to create - so we will try to add new pieces as often as possible.

If you have any questions or you like a design but you'd prefer it in different colours or materials, just let us know: info [at]

Enjoy shopping in our store!