Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sand dollars: It's Alive

An alive sand dollar

The familiar exoskeleton of a sand dollar is often found cast up on a beach. When it is on the beach it is white, with an obvious five-pointed shape on the back. But a live sand dollar has a different look. Densely packed, tiny, dark purple spines cover live sand dollars and hide the star design.  Sand dollars are amazing creatures that are in fact alive despite seeming like they do not move. This video shows that sand dollars do move, as well as the difference between a live and a dead sand dollar.

I love the beach and spend a lot of time on the beach as well as in the water. The sand dollar is a favorite motif found in my Bay Moon Design jewelry.  


My latest sand dollar design is the sterling silver pair above on the left.  These are gorgeous round shaped earrings with textured sand dollar in the center of a sterling silver frame. The beach sand dollar and ear wires are sterling silver also.

The pair on the right are one of a kind handmade sand dollar earrings that are made with white sand dollar polymer clay beads and aqua blue cultured sea glass. I love the look of the aqua beach glass with these ocean earrings. These earrings are hung on natural brass ear wires.

Another pair of my handmade sand dollar earrings are made from natural brass sheets that has been embossed with a sand dollar pattern. I then hand painted and sanded these boho earrings with blue, yellow, and green patinas to created ocean earrings. I used blue beads to accentuate the royal blue in the metal . The metal has a protective coating to keep the color vivid for years to come! I have hung them on gold brass ear wires to bring out the yellow and brass metal that show through the patina.
All 3 pairs of sand dollar earrings are made with different materials and are different styles. I have also used the sand dollar motif in necklaces and bracelets.

This sand dollar bracelet features a white sand dollar bead, blue beads and handmade brass artisan clasp. This unique aqua bracelet has beautiful blue sea glass like beads. I was inspired to make the bracelet as a reminder of a recent swim in the Atlantic Ocean. I made a clasp that reminds me of the sun. The water and sun made a perfect beach day.

These are some of my favorite sand dollar facts:

The sand dollar's mouth has a jaw with five teethlike sections to grind up tiny plants and animals.

 Sometimes a sand dollar "chews" its food for fifteen minutes before swallowing.

 It can take two days for the food to digest. 

Scientists can age a sand dollar by counting the growth rings on the plates of the exoskeleton. Sand dollars usually live six to 10 years.

Sand dollars are fascinating creatures that provide me with plenty of inspiration.  I have lots of jewelry and handmade greeting cards that are inspired by the ocean in my online BayMoonDesign store.
Which of these sand dollars of mine are your favorites?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

July Art Bead Scene Challenge

Tiger in a Tropical Storm
Henri Rousseau
Oil Painting
July's Art Bead Scene challenge has a tiger ready to pounce on an unseen prey as the subject. The story is left to the viewer. Tiger in a Tropical Storm was the first painting that Rousseau painted in his signature jungle scene in a dream-like style. The painting was first rejected by the salon show but was exhibited at a non-juried show where it received mixed reviews. Henri, a self-taught painter, was not favored by critics, however, he was admired by artists looking to break away from the art establishment.  The painting is detailed in it's lush, tropical foliage. It shows a sophisticated use of color and brushwork.

 July palette
The July palette has lots of vibrant colors. I decided to focus on the lush greens in the foliage. I selected a green bird with multi colored floral details by polymer clay artist Humblebeads. The bird has a pattern with some blue and gold flowers on his chest. The same blue and gold colors are in the palette.   I added a handmade ceramic green bead to the floral bird to add some additional green color and texture. The ceramic is made by my cousin Sandra Sapienza who is a well know fiber artist.   I used some brass leaves to create what looks like a little nest for the bird to sit on. All were combined to make the statement focal for this bird necklace. I hammered a piece of brass wire to flatten the bottom so that the stack of beads would stay in place. On the top of the bird a made a messy wrapped loop to attach to a large jump ring that I covered with some brass beads.

Green Bird Necklace by BayMoonDesign
Green Bird Necklace by BayMoonDesign

I used brass chain and wire to add some gorgeous green Czech glass leaf beads and a butterfly. It is a modern necklace for anytime of year. This art necklace  is a perfect birthday gift for bird lover! It is available for purchase in my online BayMoonDesign store.
Green Bird Necklace by BayMoonDesign
Green Bird Necklace by BayMoonDesign

I love how this painting inspired this necklace.  Art and nature is a winning combination when it comes to inspiration.  What inspires you?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Insects-June Themed Challenge

photo credit ::
The June Art Elements theme challenge is to create something (it could be beads, jewelry, art, etc…) inspired by insects. Any medium can be used. It doesn't even have to be an accurate representation of an insect either. It can be something inspired by one.
photo credit ::
I decided to showcase the ladybug.  Living in Delaware I am extra aware of the ladybug. It was adopted as the official state bug of Delaware on April 25, 1974 thanks to an intensive effort made by Mrs. Mollie Brown-Rust and her 2nd grade students of Lulu M. Ross Elementary School in Milford, Delaware. Children love ladybugs.

Coccinellids are known as ladybugs in North America, and ladybirds in Britain and other parts of the English-speaking world.  The majority of coccinellid species are generally considered useful insects, because many species prey on herbivorous such as or scale insects, which are agricultural pests.

lady bug earrings by BayMoonDesign

I was thrilled to be able to snag these lady bug ceramics made by Scottish artisan Grubbi. These lady bug earrings have yellow, white, and black Czech beads threaded onto blackened steel wire that is attached to the black ear wires. This casual insect jewelry is perfect for the summer. The lady bug earrings are available for purchase.

I shared one of my favorite insects. I am anxious to see what others have been inspired to create on the June Art Elements theme challenge .  

Friday, June 23, 2017

Finding Inspiration in the Nature of Yellowstone

photo credit::

I get lots of inspirations for my jewelry designs from nature. I recently ran across an online guide to Yellowstone National Park that made me think back on a couple of recent trips there. One of the highlights of the park are the geysers. Yellowstone National Park offers visitors a unique perspective of the geothermal activity going on just below the earth´s crust. There aren´t many places in our world where you can go and say that you were walking around the mouth of a super volcano ready to erupt at any moment.  This guide has some breath taking images of them. Another reason, folks go to Yelllowstone is to see the wildlife there. Yellowstone has herds of bison, elk and pronghorn and one of the best places in the lower 48 states to see a grizzly bear.  This guide also has some great photos of the wildlife there.  I wish I had run across this guide before my trips there because it offers some really good tips on places to go there and things to see.

In a previous blog, I talked about a few pairs of  earrings that were inspired by my first trip to Yellowstone and I included a few photos of the geysers that served as the inspiration.  On my second trip there last year, we camped in the northern part of the park where you can find lots of wildlife.  Early one morning, I spotted a fox crossing a creek and I was very close to it. They are widespread throughout the northern part of the park with somewhat patchy distribution elsewhere in the park. Of course, I got so excited I blew all of my photos of him. But I was so close to the fox that the sighting was one of the highlights of the trip there and the memory has stayed with me and inspired me to create a couple of bracelets with the red fox serving as the centerpiece.

Fox bracelet by BayMoonDesign

Heather Powers of Humblebeads is a favorite bead maker of mine. When I saw that she made a component with a running fox on it, I know that I had to create with it. Jumping fox component has a sly little fox running through a birch forest. I love the muted earthy hues. It has oranges, olive greens, and muddy browns and grays,

Around the same time I read the Leather Bracelet with Micro Screws Nuts Tutorial by Powers of Humblebeads on her blog and I decided to give it a try while working with her fox component.   A real plus in this tutorial is that it lists component and where to locate them. It also has great directions with photos. I did deviate from the tutorial slightly when I used her fox component. It didn't have holes on each end like the bracelet bar in the tutorial. I had to create a loop and connect it to the jump ring and leave enough room to make a messy wrap next to the component. I then ran the wire horizontally through the component and make another loop. I used this loop to attach to the jump ring. Once again I left enough room to make a messy wrap next to the component. Now, that I made the bracelet I have mastered a new skill. Micro screws and nuts make this a no-fail project with very minimal tools and no riveting experience needed! In fact, I had the tools. I just needed to get the leather, E hook clasp, jump rings, micro screw and nuts from Lima Beads  My first fox bracelet was gifted to my daughter who loves in Atlanta.  She has foxes that live in her neighborhood.  She really enjoys watching them so I knew she would love the fox bracelet.

Fox bracelet by BayMoonDesign
My second trip to Yellowstone made me want to make another fox bracelet. Knowing Heather makes darling fox components I decided to purchase another fox.  This time I used the same directions but different metals to accentuate the tan leather I choose.  I selected brass instead of copper.  

Which bracelet is your favorite--copper or brass?