Saturday, April 23, 2016

Everglades Backcountry Tour Is an Inspiration

Backcountry Boat tour beginning at Flamingo in the Everglades
I am winding up my time here in the Florida Keys and I want to share a recent trip to Everglades National Park and Everglades lakes.  They are two of Florida’s natural treasures that attract visitors from all over the world.  Visitors come to see wilderness of islands, sawgrass, mangroves, forests, waterways and open water.  What captured my imagination is the fact that what you see is little different than when dugout travelers fished the waters and set up villages and camps on the islands centuries ago.  This year we took a backcounty boat tour of the Everglades beginning at Flamingo Visitor Center.  It was a very hot and humid day so a boat ride was perfect especially since we were sprayed with cool and refreshing water in places.

One of the larger crocodiles spotted
This trip gave us an opportunity to see crocodiles.  Most were baby crocs and they were difficult to spot because their gray color blends into the habitat so well.  


We also saw 3 types of mangroves which are tropical plants found along much of the world’s tropical coasts. They grow in loose, wet soils, salt water, and are periodically submerged by tidal flows. Florida has 3 of the 50 species of mangroves found throughout the world--Red, Black, and White.
Manchineel tree or Little Apple of Death
Fortunately, my education here included learning about the Manchineel tree. This is an important tree to know about.  It is native to the Western Hemisphere and is known as the most poisonous tree in the world. In places where it grows – Florida, the Caribbean and the Bahamas – the manchineel is often marked with a red band to warn passersby not to get too near it.  The one that we saw in the Everglades was unmarked and I made a mental note to try to remember what it looks like.

The tree is poisonous on so many levels that if you ever spot one, it is better you stay at least a few yards away from it. Its fruit resembles a small apple, but eating one could land you right in the emergency room. It was supposedly named ‘manzanita de la muerte’ (little apple of death) by Christopher Columbus. But it might just be the least dangerous part of the tree.

The manchineel’s milky white sap is incredibly caustic and poisonous as well.  Just a drop could cause skin blisters, dermatitis, swelling or burns. This happens a lot with unsuspecting travelers who use the tree for shelter from the rains. The sap is so caustic that even the rain drops coming from the branches can cause burns. The bark is poisonous too.   Burning it releases a smoke that causes temporary and in some cases, permanent blindness. 

Coot Bay
I enjoyed seeing the beauty of Coot Bay which is a gorgeous stretch of water in a remote area.  It is almost just like it would have been back in 1513 when Ponce de Leon explored portions of the Florida peninsula.  

While I am in Florida. I make a lot of my jewelry for the Delaware by Hand Members' Memorial Day Show  on May 28, 2016, in Lewes, Delaware.  My adventures in Florida serve to inspire my jewelry. Here are 2 pairs of starfish earrings that were inspired by the Everglades trip.

Turquoise starfish earrings by BayMoonDesign

The turquoise waters outside the Flamingo visitor's center inspired these casual earrings.  These turquoise starfish earrings are made with polymer clay starfish charms by Humblebeads. I added cream colored ceramic bead with faux sand to these seashell earrings. 
White Starfish Earring by BayMoonDesign

The crushed coral along the shoreline has lots of off whites, beiges, and tans. These white starfish earrings are made with another pair of polymer clay starfish charms by Humblebeads. The starfish have neutral colors of white and tan. I added cream colored vintage pearls to these neutral earrings. 

I am lucky to have such beauty around me.  

Friday, April 15, 2016

We're All Ears :: April Inspiration Reveal

We're All Ears April Inspiration is perfect for spring.  For this challenge, we can take advantage of the sight of new green things that are pushing their way up all over the place, or the sight of grass that is greening up. We are invited to be inspired by feather leaves from plants like ferns, or the bright spring green colors. I usually just make one pair of earrings for this blog hop, however, I love ferns, greens, and I am working on developing a spring collection for 2016 so I was really inspired to go beyond one pair.

Fern earrings by BayMoonDesign
Fern Earrings by BayMoonDesign
For my first two pairs, I focused on the ferns. I did a quick search on Etsy which is usually my go to spot for art beads and found these polymer clay fern beads. I purchased my fern charms from Summer Wind . I love the look of the greens in the fern beads and Czech glass crystals that I used to create these fern earrings. I think that the natural brass ear wires add to the earthy look.

Copper Fern earrings by BayMoonDesign
Copper Fern Earrings by BayMoonDesign
For the next two pairs I used embossed metal charms that I got from Sharyl McMillian-Nelson of Metapolies.  I feel a special connection to Sharyl.  She is a fellow librarian.  Once a librarian always a librarian--even when retired like I am.  I follow her blog and I admire her metal embossing and patinaed metals. I also make similar components so I appreciate the work that goes into them. She tends to focus more on the making components and I focus on creating jewelry.  When I saw her copper ferns I fell in love with them.  This blog hop gave me a good excuse to buy them.  These copper fern earrings are made from natural copper sheets that have been embossed with forest ferns and distressed. I added vintage mossy green beads that are surrounded by copper bead caps. I hung these botanical earrings on copper ear wires to accentuate the copper. The copper fern earrings hang almost 2 inches in length from the top of the ear wire. This fern jewelry is a perfect gift for a naturalist and for the spring.

Lime Green Earrings by BayMoonDesign
For the third pair I was inspired by the fresh, new greens that are all around us in the spring. I used lime green, yellow, and silver connectors by Metapolies that I had in my stash. These lime green earrings are made from silver rectangular metal that has been embossed with an abstract pattern. The earrings are hand painted with green and yellow patinas. From the silver metal sheets, I attached some yellow Czech glass flowers that I created. I have hung the yellow floral earrings on sterling silver ear wires to pick up the silver in the metal sheets. The spring green earrings hang almost 2 inches in length from the top of the ear wire. They are available for purchased HERE.

Visit the We're All Ear's Blog to see what others were inspired to create this month.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Honoring David Bowie

David Bowie
David Bowie Chicago 2002-08-08 photo by Adam-Bielawski

Thank you Love My Art Jewelry for sponsoring a blog to honor the artist David Bowie.  No matter what your taste in music, as an artist, you have to admire David Bowie as one of the all time great artists.  He was theatrical, musical and actor as well. He was a rebel, a fashion icon, full of heart, and passion and boldness. He shone like the star he was.

Bowie Rockin' a Paisley shirt in 1967
Bowie fans also knows that in addition to being famous as a musician he was a well-known fashion icon. David Bowie went through many stages with his clothing and his certain looks as his music changed. One thing David Bowie was not known for being subtle. Many of his outfits combined bright colors with attention-getting prints. He once wore a velour suit which had a head to toe, red and blue paisley print. To dress like David Bowie, you can't be afraid to go crazy with colors and prints, or both.  I decided to design a piece of jewelry that has the crazy bright colors of purple, turquoise and yellow.  For the print, I selected paisley.

David Bowie
                                                    Colorful Paisley Necklace by BayMoonDesign

My colorful paisley necklace has a vibrant handmade paisley ceramic pendent by JeraLuna Designs. The necklace has turquoise Irish waxed linen thread, purple and yellow beads. The yellow beads that I used have a sea glass look. The purple star beads seemed perfect for this Bowie inspired piece.  The necklace is attached to bright yellow silk ribbon and gold metal claps and the paisley necklace is available for purchase at BayMoonDesign.

Do you think David Bowie would approve?

Check out what the other participants designed with David Bowie in mind HERE at the Love My Art Blog.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April's Art Bead Challenge

"Jacob’s Ladder", 1957
by Helen Frankenthaler             

Helen Frankenthaler (December 12, 1928 – December 27, 2011) was an American abstract expressionist painter. Her painting "Jacob's Ladder" is the inspiration for April's Art Bead Challenge. The delicately colored painting has terracotta, orchid, greens, and natural hues.
leaf ceramic by Mary Harding
ceramic by Mary Harding

I used the terracotta and green ceramic by Mary Harding as the center of my bracelet.  I also went into my stash and selected a cream colored round lampwork bead by Marcy Lamberson to sit in a spot of honor--next to Mary's pretty green leaf.

Leaf bracelet by Bay Moon Design
Leaf bracelet by BayMoonDesign

I found Irish waxed linen thread in the same terracotta color. The thread adds contrast against the ceramic and faceted picture jasper beads in natural colors. Brass chain and clasp worked with the natural colors.

I love jasper and use it frequently.  Crystals and their meanings and properties are very popular at the moment.  This is the first time that I have used picture jasper so I was curious about its properties of healing.  Picture Jasper is a stone of proportion and harmony and stimulates creative visualization. It  brings comfort and alleviates fear. Picture Jasper stimulates the immune system and helps treat disorders of the skin and kidneys.  These qualities make it useful in crystal healing as an emotional/psychological healing stone.  I really like the colors and textures in the picture jasper that I bought.  I am happy that I ran across it--a luck find.
I love Mary Harding's earthy ceramics and I am glad that I finally finished this leaf bracelet and I feel that I did her ceramic justice.  What do you think?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Beginnings of a Spring Collection

Ceramics by Firefly Studio and BlueBlazes Lampwork
2016 seems to be flying by. It is hard for me to believe that spring is here already.  Have you ever wondered how a jewelry collection begins?  I have a new paisley collection that morphed from the ceramics above.  I thought you might like to see the beads that I started with and what they have turned into.

The paisley ceramics were the basis of inspiration.  Paisley is fashionable anytime of the year but I feel it is especially suitable for spring.  It has an energized look that is perfect for spring.  It is a classic design that has out lasted trendy fashions century after century. To this day the paisley pattern continues to be fashionable and is still highly sought after for clothing, home d├ęcor and Jewelry.

Blue paisley bracelet by BayMoonDesign
This blue paisley bracelet has a gorgeous handmade paisley ceramic cuff by Firefly Studio. The brown bracelet has blue Irish waxed linen thread woven through and around ceramic and copper beads. The colorful bracelet had a handmade copper clap that I made especially for this. The paisley ceramic and colors give this artisan bracelet a boho look.

Brown and Blue Paisley Necklace by BayMoonDesign

This colorful brown and blue paisley necklace has a matching paisley ceramic pendent by Firefly Studio. The brown and blue necklace has a natural color of Irish waxed linen thread woven through and around artisan lamp work beads. The necklace is attached to two brown and caramel silk ribbons and a handmade copper claps that I made especially for this necklace. This necklace is 21 inches around.  I think the brown gives it an earthy look.

Robin Egg Blue Earrings by BayMoonDesign
I love to make earrings so I had to include a new pair that happens to match the paisley necklace and bracelet. These robin blue earrings have handmade artisan ceramics Fire Fly Studio. I love the modern boho look. In addition to the blue ceramics, I used copper spiral round beads and copper ear wires. These casual earrings dangle 2 inches below the top of the ear wires and are light and comfortable to wear. 

I added another paisley necklace to my paisley collection in my BayMoonDesign shop.  Can you find it?