My So Charmed Life

WIPs, personal stories, an occasional interview, and links to fabulous finds in the world of craft.

Rebel Rebel Pattern Launch

06.16.21

Long time, no blog, don’t hate! In the years since, truth be told, I’ve not been making much jewelry. Well, I did make some, but then got bogged down making the Web pages… but I’ll do that one day! Promise! Meanwhile, I’ve turned into a crazed, knitting-addicted maniac. And, even more troubling (exciting?) I’ve designed and released a pattern on … more

Dottie Angel Frock, Part 1: WHAT SIZE?

10.01.15

You read it here first: Simplicity Pattern 1080, The Dottie Angel Frock (DAF for short), released earlier in 2015, is fast becoming a cult classic in the world of crafts and sewing. This is a pattern that will live for decades, and will one day be out of print, collectible, and highly valued on the resale market. Trust me. In … more

Learning Small

03.13.15

I prefer working small; the above amphora necklace focal is 1.75″ tall, plus the millinery and stick pins. But since I’ve been seriously delving into the polymer clay medium, I’m realizing that even the smallest object holds the promise of so many lessons, from forming to surface texture to paint. The photo above is where I left the object last … more

A Visit from the Muse Squad

03.11.15

My creative impulse tends to build to a boiling point during periods when life is too busy, chaotic, stressful… and then as soon as the gift of time is provided… it’s like the floodgates of heaven and hell open, simultaneously. It started with this object, a very ancient glass bottle that I purchased in a crazy hippie crystal alchemists shop–The … more

Adventures in (polymer) Clay

11.18.14

I have a love/hate relationship with polymer clay. After shunning it for years based on my perception of the overly cutesy-wootsy suburban housewife crafter (gingerbread men) and psychedelic hippie (cane) aesthetics, I’m here to tell you, polymer has come into its own. This is my second foray into this medium, the beads above were made a few weeks ago. And … more

Sparkle & Flannel

09.30.14

Sometimes the thriftstore is just magical. Often, as I’m driving over I’m thinking about the things I “need” and all too often, those items are there for the finding. You guys know I’m on a big grunge kick, and that means old flannel shirts. The above, scored for $6–which truthfully, I feel is a lot at Value Village–has a dirty … more

Grunge Was a Thing

09.19.14

You know, way back in the ’90’s. Nirvana, Marc Jacobs, flannel, old boots. Well, it became a thing, but I’m old enough to tell you it was there long before Vogue mag declared it a fashion thing. I think by that time, I’d been shopping for clothes primarily in thrift stores for 2-3 decades, favoring girly dresses with combat boots … more

Inside the Designer’s Studio

09.14.14

I never (ever) let people into the jewelry studio. If you’ve been inside (and you know who you are) consider yourself mightily privileged. It’s not that there are secrets, but it is just a crazy mess of supplies, with ideas crowding out the space and threatening to use up all the available oxygen. I’m afraid if you see it, you’ll … more

Don’t Fear the Knits!

07.12.14

A key quality for making things is a certain fearlessness around one’s tools and supplies. I don’t know where this comes from, for me it has something to do with time (decades of making) and age (being ancient and just not caring). Many women I know confess to owning machines but being scared to use them… I was also that … more

When an abandoned scarf became a glamorific shrug…

07.11.14

I was delighted to find this gorgeous scarf at my local thrift, buried behind about 100 of her ugly stepsisters. Although I don’t wear scarves, I couldn’t pass up this fabric which put me in mind of a 70’s super-glam brand called Sweet Baby Jane for the Plain Jane clothing company. I used to scour the High Street boutiques on … more

Sewing Hands are Happy Hands

07.06.14

Friends on Facebook know that I’ve been obsessively sewing again; this post gathers together images and ideas, a greatest hits of the allure of this activity for me. 1. Textiles. Probably the number one reason I sew is a deep, enduring love for textiles. My passion for fabric seems to know no bounds and each time I get back to … more

Large v. Small, Left v. Right

02.27.14

In my work as a designer, both my professional communications design and jewelry design, one of my very favorite aspects has always been the toggle between big picture thinking and small detail management. I’ll assert that having a love and capacity for both aspects of design is a rarity for the creative soul. For me, it took decades to reconcile … more

My Reconstructed Life

11.16.13

As the weather turns cold, I seem to turn to textiles as my preferred art form. Pictured above and below, a recent construction. The beautifully embroidered top was found as-is, been trying to find a way to work with it for YEARS. Ancient tattered and be-sequined black tulle/lace affixed. Worn as an apron (ties in back) over a very vintage … more

Texturizing Clay Surfaces

03.30.13

Really immersing myself in working with clay again; learning so much from scouring the internet, but also by fearless experimentation. A recent lesson: One of the addictions of clay is an undeniable therapeutic benefit to holding something squishy in one’s hands, something that softens with one’s own body heat, something that starts out as an ugly lump and becomes anything … more

About a Doll

03.25.13

Blythe. Where to start describing the love affair with this plastic doll whose head is 10x too large for her body, whose eyes bulge and boggle, and whose history is one of mass rejection turned crazed global obession? To get the basics of the story hit this wiki link. Pictured above is my first Blythe doll, a Veronica Lace, issued … more

WIP: Tassels, Not Hassles

02.08.13

The completed necklace above is fashioned from an Afghani artifact, a heavily beaded tassel, probably used to decorate a camel. This is unlisted due to my complete inability to part with it. Here then, is another gorgeous tassel I’ve been trying to work with, this one is African and made of leather. The colors are amazing, both dirty and brilliant … more

WIP: Rocking Out

02.01.13

Suddenly. In. Love. With. ROCKS!!!!!! Pictured above, from the top: fluorite, blue calcite, citrine (but suspiciously looks like calcite and am contacting dealer about this), raw garnets (!), amazonite and quartz points. Gemstones are MUCH cheaper by the strand, and ebay is a good bet for locating best pricing. Big batch of Rocking Rings made yesterday, now being varnished to … more

WIP: Gilded Age

01.27.13

Have discovered gold metal leaf. Am in the process of gilding pretty much everything in site, including this amazing piece of Russian military surplus, a small metal tube that will become a necklace focal. I’ve got a batch of these babies to play with. And this simple pair of vintage brass findings… I love how the metal leaf clings to … more

WIP: Odd Pairings

01.22.13

I like to fool myself into thinking that anyone could possibly be interested in my creative process, the inner workings of my designing mind at the earliest stages of making things. Hence, WIP (work in progress). Everything here represents an idea in formulation, not remotely finished. This is how it begins with earrings. Vast supplies in my studio. Many little … more

Making Pretty Pictures

01.06.13

Making (and attempting to sell) wearable art is an incredibly multi-faceted endeavor. From the creative aspects of designing work that meets my vision to the artful execution of that work, to techy stuff like digital photography and building web pages, the skill-set required would seem daunting if I weren’t just smack in the midst of it daily. Clothing is challenging … more

Charming Shadowbox

11.28.12

A comment from the mom of the baby whose bracelet is pictured in the below post mentioned that she was considering making a shadowbox to contain the bracelet for display during the years prior to her daughter being able to wear it. This jogged my memory of creating just such a box when I designed a wedding gift charm bracelet … more

Charming Charminess

11.26.12

Those of you who’ve known me for awhile might remember that my little jewelry business, So Charmed, began in 2001 as a small Web site selling themed charm bracelets with titles like Alien Abduction, Mod Squad, and Tutti Frutti. There were Alice in Wonderland bracelets and darker gothy pieces. Shortly after, I began designing custom charm bracelets for clients the … more

These Boots

11.14.12

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) here in DC has a wonderful exhibit up called Women Who Rock. Artifacts — including a lot of clothing — from Billie Holiday‘s mink stole to Meg White‘s embellished suit (cover of Icky Thump) are displayed along with posters, videos and a terrific historical timeline for context. Of course my favorite … more

Charming Chat: Mad Tea Party with Mo Lappin of Howlpop

11.08.12

The sky was a bright electric blue when Mo Lappin of Howlpop and I sat down to tea and chat about lawless fashion and what shoes to wear to the apocalypse. I’ve been a huge fan of Mo’s cut & paste recycling genius for many years now and boast a solid collection of treasured garments. Here’s the transcript of our … more

Atelier Charm

11.01.12

Anyone who sews understands the frustrations of having to haul your machine onto the dining room table, make a huge mess, run upstairs to where the ironing board lives, clean everything up for dinner, and begin again. Agonizing, especially during an intense time of creating. Here are photos of my newly created nook. Above, among other things, you can see … more

Wild Thangs

10.24.12

Seems I’ve been in a wild animalia mode creatively this past week or two. Above is a necklace I designed and made this week. The bones are found (West Coast, USA), mostly deer. There is one other necklace in progress, I’ll share soon. The piece is titled Come Here Little Dreamer and also features sweet vintage glass beads including rare … more

The Joy, Curse, and Politics of Curly Hair (A White Girl’s Perspective)

10.20.12

Much has been discussed, filmed and written about black Women’s hair. From fake (Photoshopped) Internet images of First Lady Michelle Obama wearing hers “natural”… …to Chris Rock’s documentary, Good Hair, about the subject (including the vast industry surrounding the care of said locks) … …to the recent hullaballoo about Gabby Douglas–the beautiful, talented, teenaged olympian star who should not, in … more

What $17 + a 25% Off Discount Card Will Get You on Thursday at Value Village Thriftstore

10.19.12

I thrift in two ways. One is that I think VERY specifically about what I’m looking for (usually project related, sometimes just a fashion issue) and it is frightening how often I find exactly that thing. The other is just a random trip for the inspiring thrill of the hunt. 50/50 success rate. Yesterday I went to score cheap old … more

My Companions

10.19.12

I can’t be the only designer/maker person in the world who has a love affair going with her tools. I’ve blogged about some very old tools used in my practice as a designer; here are a few pix of fave stitchery tools. A very unsexy photo of one of my favorite aspects of my babylock sewing machine… the little hidden … more

Mad Stitchy World + Iggy

10.18.12

A crazy stitchy day yesterday, several things going at once including this little tshirt remake dress. Big breakthroughs in stitching tshirt fabric: 1. Buy JERSEY needles for your machine. Life-altering and about $3. 2. Zig-zag keeps the fabric stretchy, and it works to set your stitches wide and flat. To make the top, just find a tshirt that you like … more

Colors for a New Dystopia

10.02.12

The first rule of Fight Club is to watch Fight Club at least once every few years in order to go crazy over the sets and costumes, most especially HBC who is one of my always and forever fashion icons. The styling in Fight Club launched a million dystopian thriftstore wardrobes and wannabe revolutionary soap-makers among other things. Oh, and … more

Beach Eye Candy

08.27.12

Rehoboth beach was lovely this year. The gray skies kept us from burning our skin, and allowed for loooooong days with feet in the sand and noses in books. These Seussian kites appeared at dusk in the evenings in front of our hotel. Between us, 7 books were read in 6 days time. Record-breaking and so relaxing. Impressively, Molly made … more

No Regrets, Lots of Regretsy

08.03.12

I set up shop on Etsy in 2008, 4 years ago. Prior to that, I had been selling jewelry online at So Charmed for 7 years, opening the first incarnation of the site on my birthday, September 2001. For the first couple of years on Etsy my work made loads of treasuries and the coveted front page regularly. Sales were … more

Must Everything Always?

07.07.12

A question I try to occasionally ask myself: Must everything always be so complicated? This morning I thought I’d answer that with a resounding nope. I made the things pictured here and love them for their seemingly happy simplicity. The necklaces feature big wooden beads that are probably about 60 years old, there’s a geometric brass bead (40+ years old) … more

be quiet, be violent and original

07.03.12

A dear friend I’ve never met recently posted that I had been so quiet lately. For some reason, this singular comment — simply a caring remark upon my being missing from facebook and other social media — made me think. A lot. In a creative slump and feeling stressed and sad for weeks, this morning I thought I’d try to … more

prim.itive

06.05.12

My neighbor Katy and I don’t generally ask one another to borrow a cup of sugar or an egg. We have, however, been known to knock on the door inquiring after spare dressmaker’s dummies, scraps of fabric, books about fashion & sewing, or an opinion about a new creation. Recently, Katy stopped by in a newly thrifted crisp white dress … more

WINNER!

06.05.12

I announced this weeks ago on Facebook and then promptly forgot to post to the blog! DERP! Anyways, thanks to Molly for pulling a name out of the hat, and we do have a winner. It’s the lovely Jenna from Honey Bijoux. Been trying to email you, girl, so do get in touch with your address! Thanks to all who … more

Give it away, give it away, give it away now…

05.16.12

Here’s another give-away guys, and please feel free to sing along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song while you review the rules, regulations, and photos herein. If you hurry, you can be the 9 MILLIONTH person to view this video! I like Mr. Keidis’ sparkly lipgloss, don’t you? So, this is a sweet romantic necklace from the personal collection … more

Curiouser & Curiouser, Through June 15

05.14.12

My exhibit entitled Curiouser & Curiouser, sponsored by Takoma Park Arts & Humanities, runs through June 15. There are four large glass cases filled with everything from jewelry, to textile work, to clothing explorations. Hard to photograph through the glass… but I hope you get the idea. 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD, 20912. Also please visit the senior show … more

Surrealism, Africa, Holland, and Me

05.03.12

I’ve been making a lot of dresses based on the Piece of Cake frock pattern by Jody Pearl of Sew Outside the Lines and when the above pictured African wax print textile (lower fabric) arrived at my attelier (purchased here) , I decided to make something in a queenly maxi length. I also became utterly obsessed with this gorgeous fabric, … more

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