My So Charmed Life

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

CHARMING CHAT: Art & Design with Cathy Cervantes


Jodi: Cathy, it’s so lovely to sit down to tea with you! And, you have SO many cool objéts; I want them all! Can you tell me about your collections? Cathy: It’s kind of like I have been in this deep acquiring coma for the last 30 years, and I am starting to wake up! I have gathered things that … more

A New (to me) Designer to Love


So I get a call the other evening from a vintage shop owner who knows me well and she says: I got this really odd coat in and I think it has your name on it. I take such calls seriously. Went in the next day and scored the above-pictured divine asymmetrical muslin garment by Ivan Grundahl. For $20. Perfect … more

Beautiful Forever: A Necklace


Did I say something about no longer doing custom work? LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE. Pictured in this post, a custom mixed media necklace commissioned by a group of lovely midwestern ladies for a mutual friend who is beautiful forever. Happy Birthday, Amy. Vintage silk sari fiber from India, wire, glass beads, vintage rhinestone chain and buttons. Hand forged clasp. … more

My Domestic Life: 10 fun photos from ’round the house


Bedroom: Thrifted fabrics awaiting (and providing) inspiration. Foyer between designfarm office and so charmed studio: The Molly Shrine, featuring painting by Carrie Mitchell (center) and self portrait collage with braids by Molly (age 7ish). Entrance to basement at bottom of stairs: One of several household baseball shrines. Dining room: Flowers from the BF. Weekly. No, I’m not kidding. Bathroom upstairs: … more

Fabric, Part 2: Spoonflower!


Those of you who follow my ramblings on Facebook and my pins on Pinterest, know that I’ve taken a sewing detour of late and have been making the prettiest little dresses using Jody Pearl’s Piece of Cake frock and tunic pattern. Pictured above is my favorite cake to-date worn by me, and featuring a crushed velvet top and yardsale damask … more

Bangle Stacks at Art & Soul DC


Hey local peeps! In what can only be described as a truly rare event in my life, I’ll be making a public appearance at the lovely boutique Art & Soul, in downtown Washington, DC, for their April Girls Night Out event, this Thursday 4/5, 6-9 pm. My jewelry will be for sale at the shop, including three sets of bangle … more

WIP: Piece of Cake Dress


A few weeks ago I posted about a terrific pattern I’d discovered; a dress called the Piece of Cake (by Jody Pearl of Sew Outside the Lines). Pictured above is my dress in progress! The hardest part of this (I think) is the slight altering to the pattern that I worked through this week. I went between sizes for the … more

Hey, I Can Totally do “pretty!”


Lots of artists struggle over the concept of creative voice… you know, that indefinable thing that makes your work your own. I seem to have a handful of voices, which makes me either versatile… or schizophrenic. And, either way, it’s ok with me; in fact I embrace the idea of taking various directions with jewelry. This week I attended an … more

CORSET TUTORIAL: Steal this Idea… I Did!


If you love corsets but find them awfully expensive, here’s a great simple corset you can make yourself. With NO sewing! I saw it in a shop window here in Takoma Park and immediately thought: I can do that! The most challenging part of this project is locating the vintage army surplus spats you’ll need. The ones I used are … more

Her Vinyl Smile


Some supplies get used as quick as can be. I’d been visiting and longing for those vinyl record beads from Africa forever so once I got my hands on them, I had to use them immediately. The pink btw, is bright neon. The vintage black buttons look like vinyl records to me, they are art deco and were purchased long … more

Supply Lust


My work for designfarm takes precedence during the weekdays and this has been a slammed week, with no time for jewelry other than the site launch. Finally, with things winding down on Friday afternoon I took a break to run errands and found myself at my local bead shop — S&A Beads — in Old Town Takoma Park. Manager Zoe … more



Having a far-away art friend is today’s version of a pen pal (which I’m old enough to also have had), only better! Manuela lives in Milan and we met on flickr — where she goes by the name Gigliotigre and/or PoppyPoppins. We were drawn to one another’s jewelry images; pictured above is Manu’s hand-knit plastic necklace, Knotting Lies. Although we … more

WIP: I Hate Making the Second One


My attention span is so limited at times… I LOVE making earrings, but when they get complicated… as they have been lately… I never feel like making up the second one! Pictured above, two singles from today’s work. This one features labradorite coin beads, a favorite earring finding, and a sweet little blood-red glass leaf from India in the shape … more

WIP: More Soldered Focals


Having some fun with solder again today. These necklace focals are both made with thin sheets of micro glass, between which stuff is sandwiched, then soldered. This is particularly fun, because you can see the lace from the other side of the charm. I used two little claw-foot findings to make loops for stringing chain. They were a beeeyatch to … more

WIP: New focals


I’m so excited to share this with you… a new necklace focal — printed images soldered between thin pieces of glass. Above is one side, below is the other. I added the little fleur de lis charm for fun and patina and sanded everything to a messy aged black. Since giving up the resin process, I’ve been agonizing over not … more

Japanese Fabric Eye Candy


Since deciding to make a little dress (see previous post) I’ve been exploring the vast world of imported Japanese fabric on Etsy. There are several shops that have hundreds of listings of these gorgeous prints in cotton and cotton-linen blends. The rest of this post will be sans text eye-candy. Oh, be warned: some of the fabrics are ghastly expensive. … more

Sew Outside the Lines


I stumbled upon the work of Jody Pearl (I know,  soul sister in name right?), over on flickr, where she posts lots of great images including a recent self portrait with flaming pink hair (I know, hair sister too!)…   Turns out Jody — who goes by Reinventing Fashion (soul sister of craft!) — has a full-on web site where … more

Home Run Valentines Day


We celebrate the mid-February holiday of romance at our house, despite some jaded opinions that it’s simply an evil conspiracy between the Hallmark and Whitman’s companies. How cute is this little heart-shaped baseball box of chocolates? Well, there were only three candies inside, and the BF was sweet enough to share with Molly and I. The BF went the traditionalist … more

Before I Got Sick!


I remember last week… when I had a life other than lying in my bed feeling like CRAP on a stick! Oh yeah… I was vertical. I left my house once in awhile. I was making stuff. In fact I made this pretty necklace — I See Myself in You — just before the plague hit and rendered me stoopid. … more

CHARMING CHAT with Julie Jackson of Subversive Crossstitch & Kitty Wigs


Welcome to the first of hopefully many Charming Chats with some of the people I adore in the Craftsphere. First up I’m honored to bring you the amazingly talented and often quite private, Julie Jackson. Julie started Subversive Crossstitch in 2003, one of the very first women to launch a DIY business celebrating the then-dying/dead art of crossstitch. Julie gave … more

Neon Forever


Wanted to share this Voodoo Candy necklace in its finished state. Detail above shows focal, clasp and some of the crazy beads. In its entirety… very allsorts candy and licorice. This may not be everyone’s favorite colorway, but I’ve always loved the high contrast and the dark playful aspects of using lots of black with neon. This view shows these … more

WIP: More Unstrung Heroes


Two more sets of beads hot outta the oven. This one looks like nasty neon weaponry. Here’s a set with pink teef! Chomp chomp.

WIP: Unstrung Heroes


For a week when I felt sluggish and unproductive, I’m surveying my labor and thinking… wha???? Well, nothing was finished, so maybe that’s why I felt sort of lacking. Incomplete. A bit on the edge (of my seat?). Anyway, it is a good thing I shlepped out to Hobby Lobby yesterday for supplies. Ice storm this morning and we are … more

Ancient Games, Again


Second game of Jack’s necklace in a whole other colorway. Maybe I like this one even better? I don’t know! Many artisan beads along with lots of bits from my collection.



I’m reading Thomas Hardy (Far from the Madding Crowd) on my ipad (which no doubt is a bit weird) and was feeling very Victorian this morning… so here’s a little something in progress fresh off the bench–a dear distressed frame with buttons handsewn on vintage upholstery fabric. Not sure yet what the necklace part will look like, or if there … more

What I Wear (and a little about why I might wear it)


Last night, Molly and I had our weekly girl’s night out for dinner at Chipotle, browsing about downtown, hang-time. In the car on the way home I asked her why she thought people buy and wear jewelry. Her answer: Expression. Now, this is really interesting to me, and granted, she’s my daughter. But I asked her then if she thought … more

Playing an Ancient Game


The game of jacks was a very big deal when I was in junior high school, back in the late 60’s. 10 metal jacks and a rubber ball, played on the smoothest floor available. A series of maneuvers appropriately titled: onesies, twosies, threesies, foursies, and so on. I was pretty good. A girl named Susie ruled. I’m not really nostalgic … more



I spent most of my making-time at the end of the week and this weekend on this necklace. The challenge for me here was in using a handcrafted focal bead (the lavish bird heart) that is so lovely and gorgeous in its own right. It would be easy to string something so pretty on a simple chain. And believe me, … more



Decorated handbags are nothing new; wonderful examples of this crafty form of entertainment can be found dating way back, with a proliferation of such objects in the mid-20th century. The work of artisans like Enid Collins of Texas (think glittery bejeweled wooden boxes and woven bags circa 1960’s) is in fact highly collectible. Because there was a time when my … more

Surrealist Circus


At 14 I almost ran away to join the circus. Not wanting to be too big for my britches, or cause my mother an untimely death (she would have been only 34 at the time) I opted instead to spend a lot of time at the State Fair with a handful of glamorous characters several years my senior. Hours spent … more

Poets & Writers


I’m trying to remember when I first read Oscar Wilde, and I believe it was in high school; The Picture of Dorian Gray. For those doing math out there, that would mean about close to 40 years ago. My obsession continued into college and remains in place today. I love his writings, images of him, the film starring Stephen Fry, … more

MORE Giveaway Goodies


Ok, due to OVERWHELMING response… I know, six people, but I expected ZERO so I’m all psyched up… there are now three “lots” I’m giving away with the drawing I posted yesterday (scroll down). This is Lot 2, a pair of very elegant showstoppers with vintage glass and sparkly goodness. And here’s Lot 3, more Time and Candy… golden brass … more

Giving it Away


Happy New Year to all! Is it Jan. 2 all ready? Time is FLYING! Which is why I included the earrings far left in this first jewelry give-away. Those feature little clock hands and little black glass beads. In the center we have vintage beads on long lovely ear-wires. On the far right vintage 50’s “cut-out” buttons and delicious glass … more

Tout Finis


With all the daily posting in Dec, a couple of pieces never made it onto the blog, thought I’d include them here so I can MOVE ON! Pictured above and below, The Trapeze Artist mixed media joint. Lots of materials combined here. Two more close-ups, nice little clasp if I do say! And this skein of the Indian sari fiber … more

High Net Worth


Have had a complete fascination and love for automobile emblems for a long time now; once created an entire line of vintage handbags featuring these… all sold now with a few in my private collection. Anyway, have had this Caddy wreath around the studio for months, distressed it, left it on my work bench, waited, and woke up yesterday morning … more

A Few of My Favorite Things #31… THE GRAND FINALE!


For the final post in this Decebmer series I wanted to bring you something really special and unique and brilliant, so here is the incredible work of pop surrealist, Mab Graves. I visit Mab’s shop just to hang out with her wonderful characters; stopping by to see what she’s been creating is like having tea with the most charming people … more

Newly Finished


Finished up the Maintain Balance necklace yesterday. The clasp turned out cool, with a handcrafted toggle and a found rubber gasket. Here’s a close up of the main elements. And, modeled by the lovely headless zombie torso, Missouri-Abigale. PS: Two words I am TIRED of seeing together: Statement & Necklace. AGHHHHH, make it stop! Home Sweet Home was also finished … more

A Few of My Favorite Things #30


While we’re on the subject of people treated unfairly on Project Runway, here is Danielle Everine, whose work I love and adore and will be wearing soonest. As of this writing, Danielle’s etsy shop is sparse, but I’m crazy for ALL of the pieces. Love this Water Buffalo tee with great graphics and a pretty ballet neckline which I greatly … more

A Few of My Favorite Things #29


I was, and always will be, a member of Team Mondo. Since fanning him on FB, every once in awhile I hit up his Web site, to see what the adorable trashy one is up to. BTW, when you hit the site, wait a bit for the front page images to load… you’ll be treated to fun slide show … more



Molly and I spent all day driving around and shopping and eating at Chipotle and laughing and carrying on. One of the stops we made was Fixtures-Plus (Brentwood, locals, also one in Balto) a warehouse of old store fixtures and displays, including a room full of mannequins. I’ll take my camera next time; it was INSANE in the membrane! Of … more

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