Valley Junction Art Market (May 19, 2013)

by mary May 20, 2013

What a day!  Yesterday I did my very first juried art show, the Spring Valley Junction Art Market.  The day started with weather forecasters predicting we'd see severe thunderstorms by late morning or early afternoon (scary).  On our drive over, it started to sprinkle just a little -- not a good sign.  By the time we were setting up, though, it was clear skies and beautiful -- great!  Not long after, though, the wind started to pick up, with gusts probably reaching 30 mph or more most of the day -- not so great!  Our canopy was straining (even though it was weighted down with 40+ lbs at each leg), my table covers were billowing up, & jewelry was tossed around on the tables & onto the ground repeatedly.  Thank goodness for duct tape!  We ended up taping everything down that moved -- table covers, jewelry, jewelry display necks -- you name it.  Steve (my husband) said we would have made Red Green proud.  The wind got so strong that shortly after noon, we took our canopy off for fear it might blow over (thank you to one of the other exhibitors who helped us).  Farther down the street, we heard some artists' tents did blow over, and others lost some of their works (glass and pottery) to the wind, so we were very lucky!  Just when things started to look like we

had made it through the worst of it, my phone died so I couldn't take credit cards!  (Later I learned you can take down the info & run the credit later on-line).  All in all, though, it was a great day -- I saw lots of friends, met many new people, had great conversations with people that stopped by our booth, sold some jewelry, and learned a lot (get a new better canopy capable of standing up to Iowa wind; always have duct tape, pins, & sunscreen with you, and focus more on what's going well -- like it not raining or storming on us -- than on what's not).  Special thanks to Belle (our beagle), who sat peacefully in the truck while we unloaded in the morning and spent most of the day home alone without complaining (if you know Belle, you know this is a big deal); and to Steve (my husband), who ended up staying with me all day (we hadn't planned that he would) -- I would never have made it through all the wind without him! 


Filed Under: Shows

Icicle Neckace

by mary May 16, 2013

I took this picture from our bedroom window early in the morning after one of the last thaws in March of this year.  The day before had been very warm, causing the snow to melt from the roof onto and off the awning.  Not long after I took the picture, it started to warm up again, and the icicles dripped and slid to the snow below.  I love the fragile lacy look of the icicles hanging there almost defying gravity, and thought about how I might capture some of that look in a necklace.  That idea stayed dormant until a week or so ago, when I decided to give it a go, using some of the crystal chandelier pieces we'd found the year before in a dumpster (see earlier blog about our dumster diving).  Here's how the necklace turned out.


Filed Under: Inspiration

Dumpster Diving Yields Treasures

by mary April 29, 2013

Another of my favorite finds was a broken chandelier that I found in a dumpster thanks to my dog, Belle. 

My husband (Steve), Belle and I were out walking to Friedrich's for coffee (for us) and a biscuit (for Belle).  I stopped at the dumpster behind the shops to make a "deposit" and saw that someone had thrown out a broken chandelier including all the beautiful crystal glass pieces!  I called over to Steve and we proceeded to strip the chandelier of all the crystal, while my imagination was racing, thinking of all the things I might be able to do with the different shapes & sizes.  Since then, I've made at least 5 necklaces from various pieces -- including the 2 most recent ones shown here.  Three have sold, but these two are on my website. 


Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

Tough Girl Cameo

by mary April 2, 2013

Sometimes inspiration comes from people you've never met.  Recently, at my last "pop-up" show at Dorothea's Closet, a woman asked me about making a "tough girl cameo" necklace.  I'd never heard of tough girl jewelry before, but was intrigued, so when I got home I googled it.  Although I didn't find an actual definition of tough girl jewelry or tough girl chic, what I did find suggested it involved jewelry with an "attitude", jewelry that was "edgy" or adventurous and combined toughness and feminine qualitities (think pink).  And, while I didn't see any cameos, I did see jewelry incorporating skulls, rhinestones, pearls, keys, crosses, daggers, guns, hardware/gears, and lots of chain.  After reading a blog or two & looking at some of the images, I decided to try my hand at a tough girl cameo necklace, and here's what I ended up with.  I love trying new things, and it was great fun going through my stash looking for charms that had an attitude.  I may even wear it the next time I go out!





Filed Under: Inspiration

Inspiritu Jewelry

by mary March 24, 2013

One of the places from which I get inspiration are books, and one of my favorite books is Inspiritu Jewelry by Marie French.  This book introduced me to the power and symbolic meaning of various gemstones, metals, charms and colors.  It also introduced me to a curandera (a Mexican woman who practices healing techniques inherited from the Mayans) named Milagros who made jewelry to heal the sick and mentally ailing.  I found myself fascinated by the concept of making "healing jewelry", and by the meaning and power of the charms, gemstones and metals I'd been working with.  Since then, I've made several charm bracelets designed around healing themes -- including a series of New Beginnings charm bracelets, a bracelet to provide protection during travel, and a series of Wellness of Body, Mind and Spirit charm bracelets.  Within the two series, each bracelet is unique in its composition of charms, metals and gemstones.  I've really enjoyed going through my materials looking for just the right gemstone or charm to correspond to the power or symbolic meaning I want to capture.  I've included here a picture of one of my New Beginnings charm bracelets.



Filed Under: Inspiration

One of My Favorite Finds

by mary March 21, 2013

One of my all time favorite finds was something I came across a year or so ago in a lot of jewelry odds and ends.  It was half of a broken locket -- one the "outside", the name Edith was engraved and on the "inside" was a Victorian looking photo of a young man.  Every time I looked at it, I couldn't help wondering who Edith and the young man were and what their relationship was . . . were they lovers, husband-and-wife, sister and brother?  Was the locket a gift from the gentleman to Edith?  How did it get broken?  And, how did it get into the lot of jewelry I picked up?  I held on to the locket for many months, taking it out now and again and thinking about what I wanted to do with it.  Finally, I knew just what I wanted to do.  I had been looking through a book on Steampunk jewelry and decided that was the feeling I wanted for this piece.  So I poked through my stash of buttons, pearls, hearts and other charms, and created a necklace that has a romantic feel with just a touch of Steampunk technology.  I titled the piece "Edith and Her Beau", and still think about them whenever I look at it and hope that they would approve of what I did with their locket.


Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

Welcome to My Blog

by mary March 18, 2013

About Pauline's Jewelry Box

Pauline's Jewelry Box was founded by Mary Nelson in 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa. I chose the name Pauline's Jewelry Box because my mother's name was Pauline & I have many fond memories of looking through jewelry box & playing with her jewelry. I sell my jewelry through art shows, at local Des Moines businesses (Green Goods for the Home in East Village & Beaverdale Books in Beaverdale), trunk shows and online. I also do custom work and can design a piece using elements you have or from my own collection or a combination. Please contact me if you are interested in either a trunk show or a custom piece.

My Background: I have always loved vintage, so it was natural when I started making jewelry that I was drawn towards using vintage elements and designing jewelry that has a vintage feel. I especially like working with cameos, lockets, charms, old photos, watch parts & chains of different texture, size & color. I get my inspiration from nature, other artists, & from the vintage objects themselves. My husband Steve is a great source of feedback. I pick up broken jewelry, Cracker Jack/gumball charms & other found objects at garage sales, antique shops, flea markets & on eBay. Friends have also given me their odds & ends, which makes a piece even more special.

Here on my blog I hope to be able to relate to you stories about some of my favorite finds, as well as how I find the inspiration for a particular piece or the research involved to develop a feeling I want to convey.  I'll also share some of the challenges and rewards I experience in making a new piece or learning a new technique.

My goal is to write a blog entry at least once a month, and more often when the spirit moves me.




Filed Under: Welcome to My Blog

About the author

Pauline's Jewelry Box was founded by Mary Nelson in 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa.  I chose the name Pauline's Jewelry Box because my mother's name was Pauline & I have many fond memories of looking through jewelry box & playing with her jewelry

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