What I thought of: Lilah Vintage

The story behind the beads in which the beautiful Lilah V jewelry is made of is a fascinating one. When Amanda contacted me about reviewing a piece from her collection, I was smitten with the beautiful necklaces and earrings in her Etsy store. But these pieces aren’t just easy on the eyes, there is a fantastic story behind the where these 1940’s/1960’s beads came from. Each bead has a history that can be seen through the tiny wear marks and imperfections, making each piece truly one of a kind. I love having a story to tell about  a something I’m wearing. I find it gives me a connection with the piece, that makes me treasure it more than I ever would a generic store bought item.

I received a Yellow Arrow Necklace to review and share with you guys; I’ve been wearing it for a little over a week now and I couldn’t be happier! The beads are a light weight enamel with sides painted with solid platinum and 24k gold (Because it is so lightweight I have actually forgotten I was wearing it a few times!) They are strung on a delicate 14k gold filled chain.

At first glance the necklace itself looks (and feels) dainty, but is actually stronger than you would think. I’ve been wearing it all day, everyday; to work, out to dinner, even in the shower once or twice. It has held up well to the daily wear and tear and I’ve been spared the embarrassment of the dreaded ‘green neck’ you sometimes get with jewelry.

The modern and understated style of the necklace certainly hasn’t meant that it has gone unnoticed. As well as a few compliments at work, I even received props from a stranger while shopping in my local supermarket over the weekend! As I said, these pieces have a fascinating back story and I’ve certainly loved talking about my necklace  to anyone who has complimented it. But, I’ll let Amanda tell you all about herself and her designs in her own words…

Hi there! Tell us a little about yourself…
Hello - I’m Amanda and I live in Pasadena, CA with my new husband and two dogs. I was married last June under a 100 year old oak tree and am quite enjoying married life! I just got an electric bicycle which I love to ride around town - especially to Anthropologie to see whats new. I’m learning how to cook from scratch and trying to convince my husband we need a chicken.

 How long have you been designing jewelry?
My jewelry design came from sad circumstances. My grandmother passed away leaving me her collection of jewelry. She was a spit fire and lived a long fantastic life where you dressed up to get on an airplane. Much of the jewelry was broken so I took classes on jewelry making and chain work learning how to take apart the old and make it modern. Ever since I have been making elegant everyday jewelry using a combination of mid century and new - I love it. I’m so happy to bring new life and energy from a sad beginning.

Where did the name Lilah V originate from?
Lilah is my adorable collie/aussie rescue.

How did you come into possession of these amazing beads?
The mid century beads you see on the LilahV Moderne Line were made by a European designer from the 1940’s through the early 1960’s. In that time the designer disappeared and the entire collection was lost for decades. The beads were just recently found buried in a factory. All of these original beads were painted on the sides with solid platinum followed by 24k gold to get that gorgeous effect.

To continue the exquisite standard all Moderne jewelry is made with 14k gold filled chain, clasps, ear wires and findings.

What is your design process when making a new piece?
My process begins by cultivating a relationship with artists, families and designers around the world. I find beads, gems and architecturally interesting pieces from small towns and through generations of families. I take these collections and rework them using a modern simplistic eye. What inspires me the most are the clean lines of mid century designers like Eames, Herman Miller and Neutra. Their work contains an effortless elegance where every element has a purpose.

I like to incorporate a pop of color with a bit of whimsy playing around with the designs on a board. Then each design goes through four series of cuts based on availability and the look of the whole collection. During the final cut, I make the necklace using 14k or sterling silver and wear a sample around for a week to make sure the length, fit and colors meld. The occasional woman stopping me in the street asking where I got that necklace moves that design to the top.

What prompted your decision to donate 20% of the proceeds to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society?
LLS is truly a wonderful cause close to my heart as my mother, the bravest woman I have ever met, continues her fight with Leukemia. She is kicking its ass! Here’s to doubling the LilahV donation in 2013.

Where do you hope to take the Moderne Line in the future?
I love interacting with clients so dream is a brick and mortar LilahV store. In the meantime I will keep redesigning my dream on Pinterest.

Check out the Lilah V etsy store to see all of the fabulous pieces in the Morderne Line and don’t forget; As an added bonus, 20% of proceeds from all LilahV sales goes to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, so you can feel good about picking up yourself something pretty!


DIY Tassle Necklace

I remember when I was a child I loved playing with the tassels around the house. I loved how soft little ‘brush’ end of the tassels were. My mother had a teeny tassel on the end of the key for the glass cabinet in our living room. I used to steal it from the door and play with it while I watched TV. Man, did she get mad when I would inevitably forget to put it back! Hoo boy!
Now that I’m a grown up, I can play with whatever the hell I like, (I mean, except when I’m visiting home…. ‘Hi Mum!’) So when I spotted this necklace I just had to have one, but for $175 it was a little out of my price range. ‘I could totally make one myself’ I decided and high-tailed in to the nearest craft store.One thing you’ve probably noticed by now that all of my DIY’s are… how shall I put this? Stupidly easy? I can’t help it! I guess I’m inherently lazy. Anyway, this one is no exception. Sure, you can make the tassels yourself if you are more patient than I am, but for $3 for a pack of 4, I was willing to take the lazier option.  In actual fact, this project cost me around $9 (as I already had a spare chain laying around) and roughly 15 minutes of my time. Talk about a bargain!What I ended up making isn’t really the same as the necklace in question, but I actually would wear this version more. (You could still make one similar by getting a series of different colours in the same size, as opposed to the colours and sizes I chose. The method is still the same!)

Jewelry Boxes

I have some lovely jewelry boxes that I have been given over the years, but none of them are big enough to house all my jewelry, and certainly when I fill them to the brim its impossible to find anything quickly and without tangling everything together! Aside from all of that, I’m a person who needs to be able see what I have or else I forget what I own and end up wearing the same things every day. It’s a problem I had for years until I found the perfect solution.I’ll be honest. I can’t take credit for this idea, it was actually my mum who did this originally and passed her wisdom down to me.

Except for my nicest and most sentimental pieces (which I keep in my proper jewelry box), I store all of my jewelry in plastic hardware boxes normally used for nuts and bolts and drill bits. They are perfect for keeping jewelry pieces separate and neat. I have boxes for each type of piece (ie; rings, necklaces, bracelets, larger pieces) and because the boxes are clear I can easily see at a glance what I have without digging through everything to find something. All the boxes are the same size so they stack on top of each other perfectly and for about $8 a pop, when one fills up its easy to pop down to the hardware store and pick up another one!
I’ll tell you now, my jewelry is the most organised stuff in my house! If only I could get big giant versions for my clothes and shoes….

NEW Necklaces in the kittenbear store!

New Items in store! I have been working on some necklaces using clay beads hand made my yours truly. All of these can be made in any colour on request. I am always working on new designs so keep an eye out for more new pieces popping up over the coming months :)

Store Details

Well, May has crept up on me at an alarming rate! I thought I had given myself heaps of time, but it never seems enough, does it? I spent yesterday tweaking the blog a bit (you’ll notice some changes to the sidebar and the removal of the top link menu). I also spent a little time starting on photos for listings in the store.

As I’ve said before, everything’s coming together. As a result I finally can reveal the kittenbear store opening date:

I’m super excited to finally launch the items I have been working on. I’m still waiting for my porcelain pendants to be ready for sale, so hopefully they will be good to go by opening day, but if not you will see them very soon. The whole process has been a tremendous learning experience and has given me ideas for future pieces that will be popping up in the shop over the coming months.

This month however, I will be doing some feature posts on some of my favourite items and hosting a few give always, both, here and through some of the lovely blogs I’m sponsoring this month! (Yay! Everyone loves a giveaway!)

May is going to be a very exciting month for kittenbear so stay tuned!

Almost there!

Loving this 5 day weekend, 3 day working week! This many public holidays in a row is awesome! And to think, there is another long weekend coming up this weekend as well! Its extra good for me becuase it gives me extra time to get KB stuff organised for next month. I’m still working on new pieces for the shop. I had a major set back on the weekend when half of my stock got tangled and ruined and had to be dismantled so we could separate them all! (Don’t ask, its a long and stupid story) Only a couple of weeks now until opening (EEEE! So much to do!) Stay tuned, I will be announcing the exact date next week as well as info on some upcoming giveaways! May will be a very exciting month around here so I hope you stick around :)

One, Three, Four

A few more sneaky peaks at some of the necklaces I’ve been working on. I received a big package of new beads this week, all of them are just lovely. I particularity love those fabulous red ones - they have the greatest patterns etched it and they are HUGE! Beads are so fun to play with; different combination and sizes. Its so hard to see what they are really like from photos online, so I always like to experiment a bit when they actually arrive.

I’ve been putting together the Israeli (heart shaped) beach stones into proper pendents. Next weekend I’ll be working on my acrylic (and maybe clay) pendents, and hopefully the chain I ordered will have arrived by then. Fingers crossed!