Dec 15, 2012

Holiday Bling Blog Hop 2 Reveal with the Amazing and Gifted Alicia Marinache


It's Holiday Bling Blog Hop 2!! 
... hosted by the two most lovely jewelry artists and incredible friends, the gifted Shelly Graham Turner of "Fabric of My Life" and the talented Marlene Cupo of "Amazing Designs." As you may recall, back in October the first Holiday Bling Blog Hop was so much fun, Marlene and Shelly decided to make our Holidays twice as nice by giving us a second Holiday Hop! 

I've certainly been twice blessed by having the most incredible partners: Shelly Graham Turner was my partner in our first Holiday exchange, and now I am so very honored to be paired with another amazing artist -- the brilliant and very lovely and extremely gifted Alicia Marinache of Ontario!!

Alicia Marinache's  jewelry art is published in this issue of SBSW! 

Alicia was just published in the Dec/ Jan 12-13 Step By Step Wire Jewelry ! I'm so proud of her and as a fellow chain maille artist, I adore her very cool and lovely design, a chain maille capture pendant entitled "Caught You!." Take a look at it in SBSWJ's Wire Works Gallery of Original Designs, page 11. You can also see it in copper here on her blog, "All the Pretty Things"!! Congratulations, Alicia!!
I originally had thought I might create work from a wonderful book, Beadmaille by Cindy Thomas Pankopf, but I was so very inspired by Alicia's jewelry art publication, I wanted my Holiday gift to celebrate her chain maille capture pendant. Foxtail chains (also called an FP 6-1, or simply a Full Persian) are flexible weaves for exploring design, and because they actually create an inherent cage within each link, make nice "capture" weaves. I created a Tricolor Foxtail Christmas Crystal Float for Alicia.

I worked from the Aspect Ratio as my starting off point. Dividing the inner diameter of the rings (in milometers) by the mm gauge of the rings, one can calculate the AR fairly easily for any chain maille weave that uses one size of rings. The FP 6-1 has an AR range typically of 5.1-6.1; I tweaked the AR to come up with a ring size and gauge that would look nice as finished jewelry while embracing the crystals gently, with room to wiggle slightly and sparkle! I'm writing a tutorial for this necklace (or bracelet :) for the Holidays, and do wish it were ready today! I tried, however, for two days to install my Corel Draw program to illustrate the rings' weave, but alas my poor little old lap-top simply won't (can't?) cooperate!


After hours and hours of installation attempts that all promptly freeze at 14% installed, I am more determined than ever to find a way to illustrate the rings :) Please know that coming soon for your Holiday chain mailling will be the Christmas crystal filled tricolor Foxtail!


Now, back to my amazing partner, Alicia.

Alicia and her family celebrate the season beginning with St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6th through Epiphany! Alicia and I both enjoy Christmas wholeheartedly, celebrating the Season with many family traditions. I'm so moved by her spirit! Alicia writes:

              "We tend to create a feast for the Holidays - which comes from 2 different routes:
 in the church way we fast for 40 days before, so the Holidays 
are truly a celebration of body and spirit; while during the communist regime - food 
wasn't readily available, and we kept some of our rations of flour, sugar, 
and oil for Holiday baking. We felt a tad more 'revolutionary' that way - and in a
                  way we were, we kept the faith, when they tried to make us to give it up. 
I think we kept it alive more because they tried to take it away :)" 

I adire Alicia's strength and brilliance, her courage and gentle grace. She gives so many people hope and friendship, and the spirit of Christmas moves through her with gifts of renewal and great love!

Not only does Alicia decorate everything for Christmas inside and outside her home, celebrating to the hilt (me too! :), she also bakes, carols with her family as they play piano and guitar, and spends time making Christmas cards with her son. What beautiful traditions she and her family share! Gifted to me -- a gorgeous handcrafted soutache Christmas card!

Being a part of Alicia's Christmas celebrations is an honor. Caring and tuned in, Alicia's gifts to me reflected love. Like magic, she created beautiful gifts that are very special to me because they honor my daughter.

And look at the little Canadian pin!! I feel so proud, honored and grateful to have Canadian friends!

Alicia created a turquoise scarf holder, and I am simply amazed because I have a very special silk scarf that belonged to my daughter, a scarf she last wore that I now cherish and keep close so that I may feel close to her. 

How perfectly the lovely turquoise scarf ring coordinates with the turquoise in my scarf!!

Receiving a beautiful scarf holder made by Alicia for my Christmas feels healing and uplifting. I cherish the Christmas scarf jewelry as I do the special silk scarf! Amazing!

Likewise, Alicia created a beautiful Christmas tree necklace!

Look at this beautiful Christmas tree!! I LOVE it nt only because it is exquisitely made and has the happiest rainbow of jade beads, but because it is a forever heirloom that I wear to honor my daughter who passed on in July, and an heirloom of the special Christmas tree we have this year: a living tree we will plant after Christmas in her honor.

 Not only do I love Christmas trees and have them in almost every room of our home, I have planted living Christmas trees for all my daughters. How wonderful it was to see those fine evergreens after twenty years of growth! How tall and majestic they had become, holding the joy of the gift of each child. 

I wish I had the nerve to photograph this happy tree on me, lol!! It looks fantastic and is gorgeous, and I've been wearing it constantly with great happiness!! Alicia is a beautiful artist!

This Christmas, we've again decided to have a living tree in honor of our daughter, a way to express our great love for her as we reflect and grow in our understanding and our knowledge of the nonphysical, and allow her to lead us and give us the gift of not fearing death, but celebrating our eternalness and our infinite joy as part of both the physical and the nonphysical world!

My beloved brilliant and beautiful Christmas tree pendant :) Thank you Alicia!

Thank you Alicia for gifts that I am so completely in awe of and completely cherish; gifts so perfectly reflective and joyful and simply right on and incredible they will forever allow me to honor and grow in joy with my daughter each Christmas and always, forever connected to her in happiness, fun, beauty, and love!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my friends! 

The Holiday Bling Blog Hop Elves, Fairies, Good Folks, and Artists continue the magic:

Shirley Moore *** Lori Bowring Michaud *** Catherine King *** Dyanne Cantrell  *** Sonya Stille
 Elaine Ray *** Gina Hockett *** Jo-Ann Woolverton *** Debbie Rasmussen *** Renetha Stanziano
Ginger Bishop *** Miranda Ackerley *** Sandra McGriff *** Tammie Everly *** Alicia Marinache
Melinda Abrahamson ***  Rita/ Toltec Jewels *** Chandra Merod ***  Mary Govaars *** Kelley Fogel  Tiffany Goff Smith *** Heather Rats Otto *** Anitra Gordy Boyers ***  Marlene Cupo *** Shelley Graham Turner

Toltec Jewels is an author by day, jewelry maker by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Fransisco MOMA and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for literary and jewelry arts. She is happiest making handcrafted jewelry with her entire family, snuggling with her doggies and grandkids, sewing, singing, reading, and learning jewelry techniques. She is the host of Jewel School Friends, a community of expert and emerging artisans taking inspiration from each other and Jewel School. Join her on Facebook for networking, fundraising for Beads of Courage, jewelry making challenges, contests, give-a-ways and of course, cool beads and jewelry!


  1. Oh, my dear Rita... I am sitting here, in front on my computer and crying... I am deeply touched by your amazing blog post.

    I honestly didn't know why I decided on a scarf ring, this is my first one and the first versions failed... I should have quit, but I simply couldn't. I truly believe this is God's making - and I don't know what else to say other that I am profoundly touched and humbled to know my ring will be paired with such a strong memory.

    I am so grateful to have known you. Your words and thoughts and feelings are the most beautiful things I've ever seen / felt / read and I will cherish this moment for so much more than a simply 'Holiday Bling'.

    It became a special moment for me too - and while I am still deeply sorry for your loss, I am glad you came back to us, to the community, that I had the opportunity to know you and feel your special love.

    I hope you know the sentiment is returned many-times folded.
    Love and hugs, my beautiful friend, and may you have a magical Christmas!

  2. I'm with Alicia, your beautiful post is so very touching. I love how much her gifts touched you, and will become a treasured part of your celebration of your daughter, and Christmas. I've never seen a scarf pin like that, it's a wonderful idea. And her tree is so very innovative, and eye catching. Your wirework just amazes me, and your necklace is just beautiful!

  3. Wow, Rita, words can't describe the wave of emotion that accosted me as I read your post. So moving, so much more than a blog hop exchange, such a testament to enduring spirit. Thank you! Gina H.

  4. beautiful post and beautiful designs

  5. Rita, what can I say. Don't know anyone who can handle such incredible loss with such grace and still continue to give so much of yourself to others, no us. Thank you my friend for being such a meaningful part of our hop. Holiday Blessings always!

  6. I cant imagine losing a child. My mom can though. I am in awe of your blog and how you and Alicia complimented each other so well in your exchange.

  7. Wow, what a range of emotions this post evoked. You and Alicia are amazing people and I'm so glad to be invited to read a bit about the two of you. Your work is beautiful as is hers. Oh and I must tell you when I finished reading the post the holiday music channel I have on played Feliz Navidad. Cheers Rita! I wish you a wonderful new year.

  8. Touching post and beautiful creations, just lovely :-D

  9. Speechless. Beautiful post. Beautiful gifts. Your posts are always so moving, you are such a grateful soul and it moves the rest of us. Love you Rita, have a joyous holiday season friend.
    xxoo Shelley

  10. Beautiful post both sad and joyful, I am sorry for your loss, I cannot begin to fathom. The scarf ring and the tree are perfect and may they bring much peace and happiness. They are beautiful pieces for you to cherish.

  11. The tree pendant is lovely and the sentiments behind it so touching-what a beautiful gift from your friends, and thanks for sharing your life and work...I've never made jewelry so I'm in awe of all that goes into it. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas!


Gracias for your comments and for visiting! I appreciate every word :)
Namaste --