COLOR CRUSH : Pastel Pink

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pastel pink, tea rose, blush, 13-1406TPX ... call it what you wish. However, Pantone's "color of the year" for 2016 is not your grandmother's mauve. I have to admit, I was an avid Golden Girls fan long ago when the m-color was as rampant as Mr. T on roller skates, Captain Planet and guys with Richard Simmons afros. Back then, I hated yucky-mauve! You couldn't pay me to wear light pink, let alone grapefruit.

Killer pink leather boots from Just Fab

Years went by ... (maybe 20? okay more like 30) and something happened along the way that made me appreciate the softer side of the rainbow. I began to love that pink with a touch of mystery. It became one of my favorites, right alongside turquoise, red, olive green, caramel, coffee foam tan, white, grey and black. Can you tell I'm into neutrals? Pink is a neutral too if you use it right. It's dreamy and delicious when paired with gold accessories. Plus, the color has a phenomenal ability to bring to mind thousands of yummy things like Homer Simpson’s perfect sprinkled doughnut, cotton candy on a warm summer day, cherry blossom trees, Kashmiri chai, bubble gum and newborn baby toes, kitten noses, fluffy strawberry macaroons, Barbie’s first convertible and Grimes' cool hair.

The jacket that is chronically sold out at Anthropologie

Canadian singer Grimes ~ Claire Elise Boucher

I love pink. In the jewelry world this translates to rose quartz and rose gold, strawberry diamonds and rosewater opal. I'm also excited to announce that once again Pantone got it right! According to the Zoe Report, pastel pink is one of the top 10 colors for Spring 2017. Some things are too good to let go of :)

Urban Outfitters
Rose quartz rings by Belinda Seville

Name Necklace Workshop

Monday, September 5, 2016

Click to register!
Cute. Timeless. Feminine. A personalized name necklace is a seamless addition to any jewelry wardrobe. If you have an exotic name like me, good luck hunting through the racks at Claire's or Charming Charlie's searching for a match! I still cross my fingers sometimes, hoping just once that maybe...maybe, I will find a "Jamillah" among all the Jenny's, Jan's and Jamie's. In the end, I usually settle for a plain letter J and leave the store with a frown.

Lovely layering from Zeba at

Those days are SO over! Working with metallic acrylics, in this workshop, participants will follow along with me using step-by-step instructions in Corel Draw X7. Then discover how to modify text and contour letter groupings before sending the proofs to the laser room. Not a computer whiz? Don't worry, I will be there with plenty of tips & coaching to help you make something beautiful!

Work-in-progress screenshot from Corel Draw

The simple, iconic "Carrie" necklace made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker

Once the designs are laser-cut and ready to go, we will head over to the crafting room to add beads (optional), chains and clasps. Choose a length that's right for you. Wear your name with pride! See you Saturday!

xoxo jamillah

LASER 101: Learning the Basics of Laser Cut Jewelry Design

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Making laser-cut jewelry, or rather laser-cut anything is a beautiful + careful + mysterious + intriguing process that I am so happy and grateful to be a part of. These past few weeks have been amazing journey, learning alongside my students at Catylator Makerspace what the VLS4.60 laser can do.

The VLS4.60 has three main functions - cutting, scoring and etching. The machine works by directing a high powered beam of light at an object and vaporizing the selected areas away, leaving a clean-cut finished edge or a detailed surface image.

Catylator founder Stephen Morris prepping the machine for the first batch of etched beauties during our Laser-Cut Jewelry Demonstration & Workshop (June 2016)

We start by creating a "cutting path" on the computer using drawing software such as CorelDraw or Inkscape.  Although the machine can cut any shape ranging in size from less than a centimeter to 2 feet wide, we decided to conserve time and start small, using basic shapes, such as hearts, circles, anchors and stars. From there, we tweaked the designs by manipulating the sizes, adding monograms and attaching connector holes for chains and clasps. The results were amazing!

The "LOVE" pendant - cut from clear acrylic
Anchor earrings, created by shrinking + duplicating a single image.


It doesn't matter how many times we've seen it, watching a flat, 2D drawing come to life under the blazing light of the tiny laser beam is so exciting, especially when everyone crowds together and whips out their phones to take pictures (me being the main culprit)! See you next time!

xoxo jamillah

The Top 100 Lasercut Jewelry Designers

Monday, June 20, 2016

Necklace designs by Shkoof

Little Miso

Victoria Contreras Flores
Amazing things start happening when you combine artistic talent + technology. has compiled a list of 100 Lasercut Jewelry Designers for 2016. They have everything from metal to wood, leather and acrylic. Get inspired!

Want to see how the process works? My 'Laser Cutting & Etching Jewelry Demonstration' is this Saturday at 1pm. Remember to register to reserve your space!

xoxo jamillah

An Introduction to Laser Cut Jewelry: New Workshop on June 25!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mother Wolf Necklace by HavokDesigns on Etsy or visit

Laser cutting is one of the fastest growing methods for producing precise, detailed and nearly flawless reproductions of your digital designs. With the help of technology, jewelry artists and crafters alike have built a bridge between mass manufactured accessories and the world of handmade wearable art. Inside creative hubs like Silver Spring’s own, Catylator Makerspace, artists (like you) now have access to advanced equipment that was once unavailable to public use.

On Saturday, June 25th, join me and the founder of Catylator, Stephen Morris, for a one-day 3-hour demonstration and hands-on workshop all about LASERS! Discover how to digitally transform ordinary wood into jaw dropping, modern jewelry. Participants will choose from one of 10 designs and watch the entire process unfold from computer to completion. Then enhance your pendant with color, beads and chain in the craft room.

If you have ever dreamed about learning how to create your own pendants from scratch, how to digitize your art or even wondered how items like this are made, this is one workshop you don't want to miss! Visit the Classes & Workshops page for more information.

Mama Leather Earrings

EdmoniaSimone Leather Earrings on Etsy

Wooden necklace - abstract necklace - made in Australia - eco women - olive
OneHappyLeaf Abstract Bamboo Necklace on Etsy

xoxo jamillah

Student Work: Wire Wrapped Found Object Pendants

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thank to you all the wonderful attendees from Saturday's Wire Wrapped Found Object Workshop at Catylator Makerspace!

Wire wrapping a found object or a keepsake treasure is no easy task. Whether it may be a stone or a seashell, each individual piece has unique characteristics that may make them difficult to transform into wearable, functional pendants. Slippery-smoothness, craggy details or even odd sizes may stop some jewelers in their tracks and leave them asking, "What do I do now?"

In my 3-hour Wire Wrapped Found Object Workshop at Catylator Makerspace, we answered that question and more, transforming a host of citrine stones, antique buttons, vintage earrings, shells and river rocks into AMAZING works of art!

A work in progress: citrine stone with wires in the beginning stages of forming the caged wrap
A student hard at work forming the "wings" of the cage around a vintage earring
In my workshop, we studied three techniques: the Freeform Wrap (for a more organic style), the Macramé Net Wrap (for a nautical look) and the Caged Wire Wrap with a decorative spiral (for showcasing objects front and back with a minimal amount of wire along the sides). The Freeform Wrap is great for plain objects with little or no outstanding details. This way, your wire work can shine and become the focal point of your necklace. The Macramé Net Wrap is more of a stylized fishing net. Since it is woven from twisted metal wire, it is very strong and ideal for heavy objects that need extra security. This wrap style also works well with elongated items, such as whelk shells. The Caged Wire Wrap is perfect for flat-backed cabochons, disk shapes, buttons or round objects. This wrap style is also quite strong and can be modified easily with a beaded bail or spiraling accents since it leaves six wires free to work with once the wrap is complete. In all three wrap styles, the bail is attached. And once the object is safe and sound inside a well made wrap, the bail is really where an artist can flex their creative muscles...and have the most fun!

Caged Wrap on a stone
Freeform Wrap on a shell fragment
Freeform wrap on a vintage button pendant
Modified Caged Wrap over a vintage earring, bail unfinished

Beaded Macramé Net Wrap on a whelk shell (left) and Freeform Wrap on a river rock (right)
Freeform Wrap over a shell (left) and Macramé Net Wrap on citrine (right)

Hats off to the wonderful ladies who attended yesterday! Here's to the future!!

xoxo jamillah

DIY: How to Gold Leaf Seashells...the Easy Way

Friday, May 6, 2016

Gold leaf highlights are quickly becoming one of the hottest trends in summer jewelry. You can find them everywhere from pendants to druzy earrings, even surrounding those lovely, miniature agate geodes we love so much on Etsy:

Gold dipped purple gemstone necklace // 14K gold vermeil chain // Raw agate pendant

I really like the look of the popular gold-dipped crystals and pendants I found in this video:

But when I'm making jewelry at home, I only use cold connections for safety purposes. With my kids nearby at any given moment, I have to be extra careful that they don't get hurt on a piece of stray wire, let alone a smoking hot soldering iron! Thankfully, I found this video:

However, using real gold leaf presented the same problem. One sneeze and there's a blizzard of bling all over my dining room table. So, why not combine the two techniques and make it kid friendly? Ok, let's do it!!

For this super-easy project, you will need a Krylon 18KT Gold Leafing Pen (I found at Micheal's right below the gold leaf flakes), seashells, stones or any other found treasures, and a paper towel. To begin, follow the instructions on the pen, which is basically shaking the pen for a few seconds and pressing it down on a folded paper towel until the gold starts flowing. If you press too hard A LOT of gold will come out, so be careful. Unless you are going for a "gold-dipped" look, I would suggest a gentle touch. Now you are ready to select your first seashell!

Press the pen tip into the grooves of the seashell.
Try to keep the line of paint consistently thick around the edges.

Wait about 5 minutes between coats. The more you apply, the thicker it gets.

Be careful not to handle the wet surface for at least 30 minutes.
Wait 24 hours for it to be completely dry.

Your shells are now ready to use in your favorite craft or jewelry projects! If you get messy, like I did, the gold washes easily off your hands with soap, water and a sponge. Enjoy!

xoxo jamillah

My Secret Wood

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Image of Rocky Lagoon

I'm SO obsessed with My Secret Wood rings! Aren't they gorgeous? Using beeswax, resin and wood, the artisans create stunning designs, sculpt miniature scenes or preserve tiny flowers inside each one. Head over to their site to see more!

xoxo jamillah

Image of Mystery Forest

Image of White flower forest

Image of Original Cypress Forest

Technical Skills Workshop : 4.23.16

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thank to you all the wonderful women who attended yesterday's Technical Skills Jewelry Workshop at Catylator Makerspace!

As jewelers and craftsmen, when we finally put down our tools and say, "I'm finished," what does the term finished actually mean? Is it ready for sale? Is it ready to be packaged as gift? Is it photographable? Or are you just so fed up with making it that you throw your hands in the air in frustration and shout, "I'm SO done!" Alas, every now and then we all experience technical hiccups -- slippery crimps, too-wide loops, links that pop or knots that just won't stay no matter how many times you tie them. Those incomplete, unnamed jewelry items end up hiding in the shadows of our inventory never to been seen again. We promise ourselves that one day we will pick them up and tend to them properly, but it never happens, and we end up taking them apart.

For this very reason, together with the creative staff at Catylator Makerspace, we designed a workshop to address the most pressing technical issues our students were experiencing. In three jam-packed hours we reviewed:
  • Tools & safety
  • Measuring, planning & layout
  • How to hide messy endings with calottes/ knot covers and crimp covers
  • Findings - what they are and how to choose the appropriate ones for your project
  • Wire wrapping
  • Stringing
  • Making links
  • Uniformity & sturdiness
Questions were answered, problems were solved...and all the lovely, yet sadly neglected, Quasimodo jewelry items the attendees brought to class? They were refashioned, repaired or completed! Finally! (*Applause, whistles, cheering, confetti!!*) I'm so proud of everyone who came! See you next time for Wire-Wrapped Found Objects!

xoxo jamillah

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs