Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Inspiration

There's nothing more festive that a vintage chandelier that is bedecked with sparkly holiday cheer!!  Treat your guests to one at your next holiday dinner party.....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Something Blue

See more pictures in my Etsy shop:  SueJackDesigns
I just love that old saying....."Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue....." and so many brides still adhere to it today!  Whether by tradition, superstition, or just plain being forced by your great aunt, most brides (that do not have blue as their wedding color) will add a tiny bit of blue somewhere.  
When I got married, my girlfriend Lisa designed my garter....which I still have to this day.  :)  She added a tiny piece of blue ribbon to it so that when I walked down the aisle, it was present during the exchange of our vows.   I think I included that bit of blue because of wasn't a blue item that previous family brides had carried before me, but for some reason I felt compelled to include it!  What if it meant I would have bad luck in my marriage if I didn't????  I was so not going to take that risk.......
I recently finished this statement or bib necklace that would be perfect for a bride's "something blue".  It has one large baby blue rhinestone in it among several other smokey blue, gray and clear rhinestones and pearls....all set in vintage silver brooches, necklaces and chains.
Please share your "something blue" with us.....a link to a picture would be extra fun, too!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Champagne Bubbly Evening Clutch

Recently I'm in the mood for heavy know, the kind from the 60's that those lovely modern evening gowns were designed from.  It lends itself to crisp construction, a luxurious sheen without being shiny, and, in the right design, gives your look a new level of vintage modernism.  
The various sized ivory pearls hint to the special occasion ahead.....

 Champagne Bubble Green Clutch on Etsy

Friday, September 3, 2010

Nod to Elsa Schiaparelli - Second in a Series

In March of this year, I wrote about Elsa Schiaparelli and her wild creations that slapped Paris square in the face, and I explained how Elsa had inspired me to create some unusual evening bags.  Here is my second clutch in this series:
It's casual, but dressy....serious, but whimsical....but most of all, it's an ice breaker!

Monday, August 30, 2010

La Boheme, A Night at the Opera

What's a night at the opera without an opulent evening bag?  Dull indeed.....
Spice up your fav navy blue dress with this little number!

Sapphire Blue Silk Evening Bag by Sue Jack on Etsy 

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Going Away Gift for Lisa

One of my best friends, LISA, recently moved to Kansas City, and I was so very sad to see her leave.  We have known each other for over 20 years and are such similar creatures in style and design.  Her husband got a fantastic offer that he could not resist, so all of us who love Lisa so dearly could not be disappointed.  Well, selfishly we could be VERY disappointed, but not for her.....
Several of us got together and gave her this necklace as a going away gift......and we hear she is taking Kansas City by storm with it!  (Lisa adores monograms so I could not resist adding a wonderful vintage "G"--for her last name--designed with aurora borealis rhinestones.  It is in the lower left side of the necklace as you are looking at it.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In My Own Little Corner....

For the most part, I'm a firm supporter of whoever said, "The house is DONE when you die!"  Do you know what I mean?  It's like this ongoing process....where, even for the things that were once "done" in your mind, you're already looking at with those squinty little eyes....thinking "Ooooo, that would look even better if  I did blah, blah, blah to it.....," then you snap out of it when your husband blurts, "Don't even THINK about it!"
However, after working for years on our backyard, I finally do feel like we've gotten our additional outdoor "room" close to completion.  (Don't pay any attention to the cord running from the fountain...we'll get to it someday, I'm sure....;)
Set up for luncheon...normally there's only 2 tables/chairs....the black set is from my kitchen.

The striped Porcupine Grass is my favorite annual ornamental grass.
Neptune with up-lighting.

Lots of container gardening!!!
Sweet Autumn Clematis arch over side path....
One of my large pots making a big splash.
I love mornings in the garden with a cup of herbal tea in hand....just looking around makes my head spin with new color combinations for handbags and necklaces.  It's no wonder I incorporate so many flowers and floral designs in what I create.
It's also nice to spend our evenings in such a serene place with water trickling in the background.  Finally....we get to enjoy.....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Deluge of Vintage Pink Pearls

It probably goes without saying that pink and green are my favorite colors.....any shade of either....I adore them!
And when I dumped all my vintage pink pearls into the lid of a box to begin filling an order for the sweetest bride, I couldn't resist snapping a shot of them to share with you.  To give you an idea of size, the largest ones are 3/4"....
Aren't they lovely?
They are making their way into the simplest, but most elegant bridesmaids' necklaces and bracelets ever I've made.....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lilly Dache Encouraged Personal Trademarks....What's Yours?

I just finished reading both of Lilly Dache's books - Lilly Dache, Talking Through My Hats (1946) and Lilly Dache's Glamour Book (1956) - and they were wonderful!
 Lilly Dache dreamed of an American wonderland from childhood in France, and managed to make her dream come true.  Carrying only $13 and her talent in her pocket, she crossed the ocean alone at age 18 to come to America, and she became the most famous milliner in New York.
 Her first book describes her many challenges and how she overcame them in inspiring read for any entrepreneur in the fashion industry! 

Check out how she layers on the jewelry, too....definitely not a shy woman.....
The book also shares how she first fell in love with New York, then Jean Despres, and how she managed to balance her thriving empire's demands with her devotion to her husband.
 Along the way, she gives you hints as to her clientele and their temperaments...and some are a dead give-away....
Her second book was  my favorite, and I will definitely read it again someday!  
It is amazing how far we've come with our ideas of what constitutes "modern-day glamor", yet equally amazing how some things have remained unchanged.  For example, she suggests that women do all they can to maintain their figure and appearance....exercise, keep an attractive hairstyle and color, always wear complimentary makeup, etc....all are a must for being the best you can be....and keeping your confidence at its utmost!
One of her most important points is that each person should have their own trademark.  That trademark could be a certain color that you always include in your attire, an object that you identify with in your accessories (such as leopard print), or even a constant style in your wardrobe (such as always incorporating a vintage piece). 
I'm curious....if you think about your appearance and style...something you always go to with complete confidence, what is YOUR trademark?  Will you share it with us?


Friday, June 25, 2010

Beach Party Necklace

I had so much fun creating the "Summer in Nantucket" necklace that I decided to make another beach-themed bib necklace in different colors.....greens, golds, and coral.  It's called "Caribbean Treasures".

The tiny crab crawling on the rhinestone "seaweed" is my favorite part of this one....but I also really like the green and gold lobster.  

So tell me....which is your favorite....the "Summer in Nantucket" necklace or the "Caribbean Treasures" necklace?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Catherine Hopkins' Texas Soiree

Catherine Hopkins at The Shiny Pebble hosted the most elegant Texas Summer Soiree (and you know they do everything "big" in Texas.....).  Her guests included some of the most fashionable ladies from all Four Corners!
I was "late for the party", as usual, but Catherine so graciously invited me in for a drink after hours to peruse the event.  "Being late for the party" didn't mean that I couldn't enjoy all its benefits, so I jumped at the chance to don my fav vintage cocktail dress.....the parties' decor was so extravagant, how could I not?.....
I thought my raspberry silk cocktail dress would do nicely,
Photo from Couture Allure Vintage Fashion (
but was at a loss for which shoes to wear with it!  Oh, what's a girl to do when she has too many shoes to choose from???  In these cases I usually ask my lovely daughters, but it's summer......they have their own social calendars and were nowhere to be found.  So I will ask you!  Which pair do you think would compliment the gown with an understated elegance?  I would love to hear your thoughts.....
(You may be surprised to hear that I was actually leaning toward the green!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lovely Lilacs

In the Victorian times, flowers represented a language unto themselves....and lilacs expressed "the first emotions of love".
 I couldn't believe my luck when, in the middle of lilacs blooming all over my neighborhood, I stumbled onto this lovely vintage lilac brooch (see the upper right side of the necklace).  The necklace's combination of pieces almost came together on their own.....and it was  so much fun to create!  
Please click on the picture to enlarge and look at each piece closely.....the individual pieces are as yummy as they can be!
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Elegant Fundraiser Project for Kids

My daughters' school has a fundraiser every other spring and each class is required to donate one item.   A few parents come up with ideas, then we let the kids choose the one they want to create.  I suggested that we let the students make a chandelier from glass beads, and this was the project that they chose to make.
Surprisingly, the chandelier was easy as pie to make!  First, we bought a vintage-style chandelier on eBay for $60 plus shipping.  Then we purchased large glass seed beads in shades of greens, yellows, golds and clear, and clear crystals in various larger sizes from a local bead shop.   
In preparation, we had pre-cut the desired lengths of 28-gauge wire for the kids to string the beads on in no certain order or pattern....just randomly as each child pleased.  This took the class about two hours to do, and we completed 56 long wire "strings" for the top and 56 short wire "strings" for the bottom.
The rest of the project was completed by the parents.  It involved removing the original plastic "crystals" from the chandelier, and then drilling supplemental holes in its frame so that we could get the amount of wire "strings" that we wanted to fill in the chandelier's shape.  We also added crystal-shaped beaded wires to drop from each lamp's cradle.
I think they did a wonderful job on it and, lucky for me, husband won the auction, and it is now hanging over my kitchen table!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer in Nantucket

Summer is just around the corner and I couldn't help but be inspired by the beach!  Luckily, with my mother and sister's help, I have collected quite a few pieces of vintage jewelry that have an ocean theme.  When all the pieces were laid next to each other, they screamed "lobster boils" and "clambakes"....and naturally Nantucket came to mind!  Here's what ensued:
 This necklace could easily be worn to any beach party....just add your favorite new summer dress or your "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" matters not!
You can see more of this necklace and others in my Etsy shop.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to All

 A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.     - Cardinal Murmillo

Recently, my aunt sent me pictures of my grandmother and my great aunt when they were young girls.  They were beautiful sisters who always dressed alike and even studied the same subjects in high school and college.  They both went to a state college and got teaching degrees in the early 1930's!
My mother and my aunt were both very close to their mother and aunt, both of whom lived well into their 80's and enjoyed life to its fullest.  I'm confident that my creativity has come from this side of my family.....
 I took those vintage photos and transferred them to fabric to make a collage for my mother for Mother's Day.  Along side the pictures, I added a note that her mother had written of her early childhood memories of her and her sister playing with their dolls.  
I added her signature in the bottom left corner just so others would know who this piece of art was in memory of. 
The photos are decorated with vintage laces and ribbon trims, rhinestone brooches, and vintage silk flowers.  

 I can't wait for the mail to arrive at my mother's home, and for the moment she opens her Mother's Day gift....


Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back
to normal after you've had a baby..... somebody
doesn't know that once you're a mother,
'normal' is history.
* * *
Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by
instinct... somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.
* * *
Somebody said being a mother is boring ....
somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.
* * *
Somebody said if you're a 'good' mother,
your child will 'turn out good'....
somebody thinks a child comes with
directions and a guarantee.
* * *
Somebody said you don't need an education to be a
mother....somebody never helped a fourth grader
with his math.
* * *
Somebody said you can't love the second child as
much as you love the first....somebody doesn't
have two children.
* * *
Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother
is labor and delivery....
somebody never watched her 'baby' get on the bus
for the first day of kindergarten...
or on a plane headed for military 'boot camp'.
* * *
Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her
child gets married....somebody doesn't know that
marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a
mother's heartstrings.
* * *
Somebody said a mother's job is done when
her last child leaves home......somebody never had grandchildren.
* * *
Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so
you don't need to tell her....
somebody isn't a mother.


Happy Mother's Day to all of you!  Even if you are not a mother, I'm sure that you have influenced another's life as a mentor and friend.....that's what being a mother is all about!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Haute Handbags

The Spring issue of Haute Handbags has hit the stands and I'm so excited to be included in this issue!
The handbag they asked me to submit to them was my kiwi velvet clutch with white ostrich feathers and vintage brooch.
Beth, their editor, was a doll to work with and I love her choices in all that she creates.  I follow her blog, too..... it out.
You'll love the magazines Stampington & Company publishes, too!  Once you begin looking at's difficult to tear yourself away.  Have fun!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Edwardian Lace Wrist Cuffs

Period movies have always drawn me in...especially the ones set in the Renaissance, Victorian and Edwardian times.  There is something about them that transports me to that era, and lets me escape the modern-day troubles, politics, and hustle-bustle around me....even if it is for only a couple of hours.  Nestled in a cozy throw with a cup of hot chamomile tea, I can completely forget the woes of the day and gather inspiration to make something new....usually something that I would not normally make, such as these Edwardian cuffs.

 So when you need a wee bit of inspiration to help you step outside the box, consider a momentary escape by watching "The Golden Bowl" or "The Wings of the Dove"'ll be amazed at how inspired you will feel!

 Here is wonderful blog link to many other period movies....but I warn you, they do become addictive!  I keep this bookmarked so I can refer to it time and time again.....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Nod to Elsa Schiaparelli


 “She slapped Paris. She smacked it. She tortured it. She bewitched it. And it fell madly in love with her.”— Yves Saint Laurent

Between WWI and WWII, Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel dominated the fashion world.  While Coco is best known for her "little black dress", Schiaparelli rocked the world by transforming Surrealism into fashion art. She collaborated with Man Ray, Salvadore Dali, Jean Cocteau, and other surrealists to turn the early fashion world upside down.  Here is her famous and first design....the "bow-tie" sweater:
An Italian-born Parisian resident, Elsa was known to her friends merely as "Schiap".  She was the first to use shoulder pads and animal prints, and is the inventor of the color "shocking" pink.....hence the name of her signature perfume and autobiography which I am currently reading.
Every evening when I close her book, my mind races with unusual and crazy ideas to decorate my evening bags as I lay awake until 2:00 am.   Would I actually have to nerve to step outside my comfort zone and try something....shall we say....."irreverent"?  I wasn't sure I had it in me...I'm such a traditional designer at heart! But as fate would have it, I felt the urge to peruse my box of vintage gloves and handbags.  (I don't know why.....I just do this about three or four times a year.)  I set the box aside as I was getting ready for bed and tossed a pair of gloves on top of it.  When I awoke the next morning, the gloves that I had so carelessly tossed on top of the box were lying in an unusual "bow" shape.  That's it!.....a Schiap-inspired "bow" for my clutch!  How could I resist the idea? 
I have come to learn as a designer that inspiration lies all around us--in every aspect of our lives.  We have to keep our eyes sharpened and our minds open so that we recognize it when it's under our could be our only chance, you know.
Even though my daughters laughed curiously at my latest design, I have a feeling there will be a few more Schiap-inspired, glove "bow" evening bags to follow....I have to find some way to use some of the beautiful vintage gloves!
Schiap's twelve commandments for women:
1. Since most women do not know themselves they should try to do so.
2. A woman who buys an expensive dress and changes it, often with disastrous result, is extravagant and foolish.
3. Most women (and men) are color-blind. They should ask for suggestions.
4. Remember-twenty percent of women have inferiority complexes. Seventy percent have illusions.
5. Ninety percent are afraid of being conspicuous, and of what people will say. So they buy a gray suit. They should dare to be different.
6. Women should listen and ask for competent criticism and advice.
7. They should choose their clothes alone or in the company of a man.
8. They should never shop with another woman, who sometimes consciously or unconsciously, is apt to be jealous.
9. She should buy little and only of the best or cheapest.
10. Never fit a dress to the body, but train the body to fit the dress.
11. A woman should buy mostly in one place where she is known and respected, and not rush around trying every new fad.
12. And she should pay her bills.

The book Shocking Life by Elsa Schiaparelli is full of details about her life, her work and her travels.  If you desire some whimsical inspiration, consider reading it and doing some research on'll be amazed!   My vintage copy of "Shocking Life" is a recent eBay purchase which gave ME a shock when I saw how high the bids could go!!!...luckily I got mine during the Super Bowl while everyone else was stuffing their faces with chips and chili con queso...  :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring Green.....

If you have had time to browse through my blog or Etsy shop, you've probably noticed that I love green and pink....alone or mixed....doesn't matter....just love 'em!
One of my favorite shades of green is reminds me of spring, which is fast approaching for most.  Living in Colorado demands more patience though before the daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses peep their little blooms above the cold, snowy ground.  Fortunately, my impatience is eased by designing jewelry, handbags and clothes using all the vibrant spring colors that I wish!  Working with the peridot greens in this necklace gave me plenty of time to dream of all the beautiful flowers that are probably just beginning to stir.....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Bride's Bag Green with Envy

While visiting some of my vintage haunts last spring, I ran across a 1960's evening gown with the most beautiful rhinestone piece which was attached at the center front of its empire waist.  The gown itself had many stains on it....evidence of quite a party at its last hoorah!  But the rhinestone accent piece was still sparkly and had promises of a new life.
When I returned to my studio, I removed the rhinestone decor and held it next to many different pieces of vintage fabrics.  Finally, it popped when I laid it on a scrap of 1960's heavyweight satin in lime green.....a piece my mother had picked up for me while shopping at one of her vintage boutiques!  (Having a mother and sister who know me well certainly has its benefits.   My mother sends me a box once a month filled with treasures awaiting a new life, and my sister always finds something special for me at her flea markets!)
I wanted this bag to have a contemporary feel to it, but contemporary to the '50's or '60's.  You know....the old Hollywood look from Joanne Woodward....but something that would be perfect for today, too!   Here are the results.....