Here's a picture of one of the first pieces of jewelry I made as an adult. I was so inspired after my first interview at BeadStyle magazine, that I came home and made this bracelet based on ideas generated during a conversation with Mindy Brooks, the first editor of the magazine. Since I didn't have many beads on hand, I bravely cut apart a Southwestern Native American coral and turquoise necklace and mixed in some inexpensive base metal beads I had from the craft store. To this day, it is the one piece of jewelry I've made that literally stops people in their tracks who feel they must comment on it. It must be the energy of those ancient beads.
Before I started, I took a picture of the original necklace. I wanted to be sure I could restring it if I changed my mind.
If you're at a creative impasse, turn to your old jewelry for inspiration. Why have you stopped wearing a piece? Is it the fit? A bad clasp? What did you like about the piece to begin with? The colors? A specific bead or two? Then figure out what you can make using the best of what's there.
If you're still stuck, check out this new book by Brenda Schweder called Vintage Redux. I was the editor for this book and it'll finally be available at the end of this month. I'm sure you'll love all the creative ways Brenda has taken vintage finds (and some that may have remained lost if a less-creative eye was searching the second-hand shops) and made truly fabulous modern jewelry. My favorites are the class-ring-as-toggle bracelet (I wonder if my dad is ready to part with his?) and the charming bangle bracelets (attach a few charms and your plain-jane bands will have a modern look).
Let me know if you've ever been moved to "redux," and what happened when you did.