Record Jewelry and Materials Sale This Past Weekend

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Nov 18, 2016 | No Comments

This past weekend, I hosted an Open House sale at my home in Santa Monica. It went really well and I sold more than 40 pieces of jewelry. I love having sales because I never know who’s going to show up. My mailing list of over 1000 includes old friends, new friends, lots of students, customers, neighbors and relatives.

It’s always a surprise to see who will walk in the door and, usually, it’s a friend or a student I know. For me, it’s like having an all-day party. I have fun talking to people I often haven’t seen in a while. At this sale, I met some really nice people from my neighborhood who I had never seen before. I also got to see some long-lost students as well as some students I just worked with last week.

Besides selling jewelry and materials to these people, I caught up with what they’re doing these days and got some great advice on stretching sore muscles, how to use a neti pot, and the latest real estate pricing.

I’ll be having another sale the weekend of December 11th and 12th (11am to 5pm), to give people a chance to do some holiday shopping. Right now, I’m planning a lot of new jewelry pieces that I plan to make before then. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by!

Selling Jewelry at the Topanga Fair, 2016


If you want to comment…

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Aug 20, 2016 | No Comments

I’ve turned off comments on my blog posts because I got too much spam. If you’d like to contact me, please email me at susan (at)

I will post any legitimate comments.


Hoop Earrings & How I Organize My Projects

I love hoop earrings! I’ve made so many of them in the last few years in so many different styles that I’ve had a hard time categorizing them in my mind & in my classes.

Years ago, when I started teaching jewelry-making, I felt the need to keep track of all the jewelry projects I was able to teach so I could plan classes or make a sales pitch to a school that might want to hire me. At first, I started making a list on a yellow pad. After a while, the list got so long and confusing that I decided I needed a more comprehensive system that allowed me to organize all my instruction handouts, materials lists, and any notes or reference materials related to the project. I created a notebook  that I called “All Info” that had a separate page for each project, with space behind the main page for all the back-up materials.

I also had physical samples of each project in separate, quart-size ziplock bags that somehow had to be linked to the paperwork.  I created a filing system made of cardboard boxes that were the perfect size to fit the sample bags, and I gave each project sample a number as I designed it. (I started with#1 and am now up to project #312!) I then used the same numbers to label the “All Info” sheets. Years later, a student (thanks, Nancy Varat!) came up with the brilliant idea of listing the project number under the title of each instruction handout as well.

As a further way of finding related projects, I created categories of project types: Bead Weaving, Buttons, Chain, Chain Maille, Cord, Craft Wire, Crochet & Knitting, Macrame, Memory Wire, Metalwork, Nylon-Covered Wire (a.k.a Beading Wire or Cable), & Stretch Magic. Every project I teach fits into one of these categories and has it’s own number, sample bag and All Info page. Each project number represents a specific technique or jewelry style that I can teach in one class.

This is where the dilemma regarding Hoop Earrings came in. There are so many different ways to make them: Full hoops and half hoops. Beads wrapped around the hoops or beads strung on the hoops. Wire-wrapped briolettes or head-pin dangles hanging in the center of the hoop. Single hoops or double. etc. etc.

This may seem like a silly thing to be preoccupied with, but I really like everything to fit into neat categories. It makes it easier to plan a semester of classes and it helps me wrap my mind around how to teach each technique. It would be impossible to cover all types of hoop earrings in one class. So how do I decide what to teach in a single hoop earring class? How do I divide all the hoop earring possibilities into separate lessons?

I’ve had these questions in the back of my mind for a few years now, always keeping them on the back burner because I couldn’t decide. Last night, I was looking through all my sample bags and  I suddenly got inspired to finally focus to figure out “the hoop earring problem”. I reviewed all the photos I have of all the hoop earrings I’ve made (a lot) and all the handouts I’ve used to teach them (only 2). There were so many ways to organize them. Should I group them by how (and if) there would be beads attached? By whether they have single or double hoops? If they were half hoops, should I have a separate project for half-hoops attached to the earring wires by chain and another category for half-hoops connected by wire components? What about having center briolettes or not? My mind was swimming with hoop earring images. It wasn’t until I decided to take a long walk that it became clear to me how to categorize them.

Get ready for my exciting conclusion!

Below are the 4 categories of hoop earrings I finally came up with. NOTE: Each category includes all types of bead decorations, whether wrapped on the wire, dangling from the wire, strung directly on the wire, or hanging inside the center of the hoop. Each type can also include single or double hoop styless.

1. Round, full, hand-made hoops attached to earring wires

Round, full, hand-made hoops (fully bead-wrapped, w/center headpin dangle)

2. Half-round, hand-made hoops attached with chain OR wire components to earring wires

Half-round, hand-made hoops attached with chain (fully bead-wrapped, no center dangle)

3. Pre-made hoops with built-in earring wires

Pre-Made Hoops with Built-In Ear Wires (with beads & headpin dangles strung on hoops)

4. Teardrop-shaped, hand-made hoops

Teardrop-Shaped, Hand-Made Hoops (with beads strung on hoops, no center dangle)


“Sorry It Took Me So Long to Write!”

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Aug 18, 2016 | No Comments

The Ceiling of My Bedroom from My Letter-Writing Days

Yay! That was exciting! After 3 years, I was able to go back through all my notes and figure out how to log in to WordPress and post on my blog.

It occurred to me that this meta-commenting and apologizing for not posting more often is similar to what life was like when actual, physical (really!) letter-writing was a common way to communicate with friends who were far away.

I admit it! I’m old enough to remember when there was no snapchat, no facebook, not even email! Not only that, but “long-distance” phone calls were actually expensive. There were no cell phones either. If you made a bunch of phone calls to people in another state, you would probably be yelled at by your parents for wasting money. Even if you lived in New York (which I did) and called a friend in New Jersey! Yes, folks, that was the primitive world I grew up in. My father had to go out and club a ptarmegan to death in order for us to eat dinner, and when we went to school, we scratched our “sums” onto quarried slate with a rock. Those were the good old days.

Anyway, in spite of all this primitive-ness, my siblings and I were sent away to summer camp for 8 weeks every summer and we had the opportunity to make friends who lived in other cities or states. Not to mention that, to keep in touch with our friends & relatives from home, we had to write letters all summer long. Mail call was an exciting part of the day, but that’s another story.

The point is that I always procrastinated when responding to letters received from far-away friends and I always had a stack of letters labelled “to be answered”.

And…. I usually ended up starting every letter by saying, “Sorry it took me so long to write back.” Which is what I was reminded of when I started to comment on the fact that it’s taken me 3 years to write my next blog post. I thought this nostalgic reminiscing might be slightly more interesting than just starting out by saying, “Sorry it’s taken me so long to write.”

It’s not? Oh well. Sorry about that, too!

I promised my daughter I would start posting regularly, so this is my first attempt. What does this have to do with jewelry? Absolutely nothing! Please read on to Attempt #2 for jewelry commentary.

Testing, testing….

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Aug 18, 2016 | No Comments

Does this blog still work? I haven’t posted anything since 2013! Time to find out!

My Website & Jewelry Photographs

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Jun 10, 2013 | No Comments

Now that I’m back to living a normal life (after my Steroid Withdrawal experience) I’m picking up where I left off developing my website. With the help of Craig Stocks (, I’ve set up Adobe Lightroom on my computer and I’m getting ready to put galleries of my jewelry on my website. I’ve already taken photographs of all my bracelets, and I will continue photographing until I get all my earrings, necklaces, rings, etc.
Craig has given me some good pointers on how to use my camera to take better pictures of my jewelry, and my photographer friend Nancy Kaye has also helped me a lot.

I made an amazing discovery the other day. When the sky is overcast here in Santa Monica, the light is absolutely perfect for taking pictures of my jewelry. This is a real breakthrough because I’ve had a really hard time working with shadows & lighting. An overcast sky gives a nice, even, bright light with no shadows. Now I just have to hope that my schedule and the weather coincide.
Comments: I had to turn off comments on my blog because I was getting so much spam. If you have any comments on any of my blog or website content, or if you just want to let me know you came here and read something, please email me at I will post any comments that are not spam.

A Real Post

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Jun 3, 2013 | No Comments

As I mentioned below, in my post about Topical Steroid Withdrawal & Red Skin Syndrome, shortly after I set up my website a couple of years ago, I unwittingly entered into the horrific Steroid Withdrawal. If you know anyone who uses steroids on their skin and seems to have ever-worsening eczema, there’s a good chance that they are addicted to steroids and that their “eczema” is actually a reaction to the steroids. Please refer them to for more information on this syndrome and how to cure it. Topical steroids have all sorts of terrible, yet little-known, side effects and they should never be used for more than a week or two. All they can do is suppress symptoms, but they can never cure skin problems. If skin problems persist for more than a couple of weeks, you need to dig deeper to find out what’s actually causing the problem.
Anyway, my life was stopped in its tracks for a long time. It’s been 20 months now, and I’m about 85% better. I know I will heal completely, but it will probably take at least 6 months more. My face still flakes & peels most days and my skin is rough and thickened. However, I’m finally back to living life again and participating in all my normal activities. So here I am, attempting to revive my blog.
I plan to write about jewelry-making, skin & health, in random order.

No More Comments

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Jun 3, 2013 | No Comments

I’ve been getting lots of spam, so I’ve closed the comment option on my blog.

My Current Class Schedule

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Jan 29, 2012 | No Comments

Here’s a list of the jewelry classes I currently have scheduled. Contact me at if you’re interested in attending:

Home Studio Classes:

Macrame Techniques for Jewelry

Monday, January 30th, 2012, 6:45-9:15pm

Learn macrame knotting and a variety of bead placement techniques for macrame bracelets & necklaces.

Chain Maille Bracelet with Caged Beads

Monday, February 13th, 2012, 6:45-9:15pm

Rollo Chain & Leather Cord Bracelet

Monday, February 27th, 2012, 6:45-9:15pm

Please contact Susan to sign up for these classes, or to request classes with the projects

YOU want to learn., or call 310-395-9039

Santa Monica College Continuing Education Classes:


1. Bead & Jewelry Basics – Beginning Jewelry-Making

Dates: 3 Tuesdays – Starting April 17th, 2012, ending May 1st, 2012

Time: 7-9:30 p.m.


Emeritus College

1227 Second Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Room 408

Tuition: $45, Materials Cost: $25.00 (Tools not included – for sale in class at discounted prices)

Sign up for April 2012 Bead Basics class here


Earrings! Bracelets! Necklaces! Learn to make them all in this hands-on basic jewelry workshop. You’ll be able

to use the techniques you learn to make new jewelry or repair old pieces. We’ll cover stringing beads on

various types of wire, attaching clasps, wire-wrapping and looping, working with various cords and threads,

and chain maille. Plus, get an introduction to some basic bead-weaving techniques. You will take home detailed,

illustrated instructions that you can refer to for future projects. Bring to class a small towel and any jewelry

tools you already own. Do NOT buy any new tools until after class discussion. All tools will be available for

purchase in class.

2. Wire Rings

Date: 1 Tuesday – February 21st, 2012

Time: 7-9:30 p.m.


Emeritus College

1227 Second Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Room 408

Tuition: $35, Materials Cost: $15.00 (Tools not included – for sale in class at discounted prices)

Sign up for Wire Rings class here


Learn how to make 3-4 different styles of beautiful rings by bending wire and adding beads. You’ll leave class with at least two finished rings to keep for yourself, share as friendship rings, or give as personalized gifts. Materials fee $15 at class (does not include tools, which may be purchased in class at a discounted price).

3. Wrapped-Bead Hoop Earrings

Date: 1 Tuesday – February 28th, 2012

Time: 7-9:30 p.m.


Emeritus College

1227 Second Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Room 408

Tuition: $35, Materials Cost: $15.00 (Tools not included – for sale in class at discounted prices)

Sign up for Wrapped-Bead Hoop Earrings class here.


Hoop earrings are always trendy and fashionable in spring! Learn two different techniques for making decorated hoop earrings using wire and colorful beads. You’ll leave class with at least one finished pair of earrings and the skills to make more at home. Materials fee $15 at class (does not include tools, which may be purchased in class at a discounted price).

4. Chandelier Earrings

Date: 1 Tuesday – March 6th, 2012

Time: 7-9:30 p.m.


Emeritus College

1227 Second Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Room 408

Tuition: $35, Materials Cost: $15.00 (Tools not included – for sale in class at discounted prices)

Sign up for Chandelier Earrings class here


Chandelier earrings are always fashionable! Learn how to wire-wrap teardrop-shaped beads, then find out how to put them together with other small beads to create beautiful earrings that dazzle as they dangle. Materials fee $15 at class (does not include tools, which may be purchased in class at a discounted price).

Website Updates on Hold Due to Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Jan 21, 2012 | No Comments

Hi Everyone!

At the beginning of last November, I was all ready to upload a whole bunch of useful content to my website. My website advisor Craig Stocks had just helped me set up a great new format for my lists of class projects and materials that I offer for sale. And then, suddenly, BAM! I was hit with the horrific (but temporary) symptoms of Topical Steroid Addiction Withdrawal. What is this? you might ask, since very few people are familiar with this distressing phenomenon.

Topical Steroids are often used to deal with the symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions. However, what most people (including many dermatologists and allergists) don’t know is that they can do a lot of damage and your body can get addicted to them. It’s been estimated that 40-60% of people are susceptible to this.

That’s what happened to me. I used over-the-counter 1% Hydrocortisone ointment for about 5 years on my eyelids & wrists. My allergist assured me that there would be no bad side effects or permanent damage. That was a big mistake!

When I inadvertently stopped applying the steroid last October 1, 2011, my skin suddenly exploded! Where I had had a small amount of eczema on my wrists, my whole arm suddenly turned red and itchy, For a couple of weeks, I had no idea what was happening to me. Then I found the website of an Australian man whose wife was experiencing the exact same thing.

To make a long story short, this withdrawal horror can last from 6 months to more than 2 years! The good news is that, eventually, everyone returns to normal. The bad news is that, in the meantime, you itch and burn and swell and ooze and can’t sleep for many months! I’ve been one of the luckier ones so far. Many people have it so bad that they can’t get out of bed for weeks or months.

So far, I can more or less continue my main life activities, like teaching jewelry classes and cooking dinner. But if I sit still for 5 minutes, I start itching and scratching, and I have to jump up and do something. I’ve had a hard time sitting at my computer typing in the new data I planned to add in November. I can’t even sit and have a conversation with my husband!

So I haven’t done a lot of updating, or blogging lately. And now you know why!

I WILL be back!

categories classes DIY earring hoops Earrings hand-made Hoop earrings jewelry organizatiojn projects samples Susan Ryza wire