She Designed A Life She Loved

Young Warrior Owen

Surprise! I’m going to be a Mom for the first time in a few weeks. My son, Owen Anthony is expected sometime around August 6th, which is just a couple short weeks away!


Our Holiday season was so successful that I had to take a short break in January to recover from all the orders and packaging. Around the same time, the infamous “Morning Sickness” reared its ugly head and continued well into April. Can you believe it lasted 20 weeks! -One of the hardest challenges I had to go through. Sadly, I also had to stop soldering because of all the chemicals so I thought that waiting until the Fall after the baby arrives would be the better plan of action.

My little hiatus wasn’t a total design loss. I was able to create a few simple pieces and dream of the jewelry that I would make for this Fall. We are also making plans to exhibit at a few craft fairs before the holidays so please look out for future announcements about where and when.

A lot of my creative energy over the past few months went into creating perfect little space for baby. Since the meaning of the name Owen in Welsh is “Young Warrior”, I thought what a great theme for a nursery and ran with the idea! I only had a small space to work with, so I had to be very choosy when it came to picking out furniture and decor.

Nursery 1



We chose the Stokke Sleepi Crib, which is so perfect for us because it starts as a small bassinet and extends into a full sized crib by just adding a few pieces. I absolutely love the hanging bar since it made it super easy to hang our knitted horse mobile. Since wall paper was out of the question, we opted for a simple accent wall by painting it light grey and ordering some white pine tree vinyl stickers from Etsy that creates a similar effect. I was lucky enough to find a rug that had a Native American foliage inspired feel to it to define the small space and add to the forest concept that I was going for.

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Finally to help the theme come together, my husband and I picked two pieces for the wall décor that we both loved. I’m a big Pinterest user and saw the photographs from The Animal Print Shop all over the site.  I fell in love with the clean and magical look the photography lends itself to nursery decor. My husband thought they were drawings at first! Since Eric and I are both animal lovers especially because of our dog Rocky, we choose a photograph of a very close relative animal of our beloved pooch…Owen’s Spirit Animal – a baby wolf!  Coincidently, at the Etsy shop Little Wild Wolf, which is based in the United Kingdom, we found the coolest woven tapestry that fits perfectly in the corner of the room. Eric calls it Owen’s lucky talisman.


Detail 2

Well, I hope you enjoyed the photos of our nursery! Wish me luck & I will see you all in the Fall! Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates on when we will be re-opening.Maternity2



Crib: Stokke Sleepi Mini Bassinet

Mobile: Pottery Barn Kids 

Dresser: West Elm 

Changing Pad: Kekaroo Peanut

Lamp: West Elm


Wolf Print: The Animal Print Shop 

Pine Tree Decals: Etsy – Fairy Dust Decals

Woven Tapestry: Etsy – Little Wild Wolf 

Hamper & Diaper Caddy: JJ Cole



“Believing that there are many sides to one person, I have created jewelry for the complex modern women who DREAMS, ASPIRES, & CREATES the life that she wants to live.”
  Office-Ariel ViewIt has been two weeks since Fall officially started, but I have yet to play Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over” and feel the inspiring cold fall air.  I seriously can’t wait!  I don’t know about you, but there is always something in that air that rejuvenates and makes it easy to start new projects.

After leaving the fine art world to pursue fashion jewelry design, I was a little worried at starting over with a new industry.  Happily, I found that utilizing my contemporary art education really helped me move forward in the direction that I wanted to take with designing and handcrafting jewelry.

With any profession, you need to have an “eternally a student” mentality to keep yourself relevant, and once you get out of school you’ll definitely have to be the one to kick your own butt into gear and remember what you learned.  It’s been 7 years since receiving my Masters Degree from CalArts but I still use the concepts of creation that I learned while there in my current jewelry practice.  Some if it was instilled, some of it I gleaned through example or conversation with others, a lot I found through the years of developing my personal guiding principles, and of course being extremely patient to the process of development.

2a48a3928f06b11ab430335974cf25c3 That being said, I thought I would share these concepts of creative development with you in the hopes that they can be used for your current ventures or maybe inspire a completely new project this Fall. Please take away what you will as they can be used as guidelines only.



1 [ Patience & Time]  Patience was a difficult one for me to learn right away in school with so many eyes on my work because for some reason I thought I could make a masterpiece on my first try and proclaim it on the mountain top. But since then, I’ve learned that the sooner you learn that being great at what you do takes time plus trial and error, the sooner you’ll get there. Give yourself permission to develop and revise along the way. If you talk to anyone great at their craft, they’ll probably tell you that they worked for it, put in the hours (whether it be “in the zone” or frustrated), and made several revisions until they were truly satisfied with what they had in front of them.

2  [Trial & Error] Experimentation is a place where you can develop your own voice, decide what makes you excited about the thing you are doing, and most importantly figure out what is working and what does not.  The more time you put into experimenting, the more you will get out of it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or something that just didn’t come out the way you wanted. However, it’s important to learn from every trial and note if there was something that did work out. Look at your victories and failures in pieces and write down what you’ve learned to take that knowledge into your next try.  Also, you might be surprised that an unintentional mistake could actually turn into a new technique or style. It’s always good to start small because whatever the outcome, you’ve started. And sometimes that’s the hardest part. In my experience, ideas that live in your head rarely materialize in a concrete form on your first try. You might have to make several reiterations. That way, you can eliminate anything that is just not working and keep the things that are truly great. A great trick of the trade is to work with inexpensive materials that mimic the more expensive material you plan to use for your final piece. Sketches of ideas are always good, but a physical mock-up will really show you what your working with.

Trial and Error



3  [Research & Collection] In addition to experimenting, it’s also great to see whats out there in the big ol’ world. You might be surprised and inspired at what you find.  No one lives in a vacuum, so it’s very important to see not only what others are doing now, but what has been done in the past. I’ll take inspiration wherever I can get it; from an obscure book at the library, to something I saw on social media, to cladding on the side of a building, to a floral pattern on a piece of fabric. I can be caught taking a photo or a screen shot for my own personal collection to reference later.

An easy way to start collecting your inspiration is Pinterest.  For those of you that are not familiar with this social media device;  Users share collections called “boards” of visual bookmarks called “Pins” that they use to do things like plan trips, develop projects, organize events or save articles and recipes.  For me, it’s like a treasure trove of images on any subject matter I could ever want – & the best part it’s free!  You can also upload your own photos, follow the pins of your favorite taste-makers, and create secret boards for projects you are working on that you want kept private.  Please check out No Ordinary Love Handmade’s Pinterest Board to see what gets me going in the morning here:
Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 9.05.21 PM

Despite the easy accessibility of the internet, I’m still a fan of the library and books. Pinterest might seem like it has everything in the universe, but it doesn’t (or at least it hasn’t been pinned yet).   The library just might have that rare jewel to take your project to the next all you need to borrow something is a library card!

If you live in Los Angeles and are driving distance to Glendale, CA, check out the beautiful and recently renovated Brand Library.  It’s an Arts and Music Library that has the largest music selection West of the Mississippi!  The Moracan architecture is to die for as well!10177877_10152139123241056_4799583782513860121_n

I wanted to share some images from a book on Frank Loyd Wright that interestingly enough had these wonderful drawings by this female architect, Marion Griffin, who designed all of his stained glass windows and drew some of his renderings all the way back in 1904!
Frank Lloyd Wright
Marion Griffin



4 [Point of View & Continuity]  Originality is a very fine line and difficult to achieve, but paramount if you are interested in establishing yourself as a leader in your field.


Be unique not to be special, but to actually make yourself and what you do valuable to the world around you. This is why I can’t stress enough to absolutely take your time in the development stages (1-3). You can’t possibly make yourself valuable, without knowing what’s others are doing and especially without knowing what you are doing that’s different. It’s easy to take an idea from something you’ve seen, but if you don’t make it your own in some way, it’s pretty much just an appropriation/ a copy.  That’s fine if that is what you do, but not good if you want to be valuable and competitive. Don’t let this stifle you in the beginning process. Imitation is fine when you are just starting out and you are looking at others for inspiration or learning techniques. You should learn from the best examples.

Once you’ve found your point of view and gained a positive response, stick with it and make subtle variations!  Take this with a grain of salt as defining a style is subjective, but you’ll definitely be able to tell when something is an afterthought.

One of my favorite artists is Ellsworth Kelly, who has made an amazing body of work for the past 56 years completely devoted to shape and color:





5  [Technique & Critique] Funny enough this last step could actually be your first step if you would prefer to learn from an expert right away.  A class or buying a book is a great way to get you going.  When I started No Ordinary Love Handmade, I already had a knack for design and hand craft through my fine art experience, so I simply started making jewelry by using a tutorial I found via Pinterest.

I took baby steps when I first learned. I taught myself to wire wrap, purchasing some tools at Michael’s Arts & Crafts with a coupon.  When I was ready a few months later, I went to an in person class and was actually able to refine my technique before I opened my Etsy store and launched my company.

I gave myself a lot of time before learning my next jewelry making technique since I knew learning soldering and metalsmithing would be a big investment.  During that intermediate period, I developed my wire wrapping skills so that I was an expert, found my go-to suppliers, and researched the kind of jewelry I wanted to make once I finally learned how to solder.  About a year after I first bought my first set of tools, I sold enough pieces to invest in a soldering class!  And I took a terrific personal lesson with an established jewelry artist Lucia Pasquinelli in West Los Angeles.  There I learned the traditional techniques of metalsmithing in order to “mix with more modern concepts” – which is her awesome teaching philosophy.

Here is a photo of the first two rings I made with her:
…& here are all my new soldering tools for my home studio!  So excited to show you all the pretty rings and bracelets that I have created for my fall line!
Soldering Tools
In addition to taking classes, getting feedback from other professionals or friends in your target demographic is key. Another difficult lesson to learn, which is similar to “not being afraid to fail” is don’t fear negative feedback. If your going to be great at what you do, you’re going to have to deal with people having something to say.  However, what will determine how successful you are, is how you actually choose to deal with it. You can either take it personally and let it stifle you OR you can use it as a learning experience. And if it turns out that they are wrong or you just disagree, then it’ll just confirm what you already know, which can’t be so bad.


As for me I’m certainly in the mindset that I’m on a long adventure with this and hope to meet some cool people along the way that are doing the same thing. Stay tuned, in just a few weeks, No Ordinary Love Handmade will be launching our new fall line!  But for now, just because you took the time to read this post I’m offering 15% off for this week on your entire purchase –  Use coupon code: “FORDREAMERSSALE”.

Wanted to leave you with a teaser of our first commercial for our upcoming fall line, which will be coming out this month!

Until next time!

Xo, Theresa

For Women who Follow their Dreams


Happy October!  I can’t believe I started making jewelry just last summer and will be celebrating No Ordinary Love Handmades 1 Year Anniversary this coming December!

08d23b09caa985ca09220ee24bc70dcfAlso, I am very happy to announce that we have officially filed our business taxes for the first time and have reached all of the goals we set for our first fiscal year in business.  Reaching this milestone has allowed me to take a few classes including soldering and metal-smithing and I am really looking forward to showing you what I have in store for this upcoming Fall and Winter – including our first line of handmade rings, bracelets, and brand new packaging.  Thank you to everyone that has been so supportive thus far!

I have seriously fallen in love with jewelry design and it’s really fun to run my own business and to be able to work with individuals to create pieces that they will love.  At the beginning of the summer, I was able to create a few necklaces for an old friend, who is not only an incredible individual and Mother, but is a successful entrepreneur (seriously she’s a powerhouse).

Ngoc Nguyen Lay is the owner of Pasadena-based event planning company, Skybox Event Productions , and published author of Inspired Celebrations.   What is awesome about Ngoc, other than her keen talent, is her ability to bring the best out of the people that she works with.

She most recently finished her second book as the Creative Director on a children’s book, “My Wish For You” that just came out this month.  I was so thrilled when she asked me to create a few necklaces for her to wear on the Photoshoot and Kickstater Video.


               Photo of Ngoc Nguyen Lay and her son by Annie Vovan Photography

Inspired Celebrations cover by Caroline Tran Photography

Being the stylish women she is, she already had this mint chevron eyelet dress picked out to go with this awesome navy geometric belt (& of course her son Austin’s handsome outfit as well).   This was seriously the perfect choice to create accessories for, since I absolutely love when feminine and abstract styles come together.


Wanting to compliment the style and color of the belt, I found these beautiful dark blue Czech Glass Pansy beads that I paired with an intricate yet simple gold-filled chain.


What do you think about the final design?



Photo of Ngoc Nguyen Lay by Annie Vovan Photography

Photos of Necklaces by No Ordinary Love Handmade

“My Wish For You” is a story dedicated to children and individuals teaching them to reach for the stars no matter what and to absolutely follow their dreams – a message that speaks to me especially since I’m still following my dreams.

If you have time, please watch the video by clicking this link and hear all about the making of the book and its inspiring message -It would make a great gift for the holidays!  The Kickstarter has already raised their goal, but you can still purchase copies on their website:  I know the little ones are going to make it their favorite book!

Here are necklaces Ngoc wore in the video:

Video Necklaces

This fall will be busy, but I promise to update you very soon. Stay tuned for more on our Instagram and Facebook!