Tag Archives: Brooch

Friday’s Thought (In Time For Sunday) – Follow Your Passion

Waaaah!  Where is the time going?  What was supposed to be a week off has turned into a week of work – at the drafting table and in the practice room.  But I’m not complaining, really.  I feel fortunate to have the time to do what I love to do.  Being able to make a living at it is the icing on the cake!

Speaking of people who have spent a lifetime doing what they are passionate about, if you happen to be in New York City, you MUST get yourself to the Metropolitan Museum of Art of see the Jewels by JAR exhibit.  Three-hundred, ninety-five glorious baubles are on display in one elegant room.  You’ll probably never see so many rubies, sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, opals, and other precious stones together in one place again.  And it’s not just the staggering wealth of the collection that is impressive, the designs (mostly variations on elements found in nature) show breathtaking vision, elegance, wit – not to mention techniques unrivaled in the business.  This is one man who has devoted his life to his passion…and it shows!

Jewels by JAR

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

(Marc Anthony)


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Some of My Favorite Things – Giving Thanks Edition


Watercolor and gouache rose "brooch" design by Joana Miranda

Watercolor and Gouache Rose Brooch Design by Joana Miranda


Sometimes amid all of the stresses of my life, I forget how truly blessed I am.  I have

  • my health
  • a husband who can’t get out of bed each day unless he “spoons” around me for at least 15 minutes
  • a wonderfully supportive and loving family
  • great friends who cheer me on
  • a drive to create beauty around me


  • a sense of humor

Speaking of sense of humor, even though I’ve often sometimes felt like my NY job search has been an exercise in futility extreme patience, even there I’m grateful for the little gifts that come my way.  Take for example the “bloopers” I’ve come across in job postings.  These have added some much needed levity to my days; in fact, I’ve even started to compile a list of the best ones.  These “gems”, taken from jewelry job, as well as from creative job listings, are among my favorites:


“Newborn Photographer”

“Now Hiring Music Teachers”

(“Teaching experience a HUGE plus!”)

“Jew Administrator”


“A man isn’t poor if he can still laugh.”

(Raymond Hitchcock)

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

(Milton Berle)

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. “

(e.e. cummings)


Filed under industry news, motivation, New work

A Design a Day – (Day 365! Celebrating One Year of Posting a Design a Day)

Ok, folks…here it is.  My 365th and final design in my Design-a-Day year-long blog project.   Drum roll, applause and…


Watercolor and Gouache "Fireworks" Diamond Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

Watercolor and Gouache "Fireworks" Diamond Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

The nice thing about being a designer is that I can design my own celebratory brooch.  I can also design my celebration party  – a date out tonight with my husband for pizza and beer. (Unfortunately, riches and fame haven’t come my way yet, so a slice and the paper brooch are the extent of my luxuries right now.)

What HAS come my way as a result of doing this year-long project is…

the joy of meeting and fulfilling a challenge day after day,

the opportunity to go to my own (self-created) school of design in a public and yet immensely gratifying way,

a great way to keep a daily record of my progress,

the desire to learn new techniques,

confidence in the depths of my visual creativity,

a chance to interact with fans as far away as China, Norway and India,

(and as close as my husband, parents and friends),

and the burning desire to create more designs!

So, what’s next?

While I won’t be posting jewelry designs on a regular basis, I will continue posting on a regular basis (most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)

First, though, I’ll take a DAY OFF (what’s that?),

and then, starting this coming Monday (September 20th), you’ll see a new blog banner, some changes to the blog’s layout, and you’ll meet my latest creation.


Make sure you visit me here on Monday.  Better yet, if you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my blog.  That way you’ll never miss a post!


Filed under Design A Day, Influences, motivation, New work

A Design a Day – Day 364 (The Penultimate Design…Infinity-Inspired Because the Ideas Are Still Coming)

Watercolor and Gouache Gold and Diamond "Infinity" Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

Watercolor and Gouache Gold and Diamond "Infinity" Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

“Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal: while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than before.”



Filed under Design A Day, Influences, motivation, New work

A Design a Day – Day 360 (Coming Full Circle – A Modern Brooch Inspired by a Modern Music Concert)

My design for today was inspired by a concert of modern music I heard tonight at the Manhattan School of Music, my husband’s alma mater.  The music was by David Noon, and was a recital of his compositions in celebration of his upcoming retirement after 30 years of dedicated teaching at the school.  The program was as varied as it was long (ok, I’m a little jaded as a professional musician and I only want to hear SO much music…), and the variety spanned everything from solo piano, harp and violin duet, and saxophone quartet, to a sonata for piano and percussion, and a composition for four card players and a card table.

So, without further ado, my design for today:

Pencil sketch of modern diamond and pearl brooch by Joana Miranda

Pencil Sketch of Modern Diamond and Pearl Brooch by Joana Miranda

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A Design a Day – Day 350 (Pinning Down Fall 2010 Fashion Trends)

The weather in Milwaukee took a turn towards fall today with temperatures only getting to about 62 degrees.  The nip in the air made me wonder if it was time to put away my sandals and start hauling out my sweaters.  Of course, I imagine that the temperatures will still climb back up to more seasonable highs, but this brooch with its rich enamel earth and jewel tones seems fitting for the day:

Colored pencil and gouache enameled brooch rendering by Joana Miranda

Colored Pencil and Gouache Enameled Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

If you’re wondering what direction fashion will be taking this fall, you might want to take a look at the list below:

  • Chic urban warrior-styled clothing
  • Clunky biker boots
  • Eccentric color combinations
  • Leggings
  • Slim or straight-cut jeans
  • Vintage-inspired styles
  • Long cardigans
  • Tuxedo jackets
  • Mix of luxury items with thrift items
  • Statement jewelry (big, bold and clunky pieces)

Actually, from what I could tell from looking through the fall issue of InStyle magazine recently, this fall’s fashion lineup is much like the economy – unpredictable.  Good to know, especially for those of us who are more apt to dive into the recesses of our closet for inspiration than head out to the stores to buy the latest trends!


Filed under Design A Day, industry news, Influences, New work

A Design a Day – Day 319 (Broaching the Subject of Brooches)

I was disappointed as I started rendering tonight’s design.  I thought the design concept might be a flop.  However, upon working out the curves of metal in my mind as I rendered, and then adding the gouache highlights, I was pleased to see that this brooch design is one with a lot of potential, if not just “fine as is!”

Colored pencil and gouache gold and diamond swirl brooch rendering by Joana Miranda

Colored Pencil and Gouache Gold and Diamond Swirl Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

There are many ways to wear a brooch beyond the traditional spot on a lapel.  Here are some fun suggestions to try:

  • Pin the brooch onto a fancy evening bag for added sparkle
  • Affix the brooch onto a hat for a look that is uniquely yours
  • Use the brooch to anchor a scarf artfully to your clothing
  • Accent a focal point on a dress – such as the décolleté, the gathers at the hip, or a plunging back – with an artfully placed brooch
  • Decorate a hair ribbon with a brooch for instant sophistication

If any of you have more suggestions for great ways to wear a brooch, please write in and let me know!


Filed under Design A Day, materials, motivation, New work