Friday, July 31, 2009

Rings & Things blogger challenge - Sterling connector

Ever have one of those e-pif-anys when you are working on a project and the answer just comes. The heavens part and a single sun beam lights up the world around you, and you know what you need to do.

I was working on the Summer Breeze necklace, all my 'ingredients' scattered out in front of me, along with the other July blogger challenge packets, and that is when it happened. Everyonceinawhile I would look up from what I was doing and look at the packets, sigh and go back to work - nuthun - no inspiration. After about the 20th time looking up, it hit me, plain as day!

Mentally I smacked my forehead, out loud I sed - "Well Duh!, how could you not have thought of this!" I put down Summer Breeze and started to work before my muse got mad and left me again. She is a fickle one in the summer.

Here is what I used -

24 ga sterling wire

Connector, Sterling Silver, Pointed, 39mm, 2 Loop (Limited Stock) (Sterling Silver)

Crystal Bead, Cube, 8mm (Topaz/ Aurora Borealis)

Crystal Bead, Cube, 8mm (Montana/ Aurora Borealis)

Bead, Glass, Firepolish, Round, 4mm (Assorted)

Bead, Cast, Turkish Style, 4mm (Antiqued Silver)

Bead, Metal, Spacer, Coil (Silver Plated)

Clasp, Sterling Silver, Lobster (Sterling Silver)

Chain, Footage, Flattened Drawn Cable, 4.8mm (Silver Plated)

Cord End, Suede, Fold-Over (Silver Plated)

Rattail™, Standard (Size #1 Weight) (Black) (Remember this from a thousand challenges ago, I finally used it!)

Here she is kids - My Heart over Montana

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rings & Things Blogger challenge - Summer Breeze

I have been chomping at the bit to get to this necklace. I knew what I had to do as soon as I saw the Designer bead packet with this months blogger challenge from Rings & Things.

Now find the time -

I didn't think it would take as long as it did to complete, over 5 hours. This was done in several 1 hour or 45 minute sittings as I found time to commit to it. I will admit as I got to the last strand, I felt a bit like this guy -

Now it is done and I am thrilled - *sound of scratching record* well almost. This morning in the shower it hit me (always hits me in the shower, I don't know why) how I can make the charms better. A better way to attach them so they have a bit more swinging freedom. But I'll save that for another day :)

Constructing the necklace -

Designer packet

Cut 10 pieces of hemp ranging between 18 and 21 inches. Knot randomly on each strand the 6/0 seed beads from the Designer Packet. I string the beads ahead of time on the hemp and knot as I go

The knotted beads will serve as the 'bail' for the charms. Cut a wire piece and 'crimp' the end by folding the very end back onto itself and giving it a good mash with your needle nosed pliers

When you make the crimp, slide one of the tiny seed beads from the seperate container onto the wire to be used as a 'stopper' for the bead.

Add your bead - there are so many to choose from!- and by making a wire wrapped loop, you will attach the 'charm' to the bead.

One down - TONS TO GO!

Now all 10 strands are finished. You need to attach them to a jump ring. Attaching all 10 strands to one ring is a big order. I broke it down into 2 strands per ring. This also allows you to wear as many or as few of the strands as you want.

Double them back onto themselves bout an inch and wrap with wire to secure

Pinch the ends to keep them flush and not to scratch the wearer, and do the same to the coil. Give it a slight mash with your needle nosed pliers to help with the grip.

Trim the ends flush with the coil

When you are finished you will have five groups of two. Put the ends onto a larger ring and add half your toggle. Repeat with the other side.

And here she is kids - Summer Breeze (I had that song stuck in my head the whole time I was making it)

And naturally I had to take it out for a test drive!

Tomorrow stop by and see my wire wrapped silver connector as I continue on with this months Rings & Things blogger challenge!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday quickie - Personalized Thank You's

I like to personalize my packaging for customer orders the same as I like each piece of jewelry to be you-neek. It is a an extra special way to say thank you.

I was putting an order together this morning and thought I would share something you may want to use with your customers as well. If the item is handmade, why can't the thank you be as well.

This is what I do for earring orders.

A tablet of colored paper/cardstock

Pick a color and cut out a smallish rectangle - I chose this lighter color because I wanted to use the orange ink.

Cut the rectangle in a unique shape - something curvey or lopsided something to give it a more organic look.

Ink and stamp (I am getting a custom stamp make with a JAT logo on it :)

Poke two holes in the paper, hang the earrings and scrawl a Thank You!

There you have it! If the customer stops by my site and appreciates my work enuff to buy it - I want to show them a little appreciation with a personal thank you.

Tomorrow - same bat time, same bat channel - I will be posting my July Rings & Things blogger challenge necklace!

Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sharing an old memory

My daughter is going to kill me -

20 some odd years ago my daughters art class made 'jewelry boxes' for them to give for Mothers Day presents. I remember her giving this to me, so proud, she had made it all by herself. I remember she said, "I made it blue because that is your favorite color". then she opened it up and showed me the cotton balls tucked into the egg compartments and said "This is so they stay safe in their own pockets!" (but she said pot-chets) *sigh* I am tearing up here just thinking about it.

This has become one of my most valued treasures, and for those of you who know me, that is saying something. I am not a 'keeper' when it comes to sentimental items. I keep the memories closer than I do the 'thing'. The only aspect of my life that I am a keeper is when it comes to jewelry making. There is always a purpose to repurpose!

In this little egg carton jewelry box I have a few pieces of my mothers and grandmothers old costume jewelry. The jewelry I remember them wearing as a kid and wishing my life away so I could be old enuff to wear it too.

So here it is 20 years later, with 20 years of wear and dust, and it is still the most beautiful thing I have ever received.

Just a few of the little treasures tucked away safely inside

Side note - remember the silver bells Jo? I had them forever too :)

Edit - Jo read the entry and IM'd me -

[19:27] Jo: i just saw the note you posted on facebook.
[19:27] Jo: in the center of the top of the egg carton jewelry box, i put a 'diamond'
[19:27] Jo: i remember i took it out of the pile of stuffs that mrs. thompson had brought in, and i hid it so i could give it to you
[19:28] Jo: so i could use it to decorate yours
[19:30] tish@work: weren't you just the sneaky one
[19:30] Jo: yep
[19:30] Jo: when i was that little i thought it really was a diamond
[19:31] Jo: and i thought it was so cool to give you one
[19:31] tish@work: you just thought that whole process was cool
[19:31] tish@work: i love that thing jo
[19:31] Jo: i'm glad you do

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Great Surprise

I got a phone call couple weeks ago from my friend Vanessa. She was all excited about being at the bead show and couldn't wait to call me. She had gotten some "White Turquoise" and wanted me to make necklaces for her and her daughter-in-law.

I attribute my jewelry making habit to Vanessa. Her and her husband are a vendors at the flea market specializing in gemstones. The things they have in their booth make my heart happy. Pocket stones, cathedrals, paper weights, spears, eggs, wind chimes, carved animal figures, wands, sterling rings/pendants, stretchy bracelets, it is a shopping delight to stop by. She also carries a small selection of gemstone beads. She was my original supplier. She was so kind to me when I first started making jewelry. She supported me and would ooh and awe over the pieces that I made. I would make things for her in appreciation and she would proudly wear them, like a mom wears a macaroni necklace made by their first grader in art class. When I look back now at the things I made for her, and I still see her wearing them today, I am thrilled and embarrassed at the same time.

I went to the flea market yesterday to her booth to hang out for a while and see her spoils. She ran up to me and hugged me so tight, I nearly got weepy. "You always know when I need you, and you know when to show up" We had a great visit. Her and her husband Harry showed me all the new things they had acquired for their little booth. Then she broke out the strands for the necklaces - My jaw dropped.

She bought enuff for several necklaces to be made, she wanted them for christmas gifts and then says - I bought this for you.

Not only had she bought a strand for herself, but she bought one for me - These are monsters.

I wish I had had a camera so I could have taken pictures of her face. The twinkle in her eye as she bought out each of the strands. She was so thrilled to share these with me.

These lava beads are so smooth.

She said 'I don't know why I picked this up. Have you ever seen pink chalcedony? Here you keep these!'

Do you see the honkin' size of these!?!

She had a pendant for her d-i-l, a fellow vendor, the shell for herself and gave me one as well.

These are awesome. I think the left one is porcelian, the right one maybe - how you say - 'fire crab agate?'

All the findings she picked up to use in the necklaces.

They had a bag full of these little stretchy bracelets. I naturally picked up the mookite and commented on the designs in the focal stone. She shoved it in my hands and sed take it.

I don't know what I am going to do with them. I adore them so much. What a great time I had yesterday. I certainly have my work cut out for me! I have to get my rear in gear and get to work. I have a half finished Rings & Things blogger challenge on my work table right now. Where to find the time!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Natural Neighbor

Doing shows, markets, festivals and fairs you start to run across the same people, following the same circut, doing the same thing as you- trying to sell their wares.

At the flea market I met some wonderful people and have kindled some wonderful friendships because of it. One of my friends Liz has The Natural Neighbor Shop. Her shop is this wonderful little eclectic schmattering of goods. She is passionate about supporting local, supporting handmade and supporting products that are earth friendly. She is kind enough to share the shelf space in her store with local artists and vendors who share the same passions as her. She carries a variety of goods such as -

Charlies Soap

Beeswax Candles

Natural Soaps (made by Liz - we love and use the Ocean Breeze and Champaka)

Sea Salt (I love this stuff)

Liz has extended an invitation to me to have a display in her shop. She has allowed me to create this little showcase of some of my pieces, with my cards, a copy of Bead Trends and my bio. I am thrilled and honored that she considers my things 'cool' enough to be in her shop.

Thanks Liz!!

Taken with my phone - sorry for the blur

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday quickie

I think everything should be beaded. Everything should be personalized with some sort of bead or bauble.

Most times, as most of you know, I use natural stones due to the properties of 'sed stone'.

That in mind - I have made key chains and I love them. These key chains are nothing new, I have made them before, but for some reason I didn't continue with the line. I have added a few more to my collection.




Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shamless promotion

I am doing some comparison shopping. I missed the gem show this weekend in Raleigh - got my weekends mixed up, and I won't be able to make the big one in Franklin this weekend, so I am shopping on line. I am kicking myself because I needed quite a few things, and shopping at the shows gets you GREAT discounts. This forces me to 'choose' the items that are in the greatest demand and save the others till I just have to have them. No planning ahead this time.

So I did a price/inventory comparison across several of the sites I buy from to see, where are the best deals, does anyone have everything I need, or will I have to make a few small orders across a few different sites.

Here is who I shopped -

Gem Mall
GemShow Online
Rings & Things
Art Beads

I am going to be making chakra jewelry for a local wellness center. I wanted to do something different than just the regular rainbow crystals you see in chakras. So I checked and re checked the properties of the stones that co-ordinate with the chakras. I thought it would be fun and different to stray from the rainbow and to have a bit of the earth to reflect the source of the chakra as opposed to just the color.

The list I made -

Base Chakra
4 mm leopardskin jasper
6mm leopardskin jasper

Sacral Chakra
4mm carnelian
6 mm carnelian

Solar Plexus Chakra
4mm tiger eye
6mm tiger eye

Heart Chakra
4mm moss agate
6mm moss agate

Throat Chakra
4mm sodalite
6mm sodalite

Brow or Third Eye Chakra
4mm amethyst
6mm amethyst

Crown Chakra
4mm clear quartz
6mm clear quartz

Only one had every single item on my list. Although some were consistently cheaper - once you throw in the shipping, if you have to buy from multiple sites to find the right deals, it basically all comes out in the wash.

So I feel they deserve a shameless promotion. They truly are a one stop shopping source for your beading needs. The quality of the products are top notch with an emphasis on customer satisfaction and repeat business. They dont' want you to be a one time buyer. They want you to be a lifetime friend, and it shows. This is only the tip of the ice berg for what they provide, and being that I am just shopping them today, I won't go into everything they do, I'll leave that up to you to find out.

Who am I talking about?

Rings & Things.

Thank you for what you do, and making it available to everyone.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

view from vacation

Lake Ontario - Kendal NY - 15 steps off of my in-laws back porch - *sigh* Livin!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Quickie - Style on a budget

I have done it, I am sure you have done it. Find a piece of jewelry you like and you look at the tag and gulp back the surprise of the price.

I, myself, have a few 'pricey' pieces. They were created as show pieces for gallery and art council shows.

Case in point - This piece, Evenings Twilight is one of those pieces. I was approached by a customer about this piece and what was the cost. When I told her the cost, it was too much. I understand it is too much. I didn't price it high because I thought that was the worth. I priced it using the standard handmade jewelry price formula.

So I got to thinking. She really liked the necklace, why can't I make something similar but more cost effective. And that is what I did. I did some looking at ArtBeads and Ring& Things and found quality components that would imitate the original but at a fraction of the cost.

Silver-Plated Oval Link Chain - ArtBeads

Bead, Glass, Firepolish, Teardrop (Black) - Rings & Things

Bead, Glass, Firepolish, Teardrop (Crystal/ Aurora Borealis) - Rings & Things

And here she is -

Even thru in a pair of earrings!

With this done, I am going to start my vacation.

I am siting here looking out the sliding glass doors in awe at Lake Ontario. I forgot the ee-mense-ness of this lake. I forgot how my heart swells at the beauty of this lake. I forgot how much I loved western NY and all its glorious summer bounty.

Earlier today I went for my walk and didn't get to far. I was continusly wandering from one side of the road to the other, looking at and smelling the flowers. EVERYTHING is in bloom. Today is picture day for sure.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Filigree Earring How To

This is a quick and easy fun little earring how to. These have an almost victorian look to them.

What you will need.

2 - Filigree, Angel Wings (Antiqued Copper Plated) - Rings & Things
24 - Head Pin, 1.5", Thin (Antiqued Brass Plated) - Rings & Things
2 - Eye Pin, 1.5", Thin (Antiqued Brass) - Rings & Things
6 - Jump Ring, Round, 5mm (Antiqued Brass Plated) - Rings & Things
24 - 3x5 faceted citrine roundells - Sedona Stones
2- Antique Brass-Plated Plain Earwire - ArtBeads

Put 22 of the citrine roundells on the head pins and make a basic loop at the top of each bead. Trim the tails.

Slightly open the loop and add the 'charms' to the filigree - I have made a chart to show you where they go.

Now turn the filigree over and attach a jump ring to each of the points.

Connect the two jump rings with one more jump ring

Slide one of the remaining roundells onto the eye pin and create a wire wrapped loop at the top of the bead.

Trim the tail. Pry the eye pin loop apart slightly and attach it to the topmost jump ring on the filligree.

Add your earring wire and there you have it kids!!

Simple Treasures