Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Joseph Jars aka Candle Jars Are Here!

I finally got brave enough to list my candle jars on Etsy. My DH keeps shouting "Shipping nightmare!", but I know if we pack them well, they will do fine. They're not going to sell sitting here gathering dust now, are they?

We call these beautiful glass creations our "Joseph Jars" because they wear coats of many colors. Each one is a one of a kind. It is next to impossible to make two exactly alike. I just love making them because I am surprised by each one as the colors blend and it takes on it's own personality. Giving each one it's own piece of "jewelry" is the crowning touch.

Originally, I meant these to be only for candles but through trial and error we have found that they can also be used as vases as long as water doesn't saturate the outside. The inside is solid glass. A fibrous paper is applied to the outside with my secret glue (and no - it's not just Mod Podge). Then DH takes over and coats each piece with multiple layers of varnish. It's the varnish that brings out the final colors. Some shine almost transparently and others glow warmly when a tea light is lit inside.

Here's the link to the brown one shown:
Brown Candle Jar

Hope you all have a great day!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Moving The Jewelry Collection Around

A Sister's Love

Victorian Beauty

At last, the holidays are over here. Oh, I know there's still New Year's but we never celebrate. It's just another reminder we're getting older and us old folks are in bed by 9 New Year's Eve, just like any other night of the year. Rip roaring party animals we're not!

The New Year does mean a new approach to my online shops though. I'm the sort of person that gets tired of doing the same thing over and over, so my creativity does not lend itself to jewelry alone. Up until now, I've had no place online to show off some of my other creations. I've decided to move most of the jewelry that is now on my
Forbes Farm space to make room for more of my crafts. I'm excited about it. I sure hope you'll check back to see what I've done when I'm finished. I have candle jars ready to list as soon as I can clear space. I'm working on Hardanger linen pieces too. As soon as I can I'm planning on adding some of my soap line. See, I told you my crafts take off in all different directions!

Yesterday I started the move. The two cameos above were part of the first group to make the switch. I'm hoping that The Earring Boutique won't be too confusing to folks when I get all my jewelry there. It can't be any more confusing than Forbes Farm was. At least visitors will be expecting to see jewelry.

Hope you all have a great week. For those of you planning on celebrating the New Year, please don't drink and drive! I want to see you back here next year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Sales

Christmas Eve is just dawning here in Western New York. The big buying season is almost over. Have your holiday sales been less than you had hoped for? Mine sure have. I figure it is my fault since I have been so busy with the failed craft show and then closing up the co-op market for the season. The last thing I had time for was the Internet! Just today and tomorrow and then, hopefully things will be getting back to normal.

If your sales have been low, don't despair. I looked at my records and last year I did my best online AFTER the holidays were over. I think all those women who didn't get what they wanted for gifts took revenge and bought for themselves. Another theory is that before the big day they felt they had to buy for others. Once that feeling has passed they no longer feel guilty buying a pretty little trinket for themselves. One can hope, right?

I will be putting a lot on sale soon to try and clear out some of my jewelry that's been here way too long. So, Ladies, get that PayPal account warmed up and ready to go!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Peaceful Holiday Wishes

The season of holidays is here! Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years, all a time of celebrating and reflecting. The times we live in have brought a materialistic and quite unnecessary sense of urgency to our lives during what should be quiet, happy, family centered time. My wish for you this year, no matter where you live or what your religion, is that you may find a few moments of peace in your life and that you pass that feeling on to those you love. We can not expect peace in our world if we can not find it within ourselves.

Peace be with you,

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Home Craft Sale aka - How I've been wasting my time

Hello All,

As you can see by the dates on my posts, I haven't been around much lately. That is because this year 3 of us decided to go together and have a craft sale in my home. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I figured the work split 3 ways wouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men... One of my friends came down with pneumonia and the other just seemed too busy to help. So, I cleaned, sorted, hauled, set up, manned, and tore down the entire thing by myself. I felt I had to have what I advertised so they brought their stuff to my house. I did the rest.

I have spent the past few weeks on this project. I made items I don't normally sell. I baked dozens and dozens of cookies. I cleaned my house in places I forgot even existed. Busy, busy, busy.... Then there was the $$$ invested in supplies, ingredients and advertising. All done in the hopes of making a few extra dollars to help shut the banks up for at least a month. No such luck around here, my friends! We have had no measurable snow this year. That is, until the first day of the show. It started snowing and blowing and kept it up for the next 48 hours. The exact hours of my 2 day show. Five people showed up. Only 4 of them bought anything. What a total disaster! Soooo discouraging! I would have been much better off keeping up with my blog and working online. At least that's the feeling I got. One of my friends took pity on me and my efforts and let me keep the money from her few sales. With that, and what I made I almost broke even, but not quite. Once again, what seemed like a good idea turned to dust.

I've included some pictures of the show. My house looked so nice and festive. See me waving to you in the shot of my earring display? It was so pretty here for those 2 days. I just wish fate had allowed some actual buyers to see it!

Hope you all have a great week.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

From Fun to Fancy

I can't believe I let a whole week get by without posting on my blog! My motto has always been "Too many projects, not enough time" and that sure stands true for this time of year. I am willing to bet I'm not alone. Thanksgiving is only two days away and while none of our family could make it home, we are having friends for dinner. Thankfully, they are the kind of friends who overlook a bit of dust or a craft project set up in the living room so I don't feel panicked. Friday and Saturday are market days for us this week. We are always open on Black Friday. Why we are open is a mystery because just about everyone goes to the malls and big chain stores to catch the bargains. Some brave souls do come to the craft market after they've hit the big city, so we will keep our fingers crossed.

Once Thanksgiving is out of the way, I have to start setting up for my home show. That means my house doesn't get decorated with our things until mid December which has Hubby a bit bent out of shape. Anything for an extra dollar or two in my book!
I've been crafting for that, and trying to keep the market and Etsy stocked, and fighting off a horrible case of the "why bothers". So, my friends, my blog has been forgotten.

I thought I'd share a few of the earrings I posted on Etsy today. Click on any title to go directly to their Etsy link

Christmas Lights - these are my least expensive (aka cheapest) earrings ever. I usually don't use plastic, but these were so tempting I just had to make earrings out of them.

Native Tears - These are made in honor of my ancestors. This pair is done in the color of the Seneca Nation, a beautiful purple.

Crystal Berries - Back to my favorite Swarovski Crystal!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Hummer Is Back

If you are among the folks who were disappointed when my Hummingbird necklace sold, cheer up, he's back! No, it is not exactly the same necklace. The bird itself is the same but the chain is slightly different than the last one. Each piece I make comes out just a bit different.

This is a popular necklace this year. This is the 3rd one I've made. I've had several folks tell me they are considering it for a Christmas gift. I am so thrilled he has been well received.

More details may be found on the listing page here: Bead Sculpture Hummingbird Necklace

Sunday, November 15, 2009

There Is Nothing Like Swarovski!

I really should get some sort of discount from Swarovski. I rave about them all the time. Wouldn't you think they would send me a few free crystals at least? I really, really, really do love their little gems. Noting, but nothing sparkles like a Swarovski crystal. Oh,there are plenty of imitators out there. Some try to fool you into thinking they are the real thing. I was at a big name chain craft store just recently and had some crystals in my hand that I thought I might try. Hanging on the rack they sparkled so nicely I thought maybe, just maybe I could talk myself into substituting them for the more expensive Swarovski. I was looking them over carefully when I realized it was the way they were packaged that made them look so good. There was a very cleverly positioned silver lazer type strip on the package right behind the "crystals". Take the beads away from that strip and they looked like any other imitation glass bead. No, there is still no credible competition for that Swarovski sparkle in my book.

Worried about the lead in lead crystal beads? I say poppy-cock! Unless you plan to sit and suck on your jewelry there is no danger. The lead is in the glass. It is chemically part of it. I don't see it leaching out into your skin in any huge amounts. The manufactures of lead crystal glasses say not to serve acidic drinks in them and they recommend not storing liquids in lead crystal. A few beads in your jewelry isn't going to harm you. I wouldn't recommend lead crystal for young children, because they do sometimes put things in their mouths that don't belong there. I did get a bit of an uneasy feeling when I saw nursing necklaces made of lead crystal. I've never done that! If you are still leery, just don't wear the crystal next to your skin. Earrings are a great way to show off your sparkle since the crystal part doesn't touch your skin, and unless you have very strange anatomy, there's no way to suck on your earrings!

Shown above are a couple of my newest Swarovski creations. I love making them and sharing them with you. Have a closer look here:

Red Swarovski Earrings

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Working On A Handmade Christmas

I have been advocating a handmade Christmas this year. Too much emphasis has been put on buy, buy, buy. Kids had lists of toys a mile long. Some of the things they want aren't even toys anymore. Adults seem to think they need every gadget that comes up on their TV screen. I get so tired of this "giveme" world I could just cry. The true meaning of Christmas is lost among the beeps, buzzes and multitude of cell phone ring tones. So this year I am trying to encourage others to have a handmade Christmas. I have half a dozen projects in the works myself. Some are going to be gifts, some I'm hoping to sell.

Yesterday was warm enough to open the windows for ventilation and work on some spray paint projects. I have a big box of pine cones I managed to wrestle away from the squirrels last year. Since pink and white seem to be popular Christmas colors I thought I'd give it a try. The pictures don't show it well, but these pretty cones are sprayed white and have pastel green and pink glitter on them. It is the fine glitter that doesn't show up in big ugly clumps, which I hate. That's why it's not popping off the screen at you, just subtle sparkles in green and pink. Just what to do with these pretties hasn't been determined yet. I have visions of a shabby chic wreath or garland.

I also started a knitting project for a family gift. That was frustrating. I only had to tear it out and start over twice - so far....

How about you? What projects do you have going? If there aren't any, you'd better get going. The holidays are only a few weeks away!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Beauty In a Cup of Tea

I am deviating from my normal type of posts, so please bear with me. My DH had to go 6 hours away to baby sit our Grandson this week while I stayed home to tend the store. I guess he felt bad that I had to stay home alone because last week he bought me some tea I have wanted for ages, but just couldn't afford. Today the weather here it is alternating between sunny and snowing or sleeting and it seemed like the perfect time to have a little tea party. I thought it was a shame to have such lovely tea alone, so I'm sharing it with all of my blog friends.

The name of the tea is Lover's Three Flowers and this is what it looks like before it is brewed. Below is what happens as it steeps after you've popped it the water.

After it has steeped for a while, you get this beautifully light tea. It tasted as wonderful as it looks!

Here are a couple more pictures of the open flower. The three flowers in this delight are Amaranth, Jasmine and Osmanthus. How exotic and romantic does that sound?

Finally, here is a before and after shot.

I just wish I could have invited you all to join me. Maybe next time, for as you see, I still have one flower left!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tree Jewelry

Sorry I haven't kept my blog up. This time of year it there just are not enough hours in a day. Besides trying to run the craft market, Etsy and ArtFire, it is my job to keep the leaves in our year at bay. If that were not enough, I took on the task of starting up a new jewelry team on Etsy and I decided I needed to do a home show in December to try and get a few extra sales. Consequently, my blog gets neglected!

I have jewelry coming out of every nook and cranny at the market and several hundred things that never even made it there so for the home show I am concentrating on decor items. I put my jewelry/stained glass skills to work and created these pretty little gems for the tree. Better yet, you can write on the back, so they can double as gift cards. I have about 6 done and another 50 or so waiting to be finished. The 4 sizes range from a 1.5 inch square to the 1.75 x 2.25 inch rectangle. They are paper, polymer clay and copper. Any pen will write on the back but I prefer my gold ink one, which of course I can't find. I think they would make a great gift tag because it is something that will be kept for years and not thrown away with the wrapping paper and ribbons. I sure hope other's think the idea is as great as I do!

It's part of my home made Christmas effort this year. How's your holiday crafting going?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Star Flower Earring Design

The fickleness of the jewelry world leaves me dumbfounded at times. When I started making jewelry I naturally made earrings to match all of my necklaces. They sold well. Then all of a sudden I couldn't sell a set no matter how hard I tried. I had them listed together as sets online and in my shop. Women would bring them to me and act like I was odd man out because I thought they would want both. Why no, of course not, eclectic was in. They didn't want anything to match! So, I separated everything and stopped making matching earrings every time I made a necklace. This year - do you want to guess? Now they look at me like I've lost my mind because I don't have matching earrings! OH ladies - why are we so fickle?

With the change back to matching sets I had to come up with some earrings for my recent Poinsettia necklace. To me, the individual flowers look like stars. I modified the design, added "petals" in the back and came up with these pretty "Star Flowers". I wanted to call them Starbursts, but some candy company would be after me for Trade Mark infringement, so I couldn't use it, even though that's exactly how I would describe them.

I can make them in just about any color combination, so if you have a Starburst you just can't live without, let me know

Star Flower Earrings

PS - Have you started your handmade Christmas yet?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

50% OFF Today Only

Get 50 % off anything in my Artfire shop today - Oct. 22, 2009
Use the coupon code on the front page.

Help me pay my bills and save on Christmas gifts.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Getting A Good Picture

Oh, what I time I had yesterday! I finished the latest of my necklaces and wanted to get it listed online. First I had to take the pictures. Oh, my, was I in for a challenge! The beads in this necklace reflect the light in a thousand different directions and NOTHING was working!

Since most of the necklace is clear, I wanted a dark background. I hate working with black. It picks up every bit of lint. I found this nice piece of dark green that I thought would work. It didn't. I couldn't get a good shot no matter what I tried. Mediocre pictures resulted as seen here:

Then I tried white thinking maybe just because I thought it wouldn't work, it might. Ever get that feeling? Well, I got pretty good pictures of the necklace, but you can't see it against the white background. I know because I posted them on Etsy and that was the first response I got. Here is one I used:

Back to the drawing board, or I should say photo shoot. Meanwhile, all this time I had a forum thread going with all kinds of suggestions on how to fix it. Most of them I'd already tried. A black background was suggested, so I dug around in my material stash until I found something other than the black velvet I had. Actually, it is the back of a blue sparking material, but it's black. I took over 50 pictures before I got this and several that were equivalent. I ended up using a dark room, with only one photo light. I set my camera on a slow shutter speed and got this:

Here is a closeup of the beads that shows where the problem lies:

I'm still not completely satisfied, but it's better. Any photographers out there that can help?

Here is a link to the item and the rest of the pictures
. Ice Castle

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hand Made News - And I Helped

I was recently asked to give one hint that leads to success on Etsy. I put in my 2 cents worth and they used it! I am so thrilled to think someone else values my input enough to pass it on to others. There are 5 main categories for success on Etsy given and they are all packed with good information. Here is the link to the article.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Is That Silver Anyway?

Silver is a beautiful gift from Mother Nature that has been used for eons. The first recorded use in the Americas were more than likely native jewelry. The Inca, Navajo, and many other tribes used silver to adorn themselves and their ceremonial items. Today it is still found in Native American jewelry, especially in the West.

There are many types of silver and some things that are named silver that really are not. Here, I hope to help you understand a few of the different terms in use today.

First of all - there is the good old Silver Plate. I use more of this than I would like to simply because it keeps the cost down on the pieces I make. What cost me less, costs my customers less. A base metal is dipped in a solution containing pure silver and an electric current is passed through which makes a very small amount of silver stick to the metal. It will wear off with use. I have Silver Plate flatware for every day use and it has worn down to the metal. I much prefer Sterling! Alas - I have Champagne taste on a beer budget.

The most common term for use in silver today is Sterling Silver. To qualify for this classification, an item must be 92.5% silver mixed with other alloys, most commonly copper. Most pieces are marked with 925 in some manner. The piece shown above is made using Sterling wire. It is not marked simply because I haven't figured out how to do it yet. If anyone can tell me please do!

A newer silver you may be seeing is Argentium silver. It maintains it's luster much longer than Sterling. Still the same 92.5% of silver as in Sterling, it replaces some of the copper used with metalloid germanium. Items made with this alloy will not tarnish as quickly and usually will cost you more.

Coin Silver is a term heard quite often. It is an alloy of 90% silver and 10% copper. It is what our US coins used to be made of before they devalued them to the new alloys. Silversmiths quite often used Coin Silver to make vessels and other utilitarian items. I had some Coin Silver spoons once. They were very soft and dented easily.

Tibetan Silver is seen frequently in the jewelry world. It is very similar to Pewter and has the look of aged silver. It is a mix of copper, other alloys and some pure silver. The actual amount of silver can vary but it is usually very low.

Hill Tribe Silver seems to be everywhere. It has a higher silver content than even Sterling and can be as high as 99% silver. Beware, there are many fakes trying to pass Tibetan or other cheaper items as Hill Tribe. Know your dealer if you are buying Hill Tribe these days!

The final item I will address today is Nickel Silver which really isn't silver at all. It is an alloy of zinc, copper and nickel. It was popular years ago, but because of allergies you will find less of it these days. Who wants to wear zinc anyway?

Hope you all have a great day!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fabulous Poinsettia Floral Net Necklace

It is very late in the day for me to be blogging. Somewhere along the line, the time just got away from me. I finished this new necklace this morning, took the pictures and posted it on Etsy. Then I got busy with life in general and forgot about blogging all together.

When I reordered black seed beads from Fire Mountain, the price had gone up. Boo hiss. That is until I got them. They changed companies and these are terrific! I used to have to pick and choose my way through the pile to get uniform ones. Not anymore! YEAH!!!! Black was especially bad with the other manufacturer. There were very few rejects this time.
So, my pretty floral necklace went together a lot easier than in the past. The pattern does not call for the alternate color center, but wanting it to come out looking somewhat like a Poinsettia, I chose a deep Topaz to go along with the Ruby colored beads in the flowers. I just love this necklace. Over the years I've sold two of them. I sure hope this one doesn't linger on the shelf too long.

Here's a direct link if you want to look closer.
Poinsettia Netted Necklace


Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm In a Treasury - Twice!

Both of my shops made it into the same Treasury on Etsy. Yippie! Thank you to BlueForestJewellery for making such a great Treasury. If you get a chance, stop by and check it out.

We All Need A Splash of Color

It is snowing here. Oh, ugh... already? It's not sticking to the ground at least. I know it is in lots of places. I'm not looking forward to Winter. I'll be stuck inside with no place to go and no income. Not a pleasant thought.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Etsy Team - New Treasury

Autumn Bobbles

I finally got sick and tired of never getting a reply when I applied for membership in an Etsy group and started my own. If a group is full, or you don't meet their criteria, you'd think they would at least send you a "sorry". Nope,zilch, zip, nodda.... Oh well, it got me off my butt, or onto it in front of the computer. Depends on how you look at it I guess.

There were plenty of jewelry sellers who were having the same problem, so we banded together and I got the ball rolling. This morning I got up wayyyyy to early to get our first Treasury listed. Have a look at all the great items. There is a lot of talent hidden on Etsy. I plan to feature some of it here in future posts.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Newest Hummingbird Necklace

Ruby Throated Hummingbird Necklace

It took me a while, but as promised, here is another Ruby Throated Hummingbird. It is slightly different than the first one I made in color. I didn't like the speckled chest, so I made this one solid red. All the findings are Sterling with the exception of the crimp beads, and those are covered with Sterling covers so it really doesn't matter to the finished piece.

This is the 4th bird I've made this year. I just love watching each one turn from a pile of tiny little beads into a sculpture that really resembles a Hummingbird. If I had the right color beads I would try some of the other patterns Dragon has. That will have to wait until I am rich and famous. Oh, like that's ever going to happen!

Have you started your Christmas list yet? I'm on a campaign to get more people making or buying hand made gifts this year. (See yesterday's post). I'm thinking knit hats for the entire family. Great idea. Just where do I get the time though? Oh, I remember. Stop sleeping!

Hope you all have a great day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Let's Have An Old Fashioned Christmas

Don't start screaming "IT'S TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT CHRISTMAS". It isn't really. Not if you want a really great one. I don't mean a ton of gifts. I mean well though out personal gifts. What better way to give something great than to make it yourself?

IF you start now, you MIGHT have enough time to make something for everyone on your list. Too many people run out at the last minute and grab those horrible
pre-packaged gift sets. I've been guilty of it myself in the past. It's usually for someone I really didn't want to give a gift to in the first place. Most of them contain junk that probably never gets used anyway. So, why waste the money? Your gift doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. Just find a time now, as the seasons start to change and sit down for a few quite moments of thought. Take each person on your list and really think about what they like. What are their hobbies, causes, favorite foods, scents, etc. Then think about your talents and what you can create to please them. It's not really all that hard. I can almost guarantee the recipients of your gifts will enjoy them much more than a snatch and grab gift from the discount store.

No crafting talent you say? I think just about everyone has some sort of talent they can pull from. If you insist you don't have the flare for handmade, or you don't have the time, check out
ArtFire or Etsy online. There are TONS of wonderful handmade gifts available in both places. Who knows, maybe just looking at what other's have made will inspire you to get out the work apron and get crafting yourself!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Google Search Found Me!

Don't you just love it when you find yourself on the web? Well, maybe not so much if it's the local police blotter, but if it's something wonderful it is so great! I was searching the web for more grape patterns. Living in wine country, they are very popular in my shop. I put in "beaded grapes" and about 3 pages into the search there was the picture above - MY beaded grape necklace! Well, really Sandra Halpenny's beaded necklace. I just used her pattern.

I don't know why I was so surprised. I spend a lot of time trying to get my titles and descriptions to meet the criteria for uploading to Google Base. That's were you can load your web pages so it is picked up faster than if you did nothing. I'm a neophyte at it and it does take some work. Finding my necklace so close to the top of the search lets me know that all that work paid off.

It's funny in a way because yesterday I spent the entire day making another grape necklace. That is when I wasn't cooking, baking and cleaning. They are such a waste of time. Where's the maid?

Monday, October 5, 2009

This and That - Catch Up With Us

I have been neglecting my blog. I admit it. My hubby says my motto should be "Too many projects, not enough time". There certainly do not seem to be enough hours in a day. Maybe if I gave up sleeping? If only the housework would do itself! Oh- and the lawn. Those beautiful colored leaves of Fall all seem to land up in MY yard! I hate being away from my studio.

This first picture is one of some neat new earrings I made this past week. Since polymer clay and I do not get along, I purchased the cane on Etsy from ArtmakersWorldsAlpha. She has some lovely canes and I've already ordered a second one. I love the color combination on these leaves. The earrings look great done up, if I do say so myself.

Colorful Feather Earrings

The next picture is of some rather simple earrings I put together using Rose Gold findings and Swarovski Crystal. Once in a while I need a brainless project that I can just piece together. I was thrilled when I found the Rose Gold pieces. They remind me of out trip to South Dakota and the Black Hills Gold there. There are 3 other styles. All are petite and simply elegant.

Delicate Butterfly Earrings

The last picture for today is of my latest Treasury on Etsy. It is so hard to get one these days. The competition is fierce! I had to get up, be awake and online early this morning to catch a spot. If you have the time, stop by and check it out. Yellow and Magenta are my new favorite color combinations. If I can find the right beads - look out!