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!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Artisans and Crafters on ArtFire

ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

Do you sell online? Have a look at ArtFire. The traffic isn't as high there, but it is growing daily. They have a neat new tool that allows you to import all or some of your Etsy items ,. I use it yesterday and put all of my earrings on. Now they will be seen in 3 venues and hopefully increase the chances of them selling.

Don't miss seeing my Cardinal necklace posted below. I am thrilled with the way it turned out. I didn't get any beading done yesterday with all the work I did on ArtFire. I'm hoping to get started on another Hummingbird today. Somewhere I have to squeeze in making more Halloween earrings too! I'm starting to feel the holiday pressure already and it's just the beginning of October. This year I was hoping to make all my Christmas presents. Where will I find the time? I wonder if I can make stuff from the Dollar store look expensive? Might have to give it a try!

Have a look at the work I did yesterday here: Forbes Farm on ArtFire

Wishing you all a good day.