Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Some things are just more important....

It's official - my desire to create anything worthy of, well, anything, has simply left the building.  The few times that I have even entered my studio have not been say the least.  I have to have the desire to do anything well - and it is gone.  For now.  Oh well.  The title to this blog post is Some Things are Just More Important...and they are!

Tomorrow - March 26th - marks Sarge's two-year adopt-a-versary into our home!

Sarge - March 26, 2013

We adopted Sarge from the local Animal Shelter.  He was found - roaming - with a choke chain around his neck.  A pitiful little 35 pounds.  Our vet believes he is half Pointer and half Beagle - and he certainly has a beagle-bark and loooves to hunt pretty much anything in the yard (deer, bunnies, fox, etc.).  At the time, she estimated his age to be somewhere between 1 - 2 years old.  He had been in the shelter for 27 days and was "Red Tagged"... 3 more days and it was curtains.  Luckily, he found us!

To be honest...I was NOT READY to have another dog.  In 2001, we researched breeders in search of a pure breed Yellow Lab. We actually visited the breeder twice.  But...young and stupid/old and wise.  Never Again.  When we finally decided to bring Sam into our home, the breeder brought out Abby.  She was the runt and very sickly - the breeder said she was probably going to "let her go".  She was so sweet, that we could not let that happen - so we came home with not one, but two pups.  OMG - never again!  I was 40 years old - YOUNG! - and had a lot more energy.  But I swear, I thought I was going to die  from lack of sleep and constant "baby sitting" the first year!

Both labs had serious health issues their entire lives.  Abby sustained 7 surgeries in her short 9 years - and Sam had 4 surgeries.  Our vet believed that Sam and Abby were simply the product of overbreeding, and we agree.  So, we learned a valuable lesson about overbreeding - but, we also believe that we "saved" Sam and Abby as much as they "saved" us.  And....look at these faces....

Sam and Abby - 2004
These two pups - especially Sammy - were truly the "loves of my life".  When I lost Sam in June 2012, I said "no more"!  I even put my foot down!  After much soul searching, and yes lots of tears, we visited the shelter.  We looked online and actually went to see another dog.  But, I saw Sarge and there was just something about him that said "pick me....pick me!"   So, we did. 

And, just look at the joy on Sarge's face and tell me that we did not do the right thing...

So...Happy Adopt-a-Versary Sarge!  We love you sooooo much!

Thanks for stopping by today!



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

If you don't have anything nice to say....

I am currently running an "ad" on Facebook.  I spent Sunday reorganizing my shops and took over 1/3 of my inventory (62 items - way too much!) and knocked everything down by 25%.  In creating my ad, I selected 6 images that randomly post on Facebook and hopefully attracts viewers to my site.  I don't specifically select the individual viewership - just a range of "type" of person.  One of the pictures I posted was of the necklace, which is priced at $51.

Some unknown person, who is not my "Friend" on Facebook left the comment "Pretty Expensive!!!

Now, although I am pretty thin-skinned, I was not hurt by this comment - I was shocked at the callousness in which this person felt it necessary to comment when no good will come from it.  It was not constructive criticism, which I always welcome.  It was simply rude.

At first glance, I am sure that, in her mind, it was a piece of copper and cheap glass.  My first instinct was to respond to her and explain the number of hours it took to make this chain - from heavy gauge, square wire.  Each link is measured, cut, sanded, formed, and forged. Square wire twists when formed, and has to be hand manipulated back to its square shape.  After two solid days of making the chain, it was then dipped in liver of sulfur, and hand buffed...each tiny piece of copper.  It was then wrapped with an artist lampwork bead,which also took time to hand create.  It is truly one of a kind (check my shop - I have not made another!!) I could go on.  The proceeds are donated to charity - it states this in the ad.  

But, this woman would never understand handmade and I would have probably started a "Facebook Fight" - my life is way too short for that.  My mother would not approve.

I do not make jewelry for a living, to pay my bills.  I make jewelry because I enjoy it.  I donate the proceeds to charity.  I do not know how I would feel about this comment if I did rely on the income generated from its sale.  

So how did I respond?  Well, I had a mother who taught me manners - I can honestly say I continue to live my life with respect towards other...the adage "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" resonates within me.

I deleted her comment.

In reading the many, many nasty and rude posts and comments that people make on Facebook these days - the "faceless" comments from people you do not know and will never meet - turns me off completely.  The political rants that are beyond nasty, the attacks on ex-boyfriends and husbands/wives, all of it...just makes me roll my eyes in disgust.  

So, to the unknown woman who left the rude and callous comment on my Facebook ad, I repeat "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"


Monday, March 16, 2015

Wire Tutorial

Today was my day to post over at Love My Art Jewelry.  I have a little tutorial over there for  making some very quick wire beads/connectors like these.

I had something very interesting ( me it was interesting) happen to me today.  I had this pendant necklace listed in my Etsy shop (which links automatically to my Indiemade site).  

The necklace features 9 little Burmese Jade Discs, which I purchased eons ago from a very popular online seller.  Well, I received an email from the honchos at Etsy, informing me that my listing was deactivated for the following reason:

"Etsy's policies prohibit the sale of items sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) at the US Department of the Treasury. OFAC prohibits any transactions involving jadeite or rubies from Burma (Myanmar)"

If you are an Etsy Seller, please refer to this link, which details the policy.

This action on Etsy's part did NOT upset me - in fact, Etsy refunded me my listing fee, as this was a first for me.

I also let the online seller know - and they have removed the jade from their website.

I just thought I would pass this information on - who may be of value to to you in the future!

Thanks for stopping by today!!!



Thursday, March 12, 2015

You Spin Me Round Round......

I have to admit - this song blasted in my head the entire time I made these spinner bangles.

Not my first (second or third, for that matter) choice of music - I am more of a Hard Rock and Country kinda gal.  But, I was 25 years old when that song came out and I hate to admit it, but I remember it quite well! :)  

Okay - enough of that!  I am feeling accomplished these past few days, as I completed several spinner style bangles!  It finally clicked, and I found "the sweet spot" on the steel stakes, and I just could not stop!  

Here are the first two spinners - naked copper and all!

I much prefer the patina versions...

Two are very wide - two are slightly smaller.  Big difference when creating and hammering the metal.  I myself prefer the textured over the smooth bangles.

You will notice in the Group picture above that one of the bangles does not fit the category of Spinner Bangles.  I mentioned in my last post the jewelry artist Soham Harrison.  He has many You-Tube videos on specific techniques (simply Google his name - he will show up)!  I took one of those techniques and altered it ever so slightly.

This technique look a lot easier on his video, but I used 10 gauge copper.  Though forged and annealed, it was an intense few moments wrapping it!  I love the focal it creates.

Sadly, I have not touched a single bead in ages...AGES.  I have been enveloped in metal....I miss my beads and must get back to incorporating them....sooner rather than later!

I cannot believe it is Thursday already.  I am not sure where this week has gone!

Thank you so much for stopping by - have a wonderful rest of the week!


Sunday, March 8, 2015


So, I have faithfully changed every clock in the house...except the one in my studio, which is where I am sitting at this very moment.  I am still trying to figure out who to blame for Daylight Saving Time.  I should not be tired...I had the same amount of sleep last night as every night. But, my head has been in a fog all day long.    I read somewhere that the affects of Daylight Saving Time are similar to jet lag - and I agree! I will never understand the logic behind this changing of the time...never.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally took the plunge and purchased some forming stakes.  It has been my goal for some time to learn how to create anticlastic shapes.  I have made my share of spinner rings  - which have the beginnings of this shape - this one below is MY FAVORITE - oozing with texture!  I achieved that luscious texture with a hammer.

But I want to make Spinner Bangles.  The techniques and tools involved in making the rings is totally different for bangles.  

I always begin slowly when learning a new technique.  First I have master creating a bangle - solo - no spinner!  Part of my purchases included two similar Fretz hammers - one to aide in achieving the curves WITHOUT texture (nylon tip) and one with texture (metal).

These are the some of the steel stakes that I used.  As you can see, each stake is made with specific curves to achieve a concave or convex curve to the metal.

I should have started with a cuff.  But...I actually made bangles, which involved soldering (more on that further down in this post).  This was the first proto-type bangle I made, using the nylon hammer with no texture.  I used 18 gauge copper sheet metal, and it's about 5/8" wide.

I was ready to add texture, and made this bangle.  It measures a little over 1" wide.

While I do love the smoothness of the first bangle, I am a texture girl!  I attempted to make a second and yes, a third bangle - spinner style.  BUT, I am having issues with hammering along the solder seam.  Each of the subsequent bangles split right at the seam.  I need to continue to practice - perhaps anneal more in the process.  I will get there!

I have also wanted to bezel set a cab on a cuff - not an easy task (for me)!  There is an obvious curve on the cuff, and well, the cab is flat!  I did manage to complete this bracelet - and it was gifted to one of my nieces.  No anticlastic curves on the cuff - but - for me - it was challenging!

Gorgeous flash in that Labradorite!  

I have spent quite a bit of time researching these techniques.  If you have some time on your hands (and if you have not already), just Google the name Soham Harrison.  He is a master metalsmith with amazing You-Videos (free) for just about every technique I want to learn!

As usual, I am ending this blog post with comments related to the weather.  Last week was AWFUL.  It began with an ice storm last weekend, and in my neck of the woods, progressed to an 8" snowfall last Thursday.  It hit 55 degrees today, and there is actual grass to be seen where we shoveled snow trails in the backyard for Sarge.  My gutters have not stopped singing that wonderful song of melting ice.  I have never in my life longed for Spring.  I am Chicago-born and truly do enjoy the snow.  But this winter has resulted in way-too-many consecutive days below freezing.  There is definitely light at the end of this long-winter tunnel!  Hooray!!!

Thanks for stopping by today!  Have a lovely week!