Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday / Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!!  I, for one, am in need of an all-day nap! :)

If you are out and about shopping the Black Friday/Small Saturday sales - please stay safe!  Last sale of the year is happening now in my shop.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Monday, November 9, 2015

And the winner is...

Thank you for all of the lovely comments on my last post!  I truly appreciate each and every one - so THANK YOU!

I had several people comment that they cannot believe I have been making jewelry for only 4 years...I feel the need clarify, as my writing was a bit misleading/unclear (self-editing one's work - whether writing a sentence or checking the length of ear wires on a pair of earrings- can be hard sometimes)! I have been creating jewelry since late 2008/ early 2009. I jumped on the bandwagon and started SELLING my jewelry in November 2011...I just felt the need to clarify!

Anyway.... to choose the the winner of my little package of loot....

I used the Random Number Generator, which selected...

Ms. Julie Burgard!  Julie is the artist behind Outwest Beads her (shop is here)- utterly beautiful lampwork beads that I have been using in my creations for years now!  They are earthy, rustic, colorful, - always symmetrical in size - and she makes the BEST DISCS! When I picked her name, I went through my archive of designs just to see what I have made with her beads, and came up with just a few....

Jewelry made with Outwest Beads
Again - many thanks to everyone!  Thanks for stopping by today!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Anniversary and my biggest Giveaway!

This November marks four (4) years since I have opened up an online shop.  Do you sell your jewelry online as well?  Was it as scary for you as it was for me?  Did you drag your I did?!

So much has happened in these past four years.  I have gone from simply stringing jewelry, to LOTS of wire wrapping, and I now incorporate metalsmithing into many of my designs.  My love of artbeads has only grown deeper, and I will never tire of gemstones! I still enjoy doing this gig - so I am going to "keep on keeping on".  The greatest pleasure I have is the ability to donate my proceeds to charity - Miracle Horse Rescue.  So, I am truly grateful for every single sale!

Just to show you all how grateful I am to continue on this path, I have come up with a few items to giveaway.

First up, I FINALLY use this mixed metal cone I made a while ago - AND - I paired it with an amazingly drop dead gorgeous lampwork bead by Sarah Moran of ZBeads.  I dug through my stash and found a beautiful, coordinating "sugared" lampwork bead by Susan Kennedy of SueBeads, added some fringe in the form of copper chain with sterling silver beads, and an 18" sterling silver rope chain...It was done!

I couldn't stop at the necklace, so I made a pair of mixed metal earrings - again, using pretty lampwork beads by Susan Kennedy.  The earrings hang on hand forged, sterling silver ear wires.

I thought...necklace, have to add I did!  Two bangles, forged, soldered from 10 gauge solid copper and solid sterling silver - textured, of course - and shaped into a slight oval.

I did not stop there either!  I have been making lots of tiny posts lately, so I paired these little gems with gorgeous lampwork by Maryse of GlassBeadArt.  These clear beads remind me of Winter Ice - - and, they are made from recycled glass!  In fact, almost the entire earring is recycled (except for the posts, which I purchased).  I melted down the silver, flattened the tiny little balls into discs, stamped, added a "bail" from sterling wire...and tada!

Absolutely terrible pictures - these look so awesome in person, as the bead shape is very unique!

While the earrings were in the tumbler for their final polish, I was perusing the latest issue of WireWork Magazine and came across a very simple tutorial to make a ring in 5 steps.  (Original design by Gabby Guest).  I changed the design up just a bit - I added some coiling to strengthen the shank, and multiple coils in the center of the bead.  This simple little ring, with a gorgeous lampwork flower disc by Susan Kennedy - is so comfortable - and so CUTE!

So there you have it - the goods for the Giveaway - all for one winner!

Some for the winner to keep for themselves, perhaps to give as a gift to a friend or loved one (I think there is a big holiday coming up next month...).

How to Enter

What do you need to do the win the whole thing?  (I will ship international - in case there is a question!)

1) Leave a comment on this blog post - PLEASE BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU! (Sorry for the yelling in All needed to be said!)

2)  For a second chance to win, Share my blogpost link on Facebook, then come back to this blog post and leave a second comment, advising me that you shared! 

That's it!  I will pick a winner in a week or so!

Many thanks for hanging in there until the end of this long post! I am grateful to every person who has ever stopped by, and left a comment...or not!  So, thank you for stopping by is to four more years?!


Monday, November 2, 2015

Post time!

I wrote a pretty lengthy blog post on the Love My Art Jewelry blog (link here) about how I recycle some of my sterling silver scraps - the leftover's from my projects. It seems, these days, that all of my blog posts are lengthy!  Perhaps because I spend so much time alone in my studio and blogging is my method of conversation?!

Silver scraps
Anyway - I don't want to bore you in repeating myself - in case you actually read that blog, too- so I just wanted to share what I made!

Post earrings!  It seems that my work - at least with components - is getting smaller, and smaller! :) I have two favorites here...and they are tied for first place!

First up are these turquoise posts.  These stones are just drop dead gorgeous with the blue and green veining (from Dakota Stones).  Plus, turquoise is my birth stone, so always special to me!

With my continuing fundraising efforts for Miracle Horse Rescue, I had to make these!

The little pony posts have sold!

Can you believe it?  This blog post is done!  I will make up for it in my next post, 'cause I am going to have a stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by today!!!  Have a great week!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

So I tried something new...totally out of my realm....

I recently purchased an online class from Leslie Kail Vallareal (link to her website here).  Leslie is an amazing silversmith.  I don't want to post pictures of her jewelry, without her permission, so if you are unfamiliar with her work, check out her website!  Anyway, the online class was to make a Boho Saddle Ring.

Okay - that is for a horse, but the concept is the same.  Take one piece of silver, cut it out to resemble the shape of a saddle, form it, solder it, etc.  If you had asked me a year ago (heck...six months ago) to even attempt this technique, I would have laughed right in your face.  But, what have I got to lose? If nothing else, what I have learned from watching online classes is that the tips these instructors offer are invaluable to me.  So, I was looking for tips!  Instead of filling up today's post with tons of words, I managed to remember to take a few "in process" photos.

Cut out the silver - this is 18 gauge sterling, which I simply textured with one of my hammers.  I learned I need to continue to practice sawing straight lines!  I got the curves's those nasty straight lines!
The silver was formed on a mandrel (OMG - that was hard) and the seam was soldered closed.

The next challenge - for me - was to shape that bezel to fit a curve.....that took a looooong time!
Another new-to-me step was creating a ring of balled wire to surround the bezel...again...shaped to fit a curve.  
This is the step I wish I had skipped.  My end product is so far from perfect - as that balled wire is not flush to the ring.  Instead, one side is soldered right to the bezel, about 1 mm from the bottom....So close...yet so far!  No matter...this ring is for me!

I added a simple flat decorative element to the bottom of the ring, which I formed and then stamped with one of my handmade stamps I seem to be collecting these days.  This picture show the ring darkened with Liver of Sulfur - before buffing.
I added only one more decorative element, since I knew I was not going to even attempt to sell this, but keep it for myself.  That is a tiny silver bead, made with my shot plate, soldered to the top edge.  Buffed and, I prayed that stone still fit! :)
Love the bottom of the ring!
Yeah - the turquoise cab still fit...perfectly!
I even managed to get rid of ALL the tool marks on the inside of this ring.
What amazes me most about this ring is that it is large - but, boy it's comfortable to wear!  I honestly did not think I would be able to bend my fingers...but, proof is in the pudding!
It's not perfect - not even close to perfect. I can see SO. MANY. ERRORS.  But I don't care because I really enjoyed this class and making this ring!  It was liberating, in a way.
My attempt was to make a size 9 1/2 ring...and it is spot on!  Wish it was a 9, though!  My hands must have been warm when I sized my finger in the first place!

Leslie is no longer offering this class.  I vacillated several times before making the purchase, because, I typically do not wear this type of jewelry.  BUT, I will now! 

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Monday, October 26, 2015

No Beads - Only Metal

I have been having moments  - way too many moments - when I sit down at my bench and draw a complete blank.  I do hate days like this - such a waste.  So, I made a few sterling silver bangles to try to help fill the creative void.

10 gauge sterling
8 gauge sterling
As much as I enjoy making these, it did not help!  Trying to mix it up a bit, I made this bangle.

This looks quite simple, doesn't it?  Well, first I made it with 16 gauge wire and it was just too flimsy for me.  So, I pulled out the 14 gauge wire - I had the hardest time wrapping the loops while keeping the beads "trapped" and the wire straight in the center at the same time!  It was comical the way I was swearing at my bracelet mandrel as I tried and tried to bang that bangle into a shape that would not spring out of proportion when I released the wire from the mandrel!

Once the wrapping was complete, the bangle looked too simple - too boring.  So I melted some silver scraps to make a charm, complete with hand stamping.  That little bail...that teeny little bail gave me fits at the solder station!  It is Monday, after all....but in the end, after all the swearing and idle threats ( I threatened that bail into submission!), I was content.

On least, I think it was on Saturday...I made these tiny little copper beads, with sterling accents.

These little guys are made from copper tubing, stretched into an oval shape.  I textured the top, and added the silver ball dead center.  Little purses...or rolling suitcases for Barbie...that's what they look like to me.  Don't get me wrong - I like them - they just remind me of accessories I played with in days gone by.

I had the hardest time trying to decide what in the heck to do with these little beads!  Used alone, it would be cute little charm at the end of a bracelet.  But I decided to make earrings instead.  I pulled out 8 different pairs of beads, including lampwork, ceramic, gemstones, nothing worked. I mean...I actually wrapped the beads and made the earrings...cut the wire...started over.  I should have stopped after I made the bangle because as I said, it is Monday.

I decided to keep it simple.

Truly mixed metal - all the way through (These have now SOLD - thank you!!)

I actually have a plan for tomorrow...and the next day.  I recently completed an online class to make a Boho Saddle Ring (Leslie Kail Villarreal) and I finally received all of the required supplies. These are BIG AWESOME rings. I have no idea if my skills are up to this level, but I am going to try.  I am  also glad that I did not start this ring today, given my "it's Monday and everything turned out wrong" kinda mood day!

Here's to better Monday's in the future!  Thanks so much for stopping by!!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tuesday - Copper Love

First off, as a follow-up to my last post, both my mother and I have each been wearing a pair of these post earrings every day.  We take them on... we put them back on again...we take them off...put them back on....all day long.

In fact, I have repeated this process at least 12 times today, and those posts are still snug as a bug on those earrings!

Anyway, I made a quick pair of earrings today.  I bought a bunch of gemstones a while ago, from Dakota stones, including a strand of this stuff!  It has a brassy luster, and the stone is sometimes referred to as "Fools Gold".  I paired them with some jasper and a couple of textured copper connectors that have hand set rivets.

Another piece of jewelry that I just cannot get a good picture!  The picture below does highlight that brassy gold luster just a bit better.

Also in my last post, I shared a picture of copper cone bead I made, with the intention of making a necklace with fringe.  

Well, I made the necklace and the fringe...but I did not use the cone!

The necklace features yet another one of the large - exceptionally gorgeous - lamp work focal beads by Sarah Moran of ZBeads. Every time I looked at this bead, I saw a drum! It's not really a round bead - as the top and bottom edges are flat - like a drum. This particular bead is lined with shiny purple foil, encased in clear glass, and has wonderful thick stringers of orange and red.  So pretty!

Still thinking that bead reminded me of a drum, although not a true Clef, like this...

....I made a swirl out of 14 gauge copper and soldered that top hoop closed for security. Added a little texture, and then some bits of silver to serve as the fringe - drumsticks maybe?  I am so NOT musically inclined!

The focal hangs from a copper chain, with a hand wrought hook and clasp.  Simple, but I like it.

I still have to think of some way to use that cone!  

I made a pact with myself to start using the HUGE stash of lampwork beads that I have been collecting.  So, I started to make what began as a very simple bracelet with lovely, earthy beads by Judith Billig.  Once I had the beads wrapped, I decided to make this a multi-strand (well - two strand) bracelet, so I wired up some handmade chain. That morphed into making a focal toggle for the bracelet.

The picture makes the toggle look HUGE  - it is large - about 2" x 1 1/2", but the details on the metal look so cool!  Instead of just punching a hole in the toggle, I decided to solder on a round of wire on the back - hiding the connection of the two chains.

Can you see the large (12 gauge) ring in the picture?  First I flattened one edge of the ring slightly with a file so it would sit flush on the toggle, and raised it a bit before soldering.  I wish I had taken a picture of my solder setup -  there was so much stuff on that charcoal block keeping everything "just so" prior to hitting it with the flame - it was comical!  But hey, it worked!

I had fun shaping the toggle - it's rather organic...on purpose ... and it truly hugs the wrist when worn.

Judith named these beads Sediment Rustica - love that name!

That's about it for now.  I have no idea what my next project will be.  I am NOT a planner when it comes to jewelry design.  Just like the necklace in this post, I create as I sit down (though I actually work standing up at my bench). Sketching - for me - DOES NOT WORK.  I wish it did, as I gets lots of ideas on the fly, usually when I am doing some mundane task like laundry or cleaning.  If I just took the time to do a quick sketch, perhaps those ideas would come into fruition.  But, the rule "old dog/new trick" applies here.

So tell me - do you sketch?  If you do, do your final designs even remotely resemble those sketches?

Thanks so much for stopping by today!!