Sunday, May 26, 2013

What I've Been Up To: May 19 - 25

Here's what I've been doing at my jewelry desk for the past week...

I've been swimming in a sea of mixed metal stacking rings! I spent most of my time this week trying to keep up with making custom ring orders. Here's just one (light) day's stack of rings ready to go into the tumbler.

I got to try out a new set of silicone polishing wheels, which definitely speeds up the clean-up time on the brass rings.

I did manage to make a completely new necklace this week, too. I've been holding onto some sterling gallery wire bezel that I've been trying to figure out where to use. I ran across a random pearl cabochon in my stash that was perfect for the gallery wire bezel. I got everything shaped and soldered and then dunked it all in some liver of sulfur solution to darken it and ended up with a rainbow of iridescent blue, green, yellow and red. I kinda wish I knew what I was doing to get these colors, because I always end up with them when I don't want them, but can't figure out how to get them when I try!

In any case, a quick polish brought the colors down to a more subdued gray (with still some green and blue flashes in the chain) and then I set the pearl (which is ridiculously easy with gallery wire, love it!). I still need to get some nicer pictures, but here's a quick shot with my iPhone.

It has kind of a medieval flavor to it and I really like the little handmade S-hook clasp I made with the little pearl dangle. I'm looking into getting some rose cut or plain gemstone cabochons to make some variations on this necklace. I think onyx would be a nice contrast. And of course I'm always partial to amethyst...

My husband and I went for a bit of a drive yesterday across the mountains, just to explore. We ended up in Ellensburg, WA and as soon as we rolled into town, we ran across a rock shop/bead store! Its like it was meant to be. They cut their own cabochons in-house, so I spend quite a while drooling over their rough slabs, wishing I had the space, equipment, and know-how to cut my own cabs, then I picked out a few finished cabochons.

The color isn't great in this picture, but that's a red jasper and three turquoise. I'm going to make the teardrop into a pendant and the pointed ovals into a pair of matching earrings. It's probably better for my wallet that this shop is so far away. My husband had to practically drag me out!

Until next week!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What I've Been Up To - May 12 - 18

Here's my weekly update from my jewelry desk...

Another busy week here!

I had my first craft fair this year on May 11th and a lot of this week was putting all my supplies and displays away and then catching up with online orders for that weekend. I'm still trying to catch up and I have a whole mess of stacking rings to finish on my desk right now.

I did manage to take photos and list my floral pattern wire and hammered wire bangle bracelets in my shop. Here are some pictures:
Floral Pattern Sterling Silver Bangle Bracelet - available for sale here

Hammered Sterling Silver Stacking Bangle - available in my shop
And I also took better photos and listed my Dragon's Blood Jasper and Garnet Necklace. I love this necklace! It's so dramatic looking.

I also played around with a larger cabochon cocktail ring style and made this Sterling Silver and Moonstone Cabochon Cocktail Ring. It's going to be one of a kind because it is a strange size of cabochon and I could only find one.

A wonderful box with a brand new propane torch arrived this week as well. This will replace my (highly overkill) MAPP gas torch as my larger project torch. I tried it out a little and it seems great! It has three tips for three sizes of flames and it attaches directly to a barbecue propane tank and uses ambient air. I will still probably use my little butane torch the most - it works great for the things that I make the most, like stacking rings - but this is a great addition to my tool box.

I also had my very first teaching experience yesterday with my Wire Wrapped Earrings class at Beadworld in Seattle! I only had two students in this first class, but that was a very good thing because we all learned that each earring project could be its own class. We ran more than an hour over the class time and I had to send them home with only one earring fully finished for each project. Luckily, they said that my project instructions (the ones that I had to scramble to finish last week!) were very clear and my directions in person were helpful and they would have fun finishing at home and making more earrings. 

Unfortunately the Bird's Nest Pendant class was cancelled due to low attendance. The weather has been too nice here for people to want to sign up for an indoor class! 

Still, teaching was a success. My wire wrapped donut class in June is already sold out and Beadworld has asked me to come back and teach classes for the next quarter - my two earrings projects - split into two classes, wire wrapped donuts, and a new wire wrapped cabochon class.

I'm also currently trying to transfer all of my pictures and shop documents over to a brand new laptop because my old one is becoming increasingly unpredictable. I decided I would rather spring for a new computer slightly early, rather than wake up to a Blue Screen of Death and have to scramble to recover all of my documents. I can't say I'm completely sold on the new Windows 8 yet, but I'm adapting.

That's it for my weekly update! I'm headed down to my desk to wrangle a whole bunch of stacking rings and get them ready to send out.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Support Handmade! Shop Etsy Team Handmade

One of the teams that I participate in on Etsy is Team Handmade. We are a group of artisans on Etsy with the mission of supporting handmade artists and raising awareness (on Etsy and off) about the importance and value of artisan handmade products. We are 1000+ members strong - representing nearly every form of art and craft: jewelry, knit, crochet, miniatures, fine art, pottery, embroidery and much, much more - and committed to "keeping the hand in handmade."

If you would like to help support my fellow teammates or are interested in keeping up with the other members of Team Handmade, check out all the places we are taking over the web:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What I've Been Up To - May 5 - 11

Updates from my jewelry desk for the last week...

Another busy week! I spent the week preparing for my Saturday craft fair - painted my displays, finished up putting price tags on everything, and got everything packed and ready to go.

In between all that, I made a half dozen sterling silver bangles - one with wide patterned wire and the rest hammered thin bands. They are still packed away from the show, but I'll share pictures as soon as I can dig them (and the camera) out.

And in between that, another big pile of stacking rings for Etsy orders. 

The Snohomish Gift and Craft Bazaar was a success. I made a good amount of sales, got a lot of good feedback, and quite a few people took a business card to check my shop out later. 

Here was my table:

I'm pretty happy with my display. I'm sure I will tweak it a bit for each craft show, but I have room to add more jewelry to the 8 foot sized table but I can still shrink it down to a 6 foot table without having to remove anything.

And right after I got home from the Snohomish show, I found an acceptance email in my inbox for a holiday show I applied for! 

So clear your calendars for November 2nd, 2013! I'll be at the Woodinville Holiday Craft Fair at Woodmoor Elementary School. I'll update with more info as we get closer to November.

Up for next week is getting ready for my wire wrapping classes at Beadworld in Seattle. I never did find the papers that I wrote some of my directions on, so I have to sit down and "virtually" make the earrings in my head so I can write it down step by step.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What I've Been Up To - April 20 - May 4

Busy! I've been busy!

But not with actually making any new jewelry. I've been making custom rings and things for orders from my Etsy shop, but other than that, I haven't had a lot of time to sit down and make anything new.

I spent quite a bit of time last week getting ready for the Snohomish Gift and Craft Bazaar on May 11th. I ordered a whole bunch of table cloths and display components and I sat down and price tagged all of my inventory. I don't like any of the earring cards or display tags available from jewelry suppliers, so I ended up designing my own and printed them on cardstock. I also went the less expensive route for my booth sign and printed out a color 11x17 and mounted it on foam board. I think I'll eventually get a vinyl sign for future craft shows, but I wanted to wait a little while for it.

My husband also built me a custom earring card rack - which I painted to match the necklace displays he made me last year.

Everything about that rack is handmade... The jewelry, the display card, the rack itself!

He is still going to make me one more riser display stand then I should be pretty much done with my display. I have the "table" set up on my living room floor right now. We don't have any 8 foot long tables in the house, so I just laid out my table cloths and am pretending that the floor is a table. It works for me!

I am also trying to put the finishing touches on the handouts for my wire wrapping classes at Beadworld, too. But I managed to misplace the step-by-step directions that I wrote out for one of my classes. Think good thoughts for me that I'll find it in the next few days!

I have some last minute things I want to make this week to beef up my inventory a little bit. Hopefully I'll have enough time to get to them!