Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gift Guide: Handmade Stocking Stuffers

I also contributed to the latest Gift Guide on Team Handmade's Hand In Handmade site. Check it out for a ton of great ideas for small gifts that are all totally handmade by great Team Handmade artisans!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

So do you think the model had to have her hand propped up on something?

Cause that's quite a rock! It's the 59.6 carat "Pink Star" diamond, and it just sold at auction for a record breaking almost $74 million. To put that in perspective, most women's engagement rings are 1 carat or below and even with all the buzz about it, Kim Kardashian's latest big ol' hunk of rock is only 15 carats.

But as the saying goes, it's not just size that matters with diamonds. Pink is a rare color for diamonds and this diamond has an exceptionally intense color.

In any case, if you would like to see other pretty giant sparkly gems, take a look at this slideshow from MSNBC.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What's new...

I spent this past Monday making a whole rainbow of gemstone stud earrings. I just love all the different colors of stones out there! I've been restraining myself from confiscating the sky blue topaz pair for myself.

There also seems to be a lot of stuff that I made in the last few months that I haven't shared here. Part of it was that I was hoarding all of it for my November craft show and didn't get around to taking great pictures of it.

Here's a labradorite ring that just recently sold. The buyer was giving it as a gift to someone who apparently loves labradorite almost as much as me!

Here's a close-up picture the big fossil coral and viking knit necklace:

I was a bit sad when this bracelet sold at the craft fair. I kinda wanted to keep it a little longer just to admire it! I'm just going to have to make a couple more with different colored stones!

And a sort of vaguely steampunk-ish amethyst pendant. I have to confess that the gear-like overlay came about because I accidentally messed up and cut too big of a hole in the first disc I tried to use. I was originally going to decorate it with more of a filigree design made from twisted wire, but I hate wasting silver, so I cut a gear pattern in the messed up disc and domed it to fit over the (correctly cut) bottom disc. Happy accidents, right?

And just tonight, I made a prototype ring out of copper. I had an ugly goldstone (I think?) cabochon that I keep knocking off my desk and new copper solder that I wanted to try out. I like how the design turned out and it was a good color test of the new solder. (Much better than silver solder!) I think I'll make something similar in silver (with a nicer stone!)

I'm also very excited! After my last "learn all the things" post, I found an Intro to Casting class in Tacoma and decided to sign up! I probably won't be doing any casting at home in the near future because flinging molten metal around is both slightly scary and expensive. But I have always wanted to know how to do it and this is my chance!

I guess that's it for now... I have a trunk show coming up in December at the gallery I show at (hopefully I'll have info to share on it soon!) so tomorrow I'm going to go digging through my cabochon stash to make some more "arty" pieces.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Learn ALL The Things!

(And buy ALL the tools...)

No, really! I've been reading some jewelry books and magazines lately and I have a very long list of new techniques I want to try. So long that I don't even know where to start! Making my own prong settings for faceted stones? Or maybe enameling? Oooh, wait! Maybe digging out and trying the metal clay I've had in a drawer! Or chasing and repousee? Let's go back to stone setting: flush setting small stones! Or reticulation, or keum-boo, or mokume-gane! Or how about lost-wax casting?!

So when are my lotto winnings going to start rolling in? (Especially for that last dream of learning casting!) Because I think I need a bigger studio for all of the new shiny equipment I would need for all these new techniques. (Which would mean a bigger house! Ha!)

I guess I should pick just one to start... hmmmm... Maybe prong settings... Although there's a kiln online that's been calling my name, and that would be a dual purpose tool: metal clay AND enameling! So many choices!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Craft Show Aftermath...

Ugh... it took me two days to work up the energy to get the remainders of my craft show display containers out of my car. I was just tired of dragging the bins and boxes from one place to another, so I took my jewelry inventory and cash box inside and left the rest covered up in my trunk. Good think I live in a safe neighborhood! I just keep reminding myself that I make probably the most portable crafted item possible - it could be much worse! I could make something heavy or breakable... like pottery or stained glass

Anyway, my latest craft show was a success. It was looking pretty dire about 15 minutes before the show was about to start when the power completely went out in the venue. Luckily it came back on in a minute
and only flickered a few times during the rest of the day. Saturday was unfortunately a super stormy day here in the Seattle area, so some of the surrounding towns completely lost power. I think that kept a lot of people home, so there weren't as many shoppers as there should have been. But it was still a good show overall.

Here's a picture of my table!

I added a sale section of older stock I would like to move and that seemed to be a big draw. And of course, rings. Everybody likes to touch rings! Every craft show I do is a little bit more I learn about what kind of stock I should bring and how I should set up my table. I'm still working my way into having enough inventory to be able to start planning on selling at larger outdoor summer craft fairs. Next year hopefully!