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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You Just Never Know

Surprises are in order all around this time of year - a huge dump of snow here in my not so terribly snowy part of the world, holiday surprises, and surprises in what I feel the need to create.
I spent a whole bunch of money on some great gemstone beads recently and I truly love rocks. I love the feel of them in my hands, the coolness against my neck, and the myriad of colours and textures they come in. And yet I have found my inspiration in metal this week - copper and silver swirls, hoops, loops and spirals - different sizes and gauges - hammered and polished. As I say, you just never know what will happen - in the earth or in the creative endeavours of our lives.
As I enter this holiday season I am grateful for inspiration - the thing that always surprises me and keeps me young in spirit.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Inspiration - You Never Know Where It Can Come From

Funny thing about inspiration, isn't it? That I could see something and be inspired by it when another person might not. Or one day it might inspire me when I've seen it many times before. Such was the case with last night's inspiration for this lovely little loopy hoop.

Last night we had a power outage and I was playing around by candlelight. I couldn't do much so I was cleaning some copper bits off my work tray and putting them in the copper bucket when I noticed this coil in there - left over from some experiment or other. I wondered how it would look in my ear if I snipped off some of it. I snipped off a piece and filed the end by hand with my little file and slipped it into my ear. I picked up the candlestick, went into the bathroom and loved what I saw. When the power came back on I created them in sterling and tumbled them all night to harden them up.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Latest Line

Oh, how I love to get more for my money! That's the idea behind my newest line of jewellery - 1 item shown here and more to come over the next few months. I thought it would be awesome to have more freedom with your jewellery so I created this bracelet that is three separate strands of yummy pearls that are joined with a sterling "S Clasp".

This design enables the wearer to wear one, two, or all three strands - depending on the mood of the day. Watch for new designs to come using this concept - be on the lookout for rock, rock, and more rocks!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Handbag's Tale

Most of us women have a favourite little handbag and I was thinking about this when the inspiration for these earrings came to me. I made them from copper sheet and formed them to look like little handbags and immediately fell in love with them. So far they're a one of a kind item, but I may make more someday. I paired them up with sterling silver earwires and chain. I'll be posting them for sale in the shop at some point in the next day or so.

I used my dremel to round out the corners a bit - putting a hard sanding disk on the end of the dremel. A word of caution if you plan to play with this method: safety glasses are a must, along with a dust mask of some sort. You don't want the tiny bits of metal in your eyes or in your lungs! These are actually a pretty simple concept - just cut, folded and formed copper, but they turned out so lovely - proving sometimes simple is best!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How Exciting!!

Call me quirky, but one of the things I LOVE about selling on Etsy is checking out where the pieces are going. It's so interesting to think of people in places I've never even been to - wearing something that I made by hand.

Yesterday I shipped these earrings to Holland! So I just had to find out a bit more about Holland, which is actually a country called "The Netherlands". I didn't know that it is a monarchy, rather than having a president or a prime minister the way we do in Canada and the US, nor that the weather sounds very similar to what you might find on Vancouver Island - I had presumed they would have very cold winters. At 41,528 square kilometers, it is only 9394 square kilometers larger than the island where I live in British Columbia.

So, in a way, making jewellery is expanding my knowledge of the world I live in too. What a neat concept! Cheers all:)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jewellery Party

I'm SO looking forward to today! I have a jewellery party booked at a friend's house and I have some great ideas for making it fun (and hopefully profitable). I plan to do a necklace giveaway - each purchase will entitle the person to an entry for the draw, and to offer a $20 gift certificate for a party booked and held before Christmas. I'm hoping this will get me at least one more party before the holidays so I can load up on an order of new materials to spend the winter months - the slower season - creating. Of course I have a ton of ideas for new pieces!

Sometimes the tough part is deciding what to make first because the ideas float in my head all the time and there are so many of them. I try to get everything 'jotted' down on paper but a lot of ideas come in the night when I'm half awake and even though I keep a pad by the bed, I miss quite a few because I really don't want to turn on the light. Lately I've been having some fun with copper sheet. I made a beautiful cuff style bracelet that I wrapped Chinese turquoise onto and I had to keep it for myself - it's gorgeous and simple - the greens and blacks in the stone are a perfect contrast to the shiny copper. It's natural copper too, so it will get the lovely patina over time. I plan to do some similar work with sterling sheet over the winter so watch here and Etsy for new designs.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Live and Learn

Well, I did my first craft show, and overall it turned out pretty well. I learned a LOT in the process though, and thought I'd share some of my observations here.

I set up everything on my bar counter before I went because I only had half a table, which isn't a lot of space. It looked really good on the counter but I hadn't counted on two things:

1. my bar counter is wider than the table was
2. my bar counter is MUCH higher than the table was

The display that looked good on my counter didn't work as well on the table. I also used black to display most of my things and the lovely stones get completely lost on the black backdrops. On day one I wasn't selling at all and on day two I decided I needed to do something to show off the jewellery. The table looked lovely but the jewellery just didn't stand out at all.

Finally I decided to do something quick and simple. I took my earring cards (lots of white space) and put the earrings on them and sat them in some silver gift boxes and just set them out on the table. On the board that I had earrings hung on, I put the white earring cards behind them. Simple, not terribly pretty really, but it was effective enough to make me start selling.

So I have learned that in the future I will:
* Use white for displays to better highlight my pieces
* Get stuff UP from the table to eye level

Just a couple of tips - there will be more to come :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fun With Form

You know, every now and then it's important to just have some fun, and that's what I chose to do this evening. Rather than second guess what someone might like, or want, or buy, you gotta just pull out the rocks and the wire and play a little - that's what tonight was about for me. I played and created, and posted a few new things to the shop. I love the new mannequins too!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thrifty Finds

I’m doing my first show next week and needed some racks for earrings. I haven’t seen any commercial ones that I can’t live without so I thought I’d get creative. I went out to our local thrift shops and within 2 stores I came up with two pieces.
Both of them started off an ugly brassy gold colour (I should have taken before and after pics!). This is the first one I picked up for $2.50. Many of my earrings are on earring cards in small Ziploc bags to keep them clean and to resist tarnish. I could easily see the little bags hanging on this rack – it’s perfect for them and it spins, so I bought it right away.

This second one was the same awful colour but I could see the potential in it. I thought if I painted it black I could hang earrings freely from the loops in the center and on the outside edge; potentially being able to display a lot of earrings on it. I didn’t have a sense of how to keep it upright at that point, but for $2.00 I decided the ‘how to’ could come later.

I brought them both home and my husband and I sat at our bar counter in the kitchen with them in front of us and talked about how to hold the wreath upright. We finally came up with a stand idea that we thought would work okay and then he went to pick them up and take them out to the shop, and when he did, he hung the wreath on the side of the other rack to make it easy to carry and we both looked at it and at each other and….eureka! There it was – the perfect rack. It still spins and it takes up half the space that the two of them would separately. He took them out and painted them black and here is the finished rack.

These are just two simple finds for a total of $4.50, which shows that displays don’t have to cost a bundle to be effective. The last pictures are from one of my favourite stories. I told my husband I was looking for something that looked like a treasure chest but the closest thing I had seen was a box and it was $17.95. He remembered a gift that we were given that was really quite tacky but it came in a little trunk that he thought might be what I was looking for. I didn’t remember it at all but he thought it might still be at his dad’s – leftovers from our last year’s joint garage sale. Sure enough it was there. We painted it black and it’s the perfect chest for some bargains to go into.

Now I’m excited to get set up! I’ll be taking pictures of the final display next week and posting it here so stay tuned :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Going into creative mode!

Oh boy, does this weekend ever need to see some production time! I've been so busy getting the promotional aspects of things set up that I haven't had time (sigh) to create very much. I suppose that will always be the fine balancing act of this type of business venture. I'm the whole show - the person who creates the pieces, the one who promotes them, and the one who keeps the business records (okay, who am I kidding? LOL - you should SEE my horrible mess of paperwork waiting to be entered into a spreadsheet!).

The beautiful thing is that I can choose to leave the paperwork for another time, and I can go for a walk and get inspiration for my next piece. It's fall in my part of the world and the trees are all this lovely golden colour, interspersed with the odd tree turning red, and there are big leaves scattered on the road and the walkways - it's truly lovely. What a gift to be alive and well!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I think I might be ready

Well, I got this set up (finally) and I think I'm finally ready to begin. Blogging is new to me and I find it fascinating that people might want to read what I have to say. I'm going to use this blog to share a little more of who I am, and what I do.

When I was a kid I was always creating something - macrame, little bracelets, braiding, key chains, pom poms for my shoelaces, you name it - I did it. And then somehow, the years went by and I lost that spark. But thankfully, only for a while. I turned forty this year and the magic is back. I've taught myself how to make amazing jewellery (at least I'm amazed;) from sterling silver, copper and gemstones. I've set up a small shop on Etsy to showcase my work, and hopefully make a few sales. I take pride in what I do and love the creative process! I've been asked over the years, "what would you do for a living if you never got paid for it". I didn't have an answer until now - make jewellery!

I get lost in it and I love it.