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Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Year of the Guitar Pick

Holy smokes am I busy cutting out both sterling and copper guitar picks! Stamping and lovingly polishing them to a gleam - that's how my days are being filled. In Chinese culture, there is the year of the ram, the year of the monkey, etc... so I have dubbed this "the year of the guitar picks" in my mind.

Every now and then, as an artist and an entrepreneur, we stumble upon something, or a few somethings that just take off. For me, it's been the nose jewellery and now these picks. Perhaps it's the authenticity factor. I wear nose jewellery and I play guitar (ahem...when I have time). Not a great player by any means but I have fun with it and I rock pretty good around the campfire. I came up with the idea of doing a copper pick because I hadn't really seen it done and I love copper. It's been a good seller all year but this holiday season, they - along with their sterling silver cousins - are simply flying off the shelf.

I'm so glad I took the week off my regular job!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Much Ado About Millimeters

This chart is a reference for all of my shops jewelery creations - please print to confirm your size.
The world of millimeters (mm) can be a frightening place when you have no frame of reference. Feel free to use this chart to help you find your way. Cheers!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quick Tip About Tumble Polishing Metals

When I excitedly bought my Lortone tumbler to make all my sterling silver and copper shiny and pretty, I carefully read all the information I could find about how to correctly tumble polish my pieces.

I learned that I should add the shot, then my pieces, and that the water level should be about 2/3 full - just under 3/4; depending on how many pieces were in the bucket. I learned that I needed a burnishing compound of some sort - the first time I bought some with my tumbler to be on the safe side, although I had heard that "Dawn" dishwashing liquid would work equally well.

I set out to find some "Dawn" but it isn't available in my area of Canada - perhaps not at all in Canada. I wondered how Dawn could be that much different from any other dish soap for the purpose I needed it, and despite all the advice I'd read that Dawn was the only choice, I used what was beside my sink one day, which is "Sunlight". Guess what? Works perfectly! I would have no hesitation to go ahead and use a couple squirts of whatever you have on hand.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I am aging. It's not that I didn't know this interesting fact but today it feels more real to me. My daughter turns 19 years old today, and for a kid living in BC Canada, it is a milestone. No longer considered a child, they are granted the right to vote provincially, buy cigarettes (oh my how I wish she wouldn't) and drink alcohol. So for me, that means my daughter is no longer considered a child - ergo, I am definitely aging.

I'm only 41 - I like the word "only" in that sentence. In many ways I feel younger than I ever have because I am comfortable in my own skin. I'm no longer plagued with as many questions and concerns about who I am and how I fit into this universe. I have more confidence in my decisions than I did when I was younger and I believe in myself in a way I didn't know was possible in the past. I know me. And I am aging.

It is a strange thing this aging process. Just when we get really good at life...when we're getting it figured out...we are on our way toward leaving it. An odd reality but I suppose that's how it is meant to be. We are born to learn throughout our days and when the time of learning is over, it is done.

Not that I think I am close to that by any means! Like I said, I am only 41 :) It's just that now I am able to grasp the concept that I am finite. That I too will be over. That I need to make my mark - my indelible impression on this planet in a timely fashion because time really will cease to exist for me at some point - of this I am now certain.

I am grateful for the days I have and I intend to find my own way to be of service to this planet...this life...this experience. Cheers!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Ongoing Facelift

Okay....so here I go again with the photo facelift at Rock Your Wire. If you follow me and my shop, you'll know that not too long ago I updated all of my photos to clear, coloured backgrounds in blues, greens, etc. I like aspects of it, and there are definitely some things that stand out perfectly on those backgrounds but now that I have it all switched over and I'm looking at 80 plus pictures like that I can't help but feel like something is missing. There is an element or a depth that isn't respresented in the photos.

I've been mulling it over for the last few days and I can now see what the missing piece is. It's the connection to rocks and nature that I feel when creating. I love the elements - earth, wind, air, wood, fire, rock, metal...and there is little of that love of nature in the expression of the pieces. So I did a bit of updating on a couple of the pictures and wow! There it is - the missing depth that some of the pieces need. So it's another facelift at http://rockyourwire.com/ but it will be a slow progression this time - I really need to get into the studio and make some new things. That's the priority. Watch for the emerging new look :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Simple Thing

Quite some time ago I purchased some soaps from a shop on Etsy and when my package arrived it had a little thank you note attached with my name on it. It said, very simply, "Thank You Darcey Lyn". I couldn't believe how good that little tag made me feel - it personalized that little package in a way that nothing else could have. So I set out on a journey to find an item that I could use in a similar way in my packaging.

I stumbled upon a seller called"WhatTheScrap" (http://whatthescrap.etsy.com/), who had 100 little round paper circles for sale. The seller - a lovely lady named Liz - cuts these little paper circles and punches a hole in them. They're great for any scrapbooking or carding project and they looked like they would also be perfect for my needs. I asked her if I could purchase a lot of 400 of them because I sell a lot of nose jewelry and my packaging goes rather quickly. She did a custom listing for me and I received them soon after.

When I package an item to go out, I put it in a little white box and I take one of the labels and write a thank you with my customer's name. I string a bit of ribbon through the little hole and wrap it around the box and tape it at the back, so the thank you tag sits at the front of the box. My customers are absolutely thrilled with the care and attention I give to their purchases and the feedback is incredible since implementing this simple little thing. I was never sure what kind of impact - or lack of it - packaging had on most people until now.

I love my little labels - I adore this seller and her products - and I love the fact that my customers feel special when they open their envelopes from my shops. I know that they know I take the time to care and that makes the price I pay for the extra touches absolutely priceless.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some History on Nose Piercings and My Personal Journey

Besides earlobe piercing, nose piercing is the most popular style of piercing. It is an ancient style of piercing, dating back to approximately four thousand years ago, and it has continued to grow in popularity over the last few years in mainstream society.

Most piercings I saw as a Canadian child were on women from India. I often admired the lovely sparkle I saw in the side of the nose, but never dreamed I would someday have one of my own. Indian women usually have their piercings on the left, which is associated with lessening of pain from childbirth and menstruation. When I chose my left nostril piercing, I didn't know this little fact and wish I'd had my piercing done before the birth of my first child! I chose a natural childbirth because I was just twenty two years old and I thought that was the best way to go about it, so I had not so much as an aspirin to ease my pain during the 29 hour journey. Perhaps a piercing would have helped. The second time around, my first question at the hospital was, "what do you have for pain options?".

The main types of jewellery worn in the nose are studs and hoops. There are some interesting pieces that go from the nose to the ear and I'm toying with the idea of creating some of these unique pieces to sell in my "Rock Your Nose" Etsy shop. My most popular form of stud is the screw shaped end - it is definitely the biggest seller. My piercer pierced my nose with a long needle and then inserted an 18 gauge screw end stud with a tiny zirconian stone. Actually, what happened was he inserted the stud and then said, "oh no!" Okay, I don't know about you, but when you've just had a needle shoved in your nose and have been breathing through the pain, the last thing you want to hear is "oh no!" The stud he had just inserted into my throbbing nostril was defective - it had no stone. I was somewhat disappointed, but not enough to want it taken out and have one with a stone inserted instead. Little did I know what would happen next.

Well, I guess that little stoneless thing just didn't want to be on display in my new piercing, so as I slept two nights later, my left hand with a ring on my finger reached up in sleepiness to SCRATCH my nose! The ring caught on the little stud and pulled it right out, so there I was, at 2am with a 6am commute ahead of me, sitting in my bathroom sink (because I wear glasses and can't see without them), trying to stuff this screw ended thing into my now bleeding nostril. I believe I started to cry from frustration and pain because I could not put it back in no matter what I did.

Some women might have given up at this point, but not me - no not me. I went back to bed and called my piercer first thing the next morning when I got to work. He booked me in for an appointment and when I got there he said a few more words that I didn't want to hear. He said, "okay, get up on the table - we're going to perform a miracle here". Eek! And then my highly skilled piercer, whose name is Nick (from Duncan, BC Canada) proceeded to poke that needle right back exactly through the original hole. It hurt like hell the second time around, but I proudly left the shop with my left, throbbing nostril sporting a little stud with a gem in it this time. I slept with those tiny, round Band-Aids on my nose for many months to come - just in case.

Little did I know that 5 years later I would start making jewellery. And I had no inkling of the fact that one of the first things I would do when I learned to make my first little sterling silver coil would be to put an L shape on the end and put it in my piercing. I had no way to know that those baby steps would lead to me offering them to other people for sale and coming up with ideas for new designs in my sleep. I had no clue that I would open an Etsy shop for my jewellery and that my designs for nose piercings would become so popular that I would open a little shop dedicated just to them. It's been a long journey and I'm so proud of my Rock Your Nose (http:RockYourNose.Etsy.com) shop.

Because my designs are motivated from my own experience, I always make the highest quality pieces that I can. I use glue very occasionally to hold Swarovski crystals to the sterling stem, but only as a matter of necessity - there is no other way to get them to stay in place. For my other pieces, I use traditional fabrication methods of silver soldering and melting with my torch. Each pin in my pieces is handmade by me. I know, I know, I could purchase headpins and use them instead but I take a lot of pride in what I do and in what I provide to the customers who support me in my work. I will be updating my listings to offer screw studs that are customized for a left or a right piercing because there is nothing more uncomfortable than trying to fit a screw end made for the wrong side. My work as an artist has grown, as has my imagination. I'm always coming up with new ideas and am currently waiting for some beads that will add some fun and spark to some of my dangle studs and my hoops. Every day is a new adventure :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Claw Settings and Soldering

At my last writing, I started to set cabochons, which is very exciting. I have a few more styles on order to play with, including some pyrite, which is absolutely lovely.

In addition, I purchsed some sterling silver claw settings and some tiny stones to have fun with on the nose jewelry site and produced some lovely, little flowers with stones for centers. The process was a little tricky and I wasted a few of the claw settings before I experienced success. The little claws are tiny and melt very quickly under the heat of the torch.

Once I got a rhythm in place it worked out very well. I soldered the little claw setting to the flower cap by using paste solder, which flows faster, and by heating the soldering brick around the piece, instead of the piece itself. Once the claw was soldered in, I turned the flower cap over and soldered on the post. I thought I'd share some photos!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Setting Cabachons - Finally!

I think I've been building up to this moment from the time I first picked up a piece of copper wire and started to create. These earrings were in my head...in my creative energy thoughts...and now they are real.

When I bought my last order from "Rio Grande", I decided to poke around a little at the other items. Setting stones in sterling silver bezel cups has been on my mind for a while so I looked at the cups available to buy. I found a great assortment of sizes - 50 cups in all for a really reasonable price so I added them to my cart with a sense of excitement and a bit of nervousness. Now I was almost committed to another creative learning leap!

I did a quick search to find out what kinds of tools I required and discovered I needed a simple and inexpensive burnisher, so I added that to the cart too. I chose three different cabochon selections for my new project: some sleeping beauty turquoise, some garnet (very tiny), and some man-made opal that is really pretty. I knew the turquoise was the first that I would attempt to work with. I placed my order and waited, somewhat less than patiently.

When it arrived about four days later, I tore into the box like it was Christmas, because that's what it felt like. Gifts, lovely gifts. I pulled the new treasures out of the box, admired them, and did what I always do with new creative processes - set them aside. I left them there for about a week, at the back of my bench, just within vision while I waited for the right time. The right time came on the weekend, despite the heat pump in my house being broken so the studio is hot without air conditioning, but the time was there and I was ready so I went ahead.

I selected a piece of sterling silver sheet and marked it out for cutting. I cut it into strips for the earrings I planned to make, using a great pair of scissors I bought locally at "The Rock Hound" in Victoria, BC Canada. Then to the process of filing down the edges to get them nice and smooth, and a good pounding with my little hammer to create the dimpled, organic look I love. Then it was time to get the solder down from the shelf and the torch from the other table, gather up the flux and my cup of water I always have nearby, along with tweezers and a paper towel (kept far away from the torch of course). I turned on the mini slow cooker with the pickling solution for taking off the blackening from the torch process. Then I selected the bezels and got started soldering them to my new silver strips. All went well and they adhered nicely then got a bath in the pickling solution, then off to the tumbler to polish up overnight.

They came out totally shiny but I wasn't about to settle for that! I oxidized them and then polished them with rouge to bring out all the lovely, organic look that you see below. Finally, I added the sleeping turquoise cabochons and used the burnisher to push the sterling bezel side over the cabochon to hold the stones in place and voila! They will get their final photo and posting to the shop later today.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Project in Motion

When is my site ever idle or stagnant? Never it seems. I became dissatisfied with the look of Rock Your Wire (http://rockyourwire.etsy.com/) and felt the need to remove the rock and leaf, and all things distracting in the background, which led me to the local dollar store in search of backgrounds. This time I chose some colored foam and started taking photos and I was (am) SO pleased with the result!

I adore the deep, rich colors and the way the pieces are showcased against the clear, bright backdrop.

I've heard that your photos are a continual work in progress when you sell online, and I can honestly say that this has been my greatest challenge - creating photos that
work well for my work and for my customers shopping experience. I hope I've gotten there - finally!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Passion for Business

When I'm not making jewellery, I have another job working as a Business Coach. I work with people with disabilities who are exploring self employment as an option. It's rewarding and fun to see people develop businesses and get excited about the launch of their new venture. As we're going through the exploration process, one thing I always reiterate is that I think it is important to have a passion for what you're going to do.

Passion is the thing that will drive you to put in the hours required for success, it is the thing that will give you the nudge to get your books over to the accountant or set up your spreadsheets to track your income and expenses. For most of us (unless your business is accounting), the paperwork is the least loved part of our businesses, but it is a necessity that must be done. Passion for our business helps motivate us to do the tasks of necessity.

I am extremely busy because I work four days a week coaching and in my 'spare' time, I work on developing my jewellery business. I have recently opened two more Etsy shops to showcase my work. In addition to my Rock Your Wire shop, and my fairly recent venture, Rock Your Nose, for handmade nose adornments, I launched Rock Your Belly - a shop for - you guessed it - belly jewellery. I had also recently brought home some pieces of mine that were on consignment that hadn't sold, and that gave me the idea to create a new shop to liquidate older stock - things that hadn't sold in my other shops, designs that didn't catch on for some reason, or pieces that I don't make anymore because I've moved into a different area of design. The more I thought about the idea and brainstormed it with a friend, the more I liked it. I chose to open another Etsy shop called "Liquidation Mall" and am busy stocking it with a lot of great, quality, handmade items at bargain liquidation prices. I think it will be very successful once it catches on.

So back to the topic of passion - I simply could not, or would not do all of these things if I didn't have a passion for my business. These launches have required me to stretch my time, effort and energy to new levels. Because I love my business, I am a willing spirit.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

There is So Much to be Grateful For

I'm looking out my studio window while the sun illuminates the leaves on the trees across the road and I'm thinking that I'm grateful for my view, for being able to see, and for so many things in my life.

If any of you read one of my earlier posts about the health challenges I've been facing, this will be an update for you. I finally received my diagnosis - I have MS. I knew it in all the fibers of my being, and in a way, it was a relief to be able to put a name to this previously nameless thing. Am I scared? You bet. But I am alive. And I'm grateful for all that I have - because today I have relative health, and family, and things to look forward to. I have a little business that's growing daily, a list of customers who admire what I do, and a head full of creations that are waiting to be made. I've made connections with people through my business and am grateful that they're willing to tell others about me, like Gabby at http://inspiteofmycrazyself.blogspot.com/, whose writings I love to read.

Behind me is my bench, my torch, my sterling and rocks and all the things that make me feel alive. And I am deeply grateful.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How Exciting!!

When I launched my Etsy shop "RockYourNose"
(http://rockyournose.etsy.com/) I just knew I wanted to have some real gold pieces available, so with great trepidation (gold is expensive!), I bought some gold and got started.

I created this lovely flower out of 14 karat gold and listed it for sale in the shop. It was viewed just over one hundred times and I wondered if I had made a mistake in thinking there was a marketplace for quality, handmade gold nose jewellery.

Yesterday my fears were proved unfounded when it sold. Now the exciting thing is not only that it sold but where it went. I shipped a package today to Israel! It's incredible for me to think that something made by my own hands will be worn by a woman who lives halfway around the world from me. It is inspiring and humbling all at the same time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What to Do When You Have a Block?

Blockages occur in all kinds of things: drainpipes, arteries, rivers and streams, writing, painting, and just about any other creative process. I've been thinking about writing in my blog for a long time now, but have been experiencing writer's block. I figured, "what the heck"? - let's write about that!

I suppose it's a thing that's not new to most folks who are creative. That moment we experience when we just can't do that thing we always do so well. Perhaps that's what makes it the most frustrating; the knowledge that we can do this because we've done it so many times before but this time...this time... something is stuck.

The night before last I heard something on a TV documentary I was watching about the life of Johnny Cash. There was a colleague of his who is a songwriter (and I wish I could remember his name but sometimes I don't catch those little details). Anyway, this man is a great songwriter and he said something that helped me to get a little less stuck. He was speaking about his writing process and he said, "don't think about it. Just do it."

Powerful stuff, I thought: Just DO it. Today, thanks to him, I am just doing it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I've been meaning to write in here for a few days now, and I actually intended to write my next post all about the new 14 karat gold wire I bought, and the lovely flower nose stud I made with it. Today, however, I was compelled to write about gratitude.

The last few days in my Etsy shop have been very busy. I've had a big increase in sales lately, and each time I sell something, I feel a sense of elation. I love the fact that people find the things I create worthy of purchasing, owning, and wearing. I am eternally grateful to each customer who chooses to shop in my store and equally grateful to the universe for providing me with this gift of creativity.

So today is about gratitude for me. I am grateful to be in this life and to be a part of this wonderful world!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Taking a Break!

Oh man, have I been busy the last two days! My last post mentioned thinking about moving my nose jewellery to it's own shop and I decided it had to be done so the last two days have been work driven getting it done. It's not totally completed but I created the shop, took photos, and listed 28 items - no easy feat. I am SO pleased with the cohesive look of the shop and can't wait to continue stocking it with neat items.

I have gold waiting for me at the post office so be on the lookout for new pieces made from 14 karat gold wire. Check out the new shop if you get a chance: http://rockyournose.etsy.com/. I figured it makes sense to stick with the "Rock Your" name - branding of sorts. Let me know what you think.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finally got some new things posted

Organizing, shifting, changing, adapting - I think that's what business is truly about. I had a good look in the shop and I can see the nose jewellery is taking over, and I still have more designs in my head. I really love doing them so I think (I'm pretty sure) that I'm going to move most of them over to a shop that is fully dedicated to nose jewellery to give them the attention they deserve. I'm musing over banners, logos and colour schemes even as I type.

I was really busy with a visit from my brother and his family so I didn't do a lot of updating over the last few days; merely keeping up with orders coming in and communication with customers. Now I'm back in full swing and posted two really lovely things today.

I was absolutely THRILLED that someone contacted me who had read my blog and had some questions about fusing sterling silver. Keep it up readers! :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Works in Progress

I thought I'd start out with a view of my studio bench. This is where most of my fabrication takes place, and as you can see, I like to have everything nearby and on hand. It looks a little messy, but oh well, it works for me.

On the bench itself you can see the brick where I like to fuse and solder things, the torch to the left, a big cup of water to dunk things into to cool them off - I don't like to wait - flux, paintbrushes to apply it, small tools, etc. At the back of the bench is the shelf with my metal supply, and to the left, the containers that hold a lot of my beads. What you can't see is the table to the right where I keep my pickle pot, fire extinguisher, oxidizing station, and a bit of clear table space. On the floor is my lap tray where I do finer work that requires no torch. When I'm doing that, I clear off the workbench and put the lap tray on top of the bench. A small operation, really, and I crave a larger space with TONS of work area and a floor I can really dirty up, but it's sufficient and I feel lucky to have it.

I've been a bit mesmerized with fabrication lately - fusing, melting, soldering metals. To the right is a photo of a fusion of my scraps that will eventually become a pendant called "The Boneyard". This is a term commonly used for scrap metal and vehicles and I thought it was a fitting name for this piece. I took a bunch of my leftover pieces, arranged them in a pleasing (to me) way, and applied some flux to them and then lit the torch. The pieces fused to each other, but what I love about it is that you can still see the origins of them - the earwire that didn't quite make it into a design, the wire wrapped end of something, the remnants of sterling left from cutting out guitar picks. The mind can see anything else in there too - I've allowed mine to wander over this piece many times. I oxidized it and polished the forefront pieces to add some depth and contrast. The lighting in this photo doesn't entirely capture it but it's strikingly beautiful in its simplicity. Here is a close up:

Another project I played with was making this unique, organic sterling silver and copper ring. It still needs some finishing and polishing and maybe oxidization in some places. I'll let you know when it's ready to hit the shop. Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Birthday is Over

Okay, here it is, the light of day and I'm really 41. Hard to believe it but I am and I think today I accept it LOL.

Anyway - the birthday bash and giveaway is over. Thanks to all who participated - it made my day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Giveaway!

It's my 41st birthday today and I thought I'd celebrate by giving YOU presents. Purchase anything from my shop today only and receive a pair of handmade sterling silver buds post earring with backs absolutely free!

What's the Diff - Argentium or Sterling?

There's a (relatively) new kid on the block when it comes to silver, and its called "Argentium". It's use is spreading due to it's tarnish resistant nature. I've heard people go so far as to call it superior to traditional sterling silver, but in my mind, it is not superior - only different.

Traditional sterling silver is an alloy of 925 parts silver to 75 parts (usually) copper. This helps to provide some strength to the metal, as pure silver is quite soft. The copper though, also helps to tarnish the metal. Personally, I love sterling silver that gets some black in the grooves of the piece because it really helps enhance the details but many people like their metal bright and shiny.

Argentium is also an alloy, but one made of silver and germanium. It is resistant to tarnish and cleans up quite nicely, often just in a warm soapy bath. I find if I leave it out and exposed to air it goes a kind of goldish, brassy colour. What is important to me in the difference between these two metals is their applications - what I do with them and how come I choose that particular one for the job.

When using the torch to ball up the little end of the metal for use as headpins, nose jewellery, the little bud earrings I make, or the ball end earwires I often use, I choose which one based on what I want the outcome to be. Argentium makes very smooth, fluid little balls, whereas traditional sterling makes little balls that are slightly pitted, or cratered. In the photos below, the first photo shows earrings made with Argentium, and the second shows traditional sterling - see the difference?

If I'm going for a smooth sleek look, I'll choose the Argentium, but if I want something a little more earthy and organic looking, it's traditional sterling silver hands down every time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Woman Behind the Designs

When I first decided to start blogging, I did some research. I do a LOT of research on a lot of topics, so this was no exception. Everything indicated that you should have an idea behind the purpose of your blog before you start. What is the theme? Should it be business or personal? A combination of both? Most recommendations were that you choose one and stick with it, and that if you have a business, your blog should stick to business topics and stay away from personal ones.

I think there's some merit to that. It's unlikely you want to know if my dog is sick, or if my son didn't make the local hockey team. These are fine things to blog about if your blog is about pets or hockey, but mine is about jewellery and my business of creating it and selling it. Today, though, I thought I would let you (my whole 156 people who have read my blog) know a little more about who I am, why I do what I do, and where the creations came from.

I'm forty (gulp) almost one years old - I have two days left to be forty. I was a crafty kid who couldn't get enough of macrame (any of you remember macrame?), braiding, stringing, making pom poms, crocheting.... you get the picture. As I got older and started having children I somehow didn't find the time to pursue creation. I guess I had created two little someones and that's a pretty big thing to create.

As I approached forty years old, a year ago, in fact, I began to have some strange things happen to me physically. My arms went numb. My legs went numb. My leg would feel like someone had wrapped a tensor bandage around it too tightly and left it there. I began having sensations of pins and needles in my limbs, as well as stabbing sensations. My back became hypersensitive, so that feeling a simple drop of water running down my back was almost painful it was so annoying. Sometimes it felt like mosquitos were biting my limbs - quick, stinging pains. I went to the doctor and was referred to a neurologist.

I began to crave creation again - the urge to create became very strong. My husband brought me home some copper wire and I wrapped a bunch of beach glass my children had collected years ago. When I created, I didn't notice the pain as much. I researched online to find out more about jewellery making and found a wealth of information: how-to's, articles, opinions, ideas, and outlets to sell your goods. And I practiced - man, did I practice.

I got brave and ordered some sterling silver and then was too afraid to cut into it for about a week. One day when I was ready, I made the first cut and lost the fear. I fell in love with the process of twisting wire to make it what I saw in my mind and on the drawings on little scraps of paper that began to follow me everywhere. And when I created, I was fully present with the creation; allowing the pain to be in the background, instead of the foreground.

The neurologist did a test. The neurologist pronounced me fine before he even did the test. "Yes, sir, I am fine. I'm forty years old and I don't know what is happening to me and you have no answer, but I am fine it seems." I had to accept that there was no answer just then.

A look back in my history shows numerous 'minor' things going on for years: a feeling of being off balance, a sensation of walking 'funny' all of a sudden - was it me or the new shoes? Fatigue. Bone crushing, can't lift my head, no energy for language kind of fatigue.

I have continued the creations over this past year; growing more confident with my materials and moving into the world of fabrication. The 'phantom' mostly hid away for a bit but I was always aware of its presence. It left my back sensations and a couple other things but steered clear for a while. And then it returned and it was the same but different. I began limping - always on the right leg and many times being unaware I was doing it. Some days my hands won't work on the keyboard for any length of time. It is like there's a disconnect between brain and hands. Sometimes I'm fatigued, I trip over things even when I know they're there, and life is different than it used to be. And the other day there was a brown spot in my vision on my left eye. And I know. In my heart, I know. I see another neurologist in June.

When I am at my bench, my hands work just fine. And I am grateful - for this life, for the gift I've been given, and for this opportunity to share a little more about who I am.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Customer Rewards Program

Today I'm launching my customer rewards program. As a small business owner, I believe it is important to reward customers who shop with me and refer their friends to shop with me. I know the world has changed, and we're living in an electronic age, but the basics of business have not changed. Business is about relationships and communication - key elements to the success of any venture.

The rewards program is very simple. You refer a friend. When the friend purchases from me, they tell me the Etsy username of the person who referred them, and you get a gift certificate sent to you for 15% off. I hope to issue lots of them!

Oh, and I created a new design of sterling silver hand forged nose studs that launched yesterday:

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I managed to fuse a copper circle the other day after many failed attempts. I wasn't really sure what I was doing right or wrong. Sometimes the ends of the wire balled up on me; an outcome I really didn't want. And other times, the wire simply didn't fuse - it got really, really black and it didn't 'become one'. I kept practicing and trying. Over and over and finally, I got it! A lovely circle. What I did was form the circle, overlapping the ends by about 4mm, and then I hammered it flat so the ends were really meshed together. I then fluxed the whole thing and lit the torch to it on a really high flame. Success! It fused.

Today I played with sterling silver fusion, which is SO much easier. This time I didn't flatten the circles, I simply used a dowel to wrap my circle around, and cut them out; again, leaving about 4mm of overlap. I positioned the circle so that the cut ends of overlap touched each other very tightly. I put it on my soldering brick (simply a heat resistant brick found in the hardware store - buy the ones they put into woodstoves or the bottom of a fireplace), and put flux on the whole thing using a small paintbrush. Flux is available from your jewelry supply stores and is essential for fusing and/or soldering. I lit the torch and turned it up fairly high and made the metal red hot, focusing the flame on the place where the two ends touched. The hottest part of the torch is just past the blue flame. I watched closely as the metal got all beautifully liquidy and voila! joined to each other to form a fused circle. I was entirely fascinated by the process. I discovered that sterling is easier to fuse than copper and I found that it just takes practice.
Thanks for reading. Pictured is a pair of earrings I made.
The bottom circle is fused.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Pull of Copper

I'm finding myself more and more drawn to copper these days - perhaps because it lends itself so well to the types of designs I enjoy creating. I love jewellery that just has that handmade look to it!

Rustic, and not so perfect in form; something for
the eye and the mind to be curious about.

Copper is reputed to have healing properties and many swear by its use for relieving pain, particularly in diseases such as arthritis and rheumatic illnesses. I can't attest to its abilities for these purposes, but I remember my grandmother always wore a copper bangle and swore it helped her arthritis pain.

It is a beautiful metal, and one that is experiencing a "come back" in popularity. It Rocks! in my opinion ;)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Outdoor Photography - OH MY!

Wow! What can I say? I was reading something today when looking around at 'specs' for my camera when I noticed (yet again) someone talking about taking their shots outside rather than using a light box. As I've mentioned before, I have had zero luck with a light box and hadn't yet trekked my butt outdoors to try my luck photographing my jewellery out there.

It's sunny today here in my area of the world. A gorgeous, cool, sunny day and maybe that was just the motivation I needed. The window is open in my studio, the fresh air is coming in, and suddenly, packing up my latest creation, my camera and some props didn't seem like such a bad idea.

The result was breathtaking for me! I would NEVER have gotten this shot inside. I'm reformed ;)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nose Jewellery

Wow! The nose jewellery seems to be a hit - and it all came about because I wanted to design something I liked for myself, being tired of the little glittery type, and I thought, "hey, why not see if anyone else does too?" Seems they do because it has quickly become my best selling item :)

I have a few basic designs that are really well loved and many more in my head waiting for the right time to be built and launched. Thanks to all of you who are lovin them too!

Friday, February 6, 2009


Evolve - it's what we all must do on a regular basis - evolve as a musician, an artist, a friend, a human. I chose to celebrate the evolution of self by making this hand cut copper guitar pick.

And yes (she sheepishly says), my guitar is dusty. I've been busy making jewellery ;)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Finally Broke Into the New ROCKS!

And this was the result. There are days when I am simply overwhelmed with gratitude that the universe has seen fit for me to do something with my time here that creates joy for myself and others. Now I know that may seem a bit lofty, after all, how important is jewellery in the grand scheme of things? I think it's very important - it has a rich and ancient history, as old as evolved humans itself, so it must be important. The need to adorn oneself is almost primal - perhaps it is our need to express our own unique view point that drives the need - who knows? Whatever it is, it is powerful and fulfilling somehow. And I'm grateful for my part in it.

Today I am also grateful for my new friend at http://garageglamorous.blogspot.com/. Lindsey blew me away with her wonderful review of my work! I am new to this - blogging, selling online, all of it, so for me - I spent yesterday walking on cloud nine because of her gracious review. Thank you, Lindsey:)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I think the hardest part of online sales is how to get the best photo of my pieces. It is a particular issue when it's a 'one of a kind' piece - how much time do I invest in getting just the right photo? I've tried a light box without success, and while I'm sure that with practice it has to work (since it does for so many other folks), I don't like trying to maneuver around in the little space mine has to offer.

Yesterday I played with props for my photos and I really like the effect but I could use some feedback! I've seen some other listings with props that really distract from the jewellery and I don't know if mine detract or add to my pieces.

All feedback is appreciated - thanks :)