Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happiness is a Large Box

Is there anything that I love better than coming home from a long day at work, only to find a big box sitting on my front porch? {um, no}

This year, I have decided to expand my crafting abilities, which can be a slow and painful process. Though I don't have enough time right now to properly learn any new techniques, I have started to collect the tools and materials I will need when I'm ready to get down to business.

My current expansion is working with metal; wire wrapping and making clasps and ear wires by hand. I even took one wire wrapping class {and wrote a blog entry about it} in the fall. I have been comparison shopping for a rock/jewelry tumbler. Mostly, because I just had no idea how expensive they would be! I went back and forth between buying one at a craft store that's really meant for kids, versus coughing it up and paying for a more professional model. I found myself a solution...

Have you ever shopped at Fire Mountain Gems, or another website that offers discounted prices as you buy more items? Well, my brain started clicking away, and I decided to place the mother of all orders! I brought the price of that tumbler down by getting myself into a pretty sweet pricing range.

So this week, a gargantuan box landed on my front porch. With, of course, the much sought-after tumbler.
As I was reading the instructions, I noticed that you are instructed to add an abrasive in with the shot... well... I guess that will have to be in another order. Whoops! 

So, perhaps you're wondering what all I did to fill out my extra large order.
Well, I'll tell you.
It's always a good time to stock up on some staples - sterling silver chain is something you can never have too much of.

Until I have the time to perfect my craft, store-bought clasps will tide me over!

I have recently gotten on a kick of making longer and/or chunkier necklaces. I thought a great way to keep them light weight and inexpensive would be to mix in some big, acrylic beads. Fun!

And there were many more items, along those lines, in my box. I'm looking forward to a day when I'll have time to work on some new projects. Right now, I'm hoping to get a photo shoot done soon, because I have a BUNCH of new inventory at home that needs to get listed and out there on Etsy! One step at a time...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Special Day, Special Order

A couple of months ago, I received an email from a girl I knew growing up, named Katie. She was getting married in January, and had purchased a Nicky Butler moonstone necklace. After deciding that she liked it and wanted enough for her bridesmaids, she discovered that they were sold out!
So, she emailed me {knowing that I made jewelry because of my Facebook page} to see if I could make some more necklaces, using moonstones, to coordinate with the one she had. So I found some moonstones that were the same size and started on my project.

I was very excited when I found an Etsy seller, Unkamen Supplies, who had a set of 5 matching sterling silver clasps. That was exactly how many necklaces I would be making, so it was a perfect find.
I bought multiple strands of 4mm moonstones. Each bridesmaid would actually have a different dress style, so it made sense for each of them to have a different necklace. Since one girl would be wearing a V-neck dress, the bride thought that a pendant would go well with her neckline. So I found a lovely moonstone drop, wrapped it, and hung it from a sterling silver chain.
As I worked on the necklaces, I was asked if I could also make earrings. I picked up a few sterling silver ear wires from my local beading shop for that. The hardest part was making each set of earrings unique. But I really wanted to do that, since each necklace would be a bit different.
So each necklace was paired with a pair of earrings. Now, there was also a flower girl in the wedding. I made a smaller necklace for her, but no earrings. I think she liked it!

And then the bridesmaids put their outfits together on the big day. I must say, the moonstones were a beautiful choice with the lovely blue shade of dress they wore.  {You can click on any of the pictures for a larger image}

And of course, no wedding story is complete without a picture of the bride on her big day. Katie wore a vintage necklace, from her grandmother, with her wedding dress.
Congratulations, Katie!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When off the Shelf won't Do

I generally don't make jewelry for children. But I have one custom item that I keep listed in my Etsy shop now; a bracelet set for motehrs and daughters.

This gift idea actually came from a sad occurance. A few months ago, a good friend of mine called me. Her sister-in-law, who was pregnant, had a still birth. She lost the baby just a few weeks shy of the due date. My friend wanted to do something special for the family, and to give them something to remember the baby. She asked me to make a set of bracelets - one for the mother, and two for the baby {one as a keep sake and the other for the funeral}.

Now, this is a horribly sad thing, and I typically don't write about such serious topics. {apologies all around!}

But from this tragedy, I took the idea and created an Etsy listing. What a special thing for a mother and daughter to have bracelets that are meaningful. Some people want a favorite color or birthstones. A little charm with their initials is a neat touch. Others want a cross or other charm that means something special to the mother.
So, I've done also done custom bracelet sets for Christmas and birthday gifts. I think it would also be a lovely gift for all those moms out there on Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Being Pulled to Pieces

Now that the new year is here, my time is being pulling in more directions than ever. While this blog is devoted to my career as a jewelry designer, I have many other roles that I play (and those others actually pay the bills!).  On top of my full time job as a school psychologist, I also teach 4 fitness classes each week. This semester, I'm adding one more job on the pile. I'm teaching a college course as an adjunct professor {an education class for future teachers}.

{At this point, I'd also like to say that I have a very sweet and understanding husband who is about to be neglected for a few months. I couldn't do all this without him - I'd starve to death.}

I'm not putting this list together to brag. Or to make you feel sorry for me. But, I am going to organize my blogging, and hopefully become a bit more predictable. From now on, I will publish one new post each week. I will aim to make that happen each Sunday.

I'm picking quality over quantity, here!

So, you can look forward to brand new content each Sunday.  Thanks to everyone who stops by for understanding how these pesky jobs can get in the way of doing what we truly love! Do you have a hard time finding time for your craft? I bet there's a lot of people out there who knows what I mean. Please leave a comment for me, telling me how your time is split!