September 28, 2012

Lessons and Misadventures in Jewelry Making (and blogging?)

Well, it's just been a few of those weeks.  I have dabbled in a few creative bits here and there when I could - but most of it has not turned into anything worth showing.  Unless you like to see that other people have a pile of misadventures too.

Some things that I have learned the hard way:
  • Don't bother using cheap crimp tubes.  I've heard people say they don't hold together and it's worth investing in good ones - but what they heck.  I have them, might as well try - right?  Well, I tried and both bracelets I made with them came apart - after they were completely done.  In some ways, it's my fault.  I didn't give a very vigorous 'pull test' before I trimmed the beading wire ends.  Good sterling silver and gold filled crimps are worth the money in the time they save you from redoing your work.
  • Don't swap jewelry with someone who has a different jewelry style unless you are prepared to be sucked into it.  Yes, I'm talking to you Shelley Gross!  Since we swapped, I have been playing with seed beads and brick stitch.  I really want to (think I can) make something like these Miguel Ases Earrings.  Love them!!  I really like the colors and geometry of seed beads, but my eyes are hating it!  
  • Reading glasses are your friend - and you're not really old if you were them.  It will save you from lots of squint lines and foul language. (I'm chuckling because I originally wrote fowl language and I just knew it couldn't be right! D-oh!)
  • All work and no play makes a boring blog.  I hate not having time to gather my thoughts, create something and chronicle it.  It's such a great habit and brings me joy to be able to page through it now and then.  The lesson here is to find what you love and make time for it - whatever it is!  
Some things I knew, but was reminded of:
  • Friends are always your best customers.  Thanks for the custom ring order Erma!  I hope you enjoy wearing it, cause it looks mah-velous on you!  Here's a link to my blog entry with more information about this ring and the one I made in silver for myself.

September 11, 2012

Is the Digital Magazine Subscription Worth It?

I haven't blogged about it lately, but besides hoarding beads and jewelry supplies, I love books.  Non-fiction books on all sorts of topics.  Craft and jewelry making books are high on my reading list, but so are business, blogging and motivation types of books.  I have a blog for reviewing jewelry books, so please check it out if you haven't.

I also love magazines.  In a time when most people are stopping their subscriptions, I always seem to be adding more.  Magazines are the equivalent of the short story to me.  They add variety, are easy to bring along and fulfill the need to catch up or delve into a subject.

Recently, it was time to renew my jewelry magazine subscriptions.  I love jewelry magazines and have saved my issues for the past 10 years.  It's getting to be a bit of a burden to keep them all though.  This time, I decided to add digital subscriptions for Bead Style and Bead and Button.  The really nice thing about these two magazines in particular - is that you can keep the print subscription and add the digital for an additional $6.  That allows me to try the digital and decide if I like it without giving up the print magazine.

I wasn't sure I would like the digital magazine. I've tried them before for things like Woman's Day or Elle Decor and I found I didn't really read them in the digital format.  For the jewelry magazines though - I am thrilled!  I may go digital only on some of my other subscriptions (of course - that would be in another year, since I already renewed them all!).

I read them on my iPad using the Zinio reader.  The best part - is that you can zoom in on the pictures without losing the details!  That is incredible!!  To be able to zoom in on projects and see how the wraps or details are done is a huge benefit.  I also like not feeling like I have to keep all of the old magazines anymore. I recently cleaned out some of my stash, but I still have an entire shelf of my closet devoted to the magazines I couldn't bear to throw out.  In all honesty, I do refer to them when I'm at a loss for inspiration, but the digital seems like it will give me all the benefits without the clutter. (the shelf has 10 years worth of 4 different magazines - not a small collection!)

I highly recommend adding the digital magazine editions.  I just checked Interweave and noticed that they have the 2009 Step by Step Wire Jewelry Collection Download and 2010 Step by Step Wire Jewelry Collection Download on sale for just $9.97 instead of $19.99 - and the 2005 Step by Step Wire Jewelry Collection Download is just $4.97 - but I think there are less editions for the early years.  In any event,  I think I will take advantage of these offers and take back a little more of my closet space!

Check back on my blog because I will be listing my old magazines to send them to a good home in return for some beady goodies of your choosing.

September 7, 2012

"Back to School" Ring Swap

My new rings from Shelley!

I Love to Swap Jewelry!

I love participating in swaps and challenges on the various jewelry groups that I belong to.  There are two parts that I really love - getting a lovely surprise piece of jewelry in the mail, and meeting a new friend who also likes to make jewelry.

But a Back to School theme?

Back to School Bling (lol!)
I just finished participating in a Back to School theme ring swap.  This swap was more difficult than most.  For one, rings are just a difficult thing to make.  And then there's the Back to School theme!  I couldn't see anyone wearing a school bus or a pile of books on their hand - but yes, those ideas went through my mind!  In the end, I decided Back to School reminded me of Fall when I was a kid and lived back east.  You always knew it was time for school when the air moved from muggy to crisp and the leaves would start turning right as school was picking up steam.  So, that was my inspiration for my swap ring.
Falling Leaves Cocktail Ring

Please, let my ring turn out great...

My 'bonus' ring to Shelley
I always try a new technique for a swap.  After all, I'm sending it to a fellow jewelry maker.  I figure they'll understand!  Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with the way my swap ring turned out.  The braided band came out fantastic - but my idea for falling leaves came out a little bigger than I expected and I ended up with a lovely... cocktail ring?!  I know that isn't everyone's style or taste, so I sent a second ring just to be a good swap partner.  The funny thing is - my swap partner did exactly the same thing!  Her original swap piece is the diamond shape with the crystal center.  She decided she didn't like it and rather than pull it apart, she would send it along.  I absolutely LOVE this ring.  It is so simple, yet dramatic on.  I'm so glad she didn't take it apart!

So glad to meet you!

My partner was Shelley - and it was a pleasure to meet her.  By coincidence, she lives in a town close to where I sometimes work in Ohio (but I live in California).  Shelley's good friend is Eva Sherman, who owns Grand River Beads, a local bead store in Ohio and writes a jewelry blog that I enjoy reading.  So, we started off on a very 'gee this is a small world' foot.  Shelley is a seed beader - I primarily work with wire wrapping and gemstones.  I love that we have different mediums.  I look forward to my next swap!

September 5, 2012

My Favorite Ring: Freshwater Wire Wrapped Pearl

I'm still busy working on getting my Etsy page going and making jewelry.

I absolutely LOVED the long Labor Day weekend.  I spent most of it cleaning out the kids closets and my jewelry work space - but it feels so good to see the results!  Now if it will only stay that way!

I just posted another item to my Etsy store - this star shaped freshwater pearl ring.  Since I bought these pearls 3 or 4 years ago, I have never found ones that were nearly as nice as these.  The shape is really crisp, not blobby, like they all too often are.

And the nacre is luminous.  I have rarely seen pearls this pretty - but I've definitely never seen them in a star shape.  Until I do, I will continue to hoard them!

Luckily, I think I bought 4 strands at the time - in white and peach and two different sizes.

Now that I've made one to sell, I've got to make one of these for myself.  Just trying it on makes me want one again!  And for a change, if someone wants to buy one, I'll be able to direct them to my Etsy site and I won't have to sell the one I'm wearing.  That will be a nice change!

September 4, 2012

First Etsy Listing is Listed!

Well, I finally did it!  I posted my first Etsy listing.  I've been wanting to add some items to Etsy for say... 2 years, but I finally did it.  I listed these simple sterling hoop earrings, but I plan to try and list one more item everyday for the next couple of weeks.

Doing the listing wasn't the hard part.  Getting the shop set up with a banner and policies definitely took more time.  I'm still not totally thrilled with my banner, but I have a friend who is helping me update my graphics.  I'm very excited for that!

There's also the pictures of the items.  I'm sure it's just a matter of practice, but if anyone has pointers, let me know.

I haven't been updating my blog as much as I'd like while I am busy getting some of these other projects going.

I did clean up my supplies and work area again over the long weekend.  This time, I purged my magazine collection.  Do I really need all of these beading magazines from the last ten years?  Well, the answer is yes, but at least I pulled out all the duplicates and some miscellaneous publications that I felt I could part with.  I'll post them soon for anyone who wants to swap something for them.  I think there's at least 30 that I was willing to part with.  There are also some jewelry books.  The good news is that when I renewed my subscriptions, this time I added the digital versions.  Hopefully, that will allow me to part with the magazines and get back some of my storage space!