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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 07, 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 04, 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!