Thursday, May 27, 2010

My baby has glasses!

Isn't she the cutest?

This was a custom order, and a first for me as this is the widest band I've made to date. To be perfectly honest, I was scared of it. What with the compensating for it being a wide band when sizing it, and the strength needed to bend a thick piece of sterling into a little circle. It actually wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. And I really love the wide band. I never thought I could wear one with my short stubby fingers, but I actually like it! I think I may make myself one! I added a ring to the very top, so charms could be added to it.

Photographing highly polished silver is a real bugger. Everything reflects off of it, now I know why I love satin finishes so much!

Have a fabulous day all, I'm off to continue with the spring cleaning in anticipation of a visit from my parents. Oh, and I ordered a book on chasing and repousse that I just discovered on my doorstep! I can't wait to dig into it later.....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The earrings....

Not sure I'll be able to let these go either! :)


Yes, yes, more turquoise.... I just can't seem to tear myself away from this color these days.

I went to a bead show here in town last friday with a new metalsmith friend. We ran into only one vendor that had any cabs, which is what I really was looking for. They had lots of turquoise cabs, and picture jasper too... but I only bought Turquoise. I have been so drawn to that color lately. I can't seem to help myself, so, I stocked up! :)

I started out with this ring first. Simply set. I have in mind that I want to make some things that I can keep affordable. I love building a setting around a stone, but it really adds to the cost of the final piece.

It's hard sometimes to keep it simple. Case in point, this pair of turquoise earrings I have started. I had planned to do a scalloped bezel cup with the ear wires soldered on (one of my fave styles). Then I started thinking that they needed something else. So my mind has gone to all kinds of different design ideas. All ideas that will significantly change the price point.

So now I'm waffling back and forth. Do I go for simple and keep it affordable? Or shall I design to my heart's content? Luckily for me I have plenty of Turquoise cabs now that I can do both! I hope to have the simple version ready to post today.

Back to this ring. I thought about offering this as a custom sized band like the last two rings I've done, but I decided to go ahead and finish it. US size 7. I had every intention of listing it in the shop on Sunday, but I can't seem to let it go.

I've talked a little bit about my paternal Grandpa before. He was a metalsmith who made jewelry. He also covered just about anything he could find in Turqouise. Tables, steer skulls, you name it. In northeast Nevada, we had turquoise in abundance. I remember going out walking with grandpa and him picking up turquoise right off the ground and sticking it in his pockets. His workshop in the back yard had all kinds of little bits of turquoise on the ground right outside the door. He always had a rock tumbler running... I grew up gazing into his jewelry case at the turqouise jewelry, and seeing my grandma wear it as well...

There is something about this particular stone. I get lost staring into it. It brings back so many memories, and also gives me this feeling of a memory that I can't quite remember. It's difficult to explain. There is something about this particular stone that makes me feel like I have come full circle, somehow connecting the feelings of my youth with how I feel about turquoise today.... It is strange, and liberating all at once. Somehow reconciling me with my past...

I never thought I could feel this way about stones, but it happens to me more and more as I grow my stone collection. I have caught myself several times spending like 10 minutes staring into a stone. It is amazing the beauty that the earth creates....You might think I'm crazy. But that's ok. If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would enjoy sitting for 10 solid minutes staring at a rock I would've thought I was crazy too!

So, I'm keeping it. It's mine, I can't let it go...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The color reminds me of the rainforest....

It's not like I've actually been there or anything, but the color of this agate druzy makes me think of what I think the rainforest would look like. This beauty covers the green spectrum from a dark green to almost yellow. And the sparkling quartz crystals that have formed on it? Oh, don't get me started. This is one gorgeous stone. Set simply to allow it to take center stage. There is no way this stunner isn't going to get noticed if you have it on.

I'm offering it as a custom sized ring, already in the shop! :)

I also listed this today. It started out as a boo boo, I accidently melted the heart a little, so I figured what the heck? I laid on the heat to see what would come out of it, and I ended up with this really cool texture. It looks like moon craters to me. So I added a little pink tourmaline to femme it up a little, and voila! Now I wonder if I could ever duplicate this awesome texture. Hmmm.....

Well, that's about it for today. I do have one thing that has been on my mind though. It all started when I was filling out the forms to enroll my youngest in kindergarten. When I got to the employment section, I didn't really know what to put. I mean, I spend almost as many hours making findings and jewelry and doing all the stuff that goes along with it as I would at a full time job, so I guess it might be time to start calling it one.

So, I went with self employed. Well then darn it if they didn't want to know what it is I do. And that brings me to the part I can't nail down. Metalsmith? Silversmith? Artist? I went with metalsmith. And I'll tell you why. I play with metal. Mainly silver, but I'm not opposed to working with other metals. I'm still trying to get comfortable with the title.

The one title I don't feel comfortable assigning myself is "artist". The definition is very subjective. For me, I would consider myself an artist if I had some amazing natural talent. Like drawing, or painting, or anything artsy really. While I've always been creative, and enjoyed making things of all sorts, I've never really become a master at anything. And while I have a certain aptitude for creative endeavors, I don't think I have any kind of extraordinary talent in any particular area.

So, there's all that, and something else I've noticed. Please tell me if you guys have noticed it too...... a lot of people I would consider to be "artists" have tattoos! So that's it...... that leaves me out, no tattoos. ;) But seriously, I would feel like such a poser going around calling myself an artist. Maybe it's just my own hang up......

Anyway.....the girls are clamoring for their dinner, so I guess I better go cook! Chicken and dumplings for dinner. Mmmmmmmmm! Have a good night everyone!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My new logo, and Under the Sea......

Have you guys noticed my new logo and banner? It was designed by the lovely Jillian of ThePaperRobin on Etsy. I tell you, this woman had the utmost patience with me, and I truly love what she put together.

I have all new business cards, stickers, note cards etc, ordered and I can't wait to start sending out my new packaging! I'm going to have her revamp my blog next. My first banner and avatar set was of the pre made variety, and while it suited it's purposes, it was time to have something all my own. After the black and white look I am really loving the soft and gentle colors of this design. Don't you love how she incorporated bits of my work into it?

I've been working away on the lambs, and I am happy to report they are finished and in the tumbler as we speak!!!! A full 3 days ahead of schedule. I am usually such a procrastinator that I am quite pleased with myself for having them ready well in advance. I hope the teachers love them!

And, I have a little something new to show you. Under the Sea.....

The fabulous aqua colored druzy stone hasn't been set yet, I am offering it as a custom sized ring. Soon to be listed in the shop.

I am hoping this is the first in a series of Oceana themed pieces. I still have to get to work on my entry for this month's Aspiring Metalsmith challenge. Which appropriately enough is titled, Under the Sea. This piece was planned long ago and doesn't meet the criteria. I actually have so many Oceana design ideas that I have decided to try and do a collection of pieces.
Time permitting of course. Which is always my nemesis!

Have a fabulous week everyone!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I just had to do it.....

I'm totally bummed out, and I hate having to do it, but I just put RubyMtnBeads in vacation mode at ArtFire and Etsy. And I removed all made to order items from both AmyNicoles on Etsy and AmyNicole on Artfire. Everything that is ready to ship is still listed.

I'm just swamped. I HAVE to get the lamb pins finished, along with some other custom orders. My house is a mess, my parents are coming in a few weeks, the girls have a bunch of stuff going on between now and the end of school. I just have to get everything in order and under control.

I feel bad about having to do this, but I think it is the only way to save my sanity. After all, if I lose my mind, I won't be any good to anyone!

So I'll be on semi-hiatus until my parents leave on June 5th. I'll still be around, answering e-mails and convos if you need to get ahold of me.

I think I feel better already...........

Friday, May 7, 2010

Today is my one year Etsyversary!

I just noticed this morning that I first opened shop on Etsy on May 7, 2009. Wow. I can't believe it has already been a year!
When I started making jewelry again, I told my husband and myself, that I would do it for a year and evaluate whether I should continue.

It has been a year of ups and downs, and I feel like I've learned so much. I guess the good news is that I don't really feel the need to contemplate anything. I'm going forward. It feels good to know that the little niche I have begun to carve is good enough to justify continuing.

My youngest will be in kindergarten next year. Yay!!!! I am really looking forward to being able to establish a regular work schedule. The hardest part has been finding balance between work and real life. It is funny how working for yourself does that to you. I mean when you work, say an office job or something, you have regular hours, and when you're off, you're off. I work whenever real life allows, and the struggle with balance for me comes from the little things I see falling by the wayside. Like never being caught up on laundry. Or actually running out of bread, or milk, or sugar because I don't go to the grocery store anymore until I absolutely have to. I hope as I continue on I will be able to strike a better balance. We shall see...

Wish I had something new to show you, but I've been busy working on existing orders. I can't wait until say about the 2nd week in June when we can settle into summer and I can fill the long and lazy days by working on new designs....

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


It's always interesting how a design will turn out, at least for me. I've been drawing a design around this square cut of onyx for awhile now, over thinking it as usual. Suddenly, the muse struck me and I got to work one day without really thinking much. Turns out I had drawn that design so much, that it had influenced the out come, at least shape wise.

My original plan was to do a cut out back plate, basically in the shape that it is now, and hand stamp lines through the scallops. I still might do it some time. But when I sat down to work this wire was on my bench and I kinda just went with it.

As for the name...I fancy myself a bit of an Anglophile. I am obsessed with the history of the British monarchy. I have always been interested in the Victorian era, and after just reading the umpteenth book on the subject, I have been inspired to name this ring the Victoriana Tile ring.

The people of the Victorian era were obsessed with proper protocol in all things, but especially mourning. They donned all black not only in their attire, but in their furnishings, stationary, and, you guessed it.... jewelry.

I thought it might be a little morbid to name this a mourning ring, so I went with Victoriana Tile Ring. :)

The ladies down here in Texas love their big jewelry, and I can picture said southern belles brandishing this ring about over their salad at Central Market. Except I'd need to make a big chunky necklace to go with it as well...... maybe someday. I do have more black onyx.....