Thursday, September 29, 2011

I belong to a team on Etsy called The Aspiring Metalsmiths.  
A couple of the members came up with the idea to make a graphic that we could all use on our Facebook pages, Twitter,  blogs, etc.... as a way of promoting the handmade movement this Holiday season.

I have always made things.  It's only recently that I have truly realized that people can earn their livings making things.  It's not always just someone at a craft show selling the stuff they've made in their spare time at home as a hobby.  

Granted, we all start out as hobbyists.  
But as the investment in time spent honing your skills, and the investment in the tools and supplies grows you quickly realize that what you are doing is not just a hobby anymore.  

There are many people who make things as their only means of support.  There are countless Moms like me who want to be at home for their children but are still looking to contribute to their household finances.  

And let me tell you.  It is work to run your own small business.  The creation of the product is the fun part.  The other aspects are not as much fun.   Marketing, accounting, packaging and shipping, picture taking, customer service...
you get the idea right?  

Listen, all I'm trying to say is consider spending some of your Holiday budget on handmade.  Go to local art and craft shows.  Buy an ornament from the lady next door who makes them.  
Considering a splurge for your special lady?  Get her some quality handmade jewelry. 
Just get out there and buy Handmade!  :-)  

I think I'm going to have to do a series of posts on my favorite places to shop for handmade!  There is some fabulous work out there!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I've spent the last two days playing with leather. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy working with it!

These are ready to have sari silk added for bookmarks, and rivets and key rings for key fobs.

Whew! I am happy to be on a roll creatively speaking. I always have worked best under pressure. Although I have had plenty of time to ask myself what in the heck I've been doing all summer that I don't have more of an inventory built up.

My mind of course is trying to tell me to make a dozen other things that aren't on the show to do list.

I must stay focused. But it's so hard. I have the rolling mill I want to play with. My engraving stuff is here, just sitting. I even ordered pnp paper to do some more etching.

(my studio is a mess)

There just aren't enough hours in the day.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I'm just mulling around this new advertising thing on Etsy.

I read this in the forums the other day, about why we shouldn't do it.
Previous to reading it I had already signed up for the $5 deal.  I think it gives you 5,000 impressions or something like that.

Then I read the post, and decided I should think about it more.

I'm kinda one of those people that takes things for what they are, and try not to complain about things that are beyond my control.  That being said, my sales have really bombed since they changed the relevancy thing.  And now this advertising thing.

Maybe it's the loss of control I thought I had when I was able to renew items to bump them to the top.  At least I felt like I was doing something to try to get my stuff noticed.

I guess the advertising deal would kinda give me the same feeling, but what I really want to know is if it's worth it.  I guess there's really no way to know without giving it a go right?

Maybe I've already answered my own question.
I think I'll give it a trial run.  I guess it won't be any more than I was spending on renewing.

I don't know.

What do you guys think?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This one has a story...

It all began with a request to make the above earrings in a different size.

The buyer said she liked to wear "huge but light weight earrings", 
and could I make these in a 2.5" diameter?

So, I had some 24 gauge copper on hand, and made the first earring.
When I tried it on I quickly realized it was way too heavy to be worn as an earring.

I ended up making them in 26 gauge which worked out well, and got the earrings shipped off to the customer. 

I was however, left with the first piece I made. 

Now, I've never made earrings that were 2.5" wide.  I'm not sure I've even made a pendant 
that big before! But I thought this would make a gorgeous pendant.

But, it needed something really special to go along with it.
Something just as big and fabulous.

So I pulled out this strand of rough cut, BIG blue quartz beads that I've been hoarding for a year.



The color of these beads is sort of an icy aqua color.  
So delicious.

And to give you a sense of the scale of this piece.

It is a rich and weighty necklace.  Not for one who doesn't want to be noticed, 
because this piece makes a statement.


And, on another note,  
I got my rolling mill home!!!!

I dragged a friend with me to pick it up. 
(What a trooper!)

It is currently resting on a table in my garage because it was so heavy all I could do was drag it onto a table from the bed of the truck.  

I can't wait for my husband to get it bolted down so I can give her a spin!!!!

And on one more note, I got a confirmation of sorts today about something I've long suspected.

How many of you have had people you know ask you for a quote to make something for them, and then when you give them the quote, you get the sense that they think it's way too expensive?

I'm not talking about Etsy buyers.  I feel that most people who buy from me on Etsy are quite savvy and now exactly what they are getting.  In fact I think they are probably some of the smartest buyers around considering most of us still don't charge what our work is really worth.  

I'm talking about "friends" or  friends of friends that heard you make jewelry.

It just really irks my gizzard.  I don't know if it's just ignorance.  Or if they really think that I'm trying to gouge people with my prices.  I mean seriously.  Have you seen the price of silver?  Is my time worth nothing?  Do you think I take time away from my kids trying to improve my skills so I can make you a necklace?  And that I should be happy to do it for next to nothing?   That the supplies and tools themselves aren't a fortune?  

I just have one question.  Do you expect to get paid when you do your job? 


I just had to rant a little there.  

And now I will let it go, because it doesn't do any good to rant.  Maybe I'll be in a better frame of mind to want to educate people in a nice way sometime.  

But not right now.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


sight unseen,
except for this picture....

I don't know if it works, if all the parts are there,

(how to use it)

My husband found out 
there was a jewelry company in Dallas going out of business, and they 
were auctioning off a bunch of their equipment.  

(Gotta love a man who buys a girl tools!)

There were a lot of things I had no clue what to do with them,
but I knew I wanted this baby the minute I saw it!!

I pick her up Thursday.

In the meantime I'll be researching how to use the old girl....


P.S. For those of you who don't know, this is a rolling mill.  It is used to make sheet metal and to imprint metal.  And it probably does other stuff that I need to find out about!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monterrey Bay Aquarium

~Monterrey, California~

Of all the creatures in the sea.  This has always been Isabella's favorite.  
This is a Bat Ray.  She got to touch it!  She's not picky...she likes all the Ray's.  Bat Rays, Sting Rays, Manta Rays....

These are some of my favorites.  The sea stars in the touch pool.

The girls like the touch pool too!

Pretty little Sea Urchin and Sea Star

I forget what these are called...

I've never seen these live before!  Sand Dollars.

I've never seen these before either and they were cool and creepy all at once.
They're called Mermaids Purses.  They are these pod things that a baby (I forget again what they are!)
growing in them.  

They still humor me when it comes to getting pictures...

Sea Turtle coming to say Hi to my little one.

The Sea Horse exhibit was my favorite!

I love aquariums, and always try to visit them when I can.  
This one was a really nice one and I would recommend stopping in if you're in the area!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Round Rabbit Relief ...

Do you all know Nancy Schindler from Round Rabbit?  

Well, her home town was flooded after the recent storms that pounded the Northeast.  
Her entire basement was flooded, and among other things she lost her kiln.

Not only has she lost her tools to work to earn a living, she also has devastating damage at her home. 

donation page has been set up to give Nancy a helping hand.

I don't know about you guys, but this is the kind of cause I like to donate to. 
Not only am I helping someone from our online community,
 I know for sure where my money is going. 

I hope you consider sending Nancy a little something.  
A little from many will add up to something that can really help!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Copper Queen...

Copper Kites with Czech Glass in Gorgeous Autumn Colors

Copper Kites with Turquoise, because Turquoise goes with EVERYTHING!

Rain Clouds in nearly 4 inches of Copper!!

I feel like I'm turning into the Copper Queen.  
I've been working almost exclusively with copper over the past several weeks. 

I'm not sure why.   I guess there are several reasons really.  I'm running low on Silver, and am hoarding it, like a squirrel hoards his acorns.  

I also think it's because I am just in love with patinated copper.  What a gorgeous color!  And this time of year, it's just perfect.

I'm still trying to make some affordable pieces for my upcoming show, and the rain clouds in copper were a custom for a friend.  

I would never have thought to make my rain clouds in copper, but they turned out gorgeous!  Extra long with my best turquoise beads.  I'm in love with these!

I'm trying to motivate myself to hit the gym.  And then there's room Mom duties to attend to.  The post office.  And then finally.... 

more copper.  

Have a fabulous day all!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Instead of being a good housewife and cleaning the house and doing the laundry, 
I have allowed myself to be distracted by these:

In my defense, they needed organizing.  NEEDED it, I tell you.

I bought this old printer's drawer to use as a display.  It still needs some work, I just haven't decided if I want to paint it or not yet.

So instead of letting it just take up space, I decided to make it useful.

I had a total aha! moment.  I can't believe I hadn't thought before to lay all my stones out and have a good look at them all together. 

I love and remember every precious stone.  Pulling each one out and putting it in it's space was like seeing an old friend.  

And then I realize a lot of these old friends are just begging to be Autumn hued designs. 

I've always been one to be influenced by the season, and the colors associated with it.  

Reds, oranges, yellows...

Does anyone else talk to their stones?

"Ok, who wants to go first?  What do you want to be?...."  


Oh, and P.S.  Clearly I need more stones....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Silver Filled Earwires...

I don't know how long silver filled products have been around for, but I just recently discovered this silver filled wire.

I have some super cute base metal charms that I want to make some affordable earrings with,  but was kinda stuck when it came to putting an ear wire on them.  With the price of silver being what it is, it really adds to the cost of a piece to use my usual sterling silver ear wires.

The silver filled wire is a perfect solution!  It is wire made of either sterling or fine silver over a base metal core.  In this case, it's red brass.  I've read that it is supposed to be a layer of silver hundreds of times thicker than silver plate.  It can be hammered, soldered etc and still maintain it's silver look.

If you look really closely, you can see the brass at the end of the wire:

I have added these 7 styles to my shop, all in a shiny finish.  I have yet to oxidize them, but I don't foresee them looking any different than solid sterling.  

I'm really excited about offering this new option in my findings shop.  I always have plans to add to my shop, but it seems that it only happens a little at a time!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Only if you promise not to point and laugh....

Naw....It's not really that bad.  

But it's not really that good either.  ;-)

I wasn't sure I was going to share anything that I worked on during my hand engraving work shop.

I really liked the structure of the class in that we were shown a skill, and then left to practice it.

The teachers were readily available to answer questions and offer suggestions, and we weren't pressured to make a project just for the sake of making something.

I mean, it's nice to have something to take home, but I liked spending my time working on the skills and being able to ask for guidance when it wasn't working for me.

So, this is what I learned.  Hand or hammer engraving is super cool, and just beautiful when done well.  And of course being the perfectionist I am....I want to do it well.

Problem is, that's going to take a lot of practice.  But nothing worth having just happens overnight now does it?

I am waiting for my supplies to come in so I can begin practicing again.  And, we also learned flush setting, which is another thing I've always wanted to learn.  I have yet to try it out on my own.  You know how it is...the teacher always makes it look so easy.  I hope I don't have too hard of a time with it.

So...Without further ado, I give you my attempt to hand/hammer engrave.

It's kinda hard to see because of the ultra dark patina I put on it...and I wish I could say I formed it, but we were in the last few minutes of the last day when the teacher took pity on me trying to form my bracelet and fixed my wonky mess.

It was also my first time to see someone create an anticlastic form.  So cool.

Anyway, the bracelet doesn't really feel that comfortable on me, so my daughter's have been playing with it.

Had someone given me this bracelet when I was a kid, I would have pretended like I was Wonder Woman with it!  :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


~ Muir Woods, California ~ 

The temps here in North East Texas have finally dropped a little.  It has been soooo nice. 

Except all it does is make me nostalgic for Northern California.  I love this pic of the girls in a tender moment.  They were probably fighting 2 minutes later, but at this moment they were feeling the love.

I have a few things to share with you all, but I need to get some pictures taken first. 

I've been debating on whether I wanted to share my first "engraved" (if you can call my mess that!) piece.  

I decided I will share.  

Be back soon...

Thursday, September 1, 2011