Thursday, March 31, 2011

Isabella Sophia

My Isabella turned 9 years old yesterday.  I love her so much.  She is such a good girl.

I made her go outside with her birthday balloons and her new owl so I could take her picture.  She got tired of me taking her picture and said that her cheeks hurt from smiling.  Silly girl....

She didn't know I was still taking pictures....

I love this one, because it shows how she really feels about that stuffed owl.  She just loves it.  She's been carrying it around since she opened her gifts.

She is at that age where they want to start being grown up, and don't want to be seen as a little kid.  Well, she still is just a kid, and I want her to enjoy every minute of it. 

Being a grown up will happen quickly enough.

She requested owl cupcakes, and with a little help from her art teacher, I got them made!

They turned out sooooo cute, and she loved them.

I went to the school yesterday and brought her lunch from Chik-fil-a and an owl cupcake for dessert.
One of the Mom's of a friend of hers recognized it from my facebook post and said that they were cute, but what an odd request.  Owl cupcakes...

I guess people don't really understand how much this girl loves owls....

I think it's great.  I love that she feels a connection to them.  

I've been promising her forever that I would make her some owl jewelry.  

 She picked out the turquoise beads, and told me exactly how many, and the position that she wanted them in.
 The back, with a special message from me to her...
 A big thick hunk of silver....
She loves it.   And that's all that really matters to me.  

Happy Birthday my sweet girl!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Post earrings....

10mm black onyx

6mm blue chalcedony

6mm sunstone

4mm lab ruby

4mm carnelian

4mm iolite

I cleaned the first layer of junk on my bench and found my sterling ear posts and butterfly clutches.

I figured I better do something with them before they disappear into the abyss again!  :)

I had made a 7th pair too, but wasn't happy with the way the bezel looked after they were set.
They were the 4mm lab rubies.  Instead of taking them apart, I gave them to my (almost) 6 year old.

She has been known to lose earrings, so if she loses these it won't be that big of a deal.  And they look so cute on her!
They really are a nice size.  Sweet and petite.

She saw the other pairs and told me that she hopes they don't sell.

Ha!  She wants them for herself....silly girl.

It is cold and rainy here today.  We really need the rain, so I'm not going to complain...but I could do without the accompanying cold.

My owl loving Isabella is turning 9 tomorrow.  Last night I finished up a pendant I made out of pmc for her.  She chose some beads this morning, and told me exactly how she wants the necklace to look.  I may have a jewelry designer on my hands! ;)

I've not made that many things using PMC, and a lot of what I make is still a learning process.  The perfectionist in me is only about 80% happy with the owl pendant, but I have learned from making it.

The problem with that, is that these days my memory isn't so great, so I hope I remember what I've learned!

Making the owl pendant commits me to making a pendant for Adriana for her birthday too.  She is a panda lover, so a panda it will be.  I told her that I'll probably only do a panda head.  I don't know that I can pull off the body too.  I'll try a different approach with it than I did with the owl.  My latest supply order is on it's way, and I decided to get the biggest bunch of pmc I've ever ordered at once.  I really do enjoy working with it, and seeing what it can do.

The price of silver made me choose between ordering more sheet and the pmc.  I went with the pmc!

Well that's it for now my friends. I am off to pick up the girls from school.  Then it's piano lessons, and errands to run.  And then there's the cleaning that needs to be done.  I keep waiting for someone else to do it, but nope.  It's always there waiting for me!  :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A little rearranging....

I've just finished a little blog makeover. 
It seems like I've spent a lot of time this weekend arranging and rearranging my blog, and my new store on Big Cartel.

It's sort of agonizing and fun at the same time trying to figure out how to do what I want to do with all the html codes and stuff.  Luckily blogger makes it pretty easy to figure out what it is you want.
Big Cartel, well, it's taking a little more figuring out....
but it's coming along.

My Mom and baby sister are coming this Saturday for a week long visit...
so that means lots of cleaning.  Which I always hate.  But will be glad when it's done. It's just finding the motivation to clean when I'd rather be making jewelry.

Oh well, such is life.

On Wednesday, my Isabella will be 9 years old.  9 years old!!!
When in the heck did that happen?
They really do grow so quickly.

She picked Edohana a Japanese Hibachi restaurant for dinner last night, and the arcade after to celebrate her birthday.

Adriana's birthday is 9 days later, and she will be 6!  My Mom and sister will be here for that celebration, so I'm not sure what we'll do.  

Since both of the girls' birthdays are close together, we usually do one big party for them and their friends.  This year we're going to put off the kid party until sometime in late May.

Last year we attended a birthday party at our neighborhood pool that was so much fun we want to do the same.  They rent out the pool for private parties, and we are going to have a big pool party and let the girls invite everyone they know.  Food, music, lots of swimming...It will be a great birthday/ kick off to summer celebration.

Oh, and Isabella has requested an owl cake.  So I need to figure out how in the heck I'm going to make that....It will be interesting.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!  It will be back to the ol grind tomorrow...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Copyright infringement....

I just wanted to share this really quick.  To be honest it is something I hadn't given that much thought to before I began trying to sell my jewelry on line.  The Etsy community has been great in spreading the word about theft of intellectual property.

This video breaks it down in a way that we can all understand.  A person may not always know when someone has stolen a picture, an idea, or a design.  But I remember an incident I had about a year ago.

This woman had stolen my pictures of my hand made ear wires and used them to post an ad in Alchemy on Etsy trying to find someone who would make the designs for .20 a pair.  (What a joke!)  Anywhoo...when I contacted her telling her that those were my photos, and that I didn't give her permission to use them and I wanted her to remove them from her request, she wrote back telling me that she knew her rights.  She had every right to use the photos.  And she didn't even get them off of Etsy.  She got them off of Artfire.

What the hell?  She went on to tell me that the ear wire designs were ones that she had seen elsewhere, and for that reason alone she should be able to use my pictures.

Again...What the hell?  I couldn't get her to understand that it wasn't about the ear wire design itself.  It was the fact that they were MY pictures.  That just because you could take the pictures, doesn't mean that you should.

She eventually removed my pictures from her request but continued to use photos from other sellers that she had stolen.

This is just one incident that I know of.  There is no telling how many pictures, ideas, designs, etc are stolen on a daily basis all over the internet.  I guess there is this feeling of anonymity when you are sitting behind a computer that you think no one will notice.  And they might not notice.  But it's still not right....

I first saw this video on this blog which I love!  I hope you get a chance to check it out....

RAW52 Kinetic Ring Challenge

Carnival Pinwheel
As a kid, there were two things that absolutely signaled the beginning of Spring.
Well, actually three things, but only two of them are relevant to this post!
1) Pinwheels.  Every year my Mom would let each one of us pick out a pinwheel at the store. 
We would play with them outside until they broke.  Which usually happened pretty quickly ;) 
2) The carnival came to town.  I grew up in a very small town that didn't have any sort of amusement park.  So when the carnival came to town, it was a very big deal.
I guess it was about a month ago when Tomi asked if we would be interested in doing a kinetic ring challenge. 
It scared me, but I was in....

This is exactly what I love about RAW.  I'm not sure I ever would have sat down and decided to make something with moving parts.
I had another idea in mind at first, and even started it.  
I wasn't loving it though and set it to the side.

One day while shopping with the girls in the toy section, I saw a stand full of pinwheels.  Just like we used to get when we were kids.

Now, my pinwheel isn't quite like those, but that would have been a whole other challenge for me to create a pinwheel like that.  Which if I'm feeling very ambitious I may try some day.

It was interesting putting this ring together.  Trying to figure out a way to make it work.  And, truth be told, the design still needs some work to make it really wearable.  

But it works!  It really works!  And it's pretty too!  :)

The video isn't very clear, but you get the idea.....

Actually, I'm having trouble get the video to load on blogger.  So, here's a link to my Flickr! account...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Facebook Fan Promotion!

In an effort to have continuity in my branding, I have opened a new Facebook fan page!

Eventually I'll be using my Ruby Mountain Beads page just for promotions for whatever I decide to do with that shop.  

To keep up with announcements for sales, promotions, and new work
come "like" my page!


Thank you to all who have already liked my new page.  I appreciate you all more than you'll ever know.

I was thinking that maybe a little incentive might be in order.

And what is a better incentive than Jewelry?!!! 

I have 205 fans on my Ruby Mountain Beads page, and I'd be thrilled if I could get that many on my new page.  

Is a $ 40 gift certificate to my NEW store!
a good incentive?

I hope so.  

So here's the deal....When I reach 205 fans on my new page, I'll have a random drawing for the $ 40 gift certificate. 

Sound good?


Will you help me spread the word by hitting the "share" button that is on the left hand side column on my facebook page?

It will post to your wall after you confirm you want to share my page.
Then, hopefully your friends will also "like" my page.

And the more people that "like" my page, the faster we'll get to 205, and the sooner I'll have the drawing for the gift certificate!!!!

Thanks for helping my out!  You guys are the best!  :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

What is Big Cartel?

Big Cartel is a site that hosts shopping carts for artists.
and....that's about all I know right now!  Ha!

That, and a years worth of fees at Big Cartel will be equal, or even less than one month of fees on Etsy.  
I guess that was my biggest motivating factor. 

Big Cartel isn't an online marketplace in the way that Etsy, or ArtFire is.  From what I understand, most of the traffic that will hit your Big Cartel store is generated by the store owner.  

I've never been one of these people who hate Etsy for the changes they make, or the people they choose to promote on their front page, emails, featured sellers, etc..
I've always been grateful for the opportunity I have received there, and I will continue to maintain my store on Etsy.

The thing I am hoping to get out of Big Cartel, is a place for my regular repeat customers to make their purchases.  And slowly but surely continue to build my clientele and refer them to my Big Cartel store.

I am horrible about doing my paperwork monthly like I should.  

Finishing up my taxes for 2010, and actually seeing where my dollars are going was quite a slap in the face.

Everyone is struggling in this economy.  I know that jewelry is a luxury item.  I just don't want to increase my prices and punish my customers, especially the ones who support me on a regular basis. 

I am hoping that the Big Cartel store will be good for me and my customers.  

It will be a learning process through my first couple of sales on there, and I will let you know exactly how the checkout process works and all that. 

I'm still playing around with my layout.  I'm craving a change in my banner, so hopefully I'll be able to work on that this week. 

There is only one item in there right now, but here is the address:

And...I decided to make a new Face Book page for Amy Nicole Artisan Jewelry.  I figure I better get some continuity in my branding.  So, please come "like" my new Face Book page. 
I haven't really worked out the details in my head yet, but I'm thinking I'll do a give a way to promote my new store, and my new FB page!  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

THAW52-10 Prehnite Cross Earrings

I went to a bead show Ft. Worth about 3 weeks ago and picked up these prehnite beads.  Prehnite is such a soft beautiful green color.  And I am always a little upset that I can't seem to catch the right shade of green with my camera.

I am more and more loving the sort of natural cut of the stones that are dangling from the bottom of the cross.  And I am completely in love with prehnite.  I love the color, and I even love prehnite when it has inclusions like these beads do.

I've built a sturdy sterling silver cross frame to support these beauties.  Tumble polished for hours for strength and shine, I have decided to leave these bright shiny silver.

Not that they wouldn't look great oxidized, because they will.  I just decided to leave them shiny for now.  And you know sterling silver, it will surely oxidize on it's own in all the right spots.

These earrings measure 2 1/2" from the top of the hand made sterling ear wires, and are 1 1/4" at the widest point.

They are available for sale.  If you are interested, they are $ 45 including shipping.  Send me an email at

In other news:

I am seriously thinking about opening a shop on Big Cartel.  I could have my own website built, but I know myself too well.  I would be too lazy to figure out how to maintain it, and too cheap to pay someone to fix it for me.  

After completing my taxes for 2010, and realizing how much I pay in fees to Etsy....Whew!  Let's just say it's a lot!  It's tough though, because Etsy has the buyers, and I am grateful for the traffic I get there.  It just seems in these tough economic times it would be wise to watch my dollars a little more closely. 

Maybe direct my regulars to Big Cartel, every little bit would help, and I could slowly continue to build my clientele...I don't know.  I'm just thinking out loud at this point.  

What about you guys?  Have you ever considered doing another online venue that was more your own? 

THAW52-9 Confetti Earrings

 I had a few hours to myself yesterday and decided to finally enamel some pieces that I had made probably about 3 weeks ago.  It is amazing the stuff you find when you clean your work space!
 When I cut these pieces for these earrings, I was trying to think of ways to add texture and/or movement to the metal that would still be visible after the enameling process was complete.   

I discovered this by accident.  I was bored one day sitting at my bench and just started cutting into a scrap piece and happily discovered that I liked the look of the metal as it bent on it's own into a nice little ruffle.
And the color?  Another happy experiment.  It is a gorgeous color that I am calling ultra teal.  Too green to be blue, and too blue to be green. If that makes sense...
Deep saturated color.  Exactly the type of color I wanted to achieve when I decided to start enameling. 

There are so many layers of enamel on these earrings, front and back, that I lost count.  Richly enameled rounds of copper on sterling silver ear wires.  Hand made and tumble polished for shine and strength.  The total length of these beauties is just a smidge over 2".  They are 1" at the widest point, and a medium weight earring.  $ 52 including shipping.  Contact me via my email address if you are interested in purchasing!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ft. Worth Botanic Garden...




We took the girls to the Ft. Worth Botanic Garden yesterday.  We go every year around spring break time looking for inspiration.

I am always inspired by nature and in particular flowers.  I'd never seen this color of Magnolia bloom before.  I was trying to hold it at a good angle so my husband could get a close up of it for me...

I even found a Dogwood tree!  I was lucky enough to get some close ups of the blooms, and see in person how they are constructed.  I've been wanting to translate them into silver for awhile now....

It was quite warm yesterday.  87 degrees!  We got hot and sweaty pretty fast, and the girls didn't hold up well in the heat.  I don't know what they're going to do when the 105 degree summer hits!  :)

I have more floral inspirations on my flickr! photo stream.  I hope you get a chance to check it out!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness Sale!

Good now through Sunday night, March the 20th at Amy Nicole on Etsy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Animal Inspirations...

More scenes from the San Diego Zoo:
This guy greeted us as soon as we walked through the gates.
And this one was perched right behind the peacock.
Taking a little snooze...
Snack time!
Checking us out..
Back to snacking.
Getting warm under the heat lamp.
This guy totally smiled when he realized he was getting his picture taken!
Strike a pose!
I think these were California Bears...
The main attraction...

Polar Bear!
Sea otter moving so fast his picture turned out really blurry..
And when we were ready to walk out of the gates at the end of the day, guess who was roosting in the tree?  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Becoming an artist....

I've been struggling using the term "artist" when referring to myself. I guess the problem comes from the definition I held of an artist for most of my life.

Up until I joined the etsy community in 2009 my definition of an artist was based solely on the only artists I had studied. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, van Gogh, Monet, Morisot, Gaugain, all the impressionists really. You know, all the masters. Interesting to me for their personal lives as much as for their art. And if you'll notice, all painters.

To me, in order to be an artist, you had to be able to draw. I mean really draw. That was the minimum you had to be able to do to go around calling yourself an artist in my book.

I joined Etsy to sell the jewelry that I made, just because I thought it was pretty. Not ever thinking for a second that I was an artist, I've learned a lot. This amazing artistic community has just opened my mind right up.

Here almost two years on, I find it harder and harder to deny that I am some sort of artist. I've always made things. Ever since I can remember I started teaching myself how to make things. Crocheting, embroidering, beading, knitting, painting ceramics, sewing, candle making, and on and on. You name it I've likely tried it. And now the metalsmithing thing.

I am slowly working on accepting a broader definition of what makes a person an artist, because I can no longer deny that there is a certain amount of artistry in what I do. I mean, I still make stuff just because I think it's pretty. But sometimes I feel driven by something else while I am creating and that is when I feel I am making art.

It is a fascinating journey.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Barnacle Ring

I have a bit of a pet peeve when it comes to the misuse of words.  For example, when the word "organic" is used to describe jewelry that doesn't contain any organic components.

I know, I know.  When people use this term they mean that it looks organic, or that the design evolved naturally, whatever.  I think a better term in these cases is "rustic".  But that's my problem right?  :)

Having said that, there is something sort of natural about this ring design.  It was inspired by a ring that was on the cover of Art Jewelry magazine several months ago.  I even got to acquire a new tool to make this ring!  A ceramic ring holder for soldering.  Super cool.  

As I was making it, adding a ball at a time, I began to think of barnacles attaching themselves to a host.  And I just can't think of anything else now but barnacles.  So there you have it.  The Barnacle Ring!

It fits my finger like a glove, so I'm going to keep this one for myself.  After the first ring in this style, I need to do a little tweaking in the fabrication process.  But I like it, and I think I'll make more.  

Weekend Special.....

I have kept the free shipping since last week.  I think I'll stick with it until further notice.

In other news, these items have all been reduced to the bottom dollar asking price....

I am busy, busy today.  But in a good way.  I am home room mom for Isabella's class, and they are having a Spring Fling party this afternoon to kick off spring break.  So, I am busy getting all the goodies together.

They are going to make their own ice cream in baggies using milk, ice, and rock salt.  It sounds really cool.  I've never seen it before, but I will post the recipe if it works out.  All of you out there with kids would probably get a kick out of it.

TGIF everyone!