Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lots of new ear wire designs

Petite Three Point

Petite Squared Off

Crooked Leg

Small Spade

Large Spade

Squared off with crooked leg

Semi Oval

Mini, medium and classic ear wire

Bubble Wires in four different sizes

2010 is quickly becoming the year of the ear wire at Ruby Mountain Beads! And it's not even 2010 yet!!! The past couple of nights I have been inspired to design and create ear wire, after ear wire, and I feel like I haven't exhausted all of my avenues yet.

I have a confession to make, I love making ear wires. There, I said it, it's true. I find the whole process soothing. Forming the wire, bending it just so. Hammering precisely, filing the ends smooth. Testing it with an earring to see if it hangs just right. Strange. I know.

All new styles can be found at Ruby Mountain Beads!

Snowflake Earrings

Sterling silver filigree on solid sterling disc, featuring Swiss Blue Topaz.

I'm still trying to figure out a good way to take pictures of the earrings hanging. I like the weathered wood look, but I think my fence is a little too weathered. The gray is too close to the color of the silver.

I am totally in love with these snowflake earrings though. Will you just look at that Topaz? A beautiful color!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Moon and Star rings

This isn't the best of pictures, I mainly wanted to take a picture for my own records. These are a custom order I just finished. The request was for sterling silver rings for a pair of best friends. One would be a star, and the other a moon.
This was a challenge that I really wanted to take on. I knew I could do it, but having never made anything like this before, I still had a little doubt. At any rate, they are completed and I am happy with the way they turned out. The best part was sending pictures to the buyer and having her say that they were just like what she had pictured! I was so happy to hear that!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Earrings!

My first pair of sterling silver earrings with bezel set stones!!!!!! That's it, I'm totally hooked. I had so much fun making these, and I am in love with them. I love, love, love Carnelian. It is a gorgeous orangy, reddy, browny color.

I took a few quick pictures this morning because I was dying to share. I haven't decided what will become of these yet, they may end up in the shop, or I may keep them for myself.

I already have a few more designs I'm working on with bezel set stones. So much fun!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I just can't seem to stop

Another newie that I added to the shop. I made this one for my niece for Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Another fun custom order

I am having a lot of fun with custom orders. It is great to take someone's idea and turn it into reality. These 13 little beauties are on there way to Alabama via FedEx as we speak. I hope my customer loves them as much as I do! I was really pleased with the way they turned out. I think I'll have to add them to the shop.

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I do need help coming up with a clever name for them though. I just can't seem to think of one. What do you guys think?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pictureless ramblings

Well, I spoke to soon. I just got an order for 13 pendants. And they want them in the mail Monday. Am I crazy to say I'll do it? Yes. But I have the supplies, and I just can't turn down the opportunity. This is my first Christmas season, but I understand from veteran sellers that things pretty much dry up after Christmas. So, I will make hay while the sun shines.

I hope you are all enjoying this joyous Holiday season. I am looking forward to baking Christmas cookies with my girls. A family tradition. I'll be sure to post pictures!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Orders completed, packages in the mail, finally cleaning my house, and hoping to find the time to get the yuck out from under my nails.

The yuck is a combination of dark brown spray paint and etching resist. The resist is a black tarry substance that has stained my skin and my nails. My hands are in a horrible state. Between all the working with metal, and the cold weather my hands and nails have taken a serious beating!

My youngest has her school Christmas play tomorrow. My friend at and I are in charge of decorations. Scary. Foodie is really talented and creative, and I enjoy working with her. We get along well and have similar likes and dislikes. I'd really like to have my hands and nails looking decent before tomorrow morning, they're getting embarrassing.

I'm finally beginning (after I'm finished here) to clean my poor neglected house. I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to have everything completely wrapped up by Sunday, so I can spend the entire week with my kids and husband doing nothing but Christmas stuff.

The pic is of my Mom's Christmas present. Don't worry, she doesn't follow my blog, so it won't be spoiled. I know she's going to love it.

I have only one pending order that I am really excited about. It isn't due until January. I have a custom order for 2 sterling silver rings for best friends. One will have a star, and the other a crescent moon. It will be something I have never attempted before, but I really think I can do it. Think? Nay. I KNOW I can do it. I am grateful for the opportunity to spread my creative wings with this commission.

I've got all orders and packages to family and friends in the mail. It feels great! It was dropping that last bubble mailer into the slot at the post office that got me over the hump to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I almost feel like I can just coast now. But not quite. Not yet.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas cards finished!

My Mom and I spent several hours getting the girls dressed and their hair done. My Mom asked me if I take this long every year just to get a Christmas card photo, and I usually don't. I usually get it all done under an hour, but I also usually get very stressed out, which makes the girls misbehave, and the whole thing just is an unpleasant experience.

This year I decided to take my time, keep everyone in good spirits, and of course applied the trick known by mom's the world over, good old fashioned bribery! We got the pictures taken, no tears, (theirs or mine).

Today while my youngest was in gymnastics for 45 minutes, I knocked out all the Christmas cards. They are officially ready to go, stamped and all. I even addressed them by hand.

I guess there is some address book on this new Mac of ours. A friend of mine told me this week that she is going to print the labels for her Christmas cards using it. But, I decided it would be quicker for me just to write them than it would be for me to learn how to navigate said address book. (Until this week I didn't even know we had one!)

So, one thing down, 20 million things left to do before Christmas. I WILL get it done! (I think)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

did you know....

I just read an interesting tidbit in Art Jewelry magazine. It starts out...
"did you know.....
You can be a goldsmith even if you don't use gold. Metalsmiths work with metal. Silversmiths make larger pieces, whether functional or decorative. Goldsmiths make smaller pieces, including most jewelry and adornments. The rule of thumb is actually a rule of fist-if what you are making is smaller than an average human fist, you're a goldsmith."

I've always assumed that the material you most commonly used dictated what type of smith you were. I would never think to call myself a goldsmith. Just another interesting tidbit gleaned from the pages of Art Jewelry. I love that magazine!

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

I have been busy, busy, busy since Thanksgiving. My mom arrived on Thanksgiving day for a lovely long visit, and left yesterday at noon. I always enjoy having her here, lots of shopping, visiting and pampering. I do stuff when she's here that I usually don't do. Like getting a luxurious pedicure, having my eyebrows shaped with strings, and too much shopping!

Last Thursday night the girls were in Grapevine's Parade of Lights. My oldest is in a Brownie and her troop had a float. The gracious leaders allowed siblings to ride too. The girls had a great time being in the parade. It was cold but a lot of fun.

Just before my Mom came, Arturo did a little early Christmas shopping for me. Ok, I'll admit it right now. I am totally spoiled. He bought me a propane/oxygen Little Torch set up, a flex shaft, and the coolest four hand soldering set up. Who ever thought the day would arrive that I would be so happy to get tools for Christmas? But I am thrilled! I have managed to set up the torch and actually know how to run it without blowing up my house, have used it a little, but haven't made anything with it yet.

There is one thing after another that NEEDS to be done before Christmas, and I don't want to do any of them. I want to go into my little shop and not come out for awhile. My head is abuzz with ideas and designs that I don't even know if I can make! Is it possible to tell Santa all I want for Christmas is more time? And a maid, a cook, a driver, oh yeah! and a personal assistant would be great.......

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Part of my new rock haul....

Red sponge coral. I'm thinking Valentine's Day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Everything has been marked down at AmyNicoles on Etsy. At least 15% off everything. You can access my shop right from my blog! Just look for my shop on the right hand side of this message.

Larger quantities of ear wires at RubyMtnBeads on Etsy has free shipping in the US from now until Monday. You can access RubyMtnBeads from this blog on the right hand side!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Picture painted by my daughter Isabella. She is 7 years old and wants to be an artist when she grows up!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I really didn't want to do holiday themed jewelry per se, but these have a distinct winter/holiday feel to them. I am so pleased with how they turned out. I fired the silver in my torch until I could see it just starting to melt, and then stamped on the floral motif. After oxidizing and polishing, the texture left on the silver is beautiful. Very antiqued. And the garnets, don't they look just like cranberries?
Matching necklace coming soon!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My new rock collection

I went to a bead show yesterday in Ft. Worth. I bought some supplies like lobster clasps, and the itty bitty sterling round beads that I love so much, a couple of new metal stamps.

But what I really went for was to begin my rock collection. There was only one seller there from Missouri with cabochons. I spent an hour and a half at their table trying to make up my mind. I've never seen so many gorgeous stones in one place before.

I'm going to be sharing my rock collection with you a snippet at a time. I'm supposed to be cleaning house right now, but I just have to share this beauty with you. The picture doesn't really do it justice. I have a couple of ideas already of what I want to do with it.

Meet Orange Chalcedony. I am so in love with this stone. I always used to roll my eyes when I heard someone say that an inanimate object "spoke" to them. I can't explain it. All of the stones I picked "spoke" to me in a way. There is something about each of them that drew me in and I got lost in their beauty. I am head over heels for this stone. I'm not sure I will be able to let it go. I think I may make myself a glorious pendant out of this beauty.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Playing with acid and copper

Well, not really playing but having fun. Working with acid is really not quite as scary as it sounds, you just need to be really careful and aware of what you are doing while using it.

I played around with acid etching copper using two different techniques. The little owl was made by first applying an acid resistant substance to the metal then scratching the design into it, and the dotted flowers were made by applying the resist straight onto the copper. I then oxidized and hand polished the copper. The ear wires are sterling.

I plan on doing more etching, I want to play around more with technique and design. I am really anxious to etch some sterling silver, but am reluctant to until I have the techniques down.

So, these are my first two etched pieces. The little owl is for my owl loving daughter, and the earrings may or may not end up in the shop. We'll see.

OH! I almost forgot. The little owl is also the first thing I have sawed out of metal. I have had my jewelers saw for months now, and haven't used it yet, mainly because it intimidated me a little. But, it turns out that I really enjoy sawing metal. I'm trying to gather up the guts to saw something larger out of sterling sheet. We'll see.

ArtFire anyone?

I've just been wondering something, and was hoping to get a few comments on the subject. Does anyone reading this blog have an ArtFire account?

I opened one maybe a couple of months ago. Two actually. One for my ear wires, and one for my jewelry. I just did the basic free account. I have had zero action over there. I don't know if it's because I don't promote those shops as much as my Etsy shops, or what. I also wonder if you get better exposure if you have the upgraded account. (From what I understand, listings and front page items come up randomly)

I am not prepared to put much more effort into those shops before the end of the year, but I wonder about getting more involved over there. They are just beginning their 2nd year, and I know I wish I had known about Etsy when they first got started. I wonder of the potential that ArtFire may have in the next few years.

Is there another handmade market I should seriously be considering? Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I just want to brag a little

Will you look at this baby? Isn't it gorgeous? I just love the way it turned out. Thanks to my most loyal customer for the opportunity to make this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Some news, and a sneak peak

If you follow me on Facebook, you know how excited I am to finally have my own work space. Up until yesterday, I had been working in the living room.

I have been unhappy with this arrangement for a long time, and finally asked my husband to help me solve the problem. It really isn't a small problem. The deeper I get into this jewelry making thing, the more tools I need. The more space I need. So far I have only been working with a small hand held torch. It is serving my purposes for now, but I really need a better set up. That includes a jewelers torch, and an acetlyne and oxygen tank set up. I'll also need a proper ventilation system. It really isn't wise to be breathing in all of those fumes you know!

Over the past couple of weeks, I had become increasingly cranky. I just felt stuck in the spot that I was in. There really wasn't any room to grow, and seriously, who wants to have a work shop in their living room? Besides that, it was a real pain in the rear to have to move everything every time someone came over! I began to feel that maybe it just wasn't in the cards for me to kick this whole thing up a notch.

After mentioning several times nicely that I wasn't happy working in the living room, I had to get slightly more emphatic about stressing just HOW unhappy I was. (there may or may not have been a few tears involved, mainly out of frustration) Hmmm *clearing throat* ANYWAY, I have to say that when Arturo realized I was serious, he and I set about thinking exactly where this new work space I needed would be.

We contemplated most of the day on Thursday, and on Thursday evening an epiphany hit us both literally simultaneously about the perfect spot.

So, where is it you ask? Well, I'm going to keep you guessing. Just for a little bit. The above picture is a sneak peak at part of my new area (along with me, hard at work filling an order). Here comes the fun part. At least I hope you guys will think it's fun, and I hope you want to play along with me!

The first person to guess where in my house my new work station is located, will receive a little surprise. It probably won't be that big of a surprise to find out that it will be a pair of earrings! Anyway, let the guessing begin!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Bead Market-Ft. Worth. TEXAS y'all!

I just had to do a quick post to cover up my wordless Wednesday! Nobody wants to know what in the heck I was doing in that picture anyway? Well, the answer is; getting ready to take my own picture (yes, AGAIN). While listening to the radio in one ear, modeling an earring in the other, all while in the process of shifting a big Atomic Fireball from one side of my mouth to the other. Let's just say I wasn't ready.

Hmmmm (clearing throat) anyway, there is a bead show coming up on November the 21st and 22nd at the Amon Carter Will Rogers Center in Ft. Worth. You can find more information here.

I am SO there. This time I'm getting smart though. I have a game plan. First, go without the kids. Yep, by my self! Second, only buy what I need. That's the tough part. When I see beads, I think I need them all. This trip I'm shopping for cabochons though. I'm hoping to try bezel setting. Just as soon as I get a big girl torch and a few other things. Who knew what a pricey adventure this was going to turn into? :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

For sure my neighbors think I'm crazy...

That is if they didn't already. When my neighbor came home this afternoon after picking her boys up at school, I was right outside my front door sitting in a chair and taking pictures of myself.

These are some new earrings I just made. Sterling circles stamped with a circle pattern, convex in shape. Oxidized and polished by hand to bring out the pattern and texture.

These are just born as well. Same circle texture, this time on elongated sterling rectangles. Wire wrapped with red coral beads. For some reason, these make me think of Frida Kahlo.

These self portraits were something of an experiment. I've been trying to think from a buyer's point of view. It is really hard sometimes to get an idea of how big a piece is when you see photos of it without anything to relate it to size wise. So, I tried my hand at self portraits. I just figured out the other day how to use the self timer. Yay for me!

Next "photo shoot", I'll have to spruce my model up a little. :)

My photo shoot was cut short, so I'll hopefully get more pics of the newbies and get them listed in the shop.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Preparing for the Holidays, and a Special Sale!

I'm putting away the Halloween decorations and pulling out all of my Fall themed items for Thanksgiving. My husband has already pulled the Christmas lights out of the attic and is threatening to put them up this week.

We are usually a little early on getting these things done. I have to admit that I am behind this year. I start to get anxious if I don't have all my Christmas gifts purchased. Right now I am about 30% done. My Mom is coming to visit from Nevada for Thanksgiving and we plan to shop til we drop for a week starting on Black Friday.

And, speaking of shopping, I am rearranging some things in my Etsy shop. This will be my first Holiday season on Etsy, and I am excited to see what it will bring. I am of course ill prepared. I don't have nearly the stock I would like to. Having two kids with various activities, and a husband who usually travels four days out of the week leaves me with not a lot of time to create. I deactivated several items that were made to order in my shops. I want to spend my precious remaining time making new designs, and working on orders.

So, that brings me to my special sale. If you have been thinking about personalized sterling silver and gemstone jewelry for Holiday gifts this year, now is the time to order! I'm offering a 15% discount to my wonderful followers, friends, and family. I also want to make sure I have plenty of time to get your order completed before Christmas, so my cut off time on hand stamped jewelry will be December 10.

Here is a link to my blog post about the different styles I offer

I don't have all styles listed in the Etsy shop. If you see something you like, you can e-mail me at If you purchase on Etsy, be sure to put Friends & Family in notes to seller at checkout so I can refund your discount!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ruby Valley Ring

A 10mm AAA faceted Ruby, wire wrapped in sterling and fine silver. US size 9 1/4. Available at AmyNicoles on Etsy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nine little Garnets, all in a line....

Nine little Garnets, all in a line.

Standing tall....

Sparkling in the sunshine.......

And gracing my finger.

A sterling silver double band ring has been wire wrapped with faceted Garnets, oxidized and selectively polished for an antique finish. US size 5, available in my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fused Glass

Will you take a look at these beauties? My sister in law who is the owner and executive chef of not one, but two restaurants in Hot Springs, AR manages to find the time to make fused glass art. I am so excited to get these gorgeous pieces to play with. Can you believe it? I am so excited! I plan on doing a couple of different things with these that I have never done before. Wire wrapping fused glass, and.....bezel setting!

I have been itching to try my hand at bezel setting for awhile, and this is the creative nudge I needed to give it a try. Look at those little beauties on the bottom right hand side. They are just screaming to be made into earrings! And the pendants I am picturing in my mind are unreal!

Now all I have to do is find the time to do it!!!!!!! Thank you Diana!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ruby Mountain Reviews- Suds by Sarah

Click on the following link to visit Suds by Sarah at her Etsy shop!

When I joined Twitter several months back, I began following several soap sellers. They are as numerous as jewelers! Each with their own styles, use of ingredients, etc.

I will never forget Sarah of Suds by Sarah. I had tweeted one day asking for advice about taking product shots, and Sarah had told me that she had recently purchased a light box from Ebay, and also gave me some great pointers with how to use it. Sarah and I have both admitted that we have neglected to keep up with Twitter, but I haven't forgotten her or her great products!

I ordered the two soaps pictured above. On the left we have Cinnabun Soap Cake, and on the right Grannie's Pumpkin Cookies Soap Cake. Oh my gosh. They smell so good, and leaves my skin feeling silky smooth. I absolutely love the scents I chose. So reminiscent of my favorite Fall scents!

I love the way the soap came packaged. Wrapped in wax coated brown paper bag with individual labels listing the ingredients of each bar and tied with a piece of raffia. So rustic and natural. And the goodies didn't stop there. Sarah sent me a dozen little samples, and I have to say I can't find one that I don't love. My daughter's especially love the samples, they think the small size is wonderful. Everything was packaged and sent in the most wonderful protective mailer I've ever seen.

I am making a huge sacrifice and giving the bar of Grannie's Pumpkin Cookies Soap Cake to a friend as a small hostess gift. Which brings me to the point that hand made soap makes excellent gifts! Very affordable and unique. And who doesn't need soap?

Check out Suds by Sarah, you will be glad you did!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hand Stamped Dog Tag Necklace

My first attempt at a dog tag style necklace. I like this style, but my stamping needs a little work. I'd be happier if the letters were a little straighter.

I made this for my daughter's friend. She is a bit of a tomboy and thought she would like the dog tag style, I just had to girly it up a little with the hearts though.

The hearts are a new technique I haven't decided if I like or not yet. After stamping the heart I etched a pattern into the metal, then gave it an antique finish.

The style is a keeper, I just need to work on executing it better!

The coolest thing that has happened to me as a jeweler,,,

I woke up this morning to a sale, which is always a good thing. I discovered the coolest thing that has happened to me as a jeweler though when I checked my Etsy convo's.

The woman who purchased this necklace is expecting her first child. She and her husband are adopting. She has plans to have three of these necklaces made with birthstones representing the birth Mother, herself and the baby. The birth mother, her daughter and herself will all have a matching necklace.

I got chills reading about it. I feel so honored to be a part of something so special. And a little pressure to get it just right when I make these!