Saturday, March 27, 2010

I think I'm finally starting to get it.....

I've been selling jewelry on-line for about 10 months now, and I think I have finally gotten to the point where I don't hate taking product pictures, and I also don't hate how they look.

I really used to dread taking pictures because I knew it was going to take me FOREVER to get a shot that I could live with. I think I finally have it down, and can now start working on other things that seem to have alluded me as far as photography goes. I've been trying some different back drops lately, and am loving this wood. (the dirty little secret is that it is actually a piece of paper! do you believe it?) I thought I was tired of my black river rocks, but I just can't seem to break away from them.

I just finished this yesterday evening. I already listed it in both the Etsy and Art Fire shops. I couldn't thing of an interesting name for it though. I had originally punched out all these little circles to make a bubble necklace to match the Nouveau Bubble earrings, but I just wasn't feeling it. So, I started playing with some of them around this stone and decided it made a pretty pattern. :)

But back to the pictures. I've tried it all. Taking photos outside, inside, natural light, artificial light, photo tent, no photo tent. I've tried all the settings on my camera. Macro, no macro, tripod, no tripod. After all this trial and error, I've discovered that I get the best photos in my bedroom, from 11:00 am to 2 pm with the light just filtering in through the blinds. (it is a room directly facing the sun during these hours). Open the blinds too much, and it glares off my silver. Close them a bit and it seems to be the perfect amount of light not to create horrible glares or shadows. I alway use a tripod, (I'm too shaky otherwise) and always use the automatic setting with the macro on.

I can even get self portraits pretty quickly now too. I've finally made friends with my camera now that I know how she likes to be handled!

I'm gearing up for a spring birthday celebration tonight for my two daughter's and the son of our oldest and best family friends. Baby back ribs, slow roasting, check. Cake in the oven, check. Refrigerator stocked with Heineken, check. All I have to do is finishing up the housework, and we're good to go! Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sleeping Beauty's Rose Wreath Ring

Oxidized sterling silver with a brushed finish, sleeping beauty turquoise cabochon, and a wreath of roses. :) US size 7 on a mediumish band. Off to list it now!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Circle of Friends

I had a lovely award passed on to me by Emma of Little Cherry Hill. I enjoyed reading about 5 things that she loves, and in turn I've been asked to do the same.

1) I love my family with all my heart, having my girls has really made me realize the true meaning of unconditional love.

2) I love my house, my neighborhood, the schools my girls go to, my town, my state, and my country. I feel so blessed to live where we do.

3) I love the fact that my husband provides for us in such a way that I can stay home to raise my girls. It means the world to me to know that I am the one here for them to turn to, and that I am able to be there for every precious moment.

4) I love to read. I am always reading at least one book, sometimes I have 2 going at once. I always have at the very minimum one other book lined up ready for me to start, if I don't, I kinda get an anxious feeling. It's almost like an addiction! On any given day, I may be wearing beat up old clothes and shoes, because I spent my mad money on the newest hardback book!

5) I love to make things. Right now it's jewelry, as you all know, but I have had a life long love for creating things. I taught myself to knit, crochet, sew, and cross stitch at a fairly young age. It has just gone on from there. I've made candles, cards, Christmas ornaments, home decor, etc, etc. I have started (and almost finished) one of the two Christmas stockings I am making out of a felt sewing kit. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm hoping to finish them for the girls before they graduate from high school! I've tried just about everything. Some stick, some don't. I am fickle, so I just ride the latest obsession until it burns out.

And there you have it. I am also supposed to pass this award on to five bloggers, and here they are:

Foodie With Little Thyme
Sassy Glass Designs
DeShawn Marie Handcrafted Soap
Maria @ Life Creative

Thanks to Emma for passing this award on to me!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Round Rabbit Extra, and other things....

Boring post without pictures alert********

I generally don't believe in keeping a good thing to myself, if someone else can benefit, I figure why not? I've been following a lovely artisan who sells under the name RoundRabbit on Etsy. She makes beautiful porcelain jewelry, and also has a supply shop as well called RoundRabbitExtra .

It is from this shop that I purchased a gorgeous turquoise colored porcelain cabochon that I plant to bezel set and make a pendant with. I also just happen to have some beads in the exact color of turquoise that will go beautifully with it. But I digress.

I've purchased items from many a seller on Etsy, some I've told you about, some not. Every once in a while I run across a seller or a product that I wouldn't buy again, but generally have been really pleased with my purchases. This particular purchase from RoundRabbitExtra really was a pleasant experience, and I am enthralled at the perfection of this porcelain cabochon. It is literally perfect. It totally appeals to my neurotic need for perfection that is so hard to achieve sometimes. I really hope I can do it justice when I go to set it.

At any rate, I hope you'll go check out RoundRabbit. I can honestly say I highly recommend her work.

I'm looking for any excuse to do something other than what I should be doing right now. The instructions for April's team challenge came in yesterday. Art Deco inspired wedding jewelry. I kinda had to laugh to myself when I saw it, because I was just thinking the other day that wedding jewelry is probably something I'll never do. And art deco? I'm not really very familiar with it. So, I did some research, and I'm really not sure I'll be participating in this challenge. Lots of faceted stones, platinum, diamonds. A little out of my league. I know, I know, if I were clever enough I could make sterling translate into art deco, but I just don't think I have the desire for it. I guess I'm afraid I'll end up dumping a bunch of money into something I'm not sure I can make well enough to get my money back out of. I don't know. We'll see. Right now I'm tired, and everything looks bleak when I'm tired!

My youngest is having a fashion show at school on Thursday morning. They are supposed to dress up as the letter people. She is "O". Now what in the heck am I going to make her for "O"? I think my creative well is just low right now. So far I have an orange shirt, that I plan on putting a big "O" on, but beyond that I'm stuck. I'm also not too thrilled they didn't give us more time to get an outfit together.

I should be filling orders, or ordering supplies, or doing something productive, but it's much easier to sit in front of the computer. There isn't even any interesting fights or calling outs going on. Things just haven't been the same since PussDaddy stopped blogging. So, I guess I'll go do what I'm supposed to be doing. I can't wait for the girls to go to bed, then I can curl up and finish my book.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sterling Silver Post Earrings....

These were born of my need to have some all metal earrings that wouldn't compete with my rings or necklaces that I wear with stones. I'm okay with matching jewelry, but some of the larger rings and necklaces are just too much for me with matching stone earrings too. Maybe it's just me, but I love, love, love all of these post earrings. I can literally wear any pair with anything I have on. Some are so sweet and demure, that I am even thinking my daughter could wear them as well. (my older daughter, not the younger one!)

They are just perfect for every day wear, a little decoration for the lobes, and plenty of variety so hopefully I won't get tired of them too quickly! Since I have plenty of supplies, I'm going to be putting these for sale in the shop as well.

I went pro at ArtFire sometime last month for AmyNicole, but I haven't had time to put anything over there yet. I'm thinking I'll offer these at my Etsy and AF shops.

Well, I'm off to try and get as many of these listed as I can before I have to pick my oldest up from school. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Break.....

The girls were on spring break this week, and hubby stayed home all week with us too. It's been so nice. The weather (up until today) has been really great. The girls have spent endless hours playing outside while hubby gardens and I have some time to myself indoors.

I spent some of my time creating for the Aspiringmetalsteam on Etsy. We had our 2nd team challenge. The challenge was to metalsmith a piece inspired by the children's nursery rhyme:

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz,
I wonder where the birdies is?

So, I made this.

Yeah, it looks interesting right? You want to see a close up don't you? Too bad. This is all you get. For now. It's a hot mess up close. I have a little problem with it that I need to work on, and am determined to get it right. Then you can see it all up close and personal like.

My teamies have already seen it up close in it's current state. I can't stand to look at it myself. I'll tell you, macro pics show everything.

Anyhoo... some of my time was also spent enjoying a good nap or two, needed after staying up late reading, or working. I've not adjusted well to the time change at all. As in I haven't even tried to adjust to it. I'm all screwed up, and can feel the craving for a normal week. That, and I've decided I really need to step it up in the working out department. I worked out this morning for the first time in two weeks. Two weeks! I'm so exasperated with myself. It seems to be one of the things that has been taking a back burner to working on making jewelry and findings. Along with the laundry, but we won't go there......

So, we took the girls to the park several times this week. My favorite trip of the week was to the Ft. Worth Botanical Garden. We go every year in the spring to see all the beautiful flowers. I must say that I was a little disappointed this year. I think it is because with all the snow storms and cold winter we've had, it's taking things a little longer than usual to get going.

I am so inspired by flora in my work, I wanted to take some pictures for inspiration. See if I can't translate some them into metal.

Here are some of my favorites that were in bloom.

The daffodils were in bloom, but had already started to wither. And no tulips! Where were the tulips? And my favorites? The irises?

I told the girls we'd go back in a couple of weeks. I just have to see those irises!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Will you be wearing your green today?

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Mommy's birthday gift...

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My Mom's birthday is on Tuesday, and as usual I waited until the last minute to decide what I wanted to make. My Mom isn't too much into earrings, which are my favorite thing to make, but loves pendants. She has several religious jewelry items, and we had discussed my making her a cross.

I'm not entirely sure it will be her style, maybe a little too big, maybe a little too ornate, but I love it.

I am 95% happy with my workmanship on this one. I am so glad I made it on so many levels. It really tested my new found skills. It is the largest piece I've made to date. (about 2 3/8" long and 1 7/8" wide) Let me tell you. That big of a piece of silver takes awhile to heat up enough to melt hard solder. At least with my torch. I even set off the smoke detector! And that was WITH the ventilation system on.

I think I will have to make another for the shop! I'm picturing this with a bright colorful stone. We shall see.....

I know there is a bunch of shots in this post, but I'm trying out new backgrounds. Can I get votes on your favorite background?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A new friend, and a new custom option.....

I've made a Sassy new friend over the past couple of weeks who is not only a lovely person, but is also very helpful, and willing to share. You really must check out her work. Her pieces are beautiful! I've never seen such a lovely selection of gorgeous stones!

So, my Sassy new friend had the best idea ever. She offers custom size ring bands on some of her pieces. This is how it works. A piece is made around a particular stone, but the stone hasn't been set yet. This allows the jeweler to customize the piece to a customers specification.

I thought it was a wonderful idea, especially after getting comments from customers that they love a particular ring, but it just isn't their size. So I contacted my Sassy friend and admitted, monkey see, monkey do, I want to offer that too! She graciously gave her permission, and here I am with my first customized offering.

The stone is called Leopard Jasper. And doesn't it look just like a leopard? The stones that the earth produces never ceases to amaze me. I love the animal print on this stone. Tans, browns, blacks, and even a slight army green tinge to some of the spots. I feminized it just a little with the roses on the side.

I originally designed this thinking it would be a ring, but it would make a lovely pendant as well. Really, the possibilities are many, and that is what is great about customizing pieces. It can be made into anything YOU want!

I'll list it later at AmyNicoles on Etsy! Many thanks to my Sassy new friend. It is so good to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and since I am a beginner, to get advice on different metal smithing techniques. Thank you Sandi!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Edie Brickell's What I Am (lyrics)

I'm not aware of too many things
I know what I know if you know what I mean

Philosophy, is the talk on a cereal box
Religion, is a smile on a dog
I'm not aware of too many things
i know what I know if you know what I mean

Chuck me in the shallow water
Before I get too deep

What I am is what I am are you what you are or what
What I am is what I am are you what you are or what

Oh I'm not aware of too many things
I know what I know if you know what I mean

Philosophy, is a walk on the slippery rocks
Religion, is a light in the fog
I'm not aware of too many things
I know what I know if you know what I mean
Do do ya

Chuck me in the shallow water
Before I get too deep
Chuck me in the shallow water
Before I get too deep

What I am is what I am are you what you are or what
What I am is what I am are you what you are or what
What I am is what I am are you what you are or what you are
What I am is what I am are you what you are or what

Da da da da
I say I say I say I do hey hey hey hey hey hey

Chuck me in the shallow water
Before I get too deep
Chuck me in the shallow water
Before I get too deep

Chuck me in the shallow water before I get too deep
Chuck me in the shallow water before I get too deep
Chuck me in the shallow water before I get too deep

Don't let me get too deep
Don't let me get too deep
Don't let me get too deep
Don't let me get too deep

What I am is what I am are you what you are or what
What I am is what I am are you what you are or what
What I am is what I am are you what you are or what you are
What I am is what I am are you what you are or what

Or what you are oh
Or what you are oh oh oh
Say what I am

Click here to view video

This song is stuck in my head this morning and pretty much sums up how I am feeling. Are you what you are or what?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Still busy, and some bubbles....

It feels like it will never end. One thing after another that needs to be done, and a laundry list of things that didn't get done but still need to be caught up on. Somehow. Some way.

Tonight some friends are coming over to help get the cascarones ready. We have a big confetti Easter Egg hunt every year for the kids. I have 44 dozen egg shells, and 20 boxes of egg coloring. And there are more to come! My friends have been saving me egg shells all year. I appreciate it so much. There are only so many eggs a family of four can eat in a year!

I will post pictures of the confetti eggs so you can see what I am talking about if you've never had the pleasure of chasing someone down and smashing a confetti egg over their heads. It is a tradition from my husband's family. One I grabbed onto quickly and turned into an Easter tradition for my girls and their friends.

And then there's the taxes. Oh, don't even mention it!!! And the team challenge, and my Mommy's birthday. (I want to make her something fabulous! I think I finally have just the thing in mind now. We'll see.)

Anyway... on to the jewelry. Last year before I got deeper into this metalsmithing thing, I made some bubble earrings out of wire. I liked them a lot. Still do. This year though, with my new metalsmithing skills, I have made Nouveau Bubble earrings.

And, on the to do list, a Nouveau Bubble necklace! I love these earrings. The bubbles pop against the blackened silver.

Well, back to the to do list. I'll try to get the bubble earrings listed this evening. Have a fabulous day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Unbelievably busy, and something new....

It has been a busy, busy week. Both daughter's had some kind of project due that required presentation boards, my youngest had a special program at her school for science night, and I've been volunteering my time to help out with the most awesome project. Every year, my daughter's preschool studies a different "habitat". This year it was the ocean. We built a huge walk through ocean display. I plan on blogging about it later, and showing you all the fabulousness in pictures, but I don't have the time right now. It was a huge community effort to build it, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

I have had 3 new projects started for this week, and have been working on orders, but that is really all I've gotten accomplished jewelry business wise. I did get one project finished.....

These are my latest. I've been calling them "Cobbled", and I'm afraid the name has stuck now. I've been wanting to do some all sterling silver earrings lately, and these are the first ones I've done. I have plans for a couple more all silver earrings, now I just need to find the time to make them!

I'll be listing the earrings later this afternoon at AmyNicoles on Etsy! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend.