Saturday, December 5, 2009

Handmade Gift Guide's Holiday Sale!

Starting tomorrow, Dec 6th - 12th, I'll be participating in The Handmade Gift Guide's Holiday Sale! Many talented artists will be posting items in the gift guide, along with links to their shops.

My sale is actually store-wide through my etsy shop, so be sure to check out some of the great values I have in store for you! Shop for gifts for others, or gifts for yourself! In addition to sale prices on everything, I'm offering free shipping to US and Canada!

Monday, November 30, 2009

SALE Continues through Cyber Monday!

Just for today, Cyber Monday, I've taken further price reductions on many of my jewelry items! Free shipping to US and Canada through the end of this year. Take advantage of some great values!
The picture to the left is a custom order pendant that I made last week. It's a gorgeous labradorite stone that I bought at the Tacoma bead fair a few weeks ago.
I'll be busy preparing for the holidays during the next few weeks by bringing out some treasured Christmas decorations, doing a little shopping, mailing gifts to loved ones across the country and by baking a few family favorite cookies. I love this time of the year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

HUGE SALE through Monday, Nov 30th!!!

I've decided to have my first jewelry SALE!!! Everything in my etsy shop is on sale!
Now through Nov 30th (cyber Monday), you be able to shop in the comfort of your home and catch some great prices on all of my jewelry in my etsy site!!!
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

5 Things You Love About Making Jewelry - But Shouldn't

I found this on ammjewelry's blog and thought it would be fun to share with you! "Join me in playing this "5 Things You Love about Making Jewelry, but Shouldn't!" I read this question some time ago on my daughters blogs in a basic form, and thought it would be fun to pose this question to my blogging buddies."

MY five things:
1) I love the feel of metal as I form it, cut it, bend it, twist it, saw it, heat it, etc... It's (usually) under my control. I tell it what to do - it cooperates, or I force it. The very first jewelry item I made was with teeny tiny seed beads. They didn't cooperate. Thread is not my friend. Metal is.

2) I love spending money on all kinds of supplies for jewelry making. Whether it be tools (yes - lots of tools!), metal, dust masks, safety glasses, storage containers, display items, classes, books, stones (the photo above is my haul from the Bellevue Bead Festival this afternoon), photo stuff and oh, did I mention... Tools?

3) It's challenging. I am constantly learning new things by taking classes and doing loads of experimentation with metal. I've never been a creative person before, so this is opening up a whole new world and I love every minute of it. I fail a lot as I learn. I re-do things, I melt my failures and reuse the leftovers. There's always something else I can do with a piece when it doesn't work out. The thrill of seeing someone like my jewelry enough to buy it is worth all the failures.

4) It's a fun way to pass a lot of time and to make new friends. My hubby works a lot of hours. If he knows I'm not bored, he feels better about working so much. I gladly do this for him! Right.

5) I like fire. I read somewhere today (I can't remember where or I would give credit) that 'Every jeweler is a pyromaniac with a purpose'. When I started this, I was afraid of fire. Imagine that. How silly!

Do I have to stop at 5? There are so many more reasons I love this art/hobby/life!

Then, Holly Wilcox's blog added 5 things you hate about jewelry making. Mine are:
1) I'm sadly in need of a good night's sleep. I make jewelry through the wee hours of the morning, and then I dream about making jewelry.
2) My hands are a mess. I'm in desperate need of a manicure, but why bother?
3) I rarely take time to read books anymore. I'd rather make jewelry instead.
4) I'm hooked on social media - blogs, facebook, and email take up far too much time, but I love them.
5) I hate it when I have a bad solder day. Fortunately, that happens less often than it did 6 months ago.

That's it for now. I'm off to get some sterling out of the pickle pot - I've got work to do!

Have a great week everyone and wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shopping for Stones!

Busy weekend! On Saturday, I was part of the Handmade Harvest open house with fellow etsyrain members.. The turnout was quite good and I sold many items and received a lot of positive feedback on my jewelry. It's always nice to have some on-the-spot feedback with buyers.
Today, I went to the Tacoma Gem Faire and came home with a new supply of wonderful stones! They're just waiting for me to bezel set into pendants and rings. The photo is of today's' take. Starting at 12 o'clock, the stones (on the outside) are: Spectrolite (Finland), Labradorite, Red Plume (TX), Owyee Jasper, Biggs Jasper, then 3 Koroit Opals in ironstone from Queensland, Australia, then ending with another labradorite. The center stones are a Purple Storm (UT) and a small lapis. I can't wait to start working with these new stones and letting them inspire me!
But first, I have some custom orders I need to work on next week. Then I can take some creative play time with my new stones. If you love one or more of these stones and want me to make something for you with it, just let me know and I'll reserve it for you. You can double click the photo for a close-up view.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bright and early this morning...

I woke up bright and early this morning because the idea of this pendant was swimming in my brain. Maybe it came to me in my dreams; I do dream of jewelry these days! Anyway, I started working on this at 7:30 this morning and just finished it. It's a reversible pendant with copper on one side and sterling silver on the other side. I drilled identical holes into each side and soldered them together using a fine silver center strip between the two. I'm so happy with the way it looks and all the technical aspects of making it went well too. Funny thing though, I ran it through my tumbler for a while to polish and clean it. When I took it out, the center of it was filled with steel tumbler shot pieces that had slid inside through the little holes! I had to shake them out one at a time; that took about 15 minutes and a lot of chuckles. At least I can be confident that the inside is nice and clean! I've titled this piece "Opposites Attract".
I've spent a lot of time this week making jewelry. I finished a pendant yesterday and I'm really pleased with the way it turned out as well. It's a beautiful Candelaria Variscite stone from Nevada. I love the color of this stone and the little sterling dots I added to the side. I've called this one "Tranquility".
I've also made several pairs of little post earrings with some Sleeping Beauty Turquoise and Garnet cabochons. I'll be listing them on etsy early next week and bringing them to the Handmade Harvest open house next weekend in Redmond.
The rest of the week I'll probably spend getting ready for the open house; planning my display, printing earring cards, labeling everything... not really making much jewelry. I don't do "shows" often, although I've done a few home shows. I enjoy seeing people's reactions to my jewelry and hearing their comments. That's something I miss with on-line sales. I'm looking forward to seeing friends and meeting new people next weekend!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Handmade Harvest Open House - Nov 14th

I'm participating in a "Handmade Harvest" open house with other local (Seattle) area etsy sellers on Saturday, Nov 14th, in Redmond, WA. I thought I'd share with you the names and links of the other sellers who will be there with their art items. We've all been busy lately building our inventory so we can offer lots of variety for you to choose from! Much of our inventory is not posted on etsy - we're saving it for you! If you're interested in more details (address, time etc...), just let me know and I'll forward an evite to you. We all would love to see you there!

Here's the list of participants:

A Crafty Arab - Arabic and Persian greeting cards and more
Lavender Drops - Lavender Sachets
Pepo Park - Natural soaps, lip balms bath products and more
Sakurabloom - Women's fashion accessories
World Of Whimm - Creative children's dress up items to spark the imagination
Scary White Girl - Funky crocheted items
SCJ Jewelry Design - My unique jewelry items

Please join us for a fun afternoon and get a little holiday shopping done early!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Play Time

I've been playing hard lately, getting ready for a holiday open house show on Nov 14th in Redmond, WA. I consider making jewelry play time because something this fun just can't be considered work! The holiday show will have items made by 7 of my fellow etsy sellers! If you'd like more details, just contact me and I'll send you an evite.

Here's a sample of some of the new things you'll see in my etsy store:

Tide Pool:Blossom:

We're All Linked Together - Bronze:

I've made about 20 pairs of earrings that aren't listed on etsy and a few other holiday craft show exclusive items for the 14th. So, if you're in WA, your chance to shop in person is right around the corner!

And if you're in the midwest, my jewelry is now being offered in 2 shops! Look for my jewelry at "Seasons on St. Croix Gallery" in Hudson, WI and also at the University of MN Medical Center - Fairview gift shop in Minneapolis, MN.

My bench is calling for me. It's play time again!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Several new items and my jewelry is featured in a blog today!

I'm so honored by Laurie LeBlanc-Rickaby of MadeBySwirlyGirl, to be introduced today in her "Tuesday Meet and Greet" blog posting! Laurie makes incredibly beautiful photo art and notecards. Be sure to check out her websites: her etsy shop, her facebook fan page, her blog, her twitter site and her flickr site.
I was very busy creating last week and added many new items to my etsy shop. The necklace to the left is called Cosmos - I just love it!

My other new etsy shop listings include:

a cool textured copper cuff bracelet, called "Movement" a textured set of stacking rings ,

beautiful Pisco Blue Chrysocolla pendant called "Once in a Blue Moon" and a Candelaria Variscite pendant called "Sea Foam"

Friday, October 2, 2009

If I had a hammer

Do you ever get a song in your head that stays with you for days? If you're about (ummm) my age, you probably heard that Mary Travers, of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, passed away recently. Ever since then, I've had the song "If I Had a Hammer" playing over and over again in my head. What a great song, back then and today!

Well, I decided to pick up my favorite hammer, a piece of heavy copper wire, and start to sing and hammer away. No saws, no files, just a hammer and an anvil. This necklace set is the result of all that hammering. (OK, I admit I used a hole punch to make the holes in the tops so I could connect the pieces to chain and earwires.)

You can watch a video here of Peter, Paul and Mary singing the song. Enjoy!

IF I HAD A HAMMER (The Hammer Song) words and music by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger
If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening
All over this land
I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

If I had a bell
I'd ring it in the morning
I'd ring it in the evening
All over this land
I'd ring out danger
I'd ring out a warning
I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

If I had a song
I'd sing it in the morning
I'd sing it in the evening
All over this land
I'd sing out danger
I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

Well I've got a hammer
And I've got a bell
And I've got a song to sing
All over this land
It's the hammer of justice
It's the bell of freedom
It's the song about love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

©1958, 1962 (renewed), 1986 (renewed)
TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Making Strides...

Against Breast Cancer... OK, here's my once per year plug ...

As a 2.5 year survivor, I'd like to remind everyone that breast cancer is still out there, it's serious and it needs to be stopped! The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk is being held here in Bellevue, WA this coming Sunday, Oct 4th. Last year I walked, this year I'm going to be a volunteer "route marshal" during the walk but I'm still committed to raising funds for the cause! If you're so inclined, you can help me raise funds by going to this official site and donating here.

During my treatment, I received help from so many sources; family, friends, complete strangers, doctors, nurses, a whole host of other medical professionals, and from resources provided by the American Cancer Society. Now it's my turn to help out and give back. I am so blessed to be able to give back, but I'm still a long way from meeting my goal of $1000.-
If you're over 40, please don't forget to schedule your annual mammogram. Do it today, because someone loves you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Finally, some new jewelry in my etsy shop!

I've neglected my etsy shop for far too long. I've been busy this summer learning to solder and making many new items. They've been sitting on my shelf while I've admired them, but now it's time to let them go out into the world! So, I've taken photos and listed 11 new items this weekend and will list several more through the coming week. Be sure to check out my new listings in my etsy shop.
I'm taking another weekly metalsmithing class this fall at Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle. I find it's all less overwhelming this class. Maybe I'm catching on! Of course it helps that I have a terrific teacher for this class, Susanne Lechler Osborn. She's so willing to share everything she knows and explains it so well. One of the nice perks of taking classes at Pratt is that I can go there every Friday for open studio time and work on whatever I need to do. I've done a lot of soldering during those Friday sessions!
I've also been rearranging the home office and a guest bedroom space to make one of the rooms exclusively for my jewelry workshop! I have a new jeweler's bench all set up in a sunny, 3 window corner of the room. I am surprised at how much space my jewelry equipment takes up! I have a computer/business area, a photo area, my jewelers bench, supplies, books and supply catalogs.... I still need some things for the room to make it really comfortable for me, such as new lighting and an additional chair. Here is a photo of my favorite corner. Yes, yes, it's already a mess. I'm making some riveted pendant and earring sets that need to be done tomorrow! I'd better get back to work :)
Wishing you a fun, creative week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


One of the wonderful things about creating any form of art is that it's always an evolving route of discovery. You start out with a plan. Sometimes it's a well drawn out design on paper, sometimes it's just a vague idea; you know, a feeling or an image that needs to evolve as you go. This pendant had a plan in the beginning, but messed up solders, starting over, ornamentation that just didn't feel quite right and then finally, fresh ideas that changed everything as I went along the path of creating this piece. It's aptly called "Discovery".
Another thing I discovered along the way an is an appreciation of the unique quality of the stone itself. I've had it for months now and have set it aside many times, waiting for inspiration, but I never really looked at it or held it in my hands for any length of time. It has layers and layers of embedded colors, ranging from ocean blues, turquoise, grays and rust. Most of my jewelry thus far has been made entirely of metals. I haven't included stones very often, but now that I've learned some new techniques, I find I'm working with and designing things around my stones to highlight their beauty and unique qualities. I'm discovering just how different each stone is and that different stones make you feel something. It may be a calmness, a sense of being grounded to the earth, a sense of excitement... I get to know each stone as I work with it and hold it, forming a frame around it to showcase it. I can honestly say I'm discovering so many exciting things while I create jewelry. And it's not about the jewelry.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The importance of knowing when you're done.

Today's photo shows 2 new pieces I've made recently. While I'm moving up on the learning curve with my soldering and bezel settings, I'm still very much a newbie and things don't always turn out as perfectly as I'd like them to be. While I'm reasonably pleased with the green Chrysocolla Chalcedony ring, the ring shank turned out to be about 1/4 size too big for my hand (it's a 6.5). So, if you're a 6.5 ring size, speak up soon!

The purple/pink pendant stone, which I purchased while vacationing in Victoria, BC this summer, is a pink star ruby and a member of the labradorite family. I just fell in love with it because of its' unique color and depth. I had planned to set it with some ornamentation on the sides, but that didn't work out as I wanted, so I cut the ornamentation off and decided to just keep the setting simple and plain. That's always a good, last resort. After many hours of setting, pushing and burnishing the bezel, the stone was a still little loose in the setting. I had given up and decided it was good enough to just keep for myself and not worry about making it perfect. I'd chalk it up to a learning experience. But tonight as I shot the photo, the perfectionist crept up inside of me and forced me to pick up my pusher and burnisher tools. I've just spent the past hour trying to tighten it up. And I was successful at tightening the stone. Big mistake. You see, bezel wire is very thin fine silver and the more you push and stretch it to curve over the top of the stone, the thinner it gets. Well, I made it so thin that part of it chipped off where it meets the stone. Now the bezel is ragged and the stone is loose again. It's a lost cause. Tomorrow, I will probably just cut the setting apart, remove the stone and start all over again. I should have quit while I was ahead.

Meanwhile, I'm working on another pendant that I'm also having trouble with. While trying to solder a wire to the back of the pendant, I managed to solder the wire not only to the pendant back, but to my third hand as well. I had to cut the wire apart from the third hand and cut the wire off of the back of the pendant, too. Lot's of sanding later, I'm afraid it's going to end up being another pendant just for me.

My motto for this weekend is "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again." I have to keep reminding myself that I'm having fun. Even as I make mistakes, I am learning.

I hope you're having a wonderful, creative holiday this weekend!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cabs and a visit from my daughter - a nice combination

This weekend, my local Bellevue bead shop, Quiltworks Northwest, is hosting the owners of Out of Our Mines lapidary and beadworks. It's the first time I've seen their beads and cabochons and I spent a good deal of time at their table. The cabs were of particular interest to me as I begin crafting bezel set rings and pendants. I picked up these beauties and one other that I've already set into a ring for my daughter (pictured below). There were so many more cabs that I would have liked to purchase and I'll definitely be going to their website in the future.
My 24 yr old daughter is visiting us from MN this weekend. It's so nice to have her here for a change. She made a terrific dinner for us on Thursday evening, we've walked, talked, laughed a lot, went to a movie (Julie and Julia), shopped a bit, and made jewelry together. She's going home tomorrow with a new ring and about a dozen pairs of earrings - she rummaged through my leftover bead stash and came up with some beautiful combinations! We've had a great weekend; I'll be sad to send her back to MN tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blue Impression Jasper

A quick post this morning as I get ready for the day with out of town guests. I set this blue impression jasper stone into a pendant yesterday. I started it in my soldering class and finished it at 3:00am today! It's going to be a tough day for me today as I face it on 3 hours of sleep. I'm getting just a little obsessed here. I need some balance.

While setting this stone, I put a number of surface scratches in it. I tried polishing it with some of my metal polishes and added a bit of wax. That hides the scratches pretty well, but I'm wondering if anyone has some advice for me about how to polish out the fine scratches that I see when looking from the side. I'll try tumbling it later on, but I really have no experience with this sort of thing yet. I know it was foolish of me to not cover the stone while setting it, but... I guess I was just too lazy...which is a shame.

I think I'll be keeping this one for my own wear, as it has a sloppy solder on the bezel wire. It looks like I almost fried the metal. I may dip the whole thing in liver of sulfur; that might hide the mark. This was an experiment and my first time soldering at home. For now I'm using a propane torch and the heat is a little different than the acetylene ones we use in class. It will take some getting used to. But overall, my soldering skills are improving nicely. I'm loving working with fire.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why rivet when you can solder? I CAN solder!

Today was day 2 of 4 in my soldering class at Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle. What a fun day! We learned a few new techniques including sweat joints, soldering wire to sheet and soldering posts to earrings. Our teacher for this class is Roger Horner and he's an excellent teacher and craftsman. He primarily works with hollow ware. He's patient, knowledgeable and informative; I feel fortunate to be learning from him.

Before today's class, I made the components (links and spirals) for the pictured bracelet. Today, I soldered the sterling wire spirals to the sterling links during class. The bracelet has 8 links and 5 of 8 solders worked on my first try. The remaining 3 had to be soldered twice, but all worked fine on the second go round, so I feel really good about them. I also soldered spiral links shut for a necklace similar to one I've posted in the past, but now there will be no chance of the links sliding off their connecting rings.

As I expected, soldering will add another level of professionalism to my jewelry. Rivets, which I have done a lot of in the past, are nice for items that have an industrial quality to them, but soldering will allow me to add more delicate things and better finishing touches to my work.

I've spent the past week shopping for/hunting down items to prepare a soldering station at home. Boric acid, borax, TSP, Sparex, flux, various types of solder, torch tips, titanium picks... the list goes on... I'm almost ready! I'll be moving my workspace from the office to a spare bedroom (which will no longer be a bedroom) later next month. I need the room prior to that for visiting guests, but after that time, we will have 'only' one guest bedroom and a fold out couch in the bonus room when we have company. I'm getting so eager to move in! Right now I have my flex shaft set up in the garage and I'm planning a temporary soldering set up there as well. Oh, how I miss our MN basement and the wonderful workshop Rich had built (for himself) there. I could really use it now. Our WA home doesn't have a basement :( Who knew I would ever need or want a workshop of my own?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Building confidence

I spent a wonderful morning today attending a soldering class at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. You may recall my first experience with soldering in June was a very frustrating one for me. So, I signed up for this 4 day class (every Wed. in August) devoted just to building soldering skills.
The relaxed pace and skilled teacher were just what I needed to boost my confidence and hopes that I will someday be able to master soldering and expand my metalsmithing line. Today we learned all about various types of solder and fluxes. I found it really helps me to understand the whole chemical process of what happens to the metal when it's heated as well as what happens to the solder and how it flows. The process makes so much more sense to me now and as a result, I'm having an easier time with the skills involved.

The treble clef bracelet pictured above is a custom order prototype experiment at the request of one of my etsy customers (I love repeat customers!). I formed the bracelet a few days ago out of a single piece of copper wire. I brought it along to class today to try my hand at soldering the places where the wire overlaps. It worked!!!!! Big sigh of relief!!! I'll be making it in sterling sometime in the next month. I spent the afternoon hammering, sanding and polishing it with my new Foredom Flex Shaft. I'm pleased with the end result and I think I'll be wearing it occasionally - because I want to "test drive" the design before I make it in sterling silver and because I really like the bracelet itself. I think I'm attracted to it for two reasons; one I love music and two, the treble clef has a spiral in it and you know how much I love spirals in my jewelry! I think I'll probably use a heavier gauge wire when I make it in sterling silver (I used 12 gauge here), just to give it a little more heft stability.

The ring pictured is one I made at my June class and my only 4 successful solders during that stressful 4 day class. I had originally polished it to a high shine and have been wearing it daily for 2 months now. It was getting all kinds of scratches in it, so today when I was polishing the treble clef bracelet, I decided to try giving this ring a satin finish and then oxidizied it lightly. I can always polish it again later if I decide I want it shiny again. So far, I like the satin look and I hope it will eliminate the problem of the ring appearing scratched. It's is subjected to all kinds of scratchy things on a daily basis because I wear it constantly - even while I make other jewelry.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Two bracelets and a failing computer keyboard

I'm back from my trip to MN. As always, it was a whirlwind trip trying to see as many people as I can squeeze into my 4 days.

The top photo is a sterling riveted bracelet that I made as a fundraiser item for the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund in MN.

The bottom photo is a sterling and copper riveted bracelet that will be on etsy soon.

It has taken me 30 min to post this - my keyboard is sticking and responds only about 10 percent of the time. Any suggestions????

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Something new & I'm off to MN in the morning!

I love taking jewelry classes. Today's class was especially enjoyable with one of my favorite instructors, Janice Berkebile of Wired Arts, plus a really friendly, creative group of women. We laughed a lot today!

Today's class involved learning to make fused chains. We used fine silver wire, cut precision rings out if it, fused each ring (I was really out of practice fusing and ruined the first half of the rings I tried), then we stretched out each ring, folded it over and linked each one together to make this bracelet. I like it and am planning to make more after I return to WA next week. I think I'll play around a little with the size of each link and try to make something a little more delicate looking than this one. Janice experimented and put beads inside each link for a very interesting look. A necklace out of these links with large, sterling beads, stone and crystal accents is also something I'm planning to make in the future. Janice had one and oh, it is gorgeous!

Tomorrow, I'll be taking off to visit family and friends in MN for a couple of days. Hubby will stay home and mind the pets. I'll be bringing lots and lots of jewelry with me - most of it has never been on etsy, so if you'd like to take a look, give me a call and we'll see if I can fit you into my already busy schedule!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How do you mark time?

When you think of past events, how do you remember when they happened? Do you mark time by historical events? By where you worked or lived? By who was there? By where you were?

It may be a bit morbid, and probably more information about me than you care to know, but I mark time by who was/was not alive at the time of the event. Like most people, I’ve had many losses in my lifetime. Today marks the 21st anniversary of my most significant, life changing loss. My first husband, the love of my life, was killed tragically in a car accident 21 years ago today. In one split second, life as I knew it would never be again. Suddenly, I was a young widow and a single mother.

Even though now years later, I’ve managed to somehow create a different life, actually a very happy life, this date is always one of great reflection for me. I am grateful for so many things; for 10 years of marriage to him, for the beautiful child we had together, that we learned to build a life out of love, hard work, humor, true joy, caring and understanding. His positive attitude towards life was contagious and I am forever blessed by his influence and love in my life. So on this day, I’ll remember, reflect, honor and give thanks for my many blessings and for the people that I’ve loved and have loved me.

Today, while we have the opportunity, let's take a moment to say "I love you" to the people we love.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lydia's Filly - new website supports a great cause!

One of my facebook/blog/etsy friends, Michelle of Lydia's Filly has just designed her own website. She makes and beautiful jewelry, but another wonderful part of her business is that she donates a portion of her profits to a great cause. She is supporting Operation Mend, an organization that helps wounded military get the reconstructive surgery they need. She sells her jewelry through her etsy shop.

She also has an Artist Spotlight on her website and has put my etsy shop in that category right now. Like Michelle, I donate the profits from some of my jewelry (the Awareness Collection line) to a worthy cause, breast cancer research, to the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk. The earrings pictured to the left are part of my Awareness Collection line.

I think it's wonderful when artists use their talents to help support their favorite cause. There is so much need out there and I truly believe we all need to do our part in helping whenever we can.

Thank you, Michelle for including my shop on your site and for your thoughtfullness and caring for others. Be sure to visit and support Michelle's etsy shop and her website, Lydia's Filly today!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What should it be? Tell me, please!

Another interesting day in metalsmithing class today. I'll start with the picture on the left. I wanted more practice cutting small curves, so I cut this design out of copper. I tried to solder it onto the sterling back, but was not successful. Ugh. So, I chose to rivet it onto the base instead. I did however, get a lot of practice with pickle, cleaning, sanding, polishing and buffing today! So tell me, what should the item in the photo be when it's finished? A broach? A pendant? Should it be worn vertically or horizontally? Angled? And, what does it remind you of? The original photo was a free flowing, curvy, spirally design. Now when held vertically, it reminds me vaguely of the old Dave Mathews CD cover logo from "Stand Up" (2005). The one with a woman dancing, arms outstretched. When I hold it horizontally, it reminds me of a bird with a curved beak and wings flapping. One of the rivets looks like an eye. I think there's a little seahorse vibe to it also. I'd love to know what it reminds you of and if I should hang it as a pendant or attach a pin to the back for a broach. Either will require a solder - yikes!
I won't say much about my soldering today; only that I tried and failed many times. I signed up for a class in August devoted just to soldering. I need that class.
In all, this week's class was fun, challenging and tiring but I tried new things and learned a lot. I'm looking forward to having out of town guests staying with me this next week and taking a little break from making jewelry. After 4 days of seemingly non-stop jewelry challenges, I could use the break.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A finished bezel set ring!

My first bezel set ring is finished! It was another fun day in class. I finished setting the stone and polishing the ring. It's actually shinier than the photo appears. I also learned to make hollow metal beads that were soldered around a center seam; of course mine didn't fully solder around the entire seam though. I still need more practice with that technique. I also pierced and sawed a little more in preparation for a pendant. And I learned some different techniques for riveting!

My bench neighbor made a beautiful opal ring, but she ran into quite a few problems during the process. She spent the whole day patiently working on the ring, eventually with great success. But, at the end of the day she was so tired and discouraged that she wasn't sure she liked it any more. Sometimes we get so emotionally invested in our pieces that if a piece was a huge challenge, the finished product can either be resented or be loved all the more - as a labor of love. Her dad cut the opal stone himself, so I hope that when she sees the ring again tomorrow, she falls in love with it. After all, she and her dad put a lot of themselves into it.

More tomorrow. Four consecutive days of class is a lot of information to process!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Finally, some success with soldering today!

My class today went so much better than yesterday, thank goodness! I struggled again early this morning with soldering a ring shank, but after 3 tries, my instructor showed me a different way to place the solder on my projects (place it before heating the flux rather than after) and it's been pretty smooth sailing with 4 easily successful solders after that! My main struggle previously was picking up a hot solder piece and placing it correctly, then getting it to come off the titanium pick. Placing it at the start works much better for me, even though I know I may have to quickly adjust the solder if it moves while the flux is heating. A simple change in my procedure and now my soldering is going so much easier.

The day was soooo enjoyable. Our "only" project today (8 hours) was to make a bezel set ring. The photo above shows what I have completed today. I'm not done yet, though. It needs to be polished with several grades of polishing compounds and disks and then finally, the stone needs to be set. I picked a simple jasper stone, fully expecting it to be ruined by the end of the project, but now I have hope that all will turn out well and I'll have a wearable ring. It's by no means perfect, but I think it will turn out to be quite good, for a first try piece.

I also fell in love today with the Foredom Flex-Shaft and all of the brushes, sanding, polishing, drilling it can do - all with a foot pedal speed control! It's next on my list of tools I just have to own. We all looked simply lovely in our dust masks and goggles!

This last picture is the unfinished ring with the stone just laying in it. Just imagine the stone set tightly and the sterling polished to a brilliant shine! That's what the finished ring will look like by late tomorrow. The class schedule tomorrow includes making hollow metal beads, riveting and soldering earwires to earring backs.
In case you're wondering, the 4 soldered areas in this ring are:
1) the ring shank
2) the bezel frame (portion that wraps around the stone)
3) the base of the bezel to the bezel frame
4) soldering the bezel frame and base onto the ring shank.
I hope you all have a great weekend. Wish me luck and fun as I spend the next two days in class!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A full day of metalsmithing class

Whew! Today was the first day of my metalsmithing classes at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. The copper cuff bracelet pictured here was the easiest thing that we made and pretty much the only thing I was successful at today.
After several tries, I think I'm now somewhat "proficient" at using a jeweler's saw and piercing techniques.
But soldering, well that's an entirely different story. I tried soldering 5 different things and only succeeded on one of them. The rest of the items I ruined, going so far as to melt my metal. Too hot, too close, too long, maybe my metal wasn't clean enough, too much solder, not enough solder mistakes were many. I have never soldered or even watched something be soldered before, so everything about it was new to me. The lingo was new, the tools were new, and I felt way too close to my neighbors to be using an acetylene torch safely. Yes, my mother told me not to play with fire. The class was 8 hours long and by the time we started to solder, I was already tired, overloaded and rushed.
Tomorrow, we'll be soldering rings and bezels and setting stones into the bezels. I suspect it will prove to be another deflating day for me since I've not mastered basic soldering yet. I need to start back at square one tomorrow. I'll try to just focus on mastering the skills, then do some serious practicing at home in the future. Maybe far into the future. I know several really experienced jewelry makers who won't solder anything. But I have so many ideas of things I'd like to make that would require soldering, I refuse to give up on it - yet. The next 3 days of classes will be interesting!
Time for some sleep, so I can concentrate tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Good Day Sunshine - even on a cloudy day!

I just received an email from the Wickedly Chic website to tell me they have included my ring, "Good Day Sunshine" in the Daily Ditties section of their site today! You can see it here! This is such a surprise treat and honor for me!

So, even on a cloudy day in Seattle, it's a Good Day Sunshine. How many old songs does that line make you think of? I can't decide which one to sing first!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Treasury Honor and some new items

I'm honored once again today by having my new pendant, Sand Storm, featured in an etsy treasury! It's the one on the bottom right corner. I love this pendant; the lamp work glass bead reminds me of a huge gust of wind and waves blowing up sand on a beach and I love the amulet frame I forged for it and the heavy sterling ball chain. The treasury is titled "Sand... beach dreaming" and was curated by Jill of PuzzleBoBuzzle. It's a beautiful treasury with many wonderful items and artists - be sure to check it out, click on individual items in it and also check out PuzzleBoBuzzle, too!
I've also listed several new items on my etsy site this week, so be sure to check them out here and let me know what you think! fyi, I originally made "Sand Storm" a few weeks ago in a class, but wasn't happy with it (it was crooked in the frame) so I took it apart and remade it into its current form this week :) I'm much happier with it now!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Seattle Summer - an EtsyRain Treasury!

Our local etsy team, Team EtsyRain, had a challenge to create something that reminds the us of a Seattle summer. I love going to farmers markets and picking up fresh fruit; cantaloupe is one of my favorites, so I created a multi-hue orange/peach necklace. Everyone's entries have been combined into this treasury! Take a look and enjoy. Summer is finally here in Seattle!

I also want to give a shout out in praise of Team etsyrain's organizers. They really do a lot to help local etsy sellers. Thanks Kayce for putting this treasury together!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A few things for my sister

My sister has been visiting me from MN this week. She brought a glass bead that she wanted me to forge a pendant frame for. She also got a first hand look at my mixed metals jewelry line and loved it, so she asked me to make a pendant and earring set for her.
She loves to garden and I really, really hate weeding, so while I've been making her jewelry, she's been weeding my yard and planting flowers for me. It's been a fun, win-win week! She'll head back to MN tomorrow with her new jewelry and my yard looks great! Thanks sis!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Free Shipping!

I order a lot of my tools and supplies on-line and I absolutely hate paying shipping fees! I often compare prices of items, then when I finalize the order, I get socked with shipping fees far in excess of the competitors' fees. For people who purchase a lot on-line, shipping becomes a major factor in their decision process and who to purchase from. In light of that, I have decided to change my shipping policy on my etsy shop and not charge extra for shipping. So for now, all items are shipped free of charge. No kidding.
The photo above is a bracelet I finished this week. I have special orders for 5 of these mixed metal riveted bracelets. I have 2 of them finished so far. These bracelets are proving to be quite time consuming. Last week, I had made the components and estimated it would take me about 7 hours to do the riveting of the 2 bracelets. It actually took me 20 hours this week to completed these bracelets, in addition to the first 20 hours the prior week. I may have to rethink whether this is something I can afford to keep in my line-up. It's such a popular item that I'd hate to discontinue it and I enjoy making them, but......

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Look What I Made Today! Riveted Amulets

Although I missed being outside in today's nice weather, I had a great time in another jewelry class. Today's class involved making riveted amulets, taught by Janice Berkebile of Wired Arts. The two lampwork beads were purchased about a year ago in MN. The other sterling silver bead is something that I originally purchased to be a focal bead in a Viking knit bracelet, but it turned out to be too large and heavy for a bracelet. I think it worked out perfectly for today's project! It's my favorite of the 3 - I think I may have to keep that one for myself. I'll add a sterling ball chain to it to give it a little more of an industrial feel. I'm thinking about adding some form of embellishment to the tops of the bails, but I haven't yet decided on what they should be. When I finish them, I'll list them on etsy.
I wish I had taken a photo of every one's finished pieces. They were fantastic and each of us produced items that were very different from the others. I have ordered some river rock beads and I plan to use them in some riveted pieces.

I also now have 5 finished riveted rings and will be listing them gradually on etsy. I spent Thursday and Friday hammering and pounding away, making components for mixed metal bracelets. I have enough for 2 bracelets so far. All I need to do to finish them is do the riveting, which will I estimate will take me about 7 hours more. Fun, but very time consuming.

The rest of my holiday weekend will be spent enjoying the sunny Seattle weather! Yes, the sun really does shine here occasionally :) I hope you enjoy your long weekend, too!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Riveted Rings & a Treasury honor today!

Today I spent a very fun afternoon learning to make riveted rings! A couple of my trial pieces are pictured on the left. The large shell spiral is actually a button that I've riveted onto a ring shank. More will certainly be appearing on my etsy site in the near future.
I'm also please to say I've been honored again by Kayce of worldofwhimm to be included in her treasury of Seattle area artists, titled "In Circles". My item is the top right, "Always and Forever" fine silver fused earrings.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Beads vs Metal - Metal wins

When I first started making jewelry, I dabbled in various materials; seed beads, wire, beads, stones, pearls, more wire, crystals, leather, even more wire, sheet metal... you name it, I think I've used it. My passion has lead me to almost exclusively work with some form of metal, either in wire or sheet metal form and sterling is my favorite. Beads are a mystery to me now and I find myself increasingly overwhelmed at the possibility of combining them into something wearable.

My Seattle area etsy team created another challenge to stretch and inspire us. The theme is "Seattle Summer - What do you think of when you think of summer in Seattle?" Well, I think of fresh fruit in abundance and I'm craving really juicy cantaloupe. The necklace in the photo is what I made, with a bit of creative and technical difficulty. Seems I've forgotten how to blend colors, how to string beads, use crimps and crimp covers. I can't even count how many feet of Softflex I wasted and the number of crimps & covers I messed up in the process. My desk (and floor) is an absolute mess with beads sprawled out everywhere. Making jewelry is usually a calming, relaxing time for me. This was a challenge and I find I can't wait to get back to working with metal again.

I spent this morning in what seemed like heaven, making sterling silver infinity shaped links while having coffee with a fellow etsyrain member, Beth Newfeld of heart felt. Beth makes beautiful, creative felted and crocheted items. Check out her etsy shop today!

Someday, I may come back to working with beads, but right now, my sterling sheet metal is calling my name! I will be making 4 special order mixed metal bracelets and pendant/earring sets in the coming weeks and I'm psyched about pounding and riveting like a crazy woman!

Isn't it interesting how we gravitate toward certain things at different times in our lives? What phase are you being pulled toward?