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?

Monday, May 11, 2009

An etsyRain team challenge treasury - Earth

My local etsy area team, Team etsyrain, had a team challenge to produce something with the earth in mind. Since I love spirals, and they occur naturally throughout nature, I entered my "Natures' Spiral" collection in the challenge. The challenge doesn't have a 'winner' per se, it's just meant to spark our creativity. After the challenge, we all submit our items and a treasury of the items is made. It's in etsy right now at: te amo tierra (translates: "I love you land", according to google). Take a look at some of the great things Seattle area etsy sellers created for this challenge!

Friday, May 8, 2009

EstyRain Craft Show in Seattle tomorrow, Sat, May 9th

Team etsyrain (Seattle area etsy sellers) is having a craft show this Sat (May 9th) in Seattle, right across the street from Starbucks main headquarters. Shop many of the etsyrain crafters all in person and in one place! I won't have my items there, but you'll have a chance to see others and support handmade!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Looking Forward

The past 2 weeks, I've been busy making special orders from customers in MN. It's been fun, but I've been making things I already know how to do. Not really stretching myself or experimenting very much. It almost feels like I've taken a step backward by making things that aren't challenging me. Mind you, I'm not complaining, I do appreciate the orders. I still need to make several things for summer and fall delivery to the shops I'll be selling my work at in MN, but I have some flexibility in what I'll have available to offer them when that time comes.

While I enjoy re-creating past success items and tweaking/improving them a bit, I also like to explore new techniques and keep growing with my jewelry designs. There are so many jewelry techniques I'd like to learn; soldering, piercing, rings, bezels, etc... The list goes on and on. I feel like such a novice when I think about how much I don't know yet.

At one of my classes this year, I was told by a classmate to take a look at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. I did just that and I'm so excited! I have signed up for 56 hours of jewelry/metalsmithing classes this summer! Today, I picked up 2 books that they recommended, "The Complete Metalsmith" by Tim McCreight and "Jewelry Making Techniques Book" by Elizabeth Olver. I've been perusing them all evening and drooling over things I want to learn. My classes don't start until mid June, but I'm already sketching things I want to try. Pratt has full jewelry and metalsmithing studios available to rent on an hourly/daily basis, so after my classes, I'll be able to go back and use some of their equipment that I don't have at home. Fire, here I come! Controlled fire, of course :) I feel like Tim Allen, grunting Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh oh...... at the possibilty of new toys!

For May, (I try to take at least one class every month) I'm going to take a couple of advanced riveting classes from 2 of my favorite instructors, Tracy Stanley and Janice Berkebile from Wired Arts . One class will be making riveted rings and the other covers making riveted amulets. I could probably do both right now, just looking at the photos of what we'll be making, but Tracy and Janice always give such fun classes and helpful tips that it's well worth it to take their classes.

I'm looking forward to a summer of creative learning and growth. Always evolving. Jewelry making is becoming a full time job for me and I couldn't be happier!

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Spiral Bracelet is featured in an etsy Treasury today!

An etsy treasury is a collection of items, usually themed, that an etsy seller or buyer can create and post as a featured page on etsy. I am honored today by being included today in a treasury!

It's been a while since I've been featured in, or created an etsy treasury, so I'm especially pleased today to have one of my favorite creations, Nature's Spiral bracelet, featured in a treasury today! You can view the entire treasury here. Please take a look and add a comment to the treasury page! Also, please be sure to also check out the creator's etsy shop, lazydayz - she creates beautiful metalwork jewelry as well!