Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My continuing love affair with copper

(Click to enlarge)
I got my hands on a bunch of copper rings and decided to offer some to members of Lampwork Etc. The only catch was they had to use the rings to create a piece or pieces of jewelry. They could use as many or as little of the rings as they wanted to.
I had a few certain members in mind that I knew I wanted to participate in the challenge. I was so happy that they signed up for my challenge. These are members whos work I admire a great deal. I love how they design. I love how they utilize their materials. I love their concepts.
The results of my challenge are just beginning to trickle in. The photo above is one of the pieces I designed with the copper rings. I hammered the rings flat and then textured them with the ball pien end of my chasing hammer.
I had decided I was going to antique this piece as well. I had never used Liver of Sulphur before. I had no idea what to expect. I didn't even know how to use it! All I knew was that it could antique the copper components of my bracelet. So, I dissolved a chunk of this stuff in warm water and dropped my bracelet in. There were several things that I wasn't expecting that happened all at once here.
First of all, I used way too big a piece of LOS for this one bracelet. I don't know if I can use it at a later time, but I saved the container full of water and LOS.
The second thing that took place that I wasn't expecting was the speed at which my piece would turn color. I had no idea that it would be immediate. I figured I would have to let the bracelet sit in the solution for an hour or so. Not the case....this thing turned black immediately!
The third thing I wasn't prepared for was the smell of LOS. My whole house instantly smelled like rotten eggs. Even after two hours when I decided to go to bed, I could still smell it! It reminded me of the sulphur water that my mother used to have at her house in the country, before the town put water lines in. Peeeeee Ewwwww!
Now, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to "buff" the excess coloring off my bracelet so it would give it an antique look. All I knew is that I had to do something to remove most of what was there. I decided that I would try a steel wool pad and to my delight....it worked like a charm! I removed as much of the black color as I like and was quite pleased with the look it left when I was finished.
I really like the look of antiqued metal. I am thinking that I may just have to use this method more often. Maybe I have created a monster here! LOL! All I know is that it was super easy to do, I am very pleased with the results and knowing how to do this will certainly be very useful in the future.
So, what I have discovered since I began using copper in my designs is this. I love the look of shiny copper. Shiny copper always catches my eye. Heck, who am I kidding? Shiny anything always catches my eye!
I really like the look of antiqued copper. It gives the piece what I call a "historic" look. Makes it look vintage. I guess it stirs some buried feelings of nostolgia in me or something.
But....and maybe it will grow on me, or maybe I will learn to love it, but for right now.....I DON'T like the look of natural patinaed copper. To me, it has no depth. It's dull.....it's boring. I cannot find anything that I like about natural patinaed copper. I know that I do like the greenish blue type of patina on copper. That's not what I am talking about here. I'm talking about when the copper loses it's shine and is just dull.....and brown. Blech.
Like I said...maybe one day I will love it as much too. Who knows. I'm still pretty new into this copper adventure with my jewelry. I'm pretty sure there is still lots for me to learn and discover the more I use it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My new found fondness for copper

I was never really a big fan of copper. Don't know why, exactly, but it just didn't have much appeal for me. But I used to feel the same way about silver too and I love silver now. I guess tinkering in jewelry making, certain things begin to grow on you. Or, as is the case with my love of silver now, I couldn't afford to work in gold, so I had to substitute for a more affordable working medium. I chose to work in silver. Occassionally I will dabble with some gold-filled components, but for the most part, it has been strictly silver.
That is, up until now. Now I've added a new and fun element to my jewelry making. I've added copper. Copper is wonderful! Copper is versitile! Copper can be shiny....like a brand new penny or copper can be aged. Or copper can be a whole lot of other finishes in between! Copper goes with lots of things. Copper plays well with others. You can mix it with just about anything.
I'm finding that I am growing (quite quickly, I might add) very fond of copper. I've even taken to ordering a whole bunch of copper findings. I love mixing copper with sterling silver. The look is so cool! Look for more copper and copper/silver pieces coming from me. It's MY latest thing in my designs. =]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Taking the plunge.....

Well, I finally decided that it was time to start doing something with all of this jewelry that I was making.

I had previously listed things on Ebay, given lots of things to friends and relatives and collected a huge amount of things that I had made. I had good intentions of selling my jewelry online, but all of the picture taking, writing descriptions and selling my product just didn't appeal to me. It was something that I just couldn't "get into".

My collection of pieces started to become quite some size, and I knew that the time had come that I would have to find them new homes. I mean, I don't even wear all that much jewelry! I couldn't possibly promote myself by wearing my own pieces if I don't wear it!

So, to get to the point, I decided to start listing things. I started over at Artfire. I have a "store" there with my items listed. This prompted me to open a store at ShopHandmade. It's been a couple of weeks now since I've opened my stores over there. So far....there are a few lookers, but no buyers. Maybe my prices are too high?

Regardless, my friend opened a store over at Etsy. I was helping her to promote her store when I got the idea that I may as well open a store there myself. So I did! It just opened today! If you care to check it out, you can find it here.

All three stores carry the same inventory. If a piece sells, it will be removed from all three storefronts. Rather than have different items for each store, I just felt that this way would be easier for me to keep track of for now and it would widen the exposure of the pieces for me. Maybe in the future I will stock different items in each individual store, but for now, I will keep it like this. =]

Take a look around. Maybe there's something that will catch your eye!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

For a good cause....

Sometimes life doesn't seem fair. A life taken away at such a very young age, so innocent and so naive. We sometimes ask why, we sometimes get angry. I can't imagine what I would do if I were to lose a child, especially one that is still so new to the world.

A fellow co-worker and his family is going through this unthinkable tragedy as I write this. Their little one will soon leave this world and return to his home. I can't comprehend how it must feel waking up each morning and wondering if today will be the last day that I get to share with my loved one, especially a child so young. It must be torture, to say the least.

My fellow co-workers are holding a benefit dinner to help ease the financial burden that the loss of this beautiful child is placing on this family. Although we wish we could take the pain away, we know it is out of our hands. But what we can do to help, we will do.

I have created and will be donating this bracelet and earrings set to put up for auction at the benefit dinner. It seems like such a small thing to do, but every little bit helps. My wish is for lots of people to bid on the set so this family will benefit from it. The set is made up of Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. I wish I could capture the sparkle of this piece on camera.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's amazing what I come up with when I play around

(Click image to enlarge)

So I started out my day not really planning on making any jewelry pieces. I usually need a bit of motivation for creating jewelry and I haven't really been that motivated to do so lately. Although, I do confess.....I did make a really pretty pair of earrings for one of the girls I work with last week. Mind you, I had promised them to her over 6 months ago.....sometimes these things take time.....hahaha......a LOT of time. ;-) I wish I would have taken a picture of them.

As I was saying....I hadn't planned out any pieces to make. I actually wasn't even thinking about sitting at my jewelry desk at all yesterday. I don't even know how I got to researching chainmaille, but next thing I knew, I was on this website looking at different tutorials for patterns. I knew I had lots of gold-filled jump rings sitting in my components organizer, so I pulled them out and proceeded to give one of the tutorials a try.

Well, let me just say that working with those little pieces was at first frustrating. I felt like my fingers were too big and I was totally uncoordinated with the tools. Then I realized that I wasn't able to "see" them as well as maybe I should be, so I went and sat at my desk and used the magnifier. Wow!!! What a difference!!! Now I could actually see where the jumprings were going and if I had placed them around the others correctly. Once I could see properly, I found that the process went a whole lot quicker.

Anyways.....long story short.....the image above is the result of my experiment with chainmaille. I made two pieces of chain and decided to turn them into a bracelet. The beads I used are lampwork beads made by Dana Graham. I remember when Dana first started out lampworking and she's grown so much as a lampwork artist. =] I hope that I have done her beads justice in this piece.

Friday, July 31, 2009

~ "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." ~ Albert Einstein ~


The recent reportings of the Online Fraud Investigations have been found to be none other than the work of a disgruntled artist! The articles published on this person's blog ARE NOT TRUE! I will not post a link to this slanderous blog, as I don't want to feed the narcassitic bully anymore attention than what she's already brought to herself. A link to her ridiculous blog can be found on the site that is linked below. Please...if you are going to read her site, do it through an RSS feed instead of a direct link. This way she won't obtain the hits she needs to keep her blog at the top of the Google pages. It's easy to do, once you know how to do it. If you don't know how, this site explains how to do it.

To find out the TRUTH about the integrity of these brilliant artists, please read this blog, the Artisan Fraud Truth Report. The accussations against the artists listed in the Online Fraud Investigations blog are both FALSE and unreliable. They are the ramblings of a disgruntled artist who was guilty and exposed of fraud of her very own last year. She was shut down at that time, only to re-emerge with a vengence. You can read about it here.

I have always known that these wonderful artists were innocent of all accusations against them and it is the reason that I previously blogged about it here.....to help educate those that were searching for answers to the recent smear campaign going on against them. It warms my heart to see that they are finally being cleared of all of these false allegations.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

~ "Revenge is always the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind" ~ Juvenal ~

I know I don't post on here a whole lot. In fact, I hardly post on here at all, but sometimes things take place that just make me question the integrity of the human race. Sometimes really good people have to endure some really messed up things that other self-absorbed people inflict on them. There is a specific incidence of this going on currently in the cyber world as I know it. The following blog post is strickly my opinion and how I see things.

Without going into a whole lot of detail, there are some really nice people in the forums that I frequent who are having to deal with some really shitty accusations. All these accusations are because one person has appointed herself as the online fraud police. She's doing this to get revenge because she herself was allegedly accused of fraud last year. She was shut down by the online selling venues. This self appointed "fraud investigator" has set out to make consumers question the integrity of her targeted victims and to try to destroy their online business reputations. She's also gone as far as alerting the authorities of her so called "proof of fraud". Btw folks, her blogs, should you happen to come across them, are written to make it look like there is a "group of concerned citizens" that have formed the group. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that this is the vindictive work of just ONE person. If I am wrong, my bad. I also question the length of time this so-called "group" has been "gathering information". (blog states 18 months)

With that said, I would just like to take the time here to support the people this person is targeting. I have been a jewelry maker for the past 5 years. It is a hobby for me, not a business. I don't sell a whole lot of my work, preferring instead to gift it to people or donate it. I have been a member of a couple of the lampworking forums and the online selling venues for a few years. I have known some of these targeted people online for as long as I have frequented the forums. I have purchased merchandise from some of these people. They are upstanding sellers. They run their businesses with integrity. There is nothing fraudulent about them. They have their affairs in order, despite what the "online fraud investigation" states.

With the ugliness out of the way, let's take a look at some of these wonderful artists and what they have to offer.

First of all, Elizabeth Wait of Greyhaven Studio, also known as Betsymn. Check out her fabulous lampwork beads! I have purchased from her with no issues at all. She's a wonderful lady and very talented as well.

Next up, let me introduce you to Lydia Muell of Ashton Jewels. I have admired Lydia's work for quite some time. Each of her pieces is absolutely amazing! Check out her website and you'll see exactly what I am talking about. I've known Lydia's online presence since I first joined the lampwork forums. She's such a gentle person and is admired by so many in the lampwork community.

Following Lydia, we have Lenora Gray, of Lenora's Designs. Another very talented and well respected lady in the lampwork community. I've also known Lenora's online presence for as long as I have been a member of the lampwork forums.

Since becoming a member of Etsy & Artfire, I've had several members that I have become fond of. CCtexan3 (name withheld to protect her privacy) and Holly McConnell of Goatmountainarts & Vanillabeanbakery come to mind.

CCtexan3, being a fellow jewelry designer has some wonderfully designed pieces for sale in her Artfire shop http://www.artfire.com/users/cctexan3. Check out her work! You won't be disappointed!

Holly offers soaps, fibers, fabrics and patterns both in her Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5005507

and in her Artfire shop http://www.artfire.com/users/goatmountainarts.

She also offers baked goods on her Vanilla Bean Bakery site and OMG do her baked goods look absolutely D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S!!!

So, if you're at all concerned about any of these sellers, don't be. They are all innocent of the accusations that are being flung all over the internet. It's too bad that some people can't use their time more productively instead of trying to harm the reputations of some very good people.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A nice surprise

Two weeks ago I entered a little giveaway on one of the blogs that I have been following. The blog is Lorelei's Blog called Inside The Studio. She was giving away a Bead Trends magazine that she was published in and also a pair of earrings that she had made. Well....as luck would have it.....I was one of the winners! I usually don't win anything in these giveaways, so it was a nice surprise! The earrings that she sent to me are fabulous! The magazine is pretty cool too, but I have to admit that I have only skimmed through it so far. Perhaps I'll have some time in the next couple of days to really sit down and go through it more thoroughly. You should check Lorelei's designs. She makes such awesome stuff! Her designs are always so trendy and chic!

I think winning the giveaway on Lorelei's blog set off a string of good luck or something because not too long after that, I received another piece of good news. I opened my email last week and there was an email in there that said I had won but that the email wasn't spam. Curious I opened the email and turns out I did win! I won the Easter Egg Hunt that was being held over at Artfire. There were three prizes for vouchers to spend at participating vendors. I won first place, which meant I now had a $50.00 voucher to spend on anything I wanted to! The email that I got was from Linda of Moonstone Creations. She's the woman who dedicated a lot of time and effort to put the Easter Egg Hunt together. Kudos to her for a job well done!

In the email she sent to me announcing that I had won was a list of vendors who were participating in the hunt and who I could choose from to spend my money. I tell ya....the list was quite extensive. I spent the better part of two days trying to decide what I would buy. I could spend it on a lot of small items and get lots of presents in the mail or I could spend it all in one shot. I finally decided on a Celtic bracelet made by Amy of The Jewelry Shop. The bracelet went over the amount of the voucher so I just sent the difference to Linda to cover the rest. Now I am anxiously waiting for the arrival of my new bracelet! It looks so beautiful in the picture and I know from experience that pictures never do look as good as the real thing and I know that this bracelet will be totally awesome in real life.

If you get a chance, check out some of the artisans over at Artfire. There is some pretty amazing and unique stuff offered for sale over there. All of it is handmade by artisans around the globe. You might even stubble upon that one piece that you've always been looking for! Happy looking! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

First thoughts....

So, I am thinking, why do I need a blog? I don't.....not really. I don't even know if I will keep it up or not. I probably won't. It's kind of like a journal to me....and I've never been able to keep one of those going. I guess I'm just not the "journaling" type. But everywhere I go, people are blogging and asking if I "blog".....so maybe it's time to start! At least I can give it an honest effort and if I happen to not like it.....I have the freedom to discontinue if I want to. :) So....for now.....I'll blog.

A bit about myself. I am mother of two grown children, a son, my oldest, who still lives at home full time. He'll be attending University in the fall. I also have a grown daughter, my youngest, who lives more at her boyfriend's parent's house than she does mine. She's planning on attending College in the fall. I have a dog....a boxer named Kayla who is a rescue.

I love to make jewelry in my spare time. I have also dabbled in lampworking, but haven't become addicted to it (yet). I love to read, take my dog for walks and I enjoy cooking.....but only when I have to do it because I WANT TO.....not because I HAVE TO. I love learning new things!

I work full time, swing shift. I prefer working the day shift because it allows me time to do stuff after work.....but I hate getting up to the alarm clock. As of two weeks ago, I was officially informed that I would be laid off indefinetly from my job. This won't take affect until late June and there is an ever so slight chance that it won't happen at all. All I know is that I will deal with it when I have to, but for now, I am trying really hard not to let it stress me out.

Right now I am stressed out more about the fact that while cutting my dogs nails....she moved and I cut the quick. She's actually dealing with it better than I am. She's already forgotten it.....but I keep hearing in my head her "yelp" when the clippers caught her. Poor baby... :(

So I guess this wraps up my first "official" post on my new blog. I can't say that I will blog every day, but I will try and get to it as often as I can. Maybe this blogging thing is just what I need. It might not be of much interest to you, but at least it will give me a place to put down some thoughts and get out some emotions.......good and bad. If you've read this far.....thank you for staying with me!

Enjoy your day!