Monday, December 20, 2010

Let's talk Tanzania.

You may remember a couple weeks back that I put together my very first treasury. It happened because I fell in love with a lioness... photo, that is. I couldn't take it. I bought that gorgeous photograph! It didn't last even a couple days in my treasury. I never get tired of looking at her and can't wait to have her framed to display in my home! She is below in a piece called "queen of the grassland."

I had a couple Etsy convos back and forth with Sharon, the photographer, who told me of her travels to Tanzania, where she shot many of her wildlife photographs. Her work and stories transport you there and, frankly inspired me to want to go there and see these amazing creatures for myself one day. Amongst others in her shop are an absolutely adorable baby elephant, a majestic sleeping lion and curious hyenas. Whether you're looking for a gift for an animal lover or a beautiful piece of artwork for your own home, smrrk photography has something for you. The photographs come well packaged and protected and signed and numbered on the back.

*COPYRIGHT: original photographs by smrrk photography; artist retains copyright after purchase.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

One more time!

Okay, I'm not trying to be a pain or a braggart or just have a blog about treasuries, but I'm pretty excited that my new Busy Bee lariat necklace made it into a treasury within a couple days of listing it. Honey Sapphire is the name of this one. I love it! Thank you to ananemone for adding me to this one!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Well, I decided to curate a treasury.

I figured it was about time I figure out how to do it. I really enjoy looking through them and having the glimmer of hope that mine will make the front page is a cool notion too. And, I guess I'm paying it forward for the handful of people who have been kind enough to include me in theirs lately.

It's pretty easy to put one together, although it took me a little while to pick just the right items. Here it is if you'd like to purchase any of these lovely items, please follow the link here. Cheers!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Well, this is a first!

I woke up this morning to a convo from a fellow Etsy seller, Feathers of Artemis, telling me she'd included my new Starry Night earrings in her treasury, Starry Starry Night.

Then, tonight before heading off to bed, I decided to do a treasury search and found my latest listing, Warmth earrings, included in a treasury as well! This one, Fire and Ice, was curated by Carolyn Rachel. It made for an exciting day for me!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thinking warm thoughts.

I am not a fan of cold weather. Here in Cincinnati where we live, we get our fair share of sticky, icky, humid hot days over the summer. Often times we seem to skip spring altogether. My husband can't stand it, but I enjoy the hot weather. Maybe I could do without some of the humidity, but I like it hot. I'm one of those unfortunate people who seems to be cold far more often than not.

I really can't complain (yet) because we are actually experiencing a pretty nice autumn this year. Temperatures have been relatively mild so far, mostly in the low 60ºs. Last night was the first truly cold night and I think temperatures were supposed to have dipped into the 20ºs. We've had lots of fall color in the foliage this year. It's been quite beautiful.

Most of my plants have withered or are about to, turning in for their winter rest. I know I should given my flower beds one last weeding and I'm supposed to cut back my perennials and remove spent blooms, but I tend to not get around to that major chore. Perhaps it's me trying to hold onto summer or it could just be shear laziness and loss of daylight hours. I tell myself "remember on Martha Stewart, that one time she said to leave the stalks and dried flowers for 'winter interest". Something like that. I took it to heart, whatever it was exactly. One last purple cone flower peeped out from under the dried leaves this week. Every once in a while my laziness is rewarded.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Show season is winding down.

At least summer show season, anyway. A couple weekends ago I participated in Art Off Pike in Covington, KY's arts district. This was my third year as an artist/vendor there. My lack of sales there last year made me reluctant to try it again, but after the success I had at the Mason Arts Festival last month, I guess I was feeling good and lucky. I actually missed the juried entry deadline. And the extended deadline.

I'm the first to admit that I'm a procrastinator. Jewelry is such a tough category at some shows and I honestly figured it was way too late to try. I sent off an email to the nice lady coordinating the event anyway, and she got right back to me and told me to send in my photos and application. I was accepted and I'm glad I gave it another shot! (My point is, it never hurts to ask, even if you're late on a deadline!)

The morning got off to a chilly start, but with promise of highs in the low 80s, I ran out the door with shorts on and a sweater over my short sleeved shirt. Boy, was I freezing. There were a few volunteers who practically unloaded my car for me, and while I parked my car, they set up my tent. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived back at my booth space. I do hate the tent setting up part! And it's always tricky to do it yourself. I've heard it can be done, but I've never successfully done it myself. I was just so thankful the volunteers were there!

Okay, tent up, jewelry out... still freezing! The day went on with a decent amount of people wandering from booth to booth. It did eventually warm up. To the 80s. It was so HOT! lol I couldn't believe it. If I remember correctly, the high was 86º. Honestly, I'm not complaining, but I was surprised.

The lovely sunny, warm weather kept a steady stream of visitors and people were actually buying this year! It was a pretty drastic difference from last year's show. I didn't get a chance to walk around, but I did not see a bunch of jewelry artists there this year – another pleasant surprise. The couple I could see from my booth were very much different from what I was offering, so that was a definite plus.

I'm not really sure if it's the economy starting to bounce back, the weather or the change in style of my merchandise, but the show had a better energy than previously. Probably a combination of all of those things. I imagine I will try to make the deadline for entry next year!

Here is my booth set-up from this time around. I decided to add some 11"x11" color prints of a few of my pieces. I printed them at work on the nice color printer and mounted them on foamcore. I punched holes in them and hung them from large binder rings. Economical and eye-catching. I had a few comments from passersby that they had drawn them in. One lady actually said they made her buy the earrings, so they did the trick there! I think it's an idea that could work for most types of booths.
View to the right of me.
The Arcade is a passageway that led to the other street with vendors. They had various local musical groups and a duo throughout the day. This one was my personal favorite.
The view to the left of my booth.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My second show of the year came late in the season.

I haven't done a lot of shows this year. Last year I tried to get into every show I could find, it seems like. This time around, I decided to try to stick with the juried art show variety, which seems to be working better for me. Jewelry is generally a very saturated category (I've even had customers mention how many jewelry booths there are at 'this show', and so on). Even in juried shows, there is never a shortage of jewelry booths, but since they are purposefully selecting the artists, they tend to have a better variety. Which works out better for everyone.

For my most recent, the Mason Arts Festival last Sunday, I decided to sort of try to work myself into a niche. I got together a decent amount of new PMC pieces and had far fewer strung bead necklaces. The majority of my pieces were earrings, then quite a few necklaces and three or four bracelets. Overall, it turned out to be a really good day for me sales-wise, and the weather, although starting out with a chance of rain and kind of cool, ended up being warm (okay, hot) and sunny. There was a nice breeze all day, so that was nice!

I have to say, the Mason-Deerfield Arts Alliance did a fantastic job of organizing this festival. It was their 5th year and my first as a participant. Their volunteers were around all day to help with set-up, transporting vendors back and forth to their cars, watching booths for breaks, bringing waters, etc. It was very helpful and I felt very welcome there. You could tell it was well-publicized too. We had a steady stream of shoppers all day long. I really hope to become a yearly participant at this one.

This is my booth set-up this time around.

A couple views of the shoppers from my booth.

This is the bag of freshly popped kettle corn from the booth behind mine. I could smell it all day and finally caved. (How could I not?) It was fantastic. This is the small bag!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Keep 'em coming!

Wow, so I guess July is my lucky month. This makes the third treasury for me for July. Very exciting stuff! Check out Tango 3.0 here, which includes my carnelian drop earrings aptly named Tango. Thanks to EmporiumGitane on Etsy for including me!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Another treasury!

Well, 2 posts in one day, this is a first for me. I couldn't resist though! I've made it into another beachy treasury. Thank you to bombshellbettiesvint for creating such a cool, vacation-feeling compilation. Here is link to the treasury.

A long overdue trip report.

Well, this one should be an easy read! As I mentioned in a previous post, we were heading off to a family vacation in Las Vegas. (Sounds scary, right?) Well, despite my initial anxiety, a good time was had by all.

Here's the low-down in short form: We arrived Sunday, May 16, checked in to the Flamingo and the Venetian. Rooms were great, so we headed over to Bellagio for the brunch buffet (which I highly recommend). We swung by the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens afterwards to check out the spring display and then headed downtown to 'old Vegas'.

Bellagio spring display, which, as with all of their displays was comprised mostly of flowers and live plants. It's just amazing every season I've seen it (and free to all who want to spend time there). Definitely a must see if you're in Vegas.

The gang: Mom, me, my husband (the giant), grams, mother-in-law, father-in law, and gram's friend in front.

Monday, we headed out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which was just breathtaking, even on an overcast day. I'd like to go back there again. I want to say it's 30-40 minutes west of the strip – not a bad drive and well worth the trip.

After Red Rock, it was off to the Hoover Dam. I can see why this place ended up on Modern Marvels on the History Channel. Wow!

I suspect the new bridge they're constructing will end up being on an episode as well. It's being built to divert some of the traffic from the dam.

After the Dam, we headed back and got ready to catch the 9:30 showing of Mystére (Cirque du Soleil). It was my 3rd Cirque show and I enjoyed it so much. Everyone else in the group loved it as well. Again, I would recommend...

Wednesday was Grand Canyon day. We made the 4.5 hour or so drive to the South Rim, which I hear has the best views. I can't say I would disagree! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I made it into a Treasury!

Thank you to fellow Etsian Auramatic for putting one of my bracelets (Seaside) into a lovely, beachy feeling treasury! Very exciting! Check it out here. And be sure to stop by Auramatic's shop too. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gearing up.

It's been over a year since we've made the trip out to my favorite vacation spot – Las Vegas! Well, we're getting ready to head out there for 4 days, but with a twist this time around.

We're taking with us my in-laws, grandma and one of her good friends and my mom. I'm feeling a little anxious about the whole thing. Seven people and trying to coordinate all of the things we want to show them... My father-in-law is out there a few times a year for business but isn't the type to go gambling. My mother-in-law has been there once for work, but didn't get to see much of anything. Grandma was there long ago, when the Mirage was new! I'm not sure about her friend, but I get the impression she has also been there. My mom hasn't ever really been on a real vacation. Well, she's getting thrown right in on this trip!

We have two rooms lined up at the Venetian and one at Flamingo. My in-laws have a rental car reserved – a van, no less – which will be quite handy with all of these people! We've got a decent amount of sight-seeing planned, which is cool for me since I've never seen any of these places! So far on the agenda are Red Rock National Conservation Area, Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Ethel M's Chocolate Factory & Botanical Cactus Garden, possibly Lake Mead and of course all of the cool things right there in Las Vegas. We're going to see Cirque du Soleil's Mystére at Treasure Island and the ladies want to go see one of the Rat Pack tribute shows. Somehow I've got to work in some pool time and my husband and I will likely have a couple late night poker sessions sprinkled in there. I'm sure we'll manage.

Right now I'm trying to get everything done at home... cleaning, packing and trying to get some more pieces listed in my shop. I'm really getting excited about hitting the desert for a few days though! Of course I will bring back many photos and a trip report (be warned, I'm sure it'll be a long read!).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A good morning.

It was probably close to 7 pm last night when I checked in with my shop last. I checked out early to go play cards with some friends. We got home very late and went straight to bed. This morning I woke up to a sale (yea!) and also to see that I now have 100 Etsy members who 'heart' me! It's a baby milestone for my shop. It always feels good to wake up to a sale, but I was hanging around just under 100 hearts for a few days and was wondering if it would ever flip over to 100!

Friday, April 2, 2010

One of my favorites.

A few years ago in the fall, we planted two trees in our front yard which replaced some aging evergreens. They were not in the best shape and were big enough to pose a threat to everything around them. One, a mountain ash, which is shaping up to be a lovely shade tree, and a saucer magnolia. I've always loved magnolias. They come in so many varieties, each one more beautiful than the last. I happened to find one on sale for around $25 since it was the end of the season. Each spring it produces more and more sweetly scented, soft pink flowers, but they don't last very long! More times than not, we get a cold snap and the frost takes away the blossoms. Today, I was lucky enough to be off work and figured I had better snap a couple pics while there was still time! Happy spring! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Loving the PMC...

These are a few pieces I finished up Sunday (meaning I finally put some of my PMC elements actually into some designs!). I've been such a slacker lately, so it feels fantastic to get some new pieces made and I'm really happy with how they turned out too. Not bad for my first attempt. I will be adding them to my shop before long, but I need to get some more photos. After that, I'm going to be purchasing some more clay and working on my technique. I'm very excited!

First up is a fine silver pendant paired with a AAA amethyst briolette. I had two of these little guys and they are stunning stones. Just have to figure out where the second one will live now. I finished the chain with a hand-formed clasp and two tiny faceted peridots.

Next is one that I'm especially fond of.. I had this teardrop shaped pendant and couldn't quite figure out what to do with it until I sat down and dug through my gems. I came across this beautiful garnet and it just spoke to me. Really a lovely piece, if I do say so. Also finished with a handmade clasp and two faceted garnets.

Last is a pair of earrings. 'Lace' is their name. AAA pink amethyst, fine silver discs and hand-formed sterling earwires. Perfect for spring!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yikes! I have no jewelry of my own!

For a while now, I've been trying to concentrate on keeping my shop full and fulfilling custom orders. It dawned on my that I haven't made anything for myself in quite a while. After visiting a bead show last weekend and finding one of my new favorite stones, I decided to make myself a new favorite necklace.

Red Creek Jasper is absolutely stunning. The variations of color and pattern throughout each bead are quite striking and unique to each, so much so that they required little work from me to produce this beautiful piece. I only bought a single strand and if I can find more, you'll likely see something similar in my shop before too long. But I'm keeping this one! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

A few custom orders... finished!

For the last several weeks, I seem to have been suffering from some sort of jewelry creating block. It didn't help that I had a few things hanging around that I needed to finish either. Luckily, with the help of visiting a couple traveling bead shows, I have managed to work through it.

This first piece I designed for my neighbors' kids' school fundraiser. I'm not sure looking back if she asked me for a necklace or any type of piece in particular, but I felt that might, well... raise the most funds. I had a hard time at first even selecting beads for to get started. Sometimes I look into that bin with the strands in it and don't see anything I really like or care to work with at the time. Such was the case this time. I ended up using a strand of large rose quartz ovals, tiny dark pink garnet teardrops in threes as spacers and a beautiful pink/purple moukaite jasper as a focal nestled between two sterling hammer-finished circles. I added a hook clasp that I made and am really happy with the results. I wish I had gotten a better photo of it. The lighting was not the best and I didn't drag out my light box. Lesson learned!

Next is a pair of earrings for a friend of my husband, who purchased the Desert Walk bracelet from me around Christmas time. She asked if there was a matching pair of earrings. Not a problem. I just love these! A mix of yellow wonderstone, green turquoise and copper. I adore wonderstone... so many color variations to be seen in it!

Also for our friend is this necklace which started with the focal bead that she had purchased years ago. She just never got around to putting it into a design and asked if I would like to do it. After much debate at my local bead store, I ended up combining it with a couple sizes of matching turquoise rounds, new jade faceted rounds and rich, cocoa brown Swarovski pearls. I fashioned a swirly copper bail and added the copper and sterling rings for a bit of brightness and color. (Plus I know she likes copper!)

I figured it couldn't hurt to make a pair of matching earrings as well!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Could it be?

Today has been a beautiful, sunny winter's day. I think it reached 45º. It's not as warm as I'd like, but it sure beats the 20's and 30's we've been seeing. I was fortunate enough to have the day off work, so my mom and I got together for lunch. Mmmm, Angilo's Pizza!

I was standing outside chatting with my mom as she was leaving after her visit this afternoon and happened to glance over at my neighbors' flower bed. Actually, mom pointed it out to me. A beautiful little pop of purple coming up from the mulch! Could it be that spring is around the corner? Please, say it's true!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

PMC me!

A few weeks back, I finally got to take a basics class in PMC (or precious metal clay.) I had been wanting to try it out for a long time, but it's not the cheapest of materials to just play around with and figure out on your own.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect going in and I certainly learned a few things. There were two ladies, myself and Mandy, the instructor at A World of Beads. We all got a tiny little packet (25g) of clay and once Mandy explained how to use the playing cards, roller, rubber stamps, various fondant cutters (like mini cookie cutters) we were allowed to open the packets! The clay sort of reminded me of kneaded eraser. There was a lot of rolling it out, trying out shapes and textures, re-rolling it out and, of course, keeping it moist.

I think the most important thing to remember about PMC is that it seems to lend itself to the more organic shapes and textures. I really enjoyed learning a little bit about it and I ended up with a few really pretty pieces. I can't wait to get another packet and try my hand at it on my own.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera with me to the class, so the photos below were taken after the pieces were fired and tumbled and polished. This was also my first attempt at using my new light box and I need to work with it a bit more...

First, Lucy had to check out the new light box.

A few of the new pieces. The smaller ones are around the size of a dime.

Mandy covered many things in the class, such as making and adding bails to pieces to create pendants.

I also learned that most natural stones can't survive the kiln firing process. I was a little disappointed to hear that. I had visions of setting stones, but, it turns out you can add bezels prior to firing and then set stones in them. Or, you can use dichroic glass, which is a heat tolerant fused glass. I wanted to try as many different techniques with an instructor. This one ran the gamut! I added texture, made a bail and attached it, fashioned a bezel and set a piece of dichroic glass.

This last one is a pair of earrings that I created for my neighbor. Over the summer, she and her family had gone on a beach vacation and she brought me back a baggie full of shells that she had collected. She thought I could use them in some of my jewelry creations. (I love that idea.) I ended up using one to make impressions in two small ovals of clay and then added tiny aquamarine rounds and handmade earwires to finish them. She loved them and I think she was surprised to have the shells used that way. (I still intend to use the shells themselves in the future!)

Friday, January 22, 2010

A lovely bridesmaid.

It occurred to me while reading another blog that I never posted a photo of the earring and necklace sets that I created for a co-worker of my husband. She was married last summer and was kind enough to forward along a photo of one of her four bridesmaids.

We worked together through my husband (who now knows more than he cares to about wedding jewelry) for a couple weeks on what she wanted. She gave me a couple ideas from magazines she had seen and I put together custom ideas for her in a palette of soft pinks in cherry and rose quartz, and luminous white Swarovski pearls, all brought together with shiny sterling silver.

The sets turned out great — the perfect complement to the chocolaty brown gowns. She was thrilled with them, as were her bridesmaids from what I have heard. And they truly are sets that can be worn again and again.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I feel like I have fallen off of planet blog

Well, happy new year! Here it is January 6, 2010. I haven't checked in here in way too long. I've had good intentions, just haven't gotten around to it. I need to get back on the horse with my Etsy store too... need to get some new pieces listed.

We didn't do a whole lot for New Year's Eve this year, which is okay with me. I've never really been the go-out-and-party type. My husband and I spent a quiet night at home. I picked up a pizza and we worked on a 750 piece Las Vegas puzzle. (I know it sounds weird or even boring, but we enjoyed each other's company and it was fun to do it together. Tougher than we thought it would be too!) Now we have a good size assembled puzzle under our sofa. Maybe it'll get framed one of these days.

I have been looking forward to 2009 being in the books for a while now, so I'm glad it's a new year finally. I have some cool new toys from Christmas, including a photo light box. While I love the look of photos with natural daylight, it's just not very practical to wait for a sunny weekend day to take photos of my jewelry. And right now, it's pretty darned cold out there even if it is sunny, so enough of that! I was pretty excited to get that. Just need to set it up and get moving.

My husband enrolled me in a PMC (precious metal clay), which is this Saturday. I can't wait. I've been wanting to learn more about PMC for a while now, but it's cost has so far prevented me just buying some and playing around with it. I figure a little instruction never hurt anyone. Hopefully, I'll have some new fine silver pieces from this to add to my shop in the near future!


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