Thursday, November 29, 2007

busy hands...

I've been a very busy little bee these past few weeks. The great grab bag design experiment has really been working. Every once in a while, I'll switch something out, for a better choice, but there is a lot of pressure off when a part of the design process has already been completed.
Here are some of the results...

boulder opal and copper, with a big shell flower, serious Wilma Flintstone territory

Lapis with pink calcite, very simple

Incredible peacock colored stick pearls with labradorite and amazonite
Mookaite and coral. Made to be worn with clasp anywhere. Pretty versatile.

Rhodonite with onyx, and fun fringe.
My sis Abbi had asked me to send up some stuff to her for an event in town. She is very active in the arts community up there, and they are planning new and exciting events to attract people to the talented artists up in Northwest PA. I sent 16 necklaces and a mess of earrings. They were decorating for it a couple of days ago, and a Christmas tree installed on the ceiling was mentioned. When I get pics I will pass them along. I am very excited for her and for the opportunities that are presenting themselves. In February, they have this very well attended wood and ice carving event, with participants from all over the world. When I say wood, I mean giant log and chainsaw stuff, not for the faint of heart.
Anyway, besides a wonderful Thanksgiving, that's pretty much what I've been up to.
Oh, I went to a concert in a friends living room Tuesday night. Ed had heard this young singer/songwriter on the Prairie Home Companion. His name is Jon Troast (the greatest thing since sliced bread). Ed was impressed, went to his website. Apparently he had been planning this living room across america tour. For like , a hundred bucks, he comes, plays, and sells CD's, all in the comfort of your living room. (Ahh youth!) Well, he was pretty darn good. If you go to the link, you'll see us in Bill and Ed's living room. I'm in the back right, peeking in. So if you get a chance to see him in someone's living room (or perhaps more boring, a coffee house), go, he's good.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Not an ordinary commute

I commute to my 9-2-5, just like anyone else, but I was struck recently by the beauty I encounter along my commute. Yes, I live in New Jersey, and I have a beautiful commute.
Here's proof...

I do spend some time on Routes 287, and 206, but I'm pretty darn lucky, almost no time spent sitting in traffic, beauty all around.

I did have an unfortunate brush with nature (or, nauture had an unfortunate brush with me). I was almost to work, it was the first Saturday of tax season, a frosty February morning. Out of the corner of my eye a flash of color. A small "bonk." Out of my rear view mirror a pheasant is rolling toward the side of the road, his little harem watching nervously, safely from the lawn they had been crossing. I was unable to stop, and when going home a few hours later, I did not spot him on the shoulder. I hope that he was just stunned (and maybe a little embarrassed) by his running into my wheel. I was only going 30mph (the speed limit on this particular road), so maybe he made it.

So, what is the point of my little tangient, you ask? I guess, to say this to all y'all out there whose sole experience in New Jersey has been the Newark airpport, or the Meadowlands for a concert: New Jersey is beautiful, you just have to venture off the turnpike. On second thought, this is such a tiny little state, and already pretty crowded so maybe I shouldn't work so hard to convince anyone else how great it is here. We already know.

PS: yes I took most of these pictures while driving, but you know, I didn't try to frame a shot or do anything fancy. I just snapped while going along, to see what I would get. Two of them I pulled over, because I wanted a something on the side of the road, and I can't get clear shots from the side while moving. No more dangerous than that lady who was tailgating me so close this morning that I could smell her coffee.

yes, I still make jewelry...

Lately, I have not really been keeping up with my jewelry blogging. Recently, my SIL helped my by dumping out all my stone beads on my dining room table, and helping me put together combinations. Sometimes you stare at the same two beads, forgetting all the other beads you have put away. So they sat on the table for a while in matched piles.

Then I wanted to have people over for dinner, so, the piles went into sandwich baggies, and put into my storage containers, marked "grab bag, if you take it, you must make it". The whole point being, I should just grab a random bag, and use what's in it. Hopefully, it will make the composition aspect a little quicker.
Here are three necklaces I've made so far using this "system."
This one is a wire wrapped red agate wavy disk, combined with peridot jasper, olive jade, peridot and more red agate

This one is probably my favorite so far. I will put it up for sale, but I must admit that I made sure I would have enough stones left over to make one for myself. It's substantial, lizardite (a form of serpentine) puff ovals, with onyx rondelles and small lizardite rounds. The lizardite has the coolest texture.

The spiderweb jasper on this one is amazing as well. The irregular web pattern along with the randomness of the coral, offsets the squareness of the beads. I've had the focal piece for a while now, and finally figured out something to do with it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

pics for october 3 post

Okay, couldn't get blogger to let me edit the post for the 3rd of October, so had to create a new post to get these pics up.
Here's the necklace that the dumbest "torch" ever helped me make

Here's the first thing I ever cut out of sheet. It was always supposed to be a leaf, but at first it just looked like a misshapen heart. It has since been etched for the veining, a tube rivet was added for the bail, and it was antiqued and tumbled. It's pretty big, about 3 inches square

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Arrgghhh! Where does the time go?

I am completely amazed at how fast the end of this summer whizzed by. Just completely befuddled. Anyway, no pics to post today, just thought I'd let anyone who's interested, know that I haven't completely abandoned my blog. It has been sitting here, forlorn, wondering what it had done to deserve this neglect.
Well, what has happened since my last blog (not necessarily in chronological order)?

Car is fixed, insurance company still trying to get money back from little girl's insurance company.

Sister-in-law and her hubby announce their pregnancy! Very cool, first of our lot to procreate. Will report on first "bump" sighting. It's so fashionable to call it a bump, that I just had to succumb.

Went to a Rutgers game, had a great time tailgating. The weather has been very cooperative of all the tailgating that has been going on this year.

Painted (most of) the new office entry way. Have to finish a couple of things including but not limited to: fixing the "saddle" into the entry, finish painting the storage room, do decorative painting to bring together all the bloody colors we decided to use, paint the trim, put the epoxy coating on the floor (oh shit, now I'm sweating).

Went up to PA to help out my sis and her hubby (with little sis and Mom). Attempted to prep and paint 12 foot high extremely damaged window casings. Not nearly enough hours in two days to get it done, but made a dent.

Went to Genesis concert. Good news, not nearly the oldest people there. Pretty good show. Very impressed that they acknowledged that they were in New Jersey, not New York!
Hey, for anyone who stumbled on this blog from somewhere across the country, THE MEADOWLANDS ARE IN NEW JERSEY, NOT NEW YORK! The Giants and Jets play in NEW JERSEY!

Started teaching myself to solder. I apologize to my burnt up fingers and the copper I tortured for hours. Results, a pretty good looking necklace (will post pics later) and the confidence to get real equipment to torture more metal. I believe this could be the start of something real cool!
I also tried fusing some fine silver I had, and that was OK, but way to unpredictable to have given me any confidence about it. I am intrigued about fusing, but I think I will pursue that more after getting soldering under control.

Funny story for any jewelery makers out there who remember their first soldering work. Months ago, before I had really done enough research (that will become self-evident momentarily) I bought myself the tiniest torch made, ever. Really, tiny. Some emery cloth, brazing rods, and a fire retardant cloth completed my Home Depot trip. I had also ordered a tripod with mesh screen, and some tweezers from Contenti.
Last weekend, I just had the itch so bad to try something that I just said "go for it!" I went out onto my back deck, sawed myself some smallish, egg-shaped rings, and set to work soldering them. I had read somewhere if you use brazing rods, you don't need flux, so I didn't. First thing I did was burn myself with my heavy duty cigar lighter (because really, that is all this thing really is, I don't even think you could do a creme brulee with this thing). Speaking of creme brulee, I have a creme brulee torch, and I should have used it. (I wish I could find that gingko I bought as well) So then I got my rings done, and I wanted to do a couple of larger things. I wanted to solder some frames for pendants, and I wanted an infinity symbol as well. Well, I quickly discovered that I couldn't keep the whole piece hot enough with my little lighter, and therefore couldn't get the brazing rod to melt properly at the joint. What to do, how can I possibly keep the whole piece hot? I had a brain storm. I picked out a couple of pieces of the lump hardwood charcoal that we use for grilling that were BIG. They also had one side that was flattish. I put them into our starter chimney, inside our little fire pit, lit them as though I was going to cook with them. When they got hot enough, I grabbed one with my tongs, put it on the cooking grate of the fire pit. I was then able to put my copper on the coal, and soldered on that. NOT the best surface to solder on (when the carbon was tumbled off, a little pitting in the joint was left behind), but it satisfied my itch (maybe a soothing salve would have been safer). Anyway, when I get a chance, I'll show you all my little fire babies. Once I tumbled them and pounded on them with my hammer, they aren't half bad. I am now shopping for my torch set up. Look out!

Oh, I also started an Etsy store that is currently empty. I am setting up the appearance this week, and over the weekend (after shopping for bridesmaids dresses), I will be photographing my pieces for sale, and making more. I will let everyone know when the Grand Opening will be.
Etsy is a very cool place to buy and sell handmade things. You have to be a member to buy and sell, but it is simple and free to sign up. Check it out!
All right, semi-caught up. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Crocs, but at what cost?

I got some jewelry done this weekend, but before I can post about that, I have to tell you about my errands yesterday.
After lunch, I decided to run to Costco for some office supplies, and decided that on the way I would stop at Dick's sporting goods, to see about some stuff. I am on a mission to find another mushroom chair (for fall and winter tailgating), and I wanted something else that I am ashamed to admit. Dick's also had the Mary Jane style Croc's on sale, and I had decided to succumb to the Croc's madness.
Dick's (yes, I will call it by it's proper and hilarious name for this whole story) is near the Rockaway Mall. From my office, I would usually take back roads to get to this mall, but said back roads are under construction, so I took the 8o (a nod to Fritz), and had to go around the Mall to get to Dick's. I'm driving on Mt. Airy Road, minding my own business, when a Scion XA makes a left turn in front of me (oh state of many jug handles, why couldn't there have been one at this intersection?), I brake hard, but nick the rear passenger bumper of the car.
I am pissed. Really pissed. I just got my car fixed back in February, when a freak winter storm allowed me the opportunity to do 360's on route 206, and tear the front off of my car. I love this car, and am very upset with the little dare-devil left turner.
The Rockaway Township Police respond very quickly, and get us off of the road into the parking lot of the mall. The two girls (I didn't realize until we moved our cars, that there had been a passenger in the Scion). After writing some stuff down, and checking out our driving records, the officer goes to "little girl" first. I can call her "little girl" because during their conversation, I learn that she is only 18 years old, just off of her provisional license. Her passenger is her 16 year old sister. The officer is very kind, but I think maybe a little too kind. He tells her that everyone gets into accidents, and that the important thing is that no one was hurt, that cars can be fixed. He tells her that she is inexperienced as a driver, and that she probably didn't make a very good judgement in making her turn at the time she did. He doesn't issue any tickets, because he can't prove that she was reckless, or that I was speeding. She starts to argue that point, but he quickly cuts her off. She has been alive for a shorter time than either I or the officer have been driving. She needs to take this as a lesson learned, and make sure that she is very attentive while driving. Is she all right to drive, and did she get hold of her parents? She had spoken to her parents, and her mom told her, what's done is done, and to go and get ice cream. I'm pretty sure that the officer has been having this conversation within my earshot on purpose. The little girls get back in their car and go to get that ice cream.
Now it is my turn. The officer explains it all over to me again. I just agree, and thank him, and tell him I'm going to sit there for a few minutes, and make some calls. I have to tell my husband and the insurance company that I have once again managed to injure my car, while the little girls have their cookies and cream cones.
I'm a little irritated by the officer. Not everyone has to have an accident. Until I was in my thirties, I had never had an auto accident. I feel as though this was a perfect example of the weird attitude taken by adults toward children and young adults these days. Why shouldn't they feel bad? Shouldn't they be scared to get into an accident? Shouldn't it be something that has consequences? Shouldn't she have been scared and a little ashamed or embarrassed or something to call and tell her parents? Will she at least be responsible for paying the deductible for her car repairs?
Okay, rant over.
After my calls, I didn't quite feel the need to get right back onto route 80, so I went to Dick's (which I could see the whole time, taunting me in the distance). They didn't have any mushroom chairs by the way. But I did get my Croc's, which after taxes (none) and my insurance deductible, came to $529.99.

My life right now, priceless.

Next entry, jewelry.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Way behind...

Where does the time go.
Okay, this past weekend, was a very satisfying creative one. I had set my mind to conquer two new skills. Etching of copper, and wire riveting.

After an entire morning and 6 broken saw blades, I got the center link cut. After that, I seem to have gotten the knack of sawing copper, and the next four links went well. Fabricated of 22 GA copper sheet, and hand cut jump rings. Treated with liver of sulphur to antique, and then tumbled to harden. This experiment will be a private piece (the etching is not very good, but I still love it), but I will definitely do similar things in the future. It is so light and comfortable, and makes a nice tinkly sound.

Saturday was spent on Long Island with family at a lovely Bar-b-cue. The weather was gorgeous and the company was wonderful as well. The hostess had requested that I bring some jewelry to look at. I sold some pieces, and also took on two commission pieces. Who says you can't mix business and pleasure.

Sunday was the perfect weather to stay indoors and tackle another skill- riveting. Since I don't solder (yet), I am teaching myself traditional "cold connection" techniques. Wire wrapping being on of them, riveting (with either wire or tubing) is very important as well. The pendant is composed of red brass (3 cm to a side), and copper, hand cut, then etched, tumbled and riveted together using 16 GA sterling wire. Riveting is going to be one of those things I love because it is anal and finicky and a little tricky, but also so useful and decorative.
And last but not least, I made myself a lovely pair of copper earrings using a traditional Danish knot. I antiqued them, and then attached them to copper ear wires. The ear wires may not be a great idea, but I've been wearing them all day, and so far, no green ears...

You can check out what other talented people are doing at the YOJ blog.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Week 29, is something better than nothing?

Well, as you can see from my previous post, I'm playing a little catch up. Week 29's submission, which was supposed to be "Mercury Rising", has nothing to do with that. I think maybe at some point I will revisit that theme, a modified caduceus has caught my imagination.
Instead, I offer a pair of earrings, 16ga sterling, wrapped in 24ga square sterling and 26ga gold fill, with quartz crystal drop. I rushed this, and should have used 24ga round wire, I think the gold filled would have seated itself in nicer with the round wire. Be impressed by my "mad" photography skills, soda can used as tripod (see lower right-hand corner). Taken in my car, in the parking lot of Davy's Dogs, on an old tax folder. Sometimes I frighten myself.

In the meantime, I had a chance to photograph the set I made with the idea of keeping my costs down for wholesale purposes.

Its dark green aventurine or serpentine (I have to check on that) faceted nuggets, with carnelian and honey jade. I haven't priced them yet, but I do know that because they are primarily strung pieces, with handmade clasps, (I did make the bangle bracelet wrapped, but kept it a little more restrained) that my time was really reduced. I was happy to use those green stones, I've had them for ages, and think the colors are quite fun. I'll be very interested to see how they are received. I actually think the pictures came out nicely as well.

We go on vacation next week, I'm hoping to bring my tools and some supplies, and let the seashore refresh my outlook, and recharge my creative juices. Had another crazy weekend (will be discussed in next post with pics), and am ready to go away. How fast has this summer sped by?

Playing Catch Up, Part One, aka The Odyssey

Well, this has been a very busy two weeks since my last post. Thursday, July 19th, my husband Scott and I and another couple, Henry and Ann, left our home in Bridgewater on what has now been named "The Odyssey".

We started out on a long weekend of baseball and shopping in Chicago. Got to Newark airport in plenty of time. Decided last minute that we wanted to check our baggage (Scott and I got lazy with the toiletry packing, what a PITA that 3-1-1 is). Standing in line to check-in (also forgot to print boarding passes, this should have been a sign as well) because the curbside checking was closed. A fellow traveller commented on how long the line was and wondered why no traffic was being allowed into terminal A? Unease is starting to set in. Suddenly, I spy a skycap opening up the curbside. We dash outside, and are second to get checked in. He types our info into his keyboard, "Your flight is cancelled."

"Cancelled? The board says 'on-time". This would become my husbands mantra for the rest of our time in good 'ol EWR.

Click clack on the keyboard, "Cancelled!"

"The board says "On-time!"

Seeing a pattern developing, the skycap wisely decides to go inside and investigate. After a few minutes he returns, "You must go inside, your flight is cancelled". I steer Scott away before an additional mention of the board, and we go back inside to a line that now snakes its way across almost the entire front of the terminal. (And, I will say, the board still announces an on-time departure for our flight).

Henry and I start dialing. I get through to Continental first. This is where I made my first major mistake. Why I only confirmed the cancellation of our flight during this first phone call, I can only chalk up to inexperience with airline snafus. We are very fortunate that we have only heard the airline horror stories. Our flying is primarily for pleasure, and is infrequent. Scott got on my phone and repeated his mantra to the lady, who could only tell us that the flight was cancelled for mechanical reasons, I think, not weather. Ann meanwhile, had been touching base with a friend trying to come in from Chicago, whose flight had also been cancelled. From her reports from Chicago and listening to those around us, we were able to deduce that all flights to and from Chicago that afternoon had been cancelled on Continental, and not because of weather.

I finally break from my travel fog and get back on the horn. We had planned to travel Thursday, and had bleacher tickets to a 12:15 start Cubs game Friday afternoon. The rep informed me that she could get me into Chicago Saturday at 1:00 pm or some such nonsense. Unacceptable. I asked to leave from another area airport. No flights tonight from any airport near us, to Chicago tonight. Unacceptable. Could we fly to Milwaukee? She could get us there 6:00am Friday morning, but because we were changing the departure itinerary, we would have to pay more. Again, unacceptable. This finally switched me into high anger gear. From my red haze I vaguely remember "How is this any way to run a business? I paid for you to get me to Chicago tonight, you have cancelled the flight for something other than weather, and now I'm willing to inconvenience myself to get somewhere near where I need to be, later than when I wanted to be there, and you have the nerve to try to charge me more?" Volume was high, but I did keep my wits about me enough to keep it clean. I was sure I could be very insulting and demonstrative, but once I got vulgar, I would probably get hung up on. To the reps credit she NEVER raised her voice, changed her inflection or tone, and was never anything but apologetic. She would have to get approval for waiver of fees from manager. Waiting, waiting, she comes back on to verify the change of itinerary, landing in Milwaukee on Friday at 6:30 pm. PM, no I thought we had been discussing an AM arrival, no, no AM arrivals from Newark to Milwaukee. Oh crap, because of noise levels, I had misheard her, and now we have to start all over again, and have lost valuable time in the process. People were snapping up whatever they could get, and we were changing plans for 4 people. Anyway, after two hours of wrangling, standing in line, talking to some interesting people who were all in the same boat as us, we got on a 6:30 am flight to Chicago out of Philly (with a switch in Cleveland) on Friday morning.

We hop back in the car, grab dinner, repack our toiletries, get a hotel room in Philly by the airport. (The Renaissance near the airport in Philly is very nice by the way, wish we had spent more than 5 hours in the room). Leave our car at the hotel (fingers crossed it'll be there Monday), take the shuttle to the airport, get through security (which is really bad at Philly, even at 5 am there was a serious line) and wait to get going on the first leg of our already way too long journey. The flight is delayed a few minutes, but the flight to Cleveland is uneventful and pretty pleasant on the little express jet. We love gate checking our bags.

We land in Cleveland five minutes after we were supposed to start boarding our connection to Chicago. Ann and I leave the boys to wait for the bags, while we run to scope out our next gate. Cleveland airport is very small (which for us worked out great). Our connecting flight is delayed until 11:45 because they have no crew, and there are no other flights going to Chicago from this airport today. Scott goes to scout out other departures, while Henry stands in line for our breakfast vouchers. Scott comes back, there is a flight to Milwaukee leaving in 20 minutes or so. We grab our stuff and run down the terminal. There are four seats on this blessed flight. We switch to that flight, just in time for the announcement that the flight has been delayed 20 minutes, and then another 30 minutes. Who doesn't want us in Chicago, let alone in time for the game?

They finally board us, and we take the 40 min(?) hop to Milwaukee. Whoohoo, we're getting closer! We're in the same time zone as our ultimate destination! We follow signs to car rental. Hertz- no one way rentals. Avis- no one way rentals, Budget no. Things are looking damn scary. Are we now going to be stuck in Milwaukee? The boys search from counter to counter, and the very last counter, Dollar, has a van for us, with a navigation system, thank goodness. Because although Scott has driven from Chicago to Milwaukee (for a baseball trip like this one), he has not gone from the airport in Milwaukee directly to Wrigley field, which is what we have to do now, because its getting late. An hour and fifteen of driving later (including a stop at an A&W stand, Curds anyone?),

we are standing in the bleachers of Wrigley field to hear the National Anthem being sung, and see Dennis Miller throw out the first pitch. The downside, Fridays tickets are for the general admission bleachers, which means first, come first sit, last ones in get to stand behind the handicapped seating area, holding their beers.

But, I will say this, where Continental failed us, Mother Nature turned it on, big time. The sun never stopped shining, humidity zilch, temps in the high 70's low 80's. Once we were finally in Chi-town, we had a great time. Dinner two nights at the Weber Grill (we like char-grilled meat), shopping on Michigan Avenue,
walking along the river,
breakfasts at West Egg, more sunshine baseball games (with assigned seats).
We were even able to laugh about it as it was happening.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Year of Jewelry Week 28, Dragons & Phoenix & Slaying my own personal dragons

This is my entry for week 28, titled "Dragon Feather". It is 3 1/2 inches long, including the woven bail. The frame is 16 and 18 gauge sterling wrapped in 26 and thirty gauge sterling wire. The stones are labradorite, chosen for the natural "sooty" appearance of the stone, and hematite. My sister-in-law Meredith helped inspire the pendant, I wonder if it's anything like she imagined?

Next week's themes are "Mercury Rising" or "Bronze Beauty". I will be crunched for time this week, as me and my man are going to Chi-town with another couple for a long weekend. I've made some things already this week, that I won't even bother to stretch toward the theme, as they would never make it, but they are related to personal growth, which is what this challenge is all about. So now you have been witness to my scay good powers of rationalization.

Friday was my meeting with the owner of The Farmhouse Store, in Westfield. If you are ever in that neck of the woods, I highly reccomend it. Nice variety of interesting things.

I worked very hard putting together a collection of pendants, some with matching earrings, and was really sweating this whole thing (completely self imposed nervousness I assure you). I got lost going there, my deo gave up all hope of controlling my nervous sweat, and was 12 minutes late, even though I had given myself an innordinate amount of time to get there. Ed was completely lovely and gracious as always. He was very encouraging and offered me a ton of helpful advice on both pricing for wholesale purposes, and for what he has been selling successfully in his shop.

All my pretties came home with me, but he was very complimentary of my work, and is willing to look at more stuff, if I can get my wholesale prices down. He appreciated the intricacies of the work I presented, but what is selling for him right now are very funky, bold, graphic pieces, many of which the technique is not complicated, but the composition is knock out. Stuff I can, and have, done. Recently I have gotten caught up with attempting more and more intricate and difficult skill sets, and have gotten away from some of the more basic, but still good techniques of the past. My drive home (and ensuing shoe shopping) afforded me time to come up with a new plan.

First thing, use what I have. I have a ton of big and interesting beads purchased over that last 2 years or so that I have abandoned. I will revisit these guys, and figure out interesting ways to combine them, using techniques that can keep my costs down (on some of my pieces, time is my biggest expense). Next step, follow the old adage, KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid ( or Sweety). I will do a group of pieces (a necklace, a bracelet and maybe a couple of sets of earrings), all using the same components, speedy quick. Then, I will let myself do a more difficult or elaborate piece, for the same collection as a reward. I have decided to make this a challenge to myself. I will work outside the safe little box I created for myself. I have almost completed the first group using these parameters, pictures will come along later this week.

In the meantime, I will box up my pendants, and ship them to my mom, to see how they are received at her office. She has threatened not to sell any more of my stuff for me until I can do a trunk show in person in Florida, but she'll give in. She knows that there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week.
Until next time, thanks for letting me vent.

Year of Jewelry Week 28 Dragons & Phoenix

Here was my piece for week 28, called "Dragon Feather". It is 16 and 18 gauge sterling, labradorite and hematite. The bail is woven. Its pretty big, about 3 1/2 inches long. My sister in law helped me with my composition, when she sees it, I wonder if it's what she had in mind.

I felt pretty good about sticking to the theme this week. Next week is Mercury Rising, Bronze Beauty. We are going to Chicago for a long weekend, so I probably won't do something on theme, but more on that later.

Friday was my meeting with the owner of The Farmhouse Store, in Westfield New Jersey. Ed was wonderful and gracious and gave me some great advice regarding pricing, and I'll be back there with some different stuff for him to look at. He said my prices were fair if I were selling myself, but were too high for wholesale purposes. He showed me things that were selling really well for him. Funny, they are mainly chunky, funky fun pieces, mostly strung. Probably what I would have brought to him if we'd met a year ago. Our conversation challenged me to go outside myself a little bit. I am going to use only what I already have. I will do two or three very quick pieces with all the same components, and then will allow myself to do a piece that is more labor and materials extensive to give a range of price, while still allowing myself to attempt to wrap everything and anything that will stand still long enough in wire (these intial pieces will be my week 29 submission because of time constraints). He really loved two pieces that I was wearing (pictures will follow), but those of you who know me will probably know what I'm describing. He really loved my Eni-style cuff, with the big white lodalite stones and bali silver, and a necklace I hade made for myself with smokey quartz and pearls and a modestly wrapped quartz pendant. After I recovered from the relief that I had finally had this meeting (I am very nervous about talking professionally about my pieces), I went home and started having FUN with beads I had bought a year or more ago, and never did anything with.
So,I was a little sad, because I loved all the pendants I made for this and they all came home with me. But, I finally got my act together to speak to someone regarding my jewelry in a professional capacity and received some wonderful advice and validation. And, I have been challenged to make things that are my style, but at various price points to satisfy different markets.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Year of Jewelry week 27- fire in the belly

OKay, submitted first YOJ piece. (look at me, inserting links) I have to still get it right, but because of the internet slowness on the homefront, I wanted to get it in early. Meeting deadlines is something I am striving to improve upon.
It is hard to tell from the picture, but it is a copper framework, wrapped with sterling. The accents are copper and sterling beads. The stones are honey jade, garnet and carnelian. The honey jade drops are cool in that they swing freely, and are kind of layered like scales. The LOS took very aggressively to the copper, but not the silver. At first, I thought maybe I had accidentally used argentium silver for the wraps. Well, I didn't. Anyway, I will tumble it tomorrow (yes, my new tumbler is in service, yeehaw!) and see if that helps. And I will take better pics as well.
Hoping for sun this weekend to assist in the the photography.
Oh, also exciting. Made an appointment to meet with Ed regarding possibly putting some pieces in his shop in Westfield. July 13th at 10 am. I don't think I have deodorant strong enough. I'm pitty right now just thinking about it.
Productive day yesterday. Also completed two more pendants. Working on earrings for the one, the other pendant was inspired by earrings I had already made. I want to present several pendant/earring sets, and I will also do two bracelets, and a bunch of earrings, just so he can get a feel for what I do. He asked for fall/winter stuff. I'm so into the blue/aqua/green thing right now, its a challenge to switch gears. But I do love fall, and that color pallette, so it's still fun.
Until next week.

Monday, July 2, 2007

lost (but so much fun) weekend

As far as jewelry making goes, this weekend was a bust. The fabulous upside is that my sister Alli and I hosted a surprise party for our wonderful Alisa.

This photo shows (or rather proves) how surprised Alisa was.
She saw us, and ran back out the door.

This is Beck's son, Liam. I wish I had a better picture of him. I will include it when someone shares one with me. He arrived at the party in costume. We guessed a robot, or a knight. He was however, a pinata, for Ms. Alisa's party. When asked what would happen if we hung him by his ankles and hit him with a stick, he replied, "Nothing".

Our favorite (actually the only clown in the world that I can tolerate)entertainer, Balloons came to delight children of all ages...

I did make a lovely pendant for Alisa's birthday, but did not get a chance to take a pic before giving it to her. I will post it as well, when I get a chance.

The very exciting jewelry thing that happened is that I received a couple of orders that I had placed for supplies and equipment. I really wanted to play with it, but I was a good girl, and put it nicely away unitl this week. My new tumbler is waiting on my doorstep for me as we speak, so I'll go for now.
This is the first week of Year of jewelry, the theme is "Fire in the Belly". So, more on that to come, as it was the impetus for this whole blog thing, anyway.

Monday, June 25, 2007

productivity vs. procrastination

Friday through Sunday was particularly gorgeous in Jersey. Oftentimes, fabulous weather makes it very hard for the natural procrastinator to get anything real done. I, however, managed to enjoy the weather and get some real jewelry making time in.

Friday could be argued to have been busy-work, but it really was important. My work station had gotten out of control.

I took the morning to get that reamed, now it looks like this...

Saturday, I worked on taking pictures with my new camera. The macro on this one is not as good as the old camera I lost. I am having problem with blurriness with this camera, not so much lighting as before.
I am also experimenting with antiquing. Liver of sulpher is my new favorite (smelly) friend. I was intimidated by this green and noxious substance, but now I call it the elixir of oldness. My husband politely inquired if everything now has to be submerged in this god-awful stuff. I offered him nose plugs. I'd been debating about whether or not to LOS my first paisley set. Saturday it got dunked. I think it really improved it. It might need to be darker, I might dunk again after I get my tumbler.

Speaking of which, this weekend also proved my need for a tumbler. I was polishing some pieces, sitting on the deck. My Dremel grabbed a pendant, whirled it out of my hands and sent it through a crack, under my deck. I had to crawl under the deck to retrieve the piece. Thankfully, very little rain (so the leaves were not wet) and no dead animals, and I found the pendant.

I am ordering my tumbler and shot today, and everything will be tumbled safely in my kitchen or basement, haven't decided yet.

Sunday, did some drawings (I have to force myself to plan designs and put them on paper, very bad habit, very hard to change). I also completed a small pendant inspired by fabric, but it is in the same spirit as my paisleys, so I'm thinking of grouping them and calling it something morrocan inspired.

Here is a last photo of my outdoor work set up, complete with assistant. The first piture I took, she wasn't in, then she seemed to see that I needed someone to pose so she jumped on in.

Is this too rambly so far? I guess its just the newness.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

begin at the beginning

Well, I did something today that got me off the proverbial "pot", and into the blog. I signed on to join something called "Year of Jewelry" hosted in the creative wire area of delphi forums. You are challenged to create a piece of jewelry a week for a year (but you sign up quarterly). I'm a little pitty, but excited. They allow you to incorporate a journal into the entries, I thought that would be cool, plus, I just was interested in doing something like this for a while. So here it goes. I had asked for some help naming my blog (as a tool of procrastination, I felt the name needed to be something very clever) and decided to just go with what I know, my jewelry line, plus the name was available (who the heck besides me has used the word epiphany since the movie Angel Heart).

To practice inserting pictures, I will show you my beautiful logo, which my talented sis Abbi created for me. Well, in the immortal words of Eric the midget, "goodbye for now". Next post, pics of jewelry!