Category Archives: Uncategorized

Finally!

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A while back, I wrote about a piece I was just starting. I believe I even claimed it would be really cool. (read that post here)  Well, it’s finished. Finally. It’s been on my bench for about 6 months. Part of the reason it took so long was that I ended up needing to alter my plan. So it definitely does NOT look the way I had originally envisioned.

The jury is still out on whether this design is actually better than the original. Though, really, it doesn’t matter since the way it started couldn’t work. Want to know WHY it wouldn’t work? (you’re desperate to know, aren’t you?) Fine. You twisted my arm. I’ll tell you.

So. In my head, when I began planning this piece, I had intended for the two floral pieces to be touching in the middle, and to just finish the piece with some large chain and a clasp.

But… the spider web piece had other things in mind. With the way the web holes are, combined with the pattern on the floral pieces (which determined hole placement in those pieces) things didn’t line up the way I wanted. They were either going to be overlapping in the middle, or spaced farther apart. For what I hope are obvious reasons, I went with farther apart. Unfortunately, that spacing made the piece less stable, so it needed more base structure.

This is where I stopped for a few months. It’s really hard, when you have a solid plan in your head, that you think is going to turn out really well, it can be hard to switch gears. So, I put it down on my bench. I would pick it up from time to time, thinking how it still looked really cool, and was going to be an awesome piece when it was done. But then I would put it back down and do something else.

I’ve been in a funk for a while, struggling to create. That’s usually when I reach for my startedbutnotfinished pile. (anyone else have eleventy-seven unfinished projects to choose from?) So, a few weeks ago, I decided IT. WAS. TIME. I narrowed down my options to two. Either black leather, or a copper cuff. So I took some pictures. Posted them on Instagram. Got good reactions to both.

    Black Leather Base
Copper Cuff Base

 

And then I didn’t finish it.

I know, I know!!! Pathetic, right?

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Since then, my funk got a little bit funky. I would walk into my “workshop” (it’s a closet, remember?) and basically walk back out again. But yesterday, I had the day off work, and I went down and just got to work on the cuff. I had to improvise a little on drilling the copper cuff.

That is a dowel, plus a bunch of scrap leather stuffed inside the cuff to hold the dowel tight (enough) against the cuff. 

Thankfully it worked really well, and before I knew it, the whole thing was finished.

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And it’s fabulous. Don’t you think?

This piece (and everything else!) is for sale over at Facebook. And please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!

 

Thanks for reading!

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Look What I Got!

 

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Is anyone else out there their own worst enemy? At least part of the time? I know I am.

Remember how I told you last time that we had company for two weeks recently? Well, being a total glutton for punishment, just before they were scheduled to arrive, I decided it would be a fine time to place an order from my favorite supplier. I had a purpose for part of my order, but the timing couldn’t have been much worse.

Do you have a website you love to shop at? One that once you start looking, you can’t stop? Yeah? Well, that’s B’Sue Boutiques for me. I made myself keep my order small, but I also needed to order from her back room at Etsy. (double torture…) I ordered the couple of things I actually had intended to buy, plus a few other small add-ons. Because shopping.

So on day 2 of my in-laws’ visit, my package showed up. Day 2 of 14. *sigh* I made myself wait until they left to open it, as the consequence of my stupidity. The timing of the order was terrible. If you read my last post, and some of my others, you know that it’s not the fact that I had visitors. They would have been totally fine with me taking time to work. But since my workshop is in the guest room closet, it was all packed up, and I had no access to it. Please feel free to roll your eyes at my decision on ordering when I did.

But, the day did come when I could open my package and admire my purchases. I was completely giddy, no joke. I have yet to receive something from B’Sue that I don’t absolutely love. Everything they sell is wonderful.

This is my order from the B’Sue Boutiques website.

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This is my order from the backroom at Etsy. The bracelet bar was intentional. The vintage hearts… couldn’t resist. I’m really excited to add some color to them, though they are gorgeous as they are.

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And these are my freebies from Etsy. Because B’Sue Boutiques rocks my world. They are so generous, all the time.

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So my orders were totally worth the wait. But man was it hard to stare at that package for nearly 2 full weeks.

Now, it’s time to play with my new pieces, and my old pieces, and do some makering. I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for stopping by! And please give me a follow on Facebook, Etsy, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter!

Back in Action

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Hello hello! I’ve been gone for a while (again…) but I’m hoping to be back in action regularly for a while to come. The last 6 months or so have been a little on the crazy side. But I THINK most of the crazy is over.

I’m sure you are all on the edge of your seats, wondering what on earth has kept me away. Well, you can sit back and relax, and I’ll tell you. I’ll try to keep it short though.

After the holiday madness, including my best show to date, we had a couple of weeks off. Then, insanity began. We took a 9 day trip to Disney, which included getting snowed in on our way home. About a week after we got back, I had knee surgery. I had fully intended to keep up on blogging, etc., while I recovered. But I didn’t. I binge watched NCIS instead. And napped. There was a lot of napping. It was amazing.

For week 3 of my recovery, my better half had to go out of town for the week, so my Mom came to hang out with me. THAT was amazing. We had so much fun, even doing basically nothing. We played with polymer clay a bit, and might have had a few cups of hot chocolate… I don’t get to hang with my mom very often, so I really enjoyed having her here.

A few weeks later, we had company for Easter.

Then 2 weeks after that, we had more company.

I had a vendor event in there somewhere.

And my in-laws just came for two weeks.

I love having company. I really really do.

However… My workshop is in the guest room closet.

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This is what my workshop looks like when I have to pack everything into it. It’s a little scary.

So, as you can imagine, my things have spent a LOT of time packed away over the last several months. I did manage to make some newer pieces, and I also took some time to purge a LOT of stuff. When we moved from Ohio to Iowa, I did an initial purge, but it wasn’t enough. I went from a huge, for-real workshop to a closet. I really needed to scale back. I still have more I could probably get rid of, but for now, I’m just happy to have removed a significant amount of extra stuff I wasn’t using.

Now we just have baseball, the summer musical and all the rehearsals that go with it, swimming (at 6:45am. Super fun!!!), athletics camps, a mission trip for one of the kiddos, a family trip to Montana to see my folks (YAY!), and a trip to MSP to babysit my niece and nephews for a week. You know, a nice relaxing summer. There will be as many afternoons at the pool, friends staying over, and fire pit nights as we can manage. Most of the busy stuff is for the soon-to-be 13 year old. The boys have it pretty easy.

So, now I am hoping to get into a bit of a groove, and carve out some dedicated time for working.

I have an event coming up this fall that I have some ideas for. I will be making some fairly specialized pieces that I hope will really go over well. However, it’s my first outdoor event. I’m a bit nervous about it. If any of you out there in cyberspace have any tips for me, or recommendations for a canopy, I am all ears (or is it eyes?)

I’m really sorry I have been missing in action lately. I hope each and every one of you is doing well, and enjoying life. I know I am.

And feel free to nudge me if I’m not keeping up! And tell me what plans you have for the summer. =D

May God bless you all. Thanks for reading!

 

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Unintended Outcomes

A few weeks ago, I ordered some pieces from my favorite supplier. I had ordered similar things in the past, and had very specific ideas on what I was going to create with them. They would fit pretty well into the general look of what I do. I was actually quite proud of my order. In that past, I have done a lot of “Oooh, that’s cool! I think I’ll get it.” ordering. Not a good idea. You end up with stuff that is really neat, but it makes deciding what to make a whole lot tougher. (I might or might not have a decent sized stash of stuff I like but don’t know what to do with) So, this time, I knew where I was going. Go, Me!

I was not disappointed when I got my order. Then again, it’s pretty hard to be disappointed with what you order from B’Sue. I had ordered one more cabochon than I needed, so I could pick once I saw them in person. And I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a use for the extra.

The large filigrees I was using for this project were raw brass, which, in my world, needed to be torched. Have I mentioned how much I love coloring metal with fire? It’s SO fun. Anyway, they turned out really cool. I torched them at the same time, but used a bit more fire on one than the other, and got totally different results. Fire is fun, friends. (in a safely controlled manner) Awesome. I was so excited. Before I sealed them, I decided to fiddle around with composition. I had two filigrees and three cabs to work with.

 

And I didn’t like ANY of the combinations.

Well, drat.

*deep breath*

So I started digging. I pulled out a lot of different stuff and started trying various combinations. It took quite a bit of time. But eventually I found some things that I liked enough to start putting them together. I was really disappointed that my original plans weren’t going to come together, but that’s life, right? I had intended the pieces to be long necklaces. But that just didn’t seem right with the direction change. So, they are now bracelets. Well, one is. The other is a bracelet-in-training.

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The one that is completed looks pretty stellar, in my opinion. I have had book chain for months, but it’s such a special item that I have been waiting to use it. It needed just the right project. And I could totally hear my father reminding me “measure twice, cut once.” Granted, I wasn’t actually cutting the chain, but the concept was the same. I wasn’t interested in attempting to re-attach any bits to the main length of chain, so I wanted to make sure I separated off the right amounts. The FIRST time. And good golly, that chain is worth every penny. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m so glad I used it, even though it was stressful (I hate wasting the good stuff. And this chain is definitely the good stuff)

The end results are slightly different than my usual style, but I think they still work pretty well with the rest of my pieces. What do you think?

 

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Bring it on, 2016

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Last January, I wrote a post about my goals for 2015 (read it here). I figured now was a good time to reflect and look ahead. So that’s what we’re going to do.

As a person who stinks at follow-through, I gotta say, I feel pretty darned good about how this last year went, as far as jewelry making went. I most definitely had some ups and downs in the level of my effort and commitment, but I definitely spent more time focused on getting where I want to go. I feel like I made a lot of progress. Not so much on actual makering techniques, though there was some of that. But more on the whole business side of things. Let me tell ya, the amount of time making the jewelry takes a lot less time than everything else does, once you finished making the piece. And that’s where I struggle. But this year I did better.

The Build a Line Challenge offered by bsueboutiques.com was AMAZING. I learned so much. It’s being held again, and while I’m not participating, I definitely plan to follow along. I probably drove them all nuts with my constant stream of questions, but there was just so much to learn, and I knew that I had a lot of holes that needed to be filled in.

I believe I sold 8 things on Etsy this year. Not as many as I would have liked, but definitely more than my first year. I am hoping that that means that when I get my act together, and really get active on there, that I will be successful. I created an inventory, and keeping track of everything on there was interesting. I think I still have some kinks to work out there, but at least it’s a start, and a big step in the right direction. Keeping track of everything, including whether it is listed on Etsy, and all that jazz, takes a lot of time. It’s not just doing the things. It’s thinking about the things, deciding when and where to do the things, and, most importantly, why you are doing the things. Moving with purpose. It has been a big change for me to not just go through the movements, but to decide which movements suit me and my product, and what will help get me where I want to go. I have made an effort to not just buy a component because it’s cool, or try out a design because I saw something that I thought was fascinating. If it doesn’t fit into what I want my product to be, I don’t make it. Except every once in a while I play. Because I need to. But my makering is so much more focused.

I had a few months that were very frustrating as far as sales. I strongly considered being done with jewelry making. There are a LOT of jewelry makers out there, so it’s a brutal market. So I have spent a lot of time thinking, and pondering, and considering. I really like making jewelry. But really, I just like making. I don’t have the artist gene. But I have the good-with-tools gene. And the desire to create. For now, that means jewelry. And, thankfully, I ended the year with a very strong show, and I think some of the crowd will be looking for me at future events. That feels pretty darned good. So I will be continuing to make jewelry.

And that means buckling down hard. While I made progress with staying focused and getting more of the business pieces in place, I still have a long way to go. Here are my jewelry making goals for this year:

  • designate specific time each day/week for specific tasks
  • have way more things listed on Etsy
  • 2 (or more) vendor events
  • research so my product reflects what people want
  • work out an efficient inventory system, then use it.

So, basically, be more business-y.

I have personal goals, too, of course. And another sort of business-y effort on the side.

I want to do a quick plug for the Passion Planner12331376_1504055689890030_42941538_nI used it this last year, and really loved it. So I got another for this year. And it’s bigger, and pretty, and makes me super duper happy. If you want something to help you set goals, and stay on top of everything, this is, no joke, the best planner for the job. I have been dissatisfied with every planner I have encountered over the years. And, as a disorganized person, a planner is really important in my life.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I wish you all the very best in 2016!

 

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Best Dad EVER!

It just so happens that I have the best dad ever. Well, the best dad for ME anyway. He’s a mechanic, so he knows all the ins and outs of tools. And considering my love and use of tools, this comes in handy.

This summer, my tumbler bit the dust. I use my tumbler a LOT, so I was really bummed. I hadn’t had it very long either, but it was past the warranty date, so I was out of luck. I had just started to hit my groove with a new style of jewelry, and, unfortunately, that style was much more easily made with the use of a tumbler. I make these discs that I have shown you before:

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For the Copper Dreams Collection

Well, I’m sure you can imagine how much fun it is to file the edges of each and every one of those suckers. Yup, that’s right. It’s not. fun. at. all. So I had a handy-dandy tumbler to do it for me (it saves me a lot of time, and therefore saves $ for the buyers!) Until it pooped out.

So of course I talked to my dad about it the next time I spoke with him. I just like to discuss tools with him. I was certainly not expecting anything from him when I mentioned it. But he just happens to casually mention that he has a spare tumbler that he doesn’t use anymore. Well, shoot. Of course he does. Who doesn’t have a spare tumbler, or anvil, or vise, or wire-twister, or… (a large portion of my tools have come to me courtesy of my father) At some point who knows how many years ago, he needed a bigger one. He tumbles rocks and such all the time. (Eastern Montana is an amazing place to find cool stuff. Moss Agates, petrified wood, etc) So, he said I could have his smaller one.

I had to wait until Thanksgiving to get it, but it was so very worth the wait! I have already tumbled a set of discs, and turned them into pretty things. I was practically giddy the first time I used it. And the creative juices were just flowing. What an amazing gift!

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BOOM!

It’s not pretty, but I’m of the opinion that if your tools look pretty, you haven’t used them enough. At least with some tools.

Also, I noticed something when I picked up one of the barrels. There was some stuff rolling around inside. So I open it up and what do I find but a bunch of chips, with a few larger bits of rock, all polished up. I’m thinking some of them are destined for a resin piece. But we’ll see.

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Look at those pretties! Most of them are Montana Moss Agates. My favorite!

I am one lucky girl!

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to follow me on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I looove new friends. 😉

My Own Worst Enemy

It’s true. I admit it. I am my own worst enemy. There are times that I am really on my game, but a lot of the time I am the queen of self-destruction.

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It helps now that I am (very) aware that I do avoid the things I SHOULD be doing. I’ve gotten a whole lot better about it. I just have such a long way to go. Or that’s how it feels at least. If it’s fun, I have a much easier time getting it done, whatever it is. But I drag my feet on everything else. And I let other things distract me. Like my kids. I’m having a hard time carving out “work” time with the kids home all day again. (When does school start again?) And I know other people manage to do it. But I really struggle.

I even find myself avoiding blogging. And I actually like to write and blog. It’s just the thought of having to put effort in that keeps me from getting started a lot of the time. Once I start a project, I’m usually pretty good to go. It’s the getting started part that I have the most trouble with.

I really struggle with the promotional side of jewelry making. I like the makering part. But the photographing from 57 angles and telling everyone how fabulous the piece is gets a little daunting. And, really, what that breaks down to is that when it comes to promotion, my confidence in the piece jumps off a cliff. It makes me look at the item and wonder if it really looks nice, or if I’m just fooling myself. It can really be quite a problem… *sigh*

I’ll continue to try to improve on this lovely personality trait of mine. I guess that’s all I can do. Hopefully, in the near future, if I can really kick it into high gear, I will have some cool new things to show off. Some of them aren’t even jewelry.

For the time being… here are some newer components and pieces:

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