Friday 30 November 2012

Bead Corner & 12 Semi-Precious & Bali Silver Earrings for Christmas

A little progress on cleaning up around here -- several boxes have been filled to go off to the consignment store, and several more to the thrift store... and a bag thrown out. I got the second baker's shelf cleared off and moved to the front room. It's now almost full -- but I present it here in its pristine state...

Yet again, the large table in this room and the kitchen table were almost completely cleared off, and yet again just four days later they are both a foot deep in stuff. We don't want to look at that. Trust me.

On a more positive and/or productive front, I did get one dozen assorted semi-precious and Bali silver earrings made and boxed up... whereupon I promptly ran out of the most important component to these earrings -- the Bali daisy spacers. I hope I can get to Toronto this week, otherwise it will be another mail order... which actually might not be a bad idea. Then I'd have them by Wednesday, Thursday for sure -- and I wouldn't have to get out of my pyjamas. What on earth did we do before the Internet?

Chalcedony, Freshwater Pearl, Citrine, Citrine, Garnet
Enhanced Peruvian Opal, Lepidolite, White Jadeite, Black Tourmaline, Tiger Eye
Enhanced Peruvian Opal, Lepidolite, White Jadeite
Citrine, Citrine, Garnet
Tomorrow is December 1st. Yikes. Four more market days until Christmas. Thanks again to Joanne at Nelson Jewelry & Gemstones for her wonderful beads. Most of these came from her selection. She's got an eBay store now, too. Check it out

Thanks for looking!

Monday 19 November 2012

Designing Men's Adjustable Leather Chokers & New Beads from the London Gem & Mineral Show

This is what I put together on Saturday at the market... again, variations on a theme which is my only way of determining which combinations of beads look better or more interesting together. I make as many as I can and the client then chooses the ones he likes. The rest go on the table. These may look fairly simple, but I am constrained by my client's budget as well as the fact that few beads come with large holes and I have to keep these masculine-looking, so matte beads work better, no facetting, darker beads, more handmade style findings, etc. Doing frilly/girly/fancy is easy. But masculine? Uh... no. Now that I've done all the cliches (arrowheads, skulls, that type of thing) plus umpteen variations on those, it's become harder and harder to come up with new ideas.

The three silver-plated pendants here were supplied by my client. They are finely crafted and tiny, so I needed beads that wouldn't overpower them. I lovelovelove the look of the copper tubing with the tiny Tibet-styled pewter beads. My problem is remembering where on earth I bought the copper tubing -- and why oh why didn't I buy more!?!?!? Using multiple jump rings together is also another of this client's favourite looks, especially when they start to darken and tarnish.

This is just one small part of my new stash acquired from the London Gem & Mineral Show held at the fairgrounds in London, Ontario, this past weekend. (I say "part of" because my stooopid camera batteries are being recharged as I write this.) I went with my pal Nancy, and we both had such a good time there talking with vendors. Learned a lot. Nancy found almost all the crystals on her list -- she was super-pleased with the prices and selection, and picked up cards to email dealers with her wish list -- and I got some new stones and pendants for the market.

The next local gem & mineral show is in Paris, Ontario, at the end of March/beginning of April, but there are also gem & mineral shows in and around Toronto over the next little while. For the most part, rock & mineral shows are all-age and interest but especially kid-friendly venues with lots of interesting stones and dinosaur bones to pore over, as well as kid-centric events -- stuff for them to do versus "don't touch!" and "stop grabbing!"

Also, don't forget, The Gem Expo is on for three days over this coming weekend in Toronto at the Hyatt Regency in Toronto, so November 23th, 24th and 25th. I'm going to try to go on Sunday if anyone wants to carpool -- anyone from the Woodstock/Brantford area or Kitchener/Guelph, meet up at Clappison's Corners and drive in together? Email me if interested.

More pix coming later today. Thanks for looking!

Friday 16 November 2012

Bali Silver Butterfly Earrings...

These Bali silver butterflies are exquisite. I wish I'd bought more. Here is the first pair, made with 2.5mm and 4mm Swarovski bicones, and sterling wires. Nothing fancy about these, but they are beautiful -- they quiver suspended from the earwires. I think whoever buys these will be very, very happy. $45, email me for shipping -- and availability!

Now to go away and make two more pair for the market tomorrow. Thanks for looking!

Kingman Turquoise & 3D Moonshell Birds Necklace

FINALLY I have some free hours to spend making jewellery. I was up at 4:00 a.m. to finish typing and proofing a job and handed it in at 9:04. Done and goneroonies. Such a relief. Whew! It's been months since I've been in this situation and not immediately heading for horizontal.

I've started playing with my big batch of Kingman turquoise mini-mini nuggets. These are tiny, tumbled, soft-edged and bluuuuue. These particular strings are $10 each. Grab 'em before I use them all up!

Here is the first necklace I was playing with this afternoon, adding three carved moonshell birds along the one side. The necklace is about 23" long, with a silver-plated lobster clasp and findings. $35, email me for availability or to customise with other fetishes. I can also remake it with sterling or pewter clasps and findings. Stay tuned for more variations on this. 


Don't forget! The big London Gem & Mineral Show in London, Ontario, is happening this weekend at the London Fairgrounds, 9-5 Saturday, November 17th, and 10-5 Sunday, November 18th. I'll be leaving here around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday if anyone lives between Paris and London along Highway 2 wants a ride.

Now back to my increasingly messy kitchen table heaped with beads to make more good stuff (see it all at the Woodstock Farmer's Market tomorrow morning), and thanks for looking!

Friday 9 November 2012

Coming up with a classic &/or signature design

I've been making jewellery now for almost six years and I think it's this weekend that will be my fifth anniversary selling at the Woodstock Farmer's Market. Without consciously directing myself (if for no other reason that I had/still have no clue what I was/am doing) I've come to some realisations about jewellery, one of which is the need to come up with one or more classic, easily replicable best-sellers, rather than constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. Yes, there is a place for completly original, one-off designs, but ya gotta think bread and butter.

For me my first classic design and five years of bread and butter were and still are my pure silver Precious Metal Clay lily of the valley earrings made with either Swarovski crystals or pearls, of which I figure I've sold over 100 pair to date. That's a whole lot of teensy-tiny flowers that I've made.

There have been minor variations and tweaks along the way: I've experimented with coloured Swarovskis, which some people love and some people want nothing to do with. Mostly, people prefer crystal AB Swarovskis, but the earring versions with pearls have sold well. I've tried various combinations of Swarovski crystal shapes and sizes, and either made or used store-bought sterling earwires.

What sparked this particular blog entry today was reading my online pal Lisa's blog today about how her herringbone weave copper earrings came to be. Go check out Lisa Yang's classic design. Her Etsy shop is Nota Mona.

Shameless plug: I sell these pure silver lilies of the valley by the each or in bags of 2, 5 or 7 or larger quantities. Please email me for prices/availability. I also make and sell Solomon's Seal flowers in three sizes as finished jewellery or by the each. For a further description of how the flowers are made, go poke around on my website.

What's your classic? How did it (or they) evolve?

Thanks for looking!

PS to Joanne: Note the dog hair, just for you! I can't believe it. The hair made it through editing the photo and I didn't see it until just now.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

More Cleaning Up, Organisation & Storage -- & LAPIS!

Lynn McLean came again yesterday morning to organise me and help me with cleaning. I should have taken before shots, but oooooh, boy, nasty. The kitchen table was piled a foot deep with the detritus of pricing and restringing beads for the show -- gee, a week and a half ago. I was and still am typing like a mad fiend since and hadn't touched the table. Here are pictures of my (temporarily, I assure you) tidier place.

Yeah, yeah, a plug for Royal Canin -- Max developed massive hair loss all over his back and sides in an extremely bizarre pattern in the spring, and instead of plunking down several hundred more dollars for a second round of blood tests, the vet suggested changing his food first. Now, I had noticed that my previous dog food company had changed their bag designs, deleting the particular dog food version entirely that I had been buying and feeding Max with no problems for, oh, ten years maybe? After the bag change, he started losing his hair. Maybe they also changed the formulation, d'ya think? I shudder to think where the ingredients came from and I wonder if Max was the only one to suffer this type of hair loss. In the meantime, I had had him shaved for the summer so it was very easy to see that within a few weeks of starting him on the Royal Canin his hair was starting to grow in and now there is only one tiny half-baldish spot remaining. I am amazed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my almost pristine table at 5:42 a.m. this morning...

Doesn't take long, does it? 8:15 a.m. after photographing lapis beads...

My somewhat cleaned up bedroom. No before picture. It was grotty to the Max... Poor Max, gets blamed for everything. Silly I guess to have a white duvet with a mostly black dog living in the country, no paving, just mud as far as the eye can see. The little staircase I'd bought at a flea market, and were stairs for the owner's late dog to get up onto their bed. Alas, Max is too gimped up for them, so I keep my mattress on the floor and now the stairs make for even better bedside storage, far more useful than the table I had there previously.

Now we're back to normal. This table had been almost completely clear about three weeks ago.

But this is still pretty tidy and working well for me. Note there are ever-more bins...

Oh, all right, just a couple of lapis pictures. This is pretty much the true colour of all the lapis here in this first picture. As with my turquoise pictures, I'm finding it almost impossible to get the blue right. It is a true dark ultramarine with plenty of pyrite.

And Max again, just 'cause he's so beautiful...

Thanks for looking!

Thursday 1 November 2012

Cake Jewellery for Let's Eat Cake

I finally took pictures today of some of the cake jewellery in situ - on top of the cakes -- which I have been making for Rene Hoelscher, owner of Let's Eat Cake in Woodstock, Ontario.

We think these skulls are soooo cool!

People are now buying the cake jewellery "stems" individually to put in with their flower bouquets. For this purpose, we will be happy to provide the stems in any length with pretty much any colour of glass, semi-precious stone or metal bead or Swarovski crystal -- just let us know -- but they're usually made with Swarovskis. We usually use silver-plated wire or copper wire; sterling silver is also available. Various stem colours and styles are always available at the bakery individually or in 3- or 5-packs so you can spark up your own dinner party dessert, and shorter cupcake picks are now available, as well. Wash and dry them well, store in an airtight plastic bag and they'll last a long, long time.

We have a bazillion ideas for formal cakes, themed and classic wedding cakes, birthday cakes for all ages... come and talk to us! Order your custom cake jewellery through Rene.

Thanks for looking!