Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Featured in PBJ Treasury

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Sorry for the blog silence. I'm really focused on my writing right now, and I've been having some glue trouble. I am in the middle of posting the next wave of Elysia designs (as well as some Bountiful Winepress ones as well), and I'll start posting Snow Queen winter-themed designs soon.

In the meantime, my fun lantern earrings were featured in this delicious Peanut Butter and Jelly Treasury.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First In-Person Shop Experience

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My church youth group hosted a community garage sale on October 24 (my birthday, incidentally) in order to raise money for an intensive youth Bible study pilgrimage. In addition to accepting secondhand items to sell, they rented out parking spaces in our giant parking lot a bit off-campus. As a sort of experiment to see whether I could sustain an in-person shopping environment, I decided to pay the entry fee in. At the very least, I would be donating money to the church youth, so I figured it would be a good cause all around. I fully expected to not make money (after all, most people were bringing secondhand stuff, and shoppers would be looking for deals), but I wanted a baseline experience in case I ever wanted to do jewelry parties or craft fairs.

I woke up before the crack of dawn at 6:20 a.m. For morning birds who don't understand night owls like me, this is the equivalent of you getting up at 3 a.m. I went to Walmart for a big frappuccino, then heading to the parking lot. It was still dark when I began to set things up, which was something I had not anticipated. Fortunately, I could see okay as the sun began to come up. A few weeks ago, I bought some jewelry display items from Craigslist for a great deal, and I was excited to use them. They ended up working really well, except when the wind picked up, and then I laid everything down flat.

It took an hour to put every piece out (and about fifteen minutes to put everything away at the end of the experience), but I'm really pleased with the result, especially considering how tiny my card table is. I was the smallest table at the flea market-like set-up, and a bit out of the way even though I was up front, but I had some adequate traffic.

I get flustered in social situations, especially ones in which I am asking for money. There was one woman who haggled me down to $20 on a $60-70 haul of jewelry, and frankly I'm still a little annoyed at that. I suspect that she used the language barrier between us to her advantage, but there is nothing to be done about it now.

There were a few jewelry casualties: a piece that I thought had welded actually hadn't, and a sharp jolt on the concrete after a gust of wind broke the two pieces apart (which is spurring me to try two-part epoxy as my next adhesive experiment). Another gust of wind blew over a whole necklace display from the back. Fortunately, none of the stones shattered, but one of the glass pieces looks like it might have been affected. I'll try and clean it off or remake it.

I sold some pieces, which as I said above was more than I expected to sell, so it was a success no matter what. I made enough money to comp the entry fee and most of the supplies. Since I'm mostly a hobbyist trying to act like a business woman, that's kind of bittersweet. Still, it's something, and it's experience. And I'm sure the people who bought the jewelry will enjoy them, so that's positive, too.

I've learned to bring a bigger table, and I hope that I can find a more appropriate venue for my jewelry next time, a venue where "the lowest prices evar" isn't usual. A more casual craft fair would be a good next bet, unless one of my coworkers wants a jewelry party. Next time I should bring a good-looking mirror as well as one dollar bills to make change. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, right?

Aside from needing a nap later and throwing off my sleep schedule, it was a better experience than I had been anticipating.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Featuring Honey Harvest Treasury

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If you haven't figured it out, I love honey colors. I periodically make treasuries to honor other people who love amber. Enjoy this Honey Harvest Treasury.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Featuring Opalescence Treasury

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I made this treasury from some of my favorite jewelry artists and then some - a gorgeous, mystical Opalescence Treasury in honor of the October birthstone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Featured in Summer Treasury

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All those autumn treasuries, and I suddenly get picked for a wishful summer treasury. My "Throw in the Beach Towel" necklace was selected for the A Warm Summer Breeze Treasury.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Featured in Warm Autumn Glow Treasury

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My beautiful "Autumn Nights" orange carnelian earrings were featured in this Warm Autumn Glow Treasury.

I think part of the reason why I've been in so many treasuries at once later is that I love autumn colors - rich reds and ambers - so that I basically design for autumn and winter all year.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Introduction to Elysia

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Ever since I started making jewelry, this is the kind of jewelry I wanted to make. Richly textured pieces inspired by fantasy, mysticism, magic, enchantments, myths, both established and created by me. It's one step down from steampunk, which I would like to tackle as soon as I get a full grasp on creating items for this series. Elysia is a derivation of Elysium, the afterlife fields of the Greeks. It's not quite heaven, but it is sometimes referred to as a synonym of heaven. I also like the taste of the word, sibilant yet smooth, more than other names I considered.

When I am not making jewelry, I write supernatural short fiction and novels, so creating these jewelry pieces also enables me to create stories for each piece. Take, for instance, the "Trellis" necklace story or the "East of Eden" necklace story. Each item is micro-fiction, and while Elysia is certain the most expensive and time-consuming series I've done so far, it is also one of the ones closest to my strengths. The pieces require wire-wrapping beads onto chains, adhering buttons and cabs, counting out chain links, layering brass filigree... and this is only the beginning. I still have supplies for another wave or two, although I hope that this is the series that catches on. It epitomizes the objective of my store, which is to create elegant and eccentric jewelry. I only hope that other people appreciate the series as much as I do.

Each one of the Elysia pieces is awesome, but my favorite has to be the "Opium" necklace, with a Czech button that can either be interpreted as poppies or poinsettias.

You can find the first wave of Elysia necklaces and earrings here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Featured in Texas Autumn Treasury

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Someone new to the Etsy Texas Crafter team chose to initiate herself into the group with a Texas Autumn Treasury featuring my "Harvest Moon" earrings.

Featured in Pumpkin Spice Treasury

I should have a few posts up later in October, including one on photography and my new design series Elysia.

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Fall is my favorite time of year, and I think most of my designs are more appropriate for cooler weather, especially my Honeyed series. One of my new pairs of earrings, "Cinnamon Honey Molten Lava," were picked for this awesome Pumpkin Spice Treasury.

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Design Series - Fruit Basket

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I'm slowly creating a new design series for my www.magdalune.etsy.com shop, partially in an attempt to revitalize it, and partially because I always need to be doing something new as my imagination strikes me.

This jewelry series looks good enough to eat, and the five earrings so far that comprise the series practically glow in the light. None of that glow about is manufactured - it just captures the light perfectly.

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To the best of my knowledge, all the cabs are vintage, although I can only promise that the acrylic ones in the first picture are. Honestly, these earrings are just plain gorgeous and make a bright bold statement. Well worth the slightly higher price than most of the other things in my more casual and kitschy store.

Find my Fruit Basket series here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Preview of Elysia

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This is a preview of a necklace for my www.theothermagdalene.etsy.com shop. Elysia is a design series inspired by the fantastic, characterized by the colorful, the fanciful, and the fictional. It's slow-going and it's taken a little more financial effort than I'm used to, but I think it'll be beautiful in the end.

Friday, September 4, 2009

BIG 30% OFF END OF SUMMER SALE

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The prices on these items are insanely low in honor of the end of summer. Full of ice cream sundae jewelry, a Summer Highlights series, and roses made from soda cans, it seems that my www.magdalune.etsy.com shop is made for summer.

My ice cream sundae jewelry is made with old-fashioned, nostalgic ice cream and soda shoppes in mind. They vary from the smaller pieces made from stones and the larger ones made from glass. You can also ask for custom flavors. Most of these are under $15 now, with a few even under $10!

My Summer Highlights series is made with huge, bold, and colorful resin beads that remind me of the best things about summer: beach balls, sand, ocean waves, Jello... Most of these are under $20 now, nearer to $15.

The soda rose series consists of soda cans folded to look like small roses. These are now between $10-20.

Stop by the shop over the next week or two and take advantage of these prices that do not happen often. You can save around $5-8 on some items.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Progress Report

Over the last month, I came into a bit of freelance money, and since I give myself half of that money to put into buying supplies, that meant that I was able to go a little crazy with new components. So weeks regularly felt like holidays for all the packages that I received. And suffice it to say, I'm excited about all the new components, although I still have more to buy as the money gradually comes in.

Once I finished my last freelance gig and let my hands rest from carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle strain (typing injuries are not fun), I got started on new jewelry pieces. As of now, most of my pieces are only partially constructed as components come trickling in. But I'm ecstatic about my fall and winter designs. I tend to make jewelry that's more appropriate for the colder seasons anyway - it's simply my preferred aesthetic. However, there's a sort of rush that you get when you're making something new, when you deviate from some of your old styles. I get to really experiment with layering, gluing, and wire-wrapping in a way that I haven't really done before. It's rough, raw, and occasionally frustrating, but I have quite a few products that just keep getting lovelier and lovelier.

A few things I'm trying, aside from using glue for cabochons:

- I've come up with a new series to stimulate some activity on my first shop. There is not much more that I can do regarding ice cream sundae flavors (except get more expensive components and making them appeal to a different subset of the population, which I'm considering), and the soda roses are incredibly time-consuming for something that really hasn't taken off. So be on the look-out for "Fruit Salad," brightly colored glass and acrylic jewelry that practically glows. They look awesome.

- Layering brass filigree and glass components. Gluing in general is new to me, but gluing filigree requires a little finesse in order to keep the glue from being seen or felt.

- Some of my necklaces are not going to be as minimalistic in my second shop as they have been. I want to dive into more fanciful and fantastic items that draw on the imagination. Keep an eye on my second shop for the new series "Elysia."

What I love about both of my shops is that they don't tie me down to just one or two styles. I can go pretty nuts, limited only by my ability. And in that respect, I'm still learning. My wire-wrapping is getting a little better, which is good because it's probably one of the more frustrating disciplines for me since I go through wire that I don't want to waste.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sharing My Favorites

As a jewelry seller, I sell a respectable amount of items, although not nearly as much as I would like. Each one of my sales are special РI have not yet reached a point of being blas̩ about sales. Each one is unexpected; each one gives me that frisson of excitement. However, it is an extraordinary pleasure when my favorites (and everyone has favorites) are selected. Recently, two of my favorite necklaces were sold to different people, and it was a genuine pleasure to send them off, knowing that someone else would love them as much as I did.

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My dark red carnelian beaded necklace “A Cordial Greeting” was my first necklace I made with more expensive supplies, and I fell in love with it the minute it was finished. I had been wanting to make something inspired by my love of the Dracula story for a while, and this was my first attempt at the gothic. Naturally, it inspired me to make an entire series based on it. Just a week or two ago, the necklace went off. I may or may not replace this one in my shop – I’m not sure whether I have enough carnelian. But I shall certainly try.

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Just a few days later (when it rains, it pours), “Crystal Vial” was sold to a woman in Greece! It was my first international order, and “Crystal Vial” was easily my favorite necklace in my entire collection. It was also my first creation specifically for the new shop. I had bought the chandelier drops months ahead, knowing that I desperately wanted to use them for gothic pendants once I knew how to wrap wire. First I made a necklace for the shop, and then I finally made one for myself. I wear it a few times every week, and it’s such a strange but lovely feeling to know that someone halfway across the world will love it as much as I do. In her feedback, she said it was her dream necklace, and I’m so glad that she agrees with me. It’s what you might call my shop’s signature necklace, and I hope I can make another one in the month ahead while I’m creating for fall.

Suffice to say, it is not the excitement of commerce that really gets me creating. At best, my sales comp a small percentage of my supplies that I buy. However, I get excited knowing that other people have the same aesthetic taste as I do and can enjoy the things I create in their daily life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Featured in Lady in Red Treasury

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My "Imposter" gothic romance Bountiful Winepress necklace is featured in the Lady in Red Etsy Treasury here: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=74095

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Etsy Suppliers

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Amethystine earrings


Short of getting a sale and maybe finishing a good jewelry piece, there is nothing more exciting for me in the jewelry-making process than buying jewelry components and getting them in the mail. I go nuts over new ear wires. I cheer over new beads. I have to go like a little girl and show my mom all the pretty new things I have to work with.

Since my beginning with Etsy, I've been building up a supplier base. Some suppliers I can only dream about buying from them. Others, I buy from all the time. Others, I've been saving them for such a time as this when I'm about to get a respectable influx of spending money to invest.

While my Etsy selling forays are never as successful as I hope, I continue to provide business to Etsy suppliers, since they have to make a living, too. I feel glad that I have the opportunity to develop a working relationship with them. I love finally being able to buy from sellers who I hearted months ago. I love it when I find new suppliers with beautiful new or vintage items, just the unique components that I'm looking for. My aesthetic isn't unique, per se, but it is particular.

I also don't tend to buy in bulk, although I know that many Etsians recommend it. Hell, even I recommend it. However, most of the time I can't afford bulk buys. I have to purchase components one bit at a time. For instance, right now, I'm mostly able to work in oxidized and antiqued brass, but that's about it. I would love to work in silver, but it's much more expensive than brass. Even working in copper would be difficult, cheap as it is, since I would have to develop a whole new range of jewelry findings and components. I intend to work on that in the future, but for now I work with what I have. And there are plenty of gorgeous components in brass anyway, so I don't complain too loudly. It was so enjoyable to find the right suppliers for my needs when I first started to go into oxidized brass. Now I'm a loyal customer to many of these suppliers.

I don't hide my suppliers, although I don't automatically reveal them either - part of it is that whole "nothing new under the sun" idea. If anyone wanted to look where I get all my supplies, they could find them easily. But I urge everyone to find their own way, discover their own suppliers. I'm one of those people who isn't bothered by the imprecise Etsy search. Sometimes I don't find what I'm looking for, but I usually discover something I didn't even know I wanted.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Featured in Darkness Treasury

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My lovely, gothic "Golden Serpent Scales" chainmaille earrings were chosen for this beautiful Etsy Treasury: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=73151

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sigh. Sadly, the realities of finances are keeping me from doing much more in the jewelry department. I have half-finished pendants waiting for the rest of their components; I have ideas without materials. It's a frustrating world, but there is little I can do about it but wait. And maybe give some artists some showcases. We'll see about that during the next few weeks.

I'll probably do more writing. Unfortunately, not my writing, since I have everyone else's writing to do right now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Showcase

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Vampire Tears earrings


I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for the gothic aesthetic, particularly when a piece can be used for other purposes as well. My Bountiful Winepress series is inspired by Bram Stoker's Dracula, and I consider it more gothic romance than pure gothic jewelry. The brass, filigree, and cut of the glass or style of the jewelry has an air of refinement that undeniably hints at something dark, yet beautiful. I may stick to a few colors in this series, but it will be interesting to see how many things I can come up with within the aesthetic before I have to find something else.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Opalescent Treasury

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Check out this ethereal Etsy Treasury made from the inspiration in the top center and working outward with the search term "opalescent." A lovely, darkly rainbow-colored collection of items.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What I Do

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Autumn Nights earrings


I have two stores. One has ice cream sundae jewelry, soda rose necklaces, and bold and colorful resin ball necklaces. I call it my casual and kitschy store for cute and fun items. My other store was made so that my first store didn't seem cluttered with too many themes. I like a variety of things in one place, but too much variety ends up looking like a junk store and doesn't look consistent. The second store is for my elegant and eccentric jewelry that can be dressed up or down. Most of it is elegant with a dash of eccentric - some nostalgic, some gothic, some romantic, but they all have a quality about them that's a class above my fun shop. In both shops, my staging for the themes are varied, but there still seems to be a thread of consistency, even among the most different items.

I don't like to be tied down by one or two themes. I create jewelry as something to occupy my hands, as a form of art therapy. It's a little above hobby and more into artistic expression than I originally intended back in October 2008. I'm still finding my footing as a jewelry artist, and I imagine it will be some years ahead before I find what really sets me apart from other people. Right now, I think it's more to do with my photo staging than the jewelry pieces themselves, although they are lovely and I want most of them for myself. :) In just a few months, I've played with any number of styles just within my new shop (I need to reacquaint myself with my other shop, but I haven't been inspired lately ... or at least I can't afford the inspiration). I began with destash bead lots and remnants from other projects, playing with color and simple design. I still like the simplicity of a beaded necklace, but now my tastes are running toward to the more intricate. If you check out the progression of jewelry pictures at my second shop, you'll see a noticeable change in supplies and artistic temperament. You may also notice that the photography has changed slightly.

I'm constantly growing, constantly changing. Fortunately, I've given myself two very open-ended Etsy stores to work with - they were created with the knowledge that I was probably not going to do just one thing. I want to do everything as it comes to me, skill set and finances willing. I anticipate honing those skills even more over the next few months in the areas of necklace design, steampunk, wire-wrapping, and hopefully some chainmaille. The worst part is the waiting to be able to afford the tools and components to begin. But I'm excited anyway.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday Showcase (late)

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Cephalopod necklace


I was sitting at work today and finally realized that it was Monday rather than Sunday, and I forgot to do a showcase.

I cannot solder or weld, and glue is messy and unreliable, so the only alternate sometimes for a good hold is wire-wrapping. Most of the time, like for most of my beaded necklaces and earrings, a simple closed curve is strong enough, since I use 18-20ga half hard wire. However, in the above case, when the tentacles were too wide for a simple closed curve, I have to defer to wire-wrapping.

It is not my favorite thing to do, and I don't always like how it turns out in other people's items, much less mine, although I know that other people like it just fine (so I usually leave it when I'm pleased enough). But in the few cases where I've wire-wrapped, I've taken the slightly eccentric route rather than the ordered one that I mostly prefer. For a plain solid hold, the wire usually goes around twice so that not too much attention is called to the wire - the bead should be the focus. In this case, the beads are the accents and the curve was so wide that more rounds were needed. And I was pleasantly surprised that the messier look worked with the eccentric feel of the piece.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Insectus Treasury

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Visit this Arthropod and Arachnid "Insectus" Etsy Treasury for these beautiful many-legged creatures.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Blog Giveaway - Bubble gum waffle cone necklace

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It's the first official blog giveaway, and in this case, I'm giving away a very appropriate item to cool you off in this awful heat. Here's an opportunity to win a bubble gum waffle cone sundae necklace from my Sundae Everyday line! (alternative waffle cone available by request)

Here's what you do:

- Go to my fun and casual shop (www.magdalune.etsy.com) and pick out your favorite ice cream sundae item. Be sure to also let me know what your favorite ice cream in real life is, too. :) Include some way for me to contact you if you win.

- If you're on Twitter, Tweet "RT: Chance for a free bubble gum ice cream sundae necklace at http://theothermagdalene.blogspot.com/." Post here if you tweet and get an extra chance to win. Be sure to give me your twitter name.

Sign-ups end on July 25. On July 30, I'll put everyone's name in a hat and draw for the winner.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday Showcase: NighBluey

I clicked on an ad on Craftopolis and was immediately hooked. NighBluey distinguishes herself among all the other jewelry artists on Etsy with her colorful hardware and glass and crystal, combining geometric shapes with eccentric glows and bead combos. And that's nothing on her excellent photography that captures light, shadow, and color in just the right way. It is a pleasure to feature her on this blog and show you some of the pieces in her shop.

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Peachy Keen earrings

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More Vertigo necklace

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Alison earrings

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Selected for Treasury

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My "hard to fake a blush" necklace was chosen for this lovely garden Etsy treasury!

Sunday Showcase

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My Etsy Shop


Happy Day-After-Independence Day!

I created the Summer Highlights series with summer, sun, and color in mind. I found beads from a supplier and fell absolutely in love with their boldness. The "Beach Ball Fun" necklace above is made with huge 22mm cherry tomato resin beads, perfect for summer picnics.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

2012 Etsy Treasury

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I've been writing a lot about the subject of 2012 lately for a freelancing gig, so all the various prophecies and predictions were floating through my mind when I decided to make an apocalypse treasury.

You've got all sorts of possibilities here: nuclear winter, supernatural forces, Yellowstone caldera eruption, fire, solar maximums, extreme climate change...

Check out the the 2012 treasury!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Art Therapy

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"A Cordial Greeting" necklace - Bountiful Winepress


I don't know about you, but although I price my items as a business woman and I'm looking into more business practices, jewelry is primarily a hobby for me. I'm an anxious and fidgety person, with a number of destructive tics, so it's actually very relaxing for me to sit down during the evenings or weekends and make jewelry.

I compulsively search for new components and weed through all my favorites for sold and expired items or new listings from favorited sellers. I love looking through even irrelevant listings just to enjoy the colors, and sometimes I find surprising items that I wasn't looking for but now I just have to have. On any given day, I have 10-14 pages of primarily supply favorites.

It gives me a lift every time I see packages in the mail, even if there are only basic findings (shout out to my main findings suppliers, who I adore!). As my work days get progressively more stressful for me (for reasons I'd like to avoid talking about here), it's a real pleasure to come home to something beautiful. I see potential, and I start planning for my three-day weekend.

Then the weekend comes, and I sit down with all my jewelry components around me and a favorite television show marathon on the TV, and I think So what am I going to make today? Weekends when I can't do this are disappointing, although I sometimes make up for it with a spurt of writing creativity.

When I write, my mind is frenetic, moving from point to point, always thinking of new words. It's a creative rush, and I like it. But because it feeds off my anxiety, I enjoy relaxing with my jewelry. When I'm creating jewelry pieces, my mind shuts up. I'm extremely focused, and while I can sometimes become frustrated (wire-wrapping! not enough components! running out of head pins! what the hell kind of glue am I supposed to use!), when I get into a groove, especially the process of creating the above beaded necklace, for example, jewelry-making is one of the few things that can calm me down, as relaxed as a person like me can get. It may take a long time and a lot of money, and trying to sell jewelry on Etsy may be something of a thankless task, but the process of jewelry-making itself is the therapeutic part. In spite of anything, I can't imagine what I would do if I stopped.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday Showcase

I would love to introduce you to PolishedTwo, a fellow Etsy Texas Crafter. I was turned onto her jewelry when looking for items for a Texas Treasury. For the last ten years, she has enjoyed making one-of-a-kind jewelry in her studio, wonderfully fresh items characterized with citrusy colors and glass tile components.

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Chloe necklace

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Volcano necklace

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Fuschia earrings

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Purchase: Blueberry Cream

I recently got a good deal on a pair of amazonite earrings wrapped in herringbone style. I tend to buy jewelry that I can't make myself or whose materials I can't find or am uninterested in finding. In this case, the wire-wrapping was beyond my still developing skills, and the price was more than reasonable. In my eyes, they're two little pieces of wire art. I'm incredibly pleased with the purchase.

Ms. Blueberry Cream has a number of other classic subdued jewelry pieces that you may be interested in. She is on vacation for a while, but you can still favorite her shop if her previous sales and her blog posts interest you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Showcase

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I recently sold this pair to a coworker, so I made a pair to resell and decided to go ahead and make a pair for myself. I seriously love these beads - they embody everything I want for my "Honeyed" series. They look just like large drops of honey, and they practically glow in the light. I also made a necklace for myself and the shop months ago. If you have any custom ideas for these beads, let me know! I would be happy to further experiment with them.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Clockwork Marriage

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Let me tell you what I've been obsessed with lately. It's a marriage between the natural and the technological. The Victorian and the alternate reality. The whimsical and the mechanical. It's breathtakingly beautiful. It's called steampunk.

The style combines floral, fantastic, or generally organically based with the technological beauty of watch movements. A Victorian aesthetic that can be melded with anachronisms. It's inspired by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, the fathers of the epic technological impossibilities imposing on the natural. There's something tremendously delicate about it - you work with watch gears, which are tiny and thin, or filigree. And jewelry itself needs a more delicate and precise touch, so that intrigues me even more. I've seen gears and metal replacing the abdomen of a real beetle - now that takes delicacy.

I'm not sure what drew me to it at first. I think it may have been Cherie Priest's love for it, and I just wanted to google it to see what the fuss was about. Maybe I saw the word one too many times and just had to find out what it was. Needless to say, I was hooked on the first image search. The jewelry is the best.

It inspired creativity that I knew I had but thought was gone. I've done some painting and pencil drawing in the past, and while I'd like to do that some more, I haven't really made time for it. But I suddenly had this desire to make steampunk jewelry based on some of the items I saw. And boy, do I have ideas.

I began by buying watch movements, although I can't buy the really good ones until I have a decent disposable income. I purchased lockets and other findings. Unfortunately, my limited disposable income also keeps me from moving at a pace I would like. I had to buy a little here, a little there, hoping that they'll work or that they'll sell. I will eventually want a precision drill, which at a price of over $150 seems way out of my price range - the alternative is a less precise hand drill. It's marvelously frustrating to me. I expect that the jewelry will eventually pay itself out, but you need capital in order to profit. Another life lesson I needed to learn, apparently. I know the value of money, but I've never had to have it before - all my hobbies were relatively cheap or I could deal with holiday gifts. Now I have to save, save, save in the middle of developing a fairly expensive hobby. Figures, huh? (I am, I would like to add, saving. I'm quite good at saving.)

On the plus side, my obsession with steampunk jewelry has sparked some other untapped ideas, too, not just in the steampunk area. I've had ideas for recycled/repurposed jewelry that will cost me very little because I can find the components in the trash. Of course, I'll still need the same kinds of tools, but I can work with that. It may even help supplement the more expensive steampunk components.

In the end, I've had to sell most of my watch movements and parts - there was no point in keeping them in a case for years when I was unable to do anything with them. I managed to make two minimalist steampunk pieces that sold pretty quickly, but they did not require much skill. I'd like to be able to do so much more before I dive into the steampunk aesthetic again myself. In the meantime, I've focused my old-fashioned tastes on my gothic romance pieces based on Dracula. However, other people's steampunk work has continued to fascinate me, and I still have ideas brewing in my head for the future.

If you're interested in checking out the steampunk jewelry-makers that inspired me, see the following links:
BirdzNbeez's store
Jewels By Nature's store
Clockwork Zero's store

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Sticky Situation

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My Fun, Casual Shop
My Soda Rose series

You don't know how much work goes into making jewelry creations until you experience its trials and tribulations yourself. I did, of course, anticipate some effort and experimentation in making roses out of soda cans. But I expected that effort in the realm of creating the shape of the rose itself, making each petal. I did not expect that glue would be my enemy.

I went to Michaels to look in their glue section for glue that worked with metal. Of all the glues that I saw, I chose Aleene's Jewelry and Metal Glue. Makes sense, right? And it worked great when I was putting petals together - it set fast and strong, which was ideal for gluing on a curved surface because I could not clamp it down like I might a cabochon. I had a few incidents when I glued my fingers, but that was to be expected, and I could always hide it by gluing on the next petals. So it was great glue to work with. Sounds like the end of the story. But that would be too easy.

The next day I noticed white, powdery residue on the aluminum, on the paint side and the plain side. Some of it looked like fingerprints. I just figured that the glue I had gotten on my fingers ended up getting all over everything, and I just had to be more careful. So I kept going, being more careful. But that didn't make a difference. After many hours, the powdery fingerprints would come back. I did a google search about what would get glue off of things, and I came up with rubbing alcohol and acetone. I started with rubbing alcohol, but that just made the fingerprints temporarily disappear because they were wet. They came back in seconds. Then I tried the acetone, and that made them disappear for a little while longer. But - you guessed it - the fingerprints came back (they wouldn't stay away, they were sitting on my flowers the very next day - name that song). Turns out that the evaporating fumes from the glue reacted with the oil on my hands - like a CSI episode! - in spite of the fact that the room I was in had adequate ventilation. Not at all practical for me to use for my soda flowers. I had to throw away about fifteen beautiful roses, including a few black roses with red accents that were just so perfect for a gothic necklace or something like that. Time to start over. At least I learned that my technique I came up with in my head to make the roses was a good one.

I searched Etsy forums for what other people used for metals, and the glue that came up over and over again was E6000. So I went back to Michaels and bought two glues: E6000 and hypo-cement. And I planned to use some of the Loctite glue that I had already bought a while back. I got home and I started using the E6000. It seemed to work well at first. Everyone talks about the smell, but I did not mind it at all for some reason. I let the experiments set for a few days, then went out and started pulling on the petals to make sure they had adhered properly, because E6000 seemed to be a little more flexible than I was used to. Unfortunately, the petals pulled off with enough force. I wanted a glue that would hold even when I pulled hard - after all, you want your products to be durable. Threw those experiments away, about five flowers.

So my next experiment was with the hypo-cement and the Loctite. The Loctite was a bust almost immediately because it set too slowly while also being too liquidy. Not a good combination. The hypo-cement was a bother because it was stringy like hot glue and kept getting over everything. But it set faster, so I had to at least try it. Two days later, I pulled on the petals. And they came off. By then, I was very frustrated and nearly had a meltdown in Michaels the next week when I bought super glue and could not find the kinds of beads that I wanted. It was just frustration building up over several weeks, even if it all seemed small.

Then imagine my frustration when I opened the super glue and found that the glue tube had broken inside the package and glued itself in. So I tried to return it at a different store than the one I bought it at, but they would not let me, and I did not want to drive all the way to the other store.

Now, this was the day after Halloween, and I was seriously down about everything. I went to the grocery store for some after-Halloween candy sales and a frozen pizza as comfort food. Then I remembered what a fellow aluminum can artist said about the glue that she used (it was a trade secret, so she did not tell me exactly what glue worked for her), that she found it at a drug store. On a whim, I went to the automotive aisle in the grocery store and picked up an instant liquid adhesive (that's my trade secret *wink*). I brought it home and did some more experimental roses. It seemed very much like the Aleene's in that it set fast and strong, and I was on tenterhooks for the three days I let it set.

Finally, I had my happy ending. The instant adhesive held on one side of the petal, so I just reapplied it on the other side and tested it later on. The petal held - no matter how hard I pulled, it stayed on.

It took over a month to find the right kind of glue, but now I have the right glue for my project, and I'm all content again. I have had a few mishaps gluing my fingers to the petals, and this one time I accidentally poured glue all down one of my fingers. Not good when the glue is skin-bonding. In getting it off, I had to peel off a tiny bit of healthy skin. Yeah. Eep. But in general, I have a good beginning amount of soda roses to work with.