Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer Stringing

The Summer issue of Stringing will be on stands June 22nd! I have a necklace design in this issue. I can't wait to see all of the new ideas and inspiration. The anticipation of the new issues is always so fun!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Inspired by: Wedding Flowers

I am participating in Erin's May challenge: Inspired by Wedding Flowers. Are you? This challenge came at the perfect time, because I got married on May 18, 2002. I always reflect on my wedding during this month.

Flowers played a very important part in my wedding. We wanted a garden wedding, but living in the Midwest you never know what the weather will be like on any given day! So, we got married at an indoor garden - the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee, WI. The Floral Show Dome was so gorgeous this time of year. It smelled amazing! It was full of any spring flower you could possibly think of. There was a pond with the bridge, and a pretty gazebo made entirely of tree branches and twigs (which we got married under). I couldn't have asked for a more perfect setting.

My colors were very pale pinks and purples. I had 2 attendants and 3 flower fairies. Their bouquets and head wreathes were mostly roses with sprigs of heather (how fitting). The CD of pictures I have is different than my actual printed photos, so this image of us girls goofing around was the best group shot I could find for the moment. My bridemaid and maid of honor were my two good friends who I had known since kindergarden. My cousin was one of the flower fairies, and then two little sisters - daughters of our friends - were the other two.
My bouquet was roses, orchids and ivy. It is a frail little dried blob now, sitting on a shelf in my house. I hope to have it forever.
While I was making jewelry at the time, it was not at the capacity that I am doing it now. Back then, I did have grand ideas of making jewelry for my wedding party as well as making the cake, bouquets, you name it. But the reality of adding all those extra stresses in just did not work. As it was, I did print up our programs and made hundreds of favors (flower seeds in little tin watering cans).
So, I was happy to be able to create this necklace and earring set without the pressure of my actual wedding pending. The colors are inspired by my wedding palette of pinks and purples. I layered some silk flowers onto a filigree pendant and anchored them there with a rhinestone button. I got the pretty little floral lampwork donuts at Bead & Button one year from Mavis Smith.

The chain is simple, and it mixes a gunmetal color with the copper for what I feel looks like a heirloom piece. The earrings are just simple petals from the same flowers topped off with the lampwork beads. I think this set would have been very fitting for my special day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Oh, Mamacita!

Check out this cool ring I made, using a Mamacita Beadworks button! I bought this button a while ago, and had first tried to make a ring out of it with wire. But, the button stuck up too much for my taste so I set it aside for a while.

These new bezel rings are from the new Industrial Chic line at Michael's, and lo and behold they were just the right size for this pretty pewter button - I just cut the shank off of it and used a jewelers adhesive to set it in the bezel. Perfect! And see how nice and flush it is. The backdrop is the funky chair I use in my studio.

I had bought some bezel rings like this from Patera at Bead & Button last year, and am glad to know they are just a few minutes away now at Michael's instead of having to order or whatever. I see a lot of options with these besides buttons: coins, paper/resin, cabs, etc....
Excuse me while I go to my studio in search of the perfect sized round objects!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Girls Shopping Trip

A few weekends ago, my girlfriends and I made the one and a half hour drive for Fort Wayne, Indiana for the Vera Bradley outlet sale. The sale is only held only once a year in a large convention hall. This was the first time any of us had gone to it and oh my goodness was it a mad house! I have never seen a line so long in my life. We were told 4 to 6 hours just to get in!!! Nope, not for us. Luckily, there was a shopping mall right there so we still had a great time! The mall had an Archivers scrapbook store, and I was able to pick up some new Tim Holtz findings. If you've been following me for some time, you will know that I have used Tim Holtz goodies in the past - particularly his sprocket gears and swivel clasps. This time I found:

Philosophy tags: Here is a necklace I just made my husband for our trip. I made the altered charm a little more "altered" by giving it a good beating with my hammer and other metal objects.
Locket keys: I think the keyholes make great focals for bracelets, and I am planning on using the keys for toggles.
Word sticks: The possibilities are endless with these. Here, I used 3 to dangle off a cute bird branch.
Even though I didn't get any new Vera Bradley bags, soon after the trip I purchased this handmade goodie from Sharon Fastiggi. It is made of upcycled men's ties and buttons! It caught my eye in the recent issue of Haute Handbags by the awesome Stampington publishing group.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Sometimes, when you are the most busy and stressed is when you have the best creative moments. There is a lot going on right now! Jon and I leave for Belize soon. I have to start packing, shop for last minute things, give myself a pedicure, get the house in order, meet with our house/dog sitter, and get caught up at work. I also have to supervise/help Jon with installing a new pool pump/filter, arrange for a car he sold get out to California, and he even talked about getting mulch! Yikes!

So the last thing I should have been doing last night was make jewelry - but I just couldn't help it. Once I got into the studio, I was in a zone and I got so much done! This morning, I took pictures of it all and listed 8 items on Etsy! It's a good feeling to know too, that this can go into my stock for the Art Fair in June. Because when we get back, we'll just be back into a whirlwind of busy-ness. I hope we get well rested and relaxed! June is busy with Bead & Button and then the Art Fair.

Some people asked the outcome of my dilemma the other day, so here it is..... The lady emailed me to ask if I'd have time to fix the bracelet. I figured ok - here is my chance. I kindly emailed her back to let her know the next few months would be very busy for me with travel and other jewelry business. She simply replied "that's fine" but I didn't know how to take it.... should I take it as yes, she understood - or sarcastically? That's the problem with email, right? Well, I later learned that she took the bracelet to another co-worker of ours - a good friend of mine who I craft with quite often - to see if she would fix it. I asked my friend if she was mad, and I told her that I didn't think this should become her problem. But she said she was not mad, told the lady she would fix it but couldn't guarantee it wouldn't happen again. At least this time no beads are missing. Ugh! I have over analyzed this way too much and I just have to let it go. This lady is certainly one of those people that you will never please no matter what you do.

So, enjoy the eye candy below and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blingy Ringy

Are you a Sex and the City fan? If you are, then you must be getting excited for the new movie coming out next Thursday! I won't be able to see it right away, so it will be hard for me to wait to see it and try not to hear any spoilers.

These sparkly pink flowers caught my Mom's eye one year at Bead and Button, so I bought several of them. I made necklaces for her, my Grandma, and my cousin's graduation. This last one was feeling unloved and I was inspired by all of the big floral rings I've been seeing in stores lately! It would be perfect for a night out with the girls sipping cosmos! It's in my Etsy store now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What would you do?

Okay, I have this problem and I am anxious to get advice from my fellow jewelry makers.

About 7 years ago, I made a bracelet for a co-worker of mine. It was for her daughter. It was right about the time I started selling my work, and it is certainly a different style than what I typically do now. You have probably seen bracelets like this - it featured the names of her children in sterling silver letter cube beads, surrounded by Swarovski crystal beads, pearls, and other pretties. At the time she had 3 children, so it was a double stranded bracelet. I charged her $80 for it. She loved it, wore it every day, etc.... However, she is a nurse - a profession that demands quite a bit of physical activity that might not be suited for jewelry. Needless to say, the bracelet broke one day and I fixed it for her. I was horrified that this happened and felt so bad.

Then...... a little while later it broke again. If this has ever happened to you as a jewelry maker, it is quite embarrassing because you don't want the person to think that you do crummy work. So, I fixed it again. Of course, when something breaks, sometimes not all the beads can be found so I had to replace some.

Now the situation started to get weird.... over the course of the years I think I have had to repair that bracelet about a dozen times. I am not joking. Since I do not keep alphabet beads on hand, I have had to place special orders to replace some of them. Also, since I had used up some of the other beads I had originally used in the bracelet, those had to be replaced too. I came to realize that this was not a problem with how I made jewelry, but that the wearer was being too rough on it. I had tried everything - double crimping, enforcing it anyway I could think of. It was not hard for me to imagine her catching it on a bed when she might have been moving somebody, but seriously??? Her mother (my co-worker) started to pay me to repair it, but it was still awkward every time. Each time I had to repair it, my tension level went up a bit. I have so little free time as it is, I want to spend it creating something not repairing something. The whole thing has become very irritable for me.

Well, I ran into her one day last week and guess what? The bracelet is broken again. She hasn't given it to me yet, but I am baffled at what I should do. Especially considering the fact that I will continue to see her at work. What would you do? Help! I feel like this bracelet is going to plague me for the rest of my life!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Winding Down

Well, we had a good time with my parents visiting. I only got one photo from the Spring into the Arts art walk on Friday night - some sidewalk chalk art. I always have the best intentions of taking lots of pictures at events, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. Although windy, the weather was nice and downtown was bustling with people.
On Saturday, my Mom and I headed out to Turkeyville for an Arts and Crafts show. While there, I met fellow Etsy seller Cheryl Stevens and picked up 2 ceramic peacock pendants from her. As you can see, I was already anxious to start stringing one, picking up the coffee, green and purple colors of her glaze. (Love those little glazed dot beads - I've been using them so much lately.)
We enjoyed turkey sandwiches (of course) and I was surprised to see they had a penny rolling machine! I'm going to store this one in the little locket purse pendant on my penny necklace for now.
Later, we went to check out our new casino. Mom and Dad were luckier than we were.

After they left today, I had a few errands to run - one of which was to Michaels - and it was a pleasant surprise to see Susan Lenart Kazmer's new Industrial Chic line there! Now I am going to go wind down on the couch for the rest of the evening.

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Listings

So, I've kinda been neglecting my Etsy shop and my blog..... I've just been distracted and preoccupied with other things. Spring is such a busy time of the year - it seems like there is so much to do around the house and yard. And since my husband is in the middle of having 2 months off from school, we are trying to take advantage of that time and pack in as many projects as possible.

I still have been doing some behind the scenes housekeeping with my jewelry. I restocked the 2 local shops I sell at - one of which is the new (temporary) home of the Art Center Gift Shop in our downtown area while we undergo road construction at our normal location, and before I know it the Art Fair that I do in June will be here! The weekend before the Art Fair is Bead and Button. In the past years, I have had to gather my stock from the 2 local stores I sell at for the Art Fair, but my goal this year is to create enough so that I don't have to do that. Not only is it work for me to transport things back and forth, but it is also work for them to check out and re-check in items in their inventory.

My parents are on their way here to visit for the weekend, and we are looking forward to the annual Spring into the Arts walk in our downtown area. This event gets bigger and better every year! I was asked by the Art Center to demonstrate jewelry making, but since my parents will be here I was not able to. I will take some pics to post though!

So my house is all clean and I am just waiting for them to arrive. It's nice and quiet and I had some time to list some new things on Etsy. I absolutely love how the Jade Scott kite necklace turned out! Very simple and lightweight for summer! Enjoy the eye candy, and have a great weekend!