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Clasp-o-phobia: Getting over my fears ~ a review of Bali Silver Clasps.

For December, Artbeads offered through their Blogging for Beaders program the opportunity for us to try products from their Bali Bead line. Upon reviewing my choices, I decided to try & review the clasps.

You see, I am self-diagnosed with clasp-o-phobia: the fear & doubt of the functionality of most clasps on the market. I have tried different clasps in the past, including barrel clasps, toggle clasps, “S”-clasps, hook & eye clasps, etc…but none really impressed me or gave me a sense of security. I am one who hates the frustration of doing up clasps on bracelets, and also the feeling of a clasp that may become undone during regular use.

So because of this, I have stuck to using two tried and true clasps: the lobster clasp and the magnetic clasp. Although the lobster clasp can be tricky to get latched at times, the security you get from knowing that it is not going to come undone makes it a winner in my books. It’s a clasp we are all familiar with, and can be used in adjustable bracelets and necklaces.

The magnetic clasp is a dream for us who hate to fiddle with clasping bracelets. The worst thing that has happened is it accidentally pinching my skin if it was too close to my wrist when the magnets come together. I also like to include a safety chain with magnetic clasps in case they become attracted to another metal object and possibly come undone.

So when Artbeads offered the opportunity to review items in their Bali line, I thought this was a good chance for me to overcome my clasp-o-phobia. Many of the Bali clasps are very ornate and add beauty to the piece. I also know from past experience with Bali products that they are sturdy & well made.

As you can see I am a bit late with December blogging due to the holiday rush, but here are the finished pieces inspired by the Bali clasps…

The first clasps I wanted to try were the toggle clasps. I immediately noticed how ornate & well crafted they were: very sturdy – great for big stones that I love to work with! They also had chain already attached which I appreciated. In the past, the sterling silver toggles I have tried did not contain a chain, and for me to add one was trial and error – sometimes too long, sometimes too short. These totally took the guess work out of it!

Above: toggle clasp with wire loops paired with 16mm faceted quartz & 12mm reconstituted smoky quartz beads.

Above: square beaded toggle clasp paired with large aquamarine nugget beads.

The verdict: I *LOVE* these clasps…who knew the functional part of a bracelet could also be a focal point! Very easy to put on and pair well with large stones. You will probably find when buying a bracelet with a toggle clasp you will appreciate going up a size so to have room to maneuver the bar piece through the clasp. For example I usually make my bracelets 7.5 inches – the common ladies wrist size, but these are approx. 8 inches. I don’t think I could comfortably get them on if I made them the standard 7.5.

Next I tackled designs around the “S”-clasps. At first, I found these clasps very frustrating. Again very sturdily designed, and very beautiful…but since they are made out of such a strong gauge of wire I found them very hard to get clasped & undone. Some slight manipulation with the pliers to loosen the “S”  part slightly, and success! A beautiful clasp that was fairly easy to use. A good shake and it was clear that these were very well designed: I was not worried of it coming undone accidentally.

Above: “S’ Clasp with double wrapped and snaked wire paired with square faceted onyx beads and pewter bead caps.

Above: “S” Hook Clasp with granulation & wire work with faceted onyx coins & pewter bead caps.

Finally, I tried the hook & eye clasps. I want to comment separately on these since all three were so very different.

I was really excited with this Simple Hook & Eye Clasp. This large clasp works perfectly with larger stones, as seen above with 16mm red banded agate beads. Because of the size it is quite simple to use.

The Hook and Eye Clasp Set is the polar opposite of the previous clasp. Very petite and great when you want a clasp that is inconspicuous. It works beautifully with the bracelet above showcasing 6mm South Sea Shell Beads in Sterling Silver. I was happy to find this clasp very easy to use – definitely a good alternative to the lobster clasp and I will be keeping this one in mind for future adjustable pieces as well.

I decided to use the Triangular Hook & Eye Clasp last. I had a hard time deciding what to make with it, considering its design. I found it rather awkward to use. Although it was my favourite clasp esthetically, it was my least favourite in terms of usability. When I finally decided to make a three-strand sterling silver & onyx bracelet with it, I really had to bend the hook part out with my pliers in order to get the clasp undone & easily done up. Because of this I added a safety chain. But to be honest although it takes some practice to learn how to use this clasp, it wasn’t so bad in the end. And it looks fabulous!

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For 2010 – Free Gift With Every Purchase

Due to the success and positive feedback of my “free earrings with every purchase” holiday promo, I have decided to give a free gift with every purchase for 2010. It maybe a pair of earrings, a gift certificate for $5 off your next purchase (or pass it along for a friend to use), a beaded bookmark or hair pin…the fun is that you never know what you are going to get, but because it is from heavenlyflower.com you know that it will be quality!

Happy 2010 everyone…I am embarking on a new journey I am calling my “jewelry sabbatical” ~ new equipment and supplies are on its way and I will be blogging about it so you can take the journey with me. Hopefully we will be inspired together!

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Fundraising Inspired: Elly’s Pageant Fund

I’ve always enjoyed donating my jewelry for silent auctions and door prizes, but it has always been a goal of mine to host fundraisers on my site.

The basic idea is, a particular piece of jewelry will be designed and listed specifically for a grassroots or community cause. A percentage of the profits would then go to the individual or group.

So when I found out Abby was looking for donations or corporate sponsorship for her 12 year old daughter’s pageant in March, I suggested we do a jewelry fundraiser. I know Abby from back in my pen palling days, and we recently connected again on Facebook. Pageants are something Elly asked to do, and it’s not a cheap hobby for this mom of four.

So that kicked my butt into action. As usual I work on impulse: having a light bulb moment and just…going for it. My website is slowly coming together, but in pieces. I don’t even have the framework to sell jewelry set up on my website yet, which is why I use Etsy & Artfire.

The first order of business, was what type of jewelry to make for Elly’s fundraiser. I decided that earrings would be a good option as I could set them at an affordable price point. I found out from Abby that Elly likes pink, and she is a big Taylor Swift fan. I had some recently designed pieces for my new custom section on Etsy that I thought would be a good fit.  I was not surprised as to what her favourite pair was.

I decided to set her pair at a special wholesale price to encourage sales and give her $5 per each pair sold, donating my time to the project. I also did a pendant version of the earrings:

I decided to use Artfire to host the fundraiser. Basically because they do not have listing fees, justifying the lower price, and that you do not have to sign up to use the service like you do with Etsy. Also, Artfire now has integration with Amazon Wishlists!

You can check out more on Elly’s fundraiser here:

Would you like me to host a fundraiser? Check out my fundraising section of my website, and see if my philosophy would be a good fit for you.

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Jewelry Inspired: Fun With Swarovski Filligree Flowers

Artbeads allowed me to pick out some Swarovski components to try out free of charge. I decided that one of the items I wanted to try were these Swarovski Filligree Flowers as I had not seen this type of component up close & personal before. When it arrived, it certainly lived up to the standards I have come to expect from Swarovski: solid design and the crystals sparkle beautifully.

At first I didn’t know what to do with it. The flower itself has a very vintage feel, so it is unlike my usual modern funky design. It has such an elegant yet bold factor on its own: paring it with stones and beads just made it feel very busy and over done. I realized that this component on it’s own would make a very nice piece: like a nice brooch or earrings…then it hit me. I immediately had to purchase more from Artbeads, because these would make the perfect hairpins!

I usually shy away from making this type of jewelry because there doesn’t seem to be any challenge design wise. Glue the component onto a hair pin. Okaaay…now what? Seems very uninspired for someone who wants to inspire & be inspired.

But when the order arrived from Artbeads with my extra Swarovski flowers I knew I made the right decision. I can totally see these as hair adornment: perfect for a bridal party, the prom or any formal event – or even just to jazz up your hair any day of the week.

And remember when I said this would be not very challenging? I was left scratching my head when trying to decide what glue to use. I have just about every kind of glue you could imagine for jewelry making or crafting. I decided the best glue for this would be Zap-A-Gap: it’s like Super Glue, but also waterproof & will adhere to any surface, even oily ones, and dries clear. Seemed pretty fool proof.

Only it was slightly tricky. I had to find just the right pressure to hold the component onto the hair pin and keep it really straight so that it would adhere evenly. I did not want to use a clamp or tool for this in case it damaged the Swarovski component. So it was a little tense & frustrating to start out trying to decide how much pressure and for how long to hold…and not glue my fingers to it! 😉

But once experimenting with one the other three worked up quite quickly.

I was excited with the results. The glue cured for 24 hours and this is one solid unit.

I decided an elegant pair of earrings to go with these were in order. I simply paired them with 8mm freshwater pearls, antique gold culinary grade lead free pewter bead caps and gold filled ear hooks….

Remember that original component Artbeads sent me that inspired this whole project? Well, I made a ring out of it, glued onto an adjustable filigree ring base:

I am really impressed with how this project turned out (and am now totally hooked on Swarovski flowers!!) and will definitely be offering this on a by request basis on my website. Stay tuned!

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Jewelry Inspired: Funky Copper Disc Choker

I added a little somethin’-somethin’ to my Artfire Studio today. This copper choker has been sitting on the bench for some time begging to be finished. I bought these copper discs – no word of a lie – 10 years ago. I used to buy a fair bit of Estate sell-offs back when ebay wasn’t so saturated. I admit at the time, being new to the jewelry making game, I wasn’t aware of the size when I bought them. 15mm just didn’t compute in my brain as being on the large side. So when the lot arrived – almost 100 – I had no idea what to do with them. They seemed so big and flying saucer like…

So they sat in the supply pile for well, a decade. Then this summer I decided to pick up some copper headpins, and see if I could make one of my signature funky chunky bracelets.

(Oh and I decided to pair up the discs with a 3.3mm bicone copper bead to add some dimension…)

I wanted the piece to be really solid so I started putting the discs really close together on the links of dash dot sterling silver chain (I love this chain by the way – although it is expensive it is really heavy duty, perfect for projects like this). It definitely was solid…however by doing this it did not have much bend…kind of hard to make into a bracelet. Since I already started it, I didn’t want to dismantle and start again, and I knew I had a fair bit of beads, so I decided to turn it into a choker.

So I got the beads put on and then, there it sat for a very long time. About three months! I just couldn’t decide how to finish it. Although I had assembled the discs on a heavy gauge sterling silver chain, I did not like the way the sterling stood out against the copper for the extender chain portion of the necklace. I probably could have oxidized the chain, but I was lazy. Instead I found some really heavy duty vintage copper chain to finish off the piece.

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I put a fairly long extender chain on it so that it can be adjusted to wear in a variety of ways. I also like the dramatic effect it has: the large beads at the front, and the slender sleekness of the chain trailing down in the back…I really love how it feels like a puzzle in your hands.

This is a piece for someone who wants to make a bold statement, and own a truly one-of-a-kind. I know I could never get these beads again. They are assumed “vintage” although I cannot confirm this…

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Jewelry Inspired: Aqua Blues…

So the other day I had the opportunity to have an adventure in sea blue – or aqua blue as these particular beads are properly called. I currently have dyed quartz and fiber optic cat’s eye beads in aqua blue. I have beads of all colours of the rainbow in the cabinet…so I love to get requests for specific colours to work with esp. if it is one I have not touched in awhile. I mean really, do I need an excuse to get creative? Twist my rubber arm…

Check out these dyed faceted quartz beads paired with sterling silver hoops. I tell you, the pictures do not do these babies justice: so pretty and sparkly!

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I also have many round 4mm dyed quartz beads. Kind of boring, you know? So I had this idea to wrap them around some memory wire  – the bracelet size – with 24ga sterling silver wire to make a fun & funky hoop earring. I have not worked in memory wire in a long time, & due to the success of this experiment I think I will be doing more projects using memory wire in this way. I can also see making some cool pendants & such as well, not just earrings!

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The hoops face back-to-front when you wear them – just like a normal pair of hoop earrings. I decided to put them on sterling silver French ear hooks (earwires) for comfort.

Finally, I really love the look of this hue of blue with white, so I wanted to make a dangly pair coupled with a freshwater pearl accent…and here you have it: 4mm dyed quartz, fiber optic cat’s eye beads and 5mm frewshwater pearls on sterling silver:

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It was really fun to work with this colour amongst all the Fall colours here in Québec…really makes me long for white sandy beaches and turquoise seas! 🙂

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The Gift of Re-Gifting: heavenlyflower.com’s Holiday Promotion

Re-gifting. You can’t tell me the thought has never popped into your head. You receive a gift that really, is perfectly fine but just not your personal taste or style.

So, I decided to give you my re-gifting blessing! Every purchase from my Etsy Shop or Artfire Studio will receive a gift from me.: A free pair of earrings. You can keep these handmade artisan earrings as a gift from me to you, or use as a gift for someone on your holiday shopping list.

The earrings will be made of good quality materials: either sterling silver or gold-filled ear hooks, hand-painted cloisonné beads or semi-precious gemstones.  ANY PURCHASE qualifies. Just my way to say thank you and to give back. I know there is always someone on that list you’d like to give a little something to that maybe the budget doesn’t allow.

As always, there is free shipping worldwide on all items! 🙂

The promo is currently on and will continue until January 11th, 2010. You will automatically receive a pair with your purchase.

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Announcing: The Official WINNERS of the Great Jewelry Giveaway Contest!

I have been prepping the emails, the blog post, the newsletter…and fretting excitedly awaiting the 11th hour…so that I could draw the winners of the Great Jewelry Giveaway Contest! Three prizes: $100, $50 & $25 in chosen jewelry from my Etsy & Artfire Shops was up for grabs!! Here’s the original post:

http://creativityinspired.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/the-great-jewelry-giveaway-contest/

So I waited…tick tock, tick tock…and even as the time drew near, the entries still came in…I am absolutely over the moon at the response. It makes me so happy to see so many people support & appreciate my creativity…remember this creative outlet saved MY LIFE…does that sound dramatic? Well, it’s true. Out of the depths of depression 11 years ago, I found a way to create & express & share…

Anyway, enough chit chat. Who won, right? We didn’t get 1000 entries, but it was so close! Probably in another couple of days we could have gotten there…but the anticipation was killing me too so…the winners, chosen at random (thanks to random.org)….

CONGRATULATIONS

Linda Kish of Winchester, CA~ Our Third Place Winner

Kim Powell of Sharon, PA ~ Our Second Place Winner

…and…drum roll please…

Kathy van Herk of British Columbia, Canada!!!!

OUR GRAND PRIZE WINNER OF A $100 SHOPPING SPREE OF HEAVENLY FLOWER JEWELRY!!!!

I am so excited for the winners, I am shaking while I type this…hopefully there won’t be too many typos… 😉

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and although we didn’t make our 1000 entry goal, I am feeling festive. Therefore, I randomly drew 5 more names. These lucky winners will get a $10 Gift Certificate to spend in my Etsy & Artfire Shops:

Tia Barton of Derry, NH

Rachel Abugov of Montreal, Qc

Alicia Chandler of Norman, OK

Sarah Reed of Green Bay, WI

Linda Chen of Australian Capital Territory, Australia

I will be in touch shortly as to how to redeem your prizes. Congratulations all, thanks to all who entered, and stay tuned for future giveaways!!

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Jewelry Inspired: Fire Agate in Sterling Silver ~ Finding Creativity Again…

I sold my “Day of the Dead” earrings,  so I wanted to make something in replacement. I was drawn toward these faceted fire agate beads that I picked up at a Gem & Mineral Show this summer. Not exactly falling into the category of, “leftovers” but  I have been jonesing for some true creativity & inspiration lately, so I’ll take it wherever it appears!! 🙂

This always happens when I go away. While on vacation, my mind is turned on. I get lots of ideas for marketing, photography backgrounds…what I would like to make and designs…however when I sit back down at the bench my head and hands just don’t seem to be communicating. What we got here is (a) failure…to communicate… 😉

So earlier this week I sat down with the beads and some sterling silver wire. I knew that I wanted them wire wrapped, that I wanted them to be somewhat free formed and more rugged/edgy than elegant, certainly not  “perfect” – but would have a universal appeal and style. I tried a heavy gauge square wire. Then a  heavy gauge round wire. Both attempts ended up in the scrap pile. I found myself digging out the bead caps and making a simple yet beautiful pair of fire agate earrings…

The only problem is, it nagged me all night and into the morning. It’s not what I wanted to do – at all! Although they looked great it wasn’t what I was going for. So out came the nippers and cut cut cut…I dismantled them. I could have gotten two more beads out of the stash but – these were the ones I wanted to work with. So with determination I sat down again. This time with a 20 gauge round sterling wire. I was amazed at how fast and easy these worked up:

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These earrings were such a joy to make. They were truly meant to be. They also reminded me to never give up – and to never settle. The creativity will come back…it always does… 🙂

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$175 in Jewelry to Give Away…the Final Countdown is on….NOW!!

ARE YOU READY?! This is the official announcement: we will be drawing the $100 Jewelry Giveaway NEXT SUNDAY (Oct. 11th) at 11pm EST!  This is your final chance to get your entries in to win this fabulous prize. Three lucky winners will get to choose $100, $50 and $25 in FREE jewelry from my Etsy & Artfire shops! The response has been AMAZING and  will be drawing next Sunday whther or not we reach 1000 entries: but we are going to come pretty darn close!

Go here for the official rules and announcement: The Great Jewelry Giveaway Contest

I am so incredibly touched and pleased by your responses and support! Best of luck to all and I am so excited to see who wins next week!!

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Creativity Requested: Adventures in Komboloi

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I had a request for a komboloi (worry beads). I have never made worry beads before, so I jumped at the challenge. After getting a few details, I started searching through my supplies to see what I have that would be suitable. Luckily I have a pretty decent stash of supplies now. I buy wholesale, so unless I need to order a few hundred dollars in supplies, I don’t take custom requests unless I have the beads on hand. With the exception of, the chance I may be attending a gem show or personally visiting a supplier where I can pick up a few things at wholesale price. In this instance, I was putting in an order for chain anyway so I added a couple of strands of carved bone beads for accents.

A traditional komboloi is constructed out of light organic materials such as amber, coral, wood or nut beads, bone, horn…although they can be made out of just about any kind of bead from glass, crystals or gemtones. The key is to have a good feel weight wise but still be light enough to make the pleasant clicking/tapping sound when the beads hit together.

So…since I have never constructed one before, this posed several challenges for me. I had to judge size, weight and length as well as decide which materials I felt would work the best.

In the instance that I get a request for something that I have never encountered before, I will come up with a few variational designs (at least three, usually), show them to the potential client, and have them judge which they like best or tweak a design to their liking (if possible). This way the client can see my creative take on the design. Extra pieces get listed in my online shops.

The design itself looked simple enough, but I ran into a few challenges. Without having the client feel the beads first hand, I wasn’t sure which size would be suitable. So I had to do a lot of digging through my supplies picking a few variable sizes that the client could try to help decide which felt the best to them.

Just when I thought I had the right variations, I ran into a major problem with stringing the beads. I had originally laid out some leather cord & chain – of which none of the beads fit through. Holes on stone beads tend to be on the small size to prevent slippage.

So before throwing in the towel I dug deep into my stringing supplies and also got out a very useful tool: a bead reamer! It’s used to help file & shape out the holes of beads to (hopefully) make the passage wider. I ended up with 4 different designs in the end.

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I decided to construct this horn & bone piece first since they had large holes & slipped easily through the chain. 11mm translucent butterscotch horn beads with 10mm carved bone beads on an antiques silver chain.

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I dug out some waxed linen cord to make this one & was delighted that it easily slipped through the holes but has a durability that is needed for the constant clicking together of the beads. This one is 10mm onyx beads with 10mm carved bone beads. A 25x8mm carved horn bead is accented at the bottom.

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I was really excited to work with these beads as they are very unique. I bought them sometime ago with the intention of making a men’s piece out of them, and never got around to it. It’s 14mm black banded agate that has been treated with an acid to give it this cool denim crackle finish. These are the beads that I had to ream (file) the inside of the hole to get he to fit through the chain. But it worked! Accented with a 25x8mm carved bone bead.

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Finally, I chose these 16 – 18mm jade rectangles to make the final piece. It is constructed with a tough beading wire, and accented with a  25x8mm carved bone bead.

It was a fun experiment nonetheless. Always good to be pushed outside the box!

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Jewelry Inspired: Halloween

Halloween will be upon us very soon so I wanted to try my hand at some pieces inspired by the holiday.  The first thing I thought of was All Souls Day: Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos and the artwork/tattoos that are based around this theme. The second thing that came to mind was a goth/vampire feel. So the challenge was to create pieces based on left over materials I had on hand (since my Etsy & Artfire studios are the places where I list jewelry made mostly from leftover materials from past projects).

I bought these pewter skull charms on closeout awhile back, so I knew they would be perfect. Paired with some red flower beads & hematite I created these Day of the Dead inspired earrings:

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The red flower beads reminded me of the red roses I’ve seen in tattoos inspired by El Dia de los Muertos.

After those were constructed, I decided to go into a whole different direction. The words “fallen angel” kept popping in my head, as well as “Angel of Death”. So I worked with this idea, again with the pewter skull pendants, adding pewter wings. I just needed the perfect “body”. So for this time, I decided to wade through my “premium” (read: not leftovers) supplies as the hematite beads I had on hand just weren’t cutting it. Fabulous labradorite faceted rondelles caught my eye quickly. They are a nice ghosty gray tone, plus the metaphysical properties seemed to fit. Here’s what I came up with:

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I used moonstone to create the neck of the “angel”.

This soon had my mind working in the direction of a pendant. I have a few of these black (dyed) quartz faceted teardrops that I knew would be perfect for  the body. A little wire twisting and voila:

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A 4mm hematite bead makes up the neck, & I used a 22 gauge sterling silver wire. I decided to hang it from a sterling silver chain so not to take away from the focus of the pendant itself.

What I really enjoy when making themed pieces – particularly when it comes to holidays- is to come up with a design that can encompass wear year round & not just for the certain event. I find if you are not careful, jewelry designed around a theme can appear costume-y (which of course is fine if you are designing costume jewelry!). I want to create something that could be enjoyed year round. I think with the right customer, these pieces can be enjoyed over & over again.

And you know what – I really don’t find these pieces morbid. Perhaps because for me death is a transcendence of the soul, where we are reborn…although the body may die and flesh rot away. To me, that is beautiful…

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Rockhound Wannabes in Bancroft

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I was fortunate enough to travel to Ontario Cottage Country in order to attend the 46th Annual Rockhound Gemboree in Bancroft. My husband & I are rock & minerals geeks but are very green when it comes to rockhounding. It’s definitely something we want to make a family activity. We met some wonderful encouraging amateur rockhounds & look forward to getting out to the field once the children are a bit older.

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Bancroft is the Mineral Capital of Canada and the show did not disappoint. Two buildings plus an outdoor area filled with jewelry making supplies, specimens, info on rock hounding & many talented artists from jewelry makers to stone carvers. We did the full show: 4 days and we were never bored. We actually felt a little sad when it drew to the close on the 4th day. We Definitely will be back next year. Staying at a cottage with no electronics was also so clearing for the mind. My cell phone didn’t even work. We were just able to sink in and enjoy the natural beauty the area had to offer despite all the mosquitoes (thanks to a rainy summer!).

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Besides jewelry making goodies we also picked up several wonderful specimens. Our favourite place to buy was from the amateur rockhounds who set up shop in the sweltering heat outside. Not only were they wonderful quality, but it carried so much meaning to us to acquire pieces that were collected by such passionate individuals. We had a collection of a few specimens picked up over the years, mostly from our days in Nova Scotia attending the Parrsboro Gem & Mineral Show. But after the haul of goodies we obtained from Bancroft, it was time to set up a display case so that we could enjoy our finds all in the same place.

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Dare I say – our collection is TOO BIG for the display cabinet!! Next year, we will have to look at acquiring another one…

I would share here some of the jewelry making materials I acquired, but 1) the photos were pretty bad and b) it’s more fun to let the creativity flow & share the treasures through design! Stay tuned!

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The Great Jewelry Giveaway Contest – $100 in Jewelry you get to pick!

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UPDATE Oct. 11th, 2009: CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR LUCKY WINNERS WHO WERE DRAWN AT RANDOM THIS EVENING!! DID YOU WIN??

Official List of Winners

So I could probably find a more – er, creative name for it, but it is what it is. The largest giveaway I have ever done: $175 in free jewelry with top prize being $100 worth! You pick your prize from my Etsy & Artfire studios. You do not have to sign up for these sites. If you are the lucky winner simply go, browse & tell me what you want. So here’s the skinny:

Top Prize $100                    Second Prize $50                          Third Prize $25

HOW TO ENTER

Simply enter by visiting heavenlyflower.com and filling out the entry ballot at the bottom of the page.

WHO CAN ENTER

The contest is open to anyone, worldwide. Limit one entry per email address. No purchase necessary. Please note I will not be keeping the email addresses after the contest – they are only to inform you if you have won. If you have clicked the opt in button you will receive promotional info from me from time to time but let’s face it – I hate spam as much as you do, so they will be sporadic emails. IF YOU DO NOT CLICK THE OPT IN BUTTON YOUR EMAIL WILL BE DELETED AFTER THE CONTEST – you have my word on it. 🙂

CONTEST DURATION

The contest will continue to run UNTIL WE REACH 1000 ENTRIES. Upon reaching 1000 entries, the contest will cease the following Sunday, with winners drawn at 11pm EST.  If we reach 1000 entries on a Sunday, then the draw will take place that Sunday night at 11pm.

I WILL ADD UP TO 5 ADDITIONAL PRIZES OF $20 EACH IF WE EXCEED 1000 ENTRIES!

Winners will be announced on this blog and on my Facebook Fan Page and via Twitter. Winners will be contacted via e-mail and will have 30 DAYS to redeem their prize. I will be giving status updates on the contest via these mediums so be sure to follow the blog or on Twitter, or fan the Facbook Page to keep updated.

PRIZE REDEMPTION

Winners will redeem their prize by choosing jewelry equaling the dollar amount of their prize from my Etsy &/or Artfire Studios. It is not a requirement to sign up to these sites. You simply can let me know via email which you would like. Winners have thirty days after contest close to choose their prize. Therefore any new offerings that I add during this time frame to the studios will be eligible as prizes, as well.PRIZE NOT REDEEMABLE FOR CASH. PRIZE NOT REDEEMABLE FOR CUSTOM WORK. Jewelry must be selected at one time; you cannot carry over any remaining amount after your prize has been chosen. You can pay the difference if your chosen jewelry exceeds the prize allotment. Prize is awarded “as is” and does not carry any warranty or guarantee due to breakage or defect. You must choose from active inventory listed on my Etsy & Artfire Shops; you cannot choose from work that has previously been sold or unlisted.

WINNERS WHO ARE RESIDENTS OF CANADA WILL HAVE TO ANSWER A SKILL-TESTING QUESTION AS REQUIRED BY CANADIAN LAW.

Prize must be sent to one address at the same time. The prize will be sent to the winner in a timely manner however I cannot guarantee it will arrive by a specific date. I am not responsible for prizes lost in transit. Cannot be combined with any other promo I may be offering.

NON-CANADIAN RESIDENTS: I am not responsible for any duty, tax or tariffs that are imposed by your country at time of delivery. I do write GIFT and HANDMADE CRAFTS on the customs form which should alleviate the need to pay any taxes; however it is out of my hands if your government decides to charge you tax.

WHO CAN REDEEM THE PRIZE

Winners will have the choice to give their prize winnings to a loved one to redeem. The winner will simply inform me via email who I can expect will be contacting me for redemption.

So fellas – you should enter and make your mother/wife/girlfriend/sister – happy! 😉

Handmade jewelry always makes a great gift & Christmas will be here sooner than you know it! 🙂

Please enter & help me celebrate phase I of my new website!

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Orange Crush: The Bead Wrist Corsage

I am enjoying my summer vacation, therefore I am on a hiatus from jewelry making. I did find time this evening to list this great piece I made several weeks ago. It is inspired by the orange dahlias in my garden. I have had these vintage orange beads for several years now. I bought them as they intrigued me so, but no design ever came to mind. Let’s face it, it’s a pretty funky colour! The 10mm oval glass beads have a gold AB (aurora borealis) finish on one side.

Since the piece is inspired by flowers, I was thinking wrist corsage when I made it. Therefore, I concentrated on getting a large cluster of beads to sit on the front of the wrist, rather than wrap all the way around. A magnetic clasp finishes the piece. I thought of adding a lobster clasp in order to make it adjustable but it was way too tricky to clasp. So a magnetic one means no fuss, no muss!

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My Black Cat Anklet featured on The Grand Design Blog

I am honoured that CJ Grand of  The Grand Design chose my black cat anklet as today’s Handmade Tweet on her blog. She has some absolulely stunning work featured from many different artistic mediums. Go check it out & get inspired (and drooling!).

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heavenly flower Featured as Shop of the Week Bejeweled’s Jewelry

Thank you Lisa Holley for featuring my Etsy Shop as the shop of the week!!

Bejeweled’s Jewelry: All My Friends on Etsy

(on a side note, I should be back to blogging shortly. I got side tracked with web design & a new venture hopefully launching shortly there after…so many ideas, so little time…)

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Finding Inspiration…

Newton’s first Law of Motion: “An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion…” So too does this apply to inspiration. I found myself  “stuck”  as of late to get jewelry making again. Out came the supplies & I sat down…but nothing came to me. No inspiration. I’m into jewelry making for the expression: the creative outlet; not just to mass assemble pieces for sale.

Over the 12 years that I have been making jewelry, I know a thing or two about finding inspiration for my art form. I was foolish to think I could just sit down and start again after a 10 week hiatus! So here’s what I do to get myself inspired again:

1. I get organized.

Regardless if you make jewelry, paint, knit, sew, etc., your supplies are bound to get messy despite your best attempts to keep it neat & tidy. We wouldn’t be creative individuals without a bit of chaos thrown in! So I take some time to sift & sort through supplies. Sometimes an object just needs a new place in the storage containers or on the workbench in order for it to spark some creative juices. Touching & feeling the textures of the medium you work with (for me it’s mostly semi-precious gemstones) can also kick start the process.

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2. I go shopping.

Whether your budget is big or small, buying new supplies or simply browsing at your LBS (local bead shop)/supply store can be a wealth of inspiration. It also keeps you up to date with what’s new & exciting. Besides this, I like to window shop at the local mall. The window displays tell a lot about what’s “hot” for the season.

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3. Check out the trends online &  in magazines

This is a given, I know. For jewelry making, I like to check out the trends by browsing online jewelry shops, or department store catalogues. It’s also great to read trend reports on fashion sites. I tend to shy away from actually making anything based on trends, but it still serves as inspiration. Checking out what other talented artists in the handmade realm are making aids in finding creativity for me. Not just the jewelry, but the handmade goods on sites like Etsy & Artfire are sure to get the ideas flowing.

4. I look around me

Absolutely, hands down, the best form of inspiration is my environment. Whether it be the colours & textures of my children’s clothing, the vibrant colour of a fresh salad straight from the garden or the mixture of my own personal decorating style around the house. All these things serve as the best inspiration of all, because it is something intimate to me, that is easily relatable. Working with what I know helps my creations evolve with a sense of ease, & doesn’t end up looking forced or mechanical.

The change in seasons is a huge help as well. I am someone who is drawn to nature well, naturally! I think we all are in one way or another. Maybe you like to sit and meditate or read outdoors, go hiking in the woods, plant in your garden or play a seasonal sport. I know for me, this time of year the flowers in full bloom & the lush green foliage acts as a catalyst for me to create jewelry pieces that are vibrant & alive with colour: turquoise, orange, yellow, etc. I have some magnificent orange dahlias blooming out front that serve as the inspiration for my current work in progress.

5. I look at what the birthstone of the month is

Most of my jewelry is based on the metaphysical properties of stones, so I enjoy making jewelry themed around birthstones. This helps give me a benchmark as to where to begin. For example for June, I could concentrate on making pieces featuring pearls & moonstone to help get me going. Even if you don’t make jewelry, the colour of the birthstones may help give you a place to start your knitting or embroidery.

6. I Draw

I can barely draw a stick person mind you, but this is all the skill that I need to record any ideas I may have. As I become more aware of my environment in a creative sense, I will get flashes of ideas. It’s great to put them down on paper for future reference. It sounds cliché but a pad of paper & a pen by your bed really is a must. I can’t tell you how many times I have had brilliant design ideas just as I am nodding off to sleep or waking up, only to forget them later when I have the chance to actually put those ideas to use. Right now for me the best time for ideas is as I put my girls to bed. I lay down with them until they fall asleep, so this is great time to just close my eyes and think. I then draw them out on paper once I am free to get up & start my evening.

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Of course some of my favourite pieces have been created out of spontaneity, and following the steps above I believe can help you create unique items regardless of what your creative medium happens to be. What are some of the ways you find inspiration? Happy Creating!

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Getting my Groove On…

Well it’s offcial. I sat down last night I finally made my way back into jewelry making after a 10 week hiatus due to the birth of my second daughter. I am elated, because the hiatus was more like, one year after my first! It was just a couple of pairs of earrings but it was enough to get the creativity flowing & have the ideas come rushing forth. Here’s what I’m working on today, I think I’ll call it, “orange crush”:

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They are vintage orange beads with a gold AB finsih on one side. I got these at an online aution get this – over 11 years ago!!! Yep. I thought they looked cool but in over a decade I was at a loss as to what to do with them. I’ve been hanging on to them ever since: something about them told me when the time was right, I would use them. Trust me, there have been many time when I have considered destashing them or giving them away! Stay tuned for the finished piece…

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Update on this Weekend’s Sale

So the Starving (Jewelry) Artists sale on Etsy starts this Friday (April 24th) at 4pm EST. The promo is free shipping from the participating shops. I am looking into giving away a free gift or additional discount for my customers as well since my shop always offers free shipping worldwide. Remember Canadians, I offer at par pricing to the US dollar amount. So if you see something you like for $20 USD I’ll sell it to you in Canada for $20 CAD. Plus free shipping. Good deal! Check out or team blog for participating members: SATEAM on ETSY

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SATEAM Mother’s Day Sale on Etsy this weekend…

Okay so, I am typing this half in the dark with a newborn laying on my chest…bare with me…but I am excuted to announce that SATEAM on Etsy is having our first ever sale! Details to follow…all participating shops will be offering free shipping. I’ll post updates as I have them or go to SATEAM on Etsy for more info…start time is looking like 4pm PST on Friday the 24th of April.

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 78

I feel like I am on auto pilot today, yet I was still able to put together this turquoise bracelet. I do love turquoise. I never seem to tire of it.It always looks great with silver…

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I do apologize that these posts are getting shorter & shorter. I twisted my back putting my daughter to bed last night so I am trying to not stay in the same position for very long. Happy creating!

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 77

Today’s creative endeavour is a companion to yesterday’s anklet. Cute and simple dangle earrings in tiger eye and faceted garnet:

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Needless to say, I am starting to run out creative steam…but on I push regardless if it’s just a simple pair of earrings. I commited fully so on I plug each day until I simply can’t anymore…but on that note, I must get up and move…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 76

Today was helping DH clean the house day. I know I know, it’s Sunday but lately I have just decided to do the cleaning when the whim hits me. So this afternoon when I had a moment I decided to put together an anklet, again in anticipation for soon-to-be-bare-legs. This one contains tiger eye tubes & faceted garnet beads. It’s completely adjustable giving the versatility to wear it a variety of ways as well as no fuss with getting the size right. As usual I fashioned the anklet with a safety chain. Simply slip over your foot; that way if the clasp becomes undone, you won’t lose your anklet. I learned this lesson from many a lost ankle bracelet. 🙂

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Tiger eye is associated with astrology as the planetary stone for those born under the sign Gemini; & is commonly associated as a birthstone for those born under the sign of Leo.

Tiger eye also contains many metaphysical properties. For centuries people have believed that the unique properties of gemstones hold specific healing powers & awareness. Tiger eye is said to be associated with the correct use of power, clear thinking, courage, enhances protection, grace, grounding & integration of spirit with worldly energy, integrity, personal empowerment, practicality, the ability to see clearly and without illusion, & willpower.

Red garnet is deep transparent cranberry red with some inclusions, and is the birthstone of the month of January. Garnet is associated with astrology as the planetary stone for those born under the sign Scorpio.

Garnet is said to aid in career success, energy, inspiring romantic love, sensuality & intimacy, passion, past life recall, positive thoughts, and self-confidence.

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 75

Woot! Day 75! I can’t believe I have been able to keep this up for 75 days! Although my goal is 100 days of making at least one piece of jewelry a day I certainly wouldn’t mind stopping here…especially considering all that I have going on right now. But I will keep plugging away as long as I can. Today I was still inspired by the sun, so I made this cheerful sterling and fossil beaded anklet. I still had a bit of time left so I pulled together a cute pair of dalmatian jasper and fossil bead earrings. Simple, yes. Affordable, yes. I have built a reputation on good quality, affordable jewelry, so although this may seem like boring old bead stringing I think it is a must to offer. Sure there are many other aspects of artisan jewelry I would like to delve into but time & economy are against me right now. So I will stick to what I know and what I am good at. 🙂 As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke… 😉

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I love the versatility and affordability of fossil beads. Cut & dyed limestone in many cheerful colours. I prefer it over fiber optic glass actually. Cheerful yet earthy. Happy Saturday. I hope it has been sunny where you are…