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Making Balled Headpins

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newly made ball headpin

 

Since the New Year I started making balled headpins again. I really like the look of them versus the more common flat head (although they certainly have their place in design). For awhile I just couldn’t be bothered and would buy sterling silver headpins in bulk. Now that I got the (mini) torch out again I have to ask myself why I didn’t just stick with making my own. Yes it gets tedious cutting the wire to size. Yes I have to set up the workspace including protecting my desk with a fire resistant mat. But having the freedom of making the gauge and length of headpin that I need for projects is a luxury, and watching the silver ball form at the end of the wire in the orange flame is mesmerizing. Using fine silver – a more pure silver than sterling – means no fire scale to clean off so it’s incredibly quick.

Instead of walking through the steps of making balled headpins, I’m sharing a very thorough and straight forward video from Beaducation. Why reinvent the wheel? She is also using the same torch that I own, only here in Canada I bought mine from Lee Valley.

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Until I watched this video, it never occurred to me that the *kind* of butane matters and have since switched to a cleaner burning butane. I picked this one up at my local smoke shop so it should be widely available in Canada…

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Why I Switched to Sterling Silver for my Engraving Designs

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sterling silver personalized necklace featuring culinary grade pewter ladybug

I should clarify: why I switched to sterling silver for my engraved necklaces. For now I will still be offering bracelets in silver plate and cord, and the engraved stitch markers will remain silver or gold plate (but I’ll certainly take requests for sterling silver versions ;)). As far as my most popular items – which are my necklaces – we’re going sterling silver all the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Time for Change

Back in mid-January it hit me: it was time for a radical change. I was slogging through my list of sterling silver requests. The list of, “if you ever do a sterling silver version, let me know…” and I was feeling both overwhelmed and under-whelmed. There is no fun remaking something that you already make, and happen to make a decent amount of. Quite frankly, I was bored. Normally I combat boredom by developing something new. But by necessity I was pushing myself to do sterling silver versions of certain designs. People asked for them a year ago and I had to make it happen. It was the key to shaking this stale feeling, the unmotivated feeling that has been creeping up over time. I was going through the motions, with something that I am passionate and love to do.

A-H engraved stitch markers have gotten an updated look but will remain silver plated
A-H engraved stitch markers have gotten an updated look but will remain silver plated

To throw another wrench into it, I think too much. I over think everything. One reason why sterling silver versions had not yet been completed, is because I over analyze and essentially talk myself out of it. It seems too complicated. So finally one afternoon I asked myself, what do I find the most complicated about it? And the answer was juggling all the options. Having a silver plated option, vs. a sterling silver option. Then add to it a gold plated option vs. a gold-filled option. That’s up to 4 options for one necklace design. The answer was to upgrade everything to sterling silver, and concentrate on 14kt gold-filled later.

What? Discontinue successful products? Why in the world would I do that? But this time instead of thinking it over (and over) I just did it. Like, when you have a really stuck band-aid. Just rip it off really fast, rather than peeling it slowly and feeling every single tug on the skin. This is the analogy of my entire life. Otherwise, I would never make a decision!

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Culinary grade pewter teddy bear (I love the detail in this little guy!) on a personalized sterling silver necklace

You know what? The decision has been just what I needed. By discontinuing many products I was able to see more clearly what needed to be done, instead of feeling overwhelmed with too many products, too many options, and too many what-ifs. I got so much done in a week. Many prototypes were completed, and photographs taken. The pictures were okay – but they were good enough to get the items relisted and presented for the February newsletter (I have since re-taken the product photos and my photography skills aren’t the strongest, but the final set of photos has the energy and vibe I want to convey). I have that excitement again: the sweaty palm, bubbling from the pit of my stomach feeling that I get when I create something wonderful.

Value

A few years ago (okay, maybe a tad more than a few) I would never dream to use plated items or base metal for my jewelry. That’s because sterling silver was so. cheap. I used to do all my prototypes in sterling silver – I considered it scrap metal! When I purchased my manual engraver and started teaching myself engraving, I had bought some silver plated blanksย for practice. The price of silver soared, and the landscape of selling handmade online totally changed. All of a sudden, everyone was selling something they made on the internet. Plus, there were mass-produced companies popping up everywhere that needed individuals to sell their products, often times masquerading as handmade. And the prices were all. over. the. place. On top of it all, many people were struggling financially so there was no room for life’s extras. I had to look at where I could cut cost, and the best way to do it was in the supply cost. My cost: AKA my time and expertise was already as low as I could go.

How cute is this little pewter turtle paired with the sterling silver engraving blank
How cute is this little pewter turtle paired with the sterling silver engraving blank

I rarely get complaints on my silver plated and gold plated items. I think most people understand that plated items are a crap shoot since there is no guarantee the level of tarnish or when tarnish will happen – everybody’s body chemistry is different. And the pieces were priced accordingly. It was certainly affordable. But even one disappointed customer is a disappointment to me, especially when you consider most of the purchases are as gifts and have stories attached to them. Many people are hurting and grieving, or have overcome a hardship that they want to honor. The silver plated items were intended to be a gesture – I never dreamed that people would become so attached to their necklace, that they would wear it often, even to the point of not taking it off.

Sterling silver does not always agree with everyone’s body chemistry, I do know a few individuals who can’t wear it at all. But for the majority of people the main issue with sterling silver is tarnish. Luckily, tarnish can be removed via a polishing cloth or even with hot water, tin foil and baking soda. Offering products in sterling silver gives me piece of mind that they will stand up to much love and wear.

Keeping it affordable

The biggest issue with offering sterling silver is to how to keep it affordable. I design with the philosophy that everyone deserves a nice product that they can be proud of. Silver has stabled in price, so it makes it more attainable. I buy in bulk: wholesale lots. So I have to make sure I have the funds to front the cost of large orders. It is the only way I can offer my work at the prices I do. That, and I donate a lot of my time. A lot. That’s the truth. Being the sole designer, sales person, marketer, photographer, copywriter, graphic designer, web designer (with help from my developer husband), and accountant means I really should be tripling or even quadrupling my cost (a topic for another day…).

Knowing where my supplies come from

I buy my sterling silver engraving disks from US suppliers. The disks are made in the USA and one supplier in particular smelts scrap metal to make their sterling silver sheet (disks are cut from sheet). The culinary grade pewter charms are made in the USA. The sterling silver cast charms are European or US made. The older I get, and the more informed I get, the more I would prefer to buy as close to home as possible. Plus, I have an established relationship with these suppliers. I can trust them.

Sterling silver engraving disks and culinary grade pewter charms: Made in the USA
Sterling silver engraving disks and culinary grade pewter charms: Made in the USA

An over-all product I can be proud of

I am confident with my skills and abilities. Am I perfect? No. Do I make mistakes? Of course. I am happy to fix and honor them. It happens. But I have no control over supplies that are simply not up to par. I am at a different place in my life. My philosophy has always been, would I wear it? And these days I don’t wear many of the items I originally developed. So after it is all said and done, this is the crux of change for me.

bb3 is still a project: I hesitate to call it a business as I just don’t have the time or resources to hire or grow it. It is a labour of love born out of the belief that we truly can get back to basics, express ourselves, be creative – and support local and small industries. It’s my reflection of where we are as a society – where mass produced, non-personal, bought without a thought does not always equate to better. It’s about spreading a little joy, a little positivity, a little healing, one item at a time.

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Adventures in Brass: Part One ~ Oxidizing

I inherited a lot of trophy brass for my engravers. Besides practicing engraving, I thought I would try my hand at some fun techniques and see what happens. I haven’t had any formal training in metal nor have a worked with it before, other than some crude wire work. I just like to think up an idea and try it out and see what comes of it.

The first thing I did was create patterns on the brass plate using a paper embosser.

Then I needed to rub the surface with a very fine steel wool as trophy plate has a coating to protect it from tarnishing. The steel wool will remove the coating and this is the area that we will oxidize. The effect depends on how much of the coating you remove, but generally, the recessed areas will remain with the coating while the top will not.

The brass oxidizer I have is for the colour black and I got it from an engraving supplier, but is available from many sources including jewelry supply shops. This is an acid so you want to wear gloves and keep out of reach of children.

I used a Q-Tip to apply the solution to my brass plate.

I applied the oxidizer evenly over the surface of the brass plate.

Almost instantly, you will see the brass turn black.

Wipe off the excess…and there you have it. Oxidized, patterned brass. I applied a jewelry wax sealer to the end product.

So what to do with this brass plate? Part two will be the a peek into the projects…

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Come Tour My Workspace…

The creative madness (um, I mean, magic…) unfolds in my head. But I have never in the 10+ years of jewelry making & paper crafts had a proper work area to transfer those ideas into the tangible world. I’ve always lived in apartments for my whole adult life; and when we bought our house 3+ years ago, two children have been born since so I have been working from the kitchen table. ๐Ÿ™‚

As summer drew to a close and my youngest was gaining independence, I decided it was time for a proper workspace. But what would work? Where? I needed a place that I could multi-task: make jewelry, fill orders & prep them for shipping, take photos (I was so sick of setting up and tearing down my photo box), and also work on my other creative endeavours which include cosmetic making, paper crafts, candle making…on top of this, I needed a way to keep the girls occupied while I work. So the space would also have to act as a playroom.

Upon pondering on my open-concept home, it became clear that one room would be perfect: the laundry/mud room.

What? You say. A laundry room. Sounds silly doesn’t it? Here is where ” outside the box”ย  creative thinking is key.

Our laundry room is very large. In the initial plans for the house, it was supposed to be three smaller storage rooms and an exit to the garage. Thankfully, the original owners opted to make it one large back room. Prior to last August, this room served as a laundry room and very large bathroom for my cats; and because the kitty litter was there you really did not want to spend a lot of time in it, let alone have babies crawl all over the floor.

My husband had plans to move his computer gear into that room as well, so a plan formed. Cat litter was moved out of the room entirely. One side would be set up with carpet tiles so the girls could have a play area. The other side, my desk/work station. The room was already equipped with lots of cupboard space and counter space which would house all my creative products. And bonus – I could also get the laundry done as well! Perfect solution for a busy mom who rarely made it down the stairs to do the laundry…

In October we set up the space; and I did some more organizational arranging last month when I realized I was going to take a jewelry sabbatical.

The space esthetically is nothing to shake a stick at: I do hope to do some painting and refreshing in the future. Functionally however, it is a dream come true.

Above is a view of my main workspace. We have three of these flea market tables and one works well for a large work area. The other desk/cabinet was here when we moved in; not great looking but it’ s free and functional! You can see my shipping materials in the hanging file above the table. My light box for photo taking is in the middle and that small fridge at the very left keeps any cosmetic concoctions or supplies that need to be kept cool (and my husband’s beer!). See those two carpet tiles missing at the top left of the carpet? Spilled beer. Sigh. They will return after we can get the smell out. LOL!

The fridge sits on my cart that holds my “hardware”: metal working materials, polishers and all of my engraving fonts. I also have a printer that comes in handy when I am not at my usual computer.

And of course…my daughters’ย  toys…they never stay in one area. ๐Ÿ™‚

The above view is of the entrance to the room. My work area is directly behind me. You see my oldest on her slide on the right. My washer & dryer that I adore; and the cupboards above are great places to stash my supplies for making cosmetics, their packing materials and misc. supplies such as mixing bowls, the ever useful Popsicle sticks, etc. That blue thing on the floor is a tunnel in case you are wondering. Endless fun for babies. ๐Ÿ™‚

A view of the play area. There are lots of baskets and bins to store their wooden blocks, musical instruments, and pretty much any toy that I don’ t like to have under foot in my living room. ๐Ÿ™‚ That cupboard is where I keep my beading supplies and craft paint; we’ll get a peek inside shortly.

Inside my jewelry cupboard…at least the beading side of it…still room to grow! *grin* It could be neater but it will do for now.

My very useful “built-in” bookshelf that holds paper,ย  books, jewelry (those two large binders on the right of the third shelf houses my completed jewelry ready for shipping), my engraving plates and charms in metal and wood, and that wooden case is where I keep my hole punches and rubber stamps.

I found this scrapbooking cart at Costco awhile back & although I do not scrapbook, it’s handy for holding all my decorative paper! On top is my Provo Craft Cuttlebug.

The room also came equipped with ample counter space. Here in one corner is my microwave for flower pressing & melting soy wax for candles.

Above the microwave you see my main cupboard filled with cosmetic making supplies. I haven’t delved into making mineral makeup as of yet; just soaps, lotions, scrubs, lip balms, etc etc….

This is a fairly messy end of the room…but I wanted to show two of my three pantograph engravers….my husband’s computer gear is to the left of them (that’s our router stuck to the wall) and recycling bins underneath…it’s a hot mess at the moment so I’m only showing off the engravers. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a closer look at my workspace…the wicker baskets above hold remnant fabric, candle making supplies (mostly holders), extra shipping materials, and packing supplies. I use my old laptop downstairs if I ever want to look up something on the internet or get info off our server. That little box on the wall was a great find! I forgot to take a photo of the inside…but I got it at Ikea for half price. It is supposed to hold CD’s, but I keep my inks, pigments, embossing powders, glitter & stamping pads in it. Robbin is kept neat & accessibly hung on dowels and wire off the top rack.

(That hook rug raccoon was a creation of my late mother’s when I was a child. It always makes me smile to look at it).

This little photo box was such a great, inexpensive investment! I still believe natural light is the best light for photographing jewelry, but if I waited for great weather to take photos outside in this climate I would be unable to take photos year round! My photos still could use work but they have improved dramatically since buying this light box.ย  Underneath I keep props for photos as well as other jewelry making materials.

It’s always great to have a whiteboard to stay organized and brainstorm! Mine is under-used this month; I must remedy that next month.

Thanks for taking a peek at my workspace…it may not look like much, but my girls & I love to spend our time down there. Hopefully it will inspire you & your creative space however big or small!

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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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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 myselfย  “stuck”ย  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 &ย  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 clichรฉ 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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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 74

Happy Spring everyone! It was a gloriously sunny day here today. Hard to not feel optimistic on a day like today. My offering for today’s creativity, was purely aesthetic. I wish I had some spiritual reason for pairing these stones together, but it was totally just because I liked how they looked. This bracelet contains hematite donuts, dalmatian jasper and lemon agate:

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The dalmatian jasper is fun huh? Reminds me of so many things…ice cream with cookie bits? Jersey cows?ย  Hee hee…It’s believed to have gotten its name because the spots resemble those from the dog of the same name.

Off to start my Friday night! Tomorrow is another milestone…day 75! 25 days to go. It has been a rewarding & fun journey…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 73

I am in such a good mood today – spring is definitely in the air!ย  So nice to know the equinox is tomorrow!ย  Today I was distracted by the sun, but was able to complete a custom order with hematite and moonstone, list it, sell it and ship it off. After that there was only time for yet another simple pair of earrings, so out came the turquoise again. The stone faired well for my mood yesterday, so I figured I’d keep that going today. I was hesitant about this one because it is featuring small turquoise chips; the average size is 3.5mm, and some are flatter than that. But I am really happy with the results. I’d definitely wear them and I don’t make anything I wouldn’t wear myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Because chips are affordable, these are listed at only $12 – and as always, free shipping. There is still sun shining thanks to daylight savings time so I am going to enjoy before dinner.

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 72

I finally am starting to feel like myself again. I think a lot of contemplation and some nice weather really helped. I only had time to make one pair of earrings today. Turquoise is such a spiritual stone I wanted to use it in a piece today; but with limited time it had to be something simple:

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These are turquoise nuggets on 30mm sterling silver hoops. Turquoise is said to be balancing; connects us with all life; is generally healing; helps us attain honest communication; increase serenity; give us meditation energy, positive thinking, protection, sensitivity, strength, and wisdom. All things, I so needed today. I feel like I am getting there…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 71

Today was a fairly easy design day as I simply finished up the last two pieces in the garnet & pearls series. I think I needed the break, anyway. I’m feeling a bit unmotivated as I deal with some emotions stemming from my mother’s death a few months ago. Strange how those things come up at different times. So today, I put the finishing touches on a pair of earrings to match the necklace & bracelet I made yesterday, as well as a pearl cuff bracelet accented in the 4mm faceted garnet:

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Even after all that – I still have some of these garnet beads left! The smaller sized beads are definitely deceiving. ๐Ÿ™‚

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 70

When I started to think this morning about what would be my inspiration for today’s creations, I decided to take direction from my destash pile of beads. I have these 4mm faceted garnet beads to use up. One of those, I needed some for a creation awhile back & over bought…sooo…thinking about it, I didn’t want to make the same garnet pieces I made back in January for a birthstone theme, I really wanted to pair these up with something more light. Since we are heading into wedding & formal season,ย  I decided to pair them up with some freshwater pearls. This is two of four pieces that I started. These two, a bracelet and necklace, are finished & I’ll complete the other two tomorrow:

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Interesting info: garnet is the birthstone for the month of Janurary and also the planetary stone for those born under the sign of Scorpio. Pearls are the birthstone for the month of June & also the planetary stone for those born under the sign of Cancer.

Till tomorrow…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 69

Today was mookaite day. I felt the need to add a couple more affordable pieces to my Artfire Studio, and mookaite came to mind. This bead stands really well on its own therefore I thought it was the appropriate choice for these pieces. Mookaite (also spelled moukaite) is a form of jasper native to Australia. Stone variance from a reddish brown, tan and cream colored.

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You can see by comparing the first and second pair of earrings, there really is a neat variance to the colour of the stone. Truly one of my favourites to work with. As far as lore goes, mookaite is believed to aid in in embracing new circumstances, acts as an emotional protector, encourages the desire for variety & new experiences, enhances decision making & helps us when dealing with negative situations. Indeed, a fascinating stone.

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 68

Wow day 68! I will be so proud when I make it to Day 75 of this! I was in a bit of a funk today…I am not100% sure why. I don’t feel tired as in, I need sleep tired, just slow. I think I need to cut out the bread products for awhile and detox out the gluten. That would help. I also had such a negative experience with a potential new supplier yesterday. I really hate being a hard ass, but business is business, you know? I think I really need to start critiquing online businesses. One thing that’s great about buying from Etsy is that there is feedback. Doing a google search & finding these online stores really is buy at your own risk at times. I was also thinking I really need to thank all the suppliers I have, big & small for the great service they offer. How often do we let people know when they are doing something right & that we appreciate it? Okay, mental note to self to do this…

Back to today’s creation. Today when I woke up, the sun had this haze coming over the horizon that reminded me of the summer. I was also up early unable to sleep due to a bit of back pain so it really felt like I was on a trip getting ready to start a day of exploration. So the piece I was inspired to make, is entirely in white and accented in silver. I love white & silver toegther. So clean & fresh, like a summer blouse or a white washed house against clear blue skies on a tropical isalnd…ahhhh…are you feeling me or what?

Here’s the bracelet, done entirely in fiber optic cat’s eye & accented in lead-free pewter & sterling silver:

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With that, I must start my Saturday night. DD is in front of me, singing me a song & dancing. Must go enjoy the simple things in life that makes us smile… ๐Ÿ™‚

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 67

So, the sun today really had me thinking of summer. As the snow slowly melts I was looking at our back deck thinking about sitting out there soaking up some sun. We bough DD (almost 18 months) a wooden playhouse yesterday. Can’t wait to put it together. That energy really made me migrate to the colourful beads. Anything turquoise/aqua & white really makes me think hot weather. So this is my contribution to my Artfire Studio for today:

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All fiber optic cat’s eye accented in sterling silver. Makes me want to go sip lemonade in the shade or a pina colada on the beach!

I need not say it is Friday night & I so do not want to be working…so I say so long farewell for now…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 66

Thank you daylight savings time…I didn’t think I would be able to post my thing for today since I was out. I didn’t get anything created all day. But, I was able to put together these simple & affordable earrings at 5pm right before supper. Thanks to the extended daylight, I even got photos.

I put these earrings in my Etsy Shop & not my Artfire Studio as I had another sale today dipping my inventory below 100. I wanted to add a couple more affordable pieces, & these chip bead hoops seem to be quite popular:

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The first pair are snowflake obsidian chips. The second is crazy lace agate…I always loved the name of that stone. ๐Ÿ™‚ Affordable at $12 & free shipping. In this economy, I can see why simple & affordable would be attractive to customers.

Hopefully I will be home tomorrow as I would like to make something a bit more intricate. But, since I can’t sit for very long comfortably I’m not sure I can swing that anyway…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 65

I had a really, really good day today. I could get used to this leisurely living. Only, looking at the toilet & the pile of laundry I realize I have to do a bit of housework tomorrow. The other good thing, is this extended daytime means I was still able to make a piece today for my 100 Days of Creativity & photograph it since I made it right before dinner! I sold another pair of earrings today so I listed this bracelet in my Etsy Shop since I want to try & keep 100 listings there if possible:

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Made completely out of coffee brown fiber optic cat’s eye beads & accented in lead free pewter bead caps. There is also sterling silver daisy spacers. I strung it on a heavy guage sterling silver wire: 20 gauge to be exact. I wanted it to be very solid & it is just that! It reminds me of a bangle in some ways. It’s 7.5 inches, & since it is quite solid, would look fab on a smaller wrist too hanging lower like a bangle…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 64

I took the day to relax. My body was so tired & the hormones were making me feel kind of weepy. This is the first day I have felt any kind of altered state hormonally & I guess I am allowed at almost 38 weeks. So it was a nice day just hanging out with my 17 month old & sneaking in a couple pieces of jewelry. It’s hard to just lay around for me…esp. considering that’s all I will be doing for 6 weeks after this baby is born. Sit and nurse. Sleep when baby sleeps…I look forward to it and yet I don’t want to get bored with sitting around ahead of time…thank goodness for supportive husbands!

So this is what I came up with today. Again, simple pieces but I like how they turned out as they had my signature funky style:

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This bracelet has 25mm shell beads & caramel mother-of-pearl. I added these sterling silver coil spacers to give it a bit of funkiness.

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I took these wood beads & made a necklace that can be worn longer on the chain or as a choker. The wood beads are on a thick gauge wire so that they stay in this “U” shape regardless if worn long or choker style.

I continue to amaze myself because I can honestly say at this moment I am fresh outof ideas…then tomorrow comes & something just comes to me…let’s see if I can still keep that going tomorrow…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 63

Today I struggled to get motivated. Definitely my body is slowing down…but I did get a couple of bracelets made. Really, I am starting to amaze myself that I can keep going, but I just can’t sit around & wait, you know? ๐Ÿ™‚

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This cuff bracelet captures my earthy side! 10mm moonstone beads need nothing but themselves to make a bold statement.

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I am really happy how this turned out. Very soft. This bracelet contains violet pearls & moonstone chips. Maybe I should be wearing it, since moonstone is supposed to bring on easy birth! This piece is the birthstone, planetary stone & mystical stone for those born under the sign of Cancer or in the month of June.

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 62

Finally! A beautiful day! Felt like spring & the sun came out…a great way to start daylight savings time. Only, it doesn’t make me motivated to stay in and make jewelry. I did however, get 4 pairs of earrings made. Simple designs, mind you. I always feel unfulfilled when I just make simple pairs of earrings. Then today I had a sale in my Etsy Shop of a similar style…so I guess that’s all the confirmation I need that it’s well worth doing! ๐Ÿ™‚

It was the day of the hoop earring. I made these gold-filled hoops with a cloisonnรฉ bead theme:

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Then these chip bead sterling silver hoops featuring turritella agate & red tiger’s eye:

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I’d love to get my hands on more turritella agate. I love the beautiful pattern of the stone. Anyway, I have a terrible crick in my neck so I have to keep it short & sweet tonight…

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100 Days of Creativity: Day 61

I am totally finding it hard to concentrate tonight! Sloooooow like molasses I am. But it is Saturday night so I am excused. On an up note, I had a very productive jewelry making day. Played around with sterling silver chain to make some more delicate classy jewelry that seems to be so popular; at least from my customers…

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I am annoyed with this weather. Garnet is really hard to photograph since it is a dark stone, and with it being cloudy so much it makes it even tougher. I am too lazy & too pregnant to dig the light box out of the garage. I wanted the first thing I made today to be an anklet as I already had in my Artfire Studio a necklace, bracelet, earrings & ring. I also thought of making a headpiece but that is just too much work, therefore too much sitting for me right now. So I am keeping with simple. I just had a handful of these 3mm garnet beads left. Nice to make more room in the bead box…

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This necklace was inspired by the 13mm Swarovski crystal rings. A supplier of mine had these and I thought I would get two to play around with them, maybe use them in earrings. Only, once I got them home, I had no inspiration as to what to do with them! So they sat in the bead box for 3 years. I think they make a great focal point for this hematite & sterling silver chain necklace.

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These last two pieces, are my favourites of today. I adore black & white, and the black carnelian beads with freshwater pearls in these matching earrings & necklace are elegant, classy & sassy!ย  Yep, still milking those 10mm black carnelian beads. ๐Ÿ˜‰