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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Jewelry Goings-On


I'm reading four books at the moment, three of which are virtually the same book. The exact titles escape me, but I'll try to remember them later. The fourth is a book I read in my teens and quite enjoyed… it's called The Initiate. But I took last night off and read (or looked at the pictures in) two books on Art Nouveau Jewelry instead. Sometimes it's hard to concentrate when at the kids' hockey practices… lots of interruptions. But lots of new ideas. So my gratitude for today is to all the artists whose work I see on a daily basis that inspires the heck out of me.


I have an amazingly exciting project coming up. I hope to have the first ones ready to hit the market as early as next week.

They are Gratitude Charms. Mostly they will go on neck chains, but if so desired they can also be bracelet charms or keychain charms. I don't really want them to be car charms or bookmark charms because the whole point is to have a constant reminder of how grateful you are for the things in your life. We all are. But sometimes we forget to think it, say it, really appreciate what we have. The Gratitude Charms will actually aid in bringing more positive things into your life… more things to be grateful for (and yes, you may end a sentence with a preposition… did you know there's no grammatical rule against that?... what were our teachers thinking?!).

And aside from that, I have a creation that came to me in a dream last night. I will see what I can do about sketching it out and translating it into something I can handle.

Which reminds me… yesterday someone on facebook commented on my nice color combination for a pair of earrings I recently listed. I mentioned that I had made those earrings based on a color combo sheet I had made up in WORD of some of my favorite color combos. Here… I'll share it with you.

Tonight at hockey I'll try to finish the project with the ArtBeads.com beads. They were nice enough to send me some really awesome Swarovski components… the least I can do is finish my project before the end of a year. Ha ha ha!

Monday, September 28, 2009

DIY Photo Cube for $6... and some new Metal Clay pieces

So… did some “green” things (well, in my book anyway).

Aside from the jewelry I made with my current bead stash (see this post from my Laura Bracken blog), I made some jewelry out of metal clay… yay!

Not listed yet…

Traded for beads…

This past weekend, I also gave up on my tent sized photo cube. The light sources were just too far away.

So I went to Ross’ and bought a lampshade for $6.

It had a white liner material and a tan outer material. I removed the tan outer material.

Then I was left with a strong frame with diffusing material on it and the cube is small enough to get my light sources (two Ott lights and a fluorescent photo light) closer to the object.

See the camera on top… shooting straight down into the improvised photo cube?

Anyway, Gabe wants the internet so I’m going to say goodbye. Hope to check in next time without as much time between.


New Jewelry Listings!!!

So I walk into the kitchen this evening (after walking Bear) and the kids are emptying the dishwasher and I hear something about “free will”.

“Oh, I say… what are you talking about?”

“We’re having a philosophical discussion,” says Monica.

“Monica said God made her drop the water bottles,” Gabe added.

I informed them that DIDN’T count as a philosophical discussion.

So here we are now… dishwasher running, laundry going, and the kids are sitting down with their homework (which is WAY more than I think it should be, but what do I know). Actually, Gabe’s helping Monica with her Algebra/Trig… whew… thank goodness for our resident math genius.


I finally got some listed. Had a new camera… returned it… trying different things to get good pictures… life goes on. Gotta show you my new $6 photo cube… I’ll post it on GOING GREEN JEWELRY after I post this.

Here are thumbnails of what I listed today. If you want to see the larger photos, just head on over to the store… it’s all there, with IN-YOUR-FACE type photos… or click on one of these little pictures.

I have three more bracelets to list, but two of them still need photos (got the model shots already!... here’s a sneak peak…).

Well, I don’t really think I have too much more to say at the moment. I have a mound of clean laundry to put away and I still want to post on my other blog.


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hockey and Jewelry and I LOVE VERIZON

My phone died today. Luckily it’s under warranty. I took it to a Verizon store to get a replacement and they figured out it was only the battery that was fried. Yay! They replaced it for free and the kids ended up getting new phones for $15 (good thing they have their own spending money). They now have phones will full keyboards.


Yesterday Monica’s team beat the Cougars 3-0. Today, they got beat by San Jose 5-1. Gabe’s team beat San Jose (at the same time… so I didn’t get to see his game) 5-0.

I’m also thinking of NOT going to Valencia for Gabe’s first CAHA weekend. As much as I love watching his team play, it’s just a bit more hassle and expense than the pleasure warrants.


I really need to get the new stuff listed… At least I finally got some “model” shots. I can’t always do that, but I do think it helps to show how big or small the pieces are on a human being… I like to show really blown-up photos in my listings and I worry people may get the wrong idea about size of the jewelry unless they see it in reference to something familiar.

I still have to take photos of the earrings in hanging position. Maybe I’ll do that now.

Mondays are SRAJD processing day, though, so not sure when I’ll really be able to get the new jewelry up.

Well, at least tonight I can upload the photos and measure everything.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

This and That and comments on comments

Today was pretty jam-packed. I don’t really recall how yesterday was… wow, I mean, that was like less than 24 hours ago. Sigh… I remember taking Mon to … oh wait, that was Gabe. Gabe went to goalie session last night… oh, now I remember… I spent time straightening the apartment. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the final stage of vacuuming but it does feel a lot better than it did before the weekend.

Okay, THAT paragraph was actually written last night (Sunday)… as I was making an attempt to touch base with my friends and family… but that’s as far as I got before a deep voice from the bedroom said, “Can you help me study for my Government test?”

Blech! I am a ditz when it comes to government. No offense, but politics is NOT my forte. Oh well, now I know more than I ever wanted to about the beginning of Federalist Republic.

Tonight I will try to drill holes in my two silver beads, then I can bake them along with the textured pendant I made.

It was also brought to my attention that there are a lot of differences in the different incarnations of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, so I will bring that up in regards to the Mandala Tutorial… hopefully this week.

Interest has sparked for the SRAJD local chapters. I need to get that rolling too.

Oh, Monica put up some really cool findings in Etsy. If you want to get some unique components to add to your jewelry making… and help out a goalie who always needs new gear and tournament funds, take a look!


Cindy Gimbrone said: Hi Laura,

I think your photos are lovely! Why do you think they're not up to snuff?

I struggle with trying to get a good photo of a long (30" or more) necklace. Arghhh - any suggestions?

Love all the pictures of the jewelry - your PMC leaves necklace is lovely! I like it on the gradient.

Will you put a link to your children's findings site or shop? I never bought anything from them because I didn't know about them. Would like to check it out.

You always post the funniest LOL Cats pictures.

Have a great day!

Hi Cindy! Thanks for the comment about my photos… they just aren’t as crisp as I’d like. But when I was 27, I looked up at a really large cat making a ruckus in a tree and said to my boyfriend, “Dang that’s a big cat.” He said, “That’s a raccoon.” I went to the eye doctor the next day and sure enough, I needed glasses (I had no idea!). What if I’m THERE again?! What if my pictures just look ick to me because I can’t focus anymore?! Eeeee!

And wow… yeah, long necklaces (and earrings) are things I hate to photograph. I simply don’t know how to do it… at all. Ugh!

Ha ha! You and I like the same LOL cats. :-)

That white heart on chain and ribbon… ooh la la! Fabulous!

Thanks for mentioning the kids’ beads/findings for sale. They don’t have much up (they are still reliant on me to make their listings online and my time is limited), but I did put the link to Etsy and all Mon’s findings are at the top of the store listings at the moment. Thanks!

ChezChani says: Photos of jewelry. I feel your pain.

Ha ha ha! Yeah, see. It’s like a never-ending thing… always trying to get a good photo.

Some people have the absolute best pictures… Shari slonski comes to mind as one.

BTW, I love this. Are those Lampwork or fused?

Okay, gotta go… TTYL!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Upcoming Jewelry, Etsy Rant, USPS Mishap

USPS Mishap

Yesterday, two things I mailed are arrived at their destination (or at least at the local post offices of their destinations).

One was a package to Texas, for a good friend of mine. I hope she likes the contents and can find something special for herself in there.

The other is a package that was shipped on August 31st. Yes, August 31st! Why the package sat in Sacramento for two weeks, I'll probably never know. But this package has caused me some angst by being delayed.

Etsy Rant (#493)

There is a blog for reporting/discussing scam Etsy sellers. Tsk tsk. If a business is large enough to have so many scammers that they can't deal with them all… then they are making enough money to hire people to deal with these scammers and keep them off their site. JMO…

I realize it behooves the sellers to do this, but IMO they shouldn't HAVE to be doing it at all. Neighborhood watch is one thing, but doing your boss's job is another.

How lucky is Etsy that they get hundreds of people working for them for free?

Cameras and Photography

Okay, back into the never-ending battle for me to shoot a good photo. I experimented last night and the results were dreadful. Tonight I'm going to try adding more light as well as opening the aperture.

I will keep you posted.

Upcoming Jewelry

I do have new things to list, but I just haven't had a night off since September 1st. I can give you a preview, though…

I finished the silver leaf necklace (my first successful PMC project), but I have to get a decent photo. I shot on a gradient background, but after looking at it I see I would have been better off getting more WHITE under the silver necklace since silver and grey are so similar.


For those of you who used to purchase findings from my children, they've started that business again. Monica has some nice vermeil and Bali silver coming up in a few days.

Gabe will be having a variety of items within a few weeks.


Not too much hockey this weekend, but that will give me time to straighten up at home, plan some meals, and work on jewelry and photos.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cameras (and the never-ending search for the perfect jewelry photo)

Okay, way too many days have passed without an entry. I apologize. A lot of busy things… and a lot of thinking.

Nothing too specific… just stuff.

Let's see, where do we stand now?


Gabe has a scrimmage this weekend. Mon has a goalie session.

Speaking of hockey… and Gabe… I'm helping Gabe's team keep their website updated and such. Wow, talk about a learning curve. I'm kind of cramming to learn how Google Sites works. It is, however, a step up from when I was trying to learn how DreamWeaver works. Ha ha ha! That was such a joke. I couldn't make heads or tails of the instructions.

We're falling into more of a routine now. Mon and Wed we're in Fremont for Mon's hockey and Tues and Thurs we're in Dublin for Gabe's hockey. Friday I take class in Berkeley… and then the weekend is filled with games, practices and lessons.


Yeah… hm… so, I'm getting VERY frustrated with my photo-taking lately. I'd like to blame it on my ten-year old camera. I know to some I sound like the anorexic who sees a fat person in the mirror, but people who know a lot about good jewelry photography will easily see what I'm talking about. My photos are sub-par… and seem to actually be spiraling downward.

I am trying one new thing… if it works, I'll tell you about it. If it doesn't work, I'll probably STILL tell you about it but I won't go into as much detail.

Since the main place I see my photos is on the computer, I'm also going to look into my ability (or inability) to correctly use my photo-editing software.

Today I learned a few new things... mostly in the area I'm worried about… resolution.

Oh shoot… gotta go! TTYL!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just a quick update

I think I'm getting closer to what is it that I want to put into or add to my jewelry that will make it distinctly mine. Unfortunately, it won't be anything visually noticeable (I don't think). It has more to do with how a piece FEELS… or how it feels when worn.

Sigh… so hard to describe. But it feels right to me so I'm going with it.

Today's Friday and there's no hockey so I'll be heading over to Hadar's for class (after I check the website to make sure she's in town). I need s'more PMC standard so I can finish my pendant… would like to have finished my leaf necklace before I go. Might be a possibility.

Gem show this weekend. Heh… another big day of temptation (except it's worse this time because I actually HAVE some spending money).

These guys do really nice work on recycled clothing. Check 'em out!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

PMC Silver Prices

Last Weekend

Okay, I might have a few moments today to catch you up.

Valencia (Monica's first hockey tournament with her new team) was fun. I kind of like being forced to not work. Like, at home, even if I have the night off (no hockey), I still do stuff that is like work… making jewelry, taking photos, listing, sorting papers, cleaning the apartment, etc. But when I'm away from home and computers, it's becoming increasingly easier for me to just let go and relax. I mean, like… do NOTHING. OMG, me?!

And I'm trying to catch up on my sleep. I obviously missed a lot of sleep in the past week, so last night when I took Gabe to hockey (7:30pm-11:30), I didn't even take any work with me. No books either. Heck, I didn't even watch his practice. Ha! I put some pillows up in the back seat of the car and played games on my phone until I fell asleep. What a wonderful (and sorely needed) nap!

On this trip (at least for the driving there and back portions) we were fortunate enough to have the company of a good friend. I miss my B-family. And fab-Mommy made us a GINORMOUS dinner that I traded for her kid at 1am upon our return. How nice that I didn't have to make dinner last night!

Mon came home from school yesterday… grabbed her new (and first ever) hockey trophy from the car… then laid down on the couch and fell asleep with it still in her hand. They got last night off… tonight is hockey for them again.

Tomorrow is Gabe… then Friday I get to go to Hadar's. Whoohoo! I'd better remember to email her and make sure that's okay.

Oh, speaking of Gabe, he had his first driver's training session yesterday. Apparently he wasn't kidding when he said it was exhausting… he came home and was asleep within a couple hours… I had to wake him for hockey.

PMC Silver Prices

I wanted to compare prices before buying any on eBay or in the LE garage, so I looked up the going rates of PMC and ACS at some of the larger online vendors. Someone else may find the info helpful…


I probably won't be able to take photos until Saturday (unless I can squeeze a session in today before I take Mon to hockey). Since some of my pieces are "road jewelry", that also means I have to FIND everything I made and get it into one central location.

Oh, got my order of tools yesterday. Very excited to start making jumprings.

I really need to get on with the peacock. Maybe I'll work on his tail part during Monica's practice tonight. I think I'd better make the structure for the tail feathers THEN put the feathers on. Seems to me that will work better than making each tail feather then trying to attach it to the body. Hm… wonder if I'll have time to make the structure AND take photos before leaving for hockey.

This weekend is the bead/gem show. Mon gets to go with us (a rare treat). Wonder what I'm in need of (since I'm not buying beads).

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ganza Hockey Championship and Jewelry Goings On


Whoa… long time, no see. Sorry… I’ve been on the road.

Let’s start at the end first. Here’s Monica’s FIRST championship photo… because this is the first time Monica’s been part of a championship win (click to see a larger version).


So, being on the road, I made some “road jewelry”. Got some colorful gemstone earrings coming, a simple two-strand silver bracelet that I’m in love with, a black and white necklace, and a fringe (double-entendre) bracelet of silver and gold.

The peacock merely needs his tail now… and the silver leaves are polished and ready to be attached to the chain.

I don’t yet have anything on Friday’s schedule so I should be able to attend Hadar’s class… finally!


And I have to cut it short now because Gabe’s asleep and I have to wake him and we’re off to hockey… his… back at 11pm