Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wire-Wrapping Attempt, Inspiration, Fear of New Things

Fear of New Things

Me? Not usually, but I seem to have a problem with certain jewelry making techniques/tools.

I bought some Art Clay Silver when it was first coming into the main stream and I didn’t open the package until four years later. How pathetic is that? Ha ha ha!

I had a flexshaft that I didn’t even take out of the box for nearly a year. As it is, I think I’ve used it once since then (and that was about six months ago).

I have a jumpring maker and a bead liner… both of which I really want to use… but it’s like… well, it’s so complicated to figure out how to use them and what all I need to order to make them work.

Maybe if I start doing beady nights once a month or so, I’ll come across someone who can show me how to use the tools I have. The jumpring maker REALLY needs to be learned because I am in serious need of jumprings. Ha ha ha! Please, don’t tell me how much easier and cheaper it is to just saw them on a wooden down or something like that. I can’t. Okay?

Well, maybe I could… but I just don’t have the desire to do that and end up with raggedy edges and have to file them, etc.


Photoshop

Speaking of technology… I have Photoshop Elements at home and just got Photoshop CS4 at work. Ack… it’s like two different languages. I am totally lost in CS4. Totally.


Time for Jewelry Making

So, starting tonight, I have no hockey games/practices to take anyone to for several days. Fancy that. Easter, I believe, is the first day I’ll have to take someone to hockey.

So…. I’d better be ready to use my time wisely. Can’t waste it sitting there going, “Hm… now what should I make?” :-)

I may leave the beads aside for a bit and concentrate on wire and metal clay.

Okay, several hours later… I didn’t do any jewelry. I decided to finally list some more estate items. I took photos. They should be up in a few days.


Comments on Comments

BTW, I stand corrected on my opinion about not using “objects” in photographs of beads or jewelry. I still agree with my original opinion for 99% of what I see, but every once in awhile I run across some photos that are just beautiful and there is a subtle piece of rock or branch or leaf in the photo.

One of the artists I want to feature in an upcoming blog entry uses just such a technique for her exquisite photos. I hope to be showing you her work very soon.


Inspiration

Here’s a photo I took (with my phone) as I was walking through Oakland the other day. Something about the red tape on the monotone building really struck me as … a usable jewelry inspiration.



I’ll let you know if I do anything with it. If YOU do, show me!


Jewelry

Another phone photo (sorry).



With all the hockey activities lately, I’ve been going through jewelry-making withdrawal. So I grabbed some wire and tried to entertain myself.

The first thing I made was a disaster. Not in looks, but in practical use. It was a completely wire-wrapped bracelet, but my little wrist hairs catch in it when I tried it out. Ack! And ouch!

The second thing (these earrings) came out better, but still fairly unimaginative. I’m thinking I’ll patina them and then maybe do a quick eBay listing.

Here is a REALLY bad photo of a really cool magnifying glass I gave my mom… made with Alex Spinglaschell beads.




Anyway, it’s 9:30pm and I’m getting tired so will call it an evening now. Mon and I are gonna go spend some quality time together now vegging on the couch (and I get a foot rub!).

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March-something

Well, I didn't drop off the face of the planet... just been doing kid hockey... non-stop for a week or so.

Mon's team finished the NorCal finals and is moving on to States (including preparing like there's no tomorrow). Same thing for Gabe's team, which has moved on from States and is now going to the Nationals (in Rochester, NY).

Gabe also has driving lessons, goalie sessions, driving tests, school finals, high school hockey, night school and tennis.

It's 12:13am... we just got home. TTYL!

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Necklace Photos on the Website

So, based on MY preferences as a customer (which I mentioned in last night’s blog), I have changed the look of my website a bit. Small changes can take a LOT of time.

I changed my necklaces thumbnails to all show the piece as worn. Yes, in some photos that makes it hard to tell precisely what the piece looks like, but I want the necklace section to be somewhat uniform and I feel what a necklace looks like on is one of the most important views possible.

A necklace can look fabulous as a bunch of beads all wadded up on a reflective surface taken with a great camera and an odd angle… but if I’m going to be wearing the thing, I’d like to see what it looks like when worn. Sometimes things just don’t do well once they are put into action… they were better as a piece of photo art. Know what I mean?

Anyway, here's the finished product.

And wow… I actually have to do some stuff then go to bed… getting up at 5am tomorrow… so my plans to blog more will have to wait (heard that before?).

Okay, have a great weekend and I’ll try to check in again before Monday.

TTYL!

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Things to do and not do when posting jewelry photos

LISTING PHOTOS

So… as a customer, here’s what I want to see:

A website that loads fairly quickly. This usually means small photos of the pieces (thumbnails images) that I can click on if I see something I want to get more info on and larger pictures of.

I *think* I’m more attracted to some sort of uniformity (although still THIS side of a mass-produced look) in the listings. Similar size thumbnails, similar background color(s), similar settings (all thumbnails of necklaces on model or on flat display… not a mix), similar distance from object (all pendants should either be close up or distance shot… not a mix).

I know I’m not fond of “stuff” in the photo along with the item. On occasion, I even find myself having to DISCERN what in the photo is the item for sale. Ugh! No leaves, no books, no cats, etc. Very rarely, a photo works well with something simple and innocuous that serves a purpose… like leaning a bracelet against a large, smooth rock in order to show a particular angle… or draping a necklace half over a plain square (like a box) in order to show the draped effect. Those photos, however, should NOT be the thumbnails. They should only be on the individual listing itself and used WITH the other (standard) photos of the item.

Same thing for colored backgrounds. Sometimes they really make a piece pop… but that should only be a photo within the listing… not the thumbnail photo.

You must have some contrast. I see too many jewelry photos where the piece on display blends in horribly with the backdrop. This is a hard one to explain, but it’s like trying to read teal text on a royal blue background. It’s just NOT happy-making.

Now, just so you don’t think I’m being overly critical, let me add that I see a TON of absolutely fantastic photos. I’m in awe.

I’m only mentioning these other things because they are among the things I want to work on and change within my own store. (Stay tuned for upcoming changes.)

Oh, speaking of changes… if you buy something from my shop, that’s one less item I have to change. :-) Send me a note and I’ll give you a promotion code for 10% off your entire order (good until March 31st).


HOCKEY

Tomorrow morning Gabe leaves for Valencia again. This weekend is the State Championships for them.

Saturday and Sunday I’ll be in Vacaville watching Monica’s team at the NorCal Championship games.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just chit chat

Took Gabe to practice last night and decided to waste the first of my three hours there window shopping.

I pulled into the plaza parking lot, saw two clothing stores, a Michael’s, and an Orchard Supply Hardware store. I opted for the hardware store. :-)

I understand my reasoning for that, but it got me to wondering why I have always liked wandering around hardware stores looking at all the cool stuff. Shrug

Anyway, I picked up a small bag of brass washers and a small bag of brass nails. I’ll show you if I make anything with them.

I want to work. It’s bugging me that I’ve had no time at home. The ONE TIME I had a few hours (yesterday between work and taking Gabe to practice), the kids wanted to play tennis. Sigh…

Well, starting tomorrow after work I’ll have some “me” time. I’d better be prepared. Nothing worse than finally having time to work and then not knowing where to start. I hope I have enough energy to get the metal clay out. That’s a more involved project than beading. Or… maybe I should finish up that Toni Lutman necklace I started awhile ago (and forgot about… out of sight, out of mind).

Anyway… gotta go… I look forward to more creating and more blogging in my near future. :-)

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Nothing New to Report

I just spent a lot of today (and yesterday) deep in thought.

That usually means a change is coming on.

I also revisited some of my previous work and picked out four pieces I'd like to use for inspiration if I get a chance to create this week.

So, since I have nothing to say this evening, I'll just leave you with of the usual...

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

3 New Necklaces, Free Tutorial for Paper Ornament Balls, Featured Artist Amber Van Meter

So we’re off to Vacaville around noon today. That’s the last regular season game for Monica’s team.

Not fond of daylight savings time. Ugh!

Nonetheless, I got the new stuff listed.


NEW JEWELRY

Three necklaces, all very much fitting the Going Green Jewelry idea (using beads I’ve been hoarding for years). Click a pic for more info.








PAPER BALLS

I’d like to try making these. Here’s a couple free online tutorials for making these geodesic paper ornament balls (click on a photo for instructions).






FEATURED ARTIST

Today I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite Lampwork artists (and a person who exudes warm fuzzies).

Her name is Amber Van Meter and here’s some of her work…







Here’s her website: Naos Glass.

I wish I could buy everything she makes. It’s all so FABULOUS!


Okay, gotta start the day. See you later!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Etsy Treasury, No More Smuckers, Fast Food Nutrition Facts

ETSY

Wow look! I’m in a treasury! Thanks. This doesn’t happen very often.

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BOO… HISS…!

Well this is just dumb.

The sponsors of the Stars on Ice Tour, which include Smuckers and IMG Entertainment, have refused to allow 3-time US National Champion and 2-time Olympian Johnny Weir to participate because they claim that he is “not family friendly.”… (read the whole blog post here)

What do they mean by family-friendly? Their decision is clearly NOT based on anything to do with families. Sounds to me like this guys is ALL ABOUT the family. And if more people were as family-friendly as Johnny Weir, we’d have some happier families out there.

I think I’m done buying jam for awhile.

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HOCKEY

Gabe’s first Varsity game was cancelled. :-( Oh well, still one game tomorrow… Mon’s team plays San Jose A1 in Fremont.

Both kids play on Sunday but I guess I won’t be able to see Gabe’s ‘cause I’ll be taking Monica to Vacaville.

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FAST FOOD NUTRITION FACTS

Have to eat fast food once in a while but want to know what you’re eating (nutrition-wise, at least)?

Check out this great resource.


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Anyway, sorry I haven’t been around much. The usual busy week, but busier due to unforeseen circumstances.

I’ve got three necklaces ready to shoot and who knows… I may even get some silver creations in this weekend.

If not, I had an idea to list some sorely needed headpins on Etsy. Well, not sure they’re exactly sorely needed, but there isn’t anything similar listed at the moment… and it seems like a quasi-essential item to me. :-)

Later!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ugh!

Leave the apartment at 6:45am, get home at midnight.

Ugh!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Muscle Memory, Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia, New Jewelry, American Pickers

Was reluctantly cleaning the kitchen today and found my box of enamels. Ha! Love it! Now I can experiment with some translucents.

Decided against any metal clay this weekend. Just felt like being lazy… beading and cleaning the apartment, doing laundry and looking at stuff on the internet.


MUSCLE MEMORY

Here is a good case for muscle memory. I got my small (61 key) electric keyboard out of storage and downloaded a couple pieces of sheet music. If I look at a new song, I’m pretty darn slow. But when I tried a piece I’d known REALLY well (like a Clementi Sonatina), my fingers totally still knew what to do. Freaky!

Not that I wasn’t INCREDIBLY rusty, but for the most part my fingers still knew where they wanted to go and where they wanted to go next.


TRIVIA

Here’s today’s useless info: Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia is the fear of long words.



NEW JEWELRY

Here are the second two pieces I listed (click on a pic for more details)…

One of a Kind Bracelet of Fine Silver and SRA Boro Lampwork in Blue


Aztec Stone of the Sun Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace with Coral and Resin One of a Kind



AMERICAN PICKERS

First time I’ve seen this show, but it’s fun watching people doing something they love. These two guys go around digging through junk, vintage items, and antiques in people’s garages, barns, backyards, etc. They make deals with the owners of said junk (that generally make the owners happy) and then turn a nice profit recycling this stuff to collectors.


Well, that’s it for now… I still have a lot to do… making jewelry, cleaning, playing piano. ;-)

TTYL!

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Two New Lampwork Bracelets and Weekend Ramblings

NEW JEWELRY LISTINGS

8:30 and I’m tired… calling it a day. I have two more things to list, but I’ll leave them until the morning.

Here are the two I did get listed (click a pic for more info):






SATURDAY

What else did I do today? I didn’t do any art clay… by the time I got around to it, I didn’t feel motivated. I think it’s the kind of thing I have to get an early start in the day with.

I took Gabe his passport so he could see an R-rated movie (The Book of Eli). And I took Monica her shorts… no clue why she had no shorts over at her dad’s house… other than… she’s Monica. :-)

Then I went to storage (which I need to get rid of, I know) and picked up an old keyboard I have. It’s not my favorite because it’s only 61 keys, but it is polyphonic I think. Gabe might like playing around with it… he’s taking piano right now in school.

Then I came home, finished my jewelry, took pictures, edited them… and pretty much wasted the rest of the day in bits and pieces. I don’t mind.

Mon had a Tech game. Tomorrow both kids have games.

I still need to make Mon’s flight for Seattle in May… gotta remember to do that.

Did I mention that Bear woke up the other day and refused to move? We had to start him on his pain meds again… for arthritis. He seems totally okay now.

Well, I guess I’ll get going now. I’m watching the Sharks game… and messing around with some beading.

TTYL!

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Wire Worker Huan Pham, Cats Translated Video, Hilarious Babbling Infant Video, REALLY Useful Auto Information, Master Goldsmith Alex Maryaskin

JEWELRY

Ooooo, got some cool stuff coming up this weekend. :-) I have the bracelet that I mentioned earlier, with handcrafted fine silver charms and Anita Pepper boro lampwork… and then last night I made a cool (but substantial) bracelet with yet again some boro lampwork beads, but this time combined with a ton of silver, charms, flowers, crystals, pearls and gemstones. The shades are purple, green and blue… nice color combo.

I have four enameled charms ready to be used, but I’m not EXACTLY sure what I want to do with them. I would like to make a pair of earrings, but I’m concerned because the enameled design is only on one side of the charms (back side is counter-enameled) and I don’t know how acceptable it is to have earrings with one-sided dangles… they’re gonna spin and turn while worn. Hm… I’ll have to think about this one.


FEATURED ARTIST

So here I am, wanting to introduce you to another artist I admire. This is Alex Maryaskin, a master goldsmith from the Ukraine, who’s main website is Art of Filigree… but he also has an Etsy shop: Art of Filigree.

Alex has kindly given me permission to show you some of his work here.

Now see, if *I* were to have a diamond ring, I would want one that no one else in the world would also have. I would love to know that someone designed their own creation and carefully crafted such a thing as this (below) with great joy for their work.



Here are some more pieces that attracted me to Alex’s work…







Alex also works with some of the coolest looking stones (and some AMAZING Opals)…





Now forgive the size of this (and I know the whole thing won’t fit on this blog page… you can see the proper photo on Alex’s website), but I have to show you this in any way I can…



Amazing, no?

Thanks Alex for permission to brag on ya! We are proud to say that Alex is a member of our international organization for Self-Representing Artists in Jewelry Design (SRAJD).


CAR STUFF

This is a cool site: Driverside. You can get estimates of your car’s worth. Here’s a place where you can get ideas of what service might be needed for your car based on symptoms. And this one is REALLY useful; estimates of what to pay for certain car repairs.

You can also look up safety recalls of your vehicles and/or sign up to be notified of future recalls.


And THIS is so worth sharing again. :-) (You gotta have your volume on!)



And volume necessary for this one too…




TRYING TO LOCATE ARTIST

Here’s an artist I’d love to get in touch with. His name is Huan Pham and he works with wire.




He has a book ”A Wirework Odyssey”, which I’m guessing is self-published.




Go to his blog and scroll through all the older posts. WOW! And drop me a line if he resurfaces.
:-)