Friday, January 29, 2010


Images that remind you of real animals are purely coincidental.

Whew!  My Etsy inventory of animal print beads was getting a little low so had to round up some more leopards, tigers and giraffes to restock.  I've been working on tweaking my colors and cane designs and I especially like how this batch turned out.  I'm not one for mass production, but when I create my animal prints, I want to be able to remake them with the same standard size, shape, and colors so I can fill repeat and larger orders.  Each bead is created individually by hand making them all still originals.  Now I just have to tag and photograph them and they will be added to our Etsy shop over the next few days....

Dave had some fun with the beads as well and this is his creation:

* Note:  No leopards, tigers or giraffes were harmed during this process.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2010 - Olympic Torch Relay

The Olympic torch came through our town today.  Everybody is getting excited as this great event starts in only two weeks.  People in our town and the surrounding area came out and lined the streets to wave their flags and celebrate.  It was a beautiful day for this and it has been an extremely warm winter this year. -- you will notice there is no snow on the ground!

Monday, January 25, 2010

One World One Heart 2010

Come ride with us on the One World One Heart magic carpet event.  This will be our 2nd year particpating and it is a fun way to discover new things and make new friends.  Just click on the photo above and it will whisk you away to find other fun blogs to visit and people to meet.

Our magical gift this year is our pastel heart brooch-pendant along with a softglass cord of your choice ($35 value).

If you would like to be in the draw for this heart, all you have to do is leave a comment on this actual post.  You do not have to be a blogger to enter - just be sure to leave an e-mail address so we can contact you if you win.  We will make our draw on Valentines day, February 14 (cut-off time is 12:00 noon pacific time) and announcing the winner in the morning on February 15.

Have fun and enjoy the ride!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Valentines Challenge

The Art Fire Artisan Jeweler Guild I belong to is having a Valentines challenge.  Instead of a typical poll we are encouraging everyone to leave a comment mentioning which one is your favorite and one of the commenters will receive a small gift.  Make sure you leave a way to contact you in case you win.

Just in case you are wondering, here is the piece I entered but don't feel you have to vote for it as there are some really great entries.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Blog Awards

Wow!  Where has the time gone?  I can't believe it has been almost a week since I posted last.  I have some catching up to do here.  Over the last few weeks we received several blog awards and I apologize for being so slow to getting around to them.

The first and most recent one is the Sunshine award from Marie Zvezda Monro from Vintage Inspired Accessories.  I feel so honored as this award is to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blog world.

Here are the rules for accepting this award:
- Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
- Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

So here are the 12 bloggers I am passing this award to and something special from their blog that I found inspiring ...

        Gingerbell's Gifts                      Inspired Pink          

Inside Out                         Dora's Explorations


Vanessas Clay Adventures                         Modest Maven


Simple Inspirations                              Knightwork  

2nd Award

This is another award we received some time ago.  It translates to say "This Blog is a Dream" and is a gift for beautiful and creative blogs: those that "enchant, captivate, or sweep with extraordinary beauty."

We received this award from Tree Wings Studio and I can understand why she received this award herself as her blog really is captivating!  (Check out the interesting links she has on the right side.)

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
- Copy the award and place it in your blog.
- Link the person who nominated you.
- Nominate 10 dream blogs.
- Post links to the 10 blogs you nominate.
- Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

So here are the 10 Dream Blogs we are passing this award to with a sample of their beautiful work:

Wickwire Jewelry               Willow Walker Designs 

Laura Cameron               Melody O'Beau Designs 

Polymer Rhythms                     Humble Beads    


   Quirky Dame                             Cherilynn Fine Art

Whew!  That took some time to pull together but I wanted to share with you some of my favorites and I hope you enjoy them all as much as I do.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New jewel-tone lentil beads

I finally posted my new lentil beads in our Etsy shop.  I have 2 styles so far -- "Baroque" and "Clam Shell".  Both types are available in 4 different colors.



Every so often an idea pops into my head and I can't wait to run to my clay table and try it out to see if it will work.  Sometimes it doesn't turn out exactly like I imagined so my technique needs a little tweaking.  When I had the idea for these beads I had to test my idea out right away and was so pleased when it actually worked and came out like I hoped.  I had to make my moulds first of course and then testing out the moulds so my beads are consistent in shape and size.  Then the fun part of applying the various mica powders which give the rich metallic jewel-tone colors that I love.  I haven't done a new tutorial in a while so I'm working on a new one for some more inspiration and ideas on how to use these beads.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New metallic jewel-tone buttons

Well I finally finished my series of new buttons and they are now listed in our Etsy shop.  These buttons are formed from my own moulds that I made myself and then mica powders were applied to give them the rich metallic jewel-tone colors.  The buttons are then sealed with a glaze for a permanent shiny finish.

I had a lot of fun making these and experimenting with various color combinations.  I'm working on a new style of bead along this line as well.  I should have them ready to share with you in a day or so.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Photo Testing

I've been experimenting with taking photos with my new light box and comparing them with the ones previously taken in the natural light.  Here are a few samples below:

Natural Light              Light Box




The first photo is of a pendant that I have had a hard time trying to capture in it's best form.  It would  reflect the light and the colors always seemed to appear washed out.  Both photos were taken on the same white paper background and neither one had any editing done to them at all.

The black and white earrings were also difficult to photograph in the natural light.  One nice thing about this particular light box is that it comes with a background cloth that is reversible with blue on one side and grey on the opposite.  I used the grey background for the earrings as well as the tiger print beads which give them both a much softer look.

These are the pros and cons that I have come up with so far:

It takes a bit of space so you need a good place for it.  The inside measurements are 16" x 16" x 16", however the complete outside setup measures 21" deep x 25" wide.  Although any light box you choose will still require a bit of table space and extra set-up for your lamps (this one the lights are built in).

1)  The inside is big enough for using an average to tall size jewelry display.
2)  I can take my pictures of my work any time of the day or night and I don't have to worry about whether it is a sunny or cloudy day.
3)  The photos I take are more consistent so I won't have to fidget with adjusting my camera settings as much and also means saving time on the computer later with having to make further lighting adjustments.

I only tested it out for one day but all in all I am happy with my light box so far and I think it is definitely a keeper.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My New Toy

We bought a lightbox today.  It happened to be on sale and I can't wait to try it out tomorrow.

It is suppose to help with taking better photos.  I feel our photos aren't too terrible but there is always room for improvement.  When we set up our new studio last year we had windows placed in the corner where there is no direct sun but plenty of natural light.

This was working out fine, however there are only certain times in the day when the lighting is the most optimal for picture taking and the photos weren't as consistent as I would like.  I'm hoping this lightbox will not only improve my photos but also help save me some time in editing afterwards as well.

So we will put it to the test and see....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Working hard - or - Hardly working?

Actually I've been having fun more than anything.  Been busy making more tiger print supplies but also had some fun with making some new buttons.  This is my pile so far that are ready to photograph and list in our Etsy shop and I have more in the oven while I write.

I am always scrounging around for odd things that I can use or incorporate with my clay.  The other day  I found two unusual items in my drawer and decided to make a mould from them.  (See my earlier posting on how to make a mould.)  I then recreated some new clay pieces from those moulds and made them into buttons.

I think the rich jewel-tone metallic colors giving them a sort of vintage look.  Speaking of vintage -- I also have some new hearts for this years One World One Heart give-away.  I will share more on that soon.