Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas at the Courthouse

We had a fun time selling at the old courthouse cultural centre in downtown Kamloops last weekend.  I took lots of photos to capture the history around us.

This is one of the several staircases leading up to the second floor where the artist vendors were located.

We were in the centre of the room and enjoyed the sunshine coming through these gorgeous stained glass windows.

And the fabulous woodwork everywhere -- on the walls and ceilings.  The beautiful Christmas decorations added a nice touch.

We were entertained from the judge's bench with live festive Christmas music.

We have a few days to catch our breath and up on some orders before our last show this weekend which will be right here in our own town of Chase.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Tinsel in Red and Green

We are in the Christmas spirit right now and created these coordinating pieces in a rich Christmas red and green.  The pieces sparkle and remind me a lot of Christmas tinsel.  The clay beads used are  textured tubes and our large pearl rondelle spacers in #52 olive green.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

More Shawl/Scarf Pins

Made some more new shawl pins this week in some new colors and styles.  The last three I used a variation of my double-sided textured bead technique at the ends of the steel pins that have been covered in clay.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas at the Courthouse

We are doing last minute preparations for our next show coming up this weekend which is in the old courthouse right in downtown Kamloops.  If you click on the banner below it will take you to the website for more information.

Here are two of the pieces I showed you last week that were on my bead table that are now finished.   They are both longer designs that can be worn as a single strand or as a shorter double strand.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Christmas Craft Fair in the Country

We had a real fun time today at a real country Christmas craft fair.  The drive up the mountain was a little challenging with the fresh snow that had fallen over night.

I managed to take a few photos of our set-up this time although it was not our usual one since we were in a cozy little community hall called the little school house.  I was going to say "warm" and cozy except the furnace happened to break down making it a little chilly inside since the temperature outside was -10 C.  The hosts were very gracious and we warmed up real quick with the hot tea, coffee and fresh cinnamon buns they offered us.

In between sales, we managed to visit with some of our fellow vendors there, some who were new.  I was really inspired the most by Dawn who wasn't selling anything really, except herself.   She's determined to make a go of her housecleaning business and I really admire that kind of grit and determination.

All in all, it turned out to be a very rewarding show.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's on my bead tray?

I have a lot of bead inventory stocked up and working on some new designs for the coming Christmas shows and hopefully a few extras to sell online in our ArtFire Studio.  Here are some pieces on my bead tray right now.

I'm giving you a sneak peek at the two finished designs on the left.  The copper and black one is still "under construction".

The tube beads are the ones I show how to make in my Textured Tubes and More tutorial.  The holes on the tube beads are quite large which makes them great for stringing on thicker cords.  I wanted to cinch them up a bit for my wire work designs so I added some bead end caps between the tube bead and the crystal which help to fill in the "gap".  I think they give a nice "ruffled" look and add a bit of interest.


I also have these cool rings and was looking for a bead to go in the centre but wasn't happy with anything we had on hand so came up with a new plan.  I filled the center spaces with a clay "bead" and baked them right in.  I think they will go with the overall design I'm working on much better now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My New Pasta Machine

I received my new pasta machine the other day and couldn't wait to try it out!  It is an Atlas 180 but is different!

The new Atlas pasta machines are now made with plastic scraper blades which I found react in a negative way with the polymers in the clay and were a real pain to keep clean.  Mona Kissel, another polymer clay artist, sells the Atlas pasta machines that have been modified.  They not only replace the plastic blades with metal ones but they make the blades removable for easy cleaning!

I find it very user friendly and a so nice to work with now.  I can be working with black or dark clays and within minutes, clean my blades, snap them back in to place and start working with white clay and no more messy streaks!  Just nice clean whites!

According to their website, if you already have an Atlas 150 or 180 pasta machine, you can send your machine into them and they will actually modify it for you!  I can't be without my machine for any length of time so I ordered a brand new one and plan to send my older one in later to have modified so I will have a spare.  This turned out to be the best (economical) solution for me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Some New Rings

I've been having fun playing around with some new adjustable ring blanks I purchased the other day.  By adapting my double-sided bead technique I can create some gorgeous rings that match my other jewelry pieces.  I created the matching post earrings in the same way.  I tested them out in our last show we did and they were quickly swooped up by several customers.  I guess that is telling us we need to make more!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Featuring our new home decor pieces

Our show went very well Sunday and our home decor display drew a lot of attention.  We've added a lot of new designs to our line which you will find on our "Jewelry for the Home" site.  Here are a few samples that we have added.

Sante Fe Chili Pepper



Flower Power

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our Double-sided Display

We have been working overtime getting our displays ready for our coming shows so that everything fits just in the right place and everything looks just so.  We find the first one takes a lot more effort but after all the signs are printed and everything is sorted, the remaining shows go a whole lot easier.

We've been expanding our home decor line and so we decided it deserved its own display.  We wanted something that was free-standing so we don't have to rely on needing extra table space.  We searched around and decided to use something we already had -- 2 plastic shelf units that snap together very easily and when you put them together they make a perfect square table with some space underneath for storage.

We placed a board over top to make it a little larger and so the black skirting we had would fit nicely overtop.  We purchased the grid from a local company that sells store displays and created a backdrop by draping some black fabric and added some clip-on lamps at the top.  A sample board of our special switch plate covers and drawer pulls hangs perfectly on the grid with space for other items to display on the table top.

The beauty of this display is that it is double-sided!  Yes we have a jewelry display on the opposite side with plenty of room for our cable necklace display I showed you earlier and lots of earrings.

We created a simple display for our post earrings by arranging them onto some plastic canvas.  Now we feel we are ready for any event whether they provide good lighting or not.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to Make an Eye Catching Jewelry Display for Shows

This is a simple and easy way to show off your jewelry pieces at any show or craft fair.   The body mannequins that are for sale are not only expensive but too bulky to transport.  This one is very compact and won't break the bank.

Start with a formed or padded clothes hanger.  You will want one where the hook at the top will turn different directions so it can be hung in various ways.

You will also need a turtleneck shirt -- black is good but any color that will show off your jewelry pieces the will do.  Hang your turtleneck shirt onto the hanger and stretch an elastic hair tie around the waist area.

Thread a medium-size safety pin horizontally to the inside of the shirt on one side near the top.

(inside of shirt)

(outside of shirt)

This pin is to hang your earrings:

Stuff the top part of your shirt with bunched up tissue paper or bubble wrap.  You don't need that much but just enough to give it "body" (pun intended) and the shirt isn't totally "flat"  ---

Take another safety pin and tack the back of the neck part of the shirt so it closes tighter and this will cause it to stand up straighter.  If your hanger is padded, you can pin the collar to it.

Take one of the sleeves and tuck it into the elastic at the waist.  This sleeve can be used for hanging a bracelet or two.

Your mannequin display is now finished and ready to hang anywhere you wish.

You can even make a similar one for men's jewelry such as this shirt for showing off a tie tac.

Hang these in such a way so people can walk directly to them -- they will want to get a closer look.  If you have anything to hang them on, try using a coat rack as a free standing display.