Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hurry Hard to Essentials & Beyond for the Tim Horton's Brier Kamloops 2014!

The Tim Horton's Brier Kamloops 2014 starts this Saturday, March 1st.  This means there will be a lot of curling fans visiting the city of Kamloops.  Essentials & Beyond (on Victoria Street downtown) has caught the spirit with their fun window display.  They welcome these fans to look at their new line of ladies wear, jewelry, giftware and souvenirs.

We are pleased to be a part of their ladies accessory and jewelry collection featuring our scarf necklaces, bracelets and interchangeable earrings.

While there yesterday to "freshen up" our items at the store, we noticed a lot of beautiful new items they received in time for spring.  Since I am always interested in color, that is usually what first grabs my attention and Essentials has some gorgeous new items in this year's spring colors!

Here is a cute dress with a matching cardigan in the Pantone Spring 2014 fashion color of Dazzling Blue!

And I love the colors in this dress with splashes of Radiant Orchid, Celosia Orange, Violet Tulip, Dazzling Blue and lime green.

They have some wonderful things in this adorable boutique.  It is always a treat to shop there and find something new every time!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Follow-up on the Jewelry Party

Dave and I had a nice time at The Sewing Basket with the Jewelry Party last Saturday.  It was a different sort of class where we provided a selection of beads and some patterns and each participant made their own bracelet.

It was a lot more relaxed type of class where each person could work at their own pace.  Some enjoyed making their first one so much they decided to make another.  I remembered to take a photo this time (with a few bracelets missing but could at least show off a few of the finished pieces.

 It was a little snowy that day but we had a nice drive home after where the highway follows along the Shuswap Lake.  Even though it was cloudy, the water looked like glass.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jewel-tone Double-sided Textured Beads

We just finished off a bunch of double-sided texture beads and matching rondelle spacers in some jewel-tone colors for the Jewelry Party this Saturday at the Sewing Basket where everyone will make a memory wire bracelet.

Everyone will get to pick their own beads out in their favorite colors and textures to design their own bracelet.

I noticed that Pearl Ex has come out with some new colors that are suppose to be more bright and vibrant.  I am always looking for new colors and so these should be fun to play with.  You can read more about them here on Wendy's blog who now has them for sale at Shades of Clay.

We work with mica powder pigments quite a bit and in my tutorials, Double-sided Textured BeadsTextured Tubes and More and Make Your Own Rondelle Spacer Beads, I share some tips on working with them.

One thing I do differently now is I have actually mixed some of the colors to create new colors and save them in small jars with the recipe written on in case I need to make more.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tooled Leather Jewelry

Here is a scarf necklace made with the same tooled leather technique I showed you the other day which is now available in our Etsy shop.  I am finally finding a bit of time each day that I am setting aside to work on our online stores and add some new listings.

All our earring beads are sold separately from our ear wires.  It is all part of our Interchangeable Earring System.  These earring beads are now available in our online Etsy shop.  The ear wires are sold separately.

We have three ear wires styles we make ourselves in a choice of Argentium Sterling Silver and 14 Karat Gold (fill).  They can all mix and match with any of our earring beads for custom fit and styling.

Some of our beads have a different pattern on each side making them not only interchangeable but 2 earring styles in 1.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jewelry Party at The Sewing Basket

I am doing a different type of jewelry making class this time at The Sewing Basket in Salmon Arm.  It is a short one hour "make and take" Jewelry Party.  The class is free and you only pay for the materials.  The project is quite simple and not much in tools is required.  For parts that are needed, Dave and I will have enough tools available for use and we will be both on hand to assist with your project.

We will have a variety of our handcrafted art beads to make a stylish and fun to wear memory wire bracelet.  These bracelets are very comfortable and fit any wrist size.  There is no clasp so are easy to put on and take off as they just wrap around the wrist.

The class is in 2 weeks so there is still plenty of time to sign up.  It is a party so the more the merrier! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Making Your Time More Productive

One nice thing about having a designated studio for working is that you can walk away and leave things unfinished and ready to go back to the next day.  I find I have to keep on top of things and clean up as I go or I tend to misplace things -- a lot!  I know I'm in trouble when I have to ask Dave to help me look and you would think he would be more frustrated than me when he has no idea as to what he is looking for.  He has a good rule, however, that I am trying to learn, and that is, as he calmly tells me, just leave it for now and work on something else and it will eventually come to you where you put it.  He is right and I usually find it after realizing it was right under my nose the whole time but couldn't see for looking.  I prefer to make my time more productive than wasting minutes looking for things.

I read an article on how we spend an average of 10 minutes a day rummaging for lost items.  I swear I spend a lot more time than this even though I consider myself to be quite organized.  As we find ourselves getting busier with more orders to fill, it is even more important to reduced the wasted time.

I came across another interesting article titled, "12 Things Highly Productive People Do Differently" which you might find to be a good read.  Some of the points I already do where others I could really learn from to be more productive.

These are a few points that I found the most interesting and helpful.

Create and observe a To Don't List - I thought this was most interesting as I am always making lists of what needs to be done and not what to NOT DO that would prevent me from being more productive.

Organize your space and data - This is a biggie and I now try to take time out every day for a minor tidy up and once a week to reorganize and tidy more where needed.  The article says that when you are disorganized, the extra time spent looking for stuff causes us to lose focus.  Once that is done, it takes a while to get it back and then real time is wasted.

Work when your mind is fresh - The article explains that not all hours are created equal and some people operate best in the morning after they've had a good nights sleep and they are fresh.  I find this doesn't always work for me.  While my morning coffee gets me going for the day, I find that I am sometimes more productive later on in the day, depending on the type of tasks I have to do.  As a polymer artist, I find there are so many more things to do other than just creating new designs.  At times it will involve hours of conditioning clay or mixing up colors for a project.  There is also finishing involved such as sanding, waxing or glazing.  Then items such as buttons need to be packaged.  If they are beads for jewelry then they need to be put together.  I am fortunate to have a wonderful "claymate" (hubby Dave) who does a lot of the chores mentioned.  As an artist, I find that inspiration will hit me at any time of the day and the enjoyable thing about inspiration is the sudden burst of energy that comes with it.  So no matter how well planned your day may be, make sure to leave room just in case inspiration strikes.

Commit your undivided attention to one thing at a time - The article says to stop multi-tasking as it actually slows you down.  Single tasking keeps you more focused and you actually finish more rather than having so many things started and nothing finished.  At times if your work table looks like mine, there are usually many half finished projects taking up space.  This can often be very distracting so is best to clear them off until you are ready to finish them.  When I am making scarf clips, for instance, I make the front design first.  Sometimes I don't get around to putting the clip on the back so they go in my little bin organizer to do later when it works into my time schedule.  I will then finish several off at a time.

We also have other containers to organized items after baking, depending on the type of finishing required such as sanding, waxing, spraying with PYM11 (Preserve Your Memories 11), etc.  For example I like to spray any items with the PYM11 when I have a tray full or two rather than just a few pieces at a time.

Invest a little time to save a lot of time - Ask yourself about a project that you make a lot of.  Is there a way that you can save time by making it in a more efficient way?  I have applied this to several items we make a lot of such as our scarf jewelry and buttons.  I was making a lot of the rondelle spacer beads but found it was quite time consuming and I wanted to make more consistent sizes.  I decided there must be a quicker and easier way so I made my own tools to help me with this.  I share how to do this in my tutorial. To get started you need to make this simple tool but will save a lot of time and effort later when making your beads.

I found these tips to be very useful in my day to day working.  I hope you find some of the points useful for you as well.