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Friday, April 29, 2011

Abstract Copper Necklace

This copper necklace has been in my work in progress box for weeks.  It had been oxidized and I've been avoiding the long task of removing the excess with fine steel wool.  I always love the final look of the aged copper. But my least favorite thing is all that rubbing.  A gals gotta' do what a gals gotta' do.

Necklace: Copper

I have the perfect dress to wear with this piece, so it will remain in my jewelry cabinet.  I think it needs a pair of really long earrings.

I love this clasp

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Persistance Leads To Success

Here's my new beauty.   It feels wonderful on the wrist and it looks fabulous.  I'll be submitting this piece to WV Highlands Gallery for the upcoming jury process.

Bracelet:  Bronze wire

As much as I truly love wire work there are times when I get stumped.  This bracelet has finally been completed.  It took me hours and hours.  At first glance I thought it should be easy and a breeze. But my mind and my hands needed to get in sinc.  There was some fumbling, lots of frustration, and the process took way too long.  I worked through the annoyance of attaching the links.  I have a huge respect for chain maille artist.

Source: www.thephotozoo.etsy.com

The selling price of a piece of handcrafted wire jewelry is calculated based on the actual materials and then the time involved and any overhead costs.  If it takes a lot of time to complete then the selling price gets expensive.  At some point I must ask myself if this piece is actually worth the price of my investment.  I know from experience that the next one I make will take less time and the 3rd one will be even quicker.  This is when the sales price becomes fair and reasonable.

I think I heard a gasp when I wrote I would make another one and then a 3rd.  There are those that think each piece should be unique and one of a kind.  I have to admit I like that idea.  But truth be told in some cases it would just cost to much, because of that dang learning curve involved with certain techniques.

This bracelet was adapted from 'Wire Art Jewelry' by Sharilyn Miller  and published by Interweave Press.  I made several changes to the design, including the type and gauge of wire.

Thank you for stopping by the blog ~ Linda

Monday, April 25, 2011

Elkins Farmers Market at the Train Depot

I am very happy to announce that my jewelry and I will be spending Saturday mornings under a tent at the Elkins Farmers Market from May through October.  Several weeks ago I sent an inquiry asking if the market had artisans along with the farmers.  A few pictures of my latest designs were included so they would have an idea of my style.  They kindly invited me to attend their board meeting and to have my jewelry juried.  I fully expected to leave my jewelry with them while they judged it in private.  There were just a few people in the conference room when I entered.  I was welcomed with smiles and ask to display my jewelry on the table.  I then took a seat.  Gradually the room began to fill up as more and more artisans and farmers entered. A few looked, touched and asked me questions about my jewelry.  'Did I make this (link) from wire?'  Later I was to find out that these three interested people were the judges and headed up the jewelry committee.  I noticed my stress level increase as more people entered the room, about 30 in total. 

Source:  http://www.artunderglass.etsy.com/
The meeting was called to order, minutes read, and the agenda started.  Little did I realize that I was part of the agenda.  Gads!  I had the fleeting thought of how I could escape!  I was not comfortable.  I really felt like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz holding onto his tail. But, I was brave.  Nervous, but brave.  Then my name was mentioned and the President of the board asked the committee what there decision was.  Yippee!   They accepted me.  But, I have to think, what if they hadn't accepted me.  How embarrassed I would have been.

The Elkins Farmers Market is held in the large courtyard of the Elkins Train Depot a very popular place.  Some of the people are residence of the area and come to buy their weekly locally grown fresh veggies.   Other people are tourist that come to ride through the mountains and forest on one of the several different types of trains.

Here is the link for a 15 second video of the markets' TV commercal from their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=10150156476757012&oid=108701375866826&comments

Here's a video of one of the trains that will take you on a trip through the natural beauty that I now call home. 

I'll be seeing and hearing trains every week.  I must admit it looks like fun and I'll be taking train rides soon and letting you know about my trips.

Thank you for stopping by for a visit ~ Linda

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shop Lifters, Fangs And Talons

Recently I have become too aware of a lesser type of shopper. Yes, the infamous shop lifter. An item was taken from one of the lovely shops that sell my jewelry, and then recently from a fair where I was selling directly.

I refuse to be a victim! I refuse to not make and sell jewelry! So I have asked myself what I can do to empower myself and to discourage shop lifting. I would love to hear from you with your ideas, so they can be shared with our other jewelry making friends.

One question I had for myself is what makes a person become a shoplifter? By understanding their thinking and value system it will hopefully help in planning a strategy to lower the rate of theft. I wish I could say eliminate, but I don't think this is possible. If it were possible then the department stores out there wouldn't have security cameras, silent shoppers and security guards. Ugh!

When jewelry is on display in a gift shop, sometimes the shop keeper is occupied with a customer or is busy stocking and organizing. I had placed a lovely crystal and silver bracelet on a small display. It looked very attractive here and easy to remove. I thought the ease to remove would encourage someone to try it on.

This is the display, but not the vanishing bracelet
 I guess I was successful, because it remained on the wearer as it went out the door without being paid for. So heartbreaking in so many ways! The time spent to select the crystals and focal component; then to design, construct, photograph, price, inventory, promote and display the bracelet. Then add the cost of the materials.

I think there are two types of shop lifters. The first one is the amateur. The second one is the professional.

The amateur shop lifter steals on a whim. Perhaps they do it just because they want it or because it looks easy. This may have been the type of person who took the bracelet mentioned above. It was flashy, it was easy to remove from the display and the shop keeper wasn't near the display. So, perhaps they tried it on and kept it on. It’s as if they have an image in their head of the Staples “Easy” button. I need to stop making it easy!

Source:  Staple.com
The professional shop lifter is conscious of what they are doing. It’s planned and deliberate. They have developed a tactic, a procedure and they get some sort of thrill or satisfaction from this act, or more.

At the recent art and craft fair I experienced the professional shop lifter. I was amazed and shocked. I wonder what I should have said to her as I actually watched her in action. It was obvious to her that I was there and that I could see her every move. I was a mere 3 or 4 feet in front of her. I even spoke with her by introducing myself and letting her know that I was available if she had any questions. I then watched and was ‘alerted’ as she dropped the bracelet ‘by accident’ onto the floor.

Source:  Bill Engvall.com

While picking the bracelet up she ‘straightened’ her large open purse.  There were papers sticking out of it.  Then there was a second drop to the floor.  I have to say that I froze with shock!  It was so surreal.  This couldn’t be happening in front of my eyes!  I think my emotions jolted and caused me not to react.  While I stood there in my daze she walked away and there was no bracelet!  Now how do I prove this?  What should I do?  The polite lady that some of you know as Linda felt the vampire fangs extend, the finger nails turn into talons and the adrenalin surge!  Not so nice words formed in my head! Then I thought better.  This would not serve me personally.  It wouldn’t serve my professional image.  And perhaps this is exactly what she was looking for.  Perhaps she needed or wanted my anger to validate her dysfunctional mentality.  Hey!  I watch ‘Criminal Minds’ on TV!

What I don't understand is why the unsub didn't take the matching earrings. (source: CriminalMinds.com)
Have you seen anyone wearing this bracelet? (source: CriminalMinds.com)

Where is the bracelet? (source:  CriminalMinds.com)
Do you promise never to shop lift again? (source: CriminalMinds.com)
So, I have asked myself: How could I have stopped or discouraged this from happening? From now on if I’m not present to watch over my creations it will be displayed on a velvet board with security pins, sitting up on an easel. With a sign that says something like: "I would love for you to allow our shop keeper let you try on any piece of jewelry".
At fairs I will need to be on alert. Perhaps the less expensive, less time consuming bracelets will be easy to try on and the more expensive will be secured with a pin. When I see someone drooling over a piece of jewelry I will smile and offer that they try it on.
Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.

Oscar Wilde

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi

Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.

Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Thank you all or visiting. ~ Linda

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happiness Is Having A BFF

This week I have been recouping from last Saturdays fair.  It took the wind out of my sails.  I had a remarkable time, yet emotional.  The day before I felt nervous about getting everything together and the worry that I might forget something important.  Yes, I have a check list, but that didn't stop me from fretting.  The next morning was filled with anxiety.  Why?  No reason, I just did.  On the way I stopped by the Heritage House to see if  they needed any help.  These professionals were all set.  We set out in a convoy of 4 vehicles traveling the mountain road of Route #219 to Elkins, WV.

My display
As we pulled into the parking lot, there was an immediate flurry of activity as vehicles were unloaded, hand trucks and carts were loaded.  There were looks from the locals with the 'what are they doing?' expression on their faces.  In the event room there was high energy as everyone scurried to setup their area in time for the doors to open for the public.

I met so many lovely people.  Some very familiar faces and a lot of new friends.  The bestest, bestest thing happened.  I was completely surprised!  There I was face to face with a lovely lady.  I smiled and said 'Hi, let me know if you need any help.'  The lovely lady said 'I'm selling something!' I said, 'You are?  What are you selling?"  Lovely lady "I'm selling friendship."  My mind raced.  Who is she?  I must know her.  I've met so many people since I moved here.  I don't want to be rude.  Who is she?  She said 'Don't you recognized me?"  My mind continued to race.  Then another voice, standing to the side said "Well, do you recognized me?"  I turned and there before me was Diane, my dearest and longest friend that I hadn't seen since 1994!!!!  My heart beat faster, my eyes filled, I was overwhelmed!  I almost cried (and feeling it again as I write).  We embraced.  We laughed! We couldn't stop talking!  The lovely lady is Sandy, her sister, who I hadn't seen since about the 1970's.  Diane and I have been friends since 8th grade and I ain't a spring chicken.

Diane brought me daisies.  She remembered that I had decorated my kitchen with them in 1970. Awwww.
Without getting too long winded, Diane and her husband Roy moved to another county in West Virginia a few years ago.  How weird was it that we both started out in Anna Arundel County, MD and both moved here?  Really weird!  I sent out an invite announcement about the fair on Facebook.  I really didn't expect a long lost friend to drive 3 hours.  But, truth is stranger than fiction!  And best friends are really BFF.  We need tee shirts!

BFF Me with Diane

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Simple Decisions Seem To Be The Hardest

My brain is packed with so many details about this weekends fair.  I need more RAM!  Today I couldn't decide on which chain or cord to use for some of my pendants.  One of my problems is having too many choices.  I opened 2 drawers of cords and the big plastic bin of chains.  My first mistake! Now which one is the best?  I finally narrowed it down to three choices.  Do any of these speak to you?  Your opinion is so appreciated.  I really need to stop thinking so much.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shower Power

Last summer I found this wooden bi-fold door at my neighbors yard sale for a whopping $3.  I was walking Sadie, when we noticed the yard sale.  A giant magnet inside of me drew me into the yard, where I found this treasure.  I had seen louver doors used at many art and craft fairs to display jewelry.  I asked her to hold it for me while I went home for some money.  At home I opened my quart size mason jar that is filled with change, borrowed some coins and went back to the yard sale to claim my treasure. 

The Treasure
It needs to be cleaned before I can paint it.  My original idea was to take it outside and use the garden hose, but the weather is too cold.  So, on to plan B.  I decided that my shower would work just fine and it would be warmer.

The Tool
Here's a lesson learned about taking a picture, while standing inside the shower with the curtain close, so water stayed put.

How to make fog
So, let's try this again.  this time with the shower curtain open, the exhaust fan running and the bathroom door open.
Rinse, Wash and Repeat
Once it is completely dry it will be spray painted with some matte black paint.  This must be done outside, so I'm hoping for a warm dry day in the very near future, because I want to use this during the fair that is scheduled for this coming Saturday.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Escapee - The Bead That Ran Away

Okay, so I'll admit it!  My studio is a mess.  Apparently so messy that this little bead decided to hide itself in the blue specks of the studio carpeting.

So in-order to keep more beads from rolling away I'll be doing some much needed house keeping in the studio. The boring part of making jewelry for a living.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Soap Queen Sent Me A Surprise

I went to the mailbox to gather the days mail and was surprised to find a box.  A heavy box.  I had expected a package from one of my friends on Etsy, but certainly it wasn't going to be this large or heavy.  Once I looked at the return address I was quickly reminded...I had won a 'Play It Forward' from my friend Cheryl Taylor.

Boy, oh boy, is she ever generous.  Seven delicious bars of homemade soap.  All sorts of luscious fragrances.  I can't wait to use them.  I'll put a bar in the guest bathroom and a bar on the kitchen sink and the rest will be for my spa days.  You know...hot water, nice music, fragrant soap and a jewelry magazine.  Breathe!
Cheryl has been exploring different creative outlets.  It looks like she's hit a homerun with homemade soap making.  I first met Cheryl when she attended jewelry classes in my studio, when I was in Reston, VA.

Cheryl has named her biz 'Bare Naked Soaps'.  I think her logo is adorable!  She is planning on opening a web-site and a shop on Etsy.   She tells me that the soap needs to cure before it's ready to sell.  Plus, I've been reading her posts on Facebook and she has received a lot of specialty molds, so the soap will not only smell beautiful, but it will look amazing.  I can't wait for her shop to open. Everyone will love it.

Since I won 'Play It Forward' I'll be doing some give aways here in the very near future.  Get ready to play and win!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Loving Etsy

I've had my Etsy shop open for quite some time and have made many new friends all over the world.  Some because they have bought jewelry from my Etsy shop and others because I have bought from their Etsy shops.  Recently, Etsy opened up another opportunity for me, as a networking tool.  Who would have thought? 

The owner of a mortar and brick gift and jewelry shop found my Etsy shop on line.  She has invited me to sell my jewelry in her shop.  She found me!  So, for all of the creative readers out there in the cottage industry, stay patient and be persistent, because you never know who is looking at your creations.  Get your creations out there, so they can be seen!

Picture Source:  www.facebook.com/etsy

I am thrilled and amazed at how things fall into place at exactly the right time and the right place. - Linda

Picture Source:  www.facebook.com/etsy

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

Okay, the jokes over!  Today is April 1st.  As I made my way toward the coffee pot I did a double take out the window.  No, I wasn't dreaming.  It's true!  The Easter Bunny might need to borrow the sledge from Santa Claus. 

Sure, I live in the mountains, but eventually it should stop snowing.  Right!?  Just a few days ago I took the snow brush and ice scraper out of the vehicle.

The snow clouds are hiding the higher mountain ridge in the distance above the tree line.