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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Link and Necklace

I have admired this link whenever I have seen it in a jewelry piece.  The first time I saw it was in a necklace by Cindy Wimmer and then again when I saw it in a design by Lori Anderson.  Each time I saw it I fell in love with it.  I love the uniqueness, plus all of the movement and femininity.


I have finally decided that enough time had past with my fantasizing about it and to put my pliers into action.  I decided not to incorporate this link into a multi-link jewelry piece.  I wanted the design to stand on it's own so it continues all the way around the necklace.  Even tho the links took quite a bit of time to complete, the real time dedication was during the antiquing.  As you know, removing all of the excess liver of sulphur takes a lot of patience.  It's not my favorite part of a jewelry design, but I do love the final look, so the reward in the time is so worth it. The accent beads are a blue metallic that I believe I bought at the Chantilly Expo Center when I lived in Virginia.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Prototype Pendant Is Mine

I've decided to keep this pendant for my own.  In the past I have used the double helix technique in bracelets.  I've always had it in my mind to use in a pendant and today it finally was created on my work table. 

Here's a jewelry math question that I (the retired accountant) need help with...If a 12.75 mm manual is used to make the circle, wouldn't that mean there would be a 12.75 mm opening in the center?  Then how did a 14 mm bead fit perfectly in the center?  I'm scratching my head with this one.  Where did the 1.25 mm extra space for the bead come from?


I've made this double helix larger than the bracelet link.  There were a few road blocks in it's design, as the eye loops simply did not want to align correctly.  I think it's clear in the picture.   There was a happy accident that helped me continue with my frustrated adventure.  I decided that the hole in the center was too large to be attractive.  I picked up the first blue Crazy Lace agate bead that my hand could reach and sah-zam!  It fit the opening exactly.  Happy dance!  This made the several hours that were invested into this pendant worth it.  I haven't decided whether or not to reproduce this pendant for sale.  After all I do need to make a profit and the public really won't pay for 4 hours of labor for a bronze pendant.  I'm just not famous enough!  So somehow I need to be able to get it made in under an hour.  Perhaps I'll be more successful with practice.  But not today.  Today I'm frustrated with the time I've spent.  The reward however is something for me!  And, that's a good thing!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rainy Day Pendant

Today is a wonderful rainy Sunday.  A perfect time for a pot of coffee.  Yes, I said pot of coffee, not a cup.  Then into the studio with a new idea. New for me that is.  I've seen a coiled bail before and have always loved it.

 

Some bronze wire was coiled to create a bail.  Then I went through the closest box of beads sitting on the floor next to my work table.  There I found this lovely lampwork bead.  It just happens to have the same bronze color creating the design.  Then a couple of open spirals were attached, because I felt the pendant needed a bit of swing.

Enjoy your day.  I'm going back to the kitchen to finish off that pot of coffee.  Linda

Friday, August 19, 2011

You Might Have OCD If.....

You might have OCD if you find yourself compelled to use up every last bit of wire to make twisted jump rings, even if you don't have a project in mind for them.

Maybe, I like the sound of the drill when it twists the 2 strands of wire.  Maybe, I gain satisfaction in using the drill to wrap the twisted wire around the knitting needle mandrel.  Maybe, it's the cutting.  Maybe, I just need to admit that I'm again putting my OCD 'skills' to good use to make a living.

Here they are in a completed bracelet.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Accepting Credit Cards with SquareUp and iPhone or iPad

I'm doing some research for accepting credit cards.  I've had so many customers ask if I accept credit cards.  Since I don't I just know that there have been many lost sales because people don't carry a lot of cash.


In the past I haven't accepted credit cards because of the monthly fee, even when you don't have sales. Ouch!  Those of us who sell jewelry know that there are very few, if any, sales during some of the months of the year.  So we shy away from that monthly expense that just doesn't make sense to a small business.

SquareUp.com doesn't charge a monthly fee!  And it's used on our phone. For a very, very clear description and details go to FAQ.

  1. They do not charge a monthly fee!  Brilliant!  These folks saw the huge art and artisan market and a way to help us and a great business opportunity for themselves.
  2. They only charge 2.75% of each transaction - period!  So if I sell $100.00 in jewelry to someone, they keep $2.75 and I get $97.25.  Not a bad deal!  Especially since this might not have been a sale at all if the customer didn't have cash on them. 
  3. All you need to do is tell them you want it. You don't need to have a special bank account or good credit.
  4. The only requirement is that their credit card swiping device only attaches to an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone.

You will need to use an iPad if you already have a cell phone and you are under contract with a phone provider that won't operate with an iPhone.  With an iPad you don't need a contract, just pay the monthly $15 internet connection charge (AT&T).  (Updated info on 8/28/11 - the internet connection charge is $25 a month.   Apparently more money means more connectivity) I almost went this route, but the iPad price starts at $499 at Walmart.  So I scratched my head and sighed when I looked at my bank account.

The other option is to use an iPhone or Android.  The iPhone seemed like the best option for me, since I am not under a contract with a phone company.  The iPhone3 is $49 and the iPhone4 is $199 on the AT&T site.  This is a lot cheaper than the iPad.

Since I'm going with the iPhone I need to get a phone contract....boo, hiss. I live in the mountains and good cell phone service is limited to AT&T.  I can get a contract for $39.99 a month for 450 anytime minutes.  Since I'm not a phone junkie this is perfect.  Then there is a $15.00 fee to have internet connection.  I contacted AT&T and was told there would be a total of $3.00 a month in added fees (because they can!) So I'll  be spending $58.00 a month for cell phone, internet and be able to accept credit cards.  Credit cards will increase my income with more sales. Yippee!

I hope that this information and the on line links are helpful to you all.

Linda

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Outside Studio, aka The Deck, Gets A Make Over

After a year in my home here in West Virginia, my deck is finally getting power washed and re-stained.  What a difference.  It was way over due.  David is my contractor and he's doing such a terrific job.  He's so dedicated he's working in the rain.  Yes, that means I was out in the rain taking these pictures.


After the Deck (outside studio) is cleaned and dries I will assist him with applying the stain.  The goal is to have it all completed this week.  I'll post pictures of the final make over as soon as the deck is ready.

It's amazing how the deck is being transformed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Love The Hardware Store

I've been looking at all of the wonderful jewelry being created from hardware.  I love the industrial look and the interesting pieces that can be found at the hardware store.  The various sizes and different metals called my name.  The washers seem to have been design perfectly to be used as links or focal points.

 

About a month ago I made a bracelet and earrings from copper washers.  Perhaps those jewelry pieces have been in my mind working away toward another design. Today I was 'driven' to make a pendant from a washer.  I needed a certain size and my stash only had it in the steel (silverish color), but my wire stash is low on silver in 20 gauge.  I felt frustrated.  Then the light bulb went off 'I could mix my metals'.  This certainly isn't a new idea, but for some reason I had blocked this from my brain matter.  So out came the copper wire to wrap and hold some Crazy Lace Agate beads.  Then I decided to antique the pendant.  I wasn't sure what result I'd get on the steel washer, or even if the project would look pleasing.  Turns out the steel washer remained unchanged.  I'm pleased with the final design.  Since this is the first or draft I can see where I want to 'tweak' areas for future washer pendants.  The truth is telling when it sells or how long it's on display before it sells.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy Accident

Happiness is finding out that your newly made twisted wire fits into the pretty pink crystals.  I was making some twisted wire for jump rings and thought it would be nice if the links on my pink crystals could be made of twisted wire to match the jump rings.  I really wasn't hopeful, but took the chance to see if the wire would fit and whoa la'....happy dance time!


Here's a trivia question and answer for you about wire....If you twist 2 strands of 22 gauge wire together what is the gauge of the newly twisted wire?  Now I thought, being the retired accountant, that 2 times 22 would result in an 11 gauge wire.  But, nooooo.  It turns out to be 16 gauge.  How and why?  Haven't a clue.  Perhaps there's a chart out there in wire land, but I haven't found it yet.

Now back to my pink crystals.  I went on making a pink crystal bracelet from the twisted wire and jump rings.  Another moment of happiness when I found a pink Swarovski crystal in my stash for a charm to match.




Friday, August 12, 2011

You Might Have OCD If .....

You might have OCD if you can't stop making love knots


Yes, I have a touch of OCD, but it's put to good use with wire and pliers.  Here's a picture of the creative result of my madness in bronze.  Oh, I need it in silver, then copper, then...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sadie Says 'Woof" (No Beads This Month)

But, that's okay.  I spent my budget at the Vet for my girl Sadie.  She's feeling much better today, now that she's on antibiotics and pain pills.  She has a small urinary track infection...owie...or  according to Sadie...grown. 

I'm already feeling better
Yesterday, I didn't feel so good
Mom says I need to stay in bed and take my medicine.  Maybe she'll turn on some cartoons for me. 
Those pain pills make me sleepy
I'm feeling better.  Can I have some chicken soup without the soup part?
I always feel better when mom does this
Ahhh, yes!  That's the spot
I mean that's the spot

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Pendant For Charms

A very special 'Thank you!' to my friend and colleague Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio for creating a new pendant to hold charms.  She recently blogged about the new EMag Live Wire and her contributing tutorial for a pendant for charms has been published in it's depute.  I absolutely, positively Love It!  So, I have put my tools and wire together to make my own.  After a few attempts and some sacrificed wire, I did it.   Not bad.  In fact I think it's really unique and it becomes very personal to you by adding your own charms.  I decided to go the simple route with just a leaf.  Perhaps it's because there is a forest surrounding my town, perhaps my love of nature, perhaps I'm already prepare my inventory for fall weather.  Whatever the reason, the charms you add will make each pendant special and different.  I'm already thinking about future pendants and all of the charm possibilities.

Pendant:  Bronze with Brass Charm