Monday, July 30, 2012
My baby turned 30 last week and she is soon to be mother herself for the first time. She is a constant source of joy in our lives--sweet, thoughtful, loving and good to the core--always off on another adventure--I think being a mother may be her greatest (and most rewarding) adventure yet!
Friday, July 27, 2012
Well, I asked my husband if he could drill rocks...he said he'd give it a try and above are the result of his first days efforts in my behalf. The problem was just drilling thru, meant they all chipped on the back side. They looked great from the front, but those chips weren't quite cutting it. (punny, huh)
What a guy, you say? And I agree---what other guy would stand over a drill and get sprayed with water while he drilled rocks for his ditzy wife who wanted them to play with. He's a keeper for sure, yep, we just celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary this week, so I think I'll keep him for awhile longer--an eternity will do.
Oh, by the way, don't worry, we didn't drill all our rocks...there's plenty more where those came from and I know where to get more...whether I need them or not!
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Wait till you see what I did with my beach rocks......next time..........
Sunday, July 22, 2012
This is not the piece that inspired me, but the same designer--this piece would inspire anyone. Gorgeous to the max!
Saturday, July 21, 2012
I started designing jewelry for fun about 12 years ago and was lucky to have found a niche market with artisan lampwork when there weren't many doing handmade artisan jewelry. Above is one of my earlier pieces. One of the things I was particular about was using the best quality components--sterling and hilltribe silver, gold filled and gold vermeil, swarovski crystals, designer clasps and beads. There were two reasons for that---I love nice things and good quality and I also realized that I could not compete with the cheap imports.
After several years at my workbench, I took an extended time off and just recently returned to jewelry design. I have been really enjoying getting back to working my way thru my stash, but find major sticker shock when needing to replace components.
When I started, the first Bali sterling silver I purchased was 35 cents a gram and Hilltribe silver was 45 cents a gram. Vermeil and gold filled findings were just a pinch higher. That was for clasps, beads, jump rings, everything. Then a few years later when I started buying designer findings, I thought it was sky high to pay 85 cents a gram for special toggles and connectors, that no one else had. I think most of my last purchases for the really great findings was in the neighborhood of $1.10 per gram sterling and maybe $2.10 for gold vermeil and gold filled. You can imagine my surprise when I returned this past spring to jewelry design and I finally computed how much it would cost me to replinish my supply of precious metal findings as I worked down thru my stash! At a recent show production line Bali sterling silver was $2 a gram and the prices went up from there to around $4.00 a gram and more--wholesale. Other materials have gone up too, but not by the same proportion. Is it any wonder that copper, bronze and brass have replaced the metals used in jewelry design?
Last week I wanted a handful of 4mm jump rings, didn't want to wait to order them so I went to my local retail jewelry store. They wanted 30 cent each for sterling silver 4mm jump rings. They were 22 guage and by my calculations that would mean sterling jump rings were going for close to $300 an ounce. Whaaaaaat?!? If you bought 100 you got a 25% discount--now that's a deal! That was a retail store, but wow! I think I'm going into the jump ring business!!!
So, going with the trend, because taste has followed right along,--the once snubbed copper and brass, are now the fashion followers new 'must haves', I went in search of some new findings with those metals. Ack!!!! Findings in pure copper and quality antiqued brass or bronze are more than I last paid for sterling silver, just three or four years ago! I do understand the pricing for sterling and gold filled/vermeil findings due to the market prices for those metals, but I really do not understand copper. It is currently trading for around $3.40 a pound...not an ounce, a pound...so how did copper findings get so expensive? I look at my boxes of sterling silver and realize I have to pay the same or more for copper and that is sticker shock. Then I look at my sterling silver and fine silver and gold vermeil findings and realized that if I use them and want to replace them, it prices my jewelry designs in the pricy range. So I try to split the difference--use a little, price things fairly. I think I may just save my silver for scrap--it's an investment hedge and using it in jewelry I'm looking old school and costing too much, lol. Of course, the real conundrum comes--replace it with base metals components that require a substantial investment at current prices and they don't really have much actual value compared to precious metals. What to do, what to do!
An example---this Saki Silver sterling and gold vermeil clasp is 28mm, retails around $85, I'm offering it for $60--about a 30% discount.
Some Saki silver sterling connectors that currently retail for $18 apiece I'm destashing for less....
and it goes on. Some of these things have become almost impossible to find, As I get them photographed I have lots more to share... and possibly whittle down my stash...or not. Otherwise my surplus will just end up as an inflation hedge. It's likely on the way, so maybe silver will be the new gold standard!
Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
This was our view looking towards the sunset northwest across the beach and towards Santa Barbara.
One final picture looking southeastward over the harbor towards the mountains and away from the sunset. It was no less spectacular in color--the sky was sooo pink that the reflection on the water in the harbor made it appear pink as well. I pink ocean afloat with little sailboats bobbling on the water. So glad we didn't miss this glorious display of heavenly glory.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Three sets of similar shaped beads, served up in three different ways...which one speaks to you? I loved doing all three designs--Variations on a Theme. I always enjoyed baroque music when I was a piano student--start simple then embellish, and embellish and embellish on a theme until it was a decadently ornate version of it's original self...art imitating music, eh?
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
Now here's the bottom line. I have boxes full of findings, gemstones, artisan lampwork and all other kinds of quality jewelry designs materials...I can either try to sell it all off at cost or below or use it for therapy--to please myself. So, of course for the most part, as you might guess, I'll keep playing with my little treasures, use the materials I have to design things that are esthetically pleasing to myself. Keep some, gift some, keep an etsy store and pretend I might sell some...and generally do what I started out to begin with--have a wonderful hobby that gives me a creative outlet where I can go and forget some of the everyday stuff that clutters my mind with confusion. Fortunately I have wonderful family and friends who at least pretend they are delighted to get my little treasures--and for the most part I think they are--if only because it is a little handmade part of me that I made with love and my time. And that is quite enough for me, shouldn't it be quite enough for anyone? And who knows...maybe I'll get my mojo back and think up something fabulously innovative and gorgeous that will bring the world knocking at my door...and if I don't it's still cheap therapy! (well, maybe only cheap while I'm working thru my bodacious stash, built up when I could sell everything I could make) >^..^<
Thanks for listening to me think out loud....
I've combined some boro beads from my stash with th three stunning silver glass beads and used 22k gold vermeil beads and toggle clasp to make the colors pop even more. Dangling from the toggle is a silverglass seashell and a pacific opal Swarovski and pearl charm for a perfect finishing touch. Love those beads!
Friday, July 6, 2012
What's summertime without a sale?!? Check out my etsy storefront for a coupon code to save 25% on everything in the store. It's time to make your favorite designs part of your wardrobe before they're gone. Sale ends Thursday, July 12th so don't delay!!!
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
While not exactly a patriotic color theme, this pendant with it's beautiful detailed colors and harmony brings to my mind the great experiment that is the United States of America with it's melting pot of cultures, all brought together---maintaining our individually, but woven together in unity. Our founding fathers, with inspiration from our Heavenly Father, crafted a constitution giving us the opportunity to stretch ourselves as we take responsibility for our own lives--giving us liberty to do so and the opportunity for our own pursuit of happiness.
Now a little about the beads in these two pieces. These were torched by one of my all time favorite lampwork artists--Julie Wong of uglibeads. As far as I know, she's retired from the torch now for several years. She was making one of a kind, highly detailed, and precision perfect beads with fabulous stringer detail long before anyone else, I was aware of. Such a perfectionist she is, and it shows in her beads. I've held these for a long time knowing there would probably never be anymore Julie beads for me, but finally I've put them into a couple of designs that make me happy. I value them highly,reflecting the art I consider them to be, and it won't hurt my feelings if they stay in my inventory for a long while; since to me, they are timeless works of art that gladden my soul. Love you Julie--nobody does it better.
And on one final notel--happy 4th of July---Independence Day---my beloved country!!! Long may our Star Spangled Banner wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave!