Since the beginning of this year, I have somewhat put my jewelry creations on hold due to a personal situation. However, I recently realized I really miss creating. So on a recent errand run, I stopped into a local bead shop and picked up a new sheet of copper.

I love working with sheet metal because I can create almost anything I can think of. It’s a blank slate to cut, hammer, patina, file and bend. The copper really adds an interesting color. It’s not something you often see, but it’s becoming more popular. I origninally bought a sheet of copper last summer/fall to practice with before I moved onto silver sheets, but I liked the way the pieces looked so much that I had to start working with it in addition to the silver.

While I was in the shop, I saw two different sizes of copper rings and I commented to my husband that they would make pretty earrings. I decided against getting them though because I figured I could come up with enough projects using the copper sheet. I was still thinking about these rings when I got home, so I decided to try to make some. The holes through the middle aren’t as centered as the ones in the store, but that’s okay by me. I enjoy being different. This is how they turned out:

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What do you think? They are 1” diameter with 1/2” diameter holes.

I am not one to throw things away, so the next step was to figure out what to do with the circles which resulted from punching the holes in the center of those earrings. I figured since I had two of them, the easiest thing to do would be to make another pair of earrings. The circles came out pretty smooth so I decided to work with that instead of hammering them. I sanded them lightly for a little texture and I domed them so they reflect the light beautifully. This is the result:

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What do you think?

It amazes me how two completely different pairs of earrings can come from the same base material. That’s what I love about what I do. I can create what I’m in the mood for and no two items are identical. I can be in a constant state of creativity.

This project inspired me to really start to think about making the most of things. In some cases, it would be easy to say the small circles are the waste product of the first pair of earrings and dispose of them. However, with a little creativity, trash can become treasure. I have a few pieces of jewelry which no longer really fit the style of the rest of my pieces so I’m thinking I might pull them apart and try to rework them instead of calling them a lost cause. Perhaps that will be a future blog post!

With the challenging economy many of us are facing, do you find yourself trying to find ways of reusing items or saving your scrap materials to use for a different project? It seems as though this concept is really becoming popular, even though it’s probably something we should have always been doing. If you have a creative reuse project, I would love to see it!

For now, thanks for stopping by!

 

 

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Bumps in the Road

Sometimes we hit bumps in the road and we try desperately to avoid them, but we still hit them. I’ve hit a lot of bumps in my road, I’m sure we all have, and while they hurt, I try to learn from them. I try to learn how to avoid them in the future and how to make myself better because of them.

Recently I hit bump in my road that has ended up being a pretty big bump. I wish I had learned something from it sooner and could have moved on from it months ago, but such is life sometimes. Slowly, I am learning and as I learn I have figured out one thing. I am an artist by natural design.

Over the past six months, I have drastically cut back on my creating in effort to save money. In doing so, I have found myself starting to have an urge to create. At first it didn’t bother me, but the longer I go, the more ideas I get and the more I want to create. The few times I do create, I feel so much better about myself.

So I’m not an artist by the standards of most people. I don’t draw very well and painting comes in spurts. But I am an artist in the form of a creator. I like to play with things and see what happens. I like to take an idea and tweak it. When I don’t have something to play with in this way or a general plan of something to create or work on, I start questioning my purpose. What am I meant to do?

Because of the need to save, my jewelry business has taken a backseat this year, and that’s why the blogs have been becoming more spread out. Since I’m not creating as much, I have been running out of ideas to write about. I know I need to work on this. Come October, I will have the Lititz Artisans’ Porchwalk,which I have mentioned in years past, so I need to build up my inventory for that. I am planning on having almost an entirely new setup this year…new styles, new pieces. In anticipation of this, I plan on placing a supply order soon and getting started with moving forward. I hope you will stick with me through this. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it.

Thanks for reading!

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Changing Course

Have you ever felt like throwing everything up in the air and starting all over again? I’m just about to that point, but I think I will try to be a bit more organized about it.

A few weeks ago I had a meeting with a small business coach from a group called SCORE. According to their website, “SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.” I wasn’t quite sure what to think as I went to the meeting, but the two gentlemen I met with gave me a lot to think about. However, some of their ideas have lead me to think I need to back up and start over in some ways.

I must say, it was interesting to talk to two men about a jewelry business. They had no idea on anything jewelry related except for the jewelry their wives wore. However, this provided some interesting insights. One thing they pointed out is that my styles are a bit scattered. I have always prided myself on having a wide variety of styles, but they said that could actually be hurting me. It ends up looking too cluttered and doesn’t have a consistency. This hurts in advertising because I can’t have a set style to tie everything together. I thought this was interesting because I have considered going in one direction, but I wasn’t sure if it would appeal to the masses. After talking to my husband about this, I realized it’s not always what appeals to the masses that’s important. It’s more important for me to enjoy what I do and to create something that appeals to a dedicated group of followers (more or less).

With this all in mind, I have decided to move away from the big, chunky designs and go to simple and elegant designs with some nature inspired themes. This is where I started and this is what I really enjoy. If my crowdfunding project works out, this will be an excellent way to piggy-back onto the American made jewelry concept because those are going to be simple and elegant designs.

Now the challenge is to focus and continue to push myself to pursue my goal(s). I’m enjoying looking at my business in a new light and I’m looking forward to seeing where I can go from here.

How often do you find yourself doing things because you think that’s what others want? Do you usually keep doing it or do you find yourself eventually going in the direction you want to go?

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” -Albert Schweitzer

Thanks for stopping by!

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Home Show Review & Information

Hello and welcome!

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In one of my previous posts, I mentioned an upcoming home show. That show has come and gone, but I’d like to tell you about it and about how you can host your own home show.

 

This home show was hosted by my mom. She provided me with a list of names and addresses of her friends, neighbors, and other ladies she knew and I created postcard invitations for her to give to them. Because her house is fairly small and limited on parking, we ran the show as an open house so the guests could stop by any time during the show hours.

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For the home shows, I bring my entire setup including jewelry, displays, and tables. If it’s an outdoor show, I can bring a canopy if the area is large enough for it.

 

They are a great opportunity to have some “girl time” and connect with friends for a bit. Needless to say, you also get to try on jewelry, which can be a lot of fun as well! There is a perk to hosting too!

 

As I mentioned, I ran this show as an open house so the guests could stop by during a certain time period; however, the shows can also be run like a party where all of the guests are at the show at one time.

 

To get the ball rolling, I will ask that you provide me with a list of your guests and their addresses. I will then create postcard invitations for you to send or give to your guests. If you are creative, you are welcome to create your own invitations as well.

 

For open houses, I have found that 3-5 hours seems to be long enough. Most people stop in during the first hour or two, so I try not to make it too long in order for the hostess to have time to do other things after the show. Parties are usually good at around 2-3 hours.

 

I usually ask that the hostess provide light refreshments, but nothing sticky or too messy. Advertising that the party has light refreshments seems to help gain interest.

 

Don’t worry, the hostess isn’t doing this all for nothing. She will receive a piece of jewelry I custom design for her as a thank you gift. She will also receive a 10% discount on her purchases at the show.

 

I have frequently been asked which company my jewelry parties are associated with. The parties are not associated with any of the big home party jewelry companies. All of the jewelry pieces are my creations and most of them are one-of-a-kind so every party could have a different variety of items.

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One note, due to time and fuel costs, I prefer to keep the parties with in the Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin County area of Pennsylvania. However, if you live outside of that area, we can discuss the possibilities.

 

If this is something that might interest you, e-mail me and let’s talk. If not, I still thank you for stopping by and reading!

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A Little Sapphire for September

Can you believe we are almost to the end of September? I hear people asking where the summer went and I’m just wondering where the past month went! If the next three months go as quickly as the previous three, I better get some shopping done now or I’ll miss Christmas!
Before the month escapes us, let’s look at September’s birthstone.

Beautiful dark blue sapphires are the birthstone for the month of September. However, did you know sapphires naturally appear in colors other than blue? Let’s explore sapphires for a little bit and see what else we can learn.

Sapphires come from the mineral corundum, which is the same mineral rubies come from. The primary difference between two is their color. Rubies are red corundum while sapphires come in just about every other color in the rainbow. Sapphires can even be shades of gray or black and they can also be colorless.

As with rubies, sapphires are considered both hard and tough; however, it’s still good to be careful with them in case they have small fractures which could break under pressure. Heat can also affect the color and/or clarity of the stone.

Sapphires are considered one of the more rare stones; however, they can be found in several places throughout the world. The most region most famous for sapphires is the Kashmir region, which is located between Pakistan and India. The sapphires which come from here are sometimes called “Kashmir sapphires.” They are known for their vivid blue color. Very few sapphires come from this region today; most of them were mined out about 100 years ago. Sapphires are also found in Burma/Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Africa, Australia, Cambodia, and the United States.

The deep blue color of sapphires has been associated with royalty and romance for centuries. In the Middle Ages it was used by the clergy because they believed the blue color symbolized heaven. It is also known as a stone of love and commitment and it has been claimed that sapphires encourage faithfulness and loyalty.

In ancient times, people consumed sapphires because they believed the stones were a remedy for poison and poisonous bites. It was also thought to cure fevers, colds, and ulcers.

Currently, I do not have any pieces made with sapphires, but I would like to show you two of the different colors of sapphires. The first image is what is traditionally thought of as a sapphire with its deep blue color. The second image is a pink sapphire. This has more of the elements that are found in rubies, but it is not the correct hue to be considered a ruby, so it is still a sapphire.

Both of these images are from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which is considered the authority when it comes to gemology.
I hope this has been educational for you. It’s fun to see how many people are surprised by the fact that sapphires come in colors other than blue, and they are even more surprised to learn the connection between sapphires and rubies.

Thanks for stopping by!

Peridot: The Color of August

I was walking past my favorite jewelry store earlier this week and I couldn’t help but window shop. As I peered into their front windows, I noticed several of their display pieces had the same color of green stone in them. I briefly thought how interesting that was and then it hit me…they were peridot, August’s birthstone.

 Quick pronunciation lesson:

I have always heard peridot pronounced with the “t” sound at the end: perra-dot. However, in the courses I have been taking through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), they pronounce it perra-doe, without the “t” sound. I’m not positive on which one is correct, but I tend to go with what the GIA says because they are generally considered the authority in the industry.

 Peridot is a variety of the mineral olivine. This is a fairly common mineral which is found in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Peridot is a transparent version of the stone and can range in color from yellow- to olive- to brownish-green. The most valued color is a dark olive-green. Most of the stones I have seen are a lighter green or a yellow-green. The shade of green is determined by how much iron is found in the stone.

 Because of the green color, peridot is sometimes confused with emeralds. Please note these are two different stones with two different values.

 Peridot can be found almost all over the world. It is commonly mined in Egypt, Australia, Brazil, China, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Norway, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Tanzania. It is even found in the United States in North Carolina, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico. Some has also been found in Wyoming.

 Peridot has been used in jewelry throughout history. It has been found in remains of ancient Egyptian and Roman jewelry. It  had gone out of favor for quite some time, but in the 1990s a large deposit of very fine peridot stones was discovered and that has put the stone back into the market.

 If you are curious about metaphysical properties, peridot is a good stone to hold onto. It is said that peridot can help one move past hurt and heartache by providing emotional balance and healing to damaged egos. It is also thought to promote cleansing and healing of the physical parts of the body if worn during an illness.

 After seeing the display at my local jewelry store, I got to thinking that I would like to use peridot in a jewelry piece. It’s a little priceier than most of the stones I use, but it is a beautiful green color. Now that I have read about the metaphysical properties of the stone, perhaps it’s worth it to give peridot a try. If nothing else, it really looks stunning in a shiny sterling silver (or white gold) setting and I love my white metals.

 Let me know if some peridot would interest you. Perhaps we can work together on a custom piece for you!

 Thanks for stopping by!

 PS: If you are in the Manheim/Lancaster area today (Aug. 26), stop by the Manheim railroad station this afternoon! It’s the last day of the Artists’ Alley Art & Craft show for the summer.

A Splash of Color

Upon logging into my Etsy account this morning, I was greeted with a splash of color. If you are unfamiliar with Etsy (www.etsy.com), they always list a collection of items having a common theme. This morning’s theme was rainbows, so everything was very colorful. After looking through the photos, I decided I wanted to do something with a little color today. I knew I didn’t have enough various colors of beads to make a complete rainbow, but I figured I could at least create a splash of colors.

So I set off for my work desk to see what I could come up with. I usually tout using gemstones in my jewelry, but it is quite difficult to get the bright colors needed for a rainbow with natural gemstones. It is possible with glass, but I didn’t have quite what I needed, so I worked with what I had.

As always, I tried to stick with the elegant simplicity concept I love so much. Beads went onto the desk, and they were put away again. I laid things out and then changed them around. Finally, I came up with what I think is a perfect splash of color for the warm days of summer.

What do you think?

The necklace and earrings are created with pastel colored glass beads and the metal components used in the necklace and the earrings are all sterling silver. The wire you see between the beads on the necklace is stainless steel. I use this in almost all of the necklaces and bracelets I make.

As much as I like bold colors, I have found the majority of ladies prefer pastel and neutral colors. They are very diverse and even though they are colors, they can still match a lot of clothing.

So, it goes to show you can find inspiration anywhere. It’s funny to think my inspiration for these light colored pieces were photos of bold rainbow colored pieces. Where do you find inspiration?

Thanks for stopping by!

Oh, if you are interested in these pieces, they are listed on Etsy here:

Necklace: https://www.etsy.com/listing/105262507/pastel-colored-glass-floating-necklace

Earrings: https://www.etsy.com/listing/105263305/pastel-colored-glass-earrings