Aug 092010

Gotta share these…

Last month, I had a booth set up at the local county fair.  We’ve been in the commercial exhibit building for 5 or 6 years, and it’s a good opportunity to see folks that I don’t get to see every day!

Jeremy tends the “shop” during the day, and asked me to bring my stash of rubber rings from Fire Mountain Gems and some aluminum rings.  When I got to the fair on Friday, he showed me what he’d made.

Roundmaille…something I have only experimented with so far!  And the twerp just “made it up” from an idea in his head.

I need to work with him a little on his closures, but he did a fantastic job on the weave…and check out the eye for color!  I told him we’d put a price tag on his two bracelets and he could have the profit when they sell, but I’m tempted to snag that blue/purple/teal one for myself.

I’m pretty proud of his accomplishments.  I may have to hire him!!

Dec 272009

Now that all the presents are unwrapped, the cookies are eaten, and the guests have all departed, it’s time again to challenge yourself with the annual Fire Mountain Gems jewelry making contest!

Those of us who love metal are in for a treat – this year, FMG has separated out the ArtClay, Metal Beads, Wirework and Chain categories into their very own contest.

Grand Prize is $1000 gift certificate…and there are also prizes for the first three placements in each category (see below)!  Your winning piece could even be featured in a future FMG catalog!

Contest categories:

Necklace: Let your ingenuity and creativity shine. The sky’s the limit on the number of strands, length or techniques used. As long as you can wear it as a necklace, it qualifies.

Bracelet: Showcase your best work with an innovative bracelet design and take this classic accessory to a new level.

Earrings: The right pair of earrings complete any look—from long, short, hoop, cluster, chandelier and every style in between. Create one-of-a-kind earrings that make a statement.

Home Décor and Doll: Bring jewelry-making into the home with throws, pillows, beaded chandeliers or centerpieces. Give porcelain, clay or soft dolls radiance as you dress them in beaded elegance or create from scratch with Kato Polyclay™.

Wedding and Holiday: Go beyond the traditional to create over-the-top wedding jewelry. Celebrate your holiday spirit through jewelry—any holiday is included (Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc.).

Fashion Accessories (including rings, brooches, hairpieces and accessories): There’s no such thing as too much embellishment. Incorporate beading into clothing and accessories with beaded embroidery, crochet, adhesives, knitting and more.

Looks like fun, but hurry!  Contest entry deadline is January 12,  just around the corner!

Jan 222009

I’m a sucker for jewelry making contests and magazine submissions. I didn’t participate much last year, but I’m planning to toss my hat in the ring a few more times in 2009!

If you’ve never entered a jewelry making contest or submitted to a magazine, the best advice I can give you is to have good photos of the work you are submitting (this goes for juried shows as well!). Chances are, the person judging your work is only looking at that photo, and you want the lighting and setting to be as good as they can be.

Another important tip is to read the submission instructions carefully, and follow them to the letter. Many contests will specify the size and/or resolution of photos, some allow email submissions, others only want photos sent in via a CD, actual photograph or slide. Additionally, some will require that you send in the actual piece for “professional” photos if you win, so you will not want to sell the piece (unless it’s to someone that you can borrow it back from!).

Here are a few current contests and submissions to think about…heck, don’t just think about them, ENTER! And have fun. Lots of fun. 😉

Rings N Things annual Your Designs ROCK! contest submissions due Feb 1 Feb 28, 2009. I’ve already talked a LOT about this contest…the photo requirements are VERY explicit. Be sure you follow them to the letter or you will be disqualified!

Fire Mountain Gems 2009 Beading Contest. Entries due by April 15, 2009. Lots and lots of categories to choose from, and no limit on the number or pieces you can enter.

Jewelry Lessons Valentine’s contest. Post images to the site by February 1, 2009. Design something that is “Valentine” in theme and win prizes (there are lots of tutorials and products that are offered!)

Bead Trends monthly magazine submissions are ongoing, and while the “prizes” aren’t huge, you get the satisfaction of seeing your work in print, and a couple of copies of the magazine! Monthly submissions and themes are available on the site, usually due to the email address listed by the 25th of the month.

Good luck…and be sure to let me know what happens!!!

Aug 082008

I had a nice surprise in my inbox the other day – a 10% off coupon for Crafts, Etc., the online version of Hobby Lobby stores. Since I’d signed up for their newsletter several months ago, they sent me this promotion to use during my birthday month (August). I decided to give Crafts, Etc., a try.

I went to the online store, browsed the (limited) selection of sterling silver products and found a couple of multi-strand clasps that I could use. I applied my birthday coupon, and clicked the button to check out.

Imagine my dismay when the shipping and handling fee showed up as nearly 50% of my total order! Two small, fairly lightweight clasps were going to cost $6.95 to ship…and the clasps were only $15.00 with my birthday discount!!!

No thanks, Crafts, Etc., I’ll shop at a store that offers free shipping ( or $5 FedEx shipping ( and has loads more to choose from.

Jul 142008

I’m working on some items that I think will be good for the county fair next week, simple things that are relatively inexpensive. I thought I’d share some ideas – I’ll update with some photos soon.

Silver-plated chokers from Fire Mountain Gems are a hard wire that you can add a pendant to for a quick necklace. I purchased two different styles, one has a ball that you can unscrew to slide on a pendant, the other has a thin chain to clip a clasp to, and it slides through a pendant bail. The only problem I’ve got with these is that the bail opening needs to be fairly large to accommodate the size of the wire, and I want to rethink that component before making too many more. Might do some dabbling in making some soldered bails instead of simple wrapped loop dangle.

I also made a bunch of discs from some of the re-purposed copper tiling I got from Mom & Dad and stamped them with metal stamps from Beaducation…I’ll use some of them for simple charms that can be personalized (using letter stamps from Contenti) and some for a couple of charm bracelets.

The discs are more labour intensive than you’d think – clean the copper (it’s got adhesive on the back, and some kind of coating on the front), cut out the discs, drill a hole to hang from, stamp, tumble, file, hammer, stamp…whew, I’m tired just thinking about it!

I’d gotten a new “Paw” stamp from Lisa Niven-Kelly (Beaducation) and made Rex a cute little name tag that he’s test driving. I think he likes the way it jingles against his other tags, LOL.

Finally, I made 6 copper bracelets using Beaducation’s bracelet blanks. Again, more work than you’d think just looking at them! I came up with 6 different phrases to stamp on the bracelets, figured out how to best lay out the text and stamped it. Filled in some design stamps, oxidized, drilled holes to attach clasps, made the clasps, formed the bracelets using a bracelet mandrel, and attached the clasp using jump rings.

Of course, this is only the start of the busy season. Thank goodness I have all of August to recover before the big shows start up!!!

Jun 062008

I’ve seen some innovative products in my day, and this one is right up there! Fire Mountain Gems newest product is a rubber bead board that you can roll up and take with you anywhere! From the press box:

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®, America’s favorite beading and jewelry supply company has just released a new, rubber bead design board that rolls up and tucks in just about anywhere, making it easy to bring your beading with you.

Designed for making single-strand jewelry up to 42 inches long, the latex-free rubber material ensures the board will stay in place on a hard work surface, and the light grey color highlights your beads. Five spacious compartments generously hold beads, components and tools.

At $13.72 each, these boards are not cheap, but using FMG’s Assortable Pricing (the more units you order – even if they are not the same item, the bigger discount you get!) can take your cost down to $7.74 each.

Dec 272007

Our Christmas was quiet and low-key this year – I’ve been suffering with a terrible cold that kept me home on Christmas Eve for one thing. It’s been hanging on for far too long, and I’m tired of it already!!

Hubby came through with the PMC (Precious Metal Clay, aka Art Clay Silver) starter kit I’d asked for, and I’m looking forward to running in town, getting butane, and firing up the cute little torch that came with it. Starter kit came from Fire Mountain Gems, and is supposed to have everything I need to start playing!

He also sprung for an iPod Nano, which we FINALLY got up and running today. Seems there was a problem with the iTunes software and compatibility with the Nano, but it’s fixed with the new download. I’ve been happily putting music on my cute little Nano and playing the games that came on it. Absolutely great portable music, and I know I’m going to love it!!!