Feb 172009

Wrap up for Art & Soup….just two bracelets.

#1 is Rhodonite and Fine Silver links that I shaped into squares to match the stones. Very simple, but I was quite pleased with the clasp on this one.
The photo is not bad, but doesn’t show the nice pinky-grey of the stone.

Next, what I call a Caterpillar weave…others have called this Cleopatra or Snakeskin with Bead. I love love love this bracelet, it’s so slinky! I may just remake one for myself…..

The weave is just tiny – 4mm round beads with 7/64 and 7/32 rings in sterling silver.

That’s all for week 7…hoping to get a couple of pieces made next week to put “on the shelf” for upcoming shows!

Jan 112009

Came back from a quick trip to Kansas City yesterday. When I left Omaha, it was 28 degrees, but the ground was clear. (Our typical winter is: Snow, Melt. Snow, Melt. Most of the time it’s brown, not white outside!)

While I was out of town, we had a couple of inches of snow, so now it’s all white and pretty…but COLD!

Perfect for hunkering down with a jewelry project or two.

This afternoon I plan to work on a few projects, but I think I’ll make up some earrings that I created for a special project last week. Here are some written instructions  – quick and easy and really cute!

Orbital Bead Earrings

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

18g fine silver wire or 7mm 18g soldered jump rings (2)
3x4mm rondelle bead (2)
Head pin (2)
Earring findings (2)

To make your own fused jump ring, wind the 18g fine silver wire around a 7mm mandrel. Using a saw or flush cutter, cut the jump rings. Fuse ring ends together using a butane torch and quench.

1. Hammer rings slightly to give them a bit of texture. Polish with a Sunshine cloth.

2. Thread one bead on each headpin.

3. Using a round nosed pliers, start a wrapped loop on the headpin wire above the bead- don’t close the loop yet! Link the large jump ring through the loop, and finish the wrap.

4. Attach the earring finding to the wrapped loop, allowing the bead to fall inside the jump ring. Polish the entire piece with a Sunshine cloth, or pop in your tumbler for at least 30 minutes to bring out the shine and harden the metal.

Dec 312008

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve! Time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished for the year and start thinking about what’s on the plate for 2009.

I went back in “history” and found my 2008 goals so I could review them and see how I’d done.

Goal: Get more proficient with PMC.
Result: Not a complete FAIL, but I didn’t work hard on honing my skills with PMC. This will definitely make the jump to 2009 as something I’d like to continue to work on!

Goal: Work with that torch.
Result: Ooh, yeah. I wouldn’t say I mastered it, but I did have some stunning success with soldering, fusing and expanding my skills here. One of my proudest moments was the soldering of those teeny tiny axe pendants in July for the LumberJills. I really love “playing with fire” and hope to continue to learn and sharpen my skills (hahaha, pun intended) in 2009!

Goal: Grow my jewelry business through higher end and more personal showings.
Result: I did get into higher end shows in 2008, with the Grand Cities Art Fest as the crowning glory. Not a lot of personal showings, but I didn’t take the time to market them either. Do I really want to do “home parties”? Not sure…probably need to think through next year’s marketing strategy more thoroughly.

Did my business grow, however? Resounding YES…proving that even in a tough economy, people like and will spend money on handcrafted goods.

Goal: Create one piece per week.
Result: Well, I know I made more than 52 new pieces in 2008. But one per week? No. I still encountered some crunch time, but I took some down time as well. So while I may not have technically achieved this goal, I’m placing it on the “DONE” side of the board. 😉

Goal: Write one article/project/review for Beading Help Web per week.
Result: Life got in the way of good intentions here, plus there were other business factors that took their toll. However, I’m still committed to BHW and to helping other beaders and jewelry makers out there…I do plan on putting more time into the site next year. 🙂

Overall, I feel good about 2008 and my accomplishments. On to deciding what to focus on for 2009!!!

Later this week, I’ll share some of the “out takes” or bloopers of 2008…there are some doozies!!!