Monday, February 15, 2010

custom orders, cold, carts and computers

I have been busy this week, making custom order rings, which is a nice problem to have. Less than two weeks ago, I made a brushed bronze ring from a scrap of fired bronze. The idea came to me in one of those rare "lightbulb" moments and I came away with a winner.

A friend overseas saw the ring and decided she had to have one. Another friend locally saw it today and also thought she needed one. So, I will make the first one "just like the one in the picture," and the second one will have a synthetic blue topaz.

It is a nice simple ring with clean lines and a great big shiny stone. Classic.

I also have a custom ring order that I am working on -- in silver, which is so much more user friendly than the copper or the bronze. The ring carries on my "In the Garden" series with the leaves and vine motif. This is a fun one to make!

I am continuing to work on my website, and the shopping cart especially. I have added a number of items to the store and I will be adding more each day. It will be several weeks before the search engines pick me up though.

Speaking of things you do with a computer -- mine is on its last legs and I need to find a good used (or refurbished) printer to replace my 8-year-old version of a darned good printer -- the Epson Stylus photo 2200. I hope to find another of the same model. After getting stung twice trying to buy a used one, let's hope the third time is a charm!

It is so cold here! I have the heat set on high, the woodstove burning and a space heater for my feet and it is STILL cold in the caboose! BRRR!

Well, time for bed, I have to run to town for errands tomorrow, and that will probably take all day. Good night and happy creating.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Websites, Workshops and Weaving

I have spent the last few days recovering from ambulance runs, workshops and an ear infection, but I have kept busy designing my new website.

The home page is done and there are items in my online store, so I went ahead and took the site live. I will continue to revamp the site as I get more "website" savvy.

I love the color scheme, made up of my favorite colors of burgundy, hunter green and parchment tan. I know they are passe, but they will return someday, and for me they are comfort colors.

These colors are also considered to be trustworthy and soothing in website studies, so hey, I may be out of style in home decorating, but I am right in there as far as website design. :)

Now live: Check it out! Please. All constructive criticism and advice is welcome!

I taught two fun workshops last weekend, one of beginning wire wrap -- make your own findings, and the other was a beginning jewelry design workshop for basic beaded jewelry.

Several of my students have requested new workshops, so I will soon be lining up a "wire wrapped stones" workshop and a "beginning precious metal clay" workshop. I'm just tickled that anyone would want a repeat workshop from me!

My teaching style is very relaxed, which may not appeal to some folks, but I kind of just go with the flow and let the students decide what they want to work on the most.

So, tentatively planned next is the wire wrapped stones workshop at the Thedford Art Gallery, on Saturday, March 29. I haven't decided whether to do a morning or afternoon class.

I have also been working on something that has eluded me for a while - the Viking Weave. I love the look of necklaces that feature this weave and I have been struggling to learn the weave. With the help of a wonderful tutorial on, called the "Something New Viking Weave," I was finally able to complete (but definitely not master) a project using this weave. Hallelujah! I can do something similar with my tube knitter, but when comparing the two, the Viking weave pieces are much more flexible and have a neater appearance, so I will probably end up retiring the tube knitter, except when I want to make something out of yarn.

I ended up making a copper bracelet, but it turned out huge -- too big even for my husband, so I will probably cut the ends off and make earrings out of them, and size the bracelet down to fit myself or someone else with small wrists. That is one of the joys of Viking knit -- its versatility.

Bed is beckoning, so I had better heed its call. Happy creating everyone!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Workshops, Websites and Worms

Despite several days without sleep due to overdue prescriptions, computer failure due to worms (viruses) and late night ambulance runs, I was able to function enough to teach two workshops over the weekend.

Saturday morning, I had a lot of fun teaching a group of women from around the area how to save money and add value to their handmade jewelry by making their own jump rings, chains, clasps and ear wires.

Most of the women were suprised at how easy these things are to make themselves and how inexpensive, compared to buying them ready made.

Several of the women stayed for the afternoon class (and a few new ones arrived) where I taught basic jewelry design. I was fading fast by this point, so it got a bit dry to start, but I think everyone had fun once we got to the hands-on portion of the workshop and most of them went away with some very nice finished pieces, while others took home several "works-in-progress."

In the midst of all of this, I finally got the go-ahead on my website, so I have spent most of the day trying to build my own website, which is difficult, even with templates. I am NOT the most computer/technology savvy person around, and most of this stuff is Greek to me.

I think I finally have a decent looking home page, but I still have four pages and a shopping cart to go. Yikes!

I like the color scheme I picked out -- burgundy, hunter green and tan. These are the colors I had initially intended to use for the caboose, but budget woes put the cabosh on that.

I started out using a red and black template, but after cruising through the "what color works best for a website" info on the web, I found that black is hard for older eyes (like mine) to read from, red is considered jarring and gray, burgundy and brown are considered soothing, solid and elegant.

I looked at the gray generic templates and just couldn't get excited about them, but then I found this gorgeous one with my favorite colors, and I knew I was home. Think cherry wood, hunter green leather and the rich look of expensive parchment and you will have the colors of this site. It took all day, literally, but I finally have my home page set up. I am sure it could be more high tech, but I'll start small and revamp as I learn more. Wish me luck!

Tired of the cold, dreary weather, I was dreaming of warm sunny summer afternoons when I designed a neckband out of bronze wire and wrapped hammered bronze droplet components around it for a necklace that reflects the light as the wearer moves. I titled it " A Summer's Afternoon Rain."

It is gently snowing right now, so my hubby could get called out early, therefore, I had better be prepared to get up early to take my daughter to school. Her father usually does that, since our son is a night owl and generally gets to bed late, and therefore, so does Mom.

Good night and happy creating!

Wire Wrapping, Workshops and