Saturday, January 30, 2010

Woo Hoo I Was Selected

Yes, that's right, I was selected as one of the instructors at the Puget Sound Bead Festival this Summer. I will be teaching Gem Tree Sculptures. All in all it was a good day yesterday as I received this notice, plus I was asked by the Tenino Gem and Mineral Club to put on a Gem Tree presentation and demo in February and I sold 2 items off my 1000 Markets site. It was a good day.

So, if you are wondering about the Bead Festival thing, here is a link to the Bead Festival web site that explains a little bit more about it although they don't have this Summer's list of instructors or classes up yet. I think they indicated it would be the first of March before that gets updated.

So, now you are wondering what is a Gem Tree presentation and demo...well, I have no idea yet on the presentation, but I do demo's all the time, so the presentation part will be just explaining the various types of trees I make and techniques involved. If you want to know a little bit more about gem trees, I have a book and tutorials available for sale or you could check out my gem tree blog.

And what were the items that sold yesterday, two pair of charm earrings. These are my most popular and my favorite to wear almost daily. I have several friends that would also swear by them. They come with multiple gemstone or pearl charms that you can mix or match. Fun earrings that go with most everything. Pictured is a set that is still available. Charms include 2 sets of freshwater pearls, turquoise, black onyx, lapis and apatite. Click the word "Pictured" link above to take you to the product page.

Here is hoping that we all have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Catalog

Well, this week I have been working on a catalog or look book of my jewelry designs. I guess I should put one together for my gem trees also, but first things first. I'm not the best jewelry photographer and I tend to be a perfectionist so I'm never really happy with the results. I had to make some allowances for photo quality and I'm not so sure about my design abilities in this type of format but I am happy with it so far. I would love any constructive criticism.

Oh, feel free to create your own booklet, catalog, newsletter or whatever else by using Issuu. It is free and very simple to upload your document. I would love to see what you create.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Book now available from Amazon

I just had to share. I was doing some Google searches to make sure some of my products from ArtFire and 1000 Markets were showing up and low and behold when I searched for my book, there it was. Yes, it has  now been picked up by plus a few other book dealers. Thankfully Amazon is selling it for the same price that I am, but there are some used ones that are selling for less. If you have one of my books and would like to do a review on Amazon, I would love it. If you want to buy a book, you can buy one from me and I'll even autograph it.

Check it out.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Featured Artist - Bags by Melanie

I love bags and I love fabric. My hubby has now told me that I can't buy a handbag unless I get rid of one. OMG, who does this? Don't we just continue to collect them and trade them out with our various outfits? They never wear out, so they just accumulate in the back of the closet. So occassionally I'll just sneak one in and just say I've had it forever but don't carry it that often. I wonder if he is on to me yet... oh well, so far so good.

Well back to bags and fabric. This fellow blogger and creative soul has some wonderfully colorful bags, key flobs and pouches. She uses some amazing fabric prints for her designs and if you want to buy in bulk, she has listings for that also. I think my favorite is the bright pink flower tissue cover. I've seen these before, but I don't own one..humm I wonder why? I do carry tissues in that plastic baggy thing they come in, but I guess I have never thought about purchasing one for myself. I do agree with Melanie that they would make great gifts when you just need a little something. Check out Melanie's blog and her Etsy shop for more great items.

Cheers and don't let that hubby of yours make you get rid of any bags or shoes for that matter.  Ha ha -Dana

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Taking Photos

I've been practicing my skills at taking photos today. This is a new pair of earrings not yet listed for sale. The ear wires are hand formed and the ends filed for comfort. The 3 small crystals are a smokey grey color, not sure what their actual color name is at the moment. I've always wanted to take professional looking photos of my jewelry but really haven't spent much time at it but I am feeling better about this. I think the blue background is a little much and may have to change it to something less bright, but the black didn't do the earrings justice.

Tell me what you think and any pointers you can send my way on my picture taking madness.

In other news, I was reading a blog yesterday and it was all about creating your own brochure/catalog on-line. I've thought about it but never really had the time to devote to the research and figured it would be cost prohibitive. I was wrong. There is an on-line tool that will help you create that magazine/newsletter/catalog, etc and it is called Issuu. So I spent last night until the wee hours looking into it and watching their tutorial videos. It was quite interesting so I uploaded one of my newsletters that I write for our local gem and mineral club and viola an on-line version of that newsletter was created.

I think everybody should give this a try. As soon as I master those pictures, I see an on-line catalog in my future. Woo Hoo.

Have a great weekend everyone.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Have I Done?

I was reading a friends blog today (thank you very much Megan) and she mentioned sending out newsletters to her clients. I had been thinking about sending out a newsletter monthly but have been too busy (lazy) to put my list together. So, today was as good a day as any to get started. I used MailChimp which she had suggested and it was pretty simple. Of course, once I built my small list of clients and students and sent out my newsletter I then had to figure out how to get a link on my blog and web site, which led to me updating my web site and adding more stuff, and so on and so on. I'm sure you know how it goes, you get started on one project and it explodes into a slew of other projects.

So, all I need now is people to sign up for my newsletter. See form on the right hand column of this blog. (hint)

Do any of you send out newsletters to clients? What do you use it for and how often?

So, if you want to check out Megan's blog here is a link to Casto Creations.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Daily Grind

I find myself developing a daily routine. Up with the dogs to feed and let them out, make coffee and then veg for about 30 minutes while drinking that coffee. Okay, I'm not really vegging but attempting to wake up. The time we end our day has also become much later, sometimes we are up until midnight or later. I was never really a morning person anyway, but doesn't that seem a little late to you?

I do have something to share with you. I posted a photo of it on my Facebook page and it is now gone from me. Onto the new owner who loves it very much. I'm sure she will get much wear out of it. It is a design that I had been thinking about for some time and just had to find the time to sit down and diagram it out. Let me know what you think. I will be making another one using faceted rock crystal briolettes.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Yes, I know I'm a little late in making any resolutions this year, but now is better than last year when I didn't make any. I got inspired by Jill of Liv'n Good Jewelry who reviewed how she did with her 2009 resolutions and set some for 2010. Check out her blog if you want to see what hers were.

Since I didn't have any for 2009 except to get my book published, which I did by the way, I may have to add a couple extra for good measure. I think 10 is a good number.

1.   Promote, promote, promote via Twitter, Facebook, Blog and anything else I find at least once each day on one of them. I should be able to do this, I'm on them daily anyway.
2.   Land at least 2 more gem club shows for demonstrating and teaching gem trees.
3.   Land 2 additional workshop venues for gem trees or jewelry design.
4.   Have the 2nd book completed and to an editor for review. I guess I better start writing.
5.   Keep my craft room clean & organized (okay maybe clean craft room once a week).
6.   Update my website.
7.   Add one new item to my Etsy, Artfire or 1000 Markets site weekly.
8.   Develop 12 tutorials that will either be for sale or free on my blog. That's only 1 per month.
9.   Learn to use Photoshop Elements 7. Yes, I have the program, but haven't figured out how to use it yet.
10. Learn one new jewelry technique.

So, that's my list. Have you made any resolutions yet?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Now It's Time to Start on the Office

Last week was the cleaning and organizing of my craft room. Yes, I did get finished except for our trip to IKEA to get that desk I want. That will be the finishing touch. This week is the office. We haven't cleaned or organized the office in a long time and there are piles upon piles of paperwork that needs to be filed and just junk mail that gets thrown in here when we need to clean off the dining room table when we have company. I guess you could say most of it is either trash, goodwill, or filing. We do have some items that are in the office that we will save and put out on ebay vs. goodwill. I have two desks to clean off as well as a credenza, so I started on the largest desk this morning. I was able to get a few things sorted and shredded before we started running errands.

I really need more organization in the office. In the big desk I have one drawer that is just full of cards. There are birthday, Christmas, get well, thank you and a variety of other cards just waiting to be sent. Problem is, I don't send cards very often and here they are taking up a whole drawer. What to do? Oh, I have another drawer that is full of cards that we received that I just had to save. Now why did I save them? Okay right, I was going to use them in some craft project or other. There has to be a place to donate old cards right? I'll have to look that up on the internet. If you know of a place, let me know in the comments as I would like to take back that drawer.

Now I thought I would share photos of a necklace set that I made right before the holidays made with rubies, multi color tourmalines, lemon topaz and sterling silver. I love the cut of that lemon topaz, it's sort of a spiral cut. I haven't listed them yet for sale, but they are pretty. Enjoy and have a great day!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Finally Finished

This past week I have been cleaning and organizing my craft room. What a mess. I think I do this about once a year with various results. Last year, I just created more boxes of stuff that was stuck in the corner and after a year more stuff was piled on top and was just a mess. This year I actually got rid of things and moved the boxes out that I didn't want in the room. So now as you can tell, it is just an organized mess. And if you are wondering where the rest of the room is...that is it. The room is about 6 x 9 and I have a lot crammed in here. The next project is to move the blue-green cabinet to the hall outside the door to this room and get me a corner desk from IKEA. This will give me lots more desk/workspace room and maybe I'll finally be able to get my sewing machine out and use it or painting supplies. I have moved my laptop into this room so I really do need more desk space.

I decided to share this new project with you also today. I was sitting in the living room this morning drinking my coffee and had an idea for a wire wrap pendant that would be easier for beginners. Believe me this is not easy for beginners but is an alternative to silversmithing. This is my first attempt so it is not perfect as the weaving is not as tight as I would like and there is a bottom wire that is funky. I used 18 gauge fine silver wire (.999 % pure silver) and formed my top and bottom then 26 gauge fine silver wire for the weaving. Turned out interesting. Not sure it I like it well enough to make them to sell. As I didn't like the bright silver, I used Liver of Sulphur to darken the metal and then a polishing cloth to highlight the edges. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Cleaning Out or Cleaning Up

This week has been my cleaning week for the craft room. Okay not only cleaning but organizing. My craft items have somehow managed to escape their room and have overflowed into the hall, the living room and the garage. If it is in the garage, it may just have to live there for awhile.  Ugg. What to do now? So, I'm consolidating boxes of wire and beads and other craft supplies into my cabinets and labeling. The problem is when I see something and it spurs an idea to make something else. That was my problem yesterday. I found an old necklace that hadn't sold and decided that I just had to remake it into a double strand bracelet. After getting it all torn apart and organized, I came to my senses and started putting all the beads into their respective containers to work on another day.

So, this morning while reading blogs and drinking my coffee I had this idea for an inspiration board that I could post in my craft room. Problem is my craft room doesn't have any walls available to hang anything. I can just envision these boards with beading and crafting ideas posted all over them just waiting for me to have time to make them. I have a couple of memory boards that would be just perfect. Maybe I can get them to hang on the brick wall behind my table. I've never tried to hang anything on brick, maybe I'll google it and see how it could be done.

Okay, that's all for me this morning, I have work in that endless pit of a craft room. I hope everyone has a great day.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Bracelet for a New Year

Finally a new tutorial for all my great followers. Never fear, I will have another giveaway later this month, but I'm sure you will like this.

I made this bracelet to go with the Leather Fringe Necklace. You can find the tutorial for the necklace also on this site. Great way to use up left over beads or orphan beads. I mixed some of my metals on my second bracelet which is the one pictured in the tutorial. As this bracelet was too long after I had finished the second end I had to tie a knot in the middle to take up slack. I think it turned out pretty good. The last picture is my first attempt and I like it also. Feel free to modify or change it up to whatever you find attractive. This design would also make a great necklace.

Materials Needed:

36” Leather cord either 1mm or 2mm
2 Cones
2 Crimp Beads with loop
2 Open Jump Rings
4” 22 gauge wire
Head Pins
Various beads of your choice
Charms if desired

Wire Cutters


1. Cut leather in 3 equal 12” sections.
2. Line up your ends and at ½” – ¾” tightly wrap wire to secure all three pieces of leather.
3. Cut 2 of the pieces close to the wire wrap leaving one long that will go through the cone.
4. Add the cone bead.
5. Measure out your bead crimp and cut the extra off.
6. Insert leather into the end of the bead crimp.
7. Crimp bead tight with pliers to secure.
8. Add one end of your clasp using the jump ring if needed.
9. Start tying knots at various intervals on all three cords.
10. Measure around your wrist to size from time to time. I stopped when it was 8”.
11. Line up the 3 pieces of leather making sure they are equal length.
12. Wrap wire about ½” to ¾” away from the end to secure all three together.
13. Finish this end the same way you did the first end.

Now comes the fun part.

In between each knot on each leather cord add a bead or charm.
If you find that your bracelet is too big try tying a knot in the middle of the bracelet before adding the beads. If bracelet is too small, tighten each knot a little more.
Enjoy your cool new bracelet.


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