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My Workspace - July Blog Carnival

The July topic of the Jewelry Artisans Community Blog Carnival is "My Workspace".  I think we were supposed to talk about whatever current project is on our workspace, but since I usually have at least a dozen things in various stages of completion going on at the same time, I thought I'd just show you where I work.Considering what I accomplish here, it's rather tiny.  My husband has graciously allowed me to take over a corner of his office and I try not to spill over into his space too much.   He calls it "encroaching".  A 3 x 3 foot drafting table (which my wonderful husband designed and made for me many years ago) and a three foot t... » Read More

How I Develop My Designs - June Blog Carnival

The topic of the Jewelry Artisan's Community June Blog Carnival is "How  You Develop Your Designs".  I am what I call a fiddler.  Meaning that I don't sketch out my designs or spend a lot of time working them out in my head.  What I do like to do is pick up a bit of wire, a few beads, some components and perhaps a focal piece and play around with them until I get an idea.  Once an idea is formed, I continue to fiddle and through trial and error eventually come up with a design that I find pleasing to the eye, that is structurally sound and hopefully that others will like.  This caged amethyst crystal is a great example of what ca... » Read More

Love is in the Air - February Blog Carnival

It's time again for the monthly Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival and this month our topic is love.  Even though it's technically still winter, love is in the air.  I can see it in the way the daffodils are pushing through the soil and the trees are sending out little buds that will eventually turn into leaves.  I can hear it in the songs the birds are singing each morning after months of silence and the buzzing of the bees.  I can feel it by the warmth of the sun on my face.The days are longer.  The weather is milder.  Soft spring colors are starting to make their appearance.  With all of these signs of renewal, there'... » Read More

New Technique - January Blog Carnival

We (Jewelry Artisans Community) skipped a couple of months due to the busy holiday season, but the holidays are over and the blog carnival is back.  Our topic for January is "New Techniques".I have been intrigued with paper beads since I first laid eyes on them a few years ago when a friend pointed out an article about them.  I made 100's of beads, mostly because I loved seeing how the colors and patterns of the paper blended when they were rolled up.  After setting them aside in pursuit of other jewelry related projects, I recently re-kindled my interest because I needed some beads with big holes and didn't have any on hand.  It occur... » Read More

Painting the Elephant Bangle - Part 7

The last installment of Painting the Elephant Bangle had the outside of the bangle pretty much completed except for a little touch-up here and there.  This is where we left it - notice the blue painters tape is still on the inside of the bangle:I originally put the tape there because at the time I thought I might leave the inside natural wood and didn't want to get paint all over it.  The tape has now been removed and I have an idea!My thought is that the inside will depict the end of the day for the forest group.  After a day of foraging, the family is heading home to bed down for the night.  Here are my sketches:The sketches are real... » Read More

Nicker's Bead Challenge

Members of the Jewelry Artisans Community are currently participating in a fun bead challenge.  Nicole Valentine of N Valentine Studio generously donated some of her hand made glass beads and challenged the participants to make a pair of earrings.With breathless anticipation, we waited for our beads to arrive in the mail from Canada - some were traveling as far as England and Germany.  Knowing that mail from Canada can be slow, we were prepared to wait for weeks if necessary.  Imagine our surprise when the beads began to arrive at their destinations within days after being mailed.  Lucky me - mine arrived first!   The beads going... » Read More

July Blog Carnival - Improving my Studio

I don't know where the month went; here it is time for the Jewelry Artisans Community Blog Carnival already!  Our topic for July is improving our shops.  I think for most of us this is an on-going process.  There's always something that needs improving, tweaking, re-doing or updating and it's good to keep the studio looking fresh.There are several things I want to improve in my shop over the next few weeks  A lot of the items I first listed when my studio was new are in need of better photographs, captions (if they have them at all) and descriptions.  I've chosen one particular necklace as an example of what I mean.  Listed since... » Read More

Painting the Elephant Bangle - Part 6

It's way past time that I posted Part 6 of the elephant bangle series and here it is.At this point, the elephants are pretty much finished and I'm filling in the background and foreground with plants, rocks and shrubs.  It's these little details that really pull it all together.  One thing you might notice is that the elephants who were a bit fluffy have been cleaned up and slimmed down a tad, which puts them in much better proportion.I think these two are sharing a secret:The big guy decided he was hungry!Just for fun, this is what happens to excess paint on the brushes!  That pretty much finishes up the outside of the bangle, but don't ... » Read More

Summer Fruit - June Blog Carnival

This month, the Jewelry Artisans Community has chosen summer fruit as the topic of our blog carnival.Mmmmm...mmmmm.  What a treat it is when summer fruit starts to arrive at the markets.  If you're fortunate enough to have a farmer's market or access to locally grown fruit, be sure to take advantage of these wonderful resources and support your local farmers.I thought I'd share some of my favorite summer fruits with all of you.  Ironically, I didn't have any fruit at home to photograph when I wrote this post, so I did some quick watercolor and ink illustrations to use instead.Strawberries are usually the first to make their appearance in ... » Read More

Operation Tiger Lily

There have been some requests to keep people updated on the progress of my mother's tiger lilies, so I thought I'd write a separate blog post dedicated to them.Some background:  My grandmother grew tiger lilies.  I remember when I was a little girl how her tiger lily patch with their bright orange blooms speckled with little black specks seemed magical.  After my grandmother died, my mother started growing them as a tribute to Grammy and they still had that same magic even though I was now viewing them as an adult.On July 4, 2011, my mother passed away.  A year later, my Dad decided to move to my little town to be closer to us.  Dur... » Read More

May Blog Carnival - Orange

This month the participants of the Jewelry Artisans Community Blog Carnival decided to choose a color to work with and then write a blog post about our experiences.  We voted among the color choices of blue, green, yellow, red, pink, purple and orange.  My initial reaction was to vote for a color I'm comfortable with and since I use a lot of blue and red, I was going to decide between those two colors.  Then one of the participants urged us to think outside the box which got me thinking that using a comfortable color went against the spirit of the color challenge.  So, I ended up voting for orange and, as it turned out, orange was the ... » Read More

Painting the Elephant Bangle - Part 5

For Part 5 of the Painting the Elephant Bangle series, I thought I'd focus on the watering hole.  When I first blocked in the bangle, all I did was put a splash of blue paint where I wanted the watering hole to be located.  Once, the trees and background were done and the elephants positioned and off to a good start, I decided to concentrate on adding details to the water.These first two photographs have already been shown earlier, but it's a good point of reference in order to see the progression:Adding rock formations around the pond - note that the little guy has a face now:Splashing is always fun!Plant life has been added around the pond... » Read More

Painting the Elephant Bangle - Part 4

I started this series about painting an elephant bangle several months ago and intended to post a new entry once a week.  Unfortunately, my personal life went through an upheaval and I'm just now feeling ready to get back to this series.  This is where Part 3 ended - the elephants had been blocked in:In Part 4, shading and additional detail has been added.  I'm not going to write much in this entry, but will let the pictures tell the story.  The big guy now has eyes!  I always feel like the subjects are starting to come to life once they have eyes.Mama and the little one:And, a few more of the other characters on the bangle along wi... » Read More

Mother's Day - April Blog Carnival

Where does the time go?  It seems like it was just January and now Mother's Day is on the horizon.  The April topic for the Jewelry Artisan's Community blog carnival is Mother's Day.It's a time to honor mothers for all of the care, love and sacrifice they willingly and happily make for their children.  I have always associated Mother's Day with flowers.  Maybe it's because my mother loved flowers so.To honor my mom's memory, I dug up the tiger lily bulbs out of her garden last July and moved them to my own home (both my mom and grandmother loved tiger lilies).  It was the wrong time of year to move them and I wasn't sure if they'd s... » Read More

What Makes a Great Photo?

Taking great photos is something that takes time and practice to learn, but it can be done and is worth the effort.  Lighting and composition are important components of great photography as is understanding how your camera works and knowing how and when to edit photos.  Light boxes are one way to achieve good lighting.  These are usually three sided boxes with an opening at the front.  Lights that mimic daylight are used to illuminate the subject inside the box.  A basic set up can be purchased commercially and is relatively inexpensive or there are many 'do it yourself' tutorials online that show how to build your own light box.Â... » Read More

March Blog Carnival - Goals for 2013

This month, the members of Jewelry Artisans Community are blogging about their goals for 2013.  I had to think about this topic as I'm so far off track with growing my business that it's been derailed.2011 and 2012 were devastating years for me and my family and it's been a really difficult time.   Things are finally starting to settle down and I'm getting to the point where I can begin to focus on what I hope to be a successful business some day.My goals for 2013:1.  To have no more bad stuff happen!  Don't have any control over this one, but one can hope.2.  To complete my series of blog posts about painting the Elephant Bangle... » Read More
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