Friday, June 28, 2013

If At First You Don't Suceed - Try - Try - Try

Somethings go quickly,  other things take time.  This piece is taking me longer than most and it's not because it is so complicated or intricate but because I keep stopping and reevaluating what I want to do with it and how to do it.

Several weeks ago I braided the Kumihimo cord using silk threads in pale sage green, pretty lilac and just a touch of deep, amethyst purple.  Then it sat while I pondered what it would become.  I decided to only use about half of the finished cord, making it into a center section of a necklace.  The other half may end up becoming a bracelet but that's not decided yet.

Next I found a Rainbow Fluorite flower, it was pretty but a little bland, much like a piece of clear quartz with very pale bands of lavender and milky waves running through it.  To enhance it I applied alcohol ink in vivid "Wild Plum" to the backside of the pendant and then applied a sealer - then to be doubly sure the ink would not come off I applied a coat of epoxy resin to the flower's backside.  Now it really pops.
 Next step was deciding how I would attach the flower to my necklace and decided a beaded bail would be in order.  Believe or not the pearl embellish bail in photo above is my fourth attempt at making this bail.  The first bail I used beads in the same 3 colors used in the cord (even went out and bought the beads - tiny little  Delica  #11's ) but found the three colors together were too much, too busy along side of the striped fluorite flower.  So I beaded another in just two colors, sage and lavender and still it was wrong.  Third bail was done using only the pale sage yet still it was not quite right.   Finally, on the fourth bail, I used the darker amethyst beads with a rainbow finish and, like Goldilocks, found it was just right. 

Of course the bail would have to be embellished and what is prettier than natural mauve, freshwater pearls?  How about mauve pearls with just a hint of real amethyst beads tossed in just for a dash of spice?

The ends of my hand braided cord have been tightly wound with a matching thread,  Nymo - for those familiar.  ( For those unfamiliar, Nymo is a nylon beading thread that many seed beaders use and comes in many lovely colors).
I speared the cord ends with super long headpins and then capped them with Bali style, pewter cones.  However I began to worry that maybe that wasn't going to hold it all together so I mixed up some epoxy resin and attached the ends permanently to the inside of the cones.   Sounded like a good idea at the time but once the resin dried I noticed that, just slightly under the cones, I could see that the resin had cause the threads to darken.  It  wasn't all that noticable but I could see it and at times I'm OCD , so more time was spent on trying to decide upon a solution and finally I settled upon covering that part of the braided cord with beads . . . amethyst and lovely, dark garnet beads.

Now this is as far as I've gotten on this project and already it's taken approximately 4 weeks - most of which were spent in decision making. 

I do think when it is finished it is going to be a lovely piece.  Just hope it won't take me another 4 weeks to decided upon how to make the sides of this necklace.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Box Top Fanatic

Okay I am ecstatic over  Kleenex's new design.
Strange?  Certainly !  But we all have those funny quirks that others might find, well . . .  odd or strange.  For me it was discovering the new Kleenex tissue boxes.  Maybe many of you have already discovered them and wonder why it's taken me so long to have noticed.  My explanation is merely that my hubby and I purchase our paper goods in bulk at Sam's Club or BJ's so we're not often found wandering down the paper isle of our local supermarket.   
My family saves Box Tops for Education coupons, doesn't everybody?, and Kleenex used to place these coupons on the bottom of their boxes.
Not a big problem but it made cutting the coupon out a bit challenging.   Normally I would undo all of the overlapped box seams and then cut the coupon out with a pair of scissors, the remainder of the box went into the recycling bin for paper and cardboard.  But now some genius said; "Hey why don't we put the Box Tops for Education on the top of the box, incorporate it into the tear away panel that protects the tissues? Wouldn't this make it easier for our customers to cut out and collect them?"
Photo above - New box top design with Box Top for Education coupon on top of box.
Photo below - What is now the bottom of the new Kleenex box design
 Right on Packaging Design Genius!  Whomsoever thought of the idea deserves a big merit raise as now it will be much easier to clip and save these wonderful coupons.
I have included links to General Mills' Coupon site and to General Mills Box Top for Education site should anyone care to check out their sites or browse for store coupons.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Out of Africa

Out of Africa
4 strands at rest and not twisted together.
Not too long ago I created this multi strand necklace and have debated about exactly what to do with it. It is a beautiful piece created around a precious strand of African tribal beads. These beads had been purchased by someone I knew who had lived a few years in Angola, Africa and it was there that she came across these lovely, handmade beads.
Lucky her, she managed to obtain several strands from the village chieftain.
This particular village was primitive and did not have resources such as fancy, electric kilns, or even work tables upon which the bead artisans could craft their beads. Instead of a well equipped studio, these crafters either sat outside on the ground or they sat on the earthen floors of their huts while they worked creating their beads. Their kilns were crude brick ovens fueled by wood fires.

Making beads or a number of other handcrafted items provided an income for the villagers and afforded them a standard of living that provided them with life's basics;  food, clothing and shelter and perhaps not a whole lot more.

Holy - Moly there's a lot of 14 k gold filled saucers beads !

When my friend offered to sell me a strand or two of these marvelous beads, I jumped at the opportunity even though I had not the slightest idea just what I would do with them.  It was months later that I happen to mix them up with some lovely ivory colored freshwater pearls and some 14 k gold filled beads that I realized it was a winning combination.   So if one strand of this combination would be a winner, what would 4 strands be?  A  Jackpot !
Above photo shows the 4 strands twisted together.
 Since the African beads are a lovely rusty red, I decided what better to compliment them than rich, Red Jasper.  And so it was that I used red jasper to create links at the back of the necklace and fashioned an "S" hook clasp using a large Red Jasper bead and  gold filled wire.
Photo above shows the 6 and 8 mm Red Jasper beads and my handmade "S" clasp.
Okay, so what's the problem?  Well, I was more involved with creating a piece of art than something that would fit into my  usual line of jewelry and went out of my ball park on price points.  

The "Out of Africa" necklace contains:

·         2 strands freshwater ivory pearls 

·         1  1/2 strands  of those precious African beads

·         6 feet  of 49 strand, super flexible, beading cable 

·          2  gem grade, Red Jasper 6 mm beads

·          3  gem grade, Red Jasper 8mm beads

·         18  gauge 12 k gold filled wire

·         20 gauge 14 k gold filled wire

·         8 crimp tube beads in 14 k gold fill

·         8   jumprings in 14 k gold fill

And an incredible 162 ,  14 k gold filled 4.7 mm saucer beads. !!!   These beads cost a small fortune and if you look them up you'll find:

·         Fire Mt. Gems' best price (the 200+ level) is 62 cents apiece (.62 x 162 = $100.44 without the $5 S and H fees)

·         Artbead's best price  (for 40+ beads) is 72 cents each (72 x 162 = $121.50)

And so there is my problem.  With so much vested in materials I'm really hesitant to list it on etsy where many shoppers are looking for handcrafted bargains instead of handcrafted future heirlooms.  A part of me says; "Forget it, you'll be wasting your time and 20 cents".  However a big part of me says; "Hey, what the heck!  For 20 cents go ahead and list it, the worse that can happen is that nobody buys it".
I really like the way the choker looks with the clasp worn at the side of the neck.

I would love to hear any experience that you may have had listing something that you thought might frighten a customer away from it. . . or perhaps having something sell that you thought would never stand a chance. . .or how about those things you thought were fantastic but for some reason just never attracted the right person.   Or have you ever made something and then figured out the cost (like I did) and was floored by how much went into materials ?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Curse of the Past

Sometimes I find myself dwelling on the past too much.  We all have memories of events that have happened, some of them happy and cherished memories, others not so happy. Memories that we'd just as soon forget but for some reason the brain retains them and taunts us with them. 
One night, all alone with a mind full of memories that should have long been dead and buried, I  stood up and spoke aloud.  As the words hung on the air I thought them strange as though I had not spoken them but that someone else had uttered this incantation.  Quickly I scribbled it down and as I reread the words I vowed to make them my new mantra:
Curse of the past, be gone. 
Let me focus on today and forget  about yesterday's misfortunes.  The past is past and cannot be changed.  Let me live one day at a time,  to live today and not dwell over yesterday.  Let me remember and hold dear what is important in life - my family, my friends my health - and let me release the thoughts of bygone days for, like the word, those days gone by are gone forever.
Give me the wisdom to cherish the happy and blessed memories of the past and the courage to let go of the memories that torment me and cause me pain and anguish.  I cannot see what tomorrow will bring and the past is now history, but today is the here and the now. With every breath I take let me live today and make it the best day of my life. 
And to you my cherished blogging buddies, may today, and tomorrow and every day after, be the best day of your lives.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Time - Summer Rhyme


Finally the end of the week
And pleasure is all that I seek
Please let it be sunny
And spent with my Honey
So come Monday I'll be at my peak.

I'm keeping it short and sweet - love you all and may your week-end be a glorious one.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Here's a New Place to Help You with Promotions

So just found out my world isn't all chocolate chip cookies and ice cold milk - whoever made the dStash site has probems that need fixing. Thanks to a comment by Jan of Jan4insight , I have learned that my link goes nowhere. The listing looks great but if people cannot access the link to one's website, what good is it ? :( Maybe someday somebody will fix the glitch but I've a feeling that when they do they'll start charging a fee to list there. lol :D

Photo above was the item I had tried to list - listing looked great but the link didn't take me to it or my shop.
Hey there - I have some great information to share with those who are looking for places to promote your handmade items or whatever you're trying to sell. It's a site called dStash and they call themselves a Classified Ads site. It's free and there isn't a lot of information on "how to" but if I can blunder around and figure it out then just about anybody can. :D
You start off on the front page  of dStash and over to the right side there's a bar that says: Publish A New Ad - by clicking that bar it takes you to their listings page where you can choose your category and type in a listings title and a description.  You can add the URL to your product and even a UTube video if you want.  And best part of all is that it is Free.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Something New and Different -

Had to share these with you.  Hope I don't turn anyone off because I'm hyping my jewelry, but  . . .  well I am just so tickled with these that I had to show them to you all.

I made these hoops using 20 gauge sterling silver wire and lots of Bali sterling silver coiled spacer beads plus sterling silver round beads.  They turned out amazing and I am usually not one to toot my own horn.
I just listed them in my etsy shop AlmostPrecious and these, being all sterling are more than almost precious they are totally precious. :)

photo above and below are taken on my broken display bust.  No she's still not fixed, but I wanted to show how nicely these earrings hang so I cropped off the part of the photos where the cracks show.   It works - for now.

  I know it's a bit different from what I usually create and I would love your critique and feedback.  What do you think ?

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Sort Of Cynic - Kind Of . . .

Photo - late afternoon sun shining through the clouds.

Life is filled with ups and down and no one ever said it would be easy or fair . . . this I've learned after many years of wishful thinking. 
I'm sure that some time in every one's life they've been duped or mislead.  And, come on admit it,  at one time we all believed in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. 
There is nothing wrong with having a bit of fantasy in our lives so I certainly understand those who strongly believe in aliens from outer space, ghosts, vampires, werewolves and even mermaids.  Imagination is a wonderful thing as long as it isn't carried to extremes, it gives us a respite from the mundane tediousness of everyday life.
photo- dark afternoon clouds part enough for brilliant sun to shine through like a beacon.

I recall a friend of my mother's, mom always said that Eleanor was off her rocker. Eleanor believed wholeheartedly in aliens and that she herself was a descendant of them.  Was I one to scoff and try to burst her fantasy bubble?  No way.  The woman was in her early 80's let her have her fantasies, as long as they made her happy and didn't hurt anyone.
As for myself, I'm afraid I'm a bit of a cynic.  I've gotten to the point that if I don't see it with my own eyes I tend to dismiss it.  However I always leave just a tiny space for doubt. 
UFOs ?  Never saw one . . . though I have seen airplanes, helicopters , balloons and even those paper sacks with a candle under them called "Sky Lanterns" (often used for ethnic celebrations like Cinco de Mayo or a Quinceañera) .  Yet I cannot believe that we are alone and unique in this vast, infinate space that we know as our universe.
 I also have not seen ghosts . . . though I have heard our house ominously creak, crack, snap and pop late at night (could the spirits be trying to tell me something?).  As for a world of magic and make-believe?  Well, there I'm like Fox Mulder;  I Want To Believe . . . but...
Photo - Every cloud has a silver lining.

May all your fantasies be pleasant and happy ones.  Dream on my dear friends, dream on. :)
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