Monday, December 8, 2008

Etsy Inspirations

I am constantly astonished by what I find on Etsy! There are an unbelievable number of creative people in the world, and they're making such fabulous stuff. Sometimes I look at what they make and think, "How can I translate that into stone and wire and metal and make an astonishing piece of jewelry?" What I love is the ability to look at ordinary things and see them in a new way. Look at AmberCripe's baby wipe containers below. Who would think of covering them and making them more beautiful? They're utilitarian. She did, and I love her for it. (I need to get some of those for my nieces!) Anyway, here's my thanks to some of my favorite Etsy creative sellers. You're amazing!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Getting Started

Some people have asked about how I got started making jewelry. It's Mom's fault, really. (She's responsible for inspiring a lot of my creativity.) So here it is:

Mom was always going on diets, and she never wanted to diet alone. She was always inviting us to join her. So her latest diet was inspired by a lady who heard that if you ate at least nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, you couldn't help but lose weight. The lady made herself nine little bracelets out of seed beads or pony beads, and each time she ate a serving of F & V, she would move a bracelet from her left wrist to her right. So we all made little bracelets out of seed beads that Mom had laying around. Of course, we didn't know about stretchy cord so the bracelets started breaking or fell off too easily. I hit Craft Warehouse and discovered gel cord and got some different glass beads to make some new bracelets to replace the ones that broke.

Once I got started, I couldn't seem to stop! I made a beautiful multi-strand necklace with different shapes of similarly colored glass beads that I bought at A Bead Source on SE Division, and a gorgeous gold/bronze/brown blend of seed beads that I found at Nye Cottage Bead Shop in Newport. (Thank you, Nye, for the bead therapy - tables full of loose beads that you can just run your hands through. Delicious!) I got so many positive comments about it! And people started asking me to make jewelry for them.

Discovering semi-precious stone beads was another breakthrough. They feel so good! And they represent infinite possibilities! Every stone is different, even if they are the same type of stone. I can look into them and see small miracles of God's creation. A trip to visit Seattle's bead stores led to the discovery of bead and gem shows and it was all over at that point. I am now completely hooked, and I have to sell my jewelry in order to support my habit. I've had some wonderful teachers since then, discovered such an enormous variety of stones and grown to love their variations.

After Mom passed away, I found six of those original seed bead bracelets and have stashed them away in one of my seed bead drawers. Every time I run across them I smile and thank Mom for her love and inspiration. Here they are for your enjoyment as well.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Creative Efforts

Hello all,

I've had an interesting and creative week, though not in the way I might hope! One of the things I've been learning to do is use my camera, because a good camera is absolutely essential to making my jewelry available online and creating a portfolio. So I was looking around the back yard for places to hang a pair of earrings to photograph them, and I thought hey, what about these posts? So I stuck one of the wires in a little crack and it immediately fell down into the space corner between the post and the corner of the brick edging, which is raised about eight inches or so. I admit it - I panicked! I ran around trying to find something long and skinny with a hook at the end. I tried everything from a fork to a back scratcher. No help. Finally I thought of the crevice tool on the vacuum cleaner. I had to clear out a bit of bark dust, but that did the trick. Of course when I told Sandy (my sister) about this episode, she got to the point where the earring fell and immediately said, "So you used the crevice tool on the vacuum, right?" She's so practical.

Well, anyway, I've also been busy getting my Etsy shop ready. Photographing, pricing, creating banners and avatars, writing policies and shipping plans, yadda yadda yadda. Come on over to the shop and visit - I've got about thirty items listed now, and I'm adding more pretty much every day. You can find my shop at Pass on the word to anyone you like!



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Never thought I'd need an avatar

While I was busy cropping photos to make an avatar for the Etsy store, I got to thinking about what a funny word it is. What is an avatar anyway? I mean, I know what it has come to mean in computer-speak, but I had vague feelings that it had to do with something in the Hindu religion. So once I had a bunch of images cropped to see the possibilities, I went to the dictionary online and looked it up. I'm such a geek.

1. Hindu Mythology. the descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form or some manifest shape; the incarnation of a god.
2. an embodiment or personification, as of a principle, attitude, or view of life.
3. Computers. a graphical image that represents a person, as on the Internet.

Ha! Vindicated!

The pictures I cropped are stones from some of the jewelry I've made. The first one is ocean jasper. I remember the day I first saw it, at a gem show. One of the vendors had a whole bunch of these pendants with extremely improbable looking patterns of color in circles and orbs (in fact, for all you geeks out there, ocean jasper is sometimes called orbicular jasper). I was completely enamored and bought as many pendants as I could afford. When I showed them to Deborah at work, she wanted to buy one from me, and I could barely stand to let even one of them go! It was agony!

The second photo is of mookaite, a jasper from Australia. Sometimes it's just a dark purplish-red, or clear cream, or plain gold. But now and then, all three colors come together in a single stone in such a beautiful way. I look at that stone and see a whole world in it.

The picture on the right is of an oval jasper bead that's in an earring now. Doesn't it look like a beautifully glazed ceramic vase? Yet it's only about 15mm tall. (Don't I have a great camera?) The whole world in a tiny stone.

I can't choose! Perhaps I'll use each one consecutively and rotate them.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my pretty world! I've begun this blog to let you all know about the pretty, pretty world of jewelry-making. I have at last found a place online where you can see all the latest shiny, sparkly things I've made, and buy one or two if you like. I'm just in the process of building my store at Come by and visit!

I will try to let you know here on this blog when I list new items, and my intention is to give you a glimpse into the creative process - what inspires me, what frustrates me, successes and setbacks. Right now I'm working on building a banner for the store, and figuring out how to list items. It's a whole new world for me, and sometimes not so pretty! I thought I had a pretty good grip on my computer skills, and I'm finding ... not so much. Another Etsy user (Piddix - thank you!) wrote an article on how to create your banner, listing a ton of websites where you can download free software! The one I'm using is at

That's actually one of the great things about Etsy - it's a really kind and generous community where people are friendly and very helpful. There's a sense that other users are eager to see all of us succeed, so there are tons of articles about How To ... almost anything. Amazing!

Well, thanks for stopping by, and I'll hope to get your feedback about my blog and my Etsy site. Here are a couple of the photos I'm considering for the banner. Tell me what you think!

Blessings - Sue