AJE Component Of The Month Challenge

(Find the Challenge Of Color blog hop here!)

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Every month the Art Jewelry Elements team hosts a component of the month challenge.  For the November challenge, Lesley Watt of  THEAtoo provided an absolutely gorgeous snowflake focal, which she created with bronze metal clay. 

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-du_YTEw9-YE/UIfL8-CzYCI/AAAAAAAACMM/BvNIcTr8z3s/s400/IMG_5944.JPG

I received the snowflake on the top left.  I’d imagined these as being button sized, but they are actually quite large.  Once I saw the actual size, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do.  So I started playing with beads in my stash that might work with the design I pictured in my head.  Here’s my snowflake, sitting on the coffee table with some loose beads.  I tried out several different arrangements before I was satisfied.

Nov 2012  AJE COM 1

One of my current jewelry goals is to improve my wire working skills, so I decided to wire all the components, instead of stringing them.  There are 3 different methods of wire wrapping in the finished necklace.

Snowflake Necklace 5

And here’s how it turned out.  I’m really pleased with it!  The colors are quite unusual, especially for a snowflake necklace, which usually ends up being blue.  Blue is OK, but I really like these colors with the bronze and I like that the colors introduce an element of surprise to the winter theme.  Winter can get really bleak in western Washington and I need bursts of color to keep myself energized!

Snowflake Necklace 1

In addition to Lesley’s snowflake, I used turquoise clay beads by Summers Studio, a greenish-brown bead by Artisan Beads and a pale blue bead by Gaea.  In addition to the handmade components, I added turquoise, pressed glass and a glass chevron bead.

Snowflake Necklace 4

The AJE team members who are part of this blog hop are listed below as well as the 2 lucky readers who won a snowflake component.  Check out their fantastic designs.  You will be amazed at all the creative talent in this group! 

Additionally, I encourage you to check out the Challenge of Color blog hop which is  going on today also (and was mentioned at the start of today’s post).

Blogversary

I know I promised last week to do an update on my studio cleaning efforts, but I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped, though it is definitely better!

Instead I thought I’d just quickly share that today is my 2nd Blogversary!  I started blogging on June 6th 2010.  I sure have learned a lot since then, both about blogging as well as about new jewelry techniques and materials.  Plus, I have met so many awesome people along the way.  I really feel a part of a community now and I treasure that!  I hope you have felt that kind of welcome here, too.

loose our fear of being wrong

Since June 6, 2010 I have written 225 posts and have received 1753 comments!  Love those comments – keep ‘em coming!  I’ve gone from one web shop to 2, Linda Landig Jewelry on ArtFire and Linda Landig Jewelry on Etsy.  I’ve joined a local Etsy team and have shipped jewelry as far away as Sweden, Russia and Greece!  What a ride!  Its been fun – and still is.  I hope you will stick with me for many more blogversaries!  Thanks for everything!

Five Resolutions For The New Year

5 Goals for a Bead-utiful New Year

Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish in the next year.  I’m posting these goals in my studio, to help keep me on-track.

Setting and reaching goals

  1. Build up to 100 items in my shop, (I’m half-way there).  That seems to be the magic number for people to start finding you in a Google search.
  2. Blog 2-3 times a week.  Aim for three.
  3. Increase the speed/efficiency of photographing and posting new jewelry online.  I’m very slow at editing pictures, writing the item descriptions etc.  This eats huge hunks of time.
  4. Submit one of my jewelry designs to a beading magazine.
  5. Work on de-cluttering my studio, (&  my house, life etc. sigh…).

Wishing you and your loved ones an incredible, amazing, and wondrous 2011!

What goals have you set for yourself?  Do you think you’ll be able to make them happen?

Shopping In My Kitchen

Jewelry Open House

A lot of artists host Open Houses around the holidays, where people come to their homes or studios and can do some artisan-made shopping right at the source.  A variation of this has developed spontaneously for me over the past year or so.  Rather than a formal Open House event,  friends will just give me a call and ask if they can come over to do some jewelry shopping. They usually let me know a few days in advance.   This has occurred over the holidays, but also, it sometimes just goes like this, “Hey Linda, my Mom is in town visiting me, can we come over and look at your jewelry tomorrow?”

jewelry shopping in my kitchen

Jewelry set up in my kitchen

We have a long island in our kitchen.  I lay out all my jewelry there, put on some music and just step back and let my visitors browse.  I answer questions, maybe tell the story behind the piece they are looking at and encourage them to try on pieces of interest.

Jewelry shopping in my kitchen

Jenelle and Daniel of Beads & Botanicals

Recently Jenelle and Daniel of Beads and Botanicals, came over to do some Christmas shopping.  This husband and wife team make the most amazing lampwork glass beads.  If you are familiar with my work, then you know that I often include their beautiful handmade glass beads in my jewelry.  (Here’s a link to an interesting article about how lampwork beads are made.)  My recent Michaels Challenge necklace featured Daniel’s Black Sea Sand Dollar focal bead.  Their kitchen shopping excursion netted them a bracelet, a pair of earrings and two necklaces.

Artisan ewelry open house

Lampwork glass bead by Beads and Botanicals

Black Sea Sand Dollar by Daniel Caracas

If you are an artisan craftsperson perhaps an informal open house would work for you too.  What do you think?

What is Santa Bringing?

Something New For The Studio

Santa is bringing something new for the studio and I have to clear out a large space for it.  But until it arrives, where will I put all the bead storage that used to be in this space to the right?

Cleaning out my bead studio

There was a LOT of junk, er, bead storage in that space to the right.  I opened the folding table I use for shows, and put most of the stuff there,  with some of the over-flow landing on the guest bed behind the table.  It looks like a disaster!  I hate this mess, but it will be so-o-o worth it when Santa unpacks his sleigh in my bead room.  Note the glass of wine in the foreground, helping me to steady my nerves until I can complete this reorganization project.

bead studio reorganization

Folding table used for temporary storage.

 

Studio reorganization

Guest bed piled high with bead storage units and misc. junk.

Even my work table is piled with debris.  Awk!

messy jewelry worktableDid Santa bring you anything that will support or enhance your creative efforts?  Tell us about it  in the comment section!

Holiday Shopping

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

We’ve all heard of Black Friday.  It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and its the biggest shopping day of the year. Stores offer great discounts and attractive sales to lure in the shoppers.

But have you heard of Cyber Monday?  It is the biggest online shopping day of the year. And like brick and mortar stores, online shops offer their best deals of the year.   Cyber Monday appears to be a growing phenomena.  People have grown weary of crowded malls and the unimaginative gifts one finds there. Stress-free internet shopping opens up such wide possibilities.  Even if you live in a small town, you have a world of possibilities at your fingertips.   Plus, you can shop in your jammies and save on you gas bill!

 

Peer Review of My Shop

I’ve been busy getting ready for Cyber Monday, too.  I have nearly 50 earrings, bracelets and necklaces in my shop now.  Everything over $24 is on sale with the coupon code GRATEFUL and every item in the shop arrives in a nice gift box with complimentary shipping.  Who doesn’t love no-cost shipping?

Since this will be my first Cyber Monday for my new shop at ArtFire, I decided to get a peer review of my shop.  I put out a call to other ArtFire artisans to stop by my shop and give me feedback regarding quality of photographs, selection, pricing clarity of descriptions etc.

Five or six people offered reviews.  No one had any suggestions for improvement.  One person said that in her humble opinion my shop was “perfection”.  That’s so sweet to hear, but really, just about anything in life has room for improvement.  What do you want to see in my shop?  Do you have ideas for how I can take it to the next level?  I’d love to hear from you in the comment section or via email.

Shell Pearl Earrings

Shell Pearl Earrings in Mauve and Light Sage-Green

Shell Pearl Earrings with Bali Silver Spacers and Sterling Silver

I just added these to the shop last night.  These classy earrings would be equally at home with a sweater and jeans as in an office environment.  I love the soft color combo with the luster of the shell pearls.

Hello…I’m still here!

You may have wondered what happened to me.  I was blogging so regularly during the week of the earring give away and then you haven’t heard a peep from me since.  Well, sometimes life just throws you curve-balls and you have to make quick adjustments.

1000 Markets

My online jewelry shop was hosted by a company called 1000 Markets.  I chose 1000 Markets because it was a juried marketplace catering to quality artisan work.  I loved the clean, modern look of the site and the great way it showcased my jewelry.  However, toward the end of September we got word that 1000 Markets had sold the company to Bonanza.  Bonanza is more like an e-bay wanna-be; not a showcase for quality artisan work.  I, and many others, were shocked and deeply saddened.  We were told that our 1000 Markets shops would disappear on September 30th.  We could either switch over to Bonanza or go elsewhere.  From what I can tell, most people went elsewhere.

Blue multi-strand glass heart necklace

ArtFire

Coincidentally, I had just recently had a conversation with a friend who has a lampwork glass shop on ArtFire, (Beads and Botanicals). She had recommended that I think about an ArtFire shop.  I didn’t know at the time how important that conversation would soon become!  So when I got news of 1000 Market’s demise, I did some reading about ArtFire and signed up.

Setting up a new online shop is more work than you can imagine.  It takes a long time to write clear, attractive descriptions of the jewelry.  It takes even longer to upload multiple pictures of each piece of jewelry.  Then you have to write “tags” for every piece, that helps Google and its cousins, find your work in a search.  The prospect of getting all that done by September 30th was more than a little overwhelming.  In the end, what I decided to do was copy and paste all my jewelry descriptions and tags into a large Word document.  Having saved all that information, I could then start uploading the pictures at my own pace, without having to worry about the looming September 30th deadline.

Carnelian, turquoise and sterling silver bracelet

As of this writing, I have added 11 items to my new shop and one of them has sold already!  Because I own the domain, you can still reach me at http://www.LindaLandig.com or you can find me at http://www.artfire.com/users/LindaLandigJewelry.   Both of these links take you to the same place.  I am adding new jewelry almost daily.  I invite you to come visit my shop and to remember me as the holidays approach.  I am discovering many nice features  about ArtFire and I will be sharing more about them in future posts.  I’m glad to be back!

What do you think?

Do you like to buy or receive artisan crafts?  If so, what is your favorite go-to market:  Etsy, ArtFire, Ruby Lane?  If you are an artisan, share your experience with online markets.  What is your favorite?  Why?  Let’s share our knowledge of online artisan marketplaces.