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.

Pretty Pairs

Holiday Preparations

I’ve been working hard to have a full jewelry shop by Thanksgiving and I’m also working toward the goal of creating enough beaded treasures to offer at the Winter Fine Arts and Crafts Show the first two weekends in December.

Earrings

Earrings make a good holiday gift, it seems to me.  What do you think? One size fits all and they are usually in most people’s comfort zone price-wise.  I’m still curious to get feedback from readers regarding their favorite type of jewelry gifts for the holidays.  Let me know your favorite colors as well.

 

Ceramic earrings with radiant green heart designs

Handmade Green Ceramic Heart Earrings with Sterling Silver Ear Wires

 

I bought these little green ceramic dangles when I was in La Conner last week,  Aren’t they cute!  I knew they’d make sassy little earrings!

 

Green swirl disc earrings

Green Glass Earrings with Circular Patterns and Gold Crystals

 

Staying with the theme of sassy and green….how do you like these?  Believe it or not, I got those two types of green beads at separate occasions, but when I saw them together, I knew it was a marriage made in heaven.  I love how the circular patterns echo each other.  Both the upper and the lower beads are very unusual–which is, of course, why I chose them!

 

Classic silver gray earrings with sterling silver ear wires

Silver Gray Shell Pearl, Mother of Pearl and Sterling Silver Earrings

 

These have been in the shop for about two weeks now.  What I like about this pair is how versatile they are.  They’ll go with everything and can be dressy or casual, depending on what you wear them with.  The silver sheen on the shell pearls is just gorgeous, too.  OK, do you want to see one last pair?

 

Black and Beige Lampwork Earrings with Hematite

Lampwork Earrings with Hematite, Crystals and Sterling Silver

 

I just made this pair last night.  The lampwork glass is by Jenelle Aubade of  Radiant Mind on Etsy.  These beads are so gorgeous, with tracings of onyx black glass over a sand colored slightly speckled surface.  I love these beads so much that I have them in three sizes, so be prepared to see more of them!  I paired them with hematite to make casual, chic earrings.

I hope you enjoy your weekend and don’t let errands eat up all your time.  Find some space for fun.  We’re going to an October Fest at a friend’s house.  Bottoms up!

 

Banner and Bracelet

My new banner shows a snippet of a bracelet that I’ve recently added to the autumn “Fall For These” Collection at Linda Landig Contemporary Artisan Jewelry.   Here’s a picture of the bracelet in its entirety.

 

The lovely focal bead is the creation of  Dan Caracas of  Beads and Botanicals.  I surrounded Dan’s  focal bead with faceted amazonite, to highlight the background color of the lampworked bead.  Then I added amber chips to pick up the colors of the dots at both ends of Dan’s focal bead. I placed small sterling  silver spacer beads between each of the main beads.  The pretty sterling silver hammered toggle clasp was one of my purchases at the  Pacific Northwest Bead Festival, this summer.

Straight From The Heart

It started like this:

Lampworked heart by Dan and Jenelle Caracas

Jenelle gave this lovely lampworked heart  to her mother for Mother’s Day, and shortly after we met, about a month ago, her mom asked me to design a necklace to go with it.  When I picked up the heart, yesterday, I knew immediately that it was crying out for amethysts and garnets!  I could hardly wait to get to work.

I found amethyst rounds and pretty faceted garnet tubes in my stash.  I added some small silver rounds and some Swarovski crystals for bling.

Amethysts, Garnets and Swarovski Crystals

Next I wired the pendant to a sterling silver bail and added a pretty little tassel at the end of the heart with more Swarovski crystals and a single garnet.

Pendant with Tassel

I finished the necklace with a sterling silver heart-shaped clasp, to echo the beautiful lampworked heart pendant.

Sterling Silver Clasp

I love doing custom work.  It gives me a chance to make something that is meaningful and special.  The whole time that I am designing, I have a specific person in my mind.  I hold an image of them, as well as of their jewelry.  It’s a deeply gratifying process for me .

Now, here’s the finished design.  I hope she likes it!

Beachy Keen!

It is fascinating to ask jewelry designers how they arrive at their final designs.  You hear everything from the slightly New Age-ish, “I let the beads tell me where they want to go.”,  to people who draw out detailed plans on paper first.  Some people have a definite color scheme in mind, others get out a color wheel and use it for guidance or inspiration.  Some people just start grabbing beads and somehow create something lovely with a seemingly random process.  None of these approaches is right or wrong.  They are just a reflection of our individual styles — just as each designer’s  jewelry reflects  their individual artistic voice.

Most of the time my designs are inspired by the focal bead(s) I have selected.  This was the case when I started working with the sand dollar beads I purchased from Jenelle and Daniel (see yesterday’s post).

I like to work on a Vellux bead mat, because it keeps the beads from rolling around.  So I laid out my 3 sand dollar beads on the mat, with the largest in the middle.  Four small spacer beads came with the set: two in turquoise, with sterling silver tracings and two in green.  I place the two turquoise beads on either side of the largest sand dollar.  I knew I wanted clusters of Swarovski crystals between my beads, but first I had to choose a few larger beads to go with the sand dollars.  Initially I decided to go with blue and green, but when I looked in the drawer where I keep all my green beads, I just saw the dark, dense greens of malachite, jade and serpentine.  I realized I needed the light, airy colors of sky, water and beach glass.  Looking in my drawer of turquoise beads I spied lots of pale turquoise amazonite:  Perfect!  I had amazonite in rounds, faceted ovals and carved tubes.  I can’t seem to compose jewelry in my head or on paper.  I just have to try it out.  I laid each possibility between the sand dollar beads.  It was clearly the carved tubes that looked “just right”.  I discovered, however, that using  two amazonite tubes on each side of the center bead made the bracelet too long, so I went searching in my stash for some smaller coordinating rounds.  Do you like my pick?

These beads are sometime called sugar beads because the texture on them looks like the tracings of melted sugar.  My last step was wiring it all together.  48 sterling silver wrapped loops on the Swarovski crystals took awhile, but I was so excited about how it was looking that  I could hardly wait to finish!  What do you think?