Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Bye 2012......

Good Bye 2012 and good riddance.   2012 has not been a good year for me in many ways.  Jewelry sales at shows was awful this year.  My income from the paper route is dropping due to an increase in the subscription rates and the ongoing slow economic recovery.  I know that we are supposedly out of the great recession-but here we've yet to see much recovery.

My mental state wasn't much better.  I suffered from severe depression with mood swings of anger and frustration.  I finally broke down and went to a doctor.  I'm now taking meds and feeling better than I have in many, many years.

I am looking forward to 2013!  It's going to be much better!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday WIP

Today I finished a custom order.  Made a pendant to match her earrings!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fresh From The Garden

This year we are getting a bumper crop of lemon cucumbers and green peppers.  Wish we were getting more tomatoes...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Worktable Wednesday

Today I'll be editing the pictures I took of these earrings and doing more listing.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Editing Program

I recently started having some issues with my current photo editing program.  I'm not always the smartest when it comes to computers.  I think their is a glitch either in the program or possibly my pc.  I'm leaning to the former.  Anyway a dear friend recommended another photo editing program to me.  I am in love with it.  

The difference has been amazing.  I thought I had been taking some pretty good pictures.  Well I was wrong about most of the ones I have taken the past year.  They are good pictures except for one thing.  The majority of them are dark and dingy.  I am also able to control how the color looks.  I really couldn't do that with my old program.

I will be doing quite a bit of editing in the next few weeks and updating those listing photos as I also continue to stock my shops back up.  

So please keep checking my shops to see the new improved pictures and all the new pieces! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Worktable Wednesday

I've taken pictures of everything in the bin.  Now to edit and start listing!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Little Post Earrings Are Coming Back In My Stores!

I have started listing my small dichroic fused glass post earrings into my Etsy and my Artfire stores.  I have decided to bring them back for the upcoming holidays for several reasons.  One is the ever shrinking wallets courtesy of this lousy economic climate.  The second is that they are my best selling item.  Third I need to start making a bit more money.  

I have also re-set the price at eight dollars a pair.  Before I was selling them for ten dollars a pair online.  My older stock are in sterling silver and the newer ones have titanium with surgical stainless steel backs.  

I am using my older pictures at this time.  As the days grow a longer and I have more time in the mornings before it gets light I will start taking pictures of the colors I never managed to get around to-I actually carry my little 8mm dichroic fused glass post earrings in 40 different colors!

Then it's onto all the new posts earrings I finished making up and carding yesterday, the new bracelets I'm working on then the older post listings.   

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Learing Experience In The Kiln

Well I learned something new today.  I tried fusing up six links to make a bracelet with.  I used fine silver wire for the jump rings.  Turns out Spectrum's 96 hot colors do NOT go well with silver.  The red, orange and sunflower yellow all reacted to the silver turning black around the fine silver jump rings.

A good friend thinks they looks "cool" and my son John said it looks intentional.  I will be sending the hot colored ones to my dear friend Deb of Crysallis Creations to play with as she already has some great ideas for them.  I think I will turn the three others into simple pendants.

So if I wish to make a bracelet I will have to use fusing wire instead.

So to any and all who work with Spectrum's System 96 beware using silver with the hot colors!  (If you didn't already know)

I am so glad I didn't make any up for dangle earrings.  I thought about making them with silver hooks embedded into the glass. Good thing I didn't!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

WIP-After The Kiln

I just wanted to take a moment and share a picture of yesterday's WIP now that I've "cooked" them in the kiln.  I am quite pleased with how they turned out.  I was hoping to keep them square instead of heating them into round globs.  I am happy to say I succeeded.  Next I will glue them onto post earring findings.  Oh!  I should make some to channel and wrap too!  Votes?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday-New Post Earrings

I am working on some new post earrings.  This summer at the market I don't seem to be selling anything over ten dollars I thought I'd see if I could come up with some new earrings that I can sell for ten dollars!

And here are some of the finishes bracelets from last Wednesday.  I will be re-doing some of the jump rings on them later after I put in a findings order for jump rings and earring posts.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WIP Wednesday, "Shiny Brite" Dichroic Fused Glass Bracelet Links

WIP Wednesday, "Shiny Brite" Dichroic Fused Glass Bracelet Links.  I've been busy actually working on jewelry!  I've been going through some of my back stock, and other miscellaneous bits and pieces of dichroic glass.  I decided to make some new dichroic fused glass link bracelets.   I remembered I had a bunch of "Shiny Brite"  style dichroic fused glass links left over from the last batch I had made several years ago.  I used several dichroic colors that once fused appeared very close to each other.  Somehow I had also not made up a fifth color-there was only a few blue links.  After making up about four bracelets I put the rest aside for another day of fusing.  Today was that day!  The first picture is an example of one of my "Shiny Brite" bracelets.  I call them this because they remind me of vintage  Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments.  The second and third picture shows a kiln shelf of links where the glue is drying before I can put them in the kiln.  In the morning I will have a bunch of links ready for the tumbler, excluding the ones that I've used fusing wire in.   As these were made up to match older links I have also matched the jumprings used in them.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sneak Peek Of WIP!

The first picture is my sketch of what I am making.  A lovely pendant with an Art Noveau flair.  I am putting a gorgeous multi-colored white dichroic cab into the center.  It has reds, gold, blues and greens.  I am using copper beads to add contrast and to bring out the reds of the cab.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Soldering and Fusing

I finally dug out my torch and soldering brick.  I've been wanting to make fused fine silver frames for a while and while I was at it I wanted to experiment a bit with copper and bronze.

The fine silver is for a current WIP.  I was unable to get the frame to fuse so I ended up grabbing the flux and silver solder and soldering the sucker together.  I did get the wire pieces to ball up nicely!  I was using 18g wire.  I am thinking that my little butane torch was unable to keep up with the heat sink on the soldering brick.  I have an idea to try for next time.

I was unable to get the 20g copper ring to fuse together, same problem as the 18g I think.  However I did get the 22g bronze wire ring to fuse together!  And I made some bronze 26g headpins while I was at it also.  Fun, fun fun!

And I discovered I have some gold colored solder I had purchased for soldering gold filled wire.  It was a pleasant surprise.

Friday, April 27, 2012

New Pendant

I have finally finished a new piece. Now to come up with a name for it.  I won't be listing it until after Memorial Day Weekend.  If you are interested please contact me.

This is my first piece that I've finished with my new tumbler.  I had to wait for my tax refund to purchase supplies.  ;)

I am planning on putting my shops on vacation from May 5th until after Memorial Day Weekend.  I will be busy making new goodies for the summer show season.  I have lots of sketches and tons of ideas.  Now if the rest of my gems would just hurry up and arrive!

At this point I am tempted to put aside all my older work (pre-August 2010) and start a new display with all my newer, fancier "Noveau" pieces.  I can always recycle the cabochons into newer pieces.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Annual Birthday Bash Sale!

Happy April Everyone. It's April and that means it is time for my Annual Birthday Bash Sale in my Artfire studio, Willow Walker Designs!

Throughout the month of April take 30% off your purchases in my studio by using the coupon code "B-DAY2012"! Help me make this the best sale yet!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ancient Forest Earrings & More!

I've managed to list two more pairs of earrings! They are up for sale in my Etsy and my Artfire shop.

The first picture is of my Red & Gold Drop earrings. I'm not a big fan of reds, oranges and yellows. I must admit I am very pleased with how they turned out!

The second picture is of my Ancient Forest Earrings. These took me several days to create. Making all the little components was the easy part. Putting them together is what took the most time and patience.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Earrings & Necklace Listed!

I have finally started listing again. It feels good to be able to say that. I'm hoping I am finally over/through my winter doldrums. I have listed these earrings and the necklace in both my Artfire and my Etsy shops.

Also probate is finally done and and I am now a homeowner again!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My "Style" Very Art Noveau-ish!

This amazing and lovely pendant is one of many stunning pieces produced by Rene Lalique. It is a Art Noveau piece of a winter wonderland with snow covered coniferous trees. (I have yet to find the actual name of this one.) I love this piece and it is one of my favorites of Lalique's work. If I could ever own one of his pieces this one would be it! This image is courtesy of a Sqidoo article.

Art Noveau originates partly from the Arts & Crafts style. The original idea of the Arts & Crafts movement was to bring quality, handcrafted, beautiful items to the general public at affordable prices. The use of natural, lower cost materials were embraced. Preferred metals were silver or copper. The use of semi-precious stones, horn, bone, glass and enamel work became popular.

Arabesque, floral or animal figures and the feminine form were typical of this period. Graceful, flowing sensual lines, new and different shapes, elegant floral motifs with beautiful colors characterize this era. Of course we can't mention this era w/out mentioning how enameling techniques were refined and especially plique' a jour which created some of the most beautiful jewelry. Plique a jour was an enameling technique where after the enamel was fired an acid bath was used to remove the metal backing allowing light to shine through the enamel. (Still reminds me of stained glass.)

I feel I have found where I "fit" You will definitely see the influence of the Art Noveau period along with a touch of Arts & Crafts and Art Deco in my work. Art Noveau definitely fits in with "my" new style and with where I want to go with it. The ethics of that period also fit with what I'm doing. I'm using glass, semi-precious stones and will be using a lot more copper, bronze and silver. (Gold is up to $60.00+ per ounce for my wire!) I have always been fascinated with sensuous, flowing, elegant lines that are so predominate in Art Noveau jewelry.

To better understand this post just Google "Art Noveau Jewelry, images" and I think you'll see what I mean!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Garnets Part 2-Use and Lore

Garnets are attributed with many powers and uses for healing, strength, protection.

-Garnet is believed to rid the body of negative energy and emotions.
-Garnet is believed to aid in curing depression

According to "The Crystal Bible" by Judy Hall. "Garnet is a powerfully energizing and regenerating stone. It cleanses and energizes the chakras. It revitalizes, purifies and balances energy bringing serenity or passion as appropriate"

-Garnet is believed to bring success in business matters.
-Garnet is believed to spark creativity and improve intuition.

Garnet as a symbol

-Garnet is know as the "stone of commitment" inspiring love and devotion.
-It is also supposed to symbolize happiness and deep enduring friendships. --In the past friends or lovers would exchange garnets as a gift to ensure they would meet again.
-Today garnet remains a symbol of faith, truth and light.

Garnet Lore

-In the past garnet was believed to protect it's wearer from enemies
-Supposedly Noah used a finely cut, glowing garnet or garnet lantern to illuminate the ark and guide it safely through the night.
-Crusaders set garnets into their armor, believing their power would lead them to safety.
-In the middle ages garnet was believed to draw out negativity, ward off harm and increase well being, chivalry, loyalty and honesty.
-to receive the gift of a garnet during the middle ages was considered great luck and bad luck to a thief!
-Garnet jewelry was buried with Norsemen to light their passage to Valhalla

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Garnets Part 1-Colors and History

I think I was about 14 when I first fell in love with garnets, or at least the gorgeous deep pink hues I saw set into rings at a local jewelry store. I was a bit surprised to learn they were garnets as I had only heard of garnets as being brown. (I was and still am a voracious reader not to mention growing up in a rich geological area for rockhounding)

Garnets are among one of the earliest gemstones put to work for personal ornamentation. In pre-dynastic Egypt they were drilled and used as beads. The Greeks documented their use in 300BC. They have remained in use ever since. It is believed their name may be derived from the seeds of the pomegranate as the red varieties are similar in color. ie; Latin "garanatus" meaning "seedlike" in reference to pomegranates.

As with many gems garnets come in almost every color except blue. They range in all shades of red from purplish-red, brownish-red, crimson, dark red, and orangy red. There are the luscious pinks and the rich oranges of the Mandarins to the stunning green of Tsavorites. Shades of yellow to lush warm browns of the Hessonite garnets. (see bottom picture) They are found in many countries all over the world. Some are more notable than others.

During the 5th century AD Germanic tribes settled throughout Europe. They used garnets to create amazing intricate detailed jewelry in cloisonne garnet inlay. As seen in this gorgeous, round fibula that belonged to Queen Aregund ca 515-573, wife of Clotaire I, 511-561, King of Franks. (see middle picture)

They were extremely fashionable in Victorian times as well. I love these Victorian rose-cut Bohemian garnet earrings using Bohemia garnets hence the name. (see top picture)

The first two pictures are from the Antique Jewelry University site, the third is my own of my own work

I plan another post about lore, mythology and use!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Where Do I Want To Be In Five Years?

This is in some ways very easy but in others extremely difficult for me to answer. The misty eyed dream like vision is the easy part. Clarifying that is the challenge. Answering the little details.

When I take out all the reality factors and ask myself what and where I really want to be I have a cozy little vision. My jewelry to support me. A nice little home on a manageable plot of land out in the country. One close enough to town to visit with friends and shop, yet far enough out I can have space. It would back up onto BLM land or a ranch where I'd have permission to roam with my dogs. To just be able to explore and enjoy the beauty of nature. Ideally it would also sit on the border where the high desert turns into forest. Good water supply so I can have my flowers and veggies. A good studio to create my jewelry in. I would have my pieces in galleries across the country and a great customer base online. I would be able to live comfortably and travel when I desired and doing whatever shows I want to. A simple, laid back life.

So that's MY fairy tale.

A more realistic goal is to still be here doing what I love and having a decent income and a healthy savings account with out the paper route. (Or at least being able to have a couple of decent substitutes so I could get away.) Being able to do shows away from home.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Couple More Revelations

This post builds on yesterday's. Another thing I was trying to figure out why I seem to end up procrastinating and sitting around in limbo land, never getting anywhere.

I realized that I have a tendency to weigh myself down with too many little details. I like to think things to death. This fussing just bogs me down and leaves me paralyzed so I don't get anything done as I just turned a molehill into a mountain.

I also have a habit of saving the worst until last. This just gives more time to worry about it and makes it that much worse in my mind.

So I have decided to tackle the "Worst First". After that the rest is easy, right?

Schedule Revelation

I was reading and working on some of the questions posed in the book I was talking about yesterday and stumbled over this block of negative thinking.

For a long time now I have looked at schedules (and more) as being rigid, inflexible, too structured, too restricting and too confining. I'm not sure when I started feeling like this or what even started it.

I thought/decided maybe I needed a different point of view and so I asked myself what happens if I "flip" that thought around? Then I had my revelation. I realized that having a good schedule could actually be very FREEING! Freedom from guilt, stress, shame, fear, worry, panic, doubt... A good schedule would bring security and control as well. I also realized if I don't take control over my life I will never have peace of mind or free time to do the things I want to do!

My new personal quotes to help me learn positive thinking!

-"A good schedule is the structure that allows me to take control of my time, days-ultimately my life!"

-"A schedule is the foundation upon which to build one's life."

So now I have a positive outlook on schedules and have done away with some stinkin' thinkin'.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I Have A Great Feeling About 2012

I have this feeling that 2012 is going to be a great year and you know what? It will be because I have decided it will be. I plan to blatantly pursue a "lucky" outlook. ;)

A friend of mine recently posted her keyword for 2012. I loved the idea and have decided to borrow it and use it for my self. My keyword for 2012 is "BUILD".

I will build........

-on the jewelry making skills I already have by learning new techniques, methods and skills. These will help me build up my jewelry designs.

-my knowledge on gemstones by researching, studying them and writing a monthly blog posts about them.

-a schedule that includes all my many and varied responsibilities and works for me.

-an organization system for the paper chase that works for me. One that I will keep up. (Bill paying, budgeting, putting statements, receipts and invoices away properly)

-a goal chart that helps me plan and organize my goals for 2012.

Simply put I want to take what I learned in all the areas of my life this past year and build on it. Improve it. Evaluate what worked and what didn't.

2012 will be a wonderful year of learning, organizing, purging the excess and creating.

I am currently reading a wonderful and very comprehensive book on organizing titled "Organize for a Fresh Start: Embrace Your Next Chapter in Life" by Susan Fay West. I've never met a book on organizing that I was impressed with. This one is way different. This book actually makes sense to me!

It's not just about organizing one's home and belongings-the physical end of organizing. It's also about organizing my perspective, my time and my schedule. I love how the author sees them as an interconnected whole. It's about how to deal with changes and transitions that happen in our lives whether by choice or circumstance. Her words have really helped me to understand where I'm coming from, where I'm at, why I feel the way I do about my life lately. I've never read an organization book that counsels looking at where I've been, where I'm at and where I want to go. What has worked in the past, whats working now and whats not. Then proceeds to give me lots of wonderful questions to help me figure it all out. I like the fact it's more about the mental and emotional, or should I say about one's perspective?

I know for me the hardest things for me to accomplish will be the learning and applying of time management skills to create a working schedule along with developing the good habits to keep things working.

Now I just need to get me a nice large, multi-subject notebook to use with this book. Also will need to decide on a daily planner. I may just end up creating my own sheets for that.

Like I said I think this year is going to be great! A fresh start in a new chapter of my life