Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thank you.....

As many of you know, my family's bread and butter business is in construction. We're established well enough and have our own niche we can weather some bad weather or a down economy. But the combination of the two can be a little tougher to take in stride on occasion.

After having two record breaking weather years in a row and again over 2 feet of rain in the last month it's been a little nerve wracking. Add to that, the little bit of work we've managed during a dry spell was for a contractor that has gone from writing a check at the end of the day, to we write checks once a month and only if we've been paid on the job you worked on. Well, let's just say the Hand Made Pledge and you, my wonderful customers, are what made Christmas possible at my house this year. I have been "the unpaid or volunteer office manager" for many many years (don't get me wrong - the benefits are to die for, I got to be with and there for my kids and I wouldn't give that up for the world) I haven't had my own "earned" money in a long time, and the fact that I was able to contribute to our Christmas meant an awful lot to me.

For that I offer my deepest heartfelt Thank you! I truly am looking forward to the coming year and wish for you too a Happy and Prosperous New Year! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's a Hand Made Holiday -

Christmas is this weekend and as I pledged it's a Hand Made Holiday! I am up to my eyeballs in my gifting creations heading down the home stretch with several gifts to go yet.

We'll be making cookies and fudge in my house tonight and then it's back to the grindstone for me :) So far I've made a necklace, crocheted three cute ear flap hats, made 16 ornaments and am currently finishing up a ring and trying to decide what to make for the youngest nephews.

I make ornaments every year, mostly for my own tree but I do make them as gifts too. So if you're looking for that last minute gift todays post should serve as great inspiration for you!

Christmas Ornaments!! Enjoy!

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via Dana on Pinterest

Normally I tell you where I found these awesome goodies...... quite a few are available to purchase and the rest are free tutorials. Click through to my Pinterest board, and click again to get to the original.


Monday, December 12, 2011

What's on the Desk..Getting Ready for the Holidays... Week 5 The Art Gallery

Todays cameras are equipped with a million megapixels - well maybe not that many, but enough to give you very crisp family and vacation photos. The real kick to all those megapixels is they allow you to print large poster sized images without losing that crispness.

There are probably as many photo editors out there as there are cameras so I'm not going to get into editing your photos other than to say crop out all that extra stuff you weren't looking at when you snapped the photo but the camera saw and captured anyway :) Now you have the main focus of your image and most likely a really cool shot too.

You can print that out on glossy paper at home or at a photo kiosk, or you can use some photo transfer paper and get that awesome photo put on canvas! Find yourself a great frame and depending on your subject you've got a gallery photo/portrait shot. If you're feeling adventurous there's a tutorial out there on the web (http://www.instructables.com/id/Inkjet-Printing-on-Fabric/) for printing directly on the canvas. Or if you're feeling adventurous transfer it onto a piece of wood!

Now take that same concept and this time blow up your photo to a large enough size that the printer needs to break it up into four pages. This is a great way to get those gallery shots of a sunset :) Use pre-stretched canvas paint your edges black (or a complementary color or print the photo at a size where it can overlap the edges) and hang on the wall with a little space in between.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Collect Artist Trading cards? Find smaller identical frames and hang together in a block of 3 x 4 or however many you can fit inside a great vintage frame - instant mini art gallery!

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

If your children are very creative and the fridge isn't quite the spectacular display their art work deserves, here's another idea for your Gallery Display. Group vintage frames together on the wall and display their artwork in a way it deserves, complete with a photo of the artist and short bio! Your kids will LOVE it, so will their Grandparents and anyone else who gets the pleasure of seeing it!

Frames can be found here:
and here:

Art Work can be found here:

Til next time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's on the Desk..Getting Ready for the Holidays... Week 4 For the Kids!

Today is about the kids, Gifts for them and Gifts they can make. Todays post will send you in to another blog for instructions on how to make chalkboard paint. We'll also make an inexpensive Dry Erase Board and before we do all that we'll make Orange Pomanders.

I remember making pomanders when I was a kid, they are so simple to make and smell so good. The designs can be as elaborate or as simple as you want - just keep in mind the abilities of the ones making them.

What you'll need:
Whole Cloves
Vegetable peeler

Start off by carving your design into the zest of the orange. I use the tip of my vegetable peeler and pull towards me, but you could use an orange peeler or a zester, anything that gives you a consistent size groove.
Once you have your design carved into the orange you simply push the cloves into the groove. Space them in whatever manner makes you happy, this is your design be creative!
Place alone or grouped with several into a shallow bowl or make your own elevated stand to place them in like in this post:

That's it! Told you it was simple!

Next on to the Inexpensive Dry Erase Board. Older kids for this one, glass is involved!!

If you liked the simplicity of the Pomanders, you'll LOVE this! Remember that tray I used with my candles? That's your dry erase board! No kidding! A simple photo frame with glass in and a piece of pretty paper or a solid color to match your decor - scrapbook paper is perfect here. The markers clean right off the glass, piece of cake!

OK On to the chalk board paint customizable to the color you desire! If you can paint it you can have a chalkboard - any paintable surface! Suitable for kids of ALL ages - for drawing on or message centers the choice is up to you!


Before you go! My friend Steph is an incredibly talented artist and she has designed some free gift tags for you!

Til next time!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What's on the Desk..Getting Ready for the Holidays... Week 3 Cookies!

The holiday baking season has begun and I can't think of a better quick gift to highlight this week than cookies! Whether a mix in a jar or a platter full of home made goodness there's nothing quite like a gift of fresh baked cookies.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Cookies in a Jar is a great way to give the gift of cookies without having to do the baking your self. You can use regular canning jars (available in most grocery stores, Wal Marts or Hardware stores) or vintage jars which are often decorative in their own right and make a great presentation. If you've ever made sand art you'll already be familiar with layering for a decorative effect. If you choose a cookie with a colorful ingredient list you can really have fun with it using skewers or straws to create decorative designs along the walls of the jar. Top the jars with a square of fabric and a tag with the recipe and instructions for baking your cookie of choice and tie it altogether with a ribbon.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

If you like baking but don't have the time to bake several types of cookies for a sampler platter you could participate in or host a cookie swap. Gather your friends together and swap your favorite cookies! Arrive with chocolate chip cookies and come home with snickerdoodles, oatmeal, sugar and peanut blossoms! Arrange several of each on a platter and you've got quick gifts for everyone on your list.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Gift tags can be found at
Snowman Patter can be found at
Cookies in a jar can be found at

I hope you're enjoying my Home Made series while we're getting ready for Christmas. Next week we'll get the kids involved! Til then!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What's on the Desk..Getting Ready for the Holidays... Week 2 Spa Night and Candle Light

It's a two-fer week, mostly because candles alone would be a really short blog post but also because the two go together so well! I'm not going to lie I have ALOT of wax so making my own candles is just a matter of melt, pour into the mold, top off as it wells and pop out of the mold when cool. It's fun for me to play with coloring and fragrance and I Love the way several pillars look when grouped together and placed on a tray or mirror, especially pretty in front of the vanity mirror (double the candles!) while you're soaking in the tub filled with the same wonderful essence wafting from your candles. Talk about aromatherapy!

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Spa night is all about those wonderful items you surround yourself with to pamper and enjoy. Whether your idea of pampering is a long luxurious soak in the tub or a massage by candlelight. See I told you they went together! Items to consider for spa night are bath salts, bubble bath, louffa sponges, body cloths, massage oils, potpourri, candles, pretty trays, glass jars, small scoops, and a basket or really cool crate to present it all in.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

You can do as I do and melt and pour your wax to make candles, or you can buy sheets of bees wax and make your candles by laying the wick along one edge and rolling tightly into a taper candle or a small pillar, presto one hand made candle! You can buy candles at the Dollar store or you can buy artisan crafted candles such as the beeswax candles shown in the photo. I like to group them on a tray or mirror but another really pretty option is to find a really pretty sheet of wrapping paper or scrapbook paper and place that inside a frame under the glass just as you would a photo. This one again can fit any budget, flea market vintage frames, dollar store frames, or custom framing in exotic woods.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

The wonderful thing about spa night is you can give everything the same aroma or you can make formulas. Use one for destressing, one for recharging, one for romance, one for pure fun or evoking memories, whatever aroma fits the bill for you. I have bottles and bottles of essential oils and fragrance oils from lavenders and roses to jasmines and amber. Some blend together for the most heavenly scents, others I use singly like lavender to treat a minor burn or peppermint to quiet an upset tummy. Making basic bath salts is pretty much a breeze, you just mix equal parts of epsom salts and sea salt add a few drops of fragrance oil and tadaa! If you've never made anything before equal parts is the really short way to say if you use one cup of this, use one cup of that too. :) Again you can let your budget do the talking, you can make, buy at Bath and Body or even Wal Mart or you can buy artisan crafted spa products. If making your own salts has got the crafting bug going for you here's my favorite website, FromNatureWithLove.com Not only do they stock all the good stuff for making all your spa products, they have the recipes too!!

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Flower Soap http://www.etsy.com/listing/60261267/soap1-handcrafted-hibiscus-flower-soap

Bath salts http://www.etsy.com/listing/85280373/honeysuckle-bath-salts-from-the-dead-sea
Massage oil http://www.etsy.com/listing/59845351/monoi-de-tahiti-body-and-massage-oil-4oz
Mirrored Trays http://www.etsy.com/transaction/62595317
Chocolate Truffles http://www.etsy.com/listing/85299801/chocolate-truffle-wedding-favors
Beeswax Candles http://www.etsy.com/listing/45580546/handmade-100-percent-beeswax-candles-8

hmmm maybe I could've split this into two blog posts! Til next time! Dana

Friday, November 11, 2011

What's on the Desk.....Getting Ready for the Holidays.... A Weekly? Gift Guide with Crafty How To's

This year like many years past I've taken the Hand Made Pledge. Meaning I pledge to make or buy hand made items for a good portion of my Holiday Gifting. Going Hand Made allows you to get creative with your Christmas budget, and who couldn't use a little creativity in the budget?.

As it happens the best and most memorable Christmases for me were small, paid for entirely in cash and largely hand made. I'm also the crafty sort and with a hand full of items I can make some pretty cool gifts. You can be the crafty sort too, even if you've never made anything before.

Over the coming weeks I'll give you some ideas and some instructions for creating so you can make at least some of your Holidays Hand Made. These are a few of my favorites to help get you started. You can keep them simple or really go all out it's completely up to you and your budget.

Movie Night Gift "Basket"
I have not only given this gift but I have also received it and loved it!
A favorite movie, some microwave popcorn (with or with out seasonings), a couple favorite candy bars, and a cool bowl to put it all in.
You can keep it simple and just pick the candy bars and seasonings up at the grocery store, you can make your own candy and treats, or you can go all out and buy hand made and gourmet treats like the effervescent chocolate shown here

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Popcorn bowls can be as simple as a large bowl picked up at the Dollar store. Left as is or decorated, you can buy hand painted bowls (as shown here) or go all out and buy an artisan hand thrown ceramic bowl.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Putting it all together is a snap! Just take your movie, popcorn, seasonings and candy and arrange it in the bowl until you like the way it looks. Wrap it up with a basket wrap, curling ribbon and bows.
Effervescent chocolate can be found on Etsy in the trufflepigletchocs shop http://www.etsy.com/listing/77574580/effervescent-chocolate-bar
and the popcorn bowl can be found on Etsy as well in the KudosKitchenByRenee shop http://www.etsy.com/listing/79041618/large-popcorn-painted-bowl

I hope you liked Movie Night :) I'll be back with Cookies and Cocoa, Spa Night, Hand Made Ornaments and Your Own Personal Art Gallery!
Til next time!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dragon's Eye the pendant has been finished...

and I thought I had the hoop earrings finished too. But they had a small latching problem - one would randomly come open and not relatch. No rhyme or reason just pop I'm open. So back to the desk for them. Too bad too, they were really looking cute.

I was looking at the list thinking it looked longer than what was actually on the desk and realized, I finished that ring awhile back and never mentioned it! It's finished! I made two small stackable bands and paired them with another woven ring I had made and they just look really cute together and are a really comfy set.

Eye one of Alex's Dragon Eye set is done. I'm really happy with the way it came out if I do say so myself :D


I won a pair of lamp worked beads from Bastille Bleu Lampwork and they just happen to be this weeks colors for the color combo challenge. Think I'll weave up some leaves to add to them and make earrings. If I hurry I might even make it in time for the challenge deadline!

Til next time!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Octobers Currently on the Desk......

It's been a very productive couple of weeks, finished up my custom orders and got them all mailed off and delivered, made a couple tiny metal roses and a couple other flowers and decided to get started on Alex' eye pendant.  I thought the timing appropriate as it's October and Halloween is sneaking up :)

As luck would have it, school pics came home and Alex set them on my desk.......as I was pulling out the eyes to work on. Paige immediately saw the photo op, what are sisters for if not for spotting photo ops lol

Eye Got My Eye on You!

Having already made the connection of Halloween on the way, I thought it might be fun to show the progress photos in that same way..........

Alex' Eyes

We're going for something of a dragon's eye effect. He saw an eye on Etsy he really loved and asked for that type of style. Bless him for understanding copy rights "I like this style, but don't copy that one, I want it done in your style." I'm pretty sure I did something right there :) The sketch has been worked up , he's approved it, and we're playing with the placement of elements for their best effect.

Christmas items have been making their way into the shop and I've tried to provide price points for most budgets. I think I'm prepared for the season to begin.

Currently on the Desk: *Forged hoops - still waiting to recut the ends, forge, file, and drill again. *The beadwoven necklace *The bead embroidered set - *The Labrodorite heart waiting for weaving and scrollwork........

Til Next TIme See Ya Then!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Glimpse.........

I broke down and bought the ribbon ends and extender for the ribbon choker. I've decided to list it with the option of the clasp at no extra charge. I really want to stay true to my design but something about it just didn't feel finished. So now it's become a semi custom piece and that works so much better for me.

On the desk this week..... I completed a custom order for a Rose Quartz and sterling butterfly, another order for a WickWire style skeleton key, and am in the process of searching out components for another custom order.
Wrapped Butterfly
A tiny yet wordy glimpse into how my brain works.... Surfing through various vendors searching for a 3-4 inch sterling feather suitable for embellishing with 4mm czech glass beads not really finding what I want but finding  a smaller feather here and there. Not writing any product numbers down or where they were because they weren't quite right. Decide to write a note to my customer to let her know where I'm at and double check her request............ NOT 3-4 inches,  but 2-3 inches! head/desk Ummm where was that feather at? It was 2.75 inches, and perfect for wrapping, where was it....where, not here..... where??? GONE  ugh!

ok she's not in a hurry, it's not the only feather in the world.  Start the search again and take notes of where I'm finding what.

Not much selection......one more search, jackpot! Love these feathers, except they're all stampings.......hmmm the designs are awesome though. I could drill holes where I need them for embellishing......I could put those beads wherever I wanted them......cool.

Hubs comes home for lunch and I tell him how the one I really thought was perfect just disappeared *poof* and tell him how I thought I could drill the stampings.

He asks, "Did you buy them?"

"uh, no"

"But you said the one you wanted sold out just that fast."

"They're trending right now. I don't think I've ever seen one sell out like that before"

"And you didn't buy these?"

I just bought $30 worth of feather stampings and some bead caps.  Part of my brain says really?? The other part says heck yeah! See that sheet over there these little bead caps will be perfect practice and then you'll have some sweeet solid caps! Look at the lines on those feathers, are they not the perfect design for practicing a little repousse??

LOL Good thing I like them and am finding inspiration in them cause there were three or four others not from this vendor that I have for her to choose from and she could still pick one of them!
WickWire Style Key

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

chalcedony heart
Currently On the Desk has had it's first completion :) Yup I picked up needle and thread and rolled a hem for the ends. It's been a busy and emotional few days around here with my oldest daughter moving to New Mexico and I needed an easy and quick project to do and this was it! The ribbon measures in at 21 inches and ties at the neck for an on the neck choker for an adult or a sweet necklace for a younger girl. This is newly finished and not yet listed- you're getting the sneak peak at it! Now that I've finally got it hemmed up I wonder if I shouldn't use a fold over end with an extender chain, hmmm, Always something isn't it?

One down.....maybe.....I think ....and a bunch to go........

til next time!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm All Caught Up!

ArtFire actually closed all their basic studios and I've been in a flurry, taking new pictures, revamping descriptions, and getting it all moved on over to my Etsy shop. All while trying to get all those new pieces I had finished and just waiting to be listed put in the shop too.  I decided on a one a day approach,  giving me time to take plenty of pictures, edit and get descriptions and pricing done. That worked really well, so well in fact that everything is listed - I have nothing waiting for prices, photos, or descriptions. It is really a nice feeling knowing all I have on the jewelry plate is creating and a very neglected blog. oooooooh The blog!

Quick! What to write about? I could pick one of the new listings and tell you a story about it or better yet.......... I have (as always) several pieces in progress. Why not let you take a peek in my studio as I plan, sketch, work out the details and create.  That has pretty much been my intention for this blog all along so it feels pretty good being able to finally share that with you. And it might just ensure a more active posting

I actually have an in progress photo of the beadweaving piece I'm working on now. It was for this last weeks color challenge, LOVED the color palette, have been saving this heart for just such a piece,  was so excited, and bam LIFE at the door! It reminded me of the peacock I made for week 2 of the challenge and the updates I had here about it and I thought how cool would it have been to have pics to go with the story.

sooooo.....Here's the plan, over the course of the next couple of weeks, I'll post pictures of the beads, sketches, and/or progress shots of the list *Currently on the Desk* I'll  update the list when I finish one or add another and provide the corresponding photo. I'll post what I think of it, does it need tweaking, a this one or that one decision made, and whether or not it's causing me any grief. I still belong to the Color Combo Group on FaceBook so there's almost always something in progress on my desk and I have a stack of sketches and a whole folder full of inspirational pieces from other artists, if by chance I should ever get all my in progress pieces finished - it's happened once or twice!

Currently on the Desk:
*Forged hoops - oops! I misdrilled the hole on one earring for the latch so I need to recut the ends, forge, file, and drill again.
*Ribbon choker and simple pendant awaiting a rolled hem to finish. Probably won't take five minutes if I just pick up the needle lol
*A beadwoven  necklace with a gorgeous lampworked focal first couple of inches have been started and it is going to be a pretty one!  Day to day life has slowed me down on this one, these tiny beads need a clear head and I have had a head ache for several days now,  hoping the cause goes away and soon!
*A bead embroidered set - gorgeous gorgeous colors in these stones! Beads are laid out and waiting for that first stitch! Seems like I've been planning this one for ages, but it's more about me trying to live up to the beauty of these stones and do them justice. I want all the details to be just right - I'm starting to think I may just have to dive in........
*A ring and pendant eyeball set for my son. Still in the sketch and detail stages. He's been after me to make these for ages and we finally found the eyes he liked.
*A Labrodorite heart waiting for weaving and scrollwork........ the design has been sketched out, the first wires have been cut and kissed with flame and then....... we found the eyes lol
*Woven ring - it was an I need to fiddle with something so let's weave on a scrap piece of wire when I realized it was the right length for a ring, but I want the ends flame kissed so I stopped weaving to torch it and I keep forgetting to grab it when I light the torch up lol

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Entitlement :Designs DriveWays and Attitudes

I've finally figured it out! The answer to all our woes, all our problems stem from entitlement. Well ok maybe not, but it does fit in with todays blog post.

I added a couple of our area news stations to my FB, it seems to be the fastest way to get severe weather info. They update their status's with the relevant info faster than they get it aired on tv. The problem is they also offer headline stories before fleshing out the details. The other day one of the stations offered up the story of a land owner having shot a cell tower worker - less than a paragraph of info, no facts to speak of. The people jumped on it ready to string this guy up without a single fact as to what happened. It was their right to see this guy punished so it doesn't breed more of the same behavior. He was on his own property, didn't know they were there, and shot one. These were the only facts provided and yet it was unforgivable he acted in this way. I don't know what happened that lead up to the shooting, maybe he was wrong, maybe he was right but when did it become wrong to protect yourself on your own property?

One of my biggest gripes is GPS and their constantly sending people up my driveway. For some unknown reason the fact GPS sent them seems to give them a sense of entitlement. It sends the cell tower people up my driveway just about every other month. They have caused more damage to my driveway driving as if they were Mario Andretti, rutting up freshly graded land, run over barrels, cut my fences, made my driveway inaccessible to our own vehicles and seem to generally believe because they need to be at that cell tower on the neighbor's property it's ok to act as if they own mine. Once you top the hill and find a fence, the driveway turns to reveal my house. It's pretty obvious at that moment GPS lied. There's a very generous turnaround right there, do people use it? Noooo they continue to drive around my house. Cell tower people, termite services, lawn services and cable people, even folks looking for cemeteries - we actually had a cable tv installer, who when told to get out of our back yard, told my hubs he had a bad attitude! We don't have cable nor do they have any of their cables crossing our property, so he had no standing to be there. What would he have done if we were in his backyard uninvited and unannounced? Offered lemonade? I think not! I think he'd have had the gun out and we'd have another story like the above. GPS does not entitle you to drive into my backyard, run over my cat, look in my windows or be on my property that is clearly marked no trespassing. (Yes all the above has happened, I no longer have a gate because it's been driven through while it was closed so many times. And yes, I have contacted Navteq, the mapping provider, they refuse to correct their info, even though their satellite image clearly shows my driveway ends at my house.)

So what does GPS gone wrong and shot cell tower people have to do with jewelry designs? Well it's the whole entitlement issue. I've been making jewelry for a lot of years. I bought my first set of pliers at 16. I learned by imitating or making my own versions of the pieces I liked and crafting the jewelry I couldn't find otherwise. I, like you, have grown up with the saying "Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery" Knowing this, when friends asked if they could borrow an idea or hearing I had inspired someone, was a real ego boost. Something we all need, but when you start finding your designs in magazines and around the web, written up as tutorials with your "friends" names on them, it crosses a line. Copy Right has now entered the picture and my "friend" now owns the copy right to my design - meaning if I use my own design and call it mine, I could get in trouble! We're no longer talking flattery here. This sense of entitlement, I like it, I want it, it's mine, and you can't stop me is wrong. It's stealing for a profit - with no intent to return it - Grand Larceny. Look it up, that's the definition. Oh but it's an idea, not tangible. That's why they created copy right. Something we artists earn the moment we create. When you steal the design, call it your own, and put your own copy right on it you've not only stolen the design you're stealing my right to choose what to do with it. What if it was a One Of A Kind gift? Suddenly I have the only one - turns into being sold across the country by countless burgeoning jewelers. That's not cool! What if I was in the process of writing the tutorial myself? Now you've stolen my income source. What does that say about you? That you treat your friends and acquaintances this way.

Some of you remember the anguish I felt when I first discovered that design in the magazine. That kicked in the teeth and punched in the stomach, reeling in disbelief that a friend would do this to me. No one ever talks about this side of it, they only talk of the legalities, because those who feel entitled don't care about the hurt they cause, only whether they can get away with it legally. You may be asking why bring it up now? Well, it took this long to find the words to express myself without fits of anger or tears of pain. It also seems I have more "entitled friends", and more designs floating around magazines and the web, where will it stop if I don't say something? I don't feel the need to out them at this point, they know who they are, and I know.

I've decided, it might be time to start submitting my designs myself. Since they seem to be getting submitted anyway, they might as well come with my name on them :) Now.........what to submit?

Til next time!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dear Alan

Wow! It's been awhile since I've updated. I've been keeping busy, making pretty things, working on the house, getting the kiddo graduated and ready for college. I was getting things listed and was almost all caught up and ooops the memory card is full. I'd been deleting the duplicate photos from the card to make room for awhile. Really I only need one good shot to show off since I haven't gotten a look book made up yet.

Prom photos and Graduation photos used up what was left of my free space. No way I'm deleting those! So I do a little online shopping, looking for a new card. Should be really easy to find. Bought the camera at Staples and Wally World has a photo dept too. If all else fails Amazon always has what I want.

We're merrily skipping along the internet not one single card. My little 4mp camera uses an xD why can't I find one? Ok wrong terminology, it's a picture card not a memory card - taadaaa! Wait what is this M+ arghh camera is old I'm not spending money for a card that is too new for my old camera. HEY! an xD! Wally World carries them! oh.........online only. hmmmmmm Well ok if I have a problem with it I can just take it back to the store. I'm out of ink, printable biz cards and low on bubble mailers will just add those to the cart. Woot! Took care of half my to do list!

Ship to - nothing big here we'll ship to the PO Box. Red flag! Can't ship to a PO Box. OK Fine street address. Paid Order confirmation. Should be here in just a couple days!

Next day. Wow! That was fast! Shipped via UPS Mail Innovations. aaah UPS explains the red flag. hmm never heard of Mail Innovations let's go look. OMG they're mailing it to my street address??? I don't live on the mail route, I don't get mail here! Quick shoot off an e-mail to customer service.

I'm a little worried, I don't live on the mail route. UPS Mail Innovations mails it USPS. It will get returned.
Thank you Dana

Dear Alan, We are sorry we cannot change your order once it has been sent. If you would like to return your items please follow the instructions below.

****?????What?????? Two more e-mails your items have shipped via FedEx. OK maybe I'm panicking maybe it will actually be UPS. The other two are Fed Ex. One more, your item has shipped via UPS Mail Innovations if you'd like to track your items click here.

Fed Ex delivers my bubble mailers - wow! OK let's click that tracking see where that card is! Happy face :) Info not available yet, ok check the other shipment. Item returned undeliverable. USPS cannot deliver to this address. ????What????? ARGHHH********

Copy/paste into an e-mail to Wally World Customer Service.
This is what I was afraid of when I contacted you. - now what?

Dear Alan, Thank you for contacting Walmart.com regarding your shipping address.
I sincerely apologize that your order is undeliverable to the address that you provided for your order. Unfortunately, we are unable to change your shipping address on your account. You will need to contact your local postal service in attempts to have your address changed. I certainly do apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you.

If we have not fully answered your question or you have additional questions, please reply to this email.

Walmart.com Customer Care

*****Change my house address? What? OMG really? Change my house address - what the?????*******

OK then, let's try this from the start. obviously I'm not making myself clear enough.

When I placed the order I used my PO Box BUT a little red warning popped up and said
I couldn't use the PO Box as a delivery destination. So I changed the address to my street address
wrongly assuming it meant you would ship Fed Ex or UPS NOT mail it.

You as in Wal Mart mailed that part of my order. You used TWO different delivery methods to
ship ONE order.

I understand breaking the order into smaller packages for faster delivery BUT when YOU require
only ONE shipping address YOU should use only ONE delivery method. It saves a lot of head aches.

My question was not how do I change my address, or how do I return the item. My question is simply
what happens next? What am I supposed to do? How do I get my order????

Thank you

Dear Alan,

Thank you for contacting Walmart.com regarding your item being received and returned. Alan, we apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you. Alan, the first information listed below address to whom will be responsible for delivering the rest of your items.

Your order xxxxxxx (xx's cause you don't really need my order# or address for the gist of this part) Unfortunately, USPS package tracking information is limited to the destination of your local post office.

However, you can estimate the arrival date by adding the longest processing time of an item in your order to the delivery method ship time (Standard, 2-to 3-Day, or 1-Day Shipping). "Processing Time" is located on the item page under "Delivery Options."

To get more information on shipping times, visit Walmart.com and click "Help." In "Shipping & Returns," click "Shipping Costs and Times".

Note: the below information listed addresses returns, if you wish to return items back to us.

You may return your online purchase at your local Walmart store or through the mail. The item must still be within the return policy time frame to qualify for a return. Please refer to our online return policy by following the link below.


Note: There are no returns or refunds on prepaid cellular phone cards & electronically fulfilled PINs or minutes.

To return in-store, take your item along with all packaging and your packing slip to the Customer Service desk for a refund or exchange.

To return via the mail, please log on to www.walmart.com and go to the "Return an Item" link at the bottom of the page. Follow the instructions to "Return an item by mail".

When returning an order by mail, please allow up to three weeks shipping and processing time for the order to reach our Return Center. When the order has been received, depending on your request, the order will either be credited or reordered.

If we have not fully answered your question or you have additional questions, please reply to this email.

Walmart.com Customer Care

*******My head hurts! why are they giving me return info for a package I can't even get delivered?? Why do they keep calling me ALAN?? It's like we're having two entirely different conversations.********

I really don't think you understand what I'm saying.

Yes (as per the voice mail) I received that part of my order that you sent via Fed Ex. No I do not want to return it.

I have not received that part of my order that you sent via the mail. I do not live ON the mail route.
That's why I have a PO Box.

The Avery part of my order has been returned undeliverable as noted by UPS Mail Innovations tracking.
Undeliverable because as I said I don't live on the mail route.

The Memory Card part of my order has no info available after Saturday the 11th.

I am not the one returning them, I don't want them returned, but since you mailed them via USPS to my physical
address I have no control over that.

All I want is for you to tell me is what I need to do. It will eventually make its way back to you. I need to know what I need to do to have it sent back to me. Do I need to have you issue a refund and I place a new order or can the address be corrected and sent back?

One final thing, I am Dana. I placed the order, I paid for it, I am talking to you. not Alan and I have signed my name to each correspondence to date. Take two seconds to read thoroughly, what I'm asking and my name - that's your job.


*******Remember kids customer service can make or break you - these idiots can't even get my name right. And I am fighting harder and harder to remain civil and to keep the words small and understandable. I am so frustrated I'm ready to fire off a letter to corporate or drive there and sit in the foyer until someone answers me as to why they keep calling me Alan, why they shipped one order using two shipping methods and why it's my fault I don't receive mail at my physical address. Mr. Sam Walton would be livid!*******

Think I'll leave it here for now. I'll update you as I have more info. Maybe I'll get around to making that look book ........

Til next time Alan (who am I kidding, I'm too short and my mustache is too thin!!)
see ya! Dana

update 6-16

Dear Alan,

Thank you for contacting Walmart.com regarding what do since the other product was return back to us.

Please contact us by phone to issue the refund for the product that you have not received

If we have not fully answered your question or you have additional questions, please reply to this email.

Walmart.com Customer Care

****Dear ALAN? aghhhhhhh HEAD-DESK*******

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Only Use The (materials that work) Best in my Designs

Every decision you make - every decision - is not a decision about what to do. It's a decision about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do. ~Neale Donald Walsch

I've seen statements every where lately claiming to use only the best materials, the highest grade stones. the best of this, the best of that. Do they really mean it, are they gem snobs, or do they really just want very much to capture your attention, jewelry after all is a very saturated field. Some artisan jewelers actually do use some pretty impressive stones and solid metals and I can guarantee you they are not selling their earrings for $20.oo! But when they make the statement, they back it up. It isn't snobbery, it's fact.

I am a brand snob preferring this milk over that, these green beans over those. But a gem snob I'm not. Oh I love the sparkling clear beauty of a Grade AAA gemstone but my jewelry is more than it 's components. The jewelry I make truly does come from within. A grade stones are gorgeous but they don't always have the "character" a lesser grade stone has. Those little imperfections that give it that "organic, from the earth" feel, the softer muted colors, or sometimes the deeper colors.

I am at heart an artisan first and foremost and while I love that sparkling clear gemstone if it doesn't have the color I'm after for the finished product in my head what good is it to me? An A grade Rose quartz with a very pale color might not work with what I have in mind, but a B grade that has a soft rosy color that complements that Chalcedony heart so well, that I'll use!

That doesn't mean I don't believe in using the best you can afford for the design, it just means I am willing to use whatever stone fits My design, in My head, in the Colors I see there. I do shop for high grade stones and I buy them. But I am also completely seduced by the character and colors of the other grade stones, the colors of jewelry yet to be.

Til next time!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gimme the Peacock

Gimme the Peacock Alex! But I like him Mom. Alex. But I want him Mom he can live in my El Camino. But Alex he's for sale. Noooo My Pretty Pretty said in the same fashion as Gollum's My Precious......... and this is how Gimme's name came to be :)

If you've been reading the blog for any amount of time you know Gimme has been on the update list for several months now. I'm proud to say he is finally Finished!
A little background for those of you that haven't been keeping up or I maybe forgot to mention. I had the honor to have been included in a treasury with this beautifult print by BestArtStudios2 on Etsy some months back http://www.etsy.com/listing/59594197/huge-3-day-sale-heartache-and-poetry-xiv
In thumbnail size it reminded me of a Peacock sitting in a tree, I knew I wanted to make one based on that print and so I waited for my Muse. She had been awol at that time. A few weeks later I joined a color challenge group on Face Book (I believe I mentioned that here a time or two). The challenge to make a new piece in the chosen colors of the week. Joining was a blessing to me, my Muse came home and has really enjoyed the creativity of the group, even during the weeks where I don't participate. When the blue and green combo came up I knew it had to be the Peacock.

As you all know I didn’t make the deadline for that week in fact it took many weeks before I was finished. Gimme turned out to be a little labor intensive, but then most works of the heart are, I think. It took two days alone just to design and graph his tail out. You can see the gradation of color from the pics but what you don't see are all the eyes woven into the color panel as well. I sat with several pics pulled up on the computer screen of Peacock tails for inspiration and they stayed on the screen until I had completely finished his tail, wire work and all.

Gimme sits on many vines of wire that I wove and twisted together forming his perch, the ends have been kissed with the torch so as not to scratch when being worn, plus it really adds to the gnarled and forlorn look of the branches. Those took some time too, I really didn't like the way it looked with the arch as intended - it just seemed out of balance to me so I reworked and reformed and reformed again until I was happy with the arch, adding wisps of copper to balance the ends of those branches that no longer ended in their original positions.

Then the final assembly of the pieces. Does he look right there? Does he need to scoot over? Is the weight balanced properly there? Does he have a good solid connection point there? Should he lean more? Hold him up is he still balanced. His tail looks crooked, scoot him over, scoot him back, lean more, less! Balanced? Wrap that into place quick before it gets moved again!

Aaaaand the chain! I worked for what seemed forever to get that chain to the length I wanted, only to realize I made it too long! In order for him to sit at that 20 inch length he needed only 18 inches of chain. Soooo off came two inches of chain!

All in all over 70 feet of wire - more than 60 in the Peacock and perch and worth every inch. When I was finished I held him up. I'm left handed and the windows in my office are to my left - he just glows when backlit so whether you choose to wear him or display him in a window he is one gorgeous Peacock :) As I'm admiring him I hear oooh Pretty! coming from the right and the doorway to my office. Can I see? Hand him to my Son. Mine! Nooooo Alex. Yes I want! He's pretty.............

Gimme can be found in my shop here


everything is done - really!! I'm pretty amazed you can actually see my desk! Just waiting on descriptions lol I'm pretty proud of myself been writing, pricing and listing and it's getting there! I actually have one FULL page of listings in my Etsy shop yay!

Sooo time to sketch and plan and get going again! I have lots of great beads I've won this last year that need some love and this weeks colors are peachy coral and minty green. Doesn't that sound really springy to you? I've pulled out some shell and lucite flowers to add to that combo - we have a foot of snow coming or so they say I NEED some spring, I live in the SOUTH my daffies are poking their heads out!! A FOOT of snow?? We've already had close to a foot of snow. We just had 6 inches the other day, that's supposed to be our snow for the year! We don't get FEET of snow! I guess I'll just sketch and bead away and hope the hubs can get back to work soon - we have bills to pay. snow.......

Til next time!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Creative Process

I had in my head the perfect post to introduce a series of posts on my creative process.
Can I remember word one of what I wanted to write? Noooo The bread and butter business interrupted my writing with end of year paperwork and insurance and banking and life as we all know it! My perfect introductory post .... is toast!

Ah well, I do remember it had to do with these earrings. They've been on my to do list for the lifetime of my blog to date so I thought they would be really fitting to show off since you've been reading about my needing to make them for so long :)

Every now and again I'll start an awesome project and for various reasons it gets put aside - sometimes for much longer than intended - oops These earrings are the perfect example of that lol

A friend of mine really liked these Sterling silver filigree earrings but the drop is a Swiss Blue Topaz and her birthstone is Golden Topaz.

So I hunted down some Golden Topaz and started the frames, set them aside to wait for the Topaz to arrive and in the meantime........I'll just play with these little cuties over here....... Several pieces later I picked those frames up again to work on them when I realized I didn't have enough 2mm silver beads left to make the earrings and I had JUST placed an order, so put them aside again.

Two orders later I got those silver beads and gathered all the components to make the earrings and, well, I just wasn't in the mood. I had all these other ideas demanding attention and other things I HAD to do, so they sat, and sat, and sat. Until a few days ago when I picked them up again and felt really guilty that an entire year had passed......... So here they are One year and Three months in the making :)

Now thankfully not all of my pieces take so long to make, but it can seem that way when description writing faces that same time dilemma LoL or when it takes two days to write one description because the words just aren't coming even after playing the word association game which is really how I should write my tags!

The Update for the To Do List :) is a little shorter this week!

The talisman got a leather cord instead of chain, that chain ended up a tassel hanging from a Danish love knot at the bottom :) the whole thing took on a very oriental feel and I'm very happy with it. Not bad for I think I'm feeling better, lets try to bend some wire! Needs a description and price, maybe one more pic

Replica of my fav necklace is done - needs pics

Egyptian talisman finally has pics, and a description and finally got listed :) Took me two days to write this lol

Peacock is assembled and waiting for a couple more inches of chain :D yay!

Pulled together all the components to start the valentine earrings -- and a simple pendant not matching just got the idea a few minutes ago lol

Color of the week is yellow and grey - don't have much for yellow but I may try some Hessonite Garnet with some oxidized silver and design it for the simply adorned collection.

Still have a couple descriptions to write - everytime I write one I make another - so I think this is more like laundry - it's NEVER ending lol

oooh just realized the desk is getting cleared of UFO's again time to sketch out a design for the Aventurine Donut I won at Christmas from the Jewelry Connection oh and get to those earrings I sketched out for the Flourite I won on the forum! Oooh fun fun! Jewelry Lessons is also doing monthly challenges now maybe I can play at a charm bracelet for that along the way as well. Time to get busy!

Til next time!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Yes I am still kickin'!

Even if just barely :) I've had the flu - upper respiratory tract infection coupled with a nasty sinus infection - or if you listen to me a great case of bronchitis that is seriously draining all my energy. I'm slowly getting back into the routine, but large chunks of time are being used to simply stare at my tools and wire and thinking I should. It's not that I don't want to, it's just I'd rather be curled back up in bed, all snuggly warm, half asleep and listening to Rachael Ray cook things I know would make me instantaneously well if I had just one bite, maybe two.

I do have several posts worked out in my head, I just don't have them worked out in a file yet! So for now we'll play off the last update and let you know how much time I REALLY am staring at my tools!!

Received my Christmas swap items! I love our forum swaps, they are so completely fun! I actually managed a more in detail post on FB, so if you're my friend there, you've already seen :)

My Art with Heart piece did not win round 3. That's ok, it really pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I learned several things about my design style and I'm happy with where I took the design. That seems to want to be a blog post too.

My inspiration piece - the Peacock, is waiting for chain and a couple small tweaks to assembly. It still makes me very happy to just look at him!

Got that last chain revamped, STILL needing a couple descriptions to write and pricing. And now I need lots more pics taken too!

SnowFlake jewelry all made, I even managed to throw in a corsage and boutonniere. That corsage is a blog post all it's own....... and was actually intended for todays post - but - I figured at the rate I'm going, it might be another month before I get it written and once a month is slooooow enough for a blog to begin with!

New to the list: I have a pair of earrings a third way done that have been on the to do list for over a year!

A new pair of earrings sketched out - just in time for Valentines, and a woven key the earrings were born of.

A simple talisman of copper waiting for chain and a replica of my daily wear necklace just lacking a couple more inches of being finished.

Now if I could do more than just stare at my tools some of these could get finished and then I could have even more descriptions to write!

I think the family may be expecting dinner so I should get! Til next time!