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Spring Flight

I love robins, nests, spring, aqua, twigs, lots of things that make up this necklace.  I don’t usually make asymmetrical pieces, but I had this piece of chain that was too long for a bracelet and I didn’t want to waste the extra, so I thought I’d do half a necklace with it.  And one dead-of-winter morning I was laying in bed and I came up with all these bird-themed components, some of which are in this piece and others are in the rest of the collection.  I put some blue and some green in there, glass, pearl, stone, a touch of brass, and a couple of speckle-glaized ceramic beads.

Here is the bracelet ($55, necklace is $125) and I also have a pair of speckled-egg earrings ($26).  They’re heading to the wonderful Simply Charming Boutique next week, so if you are interested shoot me an email.
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New font for stamped jewelry

I’m slowly emerging from the fog of new-parenthood to tackle the pile of orders on my desk and tell you about my new set of lowercase alphabet stamps in a fun, whimsical typeface called Kismet.

I also added a new tag shape (this copper washer) and a keychain option under chains.

Mother’s Day will be here before you know it, and a creative gift idea for moms (or grandmothers) is personalized jewelry bearing the kids’ names.

You can read about the options for my stamped jewelry here and other personalized jewelry here.

I wish you all a happy weekend full of spring-like weather like we’re having here in Virginia. No offense to February, but good riddance to winter!

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This is December for a jewelry designer

I have come to the realization that I’m somewhat of a work slut. I said I was going to stop taking orders for Christmas at the beginning of December, but who am I to deny people the perfect gift of personalized jewelry? I have become that woman who works right up until her due date, the one I always scoffed at, thinking that being nine months pregnant would surely render one incapacitated. On Friday I was a busy bee and got the last of my Christmas orders shipped, and then I indulged in a rare nap. I didn’t work a whole lot over the weekend, but this morning I was right back at my bench to complete this copper grandmother’s bracelet before I have my annual burnout on jewelry making and shift my focus to our baby. I do have one more order that is due in January, but at lunchtime I made myself take a break and turn on the TV in the middle of the day. And it just happened to be the end of an Obligatory Movie, so Steve watched the rest of it with me as his own little celebration.

Speaking of Steve, can I just say how proud I am of him? As National Sales Manager for his company, he was presented with what I thought was a ridiculously challenging 2008 sales goal last December, lofty even before losing part of his team during the year. Well, today he and his team actually reached that unrealistic goal and I am so proud to see Steve’s dedication pay off.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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A Page Of Its Own

Website update: I created a new page for stamped jewelry, accessible from the Custom Jewelry page or by clicking here. I figured it would be a better way to give people an idea about pricing and options before emailing me for a quote. This piece is made from rich low brass, which is an economical alternative to gold (currently trading at $918.50). Coulson and Charlie are my friend Val’s kids. Speaking of Charlies, if you haven’t seen the “Charlie Bit Me” video, you owe it to yourself to watch it.

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Things are spinning

Today I worked on soldering parts for a new collection of fiddler rings, but only got a couple pieces fully assembled. One of them is this copper and sterling bead that I’m planning to put on Viking knit because it has a big hole. It’s actually copper tubing from Lowe’s. I was supposed to be looking at bathroom vanity tops but got sidetracked in the plumbing department… story of my life!

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Wire wrapping

Thanks to my rock-hound great-aunt Ruth I used to tumble rocks as a kid. I had the plastic toy-version rock tumbler that was so loud we’d keep it shut away in the netherquarters of my parents’ house for weeks as the grit slowly polished the rocks. Then I’d have a bowl full of semi-precious pebbles and no way to show them off. They were polished so well that my glued-on bails wouldn’t stay, so the alternative was to create some sort of setting. I had a bunch of copper wire and I would borrow my dad’s little pliers he bought for working on model trains. Unfortunately I don’t have examples of my early wirework to show you the progression, but learning on rounded, slippery rocks helped me get a feel for what settings would stay on and which rocks were just better left in the bowl.

When we moved to Delaware, Steve and I let our puppy wade in the Delaware River near our house (and then she got a bath, don’t worry!) Meanwhile we started finding sea glass on the beach and quickly had enough to fill a bowl. I think you have to be part monkey to fully enjoy looking for the stuff; after all it is just shards of glass, someone else’s trash, and it’s not always easy to find. (Bright green is pretty common — think Heineken, partly because it shows up well on the sand and a lot of people party on the beach and then throw the bottles in the river). Most collectors put sea glass in a jar by the window, but I wanted to do something more with it. So I tapped into my tumbled-rock-wrapping skills and made it into jewelry. (That was back before AnneMade, so jewelry wasn’t what I thought of every moment of the day. I collected the stuff for several months before doing anything with it). And now I go in spurts where I make a whole bunch of it, and then set it aside for other things. I just posted some pendants and a bracelet on my website (and another one on Etsy) because I figure people might want a souvenir from their beach vacation, something other than a t-shirt from Wings.
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Back from the mountains

Riley got to go swimming in the pond on Wednesday. Her breed has webbed feet that helps with the dog-paddling. She always wants to go out on the pier, but won’t jump off of it into the water. No pix, but she looks like an otter in the water with the brown head and whiskers.

Asheville was a quick trip on Thursday because it was COLD and windy, but I did score some great lampwork from Beads & Beyond and enameled copper and other stuff from Chevron Trading Post. A lot of restaurants & shops in Western NC are open only on the weekends in the winter, so I’ll have to go back this summer to get the good stuff.

Hope you have a happy Easter! It is the most meaningful holiday to me and it’s nice to be here in VA with my parents & Steve to celebrate.

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Special orders

Part of the challenge of what I do is making custom pieces. I try to fill the customer’s wishes while keeping it my own style. This one was somewhat of a departure for me, working all in copper and trying to match a particular pair of earrings. Surprises are tough because then I don’t get to ask the recipient what she would like. This one was tough to get excited about, but now that it’s finished I love it, especially the (gently domed) Swedish pennies.

Other special orders are right down my alley. For this piece my customer saw my wire link and lampwork bracelets and asked if I could do a necklace in the same style, but all in silver so she could wear it with anything. Why hadn’t I ever thought of that?! I couldn’t make this one fast enough; couldn’t wait to see the finished product.

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New stuff

This pendant is a domed copper disc with a domed sterling disc patterned with my new swirl stamp, riveted together with brass tubing. It was supposed to be a pair of earrings, but after patterning the first silver disc I couldn’t find the stamp again. Those of you who have seen my studio are chuckling. It is surprising to me how long it takes to make a simple pendant like this, so I’m hoping once I get the hang of it (or get more organized) I’ll get faster. My friend Cheryl accused me of having a temporary obsession with domed metal, so I’m determined to prove her wrong. (Good luck in the Marine Corps Marathon tomorrow, though!)

These are my new favorite pair of earrings. I love that they go with everything and aren’t too fancy. I put the big honkin’ freshwater pearls at the bottom so they’d have good swing.