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Leather wrap bracelet

I love making jewelry, but I don’t tend to wear the jewelry I make.  Part of it is because none of my jewelry is sacred, so even if I love something after creating it, eventually it makes its way into my inventory.  Another reason is to avoid what I call the Amway Effect: My friends know I sell things as a business, so if I tried to sell products to my friends they might wonder whether I am only friends with them because they are potential customers.  So if I wear my jewelry it could be seen as advertisement, and my friendships are way more important to me than my sales.  (I have friends who actually give me a hard time for not advertising in this way; I can’t win.)  But my sales are just fine without nagging my friends, and if they want to buy something they know where to shop.  And then I can indulge in other people’s jewelry and support some of my fellow artisans.

Enter the wrap bracelet a la Chan Luu.

I want one, but haven’t found anything like it locally.  On Etsy they cost more than I want to spend, especially since I know how much the supplies cost (or don’t cost, as it were).  So the other day I pinned a tutorial and collected the supplies.  Still in Sedona mode, I chose chocolate brown leather and a silver button, but then I couldn’t decide if I wanted turquoise or bronze beads, so ultimately I decided to make a triple wrap using three different colors of Czech glass.  Not as ambitious as the quint-wrap pictured above, but still more interesting than a single.

So here and there I’ve stolen some precious kid-nap time to create this thing.  About three beads into the thing I was kicking myself for starting with a triple wrap, which meant my sewing thread was about 9 feet long.  Finally as I got to the third color of beads my thread was a reasonable length and I felt like it was easier.  I imagined Vietnamese women laughing at me as they cranked these things out for Chan Luu.  Now I know why the price of wrap bracelets on Etsy is so high, and after putting this much time into it I’m definitely wearing it around for a while.

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Facets at Simply Charming

I posted photos of the initial members of my Facets line, heading shortly to Simply Charming Boutique.  Once I started working with gold again it made sterling seem kind of boring, so there are more gold pieces than silver.  Maybe it’s because gold is just perfect for fall and I have a hankering for cool weather and crunchy leaves.

The Facets collection includes genuine faceted stones like garnet (grossular green, brown hessonite, traditional almandine, pink rhodolite), citrine (both pale and topaz-y deep), burnt orange carnelian, amethyst, apatite, iolite, smoky quartz, and did I mention gold!

I used a lot of gold-fill components, which is a heavy layer of 12-14K gold over a base metal core.  It has the look and durability of 14 karat gold without the $1,297/oz price tag.  I also used some vermeil (ver-MAY), which is a sterling silver base heavily plated with high-karat (18-22K) gold so it is solid precious metal and has that rich yellow color like museum jewelry.  I love the way it looks with pink, orange, and purple.

Simply Charming Boutique has reopened in its new location (with free parking) and I can’t tell you in words how BEAUTIFUL it is!  My jaw dropped open when I first walked in, partly because it’s an old building with wonderful architectural details, and partly because Brenda has filled it with all kinds of wonderful things.  Go have a look if you’re near Winchester, Virginia!

If you’re not lucky enough to be in the Shenandoah Valley but you want to get details about the pieces, feel free to email me for pricing and availability of any items in the Facets or Elements collections, or you can check out the rest of my jewelry at my Etsy shop.

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Creating a Line

Simply Charming Boutique, the wonderful store downtown where most of my jewelry is for sale, is moving from the Loudon Street Mall around the corner to Picadilly Street.  The owner, Brenda, is expanding her artisan jewelry collection and encouraged me to “have more of a theme” with my collection. 

I am well aware that my style is all over the board, and until now I have kind of just made whatever I feel like.  Over the past six years (has it already been that long?!) I have heard many people suggest having one cohesive “line” each season.  I’ve put it off because I’m into lots of different techniques and styles, so it’s hard for me to pick one or two.  What if I my line doesn’t sell because I chose a style that doesn’t interest people?  I guess I’ll have to risk it.  And for the pieces that don’t fit the look of the current line, I can list them on Etsy for people outside of my little town.

In September when the shop moves I’ll probably have a larger space at the new location, but I don’t want it to be crammed with stuff.  I keep telling myself I can always add to it if pieces sell.  Right now it’s the middle of summer and I took the end of July to brainstorm.  For the first line (“Elements”) I’m going to use mostly metal (instead of stones, pearls, lampwork, etc.) to give me a chance to do some metalwork.  I want it to have a rustic feel: oxidized metalwork, handmade components, a mix of metals, brushed finishes. 

Since becoming a mom my daytime priority has shifted from jewelry to my daughter.  I make jewelry when I have time; usually it’s during her afternoon nap.  (I purposefully keep the lighting in my studio “bad” in order to make myself leave work and have a break when it’s dark outside.)  This week I’m having babysitters come over to play with Olivia in the mornings, which gives me another chunk of time each day and lets me stay focused.  My fingers are constantly black from oxidizing and polishing, but it feels good to have a goal.  I’ll work on the Elements line until it feels like I have enough for a grouping, and hopefully after that I’ll start on a second line: rich, deep colors, faceted stones, chain…  Will keep you posted!

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Spring cleaning

A while ago I posted that I was making changes to the AnneMade Jewelry website.  Some of these were cosmetic with a new font and navigational links, and others were with the content like removing my classes page because right now I’m trying to focus on being a good mom.  (Sorry, ladies!  That was a tough decision.)

I also decided to move all my online jewelry listings to my Etsy shop.  That way I can take advantage of having four or five pictures of a piece so hopefully it’s more clear as far as the scale of each piece and what it looks like from different angles.  I have tried to get web developers to give me that capability within one window on my site, but the bottom line is that Etsy is a good system so I’m going to let them show off my jewelry.  Registration is necessary to purchase a piece, but it’s quick and easy and Etsy is chock full of artisan-made items, everything from aprons to wheel-thrown mugs.

I will still update the Design Archive pages so you can see what I’ve been making and perhaps get ideas for a piece for me to make just for you, like this ring I just made for a gal named Jill.

My jewelry tutorials and jewelry kits are still for sale on the AnneMade Jewelry website, and I’ve been working on some new techniques!

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Quick trip

Steve and I took a quick trip to Delaware this week. I got to visit with Connie at Sparkles Bead Shop a little this morning, which was so precious. Olivia’s sweet little face was even posted on the bulletin board!

I really do miss teaching classes at the shop, and I miss the students and hearing what’s new in their lives and seeing what they make with the techniques they learned in class. Not to mention it got me out of the house.

I work from home and when Steve travels for work I get really starved for conversation. Fortunately my friend Lauren has been helping me out lately, which in turn makes me a lot more productive. (The Laptop Lid Closing plan didn’t stick.) If Lauren is at the computer listing items on Etsy, then I’m relegated to the workbench to work on my fall collection.

Feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you’d like to see, jewelry or tutorials. I appreciate the human contact!