Saturday, December 24, 2011

New Treasury Featuring Yours Truly!

I had thought to have my last post be the post that stayed up over Christmas, but then I got a lovely notice saying that I had been featured in a treasury with other fine Etsy artists in this beautiful, holiday inspired treasury, featuring some beautiful items.

I thought I'd share, in the spirit of Christmas :)

"Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand." - How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 1966

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas! Season's Greetings!

A huge Merry Christmas to everyone! Thank you so much for brightening my year with your views and comments. You mean the world to me, and I look forward to blogging to you next year and beyond. I have lots planned for the future - style advice, new jewellery pieces, Arwednesdays, how-to's, treasuries, features and much more. Please keep coming back and please give me your feedback so I know what you want to see.

Wishing you the best of the season, see you in a few days,

and Arwen the Wonder Dog

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What is Gold filled?

I thought I'd take a little break from my usual posts and tell you a little about some of the metals I use in my jewelry. Gold filled is one of the metals I use, usually yellow 14 karat gold filled wire and components. This is an excerpt from Otto Frei's website:
Yellow Gold Filled and White Gold Filled are man made metal products produced in the United States. They are vastly superior to any kind of gold plated product, making for a longer lasting and durable jewelry product.
Simply put, a layer of solid gold, either 12K (50% pure gold) gold or 14K (.585% pure gold) but at least 10K (.417% pure gold) is mechanically bonded with heat to a thicker piece of base metal. The gold layer is fused to the base metal, resulting in a product that has all the beauty of its actual karat gold plus long lasting resistance to wear.  The finished product must be by weight 1/20 (5%) solid 12K or 14K gold by weight or in the case of 10K GF, 1/10 (10%) solid 10K.  This process was invented in the United States and used extensively in the manufacture of pocket watch cases, many of which are still gleaming bright a hundred years after they rolled off the production line. (continued below)
Gold Filled mill product is made in a variety of flat sheet and wire shapes and sizes. The stock products are used by large findings and chain manufactures using specialized equipment to create finished products.  Otto Frei sells 1/20 12K Yellow Gold Filled wire in even number wire gauges form 16 to 24 by the half ounce package. Because this is raw material, it is not required by law to be stamped 1/20 12K, as such markings can only be made after a piece is fabricated.  We also sell a wide variety of YGF and WGF findings including many styles of YGF bulk and finished chain. 
WGF product will usually always be Rhodium plated, as the beautiful yellow of pure gold will always want to show through a white gold alloy, no matter how much Nickel or Silver is added to pure gold to make it appear white.  
Rolled Gold or Rolled Gold Plate is similar to Gold Filled, but have far less gold by weight, usually around 1/60 12K by weight.

When I make my jewelry, I use 14 karat gold filled wire and components whenever possible. It is much more expensive than gold plate, but the gold will last for years with gold filled, versus months or weeks or days with gold plate. In the case of jewelry, you really do get what you pay for :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Photography Comparisons

Oh my gosh, where has the time gone? Between buying presents, wrapping said presents, baking, cleaning, jewelry-making, inventorying (see previous post, and no, I'm still not done, grrr), and general it's-running-down-to-Christmas-oh-my-gosh-I'm-not-ready-yet the time has just flown by, and I can't believe it's been so long since my last blog post!
I have a question. I've noticed that, since switching to a neutral background, my sales have dropped. Like, a lot. I realize the economy is in the hole (to put it politely), but I have a sneaking suspicion that my photos are part of the problem (with my sales, not with the economy). So I have decided to let YOU tell me which you prefer. I've been going through many jewelry catalogues and seeing how they do their photography, and though I love the look of a white background (which many top jewelry stores, like Tiffany and Birk's, use), I am not sure if it really suits my style of jewelry-making.
So, without further adieu, I give you a bracelet, done on a plain neutral-white background, and then the same bracelet done with some photo styling, color matching and fabrics to create a different feel.
The question is, what do you think? Which do you prefer, and why? Which one makes you want to buy the bracelet more, and why?
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your feedback.
Have a great day!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Inventory FAIL

 Okay, here's why I don't do inventory. See, back 4 years ago when I started getting into jewelry making (again), I bought all sorts of beads. I am good with keeping receipts, and making sure that I don't spend more than I make (usually - oops). But I never did a real, physical inventory. I know how much I mark things up, so I generally know how much stock I should have. But I never counted the beads and supplies that I bought as I went along, nor did I subtract the beads and supplies I used as I went along.
Then I got a new spreadsheet software program.
It requires that I start with a complete inventory.
So, for the last four days, my ADHD brain and I have been having little battles all over my office (which, incidentally, is still pretty messy since my last office posting in July, I know. Bad!). You see, one of the main reasons I don't do inventory is that, with ADHD, I get distracted.
Really distracted.
Any noise, bird flying past my window or dog fart (all too depressingly common) will stop me in my tracks. I get distracted by email and general useful and useless internet searching (such as, "best bead storage systems", or, "How can I count inventory without actually counting it?").
So far, I'm about a quarter of the way through and my inventory says that I have 177 different types of inventory (read: beads, findings, stringing wire, etc), and over 30, 056 items counted. Yes, I have actually counted over 30,000 individual things.
Mostly... I can weigh my seed beads, for example, to get pretty accurate counts (I am NOT counting 10,000-plus tiny beads that I can barely SEE, let alone keep in a neat little pile), but most of the time I'm actually counting the little bug - er - beads and things.
Most of the time.
Part of the challenge of doing inventory is that I have all of these nice, shiny, new beads (when they get put into a storage cabinet for a while, and then you pull them out again, they are like hidden treasures, being unearthed for the first time), and when I take them out, I can't help but notice how pretty, say, the moonstone beads look against the rhodonite beads. And how pretty they would be strung with a nice 14 karat gold toggle clasp and 14 karat gold finishing beads. Then my ADHD brain takes over and tells me that it really won't take that long to make one simple (albeit stunning, if I do say so myself!) necklace.
In the middle of doing inventory.
 Never mind that I haven't tallied my toggle clasp or gold beads. I just decided to skip a bunch of spaces that will hold beads in my spreadsheet, count and record the interminably small, frustrating gold beads (while starting to fidget and string the moonstone and rhodonite beads), count and record the clasp and nylon-covered steel beading wire (nothing but the best and strongest for you, my dears), and GET CREATING!!
What started out as an, "It won't take that long" project - you can see in the first photo the disaster of my desk and the starting of this new necklace on the bead board - turned into a couple of hours of bead-play time. I don't mind. The necklace was definitely worth it - it was so much fun to make, and turned out so well, that I think the time was well used (and besides, don't I deserve a little break for working like one of Santa's elves??)
This necklace, entitled Marie Antoinette Raspberry Ice Necklace, is the newest piece in my NeoAmour collection and is available in my Etsy shop here:
Please let me know what you think, I really value your opinions :)
Have a great day. Oh, and if you don't hear from me for a bit, could you please send a search party in to my office? It may be that I got lost in beads....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Toy!

 Oh let me show you my new toy! Brenna got this for me for our anniversary in September as our old digital point-and-shoot will only take about 3 photos now before you have to change the batteries (which are not rechargeable and that makes me mad!). He got this one for a really great price and I have to say I am totally smitten with it :)
 Many of the photos posted on the blog recently have been taken with the new camera, it is so tiny and easy to carry with me everywhere, I take it on walks with Arwen, and even just when I go to the end of the driveway to get mail. This little guy was waiting near my front step when I came back from getting the mail a few weeks ago. The viewfinder on the back of the camera is huge, which makes for very easy picture taking (no more squinting and then having to use extra eye cream on that eye to remove all of the extra wrinkles afterwards - score!).
Here's another shot I took on the last weekend of the farmers' market in June. I love how crisp the colors are - it makes everything really pop!
Anyway, enough bragging, just had to show you all the great little camera :)
Soon I'll be showing you some new pieces of jewelry (don't think I've stopped that, I'm just catching up on some major photo-taking!). Stay tuned for new pieces!

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This is now a copy of my main blog, Little Studio Photography and Jewellery If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will gladly try to answer it :)