Monday, December 31, 2012

New Design Technique – 2nd Version

For this version, I used smaller beads. The owl represents the wisdom of the ages and the beads represent the blood (red seed beads) and the bones (bone beads) of our ancestors from whence the ancient knowledge originates.

In spite of the fact that I gave myself some extra length of stringing material, I still did not have enough to create the button loop clasp I wanted to. I ended up having to connect it with a square knot. It will fit over my head for wearing though. *smile*

Close-up of Owl Pendant
I'm now looking around for other pendants to make more necklaces using this same basic design technique. I'll be keeping the above necklace for myself.

New Design Technique

I have been needing to revitalize my creative flow for some time. The time is at hand now. There are several design techniques that I have seen online or in magazines I'm subscribed to and I want to experiment with them as the old year ends and the new one begins.

The first one was inspired by a tutorial on Artisan Whimsy. Click here to see that post. You can see the similar elements below...

My Design

Original Design

I adapted the design to fit with stringing material and beads that I had at hand. I used 1 mm waxed cotton cord and random glass beads left from other projects.  I miscalculated the amount of string I required so did not have enough to complete it as I wanted to.  Overall, I'm happy with the first attempt though.

Close Up of Owl Pendant
I really like this owl pendant so will be taking this necklace apart and re-engineering it with different beads and components. I'll post it when completed.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stay In Touch With Friends

When friends move away, it's hard to keep in touch with them. You both get busy with your separate lives and don't have the time to catch up with each other. Nonetheless, it's important to keep in touch with friends. Here are some ideas for keeping in touch with them.

1 - Call often. Simply pick up the phone and call whenever you can - it doesn't have to be a long phone call.  Just a quick 5 minute call can get you caught up with your pal, and he or she will know you were thinking of them. Let her know that you want to know what's going on with her. They're probably interested to hear about what you’re up to, too!

2 - Write letters. It is fun to get mail, and sometimes letters can be a great way to let your pal know what's going on with you. Not sure where to start? It's easy! Tell them how much you miss them, and then tell them all about what's going on in your life. Don't be afraid of being boring...if they know exactly what's up, they'll feel closer to you. 

3 - Send cards. They are easily accessible, and it's a simple way to let your friend know your thinking about them. Pick something that you think will make them laugh, or one with heartfelt sentiments that describe your friendship.

 4 - Send gifts in the mail! Baking, books, magnets, bookmarks, jewelry, games, pictures and videos of you and your family and friends...anything goes! Sometimes the littlest things can show that you care the most - just inexpensive trinkets that show that you're thinking of your friend!

 5 - E-mail or chat online. Make sure you both have e-mail addresses, and you're all set! E-mailing your pals is a great and helpful way to stay in touch with each other. Use instant messengers such as MSN to your advantage, by talking to all your pals at once! Whenever you switch on the computer, be sure to check your in-box of updates!

6 - Use Skype. With Skype, you can video conference with people who live far away from you. Just get a camera for your computer!

Take a moment, as the new year begins, to get in touch with someone who is or has been important in your life.  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Focusing on Life, 2013

The Studio Sublime is a blog I'm subscribed to.  The blogger, Sally, has thrown out a challenge to all those interested in picking up the gauntlet...or should I say, the focus on life through photographs in 2013.  

For 52 weeks, one photo a week, we will capture a moment in our life inspired by a weekly prompt sent to us by e-mail.   We will journey down the road of 2013 together; encouraging, comforting and inspiring each other along the way.

The photos will be posted every Saturday beginning on January 5th.  I look forward to participating in this year long adventure.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Pantone Colour of 2013 - Emerald

"The most abundant hue in nature, the human eye sees more green than any other colour in the spectrum. As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emeral brings sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today's complex world. This powerful and universally-appealing tone translate easily to both fashion and home interiors."

- Leatrice Elseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute®

I look forward to incorporating the Pantone colour of the year, along with all the co-ordinating colours, in my designs next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hand Symbolism & Giveaway

Many early cultures adopted the hand as their icon for protection, while others used the eye to ward off negative emotions like jealously, hatred and envy.  Over time, the most popular universal symbol for protection became an eye centred in the palm of a hand.

The hand represents a pledge of faith, sincerity and justice.  It is symbolic of support and strength.  In the Celtic tradition, the hand is connected to power, rulership and authority.

In other ancient societies, the hand was symbolic of spiritual power.  Hands are thought to hold energetic power, transforming it into the world of form.

There are some common attributes associated with the left hand and the right hand.

Left Hand
Right Hand

We should all be mindful which hand we use, depending on the intent we wish to convey.  That simple act and awareness will reap you amazing results.

Here’s what you have been waiting for, the giveaway.  The first three people who leave a comment on this post will receive the pewter hand pendant above.  Make sure that I have a way to contact you to get your mailing address.  I do have a few other hand pendants for sale at $5 each, plus shipping.  Please let me know if you are interested.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Purchasing Supplies From Overseas

It really is a crap shoot when you purchase products online from overseas.  In the last couple of years, there has been both good and bad experiences when bringing in supplies from off-shore companies.

My dealings with a company in the Philippines that sells wood beads were very positive.  The service was fast and friendly.  My shipment arrived in a timely manner.  And, best of all, the beads were as represented & described on their website. They even sent me a sample pack of other beads they carry, free of charge.  I understand that they were just trying to encourage me to buy more beads, but it was still a nice gesture.  A great way to garner customer loyalty and repeat orders.

Purchasing gemstone beads from a company in China did not elicit the same kind of positive experience. The shipment came quick enough but the yellow jade beads were dyed, not natural. Nowhere in the product description on the website did it say the beads were dyed. The photo posted and what I received were not the same. I felt that it would be more trouble than it was worth to try to send them back, so I kept the beads and used them for something other than what I’d wanted them for in the first place.  

I recently found a company in Thailand that sells the type of pendant I have been looking for to use on my prayer beads. The minimum order was $100, a minimum of 10 of any one design. And because the pendants are so inexpensive, I had to order 80 of them to reach the minimum order (8 different designs, 10 of each).

Unfortunately, there was no description of the individual pendants online, only a small thumbnail of each, and hence no way of knowing how big or small they were.  Sometimes, I had no idea what they were even representing, they only had a part number listed.

I placed the order and my confirmation comes back with two shipping options.

- UPS at $62, 3-5 day delivery time
- Regular Post at $43, 2-3 month delivery time

I didn't want to wait so I chose UPS.  The package arrived quickly, as promised, but with $34 in brokerage fees to pay before they would release the package to me. Now, those inexpensive pendants end up not so inexpensive after all.

To add insult to injury, the pendant I like the best (and the most expensive design) is the worst quality. The metal is so thin that they bend when you look at them and are totally unusable for anything.  The rest of the pendants are thick enough to be stable but two of the designs are so large that they will not work for my prayer beads.  The fine details on another design are not very well defined. It looks like the mold is worn out and should have been replaced a while ago. 

Once again, I don't feel that submitting a complaint will be worth my time & effort, so I will make the best of the pendants I can use.  Hopefully, I can recoup my investment with the sale of prayer beads.  

I'm not saying that I will never buy products from on off-shore company again but I'm certainly more hesitant about it. Has anyone else had similar experiences? Perhaps we can lament together.  *smile*

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More On The Design Process

In March 2012, I was looking at the design process through the eyes of Jessica Stoops who had just won an Editor’s Choice award in a contest sponsored by my favourite magazine, Jewelry Stringing. You can see my original post here.

Today, I came across a blog post Jessica wrote on Artisan Whimsy, a social networking site for jewelry designers. Her post is titled, “My Steps For Designing a Necklace”, and it further examines this process.

She makes it seem so easy. Why do I struggle with it? This is an ongoing dilemma for me. 

Jessica's five easy steps to designing a necklace sound simple enough. Do I over-think the whole process? Am I too much of a 'perfectionist'? Perhaps I'm just not as creative as I'd like to be?

Anyway, I am going to sit down and work through all the steps as she lays them out. I hope to have one piece completed to show you by next weekend.  Wish me luck!

Friday, November 30, 2012

November Challenge – Winner’s Designs

Six names were drawn from the hat, and five people stepped up to claim their prize.  Each package contained 8 pink Swarovski faceted beads (8mm) and one Swarovski clasp to match.

Robin was delighted when she received her package.  She loves crystals and she loves pink.  She wanted the crystals to be the most predominant feature of her piece.  She actually came up with two different designs, taking the first one apart to create the second one.

Design #1

Close Up - Design #1

I like how she contrasted the blue and silver elements with the pink crystals allowing them to stand out, front & centre.

Design #2

Close Up - Design #2

You can see more of Robin's work on Facebook, Pinterest, or on her blog.


Pink and sliver are two colors that Zoe normally doesn't work with. So it took her awhile to figure out what she wanted to do with her challenge kit.  She experimented with 3 different designs before coming up with "Pink Bubbles". This silver fish got into the champagne and is now blowing pink bubbles. 

Pink Bubbles - Close Up

Pink Bubbles - Full View

To see more of Zoe's work, check out her blog and her Etsy shop.


Kashmira really wanted to use each and every piece in the package she received from me.  She also wanted to challenge herself to make a bracelet since she struggles with them.  She was determined to overcome that mental block.  It did not turn out to her complete satisfaction, but she is reasonably pleased with the end result. Next, she made some very simple earrings for herself and she used part of the toggle to make a tiny pendant for a necklace.  Now, when she wears pink, and needs something dainty to accessorize her outfit, she will have this set.  It will become a staple for her.

Kashmira's Designs

Take a look at Kashmira's blog and her shop to see more of her work.


When Lisa opened her challenge kit with the pretty pink beads, her first thought was to create a winter themed bracelet with icy white crystals.  Then, she remembered that she had some beautiful collage beads with Japanese paper made by the talented Jeannie Dukic!  They were a perfect match for the pink beads!  The focal bead for the bracelet is a dyed agate. The bracelet and matching earrings have a "feminine, floral" vibe to them. She named the set "Winter Blooms".  

Winter Blooms Earrings

Winter Blooms Bracelet

Go to Lisa's website/shop or her blog to see more of her designs.


Gail made some earrings with her challenge kit.  Aren't they adorable?  They look like they'd be fun to wear.

Gail's Flower Earrings

You can see more of Gail's work on her Etsy Shop.

Thanks are extended to everyone who entered the Giveaway Challenge.  I wish you could all have won!  The November winners did a fabulous job and came up with some very different designs.  This was so much fun that I will have another giveaway challenge in the new year!  Stay tuned to my blog for details.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Techniques: Embellishing Chain

I was flipping through an old issue of a jewelry magazine this weekend and picked up a tip on a new technique to embellish chain.  By weaving lace, cord or ribbon in the chain you can get a whole new look and change it from mundane to magnificent.

Here's what I started with...a simple antique brass chain and a carnelian doughnut pendant.

By weaving some mustard coloured wax cotton cord in and out, I got a whole different effect...

I can't say that I'm totally happy with the end results, but it's a first attempt using this technique and I learned a few lessons.

I will weave the cord through first, then attach the pendant separately next time, for sure.  The weight of the pendant is pulling too much on the cord.

The cord is knotted close to the clasp and a bit of jewelry cement holds it secure.  Very easy and simple technique with hundreds of possible variations.  I'll be trying this again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Memories & Thanks Blog Hop

I signed for a very special blog hop that will be happening on January 12, 2013.  The idea originated with Lori Anderson as way to express gratitude for a friend who passed away unexpectedly.

How often do we let an opportunity to say thank you to someone come and go without action?  How often do we regret not saying it when we could?

So, this blog hop is for those people in our lives who mean a lot to us.  We will each create a piece of jewelry that tells the story and reflects the personality, likes and dislikes of that special person.  Then, we will share our creations and stories on the day of the blog hop.

To read about Lori’s friend, Marianna, check out her post.  If you would like to participate in the blog hop, you will find out how to sign up there.

Don't put off until tomorrow what you could do today...say thank you to someone special in your life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Personal Touch

I've thought about it and decided to maintain my blog as part personal, part business related.  My art is a reflection of me, and I want people to see that.  Some may not agree with that approach but that is what feels right to me.

My opening statement required a little revamping.  One of my main goals has always been to introduce prayer & meditation beads to people of all faiths & traditions.  That information had been added on the front page.

You may notice that I've added links to my Twitter and Facebook, as well as, a link to my Etsy shop along the right hand side of this blog.  I want there to be multiple ways for someone to contact me or see my work.

I've rearranged all the gadgets too.  The blog archive is now near the bottom, while the links and Follow Me are at the top.  I noticed that is how many other bloggers do it and it makes good sense, now that I think about it.

Please let me know what you think of the changes. Comments are welcome & appreciated.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why Am I Blogging?

I have not been utilizing my blog to the full extent that I could or should be. I know that. So, it's time to sit down and determine exactly what I want to accomplish with it.

When I set up my blog, I had a clear purpose in mind as you can see in my opening statement.

“Highlighting Jasper Moon’s upcoming events & new products, plus sharing timely crafts & recipes, special offers or coupons, workshop ideas & updates and a few other tidbits of interest that cross my desk or my mind.”

I originally wanted it to be a ‘personal’ blog, not strictly a ‘business’ blog.  It was my intention to post at least 3-4 times per week.  Where I’ve fallen short is in the implementation.

There’s always a reason to ‘put it off to another day’…not enough time, too tired, can’t think of anything to write about, downright laziness sometimes (I can admit that).  Well, that is about to change.

If I’m serious about promoting and growing my jewelry business I have to stop making excuses and get working on it.  The blog is just one of many tools I can use to do that but that is what I’m focusing on today.

What DO I want to accomplish here?  Should I change directions and make the blog strictly a business forum?  What is the best approach?  Over the next few days, I will be examining these questions and many more, trying to refine my purpose and direction.

I hope you join me on this journey and feel free to offer suggestions or comments during the process.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Retail Outlet: The Crystal Dawn

Established in 1997, The Crystal Dawn has been supplying crystals, stones and many forms of metaphysical, spiritual & wellness products to the Ottawa & surrounding area.  They are located at 217 Dalhousie Street in Ottawa and can be reached at (613) 241-2262 or via email.

Recently, the owner of this shop contacted me expressing an interest in carrying my Tree of Life pendants.  After an e-mail exchange discussing price and materials, Mary placed her first order!

If you live in the Ottawa area, you can now find my work at The Crystal Dawn.  Their website is under construction but there is a link to subscribe to their monthly newsletter there. You can also 'Like' them on Facebook.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beadwork As a Spiritual Practice

Glass beads were first imported to France from Italy in the 14th century, and the early French settlers brought them to North America and introduced them to the Aboriginals in the 16th century.  Seed beads & smaller beads began to be used as embellishment on ritual objects from the early 1800s, hence, the practice of beading itself took on an important spiritual significance.

This form of artwork was a common way for them to express their spiritual beliefs, merging them with their culture and customs.  Bold solid colours, such as brilliant blues to represent the sky, yellows for the sun, reds & greens to represent plants & flowers, and browns for the soil were most frequently used. Aboriginals have always been closely in touch with nature and had a deep respect for it.

We can all incorporate many of the Aboriginal traditions in our own beadwork (or whatever art form we practice).  It was and is a common practice to include prayer as part of their beading rituals.  You can too.  Transform the time spent doing beadwork into a spiritual retreat.  It is an excellent approach to mindful meditation.  

To begin, light some incense or a candle, put on some relaxing music, and take a moment to clear your mind.  Focus on your connection to a higher power.  Allow spirit to flow through you.  You should never bead when you are sad or angry or depressed.  Your negative emotions will be reflected in your work.  Don't worry, 'bead' happy.  Your finished product will shine and so will you!

Another Native American beading tradition is to always include a 'spirit bead' in their work.  It's a bead that is the wrong colour, shape or size that is added somewhere in a piece of beadwork as a way to honor the Great Spirit & express humility.   A spirit bead is a reminder to the world that nothing created by human hands can be perfect. Quilters often intentionally incorporate an upside down or off-colour patch of fabric for the same reason.  

Most importantly, remember that creating art is a journey, not a destination! Don't stress yourself out. Allow 'spirit' to guide you in directions you never imagined or considered. Flow with the inspiration. Amazing creations will emerge!

Monday, October 22, 2012

And the Winners Are...

The draw for the November Giveaway Challenge has been done.  Congratulations to the following people...

Gail Accinelli
Kashmira Patel
Pine Ridge Treasures
Lori Schneider
Lady Grey
Robin Reed

Please contact me privately with your mailing address so that I can get your package out to you as soon as possible.  (bonnie at jasper-moon dot ca)

The clasp and small selection of beads are meant to inspire you.  This will leave you open to incorporating a number of elements from your own stash to create a unique, one-of-a-kind sensation.

Once you design and execute a piece of jewelry using all the components you receive in your package, send me a photo or two of your creation to post on my blog on November 30th.  Tell me about your creative process and how you came to make your piece.

When you send your photos to me by e-mail, please include a link to your blog, Etsy shop, website, etc.  I will add those to my blog post also.

I hope that those of you who did not win this draw will enter again next time. These giveaway challenges are going to become a regular event, probably four times a year.  Thanks for participating!