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!