DoubleWave Pearl Cuff

DoubleWave Pearl Cuff

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Red, White, and Blue!

I have a couple of students that provide a lot of inspiration.  They are the two Shellies.  Shelli Keller and Shelley Herbin. They take most of my classes and are a lot of fun to have in class.  And double the fun when they take a class together.  Shellie Herbin took my first Infinity pendant class.  She made her pendant in copper with beautiful Padparaschda and Golden Shadow Swarovski, along with bronze pearls.  Using copper for the armature and the pearls on the bottom half was a true inspiration.  She also said she thought she add a crystal drop to the top half.  Unfortunately, I haven't seen her since she finished it and she hasn't sent me a pic! (Hint, hint)  The original sample is the one in the middle on Silver-filled wire.  This is a replica of the one I made for Andrea at Christmas time.  The blue one on the left is Shelli Keller's.  She used Montana AB rounds and bicones, along with dark blue pearls.  She's my color guru.  She has an innate sense of color and whenever I'm stuck, she helps out.  So when we had class, she ran around BBW grabbing colors that she thought would work for me.  I love the burgundy, and Satin Rose combo.  This pic doesn't do justice to these pieces, but when you see them in person, they are fab!  Thanks to my groupies....Shelli & Shelley!  Anyone else game?  Send me a pic of what you've done with your piece.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Buy Smart!

Purple Haze sunset over Orange, California

You've all heard the real estate adage "Location, location, location"!  In the world of jewelry design and production it's all about resourcing.  I'm a proponent of supporting local bead stores in Orange County.  Actually, in all truthfulness, I'd support a bead store just about anywhere, in any vicinity that I happen to find myself.  Yes, it's an obsession, but it's particularly important to shop locally.  For one thing, it keeps a percentage of the sales tax in your own locale.  Secondly, it keeps businesses open that are a vital resource for so many of us.  The product offerings and classroom instruction are a relatively inexpensive form of therapy (physical and mental) and keep most of us happy and connected to other Crafters that appreciate and understand the importance and cultural significance of handcrafting.  Yet we've seen numerous stores close due to a lackluster economy, joblessness, Internet competition, increasing costs, and sometimes poor business planning.  It is always sad when a store closes, and the trickle down effect can be disastrous.  Understandably, there is only so much money to go around.  Buying smart and having a plan is your best bet.  Like my last blog about mise-en-place, planning your purchases by the project will be the biggest aid in managing your resources.  Buy the smallest quantity you can get away with for that given project.  Remember, anything you don't use in the project will have to be stored, and in a sense is wasted money.  I'd rather buy as much as I need for the project and reserve the rest of the money for the next design.  If you tend to purchase from the Internet because you find it convenient or for the best pricing, instead consider buying with a group of bead buddies and buy in bulk in local stores that offer bulk discounts or tiered pricing.  Or in the very least, shop with a friend and split strands or quantities.  Instead of crafting in Sterling Silver if that's prohibitive, try Silver-filled wire and/or sheet.  Or, craft in copper.  Copper's been a hot material for some time and is truly inexpensive.  It's very forgiving and looks beautiful when combined with most colors of beads.  Buying locally means not having to wait for product to arrive, and there isn't a shipping charge.  Some would argue that the cost of gas is probably the same, but the advantage is you have your product in hand.  Let's try to support our local bead stores as much as possible and be a little more creative with buying strategies (i.e., exhibit control when entering a bead store).  So what's the significance of the pretty pic above?  It's to remind you not to get caught in a hazy daze after entering a store and then feign innocence when the hubby mines your stash cabinet (or closet) and finds your cache! Just be smart about it and shop locally as much as possible.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


What is Mise-en-Place (meez en plas)?  It's a french cooking term that means "have everything in place".  You've seen those cooking shows where the chefs have all the little bowls with different, pre-measured ingredients in them ready to use when they start to cook, right?  It's not just for show.  It really makes sense to have all the elements of a recipe in place before you start.  How many times have you started to follow a recipe when you suddenly discover that you don't have one of the ingredients?  And this always happens when you have something disgusting on your hands like the turkey meatloaf you've already started to mix by hand.  The same thing goes for making jewelry.  A good execution of design is to have all your parts ready to go before you even start.  There are some students that like to work off of a spool of wire, rather than pre-cutting the wire ahead of time.  I like to start my projects with everything cut and ready to go.  It's not much different than prepping for a class ahead of time.  All of my classes at the Pasadena Bead and Design Show include everything a student needs to take a class, including the use of tools.  No need to lug all your tools when you attend the show.  My student Cathy Burton wanted to bring her own tools, but promised me she wouldn't be bringing a U-Haul or something to that effect!  The Climbing Vine Bronze Bangle (in the violets) is my newest addition to the class roster for the Pasadena show this July 26th through the 29th.  This twice a year show is one of the best local shows for classes and materials, as well as finished goods by an impressive roster of artisans and well known instructors.  Plenty to ogle, buy and have a great time in a great, air-conditioned venue.  I hope one of my classes is on your list of things to do this summer!