Sometimes it’s the little things…

…that provide a whole lot of joy. In this case it is the feeling of accomplishment. I have finally opened my Etsy shop! [insert me doing a happy dance here] Secondly, thanks to lovely family and friends (who move quickly – thanks guys!), I have made my first two sales.  At this time there is only jewellery, but needle felted items will be added soon.

Look – it’s my site!!

One of the mental barriers I’ve faced (real or imagined) while setting up shop was the issue of mailing items out. Canada Post has a great section on their website regarding sizes/weights/pricing, but it thoroughly overwhelmed me.  Based on an Etsy recommendation I went to the post office with a mock-up of what I would be sending out. The woman who assisted me was incredible. She walked me through a variety of different sending scenarios, and helped me come up with a plan. I’m still not 100% confident – I’d put myself more at 32%, but it’s better than it was.

Today I sent off my first package. The woman at Canada Post decided it was letter mail (she needs to be there every time I send something!) which equals MUCH cheaper shipping costs. During the test run it was a bit of a judgment call as to whether the package was letter mail or not, so I tried to minimize packaging as much as possible, while still keeping it attractive. I have now learned how easy it is to refund excess shipping fees to the purchaser, and I’m feeling great. [insert another happy dance here]

There’s still a lot to learn and do – I found some flaws in the packaging (items always look different when I pack them only in my mind), so I want to figure that out and then prep so packages are easy to assemble.  I’d also like to keep improving my Etsy site with more images in the “About” section and strengthening some of the descriptions.  I have to tell you though, I feel such an incredible lifting of the spirit to have finally gotten motivated enough to take the chance and press the “go live” button, ready or not. I can spend far too long inside my head trying to sort out the best way to do things, but in this case I think it was better to just do them and iron out details as needed.

Thank you to everybody who has been so encouraging and supportive and not nearly as nagging as you could have been – I appreciate you all!

Stampity Stamp

Wow, it has been a very long time since my last post.  First things first, Happy New Year!  Since last writing I’ve taught a couple of Christmas ornament workshops, but alas, I have no pictures to share.  I’ll smarten up on that front!

Now on to the subject at hand – metal stamping. There is so much that can be done with metal stamping… words, images, a combination of the two. Alas, I generally have a tough time figuring out how to make them work properly.

I have a metal stamp with my initials on it to sign my jewellery, as well as a .925 stamp. I have learned not to stamp directly onto the jewellery, as it doesn’t always come through strongly, and there is no way (that I’ve found) to have a decent do-over. Instead I stamp little scraps and attach them. I like the way it looks (very finished), and if it doesn’t work, well, that scrap will become something else.

It would have been very difficult to stamp directly on this piece due to the shape.

It would have been very difficult to stamp directly on to this piece due to the domed shape.

I’m happy to report that I may have figured out how to make the stamp work for me and not against me. I was in the studio the other day, and changed up my hold on the stamp and the hammer I was using, and I was able to (miraculously) produce a very strong image. Yay! Fingers crossed that this is the first of many, and not a once in a lifetime event.

Success!

Success!

I certainly have a new appreciation for those who make stamped jewellery with whole phrases/sentences… it’s not just the lining up of the individual letters that would be tricky (and it would be VERY tricky for someone like me!), but the actual stamping technique.

I think perhaps a course is in my future… I do have some other stamps with patterns on them, and it would be nice to actually put them to use!  Respect the stampers – they’ve got skills!

Salt ‘n Pepper

I love second-hand shopping… UsedVictoria.com is one of my favourite websites, and once again, it did not fail me.

Several of the jewellers/artisans that I admire use recycled sterling silver (or mixed metals) for their jewellery – old spoons, platters, etc.  I decided to take a look on UsedVictoria.com to see if there was anything available at a reasonable price.  Most of the items listed were collectibles, and they had VERY collectible prices.  Tucked in amongst those was this dear salt and pepper set.

Salt and pepper set

Salt and pepper set

The set has very pleasing and intricate cut outs on top, and are dented enough that I don’t feel guilty chopping them up.  I was concerned that they might not be sterling, but they were very inexpensive, so I thought I’d take a chance.  The woman I purchased them from said that they were marked sterling, and sure enough, they are.

Sterling mark

Sterling mark

Now I will be going through my stone collection – I’m picturing a translucent stone, with the silver over the top of the stone, but we’ll see how it goes… plans have a habit of shifting as I work. 😀

Return to Regularly Scheduled Programming

It’s good to be home, and it’s good to be back in the studio!  While I was on vacation I did a fair amount of jewellery designing, and that has continued since I’ve been home.

One of the jewellery ideas I had was around mixed metals.  I’ve always loved combining metals, but due to different melting points, I’ve been very tentative about trying to mix them in the studio – prior to learning any silversmithing I would work with brass and copper, but there was no heat involved – I was hammering it for texture and making wire or wire/sheet jewellery.

I did some reading on soldering copper to sterling silver.  I have lots of scrap copper wire, so I figured I should use it, not just store it.  I thought a bracelet would be a good item to start on – only small areas of soldering, so less worry about making a mess.  I think it worked!  I haven’t finished it yet – I’m going to try wearing it for a day before painting a patina on it, just in case it needs some changes – sometimes the fit can be a little wonky.

Here is how it is looking now… It was a little dim outside when I took the picture, so the colours don’t come through too clearly, but you’ll get the idea.

Copper and Sterling Silver Forged Bracelet

Copper and Sterling Silver Forged Bracelet

How do you feel about mixed metals?  Do you wear them?

Studio fun!

Wow… it has been a long time since my last post, but I’m back in creative-land.  I spent some time in the studio this weekend, and enjoyed it muchly.  A lot of time was spent touching up some older pieces of jewellery – resizing, adding a new patina, that sort of thing. The majority of time was spent turning a pendant into a bracelet.  Here is the pendant:

Flower pendant

Flower pendant

I’ve always liked it, but haven’t worn it in ages. The inspiration for the design was from a picture in one of Lemony Snickett ‘s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books.  There was a picture of a grappling hook that made me want to make jewellery.  My design turned out more like a flower than a mechanical object.

I decided this was a perfect item to set a stone on.  I found a lovely little fluorite cabochon, and after a few missteps, I added on a bezel setting (I am SO out of practice!). I then hunted through my larger scrap bits for silver for the links.  I heated/melted the metal using a process called reticulation… the end result can look like a landscape, and it is totally unpredictable.  Here’s how it turned out:

Flourite and sterling silver bracelet

Flourite and sterling silver bracelet

I tend to make a new piece of jewellery prior to trips… this will be my Via Rail bracelet as the trip I won is coming up soon… yay!