Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pinterest - The New Way to Find Information

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post on the same topic on odd months and on even months we take on a Pinterest Challenge where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, creating something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then posting about it. You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here

This month's topic:  December 
Pinterest Challenge

For this month's synchroblog each blogger is to find an item from Pinterest, try it and blog the results.  Well, I have tried a few Pinterest recipes and such, but I didn't take pictures or notes, so, I had to come up with something else. I spoke in a previous post about Pinterest providing a lot of inspiration for my jewelry, but it also provides a lot of  links to information and instruction. 

I love finding charts showing lengths to cut ring shanks for specific sizes, comparison sizing in millimeters, so I can get an idea of a stones size, drill bit sizing, saw blade sizing, etc.  All of those things come in very handy.  I use at least one of them every time I'm at the bench.

Millimeter Reference Chart                                         Ring Blank Sizing Chart

8mm Labradorite Ring

From this first chart, I can tell that the stones in these rings are a little bit larger than a pencil eraser.

17mm Amethyst Ring

And, this stone is approximately the size of a dime.

The second chart shows the length your ring stock needs to be cut for specific sizes.

It is always amazing to me the amount of information available on the web, and the ways that Pinterest has enabled that information to be more easily found.

Finally, there is this pin, showing my sentiments to all of you!

Friday, November 15, 2013

November Synchroblog: My Studio

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post on the same topic on odd months and on even months we take on a Pinterest Challenge where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, creating something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then posting about it. You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here

This month's topic:  Studio/Home Tour

Ha. It's not really a "studio", it's actually a corner in a bedroom.  The desk was my grandmother's and I really like using something of hers.  She was a fan of well made jewelry and I hope my designs would be something she liked.


I placed a piece of plywood on top of the desk to protect the surface a bit and to provide a place to clamp my bench pin and flax shaft hanger.  I am considering adding height by making a frame of 1x6's and a smaller piece of plywood on top of that. Doing so would allow me to put my bench pin directly in front of me, but I don't think it would let me use my saw.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September Synchroblog -- Inspiration

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post on the same topic on odd months and on even months we take on a Pinterest Challenge where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, creating something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then posting about it. You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here

This month's topic:September
“My inspiration comes from…” 

This is a much tougher question for me than it probably should be.  As I have stated before, I never considered myself artistic.  The part of metalsmithing that I enjoy the most is the construction, design is the part that I am trying to learn.

At this point, I guess most of my inspiration comes from other jewelry.  I have been making simple stacking rings and wire earrings.  There really isn't any design in these pieces, I just put them together.

I actually have a Pinterest board of Jewelry to Inspire that contains the designs of others that I like.  As you can probably tell from the name of my business, I prefer designs that are simple rather than fussy.  I am learning to draw and using those designs as a starting point.  Fortunately, I have associated myself with some amazing designers to get inspiration from.  Be sure to check out their blogs to find what inspires them. 

As a follow up from my last post regarding ArtFire, I have had more views in ArtFire than Etsy for the same period, however, no favorites or purchases.  I'll keep going and see what happens.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Giving ArtFire a shot

With all the changes Etsy has been making, I have decided to give ArtFire a trial.  I have not closed my Etsy shop.

It's not that I don't like Etsy.  Quite the opposite, actually.  Overall I think they do a great job for the independent artist.  I do have concerns, however, with the constant "testing" the site is doing and with their attitude that every engineer employed there can implement a test at any time.  I'm afraid the constant change will have a negative effect on customers as well as my shop's ability to be found.  Then there is the constant Etsy problem with re-sellers.

Let me know what you think. Simple Design Jewelry

Monday, July 15, 2013

July Artists Synchroblog - Morning Bird or Night Owl?

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post on the same topic on odd months and on even months we take on a Pinterest Challenge where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, creating something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then posting about it. You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here

This month's topic:
Which are you - a Morning Bird or a Night Owl?  

Do you roll out of bed in the morning rip roaring and ready to go? Or do you stumble eyes shut to the coffee pot growling at anyone in your way?
Are you in bed before the sun goes down? Or do you burn the midnight oil?

This is a tougher question than one might think.  I tend to be a night owl, if given the chance, but when I am working a regular job, I definitely get more done in the morning.  Strange.

As far as jewelry goes, I can really only work in the afternoons or at night.  I live with other people and have to be considerate of their schedules.  Also, I am on the 2nd floor of the house so I can't bang around too much.

So, I guess the answer is:  Yes!  I am a Morning Bird and a Night Owl.

Here is what I have been working on (in the afternoons and at night):

These rings are larger than my normal stacking rings and I hope they attract more attention.  They are really substantial and I like them even better.

Be sure to read these other Synchrobloggers.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A new ring

This is the result of the recent class I have been taking  at my local community college. I learned several tips from this class and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tonight I am hoping to get at least one pair of earrings made from these beautiful Tiger Eyes.

 Hopefully I will have photos of the earrings soon!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Some New Listings and Some New Orders

I have just listed some new stacking rings, without stones this time.

As you can see, I have also been playing with Liver of Sulphur oxidizing.

My class is going very well.  I learned how to polish last week.  The funny part is, while I was waiting for the instructor to show us the polishing machine I just kept sanding the ring I had with smaller grit sandpaper.  By the time we went to the polisher, the ring had been sanded with 12,000 grit and looked great.  Once it was polished it was beautiful.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures before it went out.  I will try to remember from now on.

The day that ring went out I also sent out another.  Normally I am not able to get a ring out the day after it was ordered, but this was a special situation.  The order came in at 11:00 P.M. my time on Sunday night, along with a note saying that is was for the person's sister who had just lost her baby.  The baby's funeral is Saturday and she wanted her sister to be able to wear it.  The ring is a pearl stacking ring, June's birthstone.  The story broke my heart and you can't imagine the love and tears that went into that ring.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Narrow Stacking Rings - Again

Well, I finally got some of the Narrow Stacking Rings photographed and listed.  I learned my lesson.  Of course, I couldn't simply make the rings, I had to hammer some, oxidize some, and leave some alone.  I love the look of the Freshwater Pearl ring, with its hammered and oxidized band.  I really love the photo with the black rocks.  What do you think?  By the way, Pearl is the birthstone for June.

Here is a shot showing all of the new rings.  They have not all been listed yet, but I am getting favorited on Etsy.  I love this picture.  The colors are so pretty.

I started my class on Saturday.  This will be fun!  I am planning on making a ring and a pair of earrings, both from the new stones that came in.  I am going to use the Amethyst for the ring, probably with some silver balls on the bezel, and a pair of the Tiger Eye for the earrings.  I have been using premade bezels so I am looking forward to learning to make them.  I am hoping to improve my soldering skills and learn to properly finish and polish.

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Stones

I got an order of stones in last week and can't wait to do something with them.  These beauties came from Eagle Gems on Etsy (

 I'm trying to decide whether to wait for my class to start or just jump in and start playing now.  There may be a little of each.

Aren't they pretty!

Hope all of you in the US had a great holiday weekend and remembered to stop a moment and remember those who served for our freedom.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Things are slow

Boy are they.  I have not had a sale for over a month, if not longer.  I admit, I haven't really done much on  Etsy, either, so that may be the cause.

I am starting a class at my local community college on June 1, so maybe I will have some inspiration after that.  I am really excited to get some real training.  Hope I don't have too many bad habits to break!

In the mean time, I am job hunting.  Anyone looking for a bookkeeper with an AAS in Information Technology?

Everyone says blogs need pictures, so I present another picture of the grandsons.  Aren't they darling?


Hope to have something interesting later this week.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May Synchroblog - Words Have Meaning

The Artists Synchroblog (May) – The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest Project where we each take inspiration from a pinterest picture, create something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it.  The theme for May is "WORDS HAVE MEANING “A quote to live by/favorite saying”"

Shut up.
I love this saying and try to live by it.  It reminds us that listening is more important than speaking in most situations.  It is impossible to learn anything new if the only sounds come from your mouth. (Another saying I try to live by).

In jewelry news, still working on the narrow stacking rings. (Another Lesson Learned)

Also, since my plans on Sunday to see Iron Man 3 with my son got changed, we will be going on Thursday night.  I can't wait!

Please visit the other bloggers this month:

Monday, May 13, 2013

My daughter gives me the best presents.

Not a lot of time for jewelry this weekend.  The reason:

My daughter gives me the best presents.  On my birthday in 2009, she gave me my first grandson.

 Liam Riley  October 2010 and May 2013

This is my Mother's Day gift this year.  Grandson number two.

Landon James May 12, 2013

Thanks Kate.  I love you.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Another Lesson Learned

Although I haven't made a lot of sales, I definitely have a best seller.  It is the black onyx ring shown below.

I have sold 4 of these rings, out of the 9 total, and it has been favorited 78 times, out of 221 total favorites.  Obviously, people like this ring.  You can also get this ring with a 4mm moonstone, which is my 2nd best seller and second in favorites.  

So, what do I do?  I totally go away from this style ring and start listing rings on rectangular, wider bands, like those in the last post (Experiments in Photography).  I have not sold one of the wider band rings with the small stones.

I had the AHA! moment this morning and spent this afternoon making new narrow stacking rings.  I am going to make one for each stone, since that was last week's lesson.  Hope to have them photographed and listed next week.

In other news, my son is taking me to see Iron Man 3 for Mother's Day. (Okay, he's 14, so I am making him go to see Iron Man 3 with me, but I tried to make it sound good.)  My daughter, her husband and my grandson spent a couple of days with us this week.  She is due with grandson #2 at the end of this month and thought she had gone into labor early.  Our house is 10 minutes from the hospital, compared to the 45 minutes from their house, so they stayed here.  I really enjoyed having them around.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Experiments in Photography

As I said on Thursday, I am in the process of rephotographing my jewelry for Etsy.  I have been looking all over the web for tips on taking pictures, but most sites apply to Digital SLR cameras, which I don't have.  I do have a decent camera, a Fujifilm Finepix S1800Fujifilm Finepix S1800.  It has performed well in the past. 

I have a light box to use, and I am trying different backdrops.  So far, I think I like the black best.  I don't like using the available black velvet displays available, the black looks too harsh to me, so I tried using a neoprene tablet case.  I think it looks pretty good, but I will keep trying other objects.



Stacking Ring with 4mm Lapis on Sterling Band                                               Under the Sea! Stacking Ring Set

I do adjust the balance and contrast in Photoshop, but don't really have a lot of experience with the program.  I don't want to do too many adjustments because I don't want people to think the items don't look good on their own.  Any adjustments I make are to make the object look like it really does.

I'm also still looking for articles with good advice for us folks that don't have DSLR cameras, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cutting Corners

I'm guilty.  I was trying to save time and materials, but I think it backfired on me.  I have some beautiful new stones, but haven't sold a one.  

I thought it would be fine to place stones in the bezel for pictures without closing it around the stone or sizing it.  See the photos above for examples.  The rings look ok, but not great (we will get to the quality of the photos later.)  I put a note with each listing explaining that the ring the buyer purchased would have a properly set stone and would not look like this.

I forgot how important the photograph is for online shopping.  That is the only impression that the buyer gets, so it has to be perfect.  Excuses can not be given in the description.  The consumer probably never even got to the description to see the excuse.

Lesson learned.  I am in the process of making a separate ring for each of the small stones I list, then I will take new pictures.  

I'm trying to avoid doing the same with the larger stones.  What do you think, should I redo them all?

While I am at it, I am trying to get the best pictures possible, so I am reading a lot of different articles.  I will let you know what conclusions I come to about pictures next time.

In other news, I signed up for 'The Artists Synchroblog'. It's where bloggers 'synchup and write on a common topic on a set date, linking to all the other bloggers participating.  Sounds like fun!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The beginning

Because you have to start somewhere.
Here is where the magic begins for Simple Design Jewelry.