Thursday, December 5, 2013

SALE Time!

For those of you that did not see this on Facebook, I'm having a big sale in my etsy shop.

Use coupon code DEC20 to get 20% off your entire order! Don't forget to click "Apply" after you enter the code.

This sale will be going on through December 15.

This is a new pair of earrings in my shop, perfect for the holidays!

 Click the photo to go directly to the listing.

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Earring Display

I've mentioned before how I revamped my craft show set-up this year. Here's a little detail on the new earring display I bought from Rio Grande.

My earrings are generally displayed on cards and hang on plastic coated earring racks. I have room for 3 of these racks in my display. While reviewing my craft show sales for the past few years, I realized that earrings comprise at least 75% of my sales. Intuitively, I knew this, but seeing the numbers convinced me to do something to extend my earring offering.

I invested in this little number from Rio Grande:

It holds 48 pairs of carded earrings and does not make a huge "footprint" on my table. I use each side to highlight a specific earring design. I chose 4 designs that deserve to be highlighted: glass triangles, just pearls, hoops and enamels.

I like the way this has worked for the first 3 shows of the season. I have one more show on the schedule. Local people -- I will be at Crafts Weekend at the Anchorage Museum on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.  Remember museum members always get 10% off!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Customer Expectations

Many of you know that I have been selling my jewelry on etsy since 2007. My 7th anniversary is coming up in February. I've been selling my jewelry for much longer than that in person -- since 1997.

Something happened fairly recently that I'd like to share with you. I have had 3 customers in the past 3 months express surprise at the length (or lack thereof) of the earrings they purchased from me. One of these customers returned a pair because they were too small. The other simply let me know how surprised she was.

Since the beginnings of my online selling, I've included length measurements in inches and centimeters. Is it possible that people have stopped reading descriptions thoroughly? Or is it that reading the phrase, "these earrings are 1 1/2" long" has no meaning without a visual?

Whatever the reason, I decided to add a new type of photo to each of my new listings. I will not go back and add this photo to all of my existing listings. That would make me pull my hair out!

Here's a sampling of what I've added:

What do you think? I would really appreciate some feedback on this. I think the photos of the earrings in my hand not only demonstrate how big or small they are, but they also create a subtle connection to handmade.

All of these earrings are new in the shop. You can click on the photos to go directly to the listings.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Enamel Components

I've been working on some simple enamel components for earrings and necklaces. I want the focus of these pieces to be the color, hence the super-simple designs. I did a blog post a week or 2 ago about making copper circles for this enameling session. Now I'll show you how some of them look with COLOR.

Each pair you see here will be a pair of earrings. The small circles are the ones I made in the above referenced blog post. They were domed very slightly. I used some dome up, some dome down. Both orientations seemed to work fine. The long teardrops are shapes that I purchased. All of the pieces are counter enameled with black on the back. This provides stability to the enamel.

I have another earring series to complete. These will be double dangles -- one circle hanging below another. I'm planning some very fun color combinations for those!

Another shape that I purchase as-is are these cute flowers. These will be put on a brass jump ring and hang from antiqued brass chain. This will help me keep the price point low ($24). I have some customers who have purchased several as gifts because of this attractive price.

I also offer these necklaces with hearts, which are on order. I hop they are in Monday's mail so I can get a bunch done before the Bad Girls of the North show next weekend! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Triple Ginger Pound Cake

What's better than fresh ginger? Well, crystallized ginger, powdered ginger and fresh ginger all together!

Get thee to the store and get all 3 gingers so you can hurry up and make this wonderful cake.

Triple Ginger Pound Cake

3 1/2 cups flour
1 TBSP ground (powdered) ginger
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 TBSP vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger
4 TBSP grated fresh ginger

Cream sugar & butter until fully combined. Add eggs & yolks, one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next. Add vanilla. Mix in combined dry ingredients alternately with milk. stir until smooth. Lastly, stir in the gingers.

Bake in 2 greased loaf pans for about 1 hour at 350. Cool in pans for about 20 minutes before removing.

As you can see, these cakes did not rise much. I suspect that if I had slightly smaller loaf pans, the cakes would be a bit taller. In any case ... yum!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Making Copper Circles

There are several ways to cut out discs from metal sheet.

1 . You can saw them by hand using a jeweler's saw. I've done this, and while it is satisfying, it takes a bit of time and the result is almost never a perfect circle. Not that there's anything wrong with an "organic" circle, but it you're looking for a neat  disc, this is not the best method.

2. A disc cutter like this one from Evie's Tool Emporium is a great alternative. The prices in this etsy shop are always reasonable and the service is awesome. You can see this listing by clicking on the photo, but be sure to check out the rest of the shop too!

For me, this type of tool is great. It takes quite a bit of strength and a very stable surface to get good, clean circles. I'm working with 20 ga copper sheet, so sometimes it's hard for me to get through with one blow of the hammer.

Enter Rick. He suggested I make the trip out to his shop (it's really not far -- just on the other end of our 2 acres :-). There, he introduced me to the arbor press.

Basically, the arbor press does the hard work for you. You pull down sharply on the lever and it acts as the hammer, punching out he circle with relative ease. I have a video of this , but can't figure out how to upload it to my blog. (This is causing me great frustration, as I can't even find it on my computer. It should be in the cloud file, shouldn't it?)

Anyhoo, here are the little copper circles after I domed them. Even though these discs are small (less than 1" in diameter), I used a large dapping punch because I wanted a very shallow dome. Next step is to drill holes at the top and enamel them. Some will get holes top & bottom so I can do a double-dangle style earring.

As always, thanks for tuning in and check back soon for finished enamel earrings!