Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Coupon

We had a cold front blow in last night and it is cold and rainy!  So, in honor of those that have braved the mall and stores today I have a new coupon code...


This will get you 15% off your entire order today ...and this week I'm offering free shipping on most items so you can get a deal!

I hope you all had an awesome thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Coupons are Here!

I am so excited that Etsy has now enabled accepting coupon codes on their site. 

To introduce this and to offer you lovely readers the first chance to redeem a coupon, I have created a coupon.  From now until Thursday, enter 1stcoupon as the coupon code at checkout from my shop and receive 15% off your entire order!  This will only last until 10 pm on Thursday so get some shopping done early! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How I do it.

I recently had someone ask how I made my little ball ring.  So, here is a little bit of a tutorial on how it's done and a peek into my process.  It's not detailed and the photos are raw, but hopefully it'll explain.

Welcome to my studio.  I have the greatest space!  It's air conditioned in the summer, warm in the winter though, I do have to admit, since we closed off a wall and I have purchased a larger torch we have some ventilation issues. 

Here is my soldering station.  It's a mess, but it just gets that way no matter how hard I try to keep it neat.

Here is my drawer of smaller gauge specialty wires. 

and here is the wire in question.  It is purchased in lengths and different gauges and you can see all the details on the tag.

I take this wire and bend it around my ring mandrel.  This is my favorite tool.  It is so heavy it could be used as a weapon.  It was my dads and he gave it to me when I started working in silver.  It has marks that indicate the sizing of the ring so you can get it close. 

I then cut the wire and file the edges so the ends fit together nicely.  See?  You can't even tell where they join.

Then it's time for soldering.  I usually make two black marks on opposite sides of the joint so I know where to put the solder.  It's hard to tell where they join when you get it just right.  I brush flux on the piece and  add a little piece of  solder....

...and then it's time to add fire!  You have to heat the ring evenly and slowly or you'll just hot spot the joint and it will be weak.  You want the solder to completely fuse into the metal so a slow even heating will get you a nice strong join.

Not the greatest picture but you get the idea.  It's hard holding the torch and the camera at the same time! :-).  Once it's done it's into the pickle pot.   See how the ring looks dark?  The copper that is in sterling silver oxidizes when you heat it.  This pickle is a mild acid that will clean the oxidation off the silver and make it nice and shiny. 

And then out .....

and nice and shiny and ready for the tumbler.  Double check the size on the mandrel.  If it is a little small you can gently hammer it with a rubber or rawhide mallet.  Make sure also that it's flat.  If it's too big, you have to start over.  bummer! 

This is my tumbler.  This has many uses but the three major things it does for my jewelry is cleaning, strengthening, and polishing.  All three at once.  You can't beat that!

You add water and soap (pure soap, no bleach!) 

Round and round they go for about two to three hours. This is what comes out on the other side.  A nice rinse and, viola!~

I didn't have time to put the little ring I made into the tumbler and get this posted, but you can see one similar to it just to the left.  Lots of other in progress you might say.

I hope this explains the process and little and satisfies any curious onlookers out there.  Seems a lot of work for just a $14.00 ring but I have to say, it's one of my favorite pieces to make. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Challenges of Selling Online

Okay, I have an opportunity to be in an ad.  A BIG holiday shopping ad.  I'm very excited but I have to come up with a square image for the ad.  I have in mind a hand dripping with rings and holding a fist full of necklaces.  Since my work is so eclectic I can't choose just one thing to highlight, because it may be a one of a kind or not appeal to most.  I think showing lots of my items in that way would be interesting, eye catching and show off a lot of my stuff.

Here's the problem....I can't get it done.  The ad is pretty small so all of that (mentioned above) would not really show well.  So..on to plan B.  Maybe just showing off all of my rings.  A fist dripping with rings...or a pile of them, or all of them on one finger.  I took a few test shots yesterday and wasn't really happy with them.

Shot number 1:

 This one is my favorite.  I may work off this idea later today but add more rings.  As you can see it works pretty well as a square ad.

Shot number 2:

This is the "pile of rings" idea.  Unfortunately, they really don't like to "pile" up.  AND this is what it looks like in the square ad:

not very appealing:

And last but not least shot 3:

This would not even come close to being appealing in the square..(especially with what looks like an amputated finger at the bottom).

So back to the drawing board. Luckily I have creative daughters who, if I let them in on the creative ideas, kindof get into developing ideas for me.

Hopefully by the end of the day I'll have a great picture for the holiday shopping advertisement.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New from the Bench

I'd add a link but I can't figure out how to add hyperlinks with the new blogger photo format!