Jul 30, 2009

Interchangeable Earrings - Idea Extended

Since having first come up with the idea of having interchangeable earrings, I have now extended that idea. When I thought about the idea some more I decided it would be great if I could offer a choice of earring bases and a choice of drops.

So far I have come up with three different bases; the original square/diamond base, a swirly base and a hoop base. I will also be creating a twisted wire hoop base very soon.

There are also now six different drops to choose from; prehnite, snowflake obsidian, rhodonite, lavender jade, amethyst and bluestone. Obviously the choices here could potentially be limitless, or maybe I should say limited only by the range of beads I have in stock.

Each of these sets of Interchangeable earrings will be available within the next few days. I will be selling each base with three drops (buyer can choose which drops), and then also offering the drops to be purchased separately as extras.

So far I seem totally unable to get a clear picture of the snowflake obsidian drops, but other than that I would love to know what you think.

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Jul 29, 2009

Australian Beading Forum

The Beading Forum was the first forum that I ever joined and I was fortunate enough to discover it shortly after taking up jewellery making.

When it comes to beading or making jewellery this forum has something for everyone. When I first joined the forum the help I was given by other members of the forum was invaluable. Every time I was stuck on something or needed help about how to do something there were always plenty of members ready to give advice.

There is a great beading chat section where you can discuss all things beads, jewellery etc. to your hearts content with like minded people. There are specific sections for certain techniques - lampworking, clay, seed beads, chainmaille & wirework and metal work - no prizes for guessing which of those sections I contribute the most to!

There are also challenges, jewellery swaps, designer quests and group buys - enough to keep you going for a long time.

The other great thing about the forum is just how international it has become. Although hosted in Australia there are members from quite a few other countries with the USA and England very well represented.

I have been a member of the forum for over three years now, have met some great friends in local meet ups (more about that some other time) and can honestly say that I would have serious withdrawal symptoms if it should ever disappear.

So if you are into all things beads or jewellery - why not pop over and take a look for yourself!

Jul 28, 2009

Cocktail Rings

Previously only having made a few to sell at the markets I am now starting to include cocktail rings in my Etsy store.

Made with sterling silver wire, I enjoy being able to vary the look of my cocktail rings with a wide variety of gemstone beads. Rather than just always using round gemstone beads to make the rings, I also use oval and barrel shaped beads and these can really make the ring stand out.

Using more wraps around the band of the ring or circling the bead a couple of extra times can also really change the look of the ring.

Up to now I have not really experimented too much with rings but finding how enjoyable it can be to play around with the cocktail rings I will be starting to explore the possibilities of rings a bit further.

These are a few of my current cocktail rings - those that don't have links yet will be uploaded to my store over the next few days.

Jul 27, 2009

Monday Features

If you want to rediscover your girlhood fantasies and re-explore the world of dress-up then look no further than Meagan's shop Kaedankrafts. Meagan, a single mum of three kids, loves to create wonderful things for babies, children, teens and for anyone in between - but what really stands out in this shop is that Meagan creates the most gorgeous women's tutu skirts, perfect for when you want to feel like a princess!

Meagan states that as a mother to a toddler, she has embraced her inner princess and fairy all in one. Now she thinks that every single woman should embrace their inner princess and wear a tutu around the house, out to the store, a party or anywhere they please.

With such a gorgeous selection to choose from why should it just be little girls who have all the fun of dress-up - embrace your inner childhood and indulge your fantasies!

Christine, a fellow Queenslander is the crafter behind LittleDivaCrafts. As a mother to three young children Christine started out creating for her own kids.

Now she loves buying fabrics from all over the world and creating gorgeous toys, clothes and accessories for not only her three little cherubs but for yours too...

Christine states that sewing, designing and creating is her outlet and her sanity!

Take a peep into her store and look at some of the gorgeous girls' dresses she has on offer, as well as the super cute Snigglebottom family!

Jul 26, 2009

Sunday Special

With only a few hours left to run of the Dust Team Christmas In July sale I am offering a very special deal to the first three people who buy something in my sale..........25% Discount!

I am still offering 15% discount to all other purchases as well as a FREE pair of gemstone earrings with all purchases over $100 (after discount).

With over 130 participating shops there is something for everyone in the CIJ promotion: jewellery, children's clothes, bags, cards, artwork, ladies clothes - take your pick and start your Christmas shopping early.

A promotional thread is running in the Etsy forum that will continue until Sunday night Etsy time, with draws held every few hours giving you a chance to win free prizes.

So what are you waiting for - pop on over to Etsy and check it all out!

Jul 25, 2009

New Design - Tornado Earrings

I decided that I needed a few more pairs of earrings for my store. Ironic really, it was my love of earrings that got me into jewellery designing in the first place and now I don't seem to make that many compared to other things!

Anyway, I decided that it would be fun to make a coil and then pull it apart, or maybe I should say "lengthen" it since I don't literally mean to pull it apart. I then decided to make the coil around my pliers to create more of a cone effect rather than having the coil the same width all the way down.

So, I had my two cone shaped coils, and I started to stretch them, separating the individual coils from each other. A couple of separate twists created a slightly widening effect just below the top. I decided I didn't want the coils spread too evenly, thus creating more of a tornado effect, hence the name.

The outcome couldn't have been too bad since the original pair I designed were stolen off my market stall the very next day after I had created them before I'd even taken a picture. Still I decided it was a design worth repeating, and no doubt will do so again.

And here they are - my Tornado Earrings!

Jul 23, 2009

Lapis Lazuli Daisy Chain

My Lapis Lazuli Daisy Chain chainmaille necklace, just relisted on Etsy, was the first piece I ever entered in a design competition.

The main rule of the competition was that you had to purchase a pack from one or other of several sponsors. I purchased a pack that consisted of a string of Lapis Lazuli beads as well as two laser cut sterling silver beads. The lapis beads were quite small so I realised that if I was going to use chainmaille which was my preference, then I had to use a delicate weave. I had seen the Daisy Chain weave and realised that this fitted with what I was looking for. What really clinched this choice of weave was a silver toggle in a flower design that would fit in with the concept perfectly.

With the flower toggle being much too nice to hide at the back of the neck, as most necklace clasps are, I decided to make the toggle a feature at the front of the necklace. With the laser cut silver beads so much larger than the lapis beads I decided to use them to link to the toggle. I then used large sterling rings to create "daisies" on either side of these silver beads. The rest of the chain then consists of daisies made with smaller rings, linked by the Lapis beads.

The Daisy chain necklace didn't get anywhere in the competition, but, as we all know, design competitions are so subjective anyway - the main thing is that I was really pleased with the resulting necklace.

Jul 22, 2009

Christmas in July - THIS WEEKEND

The big DUST promotion/sale is being held on Etsy this coming weekend!

Etsy DUST members from all around Australia are coming together for one whole weekend, 12.01AM Saturday 25th July through to 11.59PM Sunday 26th July (AEST), to showcase their talents & stunningly handmade creations.

I can now let you know, as one of the shops participating in the promotion, I will be offering a Massive 15% Discount of ALL items in my shop PLUS a FREE pair of sterling and gemstone earrings with all orders over $100 after discount! So pop over to my shop now and start putting your wish list together.

Please click here to see a list of all shops participating in the promotion.

Jul 21, 2009

My Top 10 ........... Gemstones

I thought it might be fun to occasionally do a top 10 series of my favourite whatever - and then to get your feedback as to which is your favourite. Being a Jewellery Designer, the obvious top 10 list to start with was my favourite gemstones. Since I use semi-precious stones in my jewellery I have tried to limit my list to these, but believe me, I still love sapphires, diamonds etc.!

  1. Opal
  2. Laboradite
  3. Tanzanite
  4. Garnet
  5. Amethyst
  6. Tourmaline
  7. Iolite
  8. Charoite
  9. Moonstone
  10. Blue Lace Agate

Now I have to confess if I was asked to produce the same list in 6 months time it could be different - but one thing I could guarantee, whether you are talking semi-precious or precious gemstones, Opal would always top my list!

So what is your favourite?

Jul 20, 2009

Monday Features

For this weeks Monday Features I am featuring two more members of the DUST team who will be participating in the Dust Christmas in July Promotion/Sale this coming weekend.

My first feature is Marilyn of Missy Maomau. Carolyn designs and makes limited edition handbags. She makes all the bags herself using an old industrial machine in her home studio in country Victoria, Australia. Carolyn has been making bags for over ten years and using her experience and experiments She has developed quality handmade bags and cosmetic purses for you to enjoy. Carolyn's bags are sold in boutique stores throughout regional Victoria, Melbourne and Sydney Australia.

Missymaomao features a gorgeous selection of bags in a range of different materials so make sure you pop over to her shop to check them out!

My second feature is Franziska of Lyptis. Lyptis sells a lovely range of women's apparel for suitable for both work and play.

Originally from Germany Franziska now lives in Melbourne, Australia. Franziska states that she has always loved being creative and making things. She used to do drawing, photography and worked as a sound technician at punk/hardcore concerts in Berlin.

Franziska started sewing just last year and she totally loves being able to make something she can wear and use everyday. She states that it is just awesome to know other people are enjoying her creations as well!

So pop on over to Lyptis to find your new outfit!

Jul 19, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

I have a winner for my Chainmaille Earrings giveaway!

Congratulations go to kasi1983 - your earrings will soon be winging their way to you.

Thanks and commiserations to everyone else who took part - better luck next time.

Jul 16, 2009

Silver and Garnet Watch Cuff

Having made a couple of wired cuffs in base metals, I had decided it was time to make one in sterling. However, I had a beautiful watch face with Swarovski crystals around the edge, and so I started to toy with the idea of incorporating the watch into the cuff.

My biggest initial problem was setting the face in a way that still gave access to the back of the watch in order to be able to change the batteries. Normally, if I had a bead that was this heavy I would have used some wire down the back to help secure it but I couldn't do that this time. Being limited therefore to the joins on either side of the watch, I went with the notion that many strands making up one thickness are stronger than one thick strand (I've seen it proven with twigs!)

I then had to ensure that the base wires of the cuff were shaped in a way that gave access to the winder on the watch.

Once the watch was placed I could then play around with the design of the rest of the cuff. I had some gorgeous garnet beads both in rounds and in disc shapes and decided that nothing much more was really needed. I therefore just added some sterling beads and a few silver crystal Swarovskis to enhance the silver of the cuff and the lovely deep red colour of the garnets.

So I had my end result - a beautifully unique Silver and Garnet Watch Cuff!

Jul 15, 2009

Christmas in July

Before I moved to Australia I had never heard of the concept of Christmas in July - after all - in England Christmas is held in the "traditional" cold weather. The roast turkey lunch, the chestnuts on the fire, the candles etc. all fit in with a cold Christmas. Trouble is, they don't work so well when it is 35 degrees! I must admit that even after nine years in Australia a hot Christmas still doesn't feel right. So, the Christmas in July concept, held in the middle of an Australian winter, makes sense to someone like me, and I would imagine to all the other northern hemisphere expats (presumably one of whom, started the whole thing off in the first place).

Now to the point of all this - to celebrate the Australian Christmas in July the Dust Team are having a big promotion over the weekend of the 25th-26th July. Not only will all participating stores be offering some form of promotion to their customers (whether it be discounts, free shipping, reverse auctions etc.) but the Dust team will also be running a promotional thread on Etsy with regular giveaways giving everyone the opportunity to win some fabulous handmade goodies from our talented Australian artisans.

Here is a quick preview of a few items from some of the many sellers who will be taking part:

Jul 14, 2009

DQ - Turquoise Crochet Necklace

Every three months or so the Beading Forum that I am a member of hosts a Designer Quest. What happens with these is that there are generally two packs of beads/supplies to choose from and everyone then has to make something with the contents of their pack. The idea is that you use as much of the pack as possible and add as little extra as possible.

One of the necklaces in my store is the end product of one of these Designer Quests - my Turquoise Crochet Necklace. The contents of the pack included three double holed turquoise beads, large holed gold toned beads, Czech fire polished beads, seed beads and cord.

Now, you only have to look at my store to realise that I am not a seed beader, however, I do crochet, in fact this was the craft I did before taking up jewellery, and a craft that I have since used in my jewellery. So, having cord and seed beads, the obvious choice for me was to do some bead crochet.

With the turquoise beads being so much larger than the rest of the beads I decided to make them the focal of the necklace. There were some lovely gold cubed beads with blue inserts that went nicely between the crochet beads, and I used the large holed beads to add some extra highlights on either side of the main turquoise focal. The seed beads and the Czech fire polished beads crocheted up nicely into three strands that were joined together to form the necklace.

And so you have it - my Designer Quest Turquoise Crocheted Necklace.

Jul 13, 2009

Monday Features

For my features today I have chosen two, out of the many Dust team members, who will be participating in the Dust team "Christmas in July" promotion - more about that later in the week.

My first feature is Deborah of Unique Dichroic. Deborah is a West Australian Glass Artist and loves freely hand etching dichroic glass. Deborah states that even though she has been working with it for many years now she still finds herself passionate about glass..and colours and new designs float through her dreams.

When you visit Unique Dichroic I can guarantee you will be spoilt for choice with the fabulous selection of pendants that Deborah has on offer.

My second feature is Tamara of Tamara Designs. Tamara has been creative for as long as she can remember, trying her hand at many different arts and crafts. However, it was a year spent in Denmark that opened her eyes to the endless possibilities of paper cutting, which the Danes call papirklipning. Tamara states that this is a craft that takes great concentration, precision and a steady hand because a simple slip can ruin hours of work - but she thinks the reward of a handmade paper cut makes it all worthwhile.

Looking at the incredible designs in Tamara's shop I would have to say that her concentration and steady hand have paid off!

Jul 12, 2009

Chainmaille Earring Giveaway!

Well, its time for a new giveaway. This time I have deleted a fun pair of chainmaille earrings from my store so that I can offer them as the prize in my giveaway. They are a pair of earrings in the Scherzo weave. They are made with both sterling silver rings and with anodised aluminium in shocking pink! The combination of the aluminium and sterling silver not only makes this a fun, colourful pair of earrings but it also makes them extremely light to wear.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to look back at the Friday Favourites posts I have made to date in my blog (don't worry - that's just under two months worth) and let me know which one is Your favourite.

The winner will be announced next Sunday!

Jul 11, 2009

Coffee, Chocolate & Designers - The Perfect Day!

Portside Wharf, the venue for the Boutique Markets that I will be selling at tomorrow, are hosting a Coffee and Chocolate Affair on the same day!

The Coffee and Chocolate Affair will be hosting a great selection of exhibitors as well as a full program of events including master classes, a Latte Art Championship and performing artists.

The Boutique Markets hosts the work of more than fifty stallholders including artists, designers, stylists, crafters and artisans.

I will be selling at this market for the second time and am really looking forward to getting involved in the festival atmosphere!

So, Coffee, Chocolate and Designer Shopping - sounds like the perfect day out to me!

Jul 9, 2009

Medieval Onyx and Pearl Chainmaille Necklace

Occasionally (when I have the time) I participate in challenges run through the Beading Forum that I am a member of. One challenge that I participated in was run in the Wirework/Chainmaille section of the forum and the theme was "Medieval".

Although chainmaille was generally used for amour rather than for jewellery in medieval times I decided to use chainmaille in my design - at least the technique is medieval! After studying pictures of medieval jewelry I noted that not only did designs tend to be quite elaborate but I also noticed that pearls were used a lot. This then was the basis on which I centred my design.

Medieval jewellery frequently had a central focal piece so I wire wrapped a glossy stone of Onyx in sterling silver as my focal. I then created a chain of 6 in 1 European weave as the main chain for the necklace and suspended the wrapped onyx from it. Lastly, using cream coloured Swarovski pearls, I created some pearl strands to suspend from, and create loops with the base chain.

And so my Medieval Onyx and Pearl Chainmaille necklace was born!

Jul 8, 2009

Etsy Discoveries

These discoveries are shops that have yet to have a sale on Etsy:

The first is MJMH2o - Watercolours by Michael J Moore.

MJM has a lovely variety of paintings in his shop, from animals to street scenes to people at work/play. Check these out:

The second shop is Carol Broadley Pottery.

A potter more used to art fairs than Etsy Carol has some great pieces in her shop. These are a small sample:

Its always good to be able to encourage others so go check out these shops - you never know - you might just find that perfect something!


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