December 27, 2007

Christmas Purchases From Etsy

This year I decided to buy some of my Christmas presents from Etsy to support some fellow artists and crafters. I must say that I was not disappointed and neither were the recepients of my gifts.

For my son I purchased a vintage tie that was made into a guitar strap from kacey's space .

From Valerie's Gallery I bought my sister-in-law a beautiful felted bowl for her to use as a candy dish on her desk.

And for my friend who cuts my hair, some things from Cozy Moments so she can pamper herself.

December 10, 2007


After I made some birthstone bracelets for my friend's daughters it got me thinking. Is birthstone jewelry as popular as it was when I was growing up? I remember being in High School and everyone had birthstone earrings, necklaces or rings. Maybe it was easier back then to recognize birthstone jewelry. My birth month is July so my birthstone was Ruby. Now July sometimes uses Carnelian.

I was thinking of making my Mother-In-Law a grandmother's bracelet for her birthday in January. Do I use all traditional stones or do I use modern? Or, perhaps, I use a combination to make it more visually appealing.

January - Garnet or Rose Quartz

February - Amethyst or Onyx

March - Aquamarine or Bloodstone

April - Diamond or Rock Crystal

May - Emerald or Agate or Chrysoprase

June - Pearl, Moonstone or Alexandrite

July - Ruby or Carnelian

August - Peridot or Sardonyx

September - Sapphire or Lapis

October - Opal or Tourmaline

November - Topaz or Citrine

December - Blue Topaz, Turquoise, Zircon or Tanzanite

I made this sterling silver and Swarovski crystal chainmaille bracelet for my shop for all the January birthdays. Hmmm, should I have used Rose Quartz instead?

December 5, 2007

Great Gifts For Little Ones

Even though my kids are older I thought I would show some great gift ideas for little ones from The Designing Swanky Moms. Just click on the link below the photo to see more from their shops.

Pink and green initial bagPolka Dot Market

Hand Stenciled Onsie
Hip Kid

Customized Tutu
TuTu Cute and Moore

Handpainted Letter Train
Painted with Heart

December 2, 2007


Designing Swanky Moms Have Something Different and New
Put all the pieces together and a prize they’ll have for you!
They’ve contrived some riddles, something trendy and fun
Figure it all out and their Main Prize you have won!
Wonder what the meaning is to this Fabulous game?
Shaking up the Etsy World, things will never be the same.
A Designing puzzle,with pieces among the clan…
decipher the clues, find them if you can…
Find 5 Swanky pieces, It makes the puzzle whole
To Fabulous DSM shops Searching, you will go
Read the rhymes and riddles,Solve the mystery clues.
To Figure it out,here’s what you’ll do

Clue 1


Official Rules:

1. You must have an Etsy account, or sign up for one it's free! :)

2. Search the participating shops listed on the Designing Swanky Moms Blog ( ) for 5 pieces of the puzzle. The whole puzzle is in our Avatars.

3. When you've found all of the items, send a convo to Beth ( with all your answers.

4. The winner will be the FIRST person to correctly find ALL 5 pieces of the puzzle, they will get the MAIN prize, valued well over $150Second Place will get a smaller gift basket valued over $50All other correct finds will get a Free Shipping Coupon for all participating shops!

5. The contest will run for 7 days fromDecember 2 through December 9th . The winner will be notified via convo on December 10th , and will be published on the blog and on the Etsy forums.

December 1, 2007

Fun Finds For The Home

Here are some fabulous things I found from Designing Swanky Moms for the house and home. If you like what you see, please click on the shop link below the item to see more great things from these very talented women.

Cherry Wood SpoonColleen2

Metal Grape Leaf Wall ArtKirsten Skiles Custom Metal Work

Tissue Box CoverSam’s Creations

Handpainted Glass LettersTaDa! Designs

How About Some Bath and Body Gifts

What woman doesn't like receiving some bath and body products as a gift? Take a look at some of these great creations by Designing Swanky Moms. Just click on the shop name to see more of their great items.

Coffee Mocha Latte Gift Set

My S Garden

Cozy Christmas Gift SetCozy Moments

Head to Toe Ultimate Gift Set
Vintage Body Spa

Soap Gift Set
Pixie Soap

Vanilla Stress Relief Set

Zaja Natural Handmade Confections

November 29, 2007

Jewelry Gift Ideas

Even though I make jewelry I still find pieces that I really admire. Here are a few of them. They are all from Designing Swanky Moms. Just click on the name under the photo to be brought to that seller's shop to see more of their work.

Here is a pendant made from old license plate lettersAllison Strine Designs

A beautiful amethyst, jade and sterling silver ring

Glass marble dictionary necklace

The Empty Nest

A funky leather cuff

moondog tresures

Beautiful Swarovski crystal earrings

Pink A Wink

November 26, 2007

Gift Ideas - Totes, bags and wallets

These are some of my favorites for gift giving this holiday season. And they are all Designing Swanky Moms. You can find out more about the DSM's by visiting their website.

This black an white tote is very eyecatching with it's bold white flowers.
An Orange and Brown Pouch

Business Card Holders

handmade by Andrea Baker

And a very bold Disco Dots Wallet


November 5, 2007

Photographing Earrings Saga

I have been making earrings lately, but having a heck of a time getting good photographs of them. I like the look of the earrings hanging so that the person looking at them gets a good idea of how they hang. So, I have what I thought was a good system. I have my light box with my blue sky and clouds background. I have a wrought iron picture frame from which I removed the glass to have a place to hang the earrings. And, of course, I have the earrings.

I take most of my pictures with my light box on one of two windowsills in my house at the same time of day when it is bright outside. I either take the pictures in our family room or in the kitchen.

Day One - I set up my light box and picture frame and hung the earrings. Then I go about my business while waiting for the earrings to stop swaying so I can get a nice clear picture. Here is where things get complicated. Here in Northern NJ it is starting to get cold out, which means that the heat comes on. We have forced hot air heat with a blower located, you guessed it, right under the window. So now I have to wait for the earring to stop swaying all over again and quickly get the pictures done.

Day Two – I don’t want to worry about the heat again so this time I set up in the kitchen. There is a small piece of counter which folds down that I can fold up and use as a table that is right in front of the window and I don’t have to worry about the heat blowing. So, I set up my light box and earrings and go about my business while waiting for the earrings to stop swaying only to come back to find Emma, the cat, curled up in the light box with the earrings!

I finally have my photos all done and ready to list in the next few days in my shop.

There has to be an easier way, but I haven’t found it yet – any and all suggestions are welcome

October 31, 2007

Cell Phone Charms

I have never been a girly, girl that has to have lots of accessories. In fact, when I first saw cell phone charms I thought, "Who would ever have that on their phone?" Well guess who has a cell phone charm? That's right - I do! I have one with a small picture frame dangling from it. It doesn't have a picture of my two boys in it, they would be mortified, it has my two girls - Emma and Stormy, my cats. It's a great way to add just a little personalized touch, for not a lot of money, to something that has become a necessity in today's world.

Here are some that I made and have for sale in my Etsy

Just click on the photo if you would like a better look.

October 25, 2007

Lifesaver Earrings

I made these earrings from copper wire and some small glass green donuts that I found at a bead shop. I thought they looked like green Lifesavers - they're about the same size. After the earrings were made I added a patina to the copper so the green glass would stand out even more.

October 20, 2007

More Bead Crochet

I just listed another bead crochet bracelet in my Etsy shop. Just click on the picture and it will bring you right to the listing.

What makes this bracelet unique is its creation. Although it appears to be made from different colored beads, it is made from clear hexagonal shaped seed beads. The rainbow effect is created by using rainbow thread. As you crochet, the thread color changes giving the finished bracelet a rainbow appearance. This was the first time I used this thread and it certainly won't be the last.

October 15, 2007

My First Treasury

For those of you not familiar with Etsy, the Treasury is a collection made by Etsy member of their favorite things. It is on display in the Treasury section from 2 to 3 days. People can view the Treasuries and leave comments if they wish. If you are a seller and are chosen to be in someone's Treasury it usually means more exposure for your item and shop. If you are the person creating the Treasury it means fun!

A Treasury sometimes hard to come by. The Treasury must drop below 222 and you have to be on the Treasury list page and ready when one becomes available. I learned through the forums that while you are waiting for a Treasury you DO NOT REFRESH your page. You just have to sit and wait for that elusive box to show up. When the box shows up on the bottom of the page you click in it and it saves your spot. Then you go about naming and creating your Treasury.

Sunday as I was on the Treasury list page I noticed that a lot were expired and they would become available soon. I figured, it's worth a try. I never tried before because I thought there was some special trick to getting one. But, I sat and waited and sure enough the box signaling that a Treasury was available showed up. Talk about exciting! Right as I clicked I noticed the time and had to go pick up my boys from Sunday school so my Treasury didn't get up and going for about an hour.

The title of my Treasury is Are You Swanky? and it features items from an Etsy group I belong to called Designing Swanky Moms. I wanted a uniform look so I tried to have all the items I chose in the yellow family or containing some yellow. Below is a screenshot of my creation.

October 13, 2007

Finally, A Sunny Day!

It has been cloudy and rainy here in Northwestern New Jersey for the past 2 days. We definitely needed the rain, but I had a bracelet that I was waiting to photograph for my Etsy Shop. I really need to learn how to take my pictures using artificial light since winter, with its cloudy days and limited hours of sunshine, is on its way.

This is what I was waiting to photograph.

I seem to go through phases as to what I am in the mood to create. Lately it has been bead crochet although, tonight I have a new project in mind that I am going to give a try. If it works out I will be posting it here soon.

October 9, 2007

Bead Crochet

I started doing bead crochet about 2 years ago with no knowledge of how to crochet at all. My mother, who was very crafty, tried to teach my on many occasions, but I was never really interested. So, when I decided I wanted to learn bead crochet - off to the wonderful worldwide web I did go. And I found tons of information. The website that helped me the most was Ann Benson's online
tutorial .It's animated, very clear and easy to follow. She also has a great book with many great ideas for anyone interested in bead crochet. It is called Bead Crochet Designs .

Another great source for tips is Beadwrangler's Site. Lots of great tips on bead crochet and crochet in general.

Last, but not least, I gathered a great deal of information on the forum at Beadwork at

One of my favorite things about bead crochet is that because you string all your beads before you begin, it travels very well. I just throw it all in a bag and go.

October 6, 2007

Cutting Jumprings

I love making chainmaille jewelry which takes hundreds and hundreds of jumprings. I cut my own rings so that when I decide to make something, I don't have to order and then wait impatiently for my rings to arrive. I can wind, cut and create. Some people find the process tedious, but I really don't mind.

First I start with some wire.

Then I choose the size mandrel I need. I use knitting needles for mandrels.

The next thing I do is insert the mandrel and wire in my drill. I make sure they are in the chuck nice and secure and then I ever so gently press the drill trigger while guiding the wire with my left thumb and index finger. I use extreme caution as the wire comes to an end. It is very painful if the end of the wire goes through your fingers. (Yes, I speak from experience).

And this is what I end up with - a coil of wire.

I then saw the coil apart using my trusty jeweler's saw - which has a blade as thin as a hair. It is very important to keep the blade lubricated so that it doesn't break. I use beeswax for this.

TA-DA!! The sawing is done and I end up with a pile of rings. Ready to create.

October 5, 2007

Blogs I Enjoy

I am spending my time today visiting blogs I have bookmarked and adding links to my list. Most of them will be craft/creating related. If this is the kind of thing that interests you, please have a look or if you have a blog that you think fits that description please leave a comment and I will try to include you.

October 2, 2007

Patina Copper with Egg

I do a lot of work in copper and I go back and forth between liking it most in its natural shiny state and adding a patina to it so it looks darker and aged. There are examples in the photo to the right of the copper both ways.

A lot of artists use liver of sulphur to add patina, but I don't have a source close by and I really didn't want the odor and fumes in my house. I don't have a separate shop with a ventilation system so I looked into alternative methods. After much research and discussion on various forums I decided to give the egg method a try.

Hard boil and egg and while it is still warm, cut it in a couple of pieces and put it in an airtight container with your item. I have read people stating to not let the egg touch the item, but my egg and item always get jumbled together and I never found it to be a problem. In fact, when I was using the egg method on this bracelet
I squished the egg and mashed it into the bracelet. This bracelet has a very tight weave and just leaving it sitting with the egg wasn't working very well. I use a ziploc bag to do this so I can keep moving and turning the item to get good coverage.

Having never used liver of sulphur, I can't be sure, but I believe that this method takes quite a bit longer. In fact, most of my pieces get left in the egg overnight.

All the copper in my Etsy shop, so far, has been left shiny. I do indicate in the descriptions that it will darken on its own over time, but maybe it would sell better if I added the patina. What do you think? Any opinions on copper bright verus darkened?