Bracelet in the making

Here is one of the things that I am working on right now. I'm really enjoying weaving these teeny tiny Karen Hill beads (1mm) into the piece. Waving thanks to Pippi for hooking me up with these lovelies! If you don't know Pippi, I'd pretty much say you've GOT to go look at her work! And she's such a sweetie too. Here she is: Pippi's Jewelry blog.

I've enclosed a photo on my thumb so you can really get the scale. Be forewarned... if bad cuticles and nails offend you -- don't look! For 38 years now I've not been able to make my self take the time to make them look pretty. Working hands are what I've got :)



I'm also using some amazingly beautiful AAA chalcedony and enjoying every minute.

If you aren't familiar with the Karen Hill Tribe beads, get this: Each one is individually handmade and in the instance of these tiny babies, hand faceted.

Jewelry and Motorcycles

Okay, they don't exactly go together, but they're both in my blog, and in my fantasy I would be riding my bike and making jewelry at the same time. Yes.. simultaneously! Or at least riding around the country and creating as I go.

Yesterday, as I was cleaning the saddlebags on my bike I thought I'd share the process with you since it brought up so many lovely emotions. I think some of you will get this, and some won't, but here we go.

My bike is my "baby" (along with my cats of course). I like it when she is shiny and well taken care of. Riding used to be my #1 love until disability made some serious dents in my life. I can still ride on occasion, but not like I love to. If I had my way, I'd be all over the country and probably never in the car unless it was unsafe to ride. Now, it's a few quick jaunts a year. But at heart, I am still "a biker", meaning riding is one of those things that I categorize as "my life and my love." Even if I never ride again, that will hold true. It is simply part of me. I find that jewelry making and riding are related in that they are both "me".

As I picked up my saddlebags to start cleaning them, I was thoroughly ashamed at their state. This is the part that some of you will understand and some won't. I'm trying to think of a comparison that most people would understand. Well... it may be for some, how they visually present themselves to the world... I'm not sure. It's about pride and love of my bike and keeping her shiny and clean. I'm ashamed when she is not. That has changed quite a bit though because I now live 5 miles up a mountain dirt road and for me to have a bike, there is no keeping her clean. I can wash, wax and polish for hours and she's still going to look like dirt when she gets down to the highway. That's the price I pay for living where I do.

Last year, there were a slew of wildfires (hundreds) in Northern California after some dry thunderstorms. We live in the mountains and were one of the many who were informed to prepare for evacuation. Of course for me that means people, pets, motorcycle, jewelry makings, and paperwork had to get out. I rushed the bike to a friends house dirty and all from the last ride home and there she sat for a long time. (By the way, the fires never got to us even though we could see them.. very lucky)

Finally I am getting back to her and getting prepared for a good cleaning. The leather saddlebags are covered in dirt and maybe now you'll have a glimpse into why that is such a bad thing! BAD SHAY!!

Sigh....

Here are some photos in the cleaning process:


Now this is where I started to get excited. In the above, lower photo you'll see one dirty and one clean bag. As I started to get the one clean I held it to my chest like a happy child with candy. If you have ever seen the Ice Age movies, you might remember Scrat, the poor little guy who is always running after his acorn. When he catches it, he lovingly caresses it with pure bliss. That was me.

Two hours later, the final final clean and polish. Yay! the fun part.
Here are some pretty shiny bag pictures:


And last, a photo of me with the bike. Granted this is a number of years ago and a number of pounds lighter! (me.. not the bike)

Around my neck is a gorgeous chunk of Jade that I love to this day.

So about jewelry and motorcycles...

Both are essentially "Me", and I had to pretty much give up one in order to find the other. Not that you can't have both -- of course you can! It's just for me, it was the loss of riding and many other things that led me into my life with jewelry. While I am saddened by what I have lost, I am blessed by what I have gained.

The "LinkWithin" gadget

Hey all,
I want to let you know about this neat little widget called "LinkWithin." I've seen it on a couple of friend's blogs and I really like how it makes it easy to skip from post to post when you are reading someones blog. It generates revolving previous posts from your archive for people to go check out. You can see it in action right below this post where it says "You might also like: " If you're interested, here is their webpage. I am obviously not affiliated, I just think it's cool:)

Tutorial Fun: Spiral Prong Ring by Swati Nigam of Fleur Violette Jewelry



This beauty is the Spiral Prong Ring by Swati Nigam of Fleur Violette Jewelry, and this is the first installment of what I hope to be an ongoing sharing of other artists' tutorials which are then mangled... ahem... attempted with stunning precision, by myself. I hope you enjoy it!





Here are two rings that I made from Swati's tutorial
The turquoise ring (far left) is word for word from the tutorial while on the red jasper ring at the right, I just added an additional wire to make a wider ring shank. I had lots of fun with this tut, and being someone who loves spirals, I was hooked from the first time I saw it. What a clever way to hold a stone, eh?
Swati's ring tutorial has all the detailed photos that you could possible ask for, with a clear explanation as to how to create this magnificent ring. If you are up for something new, I highly encourage you to go check it out! And on top of that, Swati is an awesome person and a spectacular jeweler.
Thanks for the great tutorial Swati!

Here are the specifics for Swati Nigam if you'd like to check her out. (and I hope you do!)

Fleur Violette Jewelry on Etsy
Fleur Violette Jewelry Blog
Fleur Violette Website (under construction but coming soon!)

Fun With Tutorials

As I was making a ring from a tutorial yesterday, it got me thinking about tutorials and how much I love them. I like them for a number of different reasons too. I suppose the first, since we are drawn to the finished piece when we buy one, would be the design. Learning a new design in other words. For me it is more about learning the skills that went into the design rather than the finished design because in the end I will want to adapt it to my own style. It's also about a new way of looking at things as far as the creative process goes. For example, in the structure of the ring I just made, I wouldn't have thought of doing it like that and now I have a new way to think about creating. It's amazing how many doors that can open into our vast minds.

The second huge factor is that I love to support other artists when I can and this is a superb way to do it. Sometimes I can figure out how an artist made something without buying the tut but I love to get it anyway. Not only am I supporting them, but I also get a glimpse at them as well since it comes from their minds and is written by their hands.

Another reason I love 'em is that they are great for when you are lacking inspiration. If I'm at a loss or in a slump I have this guide that I can just pick up and follow the instructions. I don't necessarily even have to have on my creative hat. Just make it already! Virtually every time this will lead be back to my center and on my way to making something new.

And FUN!... did I say tutorials are fun, exciting, and a new adventure?

I'll bet there are more reasons that I'm not thinking of at the moment. Why do you love tutorials? Help me think of all the reasons so we can have a big list here in the comments.

What this all leads to for me is that I'm going to start sharing information about the artists and links to their work when I make something from a tutorial. That way, you can find out about it if you hadn't already seen it, possibly buy the tutorial yourself, and you can see more awesome artists out there. Sound fun? I think so! My first tutorial post will be soon to follow:)

A Big Thanks to Cindy Alette of Alette Designs

Thank you!! Cindy has chosen me to be featured on her blog this week along with another wonderful artist, Sparkling Rose. I encourage you all to check out Cindy's blog and look at all her lovely creations on Etsy. She is very generous and too sweet! Be sure to check out Rose's webpage as well because she's got some awesome lampwork beads there. And don't forget to check out all the other artists that Cindy has profiled in the past as well!

Thanks again Cindy:)

A call for input... it's easy :)

Hi Lovelies,
I've been trying to get my Etsy shop going, taking photos and all that fun stuff, and when looking at the resulting images on my 2 different computers I am getting vast differences in image brightness. My laptop is a mac (and new to me) which has an exceptionally bright screen (which I like). In lieu of trying to match the brightnesses (because I like them each at their brightest and those don't match) I'm wondering how the images appear to others. I am by far a professional photographer, but am overall happy enough with the photos at the moment. It's mainly the brightness factor I'm curious about. I can't figure out which computer to use for the final adjustments because I don't know how they look to you!

So, here are my questions.

1. Are mac's in general brighter than others?
2. When you look at my images would you call them too dark, okay, or too bright?
4. If they had to be on the brighter or darker side, which would you choose?
3. If you want to elaborate on anything else, please do!

Here's the link: www.heartandstone.etsy.com

Thanks friends:)
Shay

All-That-I-Am on Etsy:

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Inspired by Iza Malczyk's tutorials

To see more of my work...

You can check out my gallery at JewelryGeeks..


About me...

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Simply put, I'm a wire and gem jewelry freak! I like to string, twist, weave, wrap, form, and decorate with gems, wire and other earthy beauties. If you want to know more please click on the "About" tab at the top of the page. To contact me, check my blogger profile (click below) ... Thanks!