Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jump Ring Kits

saw cut 4.5 mm ID copper jump rings

A lot of customers aren't really sure what sizes and gauges of jump rings that they need and they hesitate to order packs of 100 until they are sure.  I've considered offering kits that contain a variety of sizes in half millimeter progressions so that jewelry makers will have a lot of sizes to choose from and can determine the sizes that they prefer and would use most frequently.

I currently offer 18 gauge copper jump rings in Libellula Jewelry and I would be happy to offer other gauges and metals if there were requests for them.

If you think that you would ever consider purchasing a jump ring assortment kit, please take a minute to answer these questions:

  1. What metal(s) would interest you? (copper, red brass, bronze, sterling silver, 1/10 silver filled)
  2. How do you usually use jump rings in your work?  Do you know the sizes and gauges that you prefer?
  3. How many of each size would you want in an assortment kit?
  4. How many sizes would you like in a kit?
  5. Do you have any suggestions or requests?
  6. Would you like your kit contained in a multi-chambered box or would you prefer labeled zip bags?
I'll extend a 15% savings on the kits to anyone who leaves their answers in the comments section below.  Thank you for your help!

New Work: Red Jasper Pendant Necklace

Here are a couple of photos of a necklace that I made yesterday.  It's not quite finished; I need to add one of my dragonfly tags but the latest batch aren't ready.  I'll update this post with a photo of the finished necklace once I've added the tag.

red jasper & copper pendant necklace
Bezel Set Red Jasper Pendant 

paisley etched backplate
Paisley Etched Backplate

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Photo--As Promised

I recently made this necklace featuring a polymer clay pendant made by Martha Eason of Menagerie Studio.  The pendant was part of a package of goodies sent to me by a dear friend.  I mentioned this necklace in a comment on another blog and promised to post a photo.

Dragonfly Heart Necklace by Libellula Jewelry
Polymer Clay Pendant by Martha Eason of Menagerie Studio

I used copper wire, my handmade rosy copper headpins and bead caps, carved bone beads, Czech glass beads, and vintage Miyuki beads.  I finished the necklace with my hammered copper clasp and  dragonfly logo tag.  The necklace is not yet listed in Libellula Jewelry.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Randy Update, A Big Thank You, & Lots of Earrings

My Tuxedo Cat:  Randy
Mommy's little imp hiding in my storage area
Note that his left hand thumb is black!

Randy limps but is getting steadily better.  I imagine that I would be healing much more slowly than he is.  Cats are so much more resilient than humans.  Immediately following his injury, he seemed to have lost a bit of his confidence and acceptance of living as an indoor cat.  He seemed a bit more ill at ease like when he had only been inside a week. He paced around the house despite his injury and meowed at night.  He also started scaring me half to death with repeated attempts to get in the window.  The night after getting home from the vet, he jumped up on a pedestal sink. I can't imagine doing something like that after having a dislocated hip re-seated!

I'm glad to report that he has calmed down considerably and is no longer jumping into windows or onto sinks.  His limp lessens with each passing day and doesn't seem to slow him down as he runs all over the house.  His nighttime zoomies are a hoot to watch!  What I have learned through all of this is that Randy may never be like other cats.  He likes to be close to us, sleep on a hoodie that I've worn, and eat from my hand but he is still not showing any signs of wanting to be petted or held.  He does let me pet his front paws and he really enjoys swatting or nibbling my toes when I wear toe socks so, the kitten behavior is definitely back!   =^..^=

I'd like to give a big thank you to all the ladies who made bulk buy headpin purchases.  Everyone's headpins are finished and the reserved listings have been purchased.  It took me longer than expected to get all the headpins made because I was lucky enough to have lots of regular Etsy orders come in at the same time.  I've made over 1000 headpins in the last two weeks in addition to several other custom orders.  I'm grateful for the business but admittedly a bit tired!
I made lots of new earrings which were going to make their debut at the February Piety Street Market which I couldn't attend due to Randy's injury.  It's going to take a bit of time to get all those earrings listed on Etsy.  If you see a pair of earrings that you're interested in, please send me an Etsy convo and I'll set up a reserved listing for you.  By saving me the time that it would take to photograph, edit those photos, and write full listings for these new pairs of earrings, I'll ship your earrings for free to US destinations and $2.50 off of shipping to all other destinations (an equivalent savings). Purchases of two or more pairs of earrings will get you another $5 discount.

Click to enlarge photos:

New Earring Display Stand

Earrings Made By Libellula Jewelry

Handmade Earrings By Libellula Jewelry

Earrings Handmade By Libellula Jewelry

Handmade Earrings By Libellula Jewelry

I'm also pretty proud of the earring display stand that my husband made for me. The photos of the new earrings feature my new display.  It's a beefed up version of others that are currently available on the internet.  We wanted one that could stand up to the rigors of years of set-ups and breakdowns, as well as, big gusts of wind.  A lot of the others that I found while I was searching for one that was ready made were made from much thinner wood and even plywood.  He made my stand from solid Louisiana cypress and I stained it the color of red oak so that it would match my other red oak display items.  The rods are brass which I plated with copper and treated with liver of sulphur.  The yellow brass was too garish against the mellow red oak color.

New Simon's Cat Animation

Feed Me by Simon Tofield

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Freret Market

I applied to sell at the Freret Market in New Orleans and I was accepted!  This doesn't guarantee me a space at the April market.  The market chooses from a large pool of vendors each month but my acceptance does mean that I am in the running.  This is exciting because though this market is not an "art" market, it has a more "art market"-like feel than the other markets where I've sold.  With that slightly more upscale feel comes a higher space fee but I'm interested in comparing sales across different venues.  Each venue has it's perks so, I won't be abandoning any of them.

I've added new display items, my husband just got a new Galaxy Note II phone, and we signed up for Paypal Here.  Things are really beginning to come together!  The next thing is a biggie; I've got to order my tent.  I've found one from Sam's Club and another from Costco that seems better.  It's a better grade of nylon and the frame is powder coated aluminum.  Does anyone care to share their experience with either of those tents?  I also need a banner but I haven't decided what kind I want.  Actually, I know that I don't want plastic but I'll probably end up with plastic anyway because they do last out in the elements.  I really love the handmade banner that Barbara Bechtel made but I don't draw well enough to make one and I'm afraid that even treated fabric would look moldy in no time with our year 'round high humidity.  Any suggestions regarding the banner dilemma?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I Made Link-Up

I have made so many items that are yet to be listed!  I did manage to get this bracelet listed this morning so that I would have a fresh item ready for the What I Made Link-Up.

Birgitta Lejonklou of Angel Whisperer made the focal.  Her work is very earthy and feminine and pairs well with Thai Hill Tribe silver elements.  The ones that I used in this bracelet are in the pattern "bundled reeds".

I'd like to give a big thank you to my friend Gale who sent me a variety of beads a few weeks back.  These were extras and beads that she had grown a bit tired of using but they were entirely new to me.  They included the light blue ceramic beads like the one that I used in this bracelet.  That bead inspired me to make this bracelet.  Sometimes a jumping off point can be as simple as a bead that matches a focal that you've had sitting around unused for months!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

USPS Problems and Civil Behavior on the Internet

I've had some issues with packages not getting scanned by the postal service.  Some have only been scanned at their sorting centers but not at delivery and others haven't been scanned at all. This would not help me should a customer fail to receive a package as I wouldn't even be able to prove to the postal service that I shipped the package! 

I usually avoid the Etsy forum like I would avoid the plague but I ventured in there to ask about sellers' recent experiences with USPS scanning their packages. A simple question quickly devolved into the usual Etsy forum snarkiness and condescension.  What has happened to normal, civil discourse?  This wasn't even a controversial topic!

For those who are curious:

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Partner Has Received Her Bead Soup!

I can finally show you what I sent my partner, Nancy Boylan!  I had a lot of fun choosing what to send.  I first raided my private bead stash to get an idea of what direction I'd like to take.  I then decided what metalsmithed items I'd like to make.  When I realized that there was a bit of a void, I ordered a few pastel beads from Gaea and included some eco-friendly lampworked beads that were made by Mary of Fire Babies.  She makes them by recycling Coke bottles!  Once I learned the name of my partner, I started snooping around her lovely shop and blog.  I found out that, like Mary, she is a lampworker.  I also found out that Nancy likes turquoise and green so, I kept those colors in mind.

I worked on Nancy's bead soup during Carnival season and I think that the  bright colors and crazy patterns must have seeped into my brain.  They inspired me to decorate her box in a way that is definitely outside my usual comfort zone--just to do something different.  I started with a kraft paper box and added tissue paper and microbeads.  Usually, I would have simply wrapped a coil of decorative paper around it and added a ribbon!  I'm not sure if I should have kept it simple or done this:

Decorated Box For Bead Soup
Crazy box containing my Bead Soup

The beads that I sent were chosen with Spring in mind.  Our second reveal date made that an easy decision.

beads in pastel colors
Beads in pastel colors

coppersmithed items
Copper items (including enameled headpins by Sue Beads)

I'm usually a very decisive person but not with Bead Soup.  I made two clasps.  The etched button clasp can also serve as a focal.  The second is a simple soldered, hammered fish hook style clasp. I also chose to send two items that could serve as the focal.  The rectangular carved aventurine bead is probably not quite special enough to be a Bead Soup focal.  With that in mind, I also made a bezel set etched copper dome pendant.  The dome pendant has been patinated with the Vintaj/Ranger turquoise patina and sealed with Permalac.  Hidden within the dome is a slip of paper that reads, "Seek Peace".  I patinated some of my etched bead caps in green and purple.

detail of etched copper components
 I managed to use both turquoise and green--colors that Nancy likes!

I hope that Nancy has as much fun working with these items as I had assembling and making them!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Bead Soup Has Arrived!

I just received my Bead Soup from my fabulous partner, Nancy Boylan of Snazzy Doodle Designs.  It was hard to not open everything and forget about taking photos but I was good and remembered.

Snazzy Doodle Designs Box
Adorable packaging that perfectly matches the name of her shop

Snazzy Doodle Bead Soup In Box
 The colors had me totally covered in goosebumps!

Beautiful Bead Soup
 A closer look at the loveliness

Nancy really outdid herself with this Bead Soup.  I couldn't be more pleased with the gorgeous colors and the items she made and chose.  Her lampwork and enamel beads are stellar and I love the handmade brass clasp.  Creating with this Bead Soup will be so much fun.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Happy Valentine's Day

cherub with heart vintage ephemera from Dover
May your day be filled with love!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Art Jewelry Boot Camp: Balled Headpin Blog Hop

Love My Art Jewelry is sponsoring jewelry technique "boot camps" with a new skill every six weeks.  The first boot camp focused on learning how to make balled end headpins and the challenge was to learn how to make them and use them to make original jewelry.

I have been making my own headpins for quite awhile so, I chose to view this as a design challenge.  I had been doodling a few "lacy" designs in my sketchbook for some time and this pushed me to try some of them using double-ended headpins.  I love to use wire that has had the ends torch-balled because it keeps the jewelry item from snagging clothing or skin--it's really a comfort factor.

The first piece of jewelry that I made was a copper choker.  I started making double-ended 18 gauge copper headpins in a variety of random sizes.  These headpins were then pickled to remove the firescale.  I then shaped them and soldered them so that jump rings could not slip out.  The soldered sections were then pickled once again and I then hammered them to work harden them so that they would hold their shape better.  I copper plated the silver solder seams and the sections were then tumble polished.  After laying out the sections in a visually pleasing arrangement, I joined the segments with 18 g 4 mm ID copper jump rings.  I had already made a soldered spiral clasp which I adorned with a sterling silver granulation made from a small piece of scrap wire.  The little ball was sweat soldered to the clasp.  After I added this clasp to the necklace, I treated the completed necklace with liver of sulphur and hand polished it.

Balled Headpin Copper Choker
 Balled Headpin Copper Choker Necklace

Edited to add:

I received a request for a photo of the necklace being worn.  I made it to fit my neck:

Copper Choker As Worn By Me
   Copper Choker As Worn By Me

The second idea that I had was for hammered frames to be used to create simple chandelier earrings.  I cut two equal lengths of 16 gauge sterling silver wire which I then used to create double-ended headpins.  After I pickled the headpins, I formed them and soldered them.  The frames were then pickled, hammered,  and tumble polished.  I hung these frames from my handmade ear wires and added bead dangles made with 20 g sterling silver headpins and 6/0 glass beads.  The assembled earrings were treated with liver of sulphur and hand polished.

sterling silver chandelier earrings by Cicada Silver
 Balled Headpin Sterling Silver Chandelier Earrings

I hope that my designs encourage those of you who have yet to try making your own headpins, to give it a go.  It's a very good skill to possess and the resulting headpins are useful in far more than just making earrings and bead dangles.

Please visit the other participants:

Edited to add:

I just got my Metal Clay Artist Magazine February Newsletter in my email and found this beautiful necklace.  If you liked how I used double ended headpins to make a chain, you'll probably love how Catherine Witherell made her chain for her entry into the Metal Clay Artist Magazine Tales of the Heart competition.  

Necklace by Catherine Witherell
 Third place: $500.00 winner: Catherine Witherell, ‘My Heart’s Golden Secret Gives Me Hope’

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bead Soup Blog Party #7: My Partner

I chose the second reveal date (April 6th) and luckily, so did Nancy Boylan of Snazzy Doodle Designs!  Many thanks to Lori Anderson for pairing me with Nancy.  She is a very talented jewelry designer who makes her own lampwork beads.  Here are some examples of her beautiful work:

Copper Swirl with Blues and Greens Bracelet 
Copper Swirl with Blues and Greens Bracelet

Sterling Silver and Denim Lampwork Bracelet
 Sterling Silver and Denim Lampwork Bracelet

I'll be mailing her bead soup tomorrow.  Until she receives it, I can only give you a teaser:

Blurred Image of Decorated Box

Bead Soup_Beads

Bead Soup_Copper

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Unexpected Vet Expenses

An update on Randy:

In my last blog post, I mentioned that Randy was resting in his carrier after his surgery.  When he finally exited his carrier, he dislocated his hip in a fit of terror (a crazy, scrambling run) while he was still a bit groggy.  We couldn't tell that anything was really wrong with his leg until yesterday.  Today's vet visit was very stressful for him and costly for us so, I'm hoping to offset some of those expenses by offering a bulk buy on my ball-tipped copper headpins.
(100) 20 g or 22 g 3 inch (7.6 cm) long copper headpins for $18.  That's around 25% off.

handmade antiqued copper headpins
Antiqued With Liver of Sulphur

handmade copper headpins
Raw Copper

handmade rosy copper headpins
 Rosy Copper

Send me a convo on Etsy and I'll get your reserve listing set up. I'll need a week of lead time to get these made so, please bear with me.  I've got an injured kitty to care for in addition to everything else.

And, for those who don't make jewelry but prefer the finished items, send me a convo and I'll set up a reserved listing with 10% off and free US and Canadian shipping. I'll extend the 10% off discount and discounted shipping to anyone outside the US and Canada so that it's commensurate with the savings that everyone else receives.  The discounts apply in both my Etsy shops:  Cicada Silver & Libellula Jewelry.  Thank you to anyone who helps!

I'd appreciate any positive vibes that anyone can send to my little boy.  It's hard to get a scared little formerly feral kitty to understand everything that's going on right now.  And, amazingly enough, my sweet little cat never showed the slightest bit of aggression in the midst of all that pain.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Piety Street Market: Saturday, February 9th

Heidi Post of Ex Post Facto Jewelry and I will be at the Piety Street Market this Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm.  Please stop by for a visit.  There will be lots of vendors, live music, and you can take care of all your last minute Mardi Gras costuming and Valentine's Day needs!  Heidi and I are happy to gift wrap your purchases so that snooping eyes won't have a chance to find out what you bought before Valentine's Day.

Update on our tuxedo kitty, Randy:
Randy went to the vet today for his exam, vaccinations, microchipping, and neutering and was given a clean bill of health other than a parasite issue that has been remedied.  He was a good boy and is currently napping in his carrier while he recovers from the last of the effects from his anesthetic.  We got some interesting news regarding his age.  He is approximately a month younger than we thought!  That means that he showed up at our door as a three month old kitten--albeit a thin but large-framed three month old kitten.  Those three months of feeding him prior to luring him indoors certainly bulked him up into a healthy boy!

Current Stats:  He is approximately seven months old and he weighs seven pounds.

Inspired By Winter

Edit to add:  I've still got about ten or so more blogs to visit.  I'll get there later tonight and won't leave out anyone!

I'd like to give a big thank you to Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime for creating this Winter-themed design challenge/blog hop:  Inspired By Winter.  Her intention was to encourage everyone to get out of their design ruts by creating something inspired by the colors of Winter.  I imagine that this challenge was a bit easier for those who live in colder regions.  Our Gulf coast winter has been uncommonly mild so, I had to imagine a more stereotypical Winter scene as my inspiration.

I thought of a secret walled garden covered in snow with lichens growing on statuary.  Some of the lichens have bright red fruiting bodies providing the only "color" to the garden and the only hint at the beauty which will return with Spring.  My palette of colors are icy grayed blue, black with splashes of lichen green-gray, and red.  I used sterling silver and 1/10 silver-filled wire and the necklace was antiqued with liver of sulphur.  The skeleton key charm is antiqued pewter from Bad Girl Castings via Fallen Angel Brass.
Frozen English Garden
Frozen English Garden

Cladonia Forest