Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Busy Week at the workbench

This week has been awesome for me. My fascination of and love for the fabulous feldspars continues. I created a line of wonderful ice cut labradorite jewellery that is simply gorgeous and also functional. The deep sea blues of this batch of quality cut labradorite stones is breath taking. The pictures don't really do the creations justice, but you get the idea I think.

Another feldspar beauty is rainbow moonstone, and over the next two weeks I'll introduce a tiny collection of moonstone jewellery that's just perfect for the holiday season through the spring.

For some reason, I'm having an inordinate amount of fun working with new shapes, materials and combinations. I can't really explain why I'm enjoying the creative process so much these days, but who's complaining?

This two toned chunky bracelet came out of nowhere and developed into something that I find stunning. I've received correspondence via Etsy concerning how beautiful and unique this item is, and the kudos is truly humbling. But this chunky style doesn't readily lend itself in my opinion to a matching ensemble. I'll develop a modified earring and necklace, but not on the same scale as this bracelet.

One new feature of my work this week is the emphasis on two tone metals. I've even combined copper, silver and gold in a few pieces that I'm quite pleased with. I'll continue this mixing of metals through the holiday season.

I just found a stash of fabulously cut clear rosy quartz marquis beads that I'll work into something pretty for Christmas. This stone has potential to be used in Valentine's Day items as well. Below is my first creation using these nice Rose Quartz marquis cut beads. This earring pair features bright red jade accents and lovely prehnite rounds. Stay tuned for lots more pretty items featuring these juicy pink beauties.

If you're looking for a truly unique, one of a kind gift item for someone very special, you've come to the right place. I don't assess an upcharge for creating custom pieces. Just let me know what colours you had in mind, what style, or what gemstones, or what your overall budget is and I'll do the rest.

I have most gemstone beads in stock and a huge variety of styles of earrings, bracelets and necklaces to work with.

I enjoy working with men's chokers too. More on that to follow.

Until next time, take care....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Flickr Profile

The other day I somehow stumbled upon http://www.flickr.com/ and I decided to upload pics that are relevant to me. So without giving it a second thought I quickly created a collection containing a few of my recent jewellery creations - items that are available for purchase at http://www.oraclegemdesigns.com/ and http://www.gahooletree.etsy.com/.

On Flickr I also decided to store an ongoing collection of photos pertaining to my wonderful recumbent road bicycle, the Oracle Omega, which is also available for purchase through my company Oracle Cycle Works. So I started uploading early prototype photos of the Oracle Omega, some of Jack's early tig welding stuff and overall design notes.

But today I read somewhere that Flickr forbids commercial use of their site. Does that mean that these picture collections which represent the essence of who and what I am, will be banned from Flickr? If you have the answer please let me know. If my sharing these aspects of my life is going to be prohibited by Flickr I'd like to know now, before I spend any more time that will go to waste.
-Anna Lee

Hostess Bonuses for Home Jewellery Parties Durham Region

I truly enjoy doing home jewellery parties not only to see the sparkle that lights up the eyes of the guests as they drool over my jewellery, but because I'm basically a people person who loves making new friends. Whether you're thinking about Christmas purchases or looking ahead to Valentine's or perhaps even a bridal event next spring, I have a complete ensemble of gorgeous and affordable unique jewellery pieces available to bring to your home that will dazzle your guests and generate a blast of a good time at your home jewelry party.

Remember that each of my handcrafted necklaces, earrings and bracelets is created using fine quality genuine gemstones combine with sterling silver and gold findings. No two pieces are identical, so my artisan jewelry adornments make perfect thoughtful gifts for family, friends and acquaintances.

Who doesn't love a party? And a party that is chocked full of great handmade artisan gemstone gifts is an ideal birthday or anniversay party, neighbourhood icebreaker, meet and greet, fund raiser, etc. My home jewelry shows even make a great housewarming party!

Call 905 718-7080 to book your home jewelry party today!

My hostess benefits include: 10% commission on all show sales, amazing personalized thank you gifts, great entertainment for your guests, not to mention kudos from all the invitees!
Until next time,
-Anna Lee
Thanks for supporting an independent artisan jewellery designer.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jewellery Making - Cup Burrs and Cutting Fluid

I don't plan to rag on regarding jewelry making techniques on this blog because there are already so many other sources of relevant online information. But after manually smoothing earwires for quite some time, I finally invested in Cup Burrs. In my neck of the woods there's a jeweller supply outlet called Lacy's where prices are high and the level of customer service is low. But my husband went there anyhow (100 km out of his way) solely for the purpose of buying cup burrs for me.

Unfortunately Lacy's indicates cup burr size by outside diameter as opposed to inside. They also stubbornly refuse to address the fact that most of the wire available is measured in gauge, not millimeters. So in their usual arrogant wisdom, Lacy's sold David cup burrs that are way too small to be of any use with 20, 22 or even 24 gauge wires! Fortunately he went on eBay and ordered dozens of cup burrs from the states. Well, I'm smitten! These fabulous little tools are a MUST HAVE for every artisan jewellery designer...

The main problem I found in using a cup burr (with any of my Dremels or the flex shaft) was how hot the earwire got, and how quickly it heated up due to the friction. I only hold my earrings in my bare fingers while working, so was getting burned...

But David suggested I try using a cutting fluid. I was skeptical, but wow! now I'm a total convert. In my old bicycle shop (well Jack's stuff really) I found a bottle of Park Tool Cutting Fluid CF-1. It's got a non aerosol pump top so I can pump a little bit onto a cotton ball and dab each rough wire end into that before smoothing with the cup burr.

Being self taught with no background in formal jeweller techniques, I have no idea what type of cutting fluid the 'experts' use. But I can attest to the fact that Park Tool Cutting Fluid (available at bike shops) is wonderful. I think it sells for about $10 a bottle, maybe less, and this product is environmentally safe, biodegradeable, contains no solvents, no mineral oils, it protects and extends the life of your cup burrs and get this as the friction starts to build you can actually see the cutting fluid start to evaporate or even smoke off --- but the wire doesn't get hot!!!

Oh yeah, I've got acute chemical sensitivity syndrome and this wonderful stuff doesn't bother my skin either.
I should state that apparently cutting fluid is available everywhere in many forms and brands so check local hardware stores, automotive supply places etc.

ThisNext.com 'Badge' as a page element

I've just decided that I'd like to see my ThisNext.com badge banner permanently displayed at the top of this journal. I'd genuinely like to hear from you if you've taken a peak at any of my jewellery creations. Send your feedback via comment to this blog. I'll find it an invaluable aid in determining future products, pricing, and strategies. Thanks!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My Designer Jewellery .co.uk link exchange ???

As part of finding my way through the changing requirements of online marketing, today I'm also going to try to find out how and why I should link to another related blog. I was very surprised that someone had even read my original blog post and even more shocked that someone actually emailed me explaining that she was creating a new designer jewellery blog that I could participate in if I wanted to. So I replied expressing interest and today they asked me to do a 'blog link exchange' if I was interested.

So what is a blog link exchange and how do I go about doing it?
What is the benefit of participating in someone else's blog?
And does this link exchange idea mean that I can actually load my content onto their blog?

I'm going to paste the other blog URL into the 'link' box above and see what happens!!!

Recommendations at This Next.com

Okay, so I've learned a bit about the need to incorporate social shopping input into my marketing plan. And today I'm experimenting with a widget called a badge. A badge apparently is a snippet of html code that reflects my favorites that I recommended to ThisNext.com. And here's a sample of mine:

I was surprised that folks were actually reading my recommendations, but lo and behold my ThisNext stats show that a few folks have liked my jewelry creations so much they actually put them on their wish lists! Whoopeee.

Shopcast powered by

Get this for your blog or website

Monday, September 17, 2007

Intro to marketing designer jewelry online at Etsy

Not knowing much about this whole blogging thing, its uses or value as a traffic generation tool, I'm just diving in blindly here. This past two weeks, I decided to make a serious attempt to take my designer jewellery line to market online. I'm fairly computer savvy, but this endeavour is much easier said than done. I'm not a fan of photo taking, photo editing, or item description composition. And like most artists I suppose, I'd far sooner devote what brain cells *are* firing on all cylinders today to the broader good of actually designing and producing fabulous jewelled items. But no such luck. My online research today revealed that I can't ever possibly hope to sell anything online unless I start a blog and use it regularly.... sooooooooo here we are.

Fortunately, the time spent on setting up my new store on Etsy has been rewarding. Some of my jewellery items look good in the Etsy showcase. Great photography is the key, and that too is easier said than done when it comes to jewelry. I love taking pictures, but have never delved into the world of commercial photography, so imagine my surprise when my husband informed me I needed to invest in a 'light box'. A what? Well, he actually bought a photography tent thingy with daylight type lights. It's an intricate and expensive setup but we're finally starting to get some quality photos of my gemstone pieces.

Years ago I tried selling my high end jewellery creations on eBay of all places. What a waste of time and money that turned out to be. Overcrowded now with mass produced jewelry from the orient and a sleugh of amateurish stuff from the craft store crowd, I didn't recoup even the cost of my quality materials through that venue. And I became totally offended that eBay buyers (in search of best bargains) couldn't appreciate the time and effort I spent to source materials, plan and execute fine designs.

I live in Oshawa, Ontario and the local 'bead stores' leave something to be desired. Years ago I made the mistake of buying gemstone items online only to regret that decision a great deal. Today, my buying trips take me to Chicago, Cleveland or Boston areas, a time consuming and costly jaunt, but hand picking my materials is fun, exciting and the only true way to ensure quality control. But at times I still need to rant about the costs incurred. And like all artists, sometimes I ruminate for days about a design, adding then taking away elements until I'm completely satisfied with the final product. So now I'm ranting about how little $$ per hour I make as a designer! Oh well, when my work is done I sit back and marvel at the fabulous outcome.

Months ago I started building one of my original jewellery sites Oracle Gem Designs, a site that I mistakenly chose solely on the basis of low cost hosting. Unfortunately my hosting package included such ugly templates that I got discouraged and gave up. I am experienced Dreamweaver developer but thought I would easily and quickly be able to churn out a classy jewellery site using the provided 'web builder' utilities. Anyhow, this week, I was delighted to discover that you can create a mini Etsy showcase in html code that you can add to webpages, so today I updated the homepage at http://www.oraclegemdesigns.com/ to reflect a mini showcase of the Etsy listings and it doesn't look too bad.

The cool thing about all this is that my overall link stategy is starting to come together and we all agree that linking our sites increases rankings. Whoopeee! Tomorrow I need to learn more about ROR and RSS and XML, etc., etc.... and oh yeah, I found out today I could set up a free store at eCrater.com! So I'll begin building my little eCrater store (likely to sell mostly supplies, studio overstock and casual designs) but with links to some of my other sites.... until next time...