Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My New Free Store on ShopIt

I just love economical ways to market my jewelry and supplies, so when I heard about the FREE ShopIt shopping cart I just had to check it out. ShopIt offers a fairly clean looking storefront with lots of backend features. And did I mention it is FREE?

I fought with this application, but finally managed to get my new ShopIt store looking somewhat presentable and the ShopIt widget is now installed on my FaceBook profile and my MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/gahooletree

The coolest thing about the ShopIt venue is the ability to literally illuminate your profiles on Facebook and MySpace with your product gallery by installing the ShopIt widget in those places.
So now contacts who look me up will literally be bombarded with pics and info about my jewelry! This is quite exciting because my former colleagues searching me out online have no idea that I create jewelry now.

At first I couldn't customize the ShopIt widget (which wouldn't even show up in my browser). But because this darn ShopIt application is still in beta mode I thought it was just a small bug until I finally figured out that I needed to update to Explorer 7 or Firefox. Voila! things are working fine now...

Of course you can always add an item manually - that's fairly straight forward and easy to do with ShopIt. But I wanted to figure out the batch uploads. It took me about an hour to develop a system for a mass product upload to ShopIt. There are likely many faster and more efficient methods but here's what I did.

Using the free google base formatter on http://www.letsets.com I did a batch download for my SassyDLite shop. Copy and paste that into excel. Create the mandatory headers (outlined in the ShopIt guide to batch uploads) and delete the pics. Fill in missing fields (quantity = 1 and Condition = N for new). Then i stole the pic urls from my etsy shop and pasted those urls into the spreadsheet in the ImageURL column. The pics are housed on one of etsy's many servers. Save this spreadsheet as a CSV file (comma saved value) and you're ready to upload.

Another reasonable storefront alternative is Artfire. I'll be joining that new community soon too. And the rates if you join right now are only $7/month for life with no listing fees, no transaction fees, no commissions, no other costs. Just $7 per month and this facility offers lots of features that sellers (like my team mates at eSMArts) will adore like unlimited product categories.

More on Artfire next time...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

New ShopIt Widget

I'm trying this new free shopping cart software from www.ShopIt.com that allows you to post a widget to social marketing venues like FaceBook and MySpace. Will let you know how it goes.

To get my etsy content added to this new venue I've experimented with using the www.Letsets.com GoogleBase formatter bulk download and converting it to a CSV file for bulk upload to ShopIt. This system takes some time to implement. It might be just as fast to input each item manually to ShopIt.

But this type of advertising on social marketing venues might just make sense because my widget on FaceBook is already receiving traffic. Check it out!

Till next time,
~Anna Lee

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little Christmas Bazaar

Here I am setting up with kate in the background

We'll be doing lots of jewelry showings in 2009 and hopefully I'll be able to keep everyone informed of these events well in advance. But here's a few tidbits about the little Christmas Bazaar that was held November 29th at Thorntonview Residence here in Oshawa.

My jewelry table was located beside the Tea Room in the Corbett wing where Kate lives. Although totally isolated from the other vendors, this location did prove to be advantageous. The atmosphere was more quiet, tranquil and intimate in this area, where coffee, tea and christmas cakes were being served.

I'm glad we attended this venue which served as a good trial run and gave me a chance to see how my new display items will work.

In early 2008 I bought countertop displays, a sample case and other display items from Rio Grande but I hadn't had a chance to use them. In the top photo black vinyl stackable trays from my rolling sample case (Rio Grande no. 400-468 $18) are used as countertop containers. I lined my sample trays with black velvet easel back display pads that are a breeze to set up and dismantle. If there were more room, more easel back displays could be stood up freeing up the trays to hold keychains, bookmarks, zipper pulls etc.

For earrings we used a rotating hanging card display on the left and a clear plexiglass lockable countertop display case on the right. I'm currently using generic plastic earring cards (Rio Grande 405-557/14) that I personalize using a label maker. Fall/Winter 2008 Brochure Oracle Gem Designs

This setup is by no means artistic, but it's functional and easy to transport. The rotating displays get moved in unfinished wooden crates from Michael's. Two crates will hold the halogen desk lamp, both display stands, table cloth, and all non displayed inventory, tools, promotional items etc.

As y'all know, I love visuals and here's the Fall/Winter 2008 Brochure personalized for this particular event. I print one on matte photo stock and copy what I need. In this case I only took about 30 of these. David handed them out in the 'real' bazaar area. If it was a bigger event, I would take this to Staples for copying.

We displayed a variety of items at varying price points - from five dollar earrings & SassyDLite casual items to formal luxe gemstone items from Gahooletree. I was surprised that none of the newly created items sold. Go figure! At Staples we couldn't find the little coloured dot stickers to colour code items by price, but we made due as best we could.

A big hit was actually a last minute addition. Practically on the way out the door I grabbed a handful of 925 Italian sterling silver snake chain necklaces with sterling silver gemstone pendants attached (from Mexico) that sold out. Obviously these aren't truly handmade by my definition but they looked impressive once I finally polished them up and spread them around the table.

We donated a door prize/raffle item that I forgot to photograph :) It was a gift wrapped gemstone treasures necklace. I included a formal typed item description with overview of my jewelry and mini bio - a promotional flyer specific to that one donated piece as info for the winning recipient.

We picked up a few custom orders and overall it was a great day as I got to sit and sip coffee with Kate (who had a blast interacting with the customers). I'm pleased with this venue and we'll likely be there again next year. In fact I just met with my publicist on Monday to begin setting up our 2009 events calendar. Until next time...

~Anna Lee

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fun Angel Earrings

Angel earrings by SassyDLite

It was a cold & snowy day here at the Ga'Hoole Tree but Angel Fun warmed our hearts. Wings are near and dear to our feathered hearts and today these darling earrings and pendants have put us in the Christmas spirit! Some of these cuties will be listed tomorrow on our sister site SassyDLite.

Available in a variety of shades and combos (~yes we busy owls will whip them up for you in practically any genuine gemstone too!) these pretty accessories are sure to please someone on your gift list.

But be sure to get them and give them soon because all earthly angels love to show their wings prior to December 24th ~ year round in fact!

Until next time....
~Anna Lee

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Studio Overstock - Emeralds

In the above picture we're introducing four different types and grades of emeralds. From left to right they are: Brazilian, Zambian, Colombian Light and Colombian Dark

Our Brazilian Emerald faceted plump rondelles (shown below in the foreground) are opaque with a uniform bright festive green color. Size on this lot is very big, ranging from 6-8mm in diameter. These are microfaceted Israel cut beads with plenty of sparkle. I'm offering a mixture (approximately 14 inches) of loose beads weighing 150 ctw.USD $75.00 plus S&H

Our deep Zambian emeralds (the deepest green shown second from the left) are a rich deep forest green, but transparent and virtually eye clean! These beautiful beads look great with almost anything. Here we are offering 12 inch strand weighing 76.00 ctw. They range in diameter from 4.5 to 6.7mm.USD $114.00 plus S&H

Our finest colombian emerald faceted rondelles are the traditional perfect emerald green color. This is a perfectly sorted and graduated 20 inch strand ranging in size from 3.0 to 6.6mm in diameter and weighing 58 ctw. This is premium AAA stock with very few inclusions. There are enough beads on this one long strand to complete many projects. USD $406.00 plus S&H

It's a bit difficult to discern from our pictures, but our Dark Colombian Emeralds (far right) are just a trace darker than optimum AAA. Still these beads are relatively eye clean (for emeralds) with few inclusions, their facets are precise and the graduation is superb. We're offering a 19 inch strand weighing approximately 50 ctw. The beads range from 2.4mm to 6mm in diameter.USD $250.00 plus S&H

We currently have dozens of other gemstones available for sale online. If you are looking for something in particular, drop me a line.

Thanks for looking!
Until next time,
~Anna Lee

Saturday, October 18, 2008

added newest member stores and blog urls to team blog: http://ping.fm/jQ1Qm

etsy listings feed to Google Base

I managed to successfully upload my listings for all three of my etsy stores into Google Base tonight. There's a very informative thread in etsy Forums:


Just follow their step by step instructions. They have an entire blog about it:

Use the www.letset.com google base formatter and download your bulk feed XML file.

You'll need a google login, but beyond that registering your feed file with google base and uploading the file aren't difficult or time consuming at all. If you get a "failed" message, read the info listed beside the error for hints and tips and try to correct the problem, before uploading again.

But if you've set up your Google Base account properly, this system works well. Remember to renew these items each month as they will expire in 31 days!

Hopefully now I'll be able to find my listings in http://www.oodle.com!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Make Your Own Fine Gauge Headpins

Thanks to my cyber Sis and fellow eSMArts member Carlotta (of CarlottaP on etsy) who straightened me out on the fundamentals of creating my own sterling silver ball end head pins. Shown above is my first batch created using 26 gauge wire.

Now handmade 26 gauge sterling silver ball end headpins may not sound exciting, but the smallest diameter headpins usually offered for sale at the largest and most abundantly stocked gem shows is 24 gauge. So in order to work with the majority of the faceted precious gemstone beads (sapphire, emerald and ruby) you either need to fabricate your own 26g or 28g headpins or find a great source.Carlotta's Prehnite drop with Tourmaline, Apatite, Citrine Gemstone Cluster drop EarringsPurchasing these little darlings can get expensive.

I've lately been scouring the jewelry making world to even find them. There are a few sources to purchase these handmade findings on etsy, but most of those vendors don't offer a reliable year round supply, offering just overstock or small handmade lots on an ad hoc basis.

But forget about buying them. If you have a small torch (you can even use your gas range stovetop like I did) these are extremely easy (and fun) to make! On my first try (batch on the left) the ball ends were perhaps a bit smaller than I'd like. So in the remainder of this lot I made the ends more plump.

These headpins range from 3/4 to 1 3/4 inches in length. I find the 3/4 inch length is perfect for tiny gem clusters but in future, I'll make them in 28 gauge as well with varying lengths and the larger heads.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

On getting settled, emptynesters & downsizing

My life has been in total disarray for at least a month now, but we're beginning to feel slightly settled in to our new home. This move meant even more downsizing, so we still haven't found places for all our "stuff"! But at least we've recognized that we can't keep everything and we're slowing working on fixing the problem.

We sorted through our mountains of belongings and I actually agreed to part with some things. At our last house we threw away and put out at the curb tons of things - all of my handpainted birdhouses, the older handmade decorated birdfeeders, older garden tools and plenty of decorated terracotta pots - that sort of stuff disappeared quickly.

I've culled 10 boxes of household and kitchen items that we keep telling ourselves we'll try to sell at a garage sale. We've been saying that for three years and still haven't made firm plans to follow through with it. If it isn't raining on weekends, we're too busy.

There's a local reduce, reuse, recycle site that sprung up recently where you can post things that you'd like to give away. Maybe I'll give that a try. And we've yet to go through the clothing. There must be boxes of things we could take to Goodwill.

One problem I'm having is emotional attachment with all of my daughter's things. Kate is now comfy and cozy in her private room at one of Durham Region's finest long term care facilities. It's been a long rough go for Kate, but after a 2 year wait and some mighty cramped lodgings, she finally was granted a spot in ThorntonView's brand new young people's wing and I must say, that she's never been happier!

We're just delighted that Kate now has this wonderful handicap accessible spot that's all nicely decorated with her familiar things and some of my artsy favorites. But even there, we're quickly running out of room. Since the below pic was taken, we've installed CD racks, shelves for Kate's video archive, and more memorabilia...

Kate and Amy in Kate's room
I just found five more boxes of Kate's stuffed toys and games in the basement - these items have such significance for me that I can hardly force myself to part with them. But we must sell or give away the majority and take a few over to Kate's residence [due to her disabilities and high needs, Kate likely won't spend another night under our roof and we aren't setting up a formal bedroom for her here].

with mom 1981with Daddy 1985

We also need to sell her adjustable bed, transfer pole, three walkers, one barely used motorized scooter, a $12K electric wheelchair (like new), two transfer wheelchairs, etc. and all her clothes that no longer fit. Right now, all these items and more are in the garage!

grade eight grad 1995high school grad 2000

Adapting to our emptynester status will take some time and effort. We've been in the throws of this grieving process for a few years now, and with counselling and the right meds, we're managing to get on with life. So yes it's slowly getting easier to confront and accept, but we still have a way to go.

Back to the move... I'm still finding boxes of things that were put into storage when we sold the big house three years ago - things like partylight decorative candle displays. Someone should have stopped me when I had that addiction. These kinds of items (that I now have absolutely no room for) aren't exactly junk either. They're expensive collectables, all of which should be photographed and listed for sale on eBay. But who has time for that? Geez, I barely have time to pee.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Love Glass

from C.N.Y Glass Studio designed by Jacquelyn Rice

After a two day introduction to lampworking I’m convinced that glass is the medium for me. Plans are underway to install a glass studio. Well, the plans are being constructed in my mind. I’m still wrestling with a few minor details. Where will I get an extra $1000 for a good kiln? How will I install decent ventilation? And should I leap right into borosilicates? Other than working out a few details, myAngelWings by Lynn Nurge of LaffingGull mind is made up. :)

I’ve had a fascination with glass all my life. I remember mom taking me to a glass blowing studio, and because I was tiny and fearless I was yelled at about staying away from the furnace. But I was so fascinated with the molten glass and what the glass blower could accomplish.

As I grew, I developed an appreciation for mom’s millefiori paperweight collection. Later I fell in love with LaLique, blown glass figurines and even swarovski. I like crystals too (both natural and synthetic) and one of the first things I purchased when I returned to jewelry making after a 30 year hiatus was showy high quality glass beads.

In retrospect, it's no wonder that I have a glass collection of my own: paperweights, figurines, unique fobs and focals - mostly items either I chose while vacationing or little pretties gifted to me from David. He's such a dearheart to me. In fact, in my jewelry chest I have an assortment of eclectic pieces (my designs and purchased) which incorporate glass withMy Design - Swiss Blue Topaz, Lemon Topaz, Boro beads, Smokey Quartz all other media.

Recently I’ve fallen in love with boro beads – those wonderfully complex and colourful hard glass creations that have become so popular of late. I’ve purchased borosilicate beads from several renowned artists – and these pretties look fabulous when mixed with precious gemstones. Above is featured a set of borosilicate beads made by Jacquelyn Rice of C.N.Y Glass studio of Boonsville, NY.

I incorporated Jacquelyn's pretties (which remind me of an intergallactic monsoon) into the luxe gemstone bracelet shown here which I designed for myself. These photographs underline the many faces of boro beads - their dramatic and intense hues as highlighted in the opening picture and their more subtle faces in varying lighting - as seen below combined with Swiss Blue Topaz faceted nuggets, Lemon Topaz, Citrine, Smokey Topaz and plenty of silver.

This post will be the first in an ongoing series of articles exploring my quest to design borosilicate bead ornaments which will complement and enhance my gemstone creations. I'll discuss my boro bead buying experiences, my favourite boro artists, available online storefronts, informational resources, borosilicate bead making courses, lampwork bead making, lampworking courses, lampwork versus boro, etc. Stay tuned... there's lots more to come!

Friday, July 18, 2008

a new slideshow

Watching this I realize just how much effort and time I've invested in honing my craft this past ten months. Wow, even I'm thinking "what a weird mixture of styles, materials and techniques!". Yet it was time well spent. And each session once I gather my thoughts to develop something "new" and fresh it appears I learn something new and fresh as well.

In fact, when it comes to creative motivation, I admit rather shamefully that what gets me back to the bench is without a doubt the opportunity to either work with something brand new or to work in a brand new way - with a new technique.

I call this curse a penchant for self actualization. I'm like this with many things - never satisfied with what's been done, always looking to better it. With artisan handmade jewellery this curse has significant consequences. I now have a studio overflowing with materials I no longer appreciate and cases of unsold jewelry that in hindsight I'm not crazy about.

One thing is certain - I read way too many jewelry related publications. And wonderful though these reference materials may be, and yes, from them the inspiration just floods in upon me in waves, my efforts are scattered. The broad collection of goodies showcased in this slideshow underscore my point that I'm still finding my way. And like my own tastes in jewelry, my designs are all over the map. But how does one carve her own path?

With the exception of a small handful of visionaries, there's always a hint of replica in what artists produce and my jewellery is no exception. But I'd like to think that my pieces are drizzled with a unique flavour that's purely 'Anna Lee'. Hopefully through plenty more practice, more honing my craft, more education, more interaction within the artistic community etc. I'll find my calling.

But when my own 'style' emerges there'll most likely be two moons in the sky. And on that day perhaps just maybe I'll know what I want to be when I grow up.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Power of Flickr

If you follow my SassyDLite blog, you know that I took time a few days ago to dabble with a YouTube montage of my Spring 2008 collection. I had just finished posting on our group forum that I had no time to delve into the intricacies of YouTube, when I decided to hit the One True Media link that Elayne from ChezChani boutique had featured.

Well, I honestly didn't intend to play with a montage the other day, but for techno geeks these little toys are irresistable. Within minutes, literally, my montage was ready. You see, I already had an old Flickr account loaded with lots of fairly good pics from the Fall'07 and Spring '08 collections. OneTrueMedia allows you to access your Flickr albums with one click et voila, loads of stills to add to a personalized slideshow or montage (again with one click). I actually spent more time pouring through OneTrueMedia's online library of music than I did making the montage.

What's all the buzz about Flickr anyhow? Well, Flickr is an online picture storage facility that allows you to upload and store in collections and sets all the photos you could ever want to share online.

Once your pics are uploaded, you can share with family or friends, blog about them (one click), send them to groups (free online promotion) , organize them into relevant collections, etc. and of course you always have convenient access to your photos for adding them to sites, blogs or email even when you're not at your desk.

But Flickr is much more than an online photo storage facility. Flickr is compatible with and feeds into several critical online promotion venues like Blogger, Squidoo and HubPages for example. So a Flickr album is the starting point of a sound social marketing effort. We'll discuss these advanced promo venues later...

Getting back to Flickr - I joined roughly a dozen or so Flickr groups. These aren't groups that I socialize or chat with much. They're groups of photos for viewing:

I Made it Myself (10,404 members)
NEW CRAFT (4,714 members)
NEW Etsy.com love (6,460 members)
NEW Handmade Jewelry (2,867 members)
NEW Etsy - Look and Learn (3,522 members)
NEW indie designers ::: (975 members)
NEW Etsy Artists Rule: 1 Million Picture Pool (1,415 members)
NEW Metalicious (353 members)
etsyBEAD (207 members)
Jewelry, Ornaments & Textiles (3,358 members)
Buyhandmade.org (462 members)
Beautiful Copper (191 members)
Etsy Supplies (525 members)
Earrings (1,122 members)
Art You Wear (319 members)

But each group will accept your membership request and they all have discussion threads where we can promote ourselves and eSMArts!

And to promote handmade art via etsy it is recommended that photos of new work be uploaded to Flickr on a regular basis (daily if you can). I don't have time for daily uploads to Flickr. If I had an assistant that might be possible, but right now I'm solo.

So when I remember to do it, I try to upload a few pictures of my nicer work to my Flickr album. Then I just copy the pics to a few jewelry, handmade, etsy or craft photo pools. The big photo pools have limits like 2 pics per day, but the important thing here is to develop your own routine, your personalized online promotion checklist.

I found it useful to keep a chart of all my login IDs and passwords hanging above my computer screen. I've organized these venues in the order that I usually attack them in.

Everyone agrees that great pictures really help in the online selling of handmade artwork, so strive to steadily improve this facet of your online presence. Each week, I try new photo techniques, better backgrounds, different angles, lighting & surfaces, etc.

I heard about Flickr through reading etsy discussion threads. I learned about the Flickr jewelry and craft photo pools again from the etsy forums. And you know what? Practically all the jewelry for which I uploaded images to Flickr last fall has sold. I don't think this is a coincidence. Someone asked me the other day what online promotion technique works best for me, and I should likely have said Flickr!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Flickr group photo pool for eSMArts team

Just a very brief post today about our new Flickr group photo pool for the etsy Social Marketing Artisan team.

Pop over to Flickr to view the gallery of unique handmade artwork from our talented group of artisans.

Member note: please feel free to upload your best pics to this group pool but remember the limit is only 5 pics per day.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Talented team of artisans

Copper Charm bracelet by DGDesignsTx.etsy.com

Today I'm quick blogging directly from Flickr. This lovely piece was designed by Dani Garcia of http://www.dgdesignstx.etsy.com/. Dani creates pretty jewelry adornments borrowing from cross cultural themes and melding an eclectic variety of media. I'm particularly drawn to her copper creations!

Like all the members of our team, Dani is a talented, hard working, self representing emerging artist. She hales from Texas but her online boutique at DGDesignsTx.etsy.com is always accessible.

Amethyst Citrine and Copper, Oh My

For an informative peek into what's currently going on within the design studio at DGDesigns, follow Dani's online journal DGDesignsTx.blogspot.com or feel free to contact her for a custom creation. You won't be disappointed.

For more of our designs visit our gallery.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Silvolf Enchanted Creatures

Lara of Silvolf is a talented multi media artist from the UK who combines a love for all things enchanted with her flair for animation to produce a wide array of beautiful handmade artwork.

Violet the dragon by Lara of Silvolf

For the dragon lovers in my life I would purchase Violet, this beautiful polymer clay fire breather. Measuring 3"x1.5" Violet will be the perfect focal adornment for your next amethyst neck wrap. Perhaps Violet should become a favorite brooch or similar jewellery adornment or she could simply be gifted as a decorative statue.

Cute collectable figures like Nicoli the Nyffler, a combination between a guinea pig and hedgehog, are also worth checking out. And as soon as Lara adds an Airedale Terrier to her gorgeous lineup of Polymur Pupz, I'll definitely join her growing list of customers!

Nicoli the Nyffler by Lara of Silvolf

Lara is also adept at needle felt arts so check out her wonderful little felted creatures.

Visit Lara's new online boutique called Silvolf on Etsy at http://silvolf.etsy.com/ or for more information on this talented artist please visit http://www.silvolfstudios.co.uk/.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Julia Bristow Jewelry: Ga'Hooletree Designs#links

My friend Julia Bristow took the time to mention the Sun and Waves Bracelet today! Julia Bristow Jewelry: Ga'Hooletree Designs#links Thanks so much again Julia for your support. Hugs, -Anna Lee H. in Toronto

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Looking for Etsians for New Street Team

Okay, I took the plunge and decided to start and head up a new street team on etsy. It's no secret that I've turned into an Etsy geek and I'm looking for like minded souls interested in friendship, connection, inspiration, guidance and cross promotion, folks willing to discuss and implement all the basic principles of social networking in order to drive traffic to their storefronts and sales sites!

So far we have 30 members who have expressed interest in working together. On Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/) a 'Street Team' is just another name for a collaborative group working towards a common goal. I decided to form a group based on the Etsy storefront platform because Etsy is free to join and listing fees are currently only 20 cents per item. Through my etsy stores I've managed to sell almost 200 items since September 2007. If I can do it, anyone can.

I found it easy to work with the Etsy module for uploading my product pics and item descriptions. If you're a crafty person or designer with say 20 or more items ready to sell, you can quickly set up a professional looking storefront at http://www.etsy.com/. Email your interest if you're an Etsian not already involved in other street teams or comment on this Etsy thread.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

GaHooleTree :: Elegance Opera Necklace - Citrine, Ametrine, Pearl and Silver

GaHooleTree :: Elegance Opera Necklace - Citrine, Ametrine, Pearl and Silver

Fabulous statement piece - 200 carats of genuine gemstone!!! This item is still available or contact us to get your custom designer gemstone jewelry project under way.

Family Necklace - Customized Mother's Day Gift Idea

Family Necklace
Originally uploaded by cdnallie
Looking for that special Mother's Day gift item? Well nothing could be more personal than my take on the "Family" necklace. For each creation, I choose a birthstone to represent mom, dad and each of the children.

Shown here was Kathy's christmas present designed by her husband John. The large faceted blue sapphire and peridot represent mom and dad while the gem quality smaller blue sapphire briolette and red garnet marquis cut represent their son and daughter.

Of course, you choose the metal and finishing touches. This item featured loads of 24k vermeil (gold plated sterling silver) spacers and ornate goodies, but there are tons of more simplistic ways to complete the look.

Send me a quick email to get your family necklace project started. You may have missed out on Mother's Day for 2008, but this type of thoughtful gift is welcomed by moms at any time of year. Take my word for it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Carry a Torch For You Blue Topaz Handmade Chandelier Earrings

Originally uploaded by cdnallie
Well this is a totally new experience for me... I'm blogging directly from my Flickr account! This system might actually make things a ton easier for me. I'm finding the uploading of pics and posting the blog journals for my different blogs to be a bit time consuming. But using this feature, things will be easier. There's a way you can "grant access" to your blogger accounts from within Flickr. So when viewing this particular item for instance, you just click the icon labelled "Blog This". Easy peasy!!!

These scrumptuous faceted baby blue topaz flames hang gracefully by 14k gold fill chain below 24k vermeil (gold plated sterling silver) posts with genuine pearl accent. Ear nuts are 24k gold vermeil too. I imported these wonderful post earring components directly from Indonesia. These components were in the shipment I blogged about a few days ago! These blue topaz "flame" stones are a rare find. I have no more left so grab this creation while available.

This item is now available for sale in my Etsy store front or you can purchase this item directly from me. Shipping is free within continental Canada/USA too!


I'm linkin to MyBlogLog Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Buy Groups for Sourcing Jewelry Design Materials

This post will be of interest to fellow jewelry designers, beaders, crafters etc. or those interesting in becoming same. In an earlier post I began this topic and I'm pleased to announce that I took the plunge and placed my first 'group buy' order the other day. In this case the buy group involved is a rather close knit collective of artisan jewelry designers and membership must be approved by the group owner or moderators. But once you're approved and are issued a membership ID, you gain access to the group's purchasing power meaning when current 'buys' go live, you can save 50% or in some cases acquire materials below wholesale.Summer Breezes Bracelet

My first group purchase was for jewelry wire and included a few troy ounces of argentium wire, a few troy ounces of sterling silver wire, some bronze wire, and brass wire. The pricing is the best I've seen recently and well below that offered at the main stream outlets. The only downside inherent in the group buy process is the fulfillment horizon. I won't receive my order for likely 7-10 weeks. This is because the buy remains open for one more week, then the buy hostess needs time to collate and submit the order, the wire supplier needs two weeks to process this large volume transaction, items will then be shipped to the buy hostess who finally sets about sorting and shipping to each individual participant.

The group purchase form of acquisition may not be for every one. In fact, in my own jewelry design business I can't always participate in this type of purchase scheme as sometimes I'm in immediate need of materials. When I'm urgently in need of items it is necessary to deal with my existing suppliers, most of whom offer easy online ordering, same day shipping and expedited courier delivery.

Today for example I placed another individual order with an Indonesian supplier of handmade Bali sterling silver and 24k vermeil components. These exquisitely handcrafted Bali beads and findings are the ornate touches I like to incorporate in many of my styles like the Summer Breezes Bracelet shown above. And I've not found any domestic Canadian or USA sources that can even come close to the factory direct pricing. Believe it or not, on a $400 shipment I pay only $22 in S&H with no duties or other taxes.

If you are interested in participating in group purchasing for jewelry materials drop me a line and I'll send some info by email. Until next time...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More Luxe Gemstones

Our move towaAriana Braceletrds greater reliance on luxe gemstones is underway. The Ariana bracelet features 160 carats of genuine gemstones in an eye catching palatte appropriate for year round use. Truly a modern heirloom collectable, this bracelet is a very comfortable piece of wearable artwork. Ariana has spectacular topaz and ruby specimens in a cornucopia of gems including pink sapphire, yellow sapphire, orange sapphire, yellow topaz, london blue topaz, sky blue topaz, pink tourmaline and rose quartz.

One of the most diverse and interesting aspects of my jewelry work is my bridal hair accessory creations. The new Era Heirloom New Era Heirloom FloraVine CombFloraVine Comb was a joy to design and create. This piece which incorporates cream, ivory, champagne and soft pink freshwater pearls is sold, but if you'd like me to create something similar, just drop me a note with your ideas to get things started. Your bridal hair accessories can be matched to your gown or dress or designed to coordinate with the bridal party, flowers, etc.

My sterling and vermeil findings order from Indonesia arrived last week, all neatly vacuum packed in a cute box with cello wrapping - immaculately packaged. My only concern is how FedEx left the package (still in its bonded wrapper) at my front door where anyone could have grabbed it. Other than that, I'm totally delighted with this first direct buy from Bali and I can't wait to start using some of these great components. The MiGem order is on its way too, so those stones will be a pleasure to work with.

On a pleasant note, today is Amy's first birthday. Amy is my sassy airedale. And one sure sign that perhaps Amy is starting to mature (just a wee bit) is the fact that today for the first time, Amy spent a few minutes alone outside in her fenced enclosure *without* barking or whining at all. She simply sat there soaking up the gorgeous sunshine, taking in all the wonderful scents and sounds in the backyard. Maybe there'll be two moons in the sky tonight.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tree in Spring by Julia Bristow Jewelry

A short post today highlighting the eclectic multi media adornments of my friend Julia Bristow, creator of the awesome artisan jewelry available at Julia Bristow Jewelry. I'm amazed at the attention to detail and obvious care that Julia pours into each labor of love she creates.

I'm also honored that Julia chose to incorporate one of our GahooleTree hand wrapped copper wire nests as the focal for this "Tree in Spring" necklace (item #JBD724). Here hundreds of czech glass beads were carefully hand woven, together with wood agate stones and gold filled findings to form this gorgeous nature inspired wearable artwork.

Julia Bristow Jewelry: Seashore Brooch
I was drawn to the beauty of Julia's lovely Seashore Brooch and Earring set when I noticed it featured on TalentDatabase.com! Julia's pieces successfully marry various media with her obvious unique flair for developing pleasing and eye catching color combinations within a balanced and hamonious structure. Watch out for more amazing designs from this talented artist.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lacy Flower and Vine Comb

Wow, I just figured out how to adjust the frame widths on this blogger template. All those years of struggling on my own to learn html are paying off. I feel this new layout is more visually pleasing. Monday was a good day project wise. I figured out how to create a custom Error 404 Page Not Found document for one of my websites. That's a project I have been meaning to get to for years.

I also have finally created a sitemap and uploaded it to google. Those .xml things are still a mystery to me though :)

In jewelry, I'm working on Corra's new zhu ring tutorial (from deCor's Handmades) which I haven't figured out yet, but I did create an amazing folded wrap of copper wire (I'll call this technique "zhu wrap gone wrong") that I'll incorporate into something special for a later post.

Finally as noted elsewhere, this is the season when I'm busy designing bridal hair accessories. My garlands, hairvines, tiaras and hair combs consist mainly of freshwater pearls of various shades wrapped in genuine sterling silver wire embellished with a sprinkling of glittering swarovski crystals. This New Era Heirloom Lacy Flower and Vine Bridal Veil Comb is representative of the delicate bridal sprays that I enjoy creating. A sterling silver spray with pearl and crystal accent can add pop and sizzle to so many aspects of a beautifully pulled together wedding day - from bridal centrepieces, bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages to yes even the cake!

Our bridal accessories can be produced using either glass, swarovski crystals or genuine gemstones (at a minor upcharge). We will incorporate coordinating or matching freshwater pearls or we offer imitation pearlescent beads for the value conscious.

How about a little blue sapphire to add that "something blue"? Or what about incorporating tiny birthstones to represent both bride and groom? It's so easy and lovely to create these customized statement pieces that I really have fun with them! And I hope it shows....

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Materials

This week is off to a far better start for us here at Ga'hooleTree and Oracle Design Group. With all of my blogs I include business planning and strategy topics and this post is no exception. I've decided that the buy group idea will work well for me if I plan ahead and schedule appropriate orders to keep my supplies replenished periodically. My bulk buy research is paying off and I've located sources for gemstones, wire, components, you name it and there's a cost justifiable group buy connection that we can tap into! Whoohoo!

A kind lady has taken me under her wing and is walking me through the intricacies of group buys for jewelry designers. Marilyn also graciously offered to let me in on a last minute specials order she was placing with MiGem. I wasn't familiar with this online retailer but they do have some yummy gems! And I'm very happy for the opportunity to piggyback off Marilyn's order. Can't wait to get my goodies too!

Before I heard about the special offers at MiGem I placed an order for these smooth champagne quartz briolettes at A Cut Above on Etsy. This is another online merchant who offers high quality gems. These cute stones will be featured in a later post.

In current inventory I only have smooth pears in prasiolite (green amethyst) and london blue topaz pendant sized stones, so I'm looking forward to working with these pretties. Although we love faceting, I simply adore the smooth specimens. They're a nice compromise between rugged and formal and the lines are so clean. But I probably love how juicy droplets appear and the neat way they showcase the gemstone color so well.

On the topic of smooth briolettes, from MiGem I'm hoping I'll get in on these frosted lemon quartz polka dot smooth pears or the teardrops as well as the frosted champagne quartz polka dot smooth pears shown.
More on these acquisitions in a later post. I'm also hoping I'll get the weird green tourmaline pencils that that might work well in mens/unisex chokers (more to follow).

The pink umba sapphire full briolettes arrived today from Gems of Bombay on etsy. These are good stones, not dyed but the online pics were highly colour enhanced. Nevertheless these little beauties I'm working into a chandelier that should be completed soon.

And finally, our first order of bali components is now on its way from Indonesia. It will be interesting to see how this wholesale personal buy works out. And if it doesn't pan out we've been put in touch with a handful of other suppliers of Bali components worth trying. Will keep you posted...