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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for future reference.

My talentdatabase portfolio will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Please visit my talentdatabase portfolio and leave an acknowledgement or comment.

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...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Slow Progress Today

This is one of the those days when absolutely nothing has gone well. One of my vermeil orders arrived. By mistake I left it in harm's way so Amy grabbed it and chewed it up. She detects cigarette smoke and other nice strange odours on mail so she destroys just about any and all mail she can sink her huge airedale teeth into. And in one of my other companies it seems everything that can go wrong is doing just that. Well things aren't exactly going wrong, it's just a swell of bad press that seems suspect to say the least. And it caught me off guard. So I haven't been sleeping.

At the supplies store a customer placed a huge order and then kept writing that he couldn't get paypal to work. Perhaps it's my background in the financial services sector, or the fact that I've been dealing with online sales for so many years now, but when customers complain that they can't use PayPal I turn a deaf ear. I'm so tired of hearing this stuff from folks who either haven't got a paypal account set up, or they didn't complete the verification process, or they can't figure out how PayPal works, or well there are dozens of explanations I've heard. Anyhow, this poor guy kept saying that payment couldn't be made using credit card and I really wasn't listening. Finally I get a convo from him asking me to cancel the sale because there was never this problem before when he tried to use PayPal and pay via credit card. So I'm thinking, okay then your account really is set up and it does work. Maybe there's something askew at my end. Guess what? Our PayPal account settings are blocking all kinds of things. We were set up to block all unverified US addresses. and the real kicker - we didn't have PayPal Optional enabled. Go figure!

I think I've fixed the PayPal optional problem. Now my buyers can purchase using a credit card without having to set up a PayPal account. Let's hope that customer tries one more time to pay!

At SassyDLite I had a necklace order to ship. The buyer requested a longer chain. Folks don't realize it but these last minute changes can sometimes mean virtually rebuilding the entire piece. Anyhow I got that shipped. And hanging over my head for several days now has been a custom bridal hair comb creation that I'd been putting off. The buyer gave me an outline of her specs and I had difficulty envisioning how I would pull the project together. Anyhow here it is. What do you think of it?

The one thing that has gone well today was hearing from Danielle that she loves it. Thank God! I really didn't want to have to take another stab at this project. The clear swarovski crystals seem way too monochromatic for my taste. It's no secret that I like a broad palette of colour.

I suppose I'm frustrated because I started a fabulous pair of handmade chandeliers several days ago and I haven't had even a moment to develop the creation. I'm one of those designers who lumps the components together to see how they'll look when combined. That means each partially finished project is strewn on my bench. I'm currently looking for a better storage system, and I've found some that are nice (nice and expensive too), but most of these systems don't allow me to see the materials at a glance. All the gems are laid neatly away inside drawers and I'm not a fan of that approach. But I may have to adjust to a new system like that in order to get better organized.

So my bench is a mess and the 26g headpins finally arrived from Magdalena Borejko of Magdalenas Atelier in Poland today. I've been waiting weeks for these materials. Now I'm ready to get creative, unless more orders arrive.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is a Buying Group Right For You?

The one aspect of being a jewellery designer that I find most frustrating is sourcing. Finding good supplies can drive you right 'round the bend... mad actually. I'm picky about my components and gems. So recently I posted trade leads on Trade India no less. We'll see how that pans out. One gem supplier from India actually referred me to a bead buying group moderated by a list owner who lives in New Mexico. I'm not exactly certain whether this particular buy group will work for me, but we'll see. At the present time they've got lots of buys on the go.

I'm unfamiliar with this group purchasing stuff... I suppose I've led a very sheltered life. When I want something I'm pretty used to paying retail or darn close... and I thought I was doing very well for myself on the jewelry acquisition side by travelling to the InterGem shows that regularly take place throughout North Eastern USA to get gemstone beads at wholesale... But this jewelry buying group is a horse of a different color. These ladies have got it all going on. They sit at their computers and chat seemingly endlessly via their Yahoo group about 'group buys'. wow!

They've got an elaborate system of volunteer hostesses who deal with collating and forwarding complicated spreadsheets from all sorts of gem and jewelry supply channels. You name it, they've already got a buy connection set up. Their most recent gem order to India was $22K and they've currently got a buy on the go totalling $16K in just crystals. Wow!

I'm blown away with this revelation. The first order I placed at www.zwebshows.net years ago for example totalled around $500 at wholesale. I'm fairly used to doing my own research and acquiring my materials independently. So it will take time for me to adapt to a group buy mindset.

Already I'm reading all kinds of posts on this new group buy forum from hostesses and group leaders scolding members who haven't paid for their orders. This procrastination is totally unfair to other members who did pay on time and who may in all likelihood actually keenly need and want their order fulfilled and shipped pronto. Now that I can relate to. When I want something, I want it now... not in a month - I mean expedited delivery, courier if necessary. But once I plop down my money, I want immediate gratification.

Another bone of contention that has emerged on the buy group is that with their strong purchasing power, this unit gets early notification from some very large jewelry supply houses of upcoming and weekly specials - specials that are offered at ridiculous prices for certain elite customers. The early newsletter releases of weekly specials is yummy and the platinum level pricing is truly drool worthy. The problem is that again, lots of gals haven't paid up in time for the orders to be processed. And members who paid early/on time are being shafted as they may in all likelihood lose out on some of the great deals due to sell outs.

Wow, again I say wow. I'm so independent and impatient and controlling. Can I deal with sending my funds to the USA to wait for this group to get its act in gear? Dunno. I'll give serious consideration to planning ahead - way ahead... in order to avail myself of the deals. I'll need to adopt a new mantra - something about patience being a virtue -- although I think I'll need something much more spiritually meaningful than that to help me through this.

For very expensive items (highest end gemstones and precious metal) this group buying will grant access to prices I likely can't get anywhere. Unless I can find gemstones that somehow fell off a truck :)

All that said, I really need sterling, gold filled and vermeil findings, so I placed a $500 order today... my first one directly from Bali... okay changing my independent ways may be harder than I thought... And in my defense, I can't wait months to work all this out with a buy group!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I was featured on Talent Database!!!

Wow, I just checked my email and am overwhelmed to hear that I am featured today on Talent Database!!!

Here's the screenshot:

And we also made the Popular Today list AND the Members On The Move list!!! This means finally I'm receiving a bit of the recognition I'm lusting after :)...

I've been humbled by the kind words of acknowledgement from other artists on the talent database.

They say a picture is worth 10,000 words, so perhaps it's just that folks are impressed with this pic of my new oxidized sterling Earth and Sky Chandeliers:

Anna Lee's Earth & Sky Chandeliers available at www.gahooletree.etsy.com

This wire wrap method is time consuming and extremely detail oriented. The overall design was first sketched out. I'll grab a scan of that for a tutorial to follow. The actual frames were hammered then coiled. Coiled vines were mingled in and finally all the beading and dangles were applied. Lots of work but well worth the time invested...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Great Supplies Store.. and Local Too Eh!

I've been meaning to do a write up on a great new jewellery supplier I ran across a few weeks ago, BobbiThisnThat on etsy. Bobbi carries wonderful jewellery supply/beading items at fabulous prices and she is extremely adept at dealing with special requests like those from cranky, overworked designers :(

I bought high end fancy Bali sterling silver toggles like the Dragonfly Toggle shown below. Bobbi sources her finds directly from Bali to ensure you're getting a fair price. I also grabbed up some of Bobbi's fancy czech beads, fancy 26g vermeil headpins - you know, hard to find stuff that I'd been searching all over for.

And one great thing I absolutely must comment on, is that this is a Canadian outlet... just down Hwy. 401 from me. Come to think of it, I've already placed five orders with Bobbi and many of the components I received will be worked into luxe pieces to be Visit www.BobbiThisnThat.etsy.comfeatured in my flagship store Gahooletree and also at boutiques like Nourish an innovative new boutique of handmade items located in Athens, GA and also at our SassyDLite outlet.

Bobbi's online store is extremely popular with Etsians the world over and she's making record sales due in no small part to her broad offerings of quality components at very fair prices. She provides lightning fast shipping too! Check out ALL of Bobbi's goodies at http://www.bobbithisnthat.etsy.com/ today!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Gemstone Bridal Hair Jewelry

With wedding season right around the corner, all I seem to be able to concentrate on these days is bridal jewelry. Some of my newest gemstone bridal hair accessories are now available for online purchase in my etsy shop.

The Golden Era Hair Comb Heirloom is a good example of my custom bridal hair jewelry. This 4 1/2 inch spray features a keishi petal pearl flower supported by freshwater pearls, peridot, swarovski crystals and 14k gold fill wire that was carefully hand wrapped onto a 2 inch gold plated comb.

Baby's Breath is more modest, but any bride, bridesmaid or flowergirl will defintely be radiant wearing this 3 inch spray featuring freshwater pearls and crystals handwrapped using sterling silver wire onto an heirloom quality rhodium plated 1 inch comb.

The soft pink czech glass beads in this piece can be replaced with swarovski austrian crystals in clear, aurora borealis, or dozens of pleasing modern shades to coordinate with or match your bridal ensemble....

My designs are timeless using the highest quality materials available. My clients appreciate the exquisite quality of my craftsmanship too :) Please contact me with your colorway or design ideas to get your bridal jewelry order queued.

I will design and execute your custom order per your delivery specifications in plenty of time for your special day. But don't delay. There is no upcharge for custom design work. I love custom orders and look forward to working with you!