Thursday, January 27, 2011

Design This – Chains

Sometimes an Etsy alchemy request can be for something simple such as a chain. I have fulfilled custom requests for a safety chain and a necklace replacement chain through alchemy.

One customer had a lovely vintage copper bracelet whose clasp was unreliable and she wanted a safety chain so that if the clasp popped open, she wouldn’t lose the bracelet. Completing this request taught me that having the item in front of you, even if you are creating a simple addition for the item, is invaluable. I made the safety chain to the specs supplied by my customer. However much to the dismay of both of us, the gauge of the copper was too large for the spring rings to attach to. This had not been apparent in the photo of the bracelet, so my customer shipped the bracelet with the safety chain she had just received back to me so that I could remedy the situation. After being able to see the bracelet in person, I mocked up a couple of solutions for her to choose from and noticed that the clasp was upside down. I asked my customer if she would like me to turn it over and she was happy to have me do so. I was also able to tighten the clasp a bit so that it would stay closed more reliably. The safety chain was still an important safe guard because I expect that since the clasp had loosened up through use before, it would eventually do so again.

The necklace chain was for a lovely pendant whose former chain kept breaking. From seeing the photos, I was concerned about the size of the bail on the pendant and didn’t want to have a round of extra shipping required as with the safety chain, if the chain that I had suggested in my bid couldn’t fit through the bail or existing jump rings. It turned out that it was very fortunate that I requested to have the pendant shipped to me, because once I could see it in person, I had an idea for the replacement chain that I thought complemented the copper and antiqued brass colors of the pendant perfectly. (The exact colors of the pendant had been difficult to see in my customer’s photos.) I sent a photo to my customer of this idea and the original chain suggestion. She liked the copper and brass combination that I had come up with better than my original idea, so that is what I made up for her. This unique replacement chain would not have been possible without seeing the pendant in person.

Small or large, I enjoy making repairs or creating custom pieces that allow my customers to continue to enjoy a cherished piece of jewelry or find a new one matched to their needs. Please contact Eclectic Design Choices if there is something that I can repair or create for you.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Great Backyard Bird Count 2011

Do you enjoy getting outside and observing nature? Would you like to participate in a worthwhile project that is great fun for you and your family while helping further scientific knowledge? If so, I hope you will have the opportunity to take part in this year's Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). This is one of many citizen scientist programs that you can participate in by gathering data for research studies.

This year the GBBC will be February 18-21. For more details check out the GBBC website to learn more about how you can participate and to see some amazing photos taken during last year’s event. I took the photo in this post from inside my house during last year's GBBC, which coincided with a record February snow in the DFW area. (Click on the image for a larger view.) Even with the record snowfall, I was able to gather data as the birds flocked to my bird feeders looking for a meal because most of their other food sources were snowed under.

Mark your calendars now, and happy counting!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hearts for Your Sweetheart

The perfect gift for your Valentine doesn’t have to include a heart. EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic have plenty of great gift ideas sans hearts. However, while a heart themed item is a perfect gift for your sweetheart at any time of the year, it is especially appropriate for Valentine’s Day.

Each of my shops has a small selection of gifts with a heart, including whimsical Valentine’s Day cards at EclecticSkeptic.

There is still time for me to make a custom item for you to give if you contact me and we get the details worked out before the end of January. I have a variety of gemstone, shell, blister pearl and glass hearts to work with. Listed items should arrive in time if ordered before the end of the first week of February.

I hope you and your sweetheart have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thanks for the Treasuries - December 2010

Nine different Etsians featured one or more of my items in a treasury during December. Twelve December treasuries included one of my items. My tealight candle holders made their way into two separate treasuries in December. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during December. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below (in alphabetical order) links to the 9 different Etsians that let me know that they featured at least one of my items, as well as an item from their shop or profile that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the shop links of anything that catches your eye.

Here you will find unique and one of a kind handmade items from stethoscope covers to art dolls and more.

Wine-related products make the perfect gifts! If you are a wine connoisseur who happens to appreciate hand made items, look no further.

Hand painted keepsakes including jewelry and memory boxes, glassware, votive candle holders and more can be found here.

This designer creates one-of-a-kind handmade, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and accessories, many with southwest influences.

This shop specializes in precut top quality quilting squares.

Colorful felted jewelry, hair accessories and more can be found in this shop.

Find hand crafted pearl, gemstone and costume jewelry in this shop.

This wonderful Etsian supports the artists on Etsy by creating lovely treasuries.

This shop is home to vintage housewares, home decor, odds and ends, plus upcycled journals from vintage books.