Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Design This – Geode Crystal Necklaces

I appreciate it when my friends and former customers come to me to see if I can create the type of jewelry that they are looking for. Last year one of my friends sent me a link to a search on Etsy that she had done for crystal or geode necklaces. Basically she was looking for a simple pendant necklace similar to what I had made for her previously but with some type of geode slice pendant instead of an ammonite. She was hoping to purchase a few necklaces to give as gifts. She also had a budget that she needed to stay within and wondered if similar necklaces could be made for a bit less than what she had found online. Since she was local, of course I would be able to save her on shipping but I needed to check out the link and see what I could do.

I did not have any geode slices on hand so after looking at the range of geode pendants that my friend liked the most, I worked up some cost estimates based on what I had seen similar components go for at the most recent trade show I had been to. My estimates showed that the pricing she had seen in her search was pretty close to spot on. I did have some quartz, citrine or amethyst crystal points that I could use to make pendant necklaces in her price range. I even had a listing I could show her. She had her heart set on the other style however, so since she had some time before she needed the gifts I told her I would keep an eye out for some supplies that would allow me to bring the pricing in line with what she was hoping to find.

Luckily after some time I did manage to find a really nice and reasonably priced strand of solar quartz (stalactite cross sections) at a show. In addition, I had a friend who had purchased some amethyst geode slice sections long enough ago and was willing to sell some to me at her cost so they would work for this request. I met with my friend so that she could pick out the gemstones to be used in her necklaces. She picked out a lovely sun quartz cross section and two amethyst geode slice sections. Next I needed to make some chain suggestions for the necklaces. I sent her a mock up photo of a couple of chains that I thought complimented the stones nicely. My friend liked the chain I had paired with the amethyst sections but wanted to know what else I might have for the solar quartz. I suggested a black silk cord with a traveling bail to hang the solar quartz from. She liked that idea so now all I had to do was commit the materials to the agreed upon designs.

I am always happy to entertain a "can you make this" request. I will not copy someone else's work but I will make something in a similar vein that satisfies the request if I have or can find the needed supplies. Sometimes these requests even lead to something I decide to list in my shop, as this request did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Butterfly Sightings July 2015

While I was working in my yard today, I had the pleasure of seeing a variety of butterflies flitting through, sipping from my flowers or just hanging out. Many of the pictures in the following collage were taken today. Those that were taken previously are of the same species of butterfly spotted earlier. Noticeably absent (since I know what I saw this morning) is a tiger swallowtail. The ones I see anymore are always in a hurry and I don't think I have a digital photo of one. I know I have some tiger swallowtail pictures taken with my film SLR (remember those?) and I took a picture of a similar butterfly, a giant swallowtail, last week in Abilene. However I don't have a tiger swallowtail image easily available to add to the collage so you will just have to use your imagination or check out these images online. There is at least one other butterfly that I saw today that is not in the collage and plenty more that live in the area but that I just didn't see today.

Even though it has gotten hot and dry and there is not as much color in my garden as earlier this year, these lovely butterflies add interest and color as they go about their business. The two largest butterflies in the collage are a spicebush swallowtail and a queen butterfly. Click the image to enlarge it.

Identify These Leaves of Three

"Leaves of three, let it be." I'm sure you have heard that saying and it will help keep you out of trouble, but not all leaves of three will set you to up with an itching rash. Poison ivy and poison oak will so those leaves of three need to be left alone. Can you tell which leaves of three in the included photos should be avoided so that the urushiol in all parts of the plant won't set off your body's immune system reaction to it that causes the rash? (Click on the images to enlarge them.)

And the answer is, unless you are part of the approximately 15% of the population that is not allergic to the urushiol in these plants, numbers 1 and 3 are poison ivy. Poison ivy grows as both a vine and a shrub. Number 2 is ivy treebine. While it releases an unpleasant smell when it is handled, it will not trigger a rash.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Design This – Flying Pig Pins for Weddings

Most of the time I am not told what a purchase will be used for and that is fine. However sometimes some of my customers who order ready to ship items from my shop will let me know and often my custom order customers will tell me. It warms my heart when I find out that my items will be part of someone's special day such as their wedding. Last summer and this summer I have received inquiries based on the same flying pig pin listing in my EclecticSkeptic shop that turned into custom orders destined to be part of weddings.

Last year my customer asked what I might be able to do to incorporate a heart and the color green into my flying pig shell pin listing. After a few conversations back and forth, I came up with a few choices as a starting place. The white shell with the light green heart was her favorite so I made a mockup of that option to make sure that was going to be what she wanted before proceeding with the custom order.

My first inquiry from this year's customer was just to see if I could make more of the blue shell pins than I had listed as available. After I replied, she also thought of checking to see if I could produce similar pins in black and purple. I didn't have any plain black shell beads but I did have one light purple and three dark purple tagua nut beads in stock. (Tagua nuts are referred to as vegetable ivory. They are a green alternative to ivory that can be carved and dyed a variety of colors.) It turns out that the color combination I had on hand along with the flying pig theme was perfect for what this customer wanted to be able to include in her wedding.

Photos of the completed orders can be seen below.

The customization for custom orders I have done is sometimes simple and sometimes quite involved. Either way, if I have the materials and can tweak a ready to ship item to meet your needs or start from scratch from your request, I'd love to help you. My contact info is under my custom order tab above.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thanks for the Treasuries - June 2015

Seven Etsy shop owners and one Etsy team let me know they had featured one or more of my items in treasuries during June. Ten June Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during June. (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 a link to the Etsy sellers that let me know they had featured one or more of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like. In addition you will see information about the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured an item of mine.

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

Cottage chic romantic gifts and greeting cards can be found in this shop.

If you know a wine connoisseur who happens to appreciate hand made items look no further than this shop.

This artisan produces a lovely array of stained glass, mosaics and watercolor.

This shop owner turns graphics into button dangle earrings, hair clips, keychains and more.

This artist creates original illustrations and paintings using a variety of media.

Fabulous travel/nature photos and photographic art printed on a variety of substrates fill this shop.

In this shop you will find rag dolls, stuffed animals, small quilts, mosaics, and coasters.

Past, present and future Texans are welcome and encouraged to join this team. The only real rules of the group are to promote friendly, The TX Way, and be respectful to all who participate.