Friday, December 28, 2007

Garnets and Carnations

With all the holiday flurry, it is easy to forget that January birthdays are right around the corner...

I'm listing a few special jewelry pieces with garnets over the coming week. Here is an example of gorgeous, icy, rock quartz with a cluster of garnets gathered beneath. Check them out in more detail here.

I haven't figured out how to make carnation jewelry yet!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bali vs. Turkish Sterling Silver

I'm often asked, "What's Turkish sterling silver?" Most of my jewelry uses Turkish sterling silver, and while most people are familiar with Bali (or Balinese) sterling silver, many have never heard of Turkish. Continue on if you are curious too...

First of all, Turkish sterling silver beads are handmade in Turkey, as the name implies. Bali sterling silver beads are handmade in Indonesia. Different artisans = a different type of bead. Turkish sterling silver beads are simply of a higher quality, in my opinion. The workmanship is excellent, with fine details and consistency from bead to bead. Turkish sterling silver also tends to be a bit lighter in weight, which is a nice design quality for jewelry. For example, a necklace made of all Bali sterling silver beads would feel like a lead weight, while a necklace made of all Turkish sterling silver would just have a nice heft to it. Turkish sterling silver also tends to be a little shinier, and does not need to be polished as often to maintain that shine. The down side is that it is pricier than Bali sterling silver.

Using Turkish sterling silver beads will take your jewelry designs to another level of quality and handmade craftmanship. Here are two great photos of Turkish sterling silver designs...and have a look at my Etsy shop for more examples. Just search on the word "Turkish" within my shop.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jewelry Home Party a Success!

Last weekend was the long awaited jewelry home party... It was a lot of work, but so much fun! I had been preparing all week - polishing, pricing, and packing up to go on the road (for the first time) with my wares.

I have to say it took more preparation and organization than the parties I have had at my own house. If I forgot something, I was just going to have to do without it!

Thanks so much to all the friends and neighbors who came to enjoy the afternoon. My mom was a wonderful hostess. And I would not have survived without my friend, Sandra, who is so fast and accurate at adding up numbers! I hope everyone is enjoying their purchases, or looking forward to giving it as a gift over the holidays. I also really appreciate all the custom orders for soap and jewelry.

Here are a few pics from the event: 1) the very reliable table guard, Gray C., 2) me, working till the very end, and 3) it's showtime!

The entire event went very smoothly. If I had to share one lesson learned, it would be this: invest in some tubs with lids for traveling and organizing. I used an assortment of shopping bags, and they were a little difficult to handle and/or limited my ability to locate items and unpack quickly.
Hope your holiday craft party has been a success. Leave a comment and let me know.
Have a joyful holiday season. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It was an Honor

A few weeks ago, Sara's Texture Crafts featured my soap and papermaking in her "Crafts of Texture" blog. I had actually done the interview a month or so earlier, so re-reading it was like it was new all over again, even for me. I was thrilled, and it turned out so nicely! Please visit my featured interview and leave a comment.

This is a great way for extra exposure about your craft. When all of us bloggers support each other, we can be a powerful force. Blog away...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Immediate Headache!

Trying to describe bracelet sizing has always been a monkey on my back! And I think, it sometimes causes confusion to the point where people don't buy a bracelet, for fear that it is too large, too small, etc. And on top of that, what would the most popular bracelet size even be??? Seriously, it is more complicated than fitting a pair of shoes!

So, I'm looking for a few brave people who are willing to take a flexible tape measure and SNUGLY measure in front of their wrist bone -- >> See survey at right. And here is why...

I do not measure my bracelets from end to end. This is a very deceiving and inaccurate measurement. A 7 inch end-to-end length bracelet with small beads would be relatively large, while a 7 inch end-to-end bracelet with large beads would be very small. Large beads "eat up" the interior circumference of a bracelet as soon as you fasten it. BEWARE of end-to-end measurements only!

So all of my bracelet listings give an interior circumference measurement. Then I will tell you what sized wrist it will best fit. For example, a bracelet with an interior circumference measurement of 6-3/4 inches will best fit a wrist that measures (snugly with a flexible tape measure in front of the wrist bone) 6-1/4 to 6-1/2 inches.

Take my wrist measurement challenge! Let's find out the most frequently occuring wrist size. This will help bracelet designers tremendously...we want to fit YOU!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I was on the Front Page of Etsy!

It happened last weekend. I was just hanging out in my own shop (is that pathetic?), and noticed that the views on my soaps were going up and up. One soap in particular, my Gardener's Soap, had views that were growing exponentially by the minute! So I started looking around and found this soap on the home page of Etsy! What a thrill -- it was directing all kinds of traffic to my whole shop. I managed to capture a screen shot of my moment in the spotlight.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This Week's Soap Poll: Additives

Last week's soap poll was such a success, I thought I'd do another this week. This week's poll is all about the ingredients which can be added to soap to decorate, exfoliate, pamper, or otherwise make it a little unique from the average bar.

Please take my new, 3 question poll, right here ---------->

The highlights from last week's poll (with over 60 participants) include:

72% of handmade soap users prefer essential oils for scent, yet
9% prefer completely unscented, fragrance free products. The remaining 18% prefer cosmetic grade fragrances.

46% of participants prefer a fruity or citrus scented soap, and 40% overall prefer a moderate scent vs. a lighter or heavier scent.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Busy...or Thrashing?!

Today will be a busy crafting day -- and that is how I prefer to work. On my crafting agenda today I'll be making a batch of soap; completing a few jewelry pieces and starting a few new ones; wrapping eight bars of soap that were purchased yesterday; doing some photography; catching up on my bookkeeping (yuk!); and pulling a few garden weeds around my herbs that are often used in my soap recipes.

I love being busy. The trick is to keep "busy" from becoming "thrashing." Thrashing is what I used to do: flitting around from one task to the next, wasting a lot of time, and never quite completing anything. Now, I force myself to do just one thing at a time and see it through to completion before getting involved with something else. I discovered a unique feeling of accomplishment when I stopped the thrashing.

So here I go. But first, I think I'll make a pot of coffee to begin the day. Even "busy" requires caffeine!

Until next time, enjoy this picture of a monarch chrysalis that I found ready to hatch on my patio yesterday afternoon. When it hatches, it will be one of the longest living, 4th generation monarchs that flies to Mexico for the winter, then comes back in the spring to start next year's generations of monarchs. Unbelievable!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

This Week's Poll all about scented soap. I will be using the results of this poll to help me focus. I have so many ideas for scents and scent blends that I thought it might be a good idea to get input from customers and potential customers.

For those that aren't scent savvy, I'll give a quick overview. Essential oils are distilled from plants - leaves, stems, flowers, bark, etc. Essential oils can be blended together for more complex scents. Essential oil soaps tend to be a bit less heavily scented, or less "perfumey." Fragrance oils are manmade, and the sky is the limit for variety and strength.

And the rest is about personal preference. Do you like your soap to perfume you? What is your favorite scent family?

Thanks for all the responses! Stay tuned for more soap listings on Etsy. Seaside Spa, Ambrosia, & Lavender Bliss are just about ready to come off the curing rack to get their handmade paper sleeve and sticker. (See photo above)

Bath & Body Bliss on Etsy:

Friday, October 5, 2007

Have you ever noticed...?

So many artisans these days don't do custom orders. Many say it stifles their creativity, or that they just don't need that kind of business. But I've found the opposite to be true. Have you ever noticed how custom requests can actually spark your creativity and push you in a direction to try something new that you might not have tried otherwise?

That happened to me just recently. A co-worker wanted a pair of earrings to match a necklace she had recently purchased. We talked to get a general idea of what she wanted, and I made two pair for her to consider. The pair pictured in this post sparked an idea for a different handmade earwire, hammered on the end to anchor the stacked beads, then hammered above the beads so everything is secure. I'm sure this isn't a "new" technique. But the request for a pair of beaded "stick earrings" forced me to try something I had never done before!

As it turns out, I'm actually making a third pair of earrings for her to consider. It is going to be a combination of the first two pair I made. Ahhhhhh, customer satisfaction... :) This pair is now listed in my "Just Silver Stop" section on Etsy!

Later, Dana

Etsy Shop:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I'm literally bailing water... I set a goal for myself to blog at least 3 times a week. After all, what is the point of a blog if you never post or update it? In the midst of this new goal, I have been juggling packaging of soap for an Etsy "soap swap" (the first ever, as far as I know!), and jewelry custom orders. So swamped with water must be a good thing!

Back to the soap swap -- I have 28 individual, 1 oz. samples of soap almost ready to mail off. In return, I get 28 oz. of other soaps from other Etsy sellers. Doesn't that sound like fun? I love trying other recipes from other soap makers! And of course, it never hurts to compare mine against the competition. So here is the lineup of flavors I'll be sending off: Rosemary Mint, Goatsmilk Gardenia, Gardener's Soap, Purity, Seaside Spa, Ambrosia, & Sandalwood. Here is what they look like waiting to be boxed up. That's a lot of soap! If these flavors have tempted you, most can be purchased (now or in the near future) from my new Bath & Body Bliss section on Etsy:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Second Time is a Charm

Here's to another attempt at blogspot. So many others love even after having a bad experience with it myself a few months ago (I tried adding a poll and it corrupted my entire blog whilst technical support was no where to be found!), I'm willing to give it another go.

As you'll probably notice, jewelry is my creative anchor. But I'm one of those people that likes to branch out into other creative endeavors. If there were only enough time in the day! I've recently added a Bath & Body Bliss section to my Etsy shop, and I'm delighted with the "rave reviews" received so far! Thanks to everyone who has given my soap a try.

I make cold-process soaps only. Sometimes with essential oils and sometimes with cosmetic grade fragrances. They are all wonderful for your skin, and once you try it, you'll never go back to store bought bar or liquid soaps. They are tested on family and friends, never my cats -- and they never have any artificial colorants or preservatives.

So here's to blogspot and handmade soap! I hope nothing explodes on my computer screen when I click "Publish Post."