Friday, October 24, 2008

I Never Dreamed I'd Have to Do This Again!

There are very few pieces I make that take me as much as an hour to do. Even fewer that take me longer than an hour. I've been wire-wrapping for more than 20 years, so I've had lots of practice! THIS thing took me THREE HOURS!

It's a custom setting for a customer named Alice. I first made this ring for Alice roughly 10 years ago. I don't remember how long it took me the first time, but I'd be willing to bet it was even more than three hours. (This time around I had the original setting to look at--the first time I had to "figure it out".) The stone is huge, about 1-1/8" (28mm) long by 7/16" (18mm) wide by 1/2" (12mm) deep. I don't ever set stones that big in rings because, due to their size, the wires forming the prongs would be so long that they would have no stability and the stone would immediately fall out. Well, Alice wasn't to be deterred. She was sure I could come up with something! Hence the double-band. It spreads the wires further apart so they can form the prongs and stabilizing designs without being quite so long (and weak!) Alice was thrilled with the result, and the ring was worn proudly and without incident for more than a decade.

Well, like most of us as we get older, Alice's fingers have "grown" a bit. The ring no longer fits. So she brought it back to be made larger. It's not really possible to enlarge a wire ring more than 1/4 to 1/2-size, so a "remaking" was in order. I swear, I distinctly remember when I had finished it the first time, I was SO relieved! Man, I'd never have to do something like THAT again! Oops...

The original setting is on the right. I actually made two changes to the design as I was crafting the new one. Can you spot the differences? ;D

Now, I really don't want to have to do a setting like this again. I really recommend that a stone this large NOT be set in a wire-wrapped ring. But I DO have a lot of wire-wrapped rings that are equally as gorgeous that I make on a regular basis (and they don't take me three hours each to complete!) You really need to check out my Rings page on my website. My webmaster just got done uploading all new pictures, and they look great!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spending Practices

It's obvious to me, just by the number of bodies (or lack thereof) coming into my store, that people are nervous about money and cutting back on items that they deem unnecessary. My business has been slower for the past 6 months or so, and I think I'm getting pretty good about cutting the fat out of the budget. But I'm going to guess that our household is not the only one with differing opinions on what's "unnecessary."

I ran across another blog recently that was asking how everyone was dealing with the current eonomic situation. I thought about it awhile before I came up with a list for the Etzes. Right now we've agreed to open the windows in the evenings and unplug the jacuzzi to save on electricity, cut back about 90% on the number of times we go for takeout food, and buy generic hot dogs instead of Oscar Mayer. I also have to proclaim that I've cut back from 2 energy drinks per day to only one! (Thus saving about $2.00 per day...I'm quite proud of this sacrifice.) I could live without the premium-movie channels on TV, but hubby would have a fit. He would probably like to see me subscribe to fewer magazines, but I really enjoy my weekly dose of Newsweek, Time, and TV Guide. (The National Equirer I borrow from my brother, so it doesn't cost me any extra.) Granted, we still have quite a few indulgences, but hey, the mortgage is getting paid! So for right now, here's to the diversity of "necessity"!

Now, why don't you pop on over to my website and start your Christmas shopping? I've got beautiful handcrafted jewelry in unique styles that are sure to get noticed! (See the Osmena pearl set above? Cool, huh?) I guarantee the goods are great and will be well-received, and the customer service is second-to-none! Plus it might allow me to indulge in an extra energy drink this weekend, and I'll love you forever!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Cool! I just discovered Technorati, a major "hub" for all things blogosphere! In order to "claim" my blog with them, I need to post this:
Technorati Profile


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blogging on the Back Porch

Tuesday is my day off. For most of the year, anyway. Starting next month I'll probably go into my shop every day, including Tuesdays. I'm hoping to be busy enough with both customers and special orders to justify not having this one lovely day to myself.
It's cooling off a little in Florida. Mornings and evenings are already a blissful and balmy low-to-mid '70's. During the day it's still today it's about 84 degrees. But I'm sitting outside on our screened in back porch, with a lovely breeze sweeping through, and it's really, really nice! Our house is on an acre of property, and is set near the street, so we have a terrific back yard. One of my favorite things is to sit out here with my husband on weekend mornings, just talking and surveying "our domain".
This has to be short, because I still have to vacuum this lovely back porch, and the dishes aren't going to load themselves into the dishwasher. And I've only got half an hour before I have to go pick up my son from karate. I just wanted to share a bit of my bliss with you today!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Custom Rings? You Betcha!

My husband's Aunt Ginny is a jewelry hound. She just loves jewelry. She's got diamonds and fancy colored stones and custom settings, and she likes to wear it all (not all at once, of course!). And I'm so pleased that she likes my stuff, too! I've got cool, unique designs, and she especially likes to "put together" her own custom pieces using elements from different styles. Recently she was in my store looking at rings, and was admiring some of the chunkier styles I've been making. After quite a bit of time looking at all my loose stones, and taking a bit of design from this ring, and changing a little of that ring, we had our "final answer". I finished them just a couple of days ago, and since she hasn't picked them up yet, I thought I'd share them with you! You can see all my ring designs here, and I'm happy to customize any one of them just the way YOU'D like it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Never Enough Time's been a week since I blogged! I can't believe how fast my life seems to fly by sometimes, yet how little I feel like I'm getting done!

When I first started this blog, I was sure I would be able to come up with lots of stuff to write about. Every morning when I'm getting ready for work, there are random thoughts and memories and funny things all flying around in my head. And then by the time I get my son to school and get to work, they're all gone. Maybe I should keep a little pad of paper in the bathroom to jot things down!

I did quite a bit of work today. Nine bracelets and fifteen pairs of earrings. But I didn't get a picture taken, partly because I have to leave work in less than an hour, and partly because they're all "sale" items--inexpensive things made especially to sell at "the-economy-sucks" prices. I may post a few of them on the Special Deals page of my website, but I'm hoping to sell most of them during the craft fair we're having in Cocoa Village this weekend. I'm not selling on the street in the actual fair, but it does draw a nice crowd, so I'm looking forward to lots of bodies in my store!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Goodbye My Van, Hello My Car

A few weeks ago, my trusty old 1997 Voyager minivan died. The transmission just quit engaging. The engine would run, but it wouldn't go. Wah! I'd been driving it since my son was born, so that's 8-1/2 years. Over the years, little things started to go wrong. There was an issue with some "recall" work that I never had done, so anything electrical on the steering column quit working. Sort of. The cruise control wouldn't engage. The windshield wipers would work when I wanted them to, but also sometimes when THEY wanted to. The horn would not work when I wanted it to, but took to blaring all on its own when I turned corners. Yikes! I had my brother-in-law the mechanic yank it out for me. The tape deck ate a tape and wouldn't let go. The left tail light quit working, and it wasn't a burned-out bulb--it was electrical. Somewhere. We could never find the problem. It had an oil leak. The inside heater hose (part of the radiator/cooling system) sprung a leak and had to be bypassed, leaving me with no heat for the winter. Granted, not much of a problem for most of the year in Florida, but it does get chilly in the wintertime and I am NOT a fan of the cold!

It's a list of little things, things that I could live with for the most part, but an extensive list. We decided it wasn't worth putting in the $1200 - $1400 it would take to replace the transmission and still be driving a vehicle with all those "issues". So we got me a new car. Well, a used new car. A 1995 Infiniti J-30, pearl white, with a sunroof, leather interior, and a butt warmer! (Big yay!) You would never know it's that old. There's a little wear on the steering wheel, but other than that, it's pristine! It's gorgeous! (See picture above. Jealous?) The hardest thing to get used to has been being much lower to the ground than I was in the minivan. And the gearshift is on the "floor" to the right of the driver's seat instead of on the steering column. So once in awhile I'll grab the windshield wiper lever and try to "shift" with it. I always feel pretty stupid when that happens!

It's a great car. It's gorgeous. It handles beautifully. It gets decent gas mileage. Looks like I've got my ride set for the next decade or so! (By then my son will have his driver's license, and he's already planning on inheriting it!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

What I Made Today, 10-6-08

It's been a "rings" day. I guess the inspiration hit when I took a look at my ring display case this morning and saw how many size 6 rings have been sold. I don't like having blank spots if I can help it! Not all of these rings is size 6, but enough of them to fill up the holes (and a few holes in some other sizes as well)! You can see all of my available ring styles on the Rings page of my website, and some of the rings pictured above in my Etsy shop.
And yes, I really did make all of these rings TODAY!


Friday, October 3, 2008

What I Made Today, 10/3/08

Whenever I sit down to make stuff, it's usually a bunch of things in the same category. You know, like pendants one day, earrings the next. Today was a bracelet day. I did about half a dozen, in different styles. I'm picturing two of them--the "grapevine" style. You can see all my bracelet styles here. There's still a couple of hours left before I go home for the day...maybe I'll make a few more!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Big Boy's Big Toy

My husband is an avid airboater. Loves big, loud things that go fast. Calls the alligators that populate the St. John's River where he normally runs, "redneck speed bumps". Loves to camp out and sit by a fire swatting mosquitoes and cook steaks on a makeshift grill.

Me? Not so much. I'm really not the "pee in the woods" kind of gal. Fires are nice, as are steaks on the grill, but I'd just as soon have an air-conditioned bathroom 30 seconds behind me!

I did go out on the airboat with Rick once. He'd been offering to take me out for years, and I'd always declined. That one time, it was right around our anniversary, so I told him it was his anniversary present. It was okay. Not horrible. But not something I can say I really enjoyed.

To be honest, he's probably just as happy that I DON'T want to go all the time. That's his relaxation time, his alone-time or out-with-the-guys time. Likely not as much fun if he has to watch out for what I might be getting into, or listen to me whining about having to pee in the woods! I can stay home in my air-conditioning, reading or watching TV, and he can go out and run those redneck speed bumps. Better for our sanity and our marriage!