Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas is coming!

So Christmas is just around the corner.  A week from tomorrow?  Already?  Yikes!!  All my decorations are finally in place, I wrapped all the presents today, and thinking about what baking I need to do this weekend.  I really want to be in the studio, however.  I have all these ideas that I want to play with but I told myself that I can't get back to work until I get everything ready for Christmas AND I get everything posted to my etsy store.  I'm one step closer, the earring photos are edited and will be going up tomorrow morning.  Yay!!

 The pink earrings are pretty little lucite flower beads, Swarovski crystals, and metal filigree.  They've been really popular at my craft shows.  They are bright and lightweight.  Check out the etsy store tomorrow afternoon to see all the different colors and designs.  I had alot of fun making these.

This is a super close up detail shot of one of the patina earrings.  This one is copper with a verdigris finish.  The earrings started out bright silver, then I coated them with a metal infused paint and brushed on an antiquing solution.  You get this gorgeous blue green color that makes the earrings look really old.  I love finding inexpensive earrings I can upcycle into something pretty!  The product I use is from Triangle Crafts called Sophisticated Finishes.  I picked up mine from Michael's but the last time I looked, they had them in the clearance section.  I bought all my store had.  You can get it online at several different stores. 

This is a close up of an earring made from Friendly Plastic.  No, it's not metal, it's plastic!  You start out with black Friendly Plastic, warm it up and use a texture stamp to give it a nice design.  The rest is a secret...  Nah, the technique is in one of the bead magazines and maybe on the Friendly Plastic blog as well.  It's pretty simple - I swirl on a mixture of Krylon gold leaf pen and copper leaf pen and, before that dries, paint on some antiquing solution.  I use a solution from Triangle Crafts called Sophisticated Finishes. 

There are other products out there that do the same thing but this is the only manufacturer that I have tried - yet.  If anyone wants to send me product to try out *hint hint* I would be more than happy to do so!  The Sophisticated Finishes metal paints that I mentioned above can be used on Friendly Plastic, but it has an irritating habit of flaking off, so I'm working on a fix for that.  It works pretty well on flat pieces like earrings, but I want to use it on bracelets and it would not be good for the finish to flake off easily.  But I have to get into the studio in order to work on that process, and well, you know, I have other things I have to do first, like getring these earrings posted into my Etsy shop...

There is still time to order for Christmas delivery, but you better order soon!  I was at the post office this morning, sending out an order, and it was not fun.  And it's only going to get worse.  And more expensive.  So check out the earrings tomorrow and let me know if you need any last minute gifts and I'll ship out as soon as possible.  And remember, use promo code FBFRIENDS15 to get 15% off your order!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The joys of living in Teas

I have to admit, I am not a native Texan.  I grew up in southern California, Santa Barbara to be exact, and I miss those mild winter days and warm summer nights.  The weather extremes in Texas make me crazy.  I will never get used to 100+ degree sweltering summer days and bone chilling winter blasts and icy streets.  I would move back to California in a heart beat - if I could afford to live there, which I can't.

In a couple of years we're going to build a house in East Texas, where it still gets hot and cold, but at least I'll have my dream house nestled amid the tall pines to deflect some of the worst weather.  And I get to build my dream studio.  Imagine having all the room you need, plenty of storage, natural light...and electrical outlets where you actually need them.  I cannot wait!  I've been building this house in my mind over the last six months, planning out my studio and making mental lists of everything I'll need.  Too bad I have to wait a couple of years.  In the meantime, though, I'll make good use of my little improvised studio in my current house.  It may be small, but I have alot of stuff crammed in there.  It's pretty well organized, I'm about to re-label all my bins and drawers see if anything needs to be purged.  Sound like fun?  I didn't think so, but I love to organize so it's fun for me.

I added more pendants to the etsy store over the last couple of days and added some narrow cuff bracelets this morning.  Here's a peek...

This is the super bling bracelet.  The centerpiece is actually an earring from a bargain store but you can't tell, it really sparkles.  A couple tiny Swarovski crystals highlight the brass filigree beneath.

This bracelet features copper filigree and a crystal slider from a craft store.  I had to cut the slider rings from the bottom, not easy, but had to in order to get it lay somewhat flat on top of the bracelet.  This one has tiny crystals on it too for a little bling. 

I wasn't able to do very many craft shows this fall so I have alot of inventory to sell right now.  And not just the leftovers, this is my good stuff.  It's priced to sell  - and still time to order for Christmas delivery.  I'm waiting for the sun to come back out, here in icy Texas, so I can finish photographing my jewelry.  I still have the earrings, a few more pendants, and some necklaces to shoot - so keep an eye out for more new pieces coming in the next week or so. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Greetings from frozen Texas!

Brr!!  The roads are icy and the temps down below freezing.  We are not used to this is Dallas!  Lost power for six hours yesterday but we are one of the lucky houses, some won't get their power restored until Monday.  Goodness, I hope those people have a fireplace or someplace to go.  Oh, and I discovered this morning that the hot water heater went out sometime in the last two days - and the guy can't order the part until Monday!  I can go without a shower , but washing my hair?  Guess it will be with cold water.

Thankfully I was able to get some more photos done while I had sunshine earlier this week.  I am posting some new pieces on Etsy.com right now.  I've added some oozed pendants.  I love making those, you never know what's going to happen!  Here's a sneak peek..

This is a close up of a heart pendant.  The photo really doesn't do it justice, the ribbon I used to ooze through is very sparkly, and the resulting pendant looks like it has black glitter in the cracks, but it's really just the ribbon.  I've used Cloud Clay to fill in the back, gave it a nice texture, painted it with nail polish and sealed it. 

I'm working on making oozed bracelets.  It isn't easy because you don't have the shape cutter to hold everything together while you press from the back side.  I've made several so far but am not ready to post the results yet, I'm such a perfectionist.  I'll post the technique here when I get it perfected, how about that?

Here is a photo of the nail polish pendants.  I just love these pendants, the colors are so bright.  This photo doesn't do it justice either.  There is some super sparkly nail polish in there which looks so pretty out in the bright sunlight.

I started out a year ago with just a couple bottles of nail polish I found on clearance at Wal Mart for $1 each.  Want to guess how many I have now?  Let's put it this way - I got a nail polish display rack from a beauty supply store that was going out of business, and the rack holds 90 bottles.  I filled the rack and still have some left over.  I think I need to stop buying nail polish.  I never spend more than $3 a bottle though, so it hasn't emptied the bank account.   

Hope all of you are staying warm and dry.  I'm off to post some more pendants in my etsy shop.  Hope you'll stop by and check them out.  Oh, and if you find something you'd like to have, use the coupon code FBFRIENDS15 and you'll get a 15% discount through the end of January 2014.


Friday, November 29, 2013

I'm back, for real this time...

I know, it's been a long time since I've been here, but I have a good excuse.  Well maybe not a good excuse, but y'all know how life gets in the way.  You end doing the things you have to do, not the things you want to do. 

I spent some serious time in the studio over the summer, but somehow failed to get into very many shows.  I did just one instead of my usual four.  Pretty discouraging, not being accepted into shows, especially the one you'd been doing for the last 10 years in a row.  I took some time to regroup and rethink my selling strategy, and so here I am, back in the social media arena.  Do I know any more than I did six months ago?  Nope.  But I plan on finding out, and working to get my name out there.

I did just post 19 new items to my etsy store, http://www.etsy.com/shop/wolfcreekdesigns  I will be adding more tomorrow too.  So far I've just photographed my bracelets and rings, and after I get those all posted I'll be taking some time to shoot the rest of it.  Check back in a week or so and I should have more photos.  Here's a sneak peek...

This is Friendly Plastic and alcohol inks with a brass filigree and a crystal slider accent. 

This is Friendly Plastic with a brass ring base and a Swarovski crystal accent.

I'll upload some more tomorrow.  Maybe I'll give you a sneak peek at some my new patina metal pieces.  I love playing with patina!  It's so much fun!  Take care, I'll be back soon.  I swear I will. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

In my last post I mentioned life smacking you in the face when you least expect it.  Well, life has smacked me again.  The last time I wrote my dad was in treatment for prostate cancer and we were looking for funding for the super expensive medicine.  He'd been in and out of the hospital over the first weeks of the year, and mid February was back in there again.  The oncologist came to the hospital and told us the cancer wasn't responding and there was no use in continuing treatment, the cancer had spread even more.  He said  Dad had about six months and we started looking into hospice care.  Over the next 24 hours it became apparent that his heart was failing rapidly and we went from having 6 months to just hours.  There was a mad scramble to get loved ones in to see him while he was still conscious.  He passed away the next morning, at peace and with his family at his side.  What a complete and utter shock it was.  I knew he didn't have long to live, I knew the cancer was not curable but I thought we'd have more time.   

This week is the first time I've gone into the studio to work since he passed.  I'd been in there organizing and ordered some needed supplies online, but didn't have the heart to actually work.  I didn't realize just how deeply these two deaths had affected me.  I was functioning, getting through the days, but without being able to create I wasn't whole.  Losing both parents over the course of two years - never in a million years did I think it would happen that way.  I'm no longer reaching for the phone to call, but it did take a while to get past that.  It's funny how my parents come up in every day conversations, how I see or hear things and say to my husband 'Dad would've loved that' or 'my Mom hated that commercial.'  It was alot of work taking care of my dad, I spent probably half my time talking on the phone to him, straightening out messes with his finances or medicines, or sitting in some doctor's office waiting room.  But I wouldn't change a thing, it was my privilege to care for him and be there for him, like he was there for me as I grew.  I miss them both.

So, I am back again to this world which I know little about but am determined to conquer.  My daughter is going to help me jump into social media, I'm taking a class on digital photography and working very diligently in the studio.  Right now there are three trays of friendly plastic pieces curing - and I can say they are probably the brightest things I have made to date.  Also drying are quite a few pieces of patinated metal, which turned out quite nicely.  Stay tuned, I'll be posting photos soon...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Life has a way of smacking you in the face, doesn't it?  Back in the fall of 2010, I was all set to jump into this stuff called social media.  I was really excited to be bringing my designs online - using my blog, Facebook, and my website to sell.  Then my dad had a heart attack and was in rehab for 3 months and my mom passed away suddenly right after he was released.  I unexpectedly found myself caretaker for my dad and my business was put on the back burner.  No matter, the business can wait because family is more important.  I do a few local craft shows here and there to keep my name out there but can't spend the time I'd like.

So here comes fall of 2012.  My dad is living in a senior community and loving it, his health is stable and everything is finally going back to normal.  I'm ready to jump back into the social arena - I create a new website, fire up the blog again, and start trying to figure out Facebook.  And then we find out my dad's prostate cancer is back and has spread to other areas.  He's 82 years old and not strong enough for chemo so there are fewer options.  The doctor tells us about this wonderful new medicine that just came on the market last year and is showing great promise.  Only thing - it costs over $5,000 a month!  Seriously?  Who can afford something like that?  We find a company that does co-pay assistance and he gets two months of the drug for $10 a month.  Yay!  But come the first of the year, they tell us they have no more funding, we're on our own.  So now we are scrambling to find funding for it again, and the search is discouraging because no one seems to have any money this year.

So I don't know how much I will be around this coming year.  I am going to try to keep my routine as close to 'normal' as possible, but it really depends on my dad's health.  I have so many new things to play with, new techniques that I want to share - but as always family comes first.  Keep checking back, I am going to try to post every week - and I should have pieces for sale in my etsy store.  In fact, I am going over there now to put a few online.  Yay!!  That feels like a small victory!