Posted by: alenegeed | October 27, 2014

Hitting the Wall; A Personal Journey


Two weeks ago I hit a wall. Has this ever happened to you?something fun quote

Not literally of course.. I mean everything felt like it came crashing down on me at once.  Taking into account that none of these ‘everythings’ were considered a negative. Quite the contrary.. all of the components were great!
  • My Marketing Job was in high speed. It seemed like every one of my clients had a pressing need for ideas and product.
  • I had just gotten my first wholesale account and placed product in a gift shop.
  • We were planning a reunion vacation to the East Coast.
  • I was taking 2 (yes two)  online courses for building business through social media.
  • I was finishing up my catalog/line sheet for my jewelry wholesale line
  • And I was poised to sign up for my first Wholesale Trade show.
And when our trip got cancelled due to an unexpected circumstance, I made the decision to still take 4 of the days off as vacation. Thank goodness for this!
The first day I slept. ALL DAY. The second day I watched TV. ALL DAY.  
By day 3 I came out of the fog and went out on a real date with my husband. (When WAS the last time we did that?). It was FUN. Finally I got my focus back. I opted NOT to do the wholesale show. (way too soon) and I postponed one of the online courses. Suddenly everything else seemed manageable again. The passion had returned!
Lesson learned.

STOP being a Human DOING and START being a Human BEING.  Have fun. Back off when something doesn’t feel right.. or is causing stress. There is always another opportunity in the future.

 

If you enjoyed this post you may like  Relaxation by Button the Cat

 

Posted by: alenegeed | September 28, 2014

What to Wear with the Little Black Dress


We all have one, right? The little black dress is the staple piece in every woman’s wardrobe. Black looks  so elegant with the right accessories.  Here’s my idea of a great combo!

The essential Little Black Dress

Classy burgundy hat with black band. Spike heels (OK, not for everyday… but great for an evening out!) and of course, my signature Red Creek Jasper Pendant. The burgundys in this pendant blend perfectly with the shoes and hat.

Now you are ready for a night on the town. Have fun!

Click here for more of my Gallery Collection Limited Edition Designs.
If you liked this blog you may like  Red Creek Jasper; Fascinating Facts
 

Posted by: alenegeed | September 15, 2014

Copper & Sterling; Is it the New Silver & Gold?


Gold jewelry has always been coveted. And even though gold prices have come down over the last 2 years, they are still almgold imageost 3 times the price from 10 years ago.

As I write this post, the price of gold is $1229.00 and ounce.  Ten years ago it was under $500 an ounce.

I LOVE wearing beautiful baubles. In the past I eagerly purchased (and received as gifts from my hubby) gold jewelry. Since I began designing my own jewelry collection in 2007 I gravitated to Silver.
In the beginning stages, when I was taking multiple classes to improve my skills, the instructors had us experiment with copper metal before taking on Silver. (which is currently $18.50 an ounce)
I found that I really loved working with the copper. The rich color only gets richer when you add heat or other elements. The resulting colors can range anywhere from bright copper to deep red, teal blue, vibrant purple and more.    

Copper with blue patina

 Many other jewelers have started using copper as well. Who can blame us? At $3.00 a POUND, it is much more affordable for the consumer.
I love adding in Sterling silver . Sterling silver contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (needed to strengthen this softer metal). The combination of the two colors is explosive!

 

 

A little bit of history:

Sprinkled Silver Fold Form2

Copper and sterling fused design Earrings

Silver was used in coinage beginning around 550 BC. IT was also popular for use in photosensitive materials used in photography. .. before the digital age! And of course silver has been used in jewelry over the ages.
 Copper was probably the first  metal to be used by humans and is considered sacred to many cultures. Copper has a natural ability to conduct electricity so, when worn, is said to harmonize the body’s energies, clearing any blockages or imbalances.

There will always be a place for gold in our bauble wardrobe of course… But consider copper for your next purchase. I think you will be surprised and delighted by your selection!

If you liked this post you may like Patinas for your Copper Designs

Posted by: alenegeed | August 14, 2014

Sprinkled Silver Designs; NEW


Yes I finally got around to getting a copyright on my signature process of copper and sterling. 

pendant sprinkled silver turquoise red

Sprinkled Silver Turquoise Pendant

I call it ‘Sprinkled Silver’ because that is what it looks like when I am creating it and what it looks like in the finished pieces, too

How and Why did I create this process?

The basic answer is… because it was fun!  I have been playing around with copper and silver since I began my journey into metals. Those of you who have read my book, Inside the Mind of a Jewelry Designer already know how a got into this ‘mess’ to begin with!

I was attracted to the metals process and once I took my first class, I was hooked! there was no looking back.

Sprinkled Silver Cuff bracelet 1

Sprinkled Silver Cuff

Fast forward 8 years to 2014 .. this passion has grown and gotten stronger.

That’s why I am so proud of these designs. They really speak to what I love about designing.. Each time I create another ‘Sprinkled Silver’ design, the passion grows. I wish I could explain it better.

Those of you who share this passion for your chosen field know the feeling already. The fire just grows and grows… and along the way is the fun of creating from our souls.

This entire collection uses copper, sterling and gemstones to create art. 

Earrings Sprinkled Silver2

Sprinkled Silver Earrings

I look forward to your feedback and comments. What do you like (or dislike) about the designs? Do they speak to you? 

Stay tuned for more designs and for more details about my entry into the Wholesale market.  (Yes you will be seeing me in retail stores next year)

Join my Newsletter today  for Subscriber Only Specials and Discounts.

If you liked this Post you may like  Fun with Foldforming… Metal that is!

Feel Inspired Today; Wear a Work of Art

Posted by: alenegeed | June 29, 2014

Tools of the Jewelry Trade; Pipe Cutter


The other day I decided to play around with a new process… using copper piping to create a jewelry design. I had seen some designs recently that started out as tubing/pipe and then were chased with a hammer to create some awesome results.

tube cutter large

medium pipe cutter

I had some 1/2″ pipe and 1/4″ flexible piping that I had purchased at a local Home Depot. 
As I brought out my Jewelers Saw to make the necessary cuts, my husband asked me why I wasn’t using a pipe cutter.
A Pipe cutter?? Aren’t those something that plumbers use? The answer was Yes… but if you want to cut pipe then why not use it for jewelry? What a concept!
And of course since my husband is handy around the house… he already owned 3 different sizes of cutters. Yippee!
tube cutter small with tube

Small tube cutter with copper

Once he showed my how to use this handy tool. I was in heaven! The one you see here is the smaller size for 1/4″ tubing. There is a blade on one side and a recessed area for the pipe on the other side. And talk about EASY to use.
1) Mark where you want the cut.. insert the tube into the cutter, turn the wheel to hold it snugly. (dont tighten too much)
2) Then spin the cutter slowly.
3) Once you see the marks (slight indentation around the tube), then tighten a little and spin again… repeat process until the piece is cut all the way through.  
AND, there is no need to anneal the tube before cutting. Save that step for  the design process. 
Next time you want to accomplish a new jewelry process and are not sure about the right tools to use.. remember to think outside the box and look at tools that are made for other purposes. They may be the perfect solution for your creation.
Rough tube designs

Rough tube designs

 Here’s the product I created in the rough stages. (copper cut, annealed, textured/hammered and sterling added)
tube earrings
And here is the finished Earring design.. the first of many designs now that I have this shortcut!
 
IF you enjoyed this post you may like
Tools of the Trade; Mini electric sander and filer.
 
Posted by: alenegeed | June 15, 2014

Got the ‘Ain’t Got No Inspiration Blues?


3 easy ways to get your inspirational juices flowing.

blues image

 

Whether we are an artist, author or entrepreneur.. the passion we feel sometimes takes a day (or a week) off. Those are the times that I feel most blocked. I don’t seem to find the flashes of inspiration I am so used to experiencing. I can sit down at my jeweler’s bench or at my computer as many times  as I want and … NOTHING!

So I have learned over time to step away. No amount of TIME is going to fix my slump.

However, these 3 tricks have helped me to get back into the flow. 

1) Take a Hike!

Or a walk, stroll, bike ride, swim, Zumba class … anything that makes your physical body move. I don’t know all the scientific reasons that this works. I just know it does. I get my mind off of my lack of motivation and my body thanks me for giving it exercise. Often times during the hike I will get my inspirational moment. At any rate I now feel great again and that is the first step to getting back into the swing of things.

2) Watch Shark Tank.

I absolutely LOVE this show. I love watching other entrepreneurs. The passion they exude for their creations is so inspiring. I can even overlook Mr Wonderful giving them all such a hard time. I am sure this is the ‘drama’ that is created to keep more people watching the show. I don’t care about that. All I know for sure is that I feel completely energized and inspired after seeing others at their most creative moments. 
Kitty Button exploring my tool bag

Kitty Button exploring my tool bag

3) Play with your cat or dog.

Animals are interested and curious about everything. I can drop a twist-tie on the floor and my kitty “Button’ acts as if she has discovered gold! She can kick it around and flip it in the air for over an hour. And lets not even talk about empty boxes or bags. So much to explore. One day I even found her in my traveling tool kit.. on TOP of the large tool chest. She was having fun.
Just spend about 15 minutes observing. You will be amazed at how quickly it brings you back into creativity. Don’t have a pet? Try walking by a duck pond nearby. Or watch a bird feeder. Animals are a gift to every human being.
These are my 3 most tried and true methods of getting my MO-JO back. I know there are others that have worked for you, too. 
I would love to hear your suggestions, too!

“Above all try something.”    

Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you enjoyed this blog, you make like.  Remember to Look Back 

 

Posted by: alenegeed | May 23, 2014

Cookoo over COLOR!


We are surrounded with hundreds of colors. The latest PANTONE color guide lists over 1750 different shades, combinations and nuances of the primary colors.

As a child I can remember getting so excited over all the colors in the Crayola crayon box!  crayola crayons

My favorite was the ‘large’ size with 84 different colors.. Did you have the same thrill over checking out all the colors? These days the boxes contain 120 colors. I envy the children that get to play with that many colors.

What fun!

Since I grew up in the ‘olden days’ I remember black and white Television. One of my favorite shows was Star Trek. Black and white did not allow me to see the various uniform colors.
Gold and Blue Uniforms NEVER got killed!

Gold and Blue Uniforms NEVER got killed!

So one day when I went over to a friend’s house that had a color TV, I was astounded to realize that Kirk, Spock and the guy who always got killed when they went to the planet’s surface all had different colored uniforms.
Hence the warning: If you wear a red shirt.  DON’T GO DOWN to the PLANET!!
Color has a psychological effect on us – influencing our mind and emotions. We all have color preferences, too. So color can help reveal our personalities. Cool!
My mother studied color extensively and in her later years she taught classes on several related subjects. Recently I was ecstatic to find her notes on these classes! In future posts I will pass along more of the information she made available to her students. Such fascinating stuff!
For now here is a quick overview of what each primary color represents.  I have gone into depth in previous posts.. which you can find under the COLOR tab to the right.  More details can also be found in the book: Color Magic for Beginners  by Richard Webster.
RED: Stimulating,  Innovative, Competitive
ORANGE: Sociable, Friendly, Persistent
YELLOW: Cheerful, Intellectual,Idealistic
GREEN: Balanced, Comfortable, Nurturing
BLUE: Calm, Serene, Introspective
INDIGO: Wise, Dignified, Emotionally balanced
VIOLET: Regal, Creative, Selfless

What is your favorite color? Do these criteria speak to your own personality?

red creek jasper

Red Creek Jasper Pendant

Highlighted  here are two of my favorite designs using color:  
Stay tuned for future blogs on color
Silver heart VIG closeup

Antique Dichroic Glass Heart Pendant

 
If you liked this post, then check out The Color BLUE
Posted by: alenegeed | April 26, 2014

Photographing Jewelry… Harder than it looks!


I am a jewelry designer and yes I do my own photography.

3 Sacred Spiral Amethyst cholla

Amethyst Sacred Spiral Earrings

As in the case of most artists who create limited Edition and one-of-a- kind pieces.. It is not cost effective to hire a professional to photograph each design!
So I decided early on to take my own photos. And I can tell you that this became a whole new learning curve for me. I read lots of comments and tutorials online, purchased proper equipment for photographing small objects (jewelry in my case), purchased editing software  and then experimented a lot!
Each time I played around with the process I got just a tiny bit more competent.

Then earlier this year I took a workshop from a real photographer and had to unlearn  and rethink it all. Doug Baldwin, the instructor and photographer for over 30 years, drummed one rule into our heads.. and it finally sunk in.  “Don’t photograph on artsy backgrounds. Customers want to be able to see the product clearly.. they don’t CARE about the surroundings.”  Of course there were lots more helpful hints and insights in the workshop…I improved the way I photographed the gems and learned how to use diffused lighting.  I even ended up purchasing another photography system that I love. 

I live in Arizona and Love the outdoors. So a dried piece of cholla cactus seemed like a great option for a background. As you can see by the two images above… the background, while so cool looking, does not allow you to see the earring design clearly. The image to the left gives you a focused, clean image… so you can decide if this design is a must-have for your own collection.

Here is another example.. Again using the cholla cactus.

2SSSANT cholla Sacred Spiral Pendant

See how much better the image to the right is?

It shows off the texture and beauty (OK so I am a little prejudiced on that) of this pendant!

The Cuff image below is yet another example. Malachite is highlighted and featured prominently in the photo to the left.

Yes, I am still a novice when it comes to photography.. and yes I will continue to learn and improve my photos.

Copper Cuff Malachite cholla

over the next several months, I should have all the images on my site converted over to the newer, cleaner looking images.

My next step is a class on editing. Cannot wait!Malachite Cuff

Check out my jewelry (and the current photos online) and give me your feedback.

Every bit helps me to improve my craft!

 If you liked this blog you may like The Secret Life of a Metal and Hammer Hoarder.
Posted by: alenegeed | March 16, 2014

The Aries Personality and Gemstones for your Sign.


Okay all you Aries babies. Your time is almost upon us.

aries-sign-horoscope

Officially you were born between March 21 (that’s this Friday) and April 20th.

The RAM is your symbol.  A Ram is powerful and will climb to the highest peaks to see what life has to offer. A Ram rarely turns down a challenge. An Aries has difficulty turning down challenges as the desire to go forward and conquer is very strong.

Aries goes through life with confidence and a enthusiastic outlook on everything. IF you are an Aries, you like to lead. After all what fun is following anyway??

And you are in good company too. The following famous people were born under the sign of the ram, too.

  • Johann Sebastian Bach                                                            
  • Charlie Chaplin 
  • Harry Houdini
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Vincent Van Gogh

Just be careful to slow down and not be too aggressive. It can happen to anyone born under this sign.

It’s a good thing you have many friends and LOVE to have fun!!  and FYI, your best partner for marriage is a LIBRA!

So what about gemstones are you attracted to? Well Aries babies tend to love malachite, rose quartz, carnelian and coral

3 Malachite copper

My favorite of this bunch is malachite! It’s rich green and vibrant color is tailormade for your outgoing and take charge personality.

What do you think? I would love to hear from some Aries babies? What is your favorite gemstone?

If you liked this post you may like. The LIBRA personality

Posted by: alenegeed | February 2, 2014

Amethyst; My All-Time Favorite Gemstone


Ever since I can remember, I have been in love with Amethyst. 

Amethyst Geode

Amethyst Geode

Before I began my Jewelry Designer Career, I purchased Amethyst creations from other artisans. I still wear several of the pieces today.
The rich purple in this gem is intoxicating!
This Geode showcases the gem perfectly. ( I have at least 4 Geodes in varying sizes too!!!)
All February Babies share this love with me, right? after all you are the lucky ones to have amethyst as your birthstone. (I am a little jealous).
But the rest of us are allowed to own and savor ‘the purple’ too.
Did you know that amethyst is considered to be the Stone of St Valentine? He is said to have worn an amethyst ring engraved with the image of cupid.
Legend has it that Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, was so angry with mortals that he vowed to feed the next human he saw to the tigers. A maiden named Amethyst was that human. But before Bacchus could incur his wrath, Diana, the goddess of nature, changed Amethyst into a pillar of quartz to save her. Thus was created the first amethyst gemstone!

3 Sacred Spiral Amethyst cholla

Guess What?? The Greeks believed that wearing amethyst prevented drunkeness! Hence the greek name amethustos, meaning ‘not drunk’  Dont try this yourself though. I am PRETTY SURE, this is just fable!!
Amethyst is said to have strong healing powers. Many wear this gem during meditation as it tends to enhance our spiritual connection.

Cold hard facts:

  • Amethyst is a member of the Quartz family
  • Amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs Scale. This means it is durable enough to  use in almost any setting, including rings. 
  • Amethyst is readily found. There are active mines in Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Uruguay.. to name a few
  • Cleaning is easy. Ultrasonic works as well as plain old soap and water!
Next time spot an artisan Amethyst design… jump at the chance to purchase it
I have several pieces available too. (OK just a tiny sales pitch). Click here to see.
More information on Amethyst can be found in the Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals

If you enjoyed this post you may like Turquoise Legends and Facts

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