Mimi and her girls

Mimi and her girls
Mimi and her girls

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How Do I Get This Cuff On?

It's been a very long time since I posted  a blog - long over due! To re-start I think I am going to pull from my now 10 years of jewelry making and problems I have encountered along the way. Some of these are the making itself, some getting correct sizing from customers to insure a proper fit of a ring, cuff or bangle. Today- the simple but lovely cuff and how to properly put it on and take it off so it maintains it's original shape and fit.
What's not to love- the cuff comes in all shapes, widths and sizes and even different metals, bronze, copper, sterling and even gold. Behold - the simple hammered sterling cuff. This one is 1 inch wide and a reasonable but light 1 mm thick- a good everyday choice for work or casual day out. Now- How do you get that darn thing on and off a bunch of times and still keep it looking like this nice C shape and not some sort of twisted mess? The opening is only 1 inch wide- isn't my arm bigger than that?

Anyone can latch a bracelet and it fits right? Sure, but what about a cuff? Can you get it on and have it keep it's shape? Not hurt going on or coming off? This little trick will keep all your cuffs in shape, springy and looking great for a long time to come!
A cuff bracelet is one that does not close on the wrist but simply rests on the wrist with a gap or open area on the inside of the wrist. Unlike bangles (closed circles) cuff bracelets are worn low on the wrist bone rather than pushed up the forearm. Hold the cuff like a C in your opposite hand with the opening facing the arm your are going to wear it on. You want to find that soft area on the inside of your arm about 1 – 1.5 inches above your wrist- between the 2 bones in your wrist. Gently roll the end of the bracelet over the arm from the thumb side and just roll it over your arm. Let it slide down your arm to rest there. To remove the cuff, reverse the above and roll it right off your arm above your wrist!
Don't hook the cuff on the outside of the wrist and pull it over the top of the wrist. This actually pulls the cuff out of shape and will loosen any set stones in or on top of the cuff. In time, you could break or crack the cuff due to metal fatigue. Always start on the inside of your wrist. Cuffs usually only need to be adjusted once and not bent each time.
To order the correct size cuff - measure around your wrist where the cuff will be worn, not too tight, this is the inside circumference of the cuff including the opening. When ordering a cuff, look to see how wide the opening is and subtract that to get the length you need.
Cuffs are normally formed on an oval shape bracelet mandrel. This shape conforms to most wrists. If you have a round arm/wrist and not flat on top, be sure to discuss this with the maker of your cuff. Your artisan jeweler can allow a slightly longer length and shape the cuff to be more rounded on top and still conform to the sides of your wrist for a more comfortable fit.
Cuffs come flat, anticlastic with a concave center and curves that go up on the sides and synclastic with a dome that curves down to the wrist. Each of these basic styles has many variations, but all can be properly fitted and remain lovely for many years with proper care - AND putting them on and taking them off so they stay in their original shape.
My hope is next time you think about putting on that cuff, you'll remember this blog and smile because you know how to get that cuff on!

If you'd like to take a look at some of my cuffs- visit my shop on Etsy by clicking this link or copy and paste it into your browser-  https://www.etsy.com/shop/PPennee

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Have You Finished Shopping Yet???

Seems like forever since I have had time to sit and just blog about anything! But since I got up early to work on orders, I had the inspiration, and it gave me a small reason not to start at the bench at 6 AM.

I'm not finished shopping yet, the gifts I do have are staring at me and needing wrapped. My house is only semi-decorated and I have cookies I need to bake! How about you, done yet, are you one of those well organized people that manages to get it all done and then have time to sit and relax? Not me, I am still working the day job, making jewelry to fill orders and trying to get in the holiday spirit to finish decorating and getting ready for the full week of celebrations that are the Christmas holiday!

If many of you are like me, you have long ago stopped fighting the crowds of people at the malls and in big box stores. Unless you have a few favorite boutiques or specialty shops, you let your fingers do the shopping on line! This year though it seems a lot of people didn't realize how little time there was between Thanksgiving and Christmas - just 3 full weeks. I have never been one of those people who shop Black Friday sales or heaven forbid, start buying presents at the end of summer sales!

For those of you that may need a few last minute stocking stuffers, or just something new to wear to one of the many open house or parties that seem to pop up this time of year, I am going to shamelessly self promote that I have a load of stuff still in my shop that's ready to ship! My very last, drop dead date. to make made to order to arrive in time for Christmas in the US is December 18. So many people are ordering late this year, my cut off is earlier than last year so I can be sure and finish.

Feel free to browse my shop, All Wired Up Jewelry Desings on Etsy but below, I'll post a few really great things that are just waiting to go in the mail same day or next day if you order by December 20 for first class or Priority. Those rally down to the wire, I have Express next day as a shipping choice for "ready to ship" up through December 23!

Earrings- how can you have too many? These make great gifts for teachers, friends, your manicurist or hair dresser- or just because you like to have lots to choose from. My new enamel earrings in copper are on sterling or gold fill ear wires, priced right and ready to ship.
Green Enamel Heart Earrings -
Pretty little fall leaf earrings, Red and Gold Enamel Leaf Earrings

and then there are always pretty sterling earrings - Moon Crater Hoops

If your more of a necklace person, I still have a few in stock priced to go out the door and under someone's tree! For the gardener, or chef- this Sage Leaf Necklace could be a terrific choice in either the polished or oxidized finish
So, don't panic, there is still time, just make yourself sit down with a list of who doesn't have a gift yet and think handmade is always a great way to say, I chose something special just for you!

Happy Holidays to you and all of your family and friends!


Monday, September 16, 2013

September Inspiration

September Synchroblog -- Inspiration

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post on the same topic on odd months and on even months we take on a Pinterest Challenge where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, creating something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then posting about it.  

This month's topic: September
“My inspiration comes from…” 

Wow - what a loaded topic that is for me? Who knows, quien sabe, no lo se, and any other English or foreign phrase that says- most days, I have no clue what I'm going to do until I get to the bench and start. I could say I am inspired by nature and architecture because I love both and get loads of ideas while in my garden or on walks. Travel to other countries has opened up a whole world of texture and design for me that I love. BUT, I do not consider myself an artist - what I like to do is make things - I love the whole process of making the parts and watching them go together to make something beautiful and wearable.

As you can see from the two photos above- this was a construction conundrum! This was a huge piece of diamond rough, no real flat spot to make a normal cup for a setting and the customer wanted a specific side to show. I had so much fun working with my mentor to come up with a way to hold this stone and make it into a wearable ring. So maybe that's my inspiration- the challenge of designing so it works and still looks good?

My other inspiration is again a challenge. I love to try to learn a new technique as often as possible in between filling orders. My current challenge is learning to bead set. If you don't know what that is, it is drilling a hole to perfectly fit a stone inside, then instead of holding the stone by pushing the metal over the edges as in flush setting, you take a tool called a graver, which is a very sharp instrument and can do bodily harm if not used properly :) (ask me how I know). And you use the graver to cut through and push the metal up to the edge of the stone and create a small pile of metal. You then take another tool- a beading tool, and round that pile so you have just made very tiny prongs on 4 sides of the stone to hold it in place. All this is assuming you have done it correctly, not broken off one of the beads by pushing it to far or the graver has gone on it's own path and you have to start over again.

I do hope you've enjoyed my ramblings about what inspires me and I hope you will take some time to read some of the blogs below to see what inspires others in our Synchroblog group.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Day vs Night, When are You Most Creative?

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post on the same topic on odd months and on even months we take on a Pinterest Challenge where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, creating something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then posting about it. You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here.
Which are you - a Morning Bird or a Night Owl?

Do you roll out of bed in the morning rip roaring and ready to go? Or do you stumble eyes shut to the coffee pot growling at anyone in your way?

Well, I work a full time job, but I do set my own appointments so I have a bit of flexibility. Do you know what *6* does on your phone- well if not, let me tell you, it mutes your end so people can't hear you- not the baby crying, the dog barking or me using my flex shaft to do final polishing on a customer order while on a silly conference call from 8-9AM!

Yes, I am one of those chipper, ready to rock people at 5:30 AM. I got one of those new coffee makers, single cup, I am in heaven. I get up and head for the coffee, then the studio.

Yeah, I know, it's not much, but it's what I have to work with! And that pile of plastic bags in the corner, that's all stones in their own little individual boxes- they call to me while I'm at that bench! The light is my friend, it's daylight at my bench even in the dead of winter. I usually leave something for myself to do in the morning- my warm up- finish a ring, solder a bezel- just something. I honestly believe that my creativity is best first thing in the morning before the real world creeps into my brain and clutters it up with to do lists, customer (day job) concerns and even grocery shopping- which I love, but not what I want to think about when I wake up. So I am at the bench by 6 AM crank out a bit, draw up something I dreamed about even if it isn't possible and then hit the computer to check mail, print shipping labels, downstairs to package orders- THEN I actually get ready for work so I can get out of the house between 8:30 and 9 AM.

Try as I might, and I do get some work done late afternoon, but after dinner, I am pretty useless. I love chatting with my fellow on line metals groups teammates, look at all the new stuff friends post on facebook, chat with my other half and have a nice glass of wine. Absolutely nothing comes to me at night! My weekends, my metal is my day job and I love that time. Friday night I really do start to think creatively and can't wait to get to work Saturday and Sunday morning. 

Want to see who else in our bloggers group id a day or night person- just check out some of these blogs! Now, not everyone posts every month, but I'm sure you'll find a few good reads!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Poking Around on Pinterest - June Synchroblog

This months topic is to show something you've done, made or created based on something you found on Pinterest! Who doesn't love poking around there looking for DIY ideas for decorating, cooking seeing loads of travel spots you want to visit and just plain stumbling on something you never thought of before?

Since I'm a foodie, I know everyone would be disappointed if I didn't show and tell a recipe I found and probably changed if I know me!

Scallop BLTs - Great Seafood Appetizer

Now mine didn't quite look like this, I had to have little toothpicks with colored frilly tops in mine because whatever food stylist did this photo must have been using Elmer's glue for the herb mayonnaise (I made lemon aioli) because scallops and mayonnaise of any kind are a slippery combination! Tomatoes just don't come in scallop size unless you search really hard, and remember to put a weight on your bacon while cooking it otherwise it will curl up and also make your lovely appetizer look like the leaning tower of Pisa!  I did try hard to add my own photo from my cell phone, but it just didn't want to upload to Flickr, Picassa or anywhere else I could go and grab it to show off all my colorful toothpicks in my own scallop BLTs.  Maybe I should search Pinterest for cell phone upload tips! The other problem was, they were so darn good there wasn't a single one left on the plate for me to get a chance to go get my real camera to take a decent photo! I had what I assume were 6 vultures for dinner that night because they disappeared so fast I was dazed!
The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest Project where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, create something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it.  You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here.
Please visit the other synchrobloggers this month and see how Pinterest inspired them:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Darn, I Must Be Terrific, I Got Ripped Off on Alibaba

Any of you who know me, even just on line, know I am pretty laid back when it comes to my philosophy on original jewelry designs. My feeling is, jewelry has been around for thousands of years and it really is pretty rare to see a completely new design. It's mostly all been done before and what we see are the artists interpretation that makes it unique to them. Just go to any art museum and watch young artists copying the masters (or trying to). They say copying is normal for someone just learning, they copy the designs, the technique etc and eventually find their own artistic voice. We've all copied something sometimes that pleased us and was not our original idea- I'm ok with that.
What I'm not ok with is some sweat factory seller in China who steals my photos right out of my Etsy shop listing, complete with watermark and says they are their designs and make my item out of junk materials to boot.
Ripped off on Alibaba

Oh- and this is my Original
Solid gold, not gold plated- the seller somehow wiped out my watermark on the main photo but all the other photos in my Etsy shop, they left complete with my shop name All Wired Up Jewelry Designs on Etsy.

Hey, I'm right up there now with Ralph Lauren, Tiffanys and a multitude of others- so I guess instead of feeling like I have really been violated- I should celebrate that someone liked my design so much they decided to add me to the long list of artists that have knock offs made of their fabulous work!

So today I am celebrating, I must be great, terrific and astounding- I got ripped off and there really isn't much I can do about it but share with you so you know - it can happen to anyone!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Words Have Meaning!

I am participating in something new in the next few months- hopefully I can keep up and not get kicked out of the group! This new adventure is called Synchroblog!  

The Artists Synchroblog (May) – The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest Project where we each take inspiration from a pinterest picture, create something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it. This month the topic is "Words Have Meaning"
I chose a quote that I think is me in a nutshell and just says it all about life in general-  "Love what you do. If you don't, you're just wasting your time".
~ Billy Joel
For the better part of my adult life I have to say I have been lucky enough to say I love what I do. For a small portion of my younger life, I am absolutely positive all I did was waste time- I had jobs I didn't like much that weren't very interesting or challenging and I really did know I was just marking time until I found what I was looking for. I was very lucky, I did find loads of things I love.
I have a great job during the day working as an oncology representative calling on Drs and nurses, providing education and support for cancer patients. It is an extremely rewarding job and I love every minute. At night and on weekends I work in my little makeshift jewelry studio creating pretty rings, pendants bracelets and whatever strikes me. I actually even enjoy selling my little baubles on line here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PPennee   After a tough day at work what could be better than hammering the heck out of a piece of metal, playing with sparkling colorful gemstones or lighting a torch to put something together that will make someone smile. I love both my jobs!
Then there's my other two jobs (can we say workaholic?) the Mom job and the grand mom job- geeze, the mom job is a breeze- the kid is all grown up and pretty and smart and has given me two gorgeous granddaughters - but she still needs me now and then. Now the grand mom (Mimi) job is the best. I get to go have girl days with my oldest- at 6 she is completely in her element when we go get mani pedis, then off to shop and maybe a movie- then of course we must do dinner out. In between, play time in the local park and maybe stop for homemade ice cream! Tough job for a grandmother just keeping up.

My little one, at 15 months, is way too smart and busy for her age. Into everything and keeps me on my toes- and the floor- and the grass and anywhere we can play and roll around or she can run and have me chase after her!
So- I never for a minute feel like I'm wasting my time because I love what I do!