Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Brazilian Quartz Crystal Pendant

This is a very short post, just a picture of the Brazilian crystal I wrapped the other day.  Each crystal is different and each one wants me to keep it.  I'd end up pretty spiky looking, since I already have two.
I bought these crystals years ago at the Brantford Lapidary & Mineral Club show in February.  I miss that show, you could pick up the coolest stuff, things that aren't available at the big suppliers.  On the advice of Joanie, my dear late mentor who was into Reiki, I soaked the crystals in a bowl of water and sea salt, and then dried them in the sun to purify them.  She said all quartz crystals should be purified to rid them of negative energies.
This one has a good six-sided point at the bottom, a "ghost" or "shadow" towards the top and is milky at the growing end.  Also according to Joanie, all crystals should be wrapped only in silver because any other metal would dissipate the energies.  As usual, I wrapped this one in Argentium because I like the low-tarnish properties and the absence of copper in the alloy.  You can find it at my Artfire shop.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Actually Made Some Stuff

Do ya know, having an online shop is an awful lot of work.Actually making the jewelry is almost the easy part, but to get people to look at it, you have to do the social networking thing.  First I had to post it on my Artfire shop, shared it with Facebook and Twitter, put it up on the About.com forum and then here, on my blog.  Don't get me wrong, my blog is fun and it's kind of an extension of the way I constantly talk to myself, except every once in awhile somebody answers!  I find that so cool! 

And I have become very attached to the people on the About forum.  They're like old friends and we all worry about each other and are very supportive of each other.  It's very worrisome when someone doesn't post for a while. 

But it's all so time consuming!  I finished my pieces around 3:30 and here it is 6 and I'm still promoting them.  Oh well, one of these days I'll be retired, no more store, and it'll give me something to do, other than talk to myself and the dogs.
I call this piece "Welcome."  I have no idea why, it just told me that was its name. 
This is another of the melted silver pieces, and I soldered it onto a hammered sterling ring, added three sterling balls (they're perfectly round, the bottom one is reflecting something) and two wrapped labradorite briolettes.   Antiqued with LOS.
I love these pieces and guess its because I love to be different and nobody else will ever make one the same, and they appeal to my quirky side. (Some would say "weird," I say "quirky.")

The next piece is totally different, a little more cheerful, but not quite so much "me."  I like it and love the flower but I'd wear the first piece and would never wear something like this.  I'm probably the most "up," cheerful and optimistic person you will ever meet, but I like my jewelry to make a statement, not be just pretty.  Besides, my neck's too fat.

This was another piece of copper sheet, cut to a freehand pattern, folded, patterned, and basically hammered all to heck.  Great fun!  Then I put a wash of translucent red enamel on it, and splattered yellow around the centre and on the bottom of the sterling bead.  The agate beads are gorgeous - they remind me of little translucent marbles.  

The reddish beads between the silver are carnelian. 

I don't get another day off until Saturday and really need to do my October books.  But maybe I can sneak an hour here or there to do something else - I really want to wire wrap some Brazilian crystals.  And I don't seem to be able to work after dark - does anyone else have that problem?  I can't see properly, all I want to do is eat and sleep.  The joys of Canadian winter - 12 hours of dark every day and a whole population that wants to hibernate.  Take care!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

I Am Woman, And I Have Tools!

I'm just so pleased with myself this morning that my hats would never fit on my head. It's not often (if you're normal) that you get such an overwhelming sense of smug, self-satisfaction. Now you'll have to share the whole, probably boring story!
The cash register in the store is reasonably new; I bought it about four years ago. It wasn't the cheapest available, nor was it the most expensive, just a nice, middle-of-the-road electronic register, suitable for a small store.
On Friday night, the LED display quit working. Which meant that the lid had to come off, we had to run a continuous tape of every transaction and we had to cash out before we could see the total with the tax included. Major pain in the butt. Not to mention the fact that the thermal paper that it uses is really expensive and we were going through it like toilet paper at an ex-lax convention. I tried my two favorite electronic fixes: unplug and let it reboot, and whack the heck out of it. Uh uh, not going to work. So I went into town to Staples and decided to bite the $400 bullet. They had the cheap one and they had the really expensive one, but not mine. So I drove uptown to the only other office supply place - closed.
Plan B: Staples online promises next day delivery. Not on my cash register, they don't. Seven to fourteen business days.
Plan C: Kijiji.com. Sunday morning, by this time, and I found a few ads but wouldn't call anyone on a Sunday morning, so decided to wait until afternoon.
THEN! Business is slower this time of year, so I read all my emails, checked the news and got bored. When I'm bored, I'm dangerous, usually ending up buying beads online. Decided that I couldn't make the machine any worse, got my screwdrivers and took the whole top off. Then I decided I should turn it off, since I was sticking my fingers down between wires. Turned it off, followed the LED wires in and out of the dock, fiddled with them and WAHLAH! The LED lights came back on. With the machine turned off, so I guess I should have unplugged it, haha. But the cash register is working! And I even got the screws back in to put it back together!
So I am justifiably pleased with myself. I just saved over $400!
My head will never get too big. I'm probably the only person left in the world that doesn't have a cell phone with a camera, in fact, my cell phone battery died months ago and I didn't know if I could figure out the new ones with cameras, so as of yet, I don't have a cell phone at all. Yesterday, I was driving home from my fruitless cash register search and saw the most beautiful sunset over the water I have ever seen in my life, real or pictures. It was just absolutely, positively glorious, a symphony in coral, turquoise, indigo and pink with the water dead calm, reflecting the entire sky. Boy, did I ever want a cell phone with a camera at that moment. But even though the picture has gone from my head, the feelings it inspired are still there. Time to get a new phone - I'd rather have the feelings AND the picture.
My long stories are a family joke - sorry!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Little Silver Balls

Speaking of silver...I've discovered a new love. Cutting up pieces of scrap silver wire, putting them on the firebrick and heating them with the torch. They wiggle, they jiggle, they start to curl...and ZING! They roll up into perfect little silver balls. Very addicting. Now I just have to figure out what to do with a whole bunch of little silver balls...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Silver Prices, or The Artisan Gambler

My supply of silver wire is dwindling. I probably have enough to last me until spring of 2011, especially at my production rate, but therefore lies my conundrum. What will the price of silver be in 2011? Has anybody else googled forecasts? The price right now is higher than it has been all year. Will it drop again or will it continue climbing?
The best (meaning forecasts for dummies) forecast I've read so far was Scotiabanks. They laid it out in very understandable terms and this is what I took from it:
Silver is a precious metal, albeit a cheap precious metal, and is used as a good investment in tough economic times or as a hedge for inflation. Therefore, it will be high at the moment, until the economy has a sustained recovery.
Silver is used for many new electronic applications. Because of the economic downturn, demand for these electronics is lower than usual, but as the economy recovers, so will the demand for these new electronics.
The production of silver has been lower than the demand since 2008. Because of the recession, this has not been a supply/demand thing causing higher prices, but as demand increases, it will.
My conclusion: I'm going to buy as much silver now as I can afford. The last time I faced this dilemma, silver was $17 and change. It rose steadily, dropped drastically for a short time and jumped right back even higher than before. I had bought it at the $17 price, which didn't make me as smart as anyone who waited for the sudden drop, but they are better gamblers than me.
Let's check back in a year to see if I made the right decision!