Wednesday, August 31, 2005
It might be Friday though, before it's posted as tomorrow my daughter turns 12 and my mother is having a birthday dinner for her. Sure would be nice if someone would bid on my auctions on Ebay...I have three ending tomorrow...then I could buy her a nice present! As of right now, I'm cash poor and jewelry rich!
But hey, I'm not complaining and neither is she...seeing what those poor folks further south of me are going through from Katrina is pure devastation! My prayers are with everyone in those areas!
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
And some images of what has been completed so far in this grand, artistic, necklace:
And now a special treat for the JEWELRY DESIGNERS out there...a wonderful new focal bead for your next design:
Click on the photo to go to the page and see larger images, as well as a description for Aquarium Bead #1.
I hope you all are enjoying the evolution of Tropical Aves & Flora! Please feel free to leave your comments!
Thanks for stopping in!
Sunday, August 28, 2005
If so, your pet could be chosen to model for our Expressions series and be featured on his/her own mini webpage! Click here for details on this series and how your pet could be featured:
I've already received a couple of great pet photos in! I love creating animal pieces, especially close ups of their EXPRESSIONS (hence the name of the series!). This is going to be quite fun!
I was busy this week setting up a challege for the jewelry designers....you can read about it here: http://www.michelejanine.com/jewels/emerge.html
I think it will be such fun to see the cocoons turn into butterflies!
I also was finishing getting my newsletter set up and formatted as well as all of my customer names into a database. Administrative details that are about 2 months overdue! Now it's set up on my site, and I sent out the first newsletter yesterday. Here's a link if you want to read it!
I've also decided to set up a separate "bead gallery" page on my site which has ONLY focal beads for jewelry designs for sale on it. My gallery page now only consists of finished jewelry items, but I do have several NICE focal beads here using other techniques I've done before, as well as my current technique. So I'm going to be getting them up on their own page soon for the jewelry designers to choose from.
Just taking care of business....:) I've found if I have other business things on my mind, it squelches my creativity a bit, so it's better to get those things wrapped up. But I *am* going to be working on bead # 3 in the design today - maybe I'll even get lucky and have it completed by tomorrow? We'll see!
Thursday, August 25, 2005
This piece is titled FLAMBOYANCE:
What could be more flamboyant than a parrot tulip, unfolding before your eyes? I added some genuine gold leaf to this piece for added sparkle and drama. The bail is 14K gold filled bezel wire. I have placed this piece on Ebay...click the title line above to go to the auction and snatch it up! I know, it's a ridiculously low price, but I have some bills to pay! I also put 2 more pieces on Ebay, including FOCUSED, the cat brooch/pendant I shared recently.
Now.....for your TEASER CLUE....the next bead in Tropical Aves & Flora has a SUN CONURE and a HIBISCUS flower on it. It's been in the oven for the first firing, but still has quite a way to go until completion. So just be patient...it's on the way!
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
And here are the two pictured together:
Now things are getting more fun! I'm ready to begin bead #3 in this incredible design. Five more beads to go until completion.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on these first two - please please please leave me your comments by clicking on the "comments" line at the end of this post! Feedback is VERY IMPORTANT to the creative process!
I've also prepared a webpage with links to all of the posts in order:
Thanks for stopping in!
Monday, August 22, 2005
I had such fun doing this one, yet it was kind of sad in a way, as it makes me miss my chows I used to raise. I have a very loving dog now who is part chow, and I am so grateful for her. This brooch art looks an awful lot like my former red male chow, Casey. He died several years ago from heart failure.
As for an update on Tropical Aves and Flora, bead #2 is in the oven for the first firing! I'll give you a teaser though - Bead #2 features a Scarlet Macaw and a Bird of Paradise Flower. There are still many layers of color to add, so it will be tomorrow evening or even the next day before I can show it. Hopefully it will turn out as well as bead #1!
Several people have written me and asked questions about my materials, process and prices. If you'd like, you can go to my Frequently asked questions page here:
You may find the answer to your question, but please feel free to email me with your comments on my work and any other questions!
Sunday, August 21, 2005
As you can see, bead #1 of the seven I'll be creating features a Blue and Gold Macaw on one side, and a yellow orchid on the other. The bead measures 2 3/8" long and 1 1/8" wide. If you refer back to post #1 on this subject in my archives, you will see this is the central bead in the design. The others are not quite as long, but are slightly wider.
This bead took a very long time to create, because I layered on the colors, and fired between each layering. The bead had approximately 10 firings before I was finished. Time invested in this one bead is approximately 36 hours - that is from initial artwork sketching of the design on paper to the final glazing at about midnight last night.
I hate painting orchids, so I decided to tackle that flower first and I'm quite pleased with how it came out. And the detail on the Macaw feathers also worked well for me.
As stated in my original post on this subject, this necklace will have 7 beads, each featuring a tropical bird on one side and a tropical flower on the other. When worn one way, the necklace will display the birds. When flipped over, and worn the opposite way, it will display the florals.
I'll share the next bead after I get it complete!
P.S. For those of you who have been following my weight loss journey, I have moved that information to a different blog called "Jai's Losing It!". Go here to read updates on that from now on: http://jaislosingit.blogspot.com/
Friday, August 19, 2005
The first bead you see above is reversible, with another design on the back. It's titled "Night Peeper" and has my newest favorite thing...a red-eyed tree frog. The back has an elaborate leaf design in a matching green color. The Tropical Aves & Flora neckpiece will have 7 beads like this.
The second piece is a brooch/pendant combo created in some new bezel settings I received in this week. The title is "Focused" and it features a calico cat. It's the first piece in a new series of brooch/pendants I'll be doing titled "Expressions". Each jewel will feature the beauty of an animal expression (the EYES), up close and personal.
I have some errands to do today, but will be back this afternoon in the studio working on the first bead for Tropical Aves and Flora. I'll give you a clue...this one has a blue and gold Macaw on the front and a yellow orchid on the back. :)
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Each one of these egg shaped beads (which are still raw, btw!) will have art specifically drawn to the size specification of the bead it will go on. As you can see, each bead is slightly different in shape and size, so this will be fun! As stated in my previous post, there will be a tropical bird portrait on the front of each bead and a flower on the back. The necklace will be reversible - wearing one way shows the birds and flip it over and it will show the flowers. As soon as I get bead #1 designed and complete, I will post it.
Currently, I am still working on the bead I started yesterday. It's been in the oven for a second firing and now I have to do some more layering of color(s), and then it will go back in the oven for firing #3. If all is well at that point, firing #4 will be after it is glazed. If not, then more firings will be necessary. One bead can take as many as 10-12 firings. The least amount of firings I have done on these beads I'm making now is three. That was on a relatively simple bead, however. The one currently in the oven is a tree frog bead - he doesn't have a name yet and that's bugging me! He is shaped like one of those naked beauties above, and will be strung on black cord and presented as a single bead necklace. He may go up on Ebay tomorrow, if all goes well today.
Back to the studio......more later!
The first step, however, is to create the necklace. Without that, there's nothing to take a photo of! So I decided to challenge myself to get this piece made, and I will be posting photos of my progress here. So if you'd like to join me on this adventure, bookmark this blog page so you can keep up with the fun.
The necklace has a name (thanks to Sherry of Sherry's Keepsakes, who gave me the name idea!): Tropical Aves & Flora
The necklace will feature 7 (lucky 7!) LARGE hand carved art beads. Each bead will have a breed of tropical bird on one side, and a tropical flower on the opposite side. The beads will be strung on a black rubber (or perhaps leather) cording in a collar fashion. If I've calculated this correctly, the beads should go completely from one side of the neck, across the front, and up to the other side, with no beads on the back of the necklace. I'll probably make this a choker style (perhaps 15") with an attached chain for adjustment.
The necklace when worn one way, will display the variety of tropical birds. When flipped over, it will display the tropical flowers. I have all 7 beads mapped out, and now it's time to start creating them. Later today I will upload a photo of what I begin with "material wise" so you can see the blank "canvas" I am staring at. :)
I have one focal bead necklace I'm finishing up today to go on Ebay first and then I will get started on Tropical Aves and Flora. As I finish each bead for the necklace, I will upload photos of it here, so you can view each individually, and then when all beads are complete, you will get to observe the final creation before anyone else!
The posts will be labeled "Evolution of a Museum Quality Neckpiece" (#1, #2, etc) so they will be easy to find should you look in the archives for past ones once I get farther along. I am challenging myself to make one bead a day for 7 days. However, I have learned life gets in the way sometimes and I have unplanned interrruptions or other things which come up. So I'm not locking myself into it, especially since each bead may end up taking 2 days a piece because of the firing and cooling times involved. But as I go, the progress and photos will be posted here. :)
I hope will will join me in observing the evolution of Tropical Aves & Flora.
Friday, August 12, 2005
I wore Keeper of the Peeper on my evening out...she got the attention and a free birthday brownie with ice cream at Lonestar Steakhouse!
Here's a photo of Keeper on the multiple gold chain adjustable choker necklace I wore her on...click this small photo for larger image:
What started off the day nicely was the new CZ added to my collection. I've been wanting a canary yellow stone for a few years now, and I received the perfect one! Set in a gorgeous yellow gold band with an intricate scroll design, is a 5 carat radiant emerald cut canary yellow center stone, offset with what I believe are special radiant emerald cut side stones. The side stones are "tapered", (longer mm on top and shorter on bottom) which is unusual. I've never seen side stones like these. Total carat wieght of the ring is 6 carats...the 2 clear side stones are .50 carats each. It's a STUNNING piece and I love the yellow because it's such a happy, mood lifting color! Ready for photos? Click on any of these to see larger versions:
All in all, it was a lovely day. Of course I ate way too much and will be mowing the yard today to work off those extra calories!
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Click here to go to my gallery and see the details. A more detailed photo of this pendant is available here.
This piece was SO MUCH FUN to do with the little red eyed frog. These tiny creatures are on my studio window every night, without fail. They are just delightful!
What's next......I don't know! Tomorrow is my birthday, so I think I'll take the day off from work.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Click http://www.michelejanine.com/jewels/gallery11.jpg to see details and click here to see a REALLY GOOD closeup! Also, there are a few more pieces added to the gallery at http://www.michelejanine.com including a cat pendant and a striking lily pendant....both of those are on Ebay. Visit my auctions here if you'd like to take home one of my pieces for a bargain.
I was going to put Maiden of Lavender Garden on there, but I am not willing to lower the price on her to what it would entail to sell on Ebay. I've spent over 40 hours on her! I think she turned out stunning....the purples and blues worked so well together for the hair color, too. And I decided at the last minute to add an earring and feature a tiny hummingbird on the earring. I'd have to say it's my best piece yet in this technique. Hmmm...wonder if Art Jewelry magazine would be interested in this piece? I will think about that as I go off to la-la-land.
P.S. 144....26 pounds lost....9 more to go to reach goal #1!
Friday, August 05, 2005
Yes, probably a dumb idea, but I paired a gold filled chain with this bead and put it on Ebay. Haven't sold on there at all this year - I had an 8 month break from the addiction. Hopefully, I'm past the addiction, and can actually list and sell a few pieces of jewelry here and there.
A carved cat bead/pendant is in the oven. It's in for the first firing and has at least 3 more to go before completion.
Do you ever feel when you're in a group like everyone is talking "around" you? Happens to me all the time. I'm tired of it. No wonder I bury myself in creating things here.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
The full version can be seen in the gallery here: http://www.michelejanine.com/jaisgallery.html
More news......I'm closing down my store at ShopPal. I haven't had a sale since May 1, and that was to a regular customer who actually just bought from me without going through my store. So I really don't see the point in keeping it. I have enough inventory up, I lowered my prices 2 months ago, held a contest to get traffic to the site, and people always tell me my work is great. So I don't know what the problem is with the sales...but I figure why pay for something if it's not even being used? From now on, I'm going to put my new work up on my new site design, and just have people email me if they would like to purchase.
I just think artistic jewelry like I am making now is a very specialized field and buyers who like this type of jewelry are very rare. And when one person does decide they like the one of a kind collectible pieces, they tend to buy a lot. But there's not a lot of separate customers, so to speak.
Who knows...I might even try EBAY again. It's been 8 months since I sold on there, but maybe this fall I will put a few of the simple carved bead pendants I'm doing on there just to see what happens.
Oh well, off to eat some chips and cheese - I've saved up my calories all day for this! :)
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Click here to see the details. Now I'm working on a carved bead ladybug necklace. I think it's going to be called "5 Lovely Ladies".
I've also finally lost 25 pounds! I'm down to 145! 10 more pounds to go to my original goal of 135 and I might keep going to 125 - it depends. I don't like to be "too thin" and when I was 125 before, I was just thin/flat. Of course, this time I'm doing the weight training, so perhaps I can hit 125 and with the training still have some "shape". :)