Monday, May 18, 2009

My First Sale!

This is my first sale, Silver Cherry Tree Leaves Earrings.
It's really wonderful to finally make a sale -- so exciting!
My dear daughter bought them as a gift. She's been my number one fan and supporter -- I really don't think I'd have had the courage to keep going on this enterprise without her encouragement and advice.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I've Got An Etsy Treasury

After weeks of lurking around the Etsy site, trying to score the ever elusive Treasury listing, I've met with success! It's titled "Au Printemps" and it's got some really wonderful things from a lot of very talented Etsians. Stop by and take a look, but you have to be quick, because the Treasury is only going to be there for the next 2 days.

Hope you stop by and see it, you'll be happy if you do. (-:

Etsy Showcase

Today I have a showcase running on, featuring the earrings pictured above. If you want to see it, go to etsy, click on showcase, then select 'gift guides' from the pulldown menu.
I'm hoping that buying this showcase time will increase my site traffic, and hopefully net me that elusive first (hopefully more!) sale. So far I have noticed more traffic than usual, but not a lot. It will be very interesting tomorrow to see what Google Analytics has to say.
It's hard to get noticed online. There are so many people selling stuff, and it seems like most of them are selling jewelry. I keep improving my website -- etsy is really tops in providing information on how to do that! -- and working on creating new designs.
I've got high hopes for the showcase spot. If the numbers look good from Analytics, I think I'll buy a slot on the main showcase. The gift one was $7 and the main one is $15, so it's a pretty big investment, but versus having a brick and mortar store, it's very cost effective. At least that's what I keep trying to tell myself. Having a 100% negative cash flow is worrying. I spent a couple hours in the middle of the night laying awake in bed wondering if I'm doing the right thing in pursuing this.
I just bought a tumbler, more sterling wire, and mixed stainless steel shot for the tumbler. It takes a lot of expensive equipment to be able to fabricate jewelry, and so far my husband has been very supportive, but I do feel increasingly guilty about the amount of money I'm spending.
Maybe the middle of a major recession isn't the best time to try and start a small business, lol.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My New Business Cards!

I just ordered business cards for Dalkullan Jewelry. I wanted something bright and sunny, and also with a flower. This sunflower picture really fills the bill and I'm very pleased with the blue and yellow color scheme, just like the flag of Sweden.
Now I'll be able to put a business card in with every order I fill (when I start filling orders, I'm still waiting to make that elusive first sale.)
Having an online business is a lot of fun. It's exciting to think of people all around the world having the ability to look at my jewelry creations. I just wish I could get the word out more effectively, there's so many people selling jewelry online. I'm definitely going to have to work harder at publicity.
On the 14th, I have a showcase spot on, and I'm hoping to make some sales then.
I've got new designs to list. One is a beautiful bead, Swarovski and pearl multi-strand necklace with a heavy sterling clasp and handmade bead cones. I created some lovely earrings to match. It's an elegant parure, and I'm hoping some discriminating lady will enjoy wearing it soon!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

A bouquet for all you mother's on our special day. God bless you and keep you always, and bless your precious children.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Jewelry Fabrication -- Mixed Metal Necklace

This necklace was completely fabricated by me.  I started with copper wire and aluminum, copper, and brass sheet metal.  It isn't my design, however, I got it  from "Jewelry Artist" magazine, the August 2008 edition.  "Jewelry Artist" is a great magazine for learning how to fabricate jewelry, every edition has projects for beginners, and advanced jewelry makers.
There was ample opportunity to practice with the jeweler's saw while making this necklace.  I drilled a hole in the center of each flower, and threaded the coiled and hammered wire 'tendrils' through.  I also handmade the copper clasp.
The individual flowers were also textured, using various hammers and surfaces to impress a relief into the metal surface.  And I also patinated the metal, using a variety of techniques.  
It turned out pretty well for a first effort with sawing metal and fabrication.  The patinas on the copper flowers turned them a lovely shade of blue.  To protect the patina, I used a light coating of carnuba wax.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dala Horse

I carved this little horse out of a piece of basswood. It's 4 inches high. The Dala horse is the iconic Swedish wooden horse, which is typically painted in bright colors, usually blue, red, or white, with details picked out in various colors.
The Dala horse is still made by artisans in Sweden in the Dalarne region.
The name of my online jewelry shop -- Dalkullan Jewelry -- means 'a girl from Dalarne', which is where my Aunt and Father were from.
I named my online shop in honor of my Aunt, who operated a successful Swedish import business in Chicago for many years, which was called Dalkullan.
I had intended to paint my little horse, but he looks cute in just natural wood, so I think I'll leave him as he is.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia

Last night I watched a wonderful movie -- C.S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia. It's on dvd, I rented it from Netflix. It's a biography of C.S. Lewis, the famous author, and is filmed at the places he actually lived and worked at. There's Magdelene College at Oxford, where he taught at, his favorite pub at Oxford The Eagle & Child, and his last home, The Kilns. If you've ever wondered what those places looked like, this movie is an inexpensive way to find out.
Scenes from Lewis's life are acted out, and the acting is excellent. A very enjoyable and well done film biography of C.S. Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, and also a science fiction trilogy, along with many, many non-fiction books, mainly dealing with Christianity.
The Eagle & Child is where the meetings for the writer's group, The Inklings, were held, and there's a scene in the movie with an actor playing Tolkien is discussing The Lord Of The Rings. Lewis's marriage and the tragic death of his beloved wife from cancer is also portrayed.
If you're interested in Lewis, Tolkien, or just in fine, family friendly entertainment, you'll enjoy this movie.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beaded Black and White Bracelet

This is a bracelet I made for my own personal use -- the amount of time needed to make a bracelet of this type makes it's prohibitive to sell, I'd have to charge at least 100$ for it, to make even minimum wage for my labor.
The black and white 'tube' part of the bracelet was created by needle weaving size 15 seed beads in a pattern around larger white beads. Seed beads get smaller as the number for them gets bigger, and size 15 seed beads are very tiny, around 1 millimeter.
The large black and white beads are called Sputnik beads, and I think they nicely compliment the black and white bead weaving. I added a toggle with a shiny red bead, to provide a pop of color.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Crown Imperial Fritillaria -- Lutea

This is the first year I've grown this plant. Last fall, I planted three of them. They are grown from bulbs, and the bulbs were huge, about the size of a medium orange, and an ivory color.
They're a very distinctive looking plant, the variety Lutea is a lovely lemony yellow, which blends well with the other colors in the spring garden. Crown Imperial Fritillaria also comes in an orange color, but I would imagine that would be hard to incorporate successfully into most spring gardens color scheme, although it would really snap with blues. There is also a red, which to me looks more like a red-orange.
The main reason I planted Crown Imperial was that it's reputed to be a vole deterrent. I've had trouble with voles, and other rodents, eating my bulbs. So I'm hoping it repels our resident voles. One thing it doesn't repel is squirrel. One climbed up the plant pictured above, soon after that photo was taken, and snapped the plant off at the base.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Praying Squirrel

My husband won a squirrel feeder at a drawing at a local garden supply store (winning drawings seems to be a trend, lol), and mounted it on a tree in our backyard. It's ironic, since the squirrels are a nuisance, digging up bulbs, knocking over sunflowers to get the seeds, so feeding them intentionally is a bit of a stretch for us.
This squirrel was so adorable. He sat down on his little chair, you can see his tiny toes curving over his chair, then put his paws together on the 'tabletop' where the corncob is fastened, bowed his head, and looked like he was saying grace, before he began to eat.
I wasn't fast enough with the camera to catch him in prayer, but did get this cute shot of him eating.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Star Trek Movie!

The excitement is building, the Star Trek movie comes out in 1 week, 05-07-09.

Great trailer, I've got high hopes for the movie. I'll be watching it at an IMAX.
What can I say about Star Trek? Mr. Spock inspired me to get into science, like so many others I worked with at Fermilab. Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future, where man could travel through the galaxy, a place without prejudice, where the Earth was at peace, captured my imagination.
Of course, there was that whole Janice Lester thing -- women couldn't command a starship, but after seeing (and what's more to the point, hearing) Captain Janeway, maybe that wasn't such a bad idea. And I couldn't imagine anyone else in command but James Tiberius Kirk. You've got to love that name, the Tiberius addition was shear genius.