Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Studio Blew Up!?

It's Sunday, a day of rest. Right! I haven't taken a day off in six months. So much for running your own business. See blog post from March 19th. I love what I do, really I do -- it's the greatest thing in the world. Sunday, I should get to take a day off, couch-potato it on the sofa with Randy and watch some old films on TMC. Not today. My studio -- my poor, poor studio.

I don't know how your studio/work room/dining room table/kitchen bar/little nook in the corner gets after a while, but mine gets to be the Nightmare from Elm Street! There's not even a place to put a coffee cup. There are layers upon layers of baggies. I've got beads rolling everywhere. Little cups overflowing with baubles that I continually hit with my chubby little paw and then tip over and spill out onto the mass hysteria that I call my "studio bench." Ha! Somehow, though, it's controlled chaos.....I think I know where everything is. The beading wire is over to the left under that bag of blue beads. And the jumprings are right in front of me, but where are the #6's???? I've been trying to finish up an order for one of our Mansion gift stores here in Portland.....I've almost got it finished and ready for delivery but I cannot find my lobster claw clasps....I know they are here, I just know it.

So, today instead of plopping I'll be in there cleaning up that mess. Putting everything back in it's little bin, tray, box, fishing tackle box cubbie. I'll be rolling up the miles of beading wire that's been unfurled, sorting out the colorful crystals that have co-mingled these past few weeks, and maybe even see the top of the table by the end of the day. Hey! I might even find those darn lobster claw clasps and get those necklaces finished.....

Pay it Forward.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring in Coming, I Just Know it....

Ahhh, the sweet smell of Spring! It's around the corner. We've got cherry blossoms raining on the sidewalks, crocus and daffodils are bowing their heads in the cool sun and little squirrels are running around making homes for their new brides. Before long, we'll be outside BBQ'ing on the deck and forgetting about winter, snow and all those layers of sweaters, coats and long underwear.

Where does the time go? It just seems like yesterday I was putting away the Christmas decorations. Here we are almost announcing April. May is only a blink of the eye away.

I remember those days of getting ready for the Arts and Crafts Festival Season. I didn't really do "the circuit" but I certainly did my turn. Packing up, setting up, and breaking down. Moving on to the next. It was a great way to make much-needed income, meet some wonderful people, experiment with new techniques and broaden my own artistic abilities. I had a very talented basket-weaving friend who would join me in the different sales. We'd try to get spaces next to each other. It made sales much more fun and interesting -- being able to watch her light up when someone who really appreciated all the hard work she put into a basket buy one....thanking her for the basket. Now, that's what I call the best! If you've never tried a summer sale, you owe it to yourself to do at least one or two. It's an incredible experience and fun and a valuable lesson.

Pain is Growth! I'm still new to blogging, as you are all aware -- especially as you can see by my learning curve. I look at all the wonderful blogs out there and still don't know how it's done. I'm starting a list of "Must See Blogs" I'll keep adding to it. Send me yours and I'll add it to my list. Keep sending me photographs of your work, I'd love to add it to my blog.

Meet Gillian
Gillian Hamilton comes from the land down under
and is an extremely talented artist. As you'll see
from her blog (posted above) she is a multi-media dabbler....everything from stamping, scrapping, sewing, pasting, you name it, she does it and exquisitely so! Check out this necklace - simple and elegant. Gillian used my Festoon connector/filigree, some creamy Czech beads and chain and such a beautiful necklace emerged. Thanks for sharing this pretty, pretty piece! Visit Gillian's Etsy store at:

Well, that's about it for now. Keep making jewelry, keep sending me photos. And don't forget

Pay it forward......Jill

Check out the Brass Bouquet website at:
Write me at:
And -- send your pictures for me to post on the blog!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ain't Fridays Just IT!!?

I work hard all week long and when Friday comes, it's almost like a party in my soul! I get up ready to hit the street running. Even though I still have the entire day to work, I feel like a little kid waiting for a party to start. Anyway TGIF! We made it once again.

VINTAGE BUTTON ALERT....I was emailing with someone just recently who had asked me about vintage buttons but I cannot remember who it was. Oh, I found some beauties. A "BB" friend, Gillian Hamilton from Australia, has some vintage buttons in her Etsy Store: So, be sure to check them out if you are interested in picking some up for creative purposes. They are quite beautiful and very reasonably priced! Thanks, Gillian.

Like a Kid In a Candy Store! I think another reason I've been jazzed is I've been buying lots of new brass and I'm having so much fun getting it ready to show. Here's a little 3-D telephone charm -- cute, cute, cute! I've got this sweet teapot charm as well. This weekend I'll be adding "Inspirational" tags. Anyway, I hope you get a kick out of the new pieces that will be showing up this weekend.

New Jewelry Creations and Welcome Kathy!
New "BB" Friend, Kathy Noda, comes to us from Florida. She's been making jewelry for about three years. She experimented and learned many different types of art forms as a girl and young adult taught through the loving care of great-grandmother, grandmother, school teachers, aunt and mother. Her sister introduced her to beading and it all fell into place. She was hooked. Now she has an Etsy store and loves what she is doing.

Look at the earrings Kathy has made recently....Purple is one of my most favorite colors so these captured me immediately. She's used my 10mm filigree beads, my leverback earwires, miscellaneous findings and some luscious purple crystals and additional beadcaps. Beautiful! Be sure to visit Kathy's store at:

And Finally.....Isn't he just the cutest! Like Paula babbled..."I wanna hang him from my rearview mirror!"
Have a great weekend everybody and remember.
Pay it Forward.

Check out the Brass Bouquet website at:
And -- send your pictures for me to post on the blog!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Riding the Roller Coaster

Running your own business is like riding a roller coaster. It's fun, exciting, challenging, breath-taking and exhilarating! Unlike a roller coaster, it's a lot of hard work too.

I'm sure all of you who are making and selling jewelry know exactly what I'm talking about. You need to having marketing skills, photographic skills, math skills, of course, the artistic skills to create beautiful works that customers will want to buy -- and then the money savvy to put the right price tag on the merchandise. (I'll cover this topic in more depth in another entry.)

After all that comes the roller coaster ride: Watching the customers "ooh and ahh" over your creations, pay you the wonderful compliments, pay you for your time and materials by making a purchase. Ca-ching! the bank account is getting fat. Those are the high points. The sweet taste of success!

Of course, what goes up must come down: Working until all hours getting ready for arts and crafts shows, or merchandise sitting and not selling, or you paid too much for materials, or marketing costs were more than you had anticipated. Yep, it happens to all of us.

As an artisan, this is the life we choose. It comes with the pitfalls of any profession. It comes with highs and lows. But would you have it any other way? I wouldn't. It's hard work but it's so rewarding. We get to use our artistic gifts to bring pleasure to others, and to ourselves during the creative process. We also get to bang our heads against the wall when the design that is in our head won't come out on in the jewelry (don't you just hate that??)

Most people live life on a pretty level playing field -- we get to take a ride on a roller coaster everyday and, speaking for myself, I LOVE IT!

That's it for now -- don't forget to "Pay it forward."......Jill

New Necklace Designs from Lorelei

Check out these beautiful new designs from Lorelei! She's done some elegant work with my large filigree dragonfly, some fun chain from Michael's, soft sage beads, and Moon Charm. And I love the one below. The Arial chain is so perfect with the hammered ring. The color play with the glass beads against the dragonfly connector makes this piece the wire wrapping too!

Visit Lorelei's blog and Etsy shop:

Lorelei lives in Upstate NY and is a full-time art museum Assistant Registrar. She's been making jewelry for a little over a year, selling on Etsy for just a year. Lorelei is married, has no children, but does have a spoiled cat named Marley.

Thanks Lorelei for sharing your gifts with us!

Check out the Brass Bouquet website at:
Write me at:
And -- send your pictures for me to post on the blog!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rain, in Oregon?? Get out!

Oh, sure it rains here. It is supposed to. It's Oregon. But sometimes the locals forget that face and in the morning commute people drive like they have never driven in rain before. I caught the lunchtime TV news today and the lead story was about all the car wrecks during the morning rush hour. Huh?? It's not snowing, nor icing, nor sleeting. So what's the problem. I've never yet figured this out. I lived in Montana for about six years. We'd get out there in icy conditions, steady the car (without chains, I might add) and carry on like troopers. Here, in a place where rain is a common occurence, and one would think it's no biggy, we have wrecks during the morning commute. Does this happen in your community?

A Beautiful Pair of Earrings to Share!
Check out this pair of earrings submitted by my friend, Amy Hatch. She has such a way with her jewelry. These are so delicate and beautiful -- she calls them "demure".

She has used my Kimberley filigree, my leverback earwires, some icy blue bricolettes, and wrapped them in 14k gold wire....beautiful contrast!

Visit Amy's Etsy store at:

Do you have a new piece you'd like to share? Be sure to write me at I'd love to feature your work.

Get 10% Off at the Brass Bouquet:
Tell a friend about the B.B., and if they shop there (spending $20.00 or more) you'll earn a 10% off coupon!

Visit the store website at:

Until later....
Pay it Forward,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

So I'm a blogger now??

Ok, so I'm a blogger. Now what? I was told it was theraputic, a good way to stay in touch with friends and associates and also show my jewelry. So, here I am! We'll see how it goes. I'm terrible at writing letters -- hopefully this will be different. Somehow it's so much easier sitting at a screen and watching the words pop up right in front of you. It's immediate gratification, if nothing else.

I hope to share thoughts, new trends in jewelry designs and materials. Color forecasts and more.

I'll share recipes, photographs from myself and -- please!! send me your thoughts and photographs of your newest creations. I would love to post them here and show off your work. What fun to see you develop your artistic dreams.

Speaking of Picture.....
I'm dabbled in the studio this morning at O'Dark-Hundred while the world was still sleeping and made these earrings -- which currently are on my ears! I used the Mini Nick & Nora charms, the little Daisy Connectors, hoop earwires, various findings and some crystals and freshwater pearls. I think they came out pretty well. They hang REALLY great! And you should hear the delicate jingle sound they make against my it! And they were so easy to make.

Well, that's about it for now. I'll try this again tomorrow morning. Perhaps I'll have something more exciting to write about.

Please feel free to drop me a line, share your thoughts. And, please do send snapshots along if you'd like me to post your jewelry creations....would love to see what you're up to.

Pay it forward....Jill