Friday, April 25, 2008

Stairway to Heaven

Randy's in the office today....He's playing around with downloads on his computer next to me and right now is playing "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zepplin. What a great way to start a Friday -- rockin' out! It's mind-boggling to think that at our age we're still just as young and radical in our thoughts and music tastes as we were in our 20's. As they say: "You're as young as you feel!" Anyway.....back to life!

I've been seeing the MOST incredible jewelry lately. I've been visiting websites and blogs. Friends have been sending me pictures of their jewelry. It's been fun to see what is being done with brass, beads, charms, ribbons and such. The amount of creativity is amazing. What I find best about working with findings and charms and chain is that most times nothing is can keep taking it apart and putting it back together until the look is pleasing, balanced or unbalanced as you may prefer....

A good friend, Jeni, works with assymetrical creations which are totally wow! She incorporates vintage-aged, true vintage, lots of chain and works to off-balance her jewelry so the eye can actually relax and enjoy the entire artistic creation.

Yes, jewelry is a piece of art and don't let anyone ever tell you differently. I've added a couple of pictures here so you can see her work. Jeni lives and works in New York. She sells to boutiques and also has an Etsy store: See more of her work at: Jeni's Shop

An important point I want to make here is that jewelry is adornment. It's art for the costume. It's part of the costume (clothing).

If you can put a piece of jewelry together in your mind, draw it out on paper, and if it has "integrity" -- in other words, once the piece is put together, it will stay together, nothing will poke, jab or hurt the wearer, and the piece will stand up to repeated wearings -- then GO FOR IT! The only thing (after these criteria are met) that is standing in your way is a pair of pliers and your creativity.

Take care and until next time.........Pay if Forward!

Visit the website:; email me at:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jewelry Contest Shows Off Talent

It's always such fun and exciting to see the entries for the BB Jewelry contest. Everyone who participates sends in photographs of pieces that have lots of creativity and thought.

The decision as to who wins is never easy for me. I take a very objective approach. I try to visualize the piece in a gallery shop. Thinking of it inside a glass case with a pricey tag on it. Does it stand up? Does it have that style, elegance, quality in craftsmanship, quality in components? Does it grab my eye? Is it unique? All of those judging rules go into how I approach my decision. This month was terribly difficult because all entries were up to those standards. But, not everyone can be winners when you give three prizes and you have 34 entries.

Here are the winning entries to the April Jewelry Contest:

First Prize Winner

"Bella Luna" Necklace by Kelly Stribling

Second Prize Runner-Up

Dragonfly & Gem Necklace by Kira Shaner

2nd Prize Runner-Up

"Madeline" Bracelet by Whitney Childs

My thanks to everyone who participated in this month's contest. May is our last contest. For those who have not yet entered -- please do so. See the website, for more information. Also, visit the photos page to see the past winners and see the different BB components they used to create their winning pieces.

Until next time..........Pay it Forward! Jill

Visit the website:

Email me at:

Friday, April 11, 2008

Time to Smell the Roses - Or Sea Air, As it May Apply

It's important to stop and smell the roses every-so-often. Time slips by and before I know it I'm back to all work and no play. It makes Jill a dull girl! But, seriously, time is so precious, life goes by so quickly. Balance is important and getting away from "life" if even for a day or two is the best medicine I can take.

Nothing can be quite so restful and inspiring for me than sitting by the ocean, smelling that sweet, briny water and watching the seagulls sailing on the breeze. I've been having a huge hankering for the ocean. Winter will do that to me. I sit through buckets of rain it seems just waiting for a good weekend in Spring to head to the beach. It's finally arrived! A good weekend -- one that holds promise of sunny days. And I'm going to take advantage of it. Sunny weekends, in April, in Oregon, are far and few between.

I've got my beading magazines packed up (some I've not even cracked the cover of). Randy's got a good book under his arm and we are heading off to to the beach to watch life go by for a couple of days.

My nephew hasn't missed a beat either -- the minute he heard we were heading out he begged to come hang-out at our place, away from his parents. I guess at 19 I can understand the attraction. I now have to worry about parties which he has promised will not occur...he said just a friend or two. (accck!) Remember, Jill, time is short...time is short... aspirin, where's the aspirin???

When I get back, I'll be rested and ready to go at it again. My tummy will be full of seafood!

I'll have visions of sanddollars, seahorses, starfish and fishes swimming in my head -- ready to boost the website with summer-themed charms. Bead mixes which speak of ocean colors and tropical breezes and summer weddings. New chain and filigree that reflect vintage days at the seaside when ladies dressed up in their finery. See -- inspiration at the beach is a good thing.

If I can just keep my thoughts away from my 19-year-old nephew and his friends, I'll be just fine..............acccck!!!!!

Until next time: Pay it forward.

Visit the website:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Admitting I'm Powerless is the 1st Step

As all 12-Step Programs state, the first step to recovery is the hardest: "Admitting you are powerless over your addiction." While I will admit I am powerless over my addiction, I am not willing to give up that addiction!

I have it bad too. It's like being in a candy store. It's like being locked inside a bakery overnight. It's like being given a scooper at Baskin-Robbins and told "have fun!" It's like being given the keys to a great winery. It's like.......

I've been at it again. I've been buying! And buying! And buying! I really should stop. I've got bins full of incredible brass that have not been patina'ed, photographed or put on the website yet. Look what I did:

And there's more where that came from. But where will I find the time to get it done? Where will I find the time to patina, photograph and Sku and add these things to the website. I'm getting a headache!! Aspirin, does anyone have an aspirin???

Ok, so I admit it, I'm powerless. I have no control. I cannot do this. I cannot stop. BUT I LOVE IT!! That is why I started making jewelry and selling jewelry and making brass and selling brass.

I admit it: I'm powerless to the bling, the shine, the dangle, the glimmer.

I admit it: I'm powerless to the process of adding jumprings, turning headpins, adding crystals.

I admit it: I'm powerless to the time-consuming process of patina'ing the brass, hand-buffing it so every little detail curves and creases just so. I willing to stop. Am I willing to go into recovery? NOT A CHANCE! Until they make a 12-step program for jewelry artists, I'm on a high that I'll just have to deal with -- because I LOVE IT!

For any of my friends in recovery of any type, Remember: ODAT.

And..........Pay it Forward! Jill

Friday, April 4, 2008

Stepping into a Person's Life for a Moment

One of the most wonderful parts of my business is getting to meet people from literally all over the world. I have customers in all countries -- US, Australia, Japan, China, Lithuania, Spain, get the picture. From time to time, we get to emailing back and forth, relationships blossom and suddenly you have a new friend. Gotta love it!

"I count myselt in nothing else so happy As in a soul
rememb'ring my good friends."- William Shakespeare"

I have a new friend -- in Norway -- her name is Lorianne. She has the most wonderful website/blog that I hope you will visit. As I was viewing it (she has a video embedded), I realized that I was actually stepping into her life for a brief time. She had invited me into her home, her workplace, her classroom, her town of Trondheim, to see who she is, what she does and how she lives. How fun it was to live in Norway for five minutes -- to step into her life for just a little bit of time.

Lorianne is an incredible jewelry artist, working with clays and sparkling dusts and jewels. Be sure to check out her "gallery" too while you're there. This is a piece of her work at the left.

I want to thank Lorianne for inviting me over for "Tea Time."


Yep-- those little things. I've been searching for little lobster claw clasps and "those little things" -- connectors, actually, and I've finally found them. The clasps are on order and will be here next week. I've got the connectors in stock and haven't had time to get them onto the website yet.....but I thought you'd like to know that they actually are available.

Well, I've just learned how to center two pictures in my blog -- I didn't do it very well -- I hate inserting photos.....HELP??? Any suggestions????

That's about it for now. Until next time: Pay it forward, Jill

Besure to visit the website:

Email me:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Winning Customer Loyalty

Hi Everybody! I don't have a lot to write today -- frankly I'm swamped with orders that I need to get out....yes, one of them is probably yours!
I did want to share a very interesting blog article I read this morning that I received from Nashville Wraps. If you don't know about the company, they sell an incredible line of wrapping papers, tissues, boxes, bows, the works!
The article is about customer loyalty. While it talks about department stores and gift baskets, etc., you can substitute the words "jewelry" and "brass," "gemstones," etc., where applicable. I think it's a good article -- it's short and very much to the point. It tells how important it is to know to your customer. How important it is to know your target market. How important USA-made items are to buyers, and artist-made products, in particular. AND -- going that extra mile for them. If you do -- chances are, they will be back. I've entered the link to my "Links to Visit" bar. I hope you find it a valueable little read.
Until next time.....Pay it forward,

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Miracles Come In Small Packages

There's something about random acts of kindness, small good deeds and little miracles that just make me smile. I always end my blog with the phrase, "Pay it Forward." And I think I did and I got something in return....not that I was seeking a payment.

I sent off a package of brass to a customer the other day. I included a little bag of these pink glass beads. Knowing the customer liked working with round beads, I figured she might give them a good home. I received an email from her yesterday, thanking me for the beads and asking about their origin, asking if their were glass, crystal, etc. So, I wrote her back:

"Dear Nakia,

My older sister purchased them a few years ago. She dearly loved beads, jewelry making and collected a treasure trove full of wonderful beads and findings. Sadly, she passed away a little over a year ago and I was given her stash. There are so many bags and baubles there, I will never be able to use them all in my lifetime.

So, when I find someone special in my world, I like to pass a little color into their life. I hope you enjoy them and put them to good use." -- Jill

Here was her response:


Thank you so much for telling me the story behind these special beads...I'm so sorry for your loss and I certainly hope to put these beads to good use very soon... I actually had a customer ask me just this morning if I could put together a special gift for her niece's baptism at the end of the month...I immediately thought of making a little chaplet rosary with the pink beads you sent me. The little chaplets I make are 15 Hail Mary beads and 3 Our Father beads - 18 beads total - and that's exactly how many you sent me so the timing was just perfect for making this gift... I'll send you a photo of it when its finished :)
Thank you again and God Bless,

How was I to know she needed pink beads? How was I to know she needed exactly 18 beads? After all, I have oodles of beads to choose from. And, I just opened up the little baggie and poured in some. But 18???

How does this happen? Do all the cards in the Universe line up just right? Or, is it a mini-miracle? I choose to pick the latter.

I found this great quote from a Quotation Website. I'll leave this link up at the border, as I'm trying to start adding links, etc. to my blog. I'm not saying a bag of 18 beads can change a person's life -- but, it can sure make several people smile!

"Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think." --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow US poet (1807 - 1882)

Until Next Time: Pay it Forward!


Be sure to visit the website at:
write me at