“Life, Jewelry & Bracelet Making”
by Tracy Statler
There has been a lot of nothing happening on Make Bracelets lately – hasn’t there?
Here’s what’s going on.
I have had to put tons of things on hold as my attention has been drawn to possible alternate universe plans.
Jewelry making has largely been pulled off the table except for a special project, a quick trip to a bead show and very few special orders lately. I’ve had to be tentative with so many people lately including my own kids – which has been so hard. Life has been in major limbo. No booking kid camps, summer vacations, no new purchases for the studio.
We may be making a big move. Far, far away to SINGAPORE. It is not for sure yet - but very possible. The girl from a small rural town in WI, then IN, then San Francisco and now Metro DC (albeit the far edge) in Northern Virginia may be packing up her home of 10 years, putting it in storage and headed Far East for a few years!
Singpore Skyline. Photo credit: Get In Travel
Singapore Art Science Museum. Photo Credit: San Diego Reader
The possibility of Singapore surfaced several months ago when my husband was asked if he would be interested in a new position overseas. He is not in the military so the thought of a job overseas was not on the radar. He runs a sales group in the telecom & video conferencing technology industry. Totally not on the radar.
We are still waiting to see if the numbers make sense. Singapore is crazy expensive. Lots of corporate red tape and waiting, back and forth on details on how it could all work. It’s been a drain. Tons of research on schools, cost of living, international taxes, housing and life in Singapore for an American Expat family. This has been taking up my time. Not to mention the thinning out of 10 years of life’s accumulation with two kids in our current home.
This next week could bring pivotal change in my life. The details are supposed to come.
That’s why the crickets have been chirping on the blog.
All these thoughts have been taking a turn in my psyche over the last few months making it a bit hard to concentrate. Major overwhelm. I’ve really never felt this way before.
My thoughts turned to: I hope there are high quality jewelry supply stores in Singapore! Wow, we would be so close to Thailand and hub of the silver trade! Oh man – so much closer to the gemstone manufacturing capital of the world.
I found out that one of the biggest jewelry trade shows in the WORLD happens each year in Singapore in October! I did this research before I researched the international schools – Yep, priorities. : )
The huge question of whether to stay or go will work itself out one way or another. We’ve done our research and now it is just a waiting game. The kids still have no clue. My husband and I have had to talk in code around my 5 year old and avoid the subject all together when my son is around. I do not want to upset them during end of year test taking at school if this whole thing does not come to pass.
If it does, the great thing is you are all just as close as ever via the web. You will get a glimpse of life and beads and the handmade jewelry scene in Singapore. I’m very thankful for technology. I’ll keep you posted!
Hope you are having a good start to your summer season!
I’d love to hear from you if you have lived abroad with elementary or middle school aged kids for a few years, especially Singapore or other Asian countries. I keep hearing from people I talk to in person it was the best decision they ever made!
Have you seen silver prices lately?! They are down to the lowest prices in almost three years!
I haven’t purchased silver sheet or wire for quite awhile because I stocked up the last time prices were semi-reasonable and I use it sparingly because of the prices. As you may know, silver has been on a three year run with prices ranging as high as $48+ (briefly) a troy ounce – mostly hanging out in the low to mid $30′s. When I first started making jewelry and started paying attention to silver prices it was about $12 an ounce. Ah – the good old days! The jewelry supply market has adjusted by providing cording, leather, alternative metals, silver plating and silver filled options widely available and attractive with so many stylish components to choose from.
For me, you still can’t beat sterling silver for certain things. I was looking for some half round beaded silver wire the other day because I want make some cool silver links with it and it’s not manufactured in brass, copper or silver filled! I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed the pricing.
I thought I would pass along this info to you if you have been wanting to invest in a little silver but have been scared by the high prices and have sort of given up on silver as an option. Don’t get me wrong, silver is still a bit of a splurge – but it is in a much more reasonable price range right now. Around $23 an ounce as I am writing this.
Here are some geeky charts – if you like that sort of thing, like I do – to see just what I am talking about.
Last time prices were this low was October , 2010
I was feeling a little sassy the other day after looking at the numbers and dove into my silver stash with less caution and went for some nice thick 16 gauge wire and whipped up a little sterling silver bangle for myself. I oxidized and tumbled it and I kind of like how it turned out!
Have you been holding off on buying sterling silver supplies? If so, maybe it’s worth a little look in your stash to see if need to restock or it’s time to try something new. It will set you back about $10 less a troy ounce then it did a few months ago!
Nicole from Darn Good Yarn just sent me some of her new and very awesome upcycled, reclaimed silk sari ribbon cards. Her packaging has been reimagined and now comes in 5 yard sections that are perfect for jewelry designers and crafters who don’t require a full skein and want a more consistent and wider range of color for their designs.
For those of you that don’t know Darn Good Yarn, Nicole works with factories overseas and upcycles silk scrap from garment factories in India and Nepal that would otherwise be thrown away. She gives women a means to make a living for their families by salvaging and dying the silk remnants and making them into beautiful yarns and ribbons to be used in any project you can imagine.
I have to give Nicole a public congratulations. She is sort of famous now! She recently won the grand prize in the Fed Ex Small Business Grant Contest. No small feat. There were tons of applicants – awesome accomplishment Nicole!
Just look at some of these delicious colors – They are so perfect for spring and summer.
These ribbons make cool wrap bracelets! You can tie just a little bit of silk to an earring for a interesting design accent. They can be combined with chain, leather, wire wrapped beads or you can just simply add a great focal and some beautiful beads for a necklace to create an easy pop of color.
I can just picture these necklaces dressing up a simple t-shirt and jeans!
Go check out DGY and tell Nicole congratulations. She’d like that!
That’s all for now. My house is grand central station this week. Tons of kids in and out for Spring Break. Have a wonderful Easter!
After many comments, personal emails and Pinterest pings about these beaded leather Infinity links, I have finally poured my heart out and created a mini video workshop to help you unleash a little leather link creativity. Thanks to everyone who cheered me on with this little project and for your patience when I said – “it is coming soon”…
Click the Buy Now button below to purchase through PayPal and you will be on your way to making your own leather link creations!
Creativity is contagious – Pass it on!
If you know some other creative people who you think would like this video, please share this post. Thanks!
Nina Designs asked four of their blogging design partners to participate in a little Design-Off, so-to-speak, using some of Nina’s beautiful sterling silver jewelry making components. Each of us were sent the same exact package of goodies and our charge was to make a pair of earrings using at least three of the pieces they sent us. I snapped a photo of the components after I had already made two pairs of earrings so here are some of the pieces I didn’t use. I will soon!
I sat and looked at my choices for quite awhile not quite knowing what direction I was headed. I felt I had to add a little leather to my design because that’s one of my favorite things to add to my jewelry and I always like to mix metals if possible to add warmth and contrast. Those were my only thoughts when I started. My challenge was figuring out how to add leather to this pair of earrings and keep them wearable, not too big and not let the leather overwhelm the pretty sterling pieces. I printed the Pantone Spring 2013 color palette and then I was off in my jewelry making ZoNE! Here is what I created.
I made sure to carry the silver ball theme from the fun circle wheels throughout the earrings so I grabbed my torch, took my fine silver wire and created some large balled head pins for the gemstones. Wrapping the brass wire around the cord ends, from my collection, helped to give the earrings an artisan feel and I finished the earrings with some sterling french wires with a ball that I already had from Nina Designs to give it a subtle but cohesive look. I have to say I’m pretty thrilled with these and they are totally wearable in real life!
You have to go there to see what the other designers have made. Choose your favorite design and then vote for my earrings. Did you catch that? I mean vote for your favorite design. Really. My fellow challengers include: Lori Anderson, Carmi Cimicata & Andrew Thornton. Talent overload! The winner receives $100 Nina Designs credit.
The voting runs today, through March 11, 2013. Thanks for your support!
Hi my creative friends! I was working on getting some inspiration for some jewelry I have to make quickly and my mind is a little cluttered these days so it’s been hard to concentrate on making jewelry and feeling creative.
For a little help, I downloaded the Pantone Spring Color Report and then went digging through my bead boxes and poured some beads on the paper. Now I’m feeling a little more focused and my bead play was kind of pretty so I thought I would take a picture for you!
You can enter your name and information on the Pantone site to receive alerts when the new season color forecast is available and you can download your own full color report with interesting information and pictures about how the big fashion designers get inspiration from the Pantone reports. Whether you are making jewelry, items for your home or wanting to update your wardrobe with a few fun accessories for the new season, you will be right on trend if you follow this report!
Hope you are all doing well!
It’s time to reveal the work of over 50 jewelry designers that joined my Wellness Words Jewelry Challenge. I issued this challenge one month ago. It required a little thinking and soul searching on the part of the designers in addition to jewelry making. You can click here for the inspiration and details about this challenge if you are new or missed the original post.
I have to tell you, for the girl that created this challenge, for the one that felt it would be easy to come up with a word or phrase – it turned out to be harder than I anticipated. There are so many specific things I want to work on this year and when I wrote about this challenge, I did not have a clue what words I would use! I discovered how many words and phrases resonate with me and then I was reminded of how indecisive I can be at times when it comes to making a committment! In the end, I’m happy where I landed. Instead of being specific, my words represent more of a theme for the way I want to live my life and the way I want to make decisions to improve my overall well being.
I want to appreciate (love) myself more and make a point to show more love and appreciation to those that are important to me. Sending out more love is a great way to receive and feel more love – and hey – it’s February!
Living on purpose means that I want to fill my time with things that are most important to me. I want to really take the time to plan things that propel me forward with my goals and then follow through and get them done. I want to take action to finish projects that are almost done and stop letting little excuses get in my way. I want to have less days where I’m busy all day – but I never quite feel like I accomplished what I wanted to. Can anyone relate? I don’t think I’m done with word jewelry. After doing this exercise, I definitely think I am going to be making more expressive jewelry.
I can’t wait to see everyone’s words and the jewelry they created. Thanks to everyone who put themselves out there and I hope this gives you some ideas and motivation for positive change this year!
Even if you did not participate in this challenge, take a few minutes to click on the links below to see what everyone is working on. If you want to share some love, leave a supportive comment!