Changes…

blunder pic

I hate being vulnerable. But here goes. I’ve been on Etsy as a seller and worked my rear off to be a good seller. There’s so many things that go on behind the scenes that buyers don’t know about.
What’s going behind the scenes is something I just can’t reconcile myself spiritually with. I’m taking my jewelry sales and will slowly build something that allows me to maintain that personal customized service with heart and soul. It’s not you, Etsy. It’s me. You need the money from all the sellers and buyers but I need a little something different.
I’ll leave a few things in my Etsy shop so that people can find me and my jewelry… but I’m leaving breadcrumbs to the new digs. Wherever that will be. I have no idea – hence the whole “vulnerability” thing. Brene’ Brown, are you listening?
Creating my own website, selling on Instagram or Facebook…scares the bejesus out of me. But I have something that Etsy doesn’t. Heart and a real desire to connect with people through jewelry.
I’m losing my connection to people because Etsy is turning into a machine and losing its heart. My business – the whole “I am enough” thing…is very very VERY heart centered. I believe in the “I am enough” message so much that I’ve invested much of our life savings into becoming a silversmith.
And, I have built my humble studio with tools I’ve found on sale, sold a ring, bought a bit of silver to make more …and this isn’t unusual for budding ‘smiths. I’m not unique. Lots of us started this way.
I don’t want to lose what I have built. But most importantly, I don’t want Etsy, or any other entity to become a wall between anyone believing in their most precious place on this planet. You are valuable!! So am I!
See, “I am enough” is something that people need to believe in – so they can speak up, so they can summon up the courage and “dare” to breathe the same air as the rest of us and so they can get up and look in the mirror.
Without that, I believe… people just wither away and die. I truly believe that, yes, it does START with ME believing in ME…but it didn’t. I needed that jump start – that lift – that heartfelt hug and look in someones eyes before I could believe in it myself.
Once I started to believe in it and held my breath to believe in it just a bit more and more day by day… it grew. I want to pass that on. And I am hoping that you don’t need this message. But I’ll say it anyway, because we all have our moments!
The truth is, you don’t need one of my spinner rings to see the words “I am enough” and grow your own garden of new sprouts of self worth – you can write them on pieces of paper and “plant” them in places where you need to see the message the most. For me, it was taped to the damned mirror.
For more than 20-30 years I always felt like I wanted to smash that mirror. I cannot tell you the level of self hate I had…that whole “hate turned inwards” thing
And, through a series of “seemingly random” events people started entering my life. You know the kind – the people with warm hugs and that love unconditionally. Those people. Those “waterers of the garden of souls” … Long story short. The message ended up on my mirror and I was challenged to find moments in my day where I could see my worth. These angels literally spoon fed me a new belief system of self worth. What a gift.
What’s sad is that for some reason, I didn’t have the ability to hear the ones that were saying it my whole life. Kinda sad when I look back on it but that’s a gift too. That’s part of my swimming lesson. I value those people today more than anything. Why? Because they were up against a formidable thing called “depression” and “self esteem issues” (sister – you listening? thank you for loving me when I could not love myself – big hugs and kisses!!)
God, I hate blogging when I’m vulnerable. I’m crying right now because that gift of sister love at lowest points in my life just touched my heart for the millionth time.
Who loved you at your lowest? Why not thank them…go on, I’ll wait. 🙂
Ahem…anyway. <sniffle>
My gift is writing and reaching people. I really truly believe the world would be a better place if we all shared this message. Gave warm hugs and loved the unlovable – or rather “the seemingly unlovable” Because I think we’re all valuable and our swimming lesson in all of this thing we call “life” is to find our worth and purpose, and chase it like we’re running after the ice cream man.
So you can write the message on a mirror, on a small piece of paper in the car or keep in your wallet. You can also gift people the message – kid having a crappy week at school with bullies? A note in their lunch, taped to their bedroom door or a text message works wonders. You never know the moment someone sees this message how their life can pivot. Rick and I leave little random notes everywhere. The messages he leaves me are precious to me.
More than one of my customers has severe anxiety, depression and were suicidal. They tell me that spinning the spinner on the ring and saying “Linda says I’m enough, so I’ll keep spinning til I believe it myself” works for them. It has become their springboard to moving from lack of self worth to a sense of value as a person. I encourage them to get counseling or stay in counseling and keep spinning!
I don’t work as a counselor anymore but I still believe in lifting others up.
I do a lot of hand holding during orders as people tell me WHY they are buying a ring and having me make it most personal. They tell me their life stories – which include addictions, loneliness, incredibly deep shame …and suicidal thoughts.
I don’t believe my rings are magic and I’ll call bullshit on anyone who does say their product works like this. To me, our jewelry is simply an external reminder, that someone, somewhere believes in me. And if I’m the one who gets to start that message in your life, what a gift!!
The photo above is the last ring I made for someone that wanted an “I am enough” spinner ring. You can see the process on my blog at LindaBoBindasDesigns.com.
Anyway, I hand stamp each letter and really screwed this one up. It was a most frustrating day for sure. I was going down the path that led to anger and frustration and threw the second piece across the room.
In my studio, there are rules on the door. The first rule has to do with safety …blah blah blah but one of the other rules is “Positive energy only” and “Have FUN” or you can’t go in there. Seriously, I’m that much of a believer in passing on good energy. It’s sacred space, a space to create, be happy in my bubble and focus on each piece I make. That connection with people that is helpful. That love and positivity energy I proudly and sometimes not so gracefully pour into each piece. We’re not allowed to have arguments in there. Grumpy butts exit stage left (Hey, sometimes that’s ME!)
I remembered my rule of “positive energy only” and knew it was time to get out of the studio, refill my coffee and maybe do a reset – dishes, vacuum, walk the dog or grab a snack. Once I reset I walked back in – picked up the piece and tried hand stamping the @##$ thing again. A few more failures and finally, success.
Only this time I was actually looking at the message for ME. I messed up, it was ugly and so I showed the world by posting it on fb. I just cringed because I “failed” as a hand stamper, a silversmith and as a person, and here I was, showing it to the world. Crazy huh? I posted it to make it normal. To show people that yes, I make cool stuff but behind the scenes isn’t so pretty. Gawd, I get so dramatic but…hey…vulnerability, right? lol
So often I want to come off as this spiritually enlightened “spread the kindness, spead the “I am enough” message, badass silversmith vibe but behind the scenes …not so cool or spiritually enlightened so much lol
Vulnerability schumility!
Back to the original reason I’m posting. I’m moving my energy from Etsy – the wall that’s blocking my connection to you.
I’m creating a space for sales and conversations and such. I’m scared and I’m feeling small again. But I know one thing. I’ll fall down 99 and by God, I’ll get up 100.
Follow me as I wander through the world as the wonderful spastic dorkolicious that only I can be as I try to learn code, (holy crap, do I even HAVE to know code? see my drama? I’m already pole vaulting over mouse shit!) –  understand google SEO, produce BETTER photos, write descriptions that are accurate and learn how to do sales online.
Geez, I just wanna make jewelry, help people out a bit and put some food on the table, gas in the tank to visit my beautiful grandsons and put more money back into the business we have worked so hard to make.
Etsy is tanking right now. I hope it’s a ship that is just getting knocked about by waves and will right itself soon but I don’t have time for that.
You can find me on Facebook LindaBoBinda’s Designs facebook page or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lindabobindasdesignsoregon/ if you can’t find me on Etsy. You can always email me at LindaBoBindasDesigns@hotmail.com (if you don’t cut and paste, remember there are TWO letter “S” in my email.
God help me though, because I am a living, breathing “I love Lucy” episode of the most epic spastic proportions. I click on buttons and say “wonder what this one does” (doesn’t matter what it is, I love to guess at what things actually DO than read the instructions!)  I won’t have the security net when working with code to develop my own webpage so wish me luck. If it’s like anything else I build, I will have nuts and bolts leftover and a lotta “oopsies” hehe
But like that sign on my door “Be safe” “Have fun” and “Positive energy only” will hopefully remain at the front of the brain!
I am enough. So are you. Double dog dare ya to say it to yourself in the mirror!!

Places everyone!!

It’s almost that time again!! Farmers market time! Whoot!
Farmers markets everywhere are gearing up again for <drum roll> the SEASON!!
April 1, 2017 is the first day of Salem Saturday Market and we have NEW vendors and we’re just so excited to have them on board! 
The “season” for us actually started when we paid for our reserved spots we want to be in, ordered more ring displays and did some other “seasonal maintenance.”
There’s more to do, of course, but it’s raining, and we can’t quite do everything yet!
And we can’t do any waterproofing of the canopy in the rain either. We’re also putting some grommets in the shade this season to make set up and tear down easier. This weather we’re having leaves us with INDOOR options for maintenance lol <boring but necessary!>
Indoor maintenance involves ahem… some online shopping (someone has to do it!) 
We’re in the process of ordering an awning for the canopy. I spent a lot of time people watching when we were doing the Salem Saturday Market last year and noticed that people were more likely to linger if they’re comfy…and this means out of the sun and out of the rain. Everyone wants comfy customers, right? 😉
To me there’s nothing worse than the whole display being a space hog and my customers getting their necks sunburned while they’re browsing…or the dreaded drip when the canopy releases a bunch of water! We’re ordering the awning for our Caravan canopy from Fred’s – an online business up by Seattle. Here’s the link Canopies by Fred  
I also noticed last year that when I moved my jewelry display around people got excited because they thought I had new items! And it was “fresh” and new again (to them anyway!)
I guess there’s an immunity that people build up when they’re out shopping. You know… seeing the same old thing, in the same old place? After awhile your brain just doesn’t register it…kinda like your nose is ignored by your brain 😉
So anyway, the market season is almost upon us and I cannot wait for fresh produce, spring flowers, the smell of fresh bread wafting through the air, people walking their dogs and chatting, kids seeing things for the first time and families enjoying themselves.
This is my 2nd season of being on the arts and crafts jury. It’s been fun reading up on the why and how people do the things they do and it’s really been neat to get to see what they make and their creative makers spaces. 
Here’s the SSM site Salem Saturday Market (I love their headline – “We are SO ready for Spring” – aren’t we ALL ready for Spring!? It’s been a long winter and I cannot wait!)
You can the map here Salem Saturday market map –
The map is so useful, you can toggle on spaces on the map and see who is in that spot for that day….
Then, you can toggle on the vendor name and their spot on the map will highlight.
And, you can toggle the dates to see who will be where on what date!
Each vendor usually has some kind of contact info, maybe their facebook page or a phone number.
It’s a great tool to use to plan your visit to the market!
When I signed up for the market this year, I put a lot of thought into I overthunk my space placement. Oh.My.God. The “what if we” game played over and over in my head “what if we picked space B15 again? then we could face west and the sun won’t be in our eyes when we set up, but wait, the sun will be in the customers eyes when they walk by and they’ll just keep walking” or “what if we choose C1 this season? That way the sun won’t be in their eyes but it will be in OUR eyes” … Or “what if we’re by the bathrooms this season” or “what if we’re by this entrance or that entrance” or any of the million other scenarios I could think of overthink and make myself crazy over. I was tired after picking my top 3 choices! Now you know why the awning is important – customers comfort! Now maybe my head will shut up with the “what if” …hmmm 

ohmylanta that was a horrible run on sentence but that’s in my head, 24/7 😉

Remember when I said 2017 brings with it some major changes? Well, after we got our house last July, my husband retired (or is it “pre-tired”????) again and so now we’re both doing this together! <happy dance> 
We also put some of our jewelry into a brick and mortar shop. It’s in Lincoln City, Oregon -in a shop called “Rock Your World” – here’s the link Rock Your World Lincoln City Oregon  They have some of our spinner rings, Oregon necklaces and keychains and earrings. They also carry some pretty cool sunstone jewelry and are the local experts on all things rocks and gems. Stop in and say hi! 
The most exciting (to me anyway!) new is….We are also currently in the market for a minivan and are looking high and low for “the perfect fit” <insert dramatic music here> for our transportation needs. 
Last year, during one of the unloading out of our Tacoma I hit my head pretty hard on the canopy door latch and an inch either way I would have hit my eye – after that,  there was no question – time for something safer and easier to travel to markets and shows in. Ever hit your head so hard on something that it bounced and you saw stars? Anyway, I’ve been wanting a minivan for 2 years and it’s time 🙂 Plus, I’m not a spring chicken and climbing in and out of the back of trucks to unload for a farmers market is not fun. 
I’m excited about the minivan too – trips to see the kids and grandkids <fist pump> and room to haul the dogs so they can go agate hunting on the coast.
So, all good things and life is still good.
Don’t forget to plan your first day at the SSM on April 1, here’s to a wonderful and prosperous market season! 

Peace

Linda

Mixed metal spinners and silence

Happy 2017!

Wait! What?

Where did 2016 go? It went by fast, didn’t it?

I had a good year. Did you? I hope so! It was a tough year at times…but so rewarding!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. The 2016 Salem Saturday Market ended in October and my husband retired (again) just weeks prior so I was having a blast setting up, selling and tearing down the canopy and our market display with him. The 1/2 hour drive to the market, early in the morning, headed into the sunrise those last couple of weeks is just a fun memory! Sipping coffee and chatting about people and things and how to pronounce all things Oregon!

Also in October, a friend and I joined a new consignment shop in Salem at the mall. It is exciting. I’ve never done a retail display and I’ve never done consignment. More on that later. I don’t think 2 months gives me enough experience to write a blog post on! I also was able to consign my items in a really cool shop in Lincoln City, Oregon. Again, I’ll do a blog post about my experiences at both when I get more info and have more time in.

Then came the getting ready for the holiday markets – our fabulous Etsy Team was sponsored by Etsy and we totally kicked butt as a stand alone holiday market. What an excellent team I get to be a part of. If you’re in Salem or nearby, and sell on Etsy, check out the Salem, Oregon Etsy Team… can’t beat it!! What a fun market! I took some photos.

Let me tell you, our team leaders and team did an outstanding job of organizing and pulling this event together. See the pretty orange “Etsy” tags? That was just a tiny FRACTION of what they had to unpack! There were swag bags and more off to the side that people were preparing. TONS of advertising in print, billboards, social media and word of mouth. We had a line of people waiting to get in and …it was just a happy happy show! Way to go Salem Etsy Team! You rock!!

Want more photos? You find them on the Salem Etsy Team facebook page

Salem Etsy Team fan page

We also participated in our first ever 2 day market.

Salem Holiday Market!

Here’s some booth shots – it was so busy I didn’t have time to really set up a nice photo shoot (pffft, that’s so not me anyway!) We took soooooooooo many white long sheers and decorated the canopy frame with the sheers and the ribbons and the…oh gosh, so much stuff to make it pretty and festive. If I could do it over again, I’d hide those boxes under the table though!! It was a really nice market and a wonderful holiday spirit filled the whole weekend!!

The market managers and their staff, along with volunteers and other vendors, made this holiday market a wonderful experience for us as first time vendors.

Want more info and such for the Salem Holiday Market? Here – Salem Holiday Market

Again, what a wonderful event. I wasn’t able to get out and take photos but WAS able to do a live video while I walked through the market. I have no idea where it went though. Cyberspace? hmpf… if I find it, I’ll post it here 🙂

Holiday markets are a lot of work but ohmylanta, so rewarding!

During the market season, I was told repeatedly to “add more spinners to the spinner rings, stamp both sides more and make mixed metal jewelry” and some other stuff.

I’ll just try to stay on track <giggle> and tell you about the ideas that people threw my way and I’ve implemented.

First, hand stamping the inside AND outside of a ring is a pain – why? Because each time you stamp a ring (or anything for that matter) – it creates a bump out on the opposite side (wanna see for yourself? grab a piece of paper and press a ballpoint pen to it and then look at the back – see the bump out? Now try smoothing it out. fun eh?)

That is what the opposite side of hand stamping looks like. Bump outs. Now, I’ve been doing this metal smithing thing for about 6-7 years give or take. I’ve been selling on Etsy and slowly growing for almost 5. One thing that has taken me the LONGEST to learn and implement is… finishing jewelry. Going over the metal with files, buffs, and the like, until it’s either a wonderful rich matte finish…or the mirror shine, that is my nemesis.

When I stamp on both sides, I have to file, sand and polish the bump outs on both sides as well. It’s tedious and time consuming. But the results are fantastic and professional. If you like organic looking jewelry, that’s cool – something for everyone. But for months I hid behind the “I love my organic looking jewelry” because I really couldn’t quite grasp how to get the shine, the finish and the comfort fit I was watching the pros do …with ease. So, I stuck to my guns and kept producing “organic” jewelry.

Back to the story – I added more mixed metals, hand stamping on both sides and I threw in some really good old elbow grease for a nice finish.

Here they are.

 

 

Sterling silver mixed metal spinner rings! See the tiny hearts? Are those not the most adorable things? Each letter on the small hand stamped ring is about 2mm tall, so the hearts are not much bigger. Those were cut out using my Green Lion jewelers saw and a 8/0 blade from Rio Grande. I’m sure there’s a secret for cutting perfect hearts out there somewhere (maybe it’s 30 years of practice?!!)

Using electrical tape to guide the letters for stamping, I was able to get fairly straight lines with the words (yay!)

Using multiple tools (files, 400-1200 grit polishing papers in a split mandrel and hand polishing with red rouge) I was able to get a really nice finish.

There’s brass, copper and sterling silver … a little customer inspiration and voila! We have a ring. She chose “dwell in the here and now” for the top stamping – “breathe” for the lower stamping and on the inside was “positive perspective” with a tiny dragonfly.

My customer designed it and I hope she loves it. She gets to pick one!

I have added more items (more spinners and mixed metals!) to my Etsy shop.

Except the chicken. I MUST tell you about this chicken… The chicken on the Oregon state necklace was a custom order for a dear friend. How fun it was to help her design something for her sister’s birthday!!! You can have one almost just like it if you want!

oregon-chicken

My friend pretty much gave me creative license and I LOVE it when people do that! She told me her sister is a farmer and loves her chickens! And the rest was what I dreamed up. I cut the chicken design out from paper, glued it to a sheet of silver and cut the outline with the jewelers saw. Then I have fun adding some melted silver and stamping the rest. Then I added a chain and surprised her sister 🙂 Fun fun fun!!

More items in the shop – rainbow copper mixed metal spinner rings and various stacker rings.

2016, you were a blast. I made new friends from the markets, learned more about being a vendor and have started shopping for a minivan that we can get back and forth to the market in. So excited!!

If you have any ideas for custom jewelry, contact me at my Etsy shop LindaBoBinda’s Designs on Etsy and we can bake this cake together. Okay, so it’s not a cake, but…you get the idea 😉

Wait! Isn’t the title of the blog post called “mixed metal spinners and silence”

Where’s the silence?

The silence is in the morning, while the coffee is brewing. The Christmas markets are over, there’s no farmers markets, no…whew. So, after months of “go go go hurry hurry hurry”

It just stops.

Hence the “silence”

It’s the stillness and being able to just let things “be” – no markets, no packing a hot lunch on a freezing cold day, no making sure you have a large block of ice on hot days in the cooler, no tables to lug around in the back of a small pick up truck, no canopy to set up and tear down, no packing or unpacking and no getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning,  no walking the dogs before sunrise while avoiding stinky skunks…no nothin.

Right now we’re quiet. It’s such a nice feeling too. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. Markets and shows will start up again before we know it and bam! Off and running again.

So, may 2017 bless you with all things amazeballs!

Peace!

 

Farmers Markets and other things…

Hey guys! It’s been a super busy couple of months. We’ve moved, increased inventory, finished out the market, changed displays, joined a boutique as a vendor and much much more!

I have to say, I’ve got mixed feelings on the 2016 Saturday Salem Market season ending. Between moving, being sick, truck not running right, migraines, family visiting and weather issues it’s been a wild ride!

IMG_2517.JPGThe world stops for this little boy. My beautiful grandson. I missed one Saturday market for this visit. My little Bubbie!

2016 with the Saturday Salem Market has been fabulous. The people I’ve met, the stories I’ve heard (totally unsolicited and spontaneous) when people realize the “I am enough” rings pertain to self esteem and the other cool stuff are things I’m really going to miss.

Getting to know the market manager, the workers and the other vendors has been a joy. They all work so hard. Like, I get to the market to set up around 6:00-6:30 every Saturday. The sun is just up and there are already vendors fully set up. Then I see dozens just getting there, like me. The market doesn’t open until 9. Then we all tear down and make the drive home, a good days work done.

I don’t know how many of my 3 followers actually read this, or live in the Salem area…but I want to brag on how spoiled I am with the market. First off, it’s easy to be around the market managers – they’re friendly, organized and super helpful when it comes to …vendoring stuff. The market load in and load out is organized and maintained and things are just… so much nicer. The staff that work at the market…my booth was on the corner this year for the most part so I could see the goings on- the staff set up the signs, help set up the non-profits canopies and do a myriad of other things, picking up trash, taking lost children back to the information booth, running after someone’s dog when they got loose (it was a wiener dog and that guy was running like someone left the gate open, I swear he was laughing as he bolted by) and they were just so helpful to all the vendors and the visitors. All those chairs out by the food area? The staff puts them there. All the clean walkways, yep…staff is all over it. All the signs put up around 6 a.m….in all kinds of weather…yep, staff again.

The board, the market manager, the staff and all the volunteers. You made my 2016 market season amazing. Thank you!

And the other vendors. Some of us never leave our booth except to use the ‘loo and maybe grab a bite to eat. There’s no time some days. So all the vendor neighbors I’ve had have been wonderful. We all babysit each others booths to let each other take care of some business. Canopy won’t go up? Your vendor neighbor will help you. Table leg broke? Someone usually has a screwdriver or the wood toy guy has a fun improvisation up his sleeve 😉

And those of you that helped this dwerpy newb straighten out my dysfunctional display …I thank you. You have been amazingly sweet and so helpful. There’s just no way to say “thanks” enough.

display-2016-canopy

Busy busy display. So much work to do for 2017 market to “tighten up” the display.

Being only in my 2nd year at the markets and shows here in Oregon I’m a bit lot ignorant when it comes to weather related shenagagins. When they say 20-25 lbs weights on each corner…they mean it. That rule I followed. Never left home without those weights!

But the displays…oh the earrings that flew off the cards, the business cards and signs that went sailing away and other fun things that happen with wind – people that sell jewelry told me how they secure their items so they’re displayed well and securely. Whoever said artists are snobby and not helpful and “every man for himself” ~ ya’ll haven’t met my vendor family. They’re really down to earth and just so sweet.

To the newbs that came in after I did, welcome to the market. I hope you find your sweet spot, meet some great people and hit the numbers on all your sales 😀

oregon water coast sand.jpg

This last photo is the Oregon Coast. As we head into the ass kicking Christmas season and the stress mounts, I will be dreaming of running away to the coast in January or February to go agate hunting, storm watching and scout out some new shops on the coast to display my jewelry in. I love my job but all work and no play make life a little…eh…

Farewell 2016 Salem Saturday Market. See you at the Salem Holiday market!! Here’s the flyer and info! 2016 Salem Saturday Holiday Market, Oregon

2016-holiday-market

Whoot! Hope to see you there!

Peace!

 

 

 

Sawing out tiny things…

I meant to post this months ago, really. Then something came up…then more and before I knew it – blog fell by the wayside. Especially this post. It was pretty photo intensive and I kept getting interrupted blah blah blah…

Then my laptop screen turned this hideous shade of pink and 1-2 months later and just DAYS after my warranty expired, Toshiba calls it “out of warranty” issues and it will only cost me <cough> 600.00 and some change to repair a crappy laptop screen.

Since it died, my photos pertaining to this blog post are on that hard drive and so…this blog post has no photos. Sorry 😦

So, you get to do something exciting!! Use your imagination, google all the things I write about and learn more 🙂

 

A few months ago last year I fell in love with the Green Lion jewelry saw.  Green Lion Saw

I loved that it didn’t knock into the bench pin when I used it and the finger knobby things were reversible.

I love that it felt GOOD in my hand. There’s a balance there, not present in my German saws.

The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s a fixed saw. meaning, if the blade breaks, the saw frame can’t be adjusted to accommodate a shorter blade. Bummer.

But it’s still my go-to saw for tiny things, because…balance.

I go through these binges of creating. Sometimes it’s all I want to do, bead up some tree of life agate art or other copper art I make. Sometimes it’s the medical alert bracelets. Sometimes the stacker rings. Then the following week, I bring out all the parts to make those complicated “I love you to the moon and back” necklaces I love making.

Other weeks, it’s the spinner rings…always with the spinner rings. I love making spinner rings. There’s a swelling of pride that comes up from inside that I’ve done a good job when the ring looks good and the spinner(s) spin like crazy.

I have “bright shiny things” as many artists and makers do. I flit like a hummingbird from one topic to another in conversation with passionate energy….I do the same thing with making my jewelry and art.

Then I burn out and don’t want to make whatever it is that I binged created. And I move on to the next cycle of creating.

Maybe it’s being a Gemini. Maybe it’s the restless nature of being an artist. Maybe it’s some unquieted place in my mind left over from being 5 years old that says “OHMYGOD THIS IS FUN WHAT’S NEXT!!!???!!! and I plow through one project after another.

Back to the Green Lion jewelers saw.

It’s balanced. It feels “sure” in my hand. It has some weight in the handle that helps me keep the saw blade straight, because…sawing out tiny things takes a 6/0 or an 8/0 blade and damn, those blades are THIN. If I don’t keep the blade straight and true while sawing out the tiny things, the blade snaps and the “oh crap” flies out of my mouth. I have to remove the two pieces that are left in the top and bottom thumb screw and drag my happy ass to the floor with a flashlight and magnet and search for the middle piece…that somehow flings itself into the weirdest spots (between my girls once, my hair, another time)

Why do I use such a tiny blade? An 6/0 and an 8/0 are tiny, very thin blades. Really meant for thin 24/26 gauge metal.

I use the tiny blade because I like how the line is smaller, more petite. The saw lines on the side of my piece are not as prominent…and easier for me to clean up.

I also like how the corners turn when I’m using a 6/0 blade.

I use my thin blades on 18-20 g. Don’t judge! It works for me. Thank God that I believe in more that one way up the mountain or I’d be stuck using a size 1 blade <meh> You can read about blades in Rio’s blog here Rio’s blog on jewelers saws and blades

Gauges and sizes and saws! Oh my!

Back to tiny things.

I get into the mode of “let’s do something challenging” and sawing out tiny things are challenging. The preciseness of the cut in a birds wings, for example. Oy! Those turns are wicked if you don’t lube up your blade before a turn!

I get into the mode of sawing out tiny things when I’m in a quiet and thoughtful “zen” place. Sawing mode is not the same mode as, say…”Hammer all the things!” mode.

Nope. Not even close!

“Hammer all the things!” mode is for those AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen music days.

Sawing is zen, solitude and introspective mode. What music for sawing? Lately it’s been Peter Kater (again) and Jessie Cook. Otherwise, it’s normally this rad mix I’ve got on Pandora.

I got this stamp recently from a stamp maker and I’m just in love with this tiny bird stamp. It’s so delicate, so free and so … damn well made. It’s got the details I crave and the holy grail of hand stampers…clarity.

Here’s her Etsy shop. There’s usually a wait and it’s well worth it! York Avenue Studio

You’ll have to get behind me for the pine tree though, I have first dibs.

The fact that it’s from another artisan, who obviously takes great pride in her craft just simply…kicks ass for me. It takes what we do up a notch. I appreciate other artists who take the time and the care to make a good product.

My tip of the day with hand stamping to my 2k people that are following my blog <snicker> is this.

Use electricians tape, it’s cheaper than the stuff they try to sell you in the craft stores.

Oh, you haven’t heard of tape for hand stamping?

Allow me to introduce you to your new best friend in hand stamping…

Straight lines.

It’s up to you to get the TAPE line straight (I use my pointy tool or calipers) but the tape keeps the stamp straight and right where you want it.

Electrical tape is abundantly found at yard sales, at least here in Oregon. Some guys must forget they have like 23 rolls and go out and buy another roll. Then, when he has a yard sale…there’s 24 rolls for 3.00 or some wild thing. True for painters tape too. So save yourself some money and think outside the box (save the money from the tape and buy more stamps…shhh don’t tell hubby I said that!) 😉

I bring the bottom of the stamp down to the edge of the tape and tilt tap it in all 4 directions to get a clear impression. It helps to have a good solid surface so there’s no bouncing.

It takes some practice and today, a few years into it, I still get double strikes… which CAN be cool but for the most part make me a potty mouth.

The side to side spacing just takes practice, which is why I have a huge pile of scrap copper, right? 🙂

So, treat yourself to a Green Lion saw, invest in some 6/0 jewelers saw blades and cut out tiny things. It is a wonderful way to get “unstuck” if you’ve been in a creative rut. Just stamp a tree onto a scrap piece of metal (silver is a dream, copper needs more lubrication and clogs up the blades more) and saw around the edges.

And have fun, because life is too short to do anything but.

Peace!

 

 

Canopy bag chaos!

I love my Caravan canopy. Seriously. It’s a strong and sturdy unit and it’s pretty easy for me to put up by myself.

The canopy came with 4 sidewalls (they just feel…cheap and thin) and 4 weight bags (you fill them up with whatever to make heavy bags) and

the worlds crappiest wheeled carry bag

What a sorry contraption!

Go grab your coffee, this is a bit of a rant.

Are you back yet?

M’kay, put your feet up 🙂

For about a year, months of weekly setting up and tearing down at markets and shows, my canopy has really held up.

The sidewalls are a pita to put on, the velcro straps that fasten the sidewalls to the canopy legs are …”eh”

The weight bags are kinda sorta shredding and little bits of my rocks are falling out. The sewed on handles are wearing a bit. Not the greatest of quality but they’re holding up pretty good, all things considered. (25 lbs of rocks and dragging/dropping/bumping kinda wears a bag out!) My bad. But honestly…pretty good overall.

But the wheeled bag?

Good Gosh… who designed it?

It completely ripped on me this morning when I was taking it outside.

I was going to practice putting on a 10 foot banner. In private. On my own.

We won’t talk about why it’s taken me 8 months to figure out the bungee cord and 10′ banner thing. Other vendors did it with ease and I …struggled with it.

It’s embarrassing.

Okay, spill time. A little back story 🙂

I snapped myself in the face in front of all the other vendors last year setting up.

Freaking bungee cord hook hit me in the side of my temple and burned like a #%!$

I cussed and stomped around. It felt like a hot arrow hit me in the head. I sat on a cold blacktop holding my head til the birds quit singing. I quit putting my banner on top after that.

Near death experience stupid accidents happen and I was scared it would happen again (only worse!) and didn’t want to try it again. I was a newbie and it was kinda humbling actually.

Ahem…anyway.

First of all, the canopy weighs 70 lbs.

The straps and wheels are not well thought out and the bag itself doesn’t hug the canopy once it’s zipped up.

If the bag doesn’t hug the canopy, then the canopy has more wobble room.

More wobble room means the canopy creates momentum inside the carrying bag and

Whomp, there it is.

I won’t go into the crappy “at the bottom” zipper that you have to lift the canopy into and THEN pull the bag off (when removing the canopy from the bag)

And putting the bag back ON the canopy once the canopy is all folded up pretty and ready to go home…

What a friggin nightmare.

On market days I get up around 4:30 or 5 a.m.

I’m AT the market by 7 a.m.

I’m done setting up around 8-9

Market from 9-3

Pack up and call it a day after 3.

Now, when it’s hot outside, or raining or windy or… <insert fun stuff here>

It’s a nice thing to have some ducks in a row. It’s nice to just … have your stuff organized and packed and ready to put in your car and go home!

Whoever made this canopy bag wheelie cart unit did NOT think of vendors at all. Especially vendors at the end of a long day 😉 Just sayin….

I miss my lightweight Undercover canopy the most when I was unpacking my Caravan and repacking it.

Undercover canopy was my love. It was lightweight, easy EASY bag and reflected heat/light really well. Problem was, it’s aluminum and winds over 10-15 mph CAN turn it into a bye bye birdie. Even with weights, it just takes longer before it hits youtube status (I’ve seen it!)

So here in the PNW, you need something with meat on it. Enter months of research obsessively searching google and Pinterest and Amazon and god knows where else… and I found the Caravan.

It was a package really. A canopy, sidewalls, weight bags and the everlovin’ wheelie bag cart thing.

For a hair over 300.00.

I’m not trying to bitch about the product or the company or the website. I’m just very unhappy with the carrying wheelie bag doodad.

Once you finally get the canopy IN the wheelie cart carrying bag from hell, the thing flips, drags on the wrong side and if you’re not careful, can twist your arm, flop over and make you trip.

Let me show you what happens when you don’t. let. go. of. the. handle. while. pulling…

ripped canopy bag

Exhibit 1

(ahem, don’t mind the cheap carpet…we rent the house and it’s over 2 years old. It’s not mine, really)

Cursefest!

I held on to it while rolling it up a ramp(there’s a ramp between my attached garage and kitchen…cool huh?)

because A.) If I kept going forward and let the bag drop, I would have fallen sideways off the ramp.

B.) I was afraid if I dropped the canopy, that it would bend the frame…never mind that the frame is steel….When body parts are being wrenched by a 70 lb object, thoughts don’t make much sense.

So, I held on. Canopy fell through the bag off the ramp (3 steps..tiny ramp. Heavy canopy+cheap thin fabric = someone screwed up and sews worse than I do!

I was pissed. My hand hurt, my shoulder hurt and my freaking elbow hurt.

After a slew of cursing after I assessed the damage…

I looked up obsessively window shopped replacement bags.

My jaw dropped when I saw they wanted so much for a replacement bag that would just be a replica of my near death experience  disaster.

A large canvas condom.

That’s what it looks like in the parking lot when the vendors are struggling with it. I’ve struggled with it many times, had the bottom come and flip me in the head as I struggled to get JUST the bottom part on while the canopy is standing.

I knew it was a matter of time before it knocked me in the teeth and broke a tooth.

Seriously a pain in the ass.

My inner MacGyver emerged after the cursing and shopping for replacement bag spree was done.

Here’s what I did. I cut the remainder of the bag off. I cut the part with wheels off in doing so. No jury will convict me.

I even said “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS” while I snipped.

Then,  I added grommets, ball bungees and bungee cords to rig up a cover of SOME kind because…white canopy! I have a cart, so there were my wheels. It’s not a perfect solution but it is MY solution. For now anyway.

Maybe Caravan will see this and create an award winning wheeled carrying bag for all canopies. That would be stellar!

I found the grommet kit at Walmart in the sewing section. It has the tools you need to create the grommet thingy. Follow the directions 🙂

grommet 1

Here’s the bottom grommet part sitting inside the grommet tool, almost ready to go. It’s on my bench block.

grommet 2

Then you get the top part of the grommet. Beware…  it’s got teeth 🙂

grommet 3

Mark where you want the grommets and cut a tiny hole. I cut my holes smaller than the grommet so it would be a tight fit. 70 lbs will rip it soon enough so I need all the help I can get!

grommet 4

Place the bottom grommet through the hole on bench block

grommet 5grommet 6

Take the top grommet piece and place it over the bottom grommet

grommet 7

Place the grommet whomper in the hole on top of the piece with teeth (What? Is there another name for it? pfft)

grommet 8

 

Hit it with a hammer. I’m accident prone… so I was uber careful here!

5 whacks did it (who needs anger management?)

grommet 9

Tada! Easy peasy lemon squeezy Done!

Top and bottom views 🙂

grommet 10grommet 11

I didn’t feel like sewing a zipper in. First off, my sewing skills are umm…well…nah. What happens in the sewing room, stays in the sewing room… I just needed something to hold it together.

Bungee cords and bungee ball cords.

grommet 12 tiedgrommet bungee ball tiegrommet bungee ball2

I didn’t have to look far for something with wheels. When I started the markets, I used a cart that folded up. (I have a tiny 2 door Rav4 that is small and short on space!!)

To be sure it would hold my 70 lb canopy I checked to see if it had a weight limit.

150 lbs. I was safe! Whoot!

grommet cart label

I fastened up the canopy with my bungee cords mess (those bungee ball cords are the devil, one got loose and smacked me in the side and the other one snapped and hit my hand!)

Hmmm, I’m sensing a theme here with me and bungee cords.

And tilted the canopy forward, then slid the wheel cart bottom underneath.

grommet cart legsgrommet cart

The bottom part of the cart. If you do this, be careful. The flat bottom of the cart has openings and the canopy feet can get stuck. Just move slowly, think things through and be careful. Don’t be like me.

Really.

I was able to wheel it up and down the ramp (carefully) and up and down my 3 little steps.

If anyone knows of a wheeled canopy bag that doesn’t require 20 minutes of struggling to put it on like a sock condom, please let me know!

Maybe I’ll figure out a way to sew the ripped part back on to the other part and call it

“Frankencart”

Because, you know… big stitches by someone who sews crooked and glues herself to projects… total clusterbuck!

Have fun playing MacGyver!

And, to Caravan Canopy. You guys make a really great product. It’s a shame that your bag doesn’t do such a great job of transporting it. For 300.00+ you would think….

I can focus on the 1 thing that totally derailed my day or I can focus on the 10,000 things that don’t. My choice.

I’m glad it was the carrying cart wheelie bob thing and not the actual canopy itself.

It’s the little things folks! Be grateful for the little things!!

today-i-give-thanks-life-quotes-sayings-pictures

Peace!!

 

 

2016 Market season and display pandemonium!

In 7 days the 2016 season for Saturday Salem Market will begin. In 12 days, the brand new outdoor market here in Oregon will begin on Thursdays from 3-9 pm at the Woodburn Outlet Mall in Woodburn, a bit South of Portland. I’ll update as we go, right now things are crazy with display and inventory and really wanting a van and we’re still house hunting!

So, with that being said….I’ll just focus on one new part of display for the heart art I started making this year. I usually make a ton of tree of life agate art…but agates were getting too hard to find and when I did find them, they were expensive. Rather than have such expensive pieces that weren’t selling well at the market last year, I thought I’d try to make something that was simple and less harsh on my hands. (If you have ever made a tree of life wrapped around an agate, you’ll know at the end, you’re wishing you had an extra pair of hands!) The other part of the display is one I already use but didn’t make a tutorial for…consider this a mini tutorial 🙂

I was inspired to make this display part by a photo I had seen on Pinterest.

 

Example of chain display

 

I think this is simple, clean and uses an outdoor canopy really quite nicely. It saves the table space for other things and shows off a LOT of product vertically. Kudos to the brain behind this!!

Because I have an insane amount of necklaces, and now, the heart art… this type of display just made me do a artsy fartsy happy dance. If you do craft shows, art shows or farmers markets, and sell jewelry …then you’ll know the pain. The struggle is real! To find that ONE thing that is easily transportable, easy to set up in cold and hot weather (who wants to take gloves off to put things up, one by freezing one?)

Because I’m a klutz, I had to make mine secure-er. More secure. As in… “I’m going to drop it 40 times while setting up, so it has to be strong and unbreakable” and the ongoing saga of “it’s too cold for this !$#!@ so I have to have it easy up and easy down” OR conversely “it’s too hot for this @#$!# so I have to have it easy up and easy down” …AmIright? 😉

Enter tools and tiny bits of hardware and measuring tape and math and wood dowels and an afternoon running around Salem, Oregon looking for all the bright shiny things I needed for this project. With a migraine. Fun.

I’ll keep it simple – here’s some eye hooks on the ends of my dowels and I found some chain and every 16 links, opened the link, inserted the end of the dowel with the eyehook screwed in and viola! Tiny ladder (which I didn’t “see” until I was all done) Kind of made me wish I had this for allllll the stuffed animals I had as a kid.

Here’s some pics, I kept it simple 🙂

20160326_16355420160326_16373220160326_16364220160326_163608

(I totally need to close the link more and sand that extra little label part off! Gotta love missing details with migraines!!)

It’s so easy and the chain was thin enough that I could open/close it using parallel pliers 🙂

Dowels were from Joann’s. Chain/eyehooks, Home Depot. I found some nifty wood stain in a packet and I stained the rods a light oak. Not that they’ll STAY that color for 7 months but it was way easier to stain using a cloth than a brush, then I just tossed it. It came in a package similar to baby wipes! I am totally digging it!

Once I get it into the canopy and hang all the goodies off of it, I’ll get a better feel for what the height of the goodies needs to be 🙂

That’s part ONE of the new display

Part two is a major issue I had at every show I have ever been to…how to hang the sign, how to hang the sign, how to hang the sign.

For a few years, I used a ribbon, a rope, tape, duct tape, string with weights and I’m sure you can think of some that you have used.

I finally decided, these are MY tables so I’m gonna own them and make them my custom whatevers…

I obsessed over this and it would come up in my dreams and my free time and over and  over, the display voice would say “how can I hang the sign, the sign, the sign?” in a monotone voice.

So, one day this popped in my head. Thank the coffee gods for this one because I have NO idea where it came from. As far as I’m aware of, I’m the only one who does this. I have searched high and low for this idea and …nada.

It’s so easy and cheap that I kicked myself!

First, get yourself some Lifetime tables (or any table you can screw a washer to)

Measure out your signage. Mine are vinyl from Vista print or Office Depot or wherever I got them. My sign is about 36″ so I found the center of my sign, added some neodymium magnets (which are great for other aspects of display, just watch out, the bigger ones are really strong and SNAP together whether your finger or other body parts (don’t ask) are between two of them. And they’re fast, play with some…you’ll see!

Ahem, anyway…

I figured out where the center of my sign was and lined it up with the center of my table.

That’s where I started. Then I used a 5 minute epoxy to attach my 1″ super strong flat neo magnet and I also attached more magnets on the ends of my sign.

WARNING! If you do this on top of your table, the magnet will try to stay with any metal under the top of the table. So, glue the magnets on a NON magnetic surface. You’re welcome!

I did this with all my signs matched up where the center of my table was to the magnets and worked my way out.

I took 1″ metal washers and short screws to attach the washers to my table.

This way, all I have to do is throw on my table cloth and the magnets on the signs snap to the washers on the table. No more strings, no more ribbons, no more tablecloth being pulled off because someone snagged a rope and no more HEADACHES!

Easy peasy, here’s some pics 20160326_16343720160326_163503

20160326_1634196 foot table jewelry display for show.jpg

This sign is OVER the table cloth using magnets on the opposite side 🙂 Happy dancin yet?

With this show, I had to use their tables so I simple took magnets and put them on the other side of the table cloth so that the sign would still hang. I had to check it a lot to make sure it stayed straight but it worked!

Have fun! I’ll be busy with the market soon but I’ll try to remember to snap some pics along the way of the chain display 🙂

By the way, credit for the chain display in the top photo goes to Alchemary on Facebook

 

Peace!

Hand stamping a spinner ring

Coffee and the Universe have conspired to have me make a hand stamped spinner ring, photograph it one handed and somehow have it make sense. I hope it helps you in your journey of hand stamping 🙂

Here in this blog post, I’m making a spinner for a spinner ring. I’m focusing on the stamping, not so much the ring making, although the fitting of the spinner to the main ring is a big part of it.

It’s important to have the spinner fit inside the width of the ring, so that it spins. If it’s too wide, the spinner won’t spin, and that’s no fun.

My customer wanted a 1/2″ wide spinner but also wanted it kicked down a notch or five in width, so I have to make the spinner a custom fit or it won’t work.

Here we go!

First, I measure my ring blank from raw copper sheet, using my tools. I love tools 🙂 IMG_2328I score the line slightly and mark each end with a sharpie, (that’s my cutting line with my guillotine shear later when I make the ring)

 

IMG_2329My usual spinners fit inside the width of the main ring, but there’s no way this will spin once it’s been flared, so …away we go to custom made! It’s way too wide, see?

 

 

Using my dividers, I make the spinner the appropriate width. I know I have to hand stamp it, so I calculate that in. It’s all by eyesight at this point, as I’ve been doing this a few years 🙂

In this layout, you can see where I’ve done the calculations on how wide it needs to be and taped the outside of the cut line just a smidge. I stamp first and cut later. If I cut first and stamp later, then the stamping curls the metal and …more work for me to flatten it again.

This is what works for me, stamp first…cut later. I use painters tape and electrical tape. They’re both abundant at yard sales and the electrical tape has enough of a raised edge so that I can gently move the edge of the stamp and use it as a guide. Why gently? Scratches in the metal = more work. An old goldsmith once told me “Linda, the best way to get scratches out is to not put them there in the first place.” Sage advice!

I try to keep the tape as close as I can to the score line I made with my dividers. I know I have a tiny bit of wiggle room. Stamping moves metal so I tape it all down, I may have to move it more later.

These are some of my stamps! I love stamps and am always looking for more. You can see some hand made stamps (awesomesauce!!) in my collection. My favorite so far is the tiny bird. Made by York Avenue Studios on Etsy. I’ll be using those and pine trees to make my Oregon necklaces. Because…TREES! 🙂

Here’s Kathy’s studio on Etsy 🙂 York Avenue Studio

I love the stickers, they’re so quirky and fun!

A little about my stamps. I’m really scatterbrained. I have A.D.D. (bright shiny things) and a photographic (sort of) memory. Being super visual, both of these work in my favor (most of the time!)

If things are organized and stay in the same place (and if I put them back right away) then I save tons of time and energy and my work space is …well, it just works for me.

I found these tiny little drawer organizers at Rite Aid several years ago and my stamps fit in there. If they’re too big, then I make a 2nd drawer. All of my other stamps go into a McGyvered stamping holder thingy. I’m hoping to have one made professionally one day but, til then, this is what we have!

I stamped an “abc” on tiny copper tiles and numbered them to match the sample sheet I take to shows and have as a reference. I try to get and STAY organized.  😛 Some days it’s like herding cats!

I also measured each font and each design stamp so I can tell instantly using my calipers if it will fit on the custom spinner or whatever I’m working on.

It took a lot of time to do this sample sheet and by the time I was done, I was irritated. My patience was very thin and I had to still clean it and fill in all the freaking stamped parts…But I’m glad I did this because now, HUGE time saver for me. Time is money…and money means coffee, right? 😉

I made a huge sample piece of copper sheet and stamped all of my letters. After stamping them, I made “I am enough” stamped samples so I can show people what the font looks like with “I am enough” since that is the most ordered item in my shop.

Most artists are visual, so, in it makes sense to me that my stamps have some kind of marking on them to show me where my thumb goes and where the location of “top” of the letter is.

One thing I’ve done is …on all 4 sides of my stamp, I have taken a word and corresponded that word to the letter of the stamp. Here’s my list and WHY I chose that word. Oh wait, I digress…

Speaking of words, you guys know I love the Four Agreements. So I love the one agreement that says “Be impeccable with your word” ~ words are powerful.

Some people read daily devotionals, I have my little daily devotionals right in my studio, where I can see them every day.

Each letter has a meaning and I’ve tried to be creative and fun at the same time. I’ve tried to be consistent but some days are better than others. It’s just easy for me to reach for the word than the letter of each stamp. After a few years of reaching, it became obvious to me that I needed to drop what worked for everyone else and be true to my own brain. Some words have more meaning than others.

A- always stands for “Ass” – as in “Don’t be one” and a smartass reminder to be kind

B- usually is “Boy” ~ easy to remember 🙂

C- Cat

D- Dog

E- Ego ~ this one is a huge reminder to stay humble

F- Fear (face everything and rise)

G- God or girl

H- Halt – For “am I taking care of me today?” (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)

I – ignore ~ ignore negative thoughts and people… or “Ice”

J- jump

K- King

L – Love…because…LOVE!

M- Marry (this always makes me think of my handsome groom of 18 years!)

N-No or Nope (don’t be in a rush, slow down, breathe)

O- Oil

P- Play~ because…life is too short to not play!

Q- Queen (umm…because I am?)

R- Run (usually)

S- Stop (stretch my neck, get up and stretch, pay attention to my body mechanics)

T- Tool (because, TOOLS HELLOOOO)

U- Up (look up, ease eye strain and neck/arm stretches)

V – Vote (I don’t know why but I usually VOTE to have a sip of coffee haha)

W – Worry (sometimes confused with “marry” but pffft whatever)

X – just usually stays “X” or “x-ray”

Y- Yep (it’s a good day, yep!)

Z- Zebra or Zee

You can make your own words or just use the letters. I also put a tiny bit of color on the top of the stamp so I know which way to orient them to the top so I’m not stamping upside down (don’t ask how many times THAT happened!) There’s some that I have really screwed up and need to fix. They’re not all this crazy. This is an early font set so it’s pretty messy. I refined my later stamps 🙂

I lay the stamps out in the order I’ll use them and no, I’m normally not THIS organized but it’s a blog, right? 😉 IMG_2343

Because my spinner is so much thinner, I have to use my calipers to see which font will fit on the tiny width and these fit pretty good. As does the heart my customer chose 🙂

 

I lay out my tape and get to work. I make sure my tape is straight all the way across.

Using the tape as the guide to where the bottom of my stamp should rest. Going easy on the metal, buffing out takes time and time is money! Here’s my letter “i”

 

 

Because I was taking pics for the blog post, I was distracted (SURPRISE!) and screwed up a cardinal rule about the lowercase letter “G”

Let me tell you about letter “g” …if you’re a serious person, letter “g” will give you the worst lemon sucking expression you have ever had. Stamp the letter “g” wrong and you have ruined the piece. I hate the letter “g” because she’s such a princess!

The letter “G” gets thrown across the room more than my hammers!

Letter “G” is a royal pain in the ass. There’s a tail that the letter “g” has that goes below the tape edge and if you don’t get that just right, cussing will probably ensue (another reason I don’t cut my metal before I stamp, what a waste!)

Grrrrr I hate it when this happens so take it from me, keep a scrap on your bench block and repeat after me “this is the letter “g” and she needs some special attention.”

Optivisors help in this instance and it’s worth the extra time to get it right.

Since I screwed up that piece I’m going to show you a tip I learned the hard way.

I laid out my copper scrap, taped it and here’s a letter “g” before I marked it up on the sides.

You can see where I stamp it, that it’s above the line. I can sight it by eye to make it hit the line but that takes time and bends my neck weird, so I made the lines on the bottom part of the letter “g” …so that the letter is balanced.

Does that make sense?

I made a line on my stamp, then lined it up with the tape so that it will be even with the rest of the words I’m stamping.

Otherwise it will be like the red headed step child at the family reunion…just a tad out of place.

Practice makes perfect <snickersnort> or as good as we’re gonna get.

Good thing hand made has the charm of being imperfect!

Before and after, I had to put the camera down and get serious!

Off to the buffer to remove all the marks and measure it for trimming, or, as precise as I can get.

Usually I can tell if I have to re-do any letters after I’m done buffing and now is the time I’d re-stamp if I didn’t get any letters deep enough. Sometimes I get carried away with buffing and remove too much metal!

Trimming it with my guillotine shear (4″ Pepe guillotine shear) I removed the plate on my shear and have it totally bare bones so it fits on the top of my jewelers bench. I line the left dot with the right dot and get it as straight as I can. If it’s not 100% straight, I can fix that later, after I form the ring.

IMG_2377

Trimmed. Not perfect, but less sanding will be needed. I LOVE my Pepe shear. I can see a bit of a dent under my heart. I’ll buff that out and fix it in a bit. PS~ when using a shear, a quick hard cut makes the edge flat. If you go slow, it will make a tapered cut.

I am enough raw unflared

The finished product! I added some hammer texture to both rings and showed this pic to my customer. She wanted it antiqued, but after seeing the “matte and naked” look…decided to go with this look. I managed to buff out the tiny dent using the buffer and made the edges of both rings smooth so they don’t cut into her fingers when she closes her hand.

I still have to flare these but you can see all the rings I’ve made here in my Etsy shop! LindaboBinda’s Etsy shop

or on my Facebook page LindaBoBinda’s Designs Facebook page

and I’d LOVE it if you could follow my antics on Instagram LindaBoBinda’s Designs in Oregon

Have fun hand stamping!

Peace!

 

Customer Service

So, customer service? Yes or no?

Please say “Yes”… please.

Sometimes I think people hear something over and over and it tends to lose it’s meaning. At least it’s true for me, sometimes. “Customer service” …say it over and over and see if it GAINS any meaning. No? You’re not alone 🙂

When I was young, my dad was in the military and when I got older, he went to school to become a refrigerator and AC guy. He got his degree and opened up a small business. He “gave away” a lot of services and helped a ton of people.

If you didn’t have the money, he would typically lower his price, telling the customers that it was time for a sale on that part anyway.” He had a soft spot for old people. You know the kind, alone and living on social security, tucked away and forgotten with few friends or family. Some little old ladies would call him and say “Harry, my refrigerator went out and my food is going to spoil.” So, my dad would put his sandwich down and drive over and take care of it, usually the same day. And once there, he sometimes found out that they had very little food or their pilot light needed to be lit…and her husband did it for 40 years, but she was scared to light it herself. My dad took care of those things.

I’d help him out here and there, cleaning,  handing tools to him and answering phones. He taught me to say “Yes ma’am” and “Yes sir” when chatting with customers on the phone. (it’s a Southern thing!)

He taught me to be kind and to be patient. I learned a lot but what I learned the most was how he treated his customers.

See, my dad wasn’t fancy, he had a beat up old pickup truck with those lock boxes in the back. He wore the same type of shirt every day and…he kept it really simple.

He enjoyed his work and he really enjoyed helping people. He kept candy in the car so when he did drive up banking, he would toss one in the little gizmo that shuttled capsule back and forth to say “Thanks.” And to see them smile.

mints1

 

I heard something that struck me as a life nugget…

“reputation follows you everywhere in life”

I learned from horrible sales people and jerk face waiters and impatient mechanics and snobby medical professionals… how to NOT treat people. I also learned from the compassionate and kind medical professionals, the over the top helpful sales people and the waiters that bent over backwards to do a great job.

Their reputation precedes them. I want the good ones helping, not the bad ones. A great waitress can make a dull evening fun and enjoyable.

Walking into a place, I love it when someone greets me and asks me how I’m doing and if I need any help. The really good ones will know when to step in and when to just let me wander. I really don’t like hate despise loathe those people that don’t LISTEN to what you’re saying and not saying. You know the ones, they are aggressive sales people, smarmy (go ahead, look that one up, I’ll wait) unctuous (I’ll wait again…just in case you don’t know what that one means either) weirdos that think you’re a patsy. I have no problem telling them I’m only there to look and please go help someone else out leave me the hell alone, I know exactly what kind of chair I want

When I started LindaBoBinda’s Designs, I never really thought I’d be where I’m at today. I’m sooooooooooooo freaking glad I kept the basics that my dad taught me – to be kind, punctual and to have a product worthy of value. The best thing to him was repeat business and customer referrals. I decided I want that too.

When I started, goodness, my work was rather simple, thin, watery and bland. I kept pictures, I have proof.

My mom taught me to never leave a house party or dinner without offering to help clean up, and to get their early to help, if possible. She liked to help and serve, as well as my dad. (Southern Hospitality was the norm in the house)

I took the best of both of them, along with some tidbits along the way and I try to integrate them into each and every customer interaction. Even if I don’t get a sale, I’m kind anyway. When I know I can make 300.00 off a custom order but I know someone else who can do it better – I refer out. Why? Because it’s integrity … I like having integrity. Doing the right thing, even if it costs you money.

And …well….karma.

See, I learned a really important lesson along the way. I like to sleep good at night. I’ll chase someone down to make sure they got their proper change when I screwed up. I’ll also chase them down if they walked away by accident without paying (hey, farmers markets are busy places lol)

I’ll explain a few things but tell you where to find the info on your own, I have limits on how MUCH I’ll help.

But those 5 stars, I bend over backwards for those. That means something to me. It means I stood up for my beliefs and how I treat people. It means I spent of extra time with the customer who needed some extra hand holding. And I don’t charge a PITA fee.

What? You don’t know what a PITA fee is?

It’s a (turn the kids away, this part is NSFW)

PAIN IN THE ASS fee

Because, you know… some people are really difficult.

No need to be unkind, just simply back away and refer them out to someone who can help them.

I live …okay, okay, I TRY my best to live by the Four Agreements.

Don’t make assumptions

Don’t take anything personally

Be impeccable with your word

Always do your best

The Four Agreements, written by Don Miguel Ruiz. I really recommend it. If you don’t read it, memorize those 4 lines. Life changing words. All 16 of them!

Four agreements

You counted the words, didn’t you? (Don’t worry, I did too!) ha!

So, being a jewelry artist here’s the skinny on how I integrate those 4 on any given day.

I just do it. It’s about the customer, not me. And some days are better than others.

Because at the end of the day, when I send that final picture to my customer and say “here’s your size 9 sterling silver spinner wedding ring” and they “ooh and ahh” over it…

and then polish it and inspect it for “quality control” for the umteenth time (what? too much?) and

put it in a gift box

wrap it with ribbon

tie the bow

add a sticker that says “Thank You”

Throw in a business card (because, “referrals and repeat business”)

and yep, if I have it, I throw in a mint (thanks Dad!)

and stick it in the envelope and slap a stamp on it…and send it off

I HAVE to know, I NEED to know…that I did my best.

I like sleeping good at night.

So, go the extra mile. Don’t skimp on quality materials or work with crappy tools. Wear clean clothes, BE KIND to everyone (you really don’t know what kind of day people are having!) if someone is crabby (they might be the distressed bride looking for a budget ring, so be compassionate because… that’s all they have to spend)

Take time to chat unless you’re super busy, then learn ways of getting people to move along (hey, farmers markets might be the ONLY day they see people! You might be the only person that said “Hey! How are you doing today?” (and for gods sake, don’t just be nice to people because you want the sale, because as soon as they leave and the fake smile comes off your face…THAT energy flows to the next person and…sleeping good at night, remember?)

And, if they don’t buy anything after you have been kind, after you have spent time with them, after x,y,z…wish them a good day. Remember…energy. Thank them for coming in, or sending you a request on Etsy, or stopping by your booth.

One last thing (I told you when I first started this blog I’m a bit long winded, right?) 😛

I was also taught “Be kind, but take no shit”

That means, we don’t have to put up with abusive customers, people who are aggressively trying to haggle you down, tell you “I can make that too” or the person who wants to photograph your work so they can copy it… Just move them along.

Have fun being the best you can be. I’d love to know what your customer service includes, there’s always room for improvement!

nomudnolotuspic

And remember, the beautiful lotus cannot grow anywhere except for mud. So, if you’re struggling with customer service, good. That means you’re trying and at the end of the day that is all anyone can ask for!

 

🙂

Peace,

Linda

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decisions, Decisions!

I get asked a LOT of questions about custom orders. There’s so much to choose from when you’re ordering custom handmade jewelry!

I’m creating this blog to help my customers visually see their choices for their custom jewelry 🙂

Typically, most of my orders are custom spinner rings, which I absolutely love to make!

My order forms go like this ~

Spinner ring

Metal choices…

Copper or sterling silver base ring (ring that is next to the finger)

See the copper ring in the upper right corner? That’s my signature “cow spots” spinner ring! Crazy cool designs! They’re all different 🙂 (Best if you order it naked and matte, as time goes on the copper will oxidize to a gorgeous deep hue and really look cool against the silver color!)

The dark ring in the upper left pic is matte and antiqued with some hammered texture. The spinners are all different. It makes for an interesting mix. The sterling silver ring is hammered with the “tree trunk texture” and has multiple spinners as well. You can keep it simple with one spinner or go up to 3-4 spinners. You can also have a spinner ring and stamped band, just keep in mind that the more you have on there, the less room the spinners will have to spin 🙂

 

Size?

(by the way, sizing a wide band ring is much different than a simple band..sometimes we add 1/2-full size larger than a regular ring. It’s all math and kinda boring but important!)

If you normally wear a size 8, then your spinner ring will probably NOT be a size 8. Wide band rings displace more skin which is why they get stuck. I recommend going to a jeweler and asking them to fit you for a 1/2 ring (if that’s what you’re ordering!) and get your true “wide ring size”

Why? Because in the few years I’ve been doing this I get heartbreaking emails and convo’s via Etsy all the time that their ring they ordered is too tight. They didn’t listen and went ahead and ordered a size 8, even though I told them they’ll need a size 8.5 or even a size 9. I don’t refund custom rings. They take hours to make and I’m so careful and considerate with each one. I take my orders seriously and have put a lot of time into learning what I know so I expect you to take  the high road and get sized properly 🙂 It breaks my heart to hear “Linda, I proposed with a “marry me” ring you made me for the proposal but it’s too tight on her hand, what do I do?” See? Breaks my heart. I mean, I can *try* to resize it but once the ring is flared so the spinners stay on, it’s pretty much a pain in the rear to fix. So please, get fitted properly!

Rant over 🙂

Width? Here you can see the “thinner spinners” They’re about 1/4″ and too thin to really “spin” the spinners. Rather, the spinners are pretty much decoration and can fall off because there’s no room. Spinners that are on the main “base” ring and don’t spin, I call those “fixed” spinners, because they’re “fixed” into place. It’s a great look and perfect for people who love the look, but don’t want the distraction of spinning rings!

I can make my rings as narrow or as wide as you want. I typically don’t go under 7-8 mm on the “thinner spinners” and I don’t recommend going over 1/2″ on the wide end. It’s entirely up to you though, you know your comfort level best 🙂

On the main “base” ring, do you want anything stamped? If so…where? do you want a secret “love note” or name or date or quote that you want kept private? Easy peasy, if it’s short, then a larger font is doable, if it’s long, keep in mind the words will have to fit somehow and a smaller font will have to be considered.

You can always have the outside sprinkled with hearts, flowers, dragonflies, moons and stars. I have tons of examples, just ask!

You also have your choice of texture. I have special texture hammers that are awesome, as well as some rolling mill patterns!

You can have the edges straight or wavy.

You have your choice of matte or shiny for the “finish”

 

You have your choice of naked or antiqued for the “color” Oh! And “cow spots” too!!

I know, it’s overwhelming isn’t it? Of course, you can always link me to a ring I’ve made and say “make mine look like this” if it’s a simple “I am enough” ring and you happen to have a photo.

Want to know a secret? I have over 28,000 photos on my computer. Half of those (or better) are of my jewelry and the jewelry making process. It’s insane. I’m totally a share-queen (not a word in Websters? Oh well, I just made it up then!)

Onward…

for the spinner -it’s the same thing

Metal

You can have a sterling silver, brass or copper spinner. You can have a MIX of spinners! You can have a simple, smooth or hammered spinner. You can have a heart/love knot spinner. You can have a tiny brass heart, dragonfly, dove, sunburst, starfish or dove added to your spinner! Keep in mind that the dragonfly, sunburst and starfish all have pointy ends. I smooth them down but, still, pointy.

You can have a 2 mm or 3 mm stone/gem cabochon added to your spinner

I can stamp with any of my dozens of design stamps

And, again with the finish and color ~ do you want the mirror finish or matte? And do you want naked (think “shiny penny” for copper) or antiquing?

You have your choice of fonts like these

And design stamps like these

I might get more in after I post this blog, just ask 🙂

Added a tree, bird, musical stamps, tiny feet and another set of really cool fonts. I blacken in the stamp then rub it off. Here I was in a hurry but you can still see the stamp, even though I didn’t remove all the black off the higher parts.

And, if there’s something that you want me to add and are willing to wait for me to order the stamp, then ask and I’ll order it. It will be worth the wait, I promise!

The possibilities are endless. The combinations are mind boggling. Just when I think I’ve done all the combo’s, someone says “hey, can you put dragonflies on the edge and add a tiny brass sunburst in the middle” or some off the edge of the world design request and I perk up with “Wow, that is going to look so cool!” and then before I know it, we’ve added another fun design to my 28,000 photo pile!

I’ll try to keep up on this blog post by adding photos or removing them as time goes on. Things change around all the time!

Some photos I snap with my phone in my studio, where the light isn’t all that great.

I hope this helps you understand the fonts that you can choose from. And explains the finishes and colors and design stamps and how creative and fun overwhelming this whole process of “custom ring making” can be!

And a side note, hand stamping is using one stamp at a time and nothing is perfect. That’s what is so cool about it, it’s hand made!

Engraving is a whole ‘nother animal 🙂 I do lots of handstamping and I’m not set up to do engraving. Engraving is beautiful though, isn’t it?

If you want to delve into the world of hand stamping, a great place to start is a place called impressarts.com or beadeducation.com ~ there’s others (google is your friend) 😉

 

 

 

Peace!