Monday, 25 May 2015

More Stretch Stacker Bracelets...

As of today's writing, these bracelets are all available at the One of a Kind Antique Mall in Showcase 800, just past the cash desk.


Vintage chevron beads, vintage brass spacers, glass.

Translucent agate, pale green serpentine(?), blue etched agate, pewter. Both $38.

Email me for availability, shipping and handling extra. I can also remake these in different sizes; as a default I make most of them in a loose medium fit.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, 22 May 2015

More Father's Day Gifts...

...and lots more to come in the next few weeks!

Carved bone arrowhead chokers on black Greek leather:
     $8 for the 2-skull choker and $10 for the 6-skull choker with black bone arrowhead;
     $12 for the black glass bead & black bone arrowhead choker with vintage brass spacers;
     and $15 for the black glass with larger natural bone arrowhead choker with vintage brass spacers:

Longer adjustable carved bone dragon pendant necklaces with glass beads & vintage brass spacers, $25 each:

Note the variegated Picasso finish of the red and blue-grey-green beads. 

You can see these and more at the Woodstock Farmers Market on Nellis Street tomorrow morning from 7:00 a.m. until noon. My booth is easy to find: across the room from the main entrance and slightly to the left.

I will also be putting a selection of my new items into Showcase 800 (the white showcase just past the cash desk on the main floor) at the One of a Kind Antique Mall on Wilson Street, open seven days a week from 10:a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

If you prefer to shop online, please email me for shipping cost as well as availability or to inquire about commissioning a specific size or colour -- or something completely different. I take PayPal, Square (and bank e-Transfer in Canada).

Note that I am happy where possible to swap out pendants or to remake items using different types of metals (sterling, pewter, tinned copper, copper, vintage brass & copper, etc.) and materials (metals, bone, glass, ceramic, semi-precious stones).

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Father's Day Gift: Ammonite & Golden Obsidian Leather Choker...

Made this at the market on Saturday. Ammonite and golden obsidian, brass heishi and copper rings on an adjustable Greek leather cord:

I carry lots of great jewellery for guys. This would make a wonderful Father's Day or grad gift. Please email me for availability and shipping charges, or better yet, come and see my jewellery and all the other great vendors at the Woodstock Farmer's Market every Saturday morning from 7:00 a.m. to noon, on Nellis Street at the fairgrounds.

See you there!

My IdiotPhone Died...

And of course, it had to do this in the middle of the afternoon on the long weekend when everything was closed. Not that there was any phone call I particularly needed to make, but I am rather fond of its picture-taking capabilities.

This morning, I took the phone into the Telus store and in less than a minute the lady there worked her magic. I didn't see any mention of this magic trick when I plugged in variations on "why is my idiotPhone dead?" online to find out what the problem might be and how much this was going to cost (lots, it appears -- when no one quotes even a ballpark figure, you know you're in trouble) and I was afraid, very afraid.

The magic trick is the ALT-CTRL-DEL of the phone world: press the top OFF button and the bottom ON button at the same time and hold. Maybe 8 or 10 seconds later -- if the battery is still alive and not dead because you dropped it -- the white apple will appear, it will reboot itself and Bob's your uncle.

The Telus lady said that sometimes there's a arbitrary glitch for no reason and it just wants to reboot. I also read that a typical phone battery is good for 500 charges. I've had mine for just over two years. So a charge every two to four days, take my socks off here........... At most, that's 300 charges.

Now we know.

Friday, 1 May 2015

New Jewellery Showcase at the One of a Kind Antique Mall...

Yes! Finally filled up and running! Showcase 800/847 is now located just past the cash desk as you come into the main level of the One of a Kind Antique Mall. It's now filled with my jewellery and collectible beads and Nancy's great bone and pottery dishes among many other goodies.

We have a new partner in Booth 800/847. Judith (Vendor 822) contributes great vintage finds almost daily, including ladies' accessories and boudoirish doodads. Judith also has a showcase up at the front across from the cash desk full of vintage and collectible jewellery and odds and ends.

Here is a picture of our booth as of about 3:00 p.m. on Friday, 01 May 2015. The booth is filled to bursting. We have many gardening and cook books now, too. We're very easy to find -- directly across from the ladies' washroom.

We restock every couple of days. If you're looking for something in particular that we might come across on our travels, or you see something in the photos you're interested in and want to know the price or if it's still available, please email me. Personal shopping only for these items (the jewellery I can ship).

The One of a Kind Antique Mall is located in the three story brick factory at 97 Wilson Street, Woodstock and has three floors with over 80,000 square feet and over 500 vendors. Take the Norwich Ave exit north off the 401. Norwich eventually curves and then becomes Wilson Street. There's a huge parking lot on your right, just after the tracks. The mall is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week all year round (except stat holidays).

Hope to see you there, and thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

1951 British Penny Farthing Coin Bracelet...

Swapped this broken bracelet two weeks ago for a stringing job done for Liane, the Vintage Lady at the market, back in the winter. Liane had shown me the bracelet the week before, but I wasn't particularly interested as this type of vintage jewellery doesn't appeal. I did like the birds -- Jenny Wrens as I discovered today online. However, once I saw earrings made with the same coins a few days later on Pinterest...

...the penny dropped (sorry, couldn't resist) and I knew I had to have this bracelet. I was sweating bullets waiting for Saturday, hoping it hadn't sold.

I'm taking it apart so I can make earrings and pendants out of it. Not too sure if the soldered bails will hold if the coins are used as pendants, but so far they seem pretty strong. It was links on the outer chain that had come apart.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Mystery Beads...

I dug out these old hand-carved matte mystery beads that I would like to mix with either large chunks of turquoise, chrysocolla or even some rough chunks of black tourmaline. I think they might be carnelian, certainly agate -- but the buttery yellow beads are throwing me, if they have a different name possibly. Looking at them under bright light, you can clearly see banding inside.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks for looking!

Monday, 27 April 2015

"Powerful Woman, Powerful Love", A Wild & Raw Turquoise Bracelet...

Anatomy of a commission: the questions I've learned learned to ask... mostly the hard way.

Always take written notes. Get their email or phone number. Do not be afraid to ask for a deposit, particularly from first time customers, and it's perfectly acceptable to ask for enough to cover any out-of-pocket expenses.

Saturday 18 April:

Last week at the market I received a turquoise bracelet commission from Marlene, who will be attending a wedding in October, so we have plenty of time -- I like her already! Marlene told me her dress is grey and very simple in style, she won't be wearing any other jewellery, wants an off-the-charts turquoise bracelet that's chunky but not blingy -- and also requires that the design be something she could wear daily.

As a side note re the dress, normally I would also ask to see the item of clothing or other jewellery that is to be matched as fibre, texture and sheen all affect any colour. Is this a blue-grey, green-grey, yellow-grey or purple-grey? Pale, medium or dark grey? In this case, the beads are all different turquoises and the bracelet a statement, standalone item, so given the design parameters I think it's safe in this case to assume that whatever grey the dress is (even its style) is of very little importance.

After looking at bracelets I have on the table, she said she didn't want one with a clasp, that she prefers the stretchy bracelets. I let Marlene try on a bracelet that fits me to figure out a good fit for her: just snug on me should fit her perfectly. I've found fit to be quite different than length; bead chunkiness being the major factor. We also determined her budget.

I showed her examples of my "good" turquoise, the Sleeping Beauty, Castle Dome and Kingman, but nope, even the nuggets were all too blue and way too tiny, shiny, perfect and pretty. We need more chunk. The Ma'an Shan nuggets were heading in the right direction because of the matrix and shape, but the strings are graded, so all the beads are roughly the same size and colour distribution. Then she saw my rough donuts and pendants, in particular the Chinese spiderweb, and said that was the idea of the look she was after.

Going through an elimination process with your customer is important. I discovered a long time ago that people may not know what they want, but they are very clear when it comes to what they don't want or like. I'm sure you've all either said yourselves or heard a variation on: "I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it." Just as important as budget, it's critical to find out early on in the commission process what they absolutely do NOT like/want.

Saturday 25 April:

This morning at the market I spent two hours sorting and sifting through my stash of miscellaneous chunky Chinese turquoise. I was a little stumped in which direction I should go and was thinking right about now I needed her input because these particular beads I'd initially chosen were maybe a bit on the large size for a bracelet.

From a technical design perspective, I also needed something to smooth out and cover the "corners" created by such large beads. After trying and rejecting umpteen sizes and shapes of silvery pewter beads as being too big or too blingy I decided to incorporate these 4/0 black glass beads. I had first thought about using matte black beads, but I think the gloss gives off just that subtle titch of formality and elegance. Copper wouldn't work in this instance because it'd give a too casual vibe -- have to keep in mind this is for a wedding. But there's no reason that later on we couldn't restring the bracelet with copper to change the whole look and feel of the bracelet.

At this point, Marlene dropped by to -- yay! --see how things were going, and she approved of the direction I'd taken with the black beads. We discussed whether it should have a "back" and a "front" (no) -- and she chose the final large black spiderweb bead. I subbed out a couple of smaller beads for the large one. She left me to it, and I played more with the bead order.

This is what I ended up with:

Sunday 26 April: 

Living with it a day and looking at the picture with fresh eyes, I find I don't like that there are four of the large pewter spacer beads. At least one of them will be coming off. I'm also questioning whether I should have the two pewter beads flanking the large blue turquoise bead. This was a leftover design element from the bracelet having a front and back, with one main focal bead. All this is to say I really do need to get into the habit of photographing things before tying off the Stretch Magic (or crimping the wire) in order to check the balance. Measure twice, cut once; but photograph as many times as necessary first! If nothing else, it's getting expensive tossing half the roll of Stretch Magic or stringing wire.

Here are two more versions:

10:00 a.m. Monday morning:

Coming back with fresh eyes to look at the photos, I think I prefer the version with three pewter beads.

I'd sent the original picture to Ruth (who works with me at The Gem Expo) and she wrote back:

"This is really lovely, ... something she will wear daily. It shouts "powerful woman, powerful love" to me." 

I'll definitely let you know what Marlene thinks when she picks up the bracelet this coming Saturday.

Please email me with comments or if you would like to commission something. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Hematite & Mixed Metals...

Do you ever get those very specific requests where, no matter how you fiddle and restring and try different beads, there is absolutely no way the colours are going to work?

That was my dilemma today at the market. I'd been asked to mix hematite with "green glass" beads. The beads I had should have worked but no way this bracelet was going to come together. Gave up on that, thinking, ehhh, she's probably not even going to come back.

Instead, I dug out some brass birds I've been wanting to play with and, oh, boy, now we're cooking. Added some copper jump rings and even better.

Hematite, brass birds, copper jump rings as spacers and a big-holed pewter bead to hide the knot on Stretch Magic.

I think what really works is the contrast between the glossy black hematite and the matte vintage goldy-brass of the birds. That little flash of copper makes the birds pop.

Then my customer showed up. Uh oh. I showed her the glass beads I had been playing with and she liked them well enough, but when I showed her the bracelet... She loved it!! It was a bit too big for her, so I made another one while she did her shopping. Et voila, she's a happy camper.

If you're interested in ordering this particular bracelet, it's $35, shipping and handling is extra. Please email me for availability, or to order something made just for you.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Two Skull Bracelets...

A busy market this morning. In between restringing a broken choker and selling, earrings and pendants and lots and lots of skulls to the cutest little kids -- man, kids have such great taste these days, don't they? -- I made these two bracelets over... and over... and over. First I didn't stretch the Stretch Magic enough so the bracelet was too floopy, then I discovered the skulls were facing the opposite ways after I tied off the elastic, or then it ended up too small for the person I had in mind. Sigh...

All was not lost: my imaginary customer bought the one on the right.

Red bamboo coral, silver-plated pewter skulls, old chevrons, red picasso and black glass beads. The bracelet on the left is still for sale, $17 plus shipping. I can also remake the one on the right ($10), with slightly different bamboo beads (or turquoise or other beads as requested, price would be adjusted). Email me for details, pix.

Thanks for looking!