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Sea glass clusters

I’ve got summer and beaches on the brain.  Steve and I love to comb the sand (on certain beaches) looking for sea glass. I have containers full of pieces waiting to be made into jewelry, so in anticipation of beach season I made up a grouping of these charm cluster pendants.
I love the puns that people use in naming a beach house

Each necklace has a piece of sea glass or chalcedony, a sealife charm, and stamped phrase like “beach babe” or “by the sea.”

I used my newest set of letter stamps which are tiny lowercase letters.  They’re especially hard to stamp perfectly straight, so I am embracing the whimsical look that results.  These are headed to the shop downtown, but feel free to email me if you’d like something similar.  I can customize the phrase I stamp if you prefer your kids’ names or (ahem) the name of *your* beach house.

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Personalized Pieces

I have made hundreds of necklaces for moms and grandmothers representing their families.  Stamped discs and other shapes, one tag per name or all the names on one like this grandmother’s tag. (This is her son’s family and her daughter’s family was on a second tag.)

I really like the look of initials with a dot border…

… so I decided to make one for myself now that we have Bowen.  Except if I do my children’s initials it’s either a type of tampon (OB) or body odor (BO – also that looks like just Bowen’s name).  So I thought I’d add Steve’s initials to make an odd number, but if I put them in order of appearance in my life it makes SOB.  Add in my own initials and people are going to think I’m really into Japanese noodles.

So back to square one with just my kids’ names…  I could collectively refer to them as Bolivia.  Or oboe.  And so it goes… The cobbler’s kids remain barefoot and I don’t have a stamped name necklace to wear.

Mother’s Day is coming up, so please don’t wait until May to request a personalized necklace for a mom in your life.

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And for the record

So after I wrote about the 800th earrings it took me another day before I started wondering how many necklaces I was up to.  (Seriously. I don’t have time to notice stuff like this.)  Here is a necklace in the current grouping I’m prepping for the shop, N900. 

That’s right, the nine HUNDREDTH necklace I have inventoried.  This just blows my mind because it doesn’t even count the dozens (hundreds?) of stamped personalized necklaces, like this one I did last week with my new handprint and footprint tags.

My daughter has been bringing home sweet little handprint artwork from preschool, and the little foot reminds me of the “fingerprinting” they did on my son as a newborn.  This necklace is for someone else, but that reminds me I still need to add a “Bowen” tag to my “Olivia” necklace.  What is that saying about the cobbler’s kids having no shoes?

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Helping Haitian Angels

I like to share when I have a project that touches my heart.  This time it was for a woman named Debbie who, with her husband, started an orphanage in Haiti that has helped save the lives of countless children since it opened in 2008. Watching this informational video absolutely brought me to tears, and I am so proud of the work they are doing.

Debbie commissioned me to make special thank-you gifts for the volunteers who have traveled multiple times to Haiti to help out with the orphanage.  Together we designed these pendants (with angel wing charms) for the ladies and keychains for the guys that read the name of the orphanage, Helping Hatian Angels.

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I love my job

I just want to say THANK YOU to my customers, friends, and family who have helped make 2010 another great year for AnneMade Jewelry.  It never ceases to amaze, tickle, and humble me that something so fun can also be successful.  
I give a huge amount of credit to Simply Charming Boutique, the only place you can see and hold and try on my creations in person.  Brenda Adams and her team have created a fabulous place for women in Winchester to shop for all kinds of jewelry and fun gifts like monogrammed umbrellas, cowboy rain boots, and Vera Bradley. 
Happy new year!
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Tattoo Pendant

I like to share about custom orders that have a story behind them. A few years ago my friend Josh suggested I make jewelry from tattoo images.  I pshaw-ed him at the time, picturing skulls and dragons, until I discovered henna tattoos.  I never did anything with that (the idea is still filed away for a rainy day!) but I was recently contacted to design a piece for a woman whose husband’s tribal-style tattoo bears the initials of their children: K, G, and W.  Their friend who commissioned the piece sent me this picture of the tattoo to use.  No problem, right?

After playing around with the image in Photoshop I created a Custom Texture Sheet (tutorial here) and rolled my PMC over the top.  Bada bing, bada boom:

If you want to hear more “Behind the Jewelry” stories, click here or on the “Custom” label below. 

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Two New Tutorials

Custom Texture Sheets for Metal Clay or Polymer Clay

Remember this custom pendant I created from a wedding invitation?  Now you can make your own raised monograms, or you can type out a phrase in a pretty font to use again and again instead of stamping each letter individually.  Like this.
Vertebraid Bangle
This is a square/round (as opposed to flat) braid created with doubled strands of fine-gauge wire.  It makes an interesting base for sliders or Pandora beads.  Click here for the tutorial.
I had this braid sitting on my desk all summer; I’d pick it up and work on it when my computer was busy processing so I don’t really know how long it took me to braid. I think it takes less time than Viking Weave, but then again it depends on your proficiency at each.
Enjoy these new projects!
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Etching

You can read about my initial foray into etching in earlier posts, saltwater and acid.  I finally had the time to do the real commissioned piece, and my customer chose the chiseled font (which we agreed looks better with her initials than a script).  However, that also meant I needed to find a way to transfer the image from my computer onto the surface of the copper to act as a resist.  Because I have known how to etch in theory for years, I also have a collection of websites with helpful info.  This one explains how to use a printer or photocopier for image transfer, and it worked successfully.  This piece looks pretty on its new owner with her beautiful red hair.  Copper is so perfect for fall, and this is a unique monogram pendant that is not available in stores.

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Salt Water Etching

My friend Trice, who sews and will monogram anything that isn’t nailed down (and does a great job), sent me this picture and asked if I could make her one.  I could tell it is a copper pendant, most likely etched.  In theory I can do copper etching, and I have the bookmarked web pages to prove it, but in reality I had never tried it.  Most of my customers want this type of look in silver, so I normally use PMC with a custom texture sheet.  (Note to self: write a tutorial for that.)

I wanted to try salt water etching because I aim to be The Lazy Etcher, so I’d prefer to just pour the solution in the sink when I’m finished and “chase it down with plenty of water,” as my organic chem professor used to say.  I dragged my husband, whom I met in that o-chem lab, to Radio Shack to obtain a single D cell battery holder and a couple of alligator clips.  I noted that The Shack also carries ferric chloride in case this method didn’t work.  (Ferric chloride just needs baking soda to neutralize it anyway, not that bad.)  I also noted the irony that it’s usually the husband dragging the wife to Radio Shack.  Thank you for not being an electronics geek, sweetie.

Which of these does not belong? 

Well, they all do in this case.  After sanding a piece of 24ga copper with steel wool I cleaned it with acetone (okay, nail polish remover), then alcohol.  I freehanded the monogram with a Sharpie, which didn’t look awesome but this was just a test run anyway.  I put a spot of nail polish in the margin to note the difference in masking quality.  I wrapped the back and edges of the copper in duct tape to keep them from being eaten away, then I cut another piece of copper to be the cathode.  A spoonful of salt, a glass of warm water, and some wirework skills to attach the clips to the leads on the battery.  Clippy clippy, dunk dunk, battery in, and I was in business.  Bubbles started forming on the cathode, which was a good sign.  After about 10 minutes brown sludge appeared around the anode side (another good sign).  After 20 minutes I still wasn’t seeing much etching going on, so I added more salt.
Sigh.

I let it go for over an hour (instructions found on the web suggested etching for 5-60 minutes), then used acetone to clean off the resist.  My design was still shiny while the negative space was matte, which indicated that my resist was working, but there was no cut (nothing was really etched away).  Stay tuned for Round 2.
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New location

Hey, Winchester!  There is a new salon in Creekside (the original section way to the left) called J. Jett Salon & Company.  I’ve been getting my hair cut by Jamie (the owner) for about a year now and she’s great!  (540) 686-7225   I love that she’s a straight shooter, and I think Creekside is a good location for her.  Her mom Janet is the shampoo girl who also gives hand massages.
And?  There is a small selection of AnneMade Jewelry for sale at J. Jett Salon …

$30 Pendant necklaces

Hand-stamped pendants ($30-40)
The majority of my inventory is still at Simply Charming Boutique on the Loudon Street walking mall.  I love Brenda and think she’s doing a fantastic job with the shop.  Every time I go in there things are different and new, which I know is a lot of work but makes it more fun for us to shop.