New Camera!

Well, I finally did it. I finally made the leap and purchased a new digital camera for myself. I went to my favorite online retailer, Amazon.com, and completed the transaction (the camera has been sitting in my cart for over a month). It will be here on Wednesday!

If you'd see the one that I have right now, you would know that I am LOOOOOOONG overdue. My brother has even told me that he's embarassed to go anywhere with me if I take my old one. We call it "The Brick." It's a Kodak DC3400 Zoom, which my husband bought for me for my birthday in December of 1999. Now, granted it's old and it's huge and it's definitely outdated; however, it's done the job for me quite proper, so I can't complain. Aside from the size, however, the LCD screen is about shot, it's a battery hog, and soon I don't think I'll be able to purchase the type of Compact Flash cards it needs anymore. Regardless, I'm still going to hold on to it as our "beater" camera.

So, let's get back to the new purchase. Oh, the new purchase. I'm quite pleased with it: The Canon PowerShot A720IS 8MP Digital Camera with 6x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom. I am drooling over it for many reasons (visit Canon for the full spec). First, at one of my old jobs we worked on a marketing piece for Canon, and we had the opportunity to interview several well-known photographers (Greg Gorman and Barbara Bordnick, to name a few). I didn't do the interviews myself, but I did get to hear them and transcribe them, which eventually transformed into training materials that taught photographers how to make the transition from film to digital. Because of the testimonials these folks gave about Canons, I was sold immediately (granted, they were using the very high-end series at the time, but still...it didn't take much convincing). Second, Canon products continue to receive excellent ratings, and some of my favorite photos I see on Flickr are shot with a Canon (check out my friend's stream of GORGEOUS macro shots here).

So, I'm looking forward to doing shots of my jewelry for my shop, and testing out this little fella just to see what he can do. In the next few weeks, I anticipate posting some strange and random moments in time, courtesy of my Canon, but I doubt anyone will mind. You can probably anticipate dogs, cats, backyard bird scenes, and the wonderful, wonderful colors of fall. Have a beautiful evening folks.

Peace, love, and thousands of camera clicks,

p.s. Also arriving with my camera will be Mark Lareau's new book, Getting Started Making Metal Jewelry. Yeehaw I'm gonna be having some fun in the very near future!


Six Things About Me: #6

Alas, the final installment of this list. Next, I'll have to identify other lucky victims. :0D

Here it is: #6: My two biggest accomplishments are backpacking trips.

I maybe should have said "BIG backpacking trips," as they are not what you call easy-out-and-backs or easy-loops. Nope, they involve two significant trips: One to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and the other one from start to finish on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

The reason I consider them such feats is because the Grand Canyon trip was my first backpacking trip EVER. Down to the bottom and back out in two days, with mules having the right of way, it's a challenge because of the changing temperatures, the rough path, and the incline of the hike. I made it, but not without a struggle! I even almost cried once on the way up, after I tried to look up to see where the top was and all I could see were switchbacks.

The Laurel Highlands Trail was also a doozy...all 85 miles of it (70 trail miles + the extra miles to hike in and out of the lean-tos). I did this one in terrible boots, with blisters all over my feet. I think tears did come that time, but I refused to let those stupid blisters get the best of me. It was one of the best vacations of my life, and when I think about how we did the trail from start to finish, I give myself a cheer. There's not many people who can say they've done the same thing.


Six Things About Me: #5

Almost done! Here's #5: I've only recently been doing this crafty/jewelry thing.

It's true...I never really had the time until about two years ago, when I decided to MAKE time for myself to do the things I love. Don't get me wrong...I did things outside of work and beyond the standard "life responsibilities" (I always made sure I had time for the band, spending time with my husband and my friends, etc.), Ocean Storm Necklacebut I was looking for something tangible where I could "get my hands dirty." One day, I was talking to my soon-to-be-sister-in-law about making stuff (as mentioned in item #4, she's soooooo talented), and she was showing me some bead work. I didn't want to do the exact same thing, so I started looking through some books, and wire and metal is what really drew me in. I think it's the mixture of the metal with gemstones and glass that really attracts me. Plus, there are so many techniques to learn, I figured I could get into something that would offer many, many opportunities to keep learning and growing. So, that's where I am today. I'm ready to take the next step to PMC and metalsmithing in general. I have a large, mostly cement basement that's divided into little rooms; one of them is just dying to become my workshop. After that, I'll be working on starting my glass studio. That's the one I'm really excited about, but it seems that there's much more equipment that I need to buy, so I'll be taking it one step at a time. I figure this will keep me occupied for quite a while.

Egyptian Goddess NecklaceI must warn you that I'll probably have to skip a day tomorrow, as I may not be around in the evening. If not, I'll try to get on early Saturday to give you the 6th and final "interesting" (or maybe not) item. By then, I hope to have some more photos of some works in progress, too. My pieces are very labor intensive, so it takes a while, folks. Please bear with me! Until then, I included some photos that I put on Flickr not long ago, they'll be on Etsy, too (and most likely rephotographed, as they're a little gray).

Tomorrow is Friday,


Six Things About Me: #4

I'm getting closer...here's #4: My Siblings are the Most Talented People I Know!

I have three of 'em, here's a rundown of their wonderful skills (all of them are younger):

Brother, James ("J"): Musician (guitar, harmonica, banjo, bass) and soccer player

Sister, Courtney ("Court"): Artist (just about anything...painting, pottery, you name it!), fluent Spanish speaker

Brother, Seth ("Sether"): Athlete (mostly baseball), soon to be drummer, and soon to be writer (if he takes my advice and changes his college major to something writing-intensive...he's good at it!)

Not to mention, my sister-in-law, Kelly (married to James), is also quite a skillful chickie: She's a photographer, she's an artist (graphic design, illustration, etc.), she does stained glass, she dabbles in metalsmithing, she does jewelry, she does knitting...the list goes on and on.

Hopefully you'll see Courtney, Kelly, and Chelsea on Etsy soon.


Six Things About Me: #3

#3: I Was Married at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas

That's right, folks. A good ol' Vegas wedding. On August 6, 2002, my husband and I went to Las Vegas, along with 30 of our friends, for the sole purpose of having our wedding there. It was spectacular! We stayed at the Luxor, drank margaritas as if they were going out of style, and gambled our pretty little faces off.

p.s. Bad news...store opening continues to be delayed. Good news...the reason why is because of more custom orders! I'll post my progress here.


"Six Things About Me: #2"

OK, so I'm trying to figure out things that someone would actually want to read about. This is a difficult task! But I've changed my plans: One a night.

Tonight is #2: My kids are my pets.

That's right, no children. Not yet. Not for a while. I'm happily married, and our children include two St. Bernards and two cats. The St. Bernards, Betza and Gus, weigh 330 pounds if you combine their weights. I love them because they are gentle giants and will cuddle with you any chance they get. My cats--one black one (Shammer) and one orange tabby (Ernest)--maintain the balance of nuisance critters in my neck of the woods. They are indoor/outdoor cats, I think they think that they are dogs, and they only cuddle when THEY want to cuddle. But I don't mind. Together, all four live in harmony and on rare occasions you'll find one of the cats and one of the dogs snuggled together. If I can ever catch them in enough time to get a picture, I swear I'll post it here, folks. It's worth seeing for sure.

Stay tuned for more...



"Six Things About Me"

Yes, fellow Etsy bloggers, I've been tagged. Cori (http://www.designsbycori.blogspot.com/) chose me as one of her lucky six recipients that have to list six things about themselves, and then tag six other bloggers. Being that it's almost 11:30 on a Sunday night, I'm not thinking too clearly. So hopefully I'll have this list ready for you tomorrow. It will give me something to think about while I'm working! Haha.

For now I can give you item #1: I'm in a band.

The Simple Groove--Coming Up SlowlyYes, I'm a rock star. Well--er--sorta. I'm a folksinger in a band called The Simple Groove, and we play acoustic tunes for audiences who like to drink wine or coffee, smoke cigarettes (even though we're non-smokers), and listen to us in small little intimate settings. I'm the vocalist, and I write the lyrics and compose the melodies for most of the songs. Who else is in the band, you ask? Why, it's my brother, James. A very talented musician indeed, much more so than I, and he's pretty much the brains behind the whole thing. He plays the guitar and lays down the main guitar riffs for our songs. Anyway, I'm rambling about this now because I'm very passionate about it, but you can check us out on our site (mentioned above). If you like us, you should also go to The Simple Groove MySpace page and become one of our friends! We'd love to add you to our list.

That's all for now, I hope to have five more tomorrow, and I'll also need to dig up six bloggers to pass this little game on to.

Rock on,


My Treasury on Etsy!

I got one! I heard this was an impossible feat but I was able to manage:

I wanted to do something related to things I'm interested in rather than my own hobby (jewelry), so I based it on astrological signs--12 listings permitted, so it's the perfect amount for the treasury!

When I get another one, I plan to put my favorite jewelry items in there, so hopefully the opportunity will come again soon!

It's Coming Along...Slowly

I'm making some progress on Reloj. But it's coming along slowly. Way too slow for me, but I guess I'll have to live with it. I have the most recent version posted here; you can check my Flickr page for additional views.
Notice from the last photo that I took the tusks out...they just wouldn't work right for me. Plus, I couldn't get the wraps exactly the way I wanted them, so I figure I'll save them for something else. My collection of beads will always have room for them! I also plan to restring the amber strand...it's a little too long right now.

Finally, I'm going to make some coiled beaded jump rings to connect the three strands together on the sides. It will add some more wire to the piece, balancing out the large amount of beads I have in the strands.

In other news, I bought a rock tumbler this week, and it arrived today. I opened the box and it smells like it came straight from the factory. Not that this is a bad thing, but you can tell it's made in some huge machine shop from the smell.

I figured I'd be able to throw my earrings in there today (see 'em all? Aren't they cute? And there's even some Halloween-themed ones in there, just in time for the season), and have them ready to put in my Etsy shop on Monday. No such luck. It turns out you have to do an initial run of the tumbler, and you also need stainless steel jewelry shot. My supplier gave me the polishing grit for rocks/gems, but I failed to do my homework in this area. So, it's ordered and on its way. Hopefully I can use it this week. The other funny thing I noticed about the directions is that it calls the water, polishing grit, and other materials inside the barrel a "slurry." I think this is a nice word for "sludge." This should be interesting. And oh yeah, the tumbler is from Chicago Electric. From the reviews I read, it's a decent tumbler to start out with (mine holds 3 lbs and was about $50, with shipping). The only problem is that the belts come off a lot, but luckily my supplier sent an extra one, which I thought was nice. Anyway, more updates to come soon, hopefully one of them being a "Finally, I'm Open" announcement.
Wire rocks,


Guestbook Added & Simply Wired Custom Jewelry Happenings

Hey there folks...greetings from the land where all thoughts relate to "what shall I make next?" and "when should I open my store?" These are questions that will probably never be answered. Things don't go as fast as expected when life takes over. I'm working on trying to get some things finished up so I have items to post daily...apparently this will give me some more exposure (at least that's what I'm seeing in the Posts). You can expect a few necklaces as well as some earrings and a bracelet or two. I have to oxidize everything yet, and I just bought a rock tumbler, so the opening date might be delayed until I get these things finished (not to mention getting packaging supplies, biz cards, and "thank you" coupons ready for purchases and promos). I also got some more custom orders, which I'll be sure to post here and on Flickr so you can check out their progress.

In my spare time I've been doing my full-time job, as well as buying some mighty lovely things from Etsy sellers, too! Check 'em out:

Hand-dyed nifty li'l cotton pouch from Morgansilk

Nag Champa Handcrafted Soap from MartinsvilleEmporium

Passion Fruit Art Glass Pendant from

Also, below you'll find a nifty little guestbook that I added today. Ain't it just adorable? Don't forget to sign!

Finally, I added links to some other fellow Etsy bloggers at the bottom left. Be sure to check them out and visit their stores if you're diggin' their stuff.

Well, that's it for now. It's reading time...current favorite is Water for Elephants.

Simply Wired's Guestbook


"Reloj" Update, New Stuff, Store Update, Etc.

Reloj Update

Well I'm still trying to come up with how I want to put Reloj together. I decided I hated the way I wrapped the focal pendant, so I ripped it apart and started anew. At first I used 24 and 30g wire, and I thought it looked too thin. So, I switched it up and did it with 20 and 24g, and I love it so much more! Plus, I'm becoming a fan of the coiled bail...it's nice and thick and wirey (is that a word??!!).

Also note that I changed the "headpin" spiral a little bit...I created a loose spiral and then hammered it out...it gave it this asymmetrical, textured look that I really like. I'm probably going to go with that approach much more often, it's sooooooo much more "non-uniform".

I created some easy links for one of the strands, and incorporated some lapis and amber beads. The amber chips were left over from a previous project, so I had just enough to make the other strand with the carnelian and lapis. Next will be another strand made of wire and beads only...mostly carnelian, I think. Finally, I'm also diggin' the way I'm going to wrap the wooden tusks...I'm doing a basket weave at the top rather than a full wrap around it (I'm also turning into a HUGE weaving fan...need a lesson? Check out http://www.beaducation.com/ -- it's one of my favorites).

New Stuff

So I worked on this little guy this past Friday night, and I love, love, love it. Its title will be "Talking in Circles," as I've decided I might start to name my pieces after the lyrics in some of the songs I write for The Simple Groove (yeah! check it out--mp3s 'n such!). The focal pendant is red jasper, and I wrapped it in sterling silver wire. It'll eventually be oxidized , but until I put it all together it'll stay nice 'n shiny. Stay tuned for updates to this one; I promise I'll post 'em.

Store Update, Etc.

So I wanted to get my Etsy store out there this past weekend, but I was a bit under the weather. Next weekend will be the target, and I'll probably post a new item daily. If you have questions in the meantime, you can email me. Of course, I'll still take custom requests, in fact, I just got asked to do bridesmaids' jewelry for one of my friend's weddings. If the couple lets me, I'll post my progress here. If not, I'll get the final photos on this site when it's finished (after their wedding, of course) and on my Flickr page.

Well, my favorite shows of the week, Weeds and Californication are on, and I'm missing them. So, I'm out for now.

Coil it up,


My Latest Purchase

Click to visit Wood Thrush Studio, Mary Boden's web site

One rare occasions, I do buy jewelry for myself. This does not happen often, as most of my creations are spoken for, or I make them as gifts. But every once in a while I find an item that I just can't put around anyone else's neck but mine. Recently, this happened when I visited Mary Boden's site, Wood Thrush Studio. I bought this lovely li'l pendant from her site on Etsy. A visit to both of her locations is recommended; she really makes some amazing stuff. I'll also be posting this work in progress as I create it. As of today, metals, gemstones, and materials to be included will include amethyst, citrine, glass foil beads, and copper. Sorry folks, this one will be my Christmas present to myself this year. But, be sure to check back often for photos! Perhaps my design can give you some creative ideas.


Reloj - In Development

As promised, here's a necklace that I'm currently working on, hopefully finishing up by the time the Etsy store opens. Check back often for updates, as I hope to document this work in progress!


Kelly's Birthday Necklace View 1

Yeehaw I just hooked Flickr up to my blog and wanted to bring over a nice photo. Of course, I bring my favorite! Oooooh I can't wait to send this gift!

Simply Wired Custom Jewelry Current Projects Update

So, in anticipation of getting ready to open my store on Etsy (http://www.simplywired.etsy.com/), I wanted to give viewers a sneak peak of what I've been working on. Finished pieces as well as works in progress can be viewed on http://www.flickr.com/photos/Simply_Wired. Note that items posted prior to today's date have already been sold and are no longer available. Also, in my opinion, some of them are still a little "bush league," but hey, I'd call it a decent effort for just starting this hobby approximately 19 months ago. I'm liking my most recent piece (not yet posted, but it will be on this page soon), as it reflects the colors of my kitchen...perhaps I will wear it as I bake pies until it sells! Hahahaaaaaa. Anyway, send some comments my way on Flickr if at all possible, and let me know what you think. And OH YEAH Christmas orders...the time is near. To ensure Christmas delivery, please let me know by September 30. If you're requesting a simpler piece, there may be some flexibility with the cutoff date, but I just want to be sure I have enough time to complete everything to make my customers happy.

Peace, love, and a bead on a wire,


Oh, September

September arrives today...you can smell it in the air. Next will come the increased frequency of crisp and chilly mornings, your visible breath against the surrounding air, and a sudden need to dig out last year's sweaters.

Oh, how I will miss the summer. However, until the next one comes I'll be a busy grrrrrrl working on the things that make me happy...music...jewelry...and increasing quality time with my husband and my pets (two St. Bernards, a black cat and an orange tabby cat).

So, welcome to the Simply Wired Custom Jewelry blog. Here, you can get the dirt on my upcoming store (hopefully up and running within the next 30 days), view photos of my past, in progress, and upcoming creations, and occasionally read my nonsensical ramblings about things that will probably mean nothing to most (but oh, they'll be so fun!).

Enjoy yourself, and feel free to comment on anything you like.