Up & Down, Up & Down

I have been experiencing some technical difficulties, frustrations, insanity this past week.  Make Bracelets was down, then it was up…

then it was down again…

It felt a little like this…

 What is Going On?  

I have been attempting to transfer my blog from WordPress.com hosting to another host like GoDaddy or Host Gator.  If I had known what a project it was going to be, I would have planned better and found some anti-anxiety medication to take.  I found out I am not really qualified to do the kind of transfer I need to do – that’s doesn’t usually keep me from doing something.

I have to switch to a new web host because there are things I want to do in WordPress that I can’t do with WordPress.com.  I want to upgrade my theme, I need to incorporate a store, more tutorials, etc.  I  can’t do it with WordPress.com hosting.

** Big Technical WordPress Tip**  If you want to start a WordPress blog, make sure it is Self Hosted.  In other words, don’t host through WordPress!  If you have questions and care about this topic – you can email me becuase I will be an expert at this very shortly.

I started to tackle backing up .SQl files, FTPing files over, pointing domains to different servers and then back again.  I even tried to hire someone to help me who transfers blogs on a regular basis.  But they were not good at transferring my blog from WordPress.com…  Sigh.

So I am back to square one – other than I have learned quite a bit and I think I may have another solution now.

Make Bracelets is now a

There may be more days with no website.

But I am trying to

Source: None via Meggan on Pinterest

Wish me Luck!


Book Cover Reveal: Now on Amazon!

It’s Here!  The New Cover.

Many of you are new here since I first talked about A jewelry Accord, a book in progress by Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel that is currently moving through the stages of publishing.   I’m excited to be part of this book as one of it’s contributors and I have several designs in it.  The book has had a name change and a beautiful new cover that can now be revealed.



I’m  so happy for Erin and Lorelei!  They have been working their tails off along with their Editor, Michelle Mach and their entire book team at Interweave.   I think the cover turned out beautifully!  It’s chic and stylish and will grab the attention of tons of creative people who want to make their own on-trend jewelry using leather, ribbon and cords.   The book’s official release will be in June, 2012. If you like to be first in line..

 It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon.  Way to go L&E!

Handmade Necklace: Mixed Metal Style

I have been playing around with a long necklace.  I love using different metals all together – especially oxidized metal.  I also tend to mix seemingly unlike styles together.  I usually like the result.

I used a curly – more modern copper link I handmade from thick gauge wire and mixed that with a blackened replica antique key that I wrapped with oxidized copper wire.  I rediscovered some tiny faceted coin beads in pink quartz the other day when I made the earrings I showed you last week.  I’ve had these faceted coins in my stash for at least 8 years and never used them until recently and now I can’t seem to get enough.  Pink was never my color – but now I love to balance out dark, hard metal with barely there pink!

I brought one of my gals up from the basement today to help model where the necklace falls.  She never gets to see the light of day and she does not seem to care that her necklaces don’t really go together – I just tossed another one on the pile.  Poor thing.  She really needs to get out more.

Hope you have a chance to mix up your style a little this weekend!

Handforged Wire Earrings

Oh what a difference it makes when the sun is shining!  I was starting to wonder if we would ever have our beautiful fall weather in VA that I wait for every year!

The sunny weather has put me in the mood for some new earrings.  I’m tired of the same pairs I wear over and over.   I don’t know why I don’t make earrings more often?  They are so fun to create – pretty fast…  I sat down the last few days and made several fun pair using oxidized copper, red and yellow brass.

I am definitely getting the metalsmithing bug.  I really enjoy using my torches.  I love the fire, cutting, altering and hammering metal.  There are just so many possibilities.  Some of the techniques used in the earrings I made were disc cutting, texture hammering, torch firing, drawing a ball on wire, dapping, wire forming &  wire wrapping.

My personal style is fairly clean lined and minimal.   These are the simple kind of earrings I would wear on a daily basis.  I  have to say that the third pair is my current favorite.  They took me awhile to form to get the right shape and make them match – but I love how they turned out.  They are fun to wear because they are light and have great swinging movement.  I think I will be making more earrings in the next few days.

I hope your creations are going well (whatever they may be) and the sun is shining on you.  Have a great weekend!

The World Without Steve Jobs

It is hard to imagine how my creativity would be different without the amazing Apple products I use everyday.  I don’t think I would have the same level of interest or be nearly as good of a photographer or photo editor without the introduction to the amazing software on my Mac.  I certainly would not be making videos to share jewelry making tips or fun family adventures.

I may not have started my own blog – without the help of all the Apple technology I use everyday.

Music – Apple completely changed the music industry. I can’t imagine my kids not downloading and listening to songs on their various Apple devices and dancing ’till they drop.  The Ipad is the best distraction on long drives in the car.  Would there be so many pads, tablets or other various mobile devices that essentially followed in the footsteps of Apple?  Probably not.

Thank you Steve Jobs.  Creative people everywhere thank you for making their lives easier and more fun everyday.  Your vision and contributions in your much too short life have been phenomenal.  I am sad along with the rest of the world that you have departed this earth too soon.

Apple will go on and continue to develop incredible technology because Steve Jobs attracted smart, ingenious people to work with.  But somehow, I don’t think it will be quite the same.

Here is a montage from YouTube of some of the great “I’m a Mac / I’m a PC” campaigns with John Hodgman and Justin Long.  Brilliant marketing.

BTW – I was a long time hold out in the Apple world.  It was not until about 5 years ago that we switched from PC to Mac and it truly opened my world to a new level  of creativity!   Are you a PC or a Mac?  I f you are a Mac – do you actually use the amazing software available on your computer?   : )   Hmmm.

Silver Pricing Down

Craving  a Little Silver?

Have you noticed?  Metals prices have been falling in the last few days.  They have actually fallen more than 20% .  That’s significant for such a short period.

Silver is around 32 dollars a troy ounce.  This could change fast.  Keep your eye on it – it may go down a bit more – or it could charge back up…

Jewelry supply stores like Rio Grande and Thunderbird, list the spot price they are selling for right on their home page.  They don’t all update at the same time so be aware.  You can see the current spot price at Kitco.

Just thought I would let you know in case you wanted or needed some silver supplies and you have been hating the prices.   It’s still expensive – but quite a bit better than it has been.  It has not been this low since last January.

If you don’t care about the spot price of silver – here are some eye candy pictures featuring different hues of silver found on Pinterest.  Just look at that silver bathroom!  Love!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Wax On at Art Bliss

Art Bliss was great!  I took a workshop by Deryn Mentock called “Wax On”.   It was really fun.  I had no idea I would be casting and painting along with the the metal working and soldering that I had expected.  The combination of activities made for a really fun class.  I’m excited I can make my own bezels and fill them with resin and whatever I want – including encaustic wax.

I would dare to say there are very few high quality jewelry making retreats like Art Bliss where you get access, in a smaller group setting, to well known instructors like Deryn Mentock, Richard Salley, Jane Salley, Robert Dancik, Kerry Bogert, Diane Cook & Christine Damm.  Jeanette & Cindy do an amazing job organizing the event and think of everything to make the workshop experience a great one.

I need more practice making the bezels, forming the bezel wire and soldering.  It was more challenging than I had expected to be nice and neat with the solder paste and solder.  I can’t wait to make some more bezels at home!

The hobnail bezels shown below were not handmade – just filled with the casting  and the wax.   The copper bezels were all made from scratch.

 Some of the gals pictured here (not in order).  Melissa Mann, Sally Rusick, Kerry Bogert, Jen Judd, Cindy Wimmer, Anne Savage, Laura Twilford.

I wish I had more pics to share. I always feel like that after events like this. I met so many neat people and saw blog friends.  Most of all, I learned a great new skill and had fun hanging out with so many talented and creative people.

If you haven’t had the chance to take a class in person or online, make it a priority and schedule the time to learn a fun new skill.  It will bring you bliss.

Packing Up to Bliss Out

Just wanted to say hi quickly.  I feel like this week flew by!  I have waited to the last minute to pack up all my torches, solder supplies, tools and embelishments for My Art Bliss Workshop tomorrow.  I will be designing, cutting and soldering my own art bezel pendants.  It is an undertaking to get all the supplies together and packed for one of these live workshop events.  But it’s worth it!  I can’t wait.

My rolling bag is so full I can hardly zip it.  Now I just need to pack a few snacks, make sure my cell phone is charged and give my husband all the instructions on getting the kids fed, dressed and out the door tomorrow and back where they need to be at the end of the day.  Yikes – I just have to hope for the best!   I’ll be blissed out making some serious art jewelry.

I’ll share some pictures over the weekend!


Crashing The Party

Today I’m crashing my first party.

 The Bead Soup Blog Party.

I was unable to officially sign up for the Bead Soup Blog Party and get a partner because I was on vacation in the woods of WI with no internet access when Lori had her party signups.  I sent Lori an email prior to my leaving letting her know I wanted to join the party but I did not have access to her new form.  A family emergency kept her away from from her email for a few days and she received my email after the deadline had passed.   Lori generously sent me some bead soup from her own stash so I could play along and sort of crash the party.  Very sweet of her! That’s Lori.

I neglected to take a picture of the soup before I got started…  Oops.  The silver toggle clasp and ceramic focal were from Lori’s stash.  I filled in the rest from my stash.

I kept it simple and short and just slightly asymetrical so this unique Shaterra Clay Studio pendant would truly stand out.  I added the silver chain, aqua terra jasper barrel beads and light chalcedony faceted rondelles.

Thanks for stopping by.  If you are here and have never heard of The Bead Soup Blog Party before and you want to learn more about it or if you would like to see 362 other unique jewelry designs then you must go here.  It will be an amazing journey.

Thanks for indulging my party crashing & have fun blog hopping.

How to Use Pinterest – A Pinteresting Tutorial.

Pinterest.  If you are not already there, you’ve  probably heard of it.

 But, what is it – really?

* In simple terms,  it’s a virtual pinboard.  A place to gather inspiration & ideas.

* Pinterest is a social media platfrom made up of individual pin boards filled with amazing photographs “pinned” from all over the web. You can share pins on Facebook or Twitter and users can “like” or “repin” your pins.

* Pinterest is for organizing and showcasing photos, videos (as of a few weeks ago) products, tutorials or ideas you love.  You can create a mood and communicate a particular vibe in the way you curate your pin boards.

* Pinterest is a community building tool that allows you to follow or encourage others to follow you if they like your taste in a particular topic area.

* Pinterest is addicting (fair warning) and fun.

* Pinterest is a Marketing Tool That Can Help Promote Your Blog or Biz – If You Use it Wisely.

I admittedly have been spending some real time on Pinterest lately.   I had never heard of Pinterest until about 5 months ago when it started showing up as a traffic source on my blog.  People were pinning and repinning pictures of my bracelets.  I went and checked it out and thought – Wow!?  What will they come up with next?!  It looked neat – but I did not “get” Pinterest at that point.

Time passed and I would bounce there occasionally from my traffic stats page in WordPress.   After a little browsing, I started to realize the allure of Pinterest.   The inspirational ideas, tutorials and amazing pictures on any topic I could imagine began to suck me in.

A few weeks ago, I began “curating” my own boards.  I’ve been having fun discovering incredible new blogs, finding artists, gaining inspiration for decorating, finding other jewelry makers, seeking out yummy recipes, over the top photography –  the list goes on an on.

Photo Source: Pinterest.   I make caramel apples every year with my kids.  Have I ever used real sticks before?  No!  Will I this year?  Absolutely!  Thank You Pinterest!


Quick tips if you want to generate traffic from Pinterest if you have a blog or sell something creative.

Pinterest frowns upon using it’s platform only for self promotion.   But there are ways to use it to drive traffic that are encouraged and not overtly self promoting.  Pinterest is filled with tons of creative people that use it tastefully to promote their message, their blog, their workshop, their class, their art.

1)  Take advantage of the About Me statement in your profile page and add a few words about yourself, your creations, your interests and fill in your web address in case people don’t know to click on the website button below your picture – that way they cut and paste your address if they want to know more.

2)  Fill in your web address again, in the website box in Edit Your Profile.   Pinterest is cool and provides a link button directly to your website under your picture and about you statement takes people directly to your site – unlike Etsy or Flickr.  They also automatically include a button that links to your Facebook page and an RSS feed for your Pins.

3) Pin your creations or products – but not exclusively.  Curate a diverse selection of pins and pinboards containing your interests.  You can have pins and boards that show your work,  blog, workshop or biz.  Just be sure to showcase other’s work as well.

4)  Write good descriptions for your pins.  Use terms that people would likely type in the Pinterest search tool and tag your pins so they can be found by the Pinterest search tool as well as the search engines.

5)  Use Pinterest as a market research tool for trends and products.  See what people are pinning over and over and what they are in love with in different niches.

6)  Create a Follow button for your blog with the button tool, like the red one on my left sidebar.

7) Create a Pin it button for your items for sale to remind people to pin your items.

That’s what I know for now.   Do you have anything you’ve learned that I’ve missed?  Let me know.  Are you on Pinterest?   Follow me so I can follow you! Happy pinning!