Thursday, December 9, 2010

Are you making a long drive this year?

I drive down to VA around the holidays every year to visit family.  Because I travel with our pup, Rockford, and a few of our special needs guinea pigs, I make an extensive kit (in addition to the car kit), just in case.  I include everything from food and water to heated blankets and a list of pet friendly hotels along the route.

I hope the weather will be more cooperative this year.  We ended up in a nasty snowstorm last year.  Once I made it to my family's home, it was beautiful to watch the snow fall.  However, it was not so enjoyable on the roads.  I've been making this trip 3 times a year, for 9 years and every drive is different.

If any of you are making a long drive this year, be careful out there.  And if you see a crazy lady in a teeny car, loaded with a dog, a few guinea pigs, and jewelry supplies, wave and say "hi"!

Here's Fiona to wish you a happy holiday season.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Great deals to be found on ArtFire!

So you're gearing up for the holidays and starting your shopping or maybe just you just love a good deal.  Everyone wants to find great gifts at great prices, right?  Well, RockBug is having a studio wide sale and everything is 10% off!  If you have a beloved pet, animal lover or even someone who just enjoys unique and fun items, check us out.  RockBug on ArtFire

Now if RockBug just isn't your style, I'm certain that you can find the perfect gift with one of the other fantastic artisans on ArtFire.  Just click on the "Holiday Shopping Deals" banner to start browsing all the wonderful sale items available.   Or you can click on this link and jump right in!  Holiday Shopping Deals

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gift Ideas

If you're like me, you're already gearing up for the holidays.  Here's a collection I put together to help you get started.  I love red and this collection has gifts in all price ranges.  These wonderful items are made by the members of the You Can Sell It guild.  

Friday, October 22, 2010

The power of the break.

I think we're all feeling the pressure to get our sites and studios ready for the shopping season.  I know quite a few of us are practically living in our workspaces right now.  This is my first real holiday season and I'm working hard to have a nice variety of items listed.  I'm also shooting for that 100 items threshold.  It's a lot of work but I know it'll be worth it in the long run.  It's certainly a balancing act to get regular orders done as well as the additional items.  I'm having a blast with the fast pace though!

After my regular job, I stay pretty busy with RockBug work.  I've been forcing myself to take breaks for about 45 minutes at a time though.  It's enough time for me to watch a favorite tv show or get in a little reading.  It helps me recharge a bit.  It's especially helpful after I lay something out that I'm just not sure about.  I was totally stuck on a bracelet and was ready to give up on my design idea and when I came back to it, I figured out how to make it work.  So the lesson I've learned?  Don't underestimate the power of the break!

Here's my most recent piece, I love the colors!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


If you're looking for inspiration, you'd be hard pressed to find a better source than the natural beauty of the Northeast, this time of year.  We recently spent some time taking it in while hiking in a state park and camping.  Obviously, I had some fun with the camera too.

Before this trip, my idea of "roughing it" was not having sweetener for my morning tea.  I certainly have some perspective now.  The temperatures were a little uncomfortable at night, at around 35 degrees.  It was a bit chilly.  Needless to say, the campfire was a welcomed source of warmth.  The meals also tasted a little better after a long day of hiking. 

I work day after day in an office setting.  Spending a little time in the great outdoors really recharged me creatively.  I came home and immediately finished this piece.

Monday, September 27, 2010

$5.95 Deal on ArtFire

Time is running out for you to secure a $5.95 per month Pro account.  The deadline for signup is October 1st.  If you've been considering getting on this great deal, now is the time.  If you're a Pro already, there's nothing to lose.  I was already a pro when this deal was announced, so it was just about saving money for me.  And that's always a good thing, right?

If you're a basic studio or an artisan looking for a new venue, give a try!  My favorite Pro tool is the ability to make categories.  It really cleans up your studio and allows your customers to browse in an efficient way.  Another great feature for those of you who love FaceBook, is the ArtFire Kiosk.  You just add it your business page and viola!, folks can browse your studio without ever leaving FaceBook.

Now I've only scratched the surface here.  Come on over and check it out for yourself.  ArtFire is all about helping artisans to do what we love. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pit Bull Love

As an owner of one of these special guys, I love finding new artisans who create unique Pit Bull pieces. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Inspiration of the new season

As the evenings grow chilly and the days shorten, I find myself gearing up for fall and winter.  I also notice that the jewelry pieces I'm creating are inspired by the changing leaves outside.  You can certainly see these colors in recent bracelets. 

I'm sure you can tell that I prefer the colder weather.  I just love bundling up and taking Rockford for long walks.  The world just seems more peaceful during these walks.  This picture was taken on such a walk last year.

So as we humans at RockBug get ready for the season with Halloween jewelry and totes, the pups also like to stay warm with a fun hoodie.  As you can see, Rockford loves to lounge around in his, even after the walk is over.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Learning a new basic skill

So I wanted to try my hand at some very basic wire use/wrapping a few weeks ago. Since I'd never touched jewelry wire before, I knew it would take some patience and practice. There are so many gauges (size of the wire) out there and you have to determine which size is best for what you're creating. I bought a variety of wires just to practice with. In the beginning, I won't lie, it wasn't pretty. My main problems were making loops that were consistently the same size and getting the wrappings tight enough.

I just created these earrings. You can see that I used the wire to connect the amethyst teardrops to the links. I made the loop big enough that the teardrops could still move a little.  They're quite simple but I'm very proud of them. The practice is paying off and my skills are improving.  I'm excited to see where I'll be in a few more weeks.  Learning even basic wire work is essential, in my opinion, and opens up a whole new world in jewelry making.

Also, let me say that I have a ton of respect for the very talented wire wrappers out there. A wire wrapped piece is nothing short of a work of art. I've always been impressed by what they create but now I'm totally blown away!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Misadventures in metal stamping

I'm fairly new to metal stamping and still learning, mostly by trial and error. I've found that letters are pretty easy for me but designs on the other hand take some serious practice. After receiving some great design stamps, I started hammering away with terrible results. When I struck the stamp, the steel hammer I was using would bounce like crazy. The tag would go flying across the room. After chasing them down, I saw that most of the stamps weren't showing up and the ones that did were awful.

I started researching my particular problem. I found out that achieving a proper dead blow is essential to stamping designs. I was clearly using the wrong type of hammer for these stamps. I ordered a 1 pound brass mallet immediately. Here's the one I ordered: Beaducation: 1 lb Brass Head Mallet [HAM1]

I noticed a significant difference right away. After a few practice strikes, the designs were coming out much better. Now, I'm busy practicing a confident, straight on swing. I've mastered 3 of the 4 designs now.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You Can Sell It Guild

The You Can Sell It Guild, YCSI for short, is a great group of artisans on Artfire committed to finding ways to sell our items and get the word out about fellow artisans.  With our GuildMaster (FantasyClay) leading the way, we have access to helpful information on a forum and a blog.  Being fairly new to the social networking world, I've found it quite helpful to have a place where I can ask questions and get support. 

Here's a fantastic YCSI collection curated by FantasyClay.  I think it really shows the diversity within our guild.

Here's the YCSI blog, always great information to be found.  Be sure to check out our challenges as well.