Monday, December 28, 2009

Have you ever made an Etsy Treasury?

Etsy treasuries are collections of items that are offered in etsy stores. They are curated by members and each lasts for 2 or 3 days. They are curated by members who make them for many different reasons.
Some people use them as shopping lists,
some as gift suggestions.
Others use them to promote artists whose work they appreciate,
still others as a thank you to customers.
I like to make them as works of art.
It is fun to come up with an idea and then to build a color scheme of items to express that idea visually. They are like tiny little quilts, where seemingly disparate elements come together to express a whole idea beautifully.
The FamiLee Jewels currently have 2 treasuries curated.

Polished to perfection was made to express my appreciation of glowing patinas. Some have been created by hand and some have been polished by nature but they are all lovely.

Looking Forward, which appears at the top of the page, expresses my delight in a brand new year. It is full of hope and bright thoughts for a fabulous 2010.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

At The Warehouse: The Mall-ternative shopping place

Is there someone on your Holiday shopping list that that marches to a different drummer? Someone that appreciates gifts that are unique and one of a kind? Someone that loves unusual and special products?
Look no further.
At The Warehouse is ready for your Holiday shopping pleasure.
Consider us your "mall"ternative.
You will find no mass produced imported goods here.
At the Warehouse is full of treasures. We have 10,000 square feet of architectural salvage, lighting, antiques, and vintage goods along with local artisans with creative alternatives to big box store merchandise.
Warehouse crafts persons create beautiful furniture and artwork out of salvage.
Carol Kovler, local fiber artist and gardening enthusiast, has paper white Narcissus in collectible pottery wrapped and ready to bloom. Just add water for a lovely winter display.
The FamiLee Jewels are showcasing Bonnie's Salvaged Style jewelry. Her work contains cabinet hardware, wire, washers and bits of old gears and pocket watches in a style that repurposes these forgotten bits into wearable art. Spend $50 with The FamiLee jewels between now and December 25Th and you will receive a pair of handcrafted chain maille fan earrings valued at $12.00 as our Holiday gift to you.
Richard and Margaret are back for a limited engagement! We are so happy to have their wonderful fresh herbs and spices in time for the Holidays. Check you cupboards and stock up now!
While you are visiting visit Dreaming Lion Tarot. Consult with Allyson to see what 2010 has in store for you.
At the Warehouse is open 7 days a week, but our local artisans only work the weekends.
Join us this weekend At The Warehouse
20 Learned Street
Albany, NY 12207.
on the corner of North Ferry right behind the Miss Albany Diner and Wolff's Biergarten.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Charm Bracelet Giveaway

This week is your last chance to be entered into the drawing for this stunning charm bracelet. The contest ends on December 6th.

23 talented members of the Starving Artists team on etsy have collaborated to make a beautiful Holiday charm bracelet. Our instructions were to create a Holiday charm using sterling silver and the colors of red and green. The charms have all been added to a sterling silver charm bracelet and are ready and waiting to be won. The result is a bracelet valued at $400.00.

The FamiLee Jewels are proud to have one of their charms on this stunning creation.

A purchase from The FamiLee Jewels or any participating shop will enter you into the drawing.

Visit The Starving Artist's blog page for full details.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New homes for your Feathered Friends

Feather the Nest has new listings for handpainted gourd birdhouses just in time for Christmas gift giving. Chickadees, hummingbirds, cardinals, a blue jay, eastern bluebird and indigo bunting are among them. Each one is prepped by Fred and handpainted by Bonnie. They are embellished with jute and copper wire to make a hanger in the shape of leaves and tendrils that will oxidise to a beautiful chocolate brown with time.

Each gourd is sealed with spar varnish to protect it from moisture and fading.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Spotlight on: Ten Digit Creations

Ten Digit Creations is an Atlanta based etsy shop. They offer an amazing array of products for Bath, body and home. Soy Candles, body lotions and soaps in a wide variety of fragrances from Acai Berry to Violet Vixen.

I had the pleasure of gifting my sister for her birthday with Lime Twist soap by Ten Digit Creations. The cold process method that they use makes a luxurious bar that she was very happy with.
I wanted to bring to your attention some of their Thanksgiving themed concoctions. Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The FamiLee Jewels have created an etsy treasury entitled Early Snow to celebrate the sudden crispness in the air. Cooler weather heralds the coming Holidays and we look forward to them.

How to Make a Wrapped Loop

This wire technique requires patience and practice to get the perfect loop. The wrapped loop is a bit more difficult than the simple loop but it is much more secure.

You will need:
1. Flush cutter
2. Round nose pliers
3. chain nose pliers
4. bead
5. headpin

Place the desired number of beads on a headpin.
Grasp the headpin just above the bead with a round nose pliers.
Using your fingers bend the wire to a 90 degree angle.
Move the round nose pliers to grasp the the wire just above the bend.
Using your fingers wrap the wire 1/2 way around the top jaw of the round nose pliers.

Move the round nose pliers so that the bottom jaw is inside the partially formed loop.

Using your fingers wrap the wire the rest of the way around the pliers to make a complete circle.

Grasp the loop from the side with the chain nose pliers.

Use your fingers to tightly wrap the excess wire around the stem below the loop.

Two wraps will do.

Trim the excess wire.

Adjust the loop as necessary to make the circle look like a lollipop on a stick.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New from The FamiLee Jewels

Just a quick peek at some of the goodies coming out of the workshop this week!
A Dolphin necklace made with an antique drawer pull.
Beautiful turquoise beads make a dramatic necklace when strung with black and white wood beads for contrast.
Copper bangle bracelets in a variety of textures.
Wear them alone or in groups of 3 or 5.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spotlight on DaleRocks09

I have always loved collecting rocks and shells and bits of stone that look like "something". Dale of Dale Rocks 09 sounds like a kindred spirit.

Dale describes himself as a longtime rock hunter but he has only been cutting his own stones for 5 years. You would never know that his lapidary skills are that new. Dales fine lapidary skills are coupled with the eye of an artist to create beautiful cabochons that let the beauty of the stone shine.

Dale mines his own Mozarkite and Misouri Lace Agate in the Ozarks. He also cuts other rock when he finds an interesting specimen.

I wasn't familiar with Mozarkite until seeing it in Dale's etsy shop. I am now the proud owner of 2 pieces of this attractive highly-colored rock.

My current favorites in DaleRocks09 are a fabulous free form cabochon of Morrisonite Jasper and a striking jasper cabochon in colors of orange and brown.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to Make a Simple Loop

Simple loops (also called headpin loops and plain loops) are the most basic of wire techniques. This wire technique requires practice and patience to get the perfect loop. It is a valuable technique to master as you will use it in almost every wire wrapped project.

You will need:
1. a bead (give yourself a break while you are learning and use a good sized one 6-10mm is perfect)
2. round nose pliers
3. flush cutters

Place the bead on the headpin. Bend the headpin against the bead so that the wire forms a 90 degree angle.

Trim the wire to 5/8 inch.
Grasp the tip of the wire with your round nose pliers. The wire should be at the half way point on the jaws of the pliers.

Roll the wire into a loop by rotating your wrist. Stop bending when you have made a complete circle.

With one jaw of the round nose pliers inside the loop hold the bead and bend the wire to make the loop line up over the bead like a lollipop on a stick.

Make a mark on your pliers with a sharpie pen if you are making more than one loop. This will ensure that they are all the same size.
To open the loop hold the beaded pin in one hand.

Grasp the side of the loop with a pliers in the other hand.
Open the loop by moving one hand toward you and the other hand away from you.

Do not open the loop by spreading the ends apart as this will weaken the wire and destroy the round shape.

Make a second loop with a matching bead and headpin. Add your beads to a pair of earring hooks by opening and closing the loop as instructed above. Wear the earrings you have made to show off your new skill.

These photos show several projects where simple loops have been used to attach beads to a charm bracelet, a pair of earrings and as decorative embellishment to a pendant.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

FamiLee Ghouls

The FamiLee Jewels love Halloween and it is even more fun now that we have babies again. Becky and Dennis came to Trick or Treat yesterday and they brought Fireman Freddy and his 2 Dalmatian fire dogs Spot1 and Spot2.

We all had lunch and Halloween Cookies. We made a Mr. Pumpkin head and then dressed the little ones, including the 2 bad dogs, and set out. It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was shining and the Autumn breeze was blowing leaves around.

It only took Freddy about 4 houses to get the routine down. He was very polite with his "Trick or Treats" and "Thank yous".
The boys enjoyed all of the Halloween decorations in the neighborhood. Especially the ones that talked or moved.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spotlight on Vigilante Laboratories

Vigilante Laboratories is one of the first shops that I made a purchase from when I started shopping etsy last year. Vigilante designs and makes custom clothing and accessories with a unique perspective. Their clothing is original yet comfortable and practical to wear.

Lianna K and A J Machete are designers that describe themselves as restless and relentless. Their energy and vision created Vigilante Labs. They have struck out on their own leaving the Department stores in the dust.

They describe themselves as:
Part comic book and part deconstruction.
Handmade meets vinyl.
Neon cashmere flashy.
Vintage meets future chic.
They say they want to design clothing for superheroes.

I think they are all that and more.

I own and wear their Kingyo top. It is a beautiful teal blue wool jersey top with appliques of goldfish in lime green. Kingyo has a beautiful cowl neckline and wide kimono sleeves. The attention to detail is wonderful. The top stitching in the Kingyo top is all rickrack design and in the same lime green color of the fish applique. The design is flattering and the fit perfect because Vigilante Labs guarantees the fit. They are plus size and petite friendly and made the top to fit my plus sized form!

Check out their shop policies for details of their guarantee.

I purchased their Satin Comic Book Hoodie for my daughter. She is a beautiful size 10 who is 6 feet tall in stocking feet. She is a super hero in her hoodie and it fits her long arms and torso perfectly due to the custom tailoring of Vigilante Labs.

Shop Vigilante Labs and their new menswear store A J Machete and Sons fine tailoring for custom clothing that is as individual as you are.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holiday Bracelet Giveaway

The SATeam Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway has begun!

The talented members of the Starving Artists team on etsy have collaborated to make a beautiful Holiday charm bracelet. Our instructions were to create a Holiday charm using sterling silver and the colors of red and green. The charms have all been added to a sterling silver charm bracelet and are ready and waiting to be won. The FamiLee Jewels are proud to have one of their charms on this stunning creation.

Shop early and Shop often.
Between October 26, 2009 and December 6, 2009 any time you purchase an item from The FamiLee Jewels or any of the participating etsy stores your name will be entered into the drawing to win this beautiful holiday-themed bracelet, bursting with with charms hand-made by members of SATeam.

Wire Wrapping

Working with wire is a fascinating organic experience. Malleable and multi-shaped wire offers the jewelry artist an opportunity for unlimited creativity.
Wire wrapped designs appear simple and classic, sometimes deceptively so, but once the basic techniques are mastered your design possibilities are almost endless.

In the coming weeks, each Tuesday I will be posting instructions for wire wrapping techniques beginning Tuesday November 3rd with simple
loops. Until then let me show you some pieces made by The FamiLee jewels that incorporate wire in their design.

This copper and gold wrapped bracelet uses layers of wire in 2 colors and 3 sizes to create a dramatic and fashionable statement.

A Day at Sea was created in a flowing style learned from the techniques of talented wire artist Eni Oken.

Even irregular forms such as this piece of frosted white sea glass can be wrapped securely and beautifully.

Fossils make fascinating jewely with a few basic techniques.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Manhattan Bead Shopping Expedition

Mom and I had a wonderful shopping trip in the city this week. We spent most of the day Wednesday shopping in the garment district until we couldn't carry any more.
We left Albany on the 7 am Megabus which dropped us just past Madison Square Garden at 27Th by 10:15.
Our first stop was Metalliferrous on West 46Th Street. Metalliferous is my kind of shopping. It is a second floor store filled floor to ceiling with metal racks and plastic bins. Each bin contains a stamping, finding, filigree or turning in brass, copper, aluminum or silver. It is like a treasure hunt to find exactly what you want, to find things things that you didn't know existed and to find your imagination running amok! I had a grand time and filled many lovely plastic baggies for Becky and myself. Mom was less than enthused. It had been a long walk, the shop was overly warm and it was difficult for her to decipher the pricing structure on the boxes as she didn't have reading glasses with her. We went to Starbucks for coffee and a sit down then hailed a cab back to 32ND Street to meet Melissa at her office.
Good food for lunch and great company restored us. We were ready to walk again so we headed over to sixth Avenue where a cluster of bead shops waited for us.
I try to stop at Toho Shoji whenever we are in the area. The staff there is friendly and knowledgeable. They stock a wide variety of seed beads, rhinestones, charms, and findings. Here you can find wire mesh ribbon in a variety of sizes and colors as well as Lucite, plastic and rhinestone trims for embellishing cellphones, glasses, shoes and hair clips. I was intrigued by what people were putting together and found several new wheel charms fr use in Steam punk designs as well as some beads with an unusual finish that makes them resemble gum drops.
Turning the corner onto West 37Th Street found us in Suma Beads Gems and Pearls taking to the proprietor Banu who was talkative, charming and took a liking to Mom. Her bead quality is great and her prices are good. She is interested in building up a client base of Upstate New Yorkers. We took several of her cards and promised to pass them on. Banu gave me a spectacular price on a string of labradorite briolettes that has the most beautiful flash in their coloring that I have ever seen.
We wandered along 37Th street stopping into several other shops for a strand of turquoise, some matte onyx and lovely smoky quartz. We met Melissa back in her office by 5 with tired feet, light wallets and heavy shopping bags (rocks and metal weigh a lot)! She joined us for the trip back home to work out of the Loudenville office for a couple of days.
I recommend bead shopping in NYC to anyone who has the stamina for it, and you won't find a better, less expensive and more comfortable ride than the Megabus. The buses are new with Wi-Fi access and the trip only takes 2 hours and 45 minutes. Our round trip tickets cost us 15 dollars each and all day parking in the Amtrack lot is only 5 dollars.
I can't wait til the next time!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I picked up these Greek ceramic washers at an Innovative bead expo last Spring. I loved the colors and had to have them. It was hard to choose there were so many options....even a bright red and orange mottled group called Doritos!

They have been sitting on a shelf since May. I grabbed them Friday night and decided to work them up. They have large holes and threaded with only a little difficulty over doubled silk cord. I must try this again with fine leather. The blues are called Aegean Sea. They are paired with pewter. The browns are called Tobacco and Coffee. They are strung with copper washers from the hardware store.

Fun to work with, fun to wear and appropriate for men and women.