Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our Local Artist Friends

We are back from another long but fun day at the World Masters.  There were a lot of new athletes arriving all day and spoke to many new people from all over the world.  There was plenty of activity and  a TV was even set up so we could all take in the Olympic Hockey game to watch Canada win.

Our booth is together with a local art gallery and 2 other artists from our area that we car pool with each day.

This is our good friend Rosemarie Foster weaving some pine needle baskets and her beautiful paintings and other artworks.  You can see more of her artwork on her website here.

Our other friend is Judy MacKenzie who is another very talented painter.  She mainly paints scenes of Chase, Kamloops and surrounding areas which you can see displayed in her booth.  I love the wooden boxes that her husband makes and the scenes Judy paints on them.  She has a website as well and you can find it here.

After speaking with some of the athletes, we found out that many compete year round, all over the world, in both indoor and outdoor competitions.

The opening ceremonies was today and the competition begins tomorrow so we hope to take in as many events as we can.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

First day at the World Masters Indoor Championships 2010

We had our first day at the World Masters Indoor Championships today.  It wasn't too busy yet as only some of the expected 1600 athletes arrived and the remainder will be arriving tomorrow.

I thought it was so cool to see all the flags on the wall at the registration table with 62 countries represented.  The U.S. and Canadian spots were there as well -- I just couldn't fit them all into the photograph.

Here is our booth set-up.  Everything seemed to fit just nicely with some extra space for more designs.  I even have a nice little work station in the back corner.

We are extremely exhausted and have another early morning tomorrow so will show you more photos later.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Turquoise, Fusion Coral & Aurora

Here are some more pieces from our spring jewelry collection.  These ones are in a combination of the Pantone Spring colors of Turquoise, Fusion Coral, and Aurora (yellow).  These colors to me scream summer and they remind me of a breezy and warm sunshiny day.

In case you are wondering, the piece on the far left is a hair barrette and the piece below it, is a brooch.
The remainder pieces are pendants and earrings which I haven't put together yet but will get around to over the next couple of days.  The technique used for these pieces (other than the lentil swirl at the top centre) are adapted from the mokume gane workshop I took last November from Julie Picarello.  I've been having so much fun with this technique and adapting it to my own colors and jewelry styles.  I love the "lizard tails" she taught us and have adapted that to create my new "focal bead pendants" (centre).

I will try and show you at least one more color combination of our spring collection before we get busy with our big show coming up . . .  Have a sunny day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Turquoise and Amparo Blue

Sometimes I feel there is never enough hours in the day.  We've been both working hard finishing off all our new jewelry pieces with plenty of sanding, buffing and glazing.  Here are some finished pieces done in the Pantone colors of Turquoise and Amparo Blue.

I love how the two colors blend together and remind me of a sort of summer type water or nautical theme.   I will try and show you a few more color combinations in the Pantone spring colors over the next few days.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pantone Spring 2010 Colors

We finally have all our displays in order and ready for the show coming up next week.  I've been also mixing up some new colors for our new spring and summer jewelry collection.  I have my favorite color combinations I like to use but for more inspiration, I follow the Pantone Fashion Color Report.

I love the colors for this spring -- they are really alive and vibrant.  And of course the color turquoise is chosen as the color of the year which is a favorite for many people.

Some time ago I invested in a Pantone Color Guide.  They look the same as the color chips you can pick up in your local paint store, however, the colors are all coded and match the Pantone Fashion Colors.  These are great when mixing my clay colors for a close match.

I look up the color codes, mix my clays to match the colors, and then make a new color sheet with my clay chip samples and clay recipes on them.

I was hoping to have some finished pieces in these new colors to show you but will have to post them tomorrow.  In the meantime, wishing you colorful dreams.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gone Fishing

I finally finished a bunch more Marigold flower lapel pins to sell at the World Masters Indoor Championships.   The city of Kamloops is surrounded with lakes and rivers that are great for boating and fishing.  The most popular and famous fish is the Kamloops Trout.  It is revered around the world by anglers as a great sporting fish.  It is know for its beautiful color as well as its "fighting" nature making them very challenging to catch.  Apparently it can jump more than three times its length straight into the air, sprint as fast as a racehorse and empty a fishing reel of line in seconds.

We made some Kamloops Trout lapel pins to go along with the Marigolds.  I came up with three different styles and we couldn't decide which one we preferred the most and so went with some of each.

Each fish is individually hand sculpted which took a little bit of time at first but once I got a few under my belt I found it a little easier.

My good friend, Joan Tayler, is my mentor in clay.  She is the person that first introduced me to it and  she makes fantastic little animals of all kinds.  I've watched her during her creating process and she makes it look so easy.  Sculpting things doesn't come to me as easily and I find it a bit of a challenge.  Sometimes I surprise myself that the project I'm working on actually turns out somewhat recognizable!

Now I need to finish up the new jewelry pieces I've been working on -- I will hopefully have photos of some to show you by tomorrow.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Announcing our One World One Heart Winner

You might be wondering why we haven't posted who the winner is of our heart brooch-pendant yet.  We e-mailed the winner and they have not responded to our e-mail yet.  We said we would give 24 hours to get back and if not, we would do another draw.  So if we do not hear anything, we will be contacting a new winner in the morning so don't give up hope yet -- you still have a chance.

Hopefully the winner will be announced for sure tomorrow.  Stay tuned.


The winner of our Heart brooch-pendant missed the e-mail we sent at first but she did contact us back in time.  Congratulations to Lemondropvintage !

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day / Chinese New Year !

Dave and I have four reasons to celebrate today:

1.  Valentines Day
2.  Chinese New Year
3.  Anniversary when Dave and I first met
4.  2nd anniversary for this blog

I started this blog exactly two years ago today and it seems a lot has happened since then.  Here is a link to our very first post in 2008:

Happy Valentines Day -- Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008

This year Valentines Day happens to fall on the same day as the Chinese New Year and since this year is the year of the Tiger, I thought I would share with you the heart shaped tiger print pendant and earrings I made.

Hope your day is special too!

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Cool Treasury

Our blue mokume gane bracelet beads we have listed on Etsy were featured in a Treasury the other day.  It shows all the various pieces that are made from polymer clay by several artists.  One of the things I love about polymer clay is that you can make almost anything from it -- you are only limited by your imagination.

This treasury was compiled by Carols Jewelry Orchard.  I love the pink and red bracelet she made using a heart shaped polymer clay button as a toggle.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Seeing marigolds

I've been working on some new stuff for the coming show at the World Masters Indoor Championships.  The official flower for the city of Kamloops is the Marigold and so I decided to make some lapel pins for the occasion.  I never thought of making these flowers before but I'm glad I have the opportunity as I love their deep rich colors.

I made these by first creating a cane and then sculpting out the petal shapes after slicing.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Rose and Thorns

You've probably noticed we are selling our work on both Etsy and Art Fire.  We weren't sure at first which was the best venue to sell from but we are pretty much happy with the way things are for now.  We have decided to keep both venues -- our Etsy shop to sell our handcrafted beads, buttons, tutorials (coming soon) and other supplies.  We prefer to keep these items separate from our jewelry and accessory collection which is sold from our Art Fire Studio .

There has been many ups and downs in the business of buying and selling online.  It takes time to build up contacts as well as a lot of work and patience.  We also spend time looking for just the right supplies and findings we need to finish off our work.   It has been a learning experience from both ends for us.

We first want to present a Rose to Art Fire for the excellent work they have been doing.

Almost a year ago we were considering setting up a website and looking around for the right server.  Then we heard about Art Fire and decided to give them a try.  We managed to get in on the ground floor (at a great price) when not too many things were being offered at the time but we felt it had a lot of potential and a good future.  We are so impressed with all the functions that are available now and it has been a good solution for our website home and an excellent place to sell from.  They still keep adding more features and it is a lot more worry-free and time saving than managing a web page.

I don't like to give out any thorns but this is something we feel we must share -- especially to any fellow Canadians so they will be aware -- The thorns without the rose go to Fed Ex.

We recently placed a large order from a supplier in the U.S.  The order only came to $200 but there were many little items.  We had a choice of shipping -- Regular Post was $39 and Fed Ex was $29.  We couldn't believe that Fed Ex was that much cheaper and yet faster so we decided to try that route this time.  A few days later we received a phone call from Fed Ex saying they needed an additional $80.  They needed the money upfront with a credit card or they would send the package back (in which we would be out our $29 and have to reship again for $39).  We knew we would be paying taxes (GST and  PST), brokerage fee and duty on the items,  but couldn't understand why they were asking for so much ($80??).  They explained they charge a normal processing fee of $10 which was up to 4 items then there was an extra processing fee for each additional item adding up to another $37.50 making that an extra $47.50 plus they charged tax on that again!  The girl on the other end of the phone was very nice and pleasant and checked to see if we had an account with them it would be less.  She came back and said it would still cost the same either way.  I couldn't believe that we were charged an extra $50 extra just for their services of calculating out the tax and duty!  So it seemed we were saving on shipping ($10) but in the end it cost us $40 more for our order.  Our $200 order ended up costing us $300 by the time we received it.

We refuse to use Fed Ex as a shipping option ever again.  We informed the company we bought our supplies from and they were not aware of this type of extra charges from Fed Ex.

I don't like to end this post on a negative note so instead I will leave you with some flowers -- a whole bouquet of some new floral print beads and accessories we have been working on the past few weeks. I will show you soon what I will be doing with the long focal beads in the pile.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

World Masters in Kamloops

Many of you know that the 2010 Winter Olympics will be starting soon here in British Columbia.  We are a bit of a distance away (400kms) but still excited about them coming to our corner of the world.

Another exciting event will be taking place shortly after the Olympics which is the World Masters Indoor Championships (athletes are age 35 or older).  This is the first time they will be held in North America and it just so happens it will be in Kamloops, B.C. -- almost right next door to where we live.  We are even more excited that we will be involved in this great event!  Sorry to disappoint you but Dave nor I haven't taken up pole vaulting or gymnastics lately unless they have a new event like a senior's cane toss.  We have instead been invited to sell our work, along with some other local artists and galleries at the main centre.  It will be for 8 days straight and long hours but will be well worth it as we will have the opportunity to meet with so many people from all around the globe!

We will have a nice size space to set up in so we have been busy working on our new displays.  We decided on black, white and grey for our colors as it will show up our colorful pieces the best.

We looked at all types of fabrics and sheeting to find just the right thing and when I found the grey and white swirl cotton, I knew that would be perfect for all the table and shelf skirting.

Was thinking of a black faux suede and came across this beautiful embossed one that was actually curtain panels that were on sale for less than what we could buy the fabric for!

We also finished redesigning our new cards (business, earring, etc.) featuring the same photo that is on our new blog banner shown above so everything seems to be coming together fairly smoothly and right on schedule.  We have also stepped up our production process a bit and been spending a lot more time in the studio than usual these past few weeks in order to have enough inventory to sell.

When selling in several Christmas shows last year, we had a little clay demo area set up to demonstrate several techniques such as making a cane.  We had a cane made in several stages so the people could visualize and understand it a little better.  This worked really well for most everyone had never heard of or seen polymer clay before.  The only drawback to this was all the talking Dave and I had to do that we were literally exhausted by the end of the shows.  We also felt we might have missed other potential customers while we were both busy explaining the clay.  Then Dave came up with an idea that we decided to follow up on:

We purchased a digital picture frame in which we can show slides demonstrating various techniques in the clay and let it do most of the talking for us.  That way, if anyone has any questions we can answer but we won't have to repeat ourselves over and over again all day.  This will come in very useful with the long hours and larger shows we will be doing this year.  The picture frame also has the ability to show videos which we would like to do eventually.  We have checked around and would've liked to find one that is already made to buy but there just doesn't seem to be anything like this available. If anyone knows of one, we would love to hear from you!

So only three more weeks of clay-time left before this big event -- the countdown begins!