Monday, April 26, 2010

5 biggest blunders men make when buying jewelry for a gift

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I love it when guys are buying jewelry for their ladies. It's such a sweet and thoughtful notion on their part. I LOVE to help them! Unfortunately, it doesn't always turn out well, so I wanted to share the top five mistakes guys make buying jewelry:

1. Not knowing the details. I have actually had men buy earrings for a gift and not know if the woman had pierced ears. Wow! Major gamble! Find out as much information about your lady as possible. A good start is to find out a ring size, bracelet size, preferred length of necklaces, color preferences, metal preferences and any allergies.

2. Getting her something she doesn't have. This is only a good thing if you have heard her say that she wants a ".....". For example, if she doesn't own any bracelets, there may be a good reason why. Maybe she has a job where it gets in the way or she would have to take it off frequently. Take a quick inventory of her jewelry and get an idea of what she prefers or take notes the next time you are window shopping together.

3. Not considering the "what ifs". Is your jewelry purchase sizable? Can you return or exchange it if she doesn't like it? What if she likes the pendant but wants a different chain? Understand the exchange and return policy on the jewelry BEFORE you purchase it.

4. Buying something that doesn't go with her body type. Believe it or not, how a piece of jewelry is shaped or formed impacts how it looks on a person. For example, round earrings do not look good on a woman with a round face. A small pendant on a short chain isn't particularly flattering to a curvaceous woman with a large bustline. When you're buying the piece, get the person helping you to give suggestions or even the model the jewelry if necessary to help with the decision making process.

5. Buying something that doesn't go with her style. Buy her something she will wear! If she doesn't go to a lot of fancy occasions, she may not get a lot of wear from a big, fancy cocktail ring. Inexpensive earrings may be a better fit for daily wear. If she does a lot of work with her hands, a ring may not hold up to her rough schedule, but a necklace might fit the bill

Mother's Day is coming up and I am happy to help the guys out there get a special gift for the moms in their lives. Contact me at the KMS Designs jewelry website for help getting your special gift.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Make your own forged bracelet

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I'm teaching a completely new class next month at Gifts of Avalon. In this class, I will show you how to forge a cuff bracelet from your choice of metal. Learn how to make the bracelets shown here. They will post information about upcoming classes in their next newsletter, but you can go ahead and call them directly at 352.379.1272 to sign up.

The top bracelet is made from copper. The bottom bracelet is made from brass. The copper bracelet has been finished to have a "multi color" look, whereas the brass bracelet does not have the patina.

Even if you have no metalsmithing experience, you will be able to make this bracelet.

A model shot! The funny part in this is that I was the model. Hard to hold the camera and extend my arm at the same time, but you get the idea.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Experimenting with new materials

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I realize this looks like a jumbled up mess. (It really makes more sense when I'm sitting in front of it.) I had the chance yesterday to play with some new designs for acrylic jewelry. I worked with some handmade papers, colored pigments and clear acrylic sheet. All in all, I'm not sure I got a "winner" out of it, but I think I have a great idea to teach a handmade jewelry project to a class.

I'm a bit anal about what I sell to customers. I want to be sure that it is something unique, wearable and durable. The pigmented powders on the acrylic jewelry were neat looking, but I don't know how well they hold up after months to years of wear. The acrylic pendants I made will end up on the "let me think about it" table. As I have found out in the past, they sometimes can come back to be winners. :)

In the meantime, I will get the acrylic jewelry making class project idea together and will share with all once it's finished.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Is your jewelry protected?

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With spring cleaning on everyone's mind, cleaning out a jewelry box might fall somewhere on your list. Did you know that many homeowner's insurance policies will not cover the full value of your jewelry if it's lost or stolen? I recently found an article, Appraising Fine Jewelry. It covers the basic details of what you should have appraised, who you should get to do it, and what you can expect it to cost.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

So what do I read?

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Jewelry books of course! I do read other books as well, mostly mystery/thriller type books, but I LOVE jewelry books. Any and all of them, whatever the topic. I love reading about different artists' techniques and inspirations. My latest book I am pouring through is 500 plastic jewelry designs. I would dare say it's a "coffee table" book. The picture on the cover says it all; it's creations from artists well known in their fields, no instructions, just gallery shots. I love looking at other people's work, not to copy, but to find inspiration. I love looking at color schemes, and wonder "how did they do that?" I've been through this book about a dozen times now and haven't gotten bored yet. And the glass of wine? That didn't come with the book, but certainly a prerequisite on my end. I love a good red wine!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More plants and herbs

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I got motivated the other day after planting the basil to get a few more things planted on my patio as well. At left is my tomato plant. He will only make little cherry tomatoes, but I thought they would go good with the basil. Now I only need a buffalo to make the milk for the fresh mozzarella and I could have caprese, but somehow I don't think my neighbors would like the noise. *grin*

I also got a oregano plant in a planter too. I love how this herb smells! If I find some good recipes, I will be sure to share.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Class projects: riveted metal

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I had the opportunity to teach another class last night at Gifts of Avalon. I thought it would be fun to share everyone's finished projects!

Last night's class was joining metal with rivets. Basically, you use metal rivets or metal tube to join pieces of metal together (much like the rivets on jeans). This piece is from Linda. She used brass rivets to join copper to sterling silver sheet. She stamped initials on the left side of her pendant. Linda had a surprise visit from her boyfriend who I think was impressed with her new skills.

These earrings are from Chris. She has taken several of my classes and I always enjoy hearing about her family. She stamped her children's initials on the top sterling piece and will rivet the sterling silver to copper underneath. She used sterling silver tube for her rivets.

Carol is my "overachiever" (*wink*). Her project was creating a sterling silver cutout of a heart to rivet on top of copper. Her pendant will also have tube rivets at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock. I love that she always aims high in her projects.

(Another) Carol in the class made hammered copper earrings. They have sterling silver squares riveted to the top with brass rivets. Her earrings have a nice, shiny finish. This Carol was a complete newbie and made these earrings in about 2 hours!

I love teaching students! They force me to think in new ways. It's a good night for me as well.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Spending more time in the kitchen

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I realize how strange the title of this blog post sounds. Who wants to spend more time in the kitchen? Actually, I do. I used to do a lot more cooking before my kids were born, but since then, it's a "How fast can I throw something together?" routine. My aunt gave me a subscription to Food Network magazine and I must say that I love it! (The latest issue is in the picture. It's a grilled cheese sandwich with ham, cheese, grilled onions and apple. Yum!) I can't gush enough about their recipes. I would say they are moderate on the complexity, but I love all the new ways to try the "same old foods". I have enjoyed almost every recipe I've made from the magazine and so has my hubby (who doesn't tend to like the "froo-froo" kind of cuisine. *grin* Does anyone have other food and recipe magazines you like?

So along that line, I started my herb garden in pots yesterday. I've only got the basil planted, but the oregano, cilantro, rosemary, and dill are coming. Any other suggestions for herbs? Maybe some mint or tarragon?

Friday, April 02, 2010

Why didn't I think of that?

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So I mentioned on the KMS Designs Facebook fan page a few days ago that I didn't like the pictures I had taken of my jewelry. Helen, one of my fans and newest friends, gave a suggestion on a setup to try. Once she mentioned it, I thought, why didn't I think of that?? I did some research on the setup she shared and had then idea to make my own. I took a styrofoam cooler and cut it to work for my tripod and camera. I like the resulting pictures much better! Thanks Helen!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Teaching jewelry making classes

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I love teaching jewelry classes. It's a great chance for me to meet new people and "get back to basics." I mostly teach classes that don't use a torch (yes, there is a lot of fun stuff you can do without a torch). One of the things I like about teaching is that students look at things with a fresh set of eyes (or "virgin" eyes for the newbies). I will get questions about why you do something a particular way, or why can't you do something a particular way. It actually makes me wonder, "well, why can't we do it this way??" Their perspective is great and I enjoy the listen and learning opportunity.

My class was almost done the other night before I remembered to take pictures. I teach at Gifts of Avalon, which is a bead and metalsmithing shop here in Gainesville. I've known Trude and Rhonda (the shop owners) a long time and they have a great place for anyone crafty! Their staff is helpful and even if you have never done any beading or metal work before, you'll have a new piece of jewelry to wear in no time.

One of the nice things about teaching at Gifts of Avalon is that their student teaching area has ample space. We're not bumping elbows and it's actually a separate part of the store, so we can hammer metal and not disturb the rest of the people in the store. They also have a lot of the jewelry making equipment so I can teach people on the equipment they can buy there in the store to take home and use. I also make myself available to students by email for followup questions and such. (I know I'm guilty of trying to read notes later and thinking, "Now what did she say again???")

Meet Suzanne. She has been one of my jewelry customers for a long time (she's wearing a pair of my earrings -- *smile*) She made a very nice pair that evening that she finished at home with some beads. (I can't wait to see how they turned out.) She also helped me to realize that my house would be cleaner if I didn't spend so much time making jewelry. (big laugh!) Eh, a few dust bunnies never killed anyone.

If you're interested hearing about upcoming classes I'm teaching, you can sign up for my mailing list (right column of this blog) and select the "class and teaching schedule" list.
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