Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cool Blue Jewelry for a Hot Summer Day: JET Member Creations

Weekly Handmade Jewelry Round Up: Week of June 25, 2012 
By Kristy from SAStudios

Oy! It is HOT! Summer weather is officially here. 105 degrees Celsius in my neck of the woods today. All I could think about was getting out of work and getting into the cool blue of my local pool.

This week, I’ve featured some gorgeous blue jewelry creations to remind us of one of summer’s favorite activities: cooling off in one’s local pool or beach or lake. Ahhhhhhhhh...

This week’s artists featured include: 

Stay tuned for more artisan jewelry creations in the weekly JET Handmade Jewelry Round Up.

You can find more fabulous JET member jewelry creations by searching JETTEAM on Etsy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Improving Your Jewelry Photography

By Wendy from Willow Creek Jewelry

Part I - Your Camera and Using Backgrounds

We've all heard it a million times! Each time we set up a photo session we need to remember that our customer can't hold or feel the gorgeous piece of jewelry we’ve created, so we must strive to constantly improve our photography.

We can enhance our photography by using backgrounds, props, and features offered within your favorite photo editing software. However, before we start thinking about any of this we need to understand our camera and adjust the settings for the best pictures possible.
Charcoal background by Wearable By Design
All cameras are different and since I’m no camera expert I will direct you to these links for guidance:

Tip: Dig out the manual that came with your camera. If you can’t find it, do an internet search for the model's instruction manual and you may be able to find it online.

There are many different photography set-ups that don’t need to be expensive in order to be effective. Personally, I use a light box made from a computer box (the inside was already pure white) with clip on lights and a tripod. Other set-ups may include using a table near a sunny window, going outdoors during the morning, or perhaps something entirely different. The first step to great photography is to adjust your camera settings for your particular set-up.
Black background by Ozmay Designs
Make sure you have good lighting to eliminate shadows and create bright, crisp photos. You could have the most expensive camera in the world but your pictures wouldn’t be effective if you took them in a dark room by candle light.

Okay, you’ve got your camera adjusted, now what?

A background can make or break your photo. Remember, you’re selling jewelry not that really awesome piece of fabric you found in the sale bin down at “Fabrics Are Us”.

Let’s talk color. There has been quite a bit of discussion on Etsy about the background color; “Should it be white?” or “If it’s black, will that limit my treasury and front page chances?”

I really don’t think any of that matters. If you look at the front page treasuries about half the photos have a white background and the other half have something else. What’s more important selling your jewelry or being on the front page? Well, of course selling jewelry! In order to sell jewelry you must attract customers using your awesome photographs. Use a background that really makes your pieces pop on camera.
White background by The Silver Bear
You want a neutral color that compliments your jewelry such as black, white, off white, beige or grey. Don’t think you must stick to a single color. Perhaps you could use white as your primary background and use black in one of the thumbnails. You may find that some of your pieces are hard to photograph on one background but really look good on another. Play around with a few and see which you like best.
Grey background by Dashery
Another thing to consider is the color scheme for your brand or packaging. If part of it’s in the neutral family, use it to your advantage and then pick up one of your other colors with a prop, which we will talk about in the next post.
Stone background by Your Daily Jewels
Now that you’ve decided on a color let’s look at texture. You can have some texture in your background without being too distracting, just don’t go overboard. You wouldn’t want to use a chenille bedspread or gold sequined fabric for instance.
Wood background by PoppyLane
A great source for backgrounds can be found in the scrapbooking section of a craft store. Many solid color papers are smooth on one side and have a slight texture on the other. I use black paper for my dark background and watercolor paper with white vellum for my light background. I also found a great piece of beige, vintage looking paper, with writing on it. It would be too overpowering to use by itself but it’s perfect when I lay a few sheets of vellum on top. The overall color appears more white and the writing is just barely noticed. This trick would work with any patterned paper to give a subdued look. You may need to use more than one sheet of vellum to reach your desired appearance.
Scrapbook paper and tiles
Other possible backgrounds include fabric, tiles from the home improvement store, an slab of wood, or even sand. Experiment, have fun, and look around for other possibilities.

Tune in next time for Part II - Using Props!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Trends: Nautical

By Tracy from Trace Designs

Flip through any fashion magazine or browse through any retail shop and you're bound to stumble upon something inspired by the water, tall ships, and sailors, especially in the summer months. Nautical fashion is something that, seemingly, never goes out of style and can be re-imagined year-after-year.

I'm lucky enough to live in the Boston area where there's no lack of nautical influence. A few weeks ago, while my cousin and her daughter were visiting, we took a tour of the USS Constitution, or Old Ironsides as they call her, in Charlestown, MA and lunched overlooking the beautiful Boston Harbor.

One of the most obvious elements of nautical style are knots. Knots were found everywhere on ships, typing down rigging, holding up sails, and harnessing ships to their docks.
There are thousands of ways to tie your lines and thousands of ways knots are used in fashion. These earrings have a knotted effect, not to mention they are the traditional blue hue. Wouldn't these be perfect for a nautical themed wedding?
Navy Nautical Studs by Trace Designs
Navy Blue
Navy blue got its name from the dark blue worn by officers in the British Royal Navy and has been widely adopted by sailors around the world. It only makes sense that this color, which is often paired with red and white and mainly presents itself as a stripe, is a primary staple in nautical fashion.

Brass and Copper
Brass is used on ships because will stand up to the harsh watery conditions without rusting. You'll see brass accents on light fixtures, ship instruments, telescopes, and more.

Before we even climbed aboard we were greeted by a sign explaining the uses for the 11 tons of copper on the ship.

Both brass and copper permeate nautical fashion, mostly as an accessory or decoration, from buttons adorning clothing right down down to material to make jewelry.
Fused Blue Glass Earrings by Emotional Oasis
Huge anchors ground ships and keep them from drifting off into the large, vast sea. Sailors often will have anchors tattooed on their arms to show their experience and anchors are often said to symbolize hope and reliability. I simply love this beautiful anchor pendant.

Recycled Silver Anchor Pendant by YourDailyJewels
Anchors away!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Peachy Keen Summer Jewelry: JET Member Creations

Weekly Handmade Jewelry Round Up: Week of June 18, 2012
By Kristy from SAStudios

Soft shades of peach are one of summer’s loveliest colors. Etsy has identified it as an official trend for June, and our JET members have created some gorgeous summer jewelry using this pale tangerine tango shade.

We’ve featured JET handmade jewelry that uses peach colored beads and stones as the focus as well as wonderful accents. It’s going to be hard to pick a favorite.

This week’s artists featured include:

  • Pastel Peach Pearl Bracelet Double Strand Twist Bracelet from BeadzNBling 
  • Mini Coral Peach Czech Glass Necklace from Trace Designs 
  • Vintage Peach Glass Earrings from Sending Love Gallery 
  • Peach and Coral Flower Hair Pins from The Brass Hussy
  • Pink Coral Sterling Silver Ring from Silver Smack 
  • Moonstone & Gray White Peach Agate Gemstone bracelet from Abacus Bead Creations
  • Nephrite Jade and Peach Floral Lampwork Bracelet, Sterling Silver from Ozmay Designs 
  • Peach Quartz Necklace With Oxidized Sterling Silver Chain And Wire Wrapped Wire from BeadsMe 
Stay tuned for more artisan jewelry creations in the weekly JET Handmade Jewelry Round Up.

You can find more fabulous JET member jewelry creations by searching JETTEAM on Etsy.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hidden Summer Dangers to Your Pet

By Norah of YourDailyJewels

You may have noticed that JETs tend to be pet-freaks. Sometimes I think that we should add to the requirements for joining: “must love animals or be able to put up with crazy chatter about furry and feathered and fishy babies.”

Summer time is fun time, but hot weather often makes for some unique challenges for our pets. At the start of every season we are re-educated on the common dangers of the hot weather – heat stroke, sunburn, tick bites, fertilizers, pesticides and toxic plants, but the focus of this article is on some of the more unusual dangers our pets can face.

Fireworks: Both dogs and cats can  be frightened by them. A panicked pet will often bolt away from the perceived danger and run right into real danger, such as traffic or dark woods,  where wild animals live. In the house, they may try to hide in the bathtub where they can slide on the porcelain and hurt themselves. Today, veterinarians have homeopathic remedies that help with the anxiety surrounding these situations, and stronger medications too. But, it is best to be with them and to be their source of calming energy.

The Woods:
Snakebites - Venomous snakes are found in all areas.  The most common type found in my area (New York) are the timber rattlesnake and the copperhead; the endangered massasauga can also be seen. It is always safest to keep your dog on a leash when hiking, (but I rarely see them leashed);  although these snakes also can be found in backyards. 

Most bites occur on the face or extremities. The area swells, which is often dramatic, and blood circulation to the area can be lost in a matter of hours. The toxin from the bite can disrupt normal clotting mechanisms, which can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. ANY snakebite is considered an emergency – no matter the size of your pet! Symptoms of a snakebite include puncture wounds, swelling, redness, extreme pain, bleeding, difficulty breathing, crying, and seizures. The faster the bite is recognized, the more effective the treatment will be. It is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Do not try to remove the poison yourself like Clint Eastwood.

Bear: Do we need a better reason to keep our dogs on the leash when hiking? If your dog is attacked in your yard,  first call 911. Then make as much noise as you can. Bang garbage can lids together while yelling at the top of your lungs. Bang, scream, honk an airhorn, shoot a gun in the air; bears do not like noise and may retreat.

Porcupines - It is common to worry about wild animals such as raccoons, bear, groundhogs and foxes, but we must not forget about our prickly little friends – the porcupine!  Now, if a lion will not mess with them...

Your four-legged friend may find him or herself face-to-face, or more accurately face-to-tail, with a porcupine while camping or hiking. If you find your dog running back to you with a white mustache of quills, you can assume what happened. When threatened, the porcupine will turn its hind end to its attacker, tuck its head toward its stomach and leave its backside exposed to defend itself. When the quill comes into contact with flesh, it easily detaches and hooks onto its attacker. 

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to keep yourself and your dog calm. Take your dog to the nearest veterinarian, but if you find yourself too far away from help, you may have to remove the quills yourself with a needle nose pliers. Because sedation may be required to remove large numbers of quills – do not attempt to remove them by yourself unless you absolutely have to.

Cookouts –Cookouts are a happy place for your pets. However, they can be a surprising source of danger too. Always watch your kitty cats around the grill. Especially if they are countertop jumpers. To them, the grill is just another countertop with really great smells coming off of it, (especially if it is fish!)

Chicken and rib bones are not only dangerous because they can cause GI obstructions, but they can often cause pancreatitis due to their high fat content. Pancreatitis can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, which usually requires medical attention – often hospitalization. 

Corn on the cob is another troublemaker. Cut cobs are the perfect size to be scarfed down whole by a big chowhound. Once it is down, it can easily get lodged in the small intestine, causing an obstruction that usually requires surgical intervention. Signs to watch for are loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and/or abdominal pain. If your dog displays any of these clinical signs, it is important to seek veterinary care.

A No-No
Speaking of corn on the cob, what do we need after corn on the cob? Dental Floss. Well this seemingly harmless product can be very dangerous for our furbabies, year around.  It is attractive to them because, either it smells minty, or it smells like what ever it just pulled from between your teeth. If they ingest enough of it, it can wrap around their intestine, tighten,  and slice it, requiring emergency surgery. Please be careful when disposing of it. Wrap it in a tissue or keep your garbage can raised if you have one of those “nosey” types.

The Dock: The dock is no place for your pooch to be off-leash. But I see dogs with the run of the docks all summer long. Your furry guy or gal may be a champion swimmer but chances are, they cannot climb a vertical ladder. If they fall off a dock, or jump in to cool off, they cannot get out on their own and can drown from exhaustion if no one is there to help them out. If your dog is a 'dock dog' all summer, he/she should be wearing a life vest. In addition, dogs should always wear one when on a boat, no matter how strong a swimmer.

If you have a pool, you should practice with your dog, (or cat,  if he likes water,) jumping in, swimming to the steps and climbing out. Do this over and over, rewarding them when they learn to do it on their own.

Another dock danger is falling in the small area between a boat and the dock. There, they may not have enough room to move their legs properly and will go down. There, they can also be crushed by the rocking boat.

I started this blog mentioning how members of the Jewelry on Etsy team are pet freaks. I was not kidding. Here are some of the ways their love for animals inspire their work:

Lately, many couples have been including their pets right in their wedding ceremony! These dog or cat  necklaces are perfect for the pet who will not be out-shined by the bride.

Want to keep your furry baby close to your heart? Check out this Spaniel necklace.

So unique: Tammy's mini, kitty artwork pendant.

A lovely Cat notecard I would never throw away by. This little face would be constantly covered with lipstick marks if he or she were mine! 
 I love this! Finally, a custom  'mommy necklace' for pet mommies.
The sweetest Paw Print Toe Ring
You can search "Jetteam Pet" or  "jetteam dog or cat" on Etsy and you will find even more goodies for loved  pets or for those who love them. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Jewelry Brights: JET Member Creations

Weekly Handmade Jewelry Round Up: Week of June 13, 2012
By Kristy from SAStudios

Summer is getting into full swing in the northern hemisphere, and nothing exemplifies the season better than wearing neons and bright colors.

In this inaugural edition of the JET Handmade Jewelry Round Up, we’ve featured fun, funky and bright jewelry selections. What could be more perfect to celebrate the beginning of a those hot summer days?

This week’s artists featured include:

You can find more fabulous JET member jewelry creations by searching JETTEAM on Etsy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Tour of the Biltmore Estate

I just finished a glorious vacation at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. While there I perused the gift shops with a particular interest in the jewelry offered by the Estate.

I expected to see jewelry styled in the fashion of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the time period that was the Estate's heyday. Instead, the jewelry was very modern and greatly influenced by the large artisan community in the Asheville area.

The largest collection of jewelry was dichroic glass. The glass was boldly wire wrapped in sterling silver and very modern. The necklaces curled and twirled as they draped around the neck. The glass was primarily in pastel colors or in cool blue tones and the designs were very intricate.

An example of dichroic glass by Jewelry24Seven
The second largest collection of jewelry was wire wrapped stone pendants. These stones are wire wrapped in gold filled wire exclusively. The stones are a variety of jaspers and agates, with amethysts and opals thrown in for good measure. I did not see a single stone wrapped in sterling silver. Perhaps a new trend?

Wire Wrapped Blue Topaz in Gold Fill by YourDailyJewels
The stones averaged two inches in length. In contrast to the dichroic glass jewelry,
the wire wrapping was simple and straight forward. None of it detracted from the beauty of the stone. It simply acted as a frame for the stone. Only the bails have some slight embellishment.

The last collection of jewelry was found only in one gift shop. It was a small collection of spoon jewelry featuring watches, bracelets, pendants, and earrings.

The watches are stainless steel cases with sterling silver spoons for the braclets and closed with toggle clasps. The bracelets are made from more ornate spoons closing with toggle clasps. The pendants are made from spoons and forks twisted into unique shapes. The earrings are made from the ends of ornate spoons. This collection is closest to the time period in which the Biltmore Estate was at its height.

Downtown Asheville has a large artists' community filled with jewelers, painters, fiber artists, sculptors, and potters. This community has spilled over into the gift shops at the Biltmore Estate. This continues the efforts of George Vanderbilt to support his community when Biltmore House was first built in 1895.
Tourmaline Necklace

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bling for the Hair

Written by Jill from Ozmay Designs

Clips, barrettes, extensions, sticks, combs, pins. Bling for your hair! 

I've been meaning to expand the variety of hair accessories I offer in my shop. I don't know about you, but I love finding new ways to incorporate beads and wire into wearable art that goes beyond bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings. 

In looking over our fabulous Jet shops, I found some really great hair bling, but not in large quantities. Maybe we should consider a summer challenge for hair accessories.

Tammy's blue flower bobbies make your summer hairstyle so pretty!

Chaya's work just glows and this headband would be a pure pleasure to wear.

Birdie's little fabric flower pins are adorable!

The lampwork art glass in these hairsticks make a statement in your updo.

This comb, made my Michele, will add some romance to your tresses.

Cher's awesome, hand-forged barrette can also be used as a shawl pin. Versatile!

Emo's fused glass barrette is fun AND funky!

Hair coils. Gaining in popularity and so pretty in braids or dreadlocks.

With hair bling SO in demand for brides these days, Stacy's pearl and crystal pins are perfect!

As you can see, Jets offer a beautiful variety of hair accessories. Shall we make more?