Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Clocking out for a few days...

I am running away from Southern California for a few days to enjoy the trees and fresh air of Portland, Oregon. And, boy, do I need it. Isn't it funny how you always end up running yourself especially ragged right before leaving on vacation?

I didn't quite get my bracelets all finished the way I wanted. They're just missing the seed. Which, of course, is the part that makes you feel like you've truly accomplished something. But, sometimes, you just have to say enough.

I'll be back July 31, hopefully rested and ready to dive into all of the other work ahead of me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A few close ups...

I finally finished stringing some new pendants this afternoon and I thought I'd post some close up shots. I'm really happy with the way these turned out.

Seed pod. One of many I found just down the block.

Lots of bright pink flower buds. Rescued from a fading flower bouquet.

I really must find a good botanical book to help me identify what all of these seeds and flowers and leaves and whatnot are. Anyone have any good recommendations?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flickr update

I decided to make my life really confusing and create a second flickr account. Really, I think it'll make things simpler, since I can separate jewelry-related stuff from my other random personal stuff. So, if you've made a note of my previous flickr account, make note of my new account: Tangerine Treehouse.

Right now, it has my inspiration photoset and some jewelry pics. I will continue to update with some process photos and my new work over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sustainable Bling

It's here! It's here! I was so excited when my package from Hoover & Strong arrived yesterday. Besides the simple joy that comes from receiving a big box of metal (which, trust me, is kind of like opening presents on Christmas), I'm excited because this is all recycled metal!

Wait, what? Remember my waxing on poetically about sustainability and how much I've been wanting to reduce my impact as a jewelry maker? Well, I opened an account with Hoover & Strong, a refiner in the United States that takes scrap precious metal from around the industry, melts it down, and sells a product we makers can whip into jewelry. Like that beautiful piece of sterling silver sheet shown above. (Read more about Hoover & Strong's commitment to recycled metals.)

I still have some non-recycled metal to use up and get out the door, so it will take me some time yet for all of my jewelry to be fully constructed from recycled silver. But, think of it like a farmer making the decision to turn organic. It can take up to seven years for soil that's been tainted with petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides to be certified organic. My process will be similar, although I sure hope it doesn't take seven years!

What all of this means is that I'm no longer contributing to mining, which is not only harmful to our planet but to the thousands of men and women employed in this way. It means that I'm using what we already have around us, instead of creating more (much in the same way that I use leaves which have already hit the ground). And it means that you can feel better about your purchase of Tangerine Treehouse jewelry.

Watch for labels noting jewelry that's comprised of recycled metals. And if you'd like to learn more about the impact of mining and what we can do to effect change, let me suggest a few links:
Rust Belt Research Blog
Fair Trade Jewelry

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On a roll...

I have been in work mode all weekend. As Fall Festival looms ever closer, I'm starting to get a bit nervous about finishing everything in time. Especially since I'm off on vacation in a week and a half. So, my goal for myself was to get the pile of pendants on my bench finished this weekend, along with a pile of new earrings. Then, when I get my Hoover & Strong order tomorrow, I can start cranking out a pile of bracelets. And, hopefully, I'll be able to relax when we head out of town.

So, how am I doing? Well, here are the pendants, waiting for the shellac to dry...

And here are the earrings that I've finished up so far (10 pair)...

Which I guess means that I'm in pretty good shape.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Great Bike Stuff on Etsy

Thanks to Sally over at On DogwoodLane for including my head badges in her post about great bike stuff on Etsy.

I was so thrilled to hear from her because I have been secretly coveting her handmade bags for bikes... and plotting one for my new touring bike that I'm ever-so-slowly building up.

Speaking of head badges, check this one that I finished up today for a custom order.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Featured Artist

Thanks to Catherine for putting up a lovely feature on me and my work over on the EtsyMetal blog!

Check it out...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Introducing Custom Head Badges for your Bicycle!

This idea has been brewing for about two months and I am happy to announce that I am finally taking orders for custom head badges!

What's a head badge? Think of it as a hood ornament for your bicycle. It gets mounted to the front part of your bike's head tube. Most bicycles these days have a wimpy plastic head badge or, even worse, a painted logo. But, you're unique, and you want your bicycle to reflect you (not the company that you bought the bike from). Which is where a custom head badge comes in...

These are just a few samples that I have made for myself and friends. But, the sky's the limit as far as designs. If you can draw it as a simple black & white line drawing, then I can make it into a head badge.

Basic pricing is as follows:
:: Custom head badges in copper start at $70.
:: Custom head badges in sterling silver start at $85.
:: Design fee (if you need some help making your idea into a 2-D image): $10.

How do you order? I have added listings to my etsy shop where you can order easily. Simply use the "Notes to Seller" section to explain what your design will be and provide an email address or phone number so I can contact you. Turn around time will be approximately 1 week.

Over the next few weeks, I will also be adding some simple "stock" shapes that will be less expensive, in case you want something more unique than "Trek" but aren't sure just what you're looking for yet.

Need some ideas? Check out the head badge group on flickr.

P.S. Thank you Bike Commuters for a lovely write up!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Simple Silver Cuff

What a fantastically productive weekend I've had. I have lots to share this week. And I thought I'd start with this new bracelet...

It's a simple silver cuff, with a hammered texture and a single chocho seed (I bought these when I was in Peru a few years ago- they're supposed to bring good luck).

The only problem is that I was so excited to see what it would look like with the seed that I completely forgot that I had wanted to add a patina. So, this is my trial piece. I'm going to wear it to work tomorrow and make sure it holds up through the day and see if there's anything else that I want to change about the design. With any luck, I'll have these up in my etsy shop in very short order!

Edited to say that I will need to order some thicker gauge metal, as this bracelet is a bit too thin and fragile-feeling. It will probably be next week before I get my order in and have some bracelets ready to sell.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The lighter side of the "Not What We Were Expecting" Tour

We're back from our crazy weekend adventure. I'll skip all the gory details, but suffice it to say that we picked some gnarly climbs to go up and over and some pretty ridiculous roads to get us to the top. Instead, I think I'll focus on some of the more lovely aspects of the trip... A beautiful sunset over Lake Cachuma... lots of gorgeous wild grass everywhere... and one of the most amazing campgrounds ever at Refugio State Beach...

And, now, I need to stop playing for a little while and get some work done.