Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hands-on Review: Vintage Spoon Jewelry — Upcycle Magazine

A great little review from my friends over at Upcycle magazine. What are the chances I picked the exact pattern her grandparents had?
Hands-on Review: Vintage Spoon Jewelry — Upcycle Magazine

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sneak Peek- Studio Tour

Just a peak at my studio, the place I spend 90% of my time....

See anything you like?  More to come soon....

Some Love for the Octagon Art Center ames, Ia

I really, really, love living in Ames Iowa.  I grew up here, then left, then came back and it still has everything I could ever want in a hometown.  We have great friends here, my mom and my hilarious twin brother both have stayed here, a post office with wonderful workers who I joke around with, a wild music scene, a chill corner bar where everyone knows my name and a thriving art scene.

The most visible supporter of the arts in Ames is the Octagon Center for the Arts. It is a cozy Art mecca in downtown Ames, they have a gift shop with all Iowa Artists, an art gallery with a rotating exhibit and classrooms for art workshops and classes. My wife and I just went to Daniel Marks exhibit opening last weekend.  Amazing stuff!

The Octagon was my first consignment gig back when I was a wee bitty starving artist.  That first year they made my Christmas dreams come true!  I have been consigning with them for 5 years and counting.  Every holiday season I go into the shop and swap out the things that didn't sell with my new stock of sparkly rings.  I am always surprised to see how much my craftsmanship has improved.  I was looking at pictures of my old rings from the beginning of my artistic journey.  Lets just say I have improved....

Here are some of my most recent stock I am taking to the Octagon. Shiny!

It is all a learning process.  I am really passionate about making my jewelry the best that it can be.  Sounds cheesy, but is true.

Thank you Octagon for coming along on my journey!  I love you guys.  Please, if you are in Ames, stop into the Octagon and check out all the fantastic stuff we make in Iowa.  http://www.octagonarts.org/

Does your town have passion for the arts?  What does that look like?  I would love to know how other towns support their local artists and craftsmen.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How to find your Ring Size

I get asked all the time "How do I find out my ring size?"

If you have absolutely no idea and you're stranded on a small desert Island with no place in 3,000 miles to buy beer your ring size is within a half size of your shoe size. this is just some handy trick I learned from a guy who used to sell spoon jewelry on Haight Ashbury when it used to smell like Patchouli and spoon rings were $1 and bent with artisans teeth. Today you'll notice an equal amount of hamburgers can be bought with an equal amount of spoon rings. Regardless of yogurt container and peanut butter jars, shoe sizes are still the same.

  The best way to know what your ring size is, is to go to a jewlers or the jewlery counter at your favorite big box store and ask a clerk if you can use their wide band ring sizer.  It might look something like this.

No, this is not some kind of futuristic tambourine.  The basic idea is you keep trying out the 'rings on a ring' until you find the one that fits.  Read the little number on that ring and voila! you know your ring size.

The other way you find your size is to take a ring that fits you well and have that ring sized.  you can even do that without taking off your slippers.  Try this cool site- find my ring size.com
They take you step by step through the process of calibrating your computer screen using a credit card, then sizing a ring you already know fits your hand.  Its pretty groovy.  This also works well if you want to find out another persons ring size to surprise them with a gift.  How awesome will you feel when they slip it on their finger and it *fits perfectly*!  That calls for extra brownie points, listen up husbands!

Most of the silverware patterns I use to make my rings make a wide ring.  This means they can be a bit of a squeeze over your knuckles, some people find a half size larger then their normal ring size fits better.  If you are not sure, just ask me,  I can let you know if the ring you like might fall into that catagory.  Otherwise, I don't have many problems with rings not fitting my customers.  I have been at this for over 5 years and have learned how to make comfy rings that fit like a charm.  Like these beauties-

Size 10 Strasbourg
These are all for sale you know....

Questions?  Comments?   Lay it on me people!

Hope this info helps.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Hot July

It has been one year since I really started working hard to do more than pay the bills. Last year I started hanging out with an old high school friend who makes stone plugs, you know the kind for big ear holes. His little business was really successful and he'd started about the same time I did. I guess it made me think about my goals and how I was going to get my little spoon bending addiction to new heights.
I started social networking, I made this blog and built my Facebook fan page. I bought a lot more inventory at once and bought some extra tools I'd been holding back on. I learned a bit about Search engine optimization and started working my way to the top of the Google ladder. Ok, I spent a lot of time working on search engine optimization. I got to page 3 eventually with lots of very minor changes to my Etsy site and working on quality back links. It took the Google spiders quite awhile to catch up with my changes. I didn't move up or down for quite awhile and I got kind of used to being in page 3.
I was behind my competition who had over 1000 listings which were mostly 50 single listings copy and pasted a dozen or so times each to make it look like a bunch of different stuff. Christmas was good for Spoon Rings and he dropped off several times to catch up with the listings he'd sold and didn't have any rings made for. I was really glad I didn't go with the Billion Listings Philosophy! I was busy enough making 40 or so rings to keep up per day.
In January Google changed the way it searches and I'm now at the top of the search engine. Seems Google figure out all items that were copies weren't any different than the others. Google now searches for individual listings and some companies that have figured it out are spending thousands of dollars to say something different about each one of their 10,000 red bar stools. Looking back I'm really glad I hung in there and stuck to my little philosophy about taking real pictures and having a listing for every item. All those days of running out in -20degrees to shoot pictures really paid off!