Wednesday, June 19, 2013


     Working with polymer clay is so much fun, but challenging on so many levels. This pair of checkered patterned earrings would seem to be a rather easy task, but getting crisp squares and even slices will take a little practice. So I'm giving away my practice earrings working with this pattern. To be entered in the drawing to win this pair of pink and white checkered earrings leave a comment on my blog or go to my Facebook page: and leave a comment on June's give-away post. The drawing is to be held June 30th. Good luck!

Friday, June 14, 2013

      It seemed a rather simple endeavor—building a web site. Templates are supposed to make it easy, just fill in the blanks…right?! When I saw the picture of this mouse I knew I had to post it as this was what I looked like at various points while building my .com! Web design seemed like a bottomless pit of possibilities and, being the creative person that I am, I felt compelled to explore as many of those possibilities as I was able. At some point I realized I would never create another piece of jewelry to post on my .com if I didn't back off a little and let it rest…as is…
     SEOs, CSVs, SLLs, SQLs, URLS—and the list goes on—of acronyms that I was clueless about. Working with my computer, a server host, a theme host, and various modules sites proved to be rather complicated, and when I finally thought I might have some small handle on the whole process I found that different browsers...taaaa, differently. I spent two hours working on making a voucher box appear at check out--a relative simple, straight forward task--when I stumbled upon the fact that it would appear in one browser, but not in another. There was no “fix” to be made! There went two hours I could have been working on jewelry!
     As it stands, I now have a dot I've managed to keep my costs down on my “free domain.” After buying host time at $1.99 a month—to get that rate you have to buy several months at a time—I needed to buy an SSL (secure site lock) to encode and protect credit card purchases. To add any of the bells and whistles to my “free template,” took all my will power to resist. On several occasions it possibly floated around in the back of my mind that if I would upgrade my template or add certain modules some of the problems I was having would disappear. I was able to find free modules to satisfy my desire to expand my template beyond the basic Prestashop mold and tweak some of the features without having to risk all by rewriting the html coding. One misplaced comma can dismantle a whole site!
     What really saved me from becoming a totally bald mouse were the Nemo tutorials on You Tube: a step by step guide through the drop down menus in the back shop (as opposed to the front shop which you view on the web.) Prestashop’s back shop has a menu bar of 11 different items, and sub menus beyond count, and that expand with every module added. The drag and drop features of this blog are NOT to be compared to the eCommerce back shop that exists with both the domain host and in the template design itself. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I cried when I came across Nemo’s step-by-step easy to follow—let me emphasis here—visual instructions. And I loved to hear him say that some features were not intuitive, or not working properly--“bugs”—and to realize that I was not a complete imbecile when I did A, then B, but C did not fall into line…so I’ve learned to live with bugs. I guess I could upgrade to a “better” template, but I doubt even that would get ride of some of those pesty bugs!

     I hope you’ll visit my web site (and make a purchase), and though it doesn't stand out as anything terribly creative, I’m rather proud of my accomplishment. From start of project to launch of web site only took me three months! Once I started to figure out the basics it went a lot smoother…thanks Nemo! And thanks to the complication of figuring out shipping costs and linking to the USPS, I found it easier to just offer free shipping for now
. I hope to figure out that module sometime this summer, so while I’m doing that I’d make use of the free shipping feature on my site! Happy shopping!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jazz Proof!

      I couldn't resist taking a small photo shoot of my granddaughter playing with one of my old test pieces of jewelry. Of course I watch her very closely and would not leave her alone with any necklace at such a young age, but I was curious to see just what she would do with it. She figured out how to get it around her neck and to parade around with it like a queen. Quite an accomplishment to secure such a treasure all on her own!
     This last year I've made several Jazz-proof pieces of jewelry for her mother. My step-daughter—herself with three young children--first introduced me to "momma” necklaces and I've made several using polymer clay. My daughter favors the glass pendants that double as a teether and wearable “toy.” I wire wrap the pendant, double and triple thread, crimp at multiply places, and use a mixture of very large and small beads (just in case it breaks). On a rare occasion my daughter will bring me a pre-Jazz design that needs reassembling, but most of my pieces have held up very well. I really do want my designs to last!

     My new motto is: Is it Jazz proof? Of course some of my more delicate pieces will never be totally baby proof, but over all I strive for an excellence in my craft that I hope will last through the generations. My daughter’s newest piece—a Valentine’s Day heart—was a big hit with my granddaughter…you’d think I had made it for her.

     I can't wait for the day my granddaughters can wear their bling with pride--unsupervised!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two Hearts Become One

In making this design--as is typical--it took on a life of its own. It was a very meditative piece and caused me to reflect on the purpose of having a holiday such as Valentine’s Day and the love it symbolizes. This piece did not come out as I envisioned, and in creating this sturdy piece of jewelry it spoke to me in several metaphors. This design started with two separate hearts, one smaller than the other and thought I could carefully lace them together. But I found that when bringing two hearts together you need much stronger wire. Lightweight and lacy will not suffice to keep them in place. Love needs something that is solid and strong. During the constructing I had to undo some things I did not like. Love must be willing to change and remake itself as necessary or desired. Love will rarely be what we envision it to be. And there were times while in the making I thought this a very dreadful piece and I contemplated scraping it, but again, with a little patience I was able to make it into something beautiful. Love is like that; sometimes it looks revolting and other times it looks amazing. When it is all said and done, love—even at its best--is complicated.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Media Marketing

February Promotion Give-Away
      What a challenge! I opened a Facebook page for my BachsCrafts, have two blog sites, follow Pinterest, have a YouTube channel, and maintain my Etsy shop. I can easily spend two hours a day working promotions from one to each of these sites. And that doesn't even come close to the time I need to spend on on these tasks! My niece, Camas Rain-- -- has started a business managing the convoluted maze of media marketing for small businesses. She lives on her computer and phone! She's given me a few pointers along the way which keeps me steadily plugging along hoping to gain some piece of that "viral" media that is floating around. In the meantime, I feel robbed of the hours of actually making jewelry. Maybe, someday, if I become "successful" enough I can hire her to handle the media marketing end of things, though I have to admit I find the challenge of winning "likes" fascinating.
    Yesterday I substitute taught in an economics class. I brought out my little travel jewelry kit (I take it everywhere for when there is down time), and used it as a show-and-tell aspect for an introduction to Economics. Production, opportunity cost, scarcity, along with the 3 basic economic questions: What to produce? How to produce it? For Whom to produce? This lead to some interesting discussions. I'm always drawn to why people do the things they do, including myself. Why do I make jewelry? Why do I spend hours online trying to market it? Profit certainly couldn't be my biggest motivation as evidenced by my PayPal account, it must be something else. The desire to create seems overwhelming at times. I've seen it in my husband, niece, and brother--all writers--who burn with an intrinsic motivation to write, even when no one reads what they write. I believe there is something immortal about the arts that draws us to express ourselves in such a way. It might also account for why I try to keep making what I do better. 
     At times I think my goods don't sell because they are not good enough. That might be the case in some designs. I can get rather crazy with trying new things. On the other hand, it's hard to disguise when someone likes a piece of jewelry or their sincerity in saying, "You should sell this stuff!" I understand the economy is sluggish and few have disposable incomes for such commodities (have to get in those lessons), but to get a showing for items--with the least expensive cost--is huge challenge in today's media world...and I'm always up for a challenge!