Tuesday, June 23, 2009

20% Off Jewelry Sale at Maggie McMane Designs on Artfire.com

I am currently having a 20% off Sale on all of my jewelry at my Artfire Store:

Here are some examples of the jewelry currently 20% off:

Beautiful Blue Iolite Freshwater Pearl Sterling Silver Flower Necklace,
Unbelievable Antiqued Sterling Silver Ruby Dangle Earrings
Fabulous Peacock Pearl Sterling Silver Toggle Necklace
Lovely14k Gold Filled Blue Jade Dangle Earrings
Stunning Mystic Topaz Sterling Silver Wrapped Earrings
Gorgeous Green Hydro Quartz 14k Gold Filled Wrapped Earrings

Remember, all my jewelry is boxed and gift wrapped for gift giving. Please visit my store for even more fabulous Sterling Silver and 14k Gold Filled Jewelry!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Creatures in My Garden

This picture includes some of the creatures inhabiting my garden lately. The Turtle I loved. He arrived one morning and seemed very determined to enter our garage. I’m not quite sure why, but perhaps he likes mess. The Hummingbird Moth was strange at first, but now I love him, too. I took photos of him and then went on Google to discover exactly what kind of Hummingbird he was. Oddly enough, he is a moth that behaves much the same as a hummingbird. He probably suffers from an identity complex or at least, low self esteem.

The birds nesting in our grill wasn’t what I would have chosen for them. After all, I happen to love grilling in the summer. Mama Bird must have found this to be the only available home and so we let her and her chicks stay. We also bought a new grill for Father’s Day. Hopefully, the cousins won’t arrive to nest next year.

Finally, the Japanese Beetles…. I despise it! It has wreaked havoc on the majority of my plants. All I can do is pick them off, one by one, three times a day and hope that I can contain the damage until they leave. I’m not quite sure when that will be, but it can’t be soon enough. I have done some research and discovered they give off some sort of hormone that encourages others to join them. If you have four munching away on a rose bloom, you will find more in an hour. It’s kind of like a party hormone. Put out some chips and dip out and you’ll end up with six people chatting by the bowls. I can’t wait until they leave!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Making and Selling Necklaces, The First Step

Making jewelry is only a part of having a jewelry store. There is so much more involved in putting a necklace like one of the above in my stores. It begins with stones, findings, chain, tools, etc. I cull listings of my favorite suppliers and then do a Google search for anything I particularly want like faceted Pink Topaz, the perfect Coin Pearl, a small Sterling Saint Anne medal or a tool for filing soldered metal.

When my packages arrive, it's like a birthday present. I can't wait to see what I've gotten and I'm rarely disappointed. I've only had three sellers pack their wares so poorly pieces were delivered broken. I can tell you exactly what items they were and who shipped them, but there's no point in that.

I usually have a design in my head. Most times I have a dozen designs in my head. I try to write them down when they pop up, but they come at odd moments and who has a pen and pad ready while reclining in a dental chair saying "Yes, I can feel that!"

Once the design is there and the stones are on my table, I search for the most appropriate findings: the Sterling Bail, the Textured Three Ring Connector, the Large Forged Circles, or the Thai Karen Heart that looks so pretty with pearls. They all wait patiently for me to pull one from the group. When the pendant style and pieces are selected, I choose my wiring and view the gauges. Most times, I prefer the larger gauges of 24 or 26, which are among the thinner wires and perfect for briolettes. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire.

I decide on the chain or cord, once the stones are wrapped in wire. I love the heavy wrapping, or what some people call the messy wrapping to the flatter, precise wiring, because I think it gives the briolettes a richer look and feel. Still, I do a variety of them to appeal to as many people as possible.

Most of my necklaces are 16 inches extending to 18 inches, but I’ve had so many requests for shorter and longer necklaces I try to accommodate everyone. Layered necklaces are still huge and I've made some as short as 13 inches. They are meant to be the first tier in set or are what I consider "your statement necklace." This is often the piece you never remove, unless you're swimming or doing something that could break it.

I've made a ton with Crosses or Crucifixes. I do a lot with pearls and a lot with a combination of Sterling Silver and Gold so that you can layer it with either metal.

I've also made necklaces with leather, silk, or waxed cotton. I have a customer who often asks for a long, beaded leather necklace which she wraps around her neck three times. I have another regular customer who loves my leather necklaces, but requests the cord be changed to Sterling Silver Figure 8 chain.

Whatever the style, the customer has her preference and I do my best to oblige her … or him. After all, I love jewelry. I think each piece is like music and has the ability to speak to others or simply, to direct your mood. It's what you want to say and what you want to feel, so you should have you want. And what you want should feel great!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Latest Jewelry: Iolite Pearl Sterling Silver Flower Charm Necklace

Blue Iolite, Genuine Pearl, Sterling Silver Thai Karen Flower Charm Necklace

I really love how this necklace turned out! I've been so busy taking care of my mother, following her knee replacement surgery, I haven't had time to do a lot of jewelry. This past Saturday, I managed to get some hours to myself and completed quite a few pairs of earrings for both my Etsy and Artfire Stores. I also finished this Iolite Pearl Necklace as well as a Sapphire Briolette necklace to match a pair of earrings in my stores. The above necklace is probably my favorite of all my latest work. I've listed it in my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=26556172

My Hummingbird Hemaris Thysbe

Today in my garden, I spotted what I thought was a hummingbird. I was thrilled that it hung around long enough for me to run inside to get my camera. I was even more excited that it waited while I deleted old photos. Yes, it was at that very moment, while this little creature flitted from flower to flower, that I discovered I needed to delete my old photos in order to take new ones. I succeeded in doing that, all the while watching this bizarre little creature.

I caught it, though, with my camera. As I cropped my photos, I couldn’t help but marvel at its strange appearance. I knew I had to discover exactly what kind of hummingbird this was.

Lo and behold, I learned that it is not a hummingbird at all! It’s a moth. Yes, that’s right. It’s called Hemaris Thysbe and it drinks nectar like butterflies and hummingbirds. It hops from flower to flower just like a hummingbird and lives mostly within the Eastern United States.

I was a little disappointed. Okay, a lot disappointed when I first realized my prized hummingbird was no hummingbird at all. Then I thought about all the amazing things I had encountered that were very different from what I originally thought they were. Make sense? It’s like wanting a purebred dog, but getting a mutt instead … a mutt who in turn becomes the greatest pet you’ve ever loved. It’s like having to take a flight instead of a cruise, only to discover that Hurricane Denise is barreling through the Bahamas.

It’s like all the answered prayers you weren’t hoping for--or expecting, but they turned out to be the best for you and yours. This … Hemaris Thysbe or Hummingbird Moth isn’t my Hummingbird. He’s not especially beautiful, nor is he gracefully built, but he was the coolest thing to see and he impressed my kids. He gave me a memory and a good one.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sterling Silver Gemstone Jewelry

Here are some of my latest pieces of Sterling Silver Jewelry at my Etsy store.
The Blue Chalcedony Necklace and The Moonstone Briolette Earrings were made with Antiqued or Oxidized Sterling Silver. The Garnet and Labradorite Stacked Earrings as well as the Sapphire Briolette Earrings were made with shiny Sterling Silver. Both styles are beautiful!
The Sapphire Earrings and The Moonstone Earrings can also be found in my Artfire store.

More Bridal Party Jewelry

This bracelet was part of a Bracelet and Earring Set for a May bride. I was somewhat surprised to have so many May weddings this year. I had a half dozen in November, but nearly that many this May. Why the change? I don't know, but I would guess it's the weather.

This bracelet was made with Blue Jade, Pink Freshwater Pearls, and Blue Swarovski Crystals. I wrapped the Pearls in heavy Sterling Silver and dangled them from Sterling Silver fish hook ear wires to complete the set. I also made four simple Pink Pearl Bracelets for the junior brides maids. Everything turned out beautifully!

Bridal Jewelry --- Silver or Gold

Silver and Gold ... which is better for the bridal party? I happen to love both, but my first inclination is to put the finer gemstones like Rubies, Emeralds, and Sapphires with Gold. I have noticed more and more, that my brides prefer sterling silver. Additionally, Oxidized Sterling Silver, Brass, Copper, and Gold Plate are increasingly popular. The latter three are far less expensive, too.
Recently, I did an Oxidized Sterling Silver Necklace and Earring set with Red Swarovski Crystals for a large bridal party. Everything turned out beautifully and the bride loved the antiqued look with the Red Crytals.

She originally wanted a bracelet with matching earrings, but later because of the sleeves of the brides maids' dresses, changed her mind to a simple drop necklace with matching earrings. The picture is of the original bracelet in Oxidized Sterling Silver. I ended up giving it to the bride as a keepsake.

Looking Forward

I have been thinking about the cost of jewelry lately. Well, actually, I've been thinking about the cost of everything lately. It's hard not to. Prices are going up, values are going down. People are losing their jobs everyday. I know about a dozen unemployed adults. I can't recall a time when that was the case.

How does one buy jewelry when they can't afford to buy milk? Well, they don't. It's just that simple. They don't buy jewelry. They don't buy hand knitted scarves. They don't buy soaps in the shape of balloons or pottery to match their kitchen.

It's hard not to feel sad about everything, but sometimes you need to shut the news off or turn that radio dial to another station. Sometimes, being positive and looking forward instead of where your feet are planted, makes a difference.

I equate it to the idea that God answers all our prayers, just not necessarily in the way we would like. Maybe your feet are in scuffed shoes and perhaps, the ground you stand on is dirt that can't even support a weed, you've still got feet. You can still move forward. You can choose how to view your world.

Why step back? Why stay put? Put your faith where it belongs and your heart will follow. Look and plan for the future. This will pass as all things do. Oh, and for those without feet ... nurture that dirt below the best you can. One day it will support beauty.