Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jewelry For A Very Special Day - 9/10/11

Do you remember your special day - your wedding day? Did you have butterflies or were you completely at ease?

My special day was August 9, 1980. The sun was shining, the weather was perfect, and my butterflies were the size of giant birds! I knew that I had found the perfect person, my soulmate, and that everything had been well thought out, but I was so nervous that all the details wouldn't come together.

I attempted to eat breakfast that morning; my mother had made her wonderful homemade banana bread, but for once, I couldn't eat any. It just kind of got stuck somewhere between my throat and my stomach. I sat there with my parents, and it hit me that this would be the last time that I would share this special time with them. I think that they were feeling the same because the conversation was not flowing as it always had before. I was the first one of their children to get married and as I now know the feeling, they realized that things were going to be different; still special but different.

I remember getting dressed, having pictures taken, the drive to church, the walk down the aisle with both parents, and then staring into the eyes of the person that I had totally fallen in love with and wanted to spend the rest of my life with. The ceremony went off without a hitch and then we were having more pictures taken, walking into the reception as a newly married couple, having our first dance, sharing a father/daughter dance with my father, and throwing the bouquet. The day went by so quickly and before we knew it, we were heading off on our honeymoon to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

Well now, there is a special day being planned for another special couple, Matt and Audra! They are friends of my son and daughter in law and we have come to know them quite well. Awhile back, Audra asked if I would make the jewelry for her wedding and I was so touched and honored to be a part of their special day. She had decided on a vintage wedding and wanted jewelry that had a vintage feel to it in a dusty rose color with antique brass components. She also wanted the necklaces to have similiar components but each one to be a little different to match the three similar but lovely, each a different style, vintage dresses that she had chosen for her bridesmaids.

I love a challenge and this one really appealed to me. I began the hunt for the right color pink and cream pearls and antique brass pieces. I made up one demo and sent a couple of pictures to Audra to see what she thought of it. By the time I had talked to her about it, I had already decided to make a slight change to it, she agreed, and I remade necklace #1.
The hunt was then on to make necklace #2. I had found a beautiful pink crystal rhinestone brooch on Etsy and sent her a picture to see what she thought. She loved it; I bought it, and once it arrived, began making the second, different but similiar necklace.
Now the pressure was on, two necklaces done and one to go. I hit a designer's block, which I am assuming compares to a writer's block.
Audra, being very familiar with Etsy as she and her future husband have an Etsy website, who had been searching for necklaces that she thought were pretty and in her color choices, sent me a link for a necklace that had a lovely resin rose as the focal point. Now knowing more of what Audra liked in jewelry, I got searching for the perfect rose from one of my favorite Etsy supply sites. Once that arrived, the rest was easy. The necklace kind of put itself together at that point, if that makes any sense and necklace #3 was complete.The next step is to make matching earrings for these necklaces, a necklace and earring set for the mother of the bride, and Audra's jewelry!
I love a challenge and a happy story!
Stay tuned for another blog posting when the final pieces are done!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dusting Off The Blog

It's that time again; to dust off the blog and start posting! I feel bad that I've been so negligent but I've just gone through that time of year again, the time that I have come to dread the most - year end in accounting.....

By day, I work in an accounting department of a local paper company. By night and weekends , I make jewelry; when I'm not exhausted from the day job! January is usually a blur for us in the accounting field with forms, calculations, and explanations to auditors, owers, etc. This year end was no exception and I'm glad to say that it is behind us!!

I'm gearing up for a new semester of jewelry classes, so I have been busy designing and making up the class projects. We have a full class again, which is very thrilling. It means that I haven't scared everyone off in past classes and I've "hooked" several into the addiction of jewelry making!

I've also been adding new pieces to my Etsy website and have plans for additional pieces still churning around in my head.

Right before Christmas, I had a wonderful interview by Carmen Merry from a small local paper, The Townline. We had met at the Etsy craft fair in December and she wanted to do a story on some local crafters and asked if I would be interested. She was so pleasant and immediately put me at ease during the interview. Those of you that know me, know that if I am comfortable with the subject matter, I can be quite chatty - lol! The interview went by rather quickly and we crammed alot of information into 90 minutes!

Here is that interview!

Crafting Jewelry: All Strung Out

For Nancy Desrosiers of Winslow, what began as a stress relieving past-time has grown into an enterprise which is financially, socially, and emotionally rewarding. She is the owner of an Etsy online company called All Strung Out1: Handcrafted Jewelry by Nancy.

A full-time employee at Madison Paper in the accounting department, Desrosiers originally began crafting jewelry 7 years ago as a fun and healthy way to deal with job stress from accounting. She soon began offering workshops and jewelry parties and became a teacher at Winslow Adult Education.

She has been teaching jewelry making every semester since then and has a core group of 6 or 7 students that keep returning to learn more skills and enjoy fun and laughs. This motivates her all the more to pour through magazines to stay current with the latest tools and techniques.

Desrosiers also welcomes new students each semester, including the occasional gentleman. Classes run about two hours and usually end each week with a finished product. She said it is a great way to take up a new hobby, get a loved one out to increase socialization, or meet new friends. Her next semester begins February 15.

She said of her students, “By the third week, if they’ve gone out and bought their tools, I know they’re hooked!…It’s a sickness - but I figure there are worse things you could be addicted to!”

Some of her own work has been on consignment at a clothing shop and at local beauty shops. She was starting to accumulate quite a lot of jewelry so she decided to start a website a year ago. She had heard of “Etsy” as an affordable way to begin. Etsy has a set of instructions on how to get started, and, said Desrosiers, “This is the way to go if you want to test the waters without a huge investment.”

In addition to the obvious financial benefit, she said it is very satisfying to meet people from all over the country and the world with a common interest. One of the things she finds most rewarding about her business is making friends and memories.

In addition to a full line of nature inspired jewelry, Desrosiers has specialized in custom orders. She has four types of jewelry which are especially life affirming.
The first are her “peapod” earrings and necklaces. These can signify the number of children a mother has or can signify a couple as “two peas in a pod.” The number of peas can be from one to five, and a dangle of stones can be added to signify birth months as well as a charm added to indicate “Mom” or “xoxo.”

The second type is the “birdnest” necklaces. Similar to above, these can signify the number and birth months of a mother’s children as well as her favorite color. Additionally, an “empty nest” necklace is available with a “celebrate” charm.

She also makes personalized baby bracelets to celebrate new births.

Finally, comes an original design by Desrosiers which she calls the “Positive Energy” bracelet. She designed this for 3 friends who were all diagnosed with different types of cancer at the same time. The stones are the colors of the 7 chakras of the body, and there are four charms for love, laugher, faith, and courage. Along with the bracelet comes an informative page explaining the significance of the colors and the reasons for the charms.

Her designs are especially made to reflect the recipient’s taste and favorite things, such as colors or stones or something that has meaning for them. Said Desrosiers, “I want my pieces to have meaning, not just to be another piece of jewelry.”

She does other custom orders, including jewelry for wedding parties. For information and pictures, see her work at http://www.allstrungout1.etsy.com or call her at 314-0740.

Carmen E. Merry is a freelance writer focusing on human interest and slice of life observations. A former social worker, she is currently working on a project about the mental health field.