Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm still here!

But the weather has been way too nice to sit inside:D

If you want to see what I'm up to, check me out at my other blog, Michigan Mud.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Clay and Copper Geometries

Yikes, where have I been? Lazy, really. Soaking up the (on average) extra two minutes of daylight we've been getting every day, and the amazingly warm weather. It's been above freezing, and I've been splashing in the mud with my boys:D (Then promptly running inside to thaw out in a warm bath, lol!)

I have lots to share, so I'll be writing more posts pretty soon. But for now, check out my pretty new earrings!

I bought several of these very cool clay squares from ArtisanClay with very big plans in mind for them. This set is the first realization of those inspirations.

Copper wire wraps czech glass and swarovski crystals in shades of brown and pink. I also formed swirls and triangles to bring together my favorite basic shapes.

This project is a variation on the "Spiral Hook Earrings" project in Sharilyn Miller's amazing book "Contemporary Copper Jewelry".

I intend to oxidize them at some point, but I'm fresh out of Liver of Sulfer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Sunflower for She Who Waits

I used to think that roses were my favorite flower. My mini lawn paradise might bring you to that conclusion - I have planted nearly 2 dozen rose bushes in my front yard, with about 14 different cultivars. I do so adore the color and the smell of these princesses of the garden.

 (Torin 2009)

But this year, I've noticed an odd habit in my seed purchases. As a serious lover of the green, I have a large order of veggie and herb seeds coming my way in the next few days. Among the various usual and unusual suspects, I have four different cultivars of sunflowers. Add to them the half dozen packets I've picked up here and there during the winter blahs, and I'd say I have a serious sunflower addiction.

While roses are usually perennials, they require an obscene amount of care and attention. Sunflowers, though annuals, are ridiculously easy to take care of. Stick the seed in the ground, watch it grow. Stake it if necessary. Toss in a few climbers like morning glories or nasturtium, and prepare to be stunned by nature's petaled magnificence. Simple garden magic.

At any rate, I was thinking about where to plant what will end up being hundreds of sunflower seeds, and about the Sunflower River Blues Festival in Mississippi I'm thinking of attending in August, I strung myself a simple but powerful necklace, with lots of black glass and yellow crystal. The pendant is by noneoftheabove on Etsy. I also pulled some marigold Swarovski rhondelles out of my stash for matching earrings.

I call the set "A Sunflower for She Who Waits".

Yep, that's me.

Sunflower dreaming while seed packets with marvelous tiny magic within wing their merry way to me... :D

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hello, beautiful weekened!

Wow has it been a long, long week. I’m so glad it’s Saturday. I’m at the kitchen table watching Torin’s dragons duke it out, wondering if I’m the only one who thinks that Caillou’s laugh is the most annoying thing on earth. (Well, besides Diego’s tendency to end every.frickin.sentence with an exclamation. Look at Baby JAGUAR!!! Let’s open the RESCUE PACK!!! Watch Mama pull her HAIR OUT!!!)

Yeesh. The things we put up with for kids.

But I have lots of things to share today! First, the unexpected lovely gift of a netted scarf from artisan Rita Bartholomew of Knots Indeed (blog) (website).  I signed up for her Craft it Forward project about a year ago. 

Lookee what I got!!!

It’s deliciously soft and fluid.

In case you were wondering, Torin is more interested in showing off his newly lost tooth than the scarf, but you get the idea!  (If you want to see some of my Craft-it-Forward projects for others, check my Flickr page.)

Next, a new listing! I wove this bracelet on my loom yesterday after spending some time plotting spring adventures on Kent Trails. I was in the middle of another project, but you know what it’s like when inspiration hits.

Finally, wanna see what I’m up to, and hope to finish today? It’s a pattern by Carol Dean Sharpe called “Scrolls”, available on Etsy. CD’s version looks lovely and classy, but I was in a bad mood and wanted stark and cheery and bubblegum happy. So, I went with bright green and bright pink.

It makes me happy just looking at it!

I’m just under 2/3 of the way done, so I might get it done by the end of the day. I’m just gonna put Modest Mouse on repeat and ignore the occasional furious screams of Quinn and Torin. *evil laugh*

In other news, I got my tax return money yesterday! w00t! I’m going to make an excursion to my local bead store, BeadQuest, today to blow some on metalsmithing tools . I’m thinking a torch, some stamps, a saw, and some sheet metal. Sooo exciting!

Happy weekend! :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some of My Favorite Jewlery Makers

I love Etsy.

I know a lot of people have issues with Etsy, but I fundamentally see it as a place to set up shop - and that's about it. I think that all your relationship cultivation (which is what really leads to sales) happens elsewhere, such as through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, stalls at local markets, and wearing your jewelry where people ask about it.

Through social media, I have come to know some wonderful, amazingly talented people, and have since become patrons of their Etsy shops. These women have inspired me, their friendships get me through cold days, and their jewelry brings me much needed beauty in the midst of long, colorless winters.

Carol Dean Sharpe of Sand Fibers is a continual source of inspiration for me. She is the first Etsian I really got to know, and I love following her tales of her 3 dogs and warm New Mexico life next to a Pecan Orchard. She is always kind and has a wonderful, thankful spirit. My favorite Sand Fibers pieces I'm lucky enough to own:

Kristie Roeder of ArtisanClay is another of my favorites. Her unique and absolutely magical beads, cabochons, and other art pieces are stunning, and really match her lighthearted, beautiful personality. Hers are probably my favorite beads to use. (If you want to see pieces I've made using ArtisanClay pieces, you can check out my Flickr page or my shop.) I also own a necklace by her that I love:

Finally, Jennifer Ledford of Tocadora Leather is another amazing artist whose work I consider my personal crack. It was hard to choose just a handful of the ten (yes, 10!) cuffs of hers I own. She is a musical wonderwoman.

Check out their shops. You won't be disappointed:)

Monday, February 1, 2010

We have a winner!!!!

I shut down comments at 12:35 (cause I'm forgetful, lol!). Then I headed over the the name my social media peeps seem to prefer for getting winners by having the magic thingy pick a number between 1 and 28. The result?

That's right, the lucky lady happens to be the clay artist who I bought the pendant from!!! Congratulations Kristie!!! You can see some of her work over at .

In the meantime, while I was running the give-away, I got my first sale! *squeeeee* More on the details later, because I think a first sale is blog worthy:D

To all of those who didn't get lucky this time, no worries:) I love giving stuff away, so I'll have another give-away soon. Thank you so much for participating; 28 comments for my first try is pretty respectable!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Copyright Info for Jewelry by SummerAlyssa

Having just had an interesting discussion about copyright, I feel compelled to make my copyrights clear on this blog.

I’m a firm believer in share and share-alike. Like source code I’ve written, images I’ve created, and any number of my other works, all images of my jewelry are basically open-source:D It's all protected under a Creative Commons license.

The specific license I’ve selected is:

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

This means that, for any purposes except commercial (excluding selling for charity), you may reproduce, remix, adapt, and otherwise share my work under the following conditions:

1) You attribute the original work to me, with a link back to this license. Though not required, I would also appreciate your letting me see what your work looks like. ‘Cause I’m curious;)

2) Your work is noncommercial. Don’t sell anything you make from my designs, with two exceptions: A) I specifically provide a pattern or tutorial for it, or B) 100% of the proceeds go to charity.

3) If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. In other words, you can’t copy or expand my designs, and then copyright the result. Share and share alike!

An official version of the license can be found at

For more information, please visit

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Magic, a False Spring, and a Give-Away

Today I took a nice, long walk in the rain. Normally, walks in the rain don't turn people on, but it's January! Rain in January is such an odd and splendid thing that I had to enjoy it. Everything smelled green and wet and glorious. There was even some mist rolling around that lent an air of magic to my meanderings.

That probably explains the magical feel of the necklace I came up with for a give-away. I'm celebrating my first 10 days open, during which I have snagged almost 140 views, 20 shop hearts, and 3 item hearts. That probably sounds modest to all you lovely ladies who have been open for years now, but it's enough to make me happy.

So, here it is, Violet Victorian Scrollwork. Purple-colored copper wire serves as the base to display scrumptious cherry quartz,pink crystals, and and purple and pink glass beads. The pendant (about 1 1/4" around) is stoneware and purple recycled glass by ArtisanClay. At about 21" long, the necklace is "Matinee" length.

So, what do you need to do to win? Well, there are 5 ways to enter! You can do just one, or all 5 for extra chances to win!

1. Check out my shop and tell me what your favorite item is. Leave me a comment here.

2. Post a link to this give-away on Facebook. Leave me a comment with the link to your post.

3. Become a fan of summeralyssa's whimsical wire on Facebook. Leave me a comment to let me know you did.

4. Twitter about this give away (with an @summerblues mention) and leave a comment letting me know you did.

5. Blog about this give-away and leave me a link in the comments.

Please be sure to leave your e-mail so I can get a hold of you if you win!

All comments must be submitted by midnight eastern time on Sunday, January 31st. I'll choose a winner on Monday using the trusty random number generator.

Good luck!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Long But Productive Day

Woohoo! Shop is officially open.

I have posted 10 items, using various techniques and materials. I've started to put into place all sorts of promotional stuff, like a Facebook fan page, etc., but listing was enough of a digital pain in the rear that I'm done with tech for today. I'll do promotional stuff tomorrow;)

Besides, I have to figure out how to separate the business from the personal. I don't want to bombard co-workers, colleagues, and friends who just don't care with jewelry stuff. After all, it's actually a pretty small part of the complicated mess that is "Summer".

A problem for another day, methinks.

In the meantime, check out my Facebook page if you're interested:

summer alyssa's whimsical wire on Facebook

I think I'm going to create a separate Twitter account as well. I think it might be a conflict of interest, or at least in bad taste, considering the vast majority of those I follow are in the nonprofit circle rather than the jewelry circle.

So, I'm off to read the latest issue of Beadwork and to think about maybe joining some color challenges, like those at ArtisanClay and The Beads of Clay Blog. Maybe watch Public Enemies again, cause I'm a little obsessed with that movie;) A glass of wine is probably in the near future as well. Ah, quiet Friday nights... Yes, I lead a boring life:P

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sneak peek!

Early Winter Blahs and Raiding the Stockpile

Wow am I sick of being cold! It's only early winter - we've still got months of snowfall coming - and I'm ready to pack it up for warmer climates. Has anyone noticed that there seems to be a disproportionate number of creative people in warmer climates as opposed to colder? I wonder if there is something to that? ;)

My shop opens up in 5 days! I'm really excited. I don't know why - it's not like an art gallery where you have snacks and people coming and going. But I've made some really cool stuff I can't wait to show off:D

I've had a serious dragonesque stockpile of shiny treasure for a long time now, with stacks of handmade art beads from both Michigan artists like Susan Baily, Shaterra Clay, and Simon Sews Etc., and some of the amazing artists I've met through their online shops, like Artisan Clay, Lisa Peters Art, Spawn of Flame, and Too Aquarius. I've pulled out beads I haven't look at in months or years, added some wire and accents beads, and let the magic happen. Can't wait to see if the world thinks my stuff is as cool as I think it is.

Meanwhile, the boys and I stay huddled by the fire when we get home in the evenings, watching flicks and wearing absurd layers of socks, the hot cocoa and cuddles flowing freely. Torin has a knack for colors and makes some fun stuff with his ribbon and plastic beads. Quinn isn't nearly as interested - he'd rather have something to break than make. That's OK. He's only two. I'll convert him eventually!

I think I'm going to post some teaser shots of some projects later today. But I'm not so good with the macro photography. Does anyone have any suggestions on building a home-made light box?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Resolutions

Hello new year! I've got a few resolutions for you.
  • Start and maintain my Etsy shop. I want to have a grand opening January 15th!
  • Stay committed to this blog, posting to it at least twice a week. After several years of infrequent posting on my last blog, I got bored with it and shut it down. This one I'm going to maintain with a very specific focus on jewelry making. Sure, I'll probably talk about kids and life, but not as much.
  • 12 sales by December 31st, 2010. I'd love one a month, but I know better than to expect that. A modest goal, to be sure, but to hit this mark, I'm going to have to actually engage in promotion.
  • Post one new item for sale in my shop each week. That should be easy enough!
  • Maintain a commitment to publishing free patterns and tutorials so that other people can learn the amazing stress-relief that is jewelry making on their own.

I think that's it for now! I think I can do it:D