Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Spring 2013!

Altered brass sun pendant.  I've made some in several colors!

I think we can finally say "Happy Spring" 
from our little part of the world!  
It's just lovely this morning
 and snow from last week is finally gone from our yard.

I'm making an effort to bring a bit of Spring indoors with Spring colors, metal component designs, and flowers.
Going to share just a few photos with you now!

 African Violets on my table....

Altered brass pansy components.  
Perfect for a bracelet, necklace or earrings! 

Grocery store daffodils.  
 I can never pass up a chance at happiness
when it comes for a price as low as $1.99!   

Hope you have a lovely weekend!


P.S.  None of the components shown here are listed in my Artfire store as of this posting.  This is just a sneak preview!   Other Spring things are appearing there though, with lots more to come!   

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Business Card Help Request and a Give-Away!

Before my jewelry blog seems to turn into a weather site, I thought I had better post a new entry on the topic of JEWELRY.   The topic on my mind today though has more to do with the jewelry business.... which counts too, I think!     

It's really more of a question than an answer, so as you might guess, I'm hoping you will share some suggestions with me again!  

Like most of you, I like to have BUSINESS CARDS on hand to send out with orders, give to people I talk to about my business face-to-face, etc.  I've tried a variety of designs and ways of creating them.    

Typically I've had designs that matched my logo (2011) or banner (2012).  This year (2013), I just been experimenting with designs on my blog and cards so nothing quite matches  and they change every now and then, but I'm getting a feel for what I like.   Anyway, ....

MY BIG PLAN for later this year is to do some rebranding of my business and at that time, I would come up with a new logo, banners, and business cards that coordinate and I plan to have the cards professionally printed.   Until then, I'd rather not end up with hundreds of cards with a temporary design.   

Sounds easy, right?   Here are a couple of things complicating  my situation:

1) I've had several designs in the past but all on a computer that crashed.   

2) I've tried using Word templates, Avery templates, and others, but they are either so limited they won't do what I want, I can't figure out how to make them do what I want, or I can't find them to reuse a second time if I do like them. 

3) I used to have a nice, inexpensive, easy-to-use, flexible CD-ROM product I bought at an office store for $9.99 that worked like a dream.   I would love to have something similar  for $10-25 dollars, and was looking online last night, but none seem to work on the Windows 8 platform yet.  (Maybe you know, if they were made for Windows Vista or XP, will they run on Windows 8?   If not, have you heard of any that will work on Windows 8?)   

4) I looked through a lot of pages of supposedly "free templates," "free software," and "free downloads" online last night, but they were free to use the templates then you ordered your cards to be printed through a company.   Again, not what I want for now, but will later.

SO, I'm wondering .....

A)  Do you have any SUGGESTIONS in terms of getting cards made quick and easy and inexpensively?


B)  There are so many services I see for making cards professionally later when I am ready.   Which have you tried and liked or disliked?  And why?   (Some I've seen are:,,,; although the last one may be more for designing business logos than cards.)   

Also, I think that Etsy sometimes offers special deals on business cards.   I'm not currently selling on Etsy, only Artfire.  I haven't heard they offer any special rates on cards.  If you know otherwise, would love to hear that too!  

Thanks to you all for your helpful input!   Seems like a little thing but I've spent hours on this lately and made very little progress.  

  I would love to tackle this problem in the next couple of days if at all possible, perhaps a week is more realistic.

As a small token of my thanks for your help, make a helpful suggestion and I'll put your name into a drawing to win a small give-away bag of destash beads and an assortment of my metal components!  

Please leave me a way to contact you. If you don't want your info posted, please say so or send a separate message with  your contact info. 

So many thanks!




snow symbol for weather chart:

question mark person:


computer with vacuum tubes:



Sunday, March 24, 2013

i heart macro: Happy Spring in the Land of Uh-oh!

Sometimes they call Kansas the "Land of Oz."   Occasionally, they call it the "Land of Ahhs."  (That would be promotional bumper-sticker material!)    The last few years, a better name would be the "Land of Uh-Oh!"    

In the past year we have had a 

  • very mild winter, 
  • a very long spring,
  •  a drought-filled summer, 
  • a second spring,
  •  a drought-filled Fall,
  •  a mild winter, 
  • then unexpectedly, (after the groundhog predicted an early Spring), winter ended with 2 blizzards 
  • and Spring has started with another one!  

(This is what Spring is SUPPOSED  to look like!)

And here is my "Happy Spring in the Land of Uh-Oh" Edition!   :-)

Spring arrives in Kansas City!  Oh the joy of it!
This is almost as good as a privacy fence!

(I know I should have edited the dark mark on  the right side of the photo,
most likely a window sill,
but this sort of reminds me of a Japanese wood cutting
and I would lose that impression if I removed that area!  ha!)

Bit of a tree limb magnified.

The neighbor's lilac bush.

The pagoda for the "Japanese Garden" on the side of the house....
for the vining flowers...

#15:  "Icy Puzzle"
Tree in our back yard.
This one reminds me of a puzzle or perhaps stained glass!

View from our front yard looking down the street.

From inside the front window looking out--a closeup.

Thanks for visiting!   So glad to have you all back for "i heart macro!"

Please visit the other participants at:

studio waterstone

One way or another, Happy Spring to you!  


P.S.   Some sad news:

This will be the last week for "i heart macro" which has been hosted by Lori Plyler of "Studio Waterstone since April 10, 2011.  

I wanted to include part of a note of gratitude I left for Lori so that you will know what being involved in this activity has meant to me:

"Like everyone else involved, I'm so sorry to see "i heart macro" end. I joined about a year ago, hoping to improve the macro photography skills needed for my handmade jewelry business. There was nothing classroom-like going on here, just complete fun, lots of practice, and weekly doses of bravery until it felt natural. Though a beginner, I was welcomed into a community of some extremely talented photographers from around the world and gained some very special friends! 

I can completely understand your need to do something different though. We all come to that point if we are growing. So I thank you with all my heart and wish you the very best! You have given me and many others such a gift of your time and talent!" 

The GOOD news is that Lori will be continuing with many other artistic endeavors, and you can still find her at Studio Waterstone!      And there's still time to link up to this week's "i heart macro!"   Beautiful Spring photos abound there this week!     Let's give her a great send-off and add more! 

Photo Credits:


Spring Cartoon:

Snow Photographs:  Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, March 23-24, 2013


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Oh, wa-hoo!

As you can see, I'm pretty excited!   The March/April 2013 issue of Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry Magazine is out and while I knew some of my components were going to appear in it,...well, I'm just extra-hyped all over again!   Perhaps at some point this becomes less of a big deal, (really?) but since this is just my 2nd jewelry publication, I'm excited.   My thanks to Denise Peck, Editor-in-Chief!

And I'm extra-excited when I see the names of those appearing in this Artisan Showcase of Components!     People I now "know" through their publications, blogs, Facebook pages, discussions on Creative Bead Chat, and participation on Artisan Whimsy!   Stores I buy beads from!  People I converse with!   (And the few I didn't know well, I immediately set out to meet and explore what they make!)  

Below is the list with links to their stores:

Now all this got me to thinking, "EEKS!   I should be adding new components to the store!"  So I got busy  working on those.   Of course they can't be made in a day.  The layers of patina and sealant require drying time.   But I'll give you a  "sneak peak" of one of the batches of work in progress and a few new designs on the way for spring!  

Coming soon to Sharyl's Jewelry 
in the following sections:

Many more new raw brass designs have just arrived awaiting to be transformed and an order of copper sheet metal I've been long-awaiting should arrive tomorrow!  So there will be more original components too!   (And a special someone has a special order I'll get busy on then too!)

Hope you all enjoy visiting and shopping for new beads and components!    

Happy Spring!


P.S.  The beads and components are terrific and so are the photographs and layout!   (Thanks to the contributors and the Interweave publishers and editors!)
Graphics Credits:

Excited girl:

Component photo by Sharyl, 3/13

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I heart macro: My Celtic Celebration

For those of you who celebrate,
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  

A stained glass window piece that hangs year-round at my house.

For too many reasons to explain here, 
I've been "in and out" of love 
with St. Patrick's Day most of my life.
But while father's heritage was Irish 
and my mother's German, 
and that should make me 50/50,
I've always identified more strongly 
with the Irish-American side.
Perhaps it's the influence 
of carrying an Irish name,
or that I have mostly lived in areas 
where Irish-Americans were plentiful 
and proud of their heritage.
I certainly grew up in a family of story-tellers,
joke-makers, song-singers,
and people who could make the hardest of times merry
 with laughter.

And so, whatever my feelings about St. Patrick's Day,
we celebrate our "Irishness"
in some way each year on March 17.
Not typically in loud ways with parades or parties,

but maybe with wearing a bit of green 
to avoid getting pinched,
or a couple of green tinted carnations on the table.

I can also say that ancient Celtic designs have caught my attention for as long as I can remember.

This is a little handmade pottery box with lid 
I bought from a shop in Weston, MO,
 a great little community for artists.  
 I love the box and the surprise inside too!

Rings I'm currently wearing...   
My gold wedding band, and two handmade sterling silver bands, one with a Celtic design.  
I've had them all for many years, 
but enjoy mixing-and-matching
what I wear with my wedding ring, 
each having a different look
 and holding different memories.

And finally, 
(and not just as a "commercial,")
I couldn't help showing you how
my heritage inspires my jewelry making.
These are my most recent designs:

A sincere thank you to the handmade bead-makers who inspire me so much!
Top Section:  Chinook Designs, Marti Conrad, Sharleen Newland, Natalie Pappas, Paul Beads.
For links to their store, please see the previous blog.

Artisans shown below:  Chinook Designs: Jody Brimhall, Serena Designs, Starry Road Studios, Marti's Beads-n-Buttons.

In my world,
Celtic isn't just for one day,
it's for year round!

Enjoy the celebration!  

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Celebrating the holiday with 17% off everything in my store, Sharyl's Jewelry, this weekend!   No coupon code necessary!
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Oops, no
i Heart Macro
to connect to this week!  :-(
Hopefully again next week!  

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Celtic-inspired Jewelry and Wearing' of the Green!

       <Looking for "Sea and Sand Bog Hop?" Click here!>
It's that time again,... one of my favorite of the year.   Time for all things Celtic and green!   I admit, I'm into more pre-St. Patrick images such as ancient Celtic symbols,   but with a last name like "McMillian" all-things Irish have always held a fascination for me!   So it's time to roll out the green carpet and show you a few of my latest designs!

Green Pottery Sprig Bead Earrings with Dangles

Handmade pottery "Sprig" beads by Natalie Pappas of NKP Designs
$20 USD

Moss Green Artisan-made Stained Glass Pattern 

Ceramic Necklace

The lovely, intricate handmade moss green and cream embossed pottery pendant
Chinook Jewelry is the focal point of this necklace. The pendant is 1 1/4 inch round and glazed on both sides. It hangs from a section containing a pottery bead by
Marti Conrad of Marti's Buttons-n-Beads.
Handmade copper clasp by Sharyl.
$30 USD

Green Life in Glass Earrings

The bead artist, Paul Spencer, from Paul Bead describes the bead color as
 "Aqua Mist," ... "the cool blue/green of desert aloe and the sea green of tropical water." These handmade glass boro beads remind me of green plants growing up through water. They are 16mm x 10mm each.
Green enamel headpins by Susan Kennedy of SueBeads.
$24 USD

Green apple Czech glass earrings

$17 USD

Two-sided Celtic Green Earrings

Handmade ceramic beads by Sharleen Newland of Shaterra
 have Celtic impression on one side and raised dots on the other.
 Wear them either way, or one of each! 
Handmade earwires by Sharyl.
$20 USD

I've got more green in the store, 
and more Celtic on the way, 
so please stop by and pay me a visit at 

P.S.  I've dreamed my whole life of going to Ireland.   Anyone in this group live there?   Anyone been there?   Where did you visit?   Any one else "itching" to go?  

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Friday, March 8, 2013

"Sand and Sea Blog Hop" Reveal!

Lisa Lodge, from the blog,  "A Grateful Artist"  and store, "Pine Ridge Treasures" on Zibbet, is hosting:

I'm so excited to be a part of it!

For this event, Lisa sent me a bag full of interesting beads in "sand shades," (brown, copper, and tan tones).  Even though the event was several months away at the time, I couldn't resist dumping them out on the table as soon as they arrived to see what was there!   I planned to put them right back into the bag for a bit, but couldn't wait 5 minutes to begin sorting them and planning what I would do!

These were the ones I first sorted from the larger bag
as inspiration for my design.
I used a good portion of the other beads too,
but these were the ones I designed around.

As recommended in the guidelines,
I did not purchase anything new for my creation.

I only added a few beads I already had:
A handmade-button the color of sand 
with a wonderful wavy pattern from
 Linda Belinda on Etsy.
Mykonos Greek beads from
 Linden Avenue Designs on Etsy.

These, a sprinkling of pale blue glass beads, 
and a few hardware store washers I had on hand,
were the only items I added from my collection.  I made my own clasp from copper wire.

Even though my color was "sand," I couldn't resist adding a tiny bit of blue for water.   (I got the idea from a couple of the crystals Lisa included in my bag that were brown with a bluish finish.)  

As we all know, sand can come in many shades, and you can see some of the variety in the beads Lisa sent and in the button I added.  

I just loved the rectangular coral-color bead.  The white swirl beads and long slender bead reminded me of both waves and the most beautiful white sandy beaches!

This irregular shaped bead I found in the bag
was a real favorite too.
It looks like stone to me,
but I suppose it could be some type of clay bead.

I've never been able to wrap a briolette to my satisfaction,
but was determined to use this one from Lisa
as part of the focal dangle!
Luckily, the wire work on this piece
is not "fussy" or "perfect." 
It's "relaxed beach style!" 

Lisa also sent some thin wire sort of a
 burnt orange color.  
 I couldn't imagine what I would do with it
until I was nearly finished.  
 I ended up twisting it around some lose beading wire
in several areas, and I really liked 
the bit of color it added in those spots!  
The wire took me from "goof" to "accent" in no time at all!  
I think I'll need to buy some of this for future designs!

Thank you for visiting my page! 

Please take a look at the others who are participating:





















A special thanks to Lisa for organizing
and hosting this event! 
If you have any trouble linking to the participant sites,


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