Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sale continues--More new listings!

Hi!  I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend!  

Wondering why there is still a peony on this blog entry?   Well, I completed a new batch of components, listed them over Memorial Day weekend, and they sold.  So I made another batch!   I've extended the sale to the end of Thursday, May 30, 2013, midnight Central time, to give myself a chance to list more of these and give you a chance to take a look!   

If you see something you like, but would prefer to wait until tomorrow to check out, please leave me a note at the Sharyl's Jewelry ArtFire Store.   I will pick up messages there as quickly as I can, and in the order received, and put your items on reserve for you!       (Another option is to make  your purchase, but ask me to hold mailing it until the sale is over in case you see more you would like to add.)

Here are a some more guidelines to help save you money:
  • Most Important:  Use the coupon code at checkout!   It has changed to:    PEONIES20MORE     It will get you 20% off all items in the store while the sale lasts.   Only one coupon code will work at a time, and currently this is the best offer!
  • If you purchase your items, then want to add more, please notify me in advance of making your 2nd purchase.  I will deduct the postage for the 2nd order before you place that order.   (It seems to me that customers lose money on refunds.   I'm checking that out to confirm but it's been my recent experience.  I can eliminate those fees BEFORE you pay and that won't happen.)
  • Please note: You never pay extra postage for additional components.  Unlike jewelry, even if you have several pieces, they usually fit into one gift box and travel at the lowest mailing rate.   I'm happy to pass that savings on to you!

If you have questions, please let me know!   There is a wide variety of components, both handmade and altered  (flowers, moon/stars, more from the handmade "Creation" series, etc.) I'll be listing today!)    Updates will appear on my Sharyl's Jewelry Facebook page!  

Thanks much!   ~Sharyl

Oh, and one more thing!....

Blog Discussion Topics:

P.S.  I have a few blog topics scheduled for the next 2 weeks, but I'm also wondering......
  •  if any of you have ideas for things you would like to see us discuss here?   
  • Do you do a type of jewelry-making we're not covering well? 
  • Would YOU like to be a guest?   
  • Questions you have about this or that we could post and try to answer and/or look for an expert to interview?   
I'd be interested to hear your ideas.   Please either post in the comments section, OR, leave me a message there and indicate you want it to remain private, and I will read but not post.   Thanks for your input!  I want this to be OUR blog!   :-)


Image Credits:

Peonies photo: Sharyl, 5/13


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memories of Peonies ... and a Holiday Sale!

I think I say this every year, but peonies remind me of Memorial Day, and Memorial Day reminds me of peonies.   

For as long as I can remember, my mother would save up the peonies that would bloom about a week or two too early, put them in plastic bags, and keep them in the frig to prolong their blooms, saving them for our annual pilgrimage from Kansas to the cemeteries in Missouri where our family members were buried.   

I can't describe the feeling, exactly.   Solemn, respectful, but not sad.  It was a happy occasion we looked forward to even as children and later as young adults.  We would clean the tombstones, tidy up any weeds, and put the peonies out in glass mason jars used for canning.   It was a moment to reflect on the names written in stone, how they were connected each other, and how we were connected to them.   Sometimes we would do stone rubbings, take notes, or photograph the names and dates.   I was always very interested in the stories and people, and liked hearing them over and over again, trying to remember, to memorize.

As time went on, the peonies from my grandparents' farm made their way to my mother and my aunts' homes and, years later, eventually on to mine.   I've planted them in separate groupings, so I know the journey of each group.    

Even though we no longer make our pilgrimage to all the cemeteries each Memorial Day, my memories are with my loved ones, here and gone, and of those lovely trips.   

This year the peonies are blooming on the Memorial Day holiday!   I can't think of a year when that has happened, but I've just taken these Saturday evening--the first to bloom!   I'm sure there will be more to come this weekend.   Happy thoughts and memories to each of you!


P.S.  I would love to hear what you do on Memorial Day, family traditions, etc.!  Please share in the Comments sections!  


Special holiday sale at
now through Tues, May 28.   
20% off everything in store 
when you use this coupon at checkout:   

Sunday Update:
Added new components overnight.   
Expect to add more today.
Feel free to ask me to Reserve any items you may want
until all items are listed.  I'm happy to do that!
Just send a note to me at the Artfire store!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Don't miss this coupon!

In an attempt to ease my way into paid marketing, I purchased 3-months of  advertising in the  Artisan Whimsy online magazine "Bead Chat" (p. 23 of April issue)  and (p. 8 of the May issue)  and I'm curious to know how effective this has been so far.  (The June issue has not been published yet.)

Would you mind providing me with some feedback in the form of an answer to this question?   (You can even just comment with the number 1, 2, or 3 if you like!)

I first saw the ad:
1) the Artisan Whimsy "Bead Chat" magazine.
2)  ... on this blog a week or so ago
3) ... here just now.

I realize that Artisan Whimsy is still rather new, and that "Bead Chat" is a brand new magazine.  These factors are likely to impact the results dramatically, so this is not about giving up hope, just getting a starting measurement.  

If you are not already a member of Artisan Whimsy, I hope you'll join soon!  But either way, I want you to know you are welcome to use the following coupon, good through the end of June!

All the "fine print"... (and some of it's even good news)! 

Only one coupon code can be entered per purchase.   If you have more than one coupon offer, please enter the code that gives you the best overall savings.    

Please enter code at time of purchase.  Sorry, the coupon is not retroactive on previous purchases.

This code may be used multiple times through the end of June.

Thanks to all of you who visit  Sharyl's Jewelry Artfire Store, who shop, who give feedback and support!   Hope you have a great week!   


P.S.  I have new components ready and will be loading them a few at a time this week.   I'll try to keep announcements coming on my Sharyl's Jewelry Facebook page.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The "Non-Reveal" Post

Some of you may be wondering what I'm up to these days.  Others of you already have some idea.   It's probably obvious I'm not producing new items at the rate I should be, so I'll explain a little, I just can't show you photos yet...

Often I'm in challenges and post a "reveal" page at the end of the challenge to show what I've made.   Until that time, development on the project is typically kept quiet so the results will be a surprise to all involved.   Those of you who have been involved in challenges, or have read about them, know what I mean.   The same is true of publishing.  Most magazines stipulate that there will be no public showing of your jewelry until after it has been published by the magazine that has accepted it for publication.   

I'm not sure how each of you feel about sharing custom order work you are doing for customers, but I follow a  strict code of privacy here as well.     Perhaps that comes in part from my library background where patron confidentiality is paramount.    Perhaps it comes in part from following too many royal weddings and hearing how no one knows who the royal dressmaker will be or what the bride's dress will look like!   ha!

Regardless, I don't share photographs of a custom order I'm working on, until the customer and I mutually agree on a time I may share it with others.  I typically don't ask until I feel the time is appropriate.   If that sounds stricter than necessary, it may be, but that's just the way I work.

Now, none of this was meant to be a lecture, or to say one way is better than another, it's just background for my story to explain what I've been working on...and will continue to work on for a few more weeks!     I've decided to share a little of the news now, because I've finally hit a milestone today!  Yippee!

The truth is, a close family member who is very dear to me is getting married near the end of June.     I'm making the jewelry for her and her wedding party!   I've mentioned this vaguely to some of you a few times, but not discussed in any detail on my blog until now.    As the time draws nearer, I'll tell you a little more about the project, lessons I've learned,  and may have a few questions for you too!   

When I began working on this many months ago, I thought, "I design jewelry, I have plenty of lead time, I can do this!   No problem!"    I spent several months just planning, designing, and ordering supplies.    Well, turns out I had some things to learn and to figure out.    I've redesigned and reordered materials several times since!      Everything has finally been planned, ordered, and has arrived!

Here are the jewelry pieces I'll be providing for this event:

  • necklace
  • bracelet
  • earrings

Bridesmaids:   (7 )
  • necklaces   (8 done!  X)
  • bracelets   (7 done!  X)
  • earrings
  • gifts for rehearsal

In addition, I'm making a "backup" necklace for both the bride and a bridesmaid and an extra pair of earrings for "just in case" last minute disasters.   AND I'll be taking my pliers to the wedding!    (There have been some jokes floating about regarding me wearing a tool belt to the wedding with my dress!)   ;-)

I started "production" with the 7 bridesmaid's bracelets.  And today, finished the last of the bridesmaids' necklaces, all 8 of them  (7 + a spare).   This has been the most worrisome part for me, and the part with the most repetition--also difficult for me.  (You know I'm a one-of-a-kind designer... so this held its own challenges!)      I feel like the hardest part is over though, and I'm on my way now!   

Hopefully, I'll be able to show you photos when the wedding is over, but for now, my bride is getting the "royal treatment!"   ;-)

What a learning-growing experience this has been and so worth every minute!   Thank goodness I have such a delightful, cooperative, go-with-the-flow, lovely young woman to work with.   As usual, I've learned so much I never even dreamed I would need to know.   

I'm so honored to be involved in her wedding in this way and hope that the jewelry turns out just the way she would like it.   She deserves the very best!

Thanks to all of you who have wished me good luck and offered support.   When I finish in a couple of weeks, I'll celebrate, then get back to business as usual.  Best wishes to all of you in this happy season of weddings and Spring!



Image Credits:


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Day to All!

Wishing a happy day to all.

So many lovely wishes flowing everywhere today, and I'm a bit at a loss for words myself.  So I will wish you all a very happy day, a day with you surrounded by your loved ones and filled with loving memories of those gone.   Either way, a day of love, I hope.



Just for the fun of it.... 

a Mothers' Day Special for all to enjoy at
20% off everything
including components! 
Sun-Mon, 5/12-13/13!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

5x5 Follow-up and Prize Winner Announcement!

Thanks to all of you who visited my blog and the other participant's blogs to get the behind-the-scenes look of our "5x5" Beat Chat metal testing!  I know it was a lot of reading but I hope you enjoyed seeing how we experimented repeatedly, how we cumulatively hammered, soldered, cut, glued,  tied, twisted, wired, punched, painted, patinated, bent, beaded, bejeweled, and more these pieces of metal!   

At the bottom of my last blog post was a Give-away offer!  Hope you made it that far!  All you had to do was leave a comment regarding the 5x5 event to be entered.  Hopefully you also left a way for me to reach you if you win!    The names of those leaving comments went into the drawing and the winner was  randomly selected by a random-number-generator.   

Before I announce the winner, I have to tell you, that it was difficult to quit fiddling with the jewelry even after we submitted the items for publication in the Bead Chat Magazine!   At the end, I asked the advice of my co-designers on several pieces and have been working on some of the suggestions I received.   

Sometimes it has been  difficult to know if I would have been better to have stopped 5 steps back or whether I needed to go 5 steps further.  Sometimes it depends on taste.  Sometimes it's just good design. One thing was for certain, I had one piece stuck between 2 worlds and felt I had to move it out of that state!   

I'll show you what I mean, and I hope you like the end result, because this will be the give-away gift.

You may recall this piece.   The top copper piece, without the stampings, was what we were given.  This started out as one of my favorites and, after a long struggle, I think I've finally made my peace with it again! 

At the start, I made the brass piece to go with it and stamped designs in both pieces.   Now many of you know, I have a love-hate affair with bright shiny metals.  Mostly I love them, but I know they don't easily stay that way.  They age and darken,  so aging the metals is more popular, and I like that too.   What happened to this piece was that it was a victim of my indecision!  

I decided to age the copper piece and add some green and blue color to it.   And suddenly I realized that between my metal and wire, I had silver, copper, and brass  in both bright and antiqued finishes.   And then it got worse before it got better. I made attempts to lessen the brightness of the brass. (I'm telling you the brass was so bright, I kept getting a reflection of myself with the camera when I tried photographing the necklace for the blog!)   

But once I tamed the brass, then the shiny silver stood out like it didn't belong.   So finally, it took it all apart... one more time...  

Applied more patina colors to the brass piece.  Removed all the silver wire work at the top, the dangles and the clasp.   I replaced the shiny silver clasp with a darker handmade  copper one. The dangles I replaced with  green beads with an aged look (stone, glass rondelles, glass picasso daggers, and brass accent beads).    It's a long way from where I started, but to me it feels like all the parts come from the same time period now, though a much more ancient one.  

I hope you like it.   And I hope the winner does too:

Kathy Lindemer

(If not, Kathy, you are welcome to change it in any way!  That's what this project was all about from the beginning!) :-)

Thank you all for participating and for your support!


P.S.  Thanks once more to Heather Kelly Martson, Melinda Orr, Alicia Marinache, and the other 4 Testers!


All images are photographs taken by Sharyl with exception of the ticket graphic:


Monday, May 6, 2013

AW Bead Chat 5x5 Mini Blog Hop!

Each month 5 metal workers are selected to work with 5 pieces of metal to see what they can create.   At the end, the work is revealed!   The latest issue of ArtisanWhimsy Bead Chat, released Friday, May 3, shows the most recent group of  5x5 Tester results!   You can find them on pages 21-26 of the Glossi magazine! 

So that you can further enjoy the processes involved in making the "5x5" creations, the participants are hosting a mini-blog hop.   Because the testers often do more than just design with the pieces, but also manipulate them first, it’s an intriguing process to see where our imaginations took each of us.   We hope you will visit each of us and watch our journeys.

These are the 5 metal pieces that each of us received:

The very first thing I did was take everything, except the filigree piece, and run them through the tumbler to clean the metals well.   Sorry I didn't take a photo after that stage;  they came out so beautifully!    These are each pretty heavy gauge metals, and are of good quality, so they took well to any altering I attempted.

#1.  This was my first piece, the brass circle.

This was a very hard, mesh-like, raw brass piece, that arrived in this circular shape with a cut in it.   My first question was whether I should try to straighten it (which seemed like it would be very difficult, and then what would I do with it), or fasten it into a circle (a much more favorable solution.)   I decided to try just a bit of wire to hold the ends together.   It all looked easier than it was, of course, but it worked.   Then I looked through my collection for something to put in the middle...beads, pendents, wire, metal....   What I would do with the metal piece in terms of color, wrapping with wire, ribbon, or waxed linen cord, would depend on the center piece.

I finally decided on this blue-gray button I had recently purchased from Shaterra.  I connected the cut circle with wire, then applied a mix of patinas to turn the brass circle a dark blue-gray color.

Then I wrapped the circle and button with a thin black ribbon.  Black rolo chain seemed the perfect match.     The colors are not exactly "in season"  for Spring, but about the time I was making this, I was watching a Dickens movie in which many of the characters were in mourning, and this piece seemed appropriate for that.  (I did way more than the average amount of taking apart and redoing in this challenge!   I'm still not thrilled with the ribbon;  I will probably take this apart and redo again.)
Button by Sharleen Newland

 #2:  This was the "X" piece.

 I decided immediately I wanted to make a bail out of it, then couldn't figure out what to do with it after that! For a long while, I considered it using with another one of our 5 components. If it was going to be a bail, it needed a pendant to go with it. I had run the piece through the tumbler, and it was a beautiful, shiny brass.

I wrapped it in SS-filled white brass wire.   When I found a pendant from "More Skye Jewels," I realized how the shape of the bail and the pendant were so similar. I added a black ox chain to match the trim of the wood tile, and added dangles. 

When all was done, I just didn't like how that shiny gold-like brass stood out against the black and silver. I tried to dull it with shades of olive and muddy-color patinas, but it didn't look right. I added black. Not right. I covered the entire thing in black. Much better. I only wish I had blackened it before I wire-wrapped it. I could have done a much better, even job of it.

Eiffel Tower Tile Pendant by 

#3:  Copper "Apron"

I may have over-processed this one, or perhaps, I'm not yet finished...  I started with the copper piece, and cut out a larger piece of brass to fit behind it. I stamped one design on the copper, and a strip of another design on the brass.

 Then I made silver dangles for the bottom. It looked pretty good, I thought, but decided the copper needed some color. I dipped in liver of sulfur, but still wanted more color, so applied some color patinas. Then it seemed too dark, even when I buffed much of it off. It also covered most of my stampings. Bummer!

I couldn't decide what chain to use, but had this copper chain with green beads that was forming a a natural patina and thought it enhanced the color on the copper part of the pendant, so I went with that.  (I'm still trying to improve on this necklace and have continued working with it, trying to make have less contrast between the aged and super-shiny parts.)

#4:   This is my favorite!

 When I dipped the piece into liver of sulfur, it turned this brilliant magenta color! I've never had that happen!  

After applying  Rennaisance Wax,  I just wrapped a bit of brass wire around the middle and tried to find something interesting to do with it! (Both brass and copper are repeated throughout the design.)  I found this large, lovely boro lampwork bead by Amanda Cargill-Austin in my stash, used that, a few assorted beads, and some wirework to add color and design.   I antiqued this lovely copper chain too.   I love the colors! Wa-la!

#5:  This was the last piece I worked on.

I felt pretty secure when I started this piece because I work with filigree quite a bit. I have tools to bend it, which came in handy.  I also already had a larger but similar silver-plated brass piece on hand that I could place beneath the brass piece we were given, and they lined up so well! I had such a good start, I saved this until the end to finish.

But, well, talk about your "cold connections." (It's embarrassing to say, but I don't have a torch yet.) Wire wasn't working for me; I couldn't seem to draw the two pieces up close together. Glue?   I've never tried it on metal and didn't know how effective it would be. So I used hand-dyed silk ribbon, which I have used before, and tied it very tightly.It's very smooth on the wrist too, one nice advantage. I did use wire to attach the Mother of Pearl bead in the center and tucked the wire under the ribbon. Then attached chain and wire-wrapped pearlized glass beads on jump rings to make the length of the chain adjustable.

I often mix metal colors.  In this bracelet you see antiqued silver, antiqued brass, bright brass, and a bright silver clasp.   I found myself mixing metals even more than usual in this challenge.    It was fun working with types of pieces I might never have chosen for myself, and really trying to think of something different to do with them!    

I worried I wouldn't be creative enough.... then I worried I may have gone too far when some pieces started to be unrecognizable!  All my fears were eased in that regard when I saw the wonderfully delightful, wonderfully unique pieces, from the wonderfully talented other 4 participants.

I'll link you to them now:

Charlene Bausinger Jacka     “Clay Space”   
Lesley Freedom    “SweetFreedom Designs”   

Heidi Mansfield Kingman     “Heidi Kingman Jewelry   

Joan Williams   lilruby jewelry

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson     “Sharyl’s Jewelry”    

A special note of gratitude to Heather Kelly Martson, who donated the metal pieces for this month!
     CSW Design Blog       hehebeads etsy store   

Additional thanks to Alicia Marinache for coordinating the project and Melinda Orr for creating it, and for all she does to create this wondrous world of Artisan Whimsy!


   I'll be giving away one piece from my 5x5 collection!  Please leave a comment on this page by Wed, May 8, at 11:55pm Central time, and make sure I have a way to contact you for a chance to win!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

1 question survey + tip about Monday's special event!

I have a quick survey for you  today!   I would greatly appreciate your feedback.   I'm starting to do some paid marketing and trying to decide how/where my time and money are best spent.  You can help me with your input!    (There is only one question and it's multiple choice, so it's really quick!)

Click here to take survey 

If you have any comments from your own experiences about marketing and paid advertisements, please send me a note or include in the comment section.  I'll be very grateful!

Also, please check in tomorrow!   I was one of the "5x5 Tester Group" in the May 2013 issue of Artisan Whimsy Bead Chat Magazine  and the results have been published!  (Pages 21-26 if you want a sneak peak!)  You can click below...

I'll show you more details on how the metal pieces arrived, what I did to them, and used them in my designs!   We all had a great time, and hope you will enjoy our mini blog hop Monday!

I'll give away one of the pieces to one of our blog participants, so come back for details!

Graphic Credits:

Bead Chat magazine copyrighted by Melinda Orr. 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

After Spring Comes....Winter?

Over a month ago I wrote a post entitled, "Happy Spring in the Land" of Uh-Oh!"    If I didn't let that incident pass without comment, the freaky weather in the last 36 hours cannot go unnoticed either.

Wed, May 1.   I went out into the steamy warm morning and took some photos of things in bloom.  Many flowering plants, bushes, and trees had just opened that morning!

This is the first year for this particular lilac bush to bloom and I took bunches of photos,
 so impressed that it was so full of blossoms!

The flowering plum looked impressive too!

Tulips in different colors, popping up all around the yard.

It was much warmer than it had been, 85 degrees hot, humid, and I noticed as I finished that a dusty layer of yellow pollen was starting to settle on every outdoor surface.   My son's car was covered, the back deck was covered.   So I cancelled my anticipated walk and went inside to stay for the day.

It started to cool in the evening, as anticipated, and I so longed for my walk, but knew better than to get out in that.   

Thursday, May 2.  By morning it was 40 degrees and pouring rain, but the world looked clean again.  I put on warm clothes, my rain jacket and mitts, and took out for my walk.  At a brisk pace, it felt pretty good.  Wet, but good.  

Glad I got that walk in early, because a few hours later, came sleet, and then....

everything went white.

No, I didn't pass out.  But I rather wanted to as the day wore on and the white stuff kept falling.   SNOW! ...  Again...    

Well, I know some of you had even worse weather today.  So stay warm, or stay cool, or stay dry, or wish you rain and subsiding winds, whatever it is you need.    Certainly stay safe and well.


All photographs by Sharyl, May 1-2, 2013.