Sunday, December 19, 2010

Taking a turn

Life is full of twists and turns. You can either choose to ignore them or to realize them as challenges and potential opportunities. It's been awhile since I've posted and during the time I've been away , I adopted a bundle of furry energy. The first few days are lost in a haze of making sure the new puppy didn't chew (she did anyway), go to the bathroom on my nice rugs (she did anyway), or chase my faithful feline assistant, Mosby (of COURSE she did). Trips to Petco and Petsmart yielded lots of doggy stuff. Bed, collar, crate, and treats.. lots of treats.

I tried to work on my jewelry. I NEEDED to since I had my first show the first weekend of December, but Georgie was a total distraction. Pushing her favorite toy against my leg over and over to let me know it was time to put aside the torch and play for a bit. We'd head outside too... a nice romp in the yard. She always came to me when I called for her, until the day when she didnt... she actually looked at me and ran in the opposite direction.

You'd think that while I was spending all that money on toys to keep her from getting bored and everything else to keep her comfortable, that I might have thought about getting her a nice little tag with her name and my phone number on it, but I hadn't ! So once I found her and got her home, I settled into the work of making one for her. After all, Im a jewelry maker... so why shouldnt my pup have a nice piece of doggy jewelry?

And that's when the turn happened. That's when something in my life shifted. That was the day that Doggone Tags was born. Sometimes when life shows you the twists , grab it... you might find that it's a chance for you to embrace a wonderful new path.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coloring metal

I know now that I am my father's daughter. Countless new hobbies, mutations of those into other hobbies, stranded projects that didnt get finished out of boredom. For those who know me, you'll question if I'm talking about my dad or myself!

While my love and obsession with metal work and jewelry making hasn't ebbed at all, I'm constantly looking for ways to push it and make it different. So imagine my excitement when I learned that I could actually apply color with Prismacolor pencils! I still have them hanging around from my graphic design years (yes, they are THAT old) although some of them are little nubs. They were lovingly packed away in a Mickey Mouse tin which I located in a box in the basement on Friday (among a lot of unfinished projects that I KNOW I should finish, but won't) and pulled upstairs, dusted off, and are now sitting on my dining room table (heretofore known as "Melissa's jewelry bench")
Here are just a few pictures of why I'm excited...

The first and third piece were done by Deb Karash and the beautiful paisley piece was done by Jane Adams. Expect to start seeing some of this from me ! Of course not on this level anytime soon. I just hope I stick with it long enough to show off some of the pieces!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Favorite Product

Trying to choose a favorite piece of my own jewelry for Handmade Spark wasn't too difficult. With my landscape /horticulture background I always gravitate towards the pieces that represent that part of my life anyway, so I'd pick my Mixed Metal Sunflower Bracelet. It's very three dimensional and a little quirky and actually started as a flat flower, but once I domed the textured center disc, I fell in love with it! It's also the first piece in my upcoming "Whimsies" line (trademark pending) which will combine my love of flowers with my passion for Pounding Metal!

Check out my latest pendant! You can follow along with the making of it (and the reasons) here in my weekend blog about Branding.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Branding phase 2

Phase II of new logo is NOT going according to plan ! I thought I had soldering down 100%, but apparently I still have things to learn because I am having an impossible time getting the tree pieces to stay. A lot of cussing and two burned fingers later, here's where I am with the metal version of the logo design...

You can see the mountain and the foreground taking shape. So far there are three layers. Sterling silver backing with a stamped design around the edge for a "frame" , the mountain is in copper, and the foreground (the hillside) is in silver. It's impossible to see the detail in the hillside, but I've hammered in some texture that looks like long grass.

Hopefully I'll be able to tackle this again tomorrow, but Im off to eat burritos, drink a glass of wine, and settle in for some Sunday night football !

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, all !
Publish Post

shop for my work at Hitch Hollow Design
visit with or follow me at Hitch Hollow Design on FB


I've known for awhile that branding is important to the ultimate success of a business and have toyed a bit with it. The first impression of my card or my jewelry booth will leave a mental mark on my potential clients even before they see my jewelry.

Branding can be confusing. Just what is it? How does it help? Much more knowledgeable people than I have investigated this, and I've been reading through whatever I can get my hands on that I think will help ! Recently I picked up a copy of The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin and this little book is just full of information on getting who you are and what you do out to the public.

After reading through about 3/4 of the book, I started to ask if the appearance of my Etsy shop, and my business cards really worked. I knew they looked "nice" but did they really do what they needed to do. So I asked friends and family. Wow can people who claim to love you be brutal ! Everyone seemed to agree that the logo, banner, biz cards, and packaging all "went" together, but didn't show one bit what my jewelry was all about. YIKES!

So I've spent some time pondering how to get the handmade, rustic, comfy, quirky, funky feel of my jewelry into a logo that will also incorporate the look of the packaging materials that I've already purchased and love! The image on the left is my biz card now.

I know it doesn't exactly scream cool jewelry or even metal, right?

So my idea is to actually get some metal on it and more of a sense of what Hitch Hollow actually is. First step taken care of.. design. (pay no attention to the middle tree that seems to have an eyeball in it... no eyeball trees will be in my logo!) Second step is to take this little sketch, grab some metal, and torture it into this design. I've got my work cut out for me this afternoon... I'll drop back in and post my progress !

happy Sunday afternoon everyone. Remember to visit my shop if you're in the jewelry perusing mood :)

and please feel free to join me at Hitch Hollow on FB

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Progression of an Obsession

I have been thinking that perhaps this should be called "The absorption of a dining room" because that's probably the biggest indicator of what's been happening with this "art stuff" (as my spouse, let's call him... ummm Bert, likes to call it)

It started simply... a bead here, a bead there.. mostly cheap, mostly plastic... one tool. Slowly but surely I started collecting and filling up plastic boxes bought at Lowes, Home Depot, or the KMart fishing section. You know the ones. You look at them and think "man, I could really use one of these to put______ in !!". Well, I look at a shelf of them and think "wow... I could really use ALL Of those to put BEADS in !" or pieces of glass, or buttons, or... well you get the idea !

Once I started going to REAL bead stores and moved beyond the Ben Franklins of the world, my collection started to grow. Online stores were wonderful and allowed me to see how many options were out there as well, but REAL bead stores let me see the beads, understand what 4mm faceted rondelle meant. I could touch them, hold them next to other beads. And what it also allowed me to see was that I wasn't going to be happy with just my 5 little plastic boxes and my one tool. I wanted to expand my horizons and not just put beads on fishing line and silk thread, so I started to buy the tools that I knew I'd need at some point.

That's when I took up residency in the dining room. At first I'd clean it up each night and pull everything up from the basement the next day. Then I started leaving some things out a day at a time. Slowly, but surely, I just started setting it up as a work station ! Some day I'll spend some time talking about actually setting up a great work space, but right now I can tell you that my dining room is a wonderful space for creating ! It might not be the safest, but it's big and bright, central to the house, and let's face it, who eats in their dining rooms anymore?!? I'm thinking it was basically wasted space until I put my anvil there :)

As you can see, there's little space for my tool collection to get much bigger. Adding a kiln will mean that I'm going to have to either add a side table or actually (and I hate this thought) move! I still maintain a space for my trusted assistant to sit and stare at me, and I still have a spot for house phone, cell phone, and a nice big mug of coffee. Knowing that I have that still usable space is a comfort for me. It means that I can add some more plastic boxes, get a handful more stamping tools, some more hammers, and that tumbler I'm checking out ! Yes, the obsession is still growing .... it's changing... and it doesnt seem to be slowing down. But right now, Im still being encouraged and so I consider it a healthy addiction at this point. If it gets out of hand, Im sure someone will let me know......

Monday, April 12, 2010

the name

Last week my husband and I were having a "discussion" when he told me to "go pound metal" which was a reference to my jewelry making, but sent us into fits of laughter! It's now become the saying around the house for various reasons, but mostly to make each other smile.

Years of exploring different ways to express myself have led me to jewelry making. Will it become another way for me to just "collect" materials or will it be a path that will lead me to much more fulfillment than quilting or scrap booking? When I started this journey, I had just cleaned out the basement where I came across the very large box full of papers that were meant for beautiful pages full of pictures and snappy remarks. Im also fully aware of the trunk just crammed full of fabrics that were chosen to become snuggly comfy quilts ! Those went by the wayside, but it seems like my jewelry making is here to stay... there's sooooo much to learn and I'm pouring over websites, books, magazines, and talking to anyone who might be able to teach me a thing or two!

I hope that as I get further into this blog (my first) that it will help connect me with people who are in the same boat.. .learning a new craft, anxious to learn more, maybe putting their pieces out for people to see (and buy) for the first time. Come join me... talk to me...for now,
Im going to go "pound metal" !!!