Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Not all all that glitters is gold!!!

Most of my jewelry is sterling silver as this is my personal favorite color and material. Even in the rare cases when I wear gold, I prefer white gold. However, there are many people who love the color of gold or prefer gold jewelry because they are sensitive to other materials. For these people I have started developing my goldfilled line of jewelry.

What is goldfilled? Gold may be a desired metal but it is also a rather expensive one. Several alternatives were developed for those who want gold but prefer their jewelry in a more affordable price level. Gold coating is one option. A thin layer of gold coats another less expensive metal. Because the coating is thin this eventually wears out. So this is not a good solution if you are allergic or if you want a jewelry that will last for long. Sometimes you can send the item to be re-coated.

Gold filled is another alternative. It is made of a solid gold layer bonded to another base material . Goldfilled has about 100 times more gold than in gold plating. It is more durable and with normal use will probably last forever. No need to worry about allergies, if you can wear gold, you can wear goldfilled. For these reasons it is my preferred option for gold jewelry. You get almost the same look and feel as gold at a fraction of the price.

So here are some of my new goldfilled designs. I will be listing many more in the coming days so be sure to check my store for more stuff. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winter colors - White Gems and Pearls

I wanted to write another post about the colors of winter and thought about white. Though it's not exactly a color of winter, it's more like an all-year-round color, It does goes great with winter time. Maybe because the color reminds me of snow (as we don't have much snow in Israel, I'm fascinated with snow when I get to see it). Usually the darker colors are more dominant in winter but you can never go wrong with white!!

There are several white stones that I've used in my jewelry. There's Opalite which is a synthetic stone with a pale semi transparent white color. I love the delicate color of this stone. There are also Jade and Crystals.

But the top Queen of whites in jewelry is without a doubt - pearls.
These treasures of the ocean (or more common - treasures of sweet water growing farms) have a magical shade of white like no other. I love using pearls in my designs. It gives them a classic look that combined with a modern design turns out rather chic don't you think?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Shop makeover

It's been a few days since my last post. I have been busy working on 2 things. The first is my tax report. Thank god I'm done with this for 2 more months. The second and more interesting thing that's been keeping me busy is a total shop makeover I'm doing.

I decided I was not completley happy with the pictures in my store so I tried many different backgrounds and many different camera settings until I reached a result that I think looks good.
My dining room has been taken over and is now a photographing room. Got my light tent and my lighting on the dining table with all my accessories around it. Got all my jewelry waiting their turn to get their new photographs taken. Now it's only a matter of time. It takes some time to complete over 180 items. Some of the items were sold and I have to remake them before I can take a picture. But all in all I think my shop is starting to look different and better even if it's not all done yet. What do you think of these before and after pictures?

This is before the makeover:

This is after the makeover:

After I am done with my "DvoraSchleffer" store I will do the same with my "RainbowMetal" store.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2 designing techniques

When I want to make some new designs, there are 2 basic ways in which I can approach this: one is the "free your mind" technique and the other is the "challenge yourself" technique.
Free designing is the easiest, more conventional way. You think of ideas, make some sketches or any other way you prefer to write down your thoughts, than you get the supplies you need and begin making the design you planned.

The challenge technique is where you set a specific limitation and need to invent a design that takes that limitation into account. When I was in metalsmithing school this was the technique they used to develop our creativity. We would get a theme and make a related design. For my graduation project we has to design jewelry inspired by a children's book. I choose Hensel and Gretel and made a necklace shaped like candy and chocolate.

As an independent designer, there's no one to give me such challenges but I did find one way to challenge myself and be economically wise at the same time . Most of the time I design free of any limitations. I think of a design and simply make it. But every now and then I sit and look at the supplies I have in stock. Gemstones, findings, silver wires etc and I challenge myself to come up with designs that utilize what I have. This is of course a wise thing to do in any business, but it can also be fun from a designing point of view. A lot of my most popular designs were actually born this way. Fun and useful - that's a good combination don't you think?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How I became a consistent blogger

It's been almost a month since I re-started my blog. Wasn't sure I'll be able to keep it up, but so far I am! I tried to figure out what is different this time around and came up with 3 main reasons that I want to share here. So here are my 3 tips for being successful in keeping a blog going:
1. Do it for the right reason - when I started blogging it was because I have read a lot about how important it is. Then I got busy and stopped writing. Now I am doing it because it's important but also because I enjoy it. It helps me arrange my thoughts and share with others what I want to say. It's much easier to keep up things you enjoy doing. If you're not having fun - don't do it.
2. Make a list of subjects - one of the main problems of keeping up a blog is that you don't know what to write about. You have to write frequently for the blog to appear active and interesting and you don't always have an idea at that particular moment. What I did is prepare a list of subjects that I want to write about. Every time I get another idea I add it to the list. So when I come to write a post, I have all the ideas in front of me and I never get stuck.
3. Decide on a logical frequency - I know that I am not able to write every day. So I decided I will write every 2-3 days for now. This is something I can handle and therefore I am less likely to give up on the whole thing. If you can only write once a week, it's ok. Just make sure you are consistent and that your readers know what to expect.
I know I've only been blogging for a short time and I'm not exactly an authority on blog writing and success, but these are the things that have helped me get this far. Hope these will help me continue and maybe even help others that want to write a blog and get stuck on the way.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Though I love making and wearing earrings, I was never into hoops. When I thought of hoops the image that came to my mind was of a bare hoop in various sizes and wire thickness. This seemed a bit boring to me. So I focused mainly on dangling earrings which were what I liked to wear myself.

But I was wrong!! Hoops can come in many different and interesting shapes. It's just a matter of finding the right design. Lately I have been designing and creating hoops that are completely different from that image I had. Hoops that have different looks and details. Several of these designs even became some of my best sellers!!

I'm glad I decided to give hoops a try. They are fun to make and they challenge me to re-invent the hoop concept, everytime I make a pair. Hope you like my hoops as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The colors of winter - Garnets

For the past few days it has been raining heavily. It looks like winter has arrived. I must admit that I am not much of a winter person. I prefer clear blue skies to these dark cloudy skies. But since it's here whether I like it or nor, I might as well enjoy the good things about winter, like the colors it brings.
Winter is the time of the darker colors. Brown, black, dark blue and my personal favorite - deep red. This is the season for Garnets with their deep dark wine red color. I have been working on some new designs using Garnet gemstones. Some are brand new others I'm remaking for this winter season. I love the color of Garnets. It's so deep, warm and gorgeous.

I will be writting about other winter colors in threads to come. What's your favorite winter color?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What a small upgrade can do

Some time ago I made a pair of filigree earring. Had the idea for it sketched in my notebook and it turned out exactly as planned. But for some reason, something was not working. I felt there was something missing. I was not happy with how the earring looked but just couldn't figure out what to change. Anything I tried didn't seem to make a difference.

Finally I put these earrings aside and continued to other designs. Last week I picked the earrings up and suddenly - inspiration!! I knew what to do to change them from nice to gorgeous. And it was so simple, just one small dangling gemstone that completely changed the look of the earrings.

Now that I was happy with them, I listed them in my Dawanda store, and before I even had the chance to list them on Etsy as well, they sold!! That's what I call a successful make over don't you? (Not to worry, they are now listed in both stores again).

Here are the earrings before the change:

And here they are after:

I guess some designs just need a little more time to develop.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

1000 hearts - 100 hearts!!!

This past weekend I reached an important milestone for me, my DvoraSchleffer store in etsy received its 1000 heart. Almost at the same time my RainbowMetal store, arrived at 100 hearts which is not bad for a store that was only opened 1.5 months ago.
My Dawanda store is also getting more and more fans. Altogether, this makes me very happy. After all this is what every artist wants - to have people love their designs.

Time for me to set new goals for the next couple of months and hopefully I will write a post to say I reached those goals as well.

This cute circle ring seems to be my new best seller item for this week. So I though it deserved a spot here in the blog too.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My giraffes inspired a treasury!!

I was very thrilled to discover that someone liked my cute giraffe metal painting so much that it inspired an entire treasury. You can take a look at the list made by RWillisglassartist:
I think it's gorgeous don't you?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wire crochet jewelry

I learned to crochet when I was a teenager. A few years later I found myself mixing this technique with traditional metalsmithing and creating my line of wire crochet jewelry. This was one of my favorite lines. When I opened my b&m store people seemed to share my love for this collection and many of the jewelry items from this collection were best sellers.

For some reason I stopped making these crocheted designs. Maybe I got a bit tired and needed to explore a few other techniques for a while. Anyway, enough time has passed and I am now resuming this beautiful technique and making some new jewelry for my stores.

Here are a few examples:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How many items can you make per day?

When I first started making jewelry professionally, I could only make a few items per day. Before going to craft shows I would have to check if I had enough items to fill my table. Building an entire collection seemed to take forever.

Since then I have learned that in order to run a business you need to have enough inventory all the time and for this I needed to make more items per day.

My "secret" for getting more done in the same amount of time is simple: I work on several items simultaneously. I never make one item from start to finish. Instead I do all my wire bending of all the jewelry I am working on, then all the soldering, then the filing etc. When I am done I usually finish a large bunch of items all together. I discovered that this is much more efficient. Making 4 items together takes only a little more time than 1 item alone. So I try to work in series of items at once instead of working one at a time.
You are welcome to share your tips for more efficient work.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My virtual friends

When I tell people that I am a full time crafter and that I work at home, one of the most common questions I get is "isn't it lonely and boring being alone all day long with no one to talk to?"
But lucky for me, now-a-days you don't really need to leave the house to meet people. I have an entire virtual community to keep me company.

Apart from occasional visits to the Etsy forums, I am a member of the Israeli artist team of Etsy. I have met many great artists there, some I met in person when we had a group meeting, others I just know virtually, but they are all my virtual friends. We meet every day, consult one another in different business related issues but also chat about non-related things. Being in this group and having people to talk to, makes this working at home thing much more fun. I get to meet more people than I would ever meet in a "regular" work place, not to mention that the people I meet can be located anywhere in the world. (We have team members located everywhere in Israel, some in the US, Europe etc).

And the best part is that I can control this myself!! When I need advice or just to relax and chat a little, I go in the forum, when I need to focus on my work - no one can disturb me. How great is that?

I would like to give a special thanks to Irith from Riorita, for featuring me on her blog. Her willingness to support other artists, is what inspired me to write this post.
Check out the blog feature she wrote about me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The road from jewelry to home decor

I have been making jewelry ever since I can remember myself. Though I tried and explored many different techniques and art forms, I always somehow channeled everything back to jewelry. Like when I studies stained glass the result was a line of stained glass jewelry, my knowledge in crocheting turned into wire crochet jewelry etc.

Now with my new colorful metal store, Rainbowmetal, I decided to break this path and try something completely new for me. So I started making some small home decor items like magnets for the fridge, metal paintings to hang on the wall and mezuzahs for the door. This is really fun for me. I get to work in larger scales than I am used to which opens up new possibilities. I also get to decorate places instead of people which is a nice change. It's like I'm making jewelry for houses!!

The magnets were the first thing I expanded into. I guess it's logical since they are small and very similar to pendants or brooches. Then I wanted to decorate a plain door I have at home, so I came up with the small decorative tiles. I'll try to make a "before and after" post to let you see how it turned out. A friend who had a baby recently inspired me to start the metal paintings for nursery's and children rooms. I really love the result. And so I go on expanding my artistic horizons. Have any more ideas for me?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My website is back from the ruins

A few months ago I discovered that my website has been hacked and someone inserted all sorts of damaging files into it. It was done very cleverly so that I would not even notice. New pages were "planted" that I could not see or know they were there. This is why it took me a while to find out this was happening. I started seeing that my site's rank was dropping and eventually I could not even enter my site because I got a message warning me this was a "dangerous and harmful site". This was soooo frustrating. I have had the site for years and it took a lot of time and effort to make it go up in rank and appear in searches. All this work was ruined because of this invasion.

I tried to fix this but was not successful so eventually I decided to start over from scratch. I deleted the entire site with all the files, pictures and anything else. I even changed my hosting company to be sure I'll have a clean slate. Then I made an entirely new web page that is now my own website.

Though this was a troubling and upsetting experience, it also gave me an opportunity to re-evaluate my site's purpose and goals. Before this happened my site was a selling point for my designs. It displayed my collections and enabled people to buy directly from the site. This was because historically my site was my first online venue. However, since I am now much more focused in other venues like Etsy, Dawanda etc, this seemed to be a waste of time. (Updating a site is so much more complicated than listing items to an existing platform). So I decided that what I need my site to be is a sort of "traffic controller" just pointing visitors to all the places where they can find my designs. This way I can keep a business card with one website address on it and still have people referred to all my stores.

Now my site is up and running again. Only one page for now but the important thing is that it is a legit site again and that it is fulfilling my current needs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm back!! and I have a new store

It's been a long time since I last wrote. I have just been so busy and there are simply not enough hours in the day for all the things that need to be done!!
But I'm back now and hope I'll be able to keep it going this time.

The reason I've been so busy is that I have opened a new store. I have been thinking about it for a while and last month I actually did it. This store is a bit different than my "dvora schleffer" store. The concept of this store is colorful metal. One more new thing in this store is that it's not only about jewelry, I've expanded into small home decor items as well. This is really fun. I have magnets, pictures, mezuzah's and more to come. Finding a name for the store was a bit difficult. My first store was easy, I just went with my name. For the new store I wanted to find a name that will capture the concept of the store which is - colorful metal. Finally I came up with "RainbowMetal", I think it does the job.

Now the difficult part is running both stores. I'll keep updating on how this is going.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vacation in Italy

It's been a while since my last post. The reason for my disappearance is I was on vacation in Italy!!! Originally I intended to keep writing my blog from Italy, but as you see - it didn't happen.

We had a great vacation. Italy is so beautiful. This is my 5Th visit there and hopefully not the last. This time we were in the northern part, near the lakes. Unbelievably beautiful!!!
If I wrote before about my infatuation with teal and blue, after 2 weeks of seeing lakes all around me, I'm even more in love with all shades of blue!!

We visited Venice which was beautiful as ever, climbed to the mountains to see breathtaking views and basically spent every day visiting nice little towns around the lakes and eatting lots of pizzas, lazania and ice cream!!!

One of the placed we stayed at was a wonderful b&b called "Il nido del lago". The hostess Mary, went out of her way to make us feel at home. We had a great breakfast with cakes Mary baked every day, sitting on the porch with a great view to lake Varese.

Well, vacation is over now. Time to get back to work. till next time. Ciao.