1000th Sale Milestone – Shop Sale and $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

Happy Monday!

I am excited to announce that I have reached a milestone – 1000 sales in my shop on Etsy! I am so thrilled and grateful for all of your support in helping me reach 4-digits, and wanted to celebrate with you!

Now through Sunday May 13th, I’m holding a shop-wide sale for 10% off any purchase. The discount has already been applied to the listings, so there’s no need to use a coupon code or anything else.

I’m also holding a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to my store! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and let me know which of my designs is your favorite. It can be something you have already purchased, or something you would like to own! I’ll use Random.org to choose a winner at random from all of the entries. Leave your comment on this post before Monday May 14th at 11pmPST. Comment entries are now completed for this giveaway. Thanks to all who participated! The winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday the 15th and will be announced here!

Now it’s time to hold a sweet little celebration of my own..with a pint of my favorite gelato on this gorgeous sunny day!  :)

 

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The winning number has been selected! Congrats, Lillea!

Honeybees and Honeycomb

The arrival of springtime usually makes me a little bit nostalgic, as this is the season when I start seeing honeybees buzzing about, pollinating those pretty spring flowers and tending to the fields. You see, for many years of my childhood, my dad was a beekeeper and my mom ran a little shop in the town we lived in, selling honey and beeswax candles, among other beehive related items. I can still remember the sweet smell of fresh honey overwhelming our home whenever dad was processing a new batch of honeycomb, and watching in awe as he tended to his bees in the fields.

Even after all those years with hives right in our back yard, I’ve never been stung by a bee a single time in my life. Honeybees don’t actually want to sting you, because unlike wasps, hornets and other stinging insects, they need to be provoked (frightened or angered) before they sting – and they typically die after they’ve stung you. Honeybees almost always lose their stinger in the body of the recipient, and when that happens, it kills them. Those other stinging bugs do not (and can keep stinging you repeatedly if they want to!) Thus, the honey bee just wants to go about its business without any trouble. I see them as friendly little workers who make our lives better in so many ways.

I suppose it’s true when they say that your upbringing and life experiences help shape what you create, as I’ve had a slight bee and honeycomb obsession this spring. I’ve been making honeycomb shapes out of polymer clay, and fine silver metal clay – sometimes adorned by tiny little bees.

Here’s a few of my favorites (click on the images for more information)..

Fine Silver Honeycomb Necklace with Tiny Sterling Silver Bee

Tiny Gold Bee and Clay Honeycomb Brooch

Honeycomb Earrings on Sterling Silver Hooks

All of the honeycomb patterns were done individually by hand, one hexagon at a time. I made a tiny hexagon stamp, and pressed it into the clay repeatedly (both the metal clay and the polymer clay) to create the honeycomb pattern. As usual, I did not use any pre-designed molds or patterns! This leaves a slightly imperfect pattern. I think I prefer it this way, as it adds to the special handmade aspect of each piece, rather than a mass-produced item.

Happy Spring! Be kind to those honeybees who cross your path. :)

Weekend Jewelry Sale!

It’s finally March! I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely ready for spring time. (And summer ….. but I won’t push it!) I’ve been busy making a lot of new styles, and it’s time to move out some previous designs that will no longer be in stock. This weekend I’m having a 50% off sale on select designs! You can view which items are on currently on sale here.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s on sale! Click on the photo to go directly to the item listing. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.

Peachy Pink Rose and Vintage Glass Necklace on Sterling Silver (Originally $55, currently on sale this weekend for $27.50.)

Sterling Silver Bee Necklace with Golden Honey Vintage Glass Beads (Originally $45, currently on sale this weekend for $22.50.)

Purple Amethyst Gemstone Necklace on Sterling Silver Chain (Originally $49, currently on sale this weekend for $24.50.)

Yellow Quartz and White Pearl Drop Earrings on Sterling Silver (Originally $50, currently on sale this weekend for $25.)

White Clay Rose and Dark Olive Pearl Drop Earrings (Originally $40, currently on sale this weekend for $20.)

Tiny Silver Bow and Rose Quartz Drop Earrings on Sterling Silver (Originally $32, currently on sale this weekend for $16.)

All of the sale designs are one of a kind pieces. Once they’re styles are sold, they’re gone for good!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Fine Silver Rose Earrings

Happy 2012! I’ve been using my new kiln for the past month, and wanted to share one of my new (sort of!) designs. “New,” referring to the medium more-so than the design. If you’ve visited my website or Etsy storefront, you’re probably familiar with my clay roses. I’ve recently returned to working with precious metal clay, and decided what better to use to start off with than the roses?

For those that aren’t familiar with precious metal clay, let me give you a brief explanation: precious metal clay is composed of microscopic particles of precious metal, held together with an organic binder. Although the working properties of this clay are slightly different than other clays (for example, it dries out much faster) it can be cut/shaped/molded/carved in a similar fashion. The clay is then dried, fired (heated/cured,) then burnished (hardened,) polished and buffed. The organic binder is burned off in the firing process, leaving just the metal behind! Pretty neat, huh?

Precious metal clay is available in fine silver, copper, bronze, gold (22k) and most recently sterling silver.  I’m using fine silver right now, since I’m already familiar with it, and will be using the copper next! (Note: Fine silver is higher quality and does contain more silver than sterling silver: .999 instead of .925.)

I thought I’d share a few photos from the process involved in making my fine silver rose earrings. It takes a long time to complete each rose (and earring) but the finished result is beautiful and well worth the effort.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose earrings

(A finished pair of fine silver rose earrings.)

First and foremost, I shape the clay. I make the fine silver roses by hand, petal by petal – the same process used in my polymer clay roses. (No molds are ever used for my roses – each one is unique!) I sand and smooth the clay, then let them dry.. sometimes overnight, sometimes in the kiln.

Next, I fire the roses in my kiln. The temperature I use ranges from 1200-1500F degrees, depending on the design. (Yes, that is HOT!)

Victoria Camp Designs - kiln

Once the roses are fired and have cooled down, I take them out of the kiln. They appear “white.” This is a crystallized layer that must be burnished to remove. You can use a tumbler or a burnishing tool.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose1

I use a hand burnishing tool for these, since I need to get in between all of the little creases and crevices of the petals. You can see on the top right petal, burnishing also makes it shiny! (It helps harden the metal, too.) The rose must be burnished on all sides, top to bottom, around every edge.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose2

Once burnished, the rose looks shiny. As you can see, the final product is in fact a solid metal piece. This one is fine silver, which contains more silver (.999) than sterling silver (.925.)

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose3

“Shiny” silver is nice, but I want a little more depth in this rose design. My next step is to oxidize the silver. Both fine silver and sterling silver will naturally oxidize over time (this happens with exposure to air, water, etc.) but I use a chemical solution to speed up the process. Here you can see that the roses have oxidized, and look dark gray/black. I actually like how these look oxidized, but will keep going..

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose4

After oxidizing, I polish the outer edges and petals of the roses (as well as the earring posts) to return certain areas to a pretty shine. I use a polishing pad and polish each rose by hand. You can see that I have left some of the oxidization on the inner portion of the petals, to create some texture and depth.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose5

A close-up of the rose.. doesn’t that look pretty? I definitely prefer the oxidized details over the previously completely shiny rose.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose6

Here’s a photo of the roses in various stages.. Starting from the left, the two light gray roses are fine silver clay that has been sculpted and dried. They are ready to go in the kiln, but haven’t been fired yet. The shiny silver rose to the right of them has been fired and also burnished. The two small roses to the right of that have been fired, burnished, oxidized, and polished. The earring I am holding has also gone through the complete process as well, from creating to firing to finishing.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver roses

 

The item listing for the petite fine silver rose earrings can be found here:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/91118038/petite-fine-silver-rose-earrings-on

Earrings Sale!

It’s time for the next “category” sale in my store! This weekend, all earrings in the Everyday Collection are on sale. Use code EARRINGS during checkout to receive 10% off your earrings purchase.  The sale runs through tomorrow evening (10/30/11.)

A few favorites..

Sterling Silver Peacock Pearl Drop Earrings

Sterling Silver Peacock Pearl Drop Earrings

 

Dark Teal Rose and Vintage Glass Earrings on Sterling

Dark Teal Rose and Vintage Glass Earrings on Sterling

 

Tiny Silver Bow and Orange Garnet Drop Earrings

Tiny Silver Bow and Orange Garnet Drop Earrings

Project Green Challenge

I’ve had the opportunity to include my map locket necklaces in the Project Green Challenge this month! This project was put together to help teens learn about living an eco-friendly/green lifestyle, including small changes they can make in their everyday life that add up to a big difference overall. One section of the challenge includes a look book, with 30 different looks (one for each day of the month) incorporating eco-friendly and/or green products – from clothing to shoes and accessories!

My necklaces are included in the outfits for days 2, 5, and 12.

Day 2

Day 5

Day 12

You can check out these styles and the rest of the look book here: http://projectgreenchallenge.com/look.php The look book was curated and styled by my talented friend Megan.

$20 Map Cuff Bracelet Sale

I’ve been thinking about the holidays. I’m guessing that after reading that sentence, you either:

A. Wondered why it took me so long to bring it up, since you started your shopping in July..

B. Aren’t ready to admit that it’s already October and will begin your shopping on December 22nd, all the while questioning my sanity..

or, C. Might be somewhere in between. You know it’s coming, but you’re not quite ready to prepare because you don’t find it as thrilling as the A group!

I think I fall into the A group. I’m a planner. I plan things, and I plan EARLY. This drives some of my close friends and family pretty crazy, inevitably, but it’s who I am and I surely would not be happy any other way!

Thinking about the holidays leads me to think about my business, a LOT. More than usual, which is already pretty much every waking second of the day. So, I thought to myself, rather than do some crazy entire shop sale free-for-all in December to cater to all of the procrastinators (and quite possibly make myself crazy in the process) I decided I’d put certain sections on sale, one at a time.. throughout October and November. I’ll save something else, something special, for December. There’s some ideas I have in the works to express my gratitude for my customers and support I have received thus far, but that will come later.

The first sale I’m holding will feature the map cuff bracelets. I really love these! They’re the first map jewelry item I designed, and have been one of my best selling items in the long run. I’ve been wearing my own map cuff for years! The sale runs now through tomorrow (Saturday) evening. You can purchase any in-stock map cuff for just $20! These would be great as gifts for best friends and favorite family members. Here’s some of my personal picks:

Victoria Camp Designs - Fenway Park Map Cuff Bracelet

Victoria Camp Designs - Fenway Park Map Cuff Bracelet

Growing up on the east coast, I will forever remain a Red Sox fan!

Victoria Camp Designs - New York Map Cuff Bracelet

Victoria Camp Designs - New York Map Cuff Bracelet

This one was made with a really great vintage New York map. So fun!

Victoria Camp Designs - Oakland Map Cuff Bracelet

Victoria Camp Designs - Oakland Map Cuff Bracelet

Clearly, this post wouldn’t be complete without representing my current city!

There’s over three dozen different map cuff bracelets currently in stock. Check them out for yourself here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/vsc83?section_id=5585826