NEW DESIGN! yes i'm screaming!

I'm thoroughly excited to show off a few of my newest butterfly wing pendant designs. Its a full wing set into an aluminum disc. I LOVE love this. I gave the inside a brushed finish, so under the wing there is a ton of depth when the light shines on it. Its a very hip design, I might say. I have finally found a way to use the shape of the wing in my jewelry. Wings have so many pretty frilly edges, or organic shapes to them, that I just haven't been able to preserve with the silver designs. So here they are, my newest.......I've got two sizes in my shop, both at the same price. They cost me almost the same to make, but I really need/want to offer different sizes. Do you think having different sizes at the same price a problem? Will buyers be confused?

Also, I am offering this style with an unfinished black ribbon. No chain this time like the others. I am trying something new there, to see what people need. Would you want a chain to be included, or the option to buy in addition?


Shiny and New

I just wanted to point out that I updated the face my blog today! All the links on the left are current, the news is NEW and Ive added my other sisters shop link- superduper. I moved things around, removed things that were stale and whooosh! Shiny and New.

Its looks fresh to me, and I hope you enjoy the changes.

Photos are courtesy of my talented sister April Popko, who lives in Prague. These images are part of her photographic series of "doorways" that shes been working on for a few years.


My First Attempt! (or second)

I started experimenting with pmc 2 months ago. It was a gift from my dad, who often finds a fun new project to try- and suprises his daughters with a little doo-dad or entire kit. Its amazingly generous and quite fun when that happens. This project was a kit and I was lucky enought to get a torch too, even though he knows I have a kiln.
PMC is precious metal clay. Its 99.9% fine silver particles set in a binder so that you can sculpt with it like clay. Once sculpted, you fire it either in a kiln or with a butane torch and the binder burns out. Its awesomely fun. I first made hearts for all my girlfriends back in August. That was my first attempt. But I had a time limit and they were all pretty straight forward. I learned how it felt to cut and sand the pmc then, and get a hang of the firing process.
Last night I made something new!
I had a little more freedom with my assignment this time. I wanted to make real butterfly wing impressions into the clay. I documented a few of the many steps that this medium requires.

This is the first step, where I sculpted the clay into a wing formation. I pressed this wing into the caly, and the fine butterfly wing powder stuck to it.
It looked gorgeous just as it was, but would be fired off. This is a photo of the five pendants I worked on. The clay dried really fast, so i had to keep dusting it with water while I was working with it. Once it dries, I sand and refine the piece even further. This is the step that I find most important, while its dry and before its fired. You can get a lot done in this stage. Once its fired, its real, solid silver, and is harder to then sand or alter.

Here is everything I sculpted on the fire brick. The left side is already torched/fired and the right side is thoroughly air-dried, waiting for its turn.

This is a photo from August, while I was firing the heart shaped pendants that I made. It's not generally safe to photograph and work a torch, so don't try that, ever.
Here are all the butterfly wing 'stamped' pendants just after they cooled off from the torch.

The next step is to take a wire brush and brush off the film from the binder that I burned out of it. Once you run the brush over it you can immediately see the silver shining through. You can later give it a high polish, patina, or other finishes if you want.

Here are the almost finished pendants! They just needed a jumpring, which i gave a hammered finish to, then strung onto a chain.

Here it is! My newest Butterfly Wing Imprint- Fine Silver Necklace. Im so happy with myself.


Featured Shop: Whimsy & Spice

Homemade Cardamom Marshmallows

Whimsy & Spice was founded in 2008 by the husband and wife team of Mark Sopchak and Jenna Park, who combine their skills and more than 12 years of experience in culinary arts and graphic design to produce a distinctive line of handmade sweets.

These sweets include Hazelnut Chocolate Whisky sandwich cookies, Rose & Black Pepper thumbprints, Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows and Honey Lavender shortbread cookies, to name a few.

Coconut Five Spice White Chocolate cookies

I can't get ENOUGH of this photography!! I have never tried this product and I'm endorsing it.

This should tell you something about my last posts' tips. Product photography is the difference between yummy and I NEEEED this..NOW. This looks like it was shot for a magazine, a menu, something for real. The thing is, everyone on Etsy is for real, or trying to be, but getting it to appear that way is really tough. If you are trying to get great photographs and just can't seem to get the results you want- try, try again. I, personally, had to fiddle with my camera and some free photo programs for months before getting a look I liked. You can also hire someone to do this for you if you have a product that you can make multiples of. This way you only need to make great images once over, and reuse them. If you constantly have a new, unique item- you will need to find a set-up, or photography system that will allow you to get the right images every time.

Pumpkin Ginger Sandwich Cookies

Consistency (in photography) is another reason why this shop is SO gorgeous. I saw an image/product that I liked, drooled a little, and clicked onto the next- and viola! MORE goodness. I just kept clicking away and all items had the same serene, gourmet, delicious-just-baked-I-need-to-be-wearing-a-robe-drinking-hot-cocoa-being-pampered look.

Whimsy and Spice classic sampler box

Another great thing I found in this shop, is a picture of their packaging. It shows me that they care about presentation, and I am more likely to purchase from them, than someone who will wrap their cookies in a paper towel and bubble wrap. I could visualize myself shipping these off to a friend as a gift. Another gorgeous photo.

Congratulations Jenna and Mark!


Quick Look

I've got a few posts lined up for you! I just have to write them you see....
I want to tell you about what I've been up to- it seems I'm always busy, but I just never put it together that I have actually been taking a lot of photos of it all!

Here's what I was doing today, for instance:

This is one of my studio tables, where I was taking new product shots of my butterfly wing necklaces. This is actually where I take ALL of my product shots. Its just on a board that I can move around with white printer paper on top. This way when the paper gets dirty or wrinkled I can discard it and get a new sheet. There are several pieces in a little pile, so the background of my photos is opaque white. The light is always form the natural daylight, which, of course, poses problems when it's a crappy day or dark outside. Also, now the leaves are turning orange, casting an orange glow onto it all.
Heres how the photos came out after I touched them up a little:
What do you think? I needed new photos for my necklace listing, which didn't, in my opinion, have enough examples of how your necklace may turn out. Now I think having extra photos may persuade someone a little more to buy it. If you can't touch an object before you buy it, you need a lot of photos, or really great photos, and both is best. This is what I'm working on!