Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Little Secret Place

Who Doesn't . . .

Love a Deal??

I'm a sucker for deals and often end up trying to calculate if 20% off is better than buy-one-get-one at 30% off. (First deal is better.) Before figuring out the best price, there is a need to actually FIND the deals to compare.

I can steer you to some great online deals, but they are only guaranteed for one week. Members of Group2020, a small group of online shopkeepers, post weekly deals on Pinterest. The best news is that you can follow this Pinterest board to see the current deals.

Deals may include a bonus item, free postage, discounts, or whatever the individual shopkeeper is offering.

Need More Help?

Suffering from a lack of enthusiasm when looking for that special gift or present? See thousands of items from the Group2020 shopkeepers in this showcase.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pinterest as It Should Be

I love Pinterest and have dozens of boards showcasing handmade items for sale, interesting images, sayings, places, etc. These are things I am interested in and they are just like the many Pinterest boards other have created for their own unique interests.

My focus is mostly on getting my ideas and products to an audience and promoting the same for Group2020, my team. We tweet, Facebook, blog, G+ and love Pinterest to showcase our work.

But lately I've needed another way to streamline the paper notes, urls, scribbled designs, and other scattered information on my desk. I created a Pinterest board, just for me. It is hidden from the public and has images of things I want to remember: color schemes, designs, product photo ideas, things to try, etc. This is a wonderful "file" of things of interest just to me.

Perhaps this is how Pinterest was envisioned by its creators! Keeping the board hidden is also a good way to start a gift idea board.

See, and follow, our showcase board.

Visit my shops:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Who Says These Are Nautical Earrings?

Here's the story

I posted a new jewelry creation in my online shops a few days ago and it caused a commotion! What really happened was a lot of people liked the item and a few had questions. Heck, how complicated are earrings?

I grew up on the ocean in a boating family where we didn't usually say the words "left" or "right" but used the nautical terms "port" and "starboard." Learning all the correct names for every part of a boat as well as making proper knots was very important. You might think we were preparing to sail a clipper ship! Not exactly, but we did sail. Yes, several sea captains are among my ancestors and their influence is abundant and welcome. Most of my siblings have extensive nautical decor in their homes, some salvaged from old wrecks. Last week I asked the car wash guy to get the mud off my vehicle's "bow" -- er, hood. If there is reincarnation I was a sea captain at least a couple of times.

Back to Red and Green

Channels in and out of harbors are deeper areas and they connect places in the same way highways and roads do on land. Highways use signs, but channels use markers -- most being red or green. To find your way back into a harbor there is the RRR rule. Keep the Red marker on your Right when Returning. With red markers on the right, green is on the left. The reverse is true when leaving a harbor. This little tidbit is essential for safe navigation and steering clear of shallow or rocky places. Many of the markers are buoys and are numbered.

On very special occasions, just a few times a year, my father and siblings would all wear one red sock and one green. Some wore their red for returning and others for departing! A few boating women in the family, too dignified to do the sock thing, wore one red earring and one green. It didn't matter what kind of earring, just a matching pair except for the color. My mom had several sets to choose from for nautical events and parties.

So in remembering all those fun times and the red and green, I made this particular pair of earrings, one is red and the other is green. They are perfect for yacht club parties, boating events, etc. And yes, you can call them holiday or Christmas earrings if you want. You can also buy a pair of red and a pair of green in case your schedule of boating events is light.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Has Autumn Changed or Is It Me?

Growing up in New England,
One Could Never Ignore
the Rotation of the Seasons 

From the bleak bare trees suddenly laden with buds to the happy harbors settling in for a time without boats, growing up in New England I learned to anticipate the cycle of activities and holidays of each time of year. The costumes for halloween, the feeding of birds in snow, Christmas sharing and visiting, the frozen feet sore from ice skating, mom's aromatic cinnamon buns, smells of spring, the scraping, painting and launching of boats, swimming, sailing and fishing. Special things unique to each season comprised my world.

But . . . other than the excited start of a new school year, autumn mostly made me sad. It was an obvious time of brilliant color and also of death. It was as if the season itself were a tutorial about life. Brilliant and then gone. That sad reality was so obvious and innate, even to a child. It was not a time when a child might discuss sadness with a parent or elder. The sadness was so personal as to be beyond vocalization anyway.

Work, study, responsibility, and stress obscured the observation of seasonal changes during many years. Autumn nearly slipped away unnoticed in those times, but its heavy heart never fully departed.

But then . . .
Decades melted away and I relocated away from those demanding and dramatic seasons clicking like a relentless clockwork. The churning cycle of nature is more subtle here, like a slow dance. The weather extremes are sanded down toward a comfortable range. I see I am now part of autumn in all its brilliance! Oh! Wait! Autumn seems to be perfection now. Sadness has melted. Has autumn changed or is it me?

Colors infuse my clothing choices where once they were missing. Color pops from my creative work every day. New ideas for products are many. Autumn in this life is wonderful! I want to stay up all night and create jewelry!

See my jewelry shop LehaneArts

See my chainmaille jewelry shop Lehane

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Irony of LABOR Day

Every holiday has its nostalgic aspects and emotional memories. Labor Day, for me, is somewhat ironic

Labor Day is like an exclamation point marking things that change each year like the ending of summer and beginning of fall, or the start of a new school year. For some it is the welcoming back of the football season. Parades and barbecues mark the day we celebrate labor.

Most years I have paused during Labor Day and noted my gratitude at being employed, or at starting new classes, or in being able to provide products and services to my customers. Rather than focusing on others, for me, Labor Day is a celebration of work and achievement and being part of the multitude of cogs that spin and grind and keep the world running.

How ironic that for many work is halted on the day we celebrate it!

The celebration of labor and workers who have built, and continue to create, the backbone of the country through better workplace conditions goes back to the 1880s. At first a few individual states began to recognize a holiday for labor. Eventually the gains and demands of the labor movement's struggles—often earned through protests, violence, and sometimes police shooting into unruly crowds— were celebrated with the creation of a national holiday in 1894.

There are plenty of work issues persisting today, equal pay, wage gaps, and unemployment to name a few. But the holiday and the serious issues seem disconnected to us.

How do I celebrate this year? I'm focusing my energies all week on promoting my online shops and items for sale. In a typical week I usually work to promote items from my online reciprocal promotional groups.  This week the focus will be me. Seems like the old labor movement would appreciate our communal focus and also awareness of the importance of the individual.

Here are links to a wonderful group of small business owners and to my Etsy shops.  These are perfect places to find that special gift!

Enjoy your holiday!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What Is a Jump Ring and How Is It Made?

People want to know why

jump rings are opened and then closed

I enjoy creating with jump rings and knowing that these same small objects, and many of the weave patterns they form, were invented centuries ago.  Usually when I describe objects made from jump rings there is mention of a number of rings "opened" and "closed."

People want to know why jump rings are opened and then closed. In order to understand why, there is a need to know just how these rings are made. 

Jump rings are created from wire. The wire is fed onto a mandrel and wound around it to form a coil. Think of a tightly wound spring. To convert the coil into rings, it is cut on one side for the full length. The resulting rings are not closed circles because the ends do not exactly meet. When the ends of a ring are bent to a closed position, there is a small gap where the saw cut it. The size and smoothness of the cut indicates whether the rings are excellent or poor quality. 

To create something with jump rings it is often necessary to bend the ends further apart to hook them together in a particular way and then to close the rings so they stay as set. 

Although these simple components seem easy to use, their measurements are critical to being able to follow a particular pattern. The wire gauge, or thickness, is one important measurement for the rings. Other measurements are the internal and external diameter. Every jump ring pattern works within certain of these size parameters and will not work if they are not correct.

Rings come in many types of metal including gold, silver, titanium, niobium, steel, aluminum, as well as rubber. They may also be shapes other than round. Some even use square wire!

If you see an item created in a chainmaille pattern, now you know a bit about how the rings were created and why they needed to be opened and closed. 

Some of my chainmaille creations can be found in my Etsy shop

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Quirky Makes the World Go Round

"Strange, Not Normal, but Cool"

That's the way one source defines quirky. I prefer to focus on the cool, unusual, and unique aspects of those things we call quirky. Many handmade items can be called quirky. 


One of the benefits of handmade products is that many such items are unique and cool, the definition of quirky. Unusual color combinations, interesting use of materials, or a focus on shapes may define such creations. Many of these cool and unique items can be further adjusted to make them just what you want.

In one of my online shops I sell a line of quirky pendant necklaces. They are unusual and can be customized with your choice of color in the leather cord necklace as well as in the length you choose. Quirky meets customization! When you work with the seller of handmade items there is often the possibility for customization, perhaps for a small fee. 

Need it longer, shorter, a different color? Why not ask? We who create quirky items do love our work and will try to work with customers. There are limits, of course. I wasn't able to make a blue crystal pendant turn white,  a bracelet shortened to 4 inch length and still be closeable, or a cord swapped out on a necklace whose beads were too tiny. But many other requests were met.

Here's where you can find these and more quirkly items.