September 23, 2011

a new look for fall

fine silver maple leaf necklace
I have noticed leaves starting to turn on a few trees around town, so it really must be the beginning of fall! Hope we have some weeks of nice weather left still, since summer was so late coming here. Today is gorgeous.

The bronze metal clay test was successful, and I am in love with that stuff! Watch for the first finished pieces in bronze in a few weeks. I am having issues with the copper, but I will be trying a different brand (same brand as the bronze, so I'm hopeful!) next week. I don't give up that easily!

If you have been to my blog before, you'll notice I recently gave it a makeover! While I felt right at home with the previous style, I realized it could have been distracting or overwhelming to the contents. Also, I have been considering if a different look  might better support the style/theme/materials of my jewelry. So I decided to go with the look you see now. I was aiming for kraft paper plus clean white, with touches of color to keep it alive. I will be doing the same with my web site as I revamp it, as well. I have already redesigned my packaging, shown below.

September 13, 2011

the sun and the moon

orange sunstone fall leaf charm necklace in fine and sterling silver by Jennifer Kistler
leaf charm with sunstone accent
I recently acquired a strand of Sunstone, a cheerful sunny stone with an orange appearance. I think it makes a very interesting stone to use in autumn jewelry. It is transparent with coppery flecks inside. I chose one of the larger beads from the strand to accent this tiny leaf charm necklace (at left). The photo didn't quite capture its glitter-like sparkles. Sunstone is the official stone of Oregon, but the Oregon Sunstone I have seen is more transparent, I think the reflective particles are smaller and create more of an inner sheen (called schiller) than a glittery effect. I think this stone would look fabulous with bronze and copper, too. I just love working with stone beads, learning a little about them, and finding an excuse to use them!

As I type this, my kiln is firing a bronze test piece. The base metals are tricky to fire, so as recommended, I am finding out exactly how it fires in my kiln before attempting any real jewelry pieces. Copper will be tested next. Kind of nervous and excited to see how it turns out!

It always seems sneaky of the moon to come up while it is still light outside. I wanted to share some photos I took a few days ago, in different parts of the sky at the same time of evening.

moon sunset sky nature photograph by Jennifer Kistler

sunset sky nature photograph by Jennifer Kistler

If I hadn't gone outside just then, I would have missed this pretty sky. Always keep your eye out for the beauty that is around you!

September 7, 2011

back to school already

Maple Leaf autumn earrings in fine and sterling silver on Etsy
maple leaf earrings in fine silver
Wow, just when it felt like summer had finally arrived, it was time to send the kids back to school! Yesterday was their first day. I think I was the only mom who didn't take "first day of school" photos. And I scrapbook (digital mainly these days). But to be honest, I can only focus on so much at a time, I am not a multi-tasker. I am also not a morning person. My goals were to have their things ready the night before (check), wake up earlier than I think I need to (check), get everyone a good breakfast and get myself ready on time (check), and take them all the way - wait for it - around the corner to school at a good time (check). So while I'm feeling a little guilty about the photo thing, the morning was a success, the boys had a good first day, and that is what's important!

Since I work at home and don't use childcare, the school year makes a big difference in my work schedule. So it's back to a regular work day (and more frequent blogging) while they are at school, and I have plenty of things lined up! Things I thought I'd get done during the summer. Things I want to get done before the holidays. And all sorts of things in between.

Right now I'm finishing up more autumn leaves jewelry, and will be venturing into bronze and copper metal clay very shortly! I think the autumn leaf designs will be great in copper, and I'd also like to create some pieces with leaves in all three metals (silver, bronze, copper). I am looking forward to creating designs in different metals. And working with materials that aren't quite so intimidating from a cost standpoint. I will continue to create in fine silver as well, so don't worry if that's your favorite, or if you have sensitivities to other metals! Also, I picked up some neat stone beads this summer that I can't wait to use, so you'll be seeing those in some upcoming pieces.

A few weeks ago we went to Ankeny Wildlife Reserve, which is not very far south of Salem (Oregon). It has a neat long boardwalk through marsh and trees, surrounded by fields. It was set up to protect the Dusky Canada Geese that winter in the Willamette Valley (along with native plants and other creatures), and we decided we want to go back later this fall when the geese have arrived. We did enjoy the boardwalk, along with sightings of smaller wildlife such as frogs, dragonflies, ladybugs, grasshoppers, and a brown fuzzy caterpillar!

ladybug on wildflower nature photograph by Jennifer Kistler
ladybug on flower, Ankeny Wildlife Reserve, August 2011

my son catching a grasshopper this summer
catching a grasshopper

my son catching a grasshopper this summer
boys like bugs! and bugs seem to like Steven.