Monday, December 28, 2009


I hope everyone had a happy, happy holiday! We had a houseful over Christmas and it was a lovely time. Everyone is gone now and I'm kind of enjoying a little quiet time. It's back to reality and I really can't tell you how excited I am for 2010. Have I already said that? Well, whatever...I repeat, I think it's going to be a good year. I also have a sneaking suspicion it's going to be an eventful one. I'm not sure what's in store, but I just have this funny feeling that a lot is going to happen.

As far as Erin Jane Designs goes, I've been working on a list of things to do this year. First up, some branding updates - a little logo change, color palette update, etc.... I think I'll be ready to share concepts really soon :). I actually might need a little help deciding on some things.... Next, a bunch of boring organizational things that I won't go into (you're welcome). And, of course, I'm working on lots of new designs. I'm dying to have a full day in my studio - no interruptions. I need to recover some brain cells (too much sugar and booze the last several days) before I'm able to do that.

I'll leave you today with picture of a very cool Christmas gift from my talented brother in law. He drew a comic of my hubby and I on the Seattle waterfront...check out my butt...pretty nice.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


If you are my husband, stop reading! If you know my husband and can't keep a secret...stop reading! Unless you want to ruin Christmas.

OK, now that they are all gone, I can tell you about a couple of my husband's gifts. I usually stay away from handmade gifts for the hubby - not really his thing. But, this year is a little different. I decided to make him some cufflinks and a money clip - he has recently ditched the wallet and just carries cards. I think he's going to really like them!! So, here we go...

For the cufflinks, I texturized thick silver sheet and cut out squares. I polished up my squares and soldered them on to sterling silver cufflink components. Cool, huh? And, totally manly... :)

The money clip was lotsa, lotsa fun to make. I cut a 7/8" x 4" piece of 20 ga silver, rounded the edges, sanded and polished up the edges and then the fun part...I drug the piece of silver perfectly straight across a piece of super coarse sandpaper (a few times - with lots of pressure), then drug it the other way to give it a cross hatch pattern. I bent it around a mandral, gave it a good hammering with a plastic mallet and...voila!

After Christmas, I definitely plan on adding these to my Etsy shop - plus work on a few new designs. I think they are pretty cool. And, I think guys will think they are pretty cool too...

You might have noticed my initials on the corner of the last photo...A few weeks ago I ordered this fancy stamp with my initials so I can stamp my pieces. I just got it in the mail a week or 2 ago. The stamp comes out beautifully! I still feel a little shy about adding my initials to my jewelry. I'm not sure why, but I AM sure I will get over it :) I mean, look how pretty it looks!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ramping Up...for Christmas and 2010

Well, more neglect. I do apologize. However, I am still recovering. I even made a visit to the doctor! It turns out I have bronchitis. And, a case of pink eye...eyes...both of them. Which is why I went to the doctor in the first place. I thought only little kids got that. For some reason I was sort of embarrassed that I had it. :) Feeling better, but definitely not great. I had a busy week last week and it felt so good to be making so much jewelry! I'm really happy with the sales I had over Christmas. It was quite fun to be so busy.

A lot of bloggers out there are talking about this NY Times article about selling on Etsy. Even though I'm not surprised by anything in the article, it still got me excited about 2010. There's been a lot of sketching going on at my house lately. I've been making a lot of jewelry lately, but not many new designs, so I'm so excited for January. I hope to go nuts with new stuff!

In the meantime, it's all Christmas prep for the next couple days. My dad is coming to town and we will have 11 over for Christmas dinner. Should be fun. Dinner menu follows:

- Pear, blue cheese, candied pecan salad
- Roasted beet soup
- Mushroom risotto
- Thyme popovers
- My FAMOUS Garlic rosemary mashed potatoes
- Panetone bread pudding with cinnamon sauce

I'll post recipes soon. Still perfecting a few... :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where have I been?

I guess it's not too unusual for me not to post for several days, but I've been trying to be better about it and getting one out every day or every other day. Well, anyway, things have been busy and I've been yucky sick. Ugh. I'm not a good sick person. I complain...a lot. I might even whine a little. Worst of all, my brain doesn't work and it's not good for me to try and hold conversations. But, I think I've been pretty productive this last week all things considered.

I somehow rallied yesterday after wrapping, packing and sending out all of our out of town gifts AND all my jewelry orders from over the weekend. We had tickets to see Santa Baby by the Seattle Men's Chorus. Oh my gosh, it was fun. Beautiful music, hilarious skits, just overall insanely entertaining and festive. We went with some friends and we all decided it should be our new Christmas tradition. So, Seattleites - if you can't make it this year, make sure you do next year...

Well, I'm off to rest some more and hope for a healthier tomorrow. I'm having about 10 girlfriends over here for a little Christmas party tomorrow evening, so I better be feeling GREAT! :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

The making of a Ruffle Ring

I've been making a few Ruffle Rings lately. I love making this ring. Each one is just a little different and I fall in love with each one. Yesterday while making some, I decided to take some process photos. It's harder than I thought! I really have a hard time breaking out of my groove to stop and take a photo. I really admire all those artists out there that do this and share their expertise with other artists. I think it's so fun seeing how people work - like all art, there isn't just one way to do something, so it's fun to see everyone's process - and secondly, I love to pick up some tips. So I hope I can help someone out there! Here's a peek at what it's like to make a Ruffle Ring:

First, I use one of these to hand cut 3 different size discs...

Like this...

Then, I hand form each disc until they are "ruffled" to my liking.

I then take my 3 ruffled discs, flux them, and stack them so that there are several contact points between all the individual ruffles - to insure they all stay firmly together once soldered. I use medium solder and place little pieces of it near all the contact points. Now, it's time to solder! I heat my brick up mostly and then watch for my solder to flow. I throw my perfectly imperfect ruffle into the pickle and make a ring for whatever size my order is for (oops, forgot pictures of that...sorry).

I sand down a little flat spot on my ring, again, for a larger (hence, stronger) contact point for my ruffle. Flux everything. Then, I use my third hand to hold the ring on top of the ruffle, place a piece of easy solder between the band and the ruffle and solder.

Once soldered, my ring looks like this. Yuck, huh? Back to the pickle for cleaning.

Now, it's been pickled and just needs to be finished. I use a radial sanding disc with a pretty high grit to give the ring an all over sanded finish. Because, although I love the ruffle, I don't want it to be too pretty. I like to add a little roughness to it.

And here is the finished product...

Oh, and of course, you can also find it here :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A day in the studio feels good

Ahhh, finally I have a full day of jewelry making! Such a great feeling. A full day only because I have a cold and am moving about 30% slower than usual. I have a little cloud in my brain today and I'm trying to listen to fun music to get me moving a little faster. The funny things is...the song I keep listening to is "Sleepyhead" by Passion Pit. Which is actually exactly what I am today. If there was a song called "You have 10,000 things to do today and you're moving really slowly for someone with so much to do" I would be listening to that.

Here's my little pile of goodies going out in the mail tomorrow morning. There's still time to order for Christmas! Plus, that whole free shipping thing I'm offering...get shopping!

As for our household's Christmas prepping update, the house is decorated, the tree is up, the hot cocoa mix is made, the peppermint bark is made, cookies baked...just a few things left to do!

Oh, and this is so sad. Kyra has had these antlers for about 10 years - since her first Christmas, I think. And this is what Lulu did to them today...bad girl.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A weekend of holiday goodness

Oh, where do I start?! Our adventure cutting our own pesticide-free tree down at Miss Becky's? Vanilla extract making with my sister? We did it all this weekend! Tree decorating. Wreath finding. Dog bathing. Christmas baking. Recipe testing for Christmas dinner. I'll just share a couple moments...
It was our first time cutting our own tree and I have to say I might never buy a pre-cut one much fun. It felt so much more Christmas-y to go out in this farm and pick your tree and cut if yourself. Plus, it was a simply gorgeous day. The sun was shining, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was cold! I know! Seattle?! Sunny and cold? Weird.

The woman who owned the farm - Miss Becky - was hilarious! It took us at least 40 minutes to give her our money for the tree. It's a long story, but we basically chased her around to try and get her to take our money and we finally just laid our cash on a table and said, "Well, we'll just leave this here for you..." and left without getting change. It's not that she didn't want it, she was just like a little puppy - so distracted by anything. She would just disappear in mid sentence.

We didn't quite finish decorating the tree last night. OK, fine...we barely started. Anyway, I hope to finish tonight and take some photos of our lovely little tree. But, it's up and ready for some love!

Sunday my sister and I made vanilla extract for some Christmas gifts. Sorry to ruin the surprise for some of you :). I got the idea and recipe from Bethany Actually - you can see the process and directions there.

But, basically you just cut a couple vanilla beans in half for each bottle you are making, stick the beans in the bottle, fill with vodka and let them sit for a month or so. They turned out adorably! It was such a fun project. I made our labels in Word and even though I am certainly not a graphic designer (hence creating them in Word), the labels are super cute.

Last, but not least, it's so wonderful to have fluffy, fuzzy, clean and sweet smelling dogs once again. Kyra and Lulu say hi...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas cards

I got my Christmas cards the other day! I'm so excited. They are beautiful and made by Smock Paper, they also have an Etsy shop. Smock prints on sustainable, pesticide-free bamboo paper and run their shop on wind energy. 1% of their proceeds goes to For the Planet - so it's just hard not to feel good about not making my own cards this year and sending these beauties out instead. Also, you HAVE to see their wrapping paper - oh my gosh, gorgeous...

I'm trying to stay distracted by all the decorating, baking, gifting, and crafting that I have coming up this month. I do love this time of year for all those reasons. But, I was hoping to be busy in my studio with lots of orders. Holiday sales for Erin Jane Designs just aren't what I thought they would be...maybe all those last minute shoppers will still come flooding in :). In the meantime, I still have the house to decorate, the tree to trim, the crafts to make and the goodies to bake! Every year my sister and I have our annual holiday crafting day. Sunday is the day and this year our gift is homemade vanilla...I'll post pictures soon. Should be a fun project. I have a few more up my sleeve too - I'll wait to spill the beans on those later!

Have a happy weekend!

*photos care of Smock

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My adorable advent calendar

Ok, so it's not fancy, but I think our advent calendar is adorable. We put it on our fireplace so we see it everyday.

Here's what we did:
1. Cut 24 3"x6" pieces of X-mas themed papers
2. Fold them in half
3. Put the dates on the front - I found some stick on numbers and put them on sort of randomly. When I ran out of the stick on ones, I just used a marker to print the rest :)
4. Print out you list of activities on address labels. I used the Avery 8160 template - they fit perfectly in the 3" square, but use what you like. And, of course, you can totally just write in there, but printing was faster and my handwriting is horrid.
5. Randomly stick your activities inside the cards. We had several planned out activities that we had to do on certain days, weekends, or what not, but try to keep it random - it's silly fun.
6. Cut ribbons to go around the card to keep them shut. A little over a foot each.
7. Put double sided tape on the back of each card, over the ribbon, so it stays in place and stick on your fireplace, or wherever!

Oh, and it sure is getting fun - and it's only the 2nd of the month! We had an easy one yesterday - "get a new Christmas CD". We got the looking forward to that. Today's was pretty hilarious. It was "open a gift". Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I haven't gotten much shopping done quite yet. I guess that's what's so fun about this calendar - you just don't know what's coming, so it makes things pretty entertaining. So, today while I was grabbing some wrapping paper, I looked around for something for the hubby. I can hardly describe how hard this man is to shop for. Doesn't like anything (well, maybe a few things!), doesn't want anything, doesn't need anything...I have had a few triumphs over the years, but also a few failures. I'll let you know what he thinks about his wine thermometer some other time :(. Yep, I said wine thermometer. It was last minute!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A front page!

My beautiful ruffle treasury made it to the front page early this morning! How cool is that?! I'm sorry I slept through it, but one of the designers that I featured was nice enough to tell me about it. I don't have a screenshot yet, but I do have an archive so you can at least see what was featured (they moved a couple things around - enough where I didn't get any credit :(...). Here you go!