Jan 31, 2014

FOL2014 - Week 5 - Get Outside

Our host, Sally, from the Studio Sublime, gives us a new focus each month for our "Focus on Life 2014" weekly photography challenge.
 
For February our focus is: 
Cabin Fever
 
And, for week 5 of 2014, our prompt is:
 
Get Outside!
 
Sally shared a few words with us for this week's prompt.
 
"We find ourselves in the dull-drum of winter.  This month we will break free of those feelings and focus on the fabulous-ness of February!  Sometimes the perfect fix for temporary relief of cabin fever is simply to get outside, even if you just step out on the porch.  Get out of the house and focus on the change cooler temps bring to your surroundings."
 
So, for week 5, you're instructed to:  Get Outside!
 
I really feel for all the folks around the country who are getting tons snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, and things of this nature - it's just super crazy!


You will definitely want to 'click to enlarge' these sunrise pics! :-)
Nope - no enhancements - just cropped and framed them in Pixlr.
And, Yes - it was really this vibrant and breath-taking!
 
 
But here in the Arizona Desert, well,...we're having some really nice, really warm weather  - record braking on some days. It's been in the high 70's and even hit 80 I think.


 
 
 Hopefully this is not a precursor to what's coming our way from Mid-April through late October. I'd hate to think that our average temperature for this time of year is going to be in the 120's vs. our normal average of about 105 to 110 or so.

 
 
But, once it's over 110 it pretty much all feels the same.
Probably like when it dips below -5, with wind chill factors of -40, cold is cold. Ice is ice. It hurts to breathe!

 
 
So, I feel for those of you suffering.
 
I'm really glad and extremely thankful to live where I do.
At least this month anyway.
:-)

 
 
Our Sunrises and Sunsets here in Arizona are among
the most beautiful in the world (IMHO) and on Thursday morning I looked out the window as I was fixing my coffee to see the absolute best sunrise starting to come alive.  I rushed to get my phone and went outside and started snapping away.



Sorry, but I couldn't decide on just one of the photos
I snapped and had to show you all of them!
 
I hope those of you in the wake of all this crazy-silly cold weather can stay inside, stay warm and stay safe.

Feel free to use any of these as your screen saver.
That's what my niece and sister did!
LOL! ;-)
 
 
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Sharing The Warmth!!
Cheers,
~Shel~

Jan 27, 2014

Clearing Out!

Southwester Flair (no longer available)
 
I'm having a huge "Blow-Out" Sale over in my MiShel Designs Etsy Store from now thru February 4th, 2014.
 
 
Color My World
 
 
Every thing's 40% OFF when you use coupon code LOVE40 upon check out.
 
Red Pearl Bracelet (no longer available)
 
 
I'm closing up shop after the 4th for a stint in order to prepare for some other adventures coming my way this year and right now there's not much left in the shop, so get things while you can!
 
Tribal LOVE
 
 
Everyone have a great week!!
 
 
Rocker Chic
 
 
Peace, Love and Happy Sales!
 
Cheers,
~Shel~

Jan 24, 2014

FOL 2014 - Week 4 - Word(s)

It's week 4 already (where's January gone in such a hurry, huh?!) in the Focus on Life:2014 weekly photography challenge created by Sally from The Studio Sublime.
 
We're still going with the minimalistic approach this week and Sally's prompt was:
 
WORD(S)
 
 
 
 
"There are so many words, a simple grouping of letters that bombard us everyday, that impact our everyday life.  They make us think, effect our purchasing of items and influence how we view ourselves.  This week we will focus on words.  What word speaks to you, makes you laugh, makes you feel good about your being and who you are in that moment.  Is there a word that stands out, you find interesting, you think is fun to say." Side Note (OPTIONAL PROMPT ALTERNATIVE) This photo prompt is about words in general and I know a few of you choose a word as a guide through the year.  Please feel free to use your "one little word" for this prompt if you would like.  
 
I kept seeing words all week that caught my attention.
 
But, there was one that stood out above
all others.
 
I think John Lennon said it best.
 
All You Need Is,....
 
I wrote the letters and used one of my hubby's hand-poured pewter PEACE pendants for the 'O'.
I then photographed it and edited it by playing with textures like Sally showed us this week!
It was a fun little project!
 
 
Until Next Time,
 
Peace and LOVE!
 
Cheers,
~Shel~
 

Jan 21, 2014

Jewelry of the Day

A while back one of my nieces who lives quite far away asked me to join Instagram so we could share photos and keep in touch a bit more (she doesn't do facebook or other social media sites). 

Sam likes my jewelry shots and Arizona sunset pics and I love the photos she shares of her and her daughter goofing around.  It makes us feel like we're 'up' on what's going on in each other's lives.

Instagram makes it so easy for me to drool over jewelry shots people post, too. 
(insert happy face here!)

I really enjoy seeing jewelry photos from the designers I follow and look forward to the pics they post of trunk shows, jewelry exhibits, photo shoots and things of this nature as well.

 
Gold and Pearls - Perfect Combo!
 

I recently posted a couple of shots of the jewelry I was wearing and had some of my friends tell me they thought that was a good idea and I should do it on a more regular basis - sort of a 'who's wearing what today' kind of thing.

 
Black and White - Layered and Fun!
 
 
They thought it would be a good way to let other's see what styles people are actually wearing on a daily basis and possibly what's actually trending where because, as they put it, "it's fun to see what styles people in other parts of the country or world are actually wearing today". 

My girlfriends are so smart!! 
 
Our conversation got me thinking about how when I meet new people and they find out what I do, they often ask me questions or make statements such as, "You create jewelry? What kind of jewelry do you make?" "Do you wear your own jewelry?"  "Do you purchase other people's jewelry?" "What brands or styles do you like?" "Where do you get ideas or inspiration for your designs?" "Do jewelry people give each other discounts or trade jewelry?"

And the list goes on.
 
So, how does all this tie in to what my girlfriends were saying and to posting jewelry photos?

Well, one year at the Tucson Gem and Mineral show I had an exhibitor (after asking me if I created jewelry) actually say to me, (rather sternly) "You're really not wearing much jewelry. You should always wear 'your own' jewelry. You know, the jewelry you actually create. It would help you sell more."
 
Ewww,...OUCH!

Funny thing, but I actually was wearing jewelry I had created. I had on my large, hammered silver hoop earrings, my silver PMC coin pendant necklace w/salt water pearl dangle and my silver stack-rings and thumb ring. 

I had on my 'I pretty much wear this every day' jewelry.


Most days, this is what you'll find me wearing in the studio.
 
 
So yes, I do wear my own jewelry but no, I don't go 'over the top' and pile it on just so people notice its presence.
 
Maybe I should, but it's not really my type of marketing, I guess.
 
 
I wear jewelry I create (and sometimes that of other designer's too, mind you!) that fits with my mood, fits what I'm wearing and what I'm doing that day.


Wild About Pearls! (And leopard print too, if you must know!)
 
 
I wear jewelry that fits me and my lifestyle.

I guess I thought everyone did that. Maybe not.
 
None-the-less, I decided to follow the advice of my girlfriends(I can see them smiling every so happily right now!) and do occasional posts of  "Jewelry of the Day" in some form or fashion, whether it be jewelry that I have on that day (mine or other brands/designers),  or a collection of pieces I've found online that are interesting, cool and fun.

It thinks it's a great way to see what's out there and what people are really wearing on a regular basis.
 
Today I've posted the recent shots that led to this post being created. This time around, these are all me. Either what I was actually wearing this past week / weekend or what I was about to put on for the day.


Casual T-shirt Day. On of my hand knotted pearl pendant necklaces and yes,
it's that same fine silver coin pendant I made,...my every day necklace!
 
 
It's funny, but my sister and several of my friends get compliments galore when they wear my jewelry and are out somewhere.  Me, not so much.  Possibly because what I wear is usually pretty basic, classic and simple. (I don't really create huge, statement pieces)
 
Oh well, I'm pretty sure when Vera Wang first started in the business she wasn't out schlepping her wedding gowns while wearing one herself.  Or, maybe she was. :-) 
 
How about you?  If you create/design jewelry do you wear as many of your best pieces as you can each time you go out to help your jewelry get noticed and sell more (it has been proven to be a good marketing avenue), or do you keep it simple, wearing what fits your mood and wardrobe for the day and then market your designs in other ways?


Large Silver links, pearls, my chain maille bracelet and of course,
 my coin pendant necklace (some habits are hard to break!).
 
 
Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
 
Or better yet, show us a pic of
what jewelry you're wearing!
 
Until Next Time,
 
Peace, Love and What are you wearing today?
 
Cheers,
~Shel~

Layers of Bracelets - a "norm" for me.
Pearl and leather knotted wrap bracelet, macramé and seed bead little friendship style bracelet and
my copper and pearl link bracelet with the coolest of cool copper ammonite focal piece from artist Kristi Bowman!
 


Jan 17, 2014

FOL2014 - Week 3 - Black and White Self Portrait

 
 
 
 
It's week 3 for the Focus on Life 2014 weekly photo challenge and we're sticking with the minimalist's way of thinking.  As Sally put it, this week we're going to "use the minimum to get the most" and capture a "beautiful black and white photo of ourselves".
 
Man, Sally knows just how to get all of us where it hurts! 
 
Self Portraits.
(Every one's favorite, right?!!)
 
I do have to give her credit though.

At least with the black and white minimalistic approach, you can't see as many of my wrinkles and all those icky blotches and scars on my skin from too many years of poisoning myself with the sun's rays aren't so harsh!
 
 
So, here I was figuring out how the heck to use the 'reverse' photo thing on my phone,...


Keeping with the minimalistic approach
here I am 'sans-jewelry'


I'm using my phone because I needed the practice taking more photos with it. I no longer have my iPhone - Logan has it now - but an htc rezound and I think it takes much better pics (usually) than my iPhone ever did.

Although these, for whatever reason, are a bit more blurry than normal. Sorry about that.
 
 
Okay,...here we go.

Steady,...and snap.




 
And, here I am making faces at Sally and
'scolding" her for making us take 'selfies'!

LOL!!



 
 
It was fun playing around with the Black and White edits, but I think I like my actual camera over my cell phone when I'm going to edit photos.

I'm excited to see everyone else's photos because I know they are going to be super artistic, creative, fun and fantastic!!
 
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Having Fun with Photos. Even Selfies!
Cheers,
~Shel~

Jan 11, 2014

FOL 2014 - Week 2 - A Silhouette

*I'm having a bit of trouble lately with blogger and the internet in general this week. Windows 8.1 (what I have) updated my browser to ie11 and neither seems to be playing nicely w/others. And, after reading some forum posts and switching between google chrome and firefox, it doesn't appear they solve the problem either. So, if I cannot comment on your blog or you get multiple comments from me on yours or you can't comment on mine, etc., please understand that "it's all good folks!"  According to blogger and ms/ie - they know of the problem and it's going to take a while for the old browser applications everyone else has to 'catch up' they said.
I guess, from what I've read, I'm lucky I can even see my blog and post pics!*


For week 2 of the Focus on Life:2014 series, Sally's prompt for us was:
 
 
 
 A Silhouette
 
 
A photograph with a subject(s) captured in a shadowy outline with little or no detail against a bright background.
 
This week,"We are going to let all the flaws of the world fall away for a week and concentrate on  an image with no features,  just a simple silhouette". 
 
On my walks in the late afternoon each day I was trying to find a lovely saguaro to capture as a silhouette because they are so majestic, especially when captured this way, but nothing seemed to work out. 
 
It did lend me to take notice of things a bit more and be present and in the 'now' - like this challenge does each week - and I managed to capture a silhouette of a very tall palm tree.
 
Played around with a little bit of color and saturation here,....
 
 
But our ever-so-gorgeous Arizona Sunsets, which make the landscape one big silhouette, are my favorite.
 
Something I never tire of!
 
Our sunrises are equally as amazing!
 
In all it's glory,.....
 
 
Please check out all the Silhouettes everyone else was able to capture this week, won't you?
 
 
De-saturation photo using Sally's Tips / Video she provided this week!
Thanks Sally - this was cool!
 
 
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Silhouettes!
Cheers,
~Shel~

Jan 10, 2014

Bridging the Gap,...


If you've followed my blog for any length of time,
 you've probably noticed that I'm a pearl lover.
(Understatement of the century for those of you who know me well, wouldn't you say??!)
 
 Along with pearls, I love to drool over jewelry photos.
Or the real thing when life permits.
 
 I love ALL kinds of jewelry.
Be it handcrafted, artisan jewelry created by all my very talented 'beady' friends or trendy costume jewelry or super, high-end luxury jewelry. 

I'm pretty much a stalker of all things jewelry related.
 
And styles, too.
I'm not what you would call 'picky' when it comes to what jewelry styles I like to ogle. What I actually wear, possibly, but not when it comes to getting my 'eye-candy' on.

Nope, I'm pretty easy.  
Sure, I have my favorites, but I'll take what I can get,
when and wherever I can get it.
 
In my extensive 'research' throughout the years
(yes, I call it research because this way I can justify all the 'jewelry-porn' that's on my computer!) I’ve seen tons of beautiful pieces of jewelry and I now have an extensive list of jewelry artists who I admire and look to for inspiration.
 
Although I love many different styles of jewelry, as I mentioned above, I do seem to be drawn to designers who can create a piece of jewelry and make it look ancient, worn, rugged or ‘rough’ (for lack of a better word), yet refined and elegant all at the same time.
 
I love seeing fresh, new pieces of jewelry that look as though they were crafted a century ago with just a couple of very simple tools, someone’s bare hands and a powerful imagination!  

 
Emanuela Duca Pearl Ring

 

Some of my favorite examples of these styles
are from designers such as  
Todd ReedSarah Graham and Emanuela Duca.
 

Sarah Graham Metalsmithing
 
 
I first witnessed Todd Reed’s dreamy rough diamond pieces in the pages of Modern Jeweler – possibly around 2007 or so, I can’t exactly recall (he has some cool rings on pages 73/74 of the May 2008 issue that I still drool over!).
 
 
Todd Reed Jewelry


Sadly this magazine, after 108 years of publishing, closed their doors in August of 2009.  (I think I may have had a glass of wine and a binge of chocolate eating in order to cope when I learned of this tragic news!)
 
Thankfully, JCK (Jewelers' Circular Keystone) is still on the scene and so the ‘eye-candy’ that I love to drool over and the designers I love to read about is still within reach.
 
In a pic I posted on Instagram the other day I mentioned my excitement at receiving the latest issue of JCK in the mail and was a bit surprised when a fellow jewelry friend of mine said she wasn’t quite sure she had ever heard of JCK magazine.
 
My Mail "Loot" The Other Day! ;-)
 
When I saw her comment, I wanted to do this post and share with all of you one of my favorite magazines and a true staple in my jewelry life.
 
 
And, even though you think it might be geared just towards the luxury jewelry industry and high-end jewelry stores and their owners, I’m here to tell you that no, it’s not.

Well, actually that is their target market, but just stay with me here and you’ll see where I’m going with this one.
 
Although I love all my jewelry crafting magazines, both online ones and ones in print, I’m excited and grateful that there's a high-end gem and jewelry trade publication like JCK; it fuels a different side of the 'jewelry geek' in me.
 
JCK has tons of marketing articles, trending news, legislature happenings, hot jewelry topics and trends, fabulous new designer info, insider tips of the trade, awesome photos to drool over and so much more.

It's all the information I search the Internet for,
all in one place!


Notice all the Gorgeous PEARLS on the Cover!!
 
 
Now, if you are only interesting in learning how to make jewelry and/or read jewelry crafting tutorials, 
then this won't likely be your cup of tea.

But, if you’re open to various styles of jewelry, things trending in the jewelry industry world-wide and of course, reading about up and coming designers (inspiration galore!), then you have to check it out.

So, follow their blog, sign up for their newsletters and devour ever issue.
 
 
They really are the Industry Authority – just like it says on their cover!
 
Okay folks, What are your ‘staples’?


Please leave a comment below and let me know what magazines, websites or other jewelry authorities you think are some of the best in the business and why. 

 
 
Time to ‘bridge the gap’ between handcrafted and luxury.
 
I mean after all, we do love the same thing!
 
Until Next Time,
 
Peace, Love and Jewelry!
Cheers,
~Shel~

Jan 4, 2014

Focus on Life 2014 - Week One: The Minimalist Photograph

I was so happy when Sally, from The Studio Sublime, continued in 2014 with her wonderful photography challenge, Focus on Life.
 
 
 

I have to say I was quite pleased that I managed to photograph and post for every single one of the 52 weekly photo prompts in 2013.  This was a challenge that truly made me stop and think about my surroundings and the things going on in my life each week and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire journey last year, along with all the wonderful and caring people I 'met' along the way.
 
So, when I saw the information for the 2014 Focus on Life Photography Challenge, I signed up immediately!

Sally's changing things up a bit and will be focusing on a specific subject each month, with weekly prompts pertinent to that subject, for us to post each week or just keep to ourselves if we choose to go that route instead.  She's also giving us tips, techniques and photo recipes through out the year so we can better our picture taking skills as well.  
 
Pretty cool stuff, eh?

Sally mentioned this week that:
 
Every year we approach the new year with high expectations of changing your lives.  We jump in with both feet and the water quickly splashes over our heads,  we begin to feel overwhelmed.  Before we know it the water subsides carrying our expectations in its ripples and waves.  We reach, we grasp, but everything becomes out of reach.  We sink.  Our progress stops in its tracks and with head hanging low we feel like we have completely failed. 
NOT THIS YEAR!
Let's change the view.  This year let's focus on entering 2014 by first tiptoeing into the lapping water, testing the strength of the waves.  Let's give ourselves a better chance to succeed, to feel good about ourselves, let's allow ourselves to reach our fullest potential.  Let's use the minimalist's approach, strip down to bare bones and chose one or two goals to pour our energy into for 2014!  Let's scale back the world around us and focus our viewfinder on one subject and snap the shutter.
 
Week One: The Minimalist Photograph - capture an image using a single subject
 
I was out for a walk and discovered this single leaf laying in my path that captured my attention and thought it would be perfect for this week's prompt. But once I got back home, I noticed that the shadow behind it and the concrete it was laying on completely distracted from it's minimalistic simplicity.
 
So instead, I captured one of my 'loves'.
 
Click to enlarge photo :-)
 
 
Isn't she a beauty?
 
Feel free to check out all the links below and see what Single Subjects the other players captured in their Minimalist Photograph this week!
 
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and The Single Pearl!
Cheers,
~Shel~