Ginger is a finalist!

So obviously, I’m most known for my jewelry. But I am an avid shutterbug in my spare time. A photo of my fluffy kitty, Ginger, was recently selected as a finalist to be used as ax example image in the sample and calibration kit sent with orders from iPrintfromHome! I’m really excited because not only is it my adorable kitty, but I’ve never had a photo of mine be recognized for anything. (Not that I’ve ever entered any photography contests but you know what I mean.)

(If you like the picture, voting is open to the public via giving a “LIKE” to the picture HERE on facebook. I’d appreciate the votes!)

What’s funny is this shot is her “helping” me take jewelry photos. I set up my studio lights and she stuck her face in them and after rubbing the bulb a bit, sat down and I caught this quick shot. Believe it or not, this is just my living room but the brightness of the lights made for the background going all blacked out. This photo isn’t even edited; it was just one of those perfect moments right out of the camera!

(Ginger was found abandoned in a canal on the side of a busy street when she was about 6 weeks old. I was originally going to foster her but wound up falling in love and she wound up joining the family. :D Now, she’s just over a year old and has turned into the most beautiful, long haired cat and it’s hard to imagine her very humble origins!)

I love my kitty and I always thought this was a great shot of her, so it’s even more exciting that it was selected as a finalist! I’m proud too that I’m growing as a photographer when I get a shot like this. ;D

Vote for Ginger HERE on facebook!

 

Dexter Blood Splatter Slice of Life Shirt

Made for the Movie/TV show swap on Craftster.org, this shirt is inspired by this shirt she pinned from the TV show, Dexter. His boat was called “Slice of Life” which of course was tongue-in-cheek given his serial killer nature. He used his boat to dump dead bodies out into the ocean. And since he was a blood splatter analyst, it only seemed fitting to put some on the shirt as well. :D

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And a close-up:

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I made this by cutting out the stencil on freezer paper by hand with an X-acto knife. I ironed the stencil onto the shirt (shiny side down) and then used a pump fabric spray from Tulip to fill in the pattern. After a few coats to get good saturation, I left it overnight to dry. Then I peeled the stencil off and used the pump to “splatter” more paint around the rest of the shirt.

This was only my second ever stencil shirt and I was really pleased with how it came out!

 

Dead Man’s Chest (from Pirates of the Caribbean)

For a TV/Movie themed craft swap on Craftster, I made this Pirates of the Caribbean inspired “Dead Man’s Chest.”

Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest with dual skeleton key from Walt Disney World

Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest with dual skeleton key from Walt Disney World

This was the initial inspiration:
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(seen here by bornahorse on DeviantArt)

What I did was buy an unfished wooden chest from my local craft store. (I bought this one at Joann but Micheal’s has an assortment of wooden boxes too.) I used that as my base to build up the decoration. I needed something that didn’t have to be fired/baked because I was starting with a wooden box. So immediately, polymer clay was out.

I browsed the options and first tried using Creative Paper Clay but I had problems with it sticking to the wood and also, it was irritating my hands so I had to find something else.

Next I went back and found La Doll stone air dry clay which is what I ultimately used.

I spent hours shaping, rolling and applying the clay to the surface of the box. It stuck rather well on it’s own but I also helped it along with little bits of white glue when needed. It worked very much like real clay – it didn’t feel any different for being an air dry formula. I was able to use small amounts of water to help smooth and push the clay along when I had to fill in areas or blend edges.

Here is what it looked like when I was done with the clay:
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The clay needs time to air dry and can be anywhere from 24 hours to a week depending on the thickness. I placed it up out of the way and left it untouched for about 4 or 5 days to harden.

The other nice part of the LaDoll clay is that once it’s dry, you can paint it with just about anything. I used good old fashioned acrylic paint in several shades of brown for an aged or weathered look along with some gold metallic Sharpie for the accents.

And voila! I had a finished box inspired by the Dead Man’s Chest from Pirates of the Caribbean!

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The project was something I hadn’t done before using new materials. But I can say that though it was quite time-consuming to sculpt out all the pieces (several hours of work), the LaDoll clay was really easy to work with and I had no difficulties even being a total novice. I would definitely recommend the product if you need to sculpt or decorate something with real clay but without the difficulty of a needing a kiln.

 

How to use coupon codes on Etsy

Every so often, I run a sale or offer a discount code or coupon code in my PhoenixFire Designs etsy shop. And etsy itself doesn’t seem to have very helpful how-to or information on how to use discount codes or coupon codes. If you’ve been confused in the past or wondered how to use a promo code, here’s a visual how to to help.

It’s actually pretty simple but not obvious. There’s a little link, “Apply shop coupon code” right under the payment type in your cart. You click that, and a text field will open for you to type in the code. Hit “apply” and it will take the discount off automatically.

If the code is expired or invalid, it will let you know that too.

Add item to cart. Then click the "apply shop coupon code" link found under the payment options.

Add item to cart. Then click the “apply shop coupon code” link found under the payment options.

A text box will open for you to enter the code, then click the "apply" button.

A text box will open for you to enter the code, then click the “apply” button.

After you click "apply" the cart will automatically update to reflect the discount and new total.

After you click “apply” the cart will automatically update to reflect the discount and new total.

If the coupon code is expired, it will tell you that it's no longer valid.

If the coupon code is expired, it will tell you that it’s no longer valid.

Now, it’s very important NOT to put coupon or discount codes in the “notes to seller” field. The system does NOT recognize codes there and will NOT take the discount off for you. Sellers are unable to modify your cart or your order after you check out, so we can’t apply the discount for you. (For safety and security reasons, sellers do NOT get any of your credit card info, nor do we have the ability to process or modify your existing order in anyway or charge your card. Obviously, this is a safety feature for buyers but it does put limitations on what we as sellers can do after you’ve checked out.)

The “notes to seller” field is usually reserved for customization information, messages to include with gift orders, etc.

Finally, it's important NOT to put a coupon code in the "notes to seller" field as it will NOT apply the discount and sellers CANNOT apply the discount for you after you've checked out.

Finally, it’s important NOT to put a coupon code in the “notes to seller” field as it will NOT apply the discount and sellers CANNOT apply the discount for you after you’ve checked out.

Hopefully, this helps clarify how to use a coupon code, discount code, promo code or other discount when buying on etsy. As always, you can find our PhoenixFire Designs shop on etsy here!

 

PhoenixFire Designs at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival

I got invited to be a guest vendor in the 2014 Bay Area Renaissance Festival and wound up doing the final TWO weekends! (March 29th & 30th and April 4th, 5th and 6th 2014)

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Custom Creations

I make a lot of custom items for people. Here are a couple of the most recent ones.

Inspired by a rainbow colored Anthropologie necklace, I made this for a Craftster swap. I hand hammered non-tarnish brass wire into shape, drilled holes in the bar and then used gold-plated wire to wrap the Czech glass beads onto the bar. It’s finished with gold plated chain.

Anthropologie inspired rainbow necklace in non-tarnish brass wire and gold plated chain.

Anthropologie inspired rainbow necklace in non-tarnish brass wire and gold plated chain.

This piece was a custom take on my Rainbow Moonstone Full Moon Tree of Life Pendant with a mini 6mm natural moonstone and a scattering of emerald rondelles in the branches. Created in .925 sterling wire.

Custom rainbow moonstone full moon tree of life with scattering of emeralds.

Custom rainbow moonstone full moon tree of life with scattering of emeralds.

I always enjoy making custom pieces! If there’s something you’d like made for you, feel free to send me a message through my etsy shop.

 

Size Chart for PhoenixFire Deisgns Tree of Life Pendants

It can be really hard to judge size of things online from just a picture. Even harder still to decide between two differently sized items. So I made this comparison chart to help easily show the sizes of the commonly available tree of life pendants in my shop.

Extra large, large, medium and miniature size scale of tree of life pendants by PhoenixFire Designs.

Extra large, large, medium and miniature size scale of tree of life pendants by PhoenixFire Designs.

The approximately 2″ Extra large is currently a custom order size. Pictured is a version with a 25mm fire crack agate in mixed metals of brown wire and copper wire. I have more colors of the 25mm fire crackle agate on hand as well if you’re interested in having one custom made.

Large is the “normal” size for my full moon trees. The pendant is approximately 1.5″ and I use 20mm moons in those pieces. Things like my rainbow moonstone, Halloween moon and also Four Seasons Tree of Life all are in the “large” size. Pictured is a gold feldspar moon set in non-tarnish copper wire.

Small at approximately 1.25″ is the “normal” size for the faceted rondelle trees such as the birthstone trees (garnet, emerald, ruby, etc.) as well as the smaller full moon versions. I use a proportionally smaller moon of 10mm to keep the balance of the scale. Pictured is a green agate moon set in gunmetal wire.

Mini is currently available only as earrings. Items like my Four Season Tree of Life Earrings use the mini size. It’s approximately 1″ and makes for a tiny, adorable little tree. I can also make a single tree as a pendant in this size on custom order. (Perhaps a nice gift for a younger girl? A piece of “grown up” jewelry more appropriate to her size?) Pictured is a mix of rose quartz, amethyst and rainbow moonstone chips in silver.

I hope this helps better understand the various sizes and the scale of how they all relate to each other. My pieces tend to fall in the same sizes so this reference should be a helpful guide in comparing and deciding which size works best for you!

As always, every single piece of PhoenixFire Designs jewelry is handmade entirely from scratch so customization and personalization is always possible! If you want to mix it up or change it up, just let me know!

 

All About Birthstones

Every month of the year has birthstone associated with it. Each month has a primary gemstone and several also have an alternate or two as well. What’s nice about birthstones is that it’s a great way to celebrate family (such as children, grandchildren, siblings, etc.) in jewelry.

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Birthstone Gemstones Chart by Month featuring Tree of Life Pendants.

Let’s take a look at the different birthstones for each month of the year along with information about the symbolic meaning of birthstone gemstones and I’ll show some examples of what you can do with them!

January – Garnet

Garnet is a natural, semi-precious gemstone associated with the planet Mars, the zodiac sign of Aquarius and the birthstone of the month of January. Considered the stone of good luck in business, it's also said to increase your self-esteem when worn as jewelry. It's also the stone associated with the first chakra (base of the spine.) It's rich, deep and intense color is unique and beautiful.

Garnet is a natural, semi-precious gemstone associated with the planet Mars, the zodiac sign of Aquarius and the birthstone of the month of January. Considered the stone of good luck in business, it’s also said to increase your self-esteem when worn as jewelry. It’s also the stone associated with the first chakra (base of the spine.) It’s rich, deep and intense color is unique and beautiful.

February – Amethyst

Amethyst derives it's name from a Greek word meaning "without drunkenness" because it was believed to protect the wearer from poisons. Amethyst is a semi-precious gemstone and is a very powerful stone being used for insomnia, protection, wisdom and healing. Amethyst is also traditionally associated with royalty and people of great wealth.

Amethyst derives it’s name from a Greek word meaning “without drunkenness” because it was believed to protect the wearer from poisons. Amethyst is a semi-precious gemstone and is a very powerful stone being used for insomnia, protection, wisdom and healing. Amethyst is also traditionally associated with royalty and people of great wealth.

March – Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a natural, semi-precious gemstone in lovely tones of delicate blue. The birthstone of March, it is said to help you be in touch with your spiritual being. Known as "Water of the Sea" because of it's color, aquamarine been used by sailors for centuries to protect them on the water. It's also been long used as a strong meditation aide and when worn as a necklace, it is said to calm and sooth the nerves.

Aquamarine is a natural, semi-precious gemstone in lovely tones of delicate blue. The birthstone of March, it is said to help you be in touch with your spiritual being. Known as “Water of the Sea” because of it’s color, aquamarine been used by sailors for centuries to protect them on the water. It’s also been long used as a strong meditation aide and when worn as a necklace, it is said to calm and sooth the nerves.

April – Diamond (Alternates: White Sapphire, White Topaz)

Pure Topaz is colorless and transparent and is more rare than it's better-known colored versions. (Such as Blue Topaz or Yellow Topaz.) Known as "White Topaz" or "Silver Topaz" it's transparent and crystal clear and is a popular alternative for diamonds. The beautiful micro-faceted rondelles used in this piece are very high quality, luxe stones with precision cutting.

Pure Topaz is colorless and transparent and is more rare than it’s better-known colored versions. (Such as Blue Topaz or Yellow Topaz.) Known as “White Topaz” or “Silver Topaz” it’s transparent and crystal clear and is a popular alternative for diamonds. The beautiful micro-faceted rondelles used in this piece are very high quality, luxe stones with precision cutting.

May – Emerald (Alternate: Chrome Diopside)

Emerald is one of only four rare, precious gemstones in the world (along with Ruby, Diamond and Sapphire.) A member of the beryl mineral family, emeralds have been prized since ancient times and a quality emerald commands more value than even a diamond! Traditionally, emeralds are worn to promote healing and enhance love and contentment.

Emerald is one of only four rare, precious gemstones in the world (along with Ruby, Diamond and Sapphire.) A member of the beryl mineral family, emeralds have been prized since ancient times and a quality emerald commands more value than even a diamond! Traditionally, emeralds are worn to promote healing and enhance love and contentment.

June – Pearl (Alternates: Alexandrite and Moonstone)

Pearls have been used for jewelry and adornment for centuries. Unlike all other gemstones, pearls require living creatures to create them and they require no cutting or polishing. Freshwater pearls are said to promote sincerity, truth and loyalty and are commonly used in wedding and bridal jewelry.

Pearls have been used for jewelry and adornment for centuries. Unlike all other gemstones, pearls require living creatures to create them and they require no cutting or polishing. Freshwater pearls are said to promote sincerity, truth and loyalty and are commonly used in wedding and bridal jewelry.

July – Ruby

Ruby is one of only four rare, precious gemstones in the world (along with Emerald, Diamond and Sapphire.) Ruby is known as the most powerful gem in the universe. To own a ruby is to know contentment and peace. Given as a gift, ruby is the stone of friendship and love. It's also associated with vitality and royalty.

Ruby is one of only four rare, precious gemstones in the world (along with Emerald, Diamond and Sapphire.) Ruby is known as the most powerful gem in the universe. To own a ruby is to know contentment and peace. Given as a gift, ruby is the stone of friendship and love. It’s also associated with vitality and royalty.

August – Peridot

Peridot is a natural, semi-precious gemstone in the most amazing green color. The birthstone of August, it has been considered sacred and a symbol of purity for thousands of years. It was considered a stone of Springtime and a gift of Mother Nature by the Ancients. It is a stone of lightness and beauty and is said to enhance wellness in the spiritually aware. Peridot, while possessing a uniquely vivid tone of green has some natural variation in it.

Peridot is a natural, semi-precious gemstone in the most amazing green color. The birthstone of August, it has been considered sacred and a symbol of purity for thousands of years. It was considered a stone of Springtime and a gift of Mother Nature by the Ancients. It is a stone of lightness and beauty and is said to enhance wellness in the spiritually aware. Peridot, while possessing a uniquely vivid tone of green has some natural variation in it.

September – Sapphire

Sapphire means "blue" in Greek. The blue goes from dark blue almost black to pale blue. The finest blue sapphires are a strong blue. Sapphires are one of only four precious gemstones in the world (along with ruby, emerald and diamond) making them rare, expensive and cherished. The sapphire was called the "Stone of Destiny". Sapphires contribute to mental clarity and perception. They can promote financial rewards.

Sapphire means “blue” in Greek. The blue goes from dark blue almost black to pale blue. The finest blue sapphires are a strong blue. Sapphires are one of only four precious gemstones in the world (along with ruby, emerald and diamond) making them rare, expensive and cherished. The sapphire was called the “Stone of Destiny”. Sapphires contribute to mental clarity and perception. They are said to promote financial rewards.

October – Opal (Alternate: Tourmaline)

The Opal derives its name from the Latin word "opalus," meaning precious jewel. It is one of the birthstones for October.  Available in an assortment of colors including blue opal and moss opal and ranging in color from opaque whites, through pale beige, into soft green, browns and even blue.

The Opal derives its name from the Latin word “opalus,” meaning precious jewel. It is one of the birthstones for October. Available in an assortment of colors including blue opal and moss opal and ranging in color from opaque whites, through pale beige, into soft green, browns and even blue.

November – Topaz (Alternate: Citrine)

Citrine is a semi-precious stone in the quartz family. Citrine has been called the "stone of the mind" and is known as the lucky "Merchants Stone". It's said to bring luck to those in sales by placing a piece in the cash drawer. Citrine is also used as an alternative to the November birthstone, Yellow Topaz, due to it's similar color.

Citrine is a semi-precious stone in the quartz family. Citrine has been called the “stone of the mind” and is known as the lucky “Merchants Stone”. It’s said to bring luck to those in sales by placing a piece in the cash drawer. Citrine is also used as an alternative to the November birthstone, Yellow Topaz, due to it’s similar color.

December – Tanzanite (Alternates: Turquoise, Blue Zircon

One of the most cherished and sought-after gemstones in the world today, Tanzanite is blue-purple to purple blue stone belonging to family of zoisite.Tanzanite is found in only one place in the world: Tanzania, Africa in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Discovered in 1967, it's also a relatively "new" gemstone and was named by the famous jewelry store, Tiffany & Co.

One of the most cherished and sought-after gemstones in the world today, Tanzanite is blue-purple to purple blue stone belonging to family of zoisite.Tanzanite is found in only one place in the world: Tanzania, Africa in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Discovered in 1967, it’s also a relatively “new” gemstone and was named by the famous jewelry store, Tiffany & Co.

There are many myths and legends about the healing, spiritual and mythological power of birthstones. It is said that wearing a gemstone during the month it represents enhances it’s power and influence for the wearer. Though the concept of birthstones date back thousands of years, the modern list has been around since 1912 and the only update in all that time has been the inclusion of “modern” gemstone, Tanzanite, to be added for December’s birthstone.

Regardless of whether or not you believe the gems hold mystical properties, they remain beautiful and attractive and a wonderful way of symbolizing and celebrating friends, loved ones and family!

Check out all the featured birthstone tree of life pendants and many birthstone alternatives on PhoenixFire Designs Birthstone Trees section of the Etsy shop.

 

PhoenixFire Designs 2013 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

HOLIDAY SHIPPING DEADLINES
I know people don’t want to think about Holiday & Christmas shopping yet. BUT…as everything is handmade by my two very human hands, there is more lead time required than grabbing something made in China from Wal-Mart. Especially factoring in shipping.

PhoenixFire Designs 2013 Holiday Mailing Deadlines for Christmas Delivery

PhoenixFire Designs 2013 Holiday Mailing Deadlines for Christmas Delivery

INTERNATIONAL ORDERS REQUIRE THE MOST TIME. International orders shipping first class (standard) mail MUST be received by FRIDAY DECEMBER 6th. That is only ONE MONTH from now!!

And Africa, South and Central America – even worse, your orders need to be in by MONDAY NOVEMBER 25th for Christmas delivery.

PhoenixFire Designs Offering world-famous wire wrapped Tree of Life Gemstone Pendants, original unique Tree Jewelry, handmade Birthstone Jewelry, Mother's Jewelry, Bird Nest Necklaces, Steampunk jewellry, Bride, Bridal and Formal items and More! Custom Orders always accepted. Please feel free to contact me with your ideas!

PhoenixFire Designs by Miss M. Turner Original Artisan jewelry, handmade by me for you! Including world-famous tree of life pendants and more. As seen on CNN, Huffington Post, Tumblr, and many more.

So RIGHT NOW is the time to start planning and getting in your holiday orders!

www.PhoenixFireDesigns.etsy.com

 

Halloween in Wonderland Memory Tray

I thought I’d show off the “Halloween in Wonderland” board I made as part of the Mini 13 Days of Halloween swap for my partner, michelleandbean.

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First, off, this image was pinned on her pinterest that I used as the inspiration. Seemed like it would be fun! Turns out, it was quite a process. :)

At Micheal’s, I found a “memory tray” by brand, “Recollections” but….it only had 6 compartments. Like this:
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But I bought it anyway plus some thin strips of unfinished balsa wood from the model aisle and brought it home.

Next I went about looking for the info on the paper. Turns out it was called, “Halloween in Wonderland” by company “Graphic 45″ but it was discontinued in 2011 and people are now selling it for like $75 on ebay and over $100 on etsy. :o Woah. That was SO not going to work for some 12×12 scrapbook paper!! I spent like 2 days scrounging through google, trying to find SOMEWHERE to buy it without it being so much, but had very little luck. Just lots of other people wanting it too. This was one hard-to-find set of paper!

But then, I hit gold. While doing an image search (hoping to find places to buy it that way) I came across a site that had large scan images of the pages. Even though the pages themselves were out of stock on their websites, they still had images of the sheets. I was able to download them and then use my laser printer to print the pages I needed to complete the project. Huzzah! ;D

I planned out where I wanted things to go and painted the balsa wood black and cut to shape and glued it down. And filled in all the boxes with paper.

Red boxes show the original compartments. Yellow lines are balsa wood I added to make additional compartments of the size and configuration I wanted.

Red boxes show the original compartments. Yellow lines are balsa wood I added to make additional compartments of the size and configuration I wanted.

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I scrounged through my jewelry findings, etsy, ebay and the craft store for various accessories to add as accents to the boxes. Here are some close-ups:

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And the finished product!

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From modifying the tray with my own slats to make more box divisions, to overcoming paper that was discontinued two years ago, to finding a bunch of accessories to get the look of the inspiration piece, it was a lot of work. ;) But I was really happy with how it came out.

Want to make your own? Links to large file size images for download are behind the cut!
Read the rest of this entry »