Moving into fall…

So life has been a little busy lately and I haven’t updated this page the way that I should.  So if you’re looking for my fall show schedule as well as my new designs, hop on over to my Facebook page where things are a little more consistent.

As soon as I can, I’ll get back here to update again.  However, until them – and if you want to see where I’ll be – Facebook is the place to check.  I’ll even give you the link.

Easily Distracted Designs on Face book:

Posted in Musings of The Empress, What's New? | Comments Off

The Creative Process

I’m a creative person, or at least I think I am.  I always have been, which was partly why my first chosen field was television.  Well, that and “professional daydreamer” was not really a viable – or profitable – career choice.  And sometimes, my creative process gets away from me a little bit.  I get so caught up in what I am creating – whether it’s jewelry or writing one of my romance novels – that I forget the practical.  Like updating my website, among other things.  Just ask my husband.  It’s not uncommon for him to ask me something when I’m deep in my writing process, only to have me look up and blink at him a few times until I remember who he is and that I’m not really in 1820s London.

Which is why it has been so long since I’ve updated my page.  Bad of me, I know, but between writing and jewelry design, I’ve been caught up in the creative process this summer.  Not a bad thing, I know, but unless you have a business manager to handle things like finances and getting new stock tagged and into stores (and I confess that I don’t, much as I wish I did) then sometimes, the creativity has to stop for a bit while the practical is dealt with.  Which is what I’m doing today.

Here’s a peek at a few of the pieces that I’ve designed over the last few months, starting with earrings.

Midnight Moon Ocean Blue

Brunch in Naples

And some bracelets…

Faded Fall

Rusted Rubies

Jungle Wild

And finally some necklaces…

Lantern Lights

Forest Watch


The point is, sometimes, I get so caught up in what I’m creating that I forget to do the more practical things.  I’m trying to be better, but I don’t think I’m succeeding.  So if you really want to see what I’m up to (and what shows I’ll be attending) on a daily basis, check out my Facebook page.  It’s a little more interactive than this page and I update it far more frequently.  And until then?  If you need something, drop me a line via email or Facebook messenger and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  As soon as I put down these beads.

Earring trio made with recycled elements

Posted in Musings of The Empress | Comments Off

Metal Stamping – it’s hot! And occasionally painful…

For the last few years, the metal stamping trend has been on the rise.  Companies like ImpressArt that started out small now offer an entire line of different fonts, blanks and just about any sort of tool you can imagine.  So, of course, being easily distracted, I had to try it too.

Actually, I had tried it once before with little success.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not get anything (and I mean anything) to stamp correctly.  If one side was nice and deep, the other side was barely stamped or even visible.  I used Sharpie markers to darken in my stampings, as most blogs suggested, but the results were mixed and I was extremely unhappy with the jewelry I was making.  And forget about any kind of complicated design.  They looked awful.  So I stopped doing it.  Because I won’t sell anything if I’m not happy with the way it looks.  I was also tired of crushing my thumb with a heavy hammer.  After all, a poor, mangled digit can only be expected to endure so much.

Then, at BeadFest Spring 2016, I had a chance to watch part of a demo given by ImpressArt.  They were debuting a new, single-strike hammer.  Perfectly weighted and designed, the hammer was supposed to provide good results each and every time.  I didn’t think that was possible, but, like the sucker I am, I went home, got my Hobby Lobby coupon and bought one of these hammers, determined to give it a try.  And then I didn’t.

The truth is, I was intimidated.  I really didn’t think it would work.  I also hated the idea of spending a fortune in blanks just to ruin them if they didn’t turn out.  Because blanks, even aluminum ones, are not cheap.  Then, for Christmas 2016, I received gift cards to Michael’s.  Now, I’ll be honest.  I don’t shop there much any longer for a number of reasons, but my local store was now carrying a small part of the ImpressArt line, and, with nothing better to spend the gift cards on, investing in the rest of what I would need for metal stamping didn’t seem like a bad idea.  If it worked?  Great.  If not?  Well, at least I hadn’t lost my own money and there really wasn’t anything better to spend those cards on.

So right after Christmas, I got my supplies, pulled out the old stamp sets, my bench block, and that hammer I had never used.  I opened up a shiny, new pack of aluminum blanks and got to work.  You know what?  It worked!  Not only was I making nice, deep stamps, I was making them consistently.  Each piece, every time.  And for that, I can only give credit to the single strike hammer because nothing else changed.  I still hit the same way, I use the same stamps and the same bench block.  The only difference is that hammer.

Emboldened, I started looking at online videos, trying to find a new way and better of darkening my stamps, too.  And I did – with Vintaj’s metal patinas.  I have the full collection so why I never thought of this before is beyond me.  Maybe because I use patinas with the idea that that won’t come off?  In any case, using the patinas gave me the deep, dark, consistent color I had been longing for without the “overflow” I always had with Sharpies or other methods.

As I grew more confident, I also started experimenting with more difficult stamps, ones with more detail that were, at least according to online blogs, harder to work with.  That included ImpressArt’s “Hootie” stamp, which has been pretty popular around here.

And this weekend?  My first batch of stamped bracelets goes into stores for sale.  It’s a point I never thought I would reach, especially the day I wanted to just toss my hammer out the window.  Now?  I’m glad I tried again.



Posted in Musings of The Empress, What's New? | Comments Off

New Year…New Styles

It’s January which means it’s time for the annual White Sales in stores – or it used to be “the thing” back in the 70s and 80s when I was a kid.  It’s also time for organizational sales and the beginning of the run up to Paris Fashion Week.

For jewelry designers, it’s also time to start looking ahead.  What’s new this season?  Are tassels still going to be the big thing?  Or will a new trend emerge?  Will Greenery, Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2017 be a hit?  Or will be be like the 2015 color, Marsala, and have everyone scratching their heads about how to use it?  Personally, I like Greenery and hope it does well.

  Courtesy: Pantone

As for what’s new at Easily Distracted?  I have two words – metal stamping!

I’ve dabbled in stamping before but considering what’s going on in my personal life, the idea of whacking something – hard – with a hammer holds a great deal of appeal for me at the moment.  I already had most of the supplies, including two letter sets – a basic set and ImpressArt’s Juniper font – a handful of symbols and a lot of hammers, including ImpressArt’s Ergo Angle Metal Stamping Hammer, which does indeed live up to its much heralded reputation.

So when I received a bunch of Michael’s gift cards for Christmas, I could think of nothing better to spend them on than more metal stamping supplies.  I could go on and on about the changes Michael’s has made and not for the better, but I won’t.  Because this is about metal stamping.

Anyway, I meandered over to my local Michael’s, picked up a bunch of ImpressArt blanks – I know from experience to only use quality stamping blanks because you do get what you pay for in this case – and set to work.  I was extremely pleased with the results and that’s putting it mildly.  And in the case of my sample disk, I added a little bling because I can’t ever just do things by the book.  I am forever altering or playing around with whatever designs I see.

I will say that in my case, the hammer makes ALL of the difference.  I’ve done stamping before with mixed results but this new, ergo single strike hammer?  The difference is HUGE!  And it makes stamping so much easier.  Instead of creating what I would consider middling pieces at best, I was able to create clean, clear letters with a single strike and, after watching a few videos on Beaducation’s YouTube channel, discovered that using Ranger’s Vintaj patinas to darken the design is A LOT easier than the old Sharpie-coloring method that so many have advocated for so long.  If you are comfortable working with patinas like I am, then this is a breeze and it gives a nicer, more professional looking finish.  So stamping will continue into 2017 because it’s fun, it’s easy and it makes a nice product addition to my line.

As I was showing my husband the results the other night, a new style of bead caught my eye and I mentioned that I thought I might like to try working with those in the near future.  He simply shook his head and smiled and made the comment that “easily distracted” is by far the most appropriate business name he has ever heard.  Yeah.  It probably is.

“To The Moon And Back” sample bracelet