Monday, December 3, 2012


Hello All! We have a WINNER! I apologize for the delay. I had a show on Saturday and then my husband and I were in a live nativity Saturday & Sunday(Joseph & Mary). It made for a very busy, but fun weekend. Anyway, onto to the important stuff...

The Winner is comment #6! I used a random number generator, but for some reason the picture of it would not upload. So, comment #6 was from Ann Marie Luckow! Congrats, Ann! Please contact me with the colors of tagua you would like on your necklace!

Thank you to everyone who played along! Enjoy this wonderful month of celebrating with friends, family and all those you love.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas Sale & a GIVEAWAY!

Hello All! I'm excited to announce that I will be part of the Artisan Whimsy Market 2012 Holiday Collection! As a bonus, I'll be offering 10% of my entire etsy shop with the code AWHOLIDAY. The sale starts Friday, November 23 and ends Friday, November 30. This is a great opportunity to buy those custom gifts for friends, family and other loved ones. As always, all profit will be donated to charity - mostly an orphanage in Mexico and another in Madagascar. Let's make this Christmas the best ever for the orphans! If you've seen something on my facebook page you like and can't find it in my shop just message me on Facebook, leave a comment there or email me.

And now for the really good part - a GIVEAWAY! I'll be picking one random winner who will receive a 3 piece tagua necklace in the colors of their choice! Some examples are pictured below, but you can design your own if you'd like. You can be entered in the drawing up to 6 times by doing the following:
  1. Follow my blog and leave a comment telling me what you are most thankful for.
  2. Share a link to this post on Facebook, twitter or your blog and then leave a comment here to tell me where you shared. (one entry per place)
  3. Share your favorite photo from my Facebook page on your wall and tell your friends all about it.
  4. Go to my etsy shop, favorite my shop, plus favorite at least one idea and then leave a comment here with a link to the idea you favorited.

Thank you so much for all of your support this year! I am so thankful for how God has blessed this business and how many lives have been changed because of money donated. I'm excited about how many pairs of shoes will be purchased for children in need this Christmas, as well as food, water, clothing and shelter. Together we are helping people around the world!  THANK YOU!

Visit more people participating in this Holiday Market:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Good news all around!

Well, life is busy as usual. Yesterday was Henry's first birthday! He's such a beautiful little guy. People stop us all the time to tell us he's pretty - it's funny how they hesitate to say a boy is pretty or beautiful but there's just something about those sweet little eyes that scream beauty. I'm a proud momma, obviously!

Anyway, his first birthday was great. We had a mini party, but the whole family is coming on Sunday after church to celebrate. The mini party consisted of us, my parents & my nephew. Henry was literally doing a little dance when he opened his new handmade, wooden cars & trains. He moves them along and makes noises for them. I can't help but wonder how at the age of 1 he knows how to make car sounds - the mystery of being a boy! He had a great day!

On the jewelry front, I just heard from Stringing Magazine that they accepted 4 of my 6 subscriptions for publication. I'm pretty excited as this was my first submission. I'm not sure why they rejected the other 2 pieces, but I'm not going to let myself be upset about it because seriously, 4 pieces getting published is pretty darn cool!

I had a show last weekend at a high school about an hour away. It went well. I had a great response from people. I was a little bit surprised though by the fact that a lot of people weren't buying. Other vendors also mentioned this - people seemed hesitant. I'm not sure if it's because it was so close to the election and that makes people nervous? It's weird because I would never buy or not buy because of an election but I guess I'm not normal. In the end I had a few great sales and then a bunch of small ones so I exceeded my goal and had a good time. I love getting out and interacting with customers!

Enjoy your weekend. It'll be a busy one for us with family coming in from NY to celebrate our little Henry. Here he is...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Chuggin' Along

It seems like things are moving very sloooowly lately. I'm lacking motivation to get up early and stay up late. I tend to work myself to the bone and then hardly work (on jewelry that is) for a bit. It's like my recovery period. I work of mindless tasks that require little brain power.

Anyway, I'm babbling about nonsense. It's time for me to get back into the swing of things full speed ahead! I have a show on Saturday! Here are some of the things that have come together:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief

For those of you who don't know, my husband's entire family lives on the east coast. We are so thankful that they are all doing fine, have electricity, and have had mild repercussions from Hurricane Sandy. The same is not true for many others. I have heard stories of families whose homes and vehicles are under water, churches that are completely destroyed, single moms who have nothing but their children left, and on and on the devastating stories go.

Despite being far away, we can all do something to help. From now until Christmas I will donate all profit from jewelry sold when you mention "sandy relief". This includes custom orders! Christmas shopping this year can not only be about a great gift for your loved one but also a gift for someone whose life has been completely turned upside down by this terrible storm. The only exclusions are leather bracelets (the profit from them will still go to buy shoes for children in dire poverty) and the Hope for Haiti pieces (the profit will go to support job training for women in Haiti). Everything else can be purchased to help the people in our own country.

If you have any questions, please comment here or email me - seladesigns1 at gmail dot com. Please take some time to look through my shop - Sela Designs or view my items on Facebook. You can also email any custom orders directly to me. Please share this information with as many people as possible. Every dollar counts!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Fever

It's been a weird week - first I was sick and then my husbands car broke down (same bad part 3 times!) so he's been taking mine everyday and we've had a lot of rain. All of these things have led to me and the boys being cooped up in the house all week. We were really hoping to go for a nice "nature walk," as Liam calls it, today but the weather had other plans. I kind of feel like a trapped rat about now.

So, what's a girl to do? I honestly haven't gotten very much jewelry made at all this week. I did a few custom orders and I'm working on a few more, but nothing else. I've spent way too much time trying to order supplies. I really hate ordering supplies because it takes me forever! I always want to order as much as possible so I don't have to pay for shipping constantly, but I seem to forget something every time and then I get mad. I always feel like I have to shop around for the best prices and then end up buying from the same place as the last time. It's a vicious cycle, I tell ya!

Good news is that I'm hoping to get the essential supplies for soldering! If I can learn to solder I think a whole new world of possibilities will open up to me. I'm excited about that. Not sure I can spend the money right now though. Christmas is just two months away and I've set some very high goals of how much money I want to raise for different charities.

Speaking of charities, I recently received a bag full of rubble from Haiti that is intended for jewelry making. I'm so excited about this as my parents and sister spent time in Haiti and know exactly how horrific conditions can be there. I will post more about it as soon as I get some jewelry together. All profit will go to support an organization that is teaching women to make jewelry & give them a sustainable income! How cool is that?! Well, I better get to it...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mismatched Art Bead Earring Hop

Hello Everyone! Welcome to my blog! I apologize for not having this post up earlier. I spent last night in the ER with 102 fever, severe neck pain & a headache. Turned out to be dehydration & a migraine, not meningitis. Thank God! Anyway...

I only have the earrings I made to show you today because unfortunately, my partner thought this was just a fun way to receive a free pair of earrings and didn't feel the need to reciprocate.

I had this really cool glass art bead that I wanted to use because I had just one so it was perfect for mismatched earrings. My mother-in-law got it for me at a local glass house. I paired it with brass rings & arte metal from Vintaj, one of my own faceted polymer clay beads, adventurine and coffee jasper. I love the look of mixed metals for Fall!

Don't forget to visit everyone else participating in this fun hop:
Lisa Liddy
Charlene Jacka

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Operation Christmas 2012: Leather for Soles

This Christmas I really want to give more than ever to children and families in extreme, dire poverty. Everyday thousands of children are dying due to starvation and disease. There are so many things that these children need, but I've chosen a few specific areas to help with this year. I wish I could help every child and fulfill every need, but I can't. Here's what I can do and what you can be a part of:

The first way to help is through my "Leather for Soles" program. All profit from the sale of my leather bracelets will go to buy children shoes. Shoes? Yes, shoes. Many children live in areas where raw sewage covers the streets. Children walk barefoot through this filth and are at high risk for infection that could lead to them being crippled, diseased and in severe cases can be fatal. In case I'm not doing a good enough job explaining here's a picture:

For some reason I think shoes are important. I know food is important too and I'll get to that in another post.
Leather bracelets are $18 each. They are top quality, Italian leather. Every leather bracelet purchased will buy 3 pairs of shoes for children in need. Three pairs of shoes! What better gift to give someone for Christmas than a gift that keeps on giving?
 Single strand bracelet

Double strand - not to be confused with a double wrap bracelet :)
Triple wrap bracelet
I also have a double strand in cranberry (not pictured). Clasps are available in brass, silver or copper. You can also get an extra long bracelet for a double ($23), triple ($28, pictured above) or quadruple wrap ($33) . You can order by emailing me seladesigns1 at gmail dot com, through my etsy shop, or message me on facebook. I accept cash, checks and paypal.
My goal is to raise $1,000 to buy shoes for children this Christmas! That would be about 277 pairs. It may seem like a lofty goal, but together I think we can do it. Please share this information with as many people as you can. Comment or email me if you have questions. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

The weekend

Well, after a jam-packed week, we had a weekend filled to the brim. Sometimes I wonder why we always try to fit so much into such short amounts of time but then I realize that it's just the way I am. A full and active (I'm not talking about exercise here though I wish I was) lifestyle is ingrained in my character. I honestly can't handle sitting around with nothing to do for more than 1 day, 2 max. Anyway, here's how it went down:

Friday was Bill's birthday and I had a surprise getaway planned. First I had to do dishes, fold about 10 loads of laundry, bathe the kids, get everyone packed and have myself looking decent all by 1:00pm. Good thing I only had to pack for one night! The plan was to drop the kids at my parents, pick up my nephew and drop him off by his Dad, deliver jewelry to the new gallery I've just joined (Purloin Studio) and then get to downtown Milwaukee by 5:30pm to pick up our concert tickets! Whew!

Everything pretty much went according to the plan. When I got to Purloin Studio I met the owner, Susan, who was very sweet and happy to see my work. As I was unpacking she encouraged customers to get the first look at my jewelry. One lady was thrilled with the Tagua necklaces and trying to decide which one to purchase. That was so encouraging for me since this is the first gallery I'm selling at. It's always awesome to see other people enjoy your work.

We headed downtown, got our tickets, had a great dinner and went to the concert. We saw NEEDTOBREATHR. We had no idea they were so popular - the place was packed! The band was unbelievably talented but the overall show wasn't what we expected. It's weird to me that a so called Christian band never made mention of God when they had ample opportunity. I had hoped for more. I know even more that I'm not just a "music person" - I am a worship person!

Saturday we got to sleep in! Bill said that was the best gift he had ever received. We did a little shopping and headed to the Milwaukee Public Market for lunch. I stopped in Anthropologie and fell in lust over everything in there! Oh man, it's all so lovely. One thing I dislike is that although the jewelry design there is amazing almost everything is made of plastic beads - I just don't like that. And that was it for our 24 hour getaway. We were happy to get our babies back - they had a great time at grandma & grandpa's house.

Sunday afternoon we went to some friends' house for a harvest party with everyone else from church. The hosts are some of the coolest people we know - a retired couple, Tony & Paula, who make everything from scratch and build amazing things. Tony built a log cabin that is stunning, a covered wagon and beautiful benches for us all to enjoy. We had a great time! Pictures below (first - Liam riding in front with Mr. Tony, second - Dad, Bill, Liam, Me and Mom, and third - Liam driving the tractor):

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Buried in Tagua & Copper

It has been a crazy week so far - I've barely come up for air! I am working on a bunch of stuff for an art gallery, Purloin Studios, that I am going to start selling at. I'm excited for this opportunity and it's a great time of year to start at a new gallery.

I've been working every spare moment - late nights and early mornings. Yesterday, my Dad even came over for two hours and helped me pound and cut copper. Two hours of his time is like four of mine! I'm always very thankful for his help.

I just received a new shipment of tagua. All of the colors are beautiful! I wasted no time and dove right in. Liam even made a design or two - he loves tagua. I hope to finish some necklaces tomorrow, take pictures and get them in my etsy shop soon.

Here's a picture of the tagua and my Dad working away in my disastrous basement.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What I've been working on

Still no finished pieces to share, but I've been working hard. I guess I did finish a bracelet for myself on Sunday but I didn't take a picture, maybe I'll will later this week. Anyway, I'm still working on a big batch of copper pieces. I like to create in batches because I feel like its a lot faster to use the assembly line method - I'm all about efficiency.
I've got these pieces very close to being done - cut, designed, textured/stamped, riveted (for the most part), and tumbled. Now they need some patina and to be sealed. There are a few things that I will rivet after the patina because I only want one of the pieces patinated.
Yesterday, Liam and I worked on these together. He requested a bracelet and necklace for himself along with a special necklace for my cousin's daughter (I don't know, his second cousin removed?) who is about to have her 4th birthday. Liam really enjoyed helping me stamp the letters and getting to decide what each pendant would say. He requested that we write "Mom" on his necklace. Such a sweet boy! Here they are so far...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Random Friday

Well, I don't have any jewelry to show this week. I haven't been slacking off, but I haven't created any finished pieces this week just more fold formed and riveted components that still need finishing. I've also been working on some double triple secret stuff, not really but I can't talk about it until its all official.
I've been spending lots of time with two of my favorite people - you guessed it, Henry & Liam! Henry has learned to say "this" and Liam is making up words like "peppasoura" (a rare dinosaur). Here they are:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthdays Galore!

Another birthday! My sister, Tara, is turning 30 next week, but her party was Saturday night. So, Friday afternoon she texted me a picture of her party outfit and said, "Need mod jewels to go with this for tomorrow!" "Oh tomorrow, okay then I better get to work," was exactly what I was thinking.

I decided I wanted to do something in copper and bronze. I also wanted it to be amazing - something that was cooler than anything else I'd ever made. In Tara's words it had to be "coolerster". She's a riot.

Anyway, I've been playing with some fold forming techniques and was totally inspired by Stacie Florer's recent blogpost about her Elemental Bracelets and how each piece of metal is it's own canvas. I decided to make my own Elemental Bracelet along with another somewhat personalized bracelet and a pair of big, bold, statement earrings.  Keep in mind I only had one day to do all of this and two little boys who always needed to be taken care of - thank God for an understanding husband and dedicated father!

I started by fold forming some bronze.

I then determined the shape I wanted the pieces for the earrings to be, cut them out and wrapped each one in very thin copper. Next I had to cut and texture all the copper pieces for the bracelets. I riveted pieces of fold formed metal, a handcut flower (textured using a method Keirsten Giles shared here), and a textured silver filled piece to the copper. Earrings and bracelet #1 were ready for the tumbler. Whew!

For bracelet #2 I cut a piece of copper and stamped a rustic, tribal looking arrow and hand-stamped the word "seredipity" on it. I let Tara pick the word since she's the one who will be wearing it all the time. This bracelet was a lot less work than the first one but still "coolerster".

After tumbling all the pieces, I oxidized it all with liver of sulphur and then roughed it up a bit with steel wool. I was so happy with how everything was turning out. Then I came to my big dilema, which I had already realized would happen, how the heck was I going to seal this stuff? I love Clear Guard, but that needs to sit for 24 hours and then a coat of Renaissance Wax put over the top, wait another 24 hours and then it's safe to use the piece. I did not have time for all that! So, I decided to go with Vintaj's new glaze patina sealer. I'm not really sure if it's supposed to be used to seal LOS but I didn't really have any other options. (I did send Vintaj a message so I'll let you know if I get a response from them.)

The pieces turned out beautifully! I sat and marvelled at them for I while when I was finished. I was so excited to show my sister. Honestly, these pieces are the most skilled jewelry I've ever made. I can't believe how far I've come in the last 2 1/2 years. I just had to thank God for giving me the ability to do this. I know my work still has a long way to go, but I'm excited about the direction I'm heading in and can't wait to learn more and experiment more with metals. Here are the finished pieces:
My sister loved them all! Mission accomplished. Now the rest of the family wants some...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rusty Crusties

I made some polymer clay beads yesterday and I really like them! I call them Rusty Crusties! I really like the name too.

I was inspired by a photo Shannon Levart (missficklemedia) posted on her Facebook page of some ceramic beads. She suggested someone make them from polymer clay. I gladly took on that challenge!

A quick run to Hobby Lobby and we were good to go. I say we because whenever I work on a clay project Liam also gets to play with clay. This time I bought him his own molding clay and together we made a lion, but first my rusty crusties:

Shannon suggested a more palatable name - Golden Pomegranates. Hmmm, that does sound a lot better, but I still like Rusty Crusties because it's just my style. I'll have to think about it. 
And now for the most important creation... Liam's lion
It actually had a body and a tail at one point but this is all that's left. Liam just saw it on the computer screen and said, "Wow, that is so cool!" He's so funny!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wire Wrapped Projects

About a year ago my sister-in-law asked me about making some detailed wire wrapped earrings and I said no way, I can't do that! A couple weeks ago a customer asked if I could recreate one of her mom's favorite earrings because she lost one. I didn't know if I could do it because it was all that same wire wrapping, but I said I would try.

It turned out the technique wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Whew! I was able to make the earrings and a few more things using the se technique. Here are some pictures:

These are available in my etsy shop. here
These will be available soon. Email me if you are interested. seladesigns1 at gmail dot com

Friday, September 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I'm 27 years old and I still need my Mom. I think maybe I need her now even more than I did 10 years ago. My Mom is the type of person that everyone likes - kind, gentle, easy to talk to, loves kids, loves people in general, always believes the best and helps everyone. She's an amazing woman, wife, mom & grandma.

If I were to ask Liam, my 3 year old son, his favorite thing about Grandma, I know he would say, "She tells me stories!" And if Henry could tell us his favorite thing about Grandma, I'm guessing it would be how much she loves him and gets so excited every time she sees him. Now my husband, Bill, would probably mention all the wonderful food and desserts my Mom makes from scratch! You see, it's all the little things that make her so great.

I don't think I can say one thing I love most about my Mom. I love that she knows me so well she can say, "Ashleigh, snap out of it! Get out of the house. Go to Starbucks or go shopping or do something, but get with it!" Sometimes I'm home with little adult interaction and I get a little crazy. I love that my Mom knows little things are important to me and they matter. With one look at me or one word over the phone she knows how I'm feeling.

Have I mentioned that my Mom is kind? She spends her life helping other people, putting everyone else ahead of herself and sacrificing for the good of others. I could tell you countless stories of her generosity - stories you maybe would find hard to believe. The truth is it all boils down to one thing - my Mom loves God and it's so evident in her life. It's because she has found the true love of a perfect Father, Savior and Redeemer that she is able to show His love to those around her. She's a wonderful example of who a Christian woman should be. Thank you, Mom, for all that you do and for teaching so many how to be Christ-like. Happy Birthday! We love you!

And I just realized that we have hardly any pictures of my Mom because she hates getting her picture taken! I'll have to work on that...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Labor Day Weekend - very productive

We spent Labor Day weekend, well laboring. Bill had big plans to finish putting up all the railings on our new deck, but it turned out to be a lot more work than he thought! He did get half of them done and the other half are started. One more Saturday and the deck will finally be done!

I have a show coming up this Saturday, September 8 - Waukesha Art Fest. Stop by if you are in the area. I would love to see you! Anyway, I wanted to get some new Fall stuff done for the show. I've had a major bracelet and earring addiction lately and really needed to get some necklaces done. I have a bunch of new metal pieces I've been working on so it was about time to put those pieces to use. Here are some of the things I made:

Bright golden brass is not something I do a lot of. I try to have 1 or 2 pieces at shows in case someone really wants it. However, my friend the fashion designer tells me that gold is very trendy right now & that's what I keep reading so here's a little gold for you. I added violet patina to my handmade big ring and sanded it a big so the brass would show through. Then I added pyrite and a green kyanite stick to give it a more boho/tribal vibe, which I love. 

More metal pieces that I recently made. I etched the bottom rectangle and added patina. Both rings were hammered, formed, and patinated by me, myself & I.

Again, I made the metal pieces in this necklace. I added a cool blue kyanite stick & some rough green stone that I don't remember what it is. I should really write these things down, but it looks cool anyway.

I really love the colors on this one. I made all the metal pieces & added patina in a soft coral red and mustard yellow. Another kyanite stick dangles at the bottom. The fabric mustard & navy beads were handmade by youth in Uganda. I love buying beads that are made in Africa and knowing that my purchase really makes a difference. It's so cool! I was pretty thrilled with the idea of wire wrapping the fabric bead on the copper stick. I told Bill I had a stroke of genius!
There is more, but I'll save some for another post. I also worked on some more new components with my torch. I'm waiting for the sealant to dry and then need to add a coat of wax before I can get pictures. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Drilling Ceramics - it can be done!

Well, I bought this amazing fishy pendant from Marti (Marti's etsy shop) because who really could pass this guy up? Not me!
I thought that I could easily drill a hole into this to make a pendant - no big deal, right? Wrong! I asked Marti if there was an easy way to quickly drill into ceramics and she said she had no idea how to do it and didn't really recommend it. Uh oh! As my husband says - "You and your bright ideas!"
Then I had another idea. I decided to glue a bail on the top using E6000. Turns out E6000 doesn't stick to ceramics. Grrrr!
So, I posted a question on my favorite Facebook group page, Creative Bead Chat, to ask all the other designers if they knew what to do. I got little response except that a two-part epoxy could be used to adhere a bail. I didn't have any two-part epoxy and didn't feel like ordering, paying for shipping, waiting for it to arrive and then using some highly toxic stuff in my house.
I did some research & watched a youtube video on drilling ceramic tile and went on a hunt for a diamond tipped drill bit. No store in town had one small enough. So I asked the my wise and knowledgable father what to do (this happens on a regular basis). He suggested a carbide massonary bit. And that my friends, is how I drilled this ceramic fish pendant. I bought the smallest drill bit the hardware store had and here's what happened...
Got out my mini-drill that my father-in-law gave us.
I put the pendant in water to keep it cool while drilling. It takes a while to drill through ceramic so you don't want your piece to heat up and crack. I didn't use a lot of pressure either, just let the drill do the work. I started on low and switched to high once I had a good start on the hole. After about 5 minutes...

Here it is! I nice hole for stringing this guy up. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to use wire, leather, cotton cording or what with him, but I'm excited that he is now usable!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Post

Wow, so this is it, my first blog post. There are so many things I think I should or could write about, but I think I'll start by telling you a little bit about who I am and what this blog is all about...

First and foremost, I am a Christian. I love God with all my heart and I hope that like the Apostle James said, people will see my faith by my actions.

I am a wife and mother. My husband, Bill, is an extremely even keeled, patient man who puts up with all my "bright ideas" and loves me anyway. I have two beautiful little boys - Liam (3) and Henry (10 months). Those boys are my pride and joy; I love them dearly.

And now for the real reason this blog is here - I am a jewelry maker/artist/designer/one who tinkers with metal and beads. I'll give you the full background on starting Sela Designs in a later post. The important part is that all profit from the sale of my jewelry is donated to charity. I really like supporting charities that benefit orphans and people in dire poverty. I have a soft spot for orphans - we should always remember to take care of the orphans and widows. I want to give my readers some insight into the world of creating jewelry and why I do what I do.

That's it, nothing fancy, just me in a very real giving you a glimpse into the life of one woman who is passionate about loving the uncommon. Join me, won't you?