Welcome to my "Happy Things" blog. Here I post any new jewelry items I've made
and share some of the 'happy things' I appreciate in daily life.
I hope you find something that brings a smile and please visit my online handmade jewelry shop
where my pieces are available:


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's up with the wire rectangle earrings?

I've had several people inquire about my popular rectangle wire earrings lately. At shows, people glance, then take another look, then raise an eyebrow ... interested, but not sure just exactly how they "work". This is almost always followed with a purchase of at least one pair, just like when people see me wearing them! So just in case you're wondering, here's a little bit about them ...

These very well could be the lightest weight earrings I've ever worn. What I love most about them, is how understated they are - almost overly simplistic, but yet dramatic, stylish and trendy. The longest part of the wire goes through your ear from front to back, so that the small top part of the rectangle rests through your ear. Since the top is the perfect size for your earlobe, they rest very securely and comfortably, without the need for a rubber stopper or back. They literally don't move once you've put them on! The rectangular shape "hugs" your ear perfectly. The wispy long curve dovetails down and then gracefully sweeps away from your neck, ending just below the bead. The crystal or beads on the earwire, seem to float as they sit atop the hammered end of the wire. The wire is so subtle that you typically don't even notice it at first, it's the slight glimmer of the crystal or beads that catches peoples' eye. When they look more closely, they find a delightfully feminine and modern wire design that most people find quite interesting!

Although they look long, the graceful curve is only 1.5" long which is a perfect length for those of us who have shorter necks! I make them out of both natural brass and sterling silver wire. At only $7.00 each from my online shop this season, they're a great buy! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rainy Day

I don't know about where you are today ... but here in Central Ohio, it's a very rainy day. Unfortunately it's not the first or the last this week, as we're a bit "socked in" with this weather system. After dropping the kids off at school today, I was driving in a bit of a daze and noticed that at this point, there's no color left on any of the trees and we're pretty much down to sticks and branches ... and rain. Sheets and sheets of rain. At times, coming down with a vengeance. Accompanied by wind, the rain falls in a diagonal pattern in front of you, in your rear view mirror and pummeling you from above and the side, as you step out of the car arriving at your destination. "I just want to get home", I thought. But then - I thought of my earrings ...

"Stormy Night"
handcrafted metal, patina-finished earrings

... and I smiled. It's funny how you can extract an element from a situation and look at it completely differently. I created these earrings, seeing sheets of rain in the night - maybe out over the ocean. Mystical blues, depths and dimensions in a random, but very constant pattern, barraging down. Somehow now the driving diagonal persistent rains seem a bit exciting, maybe even adventurous!

I began integrating patinas and metal textures to create jewelry components, that sell to other jewelry makers through the lampwork glass artist I work with. The metals, textures and finishes complement her gorgeous lampwork beads wonderfully, adding a different "edge" that can easily be achieved in a look, by simply adding the metal to the design. Once I started making a few designs to stand alone as earrings, I've found that people find them quite unique and artistic, and the collection is going very well! I have a few patinaed earrings available in my online shop right now, as well as some available at the Powell, Ohio retail location Pink Flamingo's. I love something creative that's open to interpretation and a bit ambiguous ... I hope you enjoy the dimensions and colors too! And the next time you find yourself in a situation that seems dreary, squint your eyes and be creative ... you might find another exciting perspective!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Design Challenge: the final design!

What fun it was to participate in this design challenge! Per my previous blog posts, the "reveal" day is finally here. My flower was bright red, leprechaun green and a lemon yellow. Bright and cheery, I was inspired to think of many different necklace designs I could integrate this wonderful artisan piece into! As I discussed in yesterday's post, I used two determining factors to decide what my final design would be with this piece, (1) looking like "me" and (2) continuing the flow of creativity. I chose to design my flower into a pendant ...

Although I had many different materials that coordinated nicely with the flower, each idea I had seemed as neat as the next and I couldn't decide what the perfect final "design picture" was, to frame this unique piece. I decided to use it in one of my handcrafted pendants, taking it one step further and getting it ready for another set of creative hands, eyes & mind to run with even further. I've been surprised and thrilled with how popular my handcrafted design elements have been this year and have really enjoyed the new experience of "framing" elements, textures and materials up into design elements, for jewelry makers to use in their final jewelry pieces.

I wanted to give the artisan flower a neutral, earthy background with depth, allowing the texture and natural elements of the copper to do its thing. I worked the copper into the design shape I envisioned, texturizing and oxidizing the different areas, to provide a layered depth to the piece. The oxidized and slightly buffed & polished dashed background behind the flower, have almost a natural woodgrain-like effect. The bright, brassiness of the hammered curve to the left of the flower provide a sense of playful whimsy, while grounded in the slightly more formal and traditional finish of the bright, shiny staticly-textured copper.

I've provided two connection points in the upper corners of the pendant, to allow for flexibility in working it into a design. I can see the pendant working wonderfully with kumihimo, looking great with wire, metal and chain, providing character to an earthy mix of wood and natural beads or balancing out multiple strands of seed beads. The pendant comes with two antiqued copper jump rings, that are open so they can be removed if desired.

The pendant is available for sale in my online shop at: http://www.MyHappyThings.etsy.com and I also happen to have a set of ceramic beads that coordinate with it, available in the shop as well!

Don't forget to continue the Design Challenge blog hop, by visiting these blogs to see what they did with their flower design elements as well:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Design Challenge results - almost here!

Wow, did I have a good time working with the flower to design around in the design challenge! I immediately started getting all kinds of ideas and it was hard to decide what one design the flower was destined to end up in! I had so many ideas for necklaces, integrating the flower into the flow of the piece. Since I had several different sets of materials that coordinated with my flower, I was struggling to identify the determining factor that would edge one idea out, over the others.

Two things determined my final choice for the design: (1) the finished piece looking like "me" and (2) the continued flow of creativity with the piece.

(1) Looking like "me" - I love unique and different materials and designs. 'Asymmetric' is almost always most attractive to me, because it seems to leave room for your interpretation or feeling about the piece or materials. When a design is perfectly symmetrical, it seems very 'finished' and 'still', it doesn't have quite the motion or continued flow that an asymmetric design can provide. Another thing that is very "me" is an "earthy" touch. I love metal and I love texture, but I also love "cute"! For me, just a bit of cute or whimsy can be the perfect touch in a design. Often when I include something more whimsical or pretty in a design, I work to counterbalance that feel with an earthy depth or texture, through other materials in the design. It showcases the personality of the piece, without letting it get too far over the top. I'm quite happy with the way my piece turned out, balancing each of these things quite nicely in my eye.

(2) Continued flow of creativity - I was flooded with so many ideas for this flower, I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility of correctly identifying the "best" way to showcase the material. Each group of materials I put with it seemed just 'perfect' in their own right, and each idea, design and style was just as pleasing as the next! I finally realized that this artisan piece was destined to become part of a bigger artisan piece, ready to be taken to the next level by yet another pair of creative hands, eyes and mind.

... And this is all I'm going to reveal today about my final design! Tune in tomorrow (Monday 11/28) to see my final design and how I integrated all of this into the inspirational flower. I will have my final design for sale in my shop tomorrow, as well. http://www.MyHappyThings.etsy.com

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
Susan :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jewelry to Retail

Well, I've just finished pulling some jewelry from my online shop, to take to Pink Flamingo's this week! The new designs debuted across my fall shows, but will be new to the Powell retail location. I'm anxious to see if the copper metals are as popular in the store as they were at my shows this fall!

The online inventory is a little low right now, but I've just added a few new pair of earrings fresh off the design board ... and more new designs are to come! So stay tuned!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Availability in November & December

Well, I'm afraid last weekend's show concludes my planned craft show appearances for this year! With the boys still being pretty young, it's tough for me to get away for a full day or two very often, so I only schedule 2 or 3 shows each fall. I know the Christmas season is just around the corner ... time for gifts and special jewelry pieces to complete your outfit! My designs continue to be available online and I will be placing jewelry locally back in Pink Flamingo's in downtown Powell, OH this week as well.

Currently online, I have a nice variety of earrings available and that collection will be growing weekly. Look for new necklaces and bracelets as well, in the weeks to come!  http://www.MyHappyThings.etsy.com

Interested in a design you once saw in my collection? I welcome emails and will gladly let you know if it's still available somewhere! email me at:  MyHappyThingsHi@aol.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm in a design challenge!

Often times artists who create jewelry making materials, team up with jewelry designers to help showcase their materials and provide inspiration and ideas. It's a lot of fun for everyone involved, as the first artist enjoys seeing their material being used creatively, and the designer enjoys getting to create around a new and different medium or piece.

Lorelei Eurto has teamed up with Jade Scott, to hold a design challenge with Jade's wonderful enamel flowers. I was one of the lucky seven designers chosen to receive one of Jade's flowers to work with! Seven of us will use the flowers in our own designs and then Monday, 11/28 we'll have a blog hop to enjoy how creatively everyone used them!

Very cool and fun. I'm so excited to have the opportunity to participate! Stay tuned and I'll keep you updated as the challenge progresses!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sat 11/5 - Sun 11/6

Please bear with me, as I inventory and update my online shop this weekend! After returning from Saturday's show, I'll be working to get things photographed and listed to populate the shop. Thanks for your patience and please stop back after 11/6 to see what's in store!  http://www.MyHappyThings.etsy.com

Friday, November 4, 2011

Show prep excitement

Since I only do a few "in person" shows a year, I get so excited preparing for them each year! It's rare that I have many of my designs in one place, so I enjoy seeing a larger portion of my collection all at once, rather than the bits & pieces I usually have with me. I recently switched over to a new style of earring card, that says "Susan Raber Design" on them. Since my earrings sell at multiple places, it's not always appropriate to have my shop name (My Happy Things) on them ... so I've gone to simply my name. It's working well, and I don't have to be changing tags or looking for the right tag all the time now as I move things around or send new jewelry out.

I've always been a girl who loves to see her name. Personalized shirts, pencils, pillow cases ... I was all about it growing up. Apparently it still gives me a thrill, because I smiled long enough to grab the camera and take a photo yesterday, when I saw my name "popping up" on a bunch of earrings I have in a basket, ready to take to the show tomorrow. (don't worry, it's only a few of the 100+ earrings I'm bringing - there's more than one basket!) Seeing all those "Susan Rabers" made me smile and my heart fluttered for a moment, enjoying the fact that this is all happening - especially when I didn't really plan on it, or expect it!

So here's my little bit of "jewelry happiness" for today ... a bunch of earrings ready to go, that were created with love and dreams, handcrafted by ... you guessed it, "Susan Raber"! :) As always, thanks for stopping by and I appreciate the continued support of my designs! Have a great day!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

SALE @ the show Saturday!

Yes - you ready that correctly, it's a SALE! Anytime the word "sale" and "jewelry, purses or shoes" are in the same announcement ... you KNOW it's going to be a good day! Be sure to stop by the Pickerington Central High School Crafts & Antiques Show this Saturday, 11/5/11, because I'll be running two sales at my booth!

Buy 2 pair, get $5 off a 3rd pair
(when you see the earring collection I'm bringing of over 100 pairs, you're going to be excited about this!)

Well ... you'll just have to stop by Saturday to get the scoop on my bracelet sale! I'll say this ... you won't have to make yourself pick just one! ;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Necklaces for just the right touch!

I'm looking forward to bringing some new necklaces to the PCHS show this Saturday! For some reason, I never seem to have quite enough with me at shows, always underestimating how many will sell ... and quickly I'm scrambling to find something to replace the display space as they disappear from the table! With this weekend's collection, I'll have a variety of looks and styles with me. Some great "everyday but still something special" metal pieces like the one pictured above, as well as my popular multistrand stone and lampwork designs. Doesn't it feel great to have a special, unique piece to wear with your outfit? I especially love the days when I've just thrown something on to run errands or to run the kids somewhere, but then throw on a neat necklace to "kick it up a notch" at the end ... fabulous!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Praying Mantis Moment

I know, weird photos to put on a jewelry blog. But when I started this blog, I thought I would post little things & anecdotes that make me happy or smile, from time to time ... since I'm a person who's 'all about the happy'. I am also a person who has a lot of these in her daily life. I have conversations with myself, stop and try to notice "ah ha" moments as they are happening, say out loud "look at how beautiful the orange is in those leaves" for the 100th time that fall - just because the natural color is so vibrantly unbelievable, it's almost an injustice for something not to be said out loud when seen. I'm the mom who randomly says, "boys, aren't we having a nice day today?" for no special reason at all, and I'm the mom who keeps reminding herself over and over to stop and appreciate the quirky and everyday things about my kids, because I know one day I'll think it flew by even though it seems like we're never going to get anywhere. Now make no mistake - I'm no brainiac in any way, nor do I have any great insights. I'm just a dreamy-enough person to think these things to myself and I'm idealistic enough for it to be part of my everyday, but have just a touch of practicality to make me realize the importance of it all. (don't tell my husband I used "practicality" to describe anything about me - he'll laugh us out of town!) 

And so, although I haven't really taken the time I thought I would to share some of these things ... I had a few extra minutes today, following one of these special little everyday moments. I have a million things I SHOULD be doing and a million things I'll WISH I did with this time later, but for now I'm going to share my photos of the praying mantis we found at our house this afternoon. 

First of all, they're amazing. We've all seen them in books, but not all of us get to see one up close. We live in Ohio. I wasn't even sure if these things were in Ohio when I found it.  I thought it might be some kind of giant grasshopper I didn't know about. It was climbing up the frame of our back door, as I was coming inside from checking on the kids. When I screamed because it was blocking my way to go back through the door, the boys (7 & 4yrs old) came running from the play set and our outdoor learning adventure began. We shared our silly insights and guesses all about the creature and watched it's funny, small movements, squatted down together in the late-fall sun. Marveled at its big eyes and the interesting shape of its body. My husband (mowing out back) finally noticed something was up, and came over and enlightened us and then relocated the praying mantis to our lilac bushes at the end of our back patio. My 1st grader wanted a photo of his "new friend" and I wanted a photo because it's just one of those cool things. See how it so effortlessly just clings to the sticks, with such little contact? Look at how well camouflaged he is, built-in protection from predators as only God could design. Who knows how long he's been around, we would've never seen him if he weren't "out of his element" on the door ... I might've even touched him when reaching under the bush a time or two, to retrieve a ball for the boys! Who knows?! 

Anyway, it's completely amazing how unique and individual things are. He's a whole little guy here, with great detail in his head, body and legs, although at just a glance he looks like something completely different. It's neat how individual everything and everyone is. Sometimes I wonder "what people want" when I'm making my jewelry, or it's a slow jewelry sale time. If I could just find out exactly what people liked. -But you know, it's pretty great to be an individual who can create things envisioned in her mind, and it's pretty great to discover what people like and what delights them. It's always a surprise. Sometimes I surprise myself with my creation; sometimes I'm surprised at which design someone picks. No matter what, it's all good ... and surprising!

Thanks for tuning in for my little piece of "happy" for today and enjoy the photos!  :)

Follow me on Twitter!

Okay, I've finally broken down and begun a Twitter account for My Happy Things, for information about Susan Raber Designs. I never think people are really interested in updates or what's going on, but people tell me otherwise. Plus, it will be helpful to let people know when I've posted new jewelry online, placed new jewelry at retail locations or will be attending a show. So we'll see how it goes!

Follow me @ www.Twitter.com/MyHappyThings.com