About Me

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Stillwater, Maine, United States

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I know, I know. I should be ashamed of myself. I don't know the exact date of my last post, and I'm not sure I want to know. But I'm back now. And that's something- right?

It's been a busy summer! So much new stuff is going on! I've been heading our local jewelry guild, Jewelry Artisans of Maine, for the last few months. We have some exciting things planned for the future. On September 19th, we're going gem collecting at Mt. Apatite near the Lewiston/Auburn area. I've never been collecting before, but a fellow member has been several times. She has agreed to lead the pack! So exciting! We also have been doing member-run demos at our meetings. Last month we met at Anne's house for a pool party and Dichroic Glass demo. So much fun! My husband has really taken to the dichroic glass and fused glass part of jewelry design. I'm pretty sure a glass business is in his future... Here's a picture of our first attempt at Dichroic Glass Cabochons. The top three are mine, and the bottom three are Daves.
I've had a bunch of shows this summer. Preparing for shows doesn't really leave a TON of time for playing with new designs, but I've managed to get a few in there. I've started making chunky stone rings with more than just a cool band- Here are a few pics of my favorites:

What do you think? I guess that's it for now. I'll post some of my favorite new pendants on the next post! Thanks for sticking with me during this hiatus, guys! I really appreciate your support! Hope all is well with you and yours!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Motivation

I've got a bunch of things lined up this week...

On top of my regular web orders, I have some local custom orders I'll be working on-

A 2 inch sterling silver cross pendant
A 5mm wide hammered sterling silver men's wedding band
A pair of Double Loop Earrings with Blue Goldstone
A pair of Hammered Triangle Dome Earrings in Sterling Silver
I have to oxidize a garnet ring I already have in stock

Plus, since it's the end of the month, I've got to get some new inventory ready for Bella Luna. My student is coming tomorrow for her weekly Introduction to Metalsmithing lesson. Thursday we're having a barbecue with some friends.

I'd also like to have my Metalsmithing Sensei (haha) over for a play date in the studio sometime this week! I just got a new kiln last week, and she's going to teach me enameling. It's something I've wanted to learn for a long, long time. I already have so many ideas in mind! I haven't even fired the kiln up yet. I'm waiting for a shipment of PMC, and then I'll get started!

I belong to a local group called Jewelry Artisans of Maine. We're comprised of hobbyists to professionals; glass artists to beaders to metalsmiths. The activity in our group has kind of died down in the last year or so. We had a meeting last Wednesday night and are planning on trying to become more active online, and as a group in the community. I have already set us up with a Group Twitter Account. If you're on twitter, follow us! Our username is: MaineJewelryArt . We have also set up a J.A.M Facebook Group. Feel free to join at http://tinyurl.com/ccnvwt. We're also looking into doing more tours and group activities this year. In the past we've visited a glass blowing studio, had a guest instructor teach enameling, gone gemstone mining, and much more! I can't wait to get started planning some new events. We're also looking for new members. If you're a jewelry designer in the Central Maine Area, and would like more information on joining, please contact Doris Ayotte at 942-9863.

This summer, Dave and I will be rewiring and insulating the garage so it can become my new studio! I'm so excited! It will give me a lot more room to explore sculptural metal art, and for new equipment! One of the best parts though, is that my current studio with become a nursery for when we decide to finally explore the possibility of adoption. So I guess my Monday Motivation is sculpture and babies. Not necessarily in that order. :)

I hope you all have an enjoyable and productive week creating in your respective mediums!

New Format

So as you can see, I've had a bit of trouble this month committing to this lonely blog. I've come up with a new format and structure to kind of help me stay on task. I have so many groups I belong to, so many ideas running through my head, and so many new business strategies I could be blogging about, that when it comes time to post, my mind becomes a tornado of ideas and it's easier to NOT blog than to sort it all out. Hopefully this new format will help me with that...
Here it is:

Jewelry Artisans of Maine
New Projects for the week
What's my motivation?/Finding my momentum
Etsy Maine Team
Upcoming Shows
New wholesale/consignment partners
Etsy Jewelry Sampler Team
I want to learn...
I want to teach...
Etsy Supplies Street Team
Business Tips/Strategies
Online Marketing
What did I accomplish this week?
What could I have done to be more productive?
Shops I love
Featured Local Artisans
Blog Giveaways
Goals for Next Week

Not only do I think that this will help me stay on task, but I think it will help this blog become a more purposeful tool in my business success, and maybe even yours! :) Thanks again everyone, for following this little online piece of my mind!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The April Giveaway Winner Is....

Farmsteadlady! Congratulations, my dear! You can email me your address at amanda@riversidejewelrydesigns.com. I hope you love your Sterling Silver Corkscrew Earrings!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Come on, kids- It's April GIVEAWAY Time!!!

In an effort to say "Thank You" to everyone who has been following me, and making these last few months in the jewelry business so rewarding and so much fun, I've decided to give something away! This giveaway was inspired by Chocolate and Steel, another very talented jewelry designer whose blog I follow!

One lucky blog follower will win a pair of Sterling Silver Corkscrew Spiral Hammered Earrings! I made a pair of these for myself, and I wear them almost every day! They're so much fun!

Here's how to enter: Become a follower of my Riverside Jewelry Designs blog, and...

Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RJDesigns and tweet about my giveaway. (1 entry)

Visit my etsy site at http://riversidejewelry.etsy.com/ and Leave a comment on this blog telling me which of my pieces is your favorite! (1 entry)

Join my Facebook Fan Page Group at http://tinyurl.com/cfmxjq and write on the wall! (1 entry)

Or, Purchase something from my ETSY shop athttp://riversidejewelry.etsy.com/ (2 entries)

Each of you could be entered into the drawing up to 5 times!

Please come back and comment when you're finished letting me know which of these things you've done! It will be a lot easier for me to keep track of what's what that way! I'll add your name to the drawing the appropriate number of times! I'll be announcing the winner on April 14th- so be sure to check back! If the winner doesn't comment to claim their prize within a week, I'll have to pick a new winner!

Thanks again everyone! I can't wait to see who wins!

New Doin's

I've found that I'm not very good at blogging every day. I used to write all the time. I wanted so badly to be a poet when I was a teenager! I still have the old notebooks filled with my teen-angst poetry. Some of them weren't so bad. I was even published in a book once when I was young, but they're all dark, dreary, 'woe is life' type poems. I guess I'm not used to writing when things are going good for me! About 5 years ago things started looking up, and I don't think I've written since. I'm a little out of practice!

Anyhow, there are some exciting things happening. I have an appointment with a coastal Art Gallery next Tuesday. The owner saw some of my work online and said she loves the bigger, artsier pieces that I make.... thinks they'd be a great addition to her gallery! I was really excited-I have trouble selling the more expensive pieces myself. My clientele generally likes jewelry in the $20.00 - $120.00 range, and even when the economy is better. It's hard to sell the $400.00 pieces.

I also was recently contacted by a girl who is looking into going to school at the Bennet Street School in Boston for jewelry design. She said she has always wanted to pursue a career in jewelry design, but needs a little prior knowledge before they'll accept her. I've agreed to give her beginners metalsmithing lessons, starting next Wednesday, April 8th. I've been approached by people before wanting lessons, but never quite felt confident enough in my own skill level to oblige. I've recently come around. PLUS, I'm always trying to talk metalsmithing and jewelry design with my family, but they stare at me with blank faces. It will be nice to have someone to talk to about my passion, and they be truly interested in what I'm going on about!

I held my first Jewelry Party of the season on March 27th. Not very many people came, but it was an awesome party, nonetheless! The ones who couldn't attend sent blank checks with the people who DID come! I love it when that happens! It feels good to know that people feel comfortable enough with my work to do that! The hostess bought the new 'Copper cut-out Necklace' I made a couple weeks ago. It's wierd, but I was sad to see it go! I almost kept it for myself. I know it's the name of the game- and I should be used to it by now, but sometimes I'll make something that is really special and I feel like theres a part of me in it. I didn't want to let it go! I'm glad it found a good home though! The hostess is one of my best customers!

I love Jewelry Parties! Working from home leaves me with cabin fever sometimes. It's nice to be able to go out and socialize- even if it IS for business.

I took Saturday off for the most part- just spent the morning packing up and addressing packages to ship. By Sunday, I had a page-long to do list, and I'm just finishing up today. I have a few new designs in mind, but they're going to have to wait until later today or maybe even tomorrow! I'll see if I can stay on track and blog about my new stuff when I do get them out of my head and into tangible form!

I guess that's all for now. Thanks for reading, peeps!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ribbon Candy

Oh, I lied! I said I hadn't had a chance to work on any new designs! How could I forget this stunner? :) My sister in law said it reminds her of Ribbon Candy at Christmastime- hence the name! Here is the Ribbon Candy Necklace with Faceted Garnet. Whaddya think?

Birthday Week

So it's been a crazy last few days. My sister, husband, and best friend planned a birthday party for me on saturday. I had a blast, and so many people showed up that I was a bit overwhelmed! It was so much fun, though! I will tell you- a little word of advice: Don't ever let anyone tell you that 28 is not old. I never felt older in my life then when I woke up on Sunday morning! I just can't party like a teenager anymore. It's official! So I took Sunday off too. There was no other option. I was a hot mess, and there was no one to blame but my aging self!

Yesterday was my actual birthday. I spent it trying to catch up on all the work I had missed throughout the weekend. It was nice and quiet in the studio. My mother was away, my sister was working, and my husband was on the computer all day. So I had the whole day to be creative! It was nice. I made a TON of earwires to go out for supplies orders from my second etsy site (http://riversidesupplies.etsy.com/), and finished up a few projects I had started for the jewelry party I have booked on Friday. I also was able to make a beautiful Baby Blue Topaz Necklace for a raffle my Aunt is doing to benefit a woman with multiple brain tumors from her hometown. I'm glad I was able to finally get it done for her! If anyone wants info on how to either donate, or buy raffle tickets to be entered into the drawing to benifit this wonderful woman, leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.

Anyhoo... I haven't really had the opportunity to develop any new designs the last few days, but I'll keep you all posted when I do! Enjoy the Spring! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Happy St. Patty's Day to you all! I'm not Irish and neither is my husband, but we enjoy the fun, festive Holiday anyway. He's making corned beef and cabbage tonight and we're going to have a few green beers. :) Any excuse to eat and drink and we're on it! I haven't made anything green or with clovers to share with any of you- but I thought I'd post a new blog anyhow.

Jewelry Party Season is soon underway- I have 4 booked in the next month an a half. They're so much fun! If there's anyone local who's interested in booking one, please let me know.

I'm working on a few new things right now. A new line of Unisex Rings- great for Men or Women! I'm working on more stacking ring designs today, actually. And I've been trying new cuff and bangle designs in the last few days. I'll be sure to post them as I finish new things!

I have a quandry I'm dealing with right now- If any other metalsmith out there has any ideas, feel free to leave a comment! I had a custom request for Fine Silver Headpins in my supply shop. I fluxed them, balled the ends, pickled, and tumble polished them. But when I took them out of the tumbler they looked dirty. It looks like there are brown smudges all over them- and they don't wipe off. Does anyone out there have any ideas as to why this may have happened or how I could prevent it? I generally don't work with fine silver, except bezel wire. But I've never run into this problem. Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Birthday Blog SALE!!

I just held a giveaway on my Facebook Fan Page. The winner of a set of 2 Hammered Sterling Silver Bangles was Jen from Bangor, Maine! I'll be doing a blog giveaway next- so stay tuned!

In celebration of my 28th birthday on the 23rd- Anyone who purchases something from my etsy shop (http://riversidejewelry.etsy.com/) and adds "Happy Birthday" in the 'message to seller' field upon checkout will receive FREE SHIPPING and 10% off their entire purchase! I will refund via paypal after payment is complete!

I've started a new line of Unisex rings- very cool! I've posted 4 so far, and there are more to come. I'm still playing with new designs so let me know what you think! I love feedback! Alot of my new stuff is going to be 3 dimensional. Lately I've been thinking about metal sculpture- I figure the first step is to incorporate sculptural design elements into my jewelry. So we'll see what happens!
Happy St. Patty's Day Everyone!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have neglected the blog-reading public the last few days! What was I thinking?

Apparently I was thinking work, work, work! I had a few days where I didn't get many orders. I took that opportunity to be creative making things I wanted to make- it worked out well! I made a chunky, antiqued, renaissance-inspired necklace with a large zebra marble cabochon. I was really happy with how that one turned out. I also decided I'm going to start a line of Unisex rings. The first one I made Dave claimed. At least I got a chance to photograph and list it first!

I went to a friends pampered chef party last night. That was really fun. I bought a lemonade pitcher for me and a grill press for Dave. He already has one, but informed me prior to the party that "The Grill Sargeant needs more than One!" While I was at the party I managed to sell 3 pairs of earrings and book a jewelry party. So not only did I buy some cool cooking stuff, but I made money too! Can't beat that!

Today I had an interview with the Editor of a local Newspaper. She was adorable AND thorough. I can't wait to see the article she writes about Riverside Jewelry Designs. Exciting!

I also updated http://www.riversidejewelrydesigns.com/. FINALLY! It's been so long since I've paid any attention to that site. I had old stuff listed that I'm not even proud to call my own anymore. So I took it down. It's amazing how much you grow as an artist in just a couple years! I remembered making some of these things and being so impressed with myself. When I was looking through it today I was shocked! Creative growth is fun!

Tomorrow I have to make a TON of jewelry parts for custom orders, 2 sets of stacking rings, and a Eudialite ring. It's exciting being busy, but I need to get out more! We'll see!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New Ideas

Ever since I made the Flame Oxidized Flame pendant the other day, I've been having visions of maple leaves, oak leaves, tribal art... all kinds of things! I drew the template for the leaves and cut them out of 20 gauge copper. I haven't flame oxidized them yet, but I love how the shapes have turned out. The only thing is- sawing through the thicker metal around all those tight curves makes my shoulders and neck ache! I tried having Dave stand behind me, rubbing my neck while I did it- but he got sick of that fast! I use an 0/2 blade on a standard jewelers saw, and I have my bench pin a little below eye level- should I try something different? Hopefully some of my fellow-jewelers out there could suggest something.

I love making jewelry and working from home, but sometimes it's just as frustrating as working in an office! I try to delegate housework but it usually doesn't get done until I get mad. I don't like getting mad, though. Maybe I'll go stand in front of the mirror for awhile before everyone wakes up and practice my mean face. I'll just pretend to be mad. "I'd like to thank the Academy!"

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Groups and Websites

I realized I hadn't done this yet- and there are so many, I figured I should put them all in one place. Here's a list of all my Groups and Websites with a little explanation of each. Feel free to visit, follow or join!

A place to view and purchase my finished jewelry

A place for you beaders to purchase my handmade jewelry findings

Join my Riverside Jewelry Designs Facebook Fan Page

Follow a blog showcasing an Etsy Team dedicated to a group of talented jewelry designers who work in all different mediums

Follow a blog showcasing an Etsy Team dedicated to Artisans and Crafters from the beautiful State of Maine!

If you twitter, let's twitter together!

I'm sure I'll write something more substantial later- just figured I'd share these links! Have a great day, everyone!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I went out to lunch with Dave (the husband) today. It was nice getting out of the house. Lately it seems like I've been so busy that I haven't left the studio in weeks. The whole time we were out though, I had so many ideas running through my head. We went to Chili's- maybe it was the refried beans.

We also bought the dogs some new toys. I picked one and Dave picked one. They like mine better. :)

I went to the hardware store to buy a hammer. I didn't find a hammer, but I found a cool buffing kit for my flexshaft, a new file, and some new drillbits. The old man behind the counter looked at me funny buying tools with my blue streaked hair. It was like he thought I'm building a really well-polished bomb. Funny little man!

So when I got home, I tried a few things. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with the way my projects turned out. I've flame oxidized copper before, but I thought it would be cool to have a piece of copper shaped like a flame- and then flame oxidize it. I've never considered myself much of a "Pen and Paper" artist, but the flame shape I drew came out pefect! It looks so cool! I also made a pair of earrings that came out really nice. They started as something I was going to build around a stone for a pendant- but it turned into earrings. When I look at them I think of two different things- origami, and a throwing star. So I named them "Origami Throwing Star Earrings". I couldn't choose just one. :)

No injuries today! So all in all- it was a really good day!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Workplace Injuries- not good when you ARE the business!

I had a really rough day! First I put a big slice on the middle finger of my left hand. Since it didnt bleed, I didnt really notice it until I took something out of the pickle (mild boric acid solution). Then it really started to sting! After that, every time I moved my hand I could feel the cut opening and closing! Not pleasant.

I managed to plug away for a while longer before I did the worst. I think I was so excited about experimenting with a new design, that I forgot basic common sense (metal gets really hot). I picked up a piece of hot metal with tweezers, and proceeded to grab it with my other hand. A split second after I heard the sizzle, I screamed. It's been 4 hours, and I still have my right hand in a bowl of ice water.

Both of my middle fingers are now injured. It might be Karma. Last night I thought I was flipping off my sister. I looked up and it was my mother-in-law. Not a good idea.

I hope it stops hurting by tomorrow- I have so much work to do!
(I should get applause for this entry- I wrote it while rocking the One-Hand-Type!)

I Gotta Get To Work!

I have so many things to do today! I have to make a hammered silver cuff bracelet with a bezel set faceted Aquamarine stone a customer sent me. I have findings to make and ship out (riversidesupplies.etsy.com). Plus- I just got word from a boutique that will be carrying my product that they want 3-4 times the product I thought they'd want! So I'm thinking a metals order is in my near future!

I've been so busy with custom orders lately that I haven't had time to work on anything I WANT to work on. So I've decided this morning that I'm making a pair of carnelian earrings before I start anything else. I'm taking a stand for my own creative needs! :)

UPS just dropped off a package that I need to tell everyone about. It's a Chai Tea Cheesecake with Ginger Cookie Crust. Unbelievable! I was a little weak in the knees after eating it- I needed a few minutes to regain my composure before I could even think about work! You can get yours at mydecrepitvalentine.etsy.com... I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


My name is Amanda and I live in snowy central Maine. I've been a metalsmith and jewelry designer for about 5 years and own my own business, Riverside Jewelry Designs. I tried starting a blog once before, but life got in the way. I'm hoping I'm ready for such a commitment! :)

I'm not sure what people will want to read about a jewelry designer. Nor am I sure what I'll be writing about. I suppose it will be whatever is on my mind at the time. I will be editing it for appropriate content, I assure you! I'm sure most people would be much better off not knowing EVERYTHING that runs through this head of mine!

I'll be blogging mostly about jewelry design, metalsmithing, small business ownership- and maybe with a few bits thrown in about my dogs. Oh, and the husband too.

I hope to have fellow jewelry designers following me! I love getting varying opinions on technique, design etc.

Thanks for reading!