Hi all - I sat down last night with some of my materials to get creative. What I typically do is spread out my beads, buttons, and materials in front of me and see if anything in particular jumps out at me. I love to be inspired by color combinations, textures, luster, and especially the feel of the materials. I found that as I was getting started though last night, I began to think about particular people on my Christmas shopping list and tried to visualize what sort of colors/styles of earrings would suit them. It was really quite fun. And I realized that each pair of earrings I create sort of has its very own personality - sophisticated, urban, quirky, vintage, unique, etc! I've really got a broad collection of styles. A friend once noted that she could visualize the type of person who would wear each pair. It's nice to know that people with very diverse style preferences could happen across my shop and find something of interest there. Especially because the surgical steel and niobium ear wires are so wearable - even someone with metal allergies could choose their favorite style in niobium and have hypoallergenic earrings that suit their unique taste.
I find it's fun to be surprised too to see someone you think you know really well, surprise you by the pair they select. You learn a little more about them in a way.
On a different note, I am sad to say that I ruined my flush cutters (which had very quickly become one of my favorite tools - after my needle nose pliers and rounded pliers). I had purchased some split rings that were gold plated to try out. While working with them I found they are darn hard to open! I had to have my husband help me to get them open. (They are like a teeny tiny key ring). Anyway, I thought that if I made a cut in one I could turn one split ring into two jump rings instead which would be easier to use. Well, I attempted this with my flush cutters and the darn thing dented into the sharp edges on my cutters AND torqued the bolted part that they rotate about (like scissors). I cannot find a way to tighten that at all. So, they are totally worthless now. I reeeally miss them and need to order another pair. I suppose you learn from your mistakes and I will be more careful next time! Tools are not cheap!
Also, I have searched the internet for niobium chain to make fully hypoallergenic necklaces. I cannot find any. I could make my own by connecting jump ring to jump ring to jump ring to... (you get the idea). The price for this would add up. It very well may be worth its weight in gold though to those with severe metal allergies. Niobium can be anodized to change it color - ranging from gunmetal grey to pink to gold, etc. So you could get the look needed to simulate other materials that are problem causers! I've also read about a technique that could be used to create niobium posts for post earrings. I would need some more tools though...the first of which is a vice. More research to do to determine if this is something I will be able to afford any time soon. It's also sort of like taking a stab in the dark...you really don't know if all the effort, time, money, etc, is worth it until you've invested and created and posted to see if someone is interested in purchasing. Unless you are reading this and would like to leave feedback in the comments section - which I would love, love, love!!!