Monday, May 22, 2017

Giveaway update and other news

Unfortunately for her, I don't think Clare ever saw my last post and that she had won the first earring giveaway. However, that means another lucky reader has been selected. Don't worry though Clare, there are still a few more giveaways to go. The second giveaway is going on right now! Make sure you leave your e-mail when you leave a comment thought!
Number 4 is Al! I'll be e-mailing Al about getting her prize to her. Congratulations!!

In unrelated news, my middle school dreams came true this weekend as I went to New Orleans with some friends to see New Kids on the Block! As an added bonus, Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men were also part of the show! 

We had some pretty amazing seats in front of a second stage toward the back of the venue.
Yup, that's the New Kids RIGHT THERE behind me! And yup, I was geeking out! 

Anyway, the last bit I want to mention is that I should be sending out my first newsletter in the next day or two. Make sure you're signed up!

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I think that's all for now. How was YOUR weekend?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The 100 Day Project - Earrings 21-40 PLUS GIVEAWAY and Winner

So. . .if you're not sure what all this is about let me start by explaining.  I'm participating in The 100 Day Project. It's taking place on Instagram, using the hashtag #The100DayProject. The purpose of the project is to participate in creativity for 100 days. Each participant picks a project or activity to work on for the 100 days, chooses an original hashtag of their own, and shares what they've done each day for the 100 days (using both the project's hashtag and their own.) I've selected #Make100Earrings as my hashtag as I'm working on making a pair of earrings each day.
So far, I've been able to keep up with the challenge. But, I don't want to jinx myself so I won't dwell on that too much. If you want to see the first twenty, check out that post.
Now, here are 21-40

Days 21-24
21: I only vaguely remember making these. What I recall is the desperation of making them. I had worked on creating something else that just wasn't coming together before finally forcing myself to "just make some earrings already." So, these fell together.
22: It's entirely possible that the copper beads in these were the ones I struggled with the day before. I made myself take a different look at them and they became these using turquoise beads and large textured links from a chain.  
23: After seeing a bunch of black-eye Susans on the side of the road, I was inspired to throw these golden floral earrings together. While they don't look like my inspiration, I think they're pretty fabulous.
24: These were made on such a busy day. Just before we headed out to dinner, I stacked these beads to go with my outfit and threw them in my ears.

Days 25-28
25: Once again, I had a crazy-busy day.These beads happened to be on my desk, leftover from the Bead Peeps Swap-N-Hop. They came together perfectly as earrings (even if they look similar to the ones from the day before.)
26: These mis-matched pieces of tin were in a drawer of other bits I had made. However, I thought they matched just enough to become a pair of earrings. A few beads and lengths of chain finish them. 
27: The large shank buttons in these earrings were the pieces that had stumped me a few days prior. Digging through the craft room, I discovered a couple sets of beads I had sorted for earrings. This set looked perfect to pair with the button.
28: I was in the mood to play. Iced Enamels were coated on the bottom of a few small bezels before rhinestone accents and resin were added. I hung these simply from Chinese crystals and a few rhinestone spacers on an eye pin.

Days 29-32
29: Something called me to the red drawer of my bead cabinet where these large plastic beads spoke to me. The butterflies are Tim Holtz rub-ons that I sealed with mod podge matte. A few black beads finish them. 
30. Since I created pink and red earrings on the previous days, I decided to make orange earrings. All the components came from my prepped box and simply fell together.
31: I let the fact that it was Star Wars Day inspire me and made a pair of lightsabers from green bugle beads and a few antiqued silver tone beads. They were fun.
32: Before realizing it was Star Wars Day the day before, I had started these yellow earrings to continue my ROY G BIV pattern. It didn't take much to finish this pair. Yellow is always a challenge in jewelry-making for some reason, so I was proud to have these made.

Days 33-36
33: Green was the next color in the pattern. These long plastic beads screamed out to be used. A few gold tone beads dangle from the bottom to complete the pair. 
34: I was called to my stash of altered blanks. These have a yellow-tone to them, thus making them slightly hard to work with. The addition of a couple of neutral white beads made it easier.
35: Turning to blue as the next color on the spectrum to tackle, I discovered these pretty little floral beads. They were stacked with bead caps, spacers, and a pair of black beads already on my desk. Done!
36: Wanting to make something a little more. . . mixed media, I fished out these washers that were altered with maps and sealed with ice resin. Large links of chain and a few bone beads complete the unique pair.

 Days 37-40
37: Desperate to really play, I used Iced Enamels again. This time I used raspberry, chartreuse, and turquoise on a couple of small keys. I think they are way fun and bright!!
38: I was away from home when I made these and dipped into the prepped box again. The ceramic beads have touches of indigo on them, working back into my rainbow pattern. I added the gold tone rings thinking that I would add bead dangles from it, but the rings look simply divine just as they are.
39: I had not an ounce of inspiration in me when I finally got to making these. So, I went for my favorite colors: purple and blue. The little star charms added a little something extra. 
40: My inspiration returned with a vengeance. I snipped these from tin, filed and sanded, hole-punched, and aged them. Taking the blue from the tin, I added bead dangles. I LOVE these!

So, that's been the last 20 days of earring-making. There are some stunners and some so-so pairs. In all, I think this set is better than the first twenty. Speaking of the first 20 earrings. . . I promised a giveaway. There were 14 entries.
And, using a random number generator
The Winner is Clare from ClaresCoffeeTime!! Alas, Clare...I don't have your e-mail as requested. So, PLEASE get with me this week so I can send you your prize. If I don't hear from you, I will draw another number.

Now. . . as mentioned above, I'm having another giveaway for some of these earrings. Once again, this will only be open to US residents. Let me know what your favorites are in this group of 21-40. Please pick two or more and leave me your e-mail address. I just want to know what people like. I appreciate you taking the time to take a peek!! The deadline will be Friday, June 2nd. I will announce the winner on the 3rd.

Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Jewelry-Making for Beginners: Cords, Ribbons, and Laces; a Guest Post from Divya N

As I work through this series on Basic Jewelry-Making, there are going to be subjects on which my knowledge is limited. When I covered materials for jewelry-making, cording was an area that I left somewhat open. Divya from Jewels of Sayuri has kindly offered to guest post and fill in some of those blanks. Thanks to Divya! Here we go!

Of Cords, Ribbons and Laces
The secret to unique jewelry designs is in how you select and put together materials. Apart from beads of various shapes and sizes, supplies that can significantly alter the look of your designs and add pizzaz to them are stringing materials. Stringing materials can be majorly classified as wire, cord, ribbon, lace and thread. Hope had previously covered wire classificationsIn this post I will be covering those that come under haberdashery trims. 

Before we begin to source these materials, we must understand the difference between cords, ribbons, laces and yarn as these words are commonly interchanged. 

A Cord is a strong linear yarn like material that is normally round or square in cross-section. A cord can be plain or braided and it could be with or without stitching on one side. Cords could have a core material that is enveloped by an outer covering. A round leather cord or Regaliz (Portuguese Cork cord) enveloped by cotton fabric are good examples. 

Cords are used to string beads and pendants or used as tieups. Popular jewelry making cords include cotton cords, hemp cords, satin cords (rattail), and leather cords. Paracord (Nylon Parachute cord) is often used to make bold macramé bracelets. Newer entrants to the market are denim cords, velvet cords and silk fabric cords.

Twisted silk cord necklace, Crocheted textured yarn necklace and Rattail tassel earrings

A Lace is a flat (sometimes ruched) elaborately decorative trim that could be woven, knitted, or made using non woven techniques like crochet or needlepoint. It is a lightweight openwork structure patterned, either by machine or by hand. In Jewelry, laces are typically used to make Victorian Chokers and cuffs. 

Leather Lace
These are tapes that are ironically referred to as Leather Lace even when they have no openwork pattern in them. They can be flat with a colored edge, braided or even simple lengths of suede. They are great for making wrap bracelets.

Braids are trims that come under the non- woven category. Braiding is a technique that can be seen in cords and threads as well. Soutache thread is a narrow, flat braid trim in a herringbone pattern.

A Ribbon is flat and flexible mostly woven band often used in making bows and other small embellishments. Velvet ribbon, organza ribbon, satin ribbon or grosgrain ribbon are some commonplace examples of finished ribbons. However, you can cut any fabric into narrow strips to make ribbons. Sari Ribbon and shibori ribbon are made that way. If you want your fabrics ribbons to stretch and fray less, you can cut them on bias (45 degree angle). Alternatively, for a professional look you can get a ball hem, pico or overedge finish for the edges. A Rik-Rak (Ric–Rac) is a zig zag band that also comes under ribbons.

Tapes are also flat trims much similar to ribbons. However, they are usually narrow unlike ribbons which can be even 3”- 4” wide. Tapes are also thicker and could be edged as in the case of leather tapes. 

Thread & Yarn
Threads and yarns are fine string like materials that are used to create cords, ribbons or tapes. But they can also be used by themselves as stringing material or to create embellishments. Silk beading and knotting thread and transparent filament yarns are often used in beadweaving and beadwork. Yarn can be used to knit or crochet trims like rosettes. Pompoms can be made using woolen or acrylic yarn. Embroidery thread or silk thread could be used to make tassels or to wrap cords for bracelets and necklaces. Zari thread (combination of metallic yarn with silk or cotton thread) can add shine to your piece and make it feel luxurious. 

Bottle necklace with hemp cord and suede tape, braided cord and Gota ribbon pendant, and silk thread bangles
The world of fabric and fiber jewelry is vast and is waiting for you to explore. I have only written about the tip of the ice berg here. Though the wide array of available trims can make it confusing for a beginner, working with them can be truly pleasurable. As you embark on this journey, I invite you to visit my blog Jewels of Sayuri, facebook page, and Instagram handle for eclectic inspiration.

Author Bio: Divya N is a Fashion and jewelry designer who loves to travel, read and sleep in. This amateur photographer and blogger from India spends her days teaching fashion communication. 

Huge thanks to Divya for sharing her knowledge and wisdom on this subject! Feel free to ask any questions you may have. And, as I go through this series, let me know if there's a topic you can cover in more detail than I have. 

I'm sharing this post at the Create Link Inspire Linky Party at The Crafty Blog Stalker and Recipe & DIY Linky at The SITs Girls.

Monday, May 1, 2017

(Un)Finished Objects (UFO) Blog Hop 2

Karen Williams of Baublicious is hosting this UFO (UnFinished Object) Blog Hop. The point of the hop is to dig out some of those unfinished items (we all have them) stashed away and actually completed them. This is her second of these hops this year.

I mentioned this hop when I shared some of the challenges ahead of me. I even showed some of the hidden UFOs I was contemplating working on. Now, it's reveal day.

As admitted previously, I had several lengths of completed kumihimo that needed to turn into actual jewelry.

I took a little time and one became a FINISHED bracelet!
There wasn't much to this except to get the bead caps on the ends, add a clasp, and attach some chain to extend it a little. BAM! Done. Maybe I'll get to the rest before another 5 years passes me by.

In addition, this collection of items I had been toting around was transformed.

Instead of a jumble of bead supplies, it became an actual necklace. How about that?
One whole side of the chain was completed. I just had to copy it for the other side then connect everything with jump rings. I don't know why I stalled out on this one.

As well, I had these bits and pieces assembled in a baggie.

The completion of it took a little longer as I had very little of the Vintaj Arte metal wire and something about the whole thing felt off. I finally decided it was the two gauges of wire. I had used 20g on the tarnished beads because of their large holes and 24g on the buttons because of the amount of wrapping that was involved. While that seemed perfectly reasonable, the result left something to be desired. Instead, I started anew with 22g hematite wire and replaced the tarnished beads with some metallic-looking e beads for a more cohesive result. As well, I only used that for the front section of the necklace and created the back with the e beads and gunmetal eye pins.
It looks lovely now!

Finally, I had a set of earrings on my desk that simply needed ear wires. I can't fathom what took me so long to slip those on them.
I'll add these to my growing pile of earrings from The 100 Day Project. But, since I didn't MAKE them as part of it, I won't be counting them.

Oh, make sure to head over and enter my earring giveaway. That is, after you've checked out the rest of the UFO participants.

Karen Williams, Baublicious
Francie Broadie,  FAB
Christine Van Dyke Altmiller, One Kiss Creations
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Liz Hart, Treetop Life
Amy Severino, Amy Beads
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
You are here --->>> Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
Christi Carter, Sweetpea Path
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
Margo Lynn Hablutzel, My World and It's Full of Books

I can't wait to see what everyone else was able to accomplish. And, it's such a relief to have a few of my own projects completed at last.  Thanks to Karen for the opportunity to be a part of the hop and actually finish a few things!!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jewelry-Making for Beginners Part 2: Materials

Basic jewelry-making is a hobby that I believe anyone can learn. Sometimes, all it takes is the right equipment and a little explanation. I'm hoping to provide that to you in this series of posts.

Previously, I went into details about the tools needed to begin making jewelry. In this second lesson, I'm going over some of the materials used to make jewelry.

Like the first part of this series, I also made a video of these Jewelry-Making Basic Materials if you'd rather watch than read, or if you like to do both.

Now for my explanation on jewelry-making materials.

Wire: I only begin with this because it's my personal favorite material. Wire comes in a variety of metals, colors, and shapes. I've found round wire, flat wire, square wire, half-round wire, twisted wire, and so on.  In addition, there are several choices in wire hardness. However, you'll find this option most often with higher-end wire. It typically ranges from dead soft to half hard wire, with dead soft being more pliable. One of the most important things I can tell you about wire is that it is sized by gauge. The smaller the gauge of wire, the thicker the wire. For example, 16 gauge wire is thicker than 24 gauge. Keep in mind what you'll be using the wire for before selecting the gauge. You can purchase wire from craft and bead shops, but I often get mine straight from the hardware store. Wire is useful for making beaded chain, ear wires, clasps, bangles, wire-weaving, stone wrapping, and much more.

Chain: This is probably the most basic of all jewelry-making materials. Chain generally consists of links of metal or other material connected to one another. It's perfect for simply adding charms or a focal piece to easily make a completed piece of jewelry. As well, chain makes a great accent like tassels or helps extend too-short pieces.
Beading Wire: Also called bead stringing wire, beading wire is a material created especially for jewelry-making. It comes in spools and is made of tiny, twisted wires coated with nylon. The nylon helps protect the wire and extend the life of your projects. Beading wire is most often used in conjunction with crimp beads to create necklaces and earrings. It can be found in a variety of sizes and colors.

Cord: This is probably the widest section of jewelry materials. Cord includes waxed linen cord, beading thread, sari silk ribbon, leather cord, invisible nylon cord/thread, hemp, and many, many more. Waxed linen is waxed to increase its durability and workability. It (as well as hemp) are often used with knotting/macrame techniques. Beading thread is intended specifically for jewelry-making. Most often, it's used with seed beads for tiny, intricate work.  Invisible nylon cord is much like fishing line (which I have used before) and usually used when you want the material to be as invisible as possible. Of course, each of these cords has a great many uses beyond the ones I've mentioned.

Memory Wire: I almost left this one out of the video, and it's one of the simplest to use. Memory wire comes in a coil and retains its shape, hence the name. When pulled, it springs back into shape like a slinky. I've found ring, necklace, and bracelet memory wire; but the bracelet shape is by far the most popular. It's most often found in a silver-tone, but other metal tones are also out there.

A material I've left off this list is Elastic. It's not something I use or keep on hand. I admit that I have trouble tying the elastic to my satisfaction, even with glue. As well, much of the jewelry I get from friends to fix are bracelets that have been strung on elastic and have popped. It's simply not a reliable material. As such, I don't use it personally.

I know that I've omitted a ton of more in-depth details about each of these materials, but this should sum it up for those just starting out. However, if you've got something to add or have questions, please don't hesitate to let me know in the comments.

Linking up at Sweet Inspiration Link Party, Dare to Share Saturday, and Saturday Sparks Link Party at Pieced Pastimes.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The 100 Day Project: Make 100 Earrings 1-20 and a GIVEAWAY!

I did say giveaway - details are at the bottom of the post.

I've been an earring-making fool!

I don't want to jinx myself, but I've gotten my earrings made for the first 20 days of The 100 Day Project.  The project takes place on Instagram and its purpose is to encourage creativity for 100 days. Each participant picks a creative endeavor: small, large, progressive, whatever and does it each day for 100 days, using #The100DayProject as well as their own unique hashtag. I announced my #Make100Earrings intent several weeks ago in a post about all the challenges ahead of me. As well, to make it easier on myself, I prepared a box of earring-making supplies that I can take with me wherever I go. 

Today is day 21. Before I work on the earrings for today, I thought I'd share here those first 20 pairs.
Days 1-4
1: Those large beads needed to come out of the box since they took up so much room. Tiny yellow Chinese crystals from and copper spacers and beads were tied onto off-white waxed linen cord to make a little fringe and accent the large beads.
2: Really simple and more my "romantic-rustic" style, these earrings were made with crystal teardrop briolettes and salvaged gold-tone beads.
3: I wanted some bright & colorful beads for this pair. Turquoise, orange, and violet beads are stacked with black and white striped beads and a silver spacer. This single stack on a headpin hangs from a cultured sea glass ring from
4: These are my favorites in this set. The dangles are Vintaj blanks that I had altered. They're paired with bright teal beads and rhinestone spacers. Love!

Days 5-8
5: I hadn't used any of my art beads yet. Since I was home this day, I dug through my artist-made stash and found these polymer clay beauties from Heather Powers of Humblebeads. To accent them, antiqued brass spacers, a bead cap, and a little glass flower were added. These are another favorite.
6: Wanting to do something simple, I used some silvertone connector links and a smokey-gray bead to make these. Easy-peasy. Done!
7: It was a beautiful day and felt so very summery. This inspired me to make these bright, bold earrings. 
8: Again, I dipped into my stash of altered Vintaj blanks to make these earrings. They dangle from a stack of small, coordinating beads.

Days 9-12
9: I hadn't included any buttons so far, and those amazonite rectangles were calling to me. I paired those elements with a short length of antiqued brass chain and called it a day.
10: Working from my travel box this day, the copper rings caught my eye. Simple dangles of white & clear beads completed the earrings.
11: These were complete spur-of-the-moment earrings. All of the components came from the earring box, but I picked them out hurriedly to make the pair. I think it works.
12: I knew this was going to be another hectic day, so I grabbed these beautiful glass beads and simply let them dangle from balled head pins.

Days 13-16
13: It was Easter. I wanted a basket. Finding these brass stamped baskets, I colored them with layers of Vintaj Patinas before dangling them from a few glass beads.
14: Feeling inspired by all the growing things outside, I was compelled to make some green earrings. I dove into the green drawer of my bead cabinet. Silver chain and head pins completed them. 
15: Like the first pair of earrings I made, I just wanted to get these big pink beads out of the container. As well, I'd seen other designers use filigree bead caps as a base for chandelier earrings, so I let that inspire me. With matching seed beads, I worked these up as quick as possible. When my husband saw them, he thought they looked like octopi and suggested I add eyes. I did try, but the medium I used wiped right off even after hours and hours of dry time. I may try it again later, but wanted these done before the end of the day. So, I left them as they were.
16: This was a busy day of family visiting. As such, I picked out these beads and simply wired them together. Simple and pretty.

Days 17-20
17: I didn't have much time before we headed to the beach to make anything. Pat suggested I collect shells to make my daily earrings. As you can see, that's exactly what I did. I know from previous experience that I can find shells with a single hole in them. Here example #1 and example #2 of other jewelry I've made from found shells. I made sure to only collect tiny ones. At home, I evenly sorted then stacked them onto head pins (using a seed bead to start). However, while bending the wire to make the loop, several of the shells broke - hence the space at the top of the earring on the right. I got them made at least! They can't all be winners.
18: I picked through some of the pairs of beads I had from what Kari sent me for the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop and selected the purple leaves and cube. The spacer and other beads came from my own stash, but worked out nicely.
19: After a full day poolside, I realized I hadn't made any earrings yet. I picked up the mother of pearl buttons, tarnished silver beads, and hematite-colored wire that were on my desk for another project and whipped these up.
20: Yesterday was my oldest niece's birthday. With her in mind, I selected the blue lampwork beads that had been freebies from Mermaid Glass when I ordered something else (at least that how I had them marked!) She likes blue almost as much as I do, but also loves black. I've had these vintage black beads in my stash since the dawn of time (or sometime there abouts). Antiqued silver tone bead caps and findings finish the earrings. 

For the most part, I'm happy with the the earrings I've created. I know they're not all winners or something I'm going to try to sell (the shell earrings!!). However, I'm really pleased that I've been able to get a pair made every day despite a busy schedule and vacation. The 100 Day Project is working for me!

Oh, I did say something about a giveaway didn't I?
Which two pairs are your favorite? Let me know in the comments and leave your e-mail address by May 13th. I'll pick and announce a winner on May 14th (Mother's Day). You just might win your favorites. Oh, and this is open to only US residents. Sorry!!