DIY Enamel Flower Necklace

A few years ago, collecting and using vintage enamel flower brooches in a variety of ways was all the rage. At the height of it, I succumbed to the mania and collected quite a few of the floral pins myself without any real plan of how I would use them. I found that making a simple necklace from a single one was a great Spring project.

It all begins with selecting just the right enamel flower brooch.
For me, that meant one that was large enough to make a statement, had thin enough petals to punch through, and was pretty enough to be worn.

If you're okay with keeping it as a brooch, you can skip the next several steps. However, I feared that the pin back would come open while being worn as a necklace and prick the wearer. 
If you have the same trepidation, grab a large pair of chain-nose pliers. 

Use the pliers to pull off the pin mechanism. 
It could take some tugging, but it's usually quite simple. 

From there, use a metal hole punch to create a hole at the top of one of the petals. 
If you don't have a metal punch, you could also use a hammer and a nail to make your hole. 

Simply add a jump ring and a chain to complete the necklace.
Opening and closing a jump ring is as simple as a twist. Click the link to see my tutorial on it. 

With that, you have a beautiful necklace, perfect for Spring.
As a side note, if you're concerned about damaging vintage jewelry, there are plenty of reproduction flower brooches out there that came out when these floral pins were all the rage. 

I originally shared this Upcycled Enamel Flower Necklace tutorial on Cut Out + Keep. The complete materials list can be found there. But, if you have any questions, please ask away in the comments below!

Trickle Down Inspiration (SJ's Honey Do List)

Working on challenges each month has been the main source of inspiration for me lately. I've stayed so busy, that sometimes challenge pieces are the only jewelry I'm getting made. But, at least I'm staying creative. Each month, Sarajo of SJ Designs Jewelry has her husband issue her a visual inspiration. This is most often a picture he, Eric, has taken. She shares this picture on her blog each month to inspire anyone else who wants to play along and calls it the Honey Do List Challenge. I love the simplicity of this challenge and play along as often as I can, letting it push the limits of my ideas. This month was no exception. 

When I first saw the inspiration, I didn't realize it was a photo Eric had taken. I thought he was simply sharing a piece of artwork. However, on reading Sarajo's post, I found out that it's a section of a mural in a Portland Brewery. And, initially, I wasn't finding much inspiration despite all the color Eric made sure was in it. After looking at the photo a few more times and finally really studying it, inspiration struck! I went sorting through my tin.

Like the inspiration photo, I wanted as many colors as I could find without repeating the same ones too many times. 

From there, I created a stencil/template on my Cameo cutting machine. 
This was done on a basic piece of cardstock for its sturdiness. 

Then, I got down to cutting the tin into layers of ovals.
It took a little while to get the stacks of colors just the way I wanted. I didn't have the same colors as displayed in the photo, so I improvised. 

The edges of the tin ovals were smoothed by filing and sanding.

Holes were punched in what was estimated to be the center of each of the ovals.
I didn't try to be exact, I still wanted them to feel somewhat organic. 

After that, I riveted each of the stacks in place.

Then, the stacks were hole-punched and riveted to each other.

Initially, I had envisioned the two large oval stacks as the top of the pendant, but it just didn't look right to me.
Mainly, this was because all I could see was a face. I wanted the piece to feel more abstract, so I turned the pendant upside down, more like what was in the inspiration. 

For the chain, I stacked bright beads between links of a basic chain. However, I'm not happy at all with the chain. I was trying to use what I had on hand, but it didn't work. I'll likely be getting something different for it later this week. But I LOVE that pendant!

It echoes the inspiration picture so well.

I thought this was all I was going to create, but I was wrong. I made a pair of earrings too. Somewhere between starting on the necklace and creating the earrings, I decided to try to find a picture and more information on the mural and its artist. I stumbled on this post about Murals in Breweries from Beer Advocate. What struck me most was that the mural by Nicky Kriara was inspired by a Portrait of Henry Fonda by artist Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo in the movie "Once Upon a Time in the West." So many artists were involved in getting to the point where Eric took the picture and then shared it with the rest of us to inspire our own art. It's a complete trickle down inspiration! It reminds me so much of the idea that there are no new ideas. Have you read Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon? You should! Oh, and how about this quote from the great Mark Twain: 
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”
 THAT'S what these challenges I keep participating in are. They're not my own new ideas, but my own combination of what I see through the artists' kaleidoscope. Something about this excites me greatly, and I had to share it with you. 

Here are the earrings I made.
It bothered me that in the necklace design I wasn't able to include the wood-slices of the mural. I realized that I still had the laser cut beads that came with the wood connectors from Michelle Mach. They were perfect. Like the necklace, I tried not to repeat any colors, so the earrings are mismatched in more than one way.

In one earring, the largest bead is at the top while it's at the bottom in the other. Tin was also included to sandwich the largest beat, but seed and e-beads were also incorporated to add more color. I used gold findings to give the warm glow that's seen in the background of the inspiration picture. 

And, that's it for how a plethora of artists inspired me to create two pieces of jewelry. Thank you to Sarajo and Eric for sharing the inspiration, and to all the other artists out there who are working to twist their kaleidoscope into something amazing! Make sure to head over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what else was created for this challenge. 

DIY Fish-Hook Earring Cards from Recycled Materials

As a jewelry-designer, there's so much that goes into each piece of jewelry. There's the designing, making, photographing, and marketing. And, then there's the packaging of each item. For each designer, these processes vary to meet their brand and budget. Since I love to upcycle and never waste anything, I've long incorporated recycled materials into my packaging. Since my methods are simple, I thought it'd be worthwhile to share some of my methods. The most basic of these is the display card for a pair of fish-hook earrings. 

I use a simple backer for both displaying and shipping my earrings. The design of this card has changed over time to a simple whitewashed paper, but the method has stayed the same for many years. And, the materials are quite basic.
I use only a small hole punch, a rectangle of altered cardboard, rubber earring backs, and (of course) the earrings. The cardboard I use comes from saved cereal and cracker boxes. After I cut them down into panels, I paste on a layer of old dictionary paper then coat them with watered-down white paint or gesso. Once it's time to make a backer, I simply cut that down to the size I need based on the earrings. This ensures that the earring cards are never too small or too large.

The hole punch I use makes a hole that is quite a bit smaller than a traditional hole punch. However, they're easy to find at most craft stores. 

I simply punch two holes at the top of the cardboard, spacing them to give each of the earrings room to be displayed.

The fish-hook ear wires are inserted into the cardboard. See how snugly they fit?

Rubber earring backs are placed on the ear wires to secure them on the card and ultimately for the use of the wearer.

Using a regular hole punch would mean that the backers and the earrings might slip off the cardboard because of too large of a hole.

And, that's it. This method is perfect for me because it allows me to recycle while injecting my own style on the backer. You might add whatever design you want on the cardboard: print something out, draw your own design, write a note to the recipient, etc. I like the whitewashed dictionary paper because it suits my vintage romantic style. 

I did create a short video to quickly show you how easy these earrings cards are to make.

Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions. Now, go out there, make some earring cards, and save the planet!

Peek at My Week: March 10-16

Let me start by letting you know that's there's not much here. I worked almost every day this past week which cut up the days so severely that I barely accomplished anything. In fact, the only pictures I really took this week were on the two days I was off. 
On Sunday, Pat and I had lunch on the river followed by a boat ride with friends. It was a gloriously beautiful day and almost warm enough to get in the cold, cold river. The bravest (and youngest) of us didn't even risk a dip in the water. We took Zoe for a walk along Mobile Bay in the afternoon to finish our outdoor adventures. 

On Monday morning, we attended a funeral before we both had to work.
Tuesday was all about getting things done before work and a meeting afterward.

Wednesday, I took my grandmother to a doctor's appointment and worked from her house. That evening, I began the process with the oldest niece of shopping for a prom dress.
As I expected, we were unsuccessful in our first attempts. 

Thursday and Friday were all about CraftyHope and the other job.

On Saturday, I worked for a good portion of the day before we had dinner and drinks with a friend then ended the evening with a movie at his house with his family. 

Like I said, there wasn't much to this week. Since I'm off more this week, I'm hoping for a bit more creativity and activity. (We started pretty strong yesterday.) I didn't even find much inspiration this past week, but let me go ahead and share what I did find.

So that's it. Here's hoping the rest of your week is full of creative fun!

Green Earrings for We're All Ears

With snow coating much of the north, Erin from Earrings Everyday has been yearning for the greens of spring. As such, she ensured that she'd see some green by issuing the We're All Ears Challenge theme: Leaping Greenly. I have to admit that I don't share her sentiments exactly. Here, it's been above 75 degrees for much of the month. I'm seriously beginning to worry about how hot the summer is going to be. I may melt. In any case, I couldn't help participating as I do love the color green. Lacking much time this month, I turned again to the laser cut wood connectors that Michelle Mach sent me to play with. I've been itching to test out the chandelier earring design I sketched up weeks ago. This seemed like a great opportunity.

First, I had to pick out the beads. Knowing that I would need twelve beads, I was dismayed to find that there were only eleven beads in either of the sets of beads I wanted to use. To remedy this, I quickly decided that the large ones would hang in the center of the connectors with the smaller ones making up the dangles from the bottom. 
I adore this shade of green. It really screams of spring to me. It's the same shade of the leaves before they begin to darken and settle into their darker, summer green. 

I knew that it would take a little work to get the center beads to hang right, but the use of oval jump rings with the round ones worked out perfectly. 

Antiqued brass findings were used to match the wood and allow the green beads to really shine and show their true color. 

And, because things around here have been a little crazy, that's all I got made. I really had hoped to bust out a few more green earrings, but am so happy to have tried out this design and that it actually worked! Make sure to head over to Earrings Everyday for the reveal and to see what Erin and other designers created. 

Thrifty Thursday (February Thrift Scores)

Like last month, I decided to share the deals I found over the course of the previous month. While they are not all thrift store scores, they are thrifty in the respect that the prices were deals in one way or another.
Alas, I was not on top of taking pictures of each of my scores as I was intent of finding them new homes in the craft room. Instead, I made sure to video record my un-bagging of the items. I did sneak in a few pictures once I realized my error.

Over the course of the month, I discovered a plethora of tins a the thrift store.

Also at the thrift store was this belt. I'm sure I can do something with the buckle, but I really bought it for the leather.

Do you see that paper under the belt? That was my favorite find of the whole month. It's a ledger from the 1910s and 20s that I unearthed at an antique mall.

In the process of making the video, I realized that the ledger itself had been printed at a local stationery company. How cool is that?

There were also some crafty scores.
Hobby Lobby marked down some of their jewelry stock.

And, there were the general art journaling finds as well.
Those were from Tuesday Morning, Hobby Lobby, and the Dollar Tree.

Like I said above, the pictures only show the haul that I could get my hands on when I needed to snap a few pictures. If you want to see everything I found this past month, take a look at my February Thrift Haul video on YouTube.

I seriously hope you found some good deals this month too.

March Challenges and Peek at My Week (March 3-9)

It feels as though everything has piled up on top of itself. It probably has something to do with the fact that February is always such a short month. But, now it's March with its own challenges and weeks flying by. If you're interested in participating in art challenges and using the inspirations they provide, here's my handy-dandy list of the ones I know.

  • On Instagram, #MarchMeetTheMaker from JoanneHawker is well underway with a new prompt each day that lets you tell more about yourself and what you create. Make sure to check out the list and jump in the challenge. I've got a little catching up to do myself. 
  • Also already underway is the February Mixed Media Moods inspiration. DeeDee Catron and Mixed Media Jenn make and use a mood board to create their own art, but they share the board for others to create their own pieces. The current board is dark and moody, but with a pop of gold. My piece is just about complete. I'll be sharing it before too long. There's an Our Mixed Media Moods Facebook group too. The new mood board comes out on the 20th of each month. 
  • Aching for winter to end, Erin at Earrings Everyday has issued the We're All Ears March Challenge with the prompt of Green. The deadline is listed as the 19th, but I think it's likely this Friday the 15th.
  • Art Bead Scene has issued their Art Journey #2 which is the art of Virginia Frances Sterrett. Remember that your piece must include an art bead. You have until March 23rd to share your creation(s).
  • Sarajo's husband, Eric, issues her a challenge each month that she shares with us. You can get a look at the March Honey Do List Challenge picture on her blog. She's set the reveal as March 25th. 
  • The March Theme Challenge from Art Elements is Luna Moths. This challenge is open to any medium, but you need to have a blog and let them know in the comments there that you plan to participate so you can be included in the hop list. The reveal is set as March 31st.

If you'd like to add any other challenges or prompts to the list, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment so I can add it!

As for my week, it was so very full but flew right by me.
As I mentioned last week, everything is blooming in our area. I awoke Sunday with this blast of pink through our bedroom window. As the week has progressed, it's only gotten worse and even my craft room has a pink glow from these azaleas!

I spent part of Sunday being messy with paint and playing with various art supplies. 

That messy fun art bled into my Monday.

However, the creativity didn't last long.
Cleaning out the fridge led to the relish crashing onto the floor. While frustrated, I chalked it up to just being a Monday.

Tuesday was Mardi Gras.
I went to Mobile to celebrate and watch some of the parades with my mom and nieces.

On Wednesday, it was all about catching up and getting down to work. Thursday was much of the same, except these two got right in my way. 
Leeloo's definitely feeling better! Look at her reaching out to mess with Rosalina. Ha!!

On Friday, my half-brother and his wife and kids were in town. They met me at my mom's to visit for a little while. I loved seeing my older nieces interact with the younger two.
It was a really good day!

Saturday was work, but then we had dinner with friends. all in all, it was a fairly good week. 

Here are some inspirations for you!

This week is already looking to be a struggle, but I'm going to squeeze in as much creativity as possible. I hope you do too!

Art Journal Pages

Ever since the Use It Up Fill It Up 2 Challenge ended, I haven't been as good about doing daily art journaling. However, I haven't quit entirely either. In fact, I've posted the process of a few of my pages on YouTube without sharing them here. I thought y'all might want to see them though. If you're interested in the process, I'm sharing a link to the video below each picture. Clicking on the pictures should take you to the video as well.
The Return of the Art Journal

Inspired by Our Mixed Media Moods January 2019

Full Spread Art Journaling

Art Journaling in a Vintage Book

All the Colors Art Journal Page

And, there's more where that came from! I like to start my days, if possible, with a little art journaling. It helps inject color into the day and get my creative juices flowing before I dive into anything else, even jewelry-making. If you have any questions at all about the products I'm using, my process, or anything else; please don't hesitate to ask. I'm more than happy to share the fun. 

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...