Category Archives: Metal Smithing

A Humble Request

I like to think I know my self fairly well. I know my strengths, and am pretty aware of my weaknesses. I don’t consider myself to be overly self-critical, just aware of the areas that need work. And I DO try to work on my weaknesses. I am a lazy, absent-minded, emotional, and messy person. But I’m not nearly as lazy, absent-minded, or messy as I used to be. Emotional is one thing that’s pretty hard to change… I really LIKE when things are neat-and-tidy, but I’m not very good at keeping them that way. I adore organization supplies, but don’t really follow through on actually USING them. Though again, I’m better than I used to be. The main part of our house stays in okay condition, but my workshop… THAT is a different story. Yikes.

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My workshop, located in the guest room’s closet… extra jumbled due to lots of recent guests.

Now that you know all that, you should know that I’m married to an engineer. Now, I know that there are plenty of engineers out there that are lazy and messy, but my husband is more the neat-and-tidy sort. He’s really good with things like setting up an organizational system, and then FOLLOWING the system. Crazy, right?

Now, I have a show coming up in a couple of weeks. (I promise this is all going to tie together…) So I have been thinking a lot about my displays and, more importantly, my inventory. A few years ago, I attempted to create an inventory list and labeled everything, etc. But it wasn’t a good system. I didn’t incorporate all of the elements that I should have, so it didn’t work and stressed me out, big time. And I haven’t done it since. Not that I haven’t thought about it, but I have a tendency (here’s another one of those weaknesses to work on) to avoid things that stress me out or make me feel unsure.

So the other day, I had a minor epiphany. I have a fabulous resource IN THE HOUSE with me. Someone that is good at organization, and happens to be very supportive of this whole jewelry business thing. So I asked him if he would help me figure things out for my inventory.

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Now, I’m sure some of you are wondering why it took me so long to come around to this conclusion. But honestly, it’s not the conclusion itself that is amazing. I actually Asked. For. Help. Which, as we all know, is a saying that you are not up to the challenge on your own. And that is HARD to do.

And then you know what I did? I told him that if he ever has any suggestions for general house organization, I would be willing to hear him out. Because you know what? I don’t LIKE being disorganized. I would love to feel more in control of everything. I just struggle with how to go about it, which leads to anxiety and avoidance. Sometimes I do it well, just not for long. Hopefully that will improve, and I will learn some things.

And just because… here are a few more recent pieces that are about to go up on Etsy and Facebook:

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Surprise!

This week contains that fabulous day (surprisingly not a national holiday… yet) known as my birthday. It’s not a milestone birthday or anything this year, so I wasn’t really expecting much more than a night of not cooking or cleaning up, and hopefully minimal fighting among my not-so-little ones. So imagine my surprise when…

Wearing our fancy hats to Tea Thyme.
Wearing our fancy hats to Tea Thyme.

…on Saturday, right around lunchtime, our doorbell rang. I caught a glimpse of two ladies wearing big, fancy, crazy hats, so I was a little cautious about opening the door. I didn’t have a lot of time to ponder who it could be (though I did wonder if the Jehovah’s Witnesses were coming to call since they are always dressed to the 9s) but I certainly did not expect two of my favorite people to be standing on our doorstep, wearing cheezy grins and awesomely-crazy fancy hats, and holding one out for me. I keep telling my kids that I’m going to run away from home, and this weekend I got to. It was so much fun. My girlfriends had the entire day planned out. There were pedicures, a fancy tea (aka: middle of the afternoon amazing desserts) at a fancy tea shop, and dinner out with some of my local girlfriends. AND I got to stay at the hotel with them. Ah-mazing. I’m kind of amazed that I have friends that will go to so much trouble just for my birthday. I got to know them when I lived in Omaha, and I’m so thankful that our friendship has stayed solid since I left the Big O.

Omaha girlfriends meet Fort Dodge girlfriends. And flowers that I didn't buy for myself!!!
Omaha girlfriends meet Fort Dodge girlfriends. And flowers that I didn’t buy for myself!!!

So… what on earth does this have to do with jewelry making? Well… it has less to do with the actual jewelry making than it does the mental state and dedication involved in jewelry making. Normally, I let this kind of thing interrupt my makering for too long, sometimes up to several weeks of minimal work happening. I tend to let things throw off my rhythm that really shouldn’t. (basically, I’m lazy…) But this time, I didn’t. I was right back at it on Sunday. I tend to fall off the wagon very easily when it comes to all of the promotional stuff, but I said I was going to really push myself, and that’s what I mean to do.

I have a show coming up in about 3 weeks, and I have a new idea for myself, so I need to bust a lot of that out in a short amount of time. And also, I’m trying to figure out how much I want to list on Etsy since I have the vendor event coming. I need to work some of those kinks out, but I’m making progress, and getting closer to where I think I will have the best chance of success.

Some work in progress:

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Yay tools! Punching out some discs.
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Always an “oops” *sigh*
Cut, textured, punched, dapped, fire-painted, and sealed by me. =D
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Ordered these bad-boys. I LOVE them. *

And remember, if you notice me slacking… let me have it! 😉

Peace, y’all.

*Ordered from the amazing Blue Mudd/Blu Bayou Soap Co.

B’Sue Boutiques Build-a-Line Challenge Blog Hop, Part 3

It’s here! The big reveal!!! I’m excited to show you all what I have been working on. It’s been a busy three months since the BALC began. Between snow days, stomach bugs, viruses, and just general “life” stuff, it has been interesting trying to find blocks of time to get everything put together. Boy am I glad I kept it simple…

So… without further ado… Here is my “line” (or the beginnings of it, anyway) for the challenge:

PicMonkey Collage Cuff

PicMonkey Collage E1

PicMonkey Collage E2

PicMonkey Collage E3

PicMonkey Collage E4

PicMonkey Collage N1

PicMonkey Collage N2

PicMonkey Collage R2

PicMonkey Collage Ring 1

If you continue through the hop (and I really hope you will!) you will see a huge variety of styles. The amazing thing is that we all got the bulk of our components from one place. B’Sue Boutiques offers an amazing selection of Made-in-the-USA brass, as well as just about everything else you could want. I spend a LOT of time drooling over her site and her YouTube videos. Seriously.

Please note: Prices are not set in stone… 😉

Thank you for stopping by.  Happy Hopping!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques

Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino

Aurora Designs

Jann Tague

Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King

Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford

Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott

Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson

Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten

Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit

Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck

VRBrose

Michaele Collie

The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig

Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman

Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre

Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady

MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West

Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson

Howling Dog Jewelry

Leila Belcher

Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen

Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger

Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams

Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara

LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth

MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey

Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo

Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark

Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman

B. Accessorized        <<<<<<<<<< You Are Here

Jennifer Kroeger

Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen

Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed

Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson

Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields

Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam

Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis

The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico

Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman

Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le

Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters

Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider

Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett

Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson

From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton

Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman

The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter

TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer

Smithed Up

Renee Hong

Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris

Moondance Jewelry

Lori Prull Meyer

Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams

Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier

Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen

Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams

Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens

1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller

Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard

Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law

ab:coraldesign

B’Sue Boutiques Build-A-Line Challenge, By B. Accessorized, Part Two

DSC_0021 Once I finished the initial prep for my pieces, which was mostly adding patina with my torch and sealing the pieces, it was time to bring out the big guns. I gotta say, power tools are very therapeutic. Torches are, too. And hammers… I like tools. DSC_0002        DSC_0019 (2)      DSC_0033 Once the prep steps were finished, things kind of rolled right along for me. I knocked out some earrings, a ring, and I’m about 75% done with my cuff. I still have plenty of work to do, but I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, and it happens to be the path I started on, which is kind of nice. I still feel comfortable with the western boho concept. I haven’t had to totally re-think anything at this point. Granted, that could change at any time, but for now I’m content.

Where I have been putting a lot of my focus, and where I feel I really need the extra time/effort is on creating the whole “package.” I’ve been looking harder at packaging and presentation, which includes my logo, business cards, what I use for shipping, and even displays and photo backgrounds. Trying to figure out what non-jewelry pieces of the puzzle are missing has been interesting and very challenging for me.

I have been learning so much in this challenge. B’Sue Boutiques provides amazing supplies, but so many other things, too. I have had so much fun learning with the BALC participants. We have been helping each other work through some kinks, finding new ways to look at things, supporting each other in so many ways, and soaking in the knowledge that Ms. Brenda has to offer. I am so thankful to be part of this challenge. In the 3rd and final hop, next month, I will show my finished product line. I’m looking at it as a final exam for this class. I just hope I’m really as prepared as I think.

Happy Hopping!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino Aurora Designs

Jann Tague Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck VRBrose

Michaele Collie The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson Howling Dog Jewelry

Leila Belcher Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman B. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer Smithed Up

Renee Hong Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens 1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law coraldesign

Branches and the B.a.L.C.

I have to be honest… I haven’t actually MADE anything for my B’Sue Boutiques Build-A-Line Challenge. I’ve been thinking about it, but mostly I have been making other things. I’m not hesitant about what I will be making. I’m feeling pretty good about the designs, though they are very simple. I know I won’t win the judged portion. And I’m okay with that. I am learning about building a line of jewelry that just might do that crazy thing… you know, where people buy it. Say Whhaaaaa’??? I know, I might be getting ahead of myself, but it can’t be helped.

In our “classroom” we have been talking about what a line really is and what it really means. Basically it boils down, for me at least, to one thing… will people know YOU made it? I don’t know how close I am to that but I really feel that I’m making progress in that direction. I’ve been having a lot of fun with stamps and metal. I want lots and lots of metal in my designs. Hence the stamping. Making pieces that are very gift-able is something else we have touched on. Stamped jewelry is very very easy to personalize. So I’m hoping to take (abundant) orders, while also offering a good variety of ready-made pieces that will range from spiritual to hilarious.

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Stamped Small Bars for Necklaces or Bracelets
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Stamped “FAITH” Small Bar Necklace
Stamped scroll necklaces
Stamped scroll necklaces

I also want to include leather in future pieces. I feel that it fits well with the “western boho” theme for my line. So, leather is a next step for me. I have worked with it some, and was successful, or totally unsuccessful, depending on how you look at it. I made a bracelet a while ago that I was SOOOO excited about. The techniques worked out pretty well, though my riveting needs some work. Really, the only problem was the size. It was way too small. So, it’s not a wearable bracelet, but otherwise it’s just fabulous.

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Western Themed Leather Bracelet

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I feel that, while it doesn’t actually “fit” the western boho theme, the stamped metal works WITH the theme. They could be worn together very easily, and it would be a simple thing to add a stamped component into one of the designs that does fit. So I am looking at it as a branch of the western boho tree. I think I am looking at the info coming from the challenge in a slightly different way than some of the other participants. I’m not feeling limited by having a line, and like everything I create now must fit into that category. I’m thinking of my line as the central concept that other things can branch off of. I have an idea for a second branch of my tree, but it’s going to have to wait a bit until I make a bit more progress with my current projects. But the idea is there, and it will stay, I have a feeling.

And really, there’s nothing wrong with growing a whole new tree… As long as people know it is YOUR tree.

B’Sue Boutiques Build-A-Line Challenge, Lori Beekman of B. Accessorized, Part One

Big Sky Country
Big Sky Country

Welcome to the B. Accessorized edition of the Build-A-Line Challenge Blog Hop, part 1. This amazing challenge is sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques.

I’m Lori Beekman (the B. of B. Accessorized) and I have been making jewelry, on and off, and among other things, for approximately 7 years (or is it 8?). I have experimented with a lot of styles, techniques, and mediums on my jewelry making journey, and this challenge is pushing me to focus more. Which is exactly what I need.

It's ME!
It’s ME!

While I am a current resident of Iowa (and previously of Ohio, Nebraska, and Tennessee) I will always consider Montana home. I was born and raised there, got married there, and my oldest was born there. And really… it’s just an amazing place. I only have a little Native American blood myself, but I was surrounded by Native American culture. Montana still has an Old West feel complete with wild horses, bison, cacti, cattle, and everything in between. Nature, basically… My line of jewelry for this challenge is inspired by nature, with some of the bold colors of Native American jewelry, all with a simplistic feel. And metals. I love metals. B’Sue is a great resource for my metal addiction…

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The beginning…

These are the main components I will be using in my jewelry pieces. I really love torch patina, so I have colored some of the B’Sue filigree with my torch.

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Brass filigree colored with a torch.

I manipulated some bead caps, too, before hitting them with the torch.

 Bead caps manipulated and torched. (before and after)

Bead caps manipulated and torched. (before and after)

I have a few other elements that might make an appearance, or might not. Once I begin assembling, I’ll have a better idea.

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The Maybes.

I’m really excited for this challenge. It has already been a lot of fun. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the rest of the hop.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques

Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino

Aurora Designs

Jann Tague

Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King

Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford

Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott

Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson

Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten

Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit

Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck

VRBrose

Michaele Collie

The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig

Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman

Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre

Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady

MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West

Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson

Howling Dog Jewelry

Leila Belcher

Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen

Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger

Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams

Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara

LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth

MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey

Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo

Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark

Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman

B. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger

Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen

Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed

Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson

Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields

Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam

Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis

The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico

Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman

Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le

Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters

Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider

Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett

Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson

From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton

Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman

The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter

TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer

Smithed Up

Renee Hong

Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris

Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer

Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams

Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier

Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen

Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams

Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens

1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller

Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard

Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law

ab:coraldesign

A Moment of Inspiration

I had one! And the best part? I REMEMBERED what it was. Because, like all good ideas, it came when I was trying to sleep. And being the lazy sort, I wasn’t about to get up to go write it down. And keeping a notepad by your bed is all well and good for some people, but I don’t have any desire to turn on any kind of light once they are off. Anyway… back to my story.

In the morning, I’m not sure if I was more excited about my idea, or the fact that I remembered my idea. Either way, I was pretty pumped. When I was able to head down to the messy workshop, I was kind of nervous. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone down to work with an idea in my head, and I sit down, and it all just floats away… never to be thought of again. So, I did the logical thing… I texted my sister. Obvious, right? I had previously asked on Facebook for some suggestions for sayings, etc. for some metal stamping, and my idea involved metal stamping, and I didn’t want to pick. So I asked my sister for a saying. And she gave me one.

*deep breath*

And away I went.

I started with a strip of copper. Stamped the saying she wanted.

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Stamped copper

I needed to anneal it so I could shape it, so I hit it with the torch. (I cannot tell you how therapeutic using a torch can be…) I had planned on adding some patina after it was shaped, but I honestly really just loved the color the torch gave it. So I sent her a second picture to see what she thought. Thankfully, she agreed (she’s related to me, so she can’t help being awesome and easy to work with…) that the color was good.

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Look at that torch patina! Isn’t it pretty?

So, on to the next step. The step I was dreading. I didn’t want to mess up all the coolness that I had already accomplished. But it needed to be done. And let me tell you… this was no easy task. My fingers hurt so badly! But it went well, and came out pretty much how I had imagined. So… I was happy to have sacrificed my fingers for this little experiment.

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Look! It’s a mini scroll!

I put it aside for the rest of the day, primarily due to other obligations like children and such (lame, right?) but also to let it stew. I know I am not the only one that has created/written/done something that seemed amazing at the time, but upon later reflection realized it was a wretched idea. So I let it go for a bit.

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The next day I went a little crazy. Not TOO crazy. Just a little. I still liked the idea, and it’s one that is customizable, so I wanted to have a small selection showing how endless the possibilities are. These can be a favorite quote, saying, verse, proverb, or anything. A variety sampler, if you will. I even did one with my own kids’ names. I had stamped one more (May the Force be with you), but it was on a thicker gauge metal and it turned out that I couldn’t bend that sucker to save my life. I figured out how to be able to add dangles. Some folks love a good dangle, so I thought it would be a good idea.

There are so many directions I can go with these, and it makes me very excited. I will eventually do some with color/patina, and maybe add some more interest to the chain, though I feel the simple chain fits the concept really well. I plan to change up the metals I use, too, to add more variety. So. Many. Options!

So, what do YOU think of my little scrolls?