A big thing that I struggle with in the world of jewelry making is messing too much with my plated brass findings. Plain ol’ brass, no problem. Add the super amazing finishes to them, and I have a hard time committing to actually using them. Sure, I pick them up and fiddle with them, dream a little about what they could be. But taking that next step and actually starting… umm, no. I think it’s because they are #1 so pretty already, and #2 that they cost more, so I want to make sure I use them right, and don’t waste or ruin them.
I. am. a. chicken.
Let’s take my current project as an example.
I ordered what is called a muse package from B’SueBoutiques. This one was focused on the current 2-month challenge, which was using what is called chocolate brass,
mixed with this color palate:
So, I of course procrastinated a bit, but eventually I came up with an idea. It was a pretty decent idea, if I do say so myself. BUT it involved messing with the beautifully plated choxie, which, as I mentioned before, scares the living daylights out of me.
I decided I wanted to play with these flowers:
the little ones for sure. I wanted to start with earrings, and see how it went.
Now, this is going to seem a little silly, but the scary thing I had to do was punch a hole. No joke. (No laughing! Well… maybe a small chuckle. I deserve it.)
It seems like a little thing, that’s not really a big deal, right? Well, here’s the thing… That one, single, itty bitty hole that I had to punch would tell me if these would hang well or not. So if it worked, great. No big deal. BUT WHAT IF IT DIDN’T WORK? Then what? What do I do with this flower that has a random hole on one of the petals?
Now do you see my dilemma?
Yes. I know. It’s still pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. But it stresses me out. I made myself punch the first hole, tossed a jump ring in, and it hung just fine and dandy. So we’re cool. The project can continue!
Well, once that stress was over, it came together fairly quickly. I had more holes to punch, then a dangly doodad to assemble for each. I actually took the time to google methods for creating the dangle, and I’m glad I did. I usually make them look okay, but this was way better, with far less time on trial and error. I don’t make them very often, so I think that’s why it usually takes me so much time. (And time-saving on my end = $ saving on yours!)
And since the earrings went pretty well, I decided to go ahead and make a matching necklace. I don’t do actual sets very often, so this was another small stretch for me on this challenge, which, in my opinion, is part of the point of a challenge.
So. Mission accomplished.
Here’s the finished set:
I’ve had some great feedback so far on this color combination, so let me know if you agree!
As always, thank you for stopping by, taking a look, and supporting me and my fellow artisans. We appreciate you so very much!
PS: I just created a separate Instagram just for B.Accessorized, so be sure to give me a follow!
PPS: My Etsy shop is in vacation mode. I’m hoping to get it back up and running very soon. Facebook is the best place to shop right now. Thanks!
Hello hello! I’ve been gone for a while (again…) but I’m hoping to be back in action regularly for a while to come. The last 6 months or so have been a little on the crazy side. But I THINK most of the crazy is over.
I’m sure you are all on the edge of your seats, wondering what on earth has kept me away. Well, you can sit back and relax, and I’ll tell you. I’ll try to keep it short though.
After the holiday madness, including my best show to date, we had a couple of weeks off. Then, insanity began. We took a 9 day trip to Disney, which included getting snowed in on our way home. About a week after we got back, I had knee surgery. I had fully intended to keep up on blogging, etc., while I recovered. But I didn’t. I binge watched NCIS instead. And napped. There was a lot of napping. It was amazing.
For week 3 of my recovery, my better half had to go out of town for the week, so my Mom came to hang out with me. THAT was amazing. We had so much fun, even doing basically nothing. We played with polymer clay a bit, and might have had a few cups of hot chocolate… I don’t get to hang with my mom very often, so I really enjoyed having her here.
A few weeks later, we had company for Easter.
Then 2 weeks after that, we had more company.
I had a vendor event in there somewhere.
And my in-laws just came for two weeks.
I love having company. I really really do.
However… My workshop is in the guest room closet.
So, as you can imagine, my things have spent a LOT of time packed away over the last several months. I did manage to make some newer pieces, and I also took some time to purge a LOT of stuff. When we moved from Ohio to Iowa, I did an initial purge, but it wasn’t enough. I went from a huge, for-real workshop to a closet. I really needed to scale back. I still have more I could probably get rid of, but for now, I’m just happy to have removed a significant amount of extra stuff I wasn’t using.
This is my pile of sorted stuff that I’m going to sell. BOOM!
This is Frank. He’s “helping”
Now we just have baseball, the summer musical and all the rehearsals that go with it, swimming (at 6:45am. Super fun!!!), athletics camps, a mission trip for one of the kiddos, a family trip to Montana to see my folks (YAY!), and a trip to MSP to babysit my niece and nephews for a week. You know, a nice relaxing summer. There will be as many afternoons at the pool, friends staying over, and fire pit nights as we can manage. Most of the busy stuff is for the soon-to-be 13 year old. The boys have it pretty easy.
So, now I am hoping to get into a bit of a groove, and carve out some dedicated time for working.
I have an event coming up this fall that I have some ideas for. I will be making some fairly specialized pieces that I hope will really go over well. However, it’s my first outdoor event. I’m a bit nervous about it. If any of you out there in cyberspace have any tips for me, or recommendations for a canopy, I am all ears (or is it eyes?)
I’m really sorry I have been missing in action lately. I hope each and every one of you is doing well, and enjoying life. I know I am.
And feel free to nudge me if I’m not keeping up! And tell me what plans you have for the summer. =D
Every month, at the B’SueBoutiques Creative Group on Facebook, we have a themed challenge. It really gets the creative juices flowing. This month, Ms. Brenda added an extra challenge, a prerequisite of participating in this blog hop. In addition to the “Vintage Flair” monthly challenge theme, we were asked to Change It Up. She chose 4 popular large pieces from her site, and we had to choose one (or more) of those pieces, then use it in a unique way.
Well, I have had one of the pieces for a few months, a necktie. I knew it was a super cool piece (that’s why I bought it!), but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to DO with it, so it just sat there. Every so often I would get it out, start to lay out some bits to go with it, and then put it away again because I wasn’t satisfied with what I was coming up with. Well, when this challenge was announced, and I took a peek at the 4 options and saw the tie, I figured it was time to use that amazing piece.
But I couldn’t just decoupage it, add a few things, and call it a day, which is a fairly typical use of this piece (with amazing results!). I had to CHANGE it. And that’s where things get a little scary. I had an idea. (even more scary…) But convincing myself to follow through was kind of tough. If there hadn’t been a deadline, I probably wouldn’t have made myself do it.
I was about to start my project, when I remembered that it wasn’t just “Change it up” but Vintage Flair, too. Shoot. The vintage concept baffles me a bit. So, as most people would, I Googled “vintage flair” and “vintage jewelry” and “vintage flair jewelry” And while those images were kind of helpful, I realized the word “vintage” is used to describe just about everything these days, so it makes it hard to weed through the things that are obviously NOT vintage, and try to find examples that I THINK fit the theme. Another realization I came to, though, is that in a way, everything goes under this kind of heading. There has been SO much variety in styles that nearly everything is encompassed. But, things like crystals, pearls, and filigree seem to be pretty standard. So that kind of gave me a jumping-off point.
Not only was I thinking outside the box as I used this piece, I was stepping pretty far outside my comfort zone in jewelry making in general. I tend to shoot for fairly simple looks. And this necklace does NOT fit into that category… And that’s what made it so fun to create.
So, here we go. I decided to cut up the necktie. *gulp* Yes. Cut it into pieces. Like I said, I almost talked myself out of it. But… *deep breath*
Well, I guess I’m committed now… Might as well make the rest of the cuts.
This is what I ended up with after I let my shears have their way:
I decided to go with a bit of a gypsy style. So I used a “map” that had a reddish color to it, which I thought would work well with the direction (Nice pun, yeah?) I was intending to go.
When I’m working on a collage-y type project, I like to grab a container then browse through all of my supplies and toss everything that has potential into the container. So that’s what I did.
Once I had everything gathered, I started trying things out, putting them on top of the pieces of tie, trying different combinations and orientations. I knew I didn’t want to put very much on each one. I wanted the outline of the tie to still be visible. Then it was just a matter of finding a variety of chain to pull it all together.
I have a hard time photographing this large of a piece on a flat surface, but I gave it a go.
I used quite a few bits from B’SueBoutiques. The pearl chain, some filigree, POP! beads, the flower stamping… And the tie of course.
And my FAVORITE part of the necklace. The Evil Eye pendant. This piece makes me so very happy.
I put it on my mannequin and I think it gives you a really good idea of how it looks ON. I really fell in love with this piece. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.
I opted to leave a few inches of extra chain in the back so it can be worn longer if desired.
I was going for a vintage gypsy style… What do you think? Did I succeed?
I participated in a vendor fair this weekend. I knew going in that it was almost all direct sales, so I really had pretty low expectations for the whole thing. I really had two goals, both of which I met. One, the hard one, was to sell enough to AT LEAST make back the vendor fee. And I did. Not by much, but I did. So that’s happy. The other one I knew I would meet, but in some ways was far more important. I was REALLY ambitious with my displays and setup. I made or altered just about everything I put on my table. I had a really great time doing it, but it was a lot of work, and I really wasn’t sure how it would all come together.
But let’s back up. This is where I started. My idea came last summer at our church’s rummage sale. This lattice was there, and some frames. So, for $10, they became mine. I painted them to make them awesome. And so it began…
Then I had to figure out what to put IN the frames. I knew kind of what I wanted, but I needed to figure out how to make it happen. That’s usually the part where I run into to trouble. But it came together. I tried making something 100% from scratch, but it didn’t go well. And then it dawned on me that I HAD something that would work as a mold. *face palm* So I busted out some velvet displays, covered them with foil so I wouldn’t totally destroy the originals, and off I went.
I decoupaged each of them differently, which was a pain and a lot of fun. I’m not totally satisfied with all of them, but they were close enough for the show.
Then it was just a matter of pulling it all together and making it actually WORK.
I put most of it up in the garage to just do a general “does everything stay where I put it?” kind of test. The most unexpected issue involved the frames. You know how no matter what you do, your pictures always hang just a little off? I was totally cool with that because I didn’t want these frames to hang square. Well… these frames did not want to sit all wonky like I wanted them to. They all hung totally straight. I had to tie them so they would be crooked. The ONE thing I was figuring wouldn’t need any extra thought/effort… Oh well. I got it figured out.
Here’s the beginnings of the setup:
Some things just don’t come to light until you actually set up AT the event, in that specific space. And I have to say… overall it worked out how I wanted it. It felt really good to take an idea from beginning to end, and have it come out darn close to what you wanted it to be. There are definitely some kinks that need to be worked out, but they are pretty minor.
So, even though my inventory wasn’t exactly flying off the tables, I still count the event as an overall success. I learned a LOT, and hopefully I’m on the right track for getting my products out there for people to see (and hopefully buy).
PS: Keep an eye on Facebook for a sale coming up! Also… Mother’s Day is coming!
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. 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.
I think that’s a good name for what I have. Mmmmmmm… Yup. Sounds about right. Metal fever is my problem. And the prescription?
More metal! (Though… when you think about it… Cowbells are MADE from metal. So maybe I DO need more cowbell.)
The problem is… metal scares me. As much as I love it, and love designs featuring metal, it intimidates me like none other. I have been wanting to get into metalsmithing for, oh, 4 years, give or take. And I have dabbled with it. But every time I hit a snag, my brain is all “Well, let’s move over here to the stuff you already know how to do” And off I go…
Well, NO MORE, I say!
I am feeling more and more determined to focus and really push to go where I want to go. Early next year, Ms. Brenda of B’Sue Boutiques, is holding a challenge that has to do with creating a “line” of jewelry. Odds are slim that I will ever have my jewelry in boutiques across the country, but I’m going to participate anyway. It’s a great way to focus, learn more about becoming a for-real business, and really push myself. I’m a little on the terrified side, but I’m excited, too. And I’m planning on metals playing a part in the 5 pieces I will create for the challenge. And those pieces will kind of be a jumping off point for creating other pieces that will move me further into the world of metalsmithing.
I’ve already started playing a bit with some new techniques, though I haven’t spent a lot of time with either. I did some etching for my daughter’s project when we moved. That was kinda fun, and I’m anxious to do more with it. And I have started experimenting with fold-forming.
I cannot wait to work more with each of these techniques, as well as soldering and more cold connections. Metal is really fun to work with. I refuse to be a chicken any longer! Wish me luck.
Say Whaaa?!? That would be Work Table Wednesday and Finished Up Friday. I’m sure other groups do things like these, but my experience comes from the Creative Group on FB, courtesy of B’Sue. WTW and FUF are wonderful.
Let me tell you why…
So, it’s been going around Facebook lately (and if you can’t trust what you read on FB, what can you trust?) that creative folks tend to live and/or work in chaos. They also have a tendency to only finish a portion of the projects they start.
Which can kind of be a problem.
A while ago, WTW was introduced at the Creative Group, and people posted pictures of their messy workshops, and some of the items they were potentially going to turn into pieces of jewelry. B’Sue pieces were featured, of course. Let me tell ya… pictures of other people’s messy workbenches makes a person feel so much better about their own messy work space. Knowing you are not the only one that never puts things away, and while searching for “just the right thing” for your current project, coming across something that is not at all what you were looking for, but would make a cool something else. And off you go, working on the new, freshly inspired thing, until you get distracted by yet another something… It’s a vicious cycle.
This is where Ms. Brenda, and her amazing creative team, came to the rescue.
They decided to add a second day for postings. Only it is for finished pieces. And not just any ol’ finished pieces. Nope. The pieces you were working on, and posted for the worldcreative group to see. So, in two days’ time, you go from the making/creating process, to a finished product. Crazy, right?
Not everyone participates, especially not every single week. But many do because it’s a way to stay accountable (kinda like a workout buddy) and a way to stay on task. There are few things that feel as good as finishing what you start, be it a piece of jewelry, or any other thing in life. It just feels good. It’s satisfying.
The Creative Group is a wonderful place for inspiration, feedback, advice, and support. Everyone is kind, always. And B’Sue herself is the reason for all of it. She provides not only an amazing place to buy supplies (and is very very generous with freebies) but a community, and on top of THAT she offers FREE instruction via YouTube. Seriously, generous doesn’t even begin to describe this amazing lady.
So, if you are a fellow artisan, I would encourage you to give WTW and FUF a shot. Even if you don’t join a group in which to post pictures or whatever, do it for yourself.
PS: If you stopped by, tell me what project YOU are working on. Or the last one you FINISHED!