Tag Archives: Crafting

Finding What Works

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See that? No mountains like Western Montana, but Eastern Montana is still gorgeous!

We were on vacation last week. We went to my hometown, where we haven’t been in 4 years. It was so much fun. But I was itching to get back to work today. It’s harder to carve out time when the kiddos are home during the summer. But it was Work Table Wednesday today, so it was a great excuse to take some time to work.

When I head to my closet workshop to work, sometimes I have a plan, and sometimes I don’t. When I don’t, it usually means a lot of fiddling, but not actually getting much done. Occasionally, though, it leads to something amazing, and usually more creative. I’m at the point, too, that when I do finally get an idea, I usually have a good idea of what tools and techniques I need to make the magic happen. And then I have a plan, and the thing gets made, and life is grand.

But (as my 10 year old currently says) NOT today, Son.

I had my plan, but part of it wasn’t working. Here’s my problem:

See this sunflower?

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Isn’t it pretty?

I am going to attach it to this spider webby thingy.

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Spider web thingy. =D Official terms only, of course. 

But the center of the sunflower is domed. The web thing is not. But I need them attached at the center.

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See the domed center?

Sooooo… I dapped the web a bit, which helped a smidge.

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Dapped… and not dapped (aka: flat)

But there was still a pretty large gap between the two pieces. So I dug around on my bench, and in my little drawer deals. After a few minutes, I came across package of brads that I had bought a few years ago, thinking I needed them, but never did use.

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And the little prong deals are long enough that there is enough to fold over.

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I don’t LOVE the way the top looks with the whole deal, so I am going to go look for some alternatives. But I think the idea just might work. I really hope so, because the piece this is for will be really cool when finished.

Well, in theory anyway.

Anyone have a suggestion for how to do it differently? I’m all ears eyes!!!

Thanks for stopping by! My Etsy shop is still in vacation mode, until I get some things squared away, but please give me a follow there, and on Facebook (where things are always for sale), Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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Look What I Got!

 

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Is anyone else out there their own worst enemy? At least part of the time? I know I am.

Remember how I told you last time that we had company for two weeks recently? Well, being a total glutton for punishment, just before they were scheduled to arrive, I decided it would be a fine time to place an order from my favorite supplier. I had a purpose for part of my order, but the timing couldn’t have been much worse.

Do you have a website you love to shop at? One that once you start looking, you can’t stop? Yeah? Well, that’s B’Sue Boutiques for me. I made myself keep my order small, but I also needed to order from her back room at Etsy. (double torture…) I ordered the couple of things I actually had intended to buy, plus a few other small add-ons. Because shopping.

So on day 2 of my in-laws’ visit, my package showed up. Day 2 of 14. *sigh* I made myself wait until they left to open it, as the consequence of my stupidity. The timing of the order was terrible. If you read my last post, and some of my others, you know that it’s not the fact that I had visitors. They would have been totally fine with me taking time to work. But since my workshop is in the guest room closet, it was all packed up, and I had no access to it. Please feel free to roll your eyes at my decision on ordering when I did.

But, the day did come when I could open my package and admire my purchases. I was completely giddy, no joke. I have yet to receive something from B’Sue that I don’t absolutely love. Everything they sell is wonderful.

This is my order from the B’Sue Boutiques website.

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This is my order from the backroom at Etsy. The bracelet bar was intentional. The vintage hearts… couldn’t resist. I’m really excited to add some color to them, though they are gorgeous as they are.

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And these are my freebies from Etsy. Because B’Sue Boutiques rocks my world. They are so generous, all the time.

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So my orders were totally worth the wait. But man was it hard to stare at that package for nearly 2 full weeks.

Now, it’s time to play with my new pieces, and my old pieces, and do some makering. I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for stopping by! And please give me a follow on Facebook, Etsy, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter!

Back in Action

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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.

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This is what my workshop looks like when I have to pack everything into it. It’s a little scary.

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.

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

May God bless you all. Thanks for reading!

 

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Change-It-Up Blog Hop

A new perspective
A new perspective

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.

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The Original Necktie sitting on the messy workbench. =)

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.

THIS is more my usual style
THIS is more my usual style

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*

*SNIP*

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:

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Please excuse the top piece… It’s rather upside down. But you get the idea.

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.

Like my work surface? HoHoHo Gotta use what's handy, right?
Like my work surface? HoHoHo Gotta use what’s handy, right?

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.

Total mish-mash.
Total mish-mash.

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.

The finished necklace
The finished necklace

I used quite a few bits from B’SueBoutiques. The pearl chain, some filigree, POP! beads, the flower stamping… And the tie of course.

There's some B'Sue filigree tucked under that flower.
There’s some B’Sue filigree tucked under that flower.
B'Sue filigree!
B’Sue filigree!
See that bit of B'Sue Filigree? I removed it from a larger piece a long time ago, and FINALLY found a use for it!
See that bit of B’Sue Filigree? I removed it from a larger piece a long time ago, and FINALLY found a use for it!
The flower, POP! beads, and pearl chain are ALL B'Sue!
The flower, POP! beads, and pearl chain are ALL B’Sue!

And my FAVORITE part of the necklace. The Evil Eye pendant. This piece makes me so very happy.

Warding off the evil eye...
Warding off the evil eye…

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.

How the finished necklace looks ON. =D
How the finished necklace looks on.

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?

Don’t forget to find me on Facebook, Etsy, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful time with the rest of the hop!!!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne

Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Mary Deis

The Rose Sword

http://theroseswordmdeis.blogspot.com/

Jann Tague

Clever Designs

https://janntague.wordpress.com/

Lori Beekman

B.Accessorized                                                          <<<<<< You are HERE

https://baccessorized.wordpress.com/

Renee Hong

Fine and Dandy Jewelry

http://www.fineanddandyjewelry.blogspot.com/

Cynthia Wainscott

Exotic Peru Jewelry

http://exoticperujewelry.blogspot.com/

Dana Hickey

Magpie Approved

http://magpieapproved.blogspot.com/

Mary Beth Quigley-Spiker

Q Settings

https://qsettings.wordpress.com/

Karen Eaton

KJewelry Creations

http://kjewelrycreations1.blogspot.com/

Shari Gardner

SLG Jewelry Designs

https://slgdesigns.wordpress.com/

Alison Huie

Ally’s Baubles

http://allysbaubles.blogspot.com/

Pamela Anger

Novegatti Designs

http://www.novegattidesigns.blogspot.com/

Carole Carlson

Beadsophisticate

https://beadsophisticate.wordpress.com/

Cindy Peterson

Howling Dog Jewelry

https://howlingdogjewelry.wordpress.com/

Marcia Tuzzolino

Aurora Designs

http://auroradesignsjewelryblog.me/

Charlotte Smothers

Sea Horse Ranch Life

http://seahorseranch.blogspot.com/

Catherine Shattuck

Victorian Rose Boutique

https://vrbrose.wordpress.com/

Clare Wells Nemeth

Papercrafting Magic

http://papercraftingmagic.blogspot.com/

Erin Whitacre

Shattered Time

https://shatteredtimejewelry.wordpress.com/

Lynda O’Mara

Lomara Creative

http://www.lomaracreative.com/

Ginger Hammond

Lynn Leigh Designs

https://lynnleighdesigns.wordpress.com/

Ingrid Anderson

Lilis Gems Artisan Jewelry

https://lilisgems.wordpress.com/

Deb Beechy

Beetique

http://www.beetique56.blogspot.com

Harry Wood

Oscar Crow

http://oscarcrow.blogspot.com/

Delyssa Maxwell

Past Time Fancies

https://pasttimefancies.wordpress.com/

Paula Gaskill

Lovely Layla Bugs

http://lovelylaylabugjewels.weebly.com/blog

Irene Hoffman

Heart’s Dezire by Irene

https://heartsdezirebyirene.wordpress.com/

Alexandra Sefton

Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

http://wilywolverine.blogspot.com/

Leslie Carver

Adorn Divine Designs

http://adorndivinedesigns.blogspot.com/

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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Going All In

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So. I have been making jewelry (and other things) for several years now. I have never really been successful at it. Every once in a while, it seems to pick up, and then it falls back down again. Things have gradually increased overall, though, which is great. But I’m really not where I feel I should, or at least COULD, be by now. I am set up in the most supportive way possible, with a husband that keeps pushing and helping me. He has never once questioned whether this was a good idea, even though I have soooo many times over the years. My friends and family are amazing supporters, too. So, really, it’s just me standing in my own way.

He bought me a jigsaw. Seriously.
He bought me a jigsaw. Seriously.

I just received an email inviting me to two upcoming events in my new “hometown.” One at the end of the summer, and one this fall. Initially, I was excited. And then I had the “Why bother?” moment. I rarely do well at these events. But… And this is a BIG but… My work has always been a mish-mash of pieces. I’ve never buckled down and focused on one style. And now, thanks in large part to Brenda’s B’SueBoutiques challenge class this winter, I feel like I am moving closer to where I want to be. My pieces still aren’t totally uniform, but they aren’t as all-over-the-place either.

And I’ve been working on removing the excess old pieces that don’t fit what I’m making now. (Have you checked out my clearance event on Facebook?) I really have too much inventory.

Okay, back to the email… I decided that I am going to push myself to list more on Facebook and Etsy (especially Etsy), be more consistent with promotion/social media, and give these events a try. If, after all that, things haven’t improved, I might be calling it quits. *deep breath* It’s not for sure. At the very least, I will re-evaluate what I have done, what worked, what didn’t, and then see where that leaves me. But I need to make big changes. I’m sure I’ll fall off the motivation wagon, as I always seem to, but I’m going to give it my best shot. (feel free to nudge me!)

I have some other projects that I have been neglecting (not to mention the kids and all that jazz) so it’s going to be interesting trying to juggle it all. I am pretty sure the extra stuff going on will be beneficial though. I am always more motivated and organized when I have more going at once. The less busy I am, the less productive.

So… Wish me luck!

Live and Learn

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…

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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.

So these:

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Became these:

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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:

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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!